What You Need To Know When Buying Property on Martha’s Vineyard

Jen Hawkins O'Hanlon, REALTOR®


Are you thinking about making a purchase on Martha’s Vineyard? If so, there are three important things you need to know.

The number one thing that you should know about is the Martha’s Vineyard Landbank. Why? Because when you purchase property on the Island, you will be paying 2% of the purchase price to the Land Bank at closing.  Yes, this can be a considerable amount of money and that is why you need to know about it now and include that in your budget.  Now, the good news is that by doing this, you are contributing to the amazing open spaces, walking trails and beaches we have here on the Island that are available to the public because of the Land Bank.

Another piece of good news is that there is an exemption for first time home buyers and if you qualify, you only pay the 2% on any amount over $480,000, which can be a really great savings.

During my years of working with Buyers, I have always found that people are very surprised at just how expensive it is to build or even do renovation projects on Martha’s Vineyard. The second piece of information you should know is about the cost of building on the Island.

The cost of both labor and materials are much higher here than other areas of the country. The price per square foot to build on the Island continues to go up. We also have a shortage of builders in the current market, since year round housing housing options are limited, which drives up the cost of labor and makes for a long timeline to get work done.  
However, for those who have the time, money and are experienced with new construction projects, it is definitely a great way to build equity quickly, once the project is complete.
Finally, due to the expense involved with building new homes, we have seen a huge increase in modular construction, as this can be a fantastic way to choose a floorplan and finishes, while saving a considerable amount of money on building expenses.

The last thing you should know about is the contract process. Although the locals often refer to the mainland as “America”, we are in fact part of Massachusetts. And as such, it’s important to know that unlike many other states, we use an Offer to Purchase contract (submitted by the real estate agent with a small deposit).  This is followed up in a few weeks by a Purchase and Sale agreement, typically drawn up by an attorney who will handle the closing. A larger deposit is paid at the time the Purchase and Sale agreement is signed.

There are many other details that set Martha’s Vineyard apart from other areas, in regard to the home buying process. Give me a call so I can help you navigate this unique market and make the purchase of a home on Martha’s Vineyard a stress free dream come true! 


As a team, we work in harmony for the benefit of our clients. We handle multiple transactions at once and are able to execute a complex marketing strategy by leveraging team resources. We can be in several physical locations at once to ensure showings are always possible for our buyers and sellers. Our clients benefit from the combined experience of our agents and administrative staff.

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