Matching Neighborhood to Lifestyle

Q&A with Matthew Gaudet-Walters on Finding the Right Property

There are so many lifestyles to choose from at the Jersey Shore that picking the right spot for your new home can be a bit challenging, unless you’re working with a professional builder like Walters Homes to guide you through the many steps.

Whether you’re looking for a backyard with a sandy beach on the Barrier Island, a private dock on a lagoon, or a sprawling green yard on the mainland, be sure to consider the surroundings so that your new neighborhood matches your family’s needs.

The location you pick is just as important as the house style you choose because it will determine how you enjoy your new home. As a custom design/build firm, Walters Homes has deep roots at the Jersey Shore, having built over 1,400 homes in coastal locations ranging from Little Egg Harbor Township to Manasquan. Matthew Gaudet-Walters, sales associate with Walters Homes, talks about how he works with customers to build dream homes on choice locations. So before you begin your search, take a deep breath of fresh sea air and consider the many possibilities available “down the shore”.

Q: How do customers know where to build their new home?

Matthew: Most people have a general idea of where they want to live, but even if they’re unsure, I always suggest that they work with a Walters Homes preferred real estate agent realtor to narrow down their search to a couple of different lot choices. Once they have specific properties in mind, I can determine the type and size house they can build, estimate cost and ensure they will meet local zoning regulations..

On the other hand, if they have a specific house design in mind, I can determine the size lot they will need to make it happen. At Walters Homes, we are able to customize most house plans to fit any size property as well as design your home from scratch. Our team is very knowledgeable about land development as well as the local building code requirements, which makes it easy for us to guide people through the entire process of building a new home.

So once they’ve decided on their lot, and finalized their house plans with Walters Homes, customers have the option to use our preferred lender, OceanFirst Bank. Customers find that it’s a very convenient way to go because the OceanFirst can purchase the lot and bundle the entire project into a single construction loan.

Q: How do the Shore neighborhoods differ from each other?

Matthew: If you’re looking for an easy walk to the beach or a waterfront home, then the Barrier Island might be right for you. It offers a laidback vibe and the convenience of being at the beach. In the summer, we see tens of thousands of people flock to enjoy the beach and all the great restaurants and outdoor activities.

A Barrier Island home

Lagoons are also highly sought after because you can have a waterfront home at a more affordable price than beachfront. Boaters especially enjoy having their own bulkhead and easy access to the bay and the ocean. Lagoon-front homes have beautiful water views are a great place to entertain friends and family.

For a more suburban feel where most residents live year-round, the mainland offers some great advantages. You’re more likely to find a larger lot where you can build a pool or have a big backyard for kids to play. Some people also prefer the close proximity to schools, shopping and transportation.

Q: Do you see people trending toward certain areas?

Matthew: Lagoon-front housing is heating up right now because of all the opportunity to rebuild homes that were damaged from Hurricane Sandy. On Long Beach Island, where property values are rising, we’re also seeing a lot of teardown and rebuild activity. Older bungalow-style homes are being replaced with larger elevated homes.

Q: How do you help buyers choose a house plan to build?

Matthew: At Walters Homes, we work with a wide variety of buyers from empty-nesters to large families. I always tell people that they can save money by building what’s best for them now but they also have to think down the road. So we try to nail down the appropriate square footage by asking them questions about how they plan to use their space in the future. For example, if they tell me they plan to have lots of friends and family visiting then a bigger home might a better option. Building a house is a big investment and by planning ahead you can live the life you want in the home that will make you happy.

Walters Homes takes great pride in delivering high-quality energy efficient homes that come equipped with an outstanding list of standard amenities and finishes. To tour a fully-furnished four-bedroom model, visit the Beach Haven West sales office located at 880 Mill Creek Road. The Ortley Beach sales center is located at 1801 Route 35 north. Or for more information, visit