Monthly Archives: December 2021

A Holiday Visit to the Sandwich Food Pantry

We visited the Sandwich Food Pantry this past Friday to talk with Executive Director, Gigi Ridley. What we learned about what food pantries need this time of year (and really anytime) may be surprising.

We hope you’ll take a few minutes to watch the video.

The Sandwich Food Pantry is a totally volunteer organization. Their goal is to help residents through difficult times by providing supplemental food, advice and directions to further sources of assistance.

For more information, here’s a link to their website at http://sandwichfoodpantry.org/

Please consider supporting them this holiday season, or any non-profit that is close to your heart. These days none of us know when we might need their help. Thanks.


Happy holidays to all our blog readers. We hope that you have found what we shared this year to be helpful. We will continue in 2022 to provide you with the best and most accurate information available in order to assist you in deciding whether to buy or sell your property.

We won’t be posting next week as we will be spending time with our granddaughter.

So, Happy New Year!

Best regards,

Mari and Hank

508-360-5664/msennott@todayrealestate.com

Why It Just Became Much Easier To Buy a Home

Since the pandemic began, Americans have reevaluated the meaning of the word home. That has led some renters to realize the many benefits of homeownership, including the feelings of security and stability and the financial benefits that come with rising home equity.

At the same time, many current homeowners have decided their house no longer meets their needs, so they have moved into homes with more space inside and out, including a home office for remote work.

Many of these houses were previously owned by couples or individuals who finally concluded that their properties were just too big.

However, not every purchaser has been able to fulfill their desire for a new home. Here are two obstacles some homebuyers are facing:

  1. The ability to save for a down payment
  2. The ability to qualify for a mortgage at the current lending standards

But, both of those challenges have been mitigated to some degree for many purchasers. The FHFA (which handles mortgages by Freddie MacFannie Mae, and the Federal Housing Administration) is raising its loan limit for prospective purchasers in 2022. The term used to describe the maximum loan amount they will entertain is the Conforming Loan Limit.

What Is the Difference Between a Conforming Loan and a Non-Conforming Loan?

Investopedia explains the difference in a recent post: “Conforming loans are the only loans that meet the requirements to be acquired by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Jumbo loans, which exceed the conforming limits, are the most common type of non-conforming loans.”

What Difference Does It Make to Me as a Home Buyer?

Forbes article earlier this year explains the benefits of a conforming loan and why they exist:

“Since lenders can’t sell non-conforming loans to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac to free up their cash, they’re a bit riskier for the lender. This is especially true for jumbo loans, which aren’t backed by any government guarantees. If you default on a jumbo loan, it’s a huge blow to the lender.

Thus, lenders generally charge higher interest rates to compensate, and they can have even more requirements. For example, lenders who give out jumbo loans often require that you make a down payment of at least 20% and show that you have at least six months’ worth of cash in reserve, if not more.”

What Changed?

The FHFA has significantly increased its Conforming Loan Limits for 2022. Sandra L. Thompson, FHFA Acting Director, explains in the press release that:

“Compared to previous years, the 2022 Conforming Loan Limits represent a significant increase due to the historic house price appreciation over the last year. While 95 percent of U.S. countie​s will be subject to the new baseline limit of $647,200, approximately 100 counties will have conforming loan limits approaching $1 million.”

This means that more homes now qualify for a conforming loan with lower down payment requirements and easier lending standards – the two challenges holding many buyers back over the last year.

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) also increased its Conforming Loan Limits for 2022. That could also mean an easier path to homeownership for many prospective buyers.

So, buying your first or your next home may have just gotten much easier (less stringent qualifying standards) and less expensive (possibly lower mortgage rate).

Looking for more information? Please check out the links below.

  1. To get more information on the new FHFA Conforming Loan Limits, click here.
  2. To get more information on the new FHA Conforming Loan Limits, click here

Or connect with us at 508-360-5664 or msennott@todayrealestate.com. We can put you in touch with one of the several of the highly qualified mortgage lenders we work with.


A quick shout out to our colleagues at the Sandwich Office of Today Real Estate who helped fill a basket and more with home goods in support of the Cape Cod and Islands Board of Realtors’ “Welcome Home” Gift Basket Drive benefitting the Housing Assistance Corporation. Often when individuals and families move into HAC properties they don’t have some of the basics. These “baskets” get them started.

Have a great week…

Mari and Hank


Think Strategically as a Buyer in Current Market

The game of chess can provide incredible lessons to apply to all aspects of life, including the homebuying process. Chess requires you to plan and think about your strategy from the very beginning of the game.

The homebuying process, like chess, requires strategy and planning. Here are a few things to keep in mind to ensure your plan is as strong as possible when you begin your home search.

Pre-Approval: the Best Opening Play To Make as a Homebuyer

It’s important to have a great opening play when you’re buying a home. And the best move you can make when you begin your home search is getting pre-approved by a lender. You’ve probably already heard this is an important step, but what exactly is pre-approval and what benefits does it provide you?

The pre-approval letter from a lender tells you the maximum amount you are qualified to borrow. Receiving a pre-approval letter is not a loan guarantee, it simply states how much a lender might be willing to lend you.

And while determining how much you can afford at the start of your search is critical, the pre-approval letter also serves another important purpose. 

It helps you set a budget for your search and allows you to look for a home in your price range with confidence. The pre-approval also demonstrates to sellers that you are serious.

We — and most other real estate professionals — advise our seller clients to be careful with offers that are not accompanied by pre-approval letters.

So, in terms of chess, a pre-approval letter is a strong opening move.

Homebuying: It’s a Team Game, Not a Single-Player Experience

Every step you take to create your strategy as a buyer is important in today’s market. Why? Mortgage rates are still low, but increasing. Prices are going up. There’s a limited supply of homes for sale. These are just a few key variables in today’s market you need to be prepared for.

That means leaning on expert guidance as you plan every move is more important than ever. Have a team of professionals – like your trusted real estate agent and a loan officer – working with you every step of the way to help you make make the right moves.

If you have questions about the home buying process or need recommendations for reputable lenders, we’d be happy to help. Let’s connect at 508-360-5664 or msennott@todayrealestate.com. Talk soon….

Have a great week…

Mari and Hank