Affordable Cape Cod Towns to Buy a Home In?
Question: I've been camping at Nickerson every summer for 15 years and I can't bear to give it up, but my husband and I are getting old and achy and my two teenage sons are outgrowing the joys of rustic living in the woods and would prefer to be somewhere indoors with access to electricity.
So we're starting to think about buying a small property that will give us a comfortable, family and dog friendly place where we can stay when we come to the Cape but which we can rent out for most of the high season to cover expenses. Preferably someplace that we could eventually use more frequently as we get older.
If all other things were equal, I think my top choices would be in the Truro or Wellfleet areas, but it seems unlikely that I could find something affordable in those towns.
Can you give me some ideas for towns that are more affordable but which will still have access to some of the best features of those two towns?
As you might have already discovered while researching Cape Cod real estate, there are some good deals to be had all over the Cape, thanks to the "soft" real estate market we've had over the past few years.
Even now, with the market beginning to bounce back, it's still a good time to find an affordable vacation (or retirement) home on Cape Cod!
You say your first choice would be a home in the Wellfleet/Truro area.
#1. You're right. Property values tend to be somewhat higher in Wellfleet and Truro than in other Cape Cod towns - partially, I suspect, because so much of the towns' land is within the boundaries of the Cape Cod National Seashore, and off-limits to development. Fewer homes available + very desirable area = higher price tag for the properties that do come on the market.
If you haven't already done so, I'd urge you to contact a realtor who specializes in properties on the Outer Cape. See what's available in your price range. Find out about tax rates, any rental ordinances, etc. That way, you'll have the best information to decide whether Wellfleet or Truro is a realistic choice for you.
#2. Something to remember about Wellfleet and Truro is that they're the least commercialized of all the towns on Cape Cod. That's good, if your family prefers an out-of-the-way, seaside atmosphere.
Not so good if you're used to having all the conveniences of everyday life (supermarkets, shopping centers, medical facilities, etc.) just around the corner.
#3. The Outer Cape is much more quiet in the off-season than many people realize. As my hubby says: "It's like they roll up the streets in October and don't un-roll them again until May".
If you're planning to spend a significant amount of time here during the off-season, either now or in your retirement years, you might prefer a town with a little more going on.
With that said ... let me suggest some family-friendly, pet-friendly towns where real estate prices are pretty reasonable - by Cape Cod standards, at least:
If being near the National Seashore/Atlantic Ocean beaches isn't a high priority for you, then you might want to take a look at the town of Mashpee - a lovely town on the Upper Cape.
Mashpee has a primarily rural feel, but it also has everything you could want in a second-home town. Great restaurants, shopping and cultural events, along with both saltwater (Nantucket Sound/Vineyard Sound) and freshwater beaches, lots of open spaces and nature preserves, a variety of cultural events - and easy proximity to even more beaches, activities, and things to see and do in the neighboring towns of Falmouth, Hyannis and Sandwich.
Other towns you might want to look at are Mid-Cape towns of Yarmouth and Dennis.
The south side of each of these towns is more family oriented and "neighborhood-y"; whereas the north side is much more quaint and quiet.
Both towns border on Cape Cod Bay to the north and Nantucket Sound to the south; and both towns have a wealth of beaches, restaurants, shopping, museums, cultural attractions, family-oriented activities, etc.
Finally, if you'd like to be a little closer to the Atlantic Ocean, the town of Harwich might suit you quite well.
Harwich is "small town America" on Nantucket Sound. It's a very scenic, laid-back town, and it's only about a 20 minute drive (more or less, depending on traffic conditions) from spectacular Nauset Beach on the Atlantic Ocean.
I hope this information has been helpful. If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask!
P.S. If you'd like to send me a private message with some specifics about what factors are most important to you in your Cape Cod real estate search, just click on the "Contact" button in the nav bar at left. I'll get back to you as soon as I can.