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.
Pick Number 1 – near center of town:
Pick Number 2 – in the beach block:
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!
This blog refers to buildings that are the standard, side-by-side condo/townhouse on a standard lot of 50 ft. by 110 ft.
The ongoing parking and Floor Area Ratio (F.A.R.) issue being discussed by Sea Isle’s City Council, its residents and builders continues. The last amendments to Ordinance 1584 that passed this year limiting F.A.R. to .8% of the total lot size may change again.
In 2010, F.A.R. was eliminated. It was .7% but that did not include the grade level bonus room. The 2010 ordinance allowed homes to be built higher to raise the bonus rooms from off the grade level to above Base Flood Elevation (B.F.E). The building height limit was increased to 32 ft. above B.F.E. from 30 ft. Before the 2010 ordinance took effect, bonus rooms were on the grade level and being used as living space but not insurable. F.A.R. should never have been totally eliminated. The building footprint did not need to change and shouldn’t have. Raising the building height and, in essence adding another level for the bonus room, brought the F.A.R. to about .9%. However, some developers took advantage of the no limit to F.A.R. and were building duplexes whose F.A.R. was over .10% and higher. These are what I believe are the true “monster houses.” The homes that were built to the intended translation of the 2010 Ordinance were not bigger, per se, just higher. The intention of the 2010 amendments to Ordinance 1584 was to give Sea Isle City a better rating with F.E.M.A. and allow the much in demand bonus room to be legal and insurable.
It is important to understand that the increased building height to 32 ft. above B.F.E. has not been amended in the recent 2016 Ordinance 1584 which limited F.A.R. to .8%. The reason I doubt it will ever change is because it adheres to F.E.M.A. rules. There is a popular demand for this style home. By meeting the demand, overall property values are sustained and have increased over time. New construction is selling for higher prices now than it did before the bubble burst.
On Saturday, May 21, 2016 at 9:00 a.m., City Council convenes to address F.A.R. and a new Ordinance is forthcoming allowing F.A.R. to be changed from .8%. I heard it may be .85% and I’ve also heard .87%. Everybody is trying to figure out a way to create more parking by again changing F.A.R. I’m afraid the cow has left the barn (and moved into a bigger home). There are not many standard lots left prime for redevelopment to make a difference. What City Council and all concerned may need to do is to stop wasting time trying to please those that view progress made in Sea Isle City as negative. Instead it may be more useful to attack the real issue which is lack of parking and too many cars. Here are a couple of ideas. More parking areas could be provided for excess cars to park long term and only allow 1-3 cars per residence, depending on off street parking spots that residence has. Maybe the cars can be parked at a remote location and Golf carts implemented that don’t take up much space. Maybe they can be rented for a minimal fee at the remote parking locations. It may need to become part of the rental lease that only 1-3 cars are allowed per residence and make it mandatory that guests or additional renters will need to carpool or be picked up at a remote location, especially on weekends. The Jitney can be made available during the day. Maybe a bike path on the dunes would help. Lastly, let’s face it. We are a resort town and for about 8 weeks, the population swells. I have lived in the center of town for 25 years so I have an idea of what it is like. I’ve used a bike to get around a lot.
I believe that the F.A.R. should be capped at .9% to meet the popular demand (for homes with 5 bedrooms plus a family room/6th bedroom) and keep flood insurance rates down. Many owners have children and grandchildren they want to have room for which is within the tradition of Sea Isle City being a family town. If you support this and agree, please come to the City Council meeting on Saturday, May 21, 2016. I hope to see you there.
This is a continuation of my series on the best real estate deals in Sea Isle City.
Lowest priced 4 bedroom 2 bath townhouse south of 52nd Street in Sea Isle City. This spacious beauty located on 76th St. is priced to sell at $475,000. The other 4 bedroom/2 bath properties range in price from $539,000 to $667,000. If you like the big, quiet type, look no more. This home is located on a very private, wide street with little traffic and family friendly. The current owner never rented and enjoyed 15 years caring for this home which is immaculate. The master bedroom is huge. The other three bedrooms are spacious as well. The entire home is well proportioned on 2 levels. It has central air. There are no condo fees. Taxes are only $2,935. Flood insurance is only $600/year because the base flood elevation is high at this location and this home is known not to flood. It’s the perfect starter home or one to hold on to because it is has so much to offer. See you on the beach soon.
Welcome to my ongoing blog on bargains prices for prime real estate in Sea Isle City. Take a look at this lovely beach block property listed for sale.
Here is a great example of the deals that can be found in Sea Isle. This older home needs some improvements but it was well cared for and that is why it made my list. With an asking price of $689,000 for this beach block location at 30 52nd St. South, it is one of the lowest around for a townhouse. That is half the price one would pay for a new construction. Albeit, it doesn’t have as many bedrooms and bathrooms but it does have plenty of space with a bright and cheerful interior with a living area equal to something new. The unit has been rented and has a history of being rental machine although it doesn’t show. Rent out the prime weeks which are about 6 or 7 weeks and enjoy it the rest of the time when it is not as crowded and the weather is prime. Only 6 houses to the beach is incredible at this price. Being sold furnished and equipped for you to move right in and enjoy. Taxes are only $3,426/year. There are no condo fees, only the property insurances. This “middle island” location is becoming the new “south end.” By living here you can walk to all of Sea Isle’s main attractions and the hassle of driving and finding parking doesn’t exist. The beaches have all been replenished so you can enjoy our beautifully redone dunes, beach paths and big beaches. AND OF GREAT CONCERN THESE DAYS, this property is located on high ground and has no history of flooding. Please do not hesitate to contact me, LuAnn Mashura, Sea Isle City Real Estate Broker, at 609-374-0730, my cell. Thanks for reading my blog. Stay tuned….there are more to come.
Sea Isle City is a charming, family sea shore resort that has changed dramatically over the last 40 years. There are many types of homes here and in every price range. Prices range from $150,000 to $2,000,000. Style of home ranges from a small one bedroom condo to a large beach front single family home. The real estate deals are the homes for sale that are a little older and don’t have all the bells and whistles. Here is one currently for sale:
230 76th Street South, Sea Isle City, NJ
4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms Asking $479,900
Ordinance 1584 was passed by City Council this morning with 3 voting in favor and 2 against. For almost 2 hours, opinions, concerns and questions were exchanged. Architectural plans were introduced showing three different size duplexes demonstrating that from the front, they will look like they do now whether they are .7, .8 or .9. The size difference doesn’t mean much except that future homes built will be smaller. It may be that there is one less bedroom but maybe not. There is no limit to the number of bedrooms in the Ordinance. This is exactly what is frustrating because will the difference in size really make a difference? Will we have that many less cars and people to notice because some homes will be a little smaller? I doubt it. The cow left the barn a long time ago. I also disagree with the quickness in which this all happened. It was suggested by some concerned people, and I agree, that the Ordinance should become part of the Master Plan for the City that will be completed in about a year by the City’s Planning Board. I like this because this very important issue would have been examined more carefully and completely. It is be better to have real facts to refer to when making good laws. I think it was hastily done and I am not alone. But, it is what it is. A new design is on the horizon. Please see: Ord – 1584 – reinstate FAR at 8 – as introduced
The other issue is parking which will be next. The City wants every duplex (condo/townhouses) to each have 4 parking spaces so that makes 8 parking spots for a side-x-side duplex. The Ordinance that was just passed doesn’t change the footprint of the buildings. And the height will not change. The area remaining around the building will be the same so there won’t be more room for parking. (The setbacks haven’t changed.) However, the garages can go the full length of the building which will provide more garage parking unless these areas are closed in and used as living space which will be illegal but there are hundreds of illegal bonus rooms existing today. What would stop anyone from doing it again? (I think this is what is referred to as creating a monster, no pun intended.) The amount of impervious coverage is 70%. In the architectural drawings provided at today’s meeting, it showed 8 parking spots which would require concrete underneath. Unless a house is pitched correctly, water could accumulate in the rear of the property. This created another series of comments and peoples’ ideas of a better way. It will be a challenge to meet this requirement. It’s because of bad laws in the past that we don’t have as much parking as we should because the curbs in between the driveways have been cut too small and a car can’t fit.I will keep you up to date as to what happens with the parking. I hope the solution makes sense. See you at the Polar Bear Plunge