Tag Archives: #marisennottandassociates

Not Everyone Is Looking for a Bigger Home

Over the past year, we’ve had plenty of opportunity to reflect on what we consider important in our lives. For more than a few, where we call home has been the subject of some serious thought. According to George Ratiu, Senior Economist at realtor.com:

“The very nature of the pandemic, through the health implications, social distancing, and need to isolate, has really brought a central focus on the importance of home for most Americans…In a sense, it has elevated real estate markets as a centerpiece of our lives.”

This has spurred an interest by many in making a move to a home that better suits changing needs. In a recent study on today’s homebuyer preferences, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported:

“When asked more specifically how the pandemic may have impacted their preference for home size21% or about 1 out of every 5 buyers, do want a larger home now as a direct result of the health crisis, while another segment – 12% – would prefer a smaller one instead.”

While you might expect more time at home to lead to a need for more space, it’s interesting that a significant portion of homeowners actually want less. For those who currently own larger homes and have a desire to move, today’s housing market is full of opportunities as Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com explained:

“In a real estate market that is tipped in the favor of sellers, boomers and older homeowners are really the ones holding the cards…Those who are selling homes can use the profits to help them buy new ones.”

Today’s homeowners likely have equity that can be put toward the purchase of their next home. With the equity growing over the past year, you may have more than you think, which can help you significantly make a move into your next home. According to a report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR):

“Home sellers cited that they sold their homes for a median of $66,000 more than they purchased it. Sellers 22 to 30 years gained the least at $33,400 in equity compared to sellers 66 to 74 years gained $100,000 in equity as they likely had lived in their homes for a longer period of time.”

Despite the benefits of growing home equity, some homeowners remain hesitant to move and could be considering remodeling or making changes to their current space. However, if you’ve thought about aging in place rather than downsizing, you may want to reconsider. The U.S. Census Bureau points out:

Of the nation’s 115 million housing units, only 10% are ready to accommodate older populations.”

If your house is no longer the best fit for your evolving needs, it may be time to put your equity to work for you and downsize to the home you really want.

Today’s housing market favors homeowners, who are ready to sell and make a move. If you’re thinking about downsizing this year, let’s connect at 508-568-8191 or msennott@todayrealestate.com to review your options.

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In response to industry regulatory changes, we’ve rebranded our team name to “Mari Sennott Plus.”

Over the next few weeks, you’ll be seeing references to “Mari Sennott and Associates” on our website, email, etc. replaced with our new team name.

While we were very happy with the old name, the new “Mari Sennott Plus” reflects our commitment to always going the extra mile for our clients, as well as a hoped for expansion of our team later this year.

Don’t wish for it; go for it!

Mari and Hank


Why This Is a Great Year to Sell Your Vacation Home

As more Americans become vaccinated and travel resumes, many people are planning for those long-awaited vacations that they missed out on over the past year. Some households are even focusing their efforts on buying a vacation home at get away locations like Cape Cod rather than renting or staying in a hotel. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reports:

Second homes (i.e., homes sold to buyers who are not going to occupy the home year-round, but use it as a vacation home, investment property, etc.) account for 15 percent of new single-family home sales.”

It’s not surprising that there’s an increase in demand for vacation homes. The majority of Americans are realizing they prefer to be around small groups, as shown in a recent survey from The Harris Poll:

“Social distancing taught consumers new things about how they like to socialize; (75%) said, ‘during COVID social distancing I realized I preferred smaller social gatherings at home or at friends’ place.’”

With more Americans being given the option to continue working remotely or retire earlier than expected, vacation style homes are even becoming year-round options. The NAHB explains:

“Remote work arrangements have made it possible for… Americans to move to alternate locations that are not just small, suburban shifts from within their current metro area.  More fundamentally, second home demand may also be benefitting by an acceleration of retirement plans, as well as stock market gains.”

If you own a home on Cape and have been thinking about selling, now is a great time to take advantage of today’s very full buyer pool. Buyers should know that the process generally takes approximately 45 days from accepted offer to close; perfect timing for vacation to start!

Let’s connect at 508-568-8191 or msennott@todayrealestate.com to discuss your options. Helping our clients make the best decisions for their individual situations has been our full time job for more than 20 years. Let’s talk soon…

Don’t wish for it; go for it!

Mari and Hank

Hold Up on Home Repairs

Many homeowners often feel they need to get their houses ready to put on the market by making updates to make them more appealing. But, with so many buyers currently competing for available properties, renovations may not be as vital as they might have been in other times.

Here are two thoughts to consider if you’re currently sitting on the sidelines, because of an overly aggressive to-do list.

1. There aren’t enough homes for sale right now.

A normal market has a 6-month supply of houses for sale, but today’s housing inventory sits far below that benchmark. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), there’s only a 1.9-month supply of homes available today. As a result, buyer competition is high and homes can be on the market for about 21 days or fewer during which time many receive multiple offers from hopeful buyers.

It’s not unusual on Cape Cod right now for a home to be listed in MLS mid-week with showings and/or open houses scheduled through the weekend. By Monday, an offer is accepted, often for more than the asking price.

So, in a competitive market that’s moving so quickly, it makes sense to sell your house when buyers are scooping homes up as fast as they’re being listed. Spending costly time and money on renovations before you sell might mean you’ll miss your key window of opportunity. While certain repairs on your house may be important, your best move right now is to consult with real estate professionals — like Mari Sennott and Associates — to determine which improvements are truly necessary, and which ones aren’t likely to be deal-breakers.

It may be wise, for example, to let future homeowners remodel the bathroom or the kitchen to make design decisions that are best for their specific taste and lifestyle.

As a seller, your dollars and time might be better spent working on small cosmetic updates — like refreshing some paint and power washing the exterior — instead of over-investing in your home with upgrades that the buyers may change anyway.

Today, many buyers are more willing to take on home improvement projects in order to get the home they’re after, even if it means putting in a little extra work.

2. Focus on getting a good return on your investment.

When planning any bigger projects to tackle, you need to consider the potential return on your investment and if those projects are worth the cost. Some homes do need a kitchen or bathroom renovation, roof repairs, or other major work, but definitely not all. You can also price your home to reflect the fact that work is needed.

Ideally, homeowners getting ready to move should try to avoid over-investing in big renovations, if they won’t make that money back when they sell their house. You may find out that putting your house on the market “as-is” will help you sell quickly, and it may result in the best return on your investment.

Since we’re in a strong sellers’ market, you have the leverage to market your house on your terms. Let’s connect to determine if renovating is really the best way to spend your time and money before you sell. Helping out clients make the best decisions for their individual situations has been out full time job for 21 years. Please let us know how we can help you. Talk soon…

Don’t wish for it; go for it!

Mari and Hank

How to be a Competitive Buyer

With competition the name of the game in today’s housing market, the info graphic below offers some tips on how to be ready when you decide to make your move.

Having a pre-approval letter from a reputable lender is an absolute necessity when you begin your search. If you find a home that you love, precious time can be lost while waiting for the document — especially on weekends — giving others an opportunity to make their offers and possibly seal the deal.

It’s also important to be clear about what your new home absolutely needs to have and what you would like. You may want three bathrooms, for example, but will 1.5 and outside shower suffice?

Finally, patience is a virtue and you may need a bunch as you search for your new home. Open Houses are busy; multiple offers are more the norm than the exception, and you may lose out once our twice before find the home that has been waiting for you.

To help you with your search, we’re happy to offer the Spring edition of our Buyers Guide. Please click here to receive your copy.

… and let’s talk about your options. Helping our clients make the best decisions for their individual situations has been our full time job for 21 years. Let’s connect at 508-568-8191 or msennott@todayrealestate.com. We’re happy to help…

Don’t wish for it; go for it!

Mari and Hank

Some Highlights

Are There Going to Be More Homes to Buy This Year?

If you’re looking for a home to purchase right now and having trouble finding one, you’re not alone. At a time like this when there are so few houses for sale, it’s normal to wonder if you’ll actually ever find one. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), across the country — and here on Cape Cod — inventory of available homes for sale is at an all-time low – the lowest point recorded since NAR began tracking this metric in 1982. There are, however, more homes expected to hit the market later this year. Let’s break down the three key places they’ll likely come from as 2021 continues on.

1. Homeowners Who Didn’t Sell Last Year

In 2020, many sellers decided to pause their moving plans for a number of different reasons. From health concerns about the pandemic to financial uncertainty, plenty of homeowners decided not to make their move move last year.

Now that vaccines are being distributed and there’s a light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel, it should bring some peace of mind to many potential sellers. As Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.comnotes:

“Fortunately for would-be homebuyers, we expect sellers to return to the market as we see improvement in the economy and progress against the coronavirus.”

Many of the homeowners who decided not to sell in 2020 will enter the market later this year as they begin to feel more comfortable showing their house in person, understanding their financial situation, and simply having more security in life.

2. More New Homes Will Be Built

Last year was a strong year for home builders, and according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), 2021 is expected to be even better:

“For 2021, NAHB expects ongoing growth for single-family construction. It will be the first year for which total single-family construction will exceed 1 million starts since the Great Recession.”

With more houses being built in many markets around the country, homeowners looking for new homes that meet their changing needs will be able to move into their dream homes. When they sell their current houses, this will create opportunities for those looking to find a home that’s already built to do so. It sets a simple chain reaction in motion for hopeful buyers.

3. Those Impacted Financially by the Economic Crisis

Many experts don’t anticipate a large wave of foreclosures coming to the market, given the forbearance options afforded to current homeowners throughout the pandemic. Some homeowners who have been impacted economically will, however, need to move this year. There are also homeowners who didn’t take advantage of the forbearance option or were already in a foreclosure situation before the pandemic began. In those cases, homeowners may decide to sell their houses instead of going into the foreclosure process, especially given the equity in homes today. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR, explains:

“Given the huge price gains recently, I don’t think many homes will have to go to foreclosure…I think homes will just be sold, and there will be cash left over for the seller, even in a distressed situation. So that’s a bit of a silver lining in that we don’t expect a massive sale of distressed properties.”

It looks like we’re going to have an increase in the number of homes for sale in 2021. With fears of the pandemic starting to ease, new homes being built, and more listings coming to the market prior to foreclosure, there’s hope if you’re planning to buy this year. And if you’re thinking of selling and making a move, doing so while demand for your house is high might create an outstanding move-up option for you.

…and sellers remember: as the market loosens up, competition will increase potentially making your home less valuable than it is right now.

So, let’s connect today to see how you can benefit from the opportunities available on Cape Cod whether you’re looking to buy, sell or both.

Don’t wish for it; go for it!

Mari and Hank

msennott@todayrealestate.com hsennott@todayrealestate.com

Is It Time to Make Your Move?

It’s pretty clear that people who were planning on making their move in 2021 are pumping the breaks. What else can explain the limited inventory on Cape Cod and elsewhere, even though demand is at record levels? There are lines at open houses and multiple offers seem to be more the norm than exception.

Potential sellers may be concerned about the effects of the virus crisis. Or unemployment rates. Or wondering where they can move after selling their property. Or maybe the timing just doesn’t feel right.

But the question is: are they missing out on a great opportunity?

In today’s housing market, all eyes are on millennials. Not only are millennials the largest generation, they’re also currently between 25 and 40 years old. These are often considered prime home buying years when many people begin to form their own households and invest in real estate. Many millennials, who are spending more time at home these days, have also discovered a need for more space or upgraded features, making moving more desirable than ever.

For millennials, who already own a home, there’s a great opportunity to move up in 2021. Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.comexplains:

“Older millennials will be trade-up buyers with many having owned their first homes long enough to see substantial equity gains.”

We recently worked with a couple, who fits this description. They bought their first home from Mari 10 years ago. (Pictured above.) A three bedroom. two bath Cape on a quiet cul de sac close to highway access to Boston and Providence, it was a perfect first home for them and the young couple who purchased it. We also helped Taylor and Brittany find a new, larger house with more land that better fit their lifestyle and business needs.

Even if you bought a home during the last few years, you may have more equity than you realize, and that’s a big factor to consider when you’re thinking about moving. According to the Homeowner Equity Insights Report from CoreLogic:

“In the third quarter of 2020, the average homeowner gained approximately $17,000 in equity during the past year. This marks the largest average equity gain since the first quarter of 2014.”

Whether you’re looking to upsize, downsize or move to that someday neighborhood, the growing equity you have in your current home can be the driver you’re looking for to fund your next move.

If you’ve put your plans on hold for whatever the reason, let’s connect to shed light on the equity you have in your current home and the opportunities it can create.

Don’t wish for it; go for it!

Mari and Hank

msennott@todayrealestate.com hsennott@todayrealestate.com

Luxury Market is Attracting Buyers

As more people continue to identify their changing needs this year, some are turning to the upscale housing sector on Cape Cod and elsewhere for more space or finer features.

According to the most recent Luxury Market Report, from the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing (ILHM):

“In a snapshot of 2020, despite the devasting effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the luxury real estate market has seen one of its strongest years since 2008. In comparison to experts’ predictions in early 2020, it is remarkable how significant demands for property type, location, and amenity preferences have changed amid the pandemic.”

With more opportunities to work from home and a growing interest in having extra space for things like virtual school, working out, and cooking, the desire to own a house that can meet these needs continues to increase. Additionally, record-low mortgage rates are creating opportunities for buyers to stretch their legs into higher price points or even expand their real estate portfolios. The ILHM report also says:

Experts believe that the demand for exclusive residential properties outside the metropolitan areas will continue well into 2021; even with the introduction of vaccines, the pandemic is far from over.

For those who have moved to the suburbs and beyond, moving back to the city full time is unlikely while the work from home trend remains. Many of these affluent homeowners are now making their secondary properties their primary residences for the foreseeable future.”

If you’re interested in buying a home this year, it appears that some higher-priced areas may have more homes to choose from than those at lower price points. Javier Vivas, Director of Economic Research at realtor.comnotes:

“Interestingly, markets, where new supply is improving the fastest, tend to be higher priced than those that have yet to see improvement, suggesting sellers are more active in the more expensive markets.”

This increased interest creates opportunities for homeowners in the higher priced category, who may have been concerned that there wouldn’t be sufficient demand for their property, because of current economic conditions. As noted above, historically low mortgage interest rates have opened new possibilities for buyers at price points they may not have considered in the past.

We continue to work with buyers from metropolitan areas — like Manhattan, for example — who do not view Cape prices, taxes and fees as out-of-bounds, as more local clients might.

As evidence of this increased interest in luxury homes, real estate companies are abandoning their “Million Dollar Clubs” created years ago to salute agents, who sold property at that price point and beyond. Our company, Today Real Estate, recently replaced the “Million Dollar Club,” with a “Two Million Dollar Club,” at least in part due to the number of recent one million dollar sales

With inventory continuing to be limited, this is a great time to market your Cape Cod home, no matter the price point. Interest remains strong. Buyers are lining up before Open Houses even begin. We helped a colleague at an Open House last weekend that generated 30 offers!

Helping our clients make the best decisions for their individual situations has been our full time job for 21 years, not a part-time hobby. If you’re interested in reviewing your options, let’s connect at 508=568-8191 or msennott@today realestate.com.

Remember: someday isn’t a day of the week. Talk soon…

Don’t wish for it; go for it!

Mari and Hank

The 20% Myth

You’ve been saving for a down payment to buy a home. You know this is the time to take advantage of historically low mortgage interest rates. But, with escalating prices and bidding wars for the limited number of properties currently available, you may be worried that you just don’t have enough money to make a successful offer.

But, hold the phone.

That 20% down payment your Uncle Harry, “who knows a little something about real estate,” has been telling you about????

It hasn’t been true for years!

The reality is — whether you’re looking for your first home or you’ve purchased one before — you most likely don’t need to put 20% down.

Data in the 2020 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) indicates that the median down payment actually hasn’t been over 20% since 2005, and even then, that was for repeat buyers, not first-timers. As the image below shows, today’s median down payment is clearly less than 20%.

Do I Really Need a 20% Down Payment to Buy a Home? | MyKCM

What does this mean for home buyers?

The median down payment was lowest for first-time buyers with the 2020 percentage coming in at 7%. If you’re a first-time buyer and putting down 7% still seems high, understand that there are programs that allow qualified buyers to purchase a home with a down payment as low as 3.5%. There are even options like VA loans and USDA loans with no down payment requirements for qualified applicants.

While it’s likely that you won’t need to put down 20% of the purchase price, you do need to do your homework. Meet with a qualified and reputable lender to review your options before starting your search.

Don’t let the 20% down payment myth keep you from hitting your home ownership goals. If you’re hoping to buy a home this year, let’s connect to review the possibilities. If you don’t know a qualified lender, we can offer some suggestions.

Let’s talk soon…

Don’t wish for it; go for it!

Mari and Hank

msennott@todayrealestate.com – 508-568-8191

What the Record Low Housing Inventory Means for You

We’re sure that by now you’re keenly aware that the number of homes available for sale on Cape Cod is at a record low.

But, it’s not just here. It’s a national phenomenon. In fact, inventory has been steadily dropping across the country as buyers — inspired at least in part by the virus crisis — have decided that the time to make their move is now.

As buyers snapped up homes and condos in 2020, often for over asking price and without home inspections, a sufficient number of properties did not come on line to meet continuing demand.

Right now on Cape, there are around 500 homes available for purchase. Typically, there’s three times that amount!

So what does this mean?

Thinking of buying?

If you’re a buyer, remember low inventory doesn’t mean no inventory. Be patient during your search, as It may take time to find a home you love. Once you do, be ready to move forward quickly. Get pre-approved for a mortgage; be prepared to make a competitive offer from the start, and know that a shortage in inventory could mean you’ll enter a bidding war. Calculate just how far you’re willing to go to secure a home.

Thinking of selling?

In some ways, you’re in the driver’s seat. When there’s a shortage of anything at the same time there’s a strong demand for it, the seller is in a good position to negotiate the best possible terms. Whether it’s price, moving date, possible repairs, or anything else, you’ll be able to request more from a potential purchaser at a time like this – especially if you have multiple offers. But, don’t be unreasonable or seen as greedy. Interested buyers will walk away.

Is the current economic and/or health situation keeping you on the sidelines? Please check out the latest edition of Hank’s video series “Let’s Meet for Coffee,” where he responds to some of those concerns. You can also review some of our recent posts that delve into this subject.

Any questions? Let’s connect at 508-568-8191 or msennott@todayrealestate.com. We’ll be happy to help you review your options. This is not the time to go it alone, or simply take the advice of a relative or good friend who “knows a little something” about the housing market.

Demand will remain strong throughout 2021. It’s important that you know what that means for you, whether you’re buying, selling, or doing both.

Don’t wish for it; go for it!

Mari and Hank

Is 2021 The Year You Make Your Move?

We know that many people had 2021 circled on their calendars as the year they were going to make a move in the real estate market.

For some, maybe it’s finally time to get a bigger home to accommodate a growing family. For others, it’s time to downsize now that the kids are gone. Or, a rarely used second home has become a drain on finances.

If you’re hesitating, consumer sentiment about selling today should boost your confidence. Even with the current health crisis continuing to challenge the country, Americans still feel good about selling or buying a house.

According to the latest Home Purchase Sentiment Index from Fannie Mae, 57% of consumer respondents to their survey indicate now is a good time to buy a home, while 59% feel it’s a good time to sell one.

Why is now a good time to sell?

There simply are not enough homes available to meet today’s buyer demand, and they’re selling just as quickly as they’re coming to the market. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), unsold inventory available today sits at a 2.3-month supply at the current sales pace, which is down from a 2.5-month supply from the previous month. This record-low inventory is not even half of what we need for a normal or neutral housing market, which should have a six month supply of unsold inventory to balance out.

Here on Cape, the months supply of inventory for single-family homes has dipped below two months.

With so few homes available for buyers to choose from, we’re in a true sellers’ market. Homeowners ready to make a move right now have the opportunity to negotiate the best possible contracts with buyers, who are feeling the pull of intense competition.

However, this sweet spot for sellers won’t last forever. As more homes are listed this year, this tip toward sellers may start to wane. According to Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.commore choices for buyers are on the not-too-distant horizon:

“The bright spot for buyers is that more homes are likely to become available in the last six months of 2021. That should give folks more options to choose from and take away some of their urgency. With a larger selection, buyers may not be forced to make a decision in mere hours and will have more time to make up their minds.”

So, if you’re ready to make your move, you can feel positive about the current sentiment in the market.

Helping our clients make the best decisions for their individual situations 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 determine the best next step when it comes to selling or buying a home this year.


With the market remaining active as the virus crisis continues, we’ve gone back into the archives to share with you a video piece we did last year about safe home inspections.

Safety remains our number one priority when it comes to helping you buy or sell your home. For more information about our safety procedures and those of Today Real Estate, please reach out. Thanks.

Don’t wish for it; go for it!

Mari and Hank