McINNIS REALTY INC | Jacksonville Real Estate, St. Johns Real Estate, Orange Park Real Estate


If you’re hunting for a new home, it can be tempting to make an appointment to view as many as possible. However, it can be a better use of your time to narrow down the search beforehand and eliminate houses from your list based on some at-home research. That way you can use those extra hours for fine-tuning your home search and make sure you visit only the houses that will suit your every need.

In this article, we’ll teach you some ways to research a home, neighborhood and town before you take the time to visit.

Things to Research about Your Potential New Neighborhood

So you’ve found a listing that looks nice. Your next step should be to find out as much as possible about the area the home is in to make sure it suits your needs.

A good first step is to head over to Google Maps to find out which amenities are in the area. Schools, banks, grocery stores, restaurants, hospitals, parks… the list goes on. This is also a good time to map out how long it will take you on average to drive to work from this house and to see if it will lead you through any high-traffic areas that might affect your daily schedule.

You can also research other homes in the area to see if the house is selling higher or lower than average. This will give you a question to ask the real estate agent if you choose to reach out for further information.

Town statistics

Another step to take on Google for this home is to look up statistics for things like neighborhood crime, ratings for the school district, and the state of local businesses.

Is the area up-and-coming with healthy businesses and low crime? If so, it could be worth pursuing further.

If you’re planning on having children or already do, the quality of the education could be of importance to you.

Finally, get an idea of the local tax rates so you know how much you’ll owe the government for your property and excise taxes.

Researching the house itself

If you’re comfortable with the town and neighborhood, there’s still some research you can do online before you schedule a showing.

See if you can find out if the house belongs to a homeowner’s association. Look up their rules and fees to see if they’re agreeable to you and your family’s lifestyle and plans for the future.

Look up the sale history for the home. If there are several recent sales, this could be a sign of problems with the home or neighborhood. Similarly, if the price has increased or decreased dramatically more than nearby houses, consider asking the real estate agent why this is.

Finally, see if you can view the number of days the home has been on on the market, commonly abbreviated as “DOM.” This will give you some insight as to how desirable the home and neighborhood are.


Once you have all of the information at your disposal, you’ll be in a position to decide whether or not to schedule an appointment to view the home.


Buying a house in Florida can be an exciting journey, especially if you take the time to find a choice location and a price that suits your budget. Whether your main objective is to live close to the ocean or simply adopt a laid-back lifestyle, the options are as varied as the people who live here.

For those who can afford it, living next to or close to the beach is an incomparable experience that provides opportunities for both relaxation and physical activity. In addition to having access to cooling ocean breezes and a panorama of scenic views, the water's edge is one of the most enjoyable places to go for leisurely walks. When you're watching the waves roll in, searching the shoreline for interesting seashells, or reading a good book by the water, it becomes a lot easier to manage stress and put life's problems in their proper perspective.

Keep in mind that a Florida home near the ocean may be much more affordable than you expect. There are a lot of variables which affect the price point, but with the help of a seasoned real estate agent, you're sure to find a nice Florida property that meets your requirements.

If you're wondering if a beachfront cottage, house, or condo in Florida might be within your price range, there are two ways to quickly find out. You can test the waters, so to speak, by doing an online search for Florida beach homes for sale. You can also substitute the word "oceanfront" or "waterfront" for "beach" in your Internet searches. As you'll discover, there are many ways to effectively search online for nice Florida homes with the features, the beach access, and the ambiance you're looking for.

You can refine your search by typing in the city, beach community, or section of Florida that appeals to you most. Some of the more popular locations that homebuyers are considering, these days, include Naples, Orlando, Tampa, Miami, Venice, The Florida Keys, Destin, Gainesville, Jackson, The Villages, Sarasota, Clearwater, Celebration, Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Jupiter, Kissimmee, and Pensacola. St. Augustine, Boca Raton, Port Charlotte, Fort Lauderdale, Lakeland, Port St. Lucie, Bradenton, Ocala, Englewood, Palm Harbor, Parkland, Vero Beach, and Melbourne also belong on that list.

In narrowing your search for the ideal Florida home, keep in mind important factors like the character of neighborhoods you're considering, proximity to theme parks, traffic congestion (or the lack, thereof), nearness to shopping and restaurants, and easy access to amenities. It's always beneficial to develop both a "wish list" and a priority list of things you absolutely must have in a new home. With that list in hand, and a couple preferred communities or cities in mind, your real estate agent can help you find Florida properties that are a good match to your needs and expectations.


If you're planning on making the transition from apartment renter to homeowner in the near future, you can be sure that the experience will be both exciting and challenging!

While some first-time home buyers are fairly well prepared for the changes that accompany homeownership, others encounter a myriad of unexpected expenses, neighbor problems, and household emergencies. Keeping surprises to a minimum and knowing how to handle difficulties when they come up are two strategies for keeping your life on an even keel in your new home.

When taking your initial plunge into homeownership, here are a few things to keep in mind to avoid problems and get the most from your new home.

Budgeting for expenses: When you're a renter or living with your parents, three things you generally don't have to concern yourself with are home repairs, appliance replacement, and yard maintenance costs. The longer list of homeowner expenses that could take a bite out of your paycheck or bank account includes furnace and AC services, chimney cleaning, snow removal, landscaping, exterminator services, plumbing leaks, and lighting installation. Many first-time home buyers also need to buy items like a lawn mower, clothes washer and dryer, and furniture. Although you can delay or spread out some of these expenses, they do need to be considered when creating a household budget.

Privacy is a factor: Depending on the proximity of houses, the openness of your yard, and the extent to which you want to get to know your neighbors, you might find yourself wanting to have some fencing installed or privacy hedges planted. Ideally, these are alterations you'd want to have done shortly after you move in -- if not before. That way, next door neighbors will have less of a tendency to take it personally when you erect barriers between you and them. And speaking of privacy, curtains and blinds are often a priority that needs to be taken care of immediately. While some homes for sale may include window treatments, there's a good chance your home decorating shopping list may include curtains!

Neighbor relations matter: If you happen to have neighbors who are easy going, relatively quiet, and likable, then consider yourself very fortunate! Being a good neighbor is, of course, a two-way street, so try to keep your noise level down to a "dull roar" and be the kind of neighbor you'd like them to be! That's no guarantee, of course, that everyone's going to get along famously and be the best of friends, but mutual respect and showing a modicum of friendliness to neighbors does help establish a cordial neighborhood atmosphere.

By creating a realistic household budget, being neighborly, and factoring in your need for privacy, you can begin setting the stage for a satisfying and fulfilling homeowner experience.



President Donald Trump arrived in flood-ravaged North and South Carolina on Wednesday to assess the federal response to Hurricane Florence, which drenched the state last week.

Inside an airplane hangar at the Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, situated along the bloated Neuse River, Trump lauded emergency workers in North Carolina even as he predicted a costly clean up.
"The job you've done has been incredible. They're talking about it all over the world," Trump said. "We want to keep it going that way. Some of the hard work is now."
"Even though it's nice and beautiful and sunny," there are still dangerous conditions for Carolinians, Trump said.
Climate change is making storms like Hurricane Florence worse
At least 36 people have died as a result of Florence, which made landfall in the Carolinas on Friday. He told those who lost loved ones that the country was in mourning with them.
"America grieves with you and our hearts break for you. God bless you. We will never forget your loss," Trump said. "To all those impacted by this terrible storm, our entire American family is with you and ready to help. You will recover."
After presentations from local authorities, the President made a personal inquiry, asking about conditions in the area around Lake Norman, near Charlotte. The Trump National Golf Club is situated on the shores of Lake Norman.
"I love that area. I can't tell you why, but I love that area," Trump said.

    Purchasing a home is a life-changing decision, and as such, should not be taken lightly. Fortunately, there are lots of things you can do to prepare for the homebuying journey, such as:

    1. Determine Where You Want to Live

    There is no shortage of high-quality houses available across the United States. Now, you just need to determine where you want to reside, and you can hone your house search accordingly.

    Think about your long-term plans as you consider where you want to live. For instance, if you enjoy life in the big city, you may want to search for houses in or near the city of your choice. On the other hand, if you want to start a family in the near future, you may want to explore residences near parks and other family-friendly attractions.

    Ultimately, it helps to narrow your home search to a few cities and towns. Because if you know where you want to live, you can quickly navigate the homebuying journey.

    2. Establish a Budget

    A budget is a must-have for any homebuyer, at any time. If you know how much you can spend on a house, you can search for residences that fall within your price range.

    Oftentimes, it helps to meet with banks and credit unions before you launch a home search. These financial institutions can teach you about different types of mortgages. Then, you can select a mortgage that suits you perfectly.

    Don't forget about home inspection, closing and other property buying fees, either. If you account for these property buying costs, you can ensure you have the necessary funds available to cover them.

    3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

    A real estate agent is a difference-maker for a homebuyer. He or she is happy to teach a homebuyer about the ins and outs of the real estate market. As a result, a real estate agent will help you become a homebuying expert.

    Typically, a real estate agent offers recommendations and insights throughout the homebuying journey. He or she first will learn about you and help you establish homebuying expectations. Next, a real estate agent will help you kick off a search for homes in your preferred cities and towns. When you find your dream residence, a real estate agent will help you craft a competitive offer to purchase this home. And if your offer to purchase is approved, a real estate agent will help you navigate the final stages of the homebuying journey.

    Furthermore, a real estate agent can provide assistance any time a homebuyer has concerns or questions. A real estate agent strives to help you make informed homebuying decisions. Thus, he or she will do whatever it takes to educate you about the homebuying cycle and ensure you are ready to find and buy your ideal residence.

    Simplify the process of finding your dream home – use the aforementioned tips, and you can prep for the homebuying journey.