On Friday, April 2 the Atlanta Journal Constitution printed a story about Hodnett Cooper vacation rental owner, Jack Gerblick. See below. Article by C.W. Cameron.
It’s almost five hours door to door from Jack Gerblick’s home in Dunwoody to his vacation cottages on St. Simons Island.
In 2000, he bought his first lot there and built the house he calls “Yellow Jasmine.” Two years later he purchased a second lot, built “Tag Knot” for family and friends to enjoy, and moved his first house into the community rental program.
It wasn’t long before he started offering both houses for rent, and now he enjoys the houses when they’re not rented. They’re already reserved for family use this summer, when his oldest daughter, Natalie, will marry at the Jekyll Island Club. The houses are needed for his five brothers and sisters who are all traveling to St. Simons with their kids.
Why a beach house was important: Gerblick grew up vacationing at Delaware beaches, and as he and his family moved south, they vacationed on the Outer Banks, at Kiawah and Hilton Head in South Carolina, and at Sandestin Resort in Florida. When he was ready to buy a vacation home, he knew he was looking for an area that felt more like a community than a resort. St. Simons fit the bill.
A wonderful beach: “This is a great beach,” Gerblick said. “The water rises 7 feet from low to high tide, which is amazing. When it’s low tide, there are 400 to 500 feet of beach, perfect for riding your bike.”
He and his children enjoy dropping their sea kayaks on the marsh side and paddling around to the ocean. The town’s year-round residents give St. Simons a neighborhood feel, which is just what he was looking for.
A great property: It was on a bike ride that he and his daughters first saw Coast Cottages being developed. The charming cottages and red-brick streets drew them in. They built the fourth house in the development, hiring a local architect to create their cottage with its tin roof and wooden siding.
“We painted it yellow because that’s my daughter Kate’s favorite color and named the house ‘Yellow Jasmine,’ ” Gerblick said.
If you have owning rental property in mind: Gerblick’s choice of property worked out beautifully when he decided to begin renting his first home.
“If people are going to spend $3,500 to $4,000 a week to rent a place, they want to be close to the ocean, they want pools, they want their kids to have a safe environment to play in, and they want all the high-end features like flat-screen high-definition televisions,” he said.
He added that the house must have plenty of room to sleep 10 to 12 people, with a big enough kitchen and dining area that everyone can enjoy meals together. Designing a house so the bedrooms have en suite baths is another must.
Upkeep is critical: The beach environment can be tough on buildings, so exterior maintenance is key. Painting every three or four years keeps the wood in good shape, and meticulous attention to the caulking will keep the elements at bay. A good property manager who lives in the community makes it possible for Gerblick to follow things from Atlanta.
Realtor Len Hoshall, vice president of Hodnett Cooper Real Estate, said he’s comfortable predicting that St. Simons Island’s property values have seen all of the fallout they’re going to. The mix of primary residences and second-home rental property is about even. The rental market has remained strong the past three years. Homes are available on St. Simons from the $250,000s. There are still older beach homes available as well as larger new construction.