Hurricane Preparedness

If you’ve watched the news, checked the internet, or opened up a newspaper recently, you’re familiar with the devastation that Hurricane Harvey has caused to the Houston area. The city is flooded, homes are destroyed, and families are faced with the incredibly daunting task of picking up the pieces and trying to rebuild their lives.

Unfortunately, there’s nothing that can be done about storms as severe as Harvey. We have no control over the weather, which means our only option is to prepare for the worst as best we can and make sure we follow any instructions or activation orders that the authorities might issue.

With September coming, there’s no better time to concentrate on hurricane preparedness. Historically, September is the most volatile month of hurricane season. Right now, Tropical Storm Irma is forming in the Atlantic. No one knows whether it will hit land or where, but it’s imperative that we do everything we can to make sure we’re ready if it becomes a threat to the Jacksonville area.

To make sure you’re ready for a storm, here are a few simple ways to prepare for a hurricane that might help minimize the damage in case of catastrophic weather.

Stay Alert

In this day and age, getting weather information is easier than it’s ever been. Make sure you stay on top of any potentially threatening weather developments, especially during hurricane season. Check weather sites on the internet frequently to make sure you know when a potential threat appears. Monitor local news sites to get specific information about forecasts, evacuations, and other preparedness measures.

Have a Plan

When a city as large as Jacksonville is forced to evacuate, it can quickly devolve into chaos. That’s why it’s important to have a plan before you need one. If a storm comes, know where you’re going to go ahead of time and plot out the best, safest route to get there. Knowing in advance what your goal is makes it easier to concentrate on everything else you’ll need to do in the event of a hurricane.

Build a Disaster Kit

If you’ve lived in Florida for any amount of time, you probably know what happens at the local stores whenever a hurricane threatens. Supplies go fast, and it can be extremely difficult to get everything you need at the last minute. Make sure you’re ready for anything by building a disaster kit ahead of time. If you’re unsure which items to include in your kit, follow this potentially life-saving guide.

Put Safety First

No one wants to lose their home or property in a storm. As real estate agents, we know better than anyone how much your home means to you. Ultimately, though, your safety and the safety of your family comes first. When in doubt, EVACUATE. Your house and your possessions can be replaced – your family can’t. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to the most important people in your life.

By following these steps and doing your own research, you’ll put yourself in the best position to deal with a hurricane. Of course, if what is happening in Houston teaches us anything, it’s that sometimes no amount of planning is enough. When the worst happens, we’re forced to rely on the kindness of strangers to help us through the worst moments. That’s why it’s so important to do what you can for hurricane victims. If you can spare even a few dollars, the American Red Cross badly needs money and supplies to help those suffering in Houston right now. Visit the Red Cross site¬†and lend a helping hand.

Being a Good Neighbor

When you buy a home in Jacksonville, you’re not just buying a building for your family to live in. You’re buying a spot in a community, and in the lives of everyone who lives around you. Building quality communities is what drew us to real estate in the first place. We enjoy helping families find a home with the right number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and features, but what we are really passionate about is putting people in the right spot to make friends, raise their children, and enrich their lives.

Becoming part of a community doesn’t happen overnight. Buying a home and moving in is only the first step. The important work comes in the days and years after, and the key to success is making sure you’re the best neighbor you can be. To help our customers really integrate into their neighborhoods, we put together this quick guide featuring some easy tips on how to be the best neighbor you can possibly be.

Take the First Steps

It sounds obvious, but the real key to being a good neighbor is to take initiative. Don’t wait for your new neighbors to come to you. Ring their doorbells, introduce yourself, and maybe bring a gift. You’ll be amazed how much difference it makes. Letting your neighbors know that you’re interested in building relationships is the first step in creating friendships that could last a lifetime.

Be Considerate

Another obvious tip, but it bears repeating. Showing respect for your neighbors is the best way to make sure that the relationship is harmonious. This means doing the little things to keep your neighbors happy, whether it’s quieting down your dog when it barks at night or keeping your lawn neatly cut. Keeping your new home in Jacksonville presentable doesn’t just give your neighbors something nice to look at, it can actually help raise their property value!

Keep an Eye Out

What makes a community work is a sense of shared responsibility for everyone’s wellbeing. What happens to one person in your neighborhood affects everyone else. That’s why good neighbors are always looking out for the people around them. Whether it’s organizing or participating in a neighborhood watch program or just keeping your eyes peeled for anything that might have a negative impact, being conscientious of your neighbors’ safety is a great way to help make your neighborhood a wonderful place to live.

Participate!

Good relationships with your neighbors don’t just happen. It takes work and dedication. If there’s an event happening in your neighborhood, go and mingle! If you’re having a party or a barbecue, invite your neighbors to attend. Even something as simple as a friendly hello when you meet in your driveways can help you build a stronger community and make friends in your neighborhood.

Remember, when you buy a home in Ponte Vedra Beach or Jacksonville Beach, you’re doing more than buying a building. You’re becoming part of the special community that makes Northeast Florida one of the most desirable places to live in the country. A little effort goes a long way toward keeping those communities strong and vibrant. Do your part, and you’ll be shocked how much positive impact it will have in your life!

Back to School Sales Tax Holiday

In our last post, we talked about how great the St. Johns County School System is. We went over all of the statistics that illustrate why St. Johns County is the preferred destination for anyone looking to buy a home in Jacksonville. The reason we chose to focus on schools is because July is coming to an end, and that means Back to School time is already here again.

Getting ready to send your kids off to school can be an expensive proposition, whether they’re starting Kindergarten or heading off to college. You’ve got to make sure your kids have clothes to wear, pens and pencils to write with, notebooks to write in, a backpack to store it all inside of, and maybe even a laptop or tablet if your children are in college.

Contemplating all of that spending can be seriously stressful. That’s why we’re so excited to let you know that the State of Florida is here to offer a helping hand.

As you might know, every year Florida has a Back to School sales tax holiday. This year, the holiday will run from 12:01 AM on August 4 through 11:59 PM on August 6. It’s a way to lessen the financial impact of all that back to school shopping, and for families with multiple school-age children, it’s an incredible blessing.

During the Holiday, a host of important items are exempt from all sales tax. That means your family can save up to 7% on all of your back to school shopping.

It’s important to note that the Holiday doesn’t cover every purchase you make, only the ones relevant to the back to school shopping season. Clothes, shoes, and accessories up to $60 in value are exempt from sales tax. All school supplies, things like pencils, paper, notebooks, and backpacks up to $15 are also exempt.

The most exciting aspect is that electronics including computers, tablets, printers, and laptops are all exempt from sales tax as well, as long as they cost under $750!

According to the National Retail Federation, an average family with school-age children will spend $688 this year on back to school shopping. That means that this tax exemption will save most families around $50! How’s that for a bonus?

Whether you’re trying to prepare your kids for school or just pick up a new iPad for yourself, the Back to School sales tax holiday is an incredible opportunity to save some money. So plan ahead and get as much of your shopping done as you can from August 4th through the 6th!

Back to School

It’s hard to tell from the temperature outside, but July is starting to wind down and August is just around the corner. That means Summer Break is nearly over, and all the mayhem of Back to School season is almost here.

Making sure that your kids are ready for the school year involves a lot of planning and hard work. There are clothes to purchase, school supplies to get, and backpacks to fill. There’s a year worth of lunches just waiting to be made and a year worth of afternoons waiting to be spent helping with homework.

A lot of planning, preparation, and hard work goes into getting our kids ready for school. You want to make sure that your kids are ready to get the most out of their education. Just as important, though, is making sure that your kids’ schools are preparing them for a lifetime of success and high achievement.

No one knows the importance of a quality education better than our very own Wanda Peterson, who devoted years of her life to helping kids learn and grow as a public school teacher right here in St. Johns County. That’s why Team Kelly and Wanda is so proud to help families find homes in Ponte Vedra Beach and Nocatee. St. Johns County has some of the best public schools in the country, which is why Northeast Florida is such an amazing destination for anyone looking to buy a home.

Obviously, anyone looking to buy a home in Jacksonville knows about the fantastic weather, the wide variety of luxury neighborhoods, and the proximity to the Beach. What they don’t know is that buying a home in St. Johns County is one of the best investments you can make in giving your children a bright future.

Out of 67 school districts in the State of Florida, St. Johns County public schools have ranked first in every academic year since 2008-2009. The graduation rate from St. Johns County schools is more than 10% higher than the State average. Students in St. Johns County routinely outperform students in other districts at every grade level.

To learn more about how amazing the St. Johns County Public Schools are, check out this cool infographic!

Clearly, there are dozens of great reasons to buy a home in Ponte Vedra Beach or Nocatee. The weather, the beach, the golf courses, and the unique First Coast culture are all enough to make this a great place to live. For families, though, the chance to send your kids off to school every day knowing they’re getting a world-class education is literally priceless. If you want to learn more about everything St. Johns County has to offer your children, give us a call today!

Memorial Day

Today is Memorial Day, the day we set aside to honor the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. At Team Kelly and Wanda, we don’t just help families buy and sell homes in Jacksonville, we live, work, and volunteer in the community. NAS Mayport makes the military an essential part of the fabric of this city. We want to take this opportunity to not only remember those who were lost in service, but to thank all of Jacksonville’s service members and their families for being a huge part of what makes this such a great place to live.

Traditionally, Memorial Day marks the start of the Summer holiday season. From now until Labor Day, tourists will be flocking to the First Coast in droves to take advantage of Florida’s fabled sunshine. There’s a reason that Jacksonville Beach and Ponte Vedra Beach are such magnets for tourists. In addition to spectacular weather, Jacksonville is home to a host of unique spots and incredible activites.

This Memorial Day, start your summer vacation by enjoying some of Jacksonville’s special attractions with your friends and family. There’s no better way to honor what others sacrificed than by bonding with the people who are most important to you.

The Beach

Obviously, the beaches are what make this such an attractive destination to tourists. With miles of pristine beaches, Jacksonville and Ponte Vedra are one of the best places in the country to enjoy some sun, sand, and surf. Get your family together and enjoy the beach on Memorial Day. From private luxury beach clubs to public beach access, there’s no shortage of ways to get to the ocean.

Hanna Park

Located a short distance from the Naval Air Station, Hanna Park is one of the best ways to enjoy a microcosm of everything Northeast Florida has to offer. Whether your’d rather go for a bike ride with your family, enjoy a picnic on the beach, or maybe take a relaxing paddleboat ride, Hanna Park has something for you. And Memorial Day marks the opening of the Kids Splash Park, which is great for the little ones.

Visit the Wall

Memorial Day is a great opportunity to enjoy a day off and spend time with your loved ones, but ultimately it’s all about the bravery and dedication of those who lost their lives so that the rest of us could enjoy the benefits of peace and freedom. In that spirit, there’s no better family trip for Memorial Day than to the Veterans Memorial Wall down. The one-of-a-kind monument pays tribute to more than 1500 Jacksonville-area veterans from all six branches of service who paid the ultimate price on behalf of a grateful nation. Set in the middle of a beautiful park, it’s a great way to enjoy the sunshine with your family and also honor the memories of those who died for this country.

Beautiful Lawn, Beautiful Home

Whether you’re trying to sell your home in Jacksonville or just trying to turn your neighbors green with envy, it’s important for the overall presentation of your home to have a healthy, well-maintained lawn. “Curb appeal”, or how attractive your house looks to someone who pulls up at the curb outside, is the first thing people will notice about your home and the first thing potential buyers will consider. You only get one chance to make a good first impression, and properly maintaining your lawn is key to making your one chance count.

In Florida, with the high average temperatures and heavy rainfall, keeping a healthy, eye-catching lawn presents a unique set of challenges. Some people resort to hiring landscapers to do the heavy lifting for them. In truth, though, there are dozens of little things that you can easily do yourself to make sure the grass really is greener on your side of the fence.

1. Identify the Problem

Maybe the hardest part of dealing with lawn and garden pests is figuring out just exactly which little critter is damaging your lawn. Luckily, there’s an incredibly cheap and easy solution to your problem. First, just mix about two tablespoons of lemony dish detergent into two gallons of water. Then, pour it over a small area in your yard where you’ve noticed damage. If there are any hard-to-spot pests in the area, this will flush them out to the surface and make it easier to identify the culprits. At that point, the solution is a quick Google search away.

If that doesn’t work, try the “flotation method”. Just cut the bottom off of a can of paint or any can of similar size and then drive the cylinder you’re left with a few inches into any problem areas of your lawn. Then, just fill the cylinder with water and see what floats to the top. If you’ve got lawn pests, it’s a great way to figure out which ones without a costly call to the exterminator.

2. Pick The Right Grass

There are literally hundreds of types of grass, with different textures, looks, and ideal conditions. What works in one place may not work in another. Homeowners from other areas sometimes aren’t familiar with the rough conditions grass has to deal with in Jacksonville. A more durable, hearty strain of grass, like St. Augustine, is best equipped to deal with Jacksonville’s unique weather conditions.

3. Build a Buffer

Nothing helps highlight and enhance a lawn like a few well-placed trees. They offer shade, they break up the monotony of a yard, and they add hints of color to the sea of green you’ve hopefully built for yourself. The only problem is that they can be a huge hassle to mow around. An easy fix is to just surround your trees with a small circle of mulch. It not only adds another interesting visual element, it lets you easy mow around trees without fear of damaging them.

For flowerbeds, a good idea is to use plain bricks sunk into the lawn around every flower bed to create a barrier with the grass. That way, you can mow right over the brick area, keep your grass neat and orderly, and never worry about damaging the flowers you worked so hard to plant and maintain.

Obviously, these are just a few tips, and there are hundreds of others. Shoot us an e-mail and let us know how you keep your yard neat and beautiful. If you’re looking for for a yard (and a house) of your very own, give Team Kelly and Wanda a call. We’re Northeast Florida’s trust source of beautiful luxury homes for sale in Jacksonville.

Decorate Your New Home in Jacksonville

At Team Kelly and Wanda, we know a thing or two about beautiful homes. Take a few minutes to browse our listings, and you’ll see some of the most spectacular and luxurious homes for sale in Jacksonville and the Jacksonville Beaches. As beautiful as our properties are, though, it’s your personal touches that really make a home uniquely yours. We may sell the best canvases, but it’s up to you to paint your masterpiece.

Obviously, you want your home to reflect your personal taste, from the paint to the furniture to the landscaping. No one knows what you like better than you, but there a few general tips that any homeowner can use to beautify their house and get the most out of their space. Here are a few of our favorite do-it-yourself tips and tricks for decorating your home in Jacksonville.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Our homes for sale in Jacksonville are all large, spacious, and attractive. When it comes to interior space, though, there’s no such thing as too much. One of the easiest ways to make your home interior look more open is to use mirrors to create the illusion of space. All you have to do is mount a mirror on your wall and then place a small decorative table against it. It’s a simple, cost-effective way to turn your space into something that seems substantially larger than it really is. By reflecting the table decor, it also creates visually attractive symmetry and lets you get a much larger visual impact out of every piece.

From Functional to Fashionable

Obviously, closets and cabinets are very attractive when you’re looking at new homes for sale in Jacksonville. Everyone loves storage space because it’s so convenient and helps keep your home neat and tidy. A lot of people, though, don’t realize the hidden decorating potential lurking in every hall closet or kitchen cabinet. Simply remove the door, and all of a sudden you’ve got a ready-made niche for anything from art to flowers to books to pottery. If you’ve got more storage space than you know what to do with, get out your screwdriver and and you’re on your way to building your very own art installation. A simple coat of paint on the inside is all it takes to glam up your new showcase.

Lightweight Lighting

Lamps are a great way to brighten up a room and add some style, but wouldn’t it be more fun to make your own? All you need is a clear wine glass, a tea candle, and some decorative paper. Drop the candle into the wineglass and then make a cone with the paper. Slip it over the top, and you’ve got a tiny, beautiful lamp that will add a great accent to any room. Best of all, they’re so small you can move them wherever you want, whenever you want!

These are just a few quick ideas for do-it-yourself home decor. Do some browsing on the internet and you’ll find thousands more. Also, make sure to stop by our contest page! Fill out the form, let us know your favorite home decorating tips, and you’ll be entered to win a $100 Gift Card to Bed Bath & Beyond.

Buy a Home in the Home of THE PLAYERS

Living in Jacksonville is pretty great, but it’s never better than at this time of year. The season is changing, the sun is shining, and the beaches are open for business. Truth be told, it’s an embarrassment of riches. The beaches and the weather alone are enough to make anyone green with envy. To top it all off, though, we’re rapidly approaching the biggest week of the year for the Jacksonville area.

That’s right, it’s time for THE PLAYERS, Ponte Vedra Beach’s signature golf tournament. Every year, the best golfers in the world descend on our beach communities to compete for one of the sport’s richest prize pools on the historic Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass. THE PLAYERS is known for hosting the sport’s most elite field of competitors and the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass is home to the iconic island green, arguably the sport’s most famous hole.

Obviously, this is a huge deal for Ponte Vedra Beach and the whole Jacksonville area. It’s a chance to highlight everything the area has to offer, from the weather to the beaches to the restaurants. It’s also a strong statement that, for golfers and golf fans alike, there is no better place to live than Jacksonville.

TPC Sawgrass, which hosts the Valley Course and the world-famous Stadium Course, is just the tip of the iceberg. Jacksonville is home to dozens of world-class golf courses and the luxury communities that go with them. Kelly and Wanda know golf, they know luxury properties, and they know the Jacksonville real estate market better than anyone. If you’re looking to enjoy Ponte Vedra’s luxury golf lifestyle year round, they’re the only call you need to make.

Marsh Landing

Marsh Landing Country Club may not be as nationally renowned as the TPC Stadium Course, but it’s one of the area’s best-loved golf courses. Featuring 18 beautiful holes set in pristine natural surroundings, the course itself is enough to challenge any golfer, from duffer to pro. When you buy a home in Marsh Landing, though, you don’t just get proximity to the course. You get the full Country Club lifestyle, complete with a beautiful clubhouse, a tennis facility, and all of the amenities you expect from a high-end golf community.

The Plantation at Ponte Vedra Beach

Life in The Plantation at Ponte Vedra Beach is the perfect encapsulation of what makes Northeast Florida so great. The Plantation offers 18 holes on a newly-redesigned golf course for the dedicated golfers. For the rest of the family, there’s a full-service beach club and the safe, luxurious environment you expect from a golf community. Whether you want to spend your days on the links, at the beach, or just enjoying the weather with your family in a beautiful environment, The Plantation offers it all.

Palencia

For families, Palencia is like a dream come true. The only thing more spectacular than the 18-hole championship golf course is the world-class amenities, which include a full club house with dining and shopping, a lighted tennis facility, 8 miles of multi-use paths, three baseball diamonds, a soccer field, a basketball court, state-of-the-art fitness facilities with classes, and a pirate-themed playground. It’s the perfect spot for anyone with an active lifestyle or anyone who enjoys luxury living in beautiful surroundings.

Clearly, if you enjoy golf, the outdoors, good weather, and luxury living, Jacksonville is where you belong. Give Team Kelly and Wanda a call today. If there’s a home for sale in Jacksonville, they know it, and they have years of experience helping families find the perfect new house for sale.

Spring Cleaning

Do you remember what it felt like to finally buy a home in Jacksonville? Walking through that door, seeing your pristine new house, just waiting for all of the personal touches that will truly make it your own? It’s like being a master painter staring at a perfectly clean canvas, knowing that you’re about to turn it into your masterpiece.

Of course, as we all know, that feeling is fleeting. Life happens, clutter accrues. Maybe your kids feel that same artistic inspiration, but this time it involves your clean walls and a pack of crayons. Before you know it, your perfect dream house is in need of some serious elbow grease, a few layers of paint, and a thorough dusting.

Don’t let it overwhelm you; it happens to everyone. That’s why Spring Cleaning is such a time-honored tradition. Every year, when the season changes and nature starts to refresh itself, homeowners all over the world take the opportunity to do a little refreshing of their own. With a little bit of planning and some good old-fashioned hard work, you can make your lived-in house as fresh and clean as a brand new home for sale.

To help you get started, we’ve put together a few handy Spring Cleaning tips and tricks. Just follow these simple steps, and you’ll have people saying, “When did you buy this home, it looks brand new!” in no time.

Clean With What You Have

Go into any store, and you’ll find hundreds of cleaning products for every conceivable purpose. Believe it or not, though, a lot of the most effective cleaning products are things you probably have lying around the house anyway. Trying to disinfect that garbage disposal? There’s no need for chemical cleaners. Just drop a whole lemon in there, run it for a few seconds, and voila! It’s as good as new. You can use baking soda and a damp sponge to remove buildup from your dishwasher. Having a hard time getting your toilets clean? Try Tang or powdered lemonade mix. The gritty texture makes it perfect for scrubbing and the citric acid will help loosen up any residue! You don’t need to make a special trip to the store for cleaning supplies, just get creative with what you’ve already got!

Master Your Technique

A tool is only as good as its owner, and using your cleaning tools properly is the key to the best results. Is your sponge getting a little dingy? Don’t throw it out, just get it wet, squeeze it, and microwave it on high for one minute. It’s a great way to disinfect and it’ll save you money. When you sweep, make sure you do it correctly. Pretend you’re rowing a boat, and that the broom is the oar, and you’ll get the best results. When you’re done sweeping, remember to store the broom with the handle side down. It’s easier on the bristles and will make your brooms last longer.

Multitask

The best way to make cleaning easier is to do something else at the same time to take your mind off what you’re doing. Have a ton of laundry to fold? Pull out your phone and call your friends and family. You’ll still be happily chatting away by the time you’re done. No one wants to push around a vaccum cleaner and listen to it, so why not put in some earbuds and play a book on tape for yourself? You might even find yourself vacuuming more than you have to just to make it to the end of the chapter.

With these tips, you can make your house as good as new this Spring. And if you’re looking for a little bit of help, make sure to stop by our contest page. You can enter to win a $100 Gift Card to Amazon! That’s a lot of cleaning supplies!

Helping Improve Jacksonville

To us, being in real estate is about much more than helping people buy and sell homes in Jacksonville. It’s about building community, one family at a time. We care deeply about Jacksonville, which is why we’ve lived in the area our entire adult lives. That’s why it’s such a thrill for us to help other people find a home in the city we love. Every family we help find a home for sale in Jacksonville is another building block in a better, happier, friendlier city.

We’re deeply committed to improving the community we live and work in. That’s why, for the last 10 years, we’ve donated a portion of every sale we’ve made to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. It’s a great way to help families when they really need it the most. Here in Jacksonville, our funds help provide badly-needed equipment and hospital additions to Wolfson Children’s Hospitals.

Recently, we were lucky enough to get a tour of Wolfson Children’s Hospital. It was a chance to see all of the fabulous ways our donations are being used to save lives and help families from all over the First Coast. It was incredibly inspiring seeing the thousands of lives they’ve touched and realizing that we made some small contribution to all of that good work.

Keeping families in Jacksonville safe and healthy benefits all of us. We don’t just sell homes in Jacksonville, we live here, and it’s good for us both personally and professionally to make the city a happier, healthier place. That’s why we’re REMAX Miracle Agents, and it’s why we’ll continue to support Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals each and every time we sell a home.

If you want to do your part to help Children’s Miracle Network make Jacksonville a healthier place to live, just click here. Make sure you select Wolfson Children’s Hospital from the dropdown menu to make sure your donation helps families in the First Coast.

We work all over Jacksonville, but we’re Beaches girls at heart. Ponte Vedra and Jacksonville Beach are special places to us. This is where we live, where we raised our families, and where our office is located. We’ll cross the ditch when we have to, but home will always be at the Beaches.

That’s why we’re so happy to support the Beaches Emergency Assistance Ministry, better known as BEAM. BEAM is an amazing charity helping low-income families in the Jacksonville Beaches. From food pantries to nutrition education, social services assistance to emergency financial assistances, the incredible people at BEAM are putting in the hard work to make sure that no one in Jacksonville Beach goes hungry or homeless.

This is a small, dedicated group of people that has already helped nearly 20,000 adults and children enjoy a better life. With a little bit of help from all of us, think of how many more people they could help.

To learn more about the invaluable work BEAM is doing in the Jacksonville Beaches, please visit their website. And if you can donate or volunteer your time, please do! Working together, we can make sure the Beaches remain an amazing place to live.