Category Archives: Vacation Homes

Why Homeowners Are Selling Now

Some people believe there’s a group of homeowners who are reluctant to sell their houses because they don’t want to lose the historically low mortgage rate they have on their current residences. You may even have the same hesitation if you’re thinking about selling your house.

Data shows that as of this April, 51% of homeowners have a mortgage rate under 4%. And while it’s true mortgage rates are slightly higher than that right now, there are other non-financial factors to consider when it comes to making a move. Your mortgage rate is important, but you may have other things going on in your life that make a move essential, regardless of where rates are today.

As Jessica Lautz, Vice President of Demographics and Behavioral Insights at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), explains: “Home sellers have historically moved when something in their lives changed – a new baby, a marriage, a divorce, or a new job….”

So, if you’re thinking about selling your house, but hesitating, it may help to explore the other reasons homeowners are choosing to make a move. The 2022 Summer Sellers Survey by realtor.com asked recent home sellers why they decided to make their move. The visual below breaks down how they responded:

Top Reasons Homeowners Are Selling Their Houses Right Now | MyKCM

As the visual shows, an appetite for different features or the fact that their current home can no longer meet their needs topped the list for recent sellers. Additionally, remote work and whether or not they need a home office or are tied to a specific physical office location also factored in, as did the desire to live close to their loved ones.

If you, like the homeowners surveyed, find yourself wanting features, space, or amenities your current home just can’t provide, it may be time to consider marketing your house.

That’s what we did a few months ago. Our three bedroom, two bath Cape on a corner lot with a swing set in the backyard served us very well for 28 years. But, it had become too much space with too many stairs and a yard that was getting too big to take care of. (And the swing set was rarely used in a recent years!)

For us, the answer was downsizing to a ranch style condo in an over 55 community.

So, even if you’re concerned about mortgage rates, your lifestyle needs may be enough to motivate you to make a change.

If you’re interested in finding out what’s the best path for you, let’s connect at 508-360-5664 or msennott@todayrealestate.com. We can help you walk through your options, so you can make a confident decision based on what matters most to you and your loved ones.

Talk soon…

Mari and Hank

Buyers Are Regaining Negotiating Power

If you’re thinking about buying a home today, here’s some welcome news. Even though it’s still a sellers’ market, it’s a more moderate now than even earlier this year. The days of feeling like you need to waive contingencies or pay drastically over asking price to get your offer considered may be coming to a close.

Today, you should have less competition and more negotiating power as a buyer. That’s because the intensity of buyer demand and bidding wars is easing. So, if bidding wars were the biggest factor that kept you on the sidelines, here are two trends that may be just what you need to re-enter the market.

1. The Return of Contingencies

Over the last two years, more buyers were willing to skip important steps in the homebuying process, like the appraisal or inspection, to try to win a bidding war. But now, fewer people are waiving the inspection and appraisal.

The latest data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows the percentage of buyers waiving their home inspection and appraisal is declining. A recent survey from realtor.com confirms more sellers are accepting offers that include these conditions today. According to their August study: 95% of sellers reported that buyers requested a home inspection, while 67% of sellers negotiated with buyers on repairs as a result of the inspection.

All of our recent sales have included home inspections.

2. Sellers Are More Willing To Help with Closing Costs

Generally, closing costs range between 2% and 5% of the purchase price for the home. Before the pandemic, it was not uncommon to see buyers ask sellers to help with some of their closing costs. This didn’t happen as much during the peak buyer frenzy over the past two years.

Today, as the market shifts and demand slows, data from realtor.com that uses the results of a national survey suggests this is making a comeback. A recent article shows 32% of sellers paid some or all of their buyer’s closing costs. This may be an option available to you when you purchase a home, although we have not experienced it yet with any of our recent clients.

Bottom Line

The extremely competitive housing market of the past few years seems to be easing a bit. The data suggests that the days of over the top offers with no contingencies are waning and sellers now have to negotiate with buyers. This is good news if you’re planning to enter the housing market.

For more information about buying or selling, please request our Fall Guides. The video below explains what you can learn.

…and to find out how the market is shifting, let’s connect at 508-360-5664 or msennott@todayrealestate.com. We’ll share with you the latest data, as well as our recent experience as sellers and buyers ourselves.

Talk soon…

Mari and Hank

Should You Sell Your House This Year?

There’s no denying that the housing market is undergoing a shift as buyer demand slows and the number of homes for sale grows.

On Cape Cod, there were 231 homes for sale in January. In August, there were 563. This is nowhere near what we consider to be a normal market. But, what it does represent is a slow tick upward in the number of homes available.

So, here’s a look at the key opportunities you have if you list your house this fall.

Opportunity #1: Where Can You Go?

We often hear from those who are thinking about selling that their biggest concern is that they don’t know where they can go. But, one of the biggest stories today is the growing supply of homes for sale primarily because higher mortgage rates helped cool off the peak frenzy of buyer demand. But what you may not realize is, this actually can benefit you as a seller

If you’re marketing your house to make a move, it means you’ll have more options for your own home search. This gives you an even better chance to find a home that checks all of your boxes. So, if you’ve put off selling because you were worried about being able to find somewhere to go, know your options have improved.

Opportunity #2: The Number of Homes on the Market Is Still Low

Just remember, while data shows the number of homes for sale has increased this year, housing supply is still firmly in sellers’ market territory. To be in a balanced market where there are enough homes available to meet the pace of buyer demand, there needs to be a six months’ supply of homes nationally. According to the latest report from the Cape and Island Association of Realtors there’s a 1.9 month supply here.

While you’ll have more options for your own home search, inventory is still low, and that means your home will still be in demand if you price it right. On Cape, the Cumulative Days on Market Before Sale is 29 (YTD), still quick by traditional standards, but not the gone-in-a-weekend pace of even just a few months ago.

Opportunity #3: Your Equity Has Grown by Record Amounts

The home price appreciation that the market experienced over the past few years has likely given your equity (and your net worth) a considerable boost.

Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.comexplains: “Homeowners trying to decide if now is the time to market their homes are still in a good position in many places across the country as a decade of rising home prices gives them a substantial equity cushion…”

While there are no statistics available on individual equity, we can report based on our own personal experience and that of our sellers that this is true.

So, if you’ve been holding off on selling because you’re worried about how rising prices will impact your search, rest assured your equity can help. It may be just what you need to cover a large portion (if not all) of the down payment on your next home.

That’s what we did a few months ago. We used the equity in our home as down payment for our new one. So, we were able to secure where we were going before the For Sale sign ever went up in our yard.

There’s often never a “good time” to market a home: an unexpected job transfer, the loss of a loved one, or a family break up can make the decision hard and the process difficult. But sellers manage to get through it with the help of a knowledgeable professional.

If, however, the market is presenting you with an opportunity to benefit from your long-term real estate investment and make the change that you’ve been contemplating for years, why not move forward?

Let’s connect at 508-360-5664 or msennott@todayrealestate.com to talk about your possibilities. We’re happy to help.

Mari and Hank

What’s Next for Home Prices

Whether you’re a potential homebuyerseller, or both, you’re probably wondering: will home prices fall this year? So, let’s take a look at what the real experts are saying and why this matters for your homeownership goals.

Last Year’s Rapid Home Price Growth Wasn’t the Norm

In 2021, home prices appreciated quickly. One reason is because record-low mortgage rates motivated more buyers to enter the market. As a result, there were more people looking to make purchases than there were homes available for sale. That led to competitive bidding wars which drove prices up. CoreLogic helps explain how unusual last year’s appreciation was: “Price appreciation averaged 15% 2021, up from the 2020 average of 6%”

In other words, the pace of appreciation in 2021 far surpassed what the market saw in 2020. And even that appreciation was greater than the pre-pandemic norm which was typically around 3.8%. This shows that 2021 was an anomaly in the housing market spurred by more buyers than homes for sale.

Home Price Appreciation Is Moderating

Home price appreciation is now slowing (or decelerating) from the feverish pace the market saw over the past two years. According to the latest forecasts, experts say on average, nationwide, prices will still appreciate by roughly 10% in 2022 (see graph below):

What Does the Rest of the Year Hold for Home Prices? | MyKCM

On Cape Cod, the median sales price for a single family home was up 14.3% this July when compared to last. Year-to-date the median price is up 14.9% over 2021. That’s on the high end of what’s predicted, but within range of what the experts are saying.

Why do all of these experts agree prices will continue to rise? It’s simple. Even though housing supply is growing today, it’s still low overall thanks to several factors, including a long period of underbuilding homes. And experts say that’s going to help keep upward pressure on home prices this year. Additionally, since mortgage rates are higher this year than they were last year, buyer demand has slowed.

As the market undergoes this change, this year’s true price appreciation won’t match the feverish pace in 2021. But the rapid appreciation the market saw last year wasn’t sustainable anyway.

What Does That Mean for You?

Today, the market is beginning to move back toward pre-pandemic levels. But even the forecast for 10% home price growth in 2022 is well beyond the 3.8% that’s more typical for a normal market.

So, despite what you may have heard on your favorite cable TV news channel or from your mother’s cousin Gretchen, who had her real estate license 20 year ago , the actual experts say home prices won’t fall in most markets. They’ll just appreciate more moderately.

If you’re worried that the house you’re trying to sell or the home that you want to buy will decrease in value, you should know the experts aren’t calling for depreciation in most markets, just deceleration. That means your home should still grow in value, just not as fast as it did last year. Real estate remains one of the best long term financial investments available.

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking of making a move, you shouldn’t wait for prices to fall. Experts say nationally, prices will continue to appreciate this year, just at a more moderate pace.

Still on the fence about selling? With the market cooling, you’ve arguably lost money by waiting. You’ll still receive a very nice price for your home, but possibly not what your neighbor received eight months ago when there were bidding wars.

Curious about your options? Let’s connect at 508-360-5664 or msennott@todayrealestate.com. We’ll share with you the latest market data, as well as our experience this spring as sellers and buyers.

Finally, please be patient with our local merchants and their employees. Many businesses remain understaffed and are doing the best they can to serve you as efficiently as possible. Being told at a restaurant that there’s a 30 minute wait when you see open tables simply means they don’t have the staff to properly serve you. It’s better to not seat you, than have you sitting at a table getting frustrated over the “lousy service” and posting negative comments on social media. Thanks…

Mari and Hank

Your House Could Be Closer to List-Ready Than You Think

When we decided earlier this year to sell our home and downsize, we faced the immediate decision about how much work needed to be done to get the place market ready.

While no one would accuse us of being “house people,” we’ve taken pretty good care of our home over the years. Mari re-designed the kitchen three years ago. Last year, when our service technician told us that he wasn’t going to waste our money or his time and declined to do annual maintenance, we replaced our furnace and water heater. The roof has been an on-going project for us. The oldest sections are 10 years old.

Those are probably the three big items on a buyer’s check list, so that left smaller projects to complete. As a result, we had our home ready to sell in about a month, typical of most recent sellers.

According to a survey from realtor.com: “With many homeowners expecting a quick sale, and in many cases a lack of contingencies, the preparation process took less than a month for over 50% of home sellers…with 20% completing it in less than two weeks.”

Of course, each situation is different, and knowing what repairs or updates your house needs to stand out is critical.

In today’s market an older furnace or roof is not necessarily a draw back. But, if a home inspection discovers a tag on your furnace from your service technician that says “needs to be replaced,” you can probably expect your potential buyer to ask for money off the final purchase price.

Your House Could Be Closer to List-Ready Than You Think | MyKCM

To see some of what we did, please check out this episode from our series “Mari Makes the Move” on our YouTube channel. (Our home quickly went under contract after two busy Open Houses.)

Curious about your options, but maybe a little worried about the time it’ll take to get your home ready? Let’s connect to 508-360-5664 or msennott@todayrealestate.com. We’re more than happy to answer your questions.

Remember: we’re selling and buying, too.

Have a great week!

Mari and Hank

How To Approach Rising Mortgage Rates as a Buyer

Rising interest rates was one of the topics at our company staff meeting this morning.

You’ve probably noticed that the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate from Freddie Mac has inched up to 5%. While that news may have you questioning the timing of your home search, the truth is, timing has never been more important. Even though you may be tempted to put your plans on hold in hopes that rates will fall, waiting will only cost you more. Mortgage rates are forecast to continue rising in the year ahead.

We heard stories this morning of potential buyers losing out on purchases, because rising interest rates made the property unaffordable for them. One colleague reported having three sales fall apart for the same moderately priced home because of the increase in rates.

If you’re thinking of buying a home, here are a few things to keep in mind so you can succeed even as mortgage rates rise.

How Rising Mortgage Rates Impact You

Mortgage rates play a significant role in your home search. As rates go up, they impact how much you’ll pay in your monthly mortgage payment, which directly affects how much you can comfortably afford. Here’s an example of how even a quarter-point increase can have a big impact on your monthly payment (see chart below):

How To Approach Rising Mortgage Rates as a Buyer | MyKCM

With mortgage rates on the rise, you’ve likely seen your purchasing power impacted already. Instead of delaying your plans, today’s rates should motivate you to purchase now before rates increase more. Use that motivation to energize your search and plan your next steps accordingly.

Curious about your options? Let’s connect at 508-360-5664 or msennott@todayrealestate.com so you can better understand your budget and be prepared to buy your next home before rates climb higher.

It’s important to have the correct information to make an informed decision.


In some personal news, after 28 years we’ve decided to sell our two story Cape and downsize for many of the reasons we have written about in this blog. The house is too big; we don’t use every room. Stairs are starting to become a bit of an issue. We’re depending on landscapers, plumbers, painters and others to tend to basic maintenance.

Because we have been neither buyers or sellers in quite some time, we’ve started a series of videos called “Mari Makes the Move” on our YouTube channel to share our experiences and hopefully offer you some helpful tips. Please subscribe to the channel to follow our journey. Thanks…

Mari and Hank

How Buyers and Sellers Can Use Tax Refunds

Getting a tax refund for 2021? As a potential buyer or seller the money you receive can help you achieve your goals.

SmartAsset estimates the average American will receive a $2,897 tax refund this year. In Massachusetts that number is about the same at $2,834.00.

So, if you are getting a refund this year, here are a few tips to help with your home purchase or sale.

How Buyers Can Use Their Tax Refund

According to American Financing, there are multiple ways your refund check can help you as a homebuyer. A few include:

Growing your down payment fund – If you haven’t started saving for your down payment, let your tax refund kick off the process. And if you have a fund already, the money you get could put you closer to your goal.

Paying for your home inspection – Your home inspection can save you a lot of headaches down the road by helping determine the condition of the house. As a buyer, you’re responsible for paying for your inspection, and it’s definitely worth the investment.

Saving for closing costs – Closing costs are additional expenses you’ll need to pay once it’s time to close. They average  between 2-5% of the purchase price of your home.

This list is a great start, but it isn’t exhaustive of all the costs you may encounter as you set out on your homebuying journey. The best way to prepare is to be sure you understand what’s to come in the process.

How Sellers Can Use Their Tax Refund

If you own a home and are planning to sell this spring, your tax refund can help you make sure your home is ready to list. Here are a few ways current homeowners can put their tax refund to good use:

Making small upgrades – NerdWallet provides a list of great ways to use your tax refund, including tackling small projects or boosting your curb appeal to help your home stand out.

Making repairs – If there’s anything in your house that needs to be fixed, American Financing notes that completing repairs is another great use of that money. But, before doing any work, please check with us. We can tell you what improvements will be worth your investment and which ones aren’t worth the money.

Buying your next home – Whether you’re selling to move up or downsize, you can use your refund to help pay for any costs for the purchase of your next home.

Funding your home purchase or sale can feel like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Your tax refund can help you reach your goals. Let’s connect at 508-360-5664 or msennott@todayrealestate to discuss how you can start your journey.

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

If your children or grandchildren are home for school vacation, we hope you enjoy the time with them!

Mari and Hank

Balancing Wants vs. Needs

Since the number of homes for sale is low today, it can feel challenging to find one that checks all your boxes. But if you know which features are absolutely essential in your next home and which ones are just nice bonuses, you can land a home that fits your needs.

Danielle Hale, Chief Economist for realtor.com, explains it like this:

“Focus on the goal you set out for yourself, like your list of must-haves and nice-to-haves and your budget, . . . Stick to that. Be persistent.”

So how do you go about creating your list of desired features? The first step is to get pre-approved for your mortgage. Pre-approval helps you better understand your budget, and that plays an important role in how you’ll craft your list. After all, you don’t want to fall in love with a home that’s too far out of reach.

Once you have a good grasp of your budget, you can begin to list all the features of a home you would like. Here’s a great way to think about them before you begin:

  • Must-Haves – If a house doesn’t have these features, it won’t work for you and your lifestyle (examples: distance from work or loved ones, number of bedrooms/bathrooms, etc.).
  • Nice-To-Haves – These are features that you’d love to have but can live without. Nice-To-Haves aren’t dealbreakers, but if you find a home that hits all the must-haves and some of the these, it’s a contender (examples: a second home office, garage, etc.).
  • Dream State– This is where you can really think big. Again, these aren’t features you’ll need, but if you find a home in your budget that has all the must-haves, most of the nice-to-haves, and any of these, it’s a clear winner (examples: farmhouse sink, multiple walk-in closets, etc.).

Finally, once you’ve created your list and categorized it in a way that works for you, review it with trusted real estate advisors like Mari Sennott Plus, who live and work on Cape Cod. Engaging your uncle’s best friend’s son who lives north of Boston and just got his license is not necessarily the best move.

As local realtors, we’ll be able to help you refine your list further based on our market; coach you through the best way to stick to it, and find a home on Cape that meets your needs.

Let’s connect at 508-360-5664 or msennott@todayrealestate.com so we can get started.


With spring cleaning comes a stack of important documents that you probably shouldn’t put in the trash or recycle. But, what to to? We have the answer.

We’ll have a truck from Great White Shred available from 9:00am to Noon in the parking lot of Today Real Estate, 299 Cotuit Rd., on Saturday, May 7, for you to safely dispose of your important documents. With identity theft being a major concern, please take advantage of this opportunity.

We hope the Easter Bunny is good to you!

Mari and Hank

The Best Week to List Your House Is Almost Here

Are you thinking about selling your house? If so, you may want to make it a priority to start the process soon.

According to realtor.com, the sweet spot for sellers is just around the corner. In a recent study, experts analyzed housing market trends by looking at data from the past several years (excluding 2020, since it was an atypical year). When applied to the current market, experts determined the ideal week to list a house this year. The research says:

“Home sellers on the fence waiting for that perfect moment to sell should start preparations, because the best time to list a home in 2022 is approaching quickly. The week of April 10-16 is expected to have the ideal balance of housing market conditions that favor home sellers, more so than any other week in the year.”

If you’ve been putting your move on the back burner waiting for the ideal time to sell, you should know your golden window of opportunity is coming up. If you’re able to get your house ready quickly, here’s what you can expect from that week.

You Should See More Buyer Activity

The article expects higher buyer demand based on what’s happened in previous years. This could result in increased competition among buyers and ultimately a bidding war over your house. And since mortgage rates recently ticked up over 4%, chances are good that analysis is right. When rates rise, experts say buyers often hurry to make their purchase before rates climb higher.

In addition, the week of April 10-16 includes Easter Weekend. We know this is a busy time on Cape with many families here visiting relatives.

Your House Should Sell Quickly

Additionally, the realtor.com analysis shows houses sell even faster during this week of the year, likely due to the heightened buyer demand. If you work with a trusted real estate professional to price your house right, it should sell quickly. With homes already selling in just 18 days according to NAR, that could set you up for a big win.

Your House Will Be in the Spotlight

Since the beginning of the year, the number of homes available for sale has been at or near record lows. According to the realtor.com study, the typical trend for this week of the year is that there will be even fewer sellers on the market. If you list when inventory is low, your house will be the center of attention for eager buyers craving options.

If you’re ready to move fast, you may want to shoot for April 10th-16th as your target goal. Just remember, even if you’re not ready to list within the next couple of weeks, rest assured this is still a hot sellers’ market. If you list later in April, you’ll still be in the driver’s seat.

Bottom Line

Thinking that now’s the time? Ready to get the ball rolling? Let’s connect at 508-360-5664 or msennott@todayrealestate.com to schedule a time to go over your next steps.

In the meantime, make a checklist of things you need to tackle to get your house ready. When we get together, we can prioritize your to-do list and get you on the road to success.

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

Talk soon…

Mari and Hank

How to Get Top Dollar for Your House

When you’re selling any item, you want to get the greatest profit possible. That happens when there’s a strong demand and a limited supply. In the real estate market, that time is right now. If you’re thinking of selling your house this year, here are two reasons why now’s the time to do so.

1. Demand Is Very Strong This Winter

recent article in Inman News notes: “Spring, the hottest time of year for homebuyers and sellers, has started early according to economists.”

And they aren’t the only ones saying buyers are already out in full force. That claim is backed up with data released last week by ShowingTime.

The ShowingTime Showing Index tracks the average number of monthly buyer showings on active residential properties, which is a highly reliable leading indicator of current and future trends for buyer demand. The latest index reveals this December was the most active December in five years (see graph below):

Want Top Dollar for Your House? Now’s the Time To List It. | MyKCM

As the data indicates, buyers have been very busy this winter. December 2021 saw even more showings than December of 2020, which was already a stronger-than-usual winter. We know this from personal experience and that of many of our colleagues.

2. Housing Supply Is Extremely Low

Each month, realtor.com releases data on the number of active residential real estate listings (listings currently for sale). Their most recent report reveals the latest monthly number nationally is the lowest we’ve seen in any January since 2017 (see graph below):

Want Top Dollar for Your House? Now’s the Time To List It. | MyKCM

One statistic to track available listings is by calculating the current month’s supply of inventory. A months supply refers to the number of months it would take for the current inventory of homes on the market to sell given the current sales pace.

On Cape Cod, the monthly supply at the end of January was 0.7! That’s 231 homes for sale as compared to 519 a year ago.

For condos, the calculated monthly supply is 1.0. That’s available 90 units this January versus 206 in 2021.

The ratio of buyers to sellers favors homeowners right now to a greater degree than at any other time in history. Buyer demand is high and supply is low. That gives sellers an incredible opportunity.

But, buyers shouldn’t be discouraged as still record low interest rates will help them afford the homes that they’re seeking.

Curious about your options as either a buyer or seller? 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.

Mari and Hank