Moving? How about the house itself!


It is amazing how many antique homes we show that were moved to the Cape from Nantucket in olden days! One of my favorite programs on WCAI radio is A Cape Cod Notebook. Last week, commentator Mary Bergman talked about how antique homes get moved quite often on Nantucket. You can listen to  her segment here.


“When you live 30 miles out to sea, many things get reused, redistributed and shifted around. I once heard an antique dealer on Nantucket say he’d sold the same scrimshawed whale’s tooth three separate times. The buyers kept departing, one way or another, but the antiques remained.


Houses here are sometimes sold completely furnished–it’s easier than trying to take everything with you when you move off-island. I’ve benefited immensely from countless estate sales, or even the occasional end table left waiting for me on the side of the road. I don’t think there is a single thing in my house that didn’t come from somebody else. Even my cat was salvaged, after being returned to the animal shelter…twice.

But the most ambitious thing Nantucketers reuse are houses. You’ll see houses advertised for sale–for $1– in the paper. All you have to do is move it. These are houses that are often in good shape, but don’t suit the tastes of the new owners. I wonder how many of these houses in motion began their lives as somebody’s dream house. All you have to do is watch the real estate market and the demolition requests to know that one man’s treasure is another’s trash. 

Now that fall is here and the traffic, such that it is, has died down, it’s not unusual to turn down Milestone or Madaket Road and find yourself stuck behind one half of a house, slowly chugging along. It’d be inconvenient if it wasn’t so impressive. It doesn’t matter how many times I see a house move, I still find it fantastic. Something out of a dream.

So many of the houses look the same out here, the same weathered grey shingles, the same white trim. There are stories of summer renters who, coming home in the fog, can’t tell the difference between this house or that house and end up in the wrong one. When a house is moved, sliced in half or thirds and jacked up in the air, curtains still billowing in the windows, it’s finally set apart from all the other earth-bound dwellings, elevated. 

We have more house moves than any town in the state. If you are late to work, it’s a perfectly acceptable excuse to say you were stuck behind a house. They always seem to be on the move when you have somewhere you have to be.

It’s not just the houses that are moving–the very sand under our feet is, too. You can look at time-lapse photos of the sand as it moves around the coastline like a conveyor belt, watch Esther Island as it detaches and reattaches to the western shore. There are some parts of the island growing larger–where the sand is deposited–and other places where the sand is only being taken. The dream houses built along those unlucky stretches of coastline will have to be moved sooner or later, too. Those house movings are less novel. They’re more like a solemn march made in desperation,  retreating away from the receding shore. 

Sometimes I forget there are places other than here, places where you build a house and it stays put. “



Posted on January 15, 2019 at 11:22 am
Amy Harbeck | Posted in Amy Harbeck's Blog |

Keep Cozy with the Art of Hygge

Hygge: 6 Ways To Embrace The Danish Art Of Enjoying Everyday Life

From the 1st Choice Lending blog

Hygge (pronounced “hoo-gah”) is a Danish term. It describes the feeling of coziness and contentment that one gets from enjoying the simple things in life, as well as the practice of cultivating them regularly.

What is hygge?

It’s common knowledge that the Danish are, statistically, among the happiest people on Earth. They regularly top the World Happiness Report, and the reason for this is widely speculated upon. (For example, they pay some of the highest taxes in the world, but most believe that contributes to a better society.) However, there’s one other element that’s been introduced into pop culture vernacular as well:
Hygge. Deriving from the sixteenth century Norwegian term “hugga,” which means “to comfort,” or “to console,” it is correlated with the English word for “hug.”
Even if you’ve never heard of Hygge before, you’ve certainly felt it. The meaning of Hygge is embodied in the sensation of cozying up with a warm cup of tea to read a book by the window while it rains. It’s lighting candles at night and enjoying a clean and cozy home. It’s gathering for a dimly lit dinner with friends, during which everyone laughs and enjoys one another’s company (yes, lighting is a huge part of Hygge, but we’ll get to that in a minute).
Meik Wiking, the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen released a book that helped launch the local term into global popularity. He argues that it’s the Danish ability to simply enjoy everyday life that makes them among the happiest people in the world. “What freedom is to Americans, Hygge is to Danes,” he said. In his work, he outlines exactly what the practice of Hygge entails, and how one can go about cultivating a happier, warmer, and more welcoming environment in which they and their loved ones cannot only live, but thrive. Here, some of the main ways to accomplish just that:

To read the full article click here:

 Hygge: To Embrace The Danish Art Of Enjoying Everyday

Posted on December 7, 2018 at 10:49 am
Amy Harbeck | Posted in Amy Harbeck's Blog |

5 Ways to have a Safe and Sound Home this Winter

5 Ways to Have a Safe and Sound Home This Winter

While our home chores this time of year tend to focus on fertilizing the lawn for next spring and battening down the hatches for energy savings, we should also be thinking about safety, especially for the seniors in our lives. Here are five steps to take, courtesy of Consumer Reports, to make your home a safe haven in the winter months.

  1. Prepare for ice. Reduce the risk of falls by stocking up now on snow melt, and putting a plan in place for shoveling. If no one at home is healthy enough to take on the shoveling chore, set up a standing arrangement with a snow-removal service or a neighborhood teenager to automatically come to your home when bad weather hits.
  2. Service your heating system. Hypothermia can occur in older adults even when the temperature is between 60 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit, so have your thermostat checked and furnace serviced to make sure they’re functioning properly.
  3. Inspect space heaters. While they can be necessary in case of a heating system failure, space heaters are also a fire hazard, so be sure to check the cords and test them in advance to make sure they’re in good working order.
  4. Check all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Put new batteries in and make sure there are enough units throughout the home.
  5. Be smart about generators. If you have a generator or are thinking about getting one, know how to use it. Never operate it in an enclosed space and make sure it’s at least 20 feet from your home, windows and doors, with the exhaust pointing away from your home.

Copyright© 2018 RISMedia, The Leader in Real Estate Information Systems and Real Estate News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be republished without permission.

Posted on November 29, 2018 at 11:42 am
Amy Harbeck | Posted in Amy Harbeck's Blog, Cape Cod | Tagged , , , , , , ,

4 Reasons to Sell This Winter

Ice-fishing season is open!

And so is the real estate market! You might not think there are “fish” swimming around the pond looking for properties, but au contraire! There are lots of buyers out there fishing for their dream homes this time of year! Open houses were quite busy this past weekend & showing requests are coming in. With inventory very low, now is a great time to list your property!


Inline image 1

Posted on January 17, 2018 at 2:07 pm
Amy Harbeck | Posted in Amy Harbeck's Blog | Tagged , , , , ,

Proposed Tax Reform Impact on Homeownership


The new tax reform legislation proposes changes that could have serious impacts on homeowners! This article from the Washington Report outlines the changes proposed by the Senate.

If you would like more information or help sending a message to Congress, check out for more information!


Posted on November 28, 2017 at 3:11 pm
Amy Harbeck | Posted in Amy Harbeck's Blog |

Knotty Pine Makeover

Buying a home with knotty pine? 

Knotty pine and wood paneling, as most everybody knows, was very popular in the mid-20th century. There doesn’t seem to be too much history on the reason it was such a hit, other than it was inexpensive, easy to DIY, and durable. Even though earthy, wood-tones seem to be making a comeback, we see it in the form of darker stained kitchen cabinets or counter tops, or thanks to the popular HGTV show Fixer Upper, sometimes unfinished, horizontally arranged ship lap.

These designs remind us of visiting our grandparents, where there homes were compartmentalized and seemingly small for our open-floor-plan, modern taste. Wide-width plank knotty pine flooring is also a sought after feature in homes, but wood paneling and kitchen cabinets are usually the first to go! While there are a few homeowners out there, like this knotty-pine-fan blogger, there are many more blog’s that give advice, tips, and how-to’s on getting rid of that mid-century look. Here are a couple options if you are looking to bring your knotty pine into the 21st century:

Painting is usually a first choice for lightening the dark tones of knotty pine. This method can be tedious if there are a lot of knots, but the results are gorgeous!
Image result for before and after painting knotty pine walls

Whitewashing or Pickling
If you like the look and texture of knots, this method is for you! It will give your walls more of a Cape Cod cottage-like feel instead of a woodsy cabin.

Image result for pickled knotty pine

Posted on August 3, 2017 at 1:17 pm
Amy Harbeck | Posted in Amy Harbeck's Blog |

4th of July on Cape Cod

One of the best times of the summertime is 4th of July. But getting to watch the many fireworks displays and having some hometown fun at a patriotic parade on Cape Cod is a real treat! What’s better than getting together with friends and family for some 4th of July fun with a gorgeous beach view? Here are this years’ Independence Day celebrations:

July 2nd
Pancake Breakfast at Orleans Fire Department 
7:00am – 11:00am 
Rock Harbor, Orleans
Fireworks at Dusk

July 4th
Wellfleet Town Pier
9:30am Antique Car Show
10:00am Parade
Orleans Parade 
Shawme Pond, Sandwich
9:00pm Boat ParadeFireworks at Dusk:
Falmouth Heights Beach
Lewis Bay, Hyannis
MacMillan Wharf, Provincetown

July 8th
12:30pm Chatham Boat Parade
Stage Harbor – Oyster Pond Beach
Thanks to for the event information, please check there for updates and rain dates. 

Posted on July 2, 2017 at 7:31 am
Amy Harbeck | Posted in Amy Harbeck's Blog, Cape Cod | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Top 5 Reasons to Support Farmers’ Markets

2017 Farmers’ Markets Schedule

The summer has finally started to show itself and that means farmers’ markets season! As Cape Cod starts to bustle with visitors and seasonal businesses start to open, our friends at all the local farmers markets gear up for a busy couple of months.

Did you know there are farmers markets open every day all over Cape Cod? You can get farm fresh, local produce from Bourne all the way to Provincetown. And if you’re in the mood for a little more fun, you can check out Farmers’ Market Meets Happy Hour over at Cape Cod Beer in Hyannis.

PLUS, the Brewster Historical Society will be hosting a farmers’ market at Drummer Boy Park on Sundays this summer! Check out the vendors they have lined up!

Click to read the Top 5 Reasons to Support Farmers’ Markets over at and be sure to visit for updates on your favorite farmers’ market’s schedule. 

Local real estate is also ripe for the picking… it’s time to buy or sell before interest rates climb higher!  Please call or write to explore your options! Enjoy the harvest! 

Posted on June 2, 2017 at 4:13 pm
Amy Harbeck | Posted in Amy Harbeck's Blog, Cape Cod | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Want to sell, but need a new septic?









The dreaded news of a failed septic can paralyze Cape Cod property sellers just when they think they are ready to list. Some say, “I’ll just let the buyers take care of it,” but very few buyers are willing to consider a property that needs a new septic. Buyers worry that even with an estimate of the cost, they could be surprised with additional costs–like finding a huge boulder right where the new leaching field is suppose to go!  But a seller has options! Even if strapped for cash, Barnstable County has a special loan program that can cover the cost until closing. If the property is already under contract, some engineers and septic installers will do the work and get paid at closing. The first step is to have the engineering done right away, since that can be the slowest part of the process, and then put the plan out for bid with installers. Instead of an obstacle, the new septic becomes a very desirable feature for eager buyers!  Feel free to call for more tips and guidance!

Posted on May 25, 2017 at 4:34 pm
Amy Harbeck | Posted in Amy Harbeck's Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Should I wait until spring to list my Cape Cod real estate?

NO, LIST NOW!  Cold winds are blowing over the beaches, snack shacks are closed, and the boats are shrink-wrapped at the marinas, but the buyers are here–whether in person or on line!  You would think real estate would be dead this time of year, but I had several showings this week and I put a condo under contract after multiple offers!  Buyers are eager to buy before interest rates rise further, but there are very few listings to pick from right now.  Some buyers would also rather buy a vacation home now instead of book another rental for this summer.  It’s a sellers’ market!  So if you are thinking about listing your Cape Cod real estate, call or write now.  Now is the time!


Posted on December 31, 2016 at 9:23 pm
Amy Harbeck | Posted in Amy Harbeck's Blog, Cape Cod |