Chat Transcript: Finding the best deals on the Cape

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March 17, 2008

About Our Guests

Edward McKenna and Maria Lamb are agents with Buyer Brokers of Cape Cod-Berard Associates in Barnstable.

Edward has a degree in finance and 24 years experience as a real estate broker on Cape Cod; he has practiced as an exclusive buyer agent for the last 15 years.

Maria is an exclusive buyer agent who specializes in home buying on the lower and outer Cape.

Ed_McKenna_and_Maria_Lamb: Good afternoon. Ed and Maria here welcoming you to the Cape Cod real estate chat.
jesse__Guest_: Hi -- do you see any signs of recovery on the Cape recently? More interest in homes, etc?
Ed_McKenna_and_Maria_Lamb: Springtime always brings more buyers wanting to be in by summer.
mckk__Guest_: Not technically Cape Cod, but How is Nantucket affected by the real estate market today?
Ed_McKenna_and_Maria_Lamb: Higher end properties, like those in Nantucket, are usually less affected by downturns in economy.
Carly__Guest_: We are looking for a home on the lower Cape. Our agent is not showing us any bank-owned/foreclosed properties. How do we get more information on these properties on the lower Cape?
Ed_McKenna_and_Maria_Lamb: You should definitely be working with a buyer agent who will scour the market for all available properties including bank owned and for sale by owners. Right now, some of the best deals are bank owned properties and if your broker isn't in tune to this segment of the market, perhaps you should find a different broker.
Carly__Guest_: Are you seeing more of these bank-owned properties on the lower Cape?
Ed_McKenna_and_Maria_Lamb: Yes, we're starting to see a few more sprinkled around the lower Cape.
Realtor__Guest_: Is it a good time to buy on the cape?
Ed_McKenna_and_Maria_Lamb: Its always a good time to buy on the Cape depending on your motives for buying. The long term outlook for values on the Cape is strong. If you are looking to buy and flip, you really have to buy at a substantial discount, but if you're looking for a great summer house that will appreciate over time, prices are down and mortgage rates are great. Also, the Cape is a great place to retire to.
bob__Guest_: Just what are the short term prospects for selling on the Cape?
Ed_McKenna_and_Maria_Lamb: The key to selling your home today is pricing it correctly. Don't trail the market down but price it so that it is attractive among the competing homes for sale.
jeff101__Guest_: Are bank-owned properties in the MLS?
Ed_McKenna_and_Maria_Lamb: Yes, most bank owned properties are listed with brokers and are put in MLS. Your real estate professional should be able to identify the bank owned properties.
yellow__Guest_: Is it possible to get a better deal if paying cash? Also, will there likely be better deals at the end of the 2008 Summer/Fall season?
Ed_McKenna_and_Maria_Lamb: Cash is always a strong negotiating factor but the bottom line comes from the motivation level of the seller.
Ed_McKenna_and_Maria_Lamb: I expect there will be good deals to be had in the fall.
john__Guest_: Are there any deals (200K) near the ocean in the mid cape area, what about condos?
Ed_McKenna_and_Maria_Lamb: You will find mostly condos in the under $200,000 price range. There are a few bank owned properties that are coming on the market under $200,000. Maybe not within a short distance from the ocean but then, you're never far from the ocean on Cape Cod.
home_seeker__Guest_: what towns within the Cape have been most affected by the downturn? Where are the best deals you have come across?
Ed_McKenna_and_Maria_Lamb: Hyannis and West Yarmouth have been the hardest hit.
Carly__Guest_: In your experiences as real estate brokers, if a house is priced $100,000 over assessment, does this type of seller ever accept an offer close to the assessment value?
Ed_McKenna_and_Maria_Lamb: Hi Carly, oh yeah. More and more homes are now selling under assessed value. Comparable sales are more important than the town assessment information.
Carly__Guest_: Is this true of the lower Cape also?
Ed_McKenna_and_Maria_Lamb: Yes it is. I have found that many homes on the lower Cape are sell for at or below their assessed value.
kinbo__Guest_: How about Chatham? Are there values to be had there? I know the high-end towns tend to be more resistant to downturns.
Ed_McKenna_and_Maria_Lamb: Yes, there are some values to be had there. There are sellers motivated to sell in all towns. The real deal comes in making an offer and in seeing how motivated they are.
Carly__Guest_: Do towns on the lower Cape allow single-family, modular homes to be built? Also, if a modular home is being sold, must it be disclosed that it is a modular home?
Ed_McKenna_and_Maria_Lamb: Yes, there are quite a few modular, single family homes on the lower Cape. I don't believe there is any duty to disclose, however a home inspector should be able to determine if a home is modular.
Bicycle_Bob__Guest_: We're looking for a second home for now then permanent move from Metro west in 6 years. Is now a good time or wait a year or three?
Ed_McKenna_and_Maria_Lamb: Your choice of inventory right now is excellent so you have a great chance of finding exactly what you are looking for now - and you get to enjoy it now. Also, if you are planning on financing any of the purchase, mortgage rates are excellent and who knows how long they will stay at these historically low levels.
Carly__Guest_: As a buyer, how much help should we expect from a broker if we want to purchase land and build a home?
Ed_McKenna_and_Maria_Lamb: Your broker should, at the very least, provide you with a market analysis for the land, encourage you to consult with a real estate attorney regarding zoning and buildability issues, some of which can only be determined if a title search is done by an attorney.
david__Guest_: Have listings or resales of foreclosed/bank owned properties become the market for comps in areas like Falmout/Mashpee? Is it difficult to get asking prices appraised?
Ed_McKenna_and_Maria_Lamb: Given the number of bank owned sales, they do become comparables. Full price offers can easily be appraised if they reflect the true value of the property.
fishmeal__Guest_: are there single homes available on 6a elbow side for under 300K?
Ed_McKenna_and_Maria_Lamb: Very, very few.
kinbo__Guest_: Do premium properties -- waterview, for instance -- tend to be more resistant to price reductions? Or can I expect even the sellers of such properties to negotiate?
Ed_McKenna_and_Maria_Lamb: Location is always a selling point. That said, again, it always depends on the seller's motivation. In market downturns, waterfront/waterview properties tend to hold their values the best.
Carly__Guest_: Can you give us buyers some tips on how to negotiate a substantially lower price than the asking price?
Ed_McKenna_and_Maria_Lamb: Look at comparables and see what similar properties in that area have sold for recently. Also, look at the market trend - prices are generally lower now than they were a year ago. Have this information presented to the seller to justify why they would be better off taking a lower price today than seeing what the market holds in the future and the risk of interest rates rising.
Bicycle_Bob__Guest_: I presume one is better off buying than building in terms of net home value?
Ed_McKenna_and_Maria_Lamb: In this current market, existing homes are usually a better value than building new.
Ed_McKenna_and_Maria_Lamb: Thanks everyone. Our time has come to an end. I think we got to most of the questions.
Ed_McKenna_and_Maria_Lamb: We can be reached at Buyer Brokers of Cape Cod - Berard Associates. 1-800-962-8937 or

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