The last week of July has brought new group of prospective buyers to the real estate market on Shelter Island. This season, it appears many new customers are property owners on the South Fork looking to make a change. Customers I have been working with have expressed new found affection for the island and it’s distinctly different appeal from the South Fork. It is uplifting to hear relative newcomers to Shelter Island wax poetic about Mashomack Preserve, the long stretches of beachfront off the Ram Island Causeway, the Shelter Island Bucks baseball games at Fiske Field and the absence of congestion and commercialization.
The statistics for the first half of 2016 point toward a stronger market. As is the case with all real estate markets, inventory plays an important role. At the present time, the inventory on Shelter Island of homes and vacant land for sale is lower than at this time last year. Every real estate agent seems to have a group of customers seeking that needle in a haystack: a vintage home on open water to purchase at a below market price. Customers now have easy access to data online and come prepared with knowledge of comparable sales over the prior twelve months. Shelter Island being a small market with few sales within certain price categories, direct comparable sales are often nonexistent, a reality that many customers frequently would rather not accept. That being said, there are terrific opportunities in all ranges actively listed. As is often the case, the seller who makes an effort to prepare their property for the sale market by de-personalizing the decor, sprucing up the grounds for curb appeal, and updating certificates of occupancy with the Town experiences fewer complications and a smoother path to the closing table.
The rental market this season has had characteristics unique when compared to prior years. Traditionally during the latter part of July, customers who are late to find a rental come back for a quick tour and make a decision about an August to Labor Day rental. This season there are many excellent monthly and two week rentals still available. Many rentals are now transacted on direct rental websites for nightly or weekend stays. Real estate agents I have spoken with have similar impressions, one commenting that their agency has a minimum $5K lease requirement because of time intensive rental transactions. Indeed, there are instances when negotiating the terms of a short term lease including rubbish removal, housekeeping, telephone and cable plans among other items, extends over a period of weeks, only to have the customer decide to rent elsewhere. An average uneventful rental transaction entails approximately 14 hours of hands on work, from tours, fielding questions, negotiations, drafting and explaining leases, processing payments, sending reminders, walk through’s both upon move in and move out, and any questions that arise during the rental. This does not take into account involvement in any problems that occur during or after the rental. Both a homeowner/landlord and customer/tenant place their faith in a real estate agent to do their best and it is a serious responsibility.
Last weekend, I was happy to have sponsored Gimme Shelter Animal Rescue at their annual benefit gala at the home of Chuck and Ellen Scarborough in Southampton. It was a tremendous success and very gratifying to see clients and customers of mine from Shelter Island there to lend their support. Many dogs, who in many cases had very little time, have been adopted by generous residents here and now also call Shelter Island their home. The Scarboroughs each year graciously open their home to Gimme Shelter and to dogs wearing “Adopt me!” bandanas in the hope that another life may be saved. Thank you to my clients and customers for being part of this worthy cause.