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Featured Jacksonville Real Estate News St Augustine Real Estate

Tips for Preparing for Retirement from Equifax

Active adult community planningWhether or not retirement is on your immediate radar, if it is within a few years for you, it’s no doubt something that’s on your mind. Preparing to leave the workforce, downsizing into a smaller home (maybe finding a home in a Jacksonville active adult community) and budgeting to live off of savings will all be an adjustment. The retirement experts at the Equifax Finance blog offers three tips for planning for retirement in the recent article, “

Three Retirement Tips for 2014 Retirees.”

First, plan out how you are going to spend your time during retirement. Experts agree that it is important to find fulfilling ways for retirees to spend their time, from volunteering to pursuing a passion.

Second, decide when to claim Social Security. There is no magic time at which each person should do this, but it is something that should be carefully decided upon. Take into consideration your health, your cash flow and your employment during retirement. You can either take the reduced benefit starting in your early 60s or wait a few years to receive the full benefit. Contact your local Social Security office or visit www.socialsecurity.gov to assess your benefits.

Third, look into your current savings and decide if any changes are needed. Revisiting your asset allocation may show that you might want to lower the risk in your investment portfolio. Your portfolio should keep up with inflation without being too risky. Keep in mind, of course that asset allocation does not ensure or guarantee better performance, and it cannot eliminate the risk of investment losses. It can however, help you stay on track with your retirement plan even during fluctuations in the market.

Get more tips on retirement at the

Equifax Finance blog, where you can also get tips on credit, identity theft protection, taxes, insurance and more.

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Featured News

Jacksonville Named in Top 10 Cities with Lowest Taxes

Jacksonville SkylineGood news for Jacksonville real estate owners: the city was recently named by MarketWatch as one of the top 10 cities in the United States with the lowest taxes.

As with all Florida residents, individuals and families living in the city don’t have to pay state or local tax income. The majority of the state’s tax revenue instead comes from their 6 percent sales tax. This means that families earning $25,000 only had to pay $2,956 per year (11.8 percent of their income), and families earning $150,000 only had to pay $6,429 per year (4.3 percent of their income) in taxes.

The data for the study came from The District of Columbia’s Office of Revenue Analysis, which reviewed the estimated property, sales, auto and income taxes a family paid in 2011 in the largest city in each state.

Other cities in the top 10 include Las Vegas, Nev.; Manchester, N.J.; Sioux Falls, S.D.; Memphis, Tenn.; Billings, Mont.; Fargo, N.D.; Houston, Texas; Anchorage, Alaska and Cheyenne, Wyo.

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Featured News

Save the Best for Last with Color

Voice of ColorWhen you walk into your local home improvement store, chances are you’re drawn to the paint samples section. However, before you rush into a paint color spree, make sure you’ve planned out the rest of your space. In comparison to paint colors, most other interior finishes come in a limited number of colors. You need to consider the items with more limited options such as flooring and upholstery, before selecting a paint color.

If you’re working on your Jacksonville new home interior, your steps should look like this:

  • Upholstery
  • Flooring
  • Accent furniture
  • Paint

If you’re working on the exterior, stick with this order:

  • Brick
  • Stone
  • Stain color
  • Paint color

PPG Porter Paints offers more than 2,000 paint colors, so you are destined to find one that suits the rest of the finishes in your home. They also offer incredible tools to help you match your finishes with your paint color. The Voice of Color app allows you take a picture of your fabric or other item, pull all of the colors from the photo and then order matching 8 x 12 paint samples at no charge!

Once you do start the paint color selection process, be sure to consider all of your surfaces. The two most reflective surfaces in any space are the floor and the ceiling. This means your ceiling color can have a dramatic impact on your room. If you walk into a space and something is unique, but you just can’t quite put your finger on it, look at the ceiling to see if it’s something other than white.

Remember, paint offers the greatest variety in options, so make sure you save the best for last!

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Featured Jacksonville Real Estate

New Service Leads to Expedited Jacksonville Real Estate Roofing Repairs

Jacksonville new home roofsGood news for Jacksonville real estate residents who need help when it comes to repairing their roof, Roof Links Inc. is now offering same day repair assessments for homeowners and business owners. The new business offering is aimed at helping citizens in northern Florida obtain roofing services much quicker during and after the hurricane season.

Roof Link Inc. contractors are all licensed in the state to perform both residential and commercial roofing replacement and repair services, and same day assessments can now be submitted online at www.roofingjacksonvilleflorida.com. The service helps skilled contractors to arrive faster to assess the damage in order to expedite these services.

For many, the period of time it takes between when damage happens and when it is assessed can be a waiting game. Many insurance companies don’t have the manpower to respond as quickly as many homeowners and business owners would like. For those without insurance, fixing or repairing their roof as soon as possible is generally a top priority.

Thanks to this new offering, Jacksonville new home residents will be able to get back to staying dry all year long sooner!

For more information, please visit the Roof Link website.

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Featured Jacksonville Real Estate News

Challenges Ahead for Downtown Jacksonville Apartment Growth

downtown jacksonville real estateMany beautifully constructed, historic building pepper the streets of downtown Jacksonville, and at a time when the real estate market is starting to improve, many builders are considering these prime Jacksonville real estate opportunities.

One of the most sought-after buildings currently is the former public defender’s, the Groover Stewart Building at 25 Market St. Several general contractors have laid out plans to turn this building which features exposed brick walls and copious amounts of natural lighting into apartments.

However, finding investors for this and other similar projects is a challenge. Many investors aren’t looking for smaller scale projects that would reap less returns in a still somewhat shaky market.

Building the popular garden-style apartments have been flooding the Southside with new multifamily opportunities is nearly impossible in an urban environment, and high-rise condo costs aren’t justifiable. This means that only the rehabilitation of old office buildings remains as a valid opportunity to bring more residents into the downtown area.

For more information and updates on the trials of downtown apartment living, which is being reported by the Jacksonville Business Journal, visit their website.

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Featured News

Choosing Paint Products for Dummies

choosing paint for dummiesHave you walked down the paint aisle of your local home maintenance store lately? If so, you were probably overwhelmed with paint options from Latex and Acrylic to Low VOC and Eggshell. With so many choices, how do you choose the right one for your project?

The easiest solution is to talk with a representative at your local PPG Porter Paints store. These associates have a wealth of knowledge, and can help you choose which products are dos and which products are duds for the project at hand.

If you were sick, would you prescribe medicine to yourself? Chances are, you’re not a doctor, and therefore don’t have all the knowledge you need to correctly diagnose yourself. This is why we go to doctors. They can narrow down the selections for us to tell us which products are best to treat our symptoms.

The same goes for paint, in most cases, it’s best to leave it to the experts. Even though you may want to know the reasons behind a product selection. Here are some quick tips to help you see the logic behind the “prescription.”

Sheen:

Sheen’s have a gradation in order including: Glass over, Semi Gloss, Eggshell Plus, Eggshell Matte and Flat. Sheens that are glossier tend to be better for wet spaces such as laundry rooms, bathrooms and kitchens. In this case, Eggshell or Eggshell plus work well with semi gloss for trim.

Matte or flat sheens have more hiding power. If you’re repainting an older space filled with imperfections, matte or flat sheens are the best option.

Product:

One of the products I highly recommend is Silken Touch from PPG Porter Paints. You may be wondering why some paints cost more than others? This is due to the combination of raw materials within the paints, some of which cost more than others. However, you will find that you get what you pay for. Silken Touch is made up of top notch raw materials that can help you get the job done right the first time and with less paint, or essentially a better value.

If you really want to get to know your paint products, check out the product page. Remember, no one expects you to be an expert on everything, and it doesn’t make you less intelligent to ask an expert for help!

Tessa Jones is a south zone color consultant with PPG Porter Paints.

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Featured Jacksonville Real Estate News

First HGTV Smart Home Being Built in Jacksonville

HGTV Smart Home in JacksonvilleJust about everyone these days is thinking green when it comes to building their new home. We’re excited to announce that Jacksonville will be home to the first HGTV Smart Home, which will be built in the beach community of Paradise Key South Beach.

The Jacksonville new home will feature typical Florida architecture influences in addition to the latest developments in green living and home technology. The Smart Home technology will connect many of the home’s appliances and devices, and will allow the residents to control home systems as well as monitor energy use.

The home was designed by architect Mike Stauffer, and will be constructed by Glenn Layton Homes. The project, which will use primarily local labor and materials, will measure 2,400 square feet with 1,000 square feet of covered porches, decks and a pool.

Paradise Key South Beach is a pedestrian and bike-friendly neighborhood located just blocks from the ocean and 20 minutes from downtown Jacksonville.

HGTV viewers will be able to enter for a chance to win the home starting in April 2013, but you can already follow the construction process by visiting www.hgtv.com/smarthome.

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Featured News

Color and Design for Aging Eyes

PPG Porter PaintsAs you get older, you may have noticed that things don’t look the same way they used to. Colors that were once vibrant, may now seem muted. No, your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you though, they’re just changing. As we age, cells in the retina decline which causes the contrast levels between colors to decrease, and colors such as blue and green become particularly difficult to see properly. Because of this change, it is important to make sure your house is filled with good lighting and warm, contrasting colors as you age.

Color and lighting selections are essential in making the daily life of someone with aging eyes much easier. Make sure that you’re using warm lighting in every room. Some people even switch their standard night light to a red one.

As for color, stick to shades that contrast with your furniture. Own a dark espresso leather sofa? Paint your walls with a lighter and warmer color such as PPG Porter Paints Summer Wheat ATC-87. This is a good design rule of thumb for your entire home. Use contrasting colors between your kitchen plates and countertop, walls and bedside lamp, etc. By eliminating accessories and furniture that “fade” into the walls, you’ll find it is much easier to navigate your home.

For more design ideas, visit the PPG Porter Paints website. For more on designing your Jacksonville new home, be sure to check out our site.

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Events Featured Jacksonville Real Estate News

Downtown Jacksonville Experiencing Population Growth

istockLooking to buy or rent in a beautiful, urban location? Downtown Jacksonville offers historic beauty, culture and convenience all with riverfront views and with 2,365 homes in residential communities.

According to The Florida Times-Union, Downtown Vision, a non-profit organization dedicated to building and maintaining a healthy downtown Jacksonville community, reported that 89 percent of the 890 condos in downtown Jacksonville have been sold by their original developer in 2012. Additionally, by the end of 2011, 3,266 people were living in the downtown area. This means that 91 percent of downtown’s 651 residential rental units were occupied.

In addition to great living options, downtown Jacksonville offers the perfect urban lifestyle of historic architecture, modern amenities, eclectic events, concerts, dining and shopping options for the many residents.

Here’s a look at a few upcoming events:

Downtown Jacksonville continues its Summer Movie Classics with the showing of Guys and Dolls (1955) at the Florida Theatre on Sunday, July 1 from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. The price of admission is $7.50. For more information, visit the Florida Theatre website.

Want some summer tunes? Enjoy Reggae on the River at The Jacksonville Landing on Sunday, July 1 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. There will be live music in the courtyard featuring Chillakaya with specials, giveaways and vendor expos.

Celebrate America’s freedom with the First Wednesday Art Walk “Americana’ on Wednesday, July 4 at 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Hemming Plaza. Enjoy the free, self-guided tour that combines astounding visual and live art, engaging events and more celebrating the Fourth of July.

For more information on living downtown, visit downtown Jacksonville’s website.  Also, explore our website for all of the latest Jacksonville real estate news.

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Featured News St Augustine Real Estate

St. Augustine Housing Market is Recovering According to National Economist

Times are tough, but good news is, the housing market may be improving. According to a leading national economist, the St. Augustine housing market has been recovering with a 10.4 percent increases in overall sales.

“Locally, the market is beginning to stabilize,” Lawrence Yun, National Association of Realtors chief economist and senior vice president of research, told an audience of Realtors, community leaders and Chamber of Commerce members.

USA Today has called Yun one of the nation’s top forecasters. From the county Multiple Listing Service, Yun announced that new homes listings have decreased by 21 percent.

Although the St. John’s County Property Appraiser’s office says it’s too soon to tell if the housing market is actually improving, Yun is optimistic that area sales will continue to increase.

Yun believes that the only way for national and local markets to fully recover is to eliminate the large surplus of homes in the market. Florida alone has 1.5 million vacant houses that are waiting for homebuyers.

In addition, Jacksonville Metropolitan Statistical Area builders reported that last year had the fewest requests for housing permits in three decades. Because it is more expensive to build than to buy from the existing home market, which makes up 90 percent of total homes, home construction has stalled.

To learn more about St. Augustine housing market, check out our site for all news on St. Augustine real estate. Visit the full site for more Florida real estate news.