Real Estate Confidential: So you want to invest in real estate


Real Estate Confidential is a biweekly chit-chat about new listings, sales, or other insider info on the Martha’s Vineyard Real Estate market, presented by Fred Roven, owner/broker of Martha’s Vineyard Buyer Agents. It appears every other Friday in The Minute.

Investment properties on Martha’s Vineyard come in all shapes and sizes. I normally would recommend looking for at least 3 bedrooms and ideally a guest house or studio. The type of use might help determine the location. For vacation use with an occasional rental, the Katama area of Edgartown and downtown Oak Bluffs will be the first places to look. For year-round rental investment, more central locations will be the place to begin your search.

The Vineyard is in desperate need of investment buyers of long-term rentals to house a growing workforce with diminishing living opportunities. Every visitor to the Vineyard the past few years has experienced long shopping and dining out delays. This year we expect some improvement as work visas are again available. As difficult as it is for those workers to find places to live, fall comes and our growing year-round population needs places to live so we have the workers to depend on to keep the Island running smoothly. So, you get to help the Vineyard survive as it is and enjoy a profit for your efforts.

Data from the National Association of Realtors show that half of investment buyers purchased for rental income and about a third were diversifying their investments. On Martha’s Vineyard, like other destination vacation markets, one lure for investors is the large vacation rental market.

Many buyers ask me if it is a good time to buy on Martha’s Vineyard. You will see from the following homes that there still are many opportunities for investment, whether for vacation income or as a year-round rental property. It remains to be seen if the expected mortgage rate increases will affect your projections.

The beautiful, natural property at 41 Paula Avenue in Vineyard Haven is on an acre and a half and evokes the feel of up-Island with a park-like setting. The house sits high over its surroundings, set back from the road, and at the top of the circular driveway. The extensive yard includes stone walls, evergreens, a gazebo (with electricity), a slate patio that runs the length of the house, and open lawn areas. There are three bedrooms on the main level, and the lower level has been finished for additional living and includes another bedroom. There is a five-bedroom septic system in the ground, and a guesthouse (up to 800 ft.) would be allowed on this property.

History and charm are everywhere as you tour 832 State Road in Aquinnah. This shingled home was built in the 1920s and has a small garden pond and fire pit to add to the ambience. A list of some of the descriptions used for the property tell it all: copper-washed Spanish tiles, patio and rock garden, art studio with loft, filtered light throughout, inset beams, arches, and a wood stove with a handcrafted mosaic hearth. This property is a short drive or bike ride to the Gay Head Cliffs plus Philbin (best Vineyard beach) and Lobsterville (best Vineyard fishing).

The house and guest house at 94 Paula Avenue in Vineyard Haven have an up-Island feel and yet are close to town and stores. The main house, called the “studio,” was built for an artist, with soaring cathedral ceilings, great light, and an airy feel. The guest house, called the “cottage,” was built in 1972 and needs some significant work. The property has a new, 4-bedroom septic system and well, so a lot of space and a lot of potential for expansion and improvement. Nearby Ripley’s Field Preserve is an opportunity to see the effects of glacial movement, with multiple 70-foot elevations and access to hiking (and dog) trails covering all of the Vineyard.

The beautiful custom home at 1 California Avenue was built in 2005 yet feels brand new. It is in Lagoon Heights on streets first laid out in 1873. The home has an abundance of functional space throughout its 2,364 sq. ft., making it ideal as an investment for immediate summer income. There is lots of extra living space on its 3 floors, with multiple options for a family room and game room. The inviting porch that wraps around 3/4 of the home is ideal for entertaining, dining, or just plain relaxing. The location is an easy bike ride or walk to town, including sandy beaches, Niantic Park, Oak Bluffs harbor, shopping, restaurants, and, of course, The Flying Horses.

Click here for a list of current investment opportunities.

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