Real Estate Confidential is a weekly chit chat about new listings, sales, or other insider info on the Martha’s Vineyard real estate market, by Fred Roven, Martha’s Vineyard Buyer Agents. It appears each Friday in The Minute.
The end of summer is a good time to look at properties that are perfect for Island residents and possibly provide opportunities for real estate investors. With interest rates rising and prices continuing their upward climb, this is possibly a more difficult but not impossible time for first-time Island buyers. The fall presents the best opportunity to find a home, as the inventory increases after the rental season and sellers who have used their home for vacation would prefer not paying the expenses over another winter.
The first step always is to speak with your bank or mortgage broker and determine what you can spend. The monthly payment should be one you are comfortable with regardless of what your bank thinks, considering your lifestyle and family needs. Typically, I would suggest sitting down and writing a list of features you want. Instead, find a home that interests you in the price range you are looking, and see how you can make it work and come close to those needed features. Most can be added as time passes. Can you add bedrooms? Can a basement be finished? Can the home be expanded? What might be the ease of resale when you are ready for your dream home? Certainly location is an important consideration as well as size, bedrooms and style, but stretch your thinking a bit and you might find more possibilities than seem apparent at first glance.
Banks, mortgage companies and mortgage brokers can be a huge help in finding just the right financing. Do not hesitate to sit down and speak with one and look carefully at the optionsm particularly the possibility of a very low down payments and in a few cases getting all or part of your deposit back at closing. In addition there are Federal, State, and local programs available: FHA, USDA, VA, Good Neighbor, Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, Energy-efficient, and Native American Direct Loan. I encourage you to read everything you can online about the pitfalls. One good source is Bankrate. Search there for “homebuyer mistakes” but do not panic! I promise there is hope and a house at the end of the rainbow that will be perfect for you.
Possibly the lowest priced home excluding those that cannot be financed (not considered habitable) and that needs some TLC to turn it into a perfect starter home for a growing Island family is at 3 Fourteenth Street South in Edgartown. Although cozy at 1400 SF, it features three bedrooms and two full baths plus a screened porch. The property is close to the bike path and provides easy access to Edgartown and the down-Island towns. Certainly it could be ideal as a vacation property but does need some work to get it ready to use. It would also make an ideal investment property as the work is mostly cosmetic and not expensive renovation.
One of the better opportunities for an Island family, as an investment home or income producing vacation home, is the house and guest house at 32 Boxberry Avenue in Vineyard Haven. The property is located on a quiet road close to Town Tennis Courts, West Chop Woods for hiking and walking the dog, as well as easy access to the Tisbury Town Beach. The house had a recent renovation with new roofs, windows and septic system. There are four total bedrooms and three baths including the guest house, which can provide income for expenses and mortgage payments or private space for family and friends.
If a client asked which home I would buy as a family home that was in reach of an Island buyer, I would have to go with the comfortable three-bedroom two-bath home at 15 June Avenue in Oak Bluffs. It is move-in ready featuring hardwood floors, wood burning fireplace, new windows, propane hot air heat, first floor A/C and even a full basement sealed and ready for that all-important family room or playroom. Outside gardens, plantings and lawn show the same level of care that you find inside. The property is steps to the Lagoon for swimming or boating and a short bike to Eastville Beach.
Maybe you are an Island family looking for a spot that offers the opportunity for a business as well a comfortable three-bedroom, two-bath home. The one-of-a kind vintage cottage in the Arts District at 93 Dukes County Avenue is that opportunity. The structure is a 1900 vintage cottage that now has all the modern conveniences and unusual artistic flair and surprises. The landscaped private yard includes a bunkhouse and an enchanting arbor. Move in this winter and have the shop ready for next summer’s Arts District Strolls.
There are many more properties that need some TLC but manageable by most any buyer. You can view them all at What Can I Buy on Martha’s Vineyard?
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