Which Exit are You? Revisited

May 23, 2011

First Catch

Back in January, 2010, I wrote about this encounter I witnessed in Brewster:

I overheard a conversation last week at “Soccer Totz.”  Two moms who had just met: “I’m exit 12 but I used to be exit 4. What exit are you?” Second mom replies, “I’m exit 10, then South.”  These moms are not cartographers nor traffic engineers, they are typical Cape Codders.  What exit you live near can determine your work, home, and social life!  Now the Cape is not that big, but the differences between Bourne and P’town are vast. And distance and time are directly related to the time of year and day, so the journey between the two can vary greatly.

So as you search for, or market, your Cape Cod home, work with a qualified Realtor to maximize the potential of your exit, community and soccer moms.

It still makes me smile to think about that. However lately I’ve been thinking more intensely about the importance, really critical significance, of where one raises one’s children.  Not only in which part of Cape Cod, but where and how a family is globally positioned. This musing extends to what experiences young people have while not in school, i.e. how they spend their summer vacations.

The rise of the leisure class allowed urban dwellers to leave the unhealthy, oppressively hot cities for vacation destinations such as the Catskills, the Adirondacks, the Hamptons and Cape Cod. Father may have remained at work during the week and joined the family on weekends. Often, vacationers relocated for the entire season, servants and babysitters in tow. The popularity of driving vacations and the advent of the motel, coupled with improved highways and cheap gas let American kids range across the U.S.. The experiences of these lucky kids, at camps and in cabins, swimming and playing tennis, with beach bonfires en masse have shaped their adult perceptions of what summer vacation should be for their own kids.

I work with many buyers who come to Cape Cod to buy a home based on their childhood experiences here. Occasionally, I meet retirees who vacationed
here with their young families and want to return after many years away, gathering extended family on the same beaches. Real estate isn’t just bricks and mortar, by any means. Particularly with a vacation home, the ideals brought to the process are a critical part of the search and decision-making process. The more things change, the more things stay the same, but it’s so important that the location be understood by the buyer agent as it exists today, to avoid pitfalls brought on by nostalgia.

This season, as economic woes drag on interminably, vacation rentals on Cape Cod are up as is the price of those rentals according to the Boston Globe. This has led to some vacation home owners not using their own properties during prime rental season, as well as year-round residents moving out of their homes for 8-10 weeks. When purchasing your vacation or investment home be certain of its value and appeal as a rental property, even if you don’t intend it to be a rental at the outset.

Cape Cod offers unique summer experiences for kids in every area, at every exit. Camps are educational or sports oriented, town programs offer a wide variety of activities, and outdoor music and arts events abound. How your kids spend their summer vacations matters, and owning a home here can be good for their souls as well as your real estate portfolio.

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Visiting the Cape’s most beautiful and historic homes

August 22, 2010

Not to buy, but to treasure.

Visiting the Cape’s most beautiful and historic homes – The Boston Globe.


UPlifting Advice on Getting Your Property Sold, Anywhere

March 18, 2010
 
 
 

Before ASP Staging

 

After

This great RE-post is from 

Jennie Norris, ASP Master, IAHSP®, Owner, Sensational Home Staging in Denver, CO.  Jennie is the IAHSP president. 

Please visit Cape Cod Home Staging Co. to get your Cape or South Shore property staged!

 

1. If it’s cluttered – PACK IT UP

Clutter is a natural part of life and most of us do our best to stay on top of it. Things on surfaces, floors, walls, and in our yards – are all items we enjoy or have “plans for” – and that is life. However, when selling a house – the clutter that is part of daily lives actually cuts into our equity. As Barb Schwarz, the Creator of Home Staging®, says, “Clutter eats equity” and the more of it that is around, the harder it is for a buyer to look past and see the possibilities of the house and of living there as their home. When Selling – PACK IT UP – pack up the clutter and this actually gives the Seller a head start on moving – as when the Seller gets an offer they will already have packed up a lot of their smaller things and personal items – which will lessen the stress of having to move.

2. If it’s dated – SPRUCE IT UP

Not all houses are new. Not all buyers want new houses, and yet most all buyers want houses that are in move-in condition. This means that if your house or listing is dated, it might be worth the investment to paint or upgrade elements of the house so it stands up to the competition. Spruce it up – put in warm neutral paint colors on walls and paint over any custom colors that are too bright, too dark, or too dingy. Don’t be stubborn about painting – you are moving. You can paint your new house the colors you want but for Buyers – make the effort to help them mentally move in to the house you are selling by giving them a warm neutral palette.

Take down wall paper or paint over it – wall paper is too customized and individualized – make your house Buyer neutral. Replace worn carpeting if possible, and remove odd objects, funky art that is possibly distracting, and pack up controversial items. Replace dated fixtures – for about $25.00-$75.00 you can replace a faucet, ceiling fan or lighting fixture. That means for an entire house when you invest about $500 you can update a lot of elements that will help your house compete with newer houses for sale.

3. If it’s dirty, CLEAN IT UP!

Dirty houses are a turn off to Buyers. It sends the message, “I did not care for my house and you will probably find maintenance issues here.” It may also send the wrong message to the buyer that you are desperate or in some sort of sticky situation if you are not maintaining your house. That is the wrong message to send when selling. Dig in and do whatever you can to make your house really shine. If you are not able to do it yourself get help. Call in favors or get volunteers that can help you do what you need but do not put a dirty house on the market. If there are pets, get rid of the hair – and that means you need to vacuum UNDER the furniture too – and suck up those dust balls.

Get an objective opinion from someone that has high cleanliness standards – and LISTEN to their advice about your house and don’t take it personally. The things we do for buyers may be beyond what we do for ourselves, but remember this is all about the EQUITY in your house – and your desire to get the BEST offer in the SHORTEST time. Be willing to clean your windows and bathrooms until they sparkle. Buyers can tell how well you’ve cared for your house by looking at the small things – window tracks, bathroom or tile grout, fixtures. If you cannot afford to replace worn carpet, at least CLEAN it! It is an inexpensive investment to ensure your house looks the very best based on your timeframe and budget.

4. If it’s broken – FIX IT UP

Houses that are for sale need to be in good condition as well as show well. It would be worth it to have a home inspector go through your house for sale and find all the things that need repair or replacement so that when the house comes on the market it is ready to sell. A buyer does not like going through a house that has “issues” that need addressing – and anything that can be done up front will help the sale.  If you cannot afford a home inspection, go through your house with “Buyer’s Eyes” and see how your house stands up to the scrutiny you know it will go through with showings.  Make sure things are in working order, any cosmetic scuffs or knicks are repaired, and your house is ready for the public to come through.

5. If it’s overgrown – TRIM IT UP

The outside of the house makes the first impression and we have about 3-10 seconds to capture the attention . Curb appeal is extremely important and yet many Sellers fail to address that when their house comes on the market. Trees get bigger and overgrown, and shrubs grow wider and taller – and sometimes the house – that is the product – is hidden.  Take the time to trim trees and shrubs so that they don’t make the house feel crowded.  Add color to help with curb appeal – with annuals or perennials that highlight the yard and house and show up well in photos.  And don’t forget the side yards and back yard.  If there is a view – show it off.  If there is an eyesore – minimize it with strategically placed trees or lattice.  If there are unused pots or other yard items, box them up or get rid of them.  Minimize “yard art” as well – remember we want the focus on the house, not pink flamingos or a collection of cute bunnies.

6. If it’s not selling – LISTEN UP

Ultimately, Staging is a marketing tool and a financial tool to help the Seller and Staging will help a house sell faster and at the best price in any market. It is well worth it to invest in an objective opinion about your house by hiring a professional Stager to come and create a Staging plan for your house. Listen up to your Stager and do your best not to take things personally when you may be advised to pack, paint or perk up your house.

Staging works – however it is not a “magic wand” that allows a seller to price their house outside of where it will sell. It will help a house sell faster than the un-Staged competition. Statistics prove that fact – and yet Sellers – Listen UP to your Realtor and if your house is not selling and it is Staged properly for sale, then it is the price that is keeping a buyer from buying. This does not mean that the Staging did not work – it means that the house needs to meet the market conditions and other factors that could be impacting the sale – and it WILL sell before the competition that has NOT taken into account presentation and Staging as a marketing, listing and financial tool.

Follow this UPLIFTING advice and you should be receiving an offer on your house that will lift you up and make you glad that you invested the time and dollars in Staging. Whether you implement the suggestions provided to you by a professional Home Stager or you hire them to help you do the work, Staging is a proven way to get top dollar for your house in any market. And in today’s market and economy, we need every tool available to help put our best foot – or your case – house – forward and attract the positive attention that will get your house SOLD!


The 100th Post: Real Estate at the close of 2009

December 13, 2009

The Dennis Stroll is going on today, a wonderful day sponsored by Northside businesses, and a steady rain has moved in. While it’s been seasonably cold of late, it’s milder now and subject to the weather off the water.  The recent blue skies have welcomed friends and family to our home, and strolls on the winter beach have been bracing yet fun.  The “why” of a place is as important as any “how,” and why we live on Cape Cod is different and precious to each person, especially to those who experience all four seasons here in succession.  So although Maine claimed the moniker, Cape Cod can constitute “vacationland” 365 days if you remember to watch the sunset in Welfleet as you pick your child up from yoga, or eat your lunch in your truck at Corporation beach between jobs as a builder friend does.  I imagine wherever one lives, be it San Diego or Paris or anyplace considered by others to be a vacation spot you have to be a tourist in your own town every day to keep the magic going.

So who is coming to Cape Cod, and how much are they paying to do it?  Once again my pseudoscientific observations show these characteristics of sales for the past 14 days in Barnstable county:  there were 142 sales of single family homes.  Of these, 90 were under $400,000.  OK, that included 2 mobile homes.  A whopping 23 of the 142 sold at asking price or above ( 11) , as much as 150% above asking. Remember that this is measured from the last asking price, not the original price.  One of these, selling at 104.35% of asking price, was a cash transaction for $2,400,000 and 10 days on the market.  A second transaction, in Orleans, was a cash deal for $ 3,850,000 after only 49 days on the market.  In fact, purchases from that high to $885k, $825k, $746k and $770k were all cash in the past two weeks alone.  I had two multi-million dollar cash sales lately.  Since I make my money as a Realtor and not a statistician I can only guess that folks with wealth are tired of seeing it drained away by weak or unstable markets and are putting it into real estate, and second homes at that.

The number of homesellers entering the market has slowed a bit this month, which is understandable. You want to put your tree up and not hold an open house. But get ready for January to be a great time for all parties as inventory will enter the market and rates remain incredible low, in case you aren’t paying $3.8m in cash.

Warmth and comfort at this time to all of you and yours, and many thanks to all of you who have stayed along for 100 posts.

Lisa Morales, Realtor, Accredited Staging Professional 508-221-2286


Climate Change on Cape Cod: Why You Should Care

September 24, 2009

CapeCodad
Let’s face it: there will be no Cape Cod real estate if the seas rise. And if you have oceanfront property, you’re on the front line. So it’s all of our responsibility to keep the waters cooler.

I came across this SMARTGuide to transportation on the Cape. There’s even a slick cd. If you complain about the endless traffic and the dreaded bridge, you need this. There ARE buses on the Cape! If you are staying in P’town and want to visit the National Seashore, leave the car in P’town and take the Flex Bus! The SMARTGuide has the schedules for the Plymouth and Brockton Bus, Fast Ferry, Boston Harbor Cruises, Cape Air, Capt. John Boats (Plymouth to P’town), Dolphin Fleet Whale Watch and more.

We have to care, ask the Chatham North Beach families who watched their homes wash away this year. As the world gathers soon, our own Cape’s existence is on the line. Bike, boat or walk, anything but drive here as a single person in a vehicle. I want to leave my home to future generations.


Recent Editorial on “Why a Realtor?”

July 1, 2009

Jamie Regan, REALTOR

There Will Always be Realtors
By Jamie Regan, REALTOR, CCIAOR President
President@cciaor.com

On a recent Sunday, the Cape Cod Times ran a syndicated column from the west coast suggesting a diminished role for real estate agents in the Internet Age. While there may be a trend in that direction in California, here in the east – and especially on Cape Cod and the Islands – Realtors remains an invaluable linchpin between home buyers and sellers.

No matter how sophisticated the online listings become, a trained, knowledgeable and experienced agent will always make the difference between a successful purchase and sale, and the risk of a transaction falling apart.

With the daily demands of work and family, the prospective home seller and buyer are short on research time. They will always benefit from the guidance of a Realtor who has “been there, done that” hundreds or even thousands of times. With a personalized touch, Realtors provide property research and disclosures, sales comparisons and data that foster objective decision-making. And they operate under a strict code of ethics.

What’s more, this challenging economy has presented new opportunities to the buyer and seller. Federal lawmakers realize that the way back from recession is through a rejuvenated housing market. Thus they have enacted a new $8,000 tax credit (often with the money up front) to encourage first-time homebuyers to invest now, while home prices are deeply discounted.

Realtors are schooled to understand mortgage financing, and they know where local loan money can be found. Because they live and work here, Realtors know about the quality of schools and tax rates from one town to another. They can assist with obtaining legal forms, inspections and most of all, offers and counter-offers.

Anyone who has been through the purchase and sale process knows the comfort of having an experience professional by your side. Timing is everything in life – and in real estate – and one bad move made on your own could result in calamity and the potential loss of thousands of dollars.

A recent survey by the Massachusetts Association of Realtors showed that a commanding percentage of all home buyers were helped by a Realtor. In fully half the transactions, Realtors served clients by pointing out unnoticed features or faults with properties they wanted to buy.

Here on Cape Cod, there are about 1,000 homes now available for less than $300,000 and a few hundred for around $200,000. These present historic opportunities for first-time buyers and second homeowners to realize their long-held dream of home ownership on Cape Cod. What once was thought to be an impossible dream is, in fact, achievable in 2009.

Why would anyone not seize this moment without skilled professional help? By going online to MLS, prospective buyers can find a local Realtor and see houses that are currently open for inspection. In the Internet Age, online resources and local Realtors have become a priceless team.


How Long Does it Take to Sell a $2.75 million Home?

June 6, 2009

c. T. French

c. T. French

18 days in a bidding war. This property in Brewster was snapped up. The last sale was in 2006 for $2.2 million. Not a special house, but a special location. Location, condition, price. You need two of the three which are in your control.

So how is the Cape market? Fantastic. In the past 14 days, 301 properties have come on the market at a maximum price of $6.2 million, 125 have sold with a maximum price of $3.35 million, and 216 have gone under contract. Demand is outstripping supply, and we know that that necessarily means increasing prices.

The arts and culture scene is warming with the weather. Don’t miss a satellite live performance of Phedre with Helen Mirren in London at Cape Cinema in Dennis on June 25.

As always, view property at my website and call me at 508.221.2286 with any questions. Happy shopping from your Cape Cod REALTOR!


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