Memorial Day Weekend has arrived along with the start to the summer season here at the shore. There is lots to do this weekend! Here’s a brief list of just some of the ways you can celebrate the start of summer.
Jersey Shore Chamber Summer Kick Off
The third annual Jersey Shore Chamber of Commerce Summer Kick Off starts the weekend off on Friday, May 26 from 11:30 am to 5:30 pm The day starts at Klein’s Fist Market & Waterside Cafe in Belmar and then heads to Fratello’s Restaurant & Bar in Sea Girt, The Atlantic Club in Manasquan and River Rock Restaurant & Marina Bar in Brick. Bus transportation tickets are $20. For more information visit Jersey Shore Chamber of Commerce.
Bradley Beach Memorial Day Weekend Celebration
Celebrate the holiday weekend with a Memorial Day festival on the boardwalk in Bradley Beach. The parade begins at 10 am on Ocean Avenue on Saturday morning. Saturday, May 27 through Monday, May 29, 9 am to 7 pm. For more information visit bradleybeachnj.gov.
The New Jersey Vietnam Veterans Rememberance Day Ceremony
The New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Foundation invites all to attend the annual ceremony to honor our veterans. Monday, May 29 at 11 am at the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Foundation, 1 Memorial Lane, Holmdel. For more information visit njvvmf.org.
Memorial Day Weekend Fireworks Party
Relax on the beach and take in a spectacular display of fireworks courtesy of Asbury Park Boardwalk on Sunday, May 28 from 8 – 10 pm. Asbury Park Boardwalk, Ocean Avenue between Asbury and Sunset Avenues. For more information visit apboardwalk.com.
Asbury Park Press Summer Guide
So, if you start planning a Jersey Shore itinerary, it’s probably going to fill up pretty quickly.
You can start the day with a run on the boardwalk or maybe some beach yoga. Dash off to a Red Bank restaurant for brunch. Do a little shopping Long Branch and watch the sunset then finish off the night with a concert at Seaside Heights. Not a bad day, right?
That’s the great thing about summer, whether it’s day or night, a weekend or mid-week, the Jersey Shore offers so much. Days can be filled with wandering through craft fairs and festivals or on a visit to New Jersey winery. At night, you can unwind with a cocktail on a rooftop bar, or get your groove on in front of the Stone Pony Summer Stage. And if you want to relax, grab a book and an Adirondack chair and let the summer come to you.
That’s why the Asbury Park Press and the USA Today Network are proud to bring you the 2017 Jersey Shore Summer Guide. This year, our reporters and editors have packed this free guide with great things to do, places to eat, festivals – even some plans for rainy days, road trips and staycations.
Also, don’t miss the NJ TODAY our all-new, up-to-the-minute info on where to go, what to eat and what concerts to see all summer. The app is available in the Google Play and Apple app stores, and it will help you to make plans for the entire season wherever you are in New Jersey.
We hope you enjoy all your days and nights this summer.
– Jamila Robinson/ Features Editor/Asbury Park Press
Home buyers had better act fast: Homes are flying off the market.
In April, existing (as opposed to newly built) homes across the nation were for sale for a median of only 29 days before they were snapped up by buyers, according to a recent National Association of Realtors® report. That’s the shortest period of time since NAR began tracking these sales in May 2011.
Homes sold the fastest in some of the country’s hottest—and most expensive—metros. Silicon Valley’s San Jose led the pack, at a median 23 days, followed by San Francisco, at 25 days; Denver, at 27 days; and Seattle, at 28 days.
Homes are selling so quickly because there aren’t enough of them to meet demand. So buyers are pouncing on them lest they miss out.
“The lack of homes on the market is a big deal. It’s crimping sales,” says Senior Economist Joseph Kirchner of realtor.com®, adding that the inventory of homes for sale was particularly low after buyers raced to close the previous month. In particular, “the number of homes at the affordable and moderately priced level is so tight that buyers can’t find homes under $250,000.”
This shortage might also explain why sales dipped 2.3% from March, according to the seasonally adjusted numbers in the report. However, they were still up 1.6% over April 2016.
(Realtor.com® looked only at the seasonally adjusted numbers, which have been smoothed out over 12 months to account for seasonal fluctuations.)
What’s the impact on how much homes cost?
The lack of homes for sale is also turbocharging price tags. The median existing-home price hit $244,800 in April. That’s up nearly 3.5% from March and represents a 6% annual increase.
“Homes in the lower- and mid-market price range are hard to find in most markets,” NAR’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said in a statement. “When one is listed for sale, interest is immediate and multiple offers are nudging the eventual sales prices higher.”
However, the median price of an existing home was significantly less, about 25.6% to be exact, than the median cost of a newly built home, according to a joint report by the U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. New homes went for a median $309,200 in April.
Overall, prices of existing and new homes rose 1.4% in the first quarter of the year compared with the previous quarter, according to a recent report from the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s House Price Index. They were up 6% year over year, rising in every state—except Delaware and North Dakota—and Washington, DC.
The index used only data on mortgages sold to or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
As for specific cities, annual prices rose the most in the Grand Rapids, MI, metro area by about 13.7% in the first quarter, according to the report. Meanwhile, they dipped the most in the San Francisco metro, by about 2.5%.
Where are all the homes?
Although monthly sales of existing homes were down throughout the country, the one exception was in the Midwest, which is known for its affordable homes and lower cost of living, according to the NAR report. Sales rose 3.8% in the region despite median prices rising 7.8% annually, to hit $194,500 in April.
Sales fell the most in the South from March, at 5%. However, they were 3.6% higher than the previous year. Annual prices rose 7.9%, to reach $217,700.
Monthly purchases also dropped 3.3% in the West, but were up 3.5% annually. Prices were up 6.8% annually in the region, at a median $358,600.
And monthly and annual sales both tumbled by 2.7% in the Northeast. Annual prices rose 1.6%, to $267,700.
What this means for home buyers
But all in all, home buyers had better get their ducks in a row to move quickly if they’re looking to buy an existing home.
“Demand is easily outstripping supply in most of the country, and it’s stymieing many prospective buyers from finding a home to purchase,” NAR’s Yun said in a statement.
| May 24, 2017
It’s a busy weekend here at the shore! Check out what’s happening.
New Jersey Seafood Festival
Friday, May 19th 4pm-8pm – Saturday, May 20th 11am-8pm – Sunday, May 21st 11am-6pm
Rain or Shine
Silver Lake Park – 5th and Ocean Avenues, Belmar, NJ
This year’s New Jersey Seafood Festival promises exciting new activities and attractions for the whole family – live music, wine and craft beer tent, contests, kids activities, and of course the tastiest seafood around!
Beer & Wine Tent will be serving:
- Beach Haus
- Bud Light
- Land Shark
- Blue Point Toasted Lager
- Barefoot Wine
The New Jersey Seafood Festival is not only a great place to eat, it’s a great place to shop. Lots and lots of great craft vendors to choose from.
Parking and Shuttles at the NJ Seafood Festival
Free parking at the Municipal parking lot at 5th and River Road and Dempsey Park on 16th Avenue. Free shuttles will run through Belmar continuously from 11am to 8 pm on Saturday and 11am until 6pm on Sunday, with stops at the Marina, the Belmar train station, delivering visitors to the end of Silver Lake at 5th Avenue (right next to the festival).
Presented by the Belmar Tourism Commission
A Taste of Bradley
Check in on event day for your wristband to take the tour @ Riley Park (Main Street and Bradley Beach Train Station). Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 on event day. Follow the red balloons on Main Street!
- Vic’s Bar & Restaurant
- Village Tobacco
- FINS TropiCali Cuisine
- Shore Deli & Grill
- Fine Health KIombucha
- D’Arcy’s Tavern
- Tuscany by the Sea
- Panchos & Juanchos
- The Elbow Room
- Aires De Columbia
- Paws & Anchor
- Bradley Liquor Store
- Ann Bags Boutique
- Via Mare Pizza, Bar & Grill
Wave of Hope Benefit
The Wave of Hope foundation was started in 2011 by the Le Vine Family to support awareness and funds for research towards SSADH; a rare metabolic disorder. SSADH deficiency is inherited as an autosomal recessive trait. Thus, two parents whom are carriers have a 25% chance of producing children with this disease. In Karen and Jesse Le Vine”s case, two of their four daughters developed it.
May 21, 2017
START TIME: 1:00 PM
LOCATION: The Columns 601 Ocean Avenue, Avon-by-the-Sea, NJ
TICKETS: $25.00 – Purchase at the Door.
Live Music, Food, Drinks, Raffles, Prizes, Good times with Friends and Family while supporting awareness and research for SSADH.
Many college graduates hoping to buy a home wonder how to get a mortgage while saddled with student loan debt. Is it even possible to take on more monthly bills when you’re already haunted by college tuition? Turns out it is, in spite of how bad things look.
And yes, we know it looks quite bad. In fact, 41% of college-educated Americans with student loans report having postponed buying a home because of their debt, according to a recent survey by Student Loan Hero, a service that helps people pay off their student debt more efficiently. Making matters worse, student debt surged 56% from 2004 to 2014, to an average of $28,950 per borrower, reports the Institute for College Access & Success.
Nonetheless, owning a home is still well within reach for many—here’s how to qualify for a mortgage while juggling college debt.
FIRST TIME HOME BUYER SEMINAR
Join us for a FREE information session and get your questions answered. No obligations – just information.
Hear from real estate professionals: real estate broker, real estate attorney, title professional, and mortgage professional.
Hosted by The Connolly Agency at 216 Main Street, Avon by the Sea, NJ on Thursday, June 8, 2017 from 6pm-8pm.
Call 732.361.0800 or email [email protected] for more information.
Understand debt-to-income ratio
One rule you’ll need to understand is the debt-to-income ratio, or DTI, which compares how much money you owe (on student loans, credit cards, car loans, and—hopefully soon—a home loan) to your income.
Most mortgage lenders require a borrower’s DTI to be no more than 36%. The best way to think about this is in terms of your monthly expenses. For example, if you make $6,000 a month but spend $500 a month paying off student loans and credit cards, you divide $500 by $6,000 to get a DTI of 8.3%. This is well below 36%, but it will rise significantly if you add a mortgage to your monthly dues.
Want to get a ballpark figure of how much money you can borrow for a home while juggling debt? Simple: Just make sure your mortgage doesn’t push your DTI into the danger zone above 36%. To figure that out, enter your income and debts into a home affordability calculator. For instance, in the above scenario, someone making $6,000 a month and paying $500 a month in debt would be able to afford a maximum monthly mortgage payment of $1,680—which, in many markets, is plenty to buy a house.
Refinance your student loans
While most college tuition borrowers get their original loan from the federal government, it’s also possible to refinance with a private lender. So why would you want to? Because according to a recent survey by college lender marketplace Credible.com, one-third of these borrowers can snag lower interest rates with a private refi, which could free up cash for a home loan.
Another way to make room for a mortgage is to refinance and extend the life of your college loan. This results in smaller payments over a longer period of time—and more money you can put toward a mortgage. Of course, one downside is you’ll end up paying more in interest over the life of your college loan; however, it means you can buy a home now, which may well be worth it. To learn more, Student Loan Hero picked six of the best private lenders for student loan refinancing.
Take advantage of Fannie Mae’s new policies
Fannie Mae, the government-sponsored enterprise that buys and securitizes home loans, recently rolled out two new policies designed to make it easier for college grads with student loan debt to get a mortgage. Here’s what’s changed in your favor:
- Debts paid by other parties: One policy gives mortgage applicants the ability to exclude non-mortgage debt (like credit cards or student loans) paid by someone else (such as a parent or employer) from their DTI. As such, this option might enable you to stay below the 36% DTI threshold that most lenders set.
- Income-based repayments: In the past, lenders assessing your worthiness for a home loan were required to factor in 1% of your entire college loan balance as your monthly payment—which could be sizable and push you over that 36% DTI threshold. But now, Fannie Mae allows lenders to acknowledge that you could be paying much less than 1% if you participate in federal reduced-payment income-based programs. And that bodes much better for being approved for a home loan.
Look for local mortgage programs for college grads
Nearly half of states offer housing assistance to college grads carrying student loan debt. For instance, New York’s new Graduate to Homeownership program provides assistance to first-time buyers/college grads in the form of low-interest-rate mortgages or up to $15,000 in down payment assistance. Granted, restrictions apply—for instance, you may be required to buy a home in certain areas—but it certainly pays to explore what your state offers in terms of assistance.
Clean up other aspects of your financial profile
Even if you’re chipping away at a mountain of student loan debt, it does not need to sink your home-buying prospects because it’s just one facet of what lenders look at to judge your eligibility for a home loan.
“Student loan debt is just one factor that affects your [mortgage application],” says Donna Bradford, assistant vice president at Navy Federal Credit Union’s Metro Mortgage Processing & Closing department. So what else counts? Your income of course, and a good credit score, which means you pay your credit cards and other debts (including college loans) on time. A sizable down payment can also make a difference (more on that next).
Beef up your down payment
Even if you’re trapped between a low income and high student loans, another way to pass muster is having enough cash to make a 20% down payment on your house. Lenders are much less likely to disqualify an application with 20% down, because it shows you have “skin in the game,” as they say, which lowers the risk that you’ll default on your loan.
Sadly, many young home buyers can’t afford a 20% down payment, especially considering that 37% of millennial renters have not saved a cent for a down payment, according to a recent survey by Apartment List. But don’t lose heart if you’re low on cash; there are ways to save for a down payment fast.
| May 10, 2017
Daniel Bortz is a Realtor in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC, who has written for Money magazine, Entrepreneur magazine, CNNMoney, and more.
Cinco de Mayo
This Friday marks Cinco de Mayo! The date is observed to commemorate the Mexican Army’s unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza. Here in the U.S., Cinco de Mayo has become a day to celebrate Mexican-American culture. Here’s just a few local spots where you can have your celebration! Let us know your favorite spot for great food and fun!
What once was a small restaurant has turned into a place that still serves the same delicious cuisine with all the same flair, but this time with alcohol and lots of tequila. Take on the all you can eat buffet for just $20 on Cinco de Mayo while you listen to XOL Azul’s authentic Spanish music and maybe win some prizes. It’s a fiesta that’s worth waiting for!
What was once a little known secret has quickly become one of the best-known restaurants in Asbury Park. La Tapatia is the place to chow down on your favorite Mexican dishes from burritos to enchiladas. Classic cuisine in a classic abode. And here’s a little known secret – they have a liquor license!
What Jose’s Mexican Restaurant lacks in décor, they make up in the quality of their food. Walk in on any night of the week and you’ll find locals happily eating home cooked Mexican cuisine that keeps people coming back again and again.
This weekend marks the start of the season for several of the Shore area’s seasonal hot spots. Here’s a couple that are starting their season this weekend.
The Columns is kicking off their season this weekend starting on Friday with the E-Street Shuffle starting at 9 PM. Saturday, Bob Bandiera & Friends are back starting at 8 PM. Head over and enjoy the ocean views and know soon, you can be heading to the Columns after your day at the beach!
D’Jais in Belmar has a whole line-up planned for their Opening Weekend. Friday night kicks it off with Holme Annual Rock for Autism starting at 7 PM.
May 1st marked the opening of the Norwood Inn for the 2017 season. Stop by Saturday night to see Joe Bonanno and the Godsons of Soul starting at 6 PM.
Looking for some daytime fun?
Avon by the Sea Town-wide Garage Sale
Saturday marked Avon by the Sea’s town-wide Garage Sale.
Ocean Grove Arts & Crafts Show
Saturday, 10 AM – 4 PM, head on over to the Ocean Grove Spring Fling Arts & Crafts Show at the Auditorium Square Park. Free admission and Live Music!
A heartfelt thank you to all of our agents, clients, friends and families, as today we celebrate four years in the real estate business as The Connolly Agency. As we look back upon May 3, 2013 , the day the New Jersey Real Estate commission gave us the thumbs up to open our doors as the new entity, we are amazed at how quickly we made the transition from the old agency to the new. Leigh Johnson, Mark Pasch, and Lori Koleda, thank you for all that you did that weekend in 2013, for you made the entire rebranding in one weekend look seamless. Your execution was flawless. To the agents that chose to stay with us as we became The Connolly Agency, and to the new agents who have joined us along the way, thank you for making coming to work a joy each and every day. It is the agents that truly make the Agency. To our clients that continued to work with us through the name change and the rebranding, and to the new clients we have also been fortunate enough to work with over the past four years, THANK YOU! You are the reason we come to work each day. And finally, to our families and our friends for your continued support. We could not do this without you. We look forward to more good things to come. Thank you!
Get your house and yard in good order now, and you’ll be ready to enjoy the summer days ahead.
Paint or stain your home’s exterior.
Longer days and generally milder weather makes May a good month to schedule house painting. If your home has a wood-shingled exterior, replace any damaged shingles and have a fresh coat of stain applied if needed.
Check exterior lighting.
Make sure all outdoor lights are in working order, including porch lights, landscape lighting, and motion-sensing security lights. Replace bulbs or schedule repairs as needed.
Get ready for grilling season.
Giving your grill a deep cleaning before the start of the season will help it work more efficiently and prevent flare-ups. Clean the grates and interior with a grill brush and wash the exterior with warm, soapy water. Clean and organize your grill tools (tongs, spatula, skewers) and pick up charcoal or propane if needed.
If you have a gas grill, be sure to check the fuel line for cracks, and clean out any clogged burner holes.
Inspect kitchen and bath fixtures.
Keeping an eye on these areas can help prevent costly water damage and repairs later on. Regrout or caulk around counters and tile as needed. If you come across any slow leaks, have these repaired as well.
Check safety devices.
Test smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors; replace batteries as needed. Check the expiration date on your fire extinguisher and replace it if necessary.
Get walls dust-free and touch up paint.
Use a dusting attachment on your vacuum or an electrostatic duster to clean away dust from walls, paying special attention to corners and baseboards. For a deeper clean, wipe down walls with warm, soapy water after dusting. Rinse with clean water, using a lint-free cloth. Touch up paint as needed on interior walls and trim.
Rotate the mattresses on all beds and flip over if possible.
Dust nightstands, lamps, headboard, blinds and decor.
Swap heavy duvets for lighter weight bedding for the warmer months.
Deep clean the laundry room.
Run the washing machine with specialty tub cleaner (or with vinegar for a natural solution) on a hot water cycle.
Wipe the rubber rim inside the door of the washer and dryer and remove lint from the dryer vent with a vent brush or vacuum attachment.
Clean countertops, mop floors and restock supplies.
Prep picnic supplies.
This is the season for alfresco feasts. Be ready for impromptu picnics by sorting through your outdoor dining supplies at the start of the season and keeping a basket of essentials within easy reach.
Your kit doesn’t need to be extensive to get the job done: a cheese knife, small cutting board, bottle opener and blanket, plus a few outdoor dishes and cups should see you through many a picnic.
Add a relaxing porch feature.
Yesterday was Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day. And, the Connolly family was hard at work here at The Connolly Agency.
Our day began with a run on the Avon Boardwalk.
Next, Sam and Jake powered up for the day with breakfast at Bings Deli.
Sam and Jake headed to the Avon office.
Lorenzo, the newest addition to the Connolly family, headed to the Bradley Beach office.
At the office, Sam and Jake helped with inventory, organizing the office’s Open House signs, and getting contractor quotes.
Lorenzo, in the mean time, greeted clients with his cheerful demeanor and lots of snuggles.
The Connolly boys enjoyed a power lunch with Mom, Brenda from the Bedrock Cafe.
They wrapped up their day with haircuts from our neighbor, Studio Z, and then headed to the Lake Como ballfield to play a little baseball on the Connolly Agency sponsored team.
Take your Daughters and Sons to Work Day
Designed to be more than a career day, the Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work program goes beyond the average practice of “shadowing” an adult. Exposing girls and boys to what a parent or mentor in their lives does during the work day is important, but showing them the value of their education, helping them discover the power and possibilities associated with a balanced work and family life, providing them an opportunity to share how they envision the future, and allowing them to begin steps toward their end goals in a hands-on and interactive environment is key to their achieving success.
This year’s celebration of Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day was the 24th Anniversary of the program. By bringing girls and boys together, we all contribute to creating a more equitable world-at home, at school, and in the workplace.