Buying a Home Tag

One of the things you’ll learn very quickly when starting your home search is that there are many more monthly costs than just a mortgage payment when it comes time to purchase a home. If you’re a buyer looking at new construction, you’re bound to run into a few communities with a CDD fee - or community development district fee. You’ll find these fees in planned neighborhoods from Nocatee to Oakleaf Plantation to Julington Creek Plantation, and are another fee often in place or in addition to a Homeowners Association (HOA) fee. So what is the quick explanation of a CDD fee?

Spring has officially sprung, and that can only mean one thing for Jacksonville’s real estate market: things are about to get hot.

Are you buying or selling a home in Jacksonville during the next few months and looking for some advice? Grab your favorite brew and buckle down to learn the best tips and tricks for tackling the spring real estate market.

Hunting down the perfect home is a task often taken on with a laser focus, but should you really be thinking about the bigger picture? Where your future home is located can influence how long you stay there - as well as how much you actually enjoy living there.

Here are six tips to make sure you find a neighborhood that meets your needs and end up living in a community you love.

1. Stop by in the morning, evening and for lunch.

Don’t just take a look around the neighborhood for an afternoon showing - see how the neighborhood works at different times of day. Are there huge backups due to morning rush hour mixed with construction projects? Is the neighborhood park a big meeting spot for families in the late afternoon? Are there impromptu live music performances at a nearby cafe for lunch hour? To get a well-rounded picture of what the neighborhood has to offer, hangout there and see if you can picture yourself taking part in community activities, eating at nearby restaurants and shopping for groceries down the street.

What makes a neighborhood great varies from buyer to buyer - so decide what matters most to you depending on your needs, hobbies and lifestyle, and go from there.

If you are relocating and won’t have the opportunity to “test drive” a neighborhood before you buy into it, find neighborhood resources online like neighborhood Facebook pages, fliers for community events, reviews of nearby spots on Yelp (Jacksonville has a very active Yelp community), search Youtube videos or have your agent check it out for you.

Wondering what’s up with all the talk about new mortgage rules bouncing around? As of Jan. 10, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (the new bureau taking over HUD) has released a new set of rules for lenders to follow when determining whether or not a homebuyer is financially ready to purchase a home.

Lenders have seven years to comply with the new rules, but certain changes are already in effect - including the rules regarding the ability to repay and new qualified mortgage standards.

The changes were passed to hold lenders liable for bad loans, as well as to protect borrowers from loans they can’t afford. Sounds like a good deal, right? Here’s what you can expect the next time you purchase a home:

This cold front may be bringing some chilly weather to the Jacksonville area, but it still can't cool down our current housing market. New construction projects are popping up from Springfield to the Beaches, inventory is rising as more sellers decide to try their hand at the market and interest rates continue to lower. Another timing advantage? Less competition. Many potential buyers will get distracted by the pressures of the holidays, leaving any new homes entering the market up for grabs to anyone still looking for a new home in the area.

So is it still a good idea to buy a home in Jacksonville during November or December?

When I was in college, my thoughts were often more focused on happy hours and exams than credit scores and mortgage rates. Buying or renting a home after graduation still seemed centuries away. Then, graduation hits. Suddenly that first apartment or house doesn't seem so far away, and you wish that you had started searching for a possible home a little sooner. Your days may currently be filled with classes and coffee runs, but it's never too soon to start positioning yourself for homeownership. Here are five things you can start doing now that will help you immensely in a few months: