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, July 31, 2009


I fell in love with the Jersey Shore in October of 1999, while visiting friends in Ventnor. The mixture of classic beach cottages and impressive grand estates all within a small area, close enough to a city and yet secluded enough to enjoy solitude, appealed to me. That weekend I made a call to a Realtor on a random yard sign and after an afternoon of searching, I made an offer on the first house I saw and fell in love with. What eventually became my first shore home was a 100 year old Victorian masterpiece just a block and a half from the beach. I shocked and amazed my neighbors, in January 2000 by paying $302,500 for my home, a number they thought to be outrageously high, since no home on my block had ever sold for more than $150,000. Times they were a-changing.

That first summer in Ventnor, I met many long-time summer residents who rented
homes every season. They’d tell me about the homes they almost bought, or that their parents or relatives had owned a home at the shore and had sold it years ago for almost nothing. Loving the area, they continued to return to the shore, renting a house or condo for the season, looking for a great opportunity that would enable them to own again. Knowing their parents and friends had sold their homes for so little money somehow prevented them from buying these homes for more money. So they continued to rent and the prices of homes continued to climb. I had conversations with these summer neighbors, and they were determined to buy “someday” when the prices came back down. Someday…….
Over the next few years, home prices climbed rapidly and lost opportunities became the stories at cocktail parties for years to come. The homes in the area continued to sell, and the people that purchased them, more often than not, improved them. “Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda”, became the anthem for many who stood by and watched others purchase and improve the homes throughout the area.

By 2005, everybody who could buy at the shore was buying. Real Estate became the tech stock of the 90’s and homes which didn’t have multiple offers, drew investors who were buying them, renovating them and “flipping” them to other buyers. During these years that “bargain” purchase just wasn’t there. The market was booming and it seemed like home prices would never go down.

As we all now know, in the past few years, the market has changed. In most parts of the country there has been a “housing crisis”. Yet during this time, the Jersey Shore experienced merely an adjustment, not a crisis. Prices have come down, but unlike in most of the rest of the country, homes at the shore continue to sell.

In January 2008, after working with contractors to figure out the cost of expanding my home, I decided I would be better off selling, and buying a new place to meet my needs. After preparing my home for the market, I listed it and it sold to the first person that saw it for $925,000. Something I have learned in this business: your first offer is usually your best offer. I wish my stocks had done as well as my Real Estate.

So now in 2009 we have an opportunity again at the Jersey Shore, and this is a bit of “déjà vu” for me. Only I have clients telling me that they want to rent right now because they think the prices will go down more. Do you smell the coffee? Home prices are lower than they have been in years and mortgage rates, while not as low as they were a few months ago, are still very reasonable and attainable. It’s not 1999, it’s a decade later, but it’s never been better!

So here’s my question: Ten years from now, will you still be renting and saying,

1 comment:

Mark Berry said...

so true Mark. Buyers need to have 5-7 year horizon when buying real estate. Money can be made if you don't have a myopic point of view.