Key Things to Know When Buying a House on Nantucket


Buying a house in Nantucket is a dream come true if you are looking to invest in a beautiful New England summer home.

The island of Nantucket offers some spectacular views and landscapes and has endless beaches and beautiful historic houses and buildings with charmingly old-fashioned gardens and pink roses.

Still, the island is still a town and has an urban feel to it, apart from the fact that it is considered one of the most popular summer vacation destinations.

If you have plans to invest in a house on Nantucket, here are some of the most important factors you should keep in mind.

There are different neighborhoods

Although it is a small island, the town and county of Nantucket are made up of different neighborhoods. Each of which has its own style and feel.

The town and the areas around it are the historical parts and the place to go shopping, dining, sightseeing, and more.

Cisco and Madaket are favorite neighborhoods and beaches for surfers and for people who want to enjoy stunning sunsets.

Sconset is an eastern neighborhood that has a distinctive European coastal vibe with its rose-covered gray weathered shingle-style cottages and remarkable views of the ocean.

There are Strict Rules and Restrictions for Building or Renovating

The local Historic District Commission is the organization that is responsible for the preservation of the historic architecture and charm of Nantucket. It is the organization that determines its identity and character.

There are building codes that determine the height of the homes, the shape of the roofs, and the type of shingles which should be used for achieving that very specific gray weathered color of the houses.

There are also strict rules for nature conservation and preservation, which ensure that there is enough flora, fauna, and open space for everybody on the island to enjoy.

The Lifestyle During High Season and in Off-Season

Even though it is a northern island, Nantucket has a laid-back holiday island pace to it. The locals and vacationers alike prefer to spend most of their time outdoors. There are many beaches to enjoy, sights to be seen, and outdoor sports and fun activities you can participate in when visiting Nantucket. Some of these activities include fishing, golf, surfing, bike riding, and more.

When the season ends in October and most of the seasonal residents leave Nantucket, the lifestyle becomes more relaxed and yet retains its holiday charm.

The Convenient Transportation

Nantucket is easy to get to, even though it is an island 30 miles south of Cape Cod. You can get there via one of the regular ferries or flights so that you can reach it by sea or air.

You can drive, ride a bike, walk or use the local shuttle services. Or you can easily order or get a cab to get around Nantucket.

The downside of the remote location is the fact that any Amazon or other deliveries will come by boat, which can make the shipping costs pretty steep.

The High Cost of Building

Just like with the higher shipping costs, the building costs in Nantucket can be higher than elsewhere on the mainland. This is mainly due to the fact that most construction materials need to be imported and shipped to the island. Even the timber is imported or shipped to the island from elsewhere. In many cases, the labor is imported from outside the island too.

Now with the pandemic, the demand for construction work and materials has reached a new high as locals or seasonal residents have been spending the lockdown to renovate their residences and the many residential rentals.

Overall, you can expect to pay labor and material prices higher than in the mainland USA if you plan on building or refurbishing a home in Nantucket.

The Local Land Bank Fees

The Nantucket Land Bank and other local conservation organizations have been acquiring and protecting thousands of areas of land on the island. This ensures enough open space and nature for everyone to enjoy. Also, it provides access to the waterfront, as well as preserves the unique scenic views from every side of Nantucket. But to continue doing this, the Land Bank collects a fee of 2% from every person who buys a house or other real estate on the island.

The Nantucket Rentals

There are many seasonal homeowners on Nantucket who use their houses only during the summer or when spending time on the island. During the rest of the time, many of these beautiful homes are rented out to other visitors.

Renting houses in Nantucket is easier and often a lot cheaper than booking and staying in a hotel or inn.

Also, you can rent an entire home if you are planning a vacation, wedding, or another event in Nantucket, where you will have many friends, relatives, or guests.

Since this business is already very well established in Nantucket, you won’t have a problem making money out of your new house in Nantucket if you decide to rent it out.

The Involvement of the Community

Nantucket is not only a summer vacation destination. It is a place that is well known for its tight-knit and supportive community. Many homeowners, seasonal residents, and second house owners contribute to this by helping with their time and money for charities that benefit Nantucket.

Since the locals take great pride in their island, they all take part in keeping Nantucket clean, safe, and a preferred vacation destination.

Hire an Experienced Local Real Estate Broker

With an experienced local real estate broker, you will get the best inside information on the real estate market in Nantucket. Plus, your purchase will be swift and seamless. The local brokers are also familiar with the Nantucket laws and regulations, including building codes, restrictions, permits, zoning, and more. The broker will be able to connect you to the most suitable local lenders and lawyers for you too.