Property taxes for Snoopy living in Oahu, Hawaii may be expensive but that’s not a problem Sea Isle City property owners have to worry about. Out of the 16 municipalities in Cape May County, Sea Isle City ranks 4th in line below Cape May Point, Avalon and Stone Harbor being the lowest in the county. The current tax rate for 2016 is .672 per $100 of assessed value. A house assessed at $750,000 has a property tax of $5,000. Most home buyers are pleasantly surprised at this fact. Another good reason to choose to buy in Sea Isle City is that the City works very hard at keeping its flood insurance rating with F.E.M.A. above average. This keeps flood insurance rates low, averaging $400-600 per year depending on location and building elevation. If your foundation has the appropriate amount of flood vents, you will enjoy a significant savings. I recently bought a home where the flood insurance was almost $1,700 a year. The owner put in flood vents as part of its renovation and I pay under $500.00. Between low taxes and unusually low flood insurance, buying in Sea Isle City makes that a smart move. Also, I am always surprised how quickly homes sell here. If a home is properly maintained, staged well and priced accurately, it sells. Sea Isle City is a home run when it comes to deciding where to buy a second home, vacation property or an investment property.
During City Council’s meeting this past Tuesday, December 13th, a presentation by one of the council members got other council members thinking. A proposed ordinance was to be voted on that day, but it was demonstrated that it was flawed and needed to be rewritten. Bump-outs are a decorative architectural feature in home construction. They are also a way to expand a home while legally “encroaching” into the setback. In Sea Isle, they can be as wide as 8 feet and can jut out as far as 18 or 24 inches from the house, depending on the size of the lot. Not only do they enhance the exterior of a home but make a significant difference inside by creating a feeling of a much wider space.
Zoning laws in Sea Isle currently allow bump-outs only in side yards. That is fine for inside lots. It is the corner lots that suffer under the proposed ordinance. The way corner lots are configured facing the street, they have only one side yard. Currently, that side of the house, which is the most visible, can’t have bump-outs. It is one long flat wall and has zero appeal. Below is a good example of a 56th and Pleasure home with bump outs on its street side wall.
Some water front properties would also benefit by allowing bump outs in all side yards. After all, isn’t architectural beauty something we should want to have in our community? Big boxy homes have been built on the island and they are “not” a sight for sore eyes. We don’t need any more of those. I hope all architects and builders take advantage of bump outs as much as possible.
All this arose out of the “much ado about nothing” complaints from a minority of taxpayers many moons ago about Monster Houses which obviously still isn’t completely resolved. Maybe after this hopefully last fallout is corrected, we will finally be at a good place again and be done with it.
These photos are of a home I listed for sale where I did the staging as part of the service I provide my clients.
Staging a property to list for sale is tantamount to pricing it properly. A well staged property becomes a home that a perspective buyer can see themselves occupying. Any time and money invested into preparing your property to be listed usually brings you the return of more money and a quicker sale.
I offer to do the staging for my clients but if you’d rather do it yourself, here are some suggestions I recommend:
- The number one thing to do is to de-clutter. Clear all unnecessary objects from furniture throughout the house. Keep accessories and objects on the furniture restricted to groups of 1 – 3 items. In general, a de-cluttered home helps a buyer mentally “move in” with their own things. Rearrange or remove some of the furniture in your home. Thin out overcrowded rooms to make the rooms appear larger. If there is artwork you are taking with you, remove it and replace it with something else.
- Extra cleaning focus should be on kitchens and bathrooms. All personal items should be stored away leaving only a few personal items on the counter. Keep toilet seats down in the bathrooms because it looks better. Put kitchen and bathroom rugs away unless they are decorative. Remove trash from cans and containers. Included in the deep clean if needed are carpets, windows, sliders, ceiling fans and trim. I recommend hiring a professional cleaner.
- If there is anything cracked or broken, fix it if possible.
- A fresh coat of paint can work wonders in the living area or any room that needs it.
- Be sure there are no odors! If you have a grade level bonus room, you may need to get a humidifier to remove the moisture that causes an unpleasant odor.
- Curb appeal is very important. Take whatever steps you can to make the exterior look its best. Tidy up plants, shrubbery, etc. Repair broken items if possible. I suggest power washing if there is build of black stuff on vinyl which is quite common at the shore especially on the soffits.
- Make sure all your lights work and any safety issues are addressed.
- Where ever possible, a little decorative touch is nice such has a centerpiece on a table. Find great ideas at Home Goods or Cape May Wicker.
- Lastly as a helpful exercise to test your efforts, take a look at your property through the eyes of a buyer as though you have never seen it before. You will notice if there is a anything left to be addressed. Good luck!