Posts Tagged ‘tallahassee’

What Buyers Want In a Home

Posted on: August 15th, 2013 No Comments

Whether you’re a seller with an eye to the future or a buyer in need of a little direction, it helps to know what’s popular in today’s homes. Here, in no particular order, are some of the most highly regarded home features:

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U.S. Home Prices on the Rise

Posted on: August 15th, 2013 No Comments

National real estate trendsHome prices continue to climb on the national housing market, according to the most recent reports.

Real estate data specialist RealtyTrac recently revealed that property prices across the country are up 5 percent year-over-year.

Meanwhile, home sales are up 8 percent.

And the news just keeps getting better for national home sellers!

More Information on Recent National Housing Market Activity

RealtyTrac recently released a report that offered some encouraging figures for interested home sellers:

Keeping Our Eye on National Housing Market Trends

Just consider us your real estate market experts!

As more develops on the market, we’ll keep you posted on those trends and how they may affect home sellers.

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Food Truck Thursday

Posted on: August 10th, 2013 No Comments

The early hours of Food Truck Thursday. On cool nights, the crowd can grow into the hundreds.

The first food trucks in North American were the chuckwagons of early pioneers. Though the food was just good enough to sustain life, they set the stage for what was to come. Panko fried pork cutlets, wood fired pizzas, chicken ‘n waffles, fried caprese sandwiches can now be found all around Tallahassee in modern day chuckwagons.

Between 6 and 10pm every Thursday, the finest food trucks in all the city converge on 330 W. Tharpe Street for what has become known as Food Truck Thursday. Locals delight at the fare being prepared by Street Chefs, MoBi, Fired Up Pizzas, Lucy & Leo’s Cupcakery, Big Easy Snowballs, Cravings Truck and more! 977

Bring your favorite folding chair, a blanket, “beverages” and some good friends. More information and parking recommendations can be found at the Food Truck Thursday Facebook page.



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St. Marks Trail

Posted on: August 8th, 2013 No Comments
St Marks Trail

A Saturday morning run on St. Marks Trail.

St. Marks Trail is a 20.5 mile paved trail used primarily for biking, walking, running and rollerblading. It runs between downtown Tallahassee and the community of St. Marks. To enjoy the most scenic part of the trail, there’s a parking lot near Capital Circle on Woodville Highway with water fountains, bathrooms and a picnic area. From there, you can run or bike south on the trail for nearly 15 miles in a more wooded, rural setting.

St. Marks Trail sees quite a bit of activity. It’s common that the parking lot on Woodville Highway will be full on cool, sunny days. The Tallahasse Marathon runs along the trail almost exclusively, starting downtown and running just south of Woodville before coming back (“out and back” course). If you’re a runner and in Tallahassee on Christmas Eve, you can’t miss the Run To Posey’s. People start at various points along the trail, with the finish line being the Riverside Cafe on St. Marks (Posey’s was the restaurant finish line when the run started over 30 years ago and the name stuck).

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Competitive Situations

Posted on: August 6th, 2013 No Comments

When a real estate market gets hot, it’s common for a seller to receive multiple bids on their home. If this happens, the sellers’ agent will let the buyers’ agents know that they are in a competitive situation. The agent will request all buyers bring their highest and best offer. For the seller, a competitive situation will likely allow them to garner the highest possible price for the home, accelerate negotiations, and get them favorable contractual terms.

Though this isn’t necessarily a good thing from a buyer’s perspective, it isn’t a bad one either. Buyers  need to be aware that the best offer isn’t always the one that is the highest price. Price figures most prominently with sellers, but contingencies, financing terms, time frames, and other contract conditions are also taken into account. For example, a buyer without any contingencies would certainly be more attractive than one that must sell their own home first.  A cash transaction will be placed ahead of a similarly priced offer that requires financing. A $5000 binder looks better than a $500 binder.

Competitive situations can result in offers that exceed the list price. Buyers in this situation aren’t going to necessarily be overpaying. It’s also possible that none of the offers comes anywhere near the list price. An appraisal will tell the buyer if they’re overpaying or not. Most contracts will allow them to exit the transaction with their binder if the appraisal is low and they can’t negotiate a better price with the seller. It’s said that a buyer can’t overpay for a home unless they choose to.

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Flood Insurance

Posted on: August 6th, 2013 No Comments

Does your homeowners insurance policy cover flood damage? The answer is most likely “no”. The vast majority of flood insurance is written separately through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The NFIP is managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and writes or renews flood insurance for 5.6 million property owners nationwide. It’s important to know that a lender will require a home in a flood zone have flood insurance before it will write a loan.

Flood insurance protects two types of insurable property:

Building coverage
• The insured building and its foundation
• Electrical and plumbing systems
• Central air conditioning equipment, furnaces and water heaters
• Refrigerators, cooking stoves and built-in appliances, such as dishwashers
• Permanently installed carpeting over unfinished floors

Contents coverage
• Clothing, furniture and electronic equipment
• Curtains
• Portable and window air conditioners
• Portable microwaves and dishwashers
• Carpeting that is not already included in property coverage
• Clothing washers and dryers

It’s also important to know that, unless you’re getting flood insurance the day of a home closing, there’s a 30 day waiting period for the coverage to start. This is to prevent a stampede of homeowners from applying for insurance when severe weather (i.e. hurricane) threatens an area.

Visit the NFIP website for more information on flood insurance and the Florida Realtors for information about flood insurance rate changes.


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Have a home with a pool? Sell it in the summer!

Posted on: March 22nd, 2013 No Comments

It should come as no surprise that a pool is more valuable in the summer than in the winter, but just how much more? Jaren Pope, an assistant professor at the University of Brigham Young has the answer. His research looked at more than four million real estate transactions in 27 states from 1998 thru 2008. When a swimming-pool home went under contract in August, it sold for an average of 0.22% higher than the baseline home sale. If the home went under contract in January, it sold for 0.15% less than the baseline. For a $300,000 home sale, that’s a difference of $1100. If a seller has the flexibility, selling a home with a pool should start in the spring so that the sale coincides with the hot summer months.


Source: Wall Street Journal (03/15/13) P. M12; Tanaka, Sanette

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Interesting facts about Florida home buyers and sellers

Posted on: March 19th, 2013 No Comments

Several weeks ago, Florida Realtors released a report profiling home buyers and sellers in the state. The following is a summary of key points from that report:






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Building a Home – Raised Bed Gardens

Posted on: November 15th, 2012 No Comments

Early stages of a garden back home in Sidney, OH.

I grew up on a farm in a small town north of Cincinnati in Ohio called Sidney. Besides having cash crops like corn and soybeans, we had a garden for our own use. We used to eat sweet corn in the summer until we’d bust. When I moved to the city, I realized how I’d come to take fresh produce for granted. When Sara started coming home with me, we’d forage through my mom and dad’s garden looking for anything salvageable that they’d left behind. Now that we’d have our own place and enough space, we wanted to plan a garden. We decided to build several raised bed gardens because of the following advantages:

This soil is actually a 50%/50% mix of topsoil and compost (“garden mix”). Had we gotten the 100% compost, it may have been too strong for some plants to survive.

Our builder brought up the idea of installing the beds before we finished the house because once the sod and concrete sidewalks went down, there wouldn’t be a way to get a dump truck full of garden mix soil to the backyard without doing significant damage. We could have had the compost dumped in the front yard, but that would involve a LOT of trips with a wheelbarrow. So our planning started with the question of how much garden mix soil we would need. We had a little patch in our back yard that would serve as a good location and it measured about 30’x20′. A resource we had been using from the University of Florida extension in Miami Dade county (click here for the publication) recommended a planting depth of at least 8″. Using those three measurements, we figured we’d need about 400 cubic feet of garden mix, or about 15 cubic yards (“yards”). I decided to go with a little less and I’m glad I did: I failed to realize that raised beds can accommodate roughly twice the plant density of a regular garden because there are no walking paths. I ended up ordering 12 yards.*

The Lead Gardener screwing landscape timbers together. Timbers warp like crazy, so it’s best to use outdoor wood screws to hold them together.

Next came the question of what material to build the beds from. At $3 per piece, landscape timbers made the most sense. We were worried about the chemical treatment the timbers contained leaching into the soil and our food, so we lined the inside with a durable plastic. The first bed we made was 28’x4’x0.75″, which required about 24 landscape timbers. To prevent weeds from sprouting from under the newly laid garden beds, we put enough cardboard down to cover the entire 28’x4′ area. We then started to back fill the bed with the garden mix. The next two beds were 28’x4’x1′, requiring 32 timbers each (because we had ordered about 2 yards of garden mix too much, we decided to make the next two a little higher)**. We left about two feet between each of the beds as a walking space, hopefully enough space to fit crates of fresh vegetables!

Three raised bed gardens ready for planting!

We’re pretty happy with the final product. Sara is a little worried we’ll need to put out a bunch of plants to make full use of the space. I figure whatever we don’t use we can seed with flowers, but I’d rather have too much garden space than not enough.


*We got 12 yards of the garden mix delivered from Roberts Sand and Gravel for $450.

**There was a lot of additional work done to level the beds, way to much detail for the intention of this post. For more information on how to level your raised bed garden, send me an email or call me.

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Building a Home – Drywall

Posted on: October 28th, 2012 No Comments

Recently hung drywall. I wasn’t there to see this step, just the final product.

After the insulation had been blown into the walls, the next step was to hang the drywall. Drywall sheets come in various sizes and compositions, but all of ours were 10′ x 4′ white board. The thickness varied depending on the application: ceiling panels were 5/8″ and vertical walls were 1/2″ (ceiling panels were thicker to prevent sagging). It took the drywall crew less than a day to hang all the drywall. It seems the most useful tool for hanging and finishing drywall are leg stilts. These allow the drywallers to operate at an elevated height without constantly coming on and off a ladder or other stationary platform. Video of drywaller getting onto stilts.


Drywall crew member on stilts finishing an inside corner. You can see a length of drywall tape hanging from his belt.

The crew returned the next day to apply joint compound to the drywall. Joint compound (aka plaster, mud) is used to fill gaps, joints, nail holes and otherwise create a smooth surface over the drywall. When going over a joint (where two or more edges of drywall come together) or inside corner, the crew would use a dense, fibrous paper called tape. When the joint eventually moves, the tape helps to reduce or eliminate cracking in the dry joint compound. The crew brought two specialty tools that helped them expedite the mudding process. The first, an automatic drywall taper, looked like one of those water cannon squirt guns that you see kids play with, except this device was made of metal and had a drywall tape holder at the end. Though I didn’t see it in action, it lays down a thin layer of mud over which it also lays tape. Another worker can then followup with any number of other tools to remove the excess mud. Video or automatic drywall taper in action. The second device was an inside corner mud applicator. This device greatly reduces application time by allowing both sides of a corner to be finished at once. Video of inside corner mud applicator in action.

Various finished surfaces including inside and outside corners, joints and nail holes.

The outside corners of the walls were finished with rounded corners. Corners are traditionally done at a 90 degree sharp edge. Advances in technology have allowed rounded corner molds (called “corner bead”) to be made relatively cheap. The advantage of a round corner is that they are less prone to visible dings and dents. Video of round corner bead being installed.



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