Welcome to the Cape Cod Builder blog

Buying Land on Cape Cod

Posted by Matthew Teague on Wed, Dec 19, 2012


There are still great deals on lots and land on Cape Cod! Many of these listings have great potential for your New Cape Cod Home.  However, there are some things you should know before you buy your lot. 

  • Never Purchase a Lot without a Building Permit
    • Make your offer contingent on issuance of a full building permit for the size and type of home that you want to build. Without a permit, there is no guarantee you will be able to build your dream home, or any home at all for that matter
  • Site Engineering
    • Have the site engineered with a site plan, septic design and percolation tests. You want to make sure that you have good soil conditions, and there won’t be additional expenses for fill on the site.  You also want to know where the water table is on the site.
  • House Design
    • Depending on the location of the lot, the project may be subject to review by a historic commission, which may preclude some styling and design ideas.
  • General Site Conditions
    • Having the site engineered and applying for a permit will also identify potential issues such as, zoning, wetlands, or endangered species issues that can cost time and money to address.

The building permit process is clearly the best way to guarantee your investment in land will meet your expectations.  We have worked with customers in the past who have purchased land without permits, and have been disappointed in the final results.

If you are considering a land purchase on Cape Cod, CONTACT US, for a free site visit and initial consultation on your lot.  We are highly experienced in both simple and complex permitting for projects and can manage your engineering, design, permitting and construction processes in a predictable and timely manner. 


Buy Land Cape Cod

Tags: permitting, buying land, land, Lots

Governor Patrick Announces New Housing Initiative

Posted by Matthew Teague on Mon, Nov 26, 2012

   At a conference held on November 13, 2012, Governor Patrick announced a new plan to promote construction of 10,000 new units of housing annually.  This "Compact Neighborhoods" plan supports smart growth and higher density development in areas where it makes sense, i.e., near jobs, or transit centers. Along with the renewed focus on development, there was also a focus on providing a more streamlined and predictable permitting process for residential projects, which was written into the jobs bill that was passed in August.  This sort of positive attitude towards housing from the state level can only serve to help all of us in the Home Building industry.  Housing and development are major sectors of the economy on Cape Cod, and it is nice to see government leaders taking positive steps towards recovery!

Here is the full article from HBAMA.com: Governor Patrick Talks Housing

Cape Cod Custom Home

Tags: cape cod homes, permitting

Buying Land on Cape Cod

Posted by Matthew Teague on Tue, Sep 18, 2012

  Buying a lot or land on Cape Cod is still a realistic option for many of our customers.  There are still several reasonably priced parcels left on the Cape, and building a new home can afford a customer the ability to design a home that exactly suits their needs.  However, there are many issues that must be addressed before the purchase. Here are just a few:

  • Site Plans / Perc Test
  • House Design and Engineering
  • Historic / Conservation and other approvals
  • Building Permits

   Partnering with a reputable and experienced design/build firm can make this process predictable and provide the customer with some assurance that in fact the home desired can be built on the chosen lot.  Custom Homes can provide the flexibility in design and appearance that many customers desire, but without proper planning, the permitting can become an arduous process.

REEF, Cape Cod's Home Builder has developed a critical planning guide for customers planning New Homes and Renovation projects on Cape Cod.  Click Below to download the guide:

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New Cape Cod Homes

Tags: permitting, Building Permits, buying land

Online Permitting for Cape Cod Builders

Posted by Matthew Teague on Tue, Jun 05, 2012

   Building a new home on Cape Cod is hard enough, but the real challenge comes with permitting a project.  Each town has slightly different regulations, there is a mountain of paperwork to digest, and once the permit is submitted, it is difficult to know where the permit stands for several months. 

     Finally the county has spearheaded an effort to bring uniform online permitting to Cape Cod.  This system will be available to Cape Cod Builders, and promises reduced timelines, instant status updates, and should lend some more predictability and accountability to the process.  We look forward to seeing this program develop over the next year, and have been asked to participate in its development which will be an exciting opportunity.  This system should consolidate all of the approving authorities in each town, allowing building, health, fire, conservation, historic, and other filings to be done at once.  We will keep you up to date on the implementation of this new program.



Tags: permitting, permits

When are Permits Required for Renovation or Remodeling

Posted by Matthew Teague on Wed, Apr 18, 2012

     This is always a fun question.... and the simple answer is this... if you are doing more than cosmetic work, painting, floors etc... then you should have a permit.   Permitting a project can be challenging for homeowners.  With the various code changes that have occurred over the last few years, even homeowners may require expert help for even small projects.  Anything that involves opening the sheet rock should have a building permit, especially when performing mechanical, plumbing and electrical changes, and definitely when the work involves structural changes.

     Of course, in many areas on Cape Cod, there are other permitting requirements for your home.  Any work outside the home that changes the appearance requires a historic commission permit.  In some towns, there are even requirements for historic approval of landscape changes.  Any time there is a change to the footprint of the home, such as a deck or addition, a site plan must be submitted to confirm that the new work will not encroach on zoning setbacks or property lines.  Many towns do have an express permitting program, which makes permitting small projects like replacement windows, roofing, and siding quick and easy, even in historic districts. 

      So if getting a permit is so difficult, wouldn't it be easier to just do the work, especially if it is inside and no one will see?  The answer is NO!  Often times people will finish attic spaces, renovate or finish basements, or convert areas to bedrooms.  This happens frequently, and often times is not caught by local inspectors.  However, the problems start when the owner goes to sell the home, and the title V septic inspection occurs.  With specific definitions of bedrooms, new, un-permitted finished rooms could be considered additional bedrooms, requiring a full upgrade of the septic system when the house is sold.  This is an expensive and painful process, which is often the cause of failed attempts to sell a home, and reduced purchase prices to cover the cost of repairs. 

If you have questions about permitting your next project, large or small, consult with an expert.  You can contact one of the experts at REEF any time by clicking below!

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Tags: renovation, remodeling, permitting, building, permits

How Long Does a Home Project Take to Complete

Posted by Matthew Teague on Mon, Feb 13, 2012

      We have just published a new article in response to a commonly asked question: "How long will my project take to complete."  Planning a new home project can have several steps, and here at REEF we have a great process in place to provide a predictable and reliable answer to that question.  Often times customers have tabled a great project because the design and permitting steps alone where too overwhelming.  Since REEF is a design/build company, we can take some of the mystery out of the process.  Click below to get more information on permitting and construction schedules for your project!


Tags: permitting, project schedule

Tips for getting your Cape Cod project off the ground

Posted by Matthew Teague on Wed, Jan 18, 2012

  Often times, especially on Cape Cod, the biggest hurdle for homeowners is how to get their project off the ground. Whether you are buying a lot, tearing down a house, or remodeling, the challenge is alway how to start. Here are some suggestions.

  1. Write down a list of wants vs. needs for your project
  2. Hire a reputable design-build contractor who can assemble the team of experts needed to make the project a success.
  3. Discuss budget early in the process, working with a design/build contractor is the best way to project a reasonable budget so there are no surprises.
  4. Work with a local lender and the building team to ensure realistic financing options.  Bankers are ready and willing to lend, but local banks have much more flexibility and know the unique characteristics of the Cape.
  5. Permits need to be the first priority after the exterior design work is complete, especially if you are purchasing land.  NEVER buy a vacant lot without a valid building permit.
  6. Make decisions on all of the details before you start work.  Picking out cabinets, paint colors, roofing, siding, flooring and all of the other finish components is critical if you want accurate pricing and timely completion of the work. 
  7. The team approach works! - Take the time to investigate all of the players involved and find a team that you feel comfortable with and that has the track record that can guarantee the success of your project.

This is just a brief synopsis of the key steps involved in a successful project.  If you are thinking of starting a new construction or renovation project on Cape Cod and have any questions, click here to talk to one of REEF's experts!

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Tags: Cape cod builders, remodeling, permitting

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