Owning a Beach Front Home

Orleans 207

Photo from WeNeedAVacation.com

Ran in the 2014 edition of Truly Orleans

By Candace Hammond

Buying any home is a big decision, buying a second home, like having a second child doubles your work, but can also double your joy.


Bob Wilkinson of Wilkinson and Associates Real Estate located on Eldredge Parkway had some great ideas and a list of items potential second-home owners should know.

“The first thing is getting the right realtor, someone who is a good fit for you,” Wilkinson says. “Then of course you want to talk to a local bank and get pre-qualified for a mortgage.”

Some things he suggests making sure you’re aware of when looking for a home are:

– Flood zones? (lines were recently redrawn by FEMA and this can make a huge difference in homeowner’s insurance costs.

– Lead paint – homes built before 1978 need a lead paint inspection.

– Tax rates for the town you’re looking in.

“Once you’ve purchased a home it’s important to remember that your job doesn’t end there. Owning a home requires a maintenance schedule in order to make sure it retains its value and doesn’t go downhill,” Wlkinson says.

Wilkinson says this is especially true if you are going to be gone several months of the year. Having a team of trusted professionals to help you is vital.

  1. If you are coming from an area with town sewers, maintaining a septic system may be new to you. Rule of thumb is to get it pumped every three years. Make sure to do this when the ground isn’t frozen. Locally you can call F.L. Quinn to take care of your septic system needs.
  2. If you’re not going to be here all the time, or don’t wish to do it yourself,  make sure you hire someone to mow, rake and maintain your yard. Locally, JDM Landscapes, Uncommon Ground, Cape Coastal Landscaping, and Ponderosa Landscaping are all available to help homeowners. You can also find great plants at The Farm.
  3. If you choose you can go to the dump yourself, or you can hire a company to collect your trash. For trash pickup you can call, Nauset Disposal, Republic Services, or M.A. Frazier Enterprises.
  4. If the house does not have natural gas heat you absolutely must secure regular oil or propane delivery. We can get severe weather here in the winter and pipes can freeze. Snow’s delivers both propane and oil and can schedule regular deliveries.
  5. If you don’t have a trusted year-round friend who is willing to check on your house regularly, you might want to hire a home watch service. Many alarm systems will alert the proper authorities in case of fire, a break in, or a furnace malfunction. Local companies that provide these services include: Moore Security and Services,  Anchorage Home Watch and Property Management,  and Nauset Management LLC.
  6. If you use your fireplace, get the chimney cleaned once a year. You can call Chimney Care and they will take care of you. Also ask about having a chimney cap put on to keep rodents out.
  7. Getting snow removed from your driveway makes it less obvious no one is there in the winter. You can pre-arrange with a service to plow for you in the event of a storm. Many lawn companies also plow.

The Cape with its salt air, humidity and changeable weather are hard on homes – inside and out. A dehumidifier is essential for keeping a basement mold-free, and air conditioning can help that dampness from creeping in during the steamy days of July and August. More and more homes are being built with central AC, but you may find your non-airconditioned house does fine with some window units, or you may want to look into getting a system installed.

Make sure you clean your gutters in the fall and spring to keep everything running smoothly and so ice doesn’t build up on your roof.

You will also want to check for, and caulk, any holes where mice and squirrels could get in and wreak havoc.

The sun, rain and snow can be hard on wood decks so make sure that you treat your deck every year with a preservative.

This may sound like a lot, but if you have a schedule for maintenance it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. The do-it-yourselfer will find lots of friendly help and all they need locally at the Mid-Cape Home Center and Snow’s.

In the long run, every hole you caulk or gutter you clean means that many more hours of enjoying your Cape home. A priceless investment.