When you purchase your second home and it nearly kills you!

If I told you moving to Cape Cod would nearly kill you, what would you think? You’d probably think I was making a joke about house prices, inflation, traffic driving you mad, or a pack of coyotes prowling the beaches at all hours. Well you, my friend – you would be wrong. Now – what if I said you’d buy a home in Cape Cod and instead of figuring out what color you want the walls, you’d immediately start trying to guess what wild food the previous owners were cooking to produce that strange odor? A-ha! You’ve undoubtedly narrowed your theories down to pack of coyotes or gas leak, right? Well let me take you on a journey through fumes, bidding wars, laughs and, ultimately, joy.

Meet Matt and Ana, Buyers of a second home on Cape Cod

“If they were smokers or lit a match, the whole place would have blown up.”

The waiting is the hardest part

The Spring/Summer 2022 real estate market is still on absolute fire, and Matt and Ana, a hard-working married couple (36 years and going strong) living in Mansfield, Massachusetts are hoping to finally have an offer accepted on a Cape Cod vacation home. They’ve been working with Tia Lilly of Property Cape Cod for months and, although they don’t yet know it, their patience is about to pay off.

Their journey began in Winter of 2021. Homes were selling faster than they could schedule showings, and given that Cape Cod has its own MLS (multiple listing service), Matt and Ana quickly realized they needed an expert on the inside. Their local agent, Kathy Flaherty, referred them to Tia and they were off and running…or so they thought.

Beautiful homes they really loved would hit the market, they’d go see them, and then the bidding war would start. Some would sell for $200k over asking price, and seemingly everyone was making cash offers. At times it felt like their dream of owning a Cape Cod vacation home was not meant to be, but they kept a glass-half-full mentality and stayed the course. Meeting often with Tia, they stayed patient, believing the right home would come along at the right time. This strategy would prove effective as their offer was accepted on a beautiful quintessential looking cape home after Tia met with the selling agent. Little did they know, a gas gremlin was floating under (and into) their noses like an airborne great white off Amity Island.

What’s that smell?

There was a faint odor in the air, and everyone noticed, but no one could come to a consensus on what it was, not even the fire department, who had come through to inspect the smoke alarms. Rumors began swirling that the previous owners were crazy people cooking with the world’s strangest ingredients. Who were these folks? What sort of experimental culinary cult might they be a part of? While the world waited for answers, Matt and Ana just opened the windows and scrubbed every inch of the house. Satisfied they had done all they could to eradicate the stink, they closed everything up and left for the night. The next morning, they opened the front door and, like a skunk-filled cargo train, the smell nearly knocked them over.

It had grown stronger in the night and was clearly now a major hazard. Like Godzilla stomping through a Japanese city, this odor was lording over everything. Matt and Ana quickly called around and were met with extended wait times and a general lack of urgency from various companies. They called Tia and she immediately reached out to a trusted contact at Rusty’s, a gas company she’d worked with for years. They were able to bypass some red tape protocols and get to the house the very same day, identify the propane leak, and shut off the supply. Rusty’s said the gas in the air was so thick, lighting a match would have caused a significant explosion. There was a collective sigh of relief, and a few days later the leak was fixed.

Important! Carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors do not detect propane gas. If you smell a strange odor in your house, don’t take any chances. Call the company that services your propane or an HVAC company immediately!

So, in the end, no one exploded!

Throughout the entire experience, Matt and Ana stayed true to who they are – fun and grateful people with an unwavering positive outlook. They followed advice when offered, stayed patient when they were outbid, kept their cool when met with potentially lethal adversity, and even cracked a few jokes (July 1st is now Propane Day for their family). Someone suggested naming the house and ideas were thrown around like “Sky High” and “Pressure Cooker”. How can you not love that?

On the other side of the coin, Tia was steady, patient, and nurturing. She was a guiding light through months of searching, brutal bidding wars, and the now-infamous near-explosion. Her networking prowess proved useful both with the gas leak and in getting the final offer accepted. Through it all, she would check in to ensure Matt and Ana were ok, as people first and clients second. The joy of an offer finally accepted quickly gave way to the sad realization that they’d no longer be meeting frequently. “We’ve had Tia withdrawals” they said, with playful sincerity.

The adversity encountered throughout the process undoubtedly created a stronger bond between Matt, Ana, and Tia. Business, like life, is unpredictable but, with the right people, anything is possible. What was once a near-death experience will now be a punchline over dinner and a bottle (or two) of wine. And that is worth celebrating.

“It’s not always wonderful through the whole process. There are challenges, but it’s how we deal with those challenges that separates us.”

– Tia