Not just selling shore homes, selling a shore way of life. Your resource for the best homes, hotspots, & happenings in Margate, Ventnor, & Atlantic City.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Supporting Our Community - CONTACT CAPE ATLANTIC

A few months ago I accepted the voluntary board position for an organization called CONTACT Cape-Atlantic. CONTACT Cape-Atlantic, a partner organization of United Way, offers a telephone reassurance program for anyone who is alone or feeling lonely. Clients receive a daily call at the same time every day. Trained volunteers provide a friendly hello and check to make sure there are no emergencies. The volunteers are caring and committed to relieving isolation and loneliness.

CONTACT was started to keep in touch with senior citizens living alone and to let them know someone cares about them. Now this successful program has grown to help anyone, regardless of age, have contact with another friendly person.

Our Services

Telephone Reassurance Program: provides daily telephone calls to the elderly and disabled living in Atlantic and Cape May counties. Calls provide a friendly hello and a check to make sure all is well with our client.

Gatekeeper Program: trains individuals out in the community to recognize that an elderly person could use some help. Training has been provided to cable company employees, public utility employees, letter carriers, bank tellers and others who have daily contact with local residents. But anyone can be a gatekeeper. Just let us know of an elderly person in need.

We depend upon the community for their support through donations and at our our fund raising events.

Upcoming Event
Sunday, April 19, 2009:

18th Annual Silent Auction & Brunch

WHAT: Our Annual Silent Auction & Brunch...always lots of fun!

Many gift items, restaurant certificates, sports memorabilia, gift baskets and more will be available, for silent and live auction.

WHERE: Stumpo's Italian Grill, Somers Point, NJ

WHEN: Sunday, April 19, 2009~ 11:00 AM - 1:30 PM

Donation: $25 Per person.

FOR MORE INFO. CALL: (609) 823-1850 or (609) 463-4564

Become a Volunteer
To become a CONT
ACT Cape-Atlantic volunteer, simply call the office at (609) 823-1850. Training will be provided and can be done one-on-one. Volunteers commit to fill a shift which can be 8:30 a.m. to Noon or Noon to 3:30 p.m., and calls can be made from either of our phone centers. There is one in Atlantic County and another in Cape May County. As this is a service that is provided 365 days a year, there are many opportunities to help. Some volunteers are also able to volunteer from home. Calls can be made from home using a cell phone or an unlimited phone service. Our service area is all of Atlantic and Cape May counties. The volunteer opportunities at CONTACT Cape-Atlantic are very flexible and can usually fit into everyone’s schedule. Hope you will consider becoming a volunteer for this valuable service to your community.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Matchmaker Matchmaker, Choosing the Right Realtor: The Seller’s Agent

As a homeowner, choosing the right Realtor to represent you is one of the most important financial decisions you will make, and yet many people give little thought to this choice. Generally, your home is the single largest investment you will make and its value will determine financial stability for years to come. Proper standards should be applied when choosing a Realtor much like when you select your doctor, lawyer or any other professional service provider.

Here are eight tips to keep in mind as you begin your selection process.

What’s In a Name? – Reputation Matters
A Realtor’s name is his/her ticket, and those who are in Real Estate for any length of time know that your reputation usually precedes you for better or worse. For a homeowner looking to sell it is a good place to start.. It has been said that the Real Estate business is largely referral based. If you know someone who has had a good experience with a Realtor, make a “date” and see if you mesh.. However, don’t just assume that because the Realtor was good for your friend, it will be a good match for you.
My Realtor, My Brother, My Friend…Sometimes

A common mistake is hiring a friend or relative as a representative in a Real Estate transaction who is not qualified. While Cousin Vinnie may be the family favorite, he may not be the best choice to sell your house. The boom several years ago, yielded hundreds of “weekend warriors” using Real Estate as a hobby or extra income. A friend or relative can serve you well as long as they are a full time experienced professional. If you choose not to use them, the fact of the matter is that a true friend or loving relative should understand and respect the importance of your decision and will recommend an excellent colleague.

Can We Talk? - Communication and Comfort Levels
The home selling process can be a lengthy one, so it is extremely important that when you make your selection you will have chosen someone you feel comfortable with. Do you feel that you can call and discuss your concerns and your ideas without feeling intimidated or belittled? A great Realtor hears what you are saying and makes the effort to make you feel like part of the team selling the property. Talk with the Realtor. If it seems like you are speaking different languages, keep looking. Men may be from Mars and Women from Venus, but you and your Realtor had better be from the same planet.

Show Me The Money– Ask To See A Marketing Plan
We are now in what is considered to be a “buyer’s market.” Therefore, you need a Realtor equipped to market your property appropriately. The objective should be to attract as many buyers as possible so that your house sells for the highest possible price in the shortest amount of time. Ask to see a marketing plan. Fact: 85% of today’s buyers surf the net prior to calling any Realtor. Your Realtor’s company should have their own web site and your Realtor should have his or her own web page where your property will be posted. Are they a member of is linked to over 60 other sites. Will your property be advertised in the major Real Estate publications? If so, how often and what kind of ads? What other types of promotions will be done? Will there be Open Houses? An open house at the right home can be effective if it is promoted well through advance mailings and advertising. How will their marketing be different or better than any other Realtor?

Results, Results and More Results – Sales Performance
While a marketing plan is very important, the Realtors’ track record tells you how effective it can be. How many sales for the year is a good beginning, but don’t forget to find out how many homes were listed that did not sell, the average length of time on the market, and how many price reductions each home required. A great marketing plan is only great if it works.

My World And Welcome To It! – Market Knowledge

A Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) is a very important tool for any Realtor to determine your property's market value. The price is established by comparing your property to similar properties that have sold in the area within three to six months. Two pitfalls to avoid: 1) Don’t use homes currently on the market as a key to pricing yours. The current price of houses on the market may be the reason they are still for sale. 2) Don’t live in the past, “Mrs. Kravitz sold her house for $500K last year”. The only sales that are relevant are current sales. A great Realtor knows his/her inventory, can evaluate your house and tell you how it stacks up next to the other homes on the market. A CMA will give you the numbers, but make sure your Realtor is “in the trenches” daily and knows your competition.

Sold To The Lowest Bidder - Discount Realtors

Commissions are negotiable and the standard commission when you list a house is 6%, split equally between the two agents. At times Realtors will offer 5% and even 4% commission in an effort to convince the homeowner to give them the listing. Unfortunately, what the homeowner fails to realize is that discount Realtors diminish their chances of a sale for a number of reasons; 1) Other Realtors are less likely to show their property since compensation for this property is below standard compensation, and 2) with the reduced commission on the listing side there are insufficient funds to properly market their home. If you want a bargain go to K-Mart, but don’t use a discount Realtor.
Honesty is the Best Policy, But Not Everybody is

Be Realistic About Pricing –Okay, here are a few truths. Not everybody’s child is gifted, some clothes will make you look fat and the check is not necessarily in the mail. Let’s face it, not everybody is totally honest. Beware! Some Realtors will make grandiose claims regarding your homes’ worth just to get you to list with them. When the house does not sell, you will eventually have to lower your price. Why waste valuable time?. This is why an accurate CMA is so important. Don’t be taken in by false promises.

South Jersey offers hundreds of committed, talented and hard working Realtors that meet and exceed standards of excellence. Take the time so you can make the right match.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Atlantic City Restaurant Week Extended Due to Popular Demand!!!

Popular Demand Prompts One Week Extension
Of Atlantic City Restaurant Week for Many Participating Restaurants
through Saturday, March 14, 2009

Due to the overwhelming success of Atlantic City’s inaugural Restaurant Week this week, several participating restaurants will extend their special lunch and dinner prix fixe menus of $15.09 for lunch and $33.09 for dinner for an additional week, through Saturday, March 14, 2009. These fixed menu prices do not include beverages, taxes or gratuities.

For a complete list of restaurants that are extending their restaurant week lunch and/or dinner menus and the additional days of participation, click on link at

This list will be updated daily. Full information, including menus, lodging and parking information is also available at this web site, or by calling the ACCVA’s visitor information line at 1-888-AC-VISIT (1-888-228-4748).

Please Note: Atlantic City Restaurant Week gift certificates are valid only through Saturday, March 7, 2009.

The ACCVA receives funding through a grant from the New Jersey Department of State Division of Travel and Tourism. Sponsors include American Express, Philadelphia Magazine, Greater Atlantic City Chamber, The Press of Atlantic City Media Group, The Pier Shops at Caesars, Atlantic City Hotel & Lodging Association, A.C. Central Reservations, Atlantic City Special Improvement District, South Jersey Industries, TD Bank, Atlantique City, Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City and Casino Connection.

Monday, March 2, 2009

You've Got Mail!

Today one of my more cautious buyers emailed me several questions and comments. When he received my response he suggested I post it on my blog…anonymously. I welcome your comments and feedback:
The Buyer writes:

"I am not an economist but I think we are in for a rough year ahead.
I think Real Estate is in for it too. Remember the stock market is an indicator and actually precedes the real markets (in this case real estate). I am sure you have heard this from many before me and also serve as a useful tool to rationalize for people who don't have the courage to buy at this time. (somewhat guilty as charged); but I am willing patiently to see how things evolve over next few months. "
Mark responds:

"I hear all kinds of theories and opinions from buyers and sellers and of course and I have my own. (BIG SURPRISE!)
As I have watched the Real Estate market over the past two years and I have seen some changes. The homes
have come down in this area, but not a lot. More recently prices have leveled off. They have done this for a reason. Most people in this area do not have to sell. The same houses that glutted the market 2 years ago that were over priced are still on the market giving a perception of a market that is flooded with inventory.

New houses, when they do come on are snatched up in a matter of weeks...sometimes days (as long as they are priced right).

We are and will be facing a shortage of good houses to buy as the spring and summer market comes. In my opinion...with all due respect, the people that keep waiting for the next, best deal...or the bottom of the market will miss the deals they could have had.

It is hard not to be influenced by all the media bombarding us with negative information about the economy and the poor housing market. However,
ALL REAL ESTATE IS LOCAL and while our area is not bullet proof we are not affected the same way as the rest of New Jersey or other parts of the country.
Since January 1, 2009 I have 9 closed sales and I have 10 more pending sales scheduled to close on or before April 15th, 2009.
are buying real estate at the shore.

There is only so much beach!"