Wednesday, August 31, 2011

New Rules For Oil Tanks in Massachusetts

Effective September 30th a new set of rules kick-in for homes that have fuel oil tanks in Massachusetts. These rules should help prevent oil spills from faulty tanks or fuel lines. Homes will need to have either a leak detection device or the fuel lines will need to be jacketed. Either solution goes a long way to preventing oil leaks. The estimated cost of these changes will be $150-$350 price range. Fuel leaks, when detected, have cost homeowners up to $250K. Ugh!

Another component of this rule is that insurance companies must write policies that cover oil spills for homes that have installed the above mentioned spill prevention/detection components.

The Massachusetts Dept of Environmental Protection has more information on this new rule on its website.  Check it out!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Good Night Irene - Hurricane and Song

Irene good night Irene good night
Good night Irene Good night Irene
I'll see you in my dreams

Hurricane Irene traveled well to our west, providing serious winds and rain to central Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire, largely sparing us. Irene was only a moderate event for the Eastham and the Outer Cape. At my home we had less than an inch of rainfall and only 40+ mph wind gusts. In fact, at noon Sunday the sun was shining (briefly). That said, there were significant power outages. I got my power back this afternoon. Yeah!

The song Good Night Irene was originally sung by Huddie Ledbetter (aka Leadbelly) in 1932 and has been covered by just about every blues singer since then.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Hurricane Irene - Weekend Guest

This coming weekend looks like it'll be pretty wet and wild with Hurricane Irene's arrival sometime Sunday and staying through Monday afternoon. I've been watching the reports with interest since there will be no escape from the winds (now predicted at 70 mph) and the rain. Predictions on the rain are more difficult to find, but it'll surely be several inches. Even Cape Cod's sand won't be able to absorb the rain fast enough. 

Below is a screen capture from early this morning from the  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tax Tips For Home Sellers - IRS

The IRS isn't known for it's humor, so it never disappoints when you are looking for dry advice. They've just published their top 10 tax tips (a la David Letterman) for folks who've been fortunate enough to actually sell their homes in the current dreadful marketplace. Fortunately for the Outer Cape, while the number of homes sold is down (18% in Eastham), the sale prices are holding pretty steady.

Anyway, check out the latest tip sheet from the IRS....Here.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

New Listing - Completely Rebuilt Ocean Side Cottage

This 2 bedroom, 1 bath 1200 sqft ranch home is a complete rebuild, inside and out. New utilities, new appliances, new bedroom wing.  Open floorplan, vaulted ceilings, upscale kitchen, large deck, on a Cape Cod acre on the ocean side. New 4 bedroom septic. Close to Nauset Light Beach, the North Eastham shopping area, and the bike path.

More photos and a virtual tour at

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Edward Hopper P-Town Painting On New Stamp

In just a few days, August 24th, the US Postal Service will issue a new postage stamp commemorating Edward Hopper as one of America's premier artists. The stamp depicts Hopper's "The Long Leg" painting, done in 1935, of a sail boat and P-Town's Long Point Lighthouse. The first day ceremony will be held in Provincetown. The original painting hangs in the Huntington Library, near Pasadena, California.

Interestingly, the Huntington's website states that the lighthouse in the painting is the Stage Harbor Light, in Chatham and the American Lighthouse Foundation (and the USPS) say its the Long Point Light. After staring at the photograph on the ALF website, my vote is with P-Town.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

My September Eastham Real Estate Newsletter Is Available Now!

Part 2 of my mid-year 2011 report is available in my September Eastham real estate newsletter, now available! This issue has the results for Eastham's neighbors (Orleans, Wellfleet, et al) through the end of July.  Additionally, you'll find articles on Eastham Windmill Weekend, a new postage stamp featuring an Edward Hopper painting, and a new listing. This newsletter has been published every month for over 8 years. My aim, with my newsletter, is to provide accurate sales and market information about the Eastham housing marketplace, to add commentary and opinion (as appropriate), and to keep it interesting.

If you'd like to download a copy, go to

Monday, August 15, 2011

Cape Cod's Nude Beach - Seashore?

When you come to the Cape Cod National Seashore you probably don't expect to encounter unclothed sunbathers. The Seashore is one of only two National beaches (the other is in Hawaii) where nudity is specifically prohibited. That said, the park rangers have been busy enforcing the no-nudity rules, particularly in the Truro/Provincetwon end of the Seashore. The Cape Codder ran an 'exposé' (sic) of the nude bathing problem and history as part of their celebration of the Seashore's 50th anniversary. 

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Photo of the Day - Full Moon Over Nauset Light Beach

We went to Nauset Light Beach to show it to a visiting niece and were greeted by a wonderful full moon near the horizon. Although it was late, the setting sun behind us and the rising moon over the ocean provided significant light to us and the several hundred folks walking the beach. Check out this photo taken at the beach.


The walk on the beach, coupled with the hike back up the stairs, gave us a craving for ice cream. Fortunately, a friendly ice cream store was on our way home. Aren't summers wonderful?

Tracking the Sharks of Bermuda and Cape Cod

Last year we learned that the sharks that join Cape Cod's many seals (they have lunch together) travel to warmer weather during the winter months. Scientists have continued, and expanded, their shark tracking to now include tiger, mako, and blue sharks and have discovered more about the travels of sharks in the North Atlantic.

Dr. Brad Weatherbee, of the Bermuda Shark Project, shared his studies at the Wellfleet Audibon Wildlife Sanctuary and summarized in the Cape Codder article (click this link).

Monday, August 08, 2011

Do Something Different - A Beach Fire

Did you know you can have an evening bonfire on the National Seashore beaches?  I've taken my family to the Seashore for bonfires at Coast Guard and Marconi Beaches this summer for sunset bonfires. They are a lot of fun and you have the beaches practically to yourselves. 

You need to get a free permit at the Seashore visitors center and bring everything (wood, matches, kindling, chairs). Food, and drink (no glass!) are permitted.  You'll also need a bucket to douse the fire and a flashlight to find your way off the beach (it gets really dark). Don't forget the marshmallows for smores!

Only 4 permits are issued for each beach (Nauset Light, Marconi, and Coast Guard). You need to sign up for the permit 4 days ahead (Monday for a Thursday fire, etc) at 9 AM. Sometimes there's a line of folks waiting at the Visitor's Center door so be early. Also, the Rangers check permits on the beach each evening.

Lastly, Eastham allows charcoal fires on the Bay beaches. The fires must be in a container (e.g. a Hibachi) and you need to get a free permit at the Eastham Fire Station, next door to Town Hall.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Photo of the Day - First Encounter Beach

This photo was taken a few days ago on First Encounter Beach, in Eastham. This babe, my granddaughter Maddie, is enjoying the wide-open beach, the sunshine, and the Cape summer.

July's Preliminary Real Estate Sales Report

July's sales continued the slowdown noted last month. The sales for last month were not only down from a sluggish June, but came in at half the July 2010 number. This year's sales lag 2010 by almost 20%, year-to-date. The details....
  • There were 7 homes sold in Eastham in July, down from 8 in June and 14 in July, 2010. 
  • Total sales were roughly $2.2M - the average home sale price was $320K
  • The median sale price in July was $294K.
  • There are currently 118 active single family listings in Eastham, with an average list price of $559K and a medium price of $449K. The average days-on-market is currently 215 days.
For more details, graphs, and commentary, subscribe to my monthly Eastham newsletter. I've been publishing this newsletter for almost 9 years. Check out my sample newsletter, Here.

Monday, August 01, 2011

2011 Cape Cod Oldtimers Longboard Classic - August 14th

The 2011 Cape Cod Oldtimers Longboard Classic will be held at 5 PM on August 14th at Wellfleet's White Crest Beach.

This year there will be a few new rules. Since vintage longboards are getting valuable and harder to come by they have decided to allow any longboard over 9 foot to be used in the contest (without a leash). Collector boards and vintage items should still be available for everyone to drool over.

The 'new' rules...
  • Any longboard (9 feet or longer) regardless of age or condition will be allowed this year.
  • Contestants must be 21 and over.
  • All boards must be nine (9) feet in length or longer.
  • No leashes / No wetsuits - (If it’s too cold – tough!!!)
This should be a lot of fun, and a good excuse to watch an old art form (and a few old-timers) in action.  If you'd like to compete in this competition, go to the Old Timers website for complete rules and an entry form.