Tag Archives: #zillowpremieragent

IS FSBO the Way to Go?

There has been an ever so slight increase in the number of properties available for sale on Cape Cod.

No doubt some of this up tick is due to the start of the traditional “spring market.” It’s probably also safe to also assume that with more people becoming vaccinated, homeowners — who were sitting on the sidelines because of health concerns — are now getting into the game.

Not surprisingly, there’s also been a slight increase in the number of FSBOs or For Sale by Owners. Given the large number of buyers and limited inventory, selling your home yourself may sound easy. But, while everyone knows somebody, who knows somebody, who sold property on their own, the process has never been a walk in the park. And it’s more complicated today than ever.

Here are a few reasons why it’s important to have a real estate professional — like Mari Sennott and Associates — guide you through the selling process.

1. Your Safety

Your safety should always come first, and that’s more crucial than ever given the virus crisis. When you sell property on your own, it is incredibly difficult to control entry into your home. In our case, Today Real Estate (TRE) has the proper protocols in place to protect not only your belongings, but your health, too. From regulating the number of people in your home at one time to ensuring proper sanitization during and after a showing, we’re equipped to follow the latest standards.

2. A Powerful Online Strategy Is a Must to Attract a Buyer

Recent studies from NAR have shown that, even before COVID-19, the first step 43% of all buyers took when looking for a home was to search online. Throughout the process, that number jumps to 97%. Today, those numbers have grown exponentially. Along with TRE, we’ve developed a strong internet and social media strategy to promote the sale of your house.

3. There Are Too Many Negotiations

Here are just a few of the people you’ll need to negotiate with if you decide to be a FSBO:

  • The buyer, who wants the best deal possible
  • The buyer’s agent, who solely represents the best interest of the buyer
  • The inspection company, which works for the buyer and will almost always find challenges with the house
  • The appraiser, if there is a question of value

We know how to negotiate every aspect of the real estate transaction and how to mediate the emotions felt by buyers looking to make what is probably the largest purchase of their lives.

4. You Won’t Know if Your Purchaser Is Qualified for a Mortgage

Having a buyer, who wants to purchase your house, is the first step. Making sure they can afford to buy it is just as important. As a FSBO, it’s almost impossible to be involved in the mortgage process of your buyer. Real estate professionals know the appropriate questions to ask about financing. You need someone who’s working with lenders every day to guarantee that your buyer makes it to the closing table.

5. You Net More Money When Using a Professional

Many homeowners think they’ll save real estate commission by selling on their own.

study by Collateral Analytics revealed that FSBOs don’t actually save anything by forgoing the help of a professional. In some cases, the seller may even net less money from the sale. The study found the difference in price between a FSBO and an agent-listed home was an average of 6%.

One of the main reasons for the price difference is effective exposure. The more buyers who view a home, the greater the chance for a bidding war that could potentially driving up the final price for your home.

Our experience is anecdotal, but we’ve noticed with the few FSBOs that we have been in contact with lately that they are leaving money on the table. Offers are being quickly accepted even though our clients — and presumably others — are interested in submitting bids. There are also no Open Houses being held that would bring greater attention and competition.


Listing on your own leaves you to manage the entire process by yourself. People selling property on their own usually don’t have the background or experience to manage Open Houses that attract lines of potential buyers and generate multiple offers that require careful review, especially when buyers seem to be very willing to offer over list price.

If you’re thinking about selling your property on your own, please contact us before making your final decision. We can show you how working with professionals — like Mari Sennott and Associates — is your best move when marketing your home.

Let’s talk soon…

Mari and Hank

msennott@todayrealestate.com – 508-568-8191

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

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

Employment and the Housing Market

The virus crisis has financially impacted many of our friends, neighbors, and family.

For some, it has been positive as working remotely has meant more time at home, as well as money saved in travel and other business related expenses.

For others, the impact has been negative as hours have been cut or jobs lost, particularly in the hotel, restaurant, retail, and entertainment areas. (As we know all too well living on Cape Cod.)

Nonetheless, the real estate market here had a record setting 2020. As we start the year, we’re still seeing strong buyer demand, but inventory is at an all time low as potential sellers remain reluctant to market their homes.

If you’ve been thinking about making a move, but concerns about employment and the economy are holding you back, here’s what you should know…

Earlier this month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released their most recent Jobs Report that revealed the economy lost 140,000 jobs in December. That’s a devastating number and dramatically impacts those households that lost a source of income.

However, we need to give it some context. As Greg Ip, Chief Economics Commentator at the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), explains:

“The economy is probably not slipping back into recession. The drop was induced by new restrictions on activity as the pandemic raged out of control.”

More importantly, according to Michael Feroli, Chief Economist at JP Morgan/Chase:

“The good news … is that outside the hopefully temporary hit to the food service industry, the rest of the labor market appears to be holding on despite the latest public health challenges.”

Some are concerned that with millions of Americans unemployed, we may see distressed properties (foreclosures and short sales) dominate the housing market once again. Rick Sharga, Executive Vice President at RealtyTrac, along with most other experts, doesn’t believe that will be the case:

“There are reasons to be cautiously optimistic despite massive unemployment levels and uncertainty about government policies under the new Administration. But while anything is possible, it’s highly unlikely that we’ll see another foreclosure tsunami or housing market crash.”

As someone thinking about selling, what can you expect over the next few weeks and months?

For the households that lost a wage earner, there’s no denying that these are extremely difficult times. Hopefully, a new stimulus package will help the situation. With the health crisis improving as more vaccinations become available, the expectation is that the job market will also progress significantly.

If you’re contemplating selling, it’s important to remember that while the economy has been unkind to some, most have kept their jobs and income. We have now worked with several clients who — frustrated at not being able to find property on Cape — have bought in communities like Rochester, Randolph and Fairhaven.

Although not the Cape, these and other similar communities offer many of the same attributes including less congestion, more open space and access to recreation, while being close enough to Boston and Providence for those who may still may need to go to the office every now and then.

So the question for Cape home owners is this: is it time for you to realize a solid return on your real estate investment while interest in your home is strong?

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 would like to review your options, let’s connect at 508-568-8191 or msennott@todayrealestate.com. Talk soon…

Don’t wish for it; go for it!

Mari and Hank

Pricing Your House Right in 2021

Even in the current sellers’ market, pricing strategy is important for the successful and efficient sale of your home.

Your goal should be to increase visibility and drive more buyers your way. Instead of trying to win the negotiation with one buyer, you should be looking to list your home so that demand is maximized and more buyers want to take a look.

As a seller in today’s market, you might be tempted to price your house on the high end, since so many are searching harder than ever to find a home to purchase. But here’s the thing – a high price tag does not mean you’re going to cash in big. It’s actually more likely to deter buyers.

Why It’s Important to Price Your House Right Today | MyKCM

Even with inventory limited on Cape Cod and elsewhere, your house is more likely to sit on the market longer if it isn’t priced right from the very beginning. Unrealistic prices lead to “price improvements” and what can be appear to be too much time on the market raising questions about “what’s wrong” with the property.

When you price your home competitively from the start, you’ll likely have multiple buyers competing for the house, potentially increasing the final sale price.

Here’s another reason to realistically price your home. We’ve worked with several buyers over the last many weeks, who contacted us about property on the Cape. When they became discouraged because of tight inventory and/or unrealistic prices, they moved their search back over the bridges.

We’ve shown property in places as far off Cape as Fairhaven and currently have sales pending in Rochester and Randolph with offers made in a few more communities.

With buyer interest in the Cape remaining strong, now’s the time to maximize the return on your investment in your home.

Helping our clients make the best decisions when selling their homes 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 discuss a pricing and marketing strategy that’s right for your home.


More predictions for 2021

We shared with you last week industry predictions for the 2021 market.

Here are direct quotes from some of the more respected experts in the field..

“In 2021, I think rates will be similar or modestly higher, maybe 3%…So, mortgage rates will continue to be historically favorable.” – Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist, National Association of Realtors.

“We expect sales to grow 7 percent and prices to rise another 5.7 percent on top of 2020’s already high levels.” – Danielle Haille, Chief Economist, realtor.com

Mortgage rates are expected to remain low for the foreseeable future and millennials will continue forming households, keeping demand robust, even if income growth moderates. Despite the best intentions of home builders to provide more housing supply, the big short in housing supply will continue into 2021 and likely keep house price appreciation flying high.” – Mark Fleming, Chief Economist, First American

So, what are you waiting for? Whether buying, selling, or both, there’s no reason to hesitate about making your move in 2021!

Please let us know how we can help. Thanks…

Stay healthy. Stay optimistic.

Mari and Hank

What to Expect in 2021

With the New Year just a few days away, let’s take a look at what we can expect from the real estate market in 2021.

The graphic below summarizes some of the major expectations for the year ahead.

The big takeaways?

If you were planning on making your move in 2021, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t. Mortgage interest rates are expected to remain low and values will continue to appreciate.

If you’re still on the sidelines because of safety concerns related to the virus, you should talk to a real estate professional — hopefully Mari Sennott and Associates — about precautions that have been used successfully for the last several months that helped the market set all time records.

With more people being vaccinated as the year rolls on, it’s safe to assume that additional buyers will be entering the fray. So, if you’ve been holding off selling, you don’t want to wait much longer, as the competition is sure to increase.

This also remains a good time to buy. While prices may be a higher, the cost of borrowing is still historically low putting you in a solid position to purchase that first home, second home, or investment property.

2021 Housing Forecast [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

We already have 11 “under contract” heading into 2021. Statistically, the average agent has three for the year!

If you’re ready to make your move or want to discuss your options, let’s connect at 508-568-8191 or msennott@todayrealestate.com. 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 talk soon…

To help you get the process underway, we hope you’ll order one of our free guides whether you’re a buyer or a seller. (Or both!)

You can find them at our secondary website – Real Estate with Mari and Hank Sennott. Just fill out the order form and the guide will be emailed to you.

Author C.S. Lewis (1893 – 1963) wasn’t thinking of 2020 when he wrote “there are far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” But, his words do apply to a year that we bid a not especially fond farewell to.

We wish you a happy and safe New Year’s celebration. May your goals become reality in 2021.

Stay healthy. Stay optimistic.

Mari and Hank

Lessons Learned from a Thanksgiving Open House

We hosted an Open House this past Friday at a cute, three bedroom, one bath home in Yarmouth with central AC, a new interior paint job and beach rights. It was appropriately priced in the below $300,000 range.

When we arrived shortly before the 12:30pm start, there were potential buyers already lined up. And they didn’t stop coming. By 2:30pm, when the Open House ended, more than 35 separate groups had toured the home.

By Saturday’s 7:00pm deadline, we had multiple offers, Not surprising, the one that was accepted was for over asking price.

For sellers, who continue to sit on the sidelines, the lesson is clear. What are you waiting for? Our experience Friday was no different than many of our colleagues at their Open Houses. In fact, Mari accompanied a client to an Open House yesterday where there was another large crowd.

Buyers are active, interested, pre-approved, and in many cases aggressive. As Jeff Tucker from Zillow notes below waiting to sell is a potential money loser.

For buyers, the lesson is not to be discouraged.

Recent data from the National Association of Realtors indicates that 62% of buyers now spend 3 months or more looking for a home, an increase from 58% one year ago. A primary cause for the delay is the heavy competition today’s buyers face when making an offer on a home. The average house in today’s market receives 3.4 offers before it’s sold. This means for every buyer who purchases a home, two or three buyers have to begin their search all over again.

Experts anticipate home prices will continue to increase into 2021, and the incredibly low interest rates we’ve seen this year are also forecasted to rise as the economy strengthens. Potential homebuyers, who decide to hold off on their search until there’s less competition, run the risk of finding a more expensive housing market when they start looking again. If affordability is a key motivator behind your decision to buy a home, this winter is still the best time to make it happen.

The most important lesson from the current real estate market is that whether you’re thinking about buying or selling, playing the waiting game is a losing proposition.

Helping our clients make the best decisions has been our full time job for 21 years, not a part time hobby. If you’re ready to review your options, please contact us at 508-568-8191 or msennott@todayrealestate.com. Talk soon…


Tomorrow is Giving Tuesday, an opportunity for us to support our non-profits that are playing an even larger role than usual in supporting our community.

Local food pantries have been especially challenged as people, who never needed help before, have turned to them to put food on the table. We’re regular donors to the Sandwich Food Pantry. We also support the Cape and Island United Way, where Mari chairs a grant review committee.

These organizations — and so many others across the Cape — continue to need our help as we head into the holidays and a predicted spike in virus cases.

Tomorrow, please consider supporting any non-profit that is close to your heart. They help many more of your friends and neighbors than you realize. Thanks.

Stay healthy. Stay optimistic.

Mari and Hank