Couple launches NJ tour company to help those looking to flee NYC

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MONTCLAIR, New Jersey — Maria and Jay Hassler are on the move. They’re on a quest to find their dream home in the suburbs of New Jersey.

What the Washington Heights couple wants is nothing out of the ordinary: a home near good schools with decent property taxes and nearby public transportation.

After months of searching, they quickly realized it was no easy task.

“We drove to Montclair to South Orange and back and forth in a way that was kind of random,” Jay Hassler told PIX11 News. “[Also] expensive because every time we were doing this we had to rent a car, we had to pay the tolls, you know pay the gas.”

Amid the frustration they decided to launch their own venture, Town Hopper Tours — a 3-hour tour where a dozen or so couples board a luxury mini-bus to see five towns in the Garden State.

“It became sort of organic in a way,” Maria Hassler said. “We have done so much research already for ourselves and we were like – what are we going to do with all of this that we’ve been gathering, and we thought why don’t we create this tour we’ve been thinking about, the one we couldn’t find.”

The tour will cost $149 per person and every one who signs up gets a binder full of research that breaks everything down, including the low-down on recently sold homes, property taxes and school reviews, which zero in on the towns of Bloomfield, South Orange, Glen Ridge, Maplewood and Montclair.

While their new business venture has sidetracked their own moving plans, both Jay, who is a working musician, and Maria, a writer, hope it helps outsiders dodge the drama of house hunting in New Jersey.

“This would’ve saved us many hundreds of dollars and many weekends,” the couple said.

“There’s only 52 weekends a year and we spent a lot of them, more than half of them are gone now.”

The first tour will be September 17. For PIX11 viewers who are looking to make the move to New Jersey, use the discount code PIX11 for an $11 discount.

To sign up, visit their website.