Archive for March, 2012

Just Reduced! 915 Brookhaven Drive, 32092, in St. Johns Golf & Country Club

Friday, March 30th, 2012

by Sean Hess (, Broker and Manager for St. Augustine Team Realty ( Join us on Facebook.

Just reduced $20,000!

915 Brookhaven Drive in St. Johns Golf & Country Club is now priced at $232,000.

It is an extremely nice 4 bedroom / 2.5 bath home on a fairway / golf course lot. It has a large open, ground floor with formal living and dining rooms that add a traditional touch.  There’s even a family room opening up to screened porch.

There is a nicely upgraded kitchen with granite counters, 42″ cabinets & commercial-style gas range.  All wet areas are tiled. All bedrooms are upstairs. Large master bedroom features sitting/den area. Convenient location for access to Jacksonville & St Augustine. Short Sale. Priced below last “bank acceptable” price, so don’t be afraid to make offers.

Contact Kate Stevens with any questions at (904) 377-2276 or email us at

You can see a video we did of it below:

New Listing! 167 Segovia Road, St. Augustine, Florida, 32086

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

by Kate Stevens ( Broker Associate, Sales, and for St. Augustine Team Realty ( Join us on Facebook.

You will really enjoy this inviting 3 bedroom / 2 bath home on a large shady lot at 167 Segovia Road in St. Augustine. The home includes neutral tile floors in all rooms, including the bedrooms. It is nicely updated throughout with flexible living space. It has a large sunny patio & a HUGE fenced yard with mature trees. St. Augustine South, where the home is located, allows boats, RVs, and campers to be kept on the property. There are no HoA association or fees. This is a Short Sale. Currently offered at $130,000.

Watch the short video below to get a look at this wonderful home.  And feel free to call me at (904) 377-2276 or email me at to find out more!

Hire St. Augustine Team Realty when you buy or sell a home.

4 Low Cost Kitchen Fixes that Will Add Value To Your Home

Monday, March 26th, 2012

by Sean Hess (, Broker and Manager for St. Augustine Team Realty ( Join us on Facebook.

4 low cost ways to add value to your kitchen.

4 low cost ways to add value to your kitchen.

Want to add some value to your home without spending a lot of cash?  Look no further than your kitchen.

You don’t need tile backsplashes, stainless appliances or silestone counters to add value to your kitchen.  Look to changing out these items instead:

1) Cabinet hardware.

Replacing cabinet hardware (like drawer handles, knobs and even hinges) can be done as cheaply or expensively as you want.  Just count the number of each you need and go shopping.  Just make the new hardware matches you cabinet and appliance colors as much as possible.

2) Kitchen faucet.

This is another area where you can spend as much or as little as you want.  If you don’t have the cash to get something on the high end don’t worry, it’s the newness that matters.

3) Lighting.

Undercabinet lighting can be inexpensive and adds an elegant and understated touch.  Also, it’s fairly easy and inexpensive to replace that dated light hanging in your breakfast nook.  Just make sure to hire an electrician to install it if you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself.

4) Kitchen Organization.

Florida homes are always short on storage space, so kitchen organization is an overlooked way to add value to your home.

Use a small shelf with pegs for hanging pots, pans or aprons.  Add sliding shelf organizers to cabinets to add functionality.  Under cabinet areas, if not used for lighting, can be used as a storage are for pots and pans with wall hooks, or even dish towel rods.  Over-the-door or permanantly installed baskets added to the inside of a pantry door will also create lots of good storgage space.

Hire St. Augustine Team Realty when you need to add more value to your home.  Email us at or call Broker Sean Hess at (904) 386-8327.

This article was inspired by “5 Low-Cost Kitchen Redos Buyers Will Love” in the March/April 2012 issue of Realtor Magazine. 

Agents & Brokers, What’s The Difference?

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

by Sean Hess (, Broker and Manager for St. Augustine Team Realty ( Join us on Facebook.

What is the difference between an Agent and a Broker, or a Single Agent and a Transaction Broker?

Broker Associate Kate Stevens and I attempt to answer that question in the video below.

Hire St. Augustine Team Realty when you go to buy or sell a home.  Email or call Broker Sean Hess at (904) 386-8327.

What Defines a Luxury Home?

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

by Sean Hess (, Broker and Manager for St. Augustine Team Realty ( Join us on Facebook.

Luxury homes have panache.

Luxury homes have panache, and you know it when you see it.

As of this writing there are 41 homes in the area with a list price of over $1 million.

Some of these homes had excellent locations, but were clearly not luxury homes (just simple homes with luxurious price tags).

That sparked a debate in our office about what defines a luxury home.

Looking for answers to this question I came across an excellent article by Roberta Murphy.  In it she says, “Price alone does not distinguish [luxury] status. It is location, property entry, arhcitecture, decor, decadent amenities, entertainment capability, lovely grounds and myriad other details that help a home stand out from the ordinary…we believe we know one when we see it–especially when the home has all the markings of luxury, location and panache.”

In St. Augustine there are many oceanfront, or Intracoastal front homes that have all that ever could be desired for location, but lack the architecture, decor, amenities, and so on.  One could argue the same for the many homes located in and around the Historic District.

I would also argue that, especially in the Historic District, there are many homes that have fallen into disrepair that would be excellent canditates to be brought up into luxury home status.

What everyone in the office agreed on was that, like Murphy alluded to, price was the least indicator of luxury defined.  A ranch home on an oceanfront lot may have an amazing location, but it’s not a luxury home if it lacks all the above.

One thing we debated was a community like St. Augustine’s Sea Colony.  It’s gated and on the ocean.  Many of the homes were custom homes.  But the homes sit very close to each other…some are so close you could almost reach out your window and touch the next door neighbor.  In other words, there is no seperation or privacy, which is something you would not envision in a luxury community.  And from an architectural standpoint, with a few notable exceptions, there is much sameness in the homes in the areas of style and color.

Yet there are true luxury homes in Sea Colony.

And we know it when we see it.

Hire St. Augustine Team Realty when you go to buy or sell a luxury home.  Email us at or call Broker Sean Hess at (904) 386-8327.

5 Pitfalls to Look Out for When Buying a Florida Foreclosure

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

by Sean Hess (, Broker and Manager for St. Augustine Team Realty ( Join us on Facebook.

What are the 5 biggest pitfalls when buying a foreclosure?

5 pitfalls when buying a florida foreclosure

In the 2012 version Pitfall Harry has to dodge mold covered drywall and failing septic pumps.

1) The bank has never lived in the home, so they can’t disclose anything about it.

The solution?  Get a really good home inspector and a really good pest inspector.  I’m not being trite.

The bank can’t help you with the home’s history, nor can the listing agent.  Everything you will know about the physical condition of the home will come from the inspections.  And don’t forget inspecting the septic system, if the home is not on sewer.

Oh, and the bank that owns the home won’t do repairs, either.  Which leads to the next item.

2) Despite a good inspection, things will break down.

Budget for repairs after the fact anyway.  Things will break down that worked perfectly during the inspection.


If the home has been foreclosed on it probably sat empty and unused for a while.  Because of the lack of use, seals in pumps, appliances, plumbing, wells, etc. may have dried out or suffered dry rot.  They will work perfectly for a few times during the inspections, but then fail within a month or two afterwards.

So expect some things to break, and put some money aside for that.

3) Mold.

Yep, that’s the elephant in the room here in Florida.

A house that’s sat empty for two years without heating or cooling in our humid climate just ain’t a good thing.

It comes back down to good inspections.

But make sure you look yourself, too.

If there are drywall access panels in the attic or under stairways, look behind them.  Examine the drywall in the garage, especially around air handlers.  Check under and inside cabinets around sinks, etc.  Even lift up the carpet a bit if it’s loose.

4) Bank addendas

When you buy a foreclosure, the bank you buy it from gives you a lot of forms to sign.  These forms, as part of the sale agreement, are extraordinarily stilted in the banks favor.

For example, normally the seller pays the doc stamps on the deed.  But when you go to buy a foreclosure, YOU will pay the doc stamps on the deed.  Because the bank won’t.

The solution?

Hire a good real estate attorney.  For a few hundred dollars a good attorney will make mincemeat of these forms.  And even if a bank won’t agree, through their own attorney, to remove some of the more questionable items, at least your attorney can alert you to any legal pitfalls before you sign.

The bottom line is: know what you are signing.

5) Bank title companies

The bank that owns the foreclosed home will want to use their own title company.  Typically it’s an attorney’s office Not In This Part Of Florida.

While I’m not in a position to make a judgment myself, every title person I’ve talked to locally says that the title insurance these companies issue at closing is essentially worthless.  As I understand it, the insurance is good for everything except anything that could go wrong.

For example, it’s a bit like giving someone car insurance that covers everything except if the car gets damaged, stolen, or broken into.

The solution?

You can choose your own title company and closer (you do this as part of the initial offer).  You will pay for it, but at least you will have good title insurance if there’s a title issue in the future, say, due to robo-signing.  Just make sure you purchase the robo-signing endorsement.

Also, you may even come out ahead moneywise.

These bank title companies are notorious for charging buyers fees that are much, much higher than fees that the local companies charge for the same work.

Hire St. Augustine Team Realty when you are in the market for a foreclosure home.  Email or call Broker Sean Hess at (904) 386-8327.

Homes for Sale in St. Augustine: St. Augustine South, 32086

Monday, March 19th, 2012

by Kate Stevens (, Broker Associate for St. Augustine Team Realty (   Join us on Facebook.

St. Augustine South, 32086

132 Nautilus Road, currently for sale in St. Augustine South

132 Nautilus Road, currently for sale in St. Augustine South

St. Augustine South, located to the south of the City between the Intracoastal Waterway and US 1, is ideally placed for access to downtown St Augustine, the beaches, shopping and other one of a kind attractions in the area.

Building by local, independent builders started mainly in the 1980s and whilst being predominantly built out, there are still vacant lots available for new homes.  St Augustine South has a wide range of property styles  – from ‘mansions’ with sweeping views of the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) to more traditional, affordable homes.  Lots are at least 80’ wide and, being a community established over 30 years ago, tend to benefit from mature, shady trees.  A free public boat ramp with direct access to the ICW (with good proximity to the ocean) and waterfront boardwalk only add to the appeal of this neighborhood.

One feature of St Augustine South that makes it very appealing to many people is the fact that it does not have a homeowners association.  Not only does this save money, residents are free to keep boats, RVs and the like on their property.  This does not seem to detract from the community as properties are well maintained and generally tidy.

New Waterfront Listing in St. Augustine! 3425 Haley Point in Vista Cove

Saturday, March 17th, 2012

by Sean Hess (, Broker and Manager for St. Augustine Team Realty ( Join us on Facebook.

We have a fantastic new waterfront listing at 3425 Haley Point in St. Augustine’s Vista Cove.

This 3 bedroom/2 bath condo has glorious views of the San Sebastian River & St. Augustine’s Historic District from the living areas and master bedroom. The home has been upgraded throughout – from tile floors, to crown molding, to plantation shutters – attention everywhere. A screened porch has been glassed in with sliders for year round enjoyment of the tranquil view. The community, Vista Cove, boasts excellent community facilities including pool, clubhouse, fitness center and awarded, Florida friendly landscaping / nature preserve with trails. This is a short sale.

Call Kate Stevens, Broker Associate, Sales, at (904) 386-8327 to find out more or just email .  You can see a short video of the home below.

Hire St. Augustine Team when you go to buy or sell a home.

3 Quick Ways To Increase the Value of Your Home Before Selling

Friday, March 16th, 2012

by Sean Hess (, Broker and Manager for St. Augustine Team Realty ( Join us on Facebook.

What are 3 quick ways to increase the value of your home before selling?

1) Reduce the clutter.

When you remove clutter, personal items, extra furniture and personal photos it opens up your home.  Leave just enough furniture to define the space.

Repairing all those little small fixes in your home will add value.

Repairing all those little small fixes in your home will add value.

This makes the home seem bigger than it is, or more importantly, if it’s a big home already a buyer can see just how big it is.

Don’t forget the outside either.  Reduce the clutter there.  Trim the plants, clean up the landscaping, edge the driveway, remove the lawn furniture, get rid of any exercise equipment on the patio, and rake.  Doing this will make the yard feel larger and more open.

Lastly, don’t forget the garage.  You might think a clean garage doesn’t matter, but a clean garage tells the buyer that the rest of the home is taken care of as well.

2) Fresh Paint. 

Fresh paint is the quickest and easiest way to add value to a home.  Pick a nice neutral color and hit the entire house, closets and bathrooms included.

There is something about the look and smell of fresh paint that is like perfume to a buyer.

Since you’ve already removed all of the clutter and extra furniture from around the home, painting will be easy to do.

And since you’re already at it, paint the front door, too, and add a brass kick plate.  A clean door and kick plate is like a shined pair of shoes for a home.

3) Flooring, Cleaning, and Fix Ups

If you’re carpet is old and worn out, replace it.  Get a standard, contractor grade berber in a neutral color.  Trust me, it’s not that expensive.

If your flooring doesn’t match, make it match.  In other words, if you have tile in the living areas and baths, wood flooring in two bedrooms and carpet in the third bedroom, install a wood floor in the final bedroom that matches the wood flooring in the other bedrooms.  For some reason, when the flooring is different from room to room it really bothers female buyers.  That means the house will sit until a bachelor comes along and buys it.  You don’t want to sit and wait until a bachelor comes along and buys it.  The home will have lost value in the market by then.

Next, with the home now painted, decluttered and with nice matching floors, hire a cleaner just to come in and touch up.  Clean glass is a detail that can really help sell a home.

Outside the home, powerwash the exterior and clean the gutters to get rid of all the leaves, dirt and spiderwebs that cling to the outside of a home.

Last, fix all those little things that need fixing or updating.

Is the faucet in the bathroom or kitchen crudded up with hard water stains?  Get an inexpensive replacement.  Is there a patch of popcorn ceiling falling down somewhere?  Repaint and repopcorn the area.  Is there a water spigot on the outside of the house that just isn’t working right?  Replace it.

Have you noticed a theme here?

All of these fixes are low cost or no cost.  And every one will add value when you go to sell.   

Hire St. Augustine Team when you sell your home.  Email us at or call broker Sean Hess at (904) 386-8327. 

56 Acres on County Road 13A with 2 Homes: Reduced $50,000

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

by Kate Stevens (, Broker Associate, Sales, for St. Augustine Team Realty ( Join us on Facebook.

We just reduced our property at 1535 CR 13A in Elkton a whopping $50,000!  It is now priced at $399,500.

In case you forgot the property includes: 2 Homes (3 bedroom / 2 bath, 2600 sf main home, plus a 5-bedroom, 1600 square foot mobile home), 56 acres of land (approximately 18 acres cleared with the rear portion fenced and a 4-stall horse barn), two ponds, woods and most of all, lots of privacy.

More? The main home boasts a large kitchen (w/island and stainless  appliances), fireplace, HUGE master suite w/office & much more.

There’s also a detached 30′ x 40′ garage w/220 power & water.

Watch the short video below.  Call me at (904) 386-8327 or email if you want to know more.

Hire St. Augustine Team the next time you go to buy or sell a home. Email or call Kate Stevens at (904) 377-2276.