Florida’s weak job and distressed real estate markets continue to contribute to the high foreclosure rate.  The state still leads the nation in delinquent loans.  Some claim states with non-judicial foreclosures fair better in clearing the inventory.  But more importantly, a collapsing real estate market and 11.9% jobless rate seem to be the major culprits.  The foreclosure freeze earlier this year did not appear to have the impact feared.  Read more below. 

WASHINGTON – Nov. 19, 2010 – Florida still leads the nation in the percentage of homeowners who are “seriously delinquent” on their loans, the Mortgage Bankers Association said Thursday.

In the state, 19.52 percent of borrowers were either 90 days past due or in foreclosure in the third quarter. Add in borrowers who are 30 and 60 days late, and nearly one in four Floridians are behind on their loans.

The good news is that Florida’s seriously delinquent rate is down from 20.13 percent in the second quarter. But no other state met Florida’s lofty level of late payers. Nevada was No. 2 at 17.83 percent, while Illinois’ 10.77 percent ranked third.

With Florida’s job market still weak and home prices way down from a few years ago, it’s no surprise that the state’s delinquency rates are so high, said Jack McCabe, a real estate analyst in Deerfield Beach.

“With 48 percent of the state’s homeowners underwater, we’re going to continue to see delinquencies go up,” McCabe said. “The truth is a lot of people have given up and have stopped paying their mortgages.”

Part of the blame lies with the way foreclosures are handled in Florida, said Michael Fratantoni, the Mortgage Bankers’ vice president of research and economics. Florida and other states where foreclosures go through the courts have foreclosure inventories that are twice as high as so-called non-judicial states, he said.

Of course, the court system is only partly to blame for Florida’s delinquency problem. The bigger culprits are a withering collapse in prices and an 11.9 percent jobless rate that’s well above the national unemployment rate of 9.6 percent.

Nationally, the delinquency rate fell, too, which the Mortgage Bankers Association attributed to modest improvements in the job market. The foreclosure freeze at some lenders hasn’t played a role in falling delinquencies.

“The foreclosure paperwork issues announced by several large servicers in late September and early October are unlikely to have had a large impact on the third-quarter numbers,” Fratantoni said.

Copyright © 2010 The Palm Beach Post, Fla., Jeff Ostrowski. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Happy Kwanza and Happy New Year to you and yours! No matter how you choose to celebrate the winter holidays, here are some tips to make them safer and more secure.

  • There are ‘Porch Pirates’ out there waiting to steal packages off your porch or from in front of your front door. If possible you should have these deliveries sent to a secure place – your office? A secure drop box? The home of a trusted neighbor who is home during the day? If none of these is possible, you should opt for a signature for all deliveries.
  • Porch Pirates are not the only people out there that want your gifts. Please do not leave anything in your vehicle in plain sight. It is just an invitation for thieves to help themselves to your property. Always keep packages in your trunk if possible.
  • There are some other people out there that are on the naughty list… these are people who are trying to steal your credit card information electronically. Invest in an RFID wallet which will keep the thieves from getting your credit card info when you walk past them. If you don’t have an RFID wallet, you can buy sleeves to protect your credit cards, and if you need a little extra protection you can always wrap your cards in aluminum foil, which will get the job done.
  • If you are leaving to visit friends or relatives for a few days, or even overnight, have your mail held by the Post Office and stop your newspaper delivery. Nothing says “we’re not home” better than a pile of newspapers in front of your home.
  • If you are leaving town, invest in some inexpensive timers to have lights go on and off while you are away. This will help keep the bad guys wondering if you are home or not.
  • Last tip, but certainly an important one – wait until you get home to tell the world where you have been and don’t post photos of yourself when you are not home.  No one can be sure who is looking at your social media posts and it very well could be someone who is out to steal your stuff!

    Have a great Holiday Season and we hope 2019 will be happy, healthy and prosperous for you and yours!

‘Tis the season for… fires? Yep. Not exactly what you or your landlord want for the holidays. Here are some helpful hints to avoid on Thanksgiving and Christmas that everyone will remember for all the wrong reasons:

Fried Turkeys

You might want to re-think your cooking method. Although tasty, The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports numerous turkey-fryer related fires, burns, explosions or carbon monoxide poisoning incidents yearly.  Number one rule for turkey fryers: use outside only, and away from your home. Covered or enclosed areas such as the garage or the porch increase the risk for hazard. Don’t overfill the oil in the turkey fryer or leave the turkey fryer unattended. It might be time to consider the new oil-less turkey fryers now on the market!

Fireplaces/Candles

Living in Florida, we have such little time for weather suitable for a nice fire. But keep in mind the combustible, seasonal decorations and their proximity to your fireplace. Shortly after Thanksgiving, the Christmas decorations line your mantle. With 80-degree temperatures, our evergreens begin to dry out quickly. Don’t burn wreaths or wrapping paper in fireplaces. These items tend to burn hotter with higher flames than wood or pre-formed logs. Do you know when the fireplace was last cleaned?

Aunt Ida’s yearly Christmas candle may be the last gift you receive. Don’t burn candles near Christmas trees, curtains or other dry, flammable items. Some artsy candles contain dried foliage or flowers. These can easily catch fire as the wick burns down.

Although staring into a warm fire or candle may relax you, it can also put you to sleep. Unattended flames equate to danger for persons and property.

Electricity

Decorations are usually primarily concentrated in one or two rooms. Keep extension cords tucked away from decorations and out of main traffic areas. Don’t overload circuits with excessive extension cords and power strips that may be in poor condition.

Are you the host? Help guests avoid overloading and short-circuiting your outlets with electronic devices, hair dryers, and appliances. We love our historic neighborhoods, but they typically run short on outlets. Don’t add more outlets with a power strip, but instead unplug items not being used to make room for additions.

Stay safe and ring in a new year!

Financial advisers have long recommended that rental property be a part of a balanced portfolio for investors who are interested in building wealth over the long term. However, as you can imagine, not everyone has the temperament or patience to deal with humdrum day-to-day responsibilities of rental property ownership.  But, for those of us who understand the rights and responsibilities, it is an excellent way to start or expand a portfolio of investments.

Choosing a property that is right for you and your investment style can make the difference between a great experience or a miserable one.  There are several factors you as an investor should take into consideration.

Is this meant to be a long term investment? Do you want to hold onto the property as a rental and then possibly move in upon retirement? Another option would be to keep it rented and use the income form the rental to supplement your pension or social security income.  You could also opt to sell the property and invest in the money market, or another financial vehicle, that will give you ready cash should you need it.

Right now, the IRS is favoring rental income.  Beginning this year, you as a taxpayer will be able to deduct the first 20% of your real estate income if you are an active participant.  So if you self-manage the property, collect rents and facilitate repairs, you may be eligible to take advantage of this provision of the law.  Like anything else, there are always qualifiers and we recommend you discuss the possibility with your accountant.

If you are a buy and hold investor and want to move into your rental property when you retire, you should look to purchase something that you like.  By renting it, your tenants will pay the lion’s share of the carrying expenses.  All monies spent to improve the property over the time it is rented will be tax deductible.  This is a clever way to get what you want at very little cost to you.

With all the choices one has with investment property, it is critical that the property is kept up to acceptable standards.  When folks ask me what this is I say that the property has to be in a condition that I would let my mother or child live in.

More next time…

If you are renting an apartment, you have rights as a tenant. The owner of your rental must keep the unit safe, sanitary and secure. What does that mean to you?

“Safety” refers to items that could potentially cause harm with normal use. This could be an electrical item– perhaps a damaged plug– or exterior stairs becoming slippery after a rainfall. “Sanitary” refers to items typically having to do with plumbing (for example, toilets should flush properly and drains should be free-flowing). Finally, “secure” means that exterior doors should close and lock properly, while windows should have a locking mechanism as well.

The above examples are simplistic, but as a tenant, you can expect minimum standards of all three. The age of the property makes no difference in regards to these standards. As a tenant, you are responsible for maintaining the property in good order, which means treating it as if it were your own. Care should be taken to keep clogs from forming in sinks or toilets. Do not flush anything but toilet paper and do not pour grease down the kitchen sink. If you do, and the plumbing backs up in result, you can be held responsible for unclogging these fixtures.

As a tenant, you should also take care to wipe down damp areas in the bathroom and kitchen to keep mildew from forming. Remember: we live in humid Florida! Additionally, please do not give keys to casual friends or acquaintances. We want you to be safe, with no surprises!

Please be aware that your owner– or their representative– always reserves the right to enter your unit in case of an emergency in order to assess the situation and/or make repairs. One last thing: Florida law requires that all rentals must be equipped with a heating source. Air conditioning is not required and A/C repairs are not considered an emergency by state law.

So you own an investment property that means you must be rich! We know that is not necessarily the case but it is what many of your tenants and potential tenants think.

As a rental property owner, you are required to deliver your tenant a home that is safe, sanitary and secure. What does this mean to you?

Safety refers to items that could cause harm with normal use. This could be an electrical item-perhaps a damaged plug or the exterior stairs get slippery when it rains.

Sanitary refers to items usually having to do with plumbing. For example, toilets should flush properly and drains should be free-flowing.

Secure means that exterior doors should close and lock properly. Windows should have a locking mechanism as well.

The above examples are simplistic but as an owner, you must provide minimum standards for all three. The age of the property makes no difference to these standards.

As landlords, we would all love it if our renters cared for the unit as if it belonged to them. However, you should expect to have normal wear and tear to a unit when a tenant moves out. This means giving the area a good once over to see if painting is needed or if the appliances need repair or replacement. Between tenants, you should also check on the plumbing to ensure it is working properly. A minor adjustment or fixing a small leak may make a huge difference in your water bill.

It is recommended you change locks when you re-rent. This could save your tenants from surprise visitors or thieves which could come back to you as a nasty lawsuit.

Remember you or your representative has the right to enter any rental unit in case of an emergency to assists the situation and make repairs. One last thing-Florida law requires that all rentals must have a heating source. Air conditioning is not a requirement and a/c repairs are not considered an emergency by State law.

Hopefully, you have all heard by now that the zip code 32204 for Riverside and the 5 Points area has been ranked as the number 6 haven for Millennials in the country. According to RENTcafe.com, our neighborhood is on the same list as Los Angeles, Manhattan, and Portland, Ore. Of course, this is fabulous news for Jacksonville. Traditions Realty was recently contacted as a primary resource by Florida Times-Union for information concerning rentals in Jacksonville’s 32204 zip code. Riverside and Brooklyn are rated 6 in the top trending millennial favorites. RENTCafe.com, a nationwide apartment search website, followed trends for the last 5 years based on the U.S. Census Bureau ACS populations for 2011-16 of the 30 biggest U.S. cities. Why Riverside and Brooklyn? Historic homes, hip restaurants, and breweries helped to create an urban feel in a walkable neighborhood. Landlords began upgrading their units as soon as the rents began to rise. Apartments with old appliances, dated paint colors, and little original appeal were left behind in the new pricing structure. The Riverside Arts Market became a weekly event that drew thousands under the Fuller Warren Bridge for live music, food, organic fruits and vegetable, and artwork. The area has also started making the most of its parks. Memorial Park, located on the St. Johns River, draws different groups of folks for exercise, geocaching, fishing, and picnics. The area has long been known for its diversity in age, economics, education, and race. The millennials come to visit the neighborhood and want to stay.

 

 

Quick And Easy Upgrades For Maximum Return

Today’s rental market is fast-paced and rents in the Jacksonville metropolitan area have increased 7% since this time last year. Many new apartments are in the process of being built and there are lots of people who want to live in a brand new space. Most of these new units are being offered at market rent or higher. However, since they are new, they will not have the historic feel of the neighborhoods. Many prospective renters want to live in a settled neighborhood with little or no infill housing. You may even own one of these gems. You may be able to raise your rent for a new tenant or when a current tenant’s lease is up for renewal. Here are a few quick and easy upgrades that will help you get maximum return…

Renovating bathrooms doesn’t have to be a budget buster. How about repainting in a trendy neutral color, changing light fixtures to something a bit more contemporary? Providing a new toilet seat between tenants is a minimal expense but one that is greatly appreciated.

Kitchen redos are expensive but sometimes painting cabinets and changing their hardware can make a huge difference. New MPT and low VC paint are appealing to both landlords and tenants alike. The paint is durable and has almost no odors. Updated lighting or new ceiling fans again add appeal.

Other inexpensive fixes could be replacing old vinyl floors with laminate flooring or just installing fresh new mini blinds on all the windows. Lastly, be sure ‘Mrs. Clean’ runs through the unit to have it showing as spotless. Your pocketbook will thank you.

 

Your Tenants Have New Rights That You Should Be Aware Of

 

So you own a home or apartment building that you rent out to tenants – Congratulations!  That is a great way to increase your cash flow and build wealth for the long term.  Being a Landlord has rights and responsibilities.  Since the real estate market crash in 2000’s more people than ever are renters and both the state and the federal government have many new laws in place that give tenants more rights than ever before.  Here are some you should be aware of…. 

Service Animals and support animals are the biggest hot topic in the rental world.  Many people with disabilities are dependent on these animals to help manage their care and alert them to possible life-threatening episodes.  These animals are not pets and ‘no pet’ rules do not apply to rentals.  Since they are not considered a pet, you as a landlord may not know of their existence until after the lease is signed.  You may not ask the person why they need the service animal.  You may ask for a letter from a physician or other health professional stating that the prospective tenant needs this animal.  You as a Landlord may not charge a Pet Fee for Service or Emotional Support animals and you may be required to make certain modifications to your property to allow for the disabled person to reside there.   

Legalized Marijuana –  This is a new territory for many of us.  Recently some States have legalized the use of recreational marijuana and the state of Florida has legalized the use of medical marijuana.  Did you know that marijuana treatment in our state is in pill form only?  What happens when your tenant is found smoking a joint on your patio or worse yet – in your apartment?  

Criminal Records – Laws across the US have also changed regarding persons with criminal records regarding rentals.  No record of crimes over 7 years old may be considered grounds for denial.  However, you may deny renting to a prospect who was convicted of drug trafficking or manufacturing. Also, you may deny a rental if the prospect was found guilty of property damage or assault to [ersons in the recent past.  Domestic violence is not a grounds for denial. 

If you break the law – knowingly or not – you could be subject to major fines and damages if found guilty of same. There are agencies out there that investigate complaints against landlords for discrimination.  This could cost you thousands of dollars or more in legal battles and attorney fees.   

One solution is to let Traditions Realty manage your rentals.  We have the expertise to get the job done legally.   We are here to help. 

You Can Buy A Home With Little Or No Down Payment

 

Did you know that you can buy a home with little or no down payment?  There is a great variety of home mortgage products available for almost every situation whether you are a first time home buyer, a move up buyer or looking to buy an investment property.  There are great options for all of those scenarios. 

In the past, the only true “no down payment” mortgage was a VA mortgage available to current military personnel and any veteran in possession of a DD214 certificate.  Those loans are still popular and available but now include a renovation option as well.    

First time home buyer loans are available to buyers in general with a credit score of 620 and above.   These programs are usually ‘grant’ programs with maximum income qualifications depending on family size.  Some forgive the grant after a period of years and some require the grant to be paid off when the property is sold.  Generally speaking, these programs work in conjunction with an FHA loan. 

There are many banks, credit unions, and other lending institutions who now offer special financing with 100% conventional financing and no PMI (Private mortgage insurance).  These products may require a little higher credit score but could save the buyer thousands of dollars over the life of the loan.  Some groups who are eligible for these loans are doctors, lawyers, policemen, firefighters, and teachers.   

If you are interested in seeing if you are a good fit for one of these home loans, please give us a call.  We will be happy to put you in touch with a lender who can help.   Once you know you can get financed, we are here to help you find your home. 

 

Let Traditions Help You Find Your Next Home

 

The Jacksonville rental market is one of the most active in the State of Florida. Statistics show that our average rentals have increased in price over 5% in the past year. This is due to several factors one of which is that Jacksonville is being discovered as a great place to live by people of all ages. The rental market is very tight right now. There are more renters than available properties.

Traditions agents are ready to help you find your next home. They are knowledgeable about all areas of town and what is available for rent whether it be a studio, one or two bedroom apartment or a large home on one of Northeast Florida’s many rivers. Our rentals are in all price ranges as well. Our application process is quick and easy. In fact, you can see all our documents including our application online at traditionsjax.com. Just click on downloadable documents.

If you are looking to move a few months in the future, please contact one of our agents. They will be happy to keep your needs in mind when that property becomes available. If you are looking in the next month or so, check out our rentals at www.traditionsjax.com. Available properties move fast, so if you see something you like, please apply so won’t be disappointed. We are happy to help!

 

Rental Property Management Checklist
– Jacksonville, FL

Once a rental property has been acquired, your next step as a first time investor is to think about effective rental property management to ensure that your investment is protected. Here is a thorough rental checklist that should help keep your property affairs in order.

Traditions Market Your Property Online☑ Attract New Tenants

The process of successfully managing a property starts with finding people who will qualify as tenants for residential or commercial rental. After determining your rental rates, create a distinguished rental ad that will attract people’s attention. The ad should include professional pictures, specific unit details, and a contact number where you can be reached. The unit can be marketed online by using sites like Craigslist, Postlets, and vFlyer and offline by placing a “For Rent” sign on the property.

☑ Complete the Screening Process

In order to ensure that you are attracting the right tenants, you will need to ensure that your screening process is thorough. Before showing potential tenants the unit, consider talking to them on the phone first so that you can gauge their needs and interests. If you think that your unit will meet their needs, invite the potential tenants to view the property. While you can schedule one-on-one showings, scheduled open houses may be more effective. When the showing is complete, encourage the interested parties to fill out a rental application. Most rental applications are about $35. The screening process should also include a criminal, credit, and background check as well as a phone conversation with the applicant’s previous landlord.

☑ Schedule a New Tenant Orientation

If you have decided to accept the new tenant based on your consistent rental standards, schedule a meeting to complete the lease signing and discuss a move-in date. Often referred to as a new tenant orientation, the meeting is where you will make a copy of the tenants’ driver’s licenses, collect the security deposit, and obtain first month’s rent. The tenant will sign important documents detailing the pet agreement, tenant and property management team emergency contact information, W-9 form, move out charges, utility transfer agreement, and lead based paint notification. After the lease is signed, you should make copies of everything that way you can give a copy to your tenant and keep a copy in his file at the office. A copy of the lease can also be stored in the rental management system. The orientation will end with handing your new tenant the keys to his/her new place.

☑ Keep Tenants Happy

The best landlords are ones that make sure that their tenants are satisfied with their unit. Every couple of months or so, you should call the tenant to see how things are going. Make sure that you document every tenant communication. If a tenant reports an issue with his unit, a work order should be issued and the problem should be fix immediately. As a super great landlord, you should also walk through the unit at least every quarter to ensure that there are not any property maintenance or repairs needed. Along with repairing problems in a timely manner, giving rewards to those who pay their rent on time will also create happy tenants.

eliminate unnecessary expenses☑ Follow the Move-Out System

A renewal reminder should be sent out 90 days before the lease ends. For the tenants who have decided not to stay, complete a move out inspection. The inspection should take into account normal wear and tear in the unit, but include pictures of problems areas that will ultimately be charged to the tenant. After mailing out the security deposit checks, you should be taking steps to quickly turn around the property so that you can attract new tenants as soon as possible.

Managing a property well is a lot of work, but you don’t have to carry this rental checklist burden alone. Based in Jacksonville, Florida, Traditions Realty can be trusted as your rental property management company.

☑ Download our free guide

Learn the “Top 5 Benefits of Using Experienced Property Management in Jacksonville” by clicking the image below.

Buying a home at the end of the yearBenefits of Buying a House at Year’s End

Buying a home is a huge decision. Each home buyer must will need to think carefully about the details involved in buying a home. A home buyer may want to find a home in a certain specific area. They may also want to buy a home that has a certain number of bedrooms and bathrooms. Another factor that goes into buying a home is when to buy it. Some buyers need to buy a home before school starts. However, many other buyers can be more flexible when buying their home. For those who are looking for a home at the end of the year, there are many advantages to doing so. (more…)

How to Save for Your First Home Down Payment

You want to stop renting and own a home of your own. It’s a common dream across America. However, one of the biggest barriers for many people who are interested in purchasing a home is the size of the down payment that you need. The common perception is that lenders will require that the buyers have a down payment of at least 20% of the price of the home loan.

Luckily, there are programs for first time homeowners such as the FHA financing which will allow a loan at 3.5%. Click here to learn more about more programs for home buyers.

Regardless of the percentage and size of your down payment, it may feel overwhelming. Here are some strategies you can implement to start saving for the down payment for your first home.

Get a Part Time Job

While this might not always be feasible, getting a second job and saving all of the money that you earn can help you to put away money for the down payment. Even if you are unable to get another job right now, you can consider some ways to turn hobbies into money, such as starting a blog and monetizing it. Every little bit will help to get you closer to your down payment.

Down Payment Assistance Programs

Many people do not realize there are several programs available to assist homebuyers. The National Homebuyers Fund is one example. They can provide assistance via grants to many buyers, as long as you qualify. There are often income requirements for these types of programs, so check out several to see whether you can qualify or not.

Pay Off Your Debt

If you are carrying credit card debt. The interest you are paying on the credit cards is money that you are essentially wasting each month. Over the course of a year, you could be paying hundred, or even thousands of dollars in interest. Paying off your credit cards, and keeping them paid off can put more money into your pocket each year, which you can save in a high interest savings account for your down payment.

eliminate unnecessary expensesDownsize Your Life

Take stock of your current lifestyle and the things that you are doing. Chances are good that you are spending far more money than you realize. If you have cable, and you are spending $80 a month on it, cutting the cable would help you save close to a thousand a year. Cutting other things out of your life that you don’t need could help you save thousands more.

Even though it might seem impossible to save for a down payment right now, you can do it if you put your mind to it and are willing to make some sacrifices. Contact our office today for additional tips and to find out how you can start on your road to homeownership.

 

Have questions related to buying a home in Jacksonville, Florida? Traditions Realty REALTOR® Beth King provides expert answers.

Q: How Do I Finance a House?

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A: The most important thing to know about financing a house is that you need to go to more than one mortgage provider. Most people will simply go to the bank that they’re currently doing business with. They might have the best program for you, but you might be able to find something that works a little bit better through another company. Worst-case scenario you should take three different mortgage providers and compare what they have available for you.

In some instances, depending on the field that you’re in, there might be certain programs that are specific for you. Many times you’ll have a medical program or a program that has to do with educators that will allow you to have some kind of discount, freebie or simply extra money for you to use towards the down payment or closing costs for that property. Everyone would like to have free closing. That’s the money that actually comes out of your pocket when you buy a house.

Find the Home of Your Dreams. Contact Traditions Realty today at (904) 683-5230.

gift card at closing from Traditions Realty in Jacksonville

Have questions related to buying a home in Jacksonville, Florida? Traditions Realty REALTOR® Beth King provides expert answers.

Q: Do I Need a Home Inspection?

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A: You definitely need a home inspection. Do not buy a property without a home inspection unless you’re an extremely seasoned investor that is fine for cash and knows that they can tell from walking through a house if there are any problems with a structure like the plumbing, the electricity or the roof. For the average buyer a home inspection is an absolute must.

You’re actually hiring someone that’s going to crawl underneath the property if it’s an off grade house or go on to the roof and into the attic and inspect these areas. Most people would never feel comfortable doing this. Also many of the inspectors have owned businesses themselves.

The home inspector I like to use the most is also a roofing contractor. He really knows his business when it comes to the structure of properties. You want to make sure that the Air Conditioning not only turns on, but actually works the way that it’s supposed to work. The same goes with the appliances. During the inspection period you’re there to find out what’s wrong with the property. You still have the right to do a second negotiation with the owner. If there’s something that doesn’t work right they’re going to either have it repaired or they’re going to make compensation for you. Without a home inspector how are you going to get this done?

Find the Home of Your Dreams. Contact Traditions Realty today at (904) 683-5230.

gift card at closing from Traditions Realty in Jacksonville

Have questions related to buying a home in Jacksonville, Florida? Traditions Realty REALTOR® Beth King provides expert answers.

Do I Really Need a Real Estate Agent to Buy a House?

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You don’t really need a real estate agent to get into our house, but it’s really in your best interest. Most people don’t realize that you’re not actually the one that is paying the fee to buy the house. The person that’s selling the house is paying the broker-that is the listing broker-a certain percentage of the purchase price of the house. The buyer’s agent, which would be your agent, is paid out of this percentage. So you as a buyer pay nothing to have an agent represent you, but you get a lot in return. Most people get really concerned whenever you start talking about that legalities of buying a house. It’s really best for you. If you deal with somebody who’s been through this process 20, 30, even 100 times they know the ins and outs, where the pitfalls are, and how you can miss them along the way.

Click here to watch this video interview

Find the Home of Your Dreams. Contact Traditions Realty today at (904) 683-5230.

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Have questions related to buying a home in Jacksonville, Florida? Traditions Realty REALTOR® Beth King provides expert answers.

Q: Can I Afford to Buy a House?

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A: The most important question to ask yourself is not can I afford to buy a house, but what do I need to do to in order to be able to buy a house?

With all the bond programs that are out and the different programs that lenders are presenting to buyers, affording to buy the house is not really the question as far as down payment or the pre-paids go, because alot of those can be paid back to you or you can get a program that is a soft mortgage that will allow you to pay for those from the soft mortgage.

So, the real question is what do I need to do have in order to be able to buy a house?

The most important thing is your credit score. In my opinion the first thing you should do is go onto a site such as https://www.creditkarma.com/ where you’re able to monitor your credit. You want to see what kind of score you have. In reality, the best would be to have a score of 640 or above because you’re going to qualify for the best rates out there. If you have an 700 or above you can qualify for an event lower rate. So, the first question is “what is my credit score?” If it’s not at least a 640, what type of credit repair do I need to do before I even apply to buy a house?

Find the Home of Your Dreams. Contact Traditions Realty today at (904) 683-5230.

gift card at closing from Traditions Realty in Jacksonville

Have questions related to buying a home in Jacksonville, Florida? Traditions Realty REALTOR® Beth King provides expert answers.

Q: How Do I Look for a House to Buy in Jacksonville?

Traditions Realty is on YouTube

WATCH THIS INTERVIEW ON YOUTUBE

A: The way that most people used to look for a house is that they would go to the neighborhood and they would drive around. They would find signs that are in the yard (either for sale by owner or for sale by an agency) but that is old-school. Now no one does it that way. Most people come home from work then they get on Trulia, realtor.com or Zillow and they start looking in the areas or zip codes that they want to be in. They scroll through the photos and they pick a couple of houses they might want to see then they contact one of the listing agents from these properties.

But, I’d like to back that process up a little bit. Maybe instead of finding the house that you want to see, first you find an agent you want to work with. You can start with creating a relationship with this person. They can send you properties that they know are active on the market and properties that they probably already viewed for themselves. It’s going to be a lot better as far as your time because you’re going to find properties that you really want to see instead of finding that the Zillow listings are outdated and the properties already sold. There’s nothing worse than finding the best property in the world at an outrageously great price only to find out the property was actually sold five years ago and Zillow hasn’t updated the listings.

Click here to watch the full interview with more insights

Find the Home of Your Dreams. Contact Traditions Realty today at (904) 683-5230.

gift card at closing from Traditions Realty in Jacksonville

Now that temperatures are finally rising, it’s time to shake off the long winter and prepare for more temperate days ahead. It’s also time to spend a Saturday or two taking your apartment out of hibernation. Spring cleaning is an annual ritual for many, but it’s easy to forget some essential tasks to keep your living space fresh. Here’s a handy checklist to make sure your apartment is ready for April showers… and May flowers.

1. Time for Some Window Washing

Unless you live in the tropics, your windows have probably been shut since October. Now’s the time to throw them open — but not before you give them a thorough washing. Clean glass will let more light into your apartment, and open windows can allow a winter’s worth of stale odors to escape. Think of it as your house exhaling after a cold and wintry season.

2. Scour Those Screens

Window screens are meant to keep out dust, insects, and debris… not display them. If your screens are looking a little clogged, give them a scrub. After removing them from the sill, place your screens on a level surface outdoors and vacuum them. Once all the larger bits of detritus are gone, wash the screens with a sponge and soapy water, then use a garden hose to rinse. Make sure your screens are dry before re-installing them.

3. Beat Up Your Rugs, Sweep Your Floors

Once your windows are clean and open, you’ll probably really notice all the dust and grime that’s been sitting on your floors. But before you sweep and mop, make sure you clean your rugs and textiles. Vacuum your carpets, but beat your rugs with a broom or a bat— it’s a much more forceful way to get dust out of fibers. Plus, some time outside will let your rugs breathe, and give them a fresher odor.

4. Pack Up Your Heavier Blankets

Those wool blankets probably came in handy over the winter, but will you really need them on hot July nights? Gather all your heavier textiles, fold them, and pack them away until the fall.

5. Ditch The Drapes

If you live in a really cold climate, you might have invested in thermal curtains or thick drapes. They’re great for keeping out the cold, but they also keep out light and pleasant springtime breezes. Time to steam-clean them and then pack them up until October.

6. Give Your Kitchen a Deep-Cleaning

Who doesn’t love winter cooking? Hearty stews and plentiful pies are a joy to eat when it’s cold out. But they also might have wreaked havoc on your kitchen — and especially your oven. Now that your windows are open, bust out the big chemical guns (or the vinegar) and give your cooking areas a good scrub. Nobody wants to smell last January’s cassoulet during grilling season.

7. Scrub Your Tub

Taking baths during the winter is a warm luxury. Rings around the tub are an unsightly nuisance. Time to throw some elbow grease into your grout, tile, and tub.

8. Replace Your Air Filters

It’s recommended to replace your home’s HVAC air filters every three months — so, once a season. Clean air filters not only increase the efficiency of your cooling/heating system — they help keep you healthy since they reduce dust, pollutants, allergens, and bacteria levels in your home.

9. Clean Your Doors

Doors are a major magnet for dirt and oil, and sometimes all it takes is a little sunshine to make your grubby little pawprints visible for all the world to see. So take a few minutes with a sponge and a bottle of surface cleaner, and maybe polish the doorknobs while you’re at it.

10. Check the Batteries On Your Smoke Alarm

Because you don’t want to have an insurance claim on your hands, do you?

This article was provided by Sam Radbil, a contributing member of the marketing and communications team at ABODO. ABODO Jacksonville apartments was founded in 2013 and is headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin.

Have questions related to buying a home in Jacksonville, Florida? Traditions Realty REALTOR® Beth King provides expert answers.

Q: What Programs Are Available If I Want to Buy A House?

Traditions Realty is on YouTube

WATCH THIS INTERVIEW ON YOUTUBE

A: This is one of the main reasons why you should go to more than one mortgage provider if you want to buy a house and before you decide who you are going to deal with. Different companies are providing different programs. The Florida Bond, at this point, offers $15,000 to people in the form of a soft mortgage.

A soft mortgage is a mortgage that there is no interest paid during the time that the funds are borrowed. And with the Florida Bond program, after you’re in the property for 5 years, that that $15,000 is completely forgiven and you no longer have to repay it.

If you’re only able to stay in the house for 3 of the 5 years, 60% of the value of the $15,000 would be forgiven so it’s a very good program.

Unfortunately, it runs out money once the funds are used. Once that happens you have to switch over to programs that are offered by individual mortgage companies.There is a company that we’re working with now that has a $25,000 program. You have to have a 640 credit score or higher in order to qualify for it. It’s a great program. How long will it be out there? Until the funds are gone.

See the full video interview on YouTube by clicking here.

Find the Home of Your Dreams. Contact Traditions Realty today at (904) 683-5230.

gift card at closing from Traditions Realty in Jacksonville

market rental propertyNot sure how to market rental property online? These days, finding a good, quality fit for your rental property is more than just putting a “For Rent” sign on your lawn or an ad in the newspaper. Along with websites, people are now utilizing social media as well as apps to get their properties in front of a larger audience

With websites, rental apps, and social media, there are literally hundreds of places people look to find their next place to rent. If you want to increase your chances of finding a good match and ensuring your property isn’t sitting vacant not earning money, you will want to be sure to take advantage of as many sites as you can.

Make sure you get a quality picture of your rental property.

How to Market Rental Property Online

The style of the rental property and who your ideal renters are will determine your online marketing strategy. Below are a few of the most popular sites for listing rentals.

Zillow.com: On zillow you can list a rental for free.They claim to be the largest rental network on the Web.

Trulia.com: Post a room, apartment, or home for rent on Trulia. It’s free!

Realtor.com: Affiliated with the NAR (National Association of REALTORS), this site claims to have the most up-to-date and accurate listings online.

Social Media Websites: Make sure to include social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest.

Oodle: Check out millions of people using Oodle to find used cars, apartments for rent, job listings, homes for sale, and other classifieds.

Military.com: Military.com’s classified section offers an expanded look at homes for sale and rent.

Local Newspaper Websites: Many look to local newspaper websites for the latest listings.

Renting a vacant property is certainly a top priority and there are many ways online to get the word out to prospective tenants. Use as many of the top rental sites as you can to keep your vacancy rate down.

Don’t have time to do all of the work yourself? We advertise your property on over 200 websites including the ones mentioned above. Traditions Realty provides property managers and rental agents that have real world experience owning, renting, and managing condos, single family homes, townhouses, apartments and commercial spaces in the Jacksonville area. Our mission is to ensure that every owner has a competent and honest professional to manage their property.

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For more information about how to improve your home’s value as you search for property sales in Jacksonville, contact us online or call our office 904-683-5230.

 

 

Searching for the perfect home to buy in Jacksonville?

Let us thank you for being a valued client of Traditions Realty. When you use one of our agents, we will thank you with a $250 gift card at closing!

5 Reasons Why Using an Agent is to Your Advantage

  1. Get the accurate listings. Most of the listings on online sites like Zillow are old and out-of-date since the sites are not updated in real time.
  2. Save time by letting us do the searching for you. Just tell us your requirements and we’ll do the leg work.
  3. No hassle. We pride ourselves on our first class customer service and will respect your time working efficiently.
  4. Better communication. You will be getting only the information you need, when you need it, in the manner you like to receive it.
  5. Area experts. We are Jacksonville real estate experts and know the hot properties, many of them before they are officially listed!

Contact Traditions Realty today to get the inside scoop on Jacksonville’s hottest properties! (904) 683-5230

Those looking for rental opportunities can look to San Marco, as a East San Marco Projectnew development featuring a Publix, boutiques and over 200 apartments is finally planned to get going this summer.

***Update*** Plans for Publix Put on Hold

East San Marco Project

The East San Marco project takes the full block at the southeastern corner of Atlantic Boulevard and Hendricks Avenue, with the buildings circling the block and the parking lot in the center.

The plan was first proposed back in 2006, but the housing crash put all that on hold, and the block sat empty and fenced in. Since then a sign has remained noting the project, but nothing was built. The grocery store will be convenient for residents of San Marco, the Southbank and even further south.

About Us

Traditions Realty provides property managers and rental agents that have real world experience owning, renting, and managing condos, single family homes, townhouses, apartments and commercial spaces in the Jacksonville area.  Our mission is to ensure that every owner has a competent and honest professional to manage their property. Learn more about our property management services.

As one of Jacksonville’s fastest growing real estate companies, we have over 30 agents based in our Riverside office each with a unique take on what makes Jacksonville great. Whether you’re looking for a home to raise your growing family, an investment property to maximize your return, or a condo at the beach to experience the Florida lifestyle, our team can help.

Interested in keeping up with this project or looking for a home to rent? We pride ourselves in maintaining a diverse selection of rentals. Please browse and print our residential rental list of houses, condos, apartments & townhomes for rent in Jacksonville, Florida.

property from termitesWhen termites show up, they cause a huge problem. Termites can nibble away at the structure of your home, affecting the stability of your house and causing fundamental damage that can be expensive to repair.

When you are searching for property in Jacksonville, termites are something that you need to stay aware of. This is especially true as you look at foreclosures in Jacksonville. While a low price on a property might seem like a great investment opportunity to jump on at first, you should always rely on the expertise of your real estate specialist. We can help you find a property that is free of troublesome pests like termites.

Summer is a particularly problematic period for properties, as termites tend to swarm and can be especially troublesome in the heat. The warm spring we are having and the expected hot summer ahead of us will be prime weather for termite problems.

Protect your Property from Termites

  • Look for their swarm: At first termites will look like ants, but there will be many of them and they will be able to fly. Look for termite swarms in corners of your property, especially around walls.
  • Termite dust: Termites eat the wood structure of your home, and as they do they leave holes in the wood and dust in their tracks. You might find this dust in your attic or around any exposed planks outside of your home.
  • Bubbled or cracked paint: If termite tunnels run close to the paint on the surface of a wall, they will leave blisters or cracks. These blemishes are a sign that termites have created colonies in the walls of your house.

Termites are not something to ignore, and they are not something that is easy to deal with on your own. Rely on the expertise of your real estate expert when looking for properties and consult with termite exterminators to assess damage when looking at properties in Jacksonville.

Traditions Realty is a full service agency offering property management and sales. Investors: Let Traditions Realty manage your investment propertyContact us online or call 904-683-5230 to schedule your appointment with one of Traditions Realty’s professional agents.

 

 

Does a picture really say a thousand words? That is the pressure that many potential home buyers put on internet property management listings when browsing through property sales in Jacksonville. According to a recent study out of Old Dominion University, the average home buyer spends about 60 seconds browsing advertisements on listed properties. This means that potential residential property management opportunities in Jacksonville, as well as short sale and foreclosure sales are often considered a possibility or ruled out altogether in less than one minute.

This is a lot of pressure to put on one small image, and it is why so many home listings are loaded with multiple images of the inside of a home, the backyard and its curb appeal. However, if you are searching for property sales in Jacksonville you should not limit yourself to the houses you find aesthetically appealing based on a few photos. More often than not, the true benefits of a home will reveal themselves on your first visit. A picture can say a lot about a house, but try to spend more than a brief minute looking at an advertisement before passing a judgment.

Property Management and Home Sales: What’s in a Picture?

  • Location, location, location: This is usually one of the first things people look at when viewing properties online, but don’t let images distract you from the ideal location you are looking for.
  • Updates: A new HVAC system or freshly done roof doesn’t often make the photo. Pay attention to details like this, they can mean huge savings.
  • HOAs: Property listing descriptions will often list info about home owner associations. Know if this is the type of community you are looking for and pay attention to details on the subject.

If you see a picture of a home that you like, let us know! A picture might not say it all but it is always a great place to start.

For more information about how to improve your home’s value as you search for property sales in Jacksonville, contact us online or call our office 904-683-5230.

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Whether you recently purchased a property in Jacksonville or have invested in a foreclosure, there is one thing that youEasy Home Updates are likely going to encounter—home repairs. Even the most renovated model home is hiding a few scratches and dents somewhere within the living space. After spending a great deal of money on your home while purchasing your property sale or foreclosure, the last thing you will want to do is contact a contractor when the smallest things go wrong. But that doesn’t mean you are up for ignoring the blemishes as they make themselves known.

The answer to your problems could be DIY easy home updates . All you need are a few tips to get started and a little bit of elbow grease to put into the task.

Easy Home Updates

  • Repair the screen: Whether your cat tore a hole in the screen or another mishap is letting pesky bugs fly into your living room, you can fix the hole easily by applying clear nail polish to it. Liberally apply the clear nail polish to the area with the hole. As it dries it will reinforce the tear. Keep in mind that this will only work for minor tears.
  • Fix the counter top: All you will need to correct this problem is a box of crayons and a spatula knife. Find a crayon that matches the color of your counter top and melt it on a paper plate or other device that you don’t mind ruining. Keep an eye on the crayon, the length of time it will need to be in the microwave will depend on how much of a crayon you decided to melt and how powerful your microwave is. Start with one minute. Once the crayon is hot, pour it on your counter top and work it into the crack. Use the knife spatula to carefully scrape away the excess crayon; just make sure not to scratch up the countertop in the process!
  • Self-adhesive backsplash tiles in the kitchen: Easy home updates in the kitchen can be simple and fun.
  • Crown molding in the bathroom: For more complex DIY projects, you can find helpful instructional videos. The DIY network provides expert advice on how to install crown molding.
  • Paint your cabinets: For cabinets that are old and outdated, the best way to update them is with paint. Paint can work wonders on everything, and kitchen cabinets are no exception.
  • Update the fireplace: Transform your fireplace into the statement piece you want it to be. Check out 25 DIY Fireplace Makeovers from Remodelaholic.
  • Upgrade backyard landscaping: Get inspired by these affordable DIY backyard landscaping ideas from the DIY Network.

What are some other common problems that you run into in your home? Do you know of any affordable and simple tricks that make for great DIY home solutions? We would love to hear about them!

For more information about how to improve your home’s value in Jacksonville, contact us online or call our office 904-683-5230.

In Jacksonville, the end of January means that spring is just around the corner, and if there is one thing that says spring in a homeowner’s mind it is the thought of renovations and other home projects. Taking on different projects and sprucing up the appearance of your home can really boost your home’s value. This is great if you are looking at property in Jacksonville and are thinking of putting your home on the market, but before you start pulling down the siding or re-landscaping your yard it is a good idea to take a step back and evaluate how much the project you have in mind will really boost your home’s value.

home improvementsOf course, if you’ve just purchased your home, or have recently acquired a Jacksonville foreclosure, then you may not be thinking too much about property value at the moment. Fixing up your house because you want to is great, but still pay attention to what projects will give you the biggest bang for your buck. Sometimes just a small tweak in plans can add up to major bucks when it comes to selling your home in Jacksonville.

Add Value with Home Improvements

  • Vinyl siding: Vinyl siding is durable and looks great, making it a great renovation project to take on. The average cost of vinyl siding is just over $11,000 nationwide and most sellers can get about 73 percent of this returned upon selling, which means the vinyl siding can add about $8,000 to the homes worth.
  • Steel front door: Shut the front door—a steel door that is. Switching out your standard wooden door for a steel version adds security to the home along with a bit of value. Nationwide a steel door costs about $1,100, but you can recoup about $975 of that, or 85 percent of the cost.
  • Deck: Outside living space adds major value to your home, and gives you and your family a nice place to sit and enjoy the sunshine. This is one of the best things you can do outside of adding indoor square footage to your house. A professionally installed deck will cost upwards of $9,000, depending on the size. However, that same deck can add more than $7,000 to a home’s value—or about 77 percent of the original cost.
  • Kitchen: For most families, the kitchen is the heart of the home. Because of this, investing in updating your kitchen will most often add value to your home. According to multiple sources, you can expect anywhere between 60%-120% of your investment on your kitchen updates. Keep in mind to never make your kitchen fancier than the rest of your house, or neighborhood.
  • Bathroom: Bathrooms are also a safe bet to update. Simple things like a new toilet seat and a pedestal sink are a quick and easy upgrade yet make a big difference in the look. Consider replacing old, discolored bathroom floors, tubs, and showers. There are one-piece units which require professional installation, but can still be cheaper than paying to re-tile walls and replace the tub.
  • Roof: Not only does adding a new roof make your home look better and improve curb appeal, it can keep pesky leaks from damaging ceilings, walls, or causing other structural damage. Sources report that recent studies show spending $14,000 on a new roof can even up the asking price by $10,500. That is a return of investment (ROI)of 75 percent!
  • Window: Replacing windows can help you save money on your electric bill and add curb appeal. On average nationally, you can get back nearly 90 percent of your window replacement.

These are just a few home repairs that can give your home some added value when you decide to move on in the future and put it up for sale. Even if you don’t think you’ll see, these improvements can add value in the average cost of a rental property, helping you to bring in more money monthly on your investment property.

For more information about how to improve your home’s value as you search for property sales in Jacksonville, contact us online or call our office 904-683-5230.

From an increase in existinghome sales to the gains of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, Inc., multiple reports show encouraging signs of growth and stability in the housing market. In a popular article in Fortune, many investment firms are adopting a new strategy while the costs of entry are still low: bulk purchases of single-unit homes to rent now and sell down the road when the market fully recovers.

Experienced Property Management

Simply making that investment is no guarantee of success. Beyond the costs of taxes, remodeling, and upkeep, experienced property managementevery month a property sits vacant – unsold or unrented – is a loss on what return you could be making. That is where an experienced property manager comes in. With on-the-ground knowledge of their territory, including which property types and locations are best-suited for rentals and how to attract renters, a good relationship with a professional agency can help ensure your investments are generating revenue and working for you, especially if you are attempting to juggle a large number of properties.

Indeed, as Fortune and Goldman Sachs note, many firms aren’t looking to sell high necessarily – it is the rent they are interested in. After expenses, the profits you draw in each month may be small, but they add up in the long run – so much so that your property may pay for itself over time.

That is why if you’re interested in real estate investment in Jacksonville, you should come to Traditions Realty. As a full-service agency, we work with you every step of the way, providing local expertise and handling the day-to-day business so you don’t have to.

For more information about how to improve your home’s value as you search for property sales in Jacksonville, contact us online or call our office 904-683-5230.

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holidays in jacksonvilleThe weather may not be cooperating, but the holidays in Jacksonville have arrived! One of the benefits of living in a city as old and established as Jacksonville is that you get to take part in the many winter holiday traditions that happen year after year in the area. Each community in Jacksonville has their own set of holiday traditions and events, and every year Jacksonville residents gather together to enjoy the cold weather and bask in the spirit of the holidays.

After the stress of finding a new home in Jacksonville, whether you are looking through property sales, foreclosures or rental property management, the holidays are a time that you can step away from the stress of making more purchases and enjoy a little bit of family time.

Don’t let your holiday’s be swept up in a frenzy of holiday shopping and long lines at the mall. There is so much more to this time of year than a mall Santa and holiday sales.

Enjoy the Holidays in Jacksonville

Holiday Parades:

  • Jacksonville Light Parade: This parade happens along the St. Johns River between Metropolitan Park and the Acosta Bridge, with fireworks shooting off from many of the downtown buildings starting at 7pm.
  • Yulee Holiday Festival and Parade: This is free to all and starts at 9am.
  • St. Augustine Christmas Parade: This parade will begin at Mission of Nombre de Dios in St. Augustine and usually begins at 10 am.
  • Lighted Boat Parade: This parade takes place on the water of the St. Johns River in Green Cove Springs. The event usually starts at 5:30 pm.

Holiday Concerts and Theater Events:

  • A Christmas Carol at Alhambra Dinner Theater. Check on their website for showtimes and other Holiday themed events!
  • Handel’s Messiah at the Times-Union Center. This show is put on by the Jacksonville symphony Orchestra, chorus and others.
  • The Nutcracker: This holiday play is being put on by a number of theater groups in town, including by the Jacksonville symphony orchestra and will be showing on UNFs campus as well as the Florida Theater.

Want more home maintenance tips? Looking to purchase or sell property in Jacksonville? Contact the professionals at Traditions Realty.

1901JacksonvilleFireMap

Fire protection tips for your property are easy to find, but they don’t work unless you are using them.

Fire is a part of Jacksonville history. Even though Florida is known to have humid and wet weather, property and homes are still vulnerable to fire. One example is the great historic fire of 1901 that took down so much of the city.

Today, there are steps that you can take to prevent your home from the disaster of a fire.

Fire Protection Tips for Your Property

  • Keep smoke detectors on and test them regularly to ensure they don’t need replacement batteries.
  • In the cold weather, give your space heater plenty of space to work—closed quarters can lead to a fire.
  • Clean your oven regularly to ensure no food particles accidently catch fire.
  • Use surge protectors and discontinue any old or worn wires that may contribute to an electrical fire.
  • Keep matches and other flammable items out of reach of children.
  • Ensure candles and items such as curling irons and space heaters are turned off before you leave your house.
  • keep a fire extinguisher in your home just in case a fire does occur.
  • D0 not throw water on an electrical fire as this can make a bad situation worse!

Looking for more fire prevention tips?
Learn more about Jacksonville Fire Department
fire prevention & safety programs.

Looking to buy or sell in Jacksonville? Traditions Realty is a full service Real Estate Agency, specializing in Sales, Tenant Placement & Property Management. Contact our Traditions Realty agents online or at (904) 683.5230 today.

When you start looking at property in Jacksonville, you want to make sure you find a home that doesn’t have any hidden problems. One problem to be on the lookout for is drainage issues. When a house has a drainage problem, it can quickly become costly. Water buildup can lead to roof damage, leaking and in severe cases the development of mold.

Whether you are looking at new homes or are exploring Jacksonville foreclosures, this is something to be on the lookout for. In Florida, rain is frequent. A bad drainage problem can easily become something stressful and challenging to deal with.

Signs Your Property Has a Drainage Problem

1. Clogged gutters: Leaves, mud and other debris in the gutters can cause a major drainage backup. There are drainage problemtwo drainage problems this may indicate. One, that there is a tree or other environmental factor contributing to clogging, or two, that the previous homeowner wasn’t cognizant of small home maintenance tasks to alleviate debris. Be on the lookout for poorly managed gutters as a warning sign.

2. Dumping downspouts: A gutter that drops off in a gushing waterfall can lead to erosion and flooding. These are especially common around patios and corners of the home where the gutter cannot easily feed into another drainage system.

3. Water stains: Keep your eyes on the walls, the ceiling and the floor. Water stains indicate that water has made its way into the walls of the home and saturated the area. While a stain won’t always indicate mold, there is an increased chance of mold being present when water sits–especially when combined with the heat of Jacksonville.

Want more home maintenance tips? Looking to purchase or sell property in Jacksonville? Contact the professionals at Traditions Realty.

Sometimes the best features of a city aren’t what are within the town’s limits, but what are just outside of it. That is the case with Jacksonville. While there is plenty to do and see within the limits of Jacksonville, there are also many things to do and places to see just outside the city limits that can keep you busy weekend after weekend.

the oldest cityAs you explore properties in Jacksonville or evaluate North Florida foreclosures in the area, consider the benefits of living very close to one of the world’s most historic landmarks, St. Augustine.

History of The Oldest City

St. Augustine is located just a few miles south of Jacksonville and is no more than a half hour trip for most people who live in town. This is the oldest city in the United States, and much of the city’s history is preserved perfectly for visitors to come and enjoy. The historic downtown square in St. Augustine is filled with old buildings, cobblestone streets and local bars and cafes that are humming with activity every night. The long and rich history of the town’s Spanish, British and ultimately American rule has led to dozens of ghost stories. These stories are the topic of conversation as the sun goes down and locals give tourists a haunted tour through the historic pubs and inn’s.

Things To Do

Perhaps the most famous landmark in all of North Florida is the Castillo de San Marcos, a fort that was originally built in 1672—about 100 years after the city of St. Augustine was founded. The Castillo sits on the bank of the ocean, guarding the historic city from any harm that may come its way. The fort itself has been home to four different governments: the Spanish, the English, the Confederacy and the United States. However, each transition was peaceful and today the fort remains mostly in the shape it was hundreds of years ago.

The fort is now a popular destination for locals to sit back and enjoy the pristine view of the ocean. Tourists enjoy standing back to watch one of the cannon demonstrations or take a tour through the internal rooms of the fort.

Make sure you take an afternoon and explore the historic area of St. Augustine. It is just one of the many ways that you can enjoy while living in Jacksonville. Visit this helpful website for more information on St. Augustine attractions, restaurants, beaches, shopping and more!

Looking to buy or sell property in Jacksonville? If you have questions or would like to speak with an agent, contact Traditions Realty online or call us at (904) 683-5230.

 

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When exploring potential properties, home buyers explore every nook and cranny of the home. They’ll look behind the door, under the carpet and in the crawl space of your attic. As they meander through your home trying to envision what their own lives may be like if they chose to buy your property, they will leave no inch of the home un-turned. If your closets are jam packed and super messy- this will only make them appear smaller. Traditions Realty shares pro tips on  closetupgradeboosting property sales with closet space.

The closet is usually the place where you stick the belongings you don’t quite know what to do with. When you are preparing to sell your home, you will probably have a lot of stuff that you are sorting through. The closet seems like a natural place to stick boxes and other materials, but don’t fall for this. Closet space can make or break a home. Instead of cramming yours with boxes, take the time to organize your closets and help make them look bigger.

Upgrade Your Closet Space

Shelving: Depending on the size and shape of your closet, you may be able to add shelves. Place foldable such as sweaters or accessories such as hand bags and shoes on shelving to free up hanging space.

Hanging Hacks: Declutter your closet by hacking your hangers.

◍ Use soda can tabs to double hang hangers. You can also use chains and s-hooks.
◍ Use shower curtain rings to organize scarves on a hanger.
◍ For children’s closets, double your space by create a hanging rod with a dowel and some rope.
◍ Hang shopping bags up with shower curtain rings and keep random stuff in them.

Loft your Bed: Looking to actually create more space? Get creative! Use the vertical space in your room by building a loft bed, even if your ceilings are normal height. Get ideas for different loft bed and storage styles on Pinterest.

Use Wall Space: Consider yourself lucky if you have wall space to take advantage of. There are many items to stick to walls to create hanging opportunities such as hooks, small shelves, tie, belt, and shoe racks!

Storage Containers: There are many options available, from shipping boxes to decorative pieces, to free up closet space.

◍ Use designer baskets and boxes to organize loose items.
◍ Store shoes in boxes under the bed or under other furniture on a shoe tray.
◍ Use a decorative trunk to store clothing or shoes.

The more crammed your closets are, the smaller they appear. By organizing your closets you can make them appear more spacious, and this may help convince a buyer that your home is the right property sale for them. Want more ideas? Contact the professionals at Traditions Realty.

For Sale By Owner, also known as FSBO, makes up about 11% of the market. Due to tighter lending, short sale and foreclosure competition, not to mention fewer buyers in the marketplace, selling your home these days means more competition and more waiting. If you are not in a hurry, have time to do the footwork and are not new to the home selling game, FSBO may work for you. However, if you want to sell your home quickly, easily, or for a reasonable price, choosing a Realtor in Jacksonville is well worth the commission cost.

Realtor vs FSBO

Thinking About FSBO?

The first things you need are the time and access to reliable resources for preparing, marketing, and successfully selling your home. When considering FSBO, tasks include but are not limited to:

◍ evaluating the current local market and finding comparable home values
◍ finding any state-mandated disclosures as to the physical condition of your houserealtor vs fsbo
◍ learning the legal rules that govern real estate transfers in your state, such as who must sign the papers, who can conduct the actual transaction, and what to do if and when encumbrances are discovered that slow down the transfer of ownership
◍ deciding on an appropriate listing price to attract buyers
◍ deciding how to best present your home, including hiring and scheduling painters, repair persons, and more
◍ preparing disclosures and other needed forms and documents
◍ creating advertising materials and arranging for photographs (interior and exterior, hopefully done by a professional)
◍ placing ads on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), in other media, and real estate apps
◍ arranging for qualified potential buyers to visit the property — if you’re no longer living there, most likely by providing a lockbox for use by other realtors, and meeting with individuals who don’t yet have their own agent
◍ arranging for documents such as disclosure packets to potentially interested buyers and their agents
◍ holding open houses including weekday open houses for other real estate brokers to visit and weekend open houses for the public (which itself involves many tasks, such as arranging for and putting out signs in advance, and providing food for the broker’s open houses, as is traditional in some areas)
◍ receiving offers to buy your house, whether via email or in person if other agents wish to formally present their offers
◍ evaluating the strength of each offer and strategize on issues like whether to accept or reject an offer outright or make a counteroffer, and whether to also look for or arrange a backup offer
◍ negotiating with the buyer’s agent until the purchase contract is complete (although this task may fall more to an attorney in states where legal help is required)
◍ coordinating with the buyer’s agent throughout the escrow period, helping to make the house available for inspections and appraisals and make sure you’re doing your part to close the deal
◍ strategizing over requests made while in escrow, such as for a reduction in purchase price due to repair issues revealed in the inspection, and negotiating such issues with the buyer’s agent (unless any attorneys are still involved)
◍ attend the closing
◍remembering a traditional 6% commission with a realtor pays 3% to the buyers agent so if you don’t offer that commission there’s little incentive on the buyers agent to show their clients your home

Indeed, selling a home can be a full-time, nights and weekends job.

Considering Hiring a Real Estate Agent?

Without the right support network, selling a home can be a challenging and long process. Our team of Realtors are highly experienced with Jacksonville real estate. By selling your property with Traditions Realty you can rest assured that your home is getting the attention it deserves. We can help you with the entire process, beginning to closing!
Our online property gallery is a great place to feature your property. Your home listing can be found easily online by potential buyers in Jacksonville.

If you have questions or would like to speak with an agent, contact Traditions Realty online or call us at (904) 683-5230.

homeowners insuranceThere are a few things that every property owner in Jacksonville has in common, and one of these things is the need for home owners insurance. Home owners insurance is what protects your home from devastating events like Hurricane damage, robbery and other unpredictable occurrences.

The problem is that home owner insurance is incredibly pricey. This is especially true in Jacksonville, as while North Florida isn’t as susceptible to storm damage as the South or Gulf Coast, Jacksonville is still part of the state with the most frequent occurrence of hurricanes. This means that on top of the average cost of home owners insurance Jacksonville property owners need to look into flood insurance, as well.

Finding Affordable Home Owners Insurance

Finding affordable home owners insurance is not impossible. Once you find your perfect property sale or close on your short sale or foreclosures, consider these tips to find home owners insurance that fits your budget:

Shop around: In this market you have options. Don’t settle for the first option you find. While you might not think so at first, there is room to debate how much you are paying. Call around and make sure representatives know you are doing your research.

Improve the safety of your home: This is something many new-homeowners especially over look. Taking small steps to improve the safety of your home can mean major savings on your home insurance.

The following precautions can add up to major savings on your home owners insurance bill:

  • Install a security system
  • Update smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
  • Install fire escapes for the upper floors if necessary
  • Update your electrical systems
  • Remove and flammable substances from your home
  • Ensure the driveway and sidewalks are free of large cracks or damage that may cause harm
  • Install handrails along your stairs
  • Enclose your pool with a fence or screen
  • Install a sprinkler system to guard against fires
  • Purchase a fire extinguisher

Despite the old saying, “safety first” isn’t the most popular motto of new homebuyers. Making it your motto can help you save money on your home owners insurance. Also, preparing your new property sale in Jacksonville for any hurricane damage may potentially lower your home owners insurance bill, as well.

If you have recently purchased a new home, the past few months have most likely been a process of research and paperwork. You visited homes, did online searches, and racked your brain to make sure you were getting everything you needed and most of what you wanted. Now that you are all moved in, you realize just how much fixing up your new home really needs.

After moving into a new place, you are going to have to make a collection of changes to really make yourself at home. Find out how to add function while keeping form as you update your new home.

Form and Function for Fixing up your Home

Here are a few ways you can add function while keeping form as you update your home.

  • New windows: Instead of just swapping out the old windows for ones more aesthetically pleasing, consider investing in energy-efficient windows that will lower your energy costs.
  • Outdated electrical outlets: Contact a qualified electrician to update your wiring so that your home can run Fixing up your Homemore efficiently as you get more convenience from new outlets. This is especially great when you move into an older home.
  • Lighting fixtures: Modern, clean lighting fixtures are an affordable way to add a quick and noticeable improvement.
  • Fresh Paint: A fresh coat of paint can go a long way. Be sure to choose light, neutral colors.
  • Curb Appeal: Make the most of these few initial moments by boosting the curb appeal of your Jacksonville home.
  • Door Fixtures: Modern, matching door fixtures are another affordable way to add a quick and noticeable improvement.

When you first move into a home, these updates and upgrades might be for your personal purposes, but there are some things you can do that will actually improve the value of your home should you decide to re-sell in the future. The best updates you can make to your home are functional ones. While it is great to make everything look good, when you give your home functional updates you get a bit of added practicality out of your work—and this is good for your home and your lifestyle.

Want more ideas? Contact the professionals at Traditions Realty.

When you set out to renovate your home, you want to avoid the property upgrade faux-pas and ensure the largest return on your investments. Unfortunately, not all home renovations pay off when it comes to adding value to the house. There are some projects that while fun, won’t help you finding a buyer as you try to sell your property.

Adding value to your home to gain more out of a property sale is tricky business. Before undertaking any large projects, make sure you consult with a real estate expert. We can tell you what works and what doesn’t. In many situations, people spend thousands of dollars and delay a sale for as long as a year in an effort to add value to their home, and end up selling at just about the same price they could have gotten a year earlier with a lot less hard work and stress.

Property Upgrade Faux-Pas

Here are some property upgrade improvements that just aren’t worth it when it comes to ROI:

  • The outdoor kitchen: This is Florida, and while there are plenty of people who love spending a day out doors, it isn’t always to cook. If you want to add a nice grill for yourself, go for it, but don’t expect a $10,000 outdoor kitchen to add half of that to your home’s value.
  • In-ground pool: Jacksonville residents have the benefit of being close to the beach, and so when it comes to purchasing a home a pool isn’t always a deal-breaker. In fact, a lot of people look at swimming pools as a huge maintenance cost and security risk. If you want to go swimming, go for it—just don’t add a pool in an effort to sell.
  • Back-up generator: Unless the person considering buying your house has personally experienced extended power outages, this just isn’t something people put a lot of value in. This is one of those upgrades that costs a lot and often gets overlooked.
  • Home Theater: Custom seating, large screen, surround sound… what’s not to love? While adding a Home home theater jacksonvilleTheater can be a lot of fun for the family – it is unlikely to markedly increase the value of your home.
  • Fancy Driveway: While it is true that a stained, cracked driveway with weeds growing here and there can negatively affect curb appeal, investing too much in a fancy driveway is not the answer. If a fancy driveway is the thing you want for your home, go for it! Enjoy it. Just don’t expect to get your money back if you ever decide to sell your home.

For more tips, check out

Contractor Tips: Top 10 Home Remodeling Don’ts on houzz.com.

These three upgrades have a few things in common. They are expensive, which means that to get a positive ROI you’ll have to gain a lot of value from the improvement. They are also subjective—some people like it, some people don’t. If you are going to put your effort into one of these improvements, do it for yourself, not just to sell your current property.

get bugs out of your home

The Common Household Fruit fly.

From mosquitoes to bed bugs and everything in between, a longer warmer season gives creatures big and small a rejuvenated spirit and a fresh take on life. For many insects this is quite literal, as the lifespan of the average bug is only a matter of days. For us this is not the case, and as well as we may remember the plague of insects that infested our homes and gardens last year, it is always difficult to figure out what solution will do the trick to get bugs out of your home now until the leaves starting turning again this fall.

Get Bugs Out of Your Home

  • For fruit flies: Fruit flies and gnats are attracted to the acidic smell of decaying fruit. Unfortunately, what a fly may consider decaying we consider perfectly ripe, which means that your fruit might not stand much of a chance while it kindly waits for you to enjoy it. Put a bowl of vinegar on your counter-top (somewhere out of the way!) and cover it with plastic wrap. Using a fork, poke tiny holes in the plastic wrap and secure the plastic cover with a rubber band. The flies will be attracted to the vinegar and once they are in they won’t be getting out.
  • For mosquitoes: Mosquitoes are especially dangers as they can carry disease and cause you and your pets to become ill and itchy. The best preventative measure you can take against mosquitoes is to rid your property of any standing water. Turn old flower pots upside down and make sure the lid to the trash-can won’t become a sitting nest for mosquito larvae.
  • Go easy on the spider: As hard as it is for many people to put their arachnophobia behind them in the name of pest free living, leaving that old graceful spider who is spun up neatly in the upper corner of your ceiling to be might be in your best interest. Spiders will take care of other pests for you, and they generally keep to themselves so that you aren’t bothered with insects of all sorts. You don’t need to let spiders roam freely across your home, but letting one or two stay put might not be a bad idea after all.
  • Palmetto Bugs: The surest sign of palmetto bugs is simply seeing them. Because they are nocturnal and outdoor insects they aren’t always easy to spot. Palmetto bugs do well in warm, damp climates. Their native habitats include West Indies and Florida. To get rid of them, eliminate water sources such as leaks and dripping faucets. Remove food sources such as pet food and garbage. Keeping the kitchen clean makes your house less attractive to palmetto bugs. Remove excess trash and cardboard boxes around the house or in the garage. Lastly, try bug traps and bug spray.
  • Other Bugs: There are many resources online to help you kill bugs yourself or you can always call a professional exterminator.

When you purchase a new home you will need to face the perils of discovering insect habits all over again. Whether you purchased a traditional property sale in Jacksonville, a Florida foreclosure or are renting property here on the First Coast, keep these tips in mind to stay bug free this spring.

Jacksonville Florida is one of the few places with a wide variety of things to do without that big city feel. Spend the day at the beach or boating in the channels of the St. Johns River. For architect fans, visit the diverse historic districts of Riverside or Springfield.  If you are in the mood for a little culture, Jacksonville offers art museums, theater, symphony and music year round. Discover the reasons to live, work, & play in Jacksonville.

Live, Work, & Play in Jacksonville

1. Outdoor Activities – If you like water, you’ll like Jacksonville. The heart of the city is located on the St. Johns River, where you’ll find all sorts of recreational waterway traffic and activity. One of my favorite pastimes is cruising on the river near downtown Jacksonville at night and taking in the views of the illuminated cityscape.

The downtown area of Jacksonville, Fla., on the banks of the St. Johns River.
By Deborah Yovanovich, USA TODAY

No matter where you live in Jacksonville, you’re a short drive away from the Atlantic Ocean, which can be accessed from a variety of laid-back beach communities.

The surrounding waters makes Jacksonville a popular fishing destination. Inshore or offshore, there are plenty of spots to cast a line and catch a fish or two.

For land lovers, Jacksonville offers a variety of recreational parks. Enjoy nature at the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve, ride the trails at Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park, enjoy nature at the Jacksonville Arboretum, or sleep under the stars at one of the waterfront campsites in Huguenot Memorial Park.

2. Sports:  Jacksonville has both professional and semi-professional sports teams, including the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars, the Arena Football League’s Jacksonville Sharks, American Basketball Association’s Jacksonville Giants and the Jacksonville Suns Baseball team.

Two notable collegiate football events in Jacksonville each year are the annual Florida-Georgia game and the Gator Bowl. The FL-GA game, known as “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party” is played at EverBank Field in October. EverBank Field also is the site of the Gator Bowl, which is played on or around New Year’s Day.

Finally, all golf enthusiasts have Jacksonville on their radars, as there are more than 70 public and private courses in the area. Also, the Tournament Players Club at Sawgrass in nearby Ponte Vedra Beach is the site of the PGA Tour headquarters and hosts the Players Championship in May.

3. Music: Jacksonville supports a vibrant music scene. Several well known music legends old and new spent time or got their start here:

  •  The Allman Brothers Band
  • Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • Molly Hatchet
  • Yellowcard
  • Limp Bizkit
  • Shinedown
  • Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
  • Derek Trucks
  • Quad City DJ’s
  • 95 South
  • 69 Boyz

If music festivals are your thing – you’re in luck. With popular festivals such as Welcome to Rockville festival, Jacksonville Jazz Fest, and Springing in the Blues, music lovers of all kind are sure to be in heaven.

4. Downtown: Downtown Jacksonville has a lot to offer – from art to fine dining – there is something fun and interesting for just about everyone.

  • Art Walk
  • Downtown Vision
  • Riverwalk
  • Jacksonville Main Library
  • Springfield
  • Memorial Park
  • Florida Theater
  • MOCA
  • Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra
  • Jacksonville Landing

5. Riverside/Avondale/San Marco:  Just south of Downtown on the west side of the St. Johns is Riverside, which is perhaps Jacksonville’s edgiest locale. In 2010 the American Planning Association designated the larger Riverside-Avondale area one of the year’s Top 10 neighborhoods, an honor that also has been bestowed on Park Slope in Brooklyn, N.Y. and Pike Place Market in Seattle.

Riverside: Saturday Art Market

Avondale: 

San Marco: 

6. Family Activities: Jacksonville just happens to be a wonderful place to raise a family. With lots of events and activities for kids to do year around, you can ensure your little ones have the time of their lives while growing up in the First Coast.

7. St. Johns Town Center: The St. Johns Town Center is Jacksonville’s most popular outdoor retail destination. This large strip mall features such big-name anchor stores as Nordstrom, Barnes & Noble and Best Buy, as well as Apple, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Louis Vuitton. It’s the perfect place to enjoy quality shopping and grab a bite to eat at one of the popular restaurants.

Looking for a new home town, Jacksonville Florida, may be the place for you.  Want to try it out without making the plunge right away?  Traditions Realty can help.  With a full service agency offering property management and sales, we can put you in a place temporarily and let you get to know your new digs before you commit.  Want to jump into the market and take advantage of the low interest rates and all time low prices for homes?  We can help you find that beach condo, historic bungalow, or river front estate.

When you are caught in the midst of downtown Jacksonville, it is hard tell how close you are to the heart of the countryside. However, Jacksonville might be one of the few metropolitan areas where that is a true and just statement. Traditions Realty shares the next in our Getting to Know Jacksonville: the Baldwin Trail.

The Baldwin Trail

The Baldwin Trail is just five miles outside of downtown Jacksonville and offers over 14 miles of serene countryside and beautiful scenery that you can enjoy either on foot or during a bike ride. Like many other historic trails in Florida, the Baldwin trail follows an old rail system. While the rail system no longer follows that route, the trail remains a popular destination for the Jacksonville locals who know of its splendor. The Baldwin Trail is part of the Timucuan preserve, which incorporates several other natural and historical sites in Jacksonville, as well.

the baldwin trailThe Baldwin trail guides travelers through wetlands, hardwood uplands and pine flatwoods that are home to all sorts of wildlife, like wild turkeys, white-tailed deer and myriad species of birds. The trees provide a dense canopy over the trail, which offers a great form of sun protection while giving you the sense that you are traveling through a deep tunnel as you progress along the historic trail.

Nature isn’t the only thing to see along the Baldwin Trail. At one end of the trail is Camp Milton, one of the most respected Civil War historical sites in all of Florida. Camp Milton was once a confederate fort, housing about 7,500 confederate soldiers after the battle of Olustee in 1864. At that time the Baldwin Trail was still a working rail system, and the confederate army used the fort to block the shipment of supplies to the north. Camp Milton is still home to numerous Civil War artifacts. When visiting the Baldwin Trail, you can either park at Camp Milton or travel there by walking along the trail.

Rental and sale opportunities are available in the neighborhoods surrounding the Baldwin trail. Houses back up directly to the trail, which periodically breaks the scenery of the trail from densely wooded areas to finely kept family homes. As there are also schools nearby, you might encounter children walking along the trail during the after school hours, or family’s enjoying an evening walk together along the trail.

Looking to buy or sell in Jacksonville? Traditions Realty is a full service Real Estate Agency, specializing in Sales, Tenant Placement & Property Management. Contact our Traditions Realty agents online or at (904) 683.5230 today.