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BY COLUMNISTS

| Joe Charlebois | Guest Columnist | Harry M. Covert | Norman M. Covert | Hayden Duke | Jason Miller | Ken Kellar | Patricia A. Kelly | Edward Lulie III | Tom McLaughlin | Patricia Price | Cindy A. Rose | Richard B. Weldon Jr. | Brooke Winn |

DOCUMENTS


The Tentacle


December 5, 2007

Just Watching and Waiting

Tom McLaughlin

Things here in Ocean City are quieting down and there is very little traffic along beach highway. The hardware stores are empty compared to a year ago as the vacation housing boom has been reduced to a fizzle.

There are hundreds upon hundreds of properties for sale or rent. I am in the market for one and my real estate agent has me hooked up to this MLS listing thing that tells me when a house or oceanfront condo goes on the market or reduces price. There are at least three every day with Ocean Pines houses dropping by $10 to $20 thousand every day.

I thought about buying a condo in one of those huge oceanfront buildings, but taxes are $5,000 per year. Coupled with condo fees at another $5,000, I decided an ocean front view wasnít worth it. I did ask an agent, who was showing a unit, what I got for my five grand and she told me a pool. I looked at her quizzically thinking how could a pool ever equate to the ocean but thought better of it.

I have decided to rent a house in Ocean Pines and watch the market slide further, jumping on a home when I can get the most value for my money. I looked at a rental property and elected to lease it but couldnít decide when to move in. I am revamping my home in Middletown and Dadís oceanfront townhouse that has to go on the market in January.

Here in Ocean City, sales are arranged around three day weekends. With Martin Luther King Birthday and Presidentsí Day coming up, I want the house perfectly staged. Believe it or not, most homes go to settlement in March.

I left it up in the air on when I would move into the Pines home; havenít signed anything yet. I told the agent to go ahead and rent it, as there were about a zillion other rentals around. I have been getting several emails from her asking when I was going to sign the lease and pay the money. It isnít that I havenít been purposefully ignoring her, I have just been busy. I have two houses to renovate at the same time and another to move into.

I went to settlement on my home in Middletown. I now own it. It feels funny having a house without a wife and mortgage. It is mine all mine. I have hired people to make repairs and elected to spend the most money to get the very best, a contractors dream. I look at hammer, nail, picture and wall and cry; thatís how bad I am with my hands.

So, I will have a home in Middletown and one in Ocean Pines and move between the two at my leisure. And no mortgage. I never could have done that a few years ago. The real estate market is great for buyers, if you wait and watch and look.



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