Saint Joseph’s Home Seller’s Kit – Part 1

On December 30th, 2008 I listed my duplex in Cape May for sale.  I knew the market was tight, and money was hard to come by. The nation – indeed the world – was approaching its third mouth of unprecedented downturns, bankruptcies, bailouts and foreclosures. Real estate had been in free fall for years. Since October we have seen a simultaneous contraction of all investment markets: Gold, the euro, mutual funds, stocks, everything!  For many years I had made money by betting against prevailing trends. When money poured into the stock market (driven by the delusions) in the late 1990’s, I bought real estate.  By 2005, when anyone with $300, a lawyer and a hammer could form an LLC and become a builder, I invested in global funds. When I didn’t have a clue what was going on, I turned to bourbon and CD’s (the money kind). Park your money there for a while, have a drink and wait for the dust to settle.

Still, in the mist of a decidedly bear housing market, I was trying to sell my old house in Cape May. For many years a family member had lived there, and when it became vacant the house was beat and needed a lot of work. I had to move on. I was confident it would sell. I had a secret advantage that I am about to share with you. I bought a “Saint Joseph’s Home Seller’s Kit.” For as little as $3.49, you can hire the “hardest working Saint in Real Estate.” Complete with a Saint Joseph statue, a color prayer card and instructions on how to use them both; the kit is also available in Spanish. If only indulgences could be bought so cheaply.

Ever since Saint Teresa of Avila  prayed that Saint Joseph would intercede to obtain land for Christian converts, real estate lore abounds with stories attesting to the remarkable skills of Saint Joseph the Carpenter when it comes to selling homes.  This was not the first time I had asked his intercession.

In 2006, when I listed my daughter’s house in Bayside Village, she buried a Saint Joseph statue there alongside the petunias. Her home sold in 82 days. In 2008 she lent her statue to a sister-in-law trying to sell her house in Villas, NJ.  Bad move. The house did not sell. Saint Joseph statue legend says that once a Saint Joseph statue has been used to sell a home, it should proceed with the sellers to their new home, where it should be prominently displayed. For this reason one should avoid the biodegradable Saint Joseph statue at all costs. At the least, the statue should be “retired.” Each sale situation is unique, and a new statue should be entrusted with any future business. Saint Joseph had a good union, and this is one way to keep statue sales up! Since the sister-in-law did not list with me, I blamed the realtor. I wanted to stay on Saint Joseph’s good side!

My hands shook when my kit arrived in the mail. Of course it was less than 20 degrees outside that day! Since the ground was frozen I had plenty of time to read the instructions, and plan my strategy.  I got a little confused when I read the instructions for burial of the statue. Apparently, there is no “one way” to use the Saint Joseph statue, and there exists a lot of latitude for the user.  Suggested options include: Bury the statue upside down next to the “for sale” sign, bury it 3 feet from the rear of the house, “simply” place it somewhere on the property, bury it next to the street facing the home, bury it next to the front door facing away from the home, bury it in the front yard, and bury it 8” to 12” deep. If the Catholic Church had been this accommodating centuries ago, there might not have been a Protestant Reformation. There were no instructions for selling a high-rise condo. The kit does not include a flower pot or planter. By the end of January, the ground had thawed enough for me to actually bury the statue. I buried Saint Joseph upside down, facing away from the home, in the front of the property. I asked a friend of mine to join me in prayer. He demurred and shouted obscenities at me while I prayed. Within three weeks, I had gotten two offers. I accepted the second.

Part 1 of 2.  To Be Continued Next Month!




Broker Sales Associate
Cell Phone: (609) 540-3374
Fax: (609) 884-4620

Greater Cape May 3rd Quarter Market Report – Condos & Townhomes

There were 23 condominium sales in the greater Cape May area during the 3rd quarter of 2019 ranging in price from $75,000 to $741,000.  Three units at the Marquis de Lafayette “condo-tel” sold for less than $100,000. (Owners of these units are required to rent their room(s) as a hotel room. The owner has access to use the room based on an allotted usage policy.) Located at 501 Beach Avenue, The Marquis de Lafayette complex overlooks the beach and features include a heated pool, a restaurant and the Barefoot Bar! Meanwhile, Unit #3 located at 41 Jackson Street sold for $672,500 after only 71 days on the market. It features 3 bedrooms and 2 baths. The building itself dates back to 1879.

In West Cape May, at 606 Second Avenue, a new townhome-style twin 4 bedroom, 3 ½ bath unit sold for $703,000. It was originally listed at $749,000.  This 2100 square foot side by side had been on the market for 347 days prior to closing. Closer to town a 2 bedroom, 1 ½ bath unit at 221 Park Blvd “E” sold for $350,000.

Off the island $741,000 got you a 3 bedroom, 2 ½ bath unit at the Canyon Club. This move-in ready, 1990 square foot condo came with a 50 foot deeded boat slip. An $8000 annual condo fee includes 3 pools, Harbor views and a marina. A 2 bedroom, 2 bath unit at Lighthouse Pointe Marina (5117 Shawcrest Road) sold for $145,000 as-is and with a laundry list of buyer’s responsibilities prior to closing and seller’s disclaimers. How many remember those endless summers of listening to Philly DJ Jerry Blavat at the Lighthouse Pointe Bar and Restaurant?

Currently there are 61 condominiums listed for sale in the greater Cape May area including a condo at the Marquis de Lafayette that has been on the market for an astonishing 3400 days! (Can this be a typo?) 37 of these are in Lower Township, including 10 at Canyon Club. A new side by side at 2685 Bay Drive is listed for $775,000. It has been on the market for 61 days. From all of us at Coastline Realty……Enjoy the Holidays and have a great time!

This is Wayne Piersanti, Broker-Salesperson for Coastline Realty, keeping it real. For information on any of these listings, I can be reached at (609) 540-3374 and Coastline Realty is a full service, family owned and operated, award winning real estate agency.

(Information was compiled from the Cape May Multiple Listing Service and deemed reliable but not guaranteed.)

Lower Township – Third Quarter Market Report 2019

During the third quarter of 2019 there were 159 residential closings in the Lower Township area ranging in price from $61,850 after a major price reduction for a two bedroom, 2 bath manufactured home in the Bayshore Woods adult community to a 4 bedroom, 3.5 bath upside down new construction Bayfront home at 907 Shore Drive that sold for $1,135,000 (cash). 301 E. Pacific Ave. in Villas sold for $106,500 after 604 days on the market, proving again there is a lid for every pot.  The average sale price was $261,626 and total sales for the quarter amounted to $41,598,550. Average time on the market was 116 days. There were two sales of over $1,000,000+.

During the same period in 2018 there were 151 residential sales with a combined sales total of $31,338,539 and an average sale price of $207,539 and an average time on the market of 109 days.  103 Beach Drive in North Cape May sold for $800,000.

Prices overall were 26.1% higher in this quarter than they were in 2018 and sales volume was up 13.1%. It is worthy to note that the stock market has also moved into and remained in record high territories. Generally, a rising stock market may result in more discretionary income for future home buyers but it is hard to prove a direct relationship between the two markets. Either way it’s been a win-win for anyone currently in the game, but home equity has remained the most valuable asset for most families. Currently there are 172 active residential listings in Lower Township ranging in price from $45,000 to $1,890,000. More information is a phone call away.

(Information was compiled from the Cape May Multiple Listing Service and deemed reliable but not guaranteed.)

This is Wayne Piersanti, Broker-Salesperson for Coastline Realty, keeping it real. I can be reached at (609) 540-3374 and Coastline Realty is a full service, family owned and operated, award winning real estate agency.

3rd Quarter Cape Island Market Update 10.19.29



There were 41 residential transactions in the Cape May Area during the 3rd quarter of 2019 ranging in price from $287,000 (a Village Greene quad at 1350 Virginia Ave. Unit C) to $3,150,000 (a 5 bedroom, 4.2 bath, single family home featuring an in-ground pool, smart home technology and an outside great room complete with TV/AV hook ups, overlooking Cape May Harbor -1460 Missouri Ave).

25 of the sales were in Cape May.  New construction at 925 Columbia Ave sold for $1,150,000 and a fully renovated home dating back to circa 1880 sold for $685,000 – 1143 Lafayette St. The average time on the market was 184 days and the average sales price was $1,020,456, which was 96.8% of list price. The median sale price was $915,000. For comparative purposes, during the same period in 2018 there were 25 closings in Cape May but the average price for 2018 was $841,676 and the median price was $679,000.

The average sale price for 2019 was 121% higher than in 2018 and the number of sales was 164% higher which may reflect an increased demand for housing in Cape May.

There were 6 residential real estate transactions in West Cape May during the 3rd quarter of 2019 with an average sales price of $620,666 and an average time on the market of 161 days. A fixer-upper on a 50 x 148 foot lot sold for $405,000 after 229 days on the market. It had been originally listed at $500,000 (121 Leaming Avenue). 617 Sunset Boulevard sold for $825,000. In the 3rd quarter of 2018 there were 8 transactions with an average sales price of $679,234 largely boosted by one sale of $1,175,000.

10 properties sold in Cape May point during this time with an average sales price of $958,936. A 4 bedroom 3 ½ bath new construction listing located at 312 Brainard Ave. and built by well-known builders Hawthorne Davis sold for $1,252,384. In the 3rd quarter last year only two properties sold in Cape May Point and the average sales prices of $662,500.

Overall Cape May County officials have reported that 2019 has likely been a record breaking revenue season with numbers up in all tourist sectors which may have contributed to the uptick in residential sales. Currently there are 96 active residential listings in the Cape May area.

This is Wayne Piersanti, Broker-Salesperson for Coastline Realty, keeping it real. For information on any of these listings, I can be reached at (609) 540-3374 and Coastline Realty is a full service, family owned and operated, award winning real estate agency.




(Information was compiled from the Cape May Multiple Listing Service and deemed reliable but not guaranteed.)

No Closet? No Problem!

No Closet? No Problem!

Do you have a bedroom that lacks closet space? What are you going to do with all of your stuff? We are here to tell you that there is a solution, and an easy one at that! Here are 5 simple, yet effective tips, to get you headed in the right direction!


1. If you do not love it, lose it!
We get it, its hard to part with your stuff. The thing is.. if you haven’t worn the item in six months, you should toss/donate. It’s just taking up space and creating clutter. If you are unsure about getting rid of clothing try the turning the hanger trick. Hang all of your items the same way (which we are seriously hoping you do anyway) and when you remove an item turn the hanger. If three months passes and the hanger isn’t turned, toss it.
2. Velvet Hangers

This little trick makes a world of difference. You will truly be blown away by how much space those bulky plastic hangers are taking up. Velvet hangers are going to easily triple your space. Trust us, this is HUGE!

3. Clothing Racks Galore

Clothing racks can be better than a built in closet. I mean, really, you get to pick out your closet organization style. How neat is that? There are so many options to chose from as well. From wooden shelves (check out what our Ami did in the photos above) to metal clothes rack the options are endless.

4 Utilize Wall Space

Weather you only have a corner space or an entire wall, any space can be utilized. Combining a little dresser with sturdy shelving gets the job done and can add style to a room. This is where creativity, organization, and style meet.

5 Dress it Up!
It’s all in the details! Check out how Ami added curtains to her closet and went from open concept to completely concealed. The plants and baskets add extra storage and tie into the farmhouse vibe. FYI baskets are always your BFF in any room and plants add life and good vibes so you can’t go wrong. If you’re leaning more towards embracing open concept think about adding some metallics and a tiny photo or two. The baskets above are holding all of Ami’s overnight bags and smaller purses.
If you’re loving Ami’s closet like we do here’s links to the items she purchased off Amazon to create it. Shelving UnitCurtain RodHangersCurtains
Article written by Stephanie Coffey, Realtor Sales Associate of Coastline Realty in Cape May.

Photos and closet supplied by ami menz, broker associate of coastline realty in cape may.

Christmas in Cape May with Coastline Realty

Christmas is the perfect time to sit back and appreciate time spent with family and friends. While you might be already counting down til Memorial Day, did you know that Cape May was voted one of the best towns in America to visit for the Holidays according to Travel and Leisure? Source

Whether it’s the classic Victorian decor or the endless holiday events around town, we would agree that Cape May is the perfect place to be this Christmas. Check out our event calendar to stay updated on the goings-on around town!

Coastline Realty Cape May Christmas Party 2018
A Very Coastline Christmas

We asked our agents to tell us their favorite holiday traditions, here are some of our favorites:

“Making homemade egg nog every year with my parents.” -Andrew

“Stuffing celery with cream cheese and garlic and sprinkling with paprika. YUM!” -Sean Linnington

“Putting up the lights and gazing at them through the windows.”-Margaret

“Watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and making lasagna.”-Rich Parker

“Putting up the tree with my granddaughter, Piper.”-Duck Menz

What are your favorite Christmas and holiday traditions? Leave a comment below to let us know!

To see more Christmas cheer, check out our latest newsletter, where we share a tasty slow-cooker apple cider, holiday tipping guide and more. Sign up for our newsletter to stay in the Coastline loop!

Victorian Christmas

How We Got Here

Christmas as we know it has its roots in Victorian times. At the beginning of the 19th century Christmas was barely acknowledged. It was not recognized as a holiday by businesses and individuals alike. By the end of the century it rose to being the largest annual celebration  and began to resemble the Christmas of the present.

The evolution of the holiday is largely attributed to Queen Elizabeth. She married the German-born Prince Albert  and subsequently introduced several prominent aspects of Christmas. In 1848 the Illustrated London News published a drawing of the royal family celebrating around a decorated Christmas tree as Prince Albert would have done in his youth. It wasn’t long before most homes would boast a tree decorated with candies, fruit, homemade ornanments and small gifts.

In 1843, Sir Henry Cole, a British civil servant and inventor, commissioned an artist to design a card for the holiday. The illustration featured a group of people around a dinner table with a brief Christmas message. The initial cards were expensive for the average person and did not immediately catch on. However the idea was solid and children were encouraged to make their own Christmas cards. Being in the industrial age, printing technology became more advanced, reducing the production cost and reducing the price to the consumer. By the 1880s Christmas had become so popular that 11.5 million cards were produced in 1880 alone.

Home decorations became more elaborate. Uniformity, order and elegance were encouraged. There were instructions on how to make your own ornaments and decorations for those living outside of the city. In 1881, Casell’s Family Magazine offered the following advice to the lady of the house: “To bring about a general feeling of enjoyment, much depends on the surroundings; it is worth while to bestow some little trouble on the decoration of the rooms”.

Gift giving had traditionally been done in the New Year but was eventually moved to Christmas. In the beginning gifts were small; fruit, nuts, sweets and handmade items. They were usually hung on the tree. As gift giving became more prevalent gifts became larger and were moved under the tree.

Yule Tide Delights

During the Victorian period the traditional Christmas dinner began to take shape. Early on, mince pies were made with meat. Gradually the composition of this particularly festive dish changed. Recipes without meat gained popularity and became the mince pies we know today.

The turkey also had its origins in this time frame. Prior to this the Christmas dinner featured goose or beef. The turkey became the favorite of the wealthy. It was soon adopted by the middle classes because it was the perfect size for a family gathering. By the beginning of the 20th century the turkey had become the dominant dish for the Christmas feast.

Christmas carols had been around to some degree for quite awhile. Victorians took this to another level by reviving and popularizing the singing of carols in many different venues. They felt that carols were a delightful form of entertainment and well worth cultivating. Traditional lyrics were put to new melodies and the first significant collection of carols was published in 1833.

Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol during this period. The book is credited with helping to bring Christmas traditions to the fore and spreading these traditions throughout the masses. The book’s themes of family, charity, goodwill, peace and happiness are truly universal and timeless.

Written by Edward Connolly, Broker Associate of Coastline Realty

Edward Connolly, Broker Sales Associate

Buying a Historic Home in Cape May

Buying a Historic Home in Cape May by Edward Connolly

There are many homes of historical significance in Cape May reflecting architectural styles spanning over two hundred years.  It is home to one of the largest collections of nineteenth century buildings in America. Over the past several decades preservation efforts have intensified and have led directly to a positive effect on the city’s economic growth. The historic district is defined by its architectural character in its entirety.  It is comprised of individual, commercial and residential structures. The relativity of scale, proportion, materials and streetscape provides commonality among a diversity of style and features.

Cape May’s architectural heritage led to its designation as a National Historic Landmark District in 1976. City Council underscored this honor by establishing the Cape May Historic Preservation Commission. The Commission is involved with conducting surveys and setting design standards for exterior alterations, new construction and demolition. With the increase of traffic generated by tourism and the demand for new construction it is the charge of the Commission to oversee these developments, ensuring that the design standards are adhered to.

In Cape May City properties are designated as either Key, Contributing or Non-Contributing.  A Key property demonstrates outstanding quality and state of preservation; Contributing properties are integral parts of the historic ambiance in a historic district; Non-Contributing properties do not add to the historic theme of a historic district. When considering a property in Cape May work with your agent to determine the designation of that property. You can also contact the HPC for this information.

When you are ready to make an offer there are several things to consider in order to maximize your investment; have a full understanding of what you can and cannot do to the property; hire a home inspector preferably with experience in this area; obtain estimates from contractors with experience in historical restoration to gauge costs. It is also a good idea to engage an architect to formalize your project into plans that you will need for your presentation.

Ed Connolly Broker Associate Coastline Realty 609-884-5oo5 x111; cell 609-602-3089

Source: City of Cape May HPC Design Standards

Cape May Restaurant Weeked is Upon Us / Victorian Foodies

Victorian Foodies by Edward Connolly….
Cape May is known for many things not the least of which is the eclectic variety of its restaurants. Fine dining was an integral part of the Victorian lifestyle as well. Private homes or hotels were the usual dining venues with restaurants becoming popular in the latter 1870s. Food was one thing but the Victorian dining experience was as much about showing your station in life as it was about anything else. Leisure time and disposable income were the main ingredients for the elite when they dined. When entertaining at home meals were served by numerous servants giving the hosts ample opportunity to show their guests how many servants they had. China, silverware and glassware were also on display. Careful consideration was given to the menu and to the accompanying beverages. A typical Victorian dinner would include 10 or more courses each with its own place setting. Over 100 pieces of silverware, a few dozen plates and a dozen glasses made up the service for a single guest. An elaborate floral centerpiece graced the table and would be narrowed at eye level to facilitate conversation. The conversing was more important than the consuming. This was an example of Victorian networking and diners took small bites and quick sips in order to be ready for a verbal response.
The same rules of etiquette and decorum applied when dining at a hotel or restaurant. And the particular spot, such as Congress Hall, the Stockton or the Columbia, added to the prestige of the experience. As restaurants appeared they were judged not only by their cuisine but as the “place to be” as well.
Attire at the dinner table was an important consideration for the Victorians. Options for a gentlemen were few; black or white tie with a tux or proper evening suit. Women needed to select a formal gown that had not been seen in that particular season. Summer whites were not considered proper dining apparel.

Cape May Restaurant Weekend is November 2nd – 5th. You can see participating restaurants by clicking here.

Post written by Edward Connolly, Broker Sales Associate and Cape May Local.

Edward Connolly, Broker Sales Associate

Of Ghosts and Mansions

In 1863 the structure now known as the Southern Mansion was built by wealthy industrialist George Allen. The beautiful beige mansion sat on a huge parcel of land and had extensive Italian gardens. Allen’s niece, Ester Mercur and her husband were the last of the Allen family to be in residence. After Ester passed her husband sold the entire estate with furnishing for $8000. The new owners turned the property into a boarding house. They painted it white and converted the interior into several small rooms. Fifty years later the mansion was in disrepair due to lack of upkeep and the conversion to small rooms had weakened the structure. The boarding house license ceased in the 1980’s. The current owners bought it in 1994 and over the course of the next 18 months fully restored the building. 130 years of Allen family furnishings yielded several fine pieces that were put back into the house. Gas fixtures, walls, ceilings, floors an windows were restored to their original state.

The grounds and Italian gardens were replanted and cultivated.

Restoration of old buildings often bring strange happenings. Apparently, Ester was happy with the work and decided to again take up residence in ghostly form. She has been observed as a well-dressed female and her perfume wafts through the rooms. Her laughter is heard as her apparition dances through the house. She loves being in the kitchen keeping her eye on the meal preparations. One particular room causes considerable tension because of a possible death therein. The South Jersey Ghost Research team investigated the mansion on 2 separate occasions. Positive images were obtained with orbs and several EVPs (electronic voice phenomenons). Investigators sensed many presences and were touched gently by them. Cold spots were detected in many rooms. On one occasion a door locked by itself after investigators verified that it was unlocked.

Post written by Edward Connolly, Broker Sales Associate and Cape May Local.