Get Your Ossining Cape Cod Style House Noticed-and SOLD!

Ossining Cape Cod style houses-just like any other type of property-have history and character that makes them unique. In this series, we discuss specific types of properties, and develop a selling strategy based on understanding what is appealing to who, and why-and how to use that to get that type of property noticed and SOLD.

In this market, funky or cute will not get a  Cape Cod house sold. Safe, traditional, and expected will.  Being true to the authentic style, showing what is appropriate is what will put more dollars in your pocket.  

Cape Cod style houses started as cottages in England in the mid-1600s,  but were only named as such here in the early 1800s.  Every element was designed to withstand and protect a family from harsh and stormy weather: low, but wide-framed buildings, usually 1-1/2 stories tall, and for maximum natural light, were often built facing south.

Steep roofs kept snow from accumulating,  low ceilings kept  the heat in, and shutters were functional.  Mirroring the lifestyle and resources of it’s inhabitants, they were practical, without a lot of ornamentation, and the rooms were utilitarian. Originally built in areas of natural wildlife, they were designed to blend into the landscape.

Seen as less desirable in the late 1800s, they became popular again post-depression when affordable housing was in great demand, and when updates were made, like adding dormers and garages, and opening up the stairway, to visually enlarge the LR.  Having spent the first 18 years of my life in an Ossining Cape Cod style house-Susquehanna Road, in Indian Village, to be precise!-I can speak confidently about this style house.

These were houses built not knowing about sectionals, or flat-screen TVs, Master Suites, home offices or exercise rooms. In a crowded buyers’ market, it does not seem there is a lot that matches up with what today’s buyers are looking for.

SO-without undertaking a major renovation, how do you attract buyers to your Cape house, and get it sold?  Know your audience, and play to the houses’  inherent strengths.

Historically Cape Cod style  homes have thrived durning economic downturns. They are great starter houses, show it as a younger couple would use it: Make the Master BR on the first floor the best it can be, and then the upstairs-children’s-bedrooms-simple: neat, clean, cheerful and bright.

Emphasize the positive: Fireplace, crown/other mouldings, hardwood floors, natural light.

  • Painting mouldings white make what they are framing-windows, fireplaces-bigger and more important.
  • Get rid of wall to wall, show off those hardwood floors
  • Wash the windows, including the screens. Take down heavy or fussy window treatments.

Add interest outside: There are few house styles where it is easier to bump up the charm than Capes…just keep it real, don’t muck it up:

  • Add a fence: split-rail or white picket, maybe even an arbor over the walkway. Windowboxes are big, too.
  • Holly and other plantings that add year-round color; hydrangeas and rosebushes are expected, and all soften the austere lines of the house.
  • Bird feeder, birdbath yes:  statuary-no. 
  • Most Capes have an unpainted shingle or clapboard exterior. If yours is painted, or has a brick face (popular updates in the 70’s) bring it back to its’ roots: get rid of the vivid blues, pastel greens, vibrant golds or flat heavy browns, take down aluminum awnings.
  • Taking the roof color into consideration, think white, cream, or some of the historic colors like grey, barn red or a slate blue , and consider painting the brick.
  • Bright, even unusual  color front door, with knocker of interest is a signature touch in Capes.

Clutter is out: It eats up visual space, making a small room feel even smaller.

  • Keep hotizontal surfaces clear
  • Use a minimum of wall decor
  • Keep scale of furniture in line with rest of space. Store-sell-donate anything oversize.

Think  CHARM, not CUTE: In a buyer’s mind, “cute” = “small”.   Buyers don’t want to pay money for “small”.  “Charming”, on the other hand, has a much-more grown up feel…and is called “cozy”.

  • Anything pink and blue, with flowers or other mini-prints, folksy or diminutive, like ducks or bunnies must go.
  • Take down wallpaper, and instead paint in warmer, historic colors-with white mouldings and trims for a cleaner, updated, more sophisticated feel.
  • Edit out anything harsh, striking, new/shiny/glossy. Instead think fine detail, simple, even primitive, natural or organic for aesthetic updates

It’s important that sellers are committed to doing the best they can. No matter the price point, this Westchester County Home Stager maintains that buying should be a step up. Keeping the focus on helping buyers realizing their new dream is one of the best ways to get your Ossining Cape Cod style house noticed, and SOLD!