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July 12, 2024

Common Questions: Selling Your Beach Condo in Ocean City

Blog Thumbnail: Questions You May Have About Selling Your OCMD Property

Selling a home can be a stressful & complex process no matter where you live. This is especially true in a resort market like Ocean City. Our goal is to help address most common questions we encounter from property owners looking to sell their beach homes. Hopefully with this information in hand, you’ll be better prepared to navigate the sale of your beach home. (Hopefully with us as your new agent-partners).

 

1. When is the right time to sell?

Timing is important when selling any home. We made this our first point, because it’s one that most sellers don’t give enough consideration to…. And the answer isn’t always as simple as you may think.

When a Seller is considering the value of ‘time’ in the sale of their beach home. We want you to consider three things. First, it’s important to consider when you sell, what the market is like during that ‘time of year,’ and how we’ll fit into it. Second, consider YOUR timing, and make sure you let us know what’s important. Do you have a need/expectation to sell quickly, or do you not care? These are important details! And third, consider the impact of the ‘loss of use’ of the proceeds from your sale. Time is an important factor there. For example, we’ve had sellers reject an offer over a $500 difference, only to ‘carry’ the property for three more months (accumulating $1200 in expenses in additional condo fees alone).

In short, the way your property is introduced to the market…. the way your property is positioned within the market… and the way we present your property to the market, can all vary dramatically based on your decisions behind timing. We pride ourselves on excelling in all of these areas, but we can only do so if we know exactly what your goals and expectations are.

So, let’s come back to the Question: When is the right time to sell? A: After you’ve had a conversation with a great local agent who has shared a lot of market data, recent comps, marketing forecasts, and then created a pricing-and-marketing strategy specific to YOU. An agent and a plan that you have extreme confidence in. With that established you can conquer any market at any time of year!

 

2. Are There Enough Buyers Out There for My Property?

The answer to this question is very, very simple….so pay very close attention. “You only need one!” Which is why I’d encourage you to read the last three sentences of this blog again. A great agent, a great plan, and we will find the right buyer!

If I really explore this question the way most of you are expecting me to, I’d answer it in more detail as follows:

There’s a lot going on in the real-estate market in Ocean City right now. It’s 2024, which means we’re in an election year. Implications of inflation from the last few years is finally being felt in people’s wallets. Interest rates have climbed, and not dropped, as many had expected. The insurance industry is impacting real estate on multiple fronts, nationwide. And Maryland recently passed House-Bill 107 (impacting Ocean City in a disproportionate manner). I say all of this to acknowledge that the market has changed, and there are certainly multiple factors that could create some obstacles to buying. As with anything else in life, the key to overcoming our fears and obstacles is through understanding and education. THAT is what a great agent does. And THAT is how we find the buyer for your property.

Needless to say, there are always people looking to buy their next beach home (or condo) in Ocean City, MD. Getting them to buy YOUR property is MY JOB!

 

3. How should I choose my Listing Agent?

Start where we all start when we want info on anything…. Google! Use it as a tool, and not the sole-deciding-factor. This is still the best way to start your search for a top realtor in Ocean city, MD! Find five or six agents, READ THEIR REVIEWS, check to make sure they’re truly LOCAL to the area, and then interview them. Not one. Not two. Three or more. Get on the phone, have a conversation, and find out who impresses you the most. Use the info below to determine who the best is:

There are a number of qualities and credentials you should be looking for when choosing a top real estate agent in Ocean City, MD to list your property. Dominant agents are ones who will provide you with a wealth of information, guidance, and expertise. Those agents will have strong, established systems and resources that will benefit their clients. The days of a realtor selling themselves because they have a “strong marketing plan” are over. Today, the best Realtors need lots of experience, strong relationships, great communication skills, and a knowledge base that will help keep a buyer or seller away from trouble, pitfalls, errors, or mistakes that can cost either side thousands of dollars (or more).

Another key quality is to look for a “hyper local” agent. These Agents will have lots of connections with consumers, other agents, appraisers, lenders, and other great vendor contacts. These relationships are often what get deals done! Make sure your agent has a literal encyclopedia of knowledge about the area you are selling in. This will make you feel comfortable with the fact that you are getting the best service you can.

Lastly, let’s not forget to include the most important quality of any great Realtor… being a GREAT listener. A real estate agent has to be able to truly hear and understand your needs, wants, and goals and make decisions related to the sale of your home that will fulfill them. Always ask yourself this question… is your real estate agent listening to you, or just talking AT you. When choosing an agent, follow these guidelines and you’ll find yourself happy with your decision.

 

4. What’s the difference Between Good Agents and Great Agents?

The average consumer tends to think that real estate agents do two things… open doors & write contracts.

We can say with 100% certainty that a great real estate agent is going to do a whole lot more than open doors and write contracts. Great agents understand that real estate is a business of nuances, and that’s never been more true than in a second-home market like Ocean City, MD. Consider this- sellers in our town almost never “need” to sell their home, and buyers in or town almost never “need” to buy a home. All the more reason to make sure the Realtor you choose is masterful at what they do!

Make sure your agent understands the nuances of the market and the small incremental changes that can be made to significantly increase its value and appeal of your property? Has your agent explained to you what you need to do as a seller to ensure your property is attracting the right pool of buyers? Or, has your agent simply said, “sure I’ll take this listing” and asked you almost no questions about your goals? The difference in the quality of an agent can be substantial, and asking these questions can help you determine whether you have a “good” or a “great” agent behind you. At the end of the day, ask yourself if you believe the agent you selected has set you up for success in every way possible, and you’re on a fast track to achieving your goals.

Conclusion

Selling a home in Ocean City, MD brings an extremely unique set of challenges that are different than a primary home market. If you understand the market dynamics (or have an agent who does), choose a GREAT agent, and time your sale appropriately, you are on a fast track to getting your home sold without any hiccups while achieving all of the goals you set forward. If you have any questions or are looking for the best Realtor in the MD & DE beach area, give us a call!

Grant Fritschle: (410) 430-5880

Jon Barker: (410) 935-3810

See you at the beach soon!

Posted in Selling
July 2, 2024

The Truth About Open Houses In Ocean City

How the top 3 motivators to holding open houses differs from Suburbia to Beach Town

What do you see when you picture an open house? It probably looks a little something like this: visitors’ cars lining the street, an open house sign with balloons in the front yard, couples roaming about the home, trays of cookies, pitchers of refreshments, and a real estate agent mingling with potential buyers, handing out flyers of information about the listing. To that, I’d say your imagination is pretty accurate. Now take your imagination, pack it in a suitcase, cram it in your trunk, and drive it to Ocean City. Now that you’re in your favorite beach town ever, what do you see when you picture an open house here? Hate to burst your bubble, but… SPLAT.

It looks nothing like what you’re used to. According to NAR’s 2022 trend report, while 41% of buyers attended an open house, only 2% of buyers actually purchased the house they visited. I bet that statistic can be cut at least in half for 2nd home markets like OCMD. Let’s compare some apples to oranges with the top 3 open house motivators.

*Our apple will be 123 Main Street in Suburbia USA, and our orange will be Condo #123 in our beloved Ocean City, MD.

 

Signs, signs, everywhere there’s signs

🍎 Suburbia, USA

For the week leading up to the open house, signs are posted in the neighborhood to generate interest and spread the word. Joe Schmoe sees them on his way to and from work and tells his wife they should swing by over the weekend. Neighbors tell their friends who have always wanted to move to the same neighborhood. Agents add the stop to their list for the buyers they’re showing around on Saturday. Add some balloons to those signs the day of your open house and you’re golden!

🍊 Ocean City, MD

Hmmm, well you’re not allowed to post signs in OC, and there’s no yard/area in front of the building where you could position a sign – or maybe there is, but chances are the building’s by-laws prohibit advertising of this kind. In fact, most buildings won’t even allow you to post a sign in the elevator or lobby areas to at least advertise the event to current residents and guests–not in advance, and usually not even just the day-of.

 

80% of Success is Just Showing Up!

🍎 Suburbia, USA

While every Agent’s dream is to have a steady flow of potential buyers visiting his or her open house, the results may vary. But for a standard 2-hour long open house, 10-20 groups would be considered a very successful turnout. Which means 10-20 people the Agent can add to his database. Smashing.

🍊 Ocean City, MD

In Ocean City, attendance is very much influenced by the time of year–but wait, it gets even more complicated than that. Our population is about 7K year-round residents on this little 10.5-mile long island, but during summer weekends, we host up to 345K vacationers. That’s nearly FIFTY TIMES our population. Because of this influx of occupancy, summer open houses benefit from a much larger turnout; however, the unfortunate side effect is that most of these attendees are merely curious passers-by and not real buyers. Winter (or off-season) open houses suffer a reduction of visitors, but the chances of those attendees being serious buyers is higher. This doesn’t sound so bad, though, right? Course not. Until I tell you what the average attendance rate is… a good turnout at a summer open house would be about 5 groups. A good turnout at an off-season open house? Consider yourself lucky if you have one person walk through that door. That’s right. One. Person.

 

If you’re wondering why–or if you’re a real estate agent in Suburbia USA and you think we surely must be doing something wrong–consider all this:

1) For an in-season open house, most properties are part of a rental program with Saturday turnover, meaning the only chance we have to host an open house is between 10AM and 3PM on a Saturday. And on “Turnover Saturday,” the people we’re targeting are likely to also be arriving or departing that day, and find navigating summer Saturday traffic about as exciting as a root canal–adding even more stops to the day isn’t exactly a high point of interest. Our visitors then have to battle Parking Patrol: the building’s employees who check parking passes to ensure they’re a registered guest of the building; if they are not, they need to find off-site parking nearby and walk to the building (guess how many actually decide do that), otherwise they risk being towed or having their car booted. And yes, that does actually happen. Don’t forget, we also needs to arrange with the property’s housekeeper to prioritize the cleaning of the condo after the rental guest has checked out, to ensure it will be ready before the open house begins.

If the property isn’t a rental, then you don’t have most of these problems, you say? Sure, sure. We can certainly hold open houses during the week in properties that aren’t rentals, so we have less of the Turnover Battle with time constraints, traffic, and cleaning. Guess how many serious buyers take off a day in the middle of their work week to travel 3 or so hours each way just to attend a single open house? I’ll wait while you count those unicorns.

2) Ah, but off-season open houses must be where all the action is! Sorry, but nope. We struggle even more with off-season open houses, to be honest. If the success of an open house is measured by the number of attendees, off-season ones are often a bust. And when I say “bust,” I mean no one showed up. The other times, we had one visitor. Two or more people? That was a banger of an open house. But even though I did say these attendees have a higher likelihood of being serious buyers, at least 50% of the time they’re actually just neighbors in the area who saw the open house sign when walking the dog that morning or coming back from their morning Dunkin run. (For those lucky locations where we’re at least allowed to put out a sign the day of the open house.) It’s also the same struggle as those mid-week summer open houses: how many people make a day-trip to OC on a winter weekend just to visit an open house or two? These aren’t necessarily unicorns, but they’re at least an Ili pika.

 

The Truth in Advertising

🍎 Suburbia, USA

Get the word out there! In addition to decorating the streets with signs the week leading up to the open house, Agents have the world at their fingertips with Facebook. Facebook ads allow Agents to advertise directly to potential buyers in the area, and it even allows them to push a Facebook reminder notification to them the day of the event. This is a great way to get the listing in front of potentials buyers, even if they can’t attend the open house. Agents are able to hyper-target their audiences through location, age, and interest filters, to ensure their ads are getting in front of the users most likely to have an interest in their listing.

🍊 Ocean City, MD

We’ve already discussed how we can’t post signs around town (total bummer, but we get it). And while our open houses do syndicate to public listing sites like Zillow (yuck) and Realtor.com, that’s about where it stops. Sure, we can email our leads lists, but email is honestly the lowest form of communication and, as a marketing service, it should only be a small slice of a much larger pie. But you can run Facebook ads, right? Nope. When putting together a Facebook ad, you define what city or cities you wish to target–meaning you’re targeting people who currently live in that specific city. Our buyers don’t live here… in the last 6 months alone, buyers of Ocean City real estate live in 340+ different cities. Our audience simply isn’t target-able.

Open Houses used to be the easiest (and only) way a potential buyer could preview a home without an Agent–back when listings could only have a handful of bad quality pictures at best. But now we have stunning photography, amazing videos, and immersive virtual tours; buyers don’t necessarily need open houses to get a better feel for a property these days. And for people who live hours away from the location of their future beach home, open houses aren’t even on their radar anymore.

But in Suburbia USA, open houses really do work–maybe not to sell houses, per se, but that hasn’t been the reason for hosting open houses for a long, long time. The internet changed all of that for us. What open houses do now is connect people. In all honesty, more than anything, they serve the agent, not the seller; they bring an influx of unrepresented buyers right to their doorstep- er, right to their client’s doorstep, but you know what I mean. The Agent can add a dozen or so quality buyers to his database in just a couple of hours. But that’s just not the case for us here at the beach, and I believe it’s important for Agents and Sellers to realistically manage these expectations.

 

So you’re probably thinking, Grant, your team hosts open houses all the time. Why do it if they don’t work? You’re absolutely right. We hold open houses as often as possible, because whether the person walking through that door is a summer lookie-loo or a winter neighbor, a bored beachgoer on a rainy day or a parent waiting for his daughter’s dance troupe to go on stage at the Convention Center in the middle of January–it’s still eyes on the listing and feet through the door, no matter how few. Our Sellers deserve every possible effort in selling their beach home, and while I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve sold a listing to someone who attended my open house, in all my decades of doing real estate, that’s one handful of deals my sellers may otherwise never have gotten.

 

For more information about open-houses, or anything beach related, give us a call.   We'd love to help with your next real estate need.  

 

Grant Fritschle  410-430-5880

Jon Barker 410-935-3810

 

#OpenHousesOceanCity  #OceanCityMDOpenHouse  #TopAgentOceanCity   #BestAgentsAtTheBeach

#OceanCityRealEstateExperts

Posted in Buying
July 2, 2024

3 Rules To Follow When Furnishing Your Beach Home

I know what you’re thinking, but even though I’m no Joanna Gaines, I know beach rental properties. Not to toot my own horn or anything (but, toot-toot), I own Ocean City’s #1 vacation rental management company. I have seen the results of a properly-staged and furnished beach home – and by results, I mean: more money, increased occupancy, and better care.

The first thing to consider when starting your planning is this: expect the same level of care from your renters as you’ve put into the home. And that doesn’t mean you need to buy top-of-the-line decor and furnishings—mostly it means things need to be clean & in good condition. If a renter enters a property with torn & tattered furniture or stained carpets, for example, they’re going to see that little care has gone into the property and that will absolutely influence how they treat it.

 

Rule #1

Your guests should know they’re at the beach whether they are outside or—you guessed it—inside your beach home

 

While everyone’s taste is different, there are certain expectations from weekly visitors about the property they’re renting. Bright colors, beach-themed decor, de-cluttered & flowing spaces. It’s also important that they can easily “move in” to the space and, for the duration of their stay, it feels like it’s theirs. This means there aren’t personal items of yours displayed in the home, such as family photos.

 

Rule #2

If you love it, lock it up

 

Whether it’s something sentimental, or just a piece of decor you really love that would be difficult to replace, keep these things locked inside your owner’s closet. It’s not that renters are destructive—it’s that they’re trying to cram as much as possible into a week or weekend, so they’re always in a rush. And often times they have small children. Accidents happen. Dishes will chip, decor will break, things will spill… that’s just life on vacation!

I tell a lot of my clients to buy decor from Roses—believe it or not, Roses has some really cool stuff but, more importantly, it’s very inexpensive & easy to replace! Many of my clients even get their bed & bath linens, kitchenware, and small appliances there, because it’s so affordable and convenient (no matter where you are located in Ocean City, Roses is always ‘just up or down the road’).

Pro tip: don’t wait until May or June to replenish your stock; everything will be sold out! We also have a TJ Maxx in-town now and you can get great, higher-quality items at discount prices — but again, don’t wait until May or June.

 

Rule #3

You can’t please all the Goldilocks’ in the world, but you can sure try

 

When it comes to beds, everyone has his or her preference for a soft or hard mattress, so we recommend going with something in the middle. But beyond that, what size beds you have is really important. In the master/primary bedroom, you should have at least a queen size bed, but having a king will make your guests even happier.

Beyond that, the bedding layout is specific to how many bedrooms you have overall, but here are some general rules-of-thumb:

Don’t have too many twin size beds (honestly, none would be great) – only very small children will be comfortable in a twin size bed, and it’s better to have beds that are ‘too big’ than it is to have beds that are too small

If you have a 2BR condo, your 2nd bedroom should have 2 double/full size beds and a queen sleep sofa in the living room

If you have a 3BR condo, your 2nd bedroom would do well with a queen or 2 double/full size beds, your 3rd bedroom should have 2 double/full size beds, and a queen sleep sofa in the living room

Even if you don’t advertise it, a quality sleep sofa is always appreciated

Ultimately, however, you can turn to your vacation rental manager for guidance. But trust when I say there is hard evidence that properties with twin size beds book slower and for less money than comparable properties that have full/double beds instead.

 

The final & best piece of advice I can provide is to leave your beloved beach rental home in the hands of a locally owned and operated vacation rental agency. While I can’t speak for other vacation rental markets, I imagine they’re much the same — those of us who choose to live in a seasonal town that comes to life only a few months a year — we’re incredibly passionate about this place. There is just something truly special about Ocean City, and some generic Jane or John sitting at their computer on the other side of the world booking your property doesn’t understand that — and, moreover, doesn’t physically have the ability to run up the road to check on your property.

But those of us who live here and rent your property for a living? Not only do we have the ability to check on your beach home in a matter of minutes, but we actually do it routinely & we care about your property as if it were our own. We take great pride in, and recognize what an honor it is, to be part of every family’s beach vacation memories that they’ll remember for the rest of their lives — they’ll remember this magical town, they’ll remember the friendly faces who greeted them at arrival, and they’ll remember the charming place they got to call home for the week.

 

We hope you found this helpful and informative.   We're here for all your beach real estate needs.   Reach out with any questions you might have.   We'd love to help. 

 

Grant Fritschle  Grant@GrantF.com

Jon Barker   Jon@GrantF.com 

 

 

 

#BeachRealEstateExperts  #OceanCityRealEstateExperts   #TopAgentOceanCity   #BestAgentOceanCity

 

July 2, 2024

4 Tips: What Not To Do When Buying Your Beach Home

 

Chances are, if you’re looking to buy a beach home, it’s not your first real estate transaction.  However, that doesn’t stop Buyers from making purchase blunders that can potentially—and often do—lead to losing the contract on their dream beach home.  I’m going to cover the most common mistakes we see during the purchase process, so you can be sure to avoid making the same or similar mistakes when you’re ready to submit an offer on your beach home.

DON’T MISS ANY LOAN OR CREDIT PAYMENTS

I’ve seen situations where Buyers are closing on one property while selling another, and the property they’re selling has a loan payment due just a matter of days before closing—they don’t need to pay that, because in a couple days they won’t own the property anymore, right?  Wrong. 

That missed payment gets flagged on their credit report.  Many Buyers think they’re safe once they have the loan commitment in-hand, but your Lender is going to re-run your credit before finalizing your mortgage to check for any drastic changes that have happened since the commitment was issued.  If you find yourself in a situation like this, always reach out to your Settlement Attorney to ask how payments should be handled on a property you’re selling—they will never tell you to not make a mortgage payment!  On your Settlement Statement (often called an ALTA or a HUD-1), you will be credited any monies due for a mortgage payment that covers any periods after the settlement date.

AVOID MAKING LARGE PURCHASES

We know it can be tempting to start purchasing furniture and décor for your beach home so you can start ‘making it yours’ as soon as you have the keys in your hand… But I’m going to have to ask you to place that credit card on the table, put your hands in the air, and slowly back away.  Taking on large debts shortly prior to settlement raises red flags to your Lender.  Remember, part of your credit score is based on debt-to-credit ratio, and suddenly eating up that credit has the potential to significantly alter your credit score.

Also, don’t buy a new car.  Please.  It’s not uncommon for Buyers to get that “beach buzz”; for many, owning a beach home is a big Bucket List item, and when that becomes a reality, it’s hard to not ride the high of achieving a lifelong dream.  So much that it becomes an impetus for wanting to achieve more goals… like buying a shiny, new car.  This adds a massive debt load to your credit and almost always leads to your Lender being unable to approve your loan at the final stages.  Now you’re left with a pretty car full of beach gear, but no beach home to take it to!

PRETEND YOU DON’T HAVE A BANK ACCOUNT

Well, not literally… But avoid making any sudden changes to your bank account.  Think of it like this: your Lender is going to look at your bank account(s) during the commitment phase, and again shortly before closing at the final stage.  Now let’s pretend those two inquiries are “spot the difference” pictures.  There should be very little difference in those 2 pictures.  Now, this doesn’t mean you can’t spend money, of course (ya gotta eat, am I right?), but your financial behaviors should be nearly identical, both in terms of withdraws and deposits. 

If a Lender sees large deposits suddenly appear in your account, it’s going to make them nervous.  At minimum, the money you’re going to use for your down-payment needs to be in your account for 2 months.  Adding new money to your account that is out of the ordinary from your usual financial behavior can appear fishy to your Lender and they may no longer be comfortable backing your loan.

You will also want to avoid moving money around between accounts or moving your finances to a new banking institution.  I know it can be tempting when a competing bank waves ‘impossible to resist’ offers in front of your face, but you’re going to have to achieve the impossible and let that offer pass you by.  That offer (or maybe even a better one!) will come around again, don’t you worry.

The ultimate message to take from all of this is that your Lender is looking for stability in your financial status and habits.  Your pre-approval and/or loan commitment was based on the current state of your finances at that time.  Keep your finances at that state all the way through closing.

DON’T CHANGE JOBS (or retire… yet)

Your Lender is looking at how reliable and stable you are, right?  A major influencing factor is your employment history.  Your Lender looks at a collective, consecutive period of pay stubs as reassurance that you are gainfully employed, receiving a consistent income from the same employer for a period of time—and that trend will likely continue.  However, if you suddenly change jobs and have little, or no, income history with your new employer, you’re now a much higher risk for being able to cover your mortgage payments.  I’ve had Buyers think a letter from their new employer will be enough to reassure the Lender, but it’s often not.  It’s in your best interest to wait to make that move in your career until after settlement.

 

The key to being a smart Buyer is knowing the roles of those involved in your transaction, and the most important person involved—honestly, probably even more important than your Agent (ah, shucks)—is your Lender.  Once you have a clear understanding of how they’re looking at you as a Buyer, you’re much more capable of maintaining your finances in a way that makes you most desirable to them.  STABILITY + CONSISTENCY = LOW RISK.

 

Thanks for reading, don't hesitate to reach out with any questions.   We are your beach real estate resource

Grant Fritschle  410-430-5880   Grant@GrantF.com

Jon Barker  410-935-3810    Jon@GrantF.com

 

 

#BestBeachRealtors  #BestAgentsInOceanCity  #TopOceanCityRealtor

 

 

 

Posted in Buying
July 1, 2024

Top Summer Activities In Ocean City MD

Activities & Events in Ocean City, MD You Don’t Want to Miss

Welcome back! Today, we’re going to be changing the pace a little bit and talking about our awesome beach town of Ocean City, MD. More specifically, we’ll be talking about some of our favorite events & activities happening in our beach-town this year.

Here at the beach, summer is more than just a season… it’s a celebration. If you’re in OC while any of these events or activities are occurring, we HIGHLY recommend you check them out. From 3-Day music festivals and 5-Day multimillion dollar fishing tournaments to smaller activities like “movies on the beach”, “Sundaes In the Park” and aquarium feedings, there’s always something going on in Ocean City! A small tip: head on over to www.ococean.com/events to see what’s happening in Ocean City while you’re in town!

Who are we, and why are we sharing this?   We’re locals, who love where we live, love what we do, and have a passion for this town!  How better to share our love of the beach than to give others (like you) some insights and tips, from a locals viewpoint? 

 Without further ado, let’s dive right in and give you a sneak peek into some of the SUMMER events and activities we’re most excited for in 2024!

July 4th Fireworks

What’s summer at the beach without fireworks?   July 4th fireworks in Ocean City are a must-see and a great time for family and friends to enjoy each other’s company. This year, Ocean City will host TWO spectacular fireworks displays… one at northside park (on 127th Street bayside), and another at the beach in downtown OCMD.

The fireworks display in Ocean City, MD typically begins at about 8:45-9:00PM, where the town of OC doesn’t skimp on their budget.   These awesome displays will light up the night sky, while families from all over the east coast enjoy the celebration and a wonderful July 4th at the beach! 

LOCALS TIP: If you’re staying in a larger condominium building in north or downtown OC, you may be able to see the fireworks from a rooftop pool or your balcony! Do some scouting during the day to see if this is an option for you…enjoying fireworks without having to travel is an often-overlooked bonus.

*And don’t forget that one local business often puts on their own July 4th mega-display.   I’m talking about Seacrets, one of Ocean City’s most recognizable businesses.   Leighton and his team are known to light up the skies with an impressive display of fireworks directly behind their business, on 48th street bayside.    If you’re mid-town, it’s worth the watch!

White Marlin Open: August 5-9

Billed as the “Largest Billfishing Tournament In the World”, this homegrown fishing tournament has grown into the colossal event it is today.   Frequented by the best boats and fishing crews in the world, this event is fueled by a massive multi-million-dollar purse. In 2023, the White Marlin Open had 400 boats registered, and over $10 million in prize money. Needless to say, it’s a pretty big deal. Celebrities, locals, and anglers from all over the country come to our beach town to compete in this fishing tournament for 50+ years! The tournament now has a number of sponsors that set up tents at the Bayside Park at 3rd Street, along with a viewing screen to watch weigh-ins for the day. You can buy some pretty cool fishing gear here too!

LOCALS TIP: Take a trip down to M.R. Ducks to watch the fishing boats come in with their catches of the day! There’s nothing like grabbing a fresh squeezed Ocean City, MD orange crush and hanging out at M.R. Ducks for the White Marlin Open.

Movies on the Beach

Looking for a great family activity while you’re in OCMD? 100% absolutely DO NOT miss out on Movies on the Beach at the Carousel Hotel in North Ocean City. Movies on the beach is a weekly event taking place every Wednesday beginning on June 19th and continuing all the way through August 14th. This is a great opportunity to take the kiddos to the beach and get a little bit of relaxation time while eating snacks and enjoying a family friendly movie while the waves are crashing nearby! All you have to do is show up with a beach chair, maybe a blanket & a hoodie, a few snacks, and enjoy! This is also a free event open to the public, so it’s also a budget friendly option.

“Sundaes” in the Park

If you’re looking for a great family friendly way to spend your Sunday evening at the beach, check out Sundaes in the Park at Northside Park! With a kid friendly environment, everyone can enjoy live music, ice cream, and fireworks in Ocean City, MD. This weekly event will take place every Sunday from June 16th through September 1st. While we wish we could say this will be a relaxing event, we’re not sure that we can honestly say that. With the kids all hopped up on sugar from the Ice Cream, and excited about the fireworks, they’ll likely be running around and a bit more hyper than usual. Sundaes at the Park is undoubtedly one of our favorite weekly events in OCMD because of the atmosphere and environment it provides. It truly is a great time for families!

Oceans & Country Calling Music Festivals

We know everyone is always looking for an excuse to go to the beach, and we have one of the best ones yet. The Oceans & Country Calling music festivals will be taking place this year from September 27-29 then October 4-5, with Oceans Calling taking place on the first weekend of the two. Oceans Calling will feature some of the best “90s Rock Bands” such as Blink-182, Cage the Elephant, Sublime, OAR, 311, The Beach Boys, Dave Matthews Band, Mt. Joy, and so much more. The following weekend, Country Calling will feature some of the worlds hottest Country Singers such as Jelly Roll, Eric Church, Lainey Wilson, Riley Green, Tyler Childers, Brothers Osborne, and many more. Whether you like 90s rock or country music or not, you’ll have a great time either way. Great Music on the beach, multiple stages, plenty of food options, and great drinks…. What’s not to love??

LOCALS TIP: Traffic, Public Transportation, Uber, and Lyft will likely be EXTREMELY BUSY during this event. If you are staying or live in uptown Ocean City, allow for plenty of travel time…and if you can, ride a bike down to the concert. You can also decide to get to the concert early and stay all day! If you’re really lucky, maybe you have friends or family with a place in downtown OC to hang out at before you get to dancing!

Why Ocean City is the Ultimate Summer Destination

Not only does Ocean City always have great events for you to attend with your friends and family, but it also has a ton of other great opportunities to create memories that you’ll have for a lifetime. We have some of the best seafood in the country, great bars & restaurants, an absolutely amazing boardwalk, safe & clean beaches, and so much more. Ocean City is the perfect place to have a home away from home, and we’d love to help you with the process of buying or selling your next home in the MD or DE beach areas. We’re a local team of high-performing expert Agents, who passionately love their job, their clients, and life at the beach.   That’s why we’re knows as the #BestAgentsInOceanCity

We Look forward to seeing you at one of these events & helping you find your dream home in Ocean City, MD!

Contact Us

Grant Fritschle & Jon Barker

The Fritschle Barker Group at Keller Williams Realty of Delmarva

6200 Coastal Highway, Ocean City, MD, 21842

Website: www.grantf.com

Email: grant@grantf.com or jon@markf.com

#BestRealtorOceanCityMd  #TopAgentsOceanCity
Posted in Just for Fun
June 19, 2024

New Zillow Agreement Not Allowed In MD

Zillow Touring Agreement

 

Why you shouldn’t use Zillow’s new Touring Agreement when buying in Ocean City Md. 

 

As we sit down and write this, the industry of Real Estate is under more changes than we have seen in quite some time. As all of us Realtors know, change is inevitable in our industry. Change can be scary, BUT it can also lead to new opportunities. In our unique Ocean City Maryland Real Estate market, change doesn’t always affect us in the same way (and in the same timing) that it affects Realtors nationwide. Here’s a perfect example - Let’s look at Zillow’s introduction of Non-Exclusive Touring Agreements in response to the recent NAR settlement - which requires buyers and buyers-agents to have signed written agreements prior to showing properties. Today, we’re going to dive into how and why Zillow’s proposal has already been shot down by the Maryland Association of Realtors; and why we applaud Maryland for their position on this (as Realtors and Consumers). But before we do, here’s a quick reminder and disclosure that all thoughts and comments below are simply our opinions. We’re not legal experts and encourage you to do more research if you have any questions.

Here’s what you need to know about Zillow’s proposed ‘Non-Exclusive Touring Agreements’: Zillow’s Non-Exclusive Touring Agreement is essentially an agreement between a Zillow Agent (aka, an agent that pays Zillow a lot of money to be handed Zillow leads) and a prospective buyer that’s been perusing Zillow. Their new policy states that these two parties can enter into a “Touring Agreement,” which is essentially a non-binding agreement that allows the Buyer to work with this “Zillow Preferred Agent” with no strings attached, for up to 7-days. This agreement may sound like a nifty loophole to the new NAR (National Association of Realtors) policy, as it appears to give the Buyer a ‘trial’ period to see if they ‘like’ their agent. Even more enticing to the consumer, this Zillow Touring agreement does not require compensation or exclusivity…. With Zillow Group quoted as saying that not requiring compensation or exclusivity is by design,’ and that they believe any negotiation of compensation, and what it will look like for the buyer and agent to work together, should happen after they both meet and feel ready.” (Source).

The Maryland Association of Realtors has reviewed, and since voiced concerns regarding this new touring agreement created by Zillow. They have, in fact, stated that the Touring Agreement in its current form is non-compliant with Maryland Law. Maryland, our beloved home state, of which all of its residents are proud to reside in (couldn’t you tell, practically every one of us has at least 1 item of clothing with our state flag), is one of the few states that has operated with formal Buyers Agency Agreements FOR YEARS. Furthermore, according to the Maryland Brokers act, showing a potential buyer a home is a service that constitutes “providing brokerage services,” which necessitates a written “brokerage agreement” establishing a “brokerage relationship” (Source). In short, Maryland is saying that our state has already had Agency Laws in place for years that work to protect the consumer. They further explain that if a potential buyer does in fact choose to NOT sign a brokerage agreement, the agent showing them properties therefore represents the SELLER. Back up. No seriously, back up. Read that again! If you’re a buyer and you are working with a real estate agent, and you don’t sign a formal Buyers Agency Agreement with that agent, then that agent legally represents the SELLER! (Zillow Touring Agreement or not). Meaning anything you tell that Agent (who is not YOUR agent), is not confidential and should be shared by that agent with the SELLER.

Simply put, the Maryland Association of Realtors is trying to protect YOU, the consumer (the BUYER) by pointing out that Zillow’s new non-exclusive touring agreement fails to meet the criteria of a brokerage agreement under Maryland law. Since the agreement does not establish an agency relationship between the buyer and the broker, it means the buyer is not a client, and the agent who is showing them properties does not owe them any fiduciary duties. The Maryland Association of Realtors believes that the lack of clear representation undermines the disclosure requirements of the Maryland Brokers Act and could result in non-compliance with Maryland law, along with confused Buyers. As a part of their response, the Maryland Association of Realtors reminds all agents to establish WRITTEN buyer’s agency agreements that are consistent with Maryland law as well as the NAR settlement agreement, BEFORE working with a Buyer’s Agent to see a property. 

Zillow’s introduction of their new non-exclusive touring agreement has, of course, sparked debate within the industry. While it may aim, on the surface, to put consumers first, it is crucial for Buyers to understand the true implications of Maryland’s laws and how this Zillow loophole will potentially work against them (and certainly not for them). This is especially true in our market here in Ocean City. So please remember, adhere to state laws, and ask before you act! Talk to a great local Realtor, ask lots of questions, and don’t do anything until you’re satisfied, you’re working with someone who is going to work hard for YOU. Someone who you’re confident in, and who has the experience, knowledge, and passion to help you with your real estate needs.

Why is this more important “NOW” than ever? Because there are TONS of changes occurring the Real Estate industry…. and that is without even mentioning new Condo Laws in Maryland which are dramatically changing our small real estate bubble in Ocean City, Maryland. Considering all of these changes and new laws, we cannot think of a better reason to make sure that EVERY buyer is working with a great, LOCAL, real estate expert. When you’re looking for the top real estate agents in Ocean City or searching for Ocean City Maryland condos for sale, always remember the importance of transparency, communication, experience, and knowledge. It’s not just about finding the #1 Listing Agent in OCMD, or the best realtor in Ocean City, Maryland; it’s about finding someone who prioritizes your interests and knows as well as understands the rules and laws of our industry. Thanks so much for reading, and if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out! *If nothing else, hopefully you’ll at least remember this one final comment, to help you in any real estate search. Don’t use Zillow to schedule a property tour or showing… Ever. You don’t know who you’ll be working with, or how experienced they are. What you can be certain of is, the agent you get connected with paid Zillow a lot of money to get your lead. Read that again and think it through…. Zillow got money to share your contact information with an agent that had to meet no other qualifications than to offer Zillow money. So do 30-seconds of due-diligence. Find a great local Realtor. Call your Agent friends at home, ask them who they know or if they can refer you to someone. Speaking of great, local Agents with a ton of knowledge and a passionate desire to work with new buyers (like you) …. If you’re looking to buy or sell a home or condo in Ocean City (and the surrounding resort areas) I encourage you to give me or my business partner a call. You can reach us at either of the numbers below:

Grant Fritschle- (410) 430-5880

Jon Barker- (410) 935-3810

 

*Never hesitate to reach out to our partner company Central Reservations, for all your Vacation Rental Needs at the beach.  www.CentralOC.com

Posted in Buying
July 21, 2020

5 Tips for Selling Your Beach Home

When it’s time to say goodbye to your Ocean City home or condo, there are a handful of tried-and-true practices to follow. We’ll take you through each one, but just be aware, they aren’t in any particular order! Each one is super important, and should be considered carefully during the listing process.

 

Research and interview at least 2 LOCAL Agents.  
Before you meet with any agent, Google their name.  What comes up?  A skilled area agent should have healthy Google reviews, a prominent Google Business presence, and a dedicated website listed throughout the Search Results. 

During each interview, use a checklist to make sure you’re asking every agent the same questions; this way, you can compare them on a level playing field. Click here for our checklist recommendations.   

Remember, location and expertise matter. It’s important to use local Agents because it’s of utmost importance that you have experts responsible for one of the largest investments you’ll ever make. Not all real estate is equal. Think of real estate licenses like medical degrees—doctors have areas of specialty, and so do real estate agents. For example, I would never try to represent a seller in Baltimore because my specialty is Ocean City. 

  • Does your agent know about the Condominium Rules & Regulations and how they affect your wants & needs in a beach home? Local agents know what to look for, whether it’s to make sure your furry 4-pawed friend is allowed, or to make sure your boat is the right size for the dock. 
  • Are you looking in Flood Hazard areas… does your agent know a good Flood Insurance provider? Is the policy covered with your Condo/HOA dues? Do you need a flood elevation certificate? 
  • If you’re looking for investment property, local agents know what buildings & areas have the highest return on investment, and which developments & buildings have rental restrictions. 

All of this might seem overwhelming to you—and it will be overwhelming to an agent who isn’t from here or familiar with today’s market in this area—but for local agents, this is what we live & breathe on a daily basis.

 

You don’t need the newest or most-updated condo in order for it to sell. 
But freshening up certain things will go a long way in getting you sold quicker, and for a higher dollar. A fresh coat of paint instantly transforms your home, brightening each space and making everything appear cleaner; remember to use neutral colors! Having your floors professionally cleaned, believe it or not, isn’t just about the spots and stains—it’s also because it infuses your home with a fresh scent that can last for months. 

Lastly, it truly does help if the property is staged. This doesn’t mean you have to go buy expensive decor, but it does mean the items on display should act as decor. Tidy up your kitchen countertops, remove excessive knickknacks, take down personal photos, store all bathroom toiletries in cabinets, keep beds freshly laundered, and it doesn’t hurt to have a reed diffuser in each room for pleasant scents (just ask my wife).

Remember, there are buyers of all types in Ocean City, and most of them are just looking for a clean, well-kept place. Whether your home is updated or not, it doesn’t really matter; there are buyers for all levels of condition.  But what every buyer wants is a clean, well-kept home.

 

Being “for sale” and being “visible” are two very different things in our industry.  
The internet is a huge place, and so are all of the major Real Estate websites.   Ask how your property is going to be marketed, not just where.  Make sure that everything is being done to optimize your home’s listing for high visibility and best presentation.  Is your agent hiring a professional photographer? (iPhones don’t count.) Will he or she have a 3D virtual tour completed? Are digital ad campaigns going to run? What about video advertising? Print and email campaigns? All of these things should be done for you; it’s a large part of what you pay them for!

 

The internet changed a lot for our marketplace.  We used to be highly seasonal.  Now it seems like we’re busy almost all year long.  
So when is the right time to list, and when is the wrong time?   First, we recommend looking at this on such a macro level that you might need a microscope. (Just kidding.) Quite literally, however, we mean the actual day of the week. If we can all agree that (1) first impressions matter, (2) properties with the best marketing plan have a better chance of selling faster and for a higher price, and (3) the more people who see a property, the better chance it has to sell… then your Agent should be able to explain the importance of listing on certain days of the week.

As I indicated before, Ocean City is not like other “normal” residential areas. Our agents watch what is called the local “Hot Sheet”–a list of everything that’s come to market in the last 24 hours. Getting your home in front of area agents is just as important–and sometimes even more important–as getting it seen by potential buyers. Local agents are constantly working with multiple buyers who are each looking for something very specific, and those buyers trust that Agent to find them the perfect place as soon as it comes on the market

So listing on a Saturday, for example, significantly reduces your chances that local agents are going to see it come to market on our Hot Sheet. Why? Because we spend most of our Saturdays showing property to out-of-town buyers, weekend after weekend, until they find just the right place. You want your listing to show up for the first time at front and center, when agents have the time and mental capacity to fully digest every detail; you don’t want to risk your listing getting lost in the masses, among the shuffle and chaos of a Saturday. And that’s just one example. Timing is influenced by holidays, market conditions, and even the weather!

 

What might be the most important subject is last for a reason.   We don’t want you to forget about it! 
I know I said these weren’t in any particular order, but I did intentionally save this one for last. Selling at the beach can mean many different things to many different sellers.   There is no “one size fits all” approach, or strategy, that will work for every seller.    In fact, the best agents have the tools, resources, and ability to be flexible enough to create custom-tailored strategies for each of their sellers.   

So many factors influence sales in a resort town. We know you’re here just for quick tips, so we don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information. Especially because not every factor will apply to your beach home. But we’ll give you an example. There are periods when we have what’s called a “renters market”; this is when you’ll have an audience of buyers who typically can afford to purchase a beach home only if they put it in a summer rental program. If your property hasn’t been in a rental program in the past 2 years, your agent should be able to get a projected rental income for you based on comparable properties, and advertise your beach home’s rental potential.

If the market is flush with properties just like yours, your Agent needs a strategy for getting your listing at the forefront. And trust me, there’s always a way. Your Agent knows (or should know) your buyers–meaning that he or she has previously worked with clients looking for property like yours, and knows what characteristics draw those buyers to your home. And that is the foundation upon which your Agent will begin building a strategy to list, market, and successfully sell your home.


Listing your beach home for sale can feel like a daunting task, but matching your home with the right Agent will take a lot of that pressure off your shoulders. Following these 5 simple tips will help you get started, and get your home SOLD!

Posted in Selling
May 12, 2020

Keep Your Distance: Our Top 6 “COVID-19 Safe” Activities at the Beach


Soon, you will all be welcomed back to our favorite place: Ocean City, Maryland. And we can’t wait for you to be here! While some of you may be thinking, But what is there to even do in OC during social distancing? Well! We have the answers for you with our TOP 6 THINGS TO DO AT THE BEACH DURING SOCIAL DISTANCING PRACTICES.

1. Let’s just get this one out of the way… Go to the beach
It’s no secret that we have one of the cleanest beaches in America. In fact, we were even one of only 12 beaches in the nation to receive a 5-star rating from the National Resources Defense Council. We even have a group of locals (and visitors, too!) who gather weekly to help keep our beaches clean #CleanBeachOC With 10 miles of meticulously maintained sand, there’s plenty of space for everyone to enjoy it… with room to spare. And just in case you’ve never been here, our beaches are free! Always have been. So grab your beach blankets and sun block, and dig your toes into some of America’s cleanest sand!

2. Carryout-n-Picnic!
Man, do we love food. I mean, WE LOVE FOOD. And there is no shortage of great places to eat when you’re at the Beach. So pack some blankets and head out for some carryout! Whether you’re looking for fine dining, deli eats, or sweet treats, OC has it all. Then head over to Northside Park, grab some grass, and enjoy! Here are some of our nearby favorites:

3. Host Your Own Chopped-Style Competition, Eastern Shore Style
If you’re not familiar with the reality show, Chopped, here’s the basic premise: chefs compete in 3 rounds (appetizers, entrees, and dessert), and in each round they are presented with 4 mystery ingredients to incorporate into their dishes—and most of the time, the ingredients are bizarre and seemingly have no business being in a dish together. So take your culinary reigns and host your own Chopped competition with your friends and family, featuring some OC favorites! Here are some ingredients we think will make for some interesting, and down-right hysterical fun:

  • Maryland crab (of course!)
  • Saltwater taffy
  • Fisher’s caramel corn
  • Thrasher’s French fries (we’ll take the extras, please)
  • Funnel cake
  • Local corn

4. Get Back to Your Roots, and Send Some Postcards
Do you remember when you used to check your email everyday because you couldn’t wait to see who wrote you a digital note? But now I bet you spend more time weeding out the spam than you do reading, and most of what you read is all work and no play. All things “old” come back into style, like bell bottoms. (Wait, what do you mean bell bottoms still aren’t cool again?). Grab some OC postcards, pick up some colorful pens, and write some quick hello’s to your family and friends. I bet you it will be the best thing they’ve gotten in the mail in a long time!

5. Head Out to the Links
We have some of the finest golf courses you’ll ever see, and they all offer public tee times!

At GlenRiddle Golf Club, in addition to enjoying the challenges akin to those found in the British Isles, you’ll have a chance to enjoy its rich history. The clubhouse was formerly the main stable that produced infamous race horses such as Man O’ War, War Admiral, and Sea Biscuit. The former two are where the club’s public and private courses get their namesakes.

Eagle’s Landing Golf Course is known for its exquisite natural habitats. Featuring several unique ecosystems, golfers will enjoy salt marshes, native pine & hardwood forests, freshwater wetlands & ponds, native & naturalized grasslands, and even a tidal pool.

You won’t forget you’re at the beach when playing The Links at Lighthouse Sound, as the course is situated on 1,000 acres overlooking Ocean City. Featuring the longest cart bridge in the United States, you’ll enjoy a stretch of nearly 1,500 feet that will take you from the bay side holes over to the marsh side. Another American record, the course is home to the only consecutive holes in the nation playing to the same double green.

6. I Spy With My Little Eye… Enjoy a Scavenger Hunt
What better way to practice social distancing than to spread out and compete against one another in a good, old-fashioned scavenger hunt! ScavengerHunt.com features an Ocean City Boardwalk themed hunt. You simply purchase tickets online, download the app (they’ll email it to you), pick your city, and you’re set to go.

One thing is for sure… we know how to have a blast in Ocean City, no matter the conditions. And with our 6 favorite things to do while remaining socially-distanced, you’re in on the fun, too! So pack your bags, reserve a place to stay if you need one, and set your GPS to Destination: Ocean City, Maryland.

Posted in Just for Fun