Category Archives: Sandwich, Mass

How Homeownership Can Help Shield You from Inflation

If you follow the news, you know about inflation. You’re also likely feeling its impact in day-to-day life as prices go up for gas, groceries, and more. These rising consumer costs can put a pinch on your wallet and make you re-evaluate any big purchases you have planned to be sure that they’re still worthwhile.

If you’ve been thinking about purchasing a home this year, you’re probably wondering if you should continue down that path or if it makes sense to wait. While the answer depends on your situation, here’s how homeownership can help you combat the rising costs that come with inflation.

Homeownership Offers Stability and Security

Investopedia explains that during a period of high inflation, prices rise across the board. That’s true for things like food, entertainment, and other goods and services, even housing. Both rental prices and home prices are on the rise. So, as a buyer, how can you protect yourself from increasing costs? The answer lies in homeownership.

Buying a home allows you to stabilize what’s typically your biggest monthly expense: your housing cost. If you get a fixed-rate mortgage on your home, you lock in your monthly payment for the duration of your loan, often 15 to 30 years.

James Royal, Senior Wealth Management Reporter at Bankrate, says that a fixed rate mortgage allows you to maintain what is probably your largest monthly expense at the same level. While property taxes will rise and other expenses related to your home will creep up, your monthly housing payment will remain the same.

In other words, no calls from the landlord telling you that your rent is going up – again.

Use Home Price Appreciation to Your Benefit

While it’s true rising mortgage rates and home prices mean buying a house today costs more than it did a year ago, you still have an opportunity to set yourself up for a long-term win. Buying now lets you lock in at today’s rates and prices before both climb higher.

In inflationary times, it’s especially important to invest your money in an asset that traditionally holds or grows in value. The graph below shows how home price appreciation outperformed inflation in most decades going all the way back to the seventies – making homeownership a historically strong hedge against inflation (see graph below):

How Homeownership Can Help Shield You from Inflation | MyKCM

So, what does that mean for you?

Experts are saying home prices will continue to go up thanks to the ongoing imbalance in supply and demand. Once you buy a house, any home price appreciation that does occur will be good for your equity and your net worth. And since homes are typically assets that grow in value (even in inflationary times), you have peace of mind that history shows your investment is a strong one.

Curious about your options? Let’s connect at 508-360-5664 or msennott@todayrealestate.com to review a plan for you to buy and/or sell.

…and remember. We know of what we speak. We’re selling and buying now, too. Check out our series “Mari Makes the Move” on our YouTube Channel, Mari Sennott Plus.


We hope to see you this Saturday from 9am to Noon at the Today Real Estate parking lot at 299 Cotuit Road in Sandwich, where you can safely dispose of your important documents. Great White Shred will be there to shred your valuable paperwork that contain personal information.

Stephanie (Viva) in the Morning from 102.3FM will be there spinning your favorites and we’re joining with Kristi Sassone from First Home Mortgage to provide Cape Cod Coffee and donuts.

Limit of ten boxes of material to be shredded, please.

See you there!

Mari and Hank

Millennials: Looking for More Space?

If you’re a millennial, buying a home might be top of mind for you right now. Your generation is the largest group of homebuyers in the market today and has been since 2014, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). While other millennials are looking to buy for the first time, you may be one of the many, who are discovering you’ve already outgrown your first house.

If that’s the case, you’re not alone. The past two years brought about significant changes for many people. Today, many homeowners are reevaluating what they truly need in a house. As a recent report from the Wall Street Journal states: “The pandemic and the emergence of remote work accelerated millennial home-buying trends already under way…Millennials who already owned homes traded up for more space.”

So, if you’re now working remotely or simply have a growing need for additional space, it may be time to move. Even if you purchased your current home over the last few years, you can still move into a different one that has the space and features you’re looking for. That’s because there’s a good chance you have more equity than you realize.

As Diana Olick, Real Estate Correspondent for CNBCnotes: “The stunning jump in home values over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic has given U.S. homeowners record amounts of housing wealth. About 42% of homeowners were considered equity-rich at the end of last year, meaning their mortgages were half or less than half of the value of their home!

Growing equity can be the key you need to fuel your next move, especially if you’re looking to purchase a larger home. When you sell your current house, the equity that comes back to you in the sale can be used toward the down payment on your next home.

Equity plus low mortgage interest rates would make what might appear to be the “unaffordable” actually affordable.

Your purchasing power may be greater than you realize, making a move to a larger home a realistic option. 

Curious about your options? Let’s connect at 508-360-5664 or msennott@todayrealestate.com. We’re happy to answer your questions.

It’s important that you have the right information to make an educated and informed decision.

Have a good week…

Mari and Hank

Does the Weather Have You Thinking About Making a Change?

We’re more aware than ever of the effects weather, climate change and natural disasters can have on where we live. According to a report from realtor.com, more than 3 in 4 recent buyers took climate into account when deciding where to locate.

The study also found that many existing homeowners (34%) have already considered selling their houses and moving to a new location, because of the climate.

Many of us remember when we bought our homes on Cape Cod and were told we could play golf all year round, because it just didn’t snow that much.

If you’re a “snowbird,” are you spending more time at your other home, because the weather there seems to be better longer?

Or has our weather made you decide that it’s finally time to upsize, downsize or make that “someday” move whether on Cape or elsewhere?

Here’s some information to keep in mind if you’re thinking about marketing your Cape Cod home because of weather concerns.

Do Your Research

As a homeowner, it’s impossible to completely control what types of weather events your house is exposed to. Every area has its unique climate challenges.

So, the first step is understanding how to navigate your decision making process with your specific concerns in mind. For example, are you tired of the snow, but not crazy about high humidity and temperatures? Is easy transportation to family important? Is it time for a condo or do you still want a house with a yard? While getting the answers to these questions — and a multitude of others — can seem like a difficult undertaking, with the appropriate resources and experts on your side, you can simplify the process.

The Mortgage Reports provides some tips for making your next move, including, but not limited to: 1) Vet the location. 2) Research Climate Action Plans and learn if the community you’re interested in has one. 3) Work with professionals for additional assessments on a home’s ability to withstand the local weather. Maybe you’re moving away from the snow, but locating to an area that is prone to hurricanes.

Ultimately, your best resource throughout the process is a local real estate professional, who understands the area and has access to the experts, who can answer your questions.

And have no fear, there are plenty of buyers for your Cape Cod home. Most likely, many. With the record low number of houses available for sale right now, your property — if priced right — will attract interest and you’ll receive a good return on your investment that will help finance your next move.

Curious about your options? Let’s connect at 508-360-5664 or msennott@todayrealestate.com. We’re happy to answer your questions. Because of our involvement with the Tom Ferry organization, we can also assist you in finding a top notch real estate professional in the area you’re interested in.

It’s important that you have the right information to make an educated and informed decision.

…and for now, enjoy the snow!

Mari and Hank

Five Tips for Making Your Best Offer for a Home

As 2021 ended, there seemed be a subtle shift in the Cape Cod real estate market. While many properties still received multiple offers, there weren’t as many as earlier in the year.

And while most successful offers were for above asking price, the final figures were not as head scratching as they were in the summer.

As a buyer in a sellers’ market, it can feel like you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. How far over asking price should your offer be? How willing are you to get involved in a bidding war, even when the competition isn’t as challenging?

When you’re ready to make an offer on a home, remember these five easy tips to help you rise above the competition.

1. Know Your Budget

Knowing your budget and what you can afford is critical to your success as a homebuyer. The best way to understand your numbers is to work with a reputable lender so you can be pre-approved for a loan. As Freddie Mac puts it: “This pre-approval allow you to look for a home with greater confidence and demonstrates to the seller that you’re a serious buyer.”

As a practical matter, offers without pre-approval letters have little chance of being accepted. We work with several reputable lenders who serve the Cape Cod market and will pass on their contact information. Please reach out if you’re interested.

2. Be Ready To Move Fast

Homes are selling quickly in today’s competitive housing market. According to the Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR): “Eighty-three percent of homes sold in November 2021 were on the market for less than a month.”

With houses selling this fast, staying on top of the market and moving quickly are key. Know what you’re looking for in a home and be ready to act when you see it.

3. Lean on a Local Real Estate Professional

No matter what the housing market looks like, rely on a trusted real estate advisor. As Freddie Mac advises: “Be sure to select experienced, trusted professionals who can help you make informed decisions and avoid any pitfalls.”

Real estate markets are different from area to area. Your uncle’s best friend’s godson who just got his license and works in western Massachusetts is probably not the best choice to help you buy (or sell) property on Cape Cod.

Cape-based based professionals have insight into what’s worked for other buyers here and what sellers may be looking for in an offer. It may seem simple, but catering to what a seller needs can help your offer stand out.

4. Make a Strong, but Fair Offer

According to the latest Realtors Confidence Index from NAR, 40% of offers today are above the list price. Submitting a strong, yet fair offer is critical in these situations. If you are really interested in a property, a low ball offer to “see what happens” is not a strategy for success.

Not all that long ago asking price was the most a seller could hope for. Now, it’s the minimum they expect.

5. Be a Flexible Negotiator

When putting together an offer, consider what options you have to make your proposal the most attractive. Can you be flexible with the closing date? Are you willing to let the seller leave behind furniture, even if you have no use for it?

Of course, there are certain contingencies you don’t want to give up. Freddie Mac advises resisting the temptation to waive the home inspection as you could move into a house and discover repairs that you can’t afford.

If you’re thinking 2022 is the year to make your move, we’d be happy to answer your questions. Let’s connect at 508-360-5664 or msennott@todayrealestate.com.

You need the right information to make an educated and informed decision about buying or selling in the year ahead.

Stay warm….

Mari and Hank

Expert Insights on the 2022 Housing Market

As we move into 2022, potential buyers and sellers are wondering, what’s next? Will the inventory of available homes increase? Will prices keep climbing? How high will mortgage rates go?

For the answer to those questions and a little more, let’s turn to the experts. Here’s a look at what they say we can expect in 2022.

Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist, First American: Consensus forecasts put rates at about 3.7% by the end of next year. So, that’s still historically low, but certainly higher than they are today.”
Danielle Hale, Chief Economist, realtor.com: “Affordability will increasingly be a challenge as interest rates and prices rise, but remote work may expand search areas and enable younger buyers to find their first homes sooner than they might have otherwise. And with more than 45 million millennials within the prime first-time buying ages of 26-35 heading into 2022, we expect the market to remain competitive.”
Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist, National Association of Realtors (NAR): “With more housing inventory to hit the market, the intense multiple offers will start to ease. Home prices will continue to rise but at a slower pace.”
George Ratiu, Manager of Economic Research, realtor.com: “We also expect a growing number of homeowners to bring properties to market, taking some pressure off high prices and offering buyers more options.”
Mark Fleming, Chief Economist, First American: Strong demographic demand will continue to act as the wind in the housing market’s sails.”

What Does This Mean for Sellers?

Make no mistake – this sellers’ market will remain in 2022 as home prices on Cape Cod and elsewhere are projected to continue climbing — just at a more moderate pace. Selling your house while buyer demand continues strong will truly put you in the driver’s seat.

While multiple offers were still common at the end of the year on Cape, the money offered over list price was generally speaking not as head scratching as it was earlier in 2021.

So don’t wait too long. With more listings projected to be available, your ideal window of opportunity to stand out from the crowd won’t last forever.

In fact, Mari was out with a buyer on New Years Day! And the spring market is just around the corner.

What Does This Mean for Buyers?

Hope is on the horizon for 2022. You should see your options grow as more homes are listed and some of the peak intensity of buyer competition starts to ease.

Just remember, rising rates and prices are a great motivator for you to find the home of your dreams sooner rather than later so you can buy while today’s affordability is still in your favor.

Waiting for either prices to drop or a sudden rush of foreclosures that no one is predicting — except maybe your Uncle Harry “who knows a little something about real estate”– is not a successful strategy. It will only cost you money as prices continue to increase.

If you’re thinking 2022 is the year to make your move, we’d be happy to answer your questions. Let’s connect at 508-360-5664 or msennott@todayrealestate.com.

You need the right information to make an educated and informed decision about buying or selling in the year ahead.

Have a great week.

Mari and Hank

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

What Does Price Appreciation Mean?

When you hear the phrase home price appreciation, what does it mean to you? Through context clues alone, chances are you know it has something to do with rising home prices. And as a seller, you know rising home prices are good news for your potential sale.

But let’s look past the dollar signs and dive deeper into the concept. To truly understand home price appreciation, you need to know how it works and why it matters to you.

Investopedia defines appreciation like this: “appreciation, in general terms, is an increase in the value of an asset over time. The increase can occur for a number of reasons, including increased demand, a weakening of supply, or as a result of changes in inflation or interest rates.”

When you consider the definition and how it applies to real estate, a few words stick out: supply and demand.

In today’s real estate market on Cape Cod and elsewhere, we’re experiencing high buyer demand and not enough sellers listing their homes for sale. No matter the industry, anytime there’s more demand than supply, prices naturally rise.

According to Quicken Loans, the national average home price appreciation rate is between 3-5% in a typical year. Today, home prices have been appreciating well beyond the norm thanks to high demand. Here are the latest expert projections on the rate of home price appreciation for this year (see chart below):

A Look at Home Price Appreciation and What It Means for Sellers | MyKCM

Compared to the normal pace of 3-5% appreciation per year, the current forecast of nearly 11.5% nationally is significant.

Across the Cape, the median sales price for a single family home (YTD) is up 30.4% from $461,000.00 to $601,000.00.

For sellers, this means that with the current rise in prices, your house may be worth more than you realize. Price appreciation helps give your equity a boost. Equity is the difference between what you owe on the home and its market value based on factors like price appreciation.

It works like this (see chart below). You can use your built-up equity to power a move into your dream home, or you can put it toward life-changing goals like funding an education or opening a business.

A Look at Home Price Appreciation and What It Means for Sellers | MyKCM

But — and this is important — while price appreciation is strong now, those same experts say it’ll start to appreciate at a more normalized pace next year. If you decide to sell sooner rather than later, you’ll be in a better position to capitalize on the higher-than-average home price appreciation we’re seeing today.

This morning at our virtual office meeting, we talked about how some sellers entering the market now may be disappointed that offers are not coming in at the head scratching figures over list price that they were a few months ago. One story was told of sellers, who received an offer at asking and countered $50,000.00 higher!

So, is it time to make your move? We’d be happy to help you review your options. Helping our clients make the best decisions for their individual situations has been our full time job for 22 years. Let connect at 508-568-8191 or msennott@todayrealrestate.com.

Talk soon…

Mari and Hank

Hot Topics in the Housing Market

If you’re a prospective buyer or seller, it’s important you understand current real estate market conditions and how they affect you. The Counselors of Real Estate (CRE) just released its Top Ten Issues Affecting Real Estate report. Here are three hot topics from the list and how they impact today’s housing market.

Technology Acceleration and Innovation

The past year ushered in many changes to the real estate industry, especially when it comes to technology. The CRE report explains that: “Lockdown-driven changes in our work, the economy, social structures and personal behavior have pushed our reluctance (to use technology) aside. The acceleration and adoption of technology during the pandemic has impacted everything, and real estate is no exception.”

For real estate, innovations like digital documentation, virtual tours, and video chats enable agents to connect with clients no matter their location. These options are ideal for prospective buyers and sellers, who aren’t local to the area, or who need the added flexibility of signing documents online or doing virtual tours.

These technologies will remain in place as they provide greater flexibility and convenience to clients.

We completed a transaction last week on a house whose new owners conducted the much of the process — including the home inspection — virtually. The first time they physically saw their new home in Sandwich was the day before they signed closing papers.

Remote Work and Mobility

Working from home has become the reality for many, and the latest list from the CRE identified that and mobility as an important influence on the real estate market.

According to the report, the virus crisis universally caused a movement away from urban cores, particularly for those people with higher incomes, who could afford to move, and for some lower-income individuals seeking to decrease living expenses. Most of these relocations — about 84% — remained within their general region.

Some question whether this was a permanent urban exodus or just a short term reaction to the virus crisis. Here on Cape, many wonder how these new full time residents will react when they discover that our February is not their summer vacation!

Housing Supply and Affordability

The limited supply of houses for sale and the related affordability challenges also made CRE’s list of key factors for the year. On Cape Cod and elsewhere inventory remains tight, even as more homes come on the market.

But, there is good news. Homes are still more affordable than they have been historically thanks to today’s low mortgage rates. As the supply of homes for sale improves, buyers will have more options.

As we’ve noted before, waiting for prices to drop is not a sound strategy as both the cost of homes and mortgage interest rates are predicted to continue to rise at a modest pace.

What we are seeing is a calming of the market with the buying frenzy of a few months ago dissipating — at least for now. There’s no telling what the impact of the Delta variant spike will have going forward.

New technology, remote work, housing supply, and home affordability are key factors in the housing market right now for both buyers and sellers. If you want to better understand how these and other topics can impact you, please get in touch at 508-568-8191 or msennott@todayrealestate.com. We’re happy to answer your questions.

Mari and Hank

What Concerns Buyers?

Last week, Fannie Mae released their Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI). The survey showed 77% of respondents believe it’s a “good time to sell.”

But, it also confirms what many are sensing: an increasing number of Americans believe it’s a “bad time to buy” a home. The percentage of those surveyed saying that hit 64%, up from 56% last month and 38% last July.

The reason? Affordability, especially among first time homebuyers. Even the number of renters who say they are planning to buy within the next few years has declined.

So, let’s look closely at the market conditions that impact home affordability.

A mortgage payment is determined by the price of the home and the mortgage rate on the loan used to purchase it. Lately, monthly mortgage payments have gone up for two key reasons:

  1. Mortgage rates have increased from 2.65% this past January to 2.9%.
  2. Home prices have increased by 15.4% over the last 12 months.

Based on these rising factors, a home may be less affordable today, but it doesn’t mean it’s not affordable.

Three weeks ago, ATTOM Data released their second-quarter 2021 U.S. Home Affordability Report which explained that the major ownership costs on the typical home as a percent of the average national wage had increased from 22.2% in the second quarter of 2020 to 25.2% in the second quarter of this year. But this is still below the standard 28% of income that lenders say homeowners should pend on mortgage, insurance and property taxes.

What does this mean for buyers?

As a buyer, while you may not get the deal someone you know got before the virus crisis, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still buy a home. Here are your alternatives to buying and the trade-offs you’ll have with each.

Alternative 1: I’ll rent instead.

Some may consider renting as the better option. However, the monthly cost of renting a home is skyrocketing. According to the July National Rent Report from Apartment List: rental prices have grown a staggering 9.2% this year! In previous years, growth from January to June is usually 2-3%.

We know that here on Cape Cod, the monthly cost of rent is as high as a mortgage payment, if not higher.

If you continue to rent, chances are your payment will keep increasing at a fast pace. That means you could end up spending significantly more of your income on your rental as time goes on, which could make it even harder to save for a home.

Alternative 2: I’ll wait it out.

Others may consider waiting for another year and hoping that purchasing a home will be less expensive then. Let’s look at that possibility.

We’ve already established that a monthly mortgage payment is determined by the price of the home and the mortgage rate. A lower monthly payment would require one of those two elements to decrease over the next year. However, experts are forecasting the exact opposite:

  • The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) projects mortgage rates will be at 4.2% by the end of next year.
  • The Home Price Expectation Survey (HPES), a survey of over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts, calls for home prices to increase by 5.12% in 2022.

We have also talked to potential buyers, who are waiting for those who took advantage of mortgage forbearance to be forced to sell their homes. What this strategy ignores is that the average American homeowner has more than $200,000 in equity in their home. As people return to work and can afford the monthly mortgage payment, refinancing will eliminate any past due amount.

As we’ve noted in previous posts, the Cape market has calmed down over the last several weeks. Open Houses are generally not as busy; offers are not as numerous, and total dollar amounts — while still at or above asking price — are not as what-are they- thinking high. (But there are still exceptions.)

Interest in negotiating incentives — like waiving home inspections — also seems to be fading.

What is clear is that whether you’re a seller or a buyer continuing to sit on the fence waiting to make your move may not be the best strategy.

As always, we’re happy to help you review your options. Please contact us at 508-568-8191 or mennott@todayrealestate.com. Thanks.

Mari and Hank

The Market Is Settling Down

In last week’s post we wondered if the real estate market on Cape Cod was changing. We only had anecdotal evidence based on our own experience and that of our colleagues to suggest that there seemed to be a shift.

Now, we have the official stats from the Cape Cod and Island Association of Realtors that suggests something may be happening.

The biggest evidence is a drop of $30,000 in median sales price for a single family home from May ($630,000) to June ($600,000) across Barnstable County. So, while the final sale price as a percentage of list has remained steady (104%), the actual dollar amount has decreased.

In Sandwich, the median price dropped from $590,000 in May to $539,000 in June — a not insignificant decrease of more than $50,000.

It’s important to note that a year to date comparison from 2020 to 2021 shows a nearly 31% increase in median sales price in Town overall. ($420,000 vs. $550,000.)

Inventory across the Cape increased last month (502) from the previous (448). In Town, it jumped from 25 to 34 homes. New listings nearly doubled from 28 to 50, while days on market increased from 14 to 24.

The Cape now has 1.2 month supply of available single family homes. At least three months is needed to be considered even reasonably healthy.

So what does this mean?

For buyers — particularly those who dropped out of the market after being frustrated with long lines at open houses and price competitions that they couldn’t win — this could be a good sign. If you were among the discouraged, it might be time to re-start your search.

For sellers — as we’ve been suggesting for weeks now — your return on investment is potentially shrinking. While we’re continuing to see most offers come in above list price, they’re generally not at the volume or mind boggling levels that we saw just a few months ago. (In Sandwich, the percentage over list dropped from 105.6% to 103.1%)

The time for sellers to act is now, as competition is increasing with more homes coming on the market.

If you’re wondering where you can move if you sell, the larger inventory is also a positive for you.

Is this a temporary slowdown because of buyer fatigue and distractions due to graduations, weddings, and vacation planning? Or is something else at work? Time will tell, but smart real estate investors — sellers or buyers — should take note.

As always, we’re happy to assist you in reviewing your options . We’ve been helping our clients make the best decisions for themselves for more than 20 years.

Please reach out at 508-568-8191 or msennott@todayrealestate.com. Talk soon…

Don’t wish for it; go for it!

Mari and Hank