Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Winter Surfing at Nauset Light Beach - BRRR!

On a day that had mid-20's temperatures and winds gusting in the 40 mph range, there were a few folks who couldn't stay out of the water. Here's a video, courtesy of the Cape Cod Times, of a surfer catching a wave. He wasn't alone.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Capital Gains Relief - 2010 May Be The End

For the last several years we've enjoyed lowered tax rates for long term capital gains. The current rates, through 2010, are 0% (yes - zero) and 15%, depending on your adjusted gross income. Starting in 2011, unless Congress extends these rates, they go to 10% and 20%. The lower capital gains rates apply to those in the lowest federal income tax brackets, with the higher rates for all others.

Confusing enough? Well, you can go to the TurboTax website for a summary of this and other tax changes for the next several years. I expect that the current activity in Washington will alter a lot of future tax considerations.

The REALLY good news is the capital gains exclusion, of up to $500,000 for a couple, on the sale of your primary home.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Have A Happy Holiday Season!

As we close out another year, I'd like to extend the best of wishes for your Holiday season and a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year. And, I thank you for continuing to think of me when it comes to real estate in Eastham and the Outer Cape.

I expect next year to be very interesting. I'm projecting an improvement in the real estate landscape. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Eastham's Captains Quarters Sold

Captain's Quarters MotelYou may have seen my post about the Captain's Quarters Motel going to auction. It told of a public auction, scheduled for the end of November, where the 75 unit motel was being sold. Well, the sale is complete. Apparently a Panama City, Florida, group purchased the motel for $1.7M. We'll have to stay tuned to see what's next for the motel. Read the story in this article from the Cape Cod Today website.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Snow Storm Hits Outer Cape

We saw it coming, but didn't believe that it would hit us very hard. The net was a storm that started in Eastham at about 10PM last night and dropping about a foot of heavy snow, ending late this afternoon. The hope, of course, is that the warm waters of the ocean and the bay will provide the warmth that will melt the snow in short order. We'll see.

Snowstorm in Eastham, Cape Cod

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas Lights - Ditto

This photo needs to be shared. I have no idea where it came from, but it's hilarious...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

My January 2010 Newsletter Is Available Now!

Eastham WindmillMy January 2010 Eastham real estate newsletter is available now! This issue contains my real estate report of sales through November and my 2009 year-end preview. Worth a look! Download your copy of the January 2010 newsletter ..Here.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Eastham's Dolphin Strandings

As the weather turns cold, we've had more than the 'normal' number of dolphin strandings on the bayside of Eastham. The last two days has had two, one on Campground Beach and another in Rock Harbor. Read about them on the Cape Cod Times website.

Also, check out this video...

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Nauset High School - Silver Medalist - US News & World Report

Nauset Regional High SchoolNauset Regional High School, the public high school for Wellfleet, Eastham, Orleans, and Brewster has earned a Silver Medal from the US News & World Report magazine for its academic excellence. Only 19 Massachusetts public high schools achieved the Silver Medal ranking. Harwich High also achieved a Silver Medal ranking. Nauset & Harwich were among only 461 schools in the US to achieve the Silver, behind only 100 schools to achieve the Gold Medal. These rankings put Nauset & Harwich in the top 2 - 3 percent of all public schools in the US. Read the story on the Cape Codder website...Here.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Cash for Caulkers - Stimulus #2

Cash for Clunkers was such a success (??) that the Federal government is thinking of doing it again, this time by providing stimulus money to homeowners to make their homes more energy efficient. The goal, of course, is to create more jobs. It looks like there may be up to $12,000 per household of matching funds for these energy related improvements. Read about this new stimulus package in the website. There is still some legislative wrangling to be had before this gets final approval - stay tuned!

Eastham Hostel Named Among Best in the World

Eastham Hostel - Hostelling InternationalAfter a difficult year dealing with the Town of Eastham, the Eastham Hostel, a member of Hostelling International, has been named one of the best hostels in the world. Specifically, it was named one of the most efficient locations. The hostel is on Goody Hallet Rd, just off Bridge Rd, in South Eastham, and near Boat Meadow Beach. Check out the Eastham hostel on their website.

Read the article about the 'award' on the Cape Cod Today website.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Stonehenge in Harwich?

StonehengeThe mystery at Stonehenge has only been partially solved. It's clear that the builders were able to make some astrological observations using the stones, but could they go beyond that to predict eclipses? Anyway, there is a movement afoot to build a Stonehenge in Harwich, on a large tract of land known as the Thompson’s Field Conservation Area. Read about it....Here. Be sure to check out the video.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Mortgage Rates Set New Record Low

News - The 30 year fixed rates have dropped to a decades old low. The national mortgage rate has dropped to an average of 4.71%, according to the weekly survey conducted by Freddy Mac. Wow! Interestingly, the article points out that these rates can't last too long and will likely go north of 5.5% by the 2nd quarter of 2010. Read the whole story on

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Eastham's November Home Sales - Slowness Returns

Eastham, MAThe preliminary results for home sales in Eastham are in! The sales volume has returned to the slowness that has characterized this year so far. The facts..
  • A total of 6 homes sold in Eastham in November, compared to 13 in October.
  • Total sales were roughly $3.1 M - the average home sale price was $515K. This is less than half the sales volume of October.
  • The median sale price was $393K.
  • There were 70 single family homes sold year-to-date (11/30) - this compares to 95 sales for YTD 2008

For more details and commentary, subscribe to my monthly newsletter...Here.

New Saltwater Fishing License - Oh My!

Rock Harbor Fishing BoatsStarting January 1st, 2010, sport fishermen (and sportfisherwomen!) will be required to have a saltwater fishing license. This is due to a new federal mandate, seeking to gather better data on fish caught by recreational fishermen along the coast. And improved data collection is expected to lead to improved management of the fisheries. To that end, NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) is requiring that all recreational fishermen be part of the national saltwater angler registry by Jan. 1st, 2010. Coastal states that adopt their own recreational saltwater fishing license law are exempt from the federal fees. Yeah!

The good news is that the fee will be zero ($0) for 2010, but going to $10 for 2011. Personally, I don't see where collecting $0 (or $10) will enhance any data collection. Sportfishing in saltwater should remain free. Gov. Duval didn't ask me. Read the details in this article in the Vineyard Gazette.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Eastham New Listing - Oceanside Contemporary Cape

Eastham New ListingThis is the ideal home for the beachcomber and the nature lover. On the ocean side of Eastham, approx 1.3 miles to Nauset Light Beach and Coast Guard Beach (20-25min. walk or 5 min. drive), near the bike path and ponds. This house has a consistent summer rental income of about $35,000. It has a wonderful open 3 bedroom, 2 bath layout that is perfect for families. Hardwood floors throughout the 1st level and terracotta tile in the kitchen. Upstairs is carpeted. It can be sold fully furnished and accessorized for those seeking a 2nd home or rental property.

Check out this listing (more photos, virtual tour) at This is a short sale. Listed at $399,900.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Turtle Stranding "Season" Has Begun

Stranded TurtleAs the cold weather sets in, the sea turtles that didn't head south early enough to escape the cold often come ashore on the Bay beaches of Eastham & Wellfleet where they, hopefully, are rescued. This past weekend over 20 turtles were found on local beaches. The turtles include the rare Kemp Ridley and loggerhead species. The Kemp Ridley is listed as an endangered species. Check out the story in the Cape Cod Times.... Here.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Repairs Coming to the Monomoy Lighthouse

Monomoy National Wildlife RefugeThe lighthouse on Monomoy Island has been off limits to overnight stays for a few years, due to the current state of disrepair. That situation looks to be coming to an end due to $1.5M in repairs that are slated for the lighthouse, thanks to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Check out the story in the Cape Codder.

Monomoy Island, which, in truth, is an island now, a peninsula later - due to the shifting sands south of Chatham. The lighthouse sits in the middle of a bird and wildlife sanctuary is the temporary home of many migrating birds and sea mammals. It's not uncommon to see hundreds of Grey seals lounging on the beaches of Monomoy. Learn more about the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge ... Here.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The First Thanksgiving

It's kinda fun to know that a tradition as American as Thanksgiving had it's beginnings near the place I call home. Weather permitting, I'm sure that I'll visit First Encounter Beach, where the Pilgrims first 'encountered' the Native Americans, sometime during Thanksgiving weekend. This year we expect to have a house-full (including the 5 month old twin grand-daughters) for a traditional turkey dinner (and pumpkin pie!).

The first Thanksgiving, where the colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast, was held in 1621 in Plymouth. It's likely that lobster was a part of the first Thanksgiving. Sounds good to me - but how do you make gravy? Read about that first Thanksgiving on the History Channel website.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

My Hatful of Potatoes

I almost missed it. Today is the 15th Annual Hatful of Potatoes Day at the Bird Watcher's General Store in Orleans. It's scheduled each year the Saturday before Thanksgiving. This year the potatoes were in the back of a pickup truck, just waiting for folks, with hats, to show up. No hat - no potatoes. Plenty to go around. I got there at about 1 PM and received mine (see photo, below). Mike O'Connor, owner of Bird Watcher's General Store is a bit of a strange bird. Pun intended. Check out his store...Here.

Bird Watcher's General Store, Orleans, Cape CodIf you look carefully, you'll see that I brought my trick hat. I got this hat at an Irish pub in Torremolinos, Spain, a few years ago on St. Patrick's Day.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Annual Lighting of the Pilgrim Monument

Pilgrim's Monument, Provincetown, Cape CodThis coming Wednesday evening, November 25th, Thanksgiving eve, will be the annual lighting of Provincetown's Pilgrim Monument. The official lighting ceremony will be from 5 to 7 PM at the monument, followed by refreshments and entertainment. The event will be free to all.

The monument is 252 feet tall and sits atop the highest hill in P-Town, bringing the top to an elevation of 350 feet above sea level. The Pilgrim Monument was built between 1907 and 1910 to commemorate the first landing of the Mayflower Pilgrims in Provincetown on November 21, 1620, and was dedicated by President William Taft in 1910. The 100th anniversary of the dedication will be August 5th, 2010.

Another View of the Eastham Real Estate Market

In any discussion of the Eastham marketplace, we can't help but mention that the median price of a single family home in Eastham has dropped significantly since last year. In fact, the 2009 year-to-date (YTD) median price has dropped 16.4% from 2008. I've expounded on the reason for this being a change in the buying pattern, tending toward the low end. I've explained that the data shows a void in the mid-range sales, those in the $450K to $600K range. In fact, there has been a total void in the $500K -$600K range.

One of my fellow Realtors, Gary Kersteen, also a retired engineer, did an extensive analysis of the MLS sales data, looking for clues that might help explain the drop in median sales prices. What he discovered provided an insight that had eluded me. He discovered that the median house square-footage for 2009 also down dramatically from 2008. It's down 18.2%. His conclusion is that the prices are down because the size of the homes being sold is down. Q.E.D.

An interesting calculation is the $/Sqft number. In 2004 the median sale price divided by the median sqft was $299. In 2009 the same number is $298. You should draw some comfort from this factoid.

Take a look at this graph where I've plotted the median sale prices and median home size for the years 2004 through 2009. These prices are YTD through October 31st.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Eastham Elementary School - Tops in State

Eastham Elementary SchoolEvery year students in Massachusetts take a set of standardized tests designed to ensure a high and consistent level of instruction across the state. This past spring Eastham Elementary, part of the Nauset School District, did especially well. In fact, they were first overall in the state. The tests are the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System, known as the MCAS tests. Read the Cape Codder article ... Here.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My December 2009 Newsletter Is Available Now!

Highland Light, Truro, Cape CodMy December 2009 Eastham real estate newsletter is available now! This issue contains my real estate report of sales through October. Also in this newsletter are articles about Eastham's 2010 assessments and the new tax credits. Worth a look! Download your copy of the December 2009 newsletter ..Here.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Strange Fish on Dennis Beach

How a large, dead, ocean sunfish washed up on Dennis' Corporation Beach is anybody's guess. Watch the video, from the Cape Cod Times, is you can...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Fallen Hero Remembered On Windmill Green

Bench in honor of Sgt. Mark VecchioneA Memorial Bench in honor of Sgt. Mark Vecchione was dedicated today on the Eastham Windmill Green. Mark was killed in Iraq in July of 2006. The bench was dedicated in his honor by his mother Cynthia Deslauries, his sister Laurie Vecchione and nephew Sabastian. The dedication was attended by about 40 hardy souls who braved the cold November afternoon.

We are forever grateful for his service to our country and promise never to forget the ultimate sacrifice Mark and his family have made. The bench became a reality through the efforts of Dylan De Silva and Cape Cod Cares for the Troops.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Eastham's Thanksgiving Rubber Duck Race

The Eastham Recreation & Beach Department is having its annual rubber duck race this next Sunday (November 15th) at the end of First Encounter Beach, on Bee's River. Prizes will be 'awarded' to the top 5 finishers. It's a buck a duck and they start swimming at 1 PM - sharp! This should be a lot of fun. If you'd like to buy a duck (for a buck), call the Rec Department at 508-240-5974 after 9 AM this Thursday. When all the ducks are gone, they're gone. This is a rain or shine event. I hope to see you there. To see the Rec Department's flyer, go .. Here.

How About A Shoe In The Neighborhood?

House on Shoehouse RdThere was an old woman who lived in a shoe...

Appropriately situated on Shoehouse Rd, in Hellam, PA is this boot-shaped house. Shoe store tycoon Mahlon Haines built this unusual home in 1948 to advertise his shoes. The 3 bedroom, 2 bath house features a front door with a stained-glass portrait of the owner himself, an observation platform, and even a shoe-shaped doghouse. At one time the home was a guest house, offering weekend stays to elderly couples. Read about this strange house on 'its' website. Or, take an aerial look at Here.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Eastham's October Sales - A Serious Uptick

Eastham, Cape Cod, MA signThe 'early' results are in. It looks like October was a fairly 'big' month. The month of October had over $6.2M in sales across 13 sales, compared to just over $500K with 2 sales in the month of September. The $6.2 M is significantly better than any other month in 2009, and the best since September 2008.

Is this the beginning of the end of the slowdown? One month's data can't answer that question, but it's a start. The skew of October's sold homes didn't demonstrate that the prior discussion of a bipolar marketplace is not still valid. We'll see. For more details and commentary, subscribe to my monthly newsletter...Here.

Homebuyer's Tax Credit: Updated & Extended

It's now the law. Congress, and President Obama, have created and signed into law an extension of the first time home buyers tax credit of $8,000. Additionally, the law has provided for existing homeowners to also collect a tax credit of up to $6,500. There are lots of details, income limits, and 'requirements'. Read all about the new laws in CNBC's Investment Guide Special Report.

Unfortunately, neither the first time or the existing homeowner tax credits allow for coverage of investment or second home purchases, leaving the Outer Cape real estate market out. Bummer!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Cape Cod Modern - The Video

As you've probably guessed, I'm completely fascinated with the architectural style known as Cape Cod Modern. Cape Cod Modern is a style born out of the 50s, 60s, and early 70s by a number of extremely talented architects who just wanted places to escape their 'regular' work environment. The style is characterized by large window spaces, flat roofs, and square-ish layouts. Check out this video for a lot more information and a better understanding of Cape Cod Modern. Also, go to the website of the Cape Cod Modern House Trust.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Eastham Real Estate Market Snapshot

Bob Sheldon, RealtorFrom time to time I put a snapshot of the Eastham marketplace on my blog. So, here is what the Eastham 'Actives' look like...
  • There are 106 'Active' single family residence listings, ranging from $229K to $2.6M.
  • The Average listing price is $552K
  • The Median price is $470K
  • There are 12 'Pending' listings. These are under-agreement homes with closings scheduled
  • There have been 64 closings year-to-date, ranging from $87K to $2.2M

For more details and commentary, subscribe to my monthly newsletter...Here.

Hang Gliders on the Outer Cape

When I saw this video from the Cape Cod Times I did a bit of research and was surprised by the extent that hang gliding is done on the Outer Cape. It's best done where the high dunes meet the open water. The two locales that seem to host the gliders are in Truro (Bayside) and in Wellfleet (Oceanside). Both have similarly shaped water-facing high dunes. In Truro they go off a platform at the Seascape Motor Inn. The Wellfleet location is at White Crest Beach.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

2009 Wellfleet Oyster Shuck-Off

NPR RadioThe Boston NPR station, WBUR, did a story on Wellfleet's Oysterfest and the oyster shuck-off contest, held every year. For those brave few who attended the contest in the cold pouring rain, they were treated to shucking at its best. Check out the story on WBUR's website and don't miss the slideshow and the video.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Cape Manatee "Flys" Home to Florida

Cape Cod ManateeThe manatee that we've named Ilya has finally returned to Florida, where she will have a new home, at least temporarily, at the Miami Seaquarium. Although feared lost to hypothermia following two storms, Ilya turned up off the coast of New Jersey. She was then airlifted to Miami aboard a Coast Guard C-130. Read the story from the Associated Press...Here. Or, read about Ilya in the Boston Examiner.

The Fall Colors - At Their Peak

The fall colors have finally arrived. The fact that we get the colors later than most of New England is a product of our location, surrounded by warm (relatively) water. I went out golfing yesterday at Cranberry Valley Golf Course in Harwich and snapped the photo below. This time of year is great for a round of golf, with cheaper rates, fewer golfers, cooler weather (mid-50s), and the fall colors.

Cranberry Valley Golf Club

Tough Market Real Estate Marketing

I found an article on that pretty well summarizes what a home seller needs to do to make their property the most attractive property that a buyer sees in their 'hunt' for the perfect home. These rules apply for homes of all shapes, sizes, and locales.

Of note - I believe that the extreme 'seasonality' of the Outer Cape changes the discussion about a home's stale-ness factor discussed in the article. Here, except in extreme cases, the days-on-market often reflects the season the house entered the market, whether its been a rental property, etc. Read the article ... Here.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

What's A Move-Up Buyer?

Capital Building Who knew?

The same folks who brought us Cash-for-Clunkers are currently debating the inevitable extension of the First Time Home Buyer's Credit. As part of the extension they have come up with a $6,500 tax credit for Move-up buyers. A Move-up buyer is someone who currently owns a primary home, has lived in it for 5 of the prior 8 years, and who wants to buy a new home. They must live in the 'new' home for a minimum of 3 years or the tax credit will need to be paid back.

This program, as well as the extension, is still being debated in Congress. Stay tuned! For an update on the tax credit extension and a few more details on the Move-up buyer's incentive, go to the CNBC story...Here.

Home Energy Tax Credits: It Is Not Too Late!

Federal Tax Credit I received the following article as part of a newsletter from the National Grid....

Thinking of remodeling your home or upgrading your heating and cooling equipment? You may be eligible for a federal tax credit to help reduce the cost! Homeowners can receive a tax credit for making energy-efficient home improvements or for installing high-efficiency heating and cooling or water-heating systems. The incentive is equal to 30% of the cost of materials or installation for projects—subject to an overall cap of $1,500.

What Types of Improvements Are Eligible? A variety of energy-efficient building products and equipment are eligible for the tax credit, including: windows and doors, insulation, metal and asphalt roofs, heating and cooling, water heating, and biomass stoves.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Bankruptcy - A Little Education

A lot can be said about declaring bankruptcy, mostly bad. SmartMoney magazine ran an article that answers a multitude of questions about the process and the consequences of bankruptcy. Read about bankruptcy...Here.

Eastham 2010 Assessments Available

Town of Eastham, MassachusettsEastham's 2010 assessment data is now available, both in print and online. A few data points...
  • The assessment is intended to represent the values as of 1/1/2009
  • The median single family residential home assessment for 2010 is $411,050, down 1.2% from the 2009 median assessment
  • The average assessed value is $549,583
  • There were 5060 single family homes in Eastham as of 1/1/2009
  • The total assessed value for Eastham's single family residences is $2.78 Billion
The 2010 real estate tax rate for Eastham is $5.51/thousand.

Check your 2010 assessment on the Town of Eastham website...Here.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Geothermal Heating & Cooling - Another Solution

Geothermal Heat PumpThe constant temperature and 'infinite' heat of subsurface earth makes geothermal heat pump technology an ideal solution for heating and cooling your Cape home. It's a technology that has had only a few 'takers', but I believe that we'll see more and more homes equipped with geothermal heat pumps. The claimis possible savings of up to 80%. Additionally, there is, currently, a 30% federal tax credit for these systems. ClimateMaster, one of several geothermal heat pump manufacturers, has a fairly educational website with technology tutorials and tax credit information.

Wellfleet: A World Foodie "10 Best" Destination

Wellfleet, MassachusettsHere's a surprise. Orbitz, one of the large on-line travel firms, has a website, that reviews travel destinations, hotels, restaurants, etc. The surprise is that Wellfleet turned up on the "Top 10" list for worldwide best "Foodie" destinations. The list cites that world-famous Wellfleet oyster as the primary attraction. Read the article...Here. Other locations on the list? A few are Fes (Morocco), South West London, Buenos Aires, Carmel (California), and Bangkok. Interesting list.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Wellfleet Shipwreck Returns

The shipwreck that first was seen on Newcomb Hollow Beach, in Wellfleet, seems to have reappeared. As the sand comes and goes it seems to have washed up a small portion of the large keel section that we saw in January and February of 2008. Check out a few photos from last year on my website, at The video below, from the Cape Cod Times. shows how it looks today.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Eastham Rotary - What's Inside?

We drive around and around and around (you get the idea) the rotary that sits between Orleans and Eastham, but never give it a good look and certainly have no clue what lies at its center. Well the Cape Cod Times sent a film crew (a small one, anyway) into the rotary to reveal its deep secrets. Watch the video...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Where Did Jack-O-Lanterns Come From?

This is one of those questions that never occurred to me. Why would it? Every year we dutifully bought a mid-sized pumpkin and cut it up to look like some scary thing, put a candle in it, and set it out for the trick-or-treaters. Lots of fun. In recent years we've either used a porcelain pumpkin, with an electric candle, or we've used a magic marker to draw faces on the pumpkins. The latter method preserves the pumpkin for later use as a pie. (better!). Anyway, I found the origin of this annual Halloween ritual. Take a look!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

My November 2009 Newsletter Is Available Now!

Eastham WindmillMy November 2009 Eastham real estate newsletter is available now! This issue contains my third quarter (3Q2009) sales report and details of homes sold in September. Also in this newsletter I announced my 'new' rental program. Worth a look! Download your copy of the November 2009 newsletter ..Here

Monday, October 12, 2009

Project To Map Coastal Areas of Cape Cod Bay

In a pilot project, new sonar equipment will map the coastal areas of Cape Cod Bay. An article in the Cape Codder described how technical problems have long prevented accurate mapping of the more shallow areas of Cape Cod Bay. But a new sonar technology solves the previous shortcomings. Read the article ..Here.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Wanna Buy A Motel?

Captains Quarters MotelThe Captain's Quarters Motel, on Route 6 in Eastham, is scheduled to be sold at auction on November 30th. The motel has 75 rooms, a conference center, tennis courts, and a heated outside pool, all on 5.36 acres. There are a number of possible uses of this property. It could possibly be turned into up to 40 condo units. This is an 'absolute' auction which means that all bids are valid and the highest bidder, at any price, will be the 'winner'. There are lots of 'details', so go to the press release for more information and to the auctioneer's website and read the fine print.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Summer Home - How To Prepare For Winter

Owners of summer homes need to prepare their homes for the colder weather. The worst case scenario is a pipe burst that allows water to flood the inside of the home. Water can run for days and weeks undetected. We see a few of these ugly situations every year. The damage can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

There are a number of must-do items as well as a few 'best practices' for winterization. The Wellfleet Fire Department has prepared a checklist that could be very useful in preparing for winter. Check out the checklist...Here.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Eastham's 1651 Arboretum at Wiley Park

Eastham's 1651 ArboretumI live just a stone's throw from a treasure that is hidden in the woods on the east side of Great Pond, in Eastham. Wiley Park is the home of the 1651 Arboretum. The 1651 Arboretum is intended to be a living monument to the arrival of the Pilgrims to Eastham’s shores and an interpretive educational exhibit illustrating the processes of natural succession and exemplifying the plant communities that were dominant on Cape Cod in the year 1651. There is a dedicated group of folks who research and execute plantings to that end. The Cape Codder ran an interesting article about the arboretum. Read it Here.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Cape Cod Manatee Swimming South

ManateeOver the last few weeks we've been reading stories about a manatee that has been swimming in and around the Cape. We saw the manatee in Dennis & Rock Harbor. The problem with this 'cute' story is that similar stories seem to always end badly, with the warm water mammal succumbing to hypothermia as the water temperature drops well below what the animal needs to survive. Well, we may have seen the exception to the rule with a manatee that's been named Ilya. Ilya has been spotted traversing the Cape Cod Canal and swimming south. Catch the story from the Boston Globe.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Cape Cod Humor - At the Highland Links Golf Course

A few weeks ago I played the 9 hole Highland Links golf course. The Highland Links is one of those courses known as a "Links" course, which translates to very rough roughs, with long grasses, oft impenetrable out-of-bounds, and unpredictable wind gusts. One of the fairways, the 5th if I recall, stretches along the top of the bluff above the open Atlantic Ocean. The out-of-bounds is about a 70 ft cliff, straight down to the ocean beach. Here is the sign that every golfer reads and needs to understand.

Highland Links Golf Course

Towers of Cape Cod - The Jenny Lind Tower in Truro

Jenny Lind TowerOne of the strangest structures on the Outer Cape is an empty 70 ft tower in Truro, known as the Jenny Lind Tower. Jenny Lind was an Swedish opera star from the mid-1800's who was brought to America by P.T. Barnum. Apparently she did a free concert from this tower (which was originally part of the Fitchburg train station in Boston) when the original venue was oversold. The tower sits on National Seashore property just south of the Highland Lighthouse. Read more about the Jenny Lind Tower on the Cape Codder website...Here.

Also, the Cape Cod Times did a video about the Jenny Lind Tower. Check it out...

Friday, October 02, 2009

The Eastham Real Estate Marketplace - Q & A

Question: I get your emails that post new listings and I'm a bit taken on how many Eastham houses continue to go on the market. Where's everyone going and why?


  • First – the number of houses on the market isn’t, historically speaking, very high. We currently have only 110 active listings. A year ago we peaked at 119. We’ve had as many as 141, back in 2006.
  • I haven’t seen a common theme in the Sellers. Many just feel its time to move South, where its warmer. Others feel that it’s time to cash out to pay for college. The most common story is the death of the owner, forcing the family to sell the home to settle the estate. I’m also seeing a fair number of totally unused (abandoned) homes that are being sold.
  • I’ve had no buyers even hesitate about water issues or any local issues. Although we’ll certainly see increases in our taxes to pay for wherever the water issue takes us, Eastham taxes are significantly less than other places in New England.
  • I believe that the average American family moves every 7 years or so. That seems excessive to me since I lived in my NY home for 29 years. Also, many of these moves are due to work transfers. That said, the Cape had a boom in the mid-to-late 1990’s that may be the statistical fact that says that we will see continuous turnover for the foreseeable future. As a Realtor, I’m OK with that.
  • As you know from my newsletters, the current market is VERY slow. There were only 2 sales in Eastham in September, usually a BIG month. As things start moving again there will be more new listings. My next newsletter, due out in 2 weeks, will provide the details of September sales.
  • Lastly: The biggest problem with real estate right now is economic uncertainty. Folks are simply saying that now isn’t the time to spend big money on a vacation property. Hopefully, the market will signal ‘all clear’ soon.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Mortgage Underwater - Walk Away?

Mortgage ExpertWhat should you do if your mortgage is seriously underwater and you are having difficulty making the payments? One of the options is to simply walk away - giving the keys to the bank and letting the situation be resolved with a short sale or foreclosure. Another is to just tough it out and make the sacrifices necessary to continue making the payments. The banking website,, answered this question. Take a look!

Get Ready for Fall's Colors!

Eastham WindmillOne of the recurring features of this time of year is the dramatic increase in the number of large tour buses bringing folks from far and wide, attracted by off-season rates and the fall colors. I've seen as many as 5 buses at the Eastham windmill.