Off the tropical oasis that is the Jersey Shore, a 19-acre private island is a short boat ride away.
While the Wildwoods may be crowded with tourists on its five miles of free beaches, this nearby enclave is empty. Though, according to its previous owner and a New Jersey official, it is most likely uninhabitable.
Still, the owner, Omer Fahim, of Queens, N.Y., is looking to sell the island, named No Mans Island, which he bought three years ago for $7,000, for the price of $200,000.
Fahim, a 31-year-old software engineer, boasts of the island’s views. Though he acknowledged it is at most three feet above water (and lower in other areas), the posting claims it “can be raised with proper permits, allowing for a multitude of development scenarios.”
The island doesn’t seem fit for a Jersey Shore summer home. It is mapped as coastal wetlands, tides rise and fall around it, and it is not within a sewer-service area, said Larry Hajna, a spokesperson for New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection. Hajna laid out a list of the minimum steps the next owner would need to take before building on the island: a coastal wetlands permit, waterfront development permit, a tidelands grant or lease, and a threatened and endangered species review.
When asked whether a person could walk around on the island, Fahim said: “Yeah, with some big boots you can definitely walk on it.”
He’s selling it now because he would like to invest in other properties, and he said he doesn’t like to keep things for too long. Fahim, who bought the island in 2017, would visit every summer and go fishing around it. He never developed it and said he didn’t feel the need to.
“I guess when you tell people you own an island, people expect sandy beaches, palm trees, but it doesn’t have to be,” Fahim said. “The best part of owning the island is you can go around telling people you own a private island.”
Tai Menz, a Realtor sales associate at Coastline Realty, who sold the island to Fahim, didn’t expect it to be marketed this way. The island was his grandfather’s and had been in his family for years. He describes it as “meadow grass” and “salt marsh grass,” which he never really walked on. Instead, he and his family would pull their small boats up along the grass of the island and go duck hunting.
“It’s wetlands,” Menz said. “When it was originally posted, I just thought maybe the state would want to pick it up and, second down the line, a person who duck-hunted.”
Menz wasn’t even sure that his price would sell. “There aren’t a ton of people who don’t want to drop $7,000 to shoot some duck.”
Once he saw the listing, Fahim thought it was an opportunity. He bought it for $7,000, and now hopes to sell it for much more.
“There’s no real way to appraise that property, so I took advantage of it,” he said. “I thought putting a $200,000 value on a private island is affordable.”
He thought the listing, which he said has been up on Private Islands Inc. for about eight months, would get media attention, and it has. But it’s unclear who is interested in buying this island in the Grassy Sound.