Archive for April, 2013

Update On Our Native / Drought Resistant Plants Project

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

by Sean Hess (Sean@StAugTeam.com), Broker and Manager for St. Augustine Team Realty (www.StAugustineTeamRealty.com). Join us on Facebook and me on Google+.

Moving Society Garlic with the kids.

Moving Society Garlic with the kids.

We moved some plants this weekend.

When we originally started this we drew out a planting plan on graph paper on where things would go.

We put the Florida native wildflowers in the front (because they usually stay close to the ground), and put the society garlic behind them, because the garlic usually grows taller.

Well, the wildflowers took off! Some of them got as high as two feet, blocking the garlic from view. So we moved the garlic to the front.

Here’s what we did:

I transplanted a single garlic in the center, and then my daughter measured 8 inches out from that plant on each side to mark where we would put the next one. We did this until we ran out of plants.

One of the things we discovered when we were transplanting the garlic was how weed roots and centipede grass roots would try and intertwine with the garlic. The centipede grows pretty worthless above ground but it has no problem messing with the garlic, which p*ssed me off.

So we covered the ground around the garlic with newspaper, and wetted it, to keep the weeds and centipede grass out.

Then we pulled the radio flyer to the back yard and raked a few wagon loads of pine straw to cover the newspaper. I had my son help spread the pine straw.

Voila! We were done.

Right now we have a backlog of 10 plants that need to go in, so I think we’re going to round up some type of native butterfly attractor, and maybe some crotons to add some color.

We will keep you posted!

Hire St. Augustine Team Realty when you are looking for your commute to the beach in St. Augustine! Email us at ReQuestion@StAugTeam.com or call Broker Associate (Sales) Kate Stevens at (904) 377-2276.

The Most Photographed Door In St. Augustine, And We Have It For Sale

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

by Sean Hess (Sean@StAugTeam.com), Broker and Manager for St. Augustine Team Realty (www.StAugustineTeamRealty.com). Join us on Facebook and me on Google+.

The gate at 15 Bridge Street, the most photographed door in St. Augustine and possibly the southeast. And it can be yours.

The gate at 15 Bridge Street, the most photographed door in St. Augustine and possibly the southeast. And it can be yours.

It’s the most imaged door in St. Augustine (and possibly the southeast), and we have it for sale.

15 Bridge Street, the pretty pink door beneath the arch (and the home with it) can be yours.

The asking price? $986,000.

I’ll let listing agent Roni Heinrich describe it for you:

“Arguably the most photographed home in St. Augustine, this lovely 1888 historic St. Augustine Colonial home and carriage house has been completely restored in authentic period detail and is the true essence of downtown living. This landmark property is recognized by its ‘postcard’ gate that opens into a private courtyard garden with lush tropical landscaping.

“The 3 bedroom - 2 bath - 1 half bath Victorian home has 3 porches and boasts views of the Intracostal Waterway.

“Upon entry into the parlor find extraordinary examples of Victorian decor. There is a beautiful handmade staircase, and elegant wood-paneled fireplaces with antique mantels and onyx.

“Relax in the master bedroom and its windowed sitting room. Enjoy its spacious bath with historic, encaustic-tile patterned floor and glazed subway tiled walls. Premium Kohler bath fixtures and a large walk-in closet provide modern luxury and convenience.

“The one-of-a kind kitchen is centered on a brick chimney oven and includes top-of-the-line Kitchen Aid appliances, a unique hidden pantry with matching heart-pine cabinets, stove island and paneled refrigerator.”

Please contact Roni Heinrich for more information about this home at (904) 671-3362. Serious inquiries only, please.

St. Augustine: How Long is the Commute to the Beach?

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

by Sean Hess (Sean@StAugTeam.com), Broker and Manager for St. Augustine Team Realty (www.StAugustineTeamRealty.com). Join us on Facebook and me on Google+.

St. Augustine Map of Beaches

Getting to the beach in St. Augustine. Map from Google.

Here’s the most important question in St. Augustine: how long does it take to get to (or how far is it from) the beach?

I live near Wildwood Drive in what I like to call “The Unfashionable South End of St. Augustine.” I live there as a compromise with my wife, because she works in Jacksonville, and if we lived out at the beach it would add 10-minutes plus to her drive each day, each way.

I live about eight miles by road from the beach and it takes me about 12 minutes, on average, to get there.

I can either take the 206 bridge to the south or the 312 bridge to the north. If traffic is bad it can sometimes take 15 minutes.  Since I live about equal distance from the bridges (smack in the middle), this is probably the longest it takes anyone in St. Augustine (east of I-95) to get to the beach.

If you live west of I-95 off of state route 16, you probably take the Vilano Beach bridge, and your commute is probably still around 12 minutes. If you live near the Historic District you’re probably accessing the beach at Vilano as well, because the Bridge of Lions is so tricky to get over, which leads to my next subject…

The Worst Place To Live In St. Augustine If You Have To Commute To Jacksonville (Or Anywhere, Actually)

The absolute worst place to live if you have to commute anywhere is: Davis Shores, that pretty little neighborhood between the Lighthouse and the Bridge of Lions.

Before Davis Shores residents throw bricks at me I’d just like to remind them that I am a former resident. Davis Shores was the very first place I lived in St. Augustine when I moved here back in 1994, and I lived there until 1997.

And to be honest, I wouldn’t mind moving back.

But it is hell if you have to drive anywhere besides St. Augustine Beach.

I worked in Jacksonville at the time and just getting to the intersection of San Marco and state route 16 via the Bridge of Lions sometimes took 20 minutes.

And with random festivals going on seemingly every other day downtown, the streets may be blocked for any reason or no reason, forcing you to drive south to the 312 bridge. Which means if downtown is your destination, you still can’t get there except by going south and around. And it is always a surprise when it happens.

But Davis Shores was such a great neighborhood, it was almost worth it.

Just be glad they demolished the old drawbridge to Vilano.

I remember sitting there at 4 am one morning after deciding to take A1A home from Jacksonville after work.  For reasons God alone knows, at that very moment a tugboat tried to push a too-large barge through the bridge’s narrow opening and damaged it (the bridge, not the barge).

That meant a 20-minute drive north to Ponte Vedra over the Palm Valley bridge, and then back south on US 1 to St. Augustine. I was very tired when I crawled into bed, and not too happy.

Hire St. Augustine Team Realty when you are looking for your commute to the beach in St. Augustine! Email us at ReQuestion@StAugTeam.com or call Broker Associate (Sales) Kate Stevens at (904) 377-2276.

 

A New Listing, So Much Bigger Than It Looks!

Friday, April 12th, 2013

by Sean Hess (Sean@StAugTeam.com), Broker and Manager for St. Augustine Team Realty (www.StAugustineTeamRealty.com). Join us on Facebook and me on Google+.

We just listed a new house at 3321 11th Street in Elkton (just outside of St. Augustine…click on the address for all the info), and my first thoughts were, “This place is just SO much bigger than it looks!”

Here are the details:

This is a wonderful 3-bedroom, 2-bath home that is so much larger than it looks! Located just outside St Augustine, this home has an open floorplan with a spacious kitchen (42″ cabinets & nice appliances), breakfast nook, and formal dining room. The master bedroom has a tray ceiling, and the bath has a garden tub with stand-up shower. The great room leads to a covered patio. Upgraded light fixtures and fans throughout, a full size utility room, and a 2-car garage round out the home. Outside there’s a fenced yard with a dog run area,a 20′ x 10′ insulated shed/workshop with power, a/c & heat plus a smaller ‘potting’ shed. Nice mature trees in lot – no HoA or fees. Not a short sale.

Watch this short video below:

Hire St. Augustine Team Realty when you are looking to buy or sell your oceanfront lot! Email us at ReQuestion@StAugTeam.com or call Broker Associate (Sales) Kate Stevens at (904) 377-2276.

We Are Giving Away A House at A Taste of St. Augustine (a Very Small House)!

Friday, April 12th, 2013

by Sean Hess (Sean@StAugTeam.com), Broker and Manager for St. Augustine Team Realty (www.StAugustineTeamRealty.com). Join us on Facebook and me on Google+.

We are giving away a house! A very small house!

Come to the St. Augustine Amphitheatre on April 27th for A Taste of St. Augustine and your chance to win. Watch the short video below for details:

Hire St. Augustine Team Realty when you are looking to buy or sell! Email us at ReQuestion@StAugTeam.com or call Broker Associate (Sales) Kate Stevens at (904) 377-2276.

How Much Does It Cost to Buy a Lot on the Beach or at the Ocean?

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

by Sean Hess (Sean@StAugTeam.com), Broker and Manager for St. Augustine Team Realty (www.StAugustineTeamRealty.com). Join us on Facebook and me on Google+.

Ocean front lot in St. Augustine, Florida

Is an oceanfront lot on your bucket list?

So you want to buy a lot on the beach. If you’re an American, that’s probably an item on your bucket list.

Right now, at this moment, there are 15 oceanfront lots available for sale locally. They range in price from $165,000 all the way up to $1.3 million.

A disclaimer: the lot for $165,000 is offered by St. Augustine Team’s very own Amy Cap0 (Amy@AmyCapo.com , 904-814-6974). It is located at 9433 Old A1A, just click on the address or contact Amy to find out more.

So why the difference in price?

Well, you are right to assume they are all located in front of the very same Atlantic Ocean.

Your view of the ocean could be a little different on each of the lots depending on what type of home you want to build, or in some cases, the home you are required to build. So this might factor in the price.

For example, your home may have to be built behind the dune line, which would mean you will have to build at least a two story home to see the ocean. Or, your lot might be located in such a way that you actually look down or are looking straight out at the ocean. In this case you still might be required to build a two story home by the county, with the first story essentially being pilings/piers, which you could enclose but not live in (it could be used as a garage or storage).

Another thing that could factor in is rarity. The lot offered at $1.3 million is/are actually two adjacent lots that stretch from the beach on the east all the way to the Intracoastal waterway on the west: a very rare parcel indeed. However, is it worth $1.3 million? That’s for you to decide.

Getting A Loan

Getting a loan to buy an oceanfront parcel is probably not going to happen for you in 2013, unless you already have deep pockets. Isn’t that the way it always is, though? The people that already have the money are the only people that can get the loan.

Why? Well, banks, especially local banks, got burned badly on lot loans during the real estate boom.

Banks these days figure if someone gets into financial trouble, which are they going to quit paying first: their lot loan or their home loan? Yep, the lot. So there’s still not a lot of lot lending going on right now, no pun intended.

So You Will Need Cash

If you have the cash (maybe not a lot of cash) you could always buy the lot now and build later.

But a better idea is to buy now and build now, at least so you can get a building footprint down, in case future zoning or building requirements change for the lot.

Maybe you have $300,000 to spend. Spend $165,000 to get Amy’s lot (do your due diligence as part of the inspection period to verify with the county what and where you can build there).

So now you have $135,000 left over. Build (essentially) a 2-bedroom, 2-bath concrete block pillbox, just like they did in the 1950s.

I sold one about 7 years ago on Medoras Avenue (a block off the ocean) that was built in 1958. It was very plain jane, but at 1300 square feet it was snug, comfortable, and the structure has now handled 55 years of ocean weather.

You want to get even more extreme? Make your walls three feet thick.

St. Augustine’s Castillo de San Marcos was built in 1672. At sea level. That’s some seriously good construction.

Hire St. Augustine Team Realty when you are looking to buy or sell your oceanfront lot! Email us at ReQuestion@StAugTeam.com or call Broker Associate (Sales) Kate Stevens at (904) 377-2276.

Is a Cash Offer the Strongest Offer?

Monday, April 1st, 2013

by Sean Hess (Sean@StAugTeam.com), Broker and Manager for St. Augustine Team Realty (www.StAugustineTeamRealty.com). Join us on Facebook and me on Google+.

Time was a cash offer was the best offer. Image by 401(K) 2013

Time was a cash offer was the best offer. Image by 401(K) 2013.

Is a cash offer the strongest offer?

There was a time when a cash offer was always the strongest offer. And it still is a mighty strong offer.

The trouble is, the cash offer got abused, so to speak.

A buyer would represent on a contract, and through their agent, that they were going to pay cash.

The contract was signed and then, “Poof!” the financing fairy appeared, waving her magic wand.

This happened to me as recently as within the last 12 months.

And the other agent always says, “Well, they can pay cash, but they are going to try and finance it.”

And since you are already under contract, what are you going to do?

It has happened so often that the most common contract we use in our market now reads:

“Buyer will pay cash or may obtain a loan for the purchase of the Property. There is no financing contingency to Buyer’s obligation to close.”

In other words, buyers have lied so much you can’t even declare a straight cash deal anymore. The buyer may pay cash. They buyer may obtain a loan.

Cash offers is / were the strongest offers because they didn’t have to go through the appraisal process or the underwriting process that financed deals have to go through.

Basically a cash offer meant a buyer would buy the property if he or she liked it and the inspections were satisfactory. And that you could close on time.

So if you are a seller who is offered cash, it is okay to ask for proof of funds. You don’t have to, but it might be a good idea.

And if you have two deals on the table (one cash and the other financed), take the one with the better bottom line (instead of the one most likely to close, which in the past was always the cash offer).

Or if you take the cash offer, make it explicit that it’s a cash offer. Put a poison pill in the contract that the price goes up if the deal is financed (because you don’t want to kill the deal, even if the buyers act in bad faith).

Hire St. Augustine Team Realty when you are looking to buy with cash! Or if you want to buy with financing, who can decide anymore? Email us at ReQuestion@StAugTeam.com or call Broker Sean Hess at (904) 386-8327.

Image kind courtesy of 401(K) 2013.