2018 Home Remodeling Trends

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Whether you’re designing your new home or just looking to do some renovation, the goal is to make this project personal to your needs, which means you shouldn’t necessarily have to adhere to current trends. But there are some trends that you may like to incorporate into your design or project. There could be good ideas for you to consider for your own redesign, new home purchase or remodel. Here are some ideas for you to get started. These trends are very popular and may just be what you are looking for.

Colorful Kitchens

Kitchens fill the home through good food, conversation, and shared moments. It is the most action-filled space in most homes, so gracing with bright hues make sense. Kitchen paints have long been associated with the color white simply because white conveys cleanliness. You can try adding a bit color but still keeping the clean white.  You can add some desirable diversity to your kitchen.  A muted, blended orange, burgundy, or light green all make good options for kitchen color. Consider having one wall painted a color, while keeping the rest white. This keeps the kitchen feeling safe and clean, while adding some life to it as well.

Blending Styles

While this trend is certainly not new, blending and merging traditional styles together is very popular. Whatever styles or methods you choose to combine depends solely on you. There is really no limit to the number of combinations you can try here. For instance, try combining rustic, wood-heavy design with a modern sleek style. The result may surprise you.

Keeping it bright

Another great investment is having some new windows put in. If the budget, space, and symmetry allow it, adding windows to your home can really alter the dynamics of a given room. It’s important to consult with a professional first before making a decisive jump into adding windows.

These are just a few ideas of trends and remodels that are popular among homeowners. Still need some design help? Ask us! Regardless, 2018 is a year for remodeling!

Energy Saving Tips

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Whether you’re looking stay cool in the hot summer months or during the long winter, whenever you save energy within your household you are also saving money. We have tips that help you save money while also staying comfortable.

 

1.       Replace your light bulbs

LED bulbs use 70% - 90% less energy and last up to 25 times longer. Lighting makes up about 12% of your homes energy usage. Energy efficient bulb are more expensive off the shelf, their efficient energy use and longer service lives mean that they cost less in the long run. Energy efficient bulbs are clear winners in terms environmental and financial benefits

2.       Purchase energy efficient appliances

Household appliances account for about 13% of the average home electric bill. ENERGY STAR appliances use 10% - 20% less energy than standard appliances. This helps save money and the environment. For example, ENERGY STAR certified clothes washers consume 25% less energy and 45% less water than conventional ones, whereas ENERGY STAR refrigerators use only 9% less energy.

3.       Improve the efficiency of your HVAC system

Upgrade your system – higher efficiency central air conditioners use about 14% less. Receive up to $1,000 rebates on new energy-efficient air conditioner or heat pump and save about $150 in energy costs each year.

Upgrading to a U.S. South ENERGY STAR certification can save you up to 12% on your heating bill or an average of $36 per year. If you’ve been running into several problems in your heating and air conditioning equipment, don’t spend your hard-earned money on repairs or high energy bills. Rather than suffering through another year of record breaking temperatures, invest in a new system and enjoy more comfortable home. With fewer repair appointments, more efficient cooling, and lower energy bills, a new home comfort system could save you money.

4.       Reduce air conditioning usage in the summer

Set your thermostat to 75 degrees in the summer. At night an ideal temperature comfort range for American drops to 65 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit. In the summer set your thermostat 5 degrees higher than your ideal temperature when you leave the house.

5.       Reduce heating usage in the winter

Set your thermostat to 70 degrees or lower when home and lower when you are asleep or away. Set your thermostat 5 degrees lower than your ideal temperature when you leave the house.

6.       Reduce leaks in the ducts

Air ducts are one of the most important systems in our home, and if the ducts are poorly sealed or insulated they are likely contributing to higher energy bills. Ducts that leaks heated air into unheated spaces can add hundreds of dollars a year to your heating and cooling bills, you can reduce that loss by sealing and insulating your ducts.

7.       Weatherize your house

Weatherize air leaks around your home is great way to reduce your heating and cooling expenses. Most common air leaks are vents, windows, and doors. Weather stripping around pieces that do move, like windows and doors. Ensure that there are no cracks or openings between the wall and vent, window, or door frame. Caulk between materials that don’t move, like around the chimney and outdoor overhangs.

8.       Insulate your house

Insulation is silently hidden in your walls, with no moving parts to fix, it’s the material you might spend precious little time to think about. An insulating materials resistance to conductive heat flow is measured in terms of it’s thermal resistance or R-value—the higher the value, the greater the insulating effectiveness. The level of insulation you should install depends on the area of your house. There are five main areas where you should consider adding insulation: attic, walls, floors, basement, and crawlspace.

9.       Understand your home how it uses energy

It is important that we understand our energy consumption, To help us better understand on how it uses energy please see this link: http://www.entergy-arkansas.com/global/your_home/pdfs/meter.pdf

10.   Adjust your day to day behavior like turning off the lights when you leave the room.

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Check out the 7 reasons why Jax is the perfect Place to move.

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If you are going to relocate to Jacksonville, FL, there are some things that you want to know about the city. Every city is unique in every single way, regardless of where you go. However, it can be difficult to fit into the neighborhood and get along with your neighbors if you don’t know what makes Jax special.

Jacksonville is the largest populated in Florida and the largest city by area in the continental US and has a lot of offer. When choosing a place to live, of course you need to be comfortable calling this area home, which means knowing all about the sports team, the special events and what is found throughout the area. We put together seven reasons why relocating to Jacksonville could be perfect move for you.

1. World Class arts destination

Music and art is everywhere in Jax, it’s the birthplace of Southern Rock and home to a strong tradition of jazz and blues. From music festivals to classical shows, entertainment options are endless on this side of the Sunshine state.

Jax lives among the top 25 arts destinations in the US:

Jacksonville Jazz Festival

Experience all Downtown Jacksonville has to offer as it comes alive with the sounds of jazz greats and modern favorites. Experience three stages of live jazz, local food, drinks, shopping and entertainment. The Jazz Fest has become one of the largest jazz festivals in the country, offering a fun and vibrant street festival atmosphere. Experience it on an even larger scale throughout 15 blocks of downtown.

Museum of Science and History (MOSH)

The Museum of Science and History (MOSH) is a museum in Jacksonville. It is a private, non-profit institution located on the Southbank Riverwalk, and the city's most visited museum. It specializes in science and local history exhibits. It features a main exhibit that changes quarterly, three floors of permanent exhibits, and the Bryan-Gooding Planetarium.

Art Walk

Art Walk is a free, self-guided tour that combines astounding visual and live art, engaging events and more in the core of Downtown Jacksonville. Jacksonville’s core and includes Hemming Park, galleries, museums, cultural and educational venues, restaurants and bars, Downtown businesses and more. Art Walkis a great way to meet fellow artists, buy and appreciate their work, and be part of the rapidly growing art scene in Jacksonville, Florida. Estimated average, 8,000 art enthusiastsattend each month to see more than 250 artists exhibiting at Art Walk.

Alhambra Theatre & Dining

The Alhambra Theatre and Dining in Jacksonville, Florida, is the oldest continually operating dinner theater in the United States, and the only professional resident theatre in the area south of Atlanta, east of New Orleans and north of Orlando. Enjoy themed, delicious dinners with each entertaining show.

Riverside Arts Market

Lively market held Saturdays under the bridge featuring local artists, food vendors & entertainment. The riverfront amphitheater seats 350 people and features hours of live music. RAM is one of several Florida markets that participates in the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP). SNAP recipients have an opportunity to purchase local produce There’s even a weekly kids’ activity for the little ones!

2. It’s always Beach season in Jax

 

The city of Jacksonville, Florida operates the largest urban park system in the United States, providing facilities and services at more than 337 locations on more than 80,000 acres located throughout the city. In addition to municipal parks, there are ten state parks, five national facilities, and several other gardens and arboretums in the area.

Jacksonville’s gorgeous climate means you can enjoy outdoor activities all year round.  With an average of 221 sunny days per year, Jacksonville truly lives up to Florida’s nickname of “The Sunshine State.”

Soak in the sun and sand

You’ll find 22 miles of uncrowded beaches minutes from downtown Jax. All you have to do is decided which Beach to sink your toes into, Neptune Beach, Atlantic Beach, and Jacksonville Beach. Soak in the sun, catch some waves or check out the happening Jacksonville nightlife. Nearby, you’ll also find the historic village of Mayport. Explore casino boats, freshly caught seafood and Kathryn Abbey Park—offering Jacksonville’s best camping, hiking and biking spots around. For just $1.50 fare, locals can also hop a ride on the Beaches Trolley to explore the nearby neighborhoods and attractions.

Drop a line

You’ll find topnotch fishing spots in every lake, river, pond, and creek that few other regions get to experience. Fishing enthusiasts love Jacksonville’s convenient water access and variety of fresh and saltwater species fishing options. Drop a line from a bridge or pier, or sail out from one of the many marinas dotting the shoreline. If you love fishing, consider entering the Jacksonville Kingfish Tournament in July. Tournament comes to town, with more than 500 boats fishing for hundreds of thousands of dollars in prizes. Each May Jacksonville hosts the Xtreme Challenge charity kayak fishing tournament, benefitting veteran's. 

 

Boating

Jacksonville has more shoreline than any other city in the nation, with 22 miles of spacious and exciting beaches where visitors can work on their tan or get active, take surfing or kiteboarding lessons, rent kayaks and paddleboards, rent a fishing charter boat to fish the jetties or go offshore. Close to the beaches, the Intracoastal Waterway offers 40 miles of inland waterways perfect for fishing, boating, and exploring the local wildlife. In the heart of Downtown Jacksonville, the St. Johns River takes the spotlight with miles of navigable water for boaters to explore. You can enjoy some other paddling resource available. Check out the Canoe/Kayak Launches and the Paddling Trails.

 

 

Explore under the sea.

For those on the more adventurous side, we have some good news for you: Jacksonville’s extensive reef system offers one of the best diving spots on Florida’s east coast. You’ll find over 30 offshore and two inshore reefs attracting a wide variety of colorful marine life. Plan a diving expedition or a scuba session to explore the corals, sponges and pristine reefs.

3. Jacksonville offers tons of family fun

You’ll find fun things to do in Jacksonville for kids of all ages.

What to do in Jacksonville, FL:

The Jacksonville Landing

Nestled along the gorgeous St. Johns River in Downtown Jacksonville, The Jacksonville Landing is home to year-round entertainment, a wide variety of waterfront dining options and a cozy indoor shopping mall, all of which are sure to complete an afternoon or evening of fun. For more than 25 years, The Jacksonville Landing has been the spot to stop in downtown Jacksonville.

St. Johns River Taxi

The St. Johns River Taxi providesall of your downtown transportation to and from the Doubletree Hotel, the Lexington Hotel, Friendship Fountain, the Jacksonville Landing, Hyatt, Omni, Metro Park Marina and the Stadium.ou can ride across the St. Johns River to the Northbank for only $10 (and $8 for kids).  Hop off at the Jacksonville Landing to explore downtown or ride it for the entire loop to enjoy breathtaking sunsets and live music.

Adventure Landing

If you need to let the kids run wild, take them to Adventure Landing! Play in the arcade, race go-karts around the track or hit up a round of mini golf. Offering individual & family fun for all ages, Adventure Landing can accommodate private and semi-private group events hosting thousands of guests. With over 5,000,000 visitors since opening, the Jacksonville Beach Park can proudly claim that Adventure Landing is the “Place to Play” for Florida families and visitors.

Kingsley Plantation

Tucked away in the Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve is Kingsley Plantation—Florida’s oldest plantation house. Take a step back in time to learn the story of freedom and enslavement, tour the plantation house and sign up for a ranger-led tour around the grounds. Kingsley plantation is open seven days a week and admission is free.

Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens

This is one of the top things to do in Jacksonville, FL. Sitting at the mouth of Trout River, The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens consistently ranks as a top animal attraction. The zoo occupies over 100 acres with over 2,000 animals and 1,000 plants in its collection. Ride the train, feed the giraffes or get up close and personal with tigers in the zoo’s wide open spaces!

Jax Sports

With great year-round weather and tons of teams to root for, sports will be a way of life if you’re moving to Jacksonville, FL. The area is home to eight pro sports teams, four college teams and tons of year-round events. Cheer on the Jacksonville Jaguars, take a swing on one of the 70 golf courses around or test your luck at any of Jacksonville’s water sports.

4.       There are great places to live in Jax

Living in Jacksonville, FL comes with endless perks. From miles of natural beauty and authentic dining options to thrilling attractions, Jax offers an array of different neighborhoods for young professionals, couples and families. Not to mention, the median age in Jacksonville is 35—younger than any other city in Florida.

Here are some of the best places to live in Jacksonville:

San Marco

The quaint San Marco area centers on its leafy namesake square, a lively hub with indie boutiques and casual eateries serving brunch, pizza and ice cream. Chic bistros and trendy bars dot surrounding streets. The art deco San Marco Theatre shows art-house movies and new releases, and rock bands play at intimate venue Jack Rabbits Live. The neighborhood is also known for its old riverfront mansions.

Northside

Once a heavy industrial area, the Northside has turned into a residential area with several acre lots and new home developments. It’s also close to the airport, shopping and several state parks and nature preserves. While downtown Jax is only minutes away, the Northside remains somewhat rural and peaceful.

The location: 20 minutes northeast of the city.
The neighbors: families, retirees and first-time homebuyers.

The Beaches

Did somebody say Salt Life? The Atlantic, Neptune and Jacksonville Beach areas host some of the priciest and desirable neighborhoods in Jacksonville. The median home price in the area is around $300,000, which comes with close access to the water and outdoor life.

Location: east of Jacksonville along the coast.
The neighbors: families and retirees.

Southside/Mandarin

Southside and Mandarin are loaded with history and boast some of the most stunning river views in all of Jacksonville. The residential area has a low crime rate, great schools and an extensive network of parks and recreation development. It was even described as a “tropical paradise” by author Harriet Beecher Stowe!

Location: south of San Marco along the St. Johns River.
The neighbors: families with young children and young couples buying their first home.

Westside

If you love the water and prefer living in a rural setting, the Westside and Orange Park are for you. The Westside area features full-service marinas, boating facilities and the Naval Air Station Jacksonville. This neighborhood offers reasonable house prices, several-acre lots and a relaxing break from the hustle and bustle downtown.

Location: Just south of downtown and west of the St. Johns River.
The neighbors: Navy families, horse lovers and people who desire land.

5.       Jaxis for food lovers.

Jacksonville is a destination for food lovers with great taste. In Jacksonville, the term “farm to table,” and even “farm to bar,” is more than just hype. The area even made it to Forbes list of five surprising foodie cities to visit—for good reason!Jacksonville’s food scene is an eclectic hybrid of inspired casual elegance and classic southern comfort, infused with the flavors of the coast and a dash of international flair. Here are some Jacksonville food joints you won’t be able to pass up.

American Eats

For those with a hankering for sandwiches and burgers, the options are endless. French Pantry has the freshest bread and longest line, for good reason. At Maple Street Biscuit Company you can satisfy your brunch cravings with a delicious chicken biscuit. Don’t forget to check out Kickbacks and Goozlepipe&Guttyworks, the best Gastro-pub Jax has to offer!

Food Trucks

Jacksonville boasts almost 100 different food trucks. Whether you’re on-the-go, hungry during your shopping outing or just in the mood to try something new, Jax food trucks offer creative options for every craving. Be sure to get a taste of some of the top favorites: Salty Dog, The Butt Hutt Smokehouse, Funkadelic Food Truck and Mother Truckin’ Pizza. Check out the full list of vendor.

Farm to Table

For those with an appreciation for eating local, Jax has over 20 locally owned, farm-to-table restaurants. You’ll also find over 30 restaurants with vegan menus and gluten-free options. Orsay, 904, and Black Sheep Restaurant all offer elegant, locally sourced cuisine. Kitchen on San Marco also consistently ranks as the top farm-to-table restaurant in Jacksonville.

Ethnic Cuisine

When you feel like mixing up the menu, there are plenty of ethnic options in Jacksonville. Green Erth Bistro offers Middle Eastern cuisine and vegan fare. Nile Ethiopian Restaurant has fresh Ethiopian cuisine and great customer service. For a taste of Lebanese food, visit Mandaloun Mediterranean Cuisine located near Deerwood Village.

Seafood Galore

Seafood is a must in Jacksonville. Visit Clark’s Fish Camp in Mandarin or Whitey’s Fish Camp in Orange Park for the down-home fish camp experience. If you’re looking for local seafood but want to head somewhere classy, check out North Beach Fish Camp or Bistro AIX raw bar. Wherever you go, don’t forget to request the culinary staple, the Mayport Shrimp!

 

6. It’s close to other major cities.

Whether you’re moving to the Sunshine State for the first time or just relocating a short drive away, you’re going to love Jacksonville’s convenient location to the following cities:

Atlanta. If you’re looking to get a taste of Atlanta’s heritage and Southern hospitality, you’re in luck. The drive from Atlanta to Jacksonville is around 4 hours and 50 minutes without stops.

Miami. When it comes to cities in Florida, Miami is the life of the party. Each year, the city expects 14 million visitors. If you plan to check out its beaches and exciting nightlife, the drive from Miami to Jacksonville should take around 5 hours and 25 minutes by car.

Naples. Known for its high-end shopping, sophisticated dining and world-class golf courses, Naples, FL is an affordable family destination for beach enthusiasts. You can travel from Jacksonville to Naples in about 5 hours and 30 minutes by car.

Orlando. So, how far is Jacksonville from Orlando? Get this: the Jacksonville to Orlando drive time is only a little over two hours. You can pack up the car, head to the most-visited destination in the U.S. and get there in no time.

7. Jacksonville, FL known as best job market and home affordability.

As far as living in Jacksonville, it is so appealing, that it was #2 on Realtor.com’s list of Cities Gaining the Most Residents.For jobs, WalletHub rated Jacksonville as Florida’s 4th best job market in 2016.More interested in the suburbs? Nearby Fleming Island was rated #3 for Florida’s Highest Median Annual Income and #1 for most affordable housing.

Source: https://wallethub.com/edu/best-cities-in-florida-for-jobs/21610/

Do you have any questions or advice for those moving to Jacksonville? We’d love to hear from you. Give us a call at (904) 746-0050.

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FHA Loan: 2018 Guidelines and how to qualify.

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Are you looking to buy a new home? But don’t have a cash on hand or you were not able to qualify for a conventional loan? Now you’re thinking of what type of loan you can get with lower down payment and easy qualification? With better mortgage rates, smaller down payments and lower closing costs. FHA loanscan help you buy a home if you don't qualify for a conventional loan. We'll help you understand whether FHA loans are right for you.

An FHA loan is a mortgage issued by federally qualified lenders and insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). FHA loans are designed for low-to-moderate income borrowers who are unable to make a large down payment.

FHA Site: https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/housing/fhahistory

Following is information regarding FHA loans. Disclaimer: We are not mortgage brokers and are only providing this information as a reference. Please refer to hud.gov for more info or contact your loan provider directly with any questions.

FHA Credit Score Requirements

To qualify the borrower must have at least 500 credit score for 90% loan-to-value, or 10% down payment. But it is not likely you will be approved as a subprime borrower with scores below 580. If a borrower has a 580 credit score they will be required to have just a 3.5% down payment. You must improve your credit score when your credit score is below 580.

First Time Homebuyers with bad credit

For first time homebuyers that has poor credit score, FHA loans make a lot of sense. A 500-credit score is needed for FHA with 10% down. If you have a credit score at least 580 you can qualify for FHA with only 3.5% down.

We all know that when we have a poor credit score history means we will have a higher interest rate and the monthly payment is higher as well. For those borrowers with score ranging from 500-579, I recommend working on improving your credit scores before applying for a mortgage. You can check our article on how to improve your credit score (paste the link)

Candidates for FHA Loans

·         Borrowers who experienced foreclosures or short sales

·         Borrowers without big down payment

·         First Time Homebuyer, but not only then

·         Borrowers with high debt

·         Borrowers with lower credit scores

·         Borrowers who needs higher maximum amount

Down Payment Requirements

Borrowers can qualify for an FHA loan with a down payment as little as 3.5% for a credit score of 580 or higher. The borrower’s credit score can be between 500 – 579 if a 10% down payment is made.  It’s important to remember though, that the lower the credit score, the higher the interest borrowers will receive.

As an example, if you’re buying a $250,000 house, a private loan will require no less than 5% down, or %12,500, which is best case scenario. If you get an FHA loan your down payment will be 3.5%, which is $8,750 for a home costing $250,000.

Down Payment Gifts

Another great benefit is that the down payment can be gifted to you. The down payment of 3.5% can be a gift, if the person gifting the down payment meets FHA guidelines.

Your relative, a charity, your employer or workers union, even your friend can gift you the funds for your down payment if the friend has invested interest in the borrower.

Overview of 2018 FHA Loan Limits

The FHA’s national low-cost area mortgage limits for 2018 are set 65% of the national conforming limit of $453,100 (for one-unit property). Please see below for the specific amounts for this category, by property type:

1 Unit: $294,515

2 Unit: $377,075

3 Unit:  $455,800

4 Unit: $566,425

 

For Hight cost area (with comparatively high home prices) are set 150% of the national conforming cap of $453,100.

1 Unit: $679,650

2 Unit: $870,225

3 Unit: $1,051,875

4 Unit: $1,307,175

Special exception areas are places that have higher construction costs. These areas include Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, and the Virgin Islands. In 2018, these four special exception areas have a higher FHA loan limit ceiling, as shown below:

1 Unit: $1,019,475

2 Unit: $1,305,325

3 Unit: $1,577,800

4 Unit: $1,960,750

 

 

 

 

 

First Time Home Buyer Checklist

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Buying or selling a home is probably one of the largest financial transactions you'll ever make. It's important to be well-prepared before purchasing or selling a home or investment property. To help you figure that out, here's an all-in-one first-time home buyer checklist with everything you should make sure you have covered before you set off on your hunt—or, if not, consider this a prime opportunity to get started.

Step No. 1: Find a real estate agent

Most rookie home buyers begin their house search online by browsing listings, which, normally is a mistake for a couple of reasons.

First you might be looking for homes that is outside your price range and of course you don’t want to fall in love in a property that you can’t afford. Most importantly: It’s the beginning of your own quest when you should be letting a seasoned professional guide you through every step of the home-buying process. Big Bonus is it’s no cost to you as a buyer to use an agent, so you’re getting free advice by using a real estate agent—no strings attached.

Step No. 2: Talk to a mortgage lender

Some experts recommend buyers to talk to a mortgage lender before finding a real estate agent. You need to shop for a lender locally, and real estate agents know which local lenders are trustworthy and which aren’t.

Ask your agent for two to three lender recommendations. Talking to some lenders will help you fully assess your financing options with no obligation to pick until you find what’s right for you.

A loan pre-approval sets you up for a smooth home buying experience. Pre-approvals don’t take much time. They involve pulling a three-bureau credit report (called a tri-merge) that shows your credit score and credit history as reported by third-party, respected institutions. Within the credit report, a lender can see your payment history (to see if payment obligations have been on-time and in-full) and your lines of credit (past and present).

The goal is to get pre-approved for a home loan. For you to get pre-approved, you’ll need to provide the lender a sufficient amount of paperwork, including your bank statements, pay stubs, W-2 forms, 1099 forms, and tax returns. If the lender approves it, you’ll receive a loan estimate that you would qualify for and the interest rate that you get.

Step No. 3: Improve your credit (if needed)

If you have a low credit rating, rest assured there are several things you can do to start improving your score today:

· Register on the electoral roll: if your name’s not on there, you’ll find it much harder to get credit.

· Check for mistakes on your file: even having just a slightly wrong address can have an impact on your score. So, make sure you check all the details and report any incorrect information immediately.

· Pay your bills on time: paying on time a phone landline or internet contract, is a great way to prove to lenders that you’re capable to managing finances effectively.

· Check if you are linked to another person: as having a spouse, friend or family member’s credit rating linked to yours through a joint account, could affect your personal rating if they have a poor score.

· Check for fraudulent activity: if something on your credit report is incorrect or doesn’t apply to you – i.e. if someone applied for credit in your name without your knowledge, contact the credit reference agency immediately to have your file updated.

· County Court Judgements (CCJs): receiving any court judgements for debt, will have a serious impact on your credit score. If you’re having problems keeping up with payments, seek debt advice.

· High levels of existing debt: ideally you should eliminate any outstanding debt before applying for new credit. As banks, building societies and credit card companies might be hesitant about lending you more if you already have a lot of existing debt.

· Moving home a lot: lenders feel more comfortable if they see evidence that you have lived at one address for a considerable period. Be sure to bear this in mind.

If you find that your credit score is subpar, you may be able to take steps to boost your score. Just keep in mind that you won’t improve a credit score overnight. Indeed, you may need to postpone your house search for a few months in order to mend your credit.

Step No. 4: Determine where you want to live

To focus your house hunting, you’ll need to decide where do you want to settle down. If you don’t have any particular neighborhood in mind, think about the area that you wanted to stay within or what areas are best suited for your commuting needs, school requirements, close to your family or friends or nearby restaurant and overall lifestyle.

Ask this to yourself: Where do you want to live? What do you do at night? What do you do on weekends? Your habits can help determine where should you live.

Step No. 5: Don’t damage your credit

If you thought only credit cards and loans affect your credit score, you were wrong. Certain applications or late payments can hurt your credit score even if you don’t regularly do business with that company.

Your loan will not get fully approved until it goes to the underwriting – which could take place just a few days before closing. To keep your credit score stable, you'll want to avoid taking on new debt (e.g., getting an auto loan), opening new credit cards, neglecting student loan payments, or falling behind on credit card payments.

There are many benefits of having a good credit score, like enjoying a lower interest rate on your credit cards and loans. A good credit score also allows you to save money on insurance and security deposits on new utilities and cell phone service. It's all about how you use credit that lets you to keep a good score.

Signs You’re Ready to Build a New Home

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Buying your first home is an exciting milestone and most likely the biggest purchase you’ll ever make, but don’t let that excitement sweep you up into making a decision you’ll end up regretting.  New home Construction can involve a lot of exciting choices and unique opportunities. Don’t buy a home because you’re trying to keep up with someone, it’ll make you fall further behind in the long run. Buy a home because it truly makes sense financially and you’re ready to deal with the challenges of homeownership. Before you commit to one of the largest purchases in your life, you’d better sure you’re ready for it.

Here are the five signs that you be ready to start building:

1. You need space

When your family is growing, or you simply have an intense feeling of longing for that backyard and study, space is something that affects your lifestyle. If you feel like you’re living in a house that is too small for, building might be the way to go.

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2. You have the budget

It’s generally harder to enter the property market than it is to buy a second house. This is because you don’t have assets or an investment to leverage. Chances are, you’re probably earning more, years later. Building a house isn’t necessarily the more expensive route. However, your budget will affect the construction loans available to you.

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3. You know what you want

It can be a loss of determination visiting tons of homes and not finding the perfect fit. Building a home instead of buying, you have the control of everything – from the color of your doorknobs through to the layout. You’re the artist.

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4. You like a specific area

If there’s an area you like near to the beach, shops, schools and other things that ooze lifestyle, building is a great option. You can have both: the dream location and house.

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5. You have the time

There’s never been the perfect time to build a house, some moments are better than others. Like in between having a baby number one and two, or before you start saving for that one-month European adventure. Choosing to build doesn’t necessarily have to mean it’s going to take longer. It all depends on the custom home builder you partner with. If you feel it right, go for it.

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Saving Big on New Home Construction

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Having a home built for you can entail many unexpected costs and expensive upgrades. Buying a brand new home is a big decision and an important investment and there is a lot to think about. New homes may offer you the opportunity to customize the home to match your personality.

Many factors influence builder pricing, while here are a some of the top categories that impact builders the most:

· Location

· Cost of the land

· Size of the home

· Cost of the building materials

· Labor costs

· Real estate market conditions

· Builder impact fees

 New construction can offer a great opportunity to find the perfect home for you as the buyer, but purchasing from a builder is a lot different than buying re-sale homes. What should you, as a new construction home buyer, know about buying new construction homes?

1. Why you need a New Construction Buyer’s Rep

When purchasing new construction, there is a common misconception among buyers that the process is pretty straightforward: walk into the builder’s office, pick a lot and design, and sign on the dotted line.  Builder contracts and the building process is different from what most real estate agents deal with on a daily basis, so having a Buyer’s Rep with new construction experience is important. As the buyer of a new construction home from a builder, it’s my job as your real estate agent to negotiate if “your” best interests and not the “builder’s” best interest; the buyer is not represented by the builder’s salesperson and will be taking a big risk with what is probably one of the biggest investments of your life.

 2. Prepare to negotiate

The builder’s salesperson will usually give the impression that sale prices aren’t negotiable. They don’t change on sale price , for instance, and may instead offer to pay closing costs or provide design upgrades.

 3. Another important thing is the timing of the sale

Knowing when it’s best for clients to buy or to hold off can save your clients a lot of money.  If a new phase of construction is set to start, this can mean the purchase price of properties from the previous phase is set to go up. Reserving a property before that can mean big savings for buyers—as well as instant equity. As a buyer’s agent, you can seek out builder inventory that has been on the market for a while—and you can often negotiate a good deal.

4. Be fully aware there are always additional costs

Make sure you as the buyer knows that most upgrades usually come at a cost. When touring the model home, find out exactly what options are standard and what upgrades are available for an additional cost. This will help to avoid any surprises later on.

5. Knowing the key elements unique to the new-home market

Elements unique to the new-home market, including architectural design, blueprint reading, site design, construction methods and materials, and so forth, are usually not things buyers are well versed in. As a Licensed Realtor + General Contractor, these skills are some of the unique services that I will provide to help you buyers with the purchase of their new construction home; as well as helping you choose the best lot or make sure the construction drawings match the home you are expecting to be built.

The bottom line: New construction offers exciting opportunities for buyers. When purchasing a new construction home, make sure your interests are best protected and hire a Licensed Realtor + General Contractor to help you with the entire process.

Scott DeVore is both Licensed as a Realtor + General Contractor and he specializes as a New Construction Buyer’s Representative. If you are interested in purchasing a new construction home in Jacksonville, St John’s County, or anywhere in the Northeast Florida metropolitan area, contact Scott today at 904-746-0050 or scott@devorecapital.com.

 

If you don't care about your customer your competitor will.

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One of the biggest mistakes new home buyers make is assuming that everything in their house will work perfectly because it’s brand new.

No matter how precise and careful builders are, there is no such thing as a perfect house. Ending the relationship with the builders, which is a big mistake of new home owners, the frustrated homeowners now regret. For example, owners discover that the house’s hot water tank is inadequate and can’t supply enough hot water for three people taking showers at the same time. Or circuit breakers are shutting down when too many appliances are used simultaneously because the builder cheaped on wiring.

New-home buyers should prepare themselves for all contingencies include clause in the contract that says that unidentified issues that crop up after the closing must be resolved. This idea would help New-home buyer avoid regreting why they bought new home.

And even when problems are resolved, never end a relationship with a builder, advises Saatchi. “Always maintain a good rapport because there is no predicting what problems will suddenly surface years after the homes were bought.”

These are just some of the things to consider in buying a New home. Nevertheless, more popping question on your mind you just need one thing. Call us at (904) 746-0050  and we will handle all your question.

 

Source: http://bit.ly/2FJib6U

 

Why should you hire a General Contractor?

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Are you planning to do a home renovation or do some updating, change the layouts or to do some household repairs or thinking to build a new house? Renovating a house is a big task and quite large investment. If you have any home construction in mind, hiring a contractor is a big plus.

What is General Contractor?

A general contractor has the ability to manage an entire project efficiently and responsible for the overall coordination of a project. The general contractor will assess the project – specific documents (referred to as bid,  proposal or tender documents). If in case of renovations, a site visit is required to get a better understanding of the project. Depending on the project delivery method, the contractor will submit a fixed price proposal or bid, cost-plus price or an estimate.

Let’s understand the responsibilities of a General Contractor:

1.    Responsible for providing all of the material, labor equipment etc..

2.    Hires specialized or skilled workers to perform all the required job

3.    responsible for the quality of all work performed by any and all subcontractors. number one priority is safety on the job site. 

4.    Responsibilities may include applying for building permits, advising the person they are hired by, securing the property, providing temporary utilities on site, managing personnel on site, providing site surveying and engineering, disposing or recycling of construction waste, monitoring schedules, and cash flows, and maintaining accurate records.

Hiring a general contractor is like hiring an event organizer, they take care of all the details of hiring the right people to get the job done and their knowledge in the field is invaluable to you. If you believe that you can take care of the details yourself, you’re taking on a huge headache and maybe even a risk without them.

There can be benefits to hiring an experienced general contractor. Here are some hiring a right general contractor:

1.    Managing a Project can be full-time job takes the responsibility for every aspect of the build. A general contractor will make sure they can provide an owner satisfaction.

2.    Trusted Skilled Workers they have a large network of trusted skilled workers and subcontractors. They will make sure that the job is done right the first time, reducing the need for parts of the project to be done multiple times, and saving money for the project overall.

3.    Good quality of materials and Better Price – General contractors have their own source for higher quality materials, which they can get an advantage rate than retail. They can guarantee the quality of the materials chosen for every aspect of the job.

4.    Licensing, Permitting, and Insurance - General contractors are licensed (and hire licensed tradesmen) to do the job.  They pull permits and interact with city, state and building offices to ensure all aspects of the project are up to code. In addition, they carry worker’s compensation and liability insurance to protect themselves – and the owner – against accidents.

DeVore Capital Contracting Consulting Inc has the ability to manage the entire life cycle of your project efficiently. We can do all types of jobs in home construction or home renovation as well as technical jobs like electrical, plumbing, heating jobs, etc.

We are just one call away, call us at 904-746-0050 or email us at scott@devorecapital.com to talk to us about your renovation ideas.

 

 

 

From Concept to Execution

Jax's Developments provides expert real estate management to bring your property development vision to life. We manage the project development process from start to finish: from business plan (market study & project feasibility study), to conceptualization and design, project planning, contractor selection, project management and implementation, construction management & value engineering, licenses and permits, marketing and branding, sales and leasing – all the way to turnover, operations and property management. We partner with local and international professionals (architects, designers, engineers, urban planners, hotel operators, etc.) to come up with the right project, on time and on budget.
 
We understand how difficult it is to estimate the cost of a project, which is why we have done it for you. As a Jax's real estate agent I can guarantee to you a  commitment to delivering high-quality, high-value residential communities and don't worry about jack-ups! Having me as an agent wont let you spend more since its just a commission base, Jax's developments will be the one to shoulder my professional fee. I would just like to emphasize on this just for you to have a heads-up. To give a real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money and that is sincerity and integrity. 

So whats up? Any questions on your mind or 5 questions? #1 thing to do is CALL ME I'll handle the other 4.

Can you really go full blast and still expect good results in return?

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With 2018 barely 2 months old, Real estate brands are not slowing down as they take on 2018 by constructing more residential, office, commercial, and retail projects.  They explained that while the industry will continue its growth this year due to the country’s “bullish economy, young demographics and consumption-driven market,” the increase of infrastructure projects that will improve the business environment is also a major contributing factor.

Making noise is the MDU or multidwelling unit which means a classification of housing where multipleseparate housing units for residential inhabitants are contained within one building or several buildings within one complex. A common form is an apartment building. 2017 was a good year for multifamily housing, and the keyword on the ground for 2018 is "stable." There's still a lot of potential in the mid- and lower ends of the market, and an opportunity for investors to fill the demand that federal housing can't. Walker & Dunlop is a leader in the multifamily lending space, ranking within the top five largest multifamily lenders with Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and HUD.  The Company has also significantly increased its brokered loan originations; in the first three quarters of 2017, the Capital Markets team closed a record $5.2 billion in total brokered volume, up 23 percent from the full-year 2016 figure.

When it comes to real estate we should look for consistently and most importantly "fight for quality" rather than a "flight to quality." We should prefer hard work and assemble the expertise needed to effectively renovate and reposition properties than go straight into a bidding war for the most attractive luxury offerings on the market.

JAX's: A Perfect Place To Live

JAX's: A Perfect Place To Live

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If you are relocating to Jacksonville area, first of all I want to say you made a right decision. Florida’s youngest city – and one of the hippest – Jacksonville is the getaway that leaves you feeling refreshed yet accomplished. You won’t need a vacation from this vacation! In Jax'z you can experience a different side of Florida, combining both relaxation and adventure, and allowing you to choose just how active you want to be. Enjoy the 22 miles of beaches, extensive park system, world-class fishing, historic neighborhoods, vibrant street arts scene, creative coastal cuisine, delicious craft beer, vibrant nightlife and so much more! "Lonely Planet "ranked Jacksonville on its list of the world’s “10 Best Value Destinations for 2018,” the only U.S. city to make the list, and Expedia’s Viewfinder blog named Jacksonville as one of “21 Supercool U.S. Cities.”

Aside from talking about the physical apperance of Jax's, lets tackle about its retail business status or specifically e-commerce, it is a force that won't be held back, traditional brick-and-mortar retailers are in the best position to take advantage of that revolution, according to the studies. That means a huge slice of the pie for traditional retailers, considering e-commerce's meager foothold, so far.

"Looking at beauty in the world is the first step of purifying the mind.” So what now? Come and enjoy Jax's.

Renovation 101

Renovation 101

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Our Home! Our Life!

The most important areas I can renovate in terms of adding value to my home for resale is to make sure that the house has been generally inspected and managed from the internal works to the external works in order to assure potential buyers that they would get their moneys worth. It is highly important that the foundation is stable, inner decay has been removed and replaced, and duct work, electrical and plumbing system have been checked. After addressing those, the next important things to be improved on are what can be easily seen upon entering the house which are the flooring, windows, walls, and other surface finishes.

If you're planning to remodel your kitchen and baths, well that's a good choice. It's a good factor having a very relaxing and pampering baths and kitchen. According to DIY network from the expert, kitchen renovation rank as No. 1 on the list. Bathroom remodels cost is estimated in the thousands of dollars but may return on investment at up to 68 percent and with an average 66 percent return on investment on kitchen remodels.

The worst things people renovate thinking it would add value for resale is going too ‘trendy' on decorating and building in the house. What they don’t realize is that trendy also resonates to ‘short-term. In renovating a home you would want something you know would last.

Getting a good return on your kitchen improvements or those bathroom upgrades is great. When deciding to remodel your kitchen or bath, remember that this also is about improving your home for you and your family. It not only gives your home a new feel that's worth coming home to, it, in fact, increases home value and will provide higher return on investment.

Top 8 Best Private Schools in Duval County

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1. BOLLES SCHOOL

-          An American private college preparatory day and boarding school in Jacksonville, Florida

 

Star Rating: 4.5

Address: 400 San Jose Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32217, USA

McKay Participant: NO

FTC Participant: NO

Gardiner Participant: NO

Grade Levels: PK-12

Accreditation: SACS/CASI, FCIS

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2. Episcopal School of Jacksonville

-          An independent, coeducational private college preparatory school in Jacksonville, Florida, United States. It was founded in 1966 by the Episcopal Diocese of Florida.

 

Star Rating: 4

Address: 4455 Atlantic Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32207, USA

McKay Participant: YES

FTC Participant: YES

Gardiner Participant: YES

Grade Levels: 6-12

Accreditation: SACS / CASI, FCIS

 

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3. BISHOP JOHN J. SNYDER HIGH SCHOOL

-          A private college preparatory Catholic high school in Jacksonville, Florida. It is located in and administered by the Roman Catholic Diocese of St. Augustine.

 

Star Rating: 4

Address: 5001 Samaritan Way, Jacksonville, FL 32210, USA

McKay Participant: YES

FTC Participant: YES

Gardiner Participant: YES

Grade Levels: 09-12

Accreditation: SACS/CASI

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4. PROVIDENCE SCHOOL

-          A private Christian college preparatory school in Jacksonville, Florida, U.S. It has a preschool, a lower school, a middle school, and a high school, and enrolls about 1,200 students a year.

 

Star Rating: 4

Address:  2701 Hodges Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32224, USA

McKay Participant: NO

FTC Participant: YES  

Gardiner Participant: YES

Grade Levels: KG-12

Accreditation: SACS/CASI, ACSI, FCIS

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5. CHRIST'S CHURCH ACADEMY

-          A college-preparatory private Christian school in JacksonvilleFlorida. The CCA faculty and staff develop excellence through personal instruction in a collaborative learning environment, a continuous focus on dedicated discipleship, professional development

 

Star Rating: 4

Address: 10850 Old St. Augustine Rd. Jacksonville, FL 32257

McKay Participant: YES

FTC Participant: YES

Gardiner Participant: YES

Grade Levels: KG-12

Accreditation: SACS/CASI, FCIS, ACSI

 

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6. BISHOP KENNY HIGH SCHOOL

-          A college-preparatory private Christian school in JacksonvilleFlorida. The CCA faculty and staff develop excellence through personal instruction in a collaborative learning environment, a continuous focus on dedicated discipleship, professional development

 

Star Rating: 4

Address: 10850 Old St. Augustine Rd. Jacksonville, FL 32257

McKay Participant: YES

FTC Participant: YES

Gardiner Participant: YES

Grade Levels: KG-12

Accreditation: SACS/CASI, FCIS, ACSI

 

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7. HARVEST COMMUNITY SCHOOL

-          A private school, offer classes from Jr Kindergarten through 12th grade. Harvest does partner with parents and students in the student’s education, we are not a homeschool umbrella or co-op.

 

Star Rating: 4

Address:  2360 St Johns Bluff Rd S #1, Jacksonville, FL 32246, USA

McKay Participant: NO

FTC Participant: NO

Gardiner Participant: NO

Grade Levels: PK-12

Accreditation: FCCPSA, SACS/CASI

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8. FIRST COAST CHRISTIAN SCHOOL

 

-          A private school dedicated to Christian

 

Star Rating: 4

Address:  7587 Blanding Blvd. Jacksonville, FL 32244

McKay Participant: YES

FTC Participant: YES

Gardiner Participant: NO

Grade Levels: PK-12

Accreditation: FACCS

List of the Popular Restaurant in JAX's

Looking for a place that you can dine with a very accommodating crew or a place where you can chill out with your family and friends?  Are you just relocated here in JAX’s and you don’t know yet the places where you can dine and relax? 

 These are the list of the most mind-blowing restaurants in JAX’s that most people visited and have a good review.

 

1.    Gilbert Social | 4.5 Star Rating

-    French, Seafood, and American

-    Address: 4021 Southside Blvd #200, Jacksonville, FL 32216, USA. Served Tuesday – Saturday, 11:00a – 9:00p | Closed Sunday and Monday

2.    BB’s | 4.5 Star Rating

-    Buzzing bistro serving innovative New American dishes & sweets from a dessert case amid chic digs.

-    Address: 1019 Hendricks Ave, Jacksonville, FL 32207, USA – Open at 11:00a – 12:00a

3.    Southern Charm | 4.5 Star Rating

-    Country-style barbecue & seafood in a no-fuss eatery with weekend & lunch buffet specials.

-    Address: 3566 St Augustine Rd, Jacksonville, FL 32207, USA

-    Hours: Saturday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 11:30a – 2:30p, 6:30p – 8:00p

Sunday 12:00p – 2:30p

Monday CLOSED

Friday 11:30a – 2:30p, 6:30p – 8:00p

4.    The French Party | 4.5 Star Rating

-    They served baked goods and café fare in a quaint space, etc.

-    Address: 6301 Powers Ave, Jacksonville, FL 32217, USA

-    Monday – Saturday 11:00a – 2:15p | Sunday: CLOSED

5.    The Bearded Pig | 4.5 Star Rating

-    They served traditional BBQ options, tap brews, the big plus is the patio with TVs and much more.

-    Hours: Monday to Saturday 11:00a – 10:00p | Sunday 11:00a – 9:00p

6.    Restaurant Orsay | 4.5 Star Rating

-    French, American, Seafood

-    Seasonal French food & creative cocktails meet in this dining room with plush seats & exposed beams.

-    Address:  3630 Park St, Jacksonville, FL 32205, USA

-    Hours Monday - Wednesday 4:00p – 10:00p

-    Thursday & Friday 4:00p – 12:00p

-    Saturday 11:00a – 12:00a & Sunday 11:00a – 10:00p

7.    GangNam Korean Restaurant | 4.5 Star Rating

-    Casual restaurant serving Korean dishes in a simple dining room with wood tables & native accents.

-    Address:  5161 Beach Blvd #5, Jacksonville, FL 32207, USA

-    Hours Monday Closed

-    Tuesday to Saturday 11:00a – 10:00p & Sunday 11:00a – 10:00p

8.    Black Sheep Restaurant | 4.5 Star Rating

-    Casual eatery plating locally sourced Southern chow plus a full bar serving craft beers & cocktails.

-    Address: 1534 Oak St, Jacksonville, FL 32204, USA

-    Hours Monday to Thursday 10:30a – 10:00p and Friday 10:30a – 12:00a

-    Saturday 9:30a – 12:00a and Sunday 9:30a – 10:00p

9.    Town Hall | 4.5 Star Rating

 

-    American and Cocktail Bars

-    Small plates, cheese & a large wine list are draws at this cozy tapas bar.

-    Hours Monday to Friday 3:00p – 10:00p

-    Saturday 3:00p -11:00p and Sunday 10:00a – 10:00p

10.    Bread and Board

-    American Restaurant

-    Address: 1030 Oak St, Jacksonville, FL 32204, USA

-    Hours Monday to Friday 11:00a – 2:30p, 4:00p – 10:00p

-    Saturday 11:00a – 2:30p, 4:00p – 11:00p

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

PROS & CONS: Selling your homes during the Holiday

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PROS & CONS: Selling your homes during the Holiday

  PROS:   In the past, conventional wisdom said you shouldn’t try to sell a home during the holidays. However, marketing your property when there are fewer homes for sale means your home will have less competition, making it easier to stand out to potential buyers.  Potential home buyers felt that the holidays were too hectic for home shopping. They were preoccupied with planning parties, cooking meals, buying presents or planning vacations.   Even during the holiday break, they’re squeezing in work. They’re already staying “on the grid,” so why not continue monitoring the real estate listings in their area too?   CONS:   Working around holiday travel schedules can make it tricky to get everyone to coordinate all your paperwork in a timely manner.   Also, if you live in an area with cold or snowy weather, you may find that showing requests are lower if the weather is less than desirable.   Holiday decorations also go a long way toward creating a festive elegance that will work in your favor when it comes to attracting buyers, invoking the holiday spirit that may compel someone to buy. 

PROS:

In the past, conventional wisdom said you shouldn’t try to sell a home during the holidays. However, marketing your property when there are fewer homes for sale means your home will have less competition, making it easier to stand out to potential buyers.

Potential home buyers felt that the holidays were too hectic for home shopping. They were preoccupied with planning parties, cooking meals, buying presents or planning vacations. 

Even during the holiday break, they’re squeezing in work. They’re already staying “on the grid,” so why not continue monitoring the real estate listings in their area too?

CONS:

Working around holiday travel schedules can make it tricky to get everyone to coordinate all your paperwork in a timely manner. 

Also, if you live in an area with cold or snowy weather, you may find that showing requests are lower if the weather is less than desirable. 

Holiday decorations also go a long way toward creating a festive elegance that will work in your favor when it comes to attracting buyers, invoking the holiday spirit that may compel someone to buy. 

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Christmas Home Decorating Tips

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Christmas Home Decorating Tips

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HOME DECORATION

Set a festive holiday mood throughout your house with our simple Christmas decorating ideas. Every room can use a Christmas touch, and we cover all your indoor spaces with our classic Christmas inspiration. Whether you have a traditional home or prefer a more contemporary Christmas look in your living room, kitchen, and entry, our holiday ideas will inspire you. If your fireplace deserves a little focus, lets make it festive with garlands, wreaths and twinkling Christmas lights. But don't let us dictate your Christmas decor decisions -- get custom, just-for-you results with our Easy Holiday Decorating Idea Finder, a fun and free tool that helps you transform your Christmas home into a holiday haven.

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FUN & FESTIVE COLORS

This light and airy holiday color scheme incorporates light green, bright blue, and silver to create a sophisticated Christmas living room. Hang light green-and-blue oversize stockings from your mantel beneath potted lemon cypress trees wrapped in teal paper and green ribbon. Decorate your Christmas tree with an assortment of blue, silver, and green glass ornaments, and color-coordinate a sea of wrapped packages in blue-and-white to complete the color scheme.

Insert gold, silver, and white pom-poms in a clear glass ball ornament for a sparkly, energetic look for your tree.

This will make your Christmas decoration fabulous.

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