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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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Jacksonville Real Estate News

June Reports Show Jacksonville New Home Prices Rising

According to the latest report from the Northeast Florida Association of Realtors for June, the number of homes sold in Jacksonville dropped on a month-over-month basis, but that didn’t keep prices from continuing to rise.

The median sales price was the highest since 2009 at $158,000 with the average sales price the highest since late 2008 at $204,868. However, Jacksonville new homes are still bringing in significantly more money. In fact, the median sales price for new single family homes was $239,127, which is a $100,000 increase over the sales price for existing homes. New townhomes also experience a similar gap, selling for $87,000 more on average than existing townhomes.

Other positive indicators for the Jacksonville real estate market include the fewest days on market since January 2007 at 82 days, an inventory decrease to 7,982 home and increases in pending and closed sales on a year-over-year basis.

The Northeast Florida Association of Realtors is the largest trade/professional organization in northeast Florida with more than 5,000 Realtors and industry partners in Duval, Clay, Putnam and St. Johns counties.

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Jacksonville Real Estate News

First HGTV Smart Home Giveaway Now Open

Smart home giveawayThose waiting for their chance to enter HGTV’s first Smart Home giveaway don’t have to wait any longer. The custom built, eco-friendly Jacksonville new home is now move-in ready, and the giveaway contest is underway.

Now through May 31, 2013, you can enter twice per day online, once at HGTV.com and once at HGTVRemodels.com. The winner will receive more than $900,000 in prizes, including the fully furnished home, a 2013 GMC® Terrain® Denali®  and $100,000 courtesy of Quicken Loans.

The 2,400 square foot home, which is located at Paradise Key South Beach, features the latest developments in green living and home technology, including smart home technology connecting appliances and devices, monitoring of home energy use and control of home systems such as interior climate, lighting and security. Mike Stauffer, AIA was the architect for this stunning home, while construction was completed by Glenn Layton Homes.

Viewers can take a virtual tour, learn more about the home and community and read the official rules at www.hgtv.com/smarthome.

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Jacksonville Real Estate News St Augustine Real Estate

Cost Effective Jacksonville New Home Repairs

Jacksonville new home maintenanceDuring the holiday season, we often times focus all our money and efforts and buying presents for friends and loved ones. This holiday season, Jacksonville new home residents should also plan on spending time and money on keeping their home running smoothly and efficiently.

Here are some top cost effective tips for making sure you and your loved ones stay safe in your home during the holidays:

  • Inspect and repair broken hand railing or walkway cracks
  • Clean out rain gutters and downspouts
  • Push the “test” button on electrical outlets to make sure they are working properly
  • Repair stucco cracks
  • Install and test smoke detectors throughout the home
  • Use high-quality exterior paints
  • Cut back plants that have grown close to the foundation
  • Repair and seal window leaks
  • Recaulk sinks, toilets, showers and bathtubs to keep water off the floors and walls
  • Schedule a roof inspection

By keeping up with these easy maintenance tasks you will not only save yourself and your wallet from a headache later on, but will also guarantee everyone can enjoy the holiday season!

For more of the latest Jacksonville real estate news, be sure to explore our site!

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Jacksonville Real Estate News

Don’t Let Your Hunt for a Jacksonville New Home Hurt Your Credit Score

Protect your credit score when seeking best financeWhen looking at Jacksonville new homes, there is no reason to not shop around for home financing, too. There are some tricks that help protect your

credit score when it comes to shopping around, since taking time to explore the weighty concerns of these big financial agreements can look to reporting agencies like you are planning to collect more debt than you could possibly handle. The Equifax Finance Blog helps you avoid this problem with a new article, “

Will Interest Rate Shopping Hurt My Credit Score?

To protect your bottom line and your credit score, it comes down to two primary aspects that you have to keep in mind: timing and consistency. On the timing side, you need to send out all of your feelers for different loans from within a 30 day period. If they are all within this window, credit agencies will see that you are shopping for loans rather than trying to get financing for different properties. This leads into the consistency part, which states that you need to ask for the same loan amount at every opportunity rather than varying it for each potential lender. Keeping the same amount will help to reinforce the fact that you are shopping around rather than ready to over-extend yourself financially.

The Equifax Finance Blog has more great information about how to make your big purchases better and keep your finances safe for yourself and your family with

identity theft protection strategies.

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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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Jacksonville Real Estate News

Jacksonville Real Estate Still Plagued by Foreclosures

Jacksonville real estate foreclosuresEven as foreclosure filings across the country continue to decrease, some areas across the nation are still feeling the pressure. Jacksonville specifically is considered to be one of the top 20 cities with the highest foreclosure rates nationally for August.

In Jacksonville, one in every 299 homes received a foreclosure filing during the month of August. The total number of properties with foreclosures is slightly over 2,000. August’s numbers are a slight set back from July, but are a significant increase from this time last year.

Jacksonville real estate residents can still take comfort in the fact that overall, things seem to be improving in the foreclosure market.  Additionally, the city’s rate of foreclosure and number of foreclosures it not as high as other big cities such as Atlanta, Chicago and Phoenix. Another positive sign for the housing market was that the number of foreclosure starts, or the pace at which mortgages enter the foreclosure process, was down for the first time in three months.

For more information on which other metros made the top foreclosure list for August, check out RealtyTrac‘s latest foreclosure report.

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Jacksonville Real Estate News

Jacksonville Makes List of Improving Housing Markets

jacksonville makes list of improving marketsJacksonville made the list of the improving housing markets for the first time in September according to the National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI) released today. 99 total cities made the list this month, which was an increase from 80 in August.

The index aims to identify metro areas that have shown improvement from their respective troughs in housing permits based on U.S. Census Bureau data, employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and housing prices from Freddie Mac for at least six months. Jacksonville real estate has seen 1.7 percent growth in permits, 1.9 percent growth in employment and .2 percent growth in prices over the last six months.

“The number of improving housing markets grew by 19 in September as 68 metros retained their spots, 31 new metros were added and just 12 dropped off the list,” noted Barry Rutenberg, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Gainesville, Fla. “This solid growth is an encouraging sign that housing continues on a slow but steady recovery path that is gradually advancing from one local market to the next.”

“Combined with recent positive reports on builder confidence, housing starts and new-home sales, the September IMI adds to the growing consensus that housing is finally moving in the right direction, which in turn is spurring more potential buyers to get off the fence,” added Kurt Pfotenhauer, vice chairman at First American Title Insurance Company.

A complete list of all 99 areas currently on the IMI, and separate breakouts of metros newly added to or dropped from the list in September is available at www.nahb.org/imi.

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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.