ANGEL CUTSHALL | Jacksonville Real Estate, Mandarin Real Estate, Ponte Vedra Beach Real Estate

Having equity in your home is an incredibly valuable thing. It allows you to borrow against your house and shows that the value of your investment is rising. Equity defined is the difference between your home’s value and the amount you still owe on the home. Equity allows you to move forward with other properties and sell your current one. 

As you pay down your mortgage, your equity increases. There is, however, always a risk of an equity slide where values drop a bit. There are a few ways that you can help your home’s equity value to increase faster.

Pay Towards The Principal

The first few years that you’re a homeowner, you’ll be paying a lot towards the interest and only a little towards the principal value of the loan. The quicker you pay down your home loan, the faster you’ll increase the equity of your home. Check your budget and see how much extra you may be able to pay. Then, talk with your lender to see if there are any pre-payment penalties. 

Complete Home Improvement Projects

You may not know that many home improvement projects can increase the value of your home substantially. There are many projects that you can complete in your home that won’t break the bank yet will give you a significant return. You can start simple, or think big. Some of the best home improvement projects that will add value to your home include:

  • Complete kitchen remodel
  • Replacing countertops
  • Refinishing cabinets
  • Installing new appliances
  • Replacing garage doors
  • Bathroom remodel
  • Putting on addition
  • Landscaping renovations

Any of these home improvement projects can add value to your home, bringing the equity value of the home up. Even if you’re not planning on taking out any equity in your home for some time, any improvement projects that you choose to do are beneficial for both you and how your home affects your finances.  

Increase The Amount Of Your Downpayment

You can increase the value of a home before you even buy it. If you put the traditional 20% down on a house, you’ll build equity a bit faster than if you put down a lower amount such as 3% or 5%. If you have already purchased your home, you can ask your lender to do what’s called a cash-in refinance. This type of refinance is where you bring cash to the refinancing closing table in order to lower the balance of your mortgage.   

Yes, it’s pumpkin season, and that means you’re going to be seeing them everywhere—if you aren’t already. That also means the kids are going to be asking for them constantly—if they aren’t already. This year, skip the traditional carving and embrace some fall decor ideas that will turn your pumpkins into treasures.

Paint Them

You can find as many painted pumpkin tutorials as you can pumpkins in the patch. We love this ombre spiderweb pumpkin craft because of how easy it is to pull off. You can have a unique look in a matter of minutes! Chalk paint in a variety of colors can help you create a homey look—especially useful if you’re not keen on orange.

Stripe Them

Talk about easy and high impact! The copper tape on these white pumpkins transforms them into something designer-looking, and this craft only requires a few minutes of work. You can also choose silver tape or opt for something non-metallic if you want to bring in more color or match your interiors.

Amp up Your Carving

This isn’t your typical carving. All you need to do is cut out spaces for the eyes and make a squiggly mouth. The addition of heavenly-veined plastic eyeballs makes these undead pumpkins extra creepy.

Address the Situation

$7 in stickers from Amazon and a can of spray paint can turn your pumpkin into something personal that will look great on your porch or front steps.

Make Them Fancy

What’s better than sequins to fancy up those pumpkins? “These might be the easiest, sparkly pumpkins you’ve ever made,” said Sugar and Cloth. “Apply the craft glue to the pumpkin in a circular motion, then pat a few sequins in place once the glue is tacky, being sure to cover the whole circle. Let them dry, and you’re all set.”

Revive Your Buffet Table

Throwing a Halloween party? You’ll obviously want pumpkins as part of your buffet table, and you can’t go wrong with a little vomiting pumpkin. Especially when you add guacamole.

If your party is for a mixed crowd or adults-only, you’ll love this handy tutorial to turn your pumpkin into a keg. “Making a pumpkin keg is easy as pumpkin pie. All you need is a sharp knife, a tap, beer, and about 15 minutes of your time,” said No Spoon Necessary. “Utilizing a pumpkin as a keg and filling it with beer adds a touch of pumpkin flavor to your favorite brew. Plus, it’s a great conversation piece and it is festively fun!”

If you’re in the process of moving, you don’t necessarily need to hire a moving company. Hiring movers is only one option of many when it comes to getting your stuff from place to place. If you want to save some money on your move, you should check out alternatives to hiring movers.  


If you don’t want to drive your own moving truck, but still could use some assistance on your move, you should take a look at container moving. You fill up the container with all of your stuff, and the company will get the container from place to place for you. This is especially helpful if you are doing a long-distance move.


You can always rent your own truck, pack your own stuff, and head out the door on your own. You’ll pay for gas and mileage, but have control of your own timeframe. Moving companies often have many different resources available to help you in the process including boxes and packing supplies. National companies provide convenient truck returns over most parts of the country where you’ll be, so it’s easy to get the truck back. 

Ship Your Stuff

If you happen to be moving a long distance, sometimes, it’s more cost effective to let the big stuff go. Ship items like clothes, books, DVDs, and other personal belongings that can’t easily be replaced. Sell big items like beds and sofas. 

You can use many different kinds of shipping services, or even use air cargo to get your things from one place to another. While you’ll need to purchase some furniture when you get to your final destination, this could be a good option, especially if you’re looking to start over, or if you don’t own a whole lot of furniture and large items.

Use Your Car

Your car is always an option to help you move no matter where you are moving to. Whether you’re moving across the country or just across town, you’ll probably need to pack your car. It’s also a lot of fun to have your car for a road trip on long distances. This way, you’ll have a lot of stuff with you, but you can still travel and see many things that you wouldn’t have seen otherwise.

Tips For Packing The Car

You want to be able to get the maximum packing space out of your car for the move, no matter how far you’re going. First, you should plan how you’ll pack ahead of time. You don’t want to save the task of packing the car for moving day. Also, you need to make sure that there will be room for every living thing that needs to go into the car like children and pets. Those are important and you definitely don’t want them all squished in between some boxes during a long move!

Keeping the house together during the selling process is a challenge. Making sure everything is just right for showings and open houses can be exhausting and overwhelming Throw kids into the mix, and things can get downright chaotic. Fortunately, a few small decor choices can help conceal kid clutter—changing your “for sale” sign to “sold.”

Hide in Plain Sight

With overflowing toy boxes and tea-party set-ups overtaking the living room, it may be unrealistic to banish all kid stuff to other rooms. Instead, make use of your furniture’s built-in compartments and drawers. Have a storage ottoman next to the sofa? Fill it with everything from action figures and dolls to coloring books, art supplies, stuffed animals and more. Divide the credenza in the family room so that your little ones can store toys behind its closed doors. Accent the open shelves with ceramic vases, family photos, decorative carafes and other appealing decor items.

If your built-in storage is already in use, opt for two or three woven baskets with lids instead. Place them wherever you want, whether it’s next to the loveseat or on the bottom shelf of a console table. Buyers will be too busy appreciating your home’s cleanliness and open floor space to think about what’s inside.

Hide Within Reach

Families in smaller living spaces might consider another strategy—underbed and attic storage. While the underside of your child’s bed may be already home to all sorts of tchotchkes, encourage kids to neaten it up with rolling plastic or rattan storage bins. Discreetly stow away everything from dress-up clothes to seasonal clothing in multiple containers. Slide them out of sight, then help your little one make the bed with an oversized quilt that conceals what’s hidden below. The best part? These containers can still be used after moving into the new bedroom or playroom.

For toys that are too big to fit in this space, such as kids’ teepees and play tents, consider collapsing them and stowing behind a dresser. If the dresser has legs that makes it easy to spot what’s behind it, opt for a chest instead.

Rotate Toys in Longer-Term Storage

Consider storing bins of toys longer-term and swapping them out every few weeks. In addition to the attic and basement, the back corner of a deep closet is a great place to stack storage tubs filled with everything from building blocks and board games to miniature cars and pull toys. Strategically hide them behind long coats so a quick peek inside the closet doesn’t give anything away. Better yet, switch out the storage tubs for suitcases. Rotate the toys in storage every few weeks--kids will have renewed interest when they come out of hiding.

Minimize and Add Some Style

Rather than attempting to conceal every toy, consider downsizing. Prior to the first showing, help your little one sort through toys, determining what still gets played with and what doesn’t. Sort into “keep,” “donate,” and “throw away.” This streamlines the cleanup process and makes it easier to stow away what remains. Bonus? You’ll have less to move when the time comes. For every item your children give up, consider rewarding them with small change or a trip to a favorite restaurant or ice cream shop.

For kids’ areas like bedrooms and playrooms, embrace the playful nature and just add a little style. Choose bookcases and desks with useful cubbies and shelves, and dress up the space with vibrant and unique artwork. Inspire imagination in potential buyers (and keep the space useful while your home is on the market) by choosing a few colorful supplies and knick-knacks to display.

Strategically rearrange home decor to hide kids’ messes while your house is being shown, and potential buyers will see a clean space that they’ll want to make their own.

How to Find a Family Home in Jacksonville

Jacksonville is an incredible place for any family looking to settle down and plant roots. Not only do you get to benefit from the tropical, warm climate, but you can also enjoy a nearby beach where you can play with the kids, plenty of outdoor activities, and a relatively low cost of living too.

Of course, as great as living in Jacksonville can be, you need to make sure that you find the right home for you first. Finding a house that's perfect for you can be tough - particularly when you have the needs of your entire family to keep in mind. The good news is that house hunting doesn't have to be a nightmare. Here are just some of the things you should keep at the front of your mind when you're looking for a family home in Jacksonville.

1.     Location, Location, Location

You know that Jacksonville is a beautiful place to live overall. It has the largest urban park system in the US, with 262 designated parks to play in! However, there are many different neighborhoods in Jacksonville, and some are better suited to families than others. Making the right decision for your family home means that you need to learn as much as you can about each of those locations and decide which one is likely to give you the best experience for your youngsters.

For instance, if you're looking for a house that's close to a school, make sure you look into the local schools around your home and find out what kind of ratings they have. The best schools will generally make the price of your house go up slightly, but it might be worth the compromise to invest in your child's future.

2.     Plan for the Future

When you're buying a family home in Jacksonville, it's important to plan for the future. That doesn't just mean making sure that you paint your home neutral colors so that you won't scare off future buyers either. Consider the family you have today, and the family you might have a couple of years from now. For instance, are you thinking about having more kids in a couple of years?

Generally, when you buy a house, you're looking for a place that's going to be big enough for you and your loved ones for at least five to ten years. When you're browsing through your options, don't settle for something that's less than what you need just because it will "do for now."

3.     Weigh Your Options

Finally, there are a lot of expenses that you'll need to consider when you're buying a house in Jacksonville, As well as the cost of the house itself; you also have things like the cost of a helpful moving company van too. With various expenses to consider, you may need to compromise on a few things, so make sure that you know what you're willing to give up, and what you're not.

For instance, you might be desperate for a house with a garden, but when you realize you're only a stone's throw away from one of Jacksonville's many parks, you might not mind settling for something without a yard if it means you get all the indoor space you need.