Monthly Archives: October 2019

So, you’re thinking about renting…

Good ole Uncle Harry, who “knows a little something about real estate,” is advising you to rent, because it’s too expensive to buy.

Ask Uncle Harry, if he’s looked lately at the cost of renting.

In the most recent Apartment Rent ReportRentCafe explains how rents have continued to increase over the last 12 months, because of a large demand and a limited supply.

Zillow, in its latest Rent Index, agreed that rents are continuing on an “upward trend” across most of the country, and that movement is accelerating. The Zillow report details rent increases since the beginning of the housing market recovery in 2012. Here is a graph showing the increases:

According to a recent study from the Hyannis based Housing Assistance Corporation (HAC), the average rent for a room in a house on Cape is $705 a month, the average studio rent ran close to $1,000 a month, and renting a three bedroom home cost $1,875.

While home prices have undeniably risen over the past seven years, thus increasing the cost of owning a house, rents are sometimes equal to and often more than a mortgage payment.

Don’t assume that you can’t afford to buy. Reputable lenders have a variety of programs that could put you in a position to own your own home. (And not be paying your landlord’s mortgage with your rent.)

We can give you some recommendations. Just give us a call at 508-568-8191. We’d be happy to help.


It won’t be long before we’ll be starting our on-line holiday shopping. Here are a few tips courtesy of HomeKeepr to insure that your packages will be safely delivered.

Establish a Delivery Area: When placing orders online, you often have the option to provide instructions to delivery drivers to make sure that your packages are delivered correctly. Set up a delivery area around your house that’s covered or otherwise protected but not directly adjacent to your home and leave instructions for drivers to place any packages there. If possible, place the delivery space in an area that is clearly visible from neighboring houses as well. Because this designated area stands on its own, anyone entering it to try and steal packages will be very visible.

Set Up Security Cameras: One thing that you can do to keep both your home and your packages safe is to install security cameras around your front door. This will allow you to see who’s coming to your house and will also provide evidence in case a burglar or thief approaches. If someone comes on your porch, you’ll have video of the thief and proof that a theft took place so you can file a claim with the shipping company or retailer.

Install A Security System: If these solutions don’t do enough to keep your packages and your home safe, consider getting a full home security system installed. These systems are more than just alarms; they contain several components that work together, in addition to active monitoring to contact authorities or take other action if something suspicious occurs. Best of all, they can protect your home from other problems such as fires and even water leaks.


Thanks to everyone who supported Mari for the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk in Barnstable. She participated in memory of her grandmother, Catherine “Ma” Scherma.

Enjoy your week…

Mari and Hank

Why You Need a Realtor

If you’re searching for a home online, you’re not alone; lots of people are doing it. The question is, are you using all of your available resources and are you using them wisely? Here’s why the Internet is a great place to start the home-buying process, and the truth on why it should never be your only go-to resource.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the three most popular information sources home buyers use in their earch are:

  • Online website (93%)
  • Real estate agent (86%)
  • Mobile/tablet website or app (73%)

Clearly, you’re not alone if you’re starting your search online; 93% of home buyers are right there with you. The even better news: 86% of buyers are also getting their information from a real estate agent at the same time.

Here are 3 top reasons why using a real estate professional in addition to a digital search is key:

1. There’s More to Real Estate Than Finding a Home Online. It’s a lonely and complicated trek around the web if you don’t have a real estate professional to also help you through the 230 possible steps you’ll face as you navigate through a real estate transaction. That’s a pretty staggering number! Determining your price, submitting an offer, and negotiating successfully are just a few of these key steps in the sequence. You’ll definitely want someone who has been there before to help you through it.

2. You Need a Skilled Negotiator. In today’s market, hiring a talented negotiator could save you thousands, maybe even tens of thousands of dollars. From the original offer to the appraisal and the inspection, many of the intricate steps can get complicated and confusing. You need someone who can keep the deal together until it closes.

3. It Is Crucial to Make a Competitive and Compelling Offer. There is so much information out there in the news and on the Internet about home sales, prices, and mortgage rates. How do you know what’s specifically going on in your area? How do you know what to offer on your dream home without paying too much or offending the seller with a lowball offer?

Hiring real estate professionals , like Mari Sennott & Associates,  who have their finger on the pulse of the market will make your buying experience an informed and educated one. You need someone who is going to tell you the truth, not just what they think you want to hear.


Across the country, the real estate market is hot. (Contrary to what your Uncle Harry “who knows a little something about real estate” may be telling you.)

The following infographic from our friends at industry resource Keeping Current Matters tells the story.

 

With inventory tight here on Cape, homes that are priced right and marketed properly by local realtors (like Mari Sennott & Associates) are not available for long. Educated buyers, who know what they need and can afford, are ready to make decisions. Many are interested in being settled in their new homes by the holidays.

If you’ve been thinking of selling (or buying) , let us know how we can help. Give us a call at 508-568-8191 or emailing us at msennott@todayrealestate.com


Last Wednesday was a big night for Mari as she was inducted into Today Real Estate’s 72-20 Club. This elite group is made up of senior agents, who have been working at TRE for 20 years or more.

Mari — pictured below with company founders Terry and Jim Machnik — celebrated her 20th anniversary with the company on September 9.

Enjoy your week…

Mari and Hank

What About a Seller’s Home Inspection?

In a typical real estate transaction, the home inspection is conducted after the offer is accepted and before the purchase and sales agreement is signed.

But there’s another side to the home inspection coin – one that is rarely considered. In certain situations, sellers should also consider engaging in a “home inspection” of their own to identify issues that could short circuit an otherwise smooth transaction.

But, let’s start with the most typical home inspection, the one that comes following an accepted offer.

Real estate professionals have a short list of inspectors they’ve worked with in the past and can  recommend. HGTV suggests that buyers consider the following five areas when choosing the right home inspector for them:

1. Qualifications – Find out what’s included in the inspection and if the age or location of the home may warrant specific certifications or specialties.

2. Sample Reports – Ask for a sample inspection report to review how thoroughly inspectors will be checking the home. In most cases, the more detailed the report, the better.

3. References – Ask for phone numbers and names of past clients to call and discuss their experiences.

4. Memberships – Not all inspectors belong to a national or state association of home inspectors, and membership in one of these groups should not be the only way to evaluate the choice. Membership in one of these organizations does, however, often mean continued training and education are required.

5. Errors and Omission Insurance – Find out what the liability of the inspector or inspection company is once the inspection is over. Inspectors are only human and it is possible they might miss something they should see.

Ask your inspector if it’s okay to tag along during the inspection, so he/she can point out anything that should be addressed or fixed.

Don’t be surprised to see the inspector climbing on the roof or crawling around in the attic and on the floors. The job of the inspector is to protect the buyers’ investment and find any issues with the home, including but not limited to: the roof, plumbing, electrical components, appliances, heating and air conditioning systems, ventilation, windows, fireplace and chimney, foundation, and more.

Buyers should thoroughly review the inspector’s report, then meet with their real estate professional to discuss their concerns and how they wish them to be addressed.

So what about a home inspection for sellers? You don’t necessarily have to pay an inspector to go through your home, but it might not be a bad idea, if your house is older or has a history of structural or mechanical issues.

You also might consider a professional home inspection, if you have limited knowledge about a property, because you are a family member selling a home for an older relative or one who has passed away.  We recently experienced this situation with one of our clients.

From all appearances, the home was in fine shape. However, a buyer’s inspection revealed several issues that the family member was unaware of, but a professional inspection would have identified. They were all addressed, but the process was derailed.

As homeowners, we’re well aware of items that need to be dealt with. Some will be identified by an inspector as areas of concern.

For example, the back bedroom window that doesn’t open that you’ve been going to repair for years?  Fix it. The buyer’s inspector is sure to identify it as an issue. The broken step on the basement stairs? That should be fixed, too. It’s a safety concern.

It’s hard to do, but step back and look at your home, as if you were going to buy it. What would concern you? Ask your realtor for his/her thoughts, too.

By addressing the obvious, you’re opening the door for smoother discussions should any hidden — and potentially costly — issues appear.


With most experts predicting that home prices are going to continue to increase, this is a great time to purchase your first or dream home. If you do so over the next few weeks, you should be settled in time to entertain family and friends in your new home during the holidays.

For sellers, inventory remains tight so it might be wise to take advantage of the lack of competition. Qualified buyers, who understand what they can afford and need, are ready to make decisions. If they’re going to buy a great home, shouldn’t it be yours?

Let us know how we can help, whether you’re looking to downsize or buy that home you’ve been thinking about for years.

Please contact us using the comment section or by calling 508-568-8191 or emailing to msennott@todayrealestate.com. Thanks…

Enjoy your week…

Mari and Hank

 

Summer Ended with Tight Inventory

The continued tight housing inventory on Cape Cod led to the same total of number of homes being sold this August as in August 2018. That’s according to statistics provided by the Cape Cod and Islands Association of Realtors.

In the last month of summer, 382 single family homes and 95 condominiums sold for median sales prices of $430,500.00 and $349,000.00, respectively. A year ago, 368 single family homes and 109 condos sold at median prices of $417,000.00 and $289,000.00, respectively.

While sale prices for single family home are higher than a year ago, the number of pending transactions at the end of August for those homes are down 15%, while condos are up 7.5%. New listings for single family homes and condos were also lower than August 2018.

What remains constant is that interest in homes at the median and lower price ranges remains strong with many qualified buyers hoping to take advantage of decreased interest rates.

Also remaining true is that with limited competition, homeowners interested in selling are in a strong position.

If you’re in considering entering the market, we’d be happy to meet with you to review your options and discuss the best strategies for pricing and promoting your home. Please contact us via the comment section below or via 508-568-8191 or msennott@todayrealestate,com.

Thanks for your consideration…


With the comparatively higher inventory of condominiums for sale on Cape, entry level buyers might consider condos as an option.

Before doing so, however, it’s important to understand how HOAs, or Homeowner Associations work.

According to a recent article on realtor.com,

“In a nutshell, an HOA helps ensure that your community looks its best and functions smoothly…The number of Americans living in homes with HOAs is on the rise, growing from a mere 1% in 1970 to 25% today, according to the Foundation for Community Association Research.”

An HOA is governed by a board nominated by those living in the neighborhood. It is designed to make sure the residents have a support structure to maintain the value of the community while abiding by a set of guidelines called Common Restrictive Covenants (CC&R),

“Simply put, CC&Rs are just the rules you’ll have to follow if you live in that community. Unlike zoning regulations, which are government-imposed requirements on how land can be used, restrictive covenants are established by HOAs to maintain the attractiveness and value of the property.”

It’s important for homeowners to understand that each HOA is a little different. They usually have monthly or quarterly fees that can vary based on property size, number of residents, amenities, and more. There may be additional fees charged to homeowners if the reserve fund for the HOA cannot cover a major or unexpected cost, like severe storm damage.

The fees, however, also help maintain common areas such as swimming pools, tennis courts, elevators (for high-rise buildings), and regular wear and tear. Although they are an added cost to the homeowner, an HOA can be a major benefit when it comes to maintaining the value of your neighborhood and your property.

Most lenders will factor your HOA fees into your loan package, ensuring the amount of the loan is appropriate for what you can truly afford.


October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Apart from skin cancers, breast cancer is the most common cancer type in women.

Today Real Estate is one of the lead sponsors of the Cape Cod “Making Strides” Walk on Sunday, October 20 at 11:00am. It starts at the Barnstable County Superior Court House and involves either 2 mile loop or 4 mile loop around Barnstable Village.

Mari will be participating with the team from Today Real Estate. We hope you’ll consider joining the event as an individual, part of a team or making a donation.

For more information, you can visit Making Strides Cape Cod.

Thanks…

Enjoy your week…

Mari and Hank