Monthly Archives: March 2021

IS FSBO the Way to Go?

There has been an ever so slight increase in the number of properties available for sale on Cape Cod.

No doubt some of this up tick is due to the start of the traditional “spring market.” It’s probably also safe to also assume that with more people becoming vaccinated, homeowners — who were sitting on the sidelines because of health concerns — are now getting into the game.

Not surprisingly, there’s also been a slight increase in the number of FSBOs or For Sale by Owners. Given the large number of buyers and limited inventory, selling your home yourself may sound easy. But, while everyone knows somebody, who knows somebody, who sold property on their own, the process has never been a walk in the park. And it’s more complicated today than ever.

Here are a few reasons why it’s important to have a real estate professional — like Mari Sennott and Associates — guide you through the selling process.

1. Your Safety

Your safety should always come first, and that’s more crucial than ever given the virus crisis. When you sell property on your own, it is incredibly difficult to control entry into your home. In our case, Today Real Estate (TRE) has the proper protocols in place to protect not only your belongings, but your health, too. From regulating the number of people in your home at one time to ensuring proper sanitization during and after a showing, we’re equipped to follow the latest standards.

2. A Powerful Online Strategy Is a Must to Attract a Buyer

Recent studies from NAR have shown that, even before COVID-19, the first step 43% of all buyers took when looking for a home was to search online. Throughout the process, that number jumps to 97%. Today, those numbers have grown exponentially. Along with TRE, we’ve developed a strong internet and social media strategy to promote the sale of your house.

3. There Are Too Many Negotiations

Here are just a few of the people you’ll need to negotiate with if you decide to be a FSBO:

  • The buyer, who wants the best deal possible
  • The buyer’s agent, who solely represents the best interest of the buyer
  • The inspection company, which works for the buyer and will almost always find challenges with the house
  • The appraiser, if there is a question of value

We know how to negotiate every aspect of the real estate transaction and how to mediate the emotions felt by buyers looking to make what is probably the largest purchase of their lives.

4. You Won’t Know if Your Purchaser Is Qualified for a Mortgage

Having a buyer, who wants to purchase your house, is the first step. Making sure they can afford to buy it is just as important. As a FSBO, it’s almost impossible to be involved in the mortgage process of your buyer. Real estate professionals know the appropriate questions to ask about financing. You need someone who’s working with lenders every day to guarantee that your buyer makes it to the closing table.

5. You Net More Money When Using a Professional

Many homeowners think they’ll save real estate commission by selling on their own.

study by Collateral Analytics revealed that FSBOs don’t actually save anything by forgoing the help of a professional. In some cases, the seller may even net less money from the sale. The study found the difference in price between a FSBO and an agent-listed home was an average of 6%.

One of the main reasons for the price difference is effective exposure. The more buyers who view a home, the greater the chance for a bidding war that could potentially driving up the final price for your home.

Our experience is anecdotal, but we’ve noticed with the few FSBOs that we have been in contact with lately that they are leaving money on the table. Offers are being quickly accepted even though our clients — and presumably others — are interested in submitting bids. There are also no Open Houses being held that would bring greater attention and competition.


Listing on your own leaves you to manage the entire process by yourself. People selling property on their own usually don’t have the background or experience to manage Open Houses that attract lines of potential buyers and generate multiple offers that require careful review, especially when buyers seem to be very willing to offer over list price.

If you’re thinking about selling your property on your own, please contact us before making your final decision. We can show you how working with professionals — like Mari Sennott and Associates — is your best move when marketing your home.

Let’s talk soon…

Mari and Hank – 508-568-8191

Hold Up on Home Repairs

Many homeowners often feel they need to get their houses ready to put on the market by making updates to make them more appealing. But, with so many buyers currently competing for available properties, renovations may not be as vital as they might have been in other times.

Here are two thoughts to consider if you’re currently sitting on the sidelines, because of an overly aggressive to-do list.

1. There aren’t enough homes for sale right now.

A normal market has a 6-month supply of houses for sale, but today’s housing inventory sits far below that benchmark. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), there’s only a 1.9-month supply of homes available today. As a result, buyer competition is high and homes can be on the market for about 21 days or fewer during which time many receive multiple offers from hopeful buyers.

It’s not unusual on Cape Cod right now for a home to be listed in MLS mid-week with showings and/or open houses scheduled through the weekend. By Monday, an offer is accepted, often for more than the asking price.

So, in a competitive market that’s moving so quickly, it makes sense to sell your house when buyers are scooping homes up as fast as they’re being listed. Spending costly time and money on renovations before you sell might mean you’ll miss your key window of opportunity. While certain repairs on your house may be important, your best move right now is to consult with real estate professionals — like Mari Sennott and Associates — to determine which improvements are truly necessary, and which ones aren’t likely to be deal-breakers.

It may be wise, for example, to let future homeowners remodel the bathroom or the kitchen to make design decisions that are best for their specific taste and lifestyle.

As a seller, your dollars and time might be better spent working on small cosmetic updates — like refreshing some paint and power washing the exterior — instead of over-investing in your home with upgrades that the buyers may change anyway.

Today, many buyers are more willing to take on home improvement projects in order to get the home they’re after, even if it means putting in a little extra work.

2. Focus on getting a good return on your investment.

When planning any bigger projects to tackle, you need to consider the potential return on your investment and if those projects are worth the cost. Some homes do need a kitchen or bathroom renovation, roof repairs, or other major work, but definitely not all. You can also price your home to reflect the fact that work is needed.

Ideally, homeowners getting ready to move should try to avoid over-investing in big renovations, if they won’t make that money back when they sell their house. You may find out that putting your house on the market “as-is” will help you sell quickly, and it may result in the best return on your investment.

Since we’re in a strong sellers’ market, you have the leverage to market your house on your terms. Let’s connect to determine if renovating is really the best way to spend your time and money before you sell. Helping out clients make the best decisions for their individual situations has been out full time job for 21 years. Please let us know how we can help you. Talk soon…

Don’t wish for it; go for it!

Mari and Hank

How to be a Competitive Buyer

With competition the name of the game in today’s housing market, the info graphic below offers some tips on how to be ready when you decide to make your move.

Having a pre-approval letter from a reputable lender is an absolute necessity when you begin your search. If you find a home that you love, precious time can be lost while waiting for the document — especially on weekends — giving others an opportunity to make their offers and possibly seal the deal.

It’s also important to be clear about what your new home absolutely needs to have and what you would like. You may want three bathrooms, for example, but will 1.5 and outside shower suffice?

Finally, patience is a virtue and you may need a bunch as you search for your new home. Open Houses are busy; multiple offers are more the norm than the exception, and you may lose out once our twice before find the home that has been waiting for you.

To help you with your search, we’re happy to offer the Spring edition of our Buyers Guide. Please click here to receive your copy.

… and let’s talk about your options. Helping our clients make the best decisions for their individual situations has been our full time job for 21 years. Let’s connect at 508-568-8191 or We’re happy to help…

Don’t wish for it; go for it!

Mari and Hank

Some Highlights

Are There Going to Be More Homes to Buy This Year?

If you’re looking for a home to purchase right now and having trouble finding one, you’re not alone. At a time like this when there are so few houses for sale, it’s normal to wonder if you’ll actually ever find one. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), across the country — and here on Cape Cod — inventory of available homes for sale is at an all-time low – the lowest point recorded since NAR began tracking this metric in 1982. There are, however, more homes expected to hit the market later this year. Let’s break down the three key places they’ll likely come from as 2021 continues on.

1. Homeowners Who Didn’t Sell Last Year

In 2020, many sellers decided to pause their moving plans for a number of different reasons. From health concerns about the pandemic to financial uncertainty, plenty of homeowners decided not to make their move move last year.

Now that vaccines are being distributed and there’s a light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel, it should bring some peace of mind to many potential sellers. As Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.comnotes:

“Fortunately for would-be homebuyers, we expect sellers to return to the market as we see improvement in the economy and progress against the coronavirus.”

Many of the homeowners who decided not to sell in 2020 will enter the market later this year as they begin to feel more comfortable showing their house in person, understanding their financial situation, and simply having more security in life.

2. More New Homes Will Be Built

Last year was a strong year for home builders, and according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), 2021 is expected to be even better:

“For 2021, NAHB expects ongoing growth for single-family construction. It will be the first year for which total single-family construction will exceed 1 million starts since the Great Recession.”

With more houses being built in many markets around the country, homeowners looking for new homes that meet their changing needs will be able to move into their dream homes. When they sell their current houses, this will create opportunities for those looking to find a home that’s already built to do so. It sets a simple chain reaction in motion for hopeful buyers.

3. Those Impacted Financially by the Economic Crisis

Many experts don’t anticipate a large wave of foreclosures coming to the market, given the forbearance options afforded to current homeowners throughout the pandemic. Some homeowners who have been impacted economically will, however, need to move this year. There are also homeowners who didn’t take advantage of the forbearance option or were already in a foreclosure situation before the pandemic began. In those cases, homeowners may decide to sell their houses instead of going into the foreclosure process, especially given the equity in homes today. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR, explains:

“Given the huge price gains recently, I don’t think many homes will have to go to foreclosure…I think homes will just be sold, and there will be cash left over for the seller, even in a distressed situation. So that’s a bit of a silver lining in that we don’t expect a massive sale of distressed properties.”

It looks like we’re going to have an increase in the number of homes for sale in 2021. With fears of the pandemic starting to ease, new homes being built, and more listings coming to the market prior to foreclosure, there’s hope if you’re planning to buy this year. And if you’re thinking of selling and making a move, doing so while demand for your house is high might create an outstanding move-up option for you.

…and sellers remember: as the market loosens up, competition will increase potentially making your home less valuable than it is right now.

So, let’s connect today to see how you can benefit from the opportunities available on Cape Cod whether you’re looking to buy, sell or both.

Don’t wish for it; go for it!

Mari and Hank