Besides the typical association amenities such as snow and rubbish removal and landscaping, FalmouthPort, a well-managed condo community in Falmouth, MA, also offers homeowners a number of amenities that appeal to people of all ages: 4 tennis courts, a heated waterside association pool, community clubhouse, 1.5 miles of managed walking trails, and 2 association docks with deep water access.
For my wife and myself, who now live in FalmouthPort, it was the water that drew us in. As I write this I can hear the slight drone of a lawnmower in the background (a clear sign of the weekend to come), but the sounds of ducks, sea birds, and some passing kayakers have created a lovely backdrop for our morning coffee.
To take a short video tour of FalmouthPort, click on the video link.
There are many steps to financing a condo purchase when times are good. In today’s market when things are not so hot, there are even more hoops to jump through. Just as you want a highly competent medical specialist and a world-renowned hospital when you are sick, you need a highly competent mortgage broker and a mortgage company with realistic underwriting guidelines in challenging real estate markets.
What prompted this post is a closing that took place yesterday…over a month after the original closing date. The reason was the mortgage company…and not necessarily the mortgage agent! By the way, the buyers put 20% down, had exceptional credit scores, and both husband and wife have well-paying jobs!
Three Steps to Stress-Free Condo Financing
1. Assuming that you have secured the services of a competent real estate agent, seek the agent’s guidance in selecting a mortgage provider. An experienced agent will know which companies are “condo friendly” and which agents have the best track records.
2. Use a mortgage provider that has provided mortgages in the condo complex where you buying. On Cape Cod, some of the local financial institutions are better bets than those with off-Cape underwriters.
3. Use a local mortgage agent who is familiar with the area and the condo complex. Since they have already jumped through hoops for previous clients, they will know how to guide you through them for your closing.
Maybe “stress-free” is a bit of an overstatement, but if you follow these three steps, your purchase will be a lot less stressful.
A maintenance reserve: What an idea!
In the midst of our country’s major financial crisis and with daily news casts about both public and private credit debt, it is refreshing to see a condominium community that has wisely put money aside since its inception. So while other complexes defer projects due to a lack of funds, FalmouthPort in Falmouth, MA just goes on about its business.
FalmouthPort is a waterfront condo community on Cape Cod. Since it was built in the late 1970’s, the Association Board with its current professional management company, the American Properties Team, have managed the property in a highly professional manner.
Three points need to be highlighted:
1. The Board knew from day one that even though the complex was new, the day would come when repairs would be needed.
2. A Long-range Repair and Replacement Plan was adopted, and money (a maintenance reserve fund) was set aside .
3. The funds were invested conservatively. When stocks were rising wildly, the fund did not grow as fast as some would have liked. When the market tanked, however, the fund was barely touched.
What spurred this entry? Today the main road was repaved. No, there was not just a top coat applied; the old road was removed, and a new one put in its place.
And most important: there was not a special assessment.
We received news on Friday that at least one local Cape Cod lender, Cape Cod Five, is reinstituting 90% loans for second home buyers. (NOTE: Contact Meryl Watson for details: email@example.com). This was made possible because no title insurance companies would insure more than 80% loans but now at least one company is willing to offer the coverage.
95% Financing is Available for Cape Cod Condos
What does this mean?
Since the absorption rate for condo sales in a balanced market is usually around 5 months, a 20 month absorption rate means that the number of condos available exceeds the number of potential buyers. This would indicate that buyers still have the advantage in negotiating sales prices and conditions.
Now that the summer is winding down, it’s time to do those things that you wanted to do all summer but somehow never got to do.
Lobster on the Lawn Mondays
Every Monday night during July and August from 5:30 to 7:30 pm, Saint Barnabas Episcopal Church in Falmouth Village serves all meat lobster rolls with all the trimmings for just $15 per person. My wife Mary Beth and I finally made it this past Monday. Hundreds of locals and visitors gather on the church’s expansive lawn. Tables and chairs are provided, but many people bring blankets and sit right on the grass. They also offer free PB & J with juice, chips and a cookie for kids under age 10. Finally, you get a choice of lemon meringue or blueberry pie…of course mine was blueberry!
Part of the attraction is the casual community atmosphere that permeates the evening. Frisbees, flying footballs, and even a life-sized lobster are part of the fun, and you can end the evening with a stroll down Main Street.
There’s Still Time
The program wraps up for the summer on August 31.
Until next time, Steve
|2009 Falmouth Condo Market Overview|
|Dec. 31, 2008||May 15, 2009||July 31, 2009|
|Units on the Market||56||76||68|
|Average Sales Per Month||4.5||3||4|
|Absorption Rate*||12.4 Months||25.3 Months||17 Months|
*Absorption Rate: The number of months that it would take for all Falmouth condos presently on the market to be sold. A balanced market is around 5 months.
|Dec. 31, 2008||May 15, 2009||July 31, 2009|
|Sales % of Original List Price||85.3%||85.2%||89.5%|
|Sales % Of List Price||92.7%||94.57%||94.1%|
Here are some Falmouth Real Estate statistics by price range:
|$0-$299,000||$300,000- $399,000||$400,000- $499,000||$500,000 and up|
|Sold (6 Months)||9||6||4||5|
|Average Days On Market||188||257||92||267|
Cape Cod Real Estate Positives:
- The fact that the number of Cape Cod condos listed for sale is down 11% is a good sign.
- The absorption rate is also down.
Cape Cod Real Estate Negatives:
- The average sales price is down 10% from the same period a year ago (2008: $407, 812; 2009: 367, 576).
- In the past six months, 53 Cape Cod Area condos have come on the market while 22 have been sold.
Conclusion: The continued downward pressure on sales prices means that the Cape Cod home buyers market continues.
Until next time,
The National Association of Realtors has released its second quarter sales results for Cape Cod condos. The good news is that lower prices and attractive interest rates have increased affordability for both year-round and second Cape Cod home buyers. Click the link below to see the survey.
NAR Second Quarter Condo Sales Results
Until next time,