What with an unseasonably cold start to spring, it’s hard to believe vacation time is just around the corner. But if you want to spend this summer in your own Cape Cod home, and buy before the almost certain Federal interest rate hike, it’s time to get moving. 

If a seasonal beachfront bespoke property is what you want, Heritage Sands in Dennis Port has 29 cottages in phase two of a three-part construction. You get to choose layouts, fittings, and finishes, and the developer, CapeBuilt Development, completes the work. Prices are not too crazy either: one-bedroom homes start at under $400,000.  

Generally, though, finding a dream Cape home right now could be a nightmare. “This spring really is a sellers market,” says Farrah DiPietro, a sales associate for Heritage Sands, who knows Cape Cod’s general real estate market well. “Particularly first time buyers looking in the $200-$300,000 range, they’re having a tough time. It’s slim pickings and the nice homes are going quickly.” 

Don’t even think about a waterfront property—unless you’re loaded. “They are in high demand,” she says. “The Cape is becoming more exclusive. I lived here all my life, but spent four years in California. Coming back and seeing the difference in pricing was astounding.” 

The expected Federal interest rate hike, which many are predicting by the end of the year, is also driving sales: “We’re getting calls from people wanting to buy at Heritage Sands that same day and lock into the current low rate.”

DiPietro gives us tips for snagging a Cape Cod dream home 

Find an insider “Work with a good realtor who is well connected on the Cape. When I worked at Century 21 in Sandwich, often the transaction would be between realtors in the office without advertising. Some of those wonderful old properties that have been cared for and handed down in a family go by word-of-mouth.”

Look at year round costs “The tax rates really fluctuate from town to town on the Cape. We are in a low rate area here in Dennis, but some towns can be twice as much.”

Location, location, location (not in a flood zone) “Some flood insurance policies can be really costly. It depends on risk. Here at Heritage Sands, we’re out of the flood zone, so it is either unnecessary or very low cost.”