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


Although everyone has a different criteria when looking for the ideal Florida home, having a clear mental picture of what you want greatly improves your prospects for a successful search.

When you know exactly what would satisfy you and your family, in terms of comfort, convenience, style, and practicality, then your chances of fulfilling your wish list and requirements are much higher.

For many people, the three top priorities are price, location, and amount of living space. The good news about Florida real estate is that, while market conditions may vary, there are often a surprising number of really nice Florida homes available at affordable prices. You don't necessarily have to spend a bundle to buy a great home in a desirable location. Once your real estate agent knows your price range, your family's needs, and your location preferences, they can immediately begin showing you available listings that conform to your requirements

In addition to giving some thought to room layout and the style of house you'd like to buy, here are a few key features you might want to keep in mind to enhance your enjoyment and comfort of your next home.

Proximity to the beach: While closeness to the beach is not a top priority for all Florida house hunters, it is a facet of Florida living that can contribute to the quality of your lifestyle and your overall experience. When you combine the advantages of a beautiful oceanic view, the health benefits of walking on the beach every day, and the cooling ocean breeze that coastal residents enjoy, it's often worth the higher price that might accompany a beachfront property.

It's always helpful to keep an open mind and be able to distinguish between your "wish list" and your "must have" list. While there are certain features you may think of as "non-negotiable," there are probably other items you can forgo, without impacting your enjoyment of the property. A certain amount of compromising is usually necessary.

Options for staying cool: Regardless of how close you are to the ocean, it's still nice to have access to a cooling swimming pool on your property. Swimming pools do require a lot of maintenance to keep them crystal clear and appealing, but nothing compares to the luxurious feeling of taking a dip in your own back yard on hot summer afternoons! It's also great for entertaining guests.

Other desirable features for staying cool include ceiling fans throughout the house, a screened-in porch, and a top-quality, high-efficiency air conditioning system. Ideally, your Florida home will also have well-insulated, sealed windows and doors to help ensure a comfortable and energy-efficient living environment.


With closing day rapidly approaching, you're almost to the finish line of your home purchase. However, before you complete your home purchase, you will need to conduct a final walk-through of the property.

Ultimately, a final walk-through offers a valuable opportunity to identify any last-minute problems with a residence. If you encounter any issues during a final walk-through, you can ensure that the seller can correct these problems prior to a home closing.

Preparing for a final walk-through is key. Lucky for you, we're here to help you get ready for a final walk-through so that you can complete a successful home purchase.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you prep for a final walk-through.

1. Avoid a Closing Day Walk-Through

When it comes to a final walk-through, it pays to be cautious. Thus, you should give yourself plenty of time to set up a final walk-through. This will allow you to avoid the dangers associated with finding home problems on the same day as a house closing.

Try to schedule your final walk-through at least a few days before you close on a residence. That way, if you discover problems with a house, you can ask the seller to respond to these issues and reduce the risk of a home closing delay.

2. Keep an Eye Out for the Seller's Leftover Belongings

A final walk-through gives you an opportunity to view a house that is virtually empty. But if you find that a seller has left behind various belongings, you should not hesitate to ask the seller to remove his or her possessions.

Furthermore, a home seller should leave a house in "broom-swept" condition; this means a home's walls, floors and other surfaces should be dust- and dirt-free. If you find trash and other debris in a home, you can ask the seller to clean the property.

3. Be Ready to Test All Appliances

A homebuyer may acquire a refrigerator, washer, dryer and other appliances as part of a home purchase. These items often are expensive to replace, and as such, you'll want to make sure they work properly during a final walk-through.

If an appliance does not perform as required, you have the right to request that the seller repair or replace the appliance. Or, you may be able to receive financial compensation for the defective appliance.

When it comes to prepping for a final walk-through, there is no reason to work alone. Fortunately, if you collaborate with an expert real estate agent, you can receive plenty of support in the days leading up to a home closing.

In addition to providing homebuying assistance, a top-notch real estate agent is happy to attend a final walk-through. By doing so, this housing market professional can help you identify any potential home problems and resolve such issues as quickly as possible.

Plan ahead for a final walk-through, and you can avoid the risk of discovering assorted home problems after you close on a residence.


Let's face it – the mere thought of informing family members about your decision to pursue a new home may cause your blood pressure to rise. However, there are many reasons why it often is beneficial to notify family members about your decision to kick off a search for a new residence. These reasons include:

1. You can identify and address potential homebuying hurdles.

Your family typically has your best interests in mind. As such, family members can help you plan ahead for the homebuying journey and resolve any potential conflicts.

For example, family members can help you analyze prospective home financing options. They may even be able to put you in touch with local banks and credit unions that can help you get pre-approved for a mortgage. Then, once you have home financing in hand, you can enter the real estate market with a homebuying budget at your disposal.

2. You can gain homebuying insights that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere.

Family members who previously bought homes may be able to provide you with property buying insights that you probably won't receive elsewhere. With these insights, you'll be better equipped than ever before to understand the housing market and make the best-possible homebuying decision based on your individual needs.

Of course, family members may be able to keep you informed about new houses that become available in your preferred cities and towns too. Because if family members know where you want to find a home, they can help you accelerate your property search.

3. You can receive plenty of support throughout the homebuying journey.

Your family is there for you during good times and bad. If you inform family members about your decision to pursue a new home, they can provide you with comprehensive support throughout the property buying journey. As a result, family members can work with you to help you achieve your desired homebuying results in no time at all.

When it comes to getting help in your quest to discover your dream house, you may want to hire a real estate agent as well. If you have a real estate agent at your side, you can receive expert assistance as you proceed along the homebuying journey.

A real estate agent is committed to helping you find a great home at a budget-friendly price. First, he or she will meet with you and learn about your homebuying criteria. A real estate agent next will craft a personalized homebuying strategy and notify you about new homes that become available that match your property buying criteria. And once you discover your dream residence, a real estate agent will help you put together a competitive offer to purchase this house. Lastly, if your homebuying proposal is accepted, a real estate agent will help you finalize your home purchase so you close on this residence and move into your new house.

Take the guesswork out of buying a house – hire a real estate agent today, and you can seamlessly navigate the homebuying journey.


A home listing presents a valuable opportunity. If you allocate time and resources to craft an engaging and informative listing, you could differentiate your house from the competition. Perhaps most important, your listing could help you speed up the home selling process.

There are many things you can do to help your house listing stand out to buyers, such as:

1. Include High-Resolution Photos of Your Home

Incorporate high-resolution photos of your home into your listing – you will be happy you did. If you use photos to show off your home's true beauty, buyers may instantly fall in love with your residence.

Before you take photos of your home, you should clean as much as possible. That way, you can show buyers your house's full potential.

Also, if you require additional assistance, you can always hire a real estate photographer. This professional can help you capture first-rate images of your house that you can immediately integrate into your listing.

2. Provide Accurate Information About Your Home

There is no need to stretch the truth in your house listing. In fact, those who fail to provide accurate details about a home in a listing may encounter problems that ultimately slow down the house selling cycle.

Learn as much as you can about your home, and leverage the information at your disposal to highlight your house's features in your listing. Then, you can use your listing to teach a buyer about your residence.

3. Be Clear and Concise

Jargon is problematic in many home listings. If your house listing includes assorted terms and phrases that are tough to understand, your listing may alienate potential buyers.

As you craft a home listing, try to be as clear and concise as possible. You should strive to be objective in your house listing, too. And if you are unsure if your listing is easy to read, you may want to have a friend or family member check it out and provide feedback.

For those who strive to seamlessly navigate the house selling journey, you may want to hire a real estate agent. This housing market professional can help you craft an effective home listing, as well as overcome myriad challenges during the home selling journey.

A real estate agent understands home selling challenges and can help you prepare accordingly. Thus, if you are unsure about how to price your home, a real estate agent can help you establish a competitive initial asking price for your residence. On the other hand, if you are uncertain about whether to accept a buyer's offer to purchase, a real estate agent can provide a recommendation about how to proceed.

As you prepare for the home selling journey, you should try to distinguish your house listing from all others. If you take advantage of the aforementioned tips, you could produce a home listing that garners buyers' attention. And as a result, you could accelerate the home selling journey.


As the workforce changes and a growing number of companies seek out contractors and freelancers, many Americans find themselves in a gray area when it comes to their income. They may put in full-time hours, but on their taxes they work for themselves.

Mortgage lenders are cautious about who they lend to. They want to make sure you are a low-risk investment who has reliable, predictable income to ensure that they’ll earn money off of your loan.

This can sometimes make it difficult for freelancers, contract workers, or the self-employed. Not only might your taxes be unconventional, but your income could vary depending on the time of the year and the amount of business you receive.

It’s easy to see why many people would be anxious about applying for a mortgage under these circumstances. However, if you’re self-employed, there’s no need to worry. You can still get approved for a mortgage at a fair interest rate--you just need to do a bit of work to provide the right documents to your lender.

In this article, we’ll show you what documents and proof of income you’ll likely need and how to present it to a lender to make the process run as smoothly as possible to get you approved for your mortgage. Here’s what you need to do.

Organize your records

Before applying for a mortgage, it’s a good idea to take a look at your record-keeping process. As a self-employed worker, you’re probably already used to tracking your own income. However, this will help the lender analyze your income easier and move the process along more quickly.

Having a master spreadsheet of your dated invoices, paid amounts, and the names of your clients is a good place to start. You’ll also want detailed, easy to read information for your previous employers, landlords, references, and any other information you think will be pertinent.

Next, gather your tax documents for the last three to five years. As a self-employed worker, you likely file a Schedule C (Form 1040) and a Schedule SE. Make sure you have copies of these forms.

Dealing with deductions

Many self-employed workers write off business expenses in their tax returns. Travel expenses, internet, and other costs associated with doing business are all ways to save by reducing your taxable income. Doing so can save you money, but it can also reduce your net income which is what lenders will see when you provide them with your information.

If you’re hoping to get approved for a bigger loan, one solution is to plan your taxes in the year prior to applying for a mortgage. Make fewer deductions than you normally would to increase your net income.

Be ready to clarify

When a mortgage lender is reviewing your information, make sure you are open and available to provide any information that can be helpful to them in considering your application. Being prompt and accurate with your responses will signal to your lender that you are willing to work with them.




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