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Long Beach Island N.J. 2/2/2017) – Local Realtor, Nathaniel Colmer of Haven Beach was recently awarded the Platinum level of the 2016 NJ Realtors Circle of Excellence Sales Award-the highest award possible. Annually, New Jersey Realtors recognizes its members who have demonstrated distinction in sales with the New Jersey Realtors Circle of Excellence Sales Award as well as the New Jersey Realtors Distinguished Sales Club Award.
The NJ Realtors Circle of Excellence Sales Award is considered one of the most prestigious honors awarded to Realtors in the state. It is highly regarded throughout the industry and recognizes members who have excelled in the field of salesmanship. The NJ Realtors Distinguished Sales Club Award recognizes members who have achieved the Circle of Excellence Sales Award for 10 or more years.
The 2016 NJ Realtors Circle of Excellence Sales Award level requirements are as follows:
• Bronze: $2.5 Million and 15 Units Minimum or 30 Units
• Silver: $6.5 Million and 20 Units Minimum or 70 Units
• Gold: $12 Million and 25 Units Minimum or 90 Units
• Platinum: $20 Million and 30 Units Minimum or 125 Units
New Jersey Realtors, the voice of real estate for New Jersey for 100 years, is a non-profit organization serving the professional needs of more than 48,000 Realtor and Realtor-Associate members engaged in all facets of the real estate business. In addition to serving the professional needs of its members, NJ Realtors is dedicated to enhancing the ability of its members to conduct their business successfully while maintaining the preservation of private property rights. Realtor is a registered collective membership mark, which may be used only by real estate professionals who subscribe to the Realtor organization's strict Code of Ethics and are members of the national, state and local Realtor organizations. For more information, visit njrealtor.com.
By MARIA SCANDALE | Feb 11, 2016
The Van Dyk Group is proud to congratulate Marion Romano on the highest number of closed real estate sales and listings in 2015 within the Ocean County Board of Realtors, according to OCBR figures for individual sales associates.
Also, Romano, of the Route 72 Manahawkin office, and Nathan Colmer of the Long Beach Island office, earned the New Jersey Association of Realtors Circle of Excellence Sales Awards Platinum Level for 2015. To earn that distinction, an agent must have at least $20 million and 30 units in closed sales or closed listings in the calendar year.
“As a matter of fact, Marion closed more than 100 sales and listings in 2015, more than any other individual salesperson in the Ocean County Board of Realtors,” said Jeff Gamble, real estate manager of The Van Dyk Group Manahawkin office.
Romano’s sales volume was well in excess of $30 million in 2015, Gamble said as the agency announced the distinctions last week.
Characteristically modest, Romano told The SandPaper business page that she “had a great year, and really good buyers.”
“They were very committed to the American dream,” Romano said.
As what she called a “Middle America mindset,” her buyers were saying, “I want a safe place for my family; I want a vacation at the Jersey Shore,” and here they can have both, Romano pointed out.
Many of the popular Realtor’s customers come by referral from another satisfied customer. Romano said she treats her clients the same “whether you’re buying a trailer or a million-dollar house.”
She did notice that buyers came in for one of two general reasons. “One class is that, ‘Ocean County is so affordable,’ and another class is, ‘I want to give my family the memories that I had as a child.’”
Ninety percent of last year’s customers were from the North Jersey area, but she also had a few buyers who had moved away to places such as Virginia, and were coming back.
Buyers came in with a variety of financial situations. With the price of gas low, some commuters were willing to drive to work northward but live here in order to give their families a better life, they said.
There are even programs through the Federal Housing Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture enabling purchase at no money down for those who qualify. She said it was rewarding to help returning veterans buy through attractive programs.
Of her 100 closed sales as an individual (not as a team), Romano said that instead of thinking of statistics, “I like to think of it as I touched a hundred families.”
On Long Beach Island,
Assurance About Insurance
“It was a good year for me, and 2015 was a very good year for the real estate market here,” said Nathan Colmer, the other Platinum Level award winner from The Van Dyk Group. Colmer works from the Long Beach Island office in Beach Haven Terrace and also has business ownership experience in the Beach Haven area.
“Sales were definitely up, and prices were higher, on the whole,” Colmer said of the home sales market on LBI.
“Some of that has to do with the nature of homes being sold. After (Superstorm) Sandy, a lot of them are new construction, and a lot of the other homes are renovated and worth considerably more than their predecessor.”
In this post-superstorm climate, flood insurance “is still very much on everyone’s mind,” Colmer has experienced as another trend.
“I get a lot of questions on that. It’s amazing how much of a lack of understanding there is of flood insurance, even 3½ years after Sandy. There is a lot of misinformation out there.”
Colmer advises potential buyers to “make sure you have your facts.” He said, “As long as somebody does their proper due diligence and investigates, they’ll find that the majority of homes are OK.”
He elaborated, “Many homes, especially after Sandy, have been either built new, which means well above base flood elevation, or they have been raised. Or a lot that were built before Sandy are at or above base flood elevation, even if they are older. For example, a Cape Cod close to the beach may have been built where the ground elevation is high enough.”
Of course, exceptions apply, he tells clients. And he as the real estate agent can direct them toward making an informed decision. “There are a number of homes below base flood elevation also, and it’s important that the buyer and seller are aware of that and take that into account.
“I think that in many ways, it’s the real estate agent’s job to give at least general advice on the elevation of the property and how that will impact their insurance and other factors.”
So, in general, although “people are still concerned about flooding, concerned about flood insurance – I think that’s something we’ll battle for a long time – people are absolutely still buying. Once they understand the ins and outs of insurance and the potential risks for flooding, I think they realize that it’s not quite the specter it’s purported to be.”
Other real estate associates were also honored with awards at the gold, silver and bronze levels of achievement.
Though its been just over half a year since Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc along the New Jersey coast, this Memorial Day weekend looks to be a typical start of the summer season on Long Beach Island: Families will fill homes that were vacant for months, renters will flood in on weekends, and year-round residents will grumble about the stop lights that are turned back on to handle increased traffic.
In January, three months after the storm, I reported how the hazards of oceanfront living laid bare by Hurricane Sandy didn’t appear to be scaring away home buyers. I spent time on LBI with real estate agent Nathan Colmer, a fourth-generation Long Beach Islander.
“The storm is still on everyone’s mind,” Colmer says. Prospective buyers ask questions about Sandy—largely about the costs of flood insurance—but he says the real estate market continues to be active.
In the months following the storm, most buyers were looking for damaged homes they could purchase at a discount and demolish to rebuild from scratch. With fewer distressed properties on the market now, “more recently sales have been houses that are more move-in ready,” Colmer says. The storm has sharply reduced the volume of sales on the island, according to stats he has compiled. During March and April, 36 single-family homes sold, exactly half as many as in 2012. Prices, however, are up for homes that weren’t damaged in the storm because fewer are available. In March, for example, the average price for an undamaged home was just over $1 million, compared with $822,691 a year earlier.
LBI has a large vacation rental market. Colmer says rentals are down about 20 percent, largely because property damage has kept units off the market. And while the rental process was conducted largely online or over the phone, “this year it’s more people coming to see in person,” he says.
All told, “the island is doing well,” says Colmer. “Things are up back and running.” Supermarkets have reopened, as have stores and restaurants. On Monday, the stop lights will flick on per their regular schedule—slowing traffic, “much to our chagrin.”
In a house on New Jersey’s Long Beach Island, the wallpaper ends about four feet from the floor, where the wall has been hacked down to the studs to prevent mold. “This,” says Nathan Colmer, “is what you do after a flood.” Colmer, a real estate agent, stands in a robin’s egg blue Cape Cod-style home a block from the water. Despite the damage from Superstorm Sandy, this property is hot. Within a week of listing the house, the owner received seven serious offers—a sign, he says, of the “ferocity” of interest buyers have in scooping up beach property despite the threat of natural disaster.
Three months have passed since Sandy walloped the East Coast, causing $50 billion in damage and taking at least 100 lives. Even as some residents in hard-hit areas struggle without heat and permanent shelter, early anecdotal evidence suggests prospective buyers are looking past the dangers. While it’s too soon for conclusive data, “the longer-term effect on prices typically from a big disaster is that prices go up because some housing stock is destroyed, but there is still demand among people to live in that area,” says Jed Kolko, chief economist at the real estate website Trulia.
Even in the immediate aftermath of the storm, coastal purchases never fully stopped. On Long Beach Island, or LBI, as it’s known locally, November was marked by weeks without power, a nightly curfew—and the sale of eight homes and condos. Things quickly picked up from there, and in December, while pending home sales fell 4.3 percent nationwide, on Long Beach Island 33 single-family homes were sold, making it the busiest month since June, according to Colmer. The average price of $1.1 million was a rise of 35 percent from a year earlier.
LBI isn’t an anomaly. In the Hamptons, where oceanfront houses escaped relatively unscathed, home prices hit a record high in the fourth quarter of 2012, averaging $2.13 million, according to appraisal firm Miller Samuel. Kelly Ann Blum, a Realtor in New Jersey’s Sea Isle City, says Sandy “hasn’t deterred anyone.” In the past two weeks a few of her new beach front listings have had about 10 showings each, she says, a level “rare for this season.” Anthony Franzese, a Realtor in south Brooklyn, says that in heavily hit areas like Sea Gate and Gerritsen Beach, residents are still coping with destruction and real estate deals are few. In less damaged areas like Bath Beach, “it’s amazing how it’s back to business as usual,” he says. It was probably “the biggest December we’ve ever had.”
On LBI, some older homes built at ground level suffered severe flood damage or were knocked off their foundations. They’re now selling at a discount. The Cape Cod is under contract to sell for close to the asking price of $389,000—about $130,000 less than it would fetch in good condition, says Colmer, adding that it will cost about $40,000 just to lift the structure up to meet code. A few sales have closed in even harder-hit areas of the Northeastern coast, including Sandy Hook in the Rockaways and the Staten Island shore, albeit with steep price cuts.
LBI also has plenty of survivors. The streets are dotted with homes that resemble shore birds, perched on pylons. The houses were built with living spaces on upper floors and special ground-level walls that break away in a flood and can be quickly rebuilt. Some neighborhoods on higher ground, or protected by dunes, survived Sandy virtually unharmed. Two miles south of the damaged Cape Cod, Colmer points out a modern all-white oceanfront home that, thanks to a new dune system built by the federal government, was protected from the storm surge. The home’s owners raised the price $100,000, to $2.1 million, less than a month after Sandy.
More price hikes could come in the future because disasters spur renovations and upgrades. “A silver lining is that everything will be redone,” says Colmer. “The whole area gets rejuvenated.” Colmer, a fourth-generation Long Beach Islander, says his own home took on a few inches of water—and rather than make just the necessary repairs, he’s renovating the house so his fiancée can make her mark on it.
ByTONY GUIDACBS NEWSFebruary 23, 2013, 8:37 PM
(CBS News) LONG BEACH ISLAND, N.J. - Comeback is a word a lot of real estate agents are using on the Jersey Shore unexpectedly, but very happily. Even though towns on the mid-Atlantic coast have yet to clean up from superstorm Sandy, that's not slowing down a certain breed of homebuyer.
Rafi Gardee is house shopping on Long Beach Island, New Jersey. Superstorm Sandy battered the slender barrier island so badly that it was closed off for two weeks. Nearly four months later, the southern end of the island is still suffering.Video: N.J. homeowners finally return after Sandy
But Gardee sees opportunity. "This area's always maintained its value," he said. "It's a great time to buy."
Home values are up in many areas hit by Sandy according to a recent survey. In New Jersey, it's up by almost 2 percent over pre-Sandy values -- higher, actually, than in areas not impacted by the storm.
Real estate firm Zillow conducted the study. "The lures of coastal living are actually more powerful than the periodic chance of having a natural disaster in your backyard," said chief economist Stan Humphries.
Gardee agrees. "My lender says, 'Rafi, buy extra insurance' because he thinks the climate is going to get worse over the next few years....I agree with that, yes."
Would he still buy a house in the area? "Absolutely," said Gardee.
Gardee's realtor, Nathan Colmer, said no property comes risk-free. "If you live in Kansas, there's going to be at some point a tornado. If you live in California, you're going to have an earthquake."
And storms will ravage beach areas. They come with the "location, location, location."
November 01, 2013
By Alex Ulam
In the year since Hurricane Sandy slammed into the East Coast, construction companies have seen their business spike as homeowners tap them to rebuild, particularly on the hard-hit Jersey Shore.
Among the key drivers fueling this business are existing Federal Emergency Management Agency requirements and the agency’s soon-to-be-finalized flood-zone maps. In particular, in some communities, the owners of homes that sustained more than 50 percent damage in Sandy are required to elevate their houses — literally raising them on pilings — or demolish or relocate them.
Even some homeowners whose properties weren’t severely damaged are taking steps to protect against future hurricanes and to hedge against higher insurance premiums.
In Long Beach Island — which is dotted with homes midway through reconstruction — a firm called David Construction LBI House Raising, for example, has seen a 50 percent increase in business since Sandy hit. To handle the extra work, the company has added several employees and doubled the number of subcontracting crews it uses. “If we could handle all the work and if we could grow that quickly, we would have 30 times the amount of business,” said Nancy Leonetti, co-owner of the firm.
To get homes into FEMA compliance, Leonetti said, her firm is raising them a minimum of three to four feet above their existing height. She estimated that a two-story Cape Cod-style house, ranging from 1,400 to 1,800 square feet, can cost $50,000 to $55,000 to elevate. (In some densely packed communities, however, special pilings are necessary that can drive the cost up to $100,000.) That amount usually needs to be paid up front by the homeowner, who then gets reimbursed by the insurance company.
But because hurricane-damaged interiors — including plumbing and flooring — are covered by flood insurance, many LBI homeowners are essentially getting “a brand-new house,” Leonetti said, even though they’re only paying $20,000 or $30,000, including the cost of elevating the home.
Leonetti’s firm is not the only construction company seeing a boom in business.
Wolfe House & Building Movers — a national home elevation company — has also seen business increase by more than 50 percent since Hurricane Sandy. Indeed, the company’s website has a section devoted to post-Sandy home elevation, which cites one Jersey Shore client in Ortley Beach whose home it raised 11 feet.
But Jersey Shore homeowners are dealing with a slew of rebuilding challenges. First, there’s a dearth of experienced home elevation contractors. Not only does that slow down rebuilding, but it’s also led to serious construction accidents, according to State Senator Bob Smith.
“There are horror stories all over New Jersey,” Smith said. “The classic one was in Atlantic Highlands — [a house] flew off the jacks and crushed the adjacent home.”
Smith is sponsoring a bill that would require home elevation contractors to have at least two years of training with a qualified professional, and $500,000 in specialized home-raising insurance.
There are also disparities between communities. While residents of affluent LBI can typically afford the up-front costs of home elevation while awaiting reimbursement from insurance companies, homeowners in the nearby mainland communities, like Beach Haven West and Mystic Island, often can’t.
Indeed, between June and September, 6,600 New Jersey homeowners applied for funding through the state’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, which is providing up to $30,000 toward elevating homes.
In addition, many homeowners with flood insurance don’t realize that they have “Increased Cost of Compliance” coverage, which can also pay up to $30,000 toward the cost of a home elevation project, said Nathan Colmer, a Realtor with the Van Dyk Group.
He also noted that many homes in New Jersey’s flood-prone areas are at elevations that are safely above sea level and do not need to be raised to comply with the FEMA guidelines. “People think that every house has to be raised or they are going to be paying $20,000 a year in flood insurance,” Colmer said, “but that is absolutely not the case.”