On Jan. 6, 2017, David Brooks’ editorial in the New York Times posed the question of how people choose a house.
This article was interesting to me because of my unique market area. Running north to south along the Jersey Shore, I have the great fortune of introducing my clients to almost 30 towns in a 15- to 20-mile run.
Brooks covers most of the process of selecting a home from the Web search to the Realtor showing. What I found most poignant was his recognition that the buying process is not about buyers buying houses––it’s about them buying a lifestyle.
The initial meeting with a new client for me includes a discussion that goes beyond bedrooms and baths, proximity to the beach and schools, budgets, etc. My interview includes discussions about their everyday living habits, the sort of community they want to live in, what they do for entertainment, do they entertain, and what is it exactly that makes them happy. Often times, we discuss buying a beach house versus buying a house at the beach, as many find they can move here and still commute to Central Jersey and New York City.
Why is it so important that I know all this information, you ask? With a few personal examples, I can show you that every town has its own personality.
Asbury Park is a very diverse community. From seasonal to full-time residents, it has condos, rentals, and homes. The downtown area is vibrant, with a variety of dining options that rival many of New Jersey’s larger towns. There is a movie theater, The Showroom Cinema, that takes you back in tim, as you sit in the tiny theater offering overflow seating on folding chairs. Rooftop bars, boardwalk restaurants and quaint stores add to the ambiance. Move here if you want to walk to a cafe for a cup of coffee, or stroll home after dinner. I sold to a lovely couple who, at the time, lived and worked in Princeton. After travelling up and down the shore for a couple of weekends, we determined that they wanted a home at the beach, not a beach house, and are thrilled with their decision.
Spring Lake is on the quieter side, with stately homes, an upscale main street, a few dining options and a beautiful boardwalk. The Spring Lake Theatre and the many home and inn tours serve as great entertainment. Move here if you are looking for an upscale beautiful town at the beach. I often think it is sad that some of these beautiful homes sit idle for many months a year. They are beautiful on the outside as well as inside, often restored to their early 19th century charm. Many buy here for their family’s enjoyment as well as the opportunity to invite and entertain guests on their expansive rocky chair porches. I have sold to clients who have homes within a 30-minute drive and who are looking for the perfect lifestyle to escape the stresses of their jobs.
If you are looking for a boating community, you should stop in Manasquan, Brielle, Point Pleasant, or Brick. Manasquan and Point Pleasant have wonderful downtown areas offering that beach feel that appeals to all ages. Hit the boardwalk, sail from the marina, or park you boat in your backyard. I sold a wonderful home to a young couple from one of our northern cities who were looking for a little country on the water. The pool went in this year. Next year, the water sports will be addressed.
As you can see, Brooks was on point in his article when he said: “The process of house hunting focuses your attention of the wrong things… It focuses on the features of the house, not on the social relationships that will happen in them, which is all you’ll remember decades hence.” I couldn’t have said it better myself!
Think Coldwell Banker and call me because I can make awesomeness happen!
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Linda Romano is the exclusive agent representing the Monmouth County, New Jersey, real estate market as a member of the Haute Residence Real Estate Network. View all of her listings here.