Local broker Shawn Clayton at Clayton & Clayton Realtors in Bay Head, was mentioned in article regarding rentals at the New Jersey Shore.
Photo by Clayton & Clayton Realtors
by Allison Pries | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
As you watched the snow pile up this winter, your mind was longing for summer and your dreams were filled with visions of the Jersey Shore.
But if you were waiting until now to book a house for a week-long getaway you might be surprised at how few are left. Long Beach Island rentals, for example, were about 92% depleted as of mid-February, months earlier than the inventory typically hits that point.
NJ Advance Media asked brokers what renters can do to increase their chances of finding a place to stay this summer. Here’s what they said:
Be flexible with your dates. Look for a house that does check-ins on Friday or Sunday, instead of the typical Saturday check-in. And stay away from the last two weeks in July and the first two weeks in August. They’re the most popular. The week before Labor Day and the last week of June traditionally have more availability, said Duane Watlington, founder of Vacation Rentals Jersey Shore LLC, which has listings in Long Beach Island, Ocean City and Wildwood.
Try the off season. You can save a lot of money and avoid the crowds if you don’t have to plan your trip around the school calendar. “The ocean is still warm and the restaurants are still open,” said Eric Birchler of Birchler Realtors, which has offices in Lavallette, Ortley and Seaside Park. “We do rentals all the way into October.”
Check listings often. People are constantly buying homes and listing them for rent, so new rentals are hitting the market every day. But “we have houses that are booking up for the whole summer within 24 hours,” Watlington said.
Act quickly. “If you see something you like, don’t wait for something better. Just take it,” Watlington said.
Don’t be too picky. You might have to stay closer to the bay than the ocean. You might have to leave your dog home. And you aren’t going to find a house with a private pool at this point, said Maria Kirk of Shore Summer Rentals. “The most desirable properties go really quick.”
Rent longer. Two week rentals are still available, said Shawn Clayton of Clayton & Clayton in Bayhead. But month rentals are harder to come by and full season rentals are gone, he said. Spring Lake, Sea Girt, Bayhead and Mantaloking typically offer 2 week rentals ranging from $6,500 to $10,000 per week. The $6,500 would get you a 5-bedroom home a few houses from the ocean. And $10,000 would get you a 5 to 7-bedroom home with either a straight view of the ocean or a few houses away from the ocean, depending on the town, he said.
Leave no stone unturned. If there’s a town you want to rent in, search the internet for real estate agents there and call every single office in that town to ask if they have anything available, Clayton said. If they don’t, ask to leave your name and phone number so they can call you if something becomes available, Birchler said.
Try neighboring towns. The rental stock in Lavallette is shrinking, said Birchler, because home values are surging. The average new home there is now selling for $1.5 million. “People who pay that much for a house don’t want to rent it and if they had to, most people wouldn’t be able to afford it,” he said. But in nearby Seaside Park, Birchler said he’s seeing more available rentals.