Tag Archives: #makeyourmovesafelywithmari

How Technology Has Changed the Way We Buy Homes

In a year when we’ve learned to do so much remotely, buying or selling a home is no exception.

Rather than delaying purchases due to the virus crisis, buyers – working with their real estate professionals – have been turning to the Internet to do more than just a typical home search. In some cases, they have bought without even stepping foot inside the property.

In fact, the National Association of Realtors says that throughout the virus crisis, one in every 20 home buyers purchased a house sight-unseen.

Today, we and many other real estate professionals are using digital practices to help homebuyers and sellers virtually walk through the many steps in the process. While following all safety protocols, we work with buyers and sellers using virtual tours, 3D floor plans, high-quality photos, videos, online open houses, and more.

Virtual practices help buyers safely narrow down their top choices, so they don’t have to unnecessarily walk into more homes than they need to see, as the graph below shows.

This also means that sellers don’t need to open their doors over and over again, while their home is being marketed.

As we’ve written about before, we’ve successfully assisted remote buyers this year. We’ve also worked with homeowners, who were very concerned about safety procedures being followed. Once we agreed on guidelines and effective technologies, the process itself was actually surprisingly smooth.

So, if you’re ready to make your move — or still thinking about it — let’s connect at 508-568-8191 or msennott@todayrealestate.com to discuss the safe and effective options that are available to buy or sell a home.

We hope you’ll join us in supporting local merchants this holiday season.

Gift cards from restaurants and shops make great stocking stuffers, for example.

Please don’t forget local non profit organizations — especially food pantries. Many social service providers have been pushed to the limit assisting those who have been impacted by the virus crisis. People, who have never turned to these organizations before for help, now find that they need their assistance.

Anything you can do will be appreciated. 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

Homes Haven’t Been This Affordable in Years

Everyone is ready to buy a home at different times in their lives. Despite the virus crisis, these days are no exception. Understanding how affordability works and the key market factors that impact it may help those of you who are ready to buy a home take advantage of today’s prime opportunity.

These are three main factors that go into determining how homes are affordable:

  1. Mortgage Rates
  2. Mortgage Payments as a Percentage of Income
  3. Home Prices

The National Association of Realtors (NAR), produces a Housing Affordability Index, which takes these factors into account and determines an overall affordability score for housing.

The higher the index, the more affordable it is to purchase a home. Below is a graph of the index going back to 1990. The green bar represents today’s affordability. You can see that homes are more affordable now than they have been at any point since the housing crash, when distressed properties (foreclosures and short sales) dominated the market. Those properties were sold at large discounts never seen before in the housing market.

Taking Advantage of Homebuying Affordability in Today’s Market | MyKCM

Although there are three factors that drive the overall equation, the one that’s playing the largest part in today’s home buying affordability is historically low mortgage rates. It is more affordable to buy a home today than at any time in the last seven years.

If you’re considering purchasing your first home or moving up to the one you’ve always hoped for, it’s important to understand how affordability plays into the overall cost of your home. With that in mind, buying while mortgage rates are as low as they are may save you quite a bit of money over the life of your home loan.

Let’s connect to discuss your options. We can do so at a safe distance or via technology. You can reach us at 508-568-8191 or msennott@todayrealestate.com.

As regular readers of this bog know, we donate $200.00 from each closing to a non-profit suggested by one of our clients.

With last week’s closing, we are happy to make a donation to the Matthew 25 Fund at Christ the King Parish in Mashpee. The fund supports the parish’s food pantry.

That brings our total donations to $3,000.00 for the year. (With more to come…)

We also support the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Clearwater, FL. Home to Winter and Hope of “Dolphin Tale” movie fame, it’s a favorite of our granddaughter. We had plans to take her there this year, but the trip has fallen prey to the virus crisis.

If there’s a non-profit that’s near and dear to your heart that you’d like us to add to our donation list, please contact Hank at hsennott@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