Just in time to take advantage of the "Ahhhh Season" on Cape Cod. Cape Codders think September and October are the best months. What better way to celebrate than with your own little place to plop? Check out this adorable, fully furnished and sophisticated space. Use it for yourself, rent it out, house the in-laws, au pair or overflow guests. So many possibilities. Call or text me at 617-637-6711 to view in person.
Some deserving Cape Cod homeowners will get much-needed home repairs when an army of volunteers descends on Harwich later this month. "The Big Fix" works with the Housing Assistance Corporation of Cape Cod to identify needy homeowners having trouble maintaining their properties, according to Anne Van Vleck, Corporate Development Officer. "It's seniors, military veterans and the disabled who need the help most" says Van Vleck. Van Vleck says interested homeowners go through an application process to determine income eligibility and need. "The homeowners are tremendously moved and grateful for the help they get during The Big Fix".
In prior years, The Big Fix has helped dozens of homeowners in Barnstable, Dennis, Sandwich, Mashpee, Yarmouth, Bourne, Brewster and Falmouth. As many as 275 citizens roll up their sleeves and join teams, depending on their skills. Painting, landscaping, minor carpentry, plumbing and electrical work are among the tasks performed at the homes.
I will join some of my fellow Cape Cod Realtors helping homeowners in Harwich Saturday, September 22. We'll assemble at Monomoy High School and be assigned a team and a property. Corporate Sponsors will provide food and the necessary tools. They also donate funds to the Housing Assistance Corporation for its core mission of helping Cape Codders with housing education and assistance.
To learn more about the Housing Assistance Corporation of Cape Cod, click here. To register as a volunteer for The Big Fix, or to make a donation, go here, and to see a before and after of last year's Big Fix effort in Falmouth, enjoy the video below.
Check out this list of home decor items by state, assembled by Next Day Blinds and published recently on Domino.
Botanicals top the list in Massachusetts. Elsewhere in New England, throw blankets (Connecticut), picture frames (Rhode Island), wall decor (New Hampshire), wall art (Vermont), and prints (Maine) round out the list.
Neighboring New York prefers mirrors most in home decor. Washington likes "jars"of all things, Wyoming seeks lanterns and Alabama covets poufs.
Random items for sure.
While visitors to Cape Cod see the familiar gray shingles that make up the classic Cape home style, homeowners are seeing red. Prices on cedar shingles are up 20 percent, swept up in a trade war between the U.S. and Canada-- the main exporter of cedar.
Tony Shepley of Shepley Wood Products says Cape Cod has the highest concentration of gray shingles in the country. Shingles make up 10 percent of the cost of a new home, Shepley says in an article published on Bloomberg.
Cedar shingles make the perfect siding for coastal homes. They hold up well against the salt air and are naturally insect-resistant. They don't need painting or staining. Put them up and you get 20 years of maintenance-free use on the southern exposure of a home, 30 years on the east and west sides, and 40 years or more on the north face. Plus, they have a look you see only on the coast. Cedar shingles applied away from the ocean weather a streaky brown rather than white/gray.
With prices so high, Shepley predicts some homeowners will turn to manufactured shingles that mimic the shingle look, but are comprised of composite materials or vinyl.
When it comes to putting our remodeling dollars to good use, Massachusetts homeowners prefer tackling their kitchens, according to a google study conducted by the design blog, Pots, Planters and More.
In fact, this infographic created by domino.com shows the entire New England region overwhelmingly loves improving kitchens.
Here is the key.
Some of the findings shouldn't come as any surprise. Homeowners in the desert southwest and California prefer to spend their renovation dollars on creating a backyard oasis. You would think the same would hold true for the Sunshine State of Florida, but no, Floridians want a great bathroom.
How about South Carolinians who are the only Americans focused on renovating their front porch? I think if I lived in South Carolina, I would live on the front porch too.
And what does it say about midwesterners who focus most on the bedroom? Hmmm.
Note also that in Wyoming and Colorado, lands of big sky and mountain peaks, homeowners are going underground to create amazing basements.
On Cape Cod it seems whole house renovations are the most popular project these days. Flush with cash from a big gain in the stock market in 2017, homeowners are taking some of the gain to dig new foundations, replace windows and roofs, and create great bathrooms and yes-- this is Massachusetts, great kitchens too.
For more information on the design study, go to potsplantersandmore.com.
Residential homeowners on the mid- Cape who wish to connect their homes to natural gas can now get on a waiting list. That was the announcement to local real estate agents this morning by Bill Ciocca, National Grid Community Service Manager.
National Grid's enormous, $80 million expansion of the natural gas transmission lines from the Cape Cod bridges to Eastham is three-quarters of the way completed. "When we bought Keyspan Energy, we bought all the assets under the ground, and we didn't even know what they were" said Ciocca. In exploring the system capacity in 2014, National Grid discovered perilously inadequate supply lines, in some places, no more than four-inches in diameter, with an industry standard of twelve inches. The utility immediately shut down new residential and commercial gas installations.
The demand for natural gas on Cape Cod has never been greater, as the Cape switches from oil heat to gas. Recently, the four nor'easters in March that shut down power to 75 percent of Cape Cod spurred a ten-fold increase in inquiries about household generators, according to Ciocca.
There is a lot of confusion about what can and what cannot be hooked up to natural gas as the five-year moratorium continues. Ciocca says if your existing gas meter can handle the BTU demand of a new item such as a firepit, outdoor grill or indoor range, then you can attach that item now. A plumber would be able to tell you if your gas meter can handle the additional BTU load. Generators are heavy natural gas users, and most likely would need to wait until the moratorium is lifted, Ciocca says.
National Grid also announced that when the system is reopened, the utility will install the first 200 feet of gas line from the street to your home, something for which homeowners used to be charged. Gas lines exceeding 200 feet will cost homeowners $30 per foot.
The project on the lower Cape is on track to be completed at the end of 2019. To download an application for a new natural gas hookup for your home, or for more information on the project in general, go to the National Grid's website.
Pets have been on my mind a lot lately. My 14 year old mini-dachshund has decrepit little kidneys and was given a death sentence last Christmas, but he's still here, slow, smelly, but otherwise still enjoying his life.
Three years ago his german shepherd "sister" died at the age of 13 and a half. And I include that last half year because shepherds don't often last beyond 12. My Eika was my sweetheart.
Recently two of my office mates put down their beloved dog who provided love and loyalty for 9 years.
This is the time of life when the dogs my friends and I got for our children are wearing out and dying off. We're all walking around with holes in our hearts.
The New York Times this week published a commentary titled "The Pain of Loving Old Dogs". Of her old dog Clarke, columnist Margaret Renkl wrote "He was the dog of our sons’ childhood, the pillow they sprawled on during Saturday-morning cartoons, the security blanket they returned to after an impossible test or a classroom bully or, later, a broken heart." We all had or have a dog like that.
Dogs don't just expand our hearts, they enliven our homes. The National Association of Realtors reports that 95 percent of homebuyers believe it is important that a housing community make room for pets.
Here are some other stats from the NAR about the power of pets.
I'll wind this down with some laughter. Long before dogs were old, they were young. And very cute and very funny.
Enjoy the video.
The Snowy Owl Coffee Roasters in Brewster was singled out as the "most beautiful" coffee shop in Massachusetts, in the January 18, 2018 issue of Architectural Digest.
In a visually striking online post, the magazine offers the most beautifully designed coffee spaces for all 50 states. Of The Snowy Owl, the editors wrote, "Evoking a modern barn, the rustic wood beams and globe light fixtures—along with Persian rugs and warm reds—make Snowy Owl Coffee Roasters café feel like a friend’s getaway cabin".
Accolades are nothing new to the owners. The Snowy Owl has been recognized by several "Best Of" awards by Cape Cod Life and Cape Cod Magazine.
For year-round Cape Codders, it's not the winter weather that presents a challenge-- our coastal winters are sunny and quite mild. Rather, it's navigating an off-season life when many of the eating and dining establishments we love close down, and that includes some of the boutique coffee shops. There's a unique comfort one finds when walking a cold and wind-swept beach with a good cup of coffee in hand.
So three cheers to The Snowy Owl on historic Rt. 6A in Brewster. Thanks for fueling us with a wonderful cup o' joe all year long, and for offering a space so comfortable and beautiful, it got the attention of the esteemed Architectural Digest.
Photo Credits: The Snowy Owl Instagram Account
As predicted, lower inventory pushed Cape Cod home prices up by 6-percent over one year ago, according to the Cape Cod and Islands Association of Realtors. The latest data available shows the median price of a Cape Cod home is now $398,000.
The supply of homes for sale dropped 7-percent in 2017, and that reduced the absorption rate to 5.3 months from 6.9 months one year ago. The absorption rate is the length of time it would take for the existing supply of homes to sell out at the current sales rate.
Provincetown lead all towns with prices surging 33-percent. Orleans gained 13- percent, Mashpee was up 10 percent for the year.
Dennis and Chatham saw pricing corrections, down -4.5 and -2.2, respectively.
Prices were relatively flat in Harwich .5, Barnstable .6 and Yarmouth .9.
Elsewhere, prices were up 5.4 percent in Falmouth, 7.9 percent in Wellfleet, 1.6 percent in Truro, 1.4 percent in Sandwich.
Analysts cite several reasons for the lack of homes for sale. Homeowners who purchased when mortgages hit historic lows are now loathe to buy something else with a higher mortgage rate. Also, homeowners who would like to sell their Cape Cod home to purchase something different, can't find something they want.
Looking at the year ahead, some factors expected to influence the Cape Cod real estate market are natural disasters and the threat of flooding, inflation and rising interest rates, and the restrictions on income tax deductions due to the Tax Cut and Jobs Act recently passed by Congress. States without income taxes such as Florida, Nevada, Tennessee and Texas are expected to benefit.
But hey, you don't hear singer Patty Paige crooning about "Olde Nevada", now, do you?
By early afternoon Wednesday, Maureen Niemi, tax collector for the town of Barnstable on Cape Cod observed, "we have 30-thousand tax payers in Barnstable and I think we've received a phone call or email from every one of them".
In towns across Cape Cod and the rest of the country, millions of homeowners are trying to get ahead of new tax rules signed into law last week by President Trump that take effect January 1st. The rules restrict the amount of local taxes homeowners can deduct from their income taxes. Beginning next week, state and local income, property and sales taxes in excess of $10,000 will be taxed as income. Interest on mortgages up to $750,000 will be deductible, down from the current $1,000,000 limit.
With the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act signed into law so late in the calendar year, homeowners have little time to strategize. So they're turning to their town tax collector for answers. "We had 30 voicemails waiting for us when we opened the office today", said Amy Bullock, tax collector for Harwich. "Normally we have one or two". People are asking if they can pay 2018 taxes before the new year, Bullock said.
The average property tax bill in Harwich is $4,300 said Bullock, which leaves the typical homeowner with only $5,700 remaining for state and local income and sales taxes. It isn't just the higher-end property owners asking about the new rules, inquiries are pouring in about a range or property values, according to tax collectors across the Cape.
In Falmouth, a woman identifying herself as Peggy from the tax collector's office said the phone "has been ringing off the hook" all day. Most people are doing the math and asking for the annual amount of their tax bill, Peggy said.
Towns on Cape Cod operate on a fiscal calendar, which begins July 1st each year. Current tax bills approved by the town assessor is fixed for the first two fiscal quarters of 2018. Prepaying these before the new year will allow homeowners to deduct the full amount on this year's income taxes. However, any prepayment beyond fiscal 2017 will not be applicable to this year's income taxes, according to the IRS.
While tax collectors are getting inundated with questions about the new tax laws, they stress they cannot give advice on how to best reduce a total tax income tax bill. "I have had to start telling people that I am not an accountant" says Barnstable's Niemi. "We can give them the amounts due for what has already been billed, we can tell them when the next bills will be issued, but we cannot interpret the new tax code for them".
James Rubel contributed to this article.
By now, most of us know that every time someone checks a credit score, that score goes down a bit. It makes no sense to me since we're simply seeking important information. If you check your blood pressure often, should the reading go up simply as a function of checking it? But I digress...
There are other facts about credit scoring you might not know. Using information provided by loan officer Bill Carey of Santander Bank on Cape Cod, I created this quiz. See how you do. The answers are at the end.
1. Credit scores range from 300 to 850. 58-percent of the U.S. population falls within which range:
a. Below 600
c. 700 and above.
2. Every active credit card over ________ will drop the score.
3. You'll have no hit to your credit score if you pay collection within _______months.
4. True or False, paying credit card balances in full and closing the account hurts your credit score.
5. True or False, having zero balance on a credit card hurts your score.
1. c. 58-percent of the population has a score of 700 or over. 27-percent is 600-699, 15-percent is below 600.
2. b. The correct answer is 5.
3. c. You'll take no hit to your score if you pay collections within 6 months.
4. True. Closing the account will damage your credit. Makes no sense, I know.
5. True. This one also makes no sense, but, oh well.
Thanks to Bill Carey of Santander Bank. If you'd like to contact him about financing for a new home purchase, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Selling your home is hard. You're letting go of the most expensive thing you've ever bought and the buying public almost never gives you the amount of money you think your house is worth. And then there's the "ick factor" of strangers coming into your house, opening closets and cabinets and seeing your most personal, intimate spaces.
On Cape Cod, listing agents take some of the sting out of the process, by being present for all showings with buyer agents and their clients. Between two licensed, professional real estate agents, your place is carefully monitored.
But there are steps you'll want to take to reduce the chances something could disappear or go wrong. Our friends at zipforms, an online real estate form vendor, created this infographic to help you prepare your home for public viewing. If you'd like more information about this or anything else related to selling your home, text or call 617-637-6711. I'm happy to assist you.
Quick, grab the camera and take some photos of your home and yard, right now, when everything is colorful, robust and beautiful.
You may need those photos if you decide to sell your house in winter or spring when the color is gone and vegetation gives up looking like anything.
Cape Cod, as the rest of the northeast and midwest, looks drastically different when plants die back to the ground at the first hard frost, usually in October. For the six months after that, potentially half the time when new inventory of homes hit the market, landscapes lack hope. Most important, potential buyers have no idea what your place looks like when the yard is at it's peak. Heck, by March, I don't remember what my own yard looks like in summer, and I planted all of it.
To help yourself with a faster sale, potentially for a little more money, take wide shots of the house and yard right now, with everything bloomed and happy. Remember to avoid taking close-ups of the plants themselves. You're not creating a plant catalogue. It's real estate.
Buyers want to know how your shrubs and flowers frame the home. They want to see where the shade of the trees provide relief from the sun. They want to check out the condition of the lawn to know if the irrigation system posted on the listing actually does its job.
Plus, a yard that's well cared for further reinforces that the entire property is loved, giving buyers greater confidence that this place is worth the asking price.
Do you love Cape Cod fried clams? Fried cod? French fries? Do you follow them up with an ice-cream cone? If so, your gallbladder probably doesn't love you.
Though gallbladder surgery is the sixth most common surgery performed in the U.S., it is the second most common surgical procedure on the Cape, according to Hyannis surgeon Larry Novak, M.D. In a report published by Cape Cod Healthcare, Novak says the emergency room at Cape Cod hospital is the busiest of all Massachusetts hospitals in the summer months and unhappy gallbladders are one of the reasons why.
What begins as a queasy stomach from a meal high in fat, can end up with breathtaking pain and a trip to the E.R. Novak says tourists who don't indulge in these Cape staples all year, often overdo it while on vacation, and that overwhelms their gallbladder's ability to filter out the fat.
Oftentimes the solution is laparoscopic removal of the organ. Novak says after some bland foods for a few weeks, the body adjusts and patients can return to their fatty treats, although he advocates a healthy plant-based diet for all.
Symptoms of gallbladder trouble include abdominal pain after eating and fever. Though the pain of the early attacks may subside, the problem of a diseased gallbladder will only worsen until it won't be ignored.
So, in addition to the threat of sharks in the water, now we have to worry about fried clams attacking our gallbladder. Oh well, winter is coming.
You found the Cape Cod place you want and you're ready to place an offer. The problem is, in 2017, the supply of homes is at record lows and chances are, you could lose out to other buyers who offer to pay more. How do you give yourself an edge?
I spoke about this last month on Claudette Vickery's weekly Cape Cod Real Estate Show. My solution was an escalation clause. This is an offer that, when placed against a competing offer, pledges to beat the competition by a set amount.
Here's how it works. Suppose the house you want costs $375,000. You're ready to offer $350,000. But now you hear there is a competing offer coming in. You can still offer $350,000, but that might not be enough, especially if the home is new to the market. You can place a full-price offer, but even that may not be enough to beat the competition.
The problem is, you don't know the amount of the other offer. Only the sellers and their agent have that information, and they're not saying. We're flying blind. We don't want you to pay more than you have to, but you've decided it's got to be enough to get it. What if the other offer was only $340,000? Your initial offer of $350,000 would have been enough.
That's when I suggest an escalation clause. We write the offer so that we will beat the competion by $1,000 up to a limit. In this case we may cap our escalated offer at $376,000. Remember, if the buyers need a mortgage to finance their purchase, the lender might not appraise the house at more than the listed price anyway.
According to the Cape Cod and Islands Association of Realtors, escalation clauses are increasing on the Cape, due to the short supply of homes for sale. The CCIAOR says these offers are legal with the following stipulations:
Every offer should include a letter of prequalification from a lender, so you want to make sure you've got the escalation clause covered as well. After that, you're good to go.
Happy hunting and good luck.
One of the easiest ways to upgrade a kitchen is to switch out the backsplash -- that wallspace between the countertops and the cabinets that occasionally takes splashes from dishwashing and food prep. Tile is the most common material chosen, however whole slabs of solid surface stone or even scrubbable paint are popular choices too.
Our friends at Houzz.com have some high-impact examples to inspire you. Enjoy.
Cape Cod is famous for many splendors-- beaches, fried clams and lobster rolls, charming architecture and sharks. But it's also renowned for the beauty of its gardens.
As an enthusiastic gardener, the most common question I get from my Cape Cod home buyers is, how do you prune hydrangeas? Enter the Cape Cod Garden Academy, a new youtube playlist I began with my smart friend, Megan Moreland of Harwich, a graduate of the prestigious School of Landscape Architecture at Cornell University.
Megan and I explore the many beautiful plants available to our Zone 7 climate, and the best way to care for them. Our eight-month growing season insures month after month of color and texture outdoors. I hope you'll also get the sense that we don't take ourselves too seriously. Fun should vastly win out over frustration when you're digging in the dirt.
A few years ago, an airbnb guest from the U.K. remarked that "Everything is so beautiful here", referring to the colorful Cape Cod gardens. "Why is that?" How interesting, I thought, that a native of England, home to some of the most beautiful gardens of the world, would take note of what we have on the Cape and ask why it's all so perfect?
Enjoy our first three segments below. And if you have a gardening question, or an idea for an upcoming segment, write me at email@example.com, or send a tweet to @MaureenGreenCC. As Megan states in the inaugural video, there's plenty of beautiful color ahead.
The home at 747 Queen Anne Rd. in Harwich was ablaze this week and the cause was a mystery, at first. No one lived there in the winter. The home was an unoccupied vacation property.
My old days in the news business taught me that an unoccupied building that catches fire is definitely suspicious. But the cause of this one was different.
The Harwich Fire Department concluded that a mirror hanging in the outdoor shower is what touched off the fire. And apparently, these outdoor shower fires are common.
The sharp, low angle of the sun caught the mirror at just the right angle, and focused intense light onto the dry wooden wall of the shower. Spontaneous combustion ignited the wood and there went the back of the house.
I hang an outdoor mirror in my shower in the summer months but from now on I'll be sure to place the mirror on a north-facing wall, out of reach of the sun's powerful rays. Until this Harwich house fire, I thought the biggest risk from an outdoor shower was a tumble on occasionally mossy, slippery flooring. But not anymore. Now I know an outdoor shower can spark a fire by itself, and burn the house down.
Your next trip to the Cape Cod National Seashore will be less of a bumpy ride, thanks to road improvement projects that began today. Reconstruction at the road to Marconi Beach in Wellfleet, and in parking lots at the Province Lands area of Provincetown, and two locations in Eastham will last approximately three months.
It's part of a $2.3 million enhancement to Cape Cod National Seashore assets. A Buffalo, NY firm, Call Associates, will conduct the work to include removal of old pavement, subsurface reinforcement and resurfacing. The firm says road closures will be kept to a minimum and all areas should be open and fully functional by the time vacationers arrive this summer.
Fueled by its outstanding healthcare and education, Massachusetts was named today the best state of all. That's according to U.S. News and World Report which ranked all 50 states on criteria such as economic opportunity, crime, infrastructure and government.
The number-one ranking prompted Republican Governor Charlie Baker to eschew his typical-favorite local media and appear on a national news program to tout the Bay State's strengths.
Massachusetts placed number one in education and number two in healthcare, oddly after Hawaii. But it's low placement in "Opportunity" and the "Economy" due to high housing costs and income inequality took some of the luster off the top ranking placement. Analysts weighted healthcare and education to give the Commonwealth its top ranking.
To see the complete list, click here. And to see the ranking for each individual category, simply click on the arrow next to the category title at the top of the chart.
Owing largely to the trends in spacious homes outside of Cape Cod, the default fix for a kitchen upgrade is to add an island. The problem is, most Cape Cod kitchens are too small to accommodate one.
Many Cape homes, particularly those built before 1990, use peninsulas to delineate the kitchen from the dining area, to stretch the counter space and to block the view of the messy food prep.
When I renovated my Harwich kitchen in 2005, I enlarged the peninsula, widening it beyond the door frame to provide seating for three people. 11 years later, the tight little workhorse of a kitchen works well.
Our friends at houzz.com appreciate the functionality of kitchen peninsulas. Enjoy the article and photographs below. If you're in the market for a Cape Cod home this summer, you may well end up with a kitchen peninsula too.
When a prospective home seller contacts me about a market value for their property, I check the tax rolls to see when they purchased the house. If they bought during the height of the market in 2006, they won't like what I have to say. By 2016 their home is still not worth what they paid for it.
In general the economy has recovered from the Great Recession. Unemployment is down, incomes and the stock market are up. But housing values on the Cape remain lower than they were at the start of the recession. Condos are an exception. They have shown an increase in value since 2006.
The chart below illustrates the the arc in home pricing in Barnstable County-- Cape Cod excluding Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket.
In 2006 the median price of a single-family home reached $400,000. By the end of 2016 that same home was worth $375,000.
Now check condo prices.
At the height of the housing market in 2006 the median price of a condominium on Cape Cod was $263,000. By the end of 2016, that condo was worth$277,000.
Inventory on Cape Cod and Massachusetts as a whole is historically low. Right now there is a 4.5 month supply of homes for sale, meaning that at the current sales pace (demand), it would take 4.5 months to buy up everything on the market right now (supply).
Part of the inventory problem is all the homeowners who would like to sell, but who purchased in the heady years of 2004, 2005 and 2006 and who cannot afford to take a loss. A spike in mortgage interest rates will continue to pressure home sales in the coming year as well.
It takes just five sunburns over a lifetime to double one's risk of getting melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer, according to the website, skincancer.org. With it's temperate year-round climate, Cape Cod children spend plenty of time outdoors. Yet the use of sunscreen without a prescription in schools is illegal in Massachusetts.
Julian Cyr represents Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket in the Massachusetts State Senate and he has a proposed Bill to correct that.
Cyr wants to add a section to Chapter 71 of the Massachusetts General Laws to allow suncreen use on school property without a doctor's consent. It's true that the majority of a school day is spent in the classroom, but during recess, field trips, outdoor gym time and after-school sports, children are exposed to ultra-violet light and their skin needs protection.
Cyr's Bill would add a new section to Chapter 71:
Section 98. Any person, including but not limited to students, parents or school personnel may possess and use a topical sunscreen product without a physician’s note or prescription while on school property or at a school-related event or activity to avoid overexposure to the sun if the product is regulated by the Federal Food and Drug Administration for over-the-counter use.
For the purposes of this Section only, sunscreen is not an over-the-counter medication. Nothing in this section requires school personnel to assist pupils in applying sunscreen.
The school district may encourage school sites to educate pupils on sun safety precautions.
To read Chapter 71 in its entirety, click here. And to read Senator Cyr's proposed Bill, go here.
My officemates at Kinlin Grover tell me that until I relocated to the Cape in 2012, we got a blizzard once every few years. Now it seems we get one every few weeks. All winter long.
The latest occured last weekend. As blizzards go, this one was tame. We got a foot of snow and roads were passable by the following morning.
I drove west on Main Street/Rt. 28 through the center of Harwich Port the day after, to give my readers who never see the Cape in winter a glimpse of their pretty little summer spot covered in snow.
Note the new Cumberland Farms well underway at the beginning of the video.
I selected the music for it's title -- "Snow Queen" by Kevin Macleod.
Happy New Year to all. I'm looking at Cape Cod real estate in the year ahead and wondering how many homes will still be standing this time next year.
My unofficial gauge of rising economic fortune in the northeastern U.S., is falling houses on the Cape. The more the stock market goes up, the more that houses come down.
In the center of tiny Harwich Port alone, four older homes have been torn down and are in various stages of replacement within the last year. There is massive, overdue commercial renovation occurring in the business district too, and that will be the subject of an upcoming article, but first, the houses.
98 Miles Street
This two-story home went up last summer, a prefab structure that cranes assembled an entire floor at a time in one single day. It replaced a two-bedroom ranch.
No photos exist of the previous 1952 home, however you can see from the surrounding homes the size and scale of the street. The new building comprises 4 bedrooms and 2,388 square feet on a quarter-acre lot. It towers over its neighbors.
86 Miles Street
First, what the home used to look like, an 845 square foot home with no septic system, in uninhabitable condition on a killer 1 acre-plus lot close to EVERYTHING. It was marketed as a teardown and sold for $360,000 in 2013.
And here is the site today. The new owners leveled all the trees and now have a view of the Harwich Port golf course beyond the backyard. The home features 3,434 square feet with four bedrooms.
7 South Street
This 1813 home had survived for 203 years, until 2016. Whether or not it should have survived a year longer is debatable. Here are the interiors of the old place.
And here is 7 South Street today. The owners haven't done the landscaping yet -- it is that new. But the addition of a wreath on the front door shows life rushed along in the new place. Once the cedar shingles get some salt air on them they'll weather down to the gray we all associate with Cape Cod. In my opinion this new home upholds the Cape aesthetic. The home in the background at right lie on Main St. in the village so these homeowners can park their car and not get in again until they need provisions. The village and beach are all right there. Nice job in making the house blend in.
17 Sea Street
We don't know yet what the new house will look like as construction has just begun. There is only one story so far. I will be surprised if it stays at that. Everyone builds a second story now, and most take over all the air space to the maximum height allowed by town building codes, 28 feet, so stay tuned. Check out the little cottage at right. It's what Sea Street used to look like.
Here is what once was at 17 Sea Street. It was a1938 home perched on a bluff with ocean views and a three-house walk to Sea Street Beach. It sold for $917,000 three years ago and was demolished in the fall. Classic, isn't it?
Elsewhere on Sea Street...
Two houses south of 17 Sea Street, with direct oceanfront, lie1 Sea Street which sold this fall for $3,250,000. It was built in 2007, a total rebuild after the owners bought a little cape-style home the year before for $1,725,000 and tore it down. Check out the before and after.
The present day photo also shows the neighboring property which was another rebuild. The old home was unmistakenly Cape Cod. The new home looks like it could be on the Jersey Shore. It's gorgeous and the interior spaces are to die for.
With the destruction of number 17 this fall, the original little Cape homes on the street is down to two. Here they are.
Take them in while you can. Everyone loves visiting the Cape and seeing the quaint little cottages, but it doesn't seem anyone wants to live in them anymore.