Tag Archives: todayrealestate

Think Strategically as a Buyer in Current Market

The game of chess can provide incredible lessons to apply to all aspects of life, including the homebuying process. Chess requires you to plan and think about your strategy from the very beginning of the game.

The homebuying process, like chess, requires strategy and planning. Here are a few things to keep in mind to ensure your plan is as strong as possible when you begin your home search.

Pre-Approval: the Best Opening Play To Make as a Homebuyer

It’s important to have a great opening play when you’re buying a home. And the best move you can make when you begin your home search is getting pre-approved by a lender. You’ve probably already heard this is an important step, but what exactly is pre-approval and what benefits does it provide you?

The pre-approval letter from a lender tells you the maximum amount you are qualified to borrow. Receiving a pre-approval letter is not a loan guarantee, it simply states how much a lender might be willing to lend you.

And while determining how much you can afford at the start of your search is critical, the pre-approval letter also serves another important purpose. 

It helps you set a budget for your search and allows you to look for a home in your price range with confidence. The pre-approval also demonstrates to sellers that you are serious.

We — and most other real estate professionals — advise our seller clients to be careful with offers that are not accompanied by pre-approval letters.

So, in terms of chess, a pre-approval letter is a strong opening move.

Homebuying: It’s a Team Game, Not a Single-Player Experience

Every step you take to create your strategy as a buyer is important in today’s market. Why? Mortgage rates are still low, but increasing. Prices are going up. There’s a limited supply of homes for sale. These are just a few key variables in today’s market you need to be prepared for.

That means leaning on expert guidance as you plan every move is more important than ever. Have a team of professionals – like your trusted real estate agent and a loan officer – working with you every step of the way to help you make make the right moves.

If you have questions about the home buying process or need recommendations for reputable lenders, we’d be happy to help. Let’s connect at 508-360-5664 or msennott@todayrealestate.com. Talk soon….

Have a great week…

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

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

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

The Spring Real Estate Market Starts Now!

With stay-at-home orders being lifted in New England and throughout the country, data indicates that homebuyers are charging back into the market. After many families put their plans on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, what we once called the busy spring real estate season is shifting into the summer.

Joel KanEconomist at The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) notes:

“Applications for home purchases continue to recover from April’s sizable drop and have now increased for five consecutive weeks…Government purchase applications, which include FHA, VA, and USDA loans, are now 5 percent higher than a year ago, which is an encouraging turnaround after the weakness seen over the past two months.”

Additionally, according to Google Trends, which scores search terms online, searches for real estate increased from 68 points the week of March 15th to 92 points last week. More potential homebuyers are looking for homes virtually.

What’s the Opportunity for Buyers?

Another reason buyers are coming back to the market, even with forced unemployment, is historically low mortgage rates. According to Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac :

“For the fourth consecutive week, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has been below 3.30 percent, giving potential buyers a good reason to continue shopping even amid the pandemic…As states reopen, we’re seeing purchase demand improve remarkably fast, now essentially flat relative to a year ago.”

With mortgage rates at such low levels and the outlines of the next normal becoming clearer, there’s more incentive than ever to buy a home this summer.

What’s the Opportunity for Sellers?

Finding a home to buy remains a challenge, as many sellers removed listings from the market in April. Even though more people are starting to market their homes fthis month as compared to last, current inventory is still well below last year’s level.

According to last week’s Weekly Economic and Housing Market Update from realtor.com:

“Weekly Housing Inventory showed continued tightening. New Listings declined 28% compared with a year ago, as sellers grappled with uncertainty and hesitated bringing homes to market. Total Listings dropped 20% YoY, a faster rate than in prior weeks, leaving very few homes available for sale. As Time on Market was 15 days slower YoY, asking prices moved up 1.5% YoY.”

If you’re thinking of selling your home now may be your best opportunity. With fewer properties on the market than in the past, this season may be the time for your house to stand out from the crowd. If you assume a 45 day period to complete a transaction, buyers who purchase a home in the next few weeks will be on Cape to still enjoy the summer.

Let’s connect either virtually or at a safe distance to make sure that your house in on the action this summer. We’re available at 508-568-8191 or msennott@todayrealestate.com.


For those you who may be on the fence about selling, here’s another reason why the Cape housing market could be hot this summer.

According to a story this past Saturday on the Today Show, city residents, who can work remotely, are considering moving to more quiet surroundings after being stuck in high rises and clogged neighborhoods during the pandemic.

Here’s a link to the story: More People Considering Moving Out Of Expensive Cities If They Can Work Remotely


Many of the gloom and doomers, who were predicting back in early April the worst for homeowners, failed to take into account the large number of Americans, who actually owned their homes free and clear or had substantial equity in their property.

With demand high and inventory low, sellers stand to realize top dollar for their homes. Couple this with significant equity, they are in a strong position to purchase the home they’ve always wanted or the vacation spot that they’ve been dreaming about.

Let us know how we can help…

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:

http://hometeamadvantagetoday.com/spring2020

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

Where’s your home office?

Where are you working at home?

For those of us who have jobs that allow us to work remotely, the swift decision to move to online operations was relatively easy to implement. Many of us have designated spaces in our homes that we use as offices. It could be an actual room; a desk in the extra bedroom, or an area in our basement.

For those who suddenly found themselves working remotely for the first time, the transition may have been more problematic.  Home computers or laptops may not be as powerful as the one on the desk in work. The “home office” might be the kitchen or dining room table shared with children doing school work.

The number of people working at home has grown dramatically since 2004.

Why Home Office Space Is More Desirable Than Ever | Keeping Current Matters

This increase – coupled with our coronavirus experience – has prompted realtor.com to suggest that:

“For housing, the continued increase in the share of remote workers implies that demand for homes with offices or dedicated work spaces will continue to increase. The current coronavirus pandemic offers a dramatic indication of the fact that companies and employees will have to develop plans and clearer policies for remote work beyond the current crisis.”

Some key elements of a home office include bright natural light with large window; built-in bookshelves, or a quiet and secluded area. If your home does not have a space appropriate for a home office, you might consider creating something for yourself now and as a selling point to potential buyers when you decide it’s time to market your house.

Remote work may become more widely accepted as this current crisis teaches businesses about what it takes to function virtually. We know of one local company that has already decided to issue new hires a laptop and other equipment so they can work remotely.

So, what seems like a business challenge today may be more of the norm tomorrow. With that in mind, if you have a home office, your house may be more desirable to buyers than you think.


As you know, we dedicate a portion of the proceeds from each of our closings to a non-profit organization.  From our closing last week, we decided to provide Saturday night dinner for the members of the Sandwich Fire and Police Departments.  With the virus, these men and women are putting their health on the line every time they respond to a call that requires them to enter someone’s home.

Thanks to JD’s Burger Company in Sandwich, one of our favorite take out places, for cooking up a great meal. Please support them and all the restaurants that are staying open. Their employees need jobs to return to when we get back to normal life.


We’re working at home and remain available to answer any questions you may have about the housing market now and where we may be headed over the next few months. Please contact us at 508-568-8191 or msennott@todayrealestate.com. Thanks…

Stay healthy; stay optimistic…

Mari and Hank

Website: www.makeyourmovewithmari.com

 

 

A Week to Remember

This past week was a special one for Mari Sennott and Associates and Today Real Estate itself.

At an event held at the Chatham Bars Inn on Thursday (1/30), company management revealed our new logo; related promotional and sales material, and operating principles that are known as the “Home Team Advantage.”

Why the Home Team Advantage?

Today Real Estate is the leading locally owned and family run real estate firm on Cape Cod. This gives us an intimate understanding of the local market; we live and work here.

We also have state-of-the-art technology that facilitates matching buyers and sellers. Our mission as an organization is to provide unparalleled service…for unsurpassed results.

We were pleased to be recognized Thursday night as #4 in our company  (out of 100 agents at four locations) for total number of transactions, as well as total dollar volume of sales.

We frequently use the hashtags #whoyouworkwithmatters and #localrealtorslocalknowledge in our social media postings.

It’s one way to acknowledge that the days of just sticking a For Sale sign in the ground and waiting for buyers to show up are gone. Also passe is sending clients out by themselves to Open Houses and telling them “let me know if you find anything.” Our business has changed and  successful real estate professionals and companies — like Mari Sennott and Associates and Today Real Estate — have updated their approach in response.

If you’re thinking of making a change in your living situation, please contact us at 508-568-8191 or msennott@todayrealestate.com. We’d be happy to help you sift through your options and explain why Mari Sennott & Associates and  Today Real Estate’s “Home Team Advantage” is a wise choice.


According to preliminary data released by the Cape Cod & Islands Association of REALTORS® (CCIAOR) for 2019, median sale prices rose by 2.5% Cape-wide, for a year-end median sale price of $410,000, while inventory dropped 18.4% from 2018.  Closed sales were nearly flat (-0.5%).

More on this and what it means for Cape homeowners soon…

Enjoy your week.

Mari and Hank

 

Introducing Our New Logo!

 

 

We’re excited to share with you our new logo.

 

It’s a concrete signal to our customers, clients, and friendly competitors that real estate is more than something we dabble in. It’s not a part time job for us, but a full time commitment to provide the best advice and customer service possible for those who choose to make their move with Mari.

 

Mari Sennott and Associates is our business.  We’re passionate about helping people reach their Cape Cod real estate goals. Whether you’re a first time home buyer, looking to up size, or maybe move to something a little smaller. we’re here to team with you.

 

Contact us via the comment section or by calling 508-568-8191. We’d be happy to meet with you.

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Our new logo was designed by Jennifer Adler of Survival by Design.

 

Jenn and Hank worked together in the Communications Department at United Way of Rhode Island.  Hank left UWRI in 2008, but has continued to work with Jenn on a number of design projects, including several for Enel Green Power North America, a division of Italy’s Enel Green Power, where he was head of external relations and communications.

 

She’s very talented and creative with experience in a number of areas. (Jenn also has a cool line of greeting cards that are not your typical Hallmark store variety.)

 

Please check out her work at www.survivalbydesign.net.

 

We highly recommend her.

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Whether you are thinking of selling your house or buying a home, today’s real estate headlines can be confusing – perhaps even concerning. What is actually happening with mortgage rates? Are home values dropping or are they just rising at a slower pace? What impact will the economy have on the housing market?

 

According to industry resource KCM, if you are a buyer or seller (or both), you need to know what it will mean to your family if you go ahead with the move. You need to understand three things:

 

  1. What is happening in the housing market right now?

You must get past those fear-mongering headlines and gain a deep understanding of what is truly happening. How strong is buyer demand right now? How much competition do listings have today compared to what they will have in the spring? People want to make an educated decision on what is probably their family’s greatest financial asset.

 

  1. Why is it happening?

Understanding the individual pieces that impact the sale or purchase of real estate is important. Understanding how those pieces impact each other is critical. How does the amount of a down payment impact the mortgage rate you will be offered? Can you still price your house a ‘little ahead’ of the market and still be sure it will sell?

 

  1. How do the first two affect your local market?

Basically, you want an understanding of the overall housing market and a simple and effective explanation of how it will impact your personal real estate goals.

 

The best way to get answers to all three is to contact knowledgeable real estate professionals in your area (like Mari Sennott and Associates!) who understand the shifting real estate market and can expertly guide you on the journey to reach your housing goals.

 

We’re here to help…

 

Enjoy your week

Mari and Hank

Home Sale Prices Reach an All-Time High

   It continues to be a sellers market on Cape Cod.

According to initial data just made available by the Cape Cod & Islands Association of Realtors (CCIAOR), the median sale price for single family homes hit an all-time high in July: $439,700.

In July 2017, the median sale price for a single family home was $379,950.

That’s an increase of almost $60,000!

Year to date, 2,223 single family homes have been sold on Cape for a median price of $422,500. In 2017, 2,429 single family homes were sold with a median sale price of $389,000. (A $33,500 difference.)

While the market is always changing, homeowners should be having serious conversations about whether they want to take advantage of these record high prices.

September and October is a busy time for hiring and potential job transfers. Families return from vacation, schools reopen and work resumes its normal routine. Personnel managers are more available for interviews and applicant screening.

Fall is also the time when potential buyers, who are looking to be settled in their new homes by the holidays, begin to look in earnest.

If you’re thinking that now might be the time to sell your home, we’d happy be to sit down with you and discuss options. Just contact us via the comment section or call 508-568-8191.

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With school re-opening, children will again be standing on sidewalks and street corners waiting for the bus. They don’t always pay attention, so it’s important to be vigilant, especially on side streets where maybe we’ve become accustomed to driving a little quicker since June.

If your schedule allows it, this is also the time to contact your local school to see what the needs may be for volunteers, guest readers, or tutors.

It’s a great way to meet your community’s dedicated teachers and interact with our very curious younger generation,

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When writing about the Tom Ferry Success Summit that we attended in California, we told you about the Realtors, who were killed in a private plane crash on their way to the conference.

Ferry and his wife, Kathy, committed to match the proceeds from the sale of event tee-shirts on the first day of Summit with the funds sent to the victims’ families.

With the Ferry match, $23,000 is being donated; hopefully in some way helping loved ones through a difficult time.

Mari and Hank