Tag Archives: #bestofzillow

Home Values To Keep Rising

As we enter the final months of 2020 and work through the challenges the year has brought, many remain surprised by increasing home values. As we reported in last week’s blog, the median sales price for a single family home on Cape Cod set an all time record in September.

But it is certainly legitimate to wonder whether the continuing virus crisis and possible economic fallout could impact home prices in the months ahead.

Looking at the big picture, the rules of supply and demand give us the clearest idea of what we can expect.

Due to the undersupply of homes on the market, there’s upward pressure on prices. Consider simple economics: when there is high demand for an item and a low supply, consumers are willing to pay more. That’s what’s happening today. The housing supply shortage is also resulting in bidding wars, which drive price points higher.

Home Values Projected to Keep Rising | MyKCM

There’s no evidence that buyer demand is going to wane. As a result, experts predict that price appreciation will continue over the next 12 months.

Here on Cape, open houses are busy and multiple offer situations not uncommon. Homes that are priced right and marketed correctly move quickly.

At the start of 2020, no one would have looked at a home that was appropriately priced and on the market for a few weeks and wonder “what’s wrong with it?” Those comments were reserved for houses that had been for sale for a few months. That question is now being asked about properties that have been on the market for as little as a few days!

Maybe selling your home in 2020 wasn’t part of your plan. Maybe you held back on making your move this year, because of concerns about the virus and the economy.

We can only tell you that the opportunity exists right now for you to realize a solid return on your real estate investment. Concerned about where you will find next home? Low inventory doesn’t mean no inventory. Your choices are just fewer than they would have been in the past. New construction is also an option as builders are responding to the continuing demand.

Curious about your options? Helping our clients make the best decisions has been our full time jobs as realtors for 21 years. It’s not a part time hobby. Let’s connect at 508-568-8191 or msennott@todayrealestate.com. We hope to be speaking with you soon…

Like to cook?

Or do you just like to see what others are having for dinner?

Back in the spring, Mari started a Facebook group, Cape Cod Dining at Home (and anywhere else.) She hoped it would be an opportunity for people to share their creativity during the early days of the virus shut down. She also wanted to promote local restaurants that were providing take out.

Since its start a few months ago, the page has grown to nearly 3,000 members from across the country. There are competitions that are often sponsored by local restaurants. Home chefs share photos of their dishes and recipes.

We’ve heard many times that members appreciate the group because it’s fun; they enjoy seeing and making different foods, and it’s a welcome respite from the crazy world we live in.

If you haven’t, please consider joining. This week’s competition has a Halloween theme. Details are on the group page.

Closing days of Election 2020

Please remember to vote. There are many ways to cast your ballot this year. Last week’s blog also contains links to an interview Hank did with our Town Clerk about your options in Massachusetts. If you have specific questions, please contact your local election officials.

Stay healthy. Stay optimistic.

Mari and Hank

38 Showings

We’re not the only real estate professionals, who have been saying for the last several weeks, if not months, that this is the best time to market your home.

Given all that we’ve lived through this year, we’re aware that this may sound like just a lot of sales talk. As we’ve acknowledged in earlier posts, it seems counter-intuitive. How could this be the best time to sell your home?

38 showings.

Mari called last week to set up an appointment for one of our clients to visit a moderately priced property. The seller’s agent told Mari that while she was was more than welcome to bring them over, she had to be honest and tell her that there were already 38 showings scheduled.

38 showings!

This isn’t the only property we’ve encountered over the last several weeks where there have been a large number of showings scheduled. Hank was out with clients last Thursday afternoon where there were several buyers waiting in line to view the same home.

That’s right. A line on a Thursday afternoon.

Buyers are very active for a number of reasons.

There are the ones we expect, such as those who have decided that they’ve reached the point in their lives when it’s finally time to purchase that house on Cape Cod.

They’re being joined by people, who are looking to move to a larger home with a defined worked area, as well as room for their children to learn remotely, if necessary. Others are buying second homes earlier than planned. Access to open space, fresh ocean air, and good schools are always priorities.

So, as crazy as it sounds, this truly is a great time to make your move whether upsizing, downsizing or moving to that someday neighborhood.

We can help you review your options that will maximize your investment in your home by taking advantage of the Cape’s current record setting market. Helping our clients make the best decisions has been our full time job for 21 years, not a part-time hobby.

Let’s connect at 508-568-8191 or msennott@todayrealestate.com to start the discussion. We look forward to working with you.

Looking for additional information about the ins and outs of selling or buying? Please download our Sellers Guide and/or Buyers Guide by clicking on the links. They will be emailed directly to you. We hope you’ll find these guides helpful. If you have any questions after reading them, please get in touch. Thanks.

Stay healthy. Stay optimistic.

Mari and Hank

How Important Are Local Schools?

As realtors, we expect families moving to a new community to ask about the quality of the school district.

But, with the on going virus crisis and remote learning a definite option in many places, how important is the quality of the local school district in deciding where a family will live?

According to a new article in HousingWire — an online real estate industry publication – more buyers with kids are seeking homes with bigger spaces, without counting the value of the school district their children may attend.

In the middle of spring, COVID-19 caused schools across the country to shut down and go virtual. In a shift that feels similar to the way many people are reconsidering how close they need to be to their physical workplace, many parents are questioning how close kids need to live to their school, if classes are going to be some version of online for the foreseeable future.

Hudson Santana, founder of Santana Properties in Cambridge, is quoted in the article as saying that his clients have been gravitating to suburbs with yards and more space, not generally thinking about the quality of schools or district zoning.

“We’ve seen lots of people move to suburbs and giving up Cambridge in order to go to a place where they have a big yard, where they have a home office and be able to compromise more with the school,” Santana said.

In Massachusetts the public schools are generally really good, he said. “But we’re definitely seeing a huge trend of buyers moving and really focusing on space, [whereas] before they were really focused on school district.”

This is line with our recent experiences with buyers, who have school age children. More often than not, we talk about the nearby location of schools as a positive point of the properties we are showing.

Just yesterday Hank did a virtual showing of one of our listings for a family in Indiana. They asked many questions, but none were about schools.

Still not convinced that buyer interest is strong?

2020 Homebuyer Preferences [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights

  • The study shows the current health crisis isn’t slowing down today’s homebuyers.
  • Many buyers are accelerating their timelines to take advantage of low mortgage rates, and staying home has enabled some to save more money to put toward a down payment.

Maybe now is the time for you to take advantage of high buyer interest. Please visit our website to receive a free valuation of your home.

Then let’s connect at 508-568-8191 or msennott@todayrealestate.com and we can review your options. With the equity many of us have in our homes, this could be the perfect time to move to your “someday” neighborhood. Thanks…

Stay healthy. Stay optimistic.

Mari and Hank

Is the Urban Exodus Continuing?

Will We See a Surge of Homebuyers Moving to the Suburbs? | MyKCM

The Boston Globe reported last week that many businesses are now telling employees that they won’t be returning to their offices until after January 1.

As remote work continues and many weigh the risks of living in densely populated areas, will the initial trend of urban dwellers looking for more open spaces like Cape Cod continue?

The answer appears to be “yes.”

According to recent data from Zillow, there is a current surge in urban high-end listings in some larger metro areas. The month-over-month increase in these homes going on the market indicates more urban homeowners may be ready to make a move out of the city, particularly at the upper end of the market 

Why are people starting to move out of larger cities?

A July survey from HomeLight lists the top reasons why people are moving today:

  1. More interior space
  2. Desire to own
  3. Move from city to suburbs
  4. More outdoor space

More space, proximity to fewer people, and a desire to own at a more affordable price point describes Cape Cod.

This may be a prime time for you to realize a solid return on your investment in your home. If you’d like to discuss your options, please connect with us at 508-568-8191 or msennott@todayrealestate.com. We can meet at a safe distance or via technology.

With businesses discovering new and innovative ways to function remotely, as well as cut operating expenses, this shift has the potential to stick. The smart investor won’t miss out on the opportunity.


Mari’s Facebook group, Cape Cod Dining at Home (and anywhere else), has caught the attention of industry consultant Beth Incorvarti. In a recent newsletter she wrote:

Mari Sennott started the Cape Cod Dining at Home Facebook group and now has almost 2600 members! There’s real engagement, real value, and a real sense of community here. Give the people what they want – and they want FOOD! Mari is building a huge following and this is certain to be reflected in her business. Bravo!”

With members from across the country, participants share pictures of their culinary creations and recipes. A weekly contest determines the cover photo for the group page. There are also frequent competitions sponsored and judged by Cape Cod restaurants for specific types of cooking — BBQ, Italian, summertime drink, etc.

Winners receive a gift certificate to the establishment that’s sponsoring that week and the possibility that their recipe will be featured on the menu. (Out of state winners receive a gift card to be used at the restaurant of their choice.)

We’re also planning on producing a cookbook to be available in time for the holidays. Proceeds will benefit local non-profits.

Please consider joining. It’s fun and a great way to learn about new culinary creations. Thanks.

Stay healthy. Stay optimistic.

Mari and Hank

Committed To Our Community

New kiosk at CVS on Quaker Meetinghouse Rd in Sandwich

We’ve lived on Cape Cod for 26 years. We moved here when our daughter was three. She’s 29 now. It’s been a lifetime.

We’ve always believed in the importance of playing a positive part in our community.

For a decade, Hank was involved in Sandwich Town government. He chaired the Finance Committee for two years; served a term a term on the Board of Selectmen, and headed the committee that wrote the Town’s first charter.

We’ve both volunteered for various organizations over the years. Mari is now the Chair of the Health Grant Review Committee for the Cape and the Islands United Way. She’s also a member of the Board of Directors of the Cape Cod and Islands Association of Realtors.

We donate $200.00 from each our closings to non-profits suggested by our clients. So, we’re excited to tell you that as a result of all our recent closings, we’ve been able to support to the Sandwich Food Pantry, Cape and Islands United Way, Boston Children’s Hospital, A Baby Center in Hyannis, and Angel Babies of Massachusetts. A special thanks to our clients, who helped make these possible. Please consider supporting these important organizations, as well.

The newest example of our commitment to the community is a kiosk in the CVS at Quaker Meeting House Road in Sandwich that distributes sanitizing sheets. Especially at public places like a pharmacy, it’s important to have resources available to wipe your hands, carts, etc.

We also have our own “brand” of hand sanitizer that we’ve been distributing to clients and at open houses since April.

In the overall scheme of things, small gestures. But as realtors and residents, it’s our contribution to making Sandwich and Cape Cod a great place to live.

The numbers show that the housing market is making an historic rebound as we attempt to emerge from the virus crisis.

Across the country, pending home sales increased by 44.3% in May, registering the highest month-over-month gain in the index since the National Association of Realtors (NAR) started tracking this metric in January 2001.

So, what exactly are pending home sales index? According to the National Association of Realtors:

“A leading indicator of housing activity, measures housing contract activity, and is based on signed real estate contracts for existing single-family homes, condos, and co-ops. Because a home goes under contract a month or two before it is sold, the Pending Home Sales Index generally leads Existing-Home Sales by a month or two.”

With the COVID-19 pandemic and a shutdown of the economy, there was a steep two-month decline in the number of houses that went into contract. In May, however, that number increased dramatically nationally, as the graph below shows. This jump means buyers are back in the market and purchasing homes right now, according to NAR’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun.

Here on Cape, pending sales are lagging behind national statistics, but appear to be on the rebound.

As we move through the year, experts say we should see an increase in the number of houses being built. This will address a small portion of the inventory deficit. The lack of overall inventory here on Cape, as well as in many other places across the country, is creating an opportunity for homeowners, who are ready to make a move.

If you decided not to sell this spring because of the virus, maybe it’s time to get in the market, while buyers are still actively looking for homes.

Let’s connect today to discuss your best move forward. We can meet virtually or at a safe distance. Please contact us at 508-568-8191 or msennott@todayrealestate.com. Thanks.

Stay healthy. Stay optimistic.

Mari and Hank

Buyers Shopping Outside Urban Areas

Over the last several weeks, we’ve been sharing with you reports that in the wake of the virus crisis buyers are looking to move to more open spaces. Here’s more evidence of this apparent shift in buyer behavior.

According to the industry newsletter HousingWire, new data released last week by realtor.com showed that listing views in suburban ZIP codes grew 13% in May, nearly doubling the pace of growth in urban areas.

“After several months of shelter-in-place orders, the desire to have more space and the potential for more people to work remotely are…contributing to the popularity of the ‘burbs,” explained Javier Vivas, director of research for realtor.com.

“Suburban interest in May outpaced last year’s July peak, which could indicate even stronger interest in the suburbs as the summer home-buying season continues to heat up,” he added.

This is good news for Cape Cod homeowners, who have been thinking about selling their property. With inventory still below last year’s levels, competition should be strong for well priced and effectively marketed homes.

If you’re undecided as to whether this is the right time for you to jump into the current market and upsize, downsize or move to that “someday” neighborhood, we’d be happy to assist you in reviewing your options. We can meet virtually or at a safe distance. Let’s connect at 508-568-8191 or msennott@todayrealestate.com.

Industry standards have changed regarding Open Houses. This graphic lists some of the new procedures that are being adopted across the country in consultation with sellers.

At Today Real Estate, we’ve been working in pairs during an Open House.

One person stays outside collecting information for contact tracing and sharing details about the property, while the other is stationed inside conducting tours and insuring that appropriate protocols are followed. Only one buyer and/or family is allowed in the house at a time to further insure everyone’s safety.

Masks are required at all times. Booties and other precautions are at the discretion of the homeowner.

Just a reminder that if you’re thinking about selling or buying, our summertime guides are now available. Please visit our secondary website and click on the option for either guide in the banner. (Or maybe both??). They’re delivered via email. If you have any questions after reviewing a guide, please don’t hesitate to contact us. (508-568-8191 or msennott@todayrealestate.com)


Stay healthy. Stay optimistic.

Mari and Hank

Have We Turned the Economic Corner?

Last week’s news about lower than expected unemployment statistics caught many by surprise. While the number of people still out of work is clearly unacceptable, the turnaround that the new figures appear to indicate is an encouraging sign.

Over the past many weeks, we have been sharing with you via this blog and our social media platforms the thoughts of real experts — not the talking heads on your favorite cable news channel — who have been suggesting that a recovery would start during the end of the second quarter and be on its way by the third.

While we are not out of the woods yet, responsible experts are hopeful.

We continue to see strong buyer interest on Cape, driven at least in part by low mortgage rates.

As furloughed employees — who put their plans on hold until they returned to work full time — get back on the job, we can expect to see them revive their searches.

As we shared with you last week, they will be joined by city dwellers who, after being confined to apartments and cramped neighborhoods, will be looking for more space and fresher air.

But there remains an inventory shortfall.

We no doubt sound like the proverbial broken record when suggesting to those of you who have been thinking about selling that now’s the time. But it is. Maybe now more than ever.

As always, we’re available to meet with you at a safe distance or via any technology that you are comfortable with to discuss your options as either a seller or buyer. (Or both?) Let’s connect at 508-568-8191 or msennott@todayrealestate.com.

Our new summer guides for buying or selling your home are now available! They contain valuable tips and information that will help you “make your move with Mari” as stress free as possible.

Please click here and scroll down to get your copy via email. Thanks.

In keeping with Governor Baker’s guidelines, the offices of Today Real Estate are opening on a scaled down basis. Our transaction coordinators returned last week. We can use our work spaces and office equipment, but masks are required at all times. Client access is still restricted.

As many of you have discovered, there has been a silver lining to our virus crisis, at least of terms of how we work. For us, virtual listing appointments and Matterport showings have been very effective.

Zoom meetings have made local and company wide meetings more efficient. Colleagues, who were kitchen table agents when the stay at home order began, have created home offices.

The number of realtors participating in on line house tours — instead of vehicle caravans from home to home — has increased dramatically. These and other changes may become the next normal for the housing and real estate industry.

Stay healthy. Stay optimistic.

Mari and Hank

Housing Market Positioned to Bring Back the Economy

Housing Market Positioned to Bring Back the Economy | MyKCM

It feels a little uncomfortable with people still falling prey to the virus and so many out of work to be talking about real estate.

But, with all eyes on the economy, the answer to the question “which sector will drive the recovery?” is the housing market.

Some may doubt that claim as they remember the recession in 2008 when housing was the anchor to the economy – holding it back from sailing forward. Back then, the recovery didn’t begin until the real estate market started to regain its strength. This time, the housing market was in great shape when the virus hit.

As Mark Fleming, Chief Economist of First Americanrecently explained:

“Many still bear scars from the Great Recession and may expect the housing market to follow a similar trajectory in response to the coronavirus outbreak. But, there are distinct differences that indicate the housing market may follow a much different path. While housing led the recession in 2008-2009, this time it may be poised to bring us out of it.”

Fleming is not the only economist who believes this. Last week, Dr. Frank Nothaft, Chief Economist for CoreLogic, (@DrFrankNothaft) tweeted:

“For the first 6 decades after WWII, the housing sector led the rest of the economy out of each recession. Expect it to do so this time as well.”

And, Robert Dietz, Chief Economist for the National Association of Home Builders, in an economic update last week explained:

“As the economy begins a recovery later in 2020, we expect housing to play a leading role. Housing enters this recession under built, not over built…Based on demographics and current vacancy rates, the U.S. may have a housing deficit of up to one million units.

Every time a home is sold, it has tremendous financial impact on local economies. As the real estate market continues its recovery, it should act as a strong tailwind to the overall national economy.

As an organization, Today Real Estate(TRE) hasn’t retreated in the face of the virus crisis. Because of the latest technology, we’ve been able to stay in touch with our clients and successfully work with those who needed to go froward with their plans. For example, over the last few weeks we’ve helped people dealing with job transfers and military families relocating to the Cape.

TRE has continued its advertising program and this week unveiled a new digital and print magazine:


Now more than ever, if you don’t have a presence on social media, you don’t exist and we’ve remained aggressive. To see samples of recent postings, please visit our YouTube channel Mari Sennott and Assoc where we archive some of our work.

If you’re interested in marketing your home, we’d be happy to meet with you via Zoom or other technology or in person, but socially distant, to talk about our successful promotional plan and how we can best help you meet your goal. Please contact us at 508-568-8191 or msennott@todayrealestate.com. Thanks.

Do you like to cook?

In March, Mari started a Facebook group Cape Cod Dining at Home (and anywhere else) to encourage people to share what they were cooking at home and where they were getting their takeout. It was our small — we thought — way to support local restaurants.

In just two months, the group has grown to over 2,300 members! There are competitions judged by local restauranters; the winner of last week’s grilling competition was picked by 5 Star Ribs in Sandwich. The winner will be receiving a rack of 5 Star’s fabulous ribs.

Each week a different photo of a meal, salad or dessert is selected as the lead photo on the group page.

We also hope to publish a cookbook in time for the holidays with proceeds benefiting local non-profits.

It’s fun, it’s stress free, and you can get some good ideas. Please consider joining. Thanks.

Stay healthy; stay optimistic

Mari and Hank

This could be the right time to upgrade…

The hasn’t been a lot of interest in the luxury home market with much of the demand for housing coming from first-time buyers looking for starter homes. But, it looks like activity is starting to increase in this segment of the market.

According to the January Luxury Report from the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing (ILHM):

“In a snapshot of 2019, despite pessimism at the start of the year, the last quarter showcased a strengthening, with an upswing in the luxury market for sales in both the single family and condo markets.”

Momentum is growing, and those looking to enter the luxury market are poised for success in 2020. With more inventory available at the upper-end, historically low interest rates, increasing average wages, and home equity on the rise, the stage is set for buyers with an interest in this tier to embrace the perfect move-up opportunity.

The report highlights the increase in buyer activity in this segment, resulting in growing sales toward the end of 2019:

“According to reports from many luxury real estate professionals, the significant increase in number of properties bought at the end of 2019 versus 2018 is reflective of an early 2019 holding pattern.

Many of early 2019’s prospective luxury buyers held off while waiting to see how prices would react to new tax regulations and other policy changes. Buyer confidence returned in late spring and compared to 2018, above average sales were reported in the final quarter of 2019.”

With evidence of strong buyer confidence, this is great news, as more homeowners are building and growing equity in their net worth throughout the country:

“Many homeowners are now diversifying their wealth, owning several properties rather than a single mega mansion. In addition, there have been an increase number of home purchases taking place in smaller cities, reflecting the rising number of people relocating from major metropolises. Their property equity wealth or ability to pay high rental costs have afforded them the opportunity to purchase luxury properties in…secondary cities throughout North America.”

With a strong economy and a backdrop set for moving up this year, it’s a great time to explore the luxury market. Keep in mind, luxury can mean different things to different people, too. To one person, luxury is a secluded home with plenty of property and privacy. To another, it is a fancy condo in the center of a bustling community.

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about upgrading your current house to a luxury home, or adding an additional property to your portfolio, we can help. There are many properties available on Cape right now that should interest you. Please contact us at 508-568-8191 or msennott@todayrealestate.com so we work with you to find the home of your dreams.

Did you know that Mari has been awarded a “Best of Zillow” designation?

A Zillow Premier Agent, Mari’s  Zillow profile displays the “Best of” badge, which means that she has been “recognized for going above and beyond” throughout the transaction process.

Check out her Zillow page at https://www.zillow.com/profile/msennott/  to see her Five-Star
Enjoy your week…

Mari and Hank