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.

 

 

 

Things You Need to Know When Selling Your House to Family

If you are thinking about selling your home to a family member, here are a few things you should consider:

  1. An inspection and an appraisal.

While your family members may be familiar with the house and love it as much as you do, no one wants a surprise. An inspection may reveal things you may not even know. For example, you’re not going to intentionally sell your son or daughter a house with a mold problem, but since mold tends to hide in the walls, you may not be aware the house has an issue.

 

As for the appraisal, you and the family member you’re selling to probably aren’t aware of what the house is worth. In this case, you may intentionally sell the house below market value because, after all, it’s family. However, you definitely don’t want to overcharge a family member.

 

  1. Your relative may have to pay a gift tax.

You may want to give your family member a break on the price of the house because it’s your gift to them, typically called a gift of equity.

 

It is important to review your situation with an accountant.

Selling to a family member isn’t as easy as simply handing the keys over and walking away from the house. It’s a complicated process. An experienced real estate lawyer, such as Michael Gutman, can help make the process easier.

  1. Preparing a contract:

Its important to have a contract to outline the agreement between the buyer and seller.  The buyers mortgage company will require a contract.  It’s a family matter, and you may consider the contract just a formality, however, a properly prepared contract will help the buyer and seller understand and allocate their responsibilities.

 

 

 

Preparing Your Home to Sell in The Spring

It may be winter, but it’s never to early to prepare your home for the spring market. Before you put your home up for sale, here are a few things you should do.

Clean

This may sound obvious, but the little things do matter. While you probably don’t usually scrub the windows inside and out or make your mirrors spotless, going above and beyond in your cleaning will make your home more appealing to the buyer.

Declutter and Organize

We all know most houses are well lived in. If we’re being honest, we all have a pile of old magazines or mail we keep meaning to organize. However, buyers want the illusion of a perfectly kept house, so they can imagine their family living in the house you are selling. This means keeping on top of your mail, so it doesn’t pile up in the office or kitchen and keeping the children’s toys in a drawer. By putting stuff away, you’ll avoid the last second scramble to put things away the day before an open house.

Update

Updating your house doesn’t have to be time consuming or expensive. It can be as easy as painting the walls, putting new grout in the shower, and installing new light fixtures, door knobs, and switch plates.

Curb Appeal

The first thing buyers see when they arrive at your house is the outside, so it’s important to make a good first impression. To do this, make sure the yard is well kept. While you may think there’s nothing you can do to your lawn in the winter, there are some winter treatments available.

 

By cleaning, decluttering, updating, and adding curb appeal to your house during the winter, you will be ready for homebuyers when they come knocking on your door in the spring. When that time comes, make sure you contact Michael Gutman to help with your Real Estate Law needs.

Where to Take Unused Paint

You’ve found the perfect house for your expanding family or have decided to downsize in your retirement. There’s one problem. Before you move, you have to pack and clean your house. During this process, you find several half-full paint cans piled in closets you rarely open and corners of your basement you never visit. What do you do?

Most things you don’t want can be thrown into the garbage without much thought. However, while it may be tempting to do that with unused paint, it is dangerous because once that paint goes to a landfill, it will leak chemicals into the ground.

Instead of throwing it in a dumpster, it is a much better idea to bring it to the Monmouth County Recycling Center, officially called the Monmouth County Reclamation Center, at 600 Asbury Avenue in Tinton Falls. We should note that’ some paints are accepted while others aren’t. Most liquid paints, which includes oil base, enamel, and spray paint, are accepted.  

You may have noticed latex paint is missing from this list. The good news is that you don’t have to take it anywhere. While you shouldn’t dump half a can of wet paint directly into the dumpster, it is easy to prepare latex paint for disposal. All you need to do is let it dry out. This won’t take much time if there’s just a little bit at the bottom of the can, but we’ve all bought much more paint than we ended up using. Waiting for a significant amount of to paint dry in a can could take days. A convenient way to dry the paint faster is to put it out in the sun with kitty litter, newspaper, or something else that can absorb paint.

For those unsure of the proper way to dispose their paint and other possibly toxic household waste, a list is available on the Monmouth County Reclamation website of what is acceptable and what is unacceptable.