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Buying a Home on Nantucket


Building on Island

Jen Shalley Allen
buying a home on nantucket

Voted the number one island in the world by National Geographic, who wouldn’t want to own a piece of this beautiful island? But it’s a big decision and there’s a lot to learn along the way. Jen Shalley is here to help with a comprehensive, quick-reference guide to buying a home on Nantucket. Follow these key steps to purchase and finance a Nantucket home that meets your needs and preferences.

10 Steps to Buying a Home on Nantucket…

1. Find a Qualified Agent

How often do you purchase real estate? You can hardly be expected to know all the ins and outs of such a major transaction, which can be complicated by so many details.  To help ensure a successful home purchase, it is important to interview your agent. Ask for their experience, credentials, references and services provided. Make sure you are well represented in your needs. Visit Our Team page to learn more about our well-informed and professional agents.

2. Determine Your Budget

In addition to considering the requisite down payment and monthly mortgage amount, don’t forget to account for real estate taxes, which are actually quite low on Nantucket!  Additional items to budget include utility expenses, property manager fees, landscaping, etc. A Fisher agent can help you with an estimated pro forma to ensure you aren’t omitting common expenses. This may also help you estimate your rental revenues if you plan to rent the property. 

Fisher Tip: don’t forget about the two percent Land Bank purchase fee, which helps us all enjoy the island a little more by funding the purchase of open spaces and amenities like Skinner’s and Miacomet Golf Courses. 

3. Consider Financing

Financial preparations are central to most home purchases. In addition to helping you make better decisions about what you can afford in a home, a buyer who already has financing in place is often in a better negotiating position when it’s time to make an offer.  The team at Fisher has a host of trusted lender connections so don’t hesitate to ask who we think might be best for your purchase.

4. Get to Know the Market

Market conditions change regularly. It’s important to ask your agent to keep you informed about inventory levels in a price point (are they high, low or average). Other questions to ask are how long the average days on market is and what you might be able to expect in terms of a discount from the asking price.  Knowing key market metrics will aid you in knowing how quickly to act and how to write your offer when you find the right property.

5. Obtain a Local Attorney

Nantucket has a unique set of zoning and environmental regulations. We recommend you engage a local attorney to ensure you are well-represented. All too often we hear stories of buyers (or sellers) learning a key fact about their property after a purchase. Consequently, it would have been far more beneficial to learn about it ahead of time through a local Nantucket attorney.

6. Negotiate Terms & Outline Contingencies

It is critical to have a well-informed and experienced agent/attorney team assisting you with your offer and purchase. It will ensure your bases are covered and that common contingency requests have been identified. For example, mechanical, structural, septic, buildability, water and natural resource concerns, all will need to be reviewed.

7. Prepare for the Closing

Prior to the closing your agent will assist you with the transfer of utility accounts. They will also make recommendations for a service crew like a caretaker, landscaping, cleaner etc. Your agent will facilitate a final walk-through of the property to make sure everything is in order prior to closing.

8. Close on Your Nantucket Property

Once financing is set and all contingencies have been met, the next step is for the closing.  Unlike many other locales, buyers and sellers typically do not attend the closing on Nantucket. In fact, nearly all transactions are taken care of remotely. The buyer’s attorney and seller’s attorney meet to exchange and record documents. The only reason for you to be here is to begin enjoying your property right away!

9. Move in to Your New Home

Moving your personal items to an island 30-miles out to sea is an adventure of its own. Ask your agent to recommend a team who can help you move your items. Or perhaps you need to store your belongings if you are planning to renovate.  If you are receiving deliveries to your new property but aren’t yet on the island, make sure someone is here to check on them regularly and make sure they are secure. Fisher Agents will continue to be a resource long after the purchase!

10. Celebrate!

Last but not least, it’s time to celebrate! This is the easy and fun part and if you need assistance planning the celebration, we can help with that too! 

Written By

Jen Shalley Allen

Jen has worked on an impressive array of real estate transactions including two of the island’s largest and most complex vacant land transfers, commercial transactions, and single-family home sales,