Spectacular new listing in Apple Ridge, Wall Township!

This year at the Jersey Shore, we have a great deal to be thankful for. Our boardwalks are back, our beaches are being replenished, and in many ways, the bounce-back from Sandy’s destruction has become a symbol of inspiration. A full year has gone by and we have proven to be “Stronger than the Storm”. For that, we are thankful.

A Jersey Shore Thanksgiving is very similar to everyone else’s. We get together with family, we volunteer at soup kitchens, and we stuff ourselves with turkey, gravy, and vegetables. What makes it different, however, is our proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. With the ocean right in our backyards, we can spend part of our day throwing a football or Frisbee on the beach, collecting seashells, or simply taking a stroll arm-in-arm along the boardwalk.

Thanksgiving also marks the start of a weekend of tree lightings and Santa parades, which are held all along the oceanfront and the river. This Friday kicks off Red Bank’s Town Lighting and Santa Parade, and is also the start of Red Bank’s “12 Days of Christmas Scavenger Hunt.” In addition, free Classic Horse & Carriage rides are offered every weekend in December starting with this weekend.

Bradley Beach is holding their annual Menorah lighting on Saturday, and their Tree Lighting and Santa arrival on Sunday. Both events will take place at Riley Park.

Spring Lake will hold their Tree Lighting ceremony on Saturday, with hayrides, Santa’s workshop, Clayton Livery Miniature Village Train Spectacular, dancers, and holiday treats. Shops will be open until 8:00pm.

Long Branch will launch the season with free hot chocolate, the Tree Lighting, live entertainment, and a visit from Santa Claus, who will be stopping by with free toys for the children on Sunday. They will also be unveiling the Carousel of Hope, which will remain on Festival Plaza in Pier Village through the month of December. All of this takes place with the Atlantic Ocean as the backdrop.

Tenth Avenue Freeze Out will be sponsoring their 2nd annual event to help rebuild Belmar on Saturday. While so much has been rebuilt in Belmar since Sandy, there is still some more work to be done. The children’s portion will take place from 12:00-2:00pm with music, games, free hotdogs, and ice cream. Mayor Doherty will say a few words at 2:00pm and then the adult portion will kick in. It’s only $20/person and includes two free drink tickets for any bar in Belmar/Lake Como, free buffet, and door prizes.

Don’t forget that Saturday is Small Business Saturday! Come support the small businesses of the Jersey Shore, while finding fantastic presents for friends and loved ones.

So, enjoy your Thanksgiving with your family and, if you live here, take advantage of the beautiful oceanfront. If you’ve been thinking about taking a trip to the Jersey Shore, this is a perfect weekend to make it happen!

Happy Thanksgiving from your Jersey Shore Specialist!

The big chain stores have Black Friday and internet retailers have Cyber Monday, but what about the small, local businesses? Why, they’ve been designated Small Business Saturday! Driven by American Express’ small business division, Open, Small Business Saturday is a day of support and appreciation for local businesses. This year, it falls smack in the middle of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

This Saturday is the annual Small Business Saturday. It’s an opportunity for communities to go out and support all the small businesses in their neighborhood. These are the businesses that sponsor our kids’ sports teams, donate to local causes and charities, and go out of their way to give that extra special, personal touch. They include the deli where you get your morning bagel, the dry cleaners who press your shirts, the local cigar shop, the surf shop on the ocean, and every other privately owned business in your community. You know who I’m talking about. The guy who greets you by name and puts your order together before you even get up to the counter. These are the businesses that make our lives a little easier and our communities a little closer.

Most know that the success of small businesses is vital to all communities, but some may question the impact it has on them as an individual. It is a fact that in cities with thriving small businesses, the property values are 40% higher. So, by supporting your local businesses you are actually raising the value of your home.

This Saturday, all participating small businesses will be offering special discounts on many of their products to show appreciation to all of the people who support them throughout the year. Many of these businesses will have a sign on their door showing that they are a participating merchant on Small Business Saturday.

Whether you’re a daily regular or a first time patron, Saturday is the day to show how much you appreciate your local small businesses and all they do for your community. This weekend, be sure you go out and help the small businesses in your community. Your Jersey Shore small businesses are awaiting your arrival!

“Should we wait until spring to list our home?” Conventional wisdom says to wait at least until the ball drops in Times Square, but I tend to disagree.

Traditionally, April has been my best sales month…and that makes a great deal of sense. Being The Jersey Shore Specialist, a large percentage of my clientele are 2nd-home buyers. These clients are buying homes close to the beach, and they want to be in their houses in time for the start of summer. In addition, many of these 2nd-home buyers will wait to buy until it gets closer to summer so that they are not paying for a home several months before they start to get use out of it. This is also around the time that I get the primary-home buyers, most of whom want to be in their homes before school starts.

You might be surprised to learn that my next best sales month – year after year – has always been December. For this reason, I would recommend putting your house on the market as soon as you are ready – especially if you are ready when so many others are putting it off.

Let’s examine some of the advantages of listing your home during the holiday season:

  1. Less Competition. Because so many others will be waiting until after the holidays to list, you will have less inventory to compete with. Less inventory means your home has a better chance of standing out, and typically means higher prices.
  2. More Motivated Buyers. There are less buyers shopping for a home in the off-season, but these buyers tend to be more serious. There are many more “lookers” in the springtime, but many tend to be just that…lookers. You will be showing your home less often in the off-season (which will put less strain on your family), AND the people who are looking at your house will be more likely to present an offer.
  3. Emotional Purchase. Buyers tend to be more emotional during the holidays. Emotional buyers will be more apt to pay a higher price. A home purchase also makes for a phenomenal gift!
  4. More Time. Buyers tend to have more time off to look for a home during the holidays.
  5. Tax Reasons. Some people must buy before the end of the year for tax purposes, so you’ll have a captive audience that needs to buy.

So, should you list your house during the holidays? I say, whenever you are ready is the right time to sell. Price it right and hire the right realtor, and it will sell no matter what the time of year is. That being said, listing your home in the off-season can provide many advantages to getting your house sold faster and at a higher price.

For the last 5 years, residents of the Jersey Shore have looked forward to restaurant week. For one week each year, the area’s top restaurants put together a fixed menu at a special price, usually including an appetizer, a main dish, and a dessert. This year, restaurant week runs through November 17th, so stop by any town of your choice, because something delicious is waiting for you.

A big part of the fun of restaurant week is the great selection of events – one of which is a bacon testing to be held at 709 in Point Pleasant Beach from 7-9PM on November 14th. That’s right, they will be serving bacon prepared in a number of different ways for you to sample. To top it off, all of the scrumptious, bacon dishes will be paired with bacon-inspired cocktails and Third Shift craft beer. A bacon lover’s dream!

If you’re looking for the best martini at the shore, make sure you head over to The Mill in Spring Lake Heights on the 17th for the 2013 Martini Contest. This year’s contest will feature twelve of the Shore’s premier mixologists as they serve up their best martinis for you to sample. The Martini Contest is always one of the best events during restaurant week, so make your reservations early!

One of the most popular events of the week takes place on the 16th at Harpoon Willy’s on the river in Manasquan. The Burgers, Bloodiest and Brews event is exactly as the title reads – a great selection of Harpoon Willy’s burgers served with one of their many beers or a Bloody Mary. The event takes place from 12-4PM, so get there early to enjoy the full festivities.

If you are more of a wine and cheese person, the Undici event in Rumson on the 10th would have been the event for you. Hosted by Vic Rallo from the TV show “Eat! Drink! Italy!”, it offered attendees a chance to sample over 50 wines, cheeses and pastas from the regions of Italy. The event may have passed, but you still have time to sample one of their incredible meals at Restaurant Week prices. This is one restaurant experience that you won’t want to miss!

These are just a few of the great events that are taking place during restaurant week. For a list of all of the events and the multitude of participating restaurants, check out JerseyShoreRestaurantWeek.com.

Next to the kitchen, bathrooms are probably the most enticing rooms in the house to any potential buyer. The reason for this is simple: kitchens and bathrooms are the most heavily used rooms in the house. So, how important are your bathrooms in the home-selling process? Extremely.

First of all, bathroom renovations can be expensive. Most buyers will not have a lot of disposable cash left over after the purchase, so they will want to minimize the amount of money they have to put into renovations. This does not necessarily mean that you have to renovate your bathrooms before putting your house on the market, but it would serve you well to make them look as good as possible. The time taken to make your bathrooms sparkle will yield tremendous payoff.


Beautiful Bathrooms

Secondly, if you have more than two bedrooms, buyers are probably going to want more than one bathroom. Personally, I summered my whole life with my family, my aunts, and their families in a small 5-bedroom cottage in Long Branch. A typical summer weekend included about 25 kids and only ONE bathroom. Now, I wouldn’t change those memories for anything, but these days, a certain ratio of bathrooms to bedrooms is expected. That’s not to say you have to build extra bathrooms in order to sell your house, but you should make sure that it is reflected in the price.

While bathrooms are extremely important to any potential buyer, they will typically only look briefly into the space. So, whether it is a large, full-sized bath or a smaller powder room, you only have seconds to impress.

Below are a few tips for staging your bathrooms:

  • As with any room in the house, remove the clutter and any unnecessary items from the sink tops, shelves, and floor.
  • Make sure the toilets, tubs, showers, sinks, countertops, floors and mirrors sparkle.
  • Your bathrooms need to radiate cleanliness.

  • Put fresh, clean towels on display.
  • Fix leaky or dripping faucets.
  • Replace any hardware that is weathered.
  • Remove wallpaper that is peeling and paint the walls with a neutral-colored semi-gloss.
  • Leave the toilet seats down.

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One of the best things about living in Jersey is the bagels. And the Jersey Shore, where we have so many great places to get homemade bagels, is no exception. My personal favorite is the Corner Bagelry & Deli at the Crossroads Plaza in Wall. Every morning, I go there to pick up my breakfast.

The Corner Bagelry offers a wide selection of homemade bagels. They have all the standards like poppy, egg, plain, etc, and they also have what I call “specialty” bagels. They have a French Toast bagel, apple pie bagel, blueberry bagel, and too many more to name. When you go in, the selection is staggering. If you’re not in the mood for bagels, they also have a nice selection of muffins. You can order your bagels or muffins any way you like – toasted, buttered, with cream cheese, or you can even get a breakfast sandwich on a bagel.

I like one of their breakfast specials, in particular: a white or wheat wrap filled with eggs, pork roll, potatoes and cheese. They call this masterpiece the “Jersey Boy,” and it’s a fantastic way to start your day. Want a great cup of coffee to go with your breakfast? No problem. They also have a large selection of gourmet coffees, including iced coffee.

If you head over there looking for lunch, they have that covered as well. They have a large selection of deli sandwiches and subs, and they make all sandwiches to order so you can always get exactly what you want. If you’re in the mood for something lighter, try one of their salads or lunch wraps.

The Corner Bagelry is also a full service deli, so you can get all your cold cuts right there. They only offer Boars Head meats, so you know you are getting quality. If you are looking to host a party, they offer a multitude of platter selections as well.

The Corner Bagelry has four locations. In addition to the one in Wall, they are also located in Manasquan, Point Pleasant, and Brick. There is a scrumptious reason that The Corner Bagelry keeps adding locations. Next time you are in the area, stop in and find out why.

One of my favorite lunch spots in Wall Township is the Cluck U Chicken located on Route 35, just off the circle by the outlets. Inside the restaurant is a spacious dining room with a couple of big screen TVs that always play the biggest games of the day.

Cluck U is famous for its wings. They have a variety of sauces that range from “mild” and “sweet” all the way up to their famous “nuclear”. Let me tell you, I have tried the nuclear, and not only was it unbelievably hot to the taste, but the aroma alone burned my nostrils! If you can eat an order of the nuclear and follow house rules, your picture will be placed on Cluck U’s wall of flame!

Aside from their famous wings, they have a wide variety of items to choose from…everything from burgers and fried or grilled chicken sandwiches, to fresh romaine salads. On my last trip to Cluck U, I ordered a special – a pile of mashed potatoes with cheese and boneless chicken on top. You can choose to add any sauce you’d like, or you can just enjoy it the way they make it. I chose the traditional buffalo hot sauce. It was a perfect contrast to the smooth and cooling potatoes and cheese. It was just a fantastic lunch.

If you are in the mood for classic fried chicken, Cluck U has the kind that would make the Colonel jealous! They even add a little bit of honey to give the delicious, crispy chicken a southern-style kick! I love the honey on the crisp fried chicken. If you’ve never tried it, give it a shot. You won’t be disappointed.

Cluck U also offers a wide variety of side dishes: fries, Mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, and rice. My favorite side dish has to be their Clucker Bees – delicious little biscuits with either sugar or honey.

Whatever you are looking for, Cluck U has you covered, and you can be sure that it will be cooked to order and served hot and fresh. They also stay open late for all the Jersey Shore night owls. To anyone in search of some great wings, I highly recommend Cluck U!

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