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Old 09-06-2012, 07:32 PM
Location: Madison, NJ
41 posts, read 158,058 times
Reputation: 26


We are looking into purchasing a vacation home for our family - we have toddlers/babies, and grandparents. We are coming from Morris County and have close family in Point Pleasant. We've heard that LBI is the best, but Lavallette and the area north (Ocean Beach) are so much more convenient for us travel wise, plus its close to our siblings and their little kids.

For those that know both areas, is LBI THAT much better that we really should consider it? We'll likely be making the trip quite often so an hour on either side is really unappealing, and the Lavallette area seems pretty cute too. THe prices and taxes in LBI seem a bit better though (we are in the 600-800k range, but need to be easy walking distance to ocean (not Bay.) We want nice beaches, a few fun things to do for the kiddos within an easy drive, perhaps some restaurants... but with young kids, we don't need to go out much. We'd also like to rent it out a few weeks of the summer...

For anyone who knows Ocean Beach area or, ideally, all the areas, please let us know what you think

Also - I was told LBI doesn't flood much. Can the same be said for the more north areas?
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Old 09-07-2012, 01:29 PM
Location: Northern NJ
453 posts, read 1,642,054 times
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We have a 2 br in Lavallette that we rent during the summer months and spend time fixing up, etc. on weekends, and like the area very much. It is our second residence in the town. We like the town and the low taxes, and enjoy all that it has to offer. The beaches have NO restrooms or facilities so you need to be able to get back to the house as needed. Street parking is hit-or-miss near the beaches, a bit of a long story. Coming from Morris County, we would never want to drive as far as LBI. We like getting off at exit 98, stopping the Shop Rite, and being in Lavallette in about an hour and a half, tops.

Here's the deal: NJ barrier islands are subject to flooding. All of them. Depending on what block you are on and what the tide is, you are almost always going to see some flooding when it rains hard. You will almost always be in a Federal Special Flood Hazard area and need to buy Flood insurance. When it rains heavily for a few hours on our street, the storm drains cannot handle the surface water and the street will flood, especially during high tide. A direct hit or a squall over the island for days could be catastrophic for some, perhaps many. The flooding usually subsides when the tide goes out. I would NEVER buy an older home that is situated flat on the ground, however. You want to have your first floor at least a foot or more (a few steps) off the ground, possibly higher.

Flood insurance on a secondary residence or rental property will be getting more and more expensive. Congress gave FEMA a green light this year to allow for annual rate increases on such properties that will be quite high. If you need a mortgage, you'll need to buy Flood coverage, otherwise it just makes good sense to have it. But be prepared for some sticker shock in the coming years, it will go up a LOT.

Also, regular property and liability insurance itself is a nightmare to get for a barrier island rental property. You don't just call up and get a regular policy. I'm an agent and can't get property coverage in a standard market, so I'm stuck with a surplus lines carrier. Weekly rental is considered hazardous for liability insurance, and barrier island property is considered hazardous for property insurance, so be prepared to end up with crappy coverage at a high price.

The houses in the Toms River Township beach communities of Ocean Beach, Ortley Beach, etc. are often lower priced but the taxes are much higher, and you often need to join a beach club. There is no such place as "North Lavallette" which is nothing but a misleading real estate-sales marketing name. It's Toms River Township, and you are taxed accordingly. It shares the same post office as Lavallette, but is not part of Lavallette, and does not get water or electric from the Lavallette utility. Parts of the Ocean Beach communities also flood like crazy during heavy rainstorms, depending where you are in proximity to the bay and lagoons.

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Old 09-07-2012, 01:45 PM
2,860 posts, read 3,424,107 times
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Lavallette is pretty nice. If you don't find something there, lesser known Seaside PARK has some nice spots too, and is similarly convenient.

A lot of properties in these communities are block by block re possible minor (street or bay) flooding or other inconveniences. Other aspects of the local 'scene' are similar in that the towns...and often individual blocks and houses... all have a 'character' of their own especially when 'the season' is in full force, both good and just OK.

Most of these shore towns have built up the dunes a lot over the last 15-20 years and for the most part have avoided major hurricane flooding from the ocean side. Try to check anyway when you find the place you like. Look twice and talk to neighbors and other locals if possible.

They are nice communities for the most part.
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Old 09-07-2012, 01:50 PM
Location: NJ
31,774 posts, read 36,410,141 times
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we have had a house on lbi for about 22 years now. the house was built on pilings (required at some point, so older ones arent) so you only have the garage on the first floor. the heat and A/c units are raised off the ground. in all that time, we have never had any flooding. it varies across the island, often when it rains i see some stores off the main road are flooded. i also believe there has been major flooding in the history of the island, so anything is possible.

i dont really know the other places, lbi seems to fill your needs except that it may be too far for you. maybe the best thing to do is rent a house in each town to see which you like best. you may find you like one of the more northen ones so no need to make the further trip to lbi. thats how my parents chose lbi, they had visited it a few times prior to buying a house there.
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Old 09-08-2012, 11:18 PM
12,899 posts, read 12,328,637 times
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I prefer Lavallette. There's something about LBI I don't really like. Can't put my finger on it, but not that it's not beautiful or anything like that, I just prefer the Lavallette/Seaside Park area much more. I think it has more access to other areas. With LBI, there's only one way in and out and there is always heavy traffic around it. Lavallette gives you access to the boardwalk at Seaside Heights, it's down the road a few miles form Pt. Pleasant, and Island Beach State Park is just south. All easily accessible. Of course there is traffic, but at least there's not only one way in and out. That makes me feel a bit claustrophobic.

Lavallette and Seaside Park are great areas, not to be confused with Seaside Heights. Heights… not necessarily so much. We know people who rent every year beach block in Lavallette for two weeks and they absolutely love it. It's quiet on the weekdays, and there's a small boardwalk along the dunes they like to run/walk on in the mornings. There's food and shops in walking distance and the waterpark in Seaside Heights for something else to do. There's just a variety in that particular area.
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Old 09-09-2012, 09:15 AM
Location: Madison, NJ
41 posts, read 158,058 times
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This is some great advice - thank you!! Especially the part about flooding/insurance. If we don't plan on using it as an investment property, but might if we have direct friends or neighbors that want it for a week or two (we plan on being there most of the summer), does that change anything as far as insurance goes?
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Old 09-10-2012, 09:17 AM
Location: Northern NJ
453 posts, read 1,642,054 times
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The biggest change would be that you don't rent it out, you would most likely not have difficulty adding the liability insurance to your primary homeowners policy as a Secondary Location. That all changes with most companies once you tell them that you are advertising it for weekly, seasonal rentals. You can't screw around and hide it, either, because the policy language is such that you could have a claim denied on a rental if it isn't identified as such on the declaration pages. The carriers all assume that Snooki and her friends are renting for the week and will trash the place.

If there is no money changing hands, I wouldn't consider it a rental, just permissive use on your part. You would treat it as a vacation home for tax purposes, and the insurance company would rate it as a secondary residence. The problem is that circumstances will change, and you might decide to rent a week or two, and forget to advise your carrier.

Getting property coverage there is really difficult, especially for a rental property. If you have a large primary elsewhere you may have some luck getting the same carrier to take a barrier island secondary, but usually they decline, and you end up with a Surplus Lines carrier. Higher cost, much less coverage, high deductible (particularly windstorm, usually a percentage of the limit) and no theft coverage at all. For that reason, we don't keep any personal property there with any real value.

The suggestion above to rent in different communities first is an excellent one. I honestly don't think I'd ever buy anywhere without renting for awhile to see how I liked it over the long run, not just the short run. Vacation experiences can be a bit deceiving. You really need to learn the ins and outs about the community, its rules and politics, flood probability, and so forth. If you zero in on a particular house for sale, take a day and talk to as many neighbors as you can find.

Lavallette cleared out completely after Heritage Day on Saturday. Yesterday it was really nice, but a bit eerie with the cooler weather, zero crowds, and rough surf. No one could go in.

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Old 09-14-2012, 02:43 PM
527 posts, read 1,278,540 times
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Don't know much about LBI but, remember OB is part of Toms river.
That area use to be a collection of small areas under the general name of Dover.
About 3-4 years ago, All the small areas, Normandy, OB, Chadwick, Silver beach, etc were made part of toms river.

When that happened, prop taxes sky rocketed.
Many are trying to sell but they cannot afford the taxes but are trapped.
I heard several cases where taxes went up 40%, albiet from low levels
Story is Toms river citizens feel that most house in this area are 2nd homes and as such have no voice, so they socked them for cash

Ocean beach has 3 areas, 1,2,3
Not sure about 1 and 2, familar with 3
heavy rains will flood the roads but it drains very quick.

Remember, if you buy in OB3, many house are on leased land
typical house price is 275K 35N to ocean, between 35S and 35N maybe low 200Ks, on leased land
you will pay prop taxes abotu 5-6K /yr
You will pay about 6K/yr for land lease
plus mortgage

if you buy a place not on leased land, expect to pay about 100K more for house.

This is very general, not taking into account on ocean beach sand and not on lagoon

Check OCEANBEACHNJ.COM for realty rents and sales
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Old 09-14-2012, 06:25 PM
1,787 posts, read 5,391,751 times
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Since you have family in Point Pleasant, are familiar with that area, and is closer to your home, have you considered looking there? That's a fun place to have small kids [and adults, too!].
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