Making Lemonade During a Pandemic
“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”
That well-known proverbial phrase has been used for eons to encourage optimism and a positive can-do attitude during life’s challenging moments.
When you’re ready to buy that beach home you’ve been dreaming about and life hands you a pandemic, you may find your optimism in short supply. Not to worry. Ted Hanley, CB New Homes’ Builder Representative at 365 Ocean, has positive, can-do attitude to spare. And he’s here to help make your luxury oceanfront condo dreams come true!
We sat down with Ted — winner of the 2020 SAM Award for Best Salesperson by the New Jersey Builders Association — to find out how he’s successfully managed sales of Long Branch, New Jersey’s most prestigious beachfront address over the last year.
Q: Ted, the last year has been a challenge on so many levels for everyone. Selling homes – a business that historically has relied on in-person visits and building trust – can’t have been easy. But I see that fewer than 10 residences out of a total of 57 remain at 365 Ocean. How is that possible?
TED: It has certainly been a very different selling environment since last spring. Prior to the lockdowns, sales were strong – we were over 50 percent sold and our first homebuyers had moved in already. In early March, in response to the pandemic, the governor ordered real estate agents to stop showing houses to prospective buyers on a one-to-one basis and prohibited open houses.
But we have an exceptional property here, and I was determined to keep things moving in a positive direction. One of the first things we did was offer virtual tours where home seekers could virtually walk through available residences, model homes, and amenity spaces.
Digital signatures, which have been around for about 20 years, allowed contracts and mortgages to be signed without buyers, sellers, and lenders having to come face-to-face, so that was another no-touch option for our buyers.
The governor lifted part of the order on March 30, 2020, allowing us to go back to showing houses to individuals while observing safety protocols, but open houses are still prohibited.
Q: Has anyone purchased a luxury oceanfront condo at 365 Ocean without seeing it in person first?
TED: Believe it or not, we just had a buyer do exactly that! The first time they saw their new place in person was at their pre-closing walk-through. It was like “the big reveal” on one of those HGTV shows. (laughs) I handed them the key and invited them to open the door. I wish I had a camera with me at the time to capture the look on their faces. They were just blown away and couldn’t stop exclaiming about how gorgeous their new home was in person. It was a great moment.
Q: Can you walk us through your process for buying a 365 Ocean home that way?
TED: This particular buyer initially contacted me about a personal virtual tour, so we set up a Zoom call. That was the start: me walking them through the space showing the property.
Afterwards, I made a few videos and took some photos and emailed them, along with floorplans, room dimensions, and other information I thought they’d find helpful.
In our second video call, I covered areas I thought they might not have noticed the first time.
When they decided to purchase, they took a screenshot of their check and emailed it to me, and I took care of the non-binding reservation electronically. The buyer then mailed the check to the developer.
The pre-closing walk-through was conducted observing all safety protocols – wearing protective gear and practicing social distancing. First, they went through their new residence alone, then with the head of construction – again, with everyone social distancing and wearing masks. They recently closed on their new home, and they’re absolutely thrilled with the process and the residence they chose.
Q: That’s amazing. So, tell me: Are there any other resources you use when people can’t get to 365 Ocean for an in-person appointment?
TED: This is a little less high-tech but is another very effective way of introducing prospective buyers to the property. I have the buyer visit the 365 Ocean website while they are on the phone with me, and then I walk them through floorplans, photos, views from specific points in the building, and locations of residences within the building, just as if they were onsite with me.
Q: Sounds like it’s the next best thing to being at 365 Ocean.
TED: The only two things I haven’t been able to provide during the remote sales process is the smell of fresh salt air and the feel of a gentle sea breeze.
Q: Thanks for sharing your process with us, Ted. It sounds like the few remaining 365 Ocean residences will be spoken for soon!
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With the loosening of the lockdown restrictions, many local restaurants are once again serving indoors, including three new restaurants opening in Pier Village.
Another exciting announcement was recently made: Two Long Branch restaurants were listed among NJ Monthly’s “30 Best New Restaurants”.
And although things are not yet 100 percent back to pre-COVID levels, there are always events happening in the area.
There’s no time like the present to stake your claim to one of the last remaining luxury oceanfront condo residences at Long Branch’s most prestigious oceanfront address, 365 Ocean. Contact Ted Hanley at [email protected] or (732) 749-5797 today to make your dreams of owning a place at the Jersey shore a reality!