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5 Keys To Renting Your Dream Vacation House In Ocean City NJ
The last snowstorm left you with a sore back from shoveling and finalized the decision you and your family had been kicking around for months: You’re renting a shorehouse for a week or two this summer and leaving the late-winter chills way, way behind.
Now comes the tricky part: Finding the perfect house to fit your family’s needs and desires.
In Ocean City, there is a science to the search, and that’s why an overwhelming number of the rentals are handled by the experts here at Weichert Realtors, The Asbury Group. While we ask all the right questions when you come searching for your escape pad, it doesn’t hurt to be informed and ready. Time is of the essence: Just last week, I had a situation where I called an owner of a property to reserve it for a renter I was representing, and the owner said another agent had called that morning inquiring about the same week. If it had taken an extra hour or two to close the deal, my customer would have been out of luck.
Here are 5 crucial tips for making sure you snag that pearl of a property:
Get started early: As you are reading this, nearly two-thirds of the rental properties in Ocean City during the prime weeks in late July and early August are booked. By the time Memorial Day arrives, it will be impossible to find a home on those dates. The experienced renters will start searching during their holiday break in December and get their rental booked in January. In addition to coming during the prime weeks, other reasons to get an early jump are to get the properties that fit unique needs: single-family homes, pet-friendly properties, or properties with boat slips included exist, but there is a limited market for them. There’s an added advantage to getting that early start: If you find that gem of a home to rent, most owners will allow you to leave your security deposit behind so you have first dibs to re-rent the home for the next season on the week of your choice, with the first installment payment on the property not scheduled until January. We have several renters stop by the office at the end of their week and make next year’s booking that way for peace of mind.
Know what’s walking distance: The numbered blocks in Ocean City that run north to south are longer blocks than a typical town’s - roughly 10 blocks per mile. That means if you want to be within a half-mile walk of the amusement rides at 6th & Boardwalk, you’ll want to stay between 1st and 11th streets. It’s also important to remember that not all homes on the same street are of equal distance to the beach. For instance, from our office at 7th & Asbury, the beach is a good 2,000-foot walk and crosses four intersections. However, a rental property at 16th & Asbury is less than 1,000 feet from the beach and crosses just two intersections, and by the time you get to 30th & Asbury, you are one short block from the sand.
Know your comfort zone: A quick look at one block of our rental properties shows one home on it renting for $1900 for a week and another of a similar size three doors down going for $3200. Why the big difference? Well, the higher-priced house is a second-floor property that has been fully modernized: large flat-screen TVs, granite countertops in the kitchen and even a computer made available to the renters. The other home is a first-floor throwback with tube televisions and 1980s-era decor. Vacation comfort means different things to different people. To some, a bright, modern home matters much. To others, that home with the dated decor is fine, because what matters to them is proximity to the beach and other activities.
Leave the linens behind. Most properties require that the weekly renters bring their own linens and towels. While you might have the sheets at home to cover the need, we know from experience: you need every last inch of space in your vehicle when you pack up and head down, and among the least-enjoyable activities when you get back from the shore is having a mountain of sheets to launder. One of the best returns on your vacation investment is to rent your bedding materials. There are a few terrific business that deliver you crisp sheets when you arrive and pick up the dirty sheets when you leave. It’s not the only thing they rent - they also offer rentals on chairs, beach carts, strollers, umbrellas, even coolers for your drinks that are absolutely not margaritas (wink, wink). When you call us to book your house, don’t hesitate to ask our agents for a reference for these businesses.
Find out what everyone else in the house wants: A couple of weeks ago I showed an elderly couple a few rental properties for their 2-week stay. While they loved all the properties and had a tough decision, the one that won out did so because it was walking distance to the Ocean City Community Center, a terrific facility with a gym, Olympic-sized swimming pool and sauna, and that has weekly and family membership options. It turns out the wife is an avid swimmer and a couple of their grandchildren are athletes who enjoy working out. For those with dogs, there is a dog-friendly beach just over the bridge to Longport at the north end of the island, so homes at that end might be more appealing. Those who have family members who want to take waverunners out might want to be closer to the marina at 3rd St. & Bay to rent, or by the 34th Street Causeway, where a short drive to Beesley’s Point offers both rentals and easy access to the open waters in Great Egg Harbor Bay.