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Homebuyers Search for ‘Steals’ in Long Beach

Real estate executives reportedly plan a massive rebuild in city.

An apartment building on Shore Road in Long Beach. (Credit: Joseph Kellard)
An apartment building on Shore Road in Long Beach. (Credit: Joseph Kellard)

A trend emerging in Long Beach’s post-Hurricane Sandy real estate market is the many prospective homebuyers looking for fire-sales.

“Everybody is looking for a steal,” said Joe Sinnona, an associate broker of Verdeschi Realty in the West End.

Homeowners face substantial rebuilding costs in a post-storm environment in which insurance payouts and federal aid have, at best, trickled into the barrier island.  

Sinnona, a director for both Multiple Listing Service and the Long Island Board of Realtors, told Patch last week that 131 homes are for sale in Long Beach, which is about 31 more than before Sandy. He said his office is trying to promote the message to sellers to not undersell their properties.

“Because we don’t want people to panic and think that Long Beach is no longer a saleable entity,” he said. “It is saleable.”

Sinnona has been telling potential sellers that if their home was destroyed, they still have land value that is worth something.

“I’m taking the current market value and comparing it to the market value prior to the storm, and asking the owners if they want to sell their house as it is or fixed up,” he explained. “And if they sell it fixed up, we still have the current market value. The market value doesn’t change fixed up. But if you’re not going to fix up your home, definately take away the cost of damages, sell the property as is, and try to maintain the value for the neighborhood.”

Meanwhile, real estate executives — including Kurth Wittek, a business partner of legendary NFL quarterback Joe Montana — have reportedly met with local developers and officials to buy properties in the storm-beaten beach town at about half the price and plan a massive rebuild, according to the New York Post.  

Tom Tripodi, a broker at Douglas Elliman Realty on West Park Avenue who met with Wittek, said: “This isn’t a small project we’re talking about. This could develop into something huge. It’s an incredible opportunity.”

The report states that an home in the Canals listed at $875,00 before the storm has since been re-listed at $449,000.

Broker Karen Adamo told Patch too that at the office where she works, Petrey Realty on East Park Avenue, potential buyers are calling to find homes listed at similar fire-sale prices.

There are a few homes for sale in the Canals that range from about $299,00 to $370,000, whereas before the storm the lowest prices were about $600,000 or less for a small ranch or bungalow in good condition near East Chester Street, the least desirable area of that neighborhood, Adamo said. But most homeowners in Long Beach aren’t dropping their prices that low, she noted.

“There’s not that many people who are willing to give their homes away, which is encouraging because it shows that they want to come back and rebuild and stay here,” she said.

But one broker who works for prominent real estate agency in town, who declined to other media interviews but agreed to talk to Patch on condition of anonimity, said that there are not only many buyers looking for “steals,” but also many homeowners who want to leave.  

“My phone doesn’t stop ringing with people telling me they want to sell,” she said. “It’s very sad.”

As of last Friday, she had 15 deals under contract, ten of which she expects will likely close. She found a storm-flooded home on a narrow bayside street in the West End that she sold for about $140,00, which the owner of 40 years wanted to sell. Before the hurricane she probably would have listed the home at a much higher price.

“The market was dropping before the hurricane, but I would have listed that for $299,000 and maybe I would have got $280,000,” she said.

When she posted the home on Multiple Listing Service someone called her almost immediately and bought the home almost as quickly.

“I never saw anything like it,” she said. “He said ‘I want the house. I’ll pay all cash. Don’t show it to anyone else, I’ll be there in a half hour to buy it.’ He came and bought it.”

She said she expects a lot more of these types of sales.
anonymous January 09, 2013 at 10:29 PM
Beachguy...I know...pure fantasy.
Beachguy January 09, 2013 at 11:27 PM
I'm willing to wait and see what happens but I'd be more surprised if there was some kind of a plan to prevent the reinsertion of illegal rentals and then implementation of such a plan. BTW-- I'm sure we can build dune lines, walls , barriers etc along the ocean. But what about the bay? I've heard very little about what measures can and will be implemented.
Tonto Hertzberg January 10, 2013 at 12:45 AM
The Patch reported that the Building Dept and FEMA would be forming a team to inspect FEMA funded repairs and rebuilds. I presume illegal apartments would be tops on the list. Also, I heard that
Beachguy January 10, 2013 at 04:34 AM
WENCA doesn't do an awful lot which is quite awful. Should be a force but it's more of a forum for complaining and a platform for pols and appointed officials.
Eddie January 10, 2013 at 08:16 AM
Long Beach is legend for impotent organizations. Did you know that the City staffs a Public Relations Department? Did you know we had a Chamber of Commerce? Just for fun, a friend wrote to the Chamber seeking information on relocating here last year. They never answered her. So many issues affecting property values; many national and many local. I do believe Long Beach will be a better place after the storm repairs, but I don't have faith in the local and national administration not taxing us into bankruptcy. No matter how beautiful a community might be, economics will trump any buyer's selection. East End taxes of $16,000 and flood "insurance" of $9,000 for a 40 x 100 lot isn't going to make even the nicest property attractive.
john January 10, 2013 at 09:22 AM
where do you get $9000 for flood insurance???
delete me January 10, 2013 at 09:23 AM
^ Eddie the LB Chamber of Commerce has had the same picture of a Restaurant with palm trees in the background on their front page for well over a year now. They hold their events outside of LB and promote outside business's during restaurant week. http://www.thelongbeachchamber.com
Me January 10, 2013 at 09:25 AM
Just a guess and I don't want to be a rumor monger but could this unnamed female real estate broker be on our very own city council? Why else would you want to hide your identity if you are involved in all the bargain basement deals?
Gary January 10, 2013 at 10:16 AM
Brendan.... you are one nasty person
Brendan January 10, 2013 at 10:18 AM
Gary, is there a particular reason that you're resorting to attacking me personally rather than my point? Do you have anything to add to the conversation, other than to state the obvious that you didn't think before you typed?
Wise-T January 10, 2013 at 10:30 AM
That $9,000 quote for flood insurance is out of whack. Homeowners who were grandfathered in for flood ins pay $450 to $1500 on average-depending on coverage. Those that waited or were forced to buy flood insurance pay on average $1500 to $3000 tops. My father who owns a business in town had to get flood insurance on his home as a requirement for securing an SBA loan for the business. His home is now insured for flood at the minimum $250,000 at a cost of $2500 per year.
delete me January 10, 2013 at 10:40 AM
Me 1 hour ago "Just a guess and I don't want to be a rumor monger" too late.
Misty January 10, 2013 at 11:27 AM
The house in the canals that is going for $449,000 now was purchased a year and a half ago for $840,000 - CASH! The guy has tons of money and owns another property on East Bay Drive. He CAN walk away because a $400,000 loss means nothing to him.
Eddie January 10, 2013 at 02:31 PM
Wise, please update your facts. Your notes are 100% correct as of May, 2012. The Democrat's Flood Insurance Improvement Act of 1912 which was made law in June changed all of what you wrote. Among other "improvements," grandfathering is now a thing of the past. Rates will increase 25% per year until they equal the government's full cost per household, which is presently $ 9200. The high cost is largely because every American receives benefits if they have the "insurance" or not. Owner occupied homes wherein the owner owns no other real property will receive a small subsidy to offset that new rate. Other changes -- mortgagees must escrow for flood insurance. Those without flood insurance who received any FEMA aid must buy flood insurance or it will be added to their taxes and enforced by the IRS. Look it all up. Shall I go on?
john January 10, 2013 at 02:41 PM
Eddie I don't know what your talking about. I pay 1400 a year. Just spoke with my insurance guy he said its a set rate and doesn't go up. Don't know where u get $9000.
Eddie January 10, 2013 at 02:43 PM
"...its a set rate and doesn't go up..." Where you born yesterday? Look it up. Either you or your "insurance guy" has no idea what he is talking about.
toolittle January 10, 2013 at 02:48 PM
1912 ?
Eddie January 10, 2013 at 02:53 PM
Thanks toolittle, that's the "Reform Act of 2012". Here, I'll offer a link with the Act's highlights that you can share with your "insurance guy" who says "rates are set and doesn't go up": http://www.nj.gov/drbc/library/documents/Flood_Website/FAC/NFIPReform_2012.pdf
Wise-T January 10, 2013 at 03:41 PM
Ed, I just want to refine a few of your statements. (No, I do not work for the insurance industry). Subsidies for many properties are being phased out--that doesn't mean all properties. Insurance premiums can now rise up to 20% per year--doesn't mean they will for all and at that rate. My grandfathered rate could only go up 20% per year. I am in agreement since I live in LB and experienced the flood, there is a good chance they could go up. I'm not saying (after reading the 2012 Act) that it is all good but something had to give. The NFIP program was underfunded - premiums came nowhere near the amount needed to cover claims (the NFIP is over $18 billion in debt). Floods were repeatedly damaging the same properties, especially down South, which had been rebuilt sometimes three or four times in the same location. Fewer than half the properties at risk were covered; in some areas uninsured properties were the substantial majority. Hence, the reform act, I guess.
Karen Adamo January 10, 2013 at 05:23 PM
I want to correct a statement attributed to me regarding E Chester St. What I was refering to was canal houses on the water. The south ends of the canals (closer to E Chester St) are more shallow and boats have to go under the bridges so those homes are a little less expensive than the homes on the bay side of the bridges.
Nancy Mc. January 10, 2013 at 07:39 PM
And with real estate interests like Fran Adelson (a real estate broker), Scott Mandell ( a real estate attorney), Mike Zapson ( another real estate attorney) and Len Torres (a slum lord) in charge of the city, let the overdevelopment and overcrowding and exploitation of long beach begin. Unreal!
Nancy Mc. January 10, 2013 at 07:40 PM
Add democratic committeewoman Karen Adamo who supports these morons to the list above. LB is FOR SALE!
Mike L. Fakin January 10, 2013 at 07:44 PM
Karen Adamo just threw the entire canals neighborhood under the bus. What the hell is she thinking. Se just forced prices in that part of town down! What a stupid thing to do. She is a democratic committeewoman and a realtor. Isn't that a conflict? Either way, it was a dumb thing to say
Beachguy January 10, 2013 at 08:21 PM
Oy vey! TILB. Snoopy for City Manager. I have fled to a better place for the time being. It will take years to sort this all out. I'm hoping Wildman is right and things only get better . Pray we don't have another massive storm and he might be right. But don't forget ---TILB! BTW- we in LB are not the only ones who are victims in all of this. My sons house in Freeport got totaled . His girlfriends mothers in Island Park the same. they also havnt seen any insurance money after their advances. They also can't get any work done. We have something of a voice because there are so many of us. They don't.
Karen Adamo January 10, 2013 at 09:17 PM
to Mike L Fakin. I just love it when someone makes a ridiculous, nasty comment and is too much of a coward to use their real name! My comments were based on the prices BEFORE Sandy. You give me too much power, Get some facts by checking out closed sales.And why would I want to tank values in the canals? That's were I own a home!
Disgusted Homeowner January 10, 2013 at 10:56 PM
Real estate agents biggest fear, prices fall. “Because we don’t want people to panic and think that Long Beach is no longer a saleable entity,” he said. “It is saleable.” Sinnona has been telling potential sellers that if their home was destroyed, they still have land value that is worth something. uh duh
Tonto Hertzberg January 10, 2013 at 11:39 PM
Let me give my West End friends a clue. The LAND your home i sitting on is worth 200gs right now. Anyone dumb enough to sell their home for less should contact me. I will buy it and drive over there with a bulldozer and that will be that. The next day I will put the vacant lot up for sale for 200gs Also, a FEMA compliant RAISED bungalow will be worth 500gs by next summer when the boardwalk is well along towards completion. This is OCEANFRONT LAND 20 MILES FROM MANHATTAN.........they dont make that anymore Also................a RAISED bungalow will have TWO parking spaces beneath the home. That is an ass kicking amenity that will be in BIG demand. Add a nice 30 x 12 ft RAISED deck and the house will sell in ten minutes if you dont want it. I realize that not everyone will be able to do that BUT, if you can, you will have a very valuable asset going forward.
Former neighbor January 12, 2013 at 02:23 PM
Just as a point of accuracy, the Canals house listed at $849K that recently re-listed at $449K was actually a steal at $849K. To be completely factual, It actually sold 2-1/2 years ago and the sale price was not $849K.
Former neighbor January 12, 2013 at 02:36 PM
A correction on my correction... The Canal house was originally listed at $875K (still a steal) - Purchase price was less than $840K and it was 2-1/2 years ago. So sad to see how much damage there must have been to relist at $449K. So sad...
water guy January 16, 2013 at 09:44 AM
Just got my new flood insurance bill and it only went up a small amount, what really got me beside all the new taxes we are now paying a 22% increase in water/sewer.Oh well guess thats the price to live here, still love it and believe our home values will raise, after all most of our homes are now almost brand new, of course if you got any money..

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