How to Calculate Your True Cost of Living and Determine How Much Mortgage You Can Afford If You’re BUying a Home in Delaware

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A monthly mortgage can seem like enough of a financial responsibility on its own, but there are many factors involved in home ownership that effect its fiscal feasibility. If you’re on the market for a house and are wondering how your income will stack up against the rest of your expenses, here’s how to determine a home cost that’s reasonable for you.

Determine Your Down Payment

Before you start with anything else, you’ll want to determine the amount of money you can put down so you can estimate your monthly payments. The suggested amount for a down payment is 20% of the home’s purchase price, so if you don’t have anything close to this amount it might be worth waiting a little longer so you can minimize your payments and the amount of interest you’ll be paying in the long run.

Calculate Your Monthly Budget

If your mortgage cost already seems high, it will definitely be worth carefully calculating your monthly expenditures. Instead of a wild guess, take the time to sit down and calculate what your costs are including food, utilities, transportation and any other monthly necessities. Once you do this, it’s also very important to add any debt repayments you’re making to the mix. The total amount of your estimated mortgage costs, debt payments and living expenses should give you a pretty good sense of if your mortgage is viable in the long term.

Don’t Forget About The Extras

When it comes to purchasing a home, many people envision that they will be eating and sleeping their new home so don’t pay attention to all of the additional costs that can arise with living life. A new home is certainly an exciting, worthwhile financial venture, but ensure you’re realistic about what it entails. If you’re planning to go back to school or have children in the future, you’ll want to add a little bit of extra cushion in your budget so that you don’t have to put your other dreams on hold for the sake of your ideal home.

It can be very exciting to find a home you feel good about, but it’s important before making an offer to realize the amount of house you can afford so you don’t find yourself in a hole down the road. If you’re currently on the market for a new home, you may want to reach out to us to discuss your best path, of feel free to shop and browse at www.SearchHomesDelaware.com

JT Takacs, Delaware real estate

 

Image courtesy of renjith krishnan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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The Do’s and Don’ts of Getting Approved for a Mortgage Quickly in Central Delaware

If you’re ready to buy a home, getting approved for a mortgage in Delaware is a critical step that you can’t skip or rush. And although it may seem like the lenders can be a bit arbitrary in their approvals, there’s actually a detailed set of criteria they look for when approving or denying an application.

So how can you ensure your mortgage gets approved quickly and without any hassles? Here’s what you need to know.

Do: Have All Your Documents In Order Right Away

Processing the paperwork on a mortgage approval is one of the most time-consuming parts of getting a mortgage. And if you forget to include a form or fill something out incorrectly, it may take your lender days or weeks to sort out the problem. So before you go to your lender to get approved, make sure you have all of the necessary documents and that they’re all filled out correctly – it’ll save you a great deal of time later.

Don’t: Accept A New Job Or Start A Business While Closing

Once it comes time to close on your mortgage loan, you’ll want to keep your finances as consistent as possible until after the closing. Any change to your financial situation can throw a wrench into the approval process and delay your loan. If you’re planning to quit your job to start a business, accept a new job, cut back your hours, or go on parental leave, wait until after the home sale closes.

Do: Get Pre-Approved With Your Lender

One simple thing you can do to greatly speed up the approval process is get pre-approved. If you’ve already been pre-approved for a mortgage through a certain lender, then securing a mortgage through that lender will be a very smooth process – and in some cases, a pre-approval can speed up your mortgage approval by a week or even more. With a pre-approval in hand, the only issue that remains to be settled with the lender is providing them with your new home address.

Don’t: Co-Sign A Loan For A Friend Or Relative

Any major purchase or new debt of any kind will read as a serious red flag for your lender, one that will take time to sort out. Your lender will do a second credit check just before closing the mortgage, and any new loan amounts can delay or stop the approval. So if a friend or relative asks you to co-sign their loan, wait until after your mortgage is approved.

Getting approved for a mortgage can seem challenging, but by following a few simple rules, you’ll make it easy for your lender to sign off. For more mortgage approval advice, contact your local mortgage professional today.

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3 Reasons You Might Decide to Retire to a Small Home in Delaware- and Why You’ll Love It

Many people romanticize the idea of paying off their home mortgage early so they can enjoy their home in retirement, but when it comes to the later years of life, a big house can actually be too much to handle. If you’ve started to consider a smaller home here in Delaware and are wondering why it might be a good decision for you and yours, here are a few things you may want to consider.

It’s Much Easier To Maintain

It is often the idea of the palatial estate with a pool that homeowners get excited about, but when it comes to reality, the larger the home, the harder it is going to be to take care of and maintain. If you don’t have a maid or a butler, a smaller home will enable you to spend a lot more of your free time doing things that you love instead of being bound to a house that is full of repairs and maintenance that needs to be completed.

Save On The Big Home Bills

One of the worries associated with getting older is having the ability to maintain your lifestyle in old age, and a smaller home can actually alleviate many of the high costs that go along with having an oversized home. A smaller home will not only minimize your insurance and taxes, it can also positively impact the amount you pay each month for heating and electricity, so you’ll notice the savings right off the bat.

The Freedom Of A Downsized Lifestyle

One of the best things about downsizing to a smaller home is the huge sense of responsibility that can be left in the dust. Instead of being held back by all of the stuff required to fill a big house, a small home means there is less to worry about. This may mean you’ll have the option to go on longer vacations or can even relocate to a hot climate for the summer months, and you’ll only need someone to come by and water the plants every once in a while!

There are plenty of people that decide to downsize later in life since it can actually be a great way to save money and have a lot more freedom. If you’re considering your smaller home options and are curious about what’s available on the market, Reach out to me soon and we can talk.

 

JT Takacs, Delaware real estate

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How Do You Work in A Cloud??

Working with an agent who is in a “cloud brokerage” has a few advantages for consumers. Whether you’re in Dover, Delaware or elsewhere. If it didn’t… I wouldn’t be here. So, what da heck IS a cloud brokerage?? First off, a cloud is different than virtual. I have an office that I can go to… online… and walk around… online… and chat with others live who are there while I’m there.

Sounds pretty high-tech, eh?

Actually, it’s pretty simple. I click on my office website and it logs me in as an avatar in seconds. Pretty neat.

But I can take education classes there. I’m more inclined to take more classes in this cloud office than I am to get in my car and drive hours someplace and hours back. So I get more education on being a smarter agent for my clients. I take a lot more education these days and I see how it’s paying off by being able to discuss more with clients and get homes sold.

Also, because the instructors can be anywhere, we get a top notch set of instructors, instead of hoping they come to the area where I’m at. So I end up being better educated by better instructors for you.

If I need an answer to a problem, I can hop into that cloud office and ask the right people for answers and get them fast. And what I’ve found to be especially helpful is the networking of agents from around the country who’s minds I can pick.

I was stumped on a listing that wasn’t getting showings enough and got some great ideas on marketing it to different niches. These ideas came from real estate agents in Arizona, Washington and other places. What a resource!

I like being a real estate agent with eXp Realty. It’s where real estate has been heading and it’s here now. And you end up benefiting.

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Staging a Home is More Than Moving a Couch.

Here’s a home staging tip for you based on actual experience. I was showing a home-buying couple a few houses here in the Dover, Delaware area. Our third home was a newer home, just a few years old, and it was vacant.

They looked around, seemed to like the area the home was in and the floor plan matched what they were looking for. I did not see an excessive amount of interest in their eyes, but there were still 2 more houses on our tour.

When we got to the Owners Suite, they opened up the closet and commented that this empty closet was of a decent size.

We got back into the car and our next house was in the same development just three blocks away. When we walked in, I realized that this fourth house was the same model and floor plan of the house we were just touring, only this one was a mirror image floor plan. You know what I mean… the third house had the living room on the left and this one had the living room on the right. So, I explained that to the buyers and they nodded and seemed to understand easily enough.

Along with being the same floor plan -only mirrored this home was occupied and nicely decorated. The sellers obviously took some time to arrange the furniture… the dining room table had four place settings, complete with cloth napkins in napkin rings… kitchen counter had no appliances on it… overall, it looked pretty nice.

To my real estate agent eyes, it looked like it was “staged” by the owners.

When we got to the Owners Suite, and the buyers opened up the closet, it was filled with clothes and the closet floor was covered as well with shoes, purses, etc. Not over-stuffed. Not unnecessary messy. Not overflowing. Just pretty well filled up. Kinda like all our own closets. And the wife said:

“Oh wow, here’s a difference, that last other closet was much bigger!”

I looked carefully, thinking maybe since it was a newer home perhaps the builder had an upgraded closet or something in that other home. Nope, these were the same size.

I could not convince the buyers that these closets were the same.

I’m thinking that maybe they’re a little thrown off by the reversed floor plan and furniture. They both insisted that this closet was much smaller than the other one. They actually chuckled a little at me for trying to convince them that these closets were the same.

They decided to place an offer on, in their words, “The vacant one with the bigger closet.”

Now, this doesn’t mean you need to have a vacant house, and really, nor an empty closet either. But, these buyers, who happened to look at two identical closets and happened to look at them one immediately after the other, were absolutely convinced that the stuffed closet was smaller. Even though one of the houses was “staged”, the tipping point was the perceived idea that the owners closet was of a different size.

A knowledgeable, experienced listing agent can help potential sellers with these insights. But staging is more than moving a couch from this wall to that wall. My sellers usually ask about “staging” and I usually tell them it’s more about “prepping”. And I’d rather see sellers spend the bulk of their efforts on thinning out. Some real estate agents call it de-cluttering, I prefer “thinning out.

Yes, I think its more important to be thinned out for the Owners Suite closet than the closet in bedroom three, but this would also apply to pantries, garages, basements, and coat closets too.

We sell a house differently than we live in a house. We all need some thinning out, heck, I know I do.

In other words, make your initial priority getting the tote boxes from WalMart rather than the napkin rings from PierOne.

And think thin.

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Be Amazing and Think “Prom Time” to Prep your Delaware House for Sale

Spring time is the time for proms… cotillion balls.. weddings. It”s a time when we often get dressed up and wanting to look sharp for that special event. If you”re getting ready to sell your house, start thinking that it”s prom time for your house.

Think back to any one of these events and recall how much preparatory work went into getting ready. You may have been looking for something special to wear for months before. Maybe a weight loss campaign to drop a few pounds. No doubt just before the event you probably spent time at a hair salon, getting a fresh cut or a special style. Guys would wash and polish their cars, corsages bought, and so on.

The special night came and you looked pretty darn great, didn”t you? In fact, I”ll bet someone, somewhere uttered “You look amazing” that night, right?

Now let”s take it one more imaginary step. Imagine that for this imaginary, and odd, prom, instead of having a date and going as a couple, no one had dates and everyone arrived alone.

You all lined up on opposite sides of the walls in the ballroom when you got there and everyone was in competition with everyone else to pair up as a couple, right there, at the ballroom. Guy or gal, that”s a lot of competition, regardless of which gender is asking and which is accepting.

Certainly you were looking great, but in this admittedly ridiculous, competitive, prom scenario… you think you might be even more concerned about looking amazing? Maybe you”d be taking it up a notch? No doubt.

And that”s what home selling is like these days. Buyers aren”t looking at 6, 10, 12 houses. They”re looking at 50… 75… 100.

They”re doing it online.

They”re online browsing through the real estate search sites, looking through all the photos, all the listings and THEN… picking out the half dozen they want to tour first hand. 75 houses is a lot of competition. With that many houses being browsed through online, think about how easy it would be for buyers to use any little reason to eliminate your house.

Here”s a start list of just three prep items for you to help get your house to be “amazing.”

 

  1.  Start to de-clutter. We sell differently than we live, I like to say. Get good sturdy boxes from a home center or truck rental place. Label and group them. (Kitchen appliances, den books, etc) I say label them in case you need to find something during the time the home is on the market and before you move. (“Honey? Which box is the rice cooker in??”) But put away as many things as you can. Be aggressive with it. Buyers can easily deal with boxes neatly stacked in the basement or garage than a overflowing kitchen/bathroom countertop or bookcase full of piles of books and older magazines. Clear it out. Clear it off. Pack it or toss it.
  2.  Empty your closets. There”s plenty of clothes you don”t often wear, be brutal and empty them more than you think you should. And have the bottom of every closet as empty and bare as you can. Box them up. Not long ago I took buyers to a lovely house, closets were full. Not messy. Not overstuffed, as many can be. Just full. We then went to tour another house in the same community. Turns out its the same exact model except the layout was a mirrored plan. This one had near-bare empty closets. Guess what the buyers said? Yep, “oh wow, these closets are much bigger than the last home.”
  3.  Pack up your collectibles. Personally, I love seeing collections. I love asking about how and why you started. I did a lot of traveling to bowling tournaments and years ago started buying fridge magnets of places I”ve been. My fridge is not only out-of-control covered but I have another box full of hundreds of magnets. You want buyers to be looking at your house not your collectibles. It”s so very common that on a buyers tour of homes, they later remember your spoon collection but can”t remember your home. Don”t give them distractions.

 

Your home will be among lots and lots of other homes, lined up along that ballroom wall looking for that special someone. Instead of diminishing your chances by looking average, (or below average, hopefully not!) hedge your chances and think about looking… Amazing.

 

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AH-HA Moments of Rose Gardening in Dover, Delaware

My mom had a green thumb. I mean, a really green thumb. She was one of those people who always had something interesting or out of the ordinary growing either outside or inside the house.

You know the type… friends would bring her sickly looking plants of theirs and a month later she”d give it back to them, twice as green, twice as big and twice as perky. She seemed to take an extra pride in growing things that you aren”t supposed to be able to grow. For years, she proudly showed off her large, indoor lemon tree, (in a very northern state) and all the lemons it produced. Indoor lemon tree, did I mention indoors?

There were some Sundays after church out front, that lines of ladies would actually form wanting to ask her something or ”ruther about some kind of plant issue.

She loved roses though and she had rose bushes growing in a number of spots and groupings around the yard. It”s hard to think back to a summer day in my childhood without a memory whiff of rose scent passing by my nose, or the sight of a mixed cutting of roses on our dining room table.

Mom passed away a few years ago. And for a couple of years afterward, I”d see something in my own yard not doing well and without thinking started to walk towards the phone to call her about it. The year after she passed, we had a section of side yard that my wife and I needed to “do some landscaping” with, and I thought that a rose garden would be a wonderfully dandy landscaping idea.

I mean, it wasn”t exactly going to be a memorial garden or anything, we just thought a rose garden would be gorgeous… the sights… the smells… the cuttings. Just the thing and a fitting tribute to mom. She”d approve and be proud we thought.

Well, after a few years of efforts, surprises, and ah-ha moments, I”ve come to my own set of conclusions about rose gardening having a go at it on my own:

  1. Roses are not landscaping. Roses are a HOBBY.   Marigolds? That”s landscaping. Azaleas, hostas, day lilies, yep, all landscaping, pretty much just plant ”em. But roses? Definitely a HOBBY. You cannot forget roses or they will remind you very quickly that you”ve forgotten them.
  2.  You don”t spend a season growing roses, you spend a season DEFENDING roses. Bugs, disease, fungus… thrips (huh? wha?)… black spot… root rot… blight… japanese beetles, you name it, it seems like every living thing hates roses, except humans. Maybe it”s jealousy. But you”re regularly, like once or twice a week, spraying, applying, picking, tossing, adding… SOMETHING.
  3.  You DO make new friends as gardening centers and home centers get to know you by FIRST NAME. Yeah, this goes along with number 2, as you are continually buying some kind of chemical, nutrient, spray, additive, fertilizer, and pretty much all of which you”re probably better off not knowing really what”s inside. But I do enjoy the happy smiles and waves I get from the center employees, along with a “HI JT! Back Again??”
  4. People are constantly asking about your SCRATCHED forearms. The durn things are full of thorns. All you”re trying to do is take care of your babies and all they want to do… is cut you. Turns out, that gloves only cover your hands and roses intuitively know how to go for the visible parts of your forearms.
  5.  The gardening season just got LONGER. You are doing gardening work long BEFORE the season and LONG after. There”s pre-season pruning, post season cutbacks, off-season fertilizing, mulching, oh and “diebacks” is actually a rose word thing.
  6.  At some point, you will actually take time to READ something about roses. I”m pretty sure I never had to read anything about any other plants other than that popsicle stick thing that comes in the pot telling you to plant it so much apart and water it. But roses… I actually now own books. I have rose websites bookmarked. Usually it involves that “defending them” thing and normally the search to read something starts off with me uttering the words, “Now what?”

 Nicely though, Dover and most of Delaware is located in Zone 7a of plant hardiness. That means, our lows aren”t too low and our highs aren”t that high so I”m told almost every kind of rose can be grown in Delaware. There are times during some extra warm days in the dead of summer that the roses declare they ain”t coming out to play. But for the most part, Delaware is a great place to grow roses. Hey, even a real estate agent like me can do it…

I”m sure mom is watching down and has, no doubt, enjoyed giggling about my trials, tribulations and grumblings of rose gardening. But you know what? Now that I can cut fresh roses and bring them in to my wife with regularity, it”s great to have her squeal, “OHHH, FOR ME???” rather than the previous norm of “Uh-oh, whatya do this time?”

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A Funny Kodak Moment Showing New Homes in Dover, DE

Ah, the joys of showing new homes here in Dover, Delaware.  Let”s face it, being a real estate agent can be a lot of fun at times. The other day I was both charmed AND had to turn away to hid a giggle.

I was hosting the model home at Clearview Meadow in Dover.  There”s lots to look at in the model. It”s very pretty, nicely decorated and the community offers quite a bit, including townhomes, villas and single family homes.

An elderly gentleman walked in with his adult daughter and his 5 year old granddaughter. The 5-year-old is toting an iPhone, and… yeah, she knows how to use it.  So, as we”re touring the home for the daughter, the little one is shutter-clicking flash pictures of everything… doorknobs… ceiling fans… fake fruit, you name it, she”s snapping it.  Determined, no doubt,  to record it all for Mommy.  And having an absolute blast.

Right up to the time when granddad turned to her and said,

“OK Honey, that”s enough… you don”t want to waste anymore film.”

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Good to See These Folks in Central Delaware

Home Buyers in Dover Delaware are exploring.

Hampton_Hills_sign     Along with working with buyers and sellers, one of my specialties is handling new home communities for builders.  And quite regularly, I’ll host a model home.  My time in models allows me to be on the front lines and really get to see the current market. This is great for keeping the finger on the pulse of trends in preferences, conditions, traffic, etc.   (btw, ‘ espresso’  tones are the hottest choice for kitchen cabinets right now)   I’m not meeting one or two buyers a months, I’m meeting a LOT.

Over the last few months I’m seeing something that I didn’t see in ’07 thru ’11.

I’m seeing potential buyers walking in who haven’t talked to a mortgage rep yet, not sure what their credit is, BUT, they”ve seen great rates in the news… heard about great deals… and think its a good time to buy!

Whether they can actually buy or not isn”t the point here though.  These folks are out and about, and at least exploring the possibility to see if they can!  Haven”t seen that in quite awhile.  It”s a good indication that confidence is rising.  I always recommend they contact a good mortgage rep and see where they are in their credit journey and, some are able to buy and some aren”t.

But I think it’s a great sign of what people are thinking and the mood of the consumer.   A year or two ago, they weren”t even considering buying a home, but now… They’re at least exploring the possibility based on how they feel or see the real estate market is now.

And it’s good to see these folks!

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Down The Shore

I go to the beach nowadays.

Happily living in Delaware, that’s what Delawareans do, they go to the beach. That’s the regional colloquialism here and I love that, and use that phrase exclusively.

But, being born and raised in New Jersey, what I used to do was to go down the shore; I never went “to the beach”. In fact, in Jersey we never even went down to the shore, we just went down the shore, as in:

What’dya do this weekend?”
“Oh, I went down the shore.”

Memories of being down the shore aren””t just an occasional recollection for a Jersey guy or gal, going down the shore intertwines your life.

As a young boy in the 1960’s, my parents once took the family down the shore for a day at Seaside Heights. It was a popular place for teens back then and always has been I suppose. In those days, AM top forty radio stations ruled the airwaves and the top of the heap was 77-WABC out of New York City. Anyone reading this and familiar with WABC during that time probably instantly heard the jingle in their heads. My memory of that day is the unique experience of walking on to the beach and hearing hundreds of transistor radios in a hundred different spots all seemingly tuned to WABC. And because of the slower speed of sound, there was this incredible richness and slight overlapping of the broadcast that came to you from all directions. Once in awhile I’d hear a group of older girls, you know, maybe fifteen years old or so, squeal as their fav hit started to play.

In the springtime of my senior year in high school, maybe two months before graduation, there came one of those simply magnificent early spring days. The kind of day that catches you by surprise with bright sun, unseasonably warm temperatures and puts everyone in an instantaneous good mood. My buddy, and our girlfriends, all decided that it was way too wonderful of a day to go to classes. So we hopped into my Camaro, tuned WABC on the car radio and headed down the shore. Seaside Heights that day too was the destination, but then again… we were teens. We figured we would just walk around the empty boardwalk, and enjoy our rebellious youth in the warm sun.

When we got there, apparently we were not the only ones thinking about Seaside and no classes that day. The boardwalk vendors were in full swing and the boardwalk itself was a sea of varsity jackets. It seemed like every school in the state was represented by at least one group. These were those varsity jackets from the 70’s that were usually felt and leather with two school colors that shouldn””t be on the same article of clothing, the sleeves being a different color than the rest. Blue and gold, red and orange, orange and green, green and purple and every imaginable combo.

Spending that day with close friends, listening to the gulls while having Italian sausage sandwiches, smelling the salt air while being whipped around on a ride, winning my high school sweetheart a stuffed animal at a wheel game, being down the shore had this way of defining your youth.

On the day that my son was born, after a long night and all morning in the hospital, mother and son needed some well deserved rest. I decided to take my two-year old daughter and mother-in-law down the shore that July afternoon. Point Pleasant Beach had its share of teens, but overall it was more of a family oriented place. Plenty of games, arcades and most of the rides seemed to be for smaller kids. My daughter went on her very first ride that day. It was these little boats that went around in a circle. Well, she went on a lot of rides that day and her love for the shore, and rides, still stay with her today. And watching the wry, surprised smile on my little daughters face as if to say, “I can’t believe how cool this is, why hasn’t Dad taken me here before!” while the aroma of nearby popping caramel corn, and the sounds of gleeful kids, is indelibly set in my mind.

Throughout both my daughter and sons’ youth, there were many more impromptu days spent at Point Pleasant.

I used to bowl quite a bit down the shore. The shore was a hotbed of great bowlers and there were a lot of long-time bowling centers, like Highway 35 Lanes in Sea Girt, Ocean Lanes in Brick, Airport Plaza Lanes up in Hazlet and Asbury Park Lanes. After my divorce from my first wife, I spent a lot more time in competitive bowling and hanging out with so many close friends down the shore. One late night, we were bowing some action games at Asbury Park Lanes, the lights were low, the majority of the customers were long gone and we were just finishing up a game when someone burst into the center wide-eyed and announced “Bruce is at the Pony!” A simple proclamation but it had huge significance to us Jerseyans. Its importance as a statement ranks along the lines of Revere’s “The British are coming” or Kennedy’s “Ask not what your country can do for you…”

The Stone Pony was a legendary rock and roll club, one block off the Asbury Park boardwalk and two blocks from the bowling center that Springsteen used to cut his teeth at and still frequented it to test out new material. And in Jersey… there was only one person who went by “Bruce” with no last name.

We all looked at each other and without a word, we quickly changed shoes, got ourselves together and hustled over to the Pony just in time to watch Bruce wave his hand on stage and say “Thanks, you guys have been great!” I saw Springsteen for eight seconds. I suspect that everyone who went down the shore often enough has their own Bruce sighting story though.

Eighteen years after graduating high school, I re-met my high school sweetheart. The same girl that I won the stuffed animal for. We decided to marry and our reception was held down the shore in Spring Lake, at a gloriously classic Victorian hotel, The Breakers, directly across from the beach. It was a beachy theme with colors of sandy peach and turquoise waters. We took pictures on the sand and later that evening, we had a coach van take us and about a dozen of our friends down to Atlantic City. The whole day was a real treat for my out-of-state buddies who have never been down the shore before.

And last year, my wife and I, happily married for twenty years now, met our daughter on Mothers day up in New Jersey. And even though it was still early May, it was the kind of day that catches you by surprise with bright sun, unseasonably warm temperatures and puts everyone in an instantaneous good mood. You know the kind of day. She suggested we go down the shore to Asbury Park which she said had really turned itself around after years of decay. I walked along the boardwalk with intense interest, studying the still standing buildings like old familiar friends I haven’t seen in many years. And as we sat at one of the new, hip outdoor cafes, a few blocks off the boardwalk, I picked at my pecan chicken salad, listened to the gulls in the distance, smelled the salt air and was wishing I had an Italian sausage sandwich from the boardwalk instead.

Being down the shore just keeps intertwining your life.

So, when people around me look at pictures of the collapsed pier in Seaside Heights from Superstorm Sandy and comment that there’s a roller coaster in the water, I know better. I know it’s the Wild Mouse Ride that’s sitting in the ocean. And when the news is showing videos of torn up boardwalk up and down the shore, I can see places in the background that I used to buy salt water taffy from or know exactly which motel that is.

The shore needs to rebuild and I’m sure it will. But I’m afraid that my memories will now be just that. Memories. With little chance of revisiting them in person as old friends. And in the meantime, if the people living down the shore need supplies, or water, or food, I’m going to do what I can to get those things to them. I hope you will too.

As Bruce sang, “Down the shore, everything’s alright…”

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