Spectacular new listing in Apple Ridge, Wall Township!

Jersey Shore Restaurant Week

Restaurant week is back at the Jersey Shore! It starts on April 5th and continues to April 14th. As the first restaurant week after Hurricane Sandy crushed the shore, this is a special restaurant week – many waterfront restaurants are still rebuilding, like Mister C’s in Allenhurst. Others like La Dolce Vita in Belmar suffered because the roads were closed on the ocean front. Still others like Jack Bakers Lobster Shanty in Point Pleasant are only now opening their doors. All in all, this year there will be 55 restaurants participating from Keyport to South Seaside.

This year, the week’s special events start on the 4th in West Long Branch at Branches. Besides the great food and world class wine, they will have live jazz music for entertainment.

On April 6th the festivities move to Bar A in Lake Como for everyone’s favorite- “The Great Jersey Shore Burger Contest.” There will a sampling of burgers from all the local restaurants, and a couple of craft beers to choose from. They will also have live rock music by the Billy Lawlor Band.

On April 10th the festival moves to 10th Ave Burrito in Belmar for “Eat, DRINK, Indulge: Tequila.” Here, you will get to enjoy Mexi-Cali food and of course, TEQUILA! They will feature a few different tequilas made by small tequila producers in Jalisco, Mexico. If you love tequila, you can’t miss this!

The week ends with “Burgers, Bloodys and Brews” on April 13th at Harpoon Willy’s in Wall.

Throughout the week you can go to any of the participating restaurants and order from their special menus with special pricing – I love to take the opportunity to try new restaurants! You can see a complete list of restaurants and their menus and pricing here. As we rebuild the Jersey Shore, make sure you come out and support our local restaurants!

A Great Kitchen

I get asked all the time if I like to cook. I usually reply with my standard, “I only have a kitchen for resale value.” While it’s mostly my attempt at a little humor (I know, very little), it’s also the truth: there’s a big correlation between a home’s kitchen and its resale value – whether you are a master chef or not. The kitchen tends to be one of the main hubs of a home…which is why, many times, the kitchen can be a deal-maker or a deal-breaker. Great kitchens sell homes – it’s as simple as that.

You will want to showcase your kitchen in the best light. Making your kitchen as attractive as possible can make all the difference in being able to sell your home faster and at its highest selling price.

Make Sure the Kitchen is Super Clean

Kitchens have proven to be the dirtiest place in the house – it’s time to put that elbow grease into action and scrub the kitchen until it sparkles. Take a look at the floors – are there cracked tiles, or is the wood floor scratched and dull? You might want to replace or refinish. How about cracks between the cabinetry and the ceiling? Some crack filler will do the trick, and sometimes simply replacing the hardware on the kitchen cabinets will cure a dated look. And if you can’t afford to update the kitchen, consider having a rendition made that you can display. People are very visual – give them an idea of the kitchen’s potential.

Clutter – The Kitchen Killer

The kitchen is the focal point of the house. You want it to look as clutter-free and inviting as possible. The first thing you should do is to clean everything off the countertops: too many items on the countertops sends the message to prospective buyers that there must not be enough cabinet space. Then, very deliberately place a few items where the previous mountains of magazine, appliances, and sugar bowls once sat. As a general rule, two appliances are more than enough. You can soften and brighten the space with a cookbook, some fresh fruit (I happen to be partial to lemons), or perhaps a decorative cutting board – strategically placed, a cutting board demonstrates a good work space.

Keep it Bright

Don’t be afraid to open the blinds and let the sun shine in. A bright and light kitchen brings warmth. Be sure put fresh bulbs in the light fixtures – and that goes for all the lights in the house.

The Kitchen Sink

A pretty potted plant on the windowsill, a hand soap and lotion combo, a decorative dish towel that blends with the rest of the kitchen décor – and perhaps it is worth replacing that old faucet with a new stainless steel one.

These are just some simple tips that can change the whole look and feel of your kitchen. Clean it, declutter it, and lighten it up. And then, watch the house sell for more in less time.

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Strollo's lighthouse Italian Ice

We are approaching the end of March – spring has started, and that means summer is right around the corner! I don’t know about you, but when I think of summer nights it always includes Italian ice and ice cream. One of my favorite places to get Italian ice is Strollo’s Lighthouse in Long Branch – and they just reopened for the season!

Listings in this Area

Presidential Long Branch

300 Ocean Ave, units 6B & 3D

The Lighthouse has been around since the 1930s, when it opened in an old garage right across the street from the ocean. People all over the area line up on hot summer nights to taste their old fashioned lemon ice. Over the years the operation has been passed down from generation to generation, never changing the original recipe. What makes it so amazing is that they serve their homemade Italian ice through a soft serve ice cream machine into a soft squeeze cup, so it is always soft and smooth. You can eat it right away, without having to wait for it to defrost and soften. As demand grew, the amount of flavors grew – they now have 18 different flavors of ice. They also serve soft vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry ice cream as well as shakes, sundaes, and if you’re watching your weight, low fat ice cream and sugar free Italian ice. Because all the products are homemade, you can count on them being consistently delicious.

Lighthouse is not in that little garage anymore – they now have four different locations. There are two in Long Branch: one at 250 Ocean Avenue N and the other at 69 Brighton Ave. Their third is in Point Pleasant Beach at 101 Ocean Ave and the fourth is in Red Bank at 64 Bridge Ave. But it doesn’t matter which location you go to – you will always receive the same great Italian ice that was made with the Strollo family’s traditional recipe from the 1930s. Like they say – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

“May your days be filled with relaxing sunsets, cool drinks, and sand between your toes.” The author is unknown, but the feelings emoted by these wonderful words are known to all who have been fortunate enough to have enjoyed all that’s stunning about stepping onto the white beaches of the Jersey Shore – walking along the shoreline to pick up shells, building sand castles, digging for sand crabs, sitting in a beach chair and reading a great novel, and everything else that makes the beaches of the Jersey Shore so addicting.

But, as awesome as the feelings and emoted images are, it also begs the question, “How do we keep the sand on the beach?” With so many towns working hard to ensure the beaches are ready for the start of the 2013 season, here are a number of helpful hints to minimizing the amount of sand that travels from the beach into your car and beach house.

  1. Keep as much of it on the beach as possible.
    • Wear sandals instead of sneakers, which tend to trap sand.
    • Buy a nice mesh bag to carry beach items – sand has a way of falling out of the bag and back onto the beach prior to being brought home.
    • Use a chair. A chair can be easily washed off at the beach and eliminate sand that might otherwise make it into the car.
  2. Line the trunk of your car with a towel. Put the beach items on the towel and when you arrive back home, simply shake the towel out well before bringing it into the house.
  3. Invest in a small car vacuum to quickly remove any sand from the car.
  4. Put a hose near your front door so sandy feet and beach paraphernalia can be hosed off before making it into the house.
  5. Put a doormat near the doorway so everyone can wipe their feet before entering the house. You can have everyone take off their shoes and shake the sand out before or immediately upon entering the home.
  6. Even after all this, some sand is still bound to get in the house – but a microfiber sweeper should do the trick.

And, if buying a house by the beach, a couple of nice options to think about are a home with an outdoor shower and a laundry room close to an entrance. As an example, these three great beachfront listings all have laundry rooms conveniently located right off the kitchen when you walk into each condo. Throw your beach towels and bathing suits directly into the washer, and sand won’t get tracked through to the rest of the house.

Diamond Beach Unit 512 Presidential Unit 3D Presidential Unit 6B
Diamond Beach Unit 512
Presidential Unit 3D
Presidential Unit 6B

So go ahead and enjoy everything that’s perfect about the beaches of the Jersey Shore…and, then just shake it off!

If you are like me, you appreciate a good cigar – whether you like to smoke cigars on the golf course, after a great meal, or if you want to make a celebration a little more special, a cigar is a great way to make any event a little more enjoyable. One of the best cigar shops at the Jersey Shore is Village Tobacco, located at 114 Main Street in Bradley Beach.

Village Tobacco has a huge walk-in humidor where they stock all of the best cigars. Their inventory includes cigars from Alec Bradley, Carlos Torano, Fuente, and just about every other quality cigar manufacturer you can think of. Just as important as the inventory is the knowledgeable owner – he will go into the humidor with you, talk about what you are currently smoking, and then make recommendations on what you might like. Every time I go in, I try a new cigar based on his recommendation – and he always picks a real winner. An important thing to look at when deciding where to spend your money on cigars is how they are stored: the room must be kept at optimum temperature and humidity, otherwise they will not smoke properly. I have never had a bad cigar from Village; the conditions in his humidor are ideal.

One of the things I love most about the cigar smoking hobby is the accessories – or “toys,” as I like to call them. I am constantly looking for a new cutter, lighter, punch, or the latest case. Village has a complete selection of accessories , including both full-size and travel humidors. The most important accessory a cigar smoker needs is a quality humidor – cigar smoking can become a very expensive habit, and you need to protect your investments. The guys at Village will help you find the right one for all your needs.

For the pipe smoker, Village has a complete line of pipes and tobaccos ranging from mild starter options to stronger blends for the more mature palate. They also stock hookahs and accessories. Whether you are an experienced cigar smoker, someone just starting, or you are looking for something for the cigar smoker in your life, Village is your one-stop shop.

image from masspropertybuyers.com

There is an old saying “Cash is King”. This has held true for much of the last few years, and a lot of very smart investors have made a fortune by accumulating cash and then using it as leverage in real estate deals. However, we might be seeing an end to that era at the Jersey Shore.

Let me explain. For a long time now, the belief has been that an all-cash offer carried amazing weight – and in the not-so-distant-past climate of obtaining mortgages, this was very true. Sellers may have been more willing to accept a lower offer if it was all-cash rather than a higher offer that required a mortgage contingency. Mortgages have proven difficult to obtain, and the security of knowing that a deal is not at the mercy of the banks and new stringent banking regulations can go a long way when negotiating. Sellers who had been sitting with their homes on the market eventually get worn down by buyers looking to “steal” a home, and finding an all–cash buyer makes it a done deal so they can finally move on.

However, times appear to be changing: there is no question that cash is a significant component, but my recent experience has demonstrated that an all-cash offer is not necessarily a substitute for price. While price is undoubtedly the primary factor for sellers, they will take many other points into consideration. Aside from how the price will be paid (cash, small mortgage, larger mortgage), other factors could include down payment, closing date, and other contingencies, like the need to close on a current home.

Over the last couple of months I have been working with an investor who is buying properties with the intent to rent them. He is an all-cash buyer with the ability to close quickly. There is zero emotional attachment to the properties because since they are for investment purposes only, he is strictly buying by the numbers. We have been experiencing a definite change in the real estate market: not only are newly listed properties getting multiple offers very quickly, but even properties that have been sitting unable to get sufficient interest are all of a sudden getting more than one offer. In many cases, the other offers are also all cash. Now the game changes: whatever leverage you thought you had as a cash buyer is not so strong anymore. The other players in the game have similar terms, which obviously drives the price up: typical supply and demand.

There is less good inventory, there are more buyers, and there are more people with cash. Cash buyers who have been enjoying an environment in which their cash enabled them to secure amazing deals are getting pushback now. Almost like water being thrown in their faces, they can’t understand why sellers have stopped being so eager to practically give their homes away in exchange for cold, hard cash.

So, is cash still king? In my opinion, cash will always be king – it just appears that there are more kings out there looking to purchase Jersey Shore real estate. Cash will always make you a better buyer, but it is not the driving factor that it was in the not-so-distant past.

If you love brick oven pizza, then I have the place for you! Michael Angelo’s, located on route 35 in Wall in the Brooke Plaza, is an Italian trattoria offering a full selection of Italian meals.

When you enter the restaurant, you can see the brick ovens filled with pizza to your left. Actually, you can smell the pizzas before you even walk in the door. Behind the glass you can see the different pies sold by the slice – they have a wide selection of toppings from classic pepperoni to spicy buffalo chicken, and everything in between. The slices are classic Jersey shore style – huge! When ordering a pizza, there are three types of crust to choose from: traditional, thin, or whole wheat. They also have three sizes: personal, medium, and large. All pizzas are cooked in their brick oven and have that classic brick oven flavor.

If you are looking for something on the lighter side, they have a great selection of fresh salads including traditional Caesar salads, chef salads, and tuna salads. If you want to try something unusual, I recommend Tomi’s Apple Salad: granny smith apples, craisins, crumbled blue cheese, fresh mozzarella, almonds, and their special lite dressing over crisp romaine lettuce. This salad is outstanding! You can also add chicken, shrimp, tuna, or salmon. This light yet satisfying salad is served fresh and cold – a perfect lunch.

Besides the pizza and salads, they have a full menu to choose from – sandwiches, calzones, chicken, veal, and seafood dishes all cooked fresh to order. Their dinners are served with salad and pasta. I have eaten there many times and never left hungry – they always offer a great, plentiful meal. Whether you are in the mood for a great brick oven pizza, fresh salad, or an awesome sit-down Italian meal, Michael Angelo’s is the place to go.

…there was a beautiful golden beach in Long Branch – Known as Seven Presidents Park, this beach stretched 38 acres and featured many great amenities. On one side is the Atlantic Ocean. On the other side are three gorgeous condos in two wonderful buildings.

On the other side of Ocean Blvd sits one of the buildings: pet-friendly Diamond Beach, where lifestyle meets luxury. This building, built in 2007, is filled with amenities: 24/7 Concierge Service, an outdoor pool with ocean views, a state-of-the-art gym, a Cyber Den with wifi, and a large recreation room with a TV, a pool table, and a card table. On the top floor of the west-facing side of the building resides an ultra-chic 2 bedroom, 2.5 bath condo with a spacious open floor plan, and lovely views across rows of unending treetops. At an affordable list price of $419,000, you can live in the lap of luxury just steps from the beach – without breaking the bank.

Sounds appealing, but you would prefer to be even closer to the beach?

On the ocean side of Ocean Blvd, directly across the street from Seven Presidents Park, sits a stately grey building with a blue metal roof – aptly named the Presidential. This 6-floor highrise has 4 units on each floor, a wonderful pool, and the convenience of walking out of the building right to the Seven Presidents Park beach, playground, and skate park. I currently have two great offerings in this building.

One is a large 2 bedroom, 2 bath condo with beautiful ocean views. The great use of mixed woods throughout the open living room and dining room and the many detailed upgrades – like the crown molding, glass pocket doors to the kitchen, granite countertops, custom closets, and much more – make this amazing condo a very attractive buy at a list price of $629,000.

An attractive option, but you want a third bedroom? Perhaps something larger?

My second offering in the Presidential is a grand 2-story, 3-bedroom, 3-bath penthouse with spectacular ocean views from every room. A perfect open layout with 2 bedrooms (1 is a master) on the first floor, and a large 2nd master with an adjoining suite in the loft area. High cathedral ceilings, decorative molding, beautiful wood floors, and amazing attention to detail- combined with the magnificent views – give this condo unparalleled value at a list price of $989,000.

The one quality that all three condos share is their proximity to so many wonderful things. They are all conveniently located:

  • within walking distance to the beach and park
  • within walking distance to the wonderful shops, restaurants, and entertainment at Long Branch’s Pier Village…Molly & Zoey, The Stone Hut, Nirvana, McLoone’s Pier House, Avenue, Sirena, and Indulge, to name a few.
  • near marinas, for the boater in you
  • in close proximity to major transportation, including the Sea Streak Ferry, the train, the bus, the Parkway, and Route 18.

Three amazing condos at three different price points, each with different, unique qualities to meet your individual needs and desires.

Call me so I can help you find the one that fits you just right!

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