In real estate, size matters. But location matters more. That's why a 3-bedroom ranch on the beach in Avalon is worth more than a 4,000 square foot McMansion in Vineland.
The two new homes Randy Portnoy just built are not McMansions. But they are located in the City of Northfield, one of the most desirable communities on the Mainland. Better yet, they're both listed for less than $235,000.
"You're not going to find many new single-family homes in Northfield in that price range," says Portnoy. "There aren't many building lots left, so you pretty much have to tear something down if you want to build a new home."
The homes are next to each other on Shore Road, are less than a block from the turnoff for the Margate Bridge, and three doors down from Ventura's Offshore Caf�, a popular restaurant and bar.
"The land used to be owned by Ole Hansen, who built the Margate Bridge," Portnoy says. "I remember when the Boy Scouts sold Christmas trees on this land."
Portnoy has been building homes for 35 years and now works with his sons, Steve and Josh. He builds primarily in Egg Harbor Township, Galloway and Northfield, usually single family homes on spot lots. His Northfield project includes a total of four building lots, two that front Shore Road and two that face Merritt Drive.
Portnoy built two spec homes on Shore Road and has a contract to build another on Merritt Drive. The homes on Shore Road are complete except for the carpets and landscaping. Each has 3 bedrooms and 2½ baths and occupies a lot that measure about 100 feet by 100 feet, large by Northfield standards. One is listed for $229,000 and one for $234,900.
Those prices include a list of standard features that are often considered upgrades. For example, each house has a full unfinished basement. And both feature granite counters in the kitchen, ceramic tile floors in the bathrooms and large rear decks.
"For a small house it has a lot of features," says Portnoy. "A lot of builders nickel and dime you for upgrades. But with these homes you're getting options you wouldn't find in a $300,000 house. I mean, who's going to give you a deck in that price range?"
Other upgrades include an octagonal window at the foot of the stairs and a front door with a leaded glass panel. Standard features also include low-maintenance vinyl siding and vinyl porch railings, brushed nickel doorknobs and hardware, an attic fan and high efficiency water heaters and gas furnaces.
A double-wide concrete driveway with a turnaround leads to a one-car attached garage. Each house is entered from a small covered porch. The front door opens into a living room with a wood laminate floor, a ceiling fan, recessed lighting and crown molding.
In addition to the granite counters, the large eat-in kitchen has upgraded cabinets, stainless steel appliances, tumbled marble backsplashes and a pantry. Sliding glass doors lead to the back deck.
A formal staircase in the living room has an oak railing and leads to three second-floor bedrooms and two full baths. The master bedroom has a vaulted ceiling, a walk-in closet and private bath with a fiberglass shower stall. Two guest bedrooms share a hall bath and pull-down steps lead to a storage attic. There's also first-floor laundry room.
Both homes have public water and sewer.
Because of its proximity to Shore Road, Portnoy thinks the buyers for his houses are more likely to be empty nesters and young couples than families with young children.
"They would be great for older people or first time buyers," he says. "For this price it's hard to go wrong."
An open house at these properties will be held Saturday and Sunday, June 30-July 1, from noon to 2 p.m. For more information and directors call Robert Shamberg of Prudential Diversified, 609-335-5711 (cell) or 609- 652-6690.
What: New construction
Style: Single-family homes
Size: 3 bedrooms, 2-1/2 baths
Price: $229,000 - $234,900