Sponsored: Real Estate Confidential: Should I buy a home in winter?


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.

Today is a pretty weak excuse for snow and yet it is (or was, briefly) white, cold and wet. As the season approaches I am often asked about the advisability of searching for and purchasing a home in the winter months. At the bottom of many “top 10” lists would be that the holiday season makes everyone a little nicer. There are many advantages to buying in winter that can make it the best time to buy. At this time of year everyone, including your broker, is less busy and there is always the looming chance of interest rates climbing.

You may get a better deal for two prime reasons. Less competition means less chance of a rush to pay full price for a property. You can take your time and make a more thoughtful decision. Very important is to note homes that have been on the market for more than an average number of days, which means the seller is ready.

And, sellers may be more motivated for a variety of reasons: tax advantages of using capital gains deductions in one year as opposed to another; awareness that more negotiation may be required and compromises might need to be made; to avoid carrying costs over the winter without the prospect of summer use or investment income; the considseration of whether to have a home for another year when they are ready to move on, particularly with a home that has not sold through a strong season.

Every winter is a buyer’s market!

I personally love having views over expansive fields with a coating of fresh snow. Views across broad fields is important in for many buyers choosing a Vineyard home. There is a building lot for sale that can fill that requirement. The lot at 82 Panhandle Road in West Tisbury has pastoral views and abutting protected farmland. The Panhandle provides easy up-island access and in close proximity to Alley’s and the Library. A second choice might be 320 Katama Road in Edgartown. Although there are 7 bedrooms in 2 existing structures, the highest and best use would be the creation of a family compound with main house, guest house, and pool house. The house looks across hundreds of acres of farm and conservation land.

When I refer to my favorite home in any one price category, that property is not always the best value or the most desirable. My favorite new listing at an Island affordable price is the barn house at 126 Great Plains Road in West Tisbury that just plain feels good. I live in a barn frame cottage on a large lot and I love the field views in every season but particularly surrounded by fall colors. Plenty of room for expansion while still enjoying stone walls, mature trees and sense of privacy. Community Association membership is available for nearby pool and tennis courts.

There are two new waterfront homes on Chappy that serve very distinct buyer requirements. Both were designed by Vineyard based Danish architect Niels Gabel-Jorgensen. 44 Calebs Pond Road is priced at $5,650,000 and does not lack much. It has a deepwater dock and a wall of glass looking out over Edgartown Harbor, the vistas beyond and fabulous sunsets. The second at 43 Calebs Pond Road is a more modest $1,650,000 and provides many of the same qualities on a smaller scale. Enjoy the surrounding conservation land or paddle through the harbor to Katama Bay, Norton Point or a bit of shopping in town.  

Nothing quite compares to a classic expanded cape in downtown Edgartown. 49 North Summer Street was once a 1920’s bungalow (with hand painted murals on the walls) is now a 6 bedroom 5 ½ bath Patrick Ahearn gem with a basement media room with kitchenette and a guest house. Everyone should experience in town living at least once. Wake up and take the dog for a walk to lighthouse beach, back around Fuller Street Beach and down to Espresso Love or Rosewater for breakfast on their patios and water for your dog. Come July 4, the parade and the fireworks are steps away.

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