Monthly Archives: January 2020

Downsize and Win Big

Home values have been increasing for 93 consecutive months, according to the National Association of Realtors. If you’re a homeowner, particularly one looking to downsize your living space, that’s great news, as you’ve likely built significant equity in your home.

Here’s some more good news: mortgage rates are expected to remain low throughout 2020 at an average of 3.8% for a 30-year fixed-rate loan.

The combination of leveraging your growing equity and capitalizing on low rates could make a big difference in your housing plans this year.

How to Use Your Home Equity

For move-up buyers, the typical pattern for building financial stability and wealth through homeownership works this way: you buy a house and gain equity over several years of mortgage payments and price appreciation. You then take that equity from the sale of your house to make a down payment on your next home and repeat the process.

For homeowners ready to downsize, home equity can work in a slightly different way. What you choose to do depends in part upon your goals.

According to HousingWire.com, for some, the desire to downsize may be related to retirement plans or children aging out of the home. Others may be choosing to live in a smaller home to save money or simplify their lifestyle in a space that’s easier to clean and declutter. The reasons can vary greatly and by generation.

Those who choose to put their equity toward a new home have the opportunity to make a substantial down payment or maybe even to buy their next home in cash. This is incredibly valuable if your goal is to have a minimal mortgage payment or none at all.

As local real estate professionals with the knowledge and experience of working on Cape Cod, we can help you evaluate your equity and how to use it wisely. If you’re planning to downsize, keep in mind that home prices are anticipated to continue rising in 2020, which could influence your choices.

The Impact of Low Mortgage Rates

Low mortgage rates can offset price hikes, so locking in while rates are low will be key. For many downsizing homeowners, a loan with a shorter term is ideal, so the balance can be reduced more quickly.

Interest rates on 10, 15, and 20-year loans are lower than the rates on a 30-year fixed-rate loan. If you’re downsizing your housing costs, you may prefer a shorter-term loan to pay off your home faster. This way, you can save thousands in interest payments over time.

If you’re planning a transition into a smaller home, the twin trends of low mortgage rates and rising home equity can kick-start or boost your plans, especially if you’re anticipating retirement soon or just want to live in a smaller home that’s easier to maintain.

So, if you’re thinking about downsizing, we can to help. Contact us at 508-568-8191 or msennott@todayrealestate.com. We can help you review your options; let you know what your home might be worth, and have some suggestions about where you could move.


We’ve started to archive our video postings at our YouTube channel, “Mari Sennott and Assoc“.  You can view samples of the promotional videos we produce for our listings; various informational pieces from KCM (Keeping Current Matters) and other industry resources, plus Hank’s IGTV program “Morning Coffee” and Mari’s series on our kitchen remodeling project.


Mari is in San Diego, CA this week attending the “Elite Retreat” event organized by the Tom Ferry organization.

Ferry is our industry’s leading coach and trainer. The retreat is an intense, two-day session with his top level clients from across the country.

We believe in continuing our professional education and using what we learn to help our clients. In March, we’ll both be attending a “Marketing Edge” conference to learn about the most up-to-date and effective methods to promote the homes and clients we represent.

Enjoy your week…

Mari and Hank

The Line of Buyers is Getting Longer…

If you speak with people about the housing market, you know that many believe that the winter months aren’t a good time to sell a home.

However, a recent report by ShowingTime reveals how this year is different. Buyer activity is way up compared to the same time last year. The report explains,

“The nation’s 12.6% growth in home showings compared to 2018 was the most significant jump in buyer traffic during the current four-month streak of year-over-year increases. The West Region saw the greatest growth in activity, with a 23.1% jump – the region’s greatest in the history of the Showing Index.”

The increase has spread across all four regions of the country, as the graph below shows:There’s a Long Line of Buyers Waiting for Your House | Keeping Current Matters

We’re not bragging, but we haven’t been this busy in January in quite some time. We had five listing appointments last week! That’s a good at any time of the year and very unusual for right now. We’re also busy taking out buyers and making offers on their behalf that are being accepted.

It’s pretty clear that waiting for the “spring buyers’ market” may be a mistake this year. If you want to discuss your options, please let us know by contacting us at 508-568-8191 or msennott@todayrealestate.com


Thinking about what’s next for your living situation?

Over the next few weeks, Hank will be devoting his weekly IGTV series “Morning Coffee,” to  what you should consider, if you’re contemplating downsizing, upsizing or making a purchase for the first time. This past weekend the topic was downsizing. If you missed it, you can see it on our YouTube channel — Mari Sennott and Associates — where we have started to archive our video postings.

Here’s the direct link to the segment about downsizing.


The Massachusetts Legislature is currently considering a bill that would grant cities and towns the authority to implement a new sales tax on homes, H.1769, An Act supporting affordable housing with a local option for a fee to be applied to certain real estate transactions.

If enacted, H. 1769 could have a very negative effect on the Massachusetts real estate market by increasing costs associated with buying and selling homes.

We urge you to learn more about it and contact your legislators to express your concerns.  Thanks.

Enjoy your week…

Mari and Hank

2020 Predictions That May Surprise You

Happy 2020!

This will be an interesting year for residential real estate. With a presidential election taking place this fall with accompanying negative economic talk, predicting what will happen in the 2020 U.S. housing market can be a challenge. As a result, taking a look at the combined projections from the most trusted entities in the industry when it comes to mortgage rateshome sales, and home prices is incredibly valuable – and they may surprise you.

Mortgage Rates

Projections from the experts at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac all forecast mortgage rates remaining stable throughout 2020:The 2020 Real Estate Projections That May Surprise You | Keeping Current Matters

Since rates have remained under 5% for the last decade, we may not fully realize the opportunity we have right now.

Here are the average mortgage interest rates over the last several decades:

  • 1970s: 8.86%
  • 1980s: 12.70%
  • 1990s: 8.12%
  • 2000s: 6.29%

Those of us of a certain age can remember a time in the “80s when mortgage interest rates were as high as 18% making today’s historically low numbers especially significant.

Home Sales

Three of the four expert groups noted above also predict an increase in home sales in 2020, and the fourth sees the transaction number remaining stable:

The 2020 Real Estate Projections That May Surprise You | Keeping Current Matters

With mortgage rates remaining near all-time lows, demand should not be a challenge. The lack of available inventory, however, may moderate the increase in sales.

Home Prices

Below are the projections from six different expert entities that look closely at home values: CoreLogicFannie Mae, Ivy Zelman’s “Z Report”, the National Association of Realtors (NAR), Freddie Mac, and the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA).Each group has home values continuing to improve through 2020, with four of them seeing price appreciation increasing at a greater pace than it did in 2019.The 2020 Real Estate Projections That May Surprise You | Keeping Current Matters

Is a Recession Possible?

In early 2019, a large percentage of economists began predicting a recession may occur in 2020. In addition, a survey of potential home purchasers showed that over 50% agreed it would occur this year. The economy, however, remained strong in the fourth quarter, and that has caused many to rethink the possibility.

For example, Goldman Sachs, in their 2020 U.S. Outlook, explained:

“Markets sounded the recession alarm this year, and the average forecaster now sees a 33% chance of recession over the next year. In contrast, our new recession model suggests just a 20% probability. Despite the record age of the expansion, the usual late-cycle problems—inflationary overheating and financial imbalances—do not look threatening.”

The threat of a recession kept sellers, in particular, on the sidelines in 2019. Hopefully, continued positive economic news will move them onto the playing field where buyers are waiting. Talk of recession also held back a percentage of buyers, who were waiting for prices to drop as the result of the down turn. If both get in the game, 2020 will be a good year.

From our perspective, the market is strong. We ended 2019 with over $3.3 million in closed sales over a six week period from mid-November through the end of December. (See this linked video for the details.) We both were out with buyers on New Year’s Eve day and have a colleague, who showed a home and took an offer (that was accepted) on New Years Day!

As always, if you’re thinking of making a change in your living situation, we’d be happy to meet with you to discuss options. Please contact us at 508-568-8191 or msennott@todayrealestate.com. Thanks.

Wishing you a happy and positive 2020…

Mari and Hank