15 Sep 2014
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Patch Instagram photo by thecitybythesealb
Patch Instagram photo by thecitybythesealb
Patch Instagram photo by patch
Patch Instagram photo by patch
Patch Instagram photo by patch
Patch Instagram photo by patch

Homebuyers Search for ‘Steals’ in Long Beach

Real estate executives reportedly plan a massive rebuild in city.

Homebuyers Search for ‘Steals’ in Long Beach

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.

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