Monthly Archives: March 2019

How We Determine Your Home’s True Value

In the final installment of our series about determining home values, we want to explain how real estate professionals determine true market value.

We start by doing a comparative market analysis (CMA). This means we will compare your home’s features to similar properties in the area. For the CMA, we look at the factors listed below to help determine our assessment of your home’s worth:

  • Neighborhood sales – What homes similar to yours recently sold in your neighborhood? What was the selling price and what do they have in common with your house?
  • The exterior – What does your home look like from the outside? We’ll factor in curb appeal, the style of the house, the front and backyard, and anything else that impacts how the house looks to everyone walking and driving by.
  • The interior – This is everything inside the walls of the house. Square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, appliances, and other factors all influence the overall market value.
  • Age of the home – Whether you have a newer or older home influences the number we generate as part of our assessment.
  • Style of the home – The style of your home is important because buyers have different tastes. If they prefer colonials and you have one, then your home may sell for a premium (aka more money!).
  • Market trends – Because we have so much experience in the Cape Cod market –20 years at Today Real Estate! —  we have our finger on the pulse of Cape trends and know what buyers are willing to pay for a property like yours.
  • Location, location, location – This one’s probably the most obvious. We’ll consider how popular the area is, how safe it is, and what the schools are like.

A computer algorithm simply can’t take all of these factors into account when calculating the value of your home. The reality is, nothing beats the accuracy of a real estate professional or appraiser when it comes to determining a home’s true market value.


Determining a home’s true market value is a our forte. If you’re a seller, we will help you find your home’s market value so you can list it at the right price.

For buyers, we will help you determine value so you can come up with a fair offer. We can also set up a personalized property search so you’ll receive emails of listings that meet your criteria. This will help you see what’s out there and how properties are being priced.

Get a Complimentary Report With Your Home’s True Market Value

Curious about your home’s true market value? Visit our website or contact us via the comment section or by calling 508-568-8191 to request a free, no-obligation Comparative Market Analysis. 

If you have any questions, please let us know.

To read parts one and two of our series about home values, please follow the links.

Our favorite real estate cartoon from last week.

Don’t be April fooled!

Mari and Hank


What’s Up with the Online Home Value Calculators?

When figuring out your home’s value, you might be tempted to see what popular real estate sites like Zillow, Redfin, and Trulia have to say.

When you use an online calculator to determine your home’s value on these sites, remember: it is just an estimate. The number you see is not an actual appraisal or the “true market value.” These sites all have their own algorithms for determining their estimates. Zillow, for example, generates their “Zestimates” by calculating “public and user-submitted data, taking into account special features, location, and market conditions.”

These online estimates can be a great starting point for beginning the conversation with your real estate professional about your home’s worth.

But even Zillow recommends that you use a local professional to determine the actual market value of your home. The site says that once you determine your “Zestimate,” you should still get “a comparative market analysis from a real estate agent.”

Having experienced professionals like Mari Sennott and Associates involved in the process is essential, because we understand the market better than any computer ever could. We’re showing property on Cape Cod all the time, and know the particular preferences of buyers and sellers. Young professionals, large families, empty-nesters, and other potential buyers are all looking for different things in a home. We’ve successfully worked with all of them, so we understand every segment’s particular interests.

So if you’re ready to enter the real estate market or are just thinking about it, we’d be happy to meet with you to discuss your options. Just contact us at 508-568-8191 or via the comment section.

Our favorite real estate cartoon this week…

Happy Spring!

Mari and Hank

Next week: How real estate professionals determine your home’s value. For last week’s segment, please visit





What Is Your Home Actually Worth?

The first in a series.

It’s easy to find out  how much money you have in a savings account or the real-time value of your stock investments. But, determining the dollar value of your home is trickier.

As a seller, knowing your home’s worth helps you price it correctly when you put it up for sale. If you price it too high, it may sit on the market. But, price it too low and you may be losing out on a good chunk of money (nobody wants that!). For buyers, it’s important to know a home’s worth before you make an offer. You want your offer to be competitive, but you don’t want to overpay.

Even if you’re not a buyer or seller right now, as a current homeowner you might just be curious about the value of your house.

The good news is as trained real estate agents — professionals who understand the nuances of Cape Cod and its many communities — we can determine the true market value of your property at no cost to you.


When you start the process of buying or selling a home, you’ll frequently hear the terms appraised value, assessed value, and true market value. It’s important to know the difference between each one, so you can make better and more informed decisions.

Appraised Value

A professional appraiser is in charge of determining the appraised value of a home. These appraisals are typically required by a lender when a buyer is financing the property. And while the lender is the one requiring this information, the appraiser does not work for the lender. Appraisers should be objective, licensed professionals,  who don’t have allegiance to the buyer, seller, or lender—no matter who is paying their fees.

The number the appraiser calculates (the appraised value) assures the lender that the buyer is not overpaying for the property. For example, imagine a seller lists a home for $400,000. They reach a deal with the buyer to sell the home for $375,000. However, if an appraiser evaluates the property and determines that the appraised value is actually $325,000, then the lender will not lend for an amount higher than that appraised value of $325,000.

When determining total value, an appraiser will compare the property to similar homes in the neighborhood and evaluate factors such as location, square footage, appliances, upgrades, improvements, and the interior and exterior of the home.

Assessed Value

The assessed value of a home is determined by the local tax assessor. This value matters when the community calculates property taxes each year. The lower your assessed value, the less property tax you’ll pay.

To determine this value, your assessor will evaluate what comparable homes in the neighborhood have sold for, the size of your home, age, overall condition, and any improvements or upgrades that have been made. However, most assessors don’t have full access to your home, so their information is limited.

Assessments are done annually to determine how much property tax you owe. Many communities use a multiplier (typically between 60%-80%) to calculate the final assessed value. So, if the assessor determines that the value of the home is $300,000, but the local community uses a 70% multiplier, the assessed value of the home would be $210,000 for tax purposes.

True Market Value

True market value is established by your real estate agent. It basically refers to the value that a buyer is willing to pay for the property. As experienced real estate agents, we are experts in determining true market value, because we have direct experience buying and selling properties. We understand buyers’ mindsets and know what they’ll pay for a desirable house or condo.

As a seller, knowing your true market value is important, because it helps you choose how much to list your property for. It can also help you decide if you want to make any improvements to your home before putting it on the market. We can help you determine which updates and upgrades will have the biggest impact on your true market value.

Interested in knowing more?  We’re always available to meet with you to discuss your options. Please contact us via the comment section or call 508-568-8191.

Next week: What’s up with those online calculators?

Wishing everyone a happy and safe St. Patrick’s Day.

Mari and Hank


The Housing Market is Ready to Spring Ahead

Just like our clocks this weekend, the housing market will soon “spring forward.”

Similar to tension in a spring, the lack of inventory available for sale has been holding back the market.

According to industry resource Keeping Current Matters (KCM), many potential sellers believe that waiting until Spring is in their best interest.

Buyer demand has a seasonality to it. Usually, it falls off in the winter months, especially in areas of the country impacted by colder weather.

But, that hasn’t happened this year.

Demand for housing has remained strong as mortgage rates have stayed at near historic lows. Even with an increase in rates predicted for 2019, buyers are still able to lock in an affordable monthly payment. Buyers are also increasingly jumping off the fence and into the market to secure a lower rate.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently reported that in 2018, the top 10 dates that sellers listed their homes all fell in April, May, or June.

So, those who act quickly and list now will benefit from additional exposure to buyers.

We’ve been busy with buyers the last few weeks and have put several homes under contract at very competitive prices.

If you’re planning on selling in 2019, now is the time to act while demand is still strong and buyer options remain somewhat limited.

Please contact us via the comment section or by calling 508-568-81981 to discuss your options and timetable. We’re happy to answer your questions.


According to the Cape Cod and the Islands Associations of Realtors (CCIAOR), January’s government shut down had an impact on home sales for the first month of 2019.

According to preliminary data released CCIAOR, 267 homes sold in January, 229 single-family homes and 38 condominiums. Median sales price was $395,000 for single-family homes and $270,000 for condominiums. Last January, 326 homes (260 single-family homes and 66 condos) sold at a median price of $406,500 for single-family homes and $241,250 for condominiums.

New listings in January for single-family homes were 171, and 47 for condominiums. This is a 23.9 percent increase, and a 6.8 percent increase respectively, from last January, which had 138 new listings for single-family homes and 44 new listings for condominiums.

CCIAOR said that the drop in closed sales likely reflects the impact the federal government shutdown had with buyers and sellers not being able to verify or get tax documents, causing delays in closings and in the processing of some loans.


And finally for the latest news from the financial world and how it’s impacting the housing market, please check out The Markets in a Minute from our colleagues at Residential Mortgage Services (RSM)

Enjoy your week.

Mari and Hank