Category: Real Estate

LBI Vacation Rentals Update

       Thanks to all of you who have reached out to wish us well during the aftermath of Sandy. We so appreciate your good thoughts coming our way. Our office is open and fully operational and has been since Saturday, November 10th, just days after the storm. We are thrilled that our building sustained no damage and because we are a fully electric structure, we are able to operate as per usual.   Even though 3/4 of our agents who live on LBI year round were displaced, we are back at work and here to help in any way we can.        Many of you have asked about the status of your vacation rental home. We are in the process of gathering that information right now. We have reached out to our homeowners and asked that they keep us informed as to the extent of any damage as well as to the repair schedule. We have heard from a number of owners whose properties were not damaged at all! As we hear that news, we are personally inspecting each of the homes to make sure the properties are fully accessible. Once we know that, we will begin writing leases for the 2013 season. Some of this will take time. If a property did sustain damage, owners need to be contacted by an insurance adjuster, estimates need to be gathered for repairs and the work needs to be scheduled.        We are very confident we will have a 2013 summer season and that all of our rental homes will be back to normal in time for spring. Unlike our neighbors to the north, our infrastructure is in good shape. New Jersey Natural Gas is making their way down the island and expects they will have gas restored to the entire island, with the exception of Holgate, by December 1st. The roadways in Holgate sustained more damage so that area will take a bit longer.        Some positive thoughts – Businesses are beginning to slowly open their doors. As you first come on to LBI, CVS and 7-11 are operational. Captain Johns Diner in Ship Bottom as well as the California Grill in Beach Haven Terrace opened their doors this past weekend. (Thank goodness, food is available for those of us working on LBI!) Also, the Engleside Bar/Restaurant in Beach Haven is now open.        If you have any specific questions, do not hesitate to contact us. We hope to see you soon on LBI!

Hurricane Sandy Claims Update

We understand you are all anxious to start rebuilding.  Our Claims and Insurance people have been working as quickly as possible to get the thousands of claims processed from Hurricane Sandy.  An Adjustor will be in contact but please remember it could be more than a week from the time you submit your claim before you are contacted. Priority is being given to those properties that were the primary residence of families and they are currently do not have a place to live Feel free to contact us at any point and we can try to answer all your questions. Here are some tips on what you can do in the mean time:
  • Make sure your property is safe to enter.
  • Be sure to use Gloves and mask to keep you healthy
  • Shut off electric and gas mains so you don’t have issues when they come on again
  • Take as many pictures as possible before doing any work
  • Write down an inventory of damaged items
  • You can remove any wet things such as carpet and furniture, Just Do Not throw anything out
  • Keep everything someplace safe on the property
  • You can do what you need to to make your property safe and prevent further damage, particularly from Mold – If you need to remove sheet rock and insulation, once again do not throw it out
  • Make sure you throw away everything thing that has been in the freezer/refrigerator
If you get a contractor for Anything:
  • Keep your receipts
  • Make sure they have a New Jersey license to do business
  • If they do not have an NJ license number then Insurance will most likely not reimburse
  • We have a list of licensed contractors here

The Answer is Never “Now is a Good Time to Buy a House”!

There has been a lot of talk in the Real Estate industry recently about the need to improve perceptions that people have about our industry.  The public generally does not think very highly of those of us who work in Real Estate.  In fact, in a recent article on Yahoo ranking the 10 most hated Industries in America, the Real Estate Estate Industry ranked as the 4th most hated.  A huge part of the problem is the message that we, as an industry, are getting out. There was an article published recently in a local newspaper about the improving local Real Estate Market. The jist of the article was that there are towns that are seeing upswings in houses sold and median sales price, but that there were also some towns who are still experiencing declines in sales price and units sold. I am one who usually checks on the comments section of online to articles, to see what people are saying.  One of the comments about this article really struck a sour note with me.  The comment started as follows:” Most of what is said about real estate these days is less than true, just twisted to suit what works for the moment.” What does it say about the Real Estate industry and the messages that we are sending out when this is the kind of reaction you get to an article that is mostly positive about the Real Estate Market. What makes this worse is that the author of the article mentioned a few towns where he didn’t have ALL of the data to make the assertions that he makes regarding the market. As the Treasurer/Secretary of the Ocean County Board of Realtors, and a Broker in one the areas that was affected by the incomplete information, I felt the need to comment.  In the comments I included a more accurate picture of the market with the correct information using ALL of that data.  It didn’t show a great picture, but it did show a much more stable Real Estate market than the “more than $100,000 decline in median sales price”.  (Here is the full article if you are interested) *as an aside, the true decline for the town in question (Ship Bottom) was around $40,000. Here is where we, the Real Estate Industry, are losing the public and fostering the negative perception they have of us.  We are afraid to put out negative numbers and to connect and converse with the people regarding the true state of the Real Estate market.  Instead we hide behind messages like “Now is a Great time to buy a home”. I am so sick of hearing that message that it makes me cringe every time I hear it!  It is so played and people are tired of hearing it, as is evidenced by the comment mentioned above. We are always looking to put a positive spin on every report that is put out there, instead of simply talking about the true market conditions.  The message we should be putting out there is complete one, the good, bad, AND ugly. There is nothing wrong with letting people know that prices are down slightly, but the number of units sold remains steady.  Agents will raise curiosity more by conversing with the public about it instead of regurgitating the same “its a good time to buy” garbage.  People will not trust you if you are only spouting the company line, and you are adding to the negative perception of our Industry when you do so. They will trust you for letting them know your thoughts and being honest and transparent about the market.  You will then come to be respected for your knowledge and honesty, and start to build relationships.  Which is what this business is all about! Converse and connect with the public.  Be truthful and honest.  Share your thoughts and opinions.  Be the agent the public wants to hear from because of your own thoughts and knowledge.  Not the agent who keeps feeding people spoon-fed answers to a very complex question. The answer is never as simple as “Now is a Good Time to buy a house”!

Operation Halloween to kick off this Weekend

This article originally appeared on the Van Dyk Group Real Estate website.   For the best all-volunteer- Halloween Celebration on the planet, visit the Joseph A. Citta Scout Reservation on Brookville Road in Waretown, New Jersey on October 12 and October 13, 2012.  Hundreds of volunteers have been working since January to bring young and old some good clean Halloween fun. Just a few of the free events include getting your photo taken with a couple of the characters at the Zombie Wall  or  take a stroll down Pumpkin Street Safe Trick-or-Treat to see what kind of goodies you might be able to collect.  You can paint a face on a pumpkin, too. For the really brave among us, you can buy a $10.00 ticket for unlimited, all-day access to the three really scary venues.  Take a ride on the Haunted Hayride that will drop you off at the guard tower near the Zombie Contingency Agency’s Control Room monitoring the latest Zombie Outbreak.  We dare you to enter.  To wrap things up at 10:00 pm, take a stroll through the woods at the Midnight Ghost Tour.  An all-day ticket for all three of these events can be purchased by visiting There will be music on Friday Night from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm.  Food can be purchased courtesy of the Jersey Shore Council of Boy Scouts.  There will be dozens of non-profit groups participating from local school districts, the five Rotary Clubs serving Southern Ocean County, Interfaith Health and Support Services, Harbor House, Marine Mammal Stranding Center, Family Promise, Hometown Heroes, Healing in Hurting Places, Zonta, One by One Animal Rescue, just to name a few. On Friday, the festivities begin at 3:00 pm with an 11:00 am start on Saturday 13 October, 2012. To see if you are physically able to endure the toughest events copy and paste the following:  

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