Living in Jacksonville Is Appealing Because of Housing Variety and Climate

Living in Jacksonville has many advantages that newcomers to the city discover each day. With the city’s beautiful weather, variety in housing options, job opportunities, and recreation opportunities, someone who selects Jacksonville as a new home is sure to find joy in the city.

Jacksonville’s Climate

One of the best reasons to live in Jacksonville is the area’s weather. Jacksonville’s typical temperature hovers in the high 70s to low 80s. Nearby waterways such as the Atlantic Ocean and the St. Johns River typically lend a cool breeze to the city. As for snow, the city has never had more than a few flurries, so newcomers don’t have to worry about salting sidewalks or shoveling snow when living in Jacksonville.

Nonetheless, along with Jacksonville’s beautiful weather is the frequent rain storm that cools off the city on hotter days. Residents and newcomers often use Jacksonville’s weather to their advantage by visiting the nearby beaches or boating down the river—they just make sure to bring an umbrella.

Variety in Housing

Are you looking for a condo? Town home? Historic bungalow? One of the greatest discoveries for many new Jacksonville residents is the variety of the housing available. Historic neighborhoods such as Riverside and San Marco have turn-of-the-century homes with historic architectural features. Other areas of the city, such as Southside and Bartram Park, have newer homes, condominiums, and townhomes to rent or own.

The city also boasts diverse neighborhoods. But no matter what neighborhood a newcomer selects, the residents are sure to be full of southern hospitality.

Job Opportunities

Jacksonville is home to some major corporations such as Fidelity, CSX, Haskell Corporation, and Landstar. Additionally, other large corporations such as Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Vistakon, and Winn-Dixie have a presence in Jacksonville. Many retail shops, schools, and health care centers also serve as potential employers. If a newcomer moves to Jacksonville without first securing employment, many places in Jacksonville have open positions.

Things to Do

Newcomers to Jacksonville are frequently surprised to find an array of things to do when the work day is over. Jacksonville has its own NFL team, the Jacksonville Jaguars. It also has a zoo, parks, and recreation complexes as well as yearly events and social activity groups. The beach lines the eastern part of the city, and the St. Johns River cuts right through it, making it a great city for water fun.

Nearby, there is plenty for newcomers to discover. The nation’s oldest city, St. Augustine, is about 20 miles south of Jacksonville. Jacksonville is also a short drive from Savannah, Georgia and other nearby beaches.

Whether you’re a potential newcomer or have just moved to the Jacksonville area, you’re sure to find plenty to do, many job opportunities, and the right home to fit your buying or renting needs.

Photo Source: Jon Dawson

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A Simple Tip for Home Sellers: Declutter

clutter A Simple Tip for Home Sellers: Declutter

The following is a guest post from Mike Randall an associate broker with Coldwell Banke Pinnacle Properties in Florence, Alabama.

Buyers won’t buy what they can’t see. It’s really that simple.

When you’re selling a home, it is critical to make sure that you are showing potential buyers the features and benefits your home has to offer and not your “stuff”.  A room with lots of knickknacks and excessive furniture can make a buyer feel overwhelmed and claustrophobic.

As a Seller, when you have the opportunity to show your home, make the absolute most of it.  If you can’t decide what needs to go and what needs to stay, ask yourself this question: Is it necessary? If the answer is “NO”, then get it out of the house. Don’t over think it.

Don’t expect your potential buyer to “see through it” when it comes to clutter. Most people will not take the time to visualize what your home will look like if it’s cluttered. You only have a few minutes, possibly seconds, to make an impression on your buyer when they walk in the door. Take the time and the effort to be sure your home is properly decluttered to ensure the best showing possible.

Image courtesy of Flickr user puuikibeach

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Win $25,000 in the Coldwell Banker Life, Camera, Action YouTube Contest

lifecameraaction Win $25,000 in the Coldwell Banker Life, Camera, Action YouTube Contest

What’s more entertaining than seeing kids and pets on video? America’s Funniest Videos has made a living off of it. Now what’s better than winning $25,000? Not much. So why not combine these two great things into one amazing contest? Well that’s exactly what we’ve done with the Coldwell Banker Life, Camera, Action YouTube contest.

From August 22, 2013 through September 22, 2013 you can submit a video to the Coldwell Banker YouTube channel ( What we’re looking for is a tour of your home from the perspective of a child or pet or having them share what makes your house so special that it can be called home. Videos should be no longer than 2 minutes in length.

When you submit a video you’ll then be able to vote for your video once a day, every day for the length of the contest. Share the videos with friends, relatives, and complete strangers to get as many votes as you can. On September 22nd when submissions close, the 10 videos with the most votes will be made finalists and have their videos reviewed by a panel of judges to determine who will be the $25,000 grand prize winner!

So dust off that camera or flip that smartphone on to video mode. Grab your kids, your dog, your fish or your ferret and start making a video. Who knows? It might just be worth $25,000.

For full contest details and to submit a video, go to

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The Best Way to Catch Spiders in Your House

dont move bowl unless you plan to kill 533x800 The Best Way to Catch Spiders in Your House

I have a confession. I am absolutely TERRIFIED of spiders. From Daddy Long Legs to the typical house spider, there is not one of these eight-legged creatures that doesn’t scare me. Thankfully my husband has the patience of a saint and puts up with me carrying on like a fool when I see one in our house. When he isn’t home I have totally pulled this genius move…

However, I don’t think my husband appreciates this type of innovation.

Well today the internet gave me a gift that I was extremely excited to stumble upon. It is called the Spider Catcher and it only costs $19.99. Well worth the price of not driving my husband crazy and getting creepy crawlers out of my home without harming them.

Here is the product description:

“If you dislike spiders or other insects in your house and want to remove them without harm then all you need is the Spider Catcher. It works by surrounding the spider with bristles that close around the spider, the bristles harmlessly trap the spider, to allow you to pickup and release the spider outside.”

spidercatcher The Best Way to Catch Spiders in Your House

Here is how it works:

“Grasp the handle and with a squeeze of the trigger the bristles open. Once you have surrounded the spider quickly release the trigger and the bristles close gently around the spider, catching it safely and soundly. Now you can safely release the spider outside by pressing the handle again. The bristles open up and the spider falls out. “

OK so no spiders in my house and no harming them? Sounds perfect to me! Get more details about this product

Images via and

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Toxic Substances Found in Houses

Toxic Home Toxic Substances Found in Houses

From the air we breathe to the things we eat, it seems like a new report comes out every week warning us of the dangers that surround us. Unfortunately your house may have substances that could be harmful to your health.

While generally a problem in older homes, the presence of certain substances in a residence may require disclosure. For example, asbestos was commonly used not only in insulation for a time but also in siding, shingles, some floor tiles and pipes and some textured paints.

While the use of asbestos has been generally discontinued since the 1970s, some remains in homes constructed prior to that time. When selling a home, the owners should be aware of any such hazards and ensure they properly disclose them to prospective buyers, or else they may be liable for any problems caused by these hazards after purchase. If it comes out during the negotiation process, it may sink a promising deal if buyers come to believe they cannot trust the home sellers.

I am currently in the process of buying my first home and when our inspector checked out our attic he picked up a big handful of what looked like kitty litter. He explained it was called vermiculite and that it could contain asbestos. Luckily we were able to work with the seller to get it removed safely but it is certainly something to be cautious of if you plan on buying an older home.

Asbestos and Lead

Asbestos should only be removed by a professional and only if necessary because the health risk increases if it is loose or crumbling. Removal may be required in some cases and optional in others.

Lead was commonly used in paints up to almost 1980, and in pipes even more recently. Like asbestos, lead can enter the body by breathing if it is loose in the form of dust. Chipped or cracking paint can be particularly hazardous, especially to children. Also like asbestos, homeowners are required to disclose the presence of any lead-based paint hazards in a home when selling it. Professionals are also required to remove it if that becomes necessary.


Mold can be a major problem in a home, leading to respiratory difficulties and allergies. Mold that grows undetected over a longer period of time can cause more serious problems. Unlike many other problems, mold can often be removed using everyday household cleaning supplies. Unfortunately, it may become too thoroughly embedded in porous carpets or other objects. In a worst case, it can get into the walls or ceilings and require professional help or a major project to remove it.


According to, Radon is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas. Radon is a problem in some homes, particularly in the northern U.S. While a test for radon is not necessarily required by law, the results of any test the home seller chooses to make must be disclosed. The source notes that some radon problems are complex and expensive to deal with but others are relatively easy and cheap to …read more

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Home of the Week: A Private Ritz Carlton Suite in the Sky

In our newest ‘Home of the Week‘ we head back to Chicago for a close look at a breathtaking duplex in the ultra-exclusive Ritz Carlton.

Perfectly situated in the center of Chicago’s most famous enclave – ‘The Magnificent Mile‘ – this chic property is anchored by priceless views of the Windy City by way of soaring ceilings and custom over-sized all glass windows. Lalique fixtures and Lutron lighting are showcased throughout the home; drawing even more attention to the phenomenal custom finishes that adorn every inch of the home’s 2,200+ square feet.

No expense was spared in renovating this truly unique gem in the highly sought after Ritz Carlton. From the carefully selected marble floors to the imported Italian cabinetry, everything about this penthouse exudes an air of sophistication and luxury, but with a modern and hip twist.

Listed for just $1,590,000, the home also comes with all its furnishings and artwork which were specifically selected and designed for this one property. Add in the top of the line amenities provided by The Ritz Carlton and the fantastic location, and you have a perfect home or “in-town” place to stay!

Visit if you’d like to see more of this unique duplex listed by Irina Ovrutsky with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage.

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Behind the Scenes in Napa at Coldwell Banker World’s Most Expensive Homes Shoot

IMG 2331 e1376929385614 Behind the Scenes in Napa at Coldwell Banker Worlds Most Expensive Homes Shoot

Today, the Coldwell Banker video crew is setting up at an amazing luxury property in Napa for the next episode of the World’s Most Expensive Homes video series.

Our first episode took us to South Beach, then episode 2 was in Aspen. We just wrapped episode 3 in the Virgin Islands so now it’s time to relax a bit and see the laid back atmosphere in Napa. We’re at an extraordinary property that includes not just an incredible home but a vineyard as well.

In the picture above you can see the grapes are ready for harvest and below our host, Christina Collard, is ready for her closeup in front of the pristine private lake that the home offers.

IMG 2334 e1376929536546 Behind the Scenes in Napa at Coldwell Banker Worlds Most Expensive Homes Shoot

But we’ve also got a little surprise in store. Watch the video below to see an exclusive sneak peek of the brand new toy we’re trying out for this video.

While it may look like an Insecticon Transformer, it’s not. Or is it? Certainly looks like one in the picture below.

IMG 2336 e1376929602891 Behind the Scenes in Napa at Coldwell Banker Worlds Most Expensive Homes Shoot

This episode of World’s Most Expensive Homes will debut next month, so stay tuned for the release of future videos in the coming weeks.

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Home Security Monitoring and Other Vacation Safety Tips

The last thing you want to worry about while on vacation is the safety of your home. Can thieves break into your home? Are you a target? Rather than trust in luck and hope nothing will happen to your home and valuables while you’re gone, be proactive and install the best security system available on your budget. Furthermore, while home security monitoring is a good way to make sure thieves stay away from your home, it’s not the only step you should take before going on vacation.

Fool the Thieves

If a crew of burglars thinks it’s possible that you’re home, they’ll pass by your house and move on to another, easier target. Your goal should be to make your home appear as occupied as possible. Close the curtains and blinds only partially, especially in the front of the house. Get timers and put them on your lamps, televisions, and stereos. Have the post office hold your mail until you return home. If you’re going to be gone for more than a few days, ask a neighbor to mow the lawn for you (and return the favor when you get back).

Make it Look Secure

A well-maintained home looks like it houses people who care about their property. Keep the paint and trim in good repair, and trim the hedges on a regular basis. Scrub the sidewalks, and put out a fresh doormat. Add extra touches along the lines of decorative flower pots or planters. If your house looks like it’s cared for, thieves may assume you have a good security system installed and on that account pass it by for an easier mark.

True Security

Make sure every door and window in the house is locked tight, including bedroom windows, garage doors, and attic windows. Don’t forget small bathroom windows; determined thieves sometimes keep someone around who specializes in crawling through smaller spaces. Purchase a home security monitoring system complete with keypads and 24-hour live monitoring.

Change your system’s security codes on a regular basis in case casual visitors manage to hear or see you entering the code. When the alarm company installs your system, request that they put window stickers on all sides of the house and that they install lawn signs in the middle of the grass to call attention to your alarm system. Test the system a couple of times before you leave for vacation, and double-check it before you drive away.

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Can Hardwood Flooring Ever Be Used in a Basement?

Recent innovations in building materials and installation have led many homeowners to think about installing hardwood flooring in finished basements. However, before selecting flooring, consider the moisture level in your basement and how you intend to use the added living space.

Will the finished basement be a children’s play area, a teenagers’ “Wii Central,” or a home gym? If any of the above, a highly durable flooring material should be preferred. If you plan to use the space to entertain friends and family, you may want a more formal look.

In the Philadelphia area, hurricanes, heavy snows, and powerful nor’easters are becoming increasingly frequent, taking a toll on basements that may not have experienced water leaks before. To accurately gauge potential issues, spend some time observing moisture patterns in your basement. An odor of mold or mildew is one clue to hidden dampness. Check your sump pump activity. Does it switch on frequently? If it does, can you pinpoint the reason why? Do you find puddles on the floor every time an inch of rain falls? To answer these questions reliably, you may need to live in your home for months or years.

Hardwood Flooring

Although hardwood flooring is a timeless choice, humidity levels below ground, even in dry basements, are too inconsistent for this material. According to flooring manufacturer Armstrong, engineered hardwood may be an option in some basements due to its multi-ply structure. Constructed with perpendicular layers of wood, engineered wood is more resistant than traditional hardwood—which is typically one solid layer— to moisture damage and the warping caused by temperature shifts.

Laminate Flooring

In the past 10–15 years, laminate floors have gained popularity due to their ability to mimic the appearance of wood. A photographic image of wood grain is printed on compressed fiberboard and then covered with a clear finish. Well-made laminates closely resemble wood, are easy to clean, and resist scratches and scuff marks unlike real hardwood flooring. As for installation, laminate pieces generally snap and lock together and can be laid directly on top of a base floor of tile or concrete. In basements, an additional vapor layer made of a material such as plastic is recommended as a moisture barrier.


Carpet lends a warm, comfortable feel to a basement. However, the downside of this choice is that whereas carpet can withstand small leaks, the layer of padding below it will absorb water like a sponge and will need in time to be replaced. Carpet tiles are more expensive than rolled carpet, but if water intrusion is limited to a small area of your basement, the replacement of only a few tiles costs less than recarpeting the entire floor. If you like the look of carpet but want to limit spending, consider searching for an adequately sized remnant to cover your base flooring.

Home Gym Flooring

If you go the home gym route, rubber flooring can be directly installed instead of laminate or carpet, and gym mats can be placed on top. Rubber flooring provides the necessary support for home workouts …read more

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