The Importance of Flood Insurance

Floods happen suddenly and can be dangerous and damaging. If you own a house, you may need to consider purchasing flood insurance to protect you when the unexpected happens.

What is flood insurance?

Typically homeowners insurance does not cover damage as a result of a flood, it is one of the main exclusions. Flood insurance is a separate policy you’d have to purchase to cover costs for repairs in the event of a flood. According to the Insurance Information Institute, only 12% of American homeowners have flood insurance. To help encourage homeowners to protect their homes, FEMA introduced The National Flood Insurance Program that offers affordable flood insurance to homeowners. To find out if you qualify, click here.

What does it cover?

All flood insurance policies are different, but most cover things like the structure and foundation of your home, the plumbing and electrical systems, air conditioning, furniture, paneling and detached garages. You can also purchase policies to cover your personal belongings inside your home like electronics, clothes, jewelry and appliances.

Should I get flood insurance?

According to FEMA, 20% of flood claims are from homeowners living outside of high-risk flood zones, so you may be at risk for a flood even if you live away from a major body of water. If you live in a high-risk area, you may be mandated to purchase flood insurance as a condition of approval for your mortgage. To check if your home is in a flood zone, enter your address here.

How do I get flood insurance?

To find out if you qualify for The National Flood Insurance Program or to ask any questions, contact their help center at 1-800-427-4661. If you don’t qualify, but still need to purchase insurance, contact a local insurance agent.

Floods can be devastating. Protect your family and your home with flood insurance so you can have peace of mind that if you experience a flood, the damage will only be temporary and you’ll have the means to repair your home and replace your belongings. If you have any questions, be sure to ask your insurance agent.

 

Tips for Finding Homeowners Insurance

Homeowner’s insurance is a necessity for anyone who has purchased their own home. It not only significantly helps lesson financial burden during a weather emergency or an unexpected occurrence that may cause damage to your home, but it also may be required by your lender for certain types of home loans. So what kind of home insurance should you purchase and how do you find the right type for you? Let’s take a closer look.

Shop Around

There are so many different insurance companies out there competing for your business. Never settle for the first offer you come across. Compare different rates and plans and always check online reviews. Although everyone has different experiences depending on their situation, if a company has a large number of negative reviews on their customer service, for example, you might want to keep that in mind when making your final decision.

Location

Make sure you know everything about the location of your house. Are you in a floodplain? What is the crime level? What is the average home price in your neighborhood? All these facts can alter the price of your insurance and determine the type of coverage you need.

Know Your Discounts

Most home insurance companies offer discounts for several different things like smoke detectors, alarm systems and even being a first-time homebuyer. These discounts may not be offered to you if you don’t ask, so be sure to be vocal with your agent when getting information.

Compare Deductibles

A company offering complete coverage for something may sound good until you realize you have a $2,000 deductible. You may have a lower monthly premium, but if something happens and you need to use your coverage, will you be able to afford the deductible? These are things you need to consider when choosing a plan.

Choosing your homeowner’s insurance is an important step in buying a new home. Make sure you’ve explored all your options and done all your research before making a choice.

 

Historic Homes in Monmouth County

New Jersey is rich in history. Monmouth County, in particular, is full of historic homes and buildings. What specifically qualifies a home as “historic”? In order for a house to get the distinguished title of “historic”, several criteria must be met, and lots of research must be done. Let’s take a closer look at this process.

What does “historic” mean exactly?

The general definition for a historic home means a house at least fifty years old with significant relevance in the area. That would mean there could have been a famous person that lived there, something historic happened there – like having the first working telephone or electricity in the town – or some sort of association with a historic event.

How do you get a historic designation?

The New Jersey Historical Preservation Office can officially designate your home as historic, which comes with certain perks and regulations. You might not be able to paint or remodel without specific permission so that to maintain its historic properties and appearance. This may be inconvenient, but a historic designation adds a significant amount of value to your home. Be sure to seek out an appraiser with experience dealing with historic properties since you’ll need to contact your insurance company to change your policy.

Where are some historic homes in Monmouth County, New Jersey?

Ocean Grove, NJ is full of beautiful historic homes. The Historical Society of Ocean Grove offers a self-guided home tour where you take in all the unique features of these historic Victorian homes up close and personal. These homes are a large part of the reason thousands of visitors a year flock to Ocean Grove to take its rich seaside history.

Whether you’re looking to own a historic home or just admire them from afar, Monmouth County New Jersey has everything you’re looking for.

Local Colleges and Universities

If you have teenage children that will be attending college shortly or are looking to attend a university yourself, Monmouth County, New Jersey is full of quality colleges that you won’t have to travel far to visit. Let’s look at some of the top universities in the area.

Monmouth University

Located in West Long Branch, Monmouth University was founded in 1933. Besides its rich history, it offers many benefits to its approximately 6,500 students.  It’s small class sizes, and almost 400 faculty members can provide students with a personalized teaching experience that isn’t common at other colleges. Besides its stimulating classes, students will be able to enjoy the vast beauty of its large campus and surrounding local charm.

Rutgers University

Located just north of Monmouth County is Rutgers. Also known as The State University of New Jersey, it is the largest institution of higher learning in the state and the eighth oldest university in the country, having been established in 1766. The original campus is located in New Brunswick, with additional campuses in Newark and Camden. Rutgers educates a staggering number of over 65,000 students with the help of its 9,000 faculty members. Full of hundreds of years of history and distinguished honor from across the world, any parent would be proud to have a child attending Rutgers.

Brookdale Community College

State universities aren’t for everyone, and in fact, you can get a high-quality education at a fraction of the cost at a community college. Located in Lincroft, Brookdale Community College is a public open-admission college, offering classes for anyone over 18 years old who has a high school or equivalency diploma. One in every three high school graduates from the Monmouth County area attend Brookdale, making it an excellent choice for anyone looking to continue their education surrounded by familiar faces and a sense of community.

Monmouth County is home to several other great colleges and universities, making it a great place to live for the future of your family.

 

 

 

Differences Between Houses, Townhouses, and Condos

If you’re looking to buy or rent a new home and have been searching online, the chances are you’ve been coming across these terms quite often: home, townhouse and condominium. What are the differences? Let’s take a look.

Home

This term could be referring specifically to a house or any type of home including apartment, townhouses, condos or even trailers. Therefore, it’s important to remember that home doesn’t necessarily mean house. If you’re looking for a single-family detached house, be sure to specify that in your search or to your realtor. A single-family house is a separate house not attached to any other buildings. You would own everything in that house, including the land that it sits on (unless the land is specifically deeded to another owner or interest). A single-family home comes with a lot of responsibility, but an equal amount of benefits.

Townhouse

A townhouse is usually defined as a long narrow home attached to a larger building with other townhouses. It usually has more than one level and sometimes has its own garage. There are several benefits to owning a townhouse as opposed to a single-family home. They are usually much less expensive, have lower utility expenses, have no outdoor maintenance, have amenities such as a pool or clubhouse and a sense of community.

Condominium

Buying a condominium is kind of like purchasing an apartment. A condo is a unit inside a building of similar sized units. Owning a condo comes with some of the same benefits of owning a townhouse, except less space and most likely one level. You don’t have to worry about outside maintenance and will have access to multiple amenities. Most condo residents contribute to a reserve fund that helps pay for repairs and replacements to the building like windows or roofing when needed.

Be sure to do your research when searching for a new home. Whether you choose a house, townhouse or condo, the perfect home for you and your family is out there waiting to be found.

 

Entertainment Venues in Central Jersey

There’s plenty to do in New Jersey. Whether you’re looking for a cultural experience or just a fun night out listening to live music, the venues around central NJ have you covered. Let’s look at some of the many entertainment venues Monmouth and Middlesex County have to offer.

Starland Ballroom

Located in Sayreville, the Starland Ballroom is a perfect place to spend the night out and see some awesome live music. It may be on the small side as far as music venues go, but its intimate feel and retro vibe make it one of the local favorites.

PNC Bank Arts Center

If you enjoy a nice outdoor concert, PNC Bank Arts Center is a great venue to check out. The amphitheater, located in Holmdel, features both reserved seating and a sprawling lawn section which can hold approximately 10,500 people. While there are some bands who make it a point to visit PNC every summer while touring, their schedule for the summer is vast and features performances that everyone in the family will love.

The Strand Theatre

Entertaining visitors of the Jersey Shore since 1922, the historic Strand Theatre has had its share of legends grace its stage. Performers like Milton Berle, George Burns, George Carlin, and more recently Taylor Swift, have all had their hay day at the Strand.

Count Basie Theater

Since 1926, the Count Basie Theater in Red Bank has been home to a range of entertainment from music to plays, there’s a little bit of everything for everyone. The vintage look of the historic theater is enchanting, and you’ll be able to see all your favorite artists and performers.

Whatever kind of entertainment you’re looking for, you’re bound to find a venue that’s providing it in Monmouth or Middlesex county. So go exploring, you never know what you can find nearby!

Summer Activities Monmouth County

School is out and summer is here, now is the perfect time to plan some quality time with your family. If you live in or around Monmouth County, you may be wondering what there is to do locally that won’t break the bank this season. We have compiled a list of some local events that provide fun for all ages without having to spend the whole day in the car traveling or spending your hard-earned money.

44th Annual Monmouth County Fair – July 25-29th
Located at the East Freehold Showgrounds, the annual summer fair has fun for the entire family! There is live musical entertainment scheduled each night in addition to rides, fireworks and 4-H exhibitions to capture the attention of the younger fair-goers. The county fair is a great time to support local vendors whether they are selling food items or handmade crafts. In addition, there is a featured “Home and Garden Competition” which showcases local bakers, gardeners and crafters as they show off their hard work in hopes of earning a blue ribbon.

Monmouth Park
While horseracing may not be the first thing that comes to mind for a family fun activity, the events held at Monmouth Park during racing season draw crowds of all ages. Themed weekends including the Surf & Turf Seafood Festival, the Italian Festival, BBQ & Craft Beer Festival, and even a Cornhole Tournament prove that the “shore’s greatest stretch” has more to offer than just thoroughbreds. Monmouth Park has activities running through early September and admission is $5 per person.

Local Bands and Movie Nights
One of the greatest perks about summer in Monmouth County is the plethora of outdoor activities within local communities. From Long Branch’s featured “Bands on the Beach” on Sundays, to Keansburg’s movies on the beach on Tuesdays, there are activities almost nightly to plan for the family. Monmouth County’s calendar of events showcases some of the more popular ones, but make sure you check out your local municipality for events in your own backyard!

While the weather is nice make sure you take time to enjoy all Monmouth County has to offer!

Selling A Home In The Summer

Summer is prime real estate season. Many homeowners choose summer to sell their home during this timeframe for many reasons. Moving is always easier in the warmer months when the weather is usually milder. It also makes for an easier transition when transferring kids to a different school. As a homeowner, there are many advantages to selling a home in the summer.

You Can Get the Best Price for Your Home

Home prices usually peak between June and August, so putting your house on the market during this period will usually get you the highest price. However, because there will so many comparable homes in the market during the summer, it is important to be realistic about price and not overvalue your home. Take your real estate’s agent advice on a price point and do research in your area so you’ll be prepared beforehand.

It Will Sell Quickly

A family looking to buy a home in the summer wants to do so quickly so that they can settle in before the school year starts, therefore quality homes in great locations don’t last very long on the market. Since there are so many potential buyers looking, chances are you will have an offer in no time.

Curb Appeal 

Landscaping looks the best in summer. Shrubs and trees are green, flowers are blooming, and the grass is lush and healthy. It’s the perfect time to take advantage of your beautiful yard and landscaping and show it off. A potential buyer won’t have to imagine what the outside looks like in the summer, they’ll be able to see it firsthand.

Increased Visibility

People are out and about in the warmer months, making selling a home in the summer much easier compared to the colder seasons. Your house will be seen by more potential buyers meaning more showings and hopefully more offers.

Selling a home in the summer is a smart choice for someone looking to make the most return on their investment.

Historical Sites in Monmouth and Ocean County

The adjacent counties of Monmouth and Ocean County are rich in history. There are several historical sites that draw visitors in from around the country all year long. Here are some of the most popular historical sites in Monmouth and Ocean County, as well as a few off the beaten path.

Allaire Village and Allaire State Park

Located in Monmouth County on the outer coastal plain of New Jersey, Allaire State Park is over 3,000 acres of forest that is bisected by the Manasquan River. The park is known for historic Allaire Village that dates back to the 1700’s and is a perfect spot for hiking, camping and fishing.

Monmouth Battlefield State Park

The Battle of Monmouth is known as a political triumph for the Continental Army and General George Washington, where American troops had met the British Army and forced them to retreat. The park now features reenactments of the battle every summer and draws tourists from far and wide.  Michael Gutman enjoys taking walks with his daughter at the Monmouth Battlefield State Park.  Be sure to visit the museum and watch the 10 minute movie in the Museums theater. You will truly appreciate what a historical place we live…the heart of the American Revolution.

Barnegat Lighthouse

Located in the Barnegat Lighthouse State Park in Ocean County, the 40-feet tall Barnegat Lighthouse, also known as “Old Barney”, was built in 1856. It was used in coast guard navigation until 1944. It was restored by donated funds in the 1980s and now shines its light from dusk to dawn daily. While the original light was only 40 feet tall, the present standing lighthouse is approximately 170 feet tall, making it the second tallest lighthouse in New Jersey after Absecon Light.    Be sure to check out Sinbad a Coast Guard Dog,  who is buried at the Coast  Guard Station Barnegat Light. Sinbad was a mixed breed dog that was one of two animals to be classified as non-commission officers by an arm of the United States Military. More history for you to google when you walk around Barnegat Light.  You may even find Michael Gutman fishing for Summer Flounder.

Lucy the Elephant

Historical doesn’t always mean boring. If you’re in the mood for something a little different, come see Lucy the Elephant, the oldest known roadside attraction. Located in Josephine Harron Park in Margate along the shore, Lucy stands six stories tall. She was built in 1881 by James Lafferty who felt she would draw visitors to his beach properties that were hidden in the distance by sand dunes. Visitors can climb the circular staircase inside her body to the top of the howdah on her back, where you have a beautiful 360-degree view of the shore.

Come see all these great historical sites in Monmouth and Ocean County.

Best Boardwalks in New Jersey

The Jersey Shore is known for its boardwalks. Some of the most famous boardwalks in the world are found in New Jersey, but there are plenty of hidden gems as well. Let’s take a look at the best boardwalks in the state.

Atlantic City

Let’s start with the most obvious. Atlantic City has been world renowned for decades but it’s not just the casinos and shows that draw people to this iconic city. The boardwalk is the star of the show, having the distinct honor of being the very first boardwalk built in the United States in 1870. At an astonishing four miles in length, you can get a little bit of everything on the AC boardwalk, from quaint little gift shops to four-star restaurants.

Ocean City

Ocean City, New Jersey has been a favorite summer vacation spot for families since the early 1900s and has one of the best boardwalks in the state. Its 2-mile long boardwalk is known for its family-centric restaurants and entertainment.

Seaside Heights

Gaining national fame for the being the set of the infamous MTV series “The Jersey Shore”, the Seaside Heights boardwalk has a lot more to offer than meets the eye. Its famous family attractions like Casino Pier and Breakwater Beach have kept it a popular tourist destination for decades. The world-famous Sky Ride gives you a one of a kind view of the shore that you won’t find anywhere else.

Belmar

Belmar Beach and its newly refurbished boardwalk is one of the best-kept secrets in New Jersey. Filled with bicyclists and joggers, Belmar’s non-commercial boardwalk is known for its family-friendly attractions. There are plenty of unique eateries and shops across the street to explore when you’re done at the beach for the day.

New Jersey has some of the best boardwalks in the country full of rich history and fun attractions. No summer would be complete without exploring all the Jersey shore has to offer.