Real Estate News

Thinking of Putting Your House on the Market ? - Tips for Home Sellers

Posted on by Lisa Barton

Thinking of putting your house on the market?. Once you have made the decision to sell (and enlisted the help of a highly competent agent, of course) you need to do everything possible to make your property stand-out and command the attention of buyers.  Here are some tips on what to do and why:

  • Remember, first impressions count, really count! The curb appeal of your house is critical. Your house must look tidy and well cared for. You want the potential buyers to be excited about coming inside!  Make sure the grass is neat, the hedges are trimmed and any decaying limbs are pruned from trees. Plant fresh flowers to add color or enhance planters you have in the entry. This is the time to paint the trim, change the old mailbox, pressure wash the driveway and sidewalk, re-hang or replace shutters and paint the front door. If the door knob and lock are looking shabby they should be polished or replaced too. The entrance hallway should be welcoming. You can add a bench or decorate a table with fresh flowers.
  • Before putting your house on the market make any minor repairs.  All appliances, doors, windows, and drawers should be in good working order.  This would be a very good time to have a home inspection and address any issues found by the inspector.
  • Declutter and depersonalize your house (including the closets, bookshelves and walls). Buyers need to see themselves in the house, and the more of your personal effects they see, the more difficult this will be for them. Remember, you’re moving anyway so this is a great time to start packing.

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Luxury Listings in Jacksonville and Ponte Vedra Beach

Posted on by Lisa Barton

Real estate values in our area have been trending up since 2011, but so far there has never been a sale of a home over $10,000,000 in Northeast Florida. That may change soon. The FL Times Union just featured an article about two new homes for sale that are priced above $10,000,000. One is a river front house for sale in San Marco and the other is an ocean front house for sale in Ponte Vedra Beach

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Five Reasons that Buyers and Builders are Bullish on Today’s Housing Market

Posted on by Lisa Barton

More great news for our local real estate market! Recent market data indicates that buyers and builders continue to be very bullish (positive) about residential real estate, both nationally and in Northeast Florida. Building permits for new construction nationwide were at the highest level since the economic crisis of 2008, and housing starts were at the 2nd highest levels. Additionally, mortgage applications continue to rise. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) confidence sentiment gauge held at 60 in July, matching the previous month at the highest since November 2005.

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Insurance Tips for Florida Homeowners during Hurricane Season

Posted on by Lisa Barton

Hurricane Season Insurance Checklist

Hurricane season officially began June 1st.  You may have mapped out your evacuation route but have you reviewed your insurance coverage to make sure you are properly protected? Here are a few things to consider:

Homeowners Coverage

Check your policy limit; is it enough to rebuild your home?  Remember, the real estate value of a house is not the same as the cost to rebuild.

Consider these homeowners coverages and check your limits:

  • Guaranteed Replacement Cost – pays the full amount to rebuild your home whatever the ultimate cost.
  • Ordinance and Law Coverage – pays a specified amount for rebuilding to new building codes, should your community adopt stricter codes. Older homes may need more coverage.
  • Coverage for screened enclosures - Some companies include this coverage, others may add it by endorsement. Make sure you know what coverage you have and what limit applies.
  • What is your deductible - this should be is stated in your policy. Policies often have different deductibles for hurricanes and all other perils.

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2014 Real Estate Update for Jacksonville and Ponte Vedra Beach

Posted on by Lisa Barton

In our last market update—Third Quarter 2014—we summarized national and local trends and indicated that there was quiet optimism about the real estate market outlook for Jacksonville Beach, Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach and Ponte Vedra Beach. With another quarter behind us we confirm the view that our local market is indeed normalizing with rapid price gains now behind us.

According to the Northeast Florida Multiple Listing Service, overall there were only minor changes in key real estate market indicators for the Jacksonville Beaches 2013 versus 2014: 

  • New listings were up 2% to 1697 in 2014 versus 1664 last year.  
  • Total sales dropped by 10% from 1278 to 1150, 2013 vs. 2014, respectively.  
  • However, the months of inventory supply increased only 3.4%, to 4.5 months. We consider six months supply of inventory to reflect a balanced market—and none of our four markets is currently at that level, suggesting we're in what would be considered a sellers market.
  • Median sales prices (including all Beaches areas) were virtually unchanged (down 0.6%) from $293,348 to $291,528.  
  • New home construction continues to be very strong across all our markets, and particularly in the Nocatee area. Nocatee is the third fastest growing residential community in the US—and that growth is evident not only in the number of homes sold, but also in the commercial real estate development that is underway.

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Real Estate Assessment vs Appraisal: What Home Buyers Need to Know

Posted on by Lisa Barton

If you're considering buying a home or if you're already a homeowner in the Jacksonville area, it's important that you understand the difference between the assessed and appraised value of a property. The valuation terms appraisal and assessment are often confused. While both define and measure the worth of a home, each is used in differenct context.

Appraised value is important with regard to the sale or refinance of a property. The goal of a licensed appraiser is to estimate the true market value of a property. Generally this is done on behalf of a lender before a mortgage loan can be approved in order to protect the lender's investment. The appraiser completes a thorough examination of the property to arrive at the value, often conducting a physical inspection of the home and comparing the house to other similar homes in the neighborhood and/or surrounding neighborhoods. This information enables the appraiser to provide an expert opionion regarding the property's value.

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Real Estate Market Report for Ponte Vedra Beach and Jacksonville 3rd Quarter 2014

Posted on by Lisa Barton

The real estate market in Ponte Vedra Beach, Jacksonville and the Jacksonville Beaches continues to change and improve. The national housing trends also bear watching. The news is good across major economic indicators as the housing market continues its recovery since bouncing off the bottom in March 2012. 

Some of the real estate highlights include:

  • Housing prices continue to improve year-over-year albeit at a slowing pace from the double digit improvements experienced in 2013 and early 2014. Price gains have been steadily slowing since December, and the latest S&P/Case-Shiller report issued on 10/28/14 (two month lag time) showed that U.S. single-family home prices gained just 5.1% over prices one year earlier.
  • Groundbreaking on new homes was up 17.8% year-over-year in September, a 6.3% increase over the prior month.
  • In September, existing home sales hit their fastest pace so far for 2014.
  • As of August 2014, average home prices across the U.S. are back to their spring 2005 levels for the National Index.

The above data appears to indicate that the market is normalizing with rapid price gains now behind us and slow, but steady, growth in front of us. 

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Changes to Flood Insurance in Florida: What Homeowners Should Know

Posted on by Lisa Barton

Storms over the last two decades have brought on a considerable amount of flooding throughout the state. It is not only the coastal cities that have seen the flooding. The coastal areas are the ones that people assume are associated with flood insurance. However, even areas more inland are experiencing floods where it is not uncommon to see seven inches or more of water after a single day’s worth of rain.  

FEMA has created new maps in the past year that have taken effect. These new maps are placing more areas into flood zones and that’s creating the need for more Florida flood insurance. Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida is one such area that has seen a significant shift in the flood areas. Those that are in flood areas are identified by risk. The higher level risk areas are forced to purchase flood insurance additional to what their Florida homeowner’s insurance policy offers because of the zoning.

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