Monthly Archives: February 2013

Shoul I Sell Or Buy Another?…………. Revisited

I remember writing a piece for a mass mail brochure we sent out in about 2004 or 2005.
The title of it was “Should I Sell Or Buy Another” and it explored the idea that many owners were asking themselves at that time. Prices were at an all time high and people were jumping in buying second and third positions in places like Sea Isle City. It kind of speaks to the nature of man when you look at it from some distance. Prices were at an all time high and I was personally buying anything that wasn’t nailed down and not even considering any other idea except that it was going to continue going up. I survived those decisions but it left me a little weaker in the knees if you know what I mean.
So now here we are at the end of a long correction cycle and the stars are lined up like they have not been since 1990 here in Sea Isle City. I am working with a customer right now that was talking about that period because that is when he bought his first property here. At the time you could buy a new house and the rental income would carry it or come damn close to it. Buy the time the market was peaking in 2005 and I was buying house after house, the properties ability to carry itself was not even looked at let alone considered. Can the property carry itself from it’s rental income was always the qualifying question that you asked yourself.
So here we are with that being the case and if I asked that same question I asked in 2005 “Should I Sell Or Buy Another” of myself and other people that own a property here in Sea Isle not too many people would start looking for a second investment even though on paper it looks like the time to step in again. Deep scars like the ones caused by the damage done over the last 6 years restrict range of motion.
It hasn’t been this busy in 5 years and if you look back at the pattern of growth here at the Jersey shore over the last 20 years it all adds up. Our growth has always come in sudden and dramatic busts after long periods of correction and if it keeps going like this we could be right at the beginning of one of those dramatic growth periods. Interest rates are at an all time low and rental income is at an all time high. If you want, you can list your house and sell it pretty easily. So once more the question for you and me is “Should I Sell Or Buy Another?

The Sandy Effect

I have been specializing in New Construction sales for as long as I have had a real estate license, my family history of building homes here in Sea Isle is over 50 years old and my brother is still the largest builder here in town. So you think that would put me in a position to understand what is happening right now with FEMA and the State of New Jersey as the aftershocks of Hurricane Sandy continue to be felt. I met with a prospective customer yesterday at my brothers office and when he was done explaining things I still could not get my head wrapped around what he was saying.

So much of what has been written and talked about has been specific to Insurance costs and how Sandy would effect rates. The Governor sent a dictate down the line declaring that New Jersey would adopt the FEMA position lock stock and barrel. Some communities resisted more than others but all that aside the initial effect of this declaration was temporary paralysis in the builders community. They could not in good conscience start building someones home without knowing how the local inspectors and then eventual insurers would respond to these buildings. Now things are beginning to calm down and projects are beginning to move forward, but still a little bit under a cloud of uncertainty. Whole sections of town have been declared V Zones. The V zone used to be almost the exclusive province of beach fronting homes south of 57th street. The houses behind the promenade were not in that zone as the promenade served as a protective barrier. Now the entire bay front has been included in the V Zone along with other lower lying areas here in town. If an owner called me on the phone today, It would be just a little bit less comfortable for me THEN IT WAS ON MY FIRST DAY WITH A REAL ESTATE LICENSE. That is how confused I still am. I don’t like how that feels so now I guess I have to go learn something which shouldn’t happen to a 55 year old man. I should be getting comfortable. I’ll try to share what I find out. Maybe build a small website for owners with detailed maps and things like that. I’m glad I am a day at a time type of guy or this stuff could make me crazy. Ill be in touch.

V Zone Definition

A Night At The Home Show

We took a booth at the Philadelphia Home Show again this year and I was just sitting there on a slow Monday night when John Burke from our office looks over at a lady at the next booth over from us and says in a kind of  I can’t believe it sort of way “Is that Mrs *******” and stands up and begins to walk up to this lady that turns out to be a woman that is in fact, Mrs. *******, a close fiend of his mother and his entire family and they do the whole I can’t believe your here thing, blah blah blah, hah hah hah……whatever. I mean its Monday night at The Philadelphia Home Show, no one is walking around yet and I give a shit why? So he starts to walk over with her and I start thinking of ways that I can start running without it being noticeable because I know were now going to do the whole this is blah blah blah thing. So he walks up and introduces me to this nice woman  a few years older than me and we begin to talk about how she began working for this builder that was in the next booth over from ours just a few years back and all the other smalltalk that those type of situations are composed of when she breaks into a big smile and out of nowhere says “ You know, I know you from when you were like 6 years old”.  I look at her again and try to recognize something in her face and the curtain starts to part. She then goes on and says, I worked at your aunt’s  pizzeria in the shopping center on 63rd street. I tilt my head and keep looking at her face trying to see it as it looked 40 plus yrs. ago as she continues to talk about My Aunt Louise who was an absolute legend and on of the most infamous characters from the story that is still told by people who were a part of Sea Isle City back in the 1960’s. We had our own little subculture back then. We were shopping center people, our whole world centered on 63rd street. We had the pool and the arcade my aunts pizzeria and life was as good as it gets. People came down the shore back then for the “whole summer” and it was wonderful. So I ask her name and she says that back then her maiden name was Pat %%%%%% and BOOM there I was back in 1968 sitting at the counter eating a slice of my aunts pizza with the best friends a kid could ever have listening to my aunt scream “PAT” from her kitchen domain. I could literally hear her voice screaming “PAT” because that was what she did, when the food was ready she would screech the name of whatever young girl was responsible to come and get her food and bring it out to the counter. But “PAT was the one that had stayed for the whole time that era was composed of. She came back for seven consecutive summers and she always smiled this beautiful smile and she was never anything but this sweet person and in my families world back in the shopping center days sweet and selfless stuck out. I instinctively reached for my cell phone to call my best friend from back then whose name was Richard. I wanted to tell him I had run into “PAT”. I didn’t dial because he died a year ago but I still reach for the phone in moments like that. So anyway “PAT” and I  talked and talked and out of nowhere a nothing Monday night at the Philadelphia Home Show became special. As I sit here and write this I am still “feeling It”. A kind of buzz. The feeling that comes when I feel connected to what is going on around me, energized and hopeful. Turned from one side of the coin to the other by a moment as random as random gets.

There is no actual point to this entry so if your like my wife and always want to have the story wrap up in a neat ending then I apologize in advance. I just felt like sharing last nights experience with this blog. I still have no idea what I’m supposed to put in this thing. I don’t read blogs so I don’t know. But I know that I cant just write about real estate because that would be unsurvivable for both of us. So I shared this story with you because it made me think about how effected we are by each other. How inspiring and hopeful it is that people can help us by simply remembering and caring and sharing a memory. Before I met Pat the only thing on my mind was that there was no way I was renting a booth at The Philadelphia Home Show next year and this morning I’m thinking next year, maybe a bigger booth. Go figure.