The Jersey Shore has been a favorite vacation spot for generations of families from the Philadelphia, New York and the Washington D.C. region. Many own a second home there, which they rent out in the summer at eye-popping prices.
But, the Jersey Shore real estate market hasn’t been immune to the economic downturn. Home prices fell in the third quarter of 2011, according to the Atlantic City Press. But the fall wasn’t as dramatic as in other parts of the country, the Press said. Perhaps the drop was cushioned by the rise in home sales, which was up 13 percent in New Jersey.
Anthony D’Alicandro, president of the Atlantic City & Atlantic County Board of Realtors® and broker/owner of Coldwell Banker Casa Bella Realtors® in Linwood, told the Press that the price fall is a function of supply and demand, with too much inventory and too many distressed properties on the market. He predicts a growth in prices by the end of 2012. The Jersey Shore is an evergreen market and will always appeal as a retirement investment, D’Alicandro said.
“We have an attractive place to live, near the shore, with lots of things to do, near the big cities of Philadelphia and New York, with a nice climate, and we’ve seen a tremendous increase in the quality of health care, which is important,” D’Alicandro said.
Things are slowly turning around for Jersey Shore real estate.
Robert Pitera, president and CEO of Re/Max At the Shore, said in an interview that Jersey Shore real estate prices are slowly trending upward.
“Our clients are more affluent, so they have more confidence in the economy,” Pitera said. So, if you’ve always dreamed of a home overlooking sandy beaches and sea, now may be a good time to make that investment. Here are a few tips from Pitera for homebuyers and sellers in the Jersey Shore market.
Tips for New Jersey Shore Buyers:
Get your credit in order: Make sure there are no errors in your credit report so that when you are out shopping for mortgages you get the best rates possible. Search your history online with the three major credit reporting companies, and get copies of your most current credit report. If your score is above 750, you are in a good place.
Hire a good New Jersey real estate agent: It’s very important to hire a professional real estate agent with a reputable company who will help accomplish your goals. A large real estate organization has more inventory and an in-depth knowledge of the local market because their professional agents share information with their counterparts on a regular basis. So, hiring a real estate agent from a big company would help you tap into a wider network.
Educate yourself about the New Jersey market: Make yourself familiar with the market and find out if there are any environmental issues such as flooding. Avoid buying in a flood zone. Some shore towns are in flood prone areas and could be disastrous during heavy rains, nor’easters and high tides.
Don’t make it all about the price: Price is not the only aspect up for negotiation. You can also haggle on closing date, concessions for home repairs and seller paying toward closing costs.
Buying a Jersey Shore condo? Factor in expenses: In addition to expenses such as insurance, furniture, utilities, and regular maintenance, there may be condo association fees, club fees, property maintenance fees and other costs.
Tips for New Jersey Shore Sellers:
Get your home ready: Hire a home inspector and find out beforehand if there’s anything wrong with your home. You don’t want a kink here and there to bring down the value.
Stage your home: Get rid of clutter, and depersonalize your home. Remove unnecessary furnishings to make your home look spacious.
Clean up the outside: We often forget to fix that broken fence, or the chipped paint on the outside wall. “I see many buyers pass by a home that’s beautiful inside but one that didn’t give a great impression on the outside,” Pitera said. It’s very important to trim the grass, clean the windows and address the chipped paint, he said. A house should look well-maintained inside and out to fetch top dollars.
Price your home smartly: Look up the sale prices of comparable homes in the area. Set a realistic price with the help of a professional. You don’t want your home to sit on the market too long. Compare prices with similar homes in the area and price your home right.