Monthly Archives: March 2020

What’s Next?

It’s easy to get mired in daily headlines. While no one can argue that we’re not in the midst of a health crisis of historlc proportions, it’s also clear that it will be short lived and sooner rather than later we’ll be returning to some version of our old lives.

For homeowners, investors or those interested in the real estate market, it’s tempting to focus on what will be short term negative impact on the economy, as this graph shows.

But, responsible experts are quick to point out that this is an event driven crisis, not an economic one. As we talked about in our posting last week, homeowners are good shape. Many have mortgages that are paid in full. A good percentage of us have equity in our homes, possibly more than we realize.

It’s somewhat uncomfortable to talk about opportunity at a time like this. But, when businesses reopen and employees return to work, the pent up energy of the spring market will hit.

Homeowners who are able to market their property when the rebound begins will be in a strong position. There are things you can be doing now to prepare, as Hank talked about in his video series Morning Coffee that is available on our business FaceBook page and other social media outlets.

That doesn’t mean that business isn’t continuing now. We took buyers out on Saturday — keeping the appropriate distance, of course. We also had a walk through. One of the two closings we had on Friday was conducted in our client’s car outside the attorney’s office. Mari used Zoom to be there. When the paperwork was signed, the attorney came out of his office to retrieve it.  We’re scheduled for another closing this week.

So, it’s business as usual, just different.

As always, we’re happy to meet with you to discuss your options. We’ve become pretty good with Zoom over these last few weeks and we can have a productive discussion using technology. (FaceTime works, too.)

Please contact us at 508-568-8191 or msennott@todayrealestate.com. Thanks.


Please don’t forget our local non-profits, especially those who provide food to the community. With schools being closed for another several weeks, food pantries are going to be hard pressed to meet demand.

As some of you know, we donate $200.00 from every closing to a non-profit nominated by our clients and selected via drawing. With our two closings last week, we’re sending $400 to the Sandwich Food Pantry. We’ll also be making a donation to the Matthew25 Fund, which supports the food pantry at Christ the King Church, where we’re parishioners. Please consider these and other worthy organizations — such as United Way of Cape and the Islands — that are being put to the test during the current crisis.

Stay positive and stay healthy…

Mari and Hank

 

 

This Isn’t a Repeat

It’s not surprising that when faced with a crisis we recall the last time we were challenged. For many of us that is the year 2008. Back then our financial health was in question, not our actual physical health.

People have a lot of questions and concerns right now. It’s tempting — even easy — to look at our current situation with its obvious economic impacts and search for comparisons to 12 years ago. And there is certainly no lack of cable news talking heads and self appointed experts offering their opinions.

But here’s what the true experts in the real estate and housing markets are saying: what we’re currently experiencing is not akin to 2008. That was a financial crisis. What’s happening now is event driven like the Blizzard of ’78 or 9/11 when events forced us to step back.

Another difference between now and 2008 is the financial health of homeowners. As Steve Harney, our industry’s leading analyst, said in a video conference organized last week by the Tom Ferry organization, “We were using our homes like ATMs. We were buying jets skis and going on vacations.”

What did we do when we maxed out our credit cards?  We refinanced and cut into our equity. With the slate wiped clean, we resumed spending.  But, we’ve learned our lesson, as the chart below shows.

According to Bloomberg News, about 37% of American homeowners have paid off their mortgages.  Many of us have more equity in our homes than we may realize.

While some sort of a slowdown is no doubt to be expected until businesses can ramp up and bring employees back to work, it’s also important to note that during four of the last five down turns, home values appreciated or stayed nearly level.

Our current crisis hasn’t changed one thing: people still need a place to live. Mari has been talking with a family that is re-locating because of a job change. She conducted a virtual listing appointment using FaceTime with the family giving her a tour of their home.

We have two closings this week that will go forward. (Legal services are considered an essential business.) The participants will either be keeping the appropriate distance away from each other or using the power of attorney option and not attending. The completed paperwork can be filed electronically with the Registry of Deeds.

So our message is this: you don’t have to put your plans on hold. Under the Governor’s order, real estate is not considered an essential business, so we are officially on the sidelines.

But, you can still visit our website to check out what’s currently listed. Offers could possibly be made with safeguards, including visiting the property. If you’re thinking about selling, we can talk with you about the steps you need to take to prepare your home for marketing. This way you can be prepared to make your move when our lives return to a more normal routine.

Please let us know how we can help. We’re available at 508-568-8191 or at msennott@todayrealestate.com. Thanks.


If you can, please continue to support your local restaurants and businesses that remain open. We need their services and their employees need to return to jobs.

Also, please don’t forget our local non-profits, especially those that support children and families. Many kids depend on the breakfast and lunch programs at school. With districts shut down, non-profits will be doing the best they can to fill in. They can use our help.

Stay healthy…

Mari and Hank

How the business of real estate can continue

As we watched yesterday’s announcement from Governor Baker limiting the size of gatherings to 50 people and restricting restaurants to take out business only, we thought about how we can continue to effectively work with our clients.

While it’s likely to slow a bit, the real estate business itself won’t stop. People will still need to move and find new places to live. As example, the home that we are co-listing with a colleague that went on the market Friday. The sellers are a military family, who are being transferred. After just two open houses this weekend, we have a buyer. They’re a young couple, who are currently living with parents.

The paperwork process to complete the sale really won’t change. It’s pretty much handled remotely now with products like Docusign. It’s also becoming more common for people to assign power of attorney to their lawyer and not even attend the closing. So this transaction can move forward with minimal personal interaction.

Most buyers begin their search on line. With technology, we can still show your home, as we did this weekend: A Video Open House.

Today Real Estate remains open. Our business phones are forwarded to our cells. (That’s just standard operating procedure when we’re not in the office.) We’re also fortunate that TRE has already equipped us with the most current technology giving us remote access to MLS and all the tools we need to successfully work at home as we keep an eye on our kids and grandkids.

So, if you’re thinking about buying or selling, you can still move forward. Although a little more patience with what can be a frustrating process during normal times will probably be required.

Please let us know how we can help. You can reach us at 508-568-8191 or msennott@todayrealestate.com.


We had two closings last week allowing us to donate to two more non profits. The winners were announced in the latest edition of “A Moment with Mari.”

Take care and stay calm. We’ll get through this. Please take advantage of the time you have to enjoy family and maybe work together on some of those projects you haven’t been able to complete. [I know we have several closets to clean!]

Mari and Hank

 

 

January by the Numbers

Sometimes you just can’t trust your old Uncle Harry who “knows a little something about real estate.”

Contrary to what he may have told you about property not selling in the winter, this January was a strong month for sales on Cape Cod.

In total, 341 homes sold in the first month of the year with the median sales price for single family homes coming in at $431, 200.00 and $300,600.00 for condos. In january 2019, those median sales prices were $399,500.00 and $260,000.00 respectively!

The market may have begun to turn the corner in January on lower than normal inventory with listings jumping 13.6% when compared to a year ago.

Indicative of solid buyer interest is the fact that average days on market for single family homes fell from 115 days a year ago to 108. The figure for condos fell from 139 to 92!

Nationally, the number of buyers currently looking has increased 20% over last year. Coupled with historically low interest rates and the equity many of us have, there is no better time to market your home.

At the very least, you should be considering refinancing if you’ve concluded that now is not the best time for you and your family to make a change. If you don’t have a relationship with a lender, we can refer you to the quality individuals and institutions we work with on a regular basis.

But if you do think it’s finally time to upsize, downsize or move to that home you’ve been dreaming about, we’d be happy to meet you to discuss your options.

Please contact us at 508-568-8191 or msennott@todayrealestate.com. Thanks.


There are still tickets available for this Friday’s Comedy Night featuring our friend, Jerry Thornton, and some of his Boston comedy club sidekicks. Proceeds benefit the Sandwich Realtors Scholarship Fund.

Thornton, a regular on Boston sports radio and a columnist for Barstool Sports, is also the author of two best selling books about the New England Patriots: Darkness to Dynasty and Five Rings.

The event starts at 6:00pm at Sandwich Hollows Golf Course with a silent auction and heavy hors d’oevres. The show should begin around 8:00pm.

Jerry and his buddies did two successful comedy nights for Hank when he was at the Boys & Girls Club in Taunton. You won’t be disappointed. Contact us for tickets.


We were excited to make the first donation from our March closings to GirlyGirlPARTS.  With several more closings pending this month, there’s more to come!

Enjoy your week…

Mari and Hank

How Much Housing Wealth Do You Have?

The recent dip in the stock market has people looking once again at real estate as one of the safest investments there is, if not the safest.

With prices predicted to continue to increase, homeowners may not be aware of the equity they currently have in their properties.

Earlier this month, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) released a special study titled Single-Family Home Price Gains by Years of Tenure. The study estimates median home price appreciation over the last 30 years based on the length of homeownership.

How much have home prices increased?

One of the first measures of the financial benefits of homeownership is the net worth (in the form of equity) an owner can build over time. The study showed the average increase in home values based on how long homeowners stayed in a home.

How Much “Housing Wealth” Can You Build in a Decade? | Keeping Current Matters

What was the percentage of appreciation?

Another way to look at this is by the percentage increase in value over time, called appreciation:

How Much “Housing Wealth” Can You Build in a Decade? | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

Home ownership has many financial and non-financial benefits. The accumulation of “housing wealth” through increased equity is a major one. If you’re thinking of buying a home for the first time or moving up to your dream home, the sooner you make the move, the sooner your net worth will begin to grow.

Many experts believe that with the combination of increased home equity and historically low interest rates, many home owners are in a great position to make that next move. This will also break the log jam at the medium priced and starter home market.

For more on this, please check out the latest edition of Hank’s internet program, “Morning Coffee.”

Enjoy your week…

Mari and Hank