Jacksonville Skyline.

Florida dominated several investing lists, with Jacksonville nabbing either the second or third spots in the nation. Much like Orlando, Jacksonville is a hub to a number of powerhouse companies, including CSX Corp., Fidelity National Information Services Inc. and Fidelity National Financial Inc., and an NFL team, the Jacksonville Jaguars.

In 2019, Jacksonville experienced healthy jobs (+3.16 percent) and population (+3.1 percent) growth, with RealWealth projecting an 11.55 percent in population growth by 2027, based on U.S. Census data trends.

Jacksonville’s median single-family home price increased 4.1 percent to $190,108, with Zillow projecting a growth slowdown to 1.5 percent in 2020. The median rent in Jacksonville is $1,349 with an estimated average rental yield of 6.8 percent, according to GoBankingRates.

Lastly, Jacksonville’s location makes it a perfect place for renters looking to take advantage of the city’s relatively low cost of living while only being a few hours’ drive from the bustling urban hotspots of Atlanta and Miami.

“The city’s convenient location, business-friendly government, wonderful year-round climate, affordable cost of living, and excellent quality of life help Jacksonville to lay claim as one of the country’s most dynamic and progressive cities,” Rohde noted.

only being a few hours’ drive from the bustling urban hotspots of Atlanta and Miami.

“The city’s convenient location, business-friendly government, wonderful year-round climate, affordable cost of living, and excellent quality of life help Jacksonville to lay claim as one of the country’s most dynamic and progressive cities,” Noted by Rohde!

You can run into credit problems if you ignore or fail to pay your ticket in a timely manner.

In theory, a speeding ticket has no direct correlation with your credit worthiness. In fact, if you responsibly pay a ticket by its due date your credit score is unaffected. However, you can run into credit problems if you ignore or fail to pay your ticket in a timely manner.

How much does insurance go up after a speeding ticket?

If a speeding ticket does impact your rates, the amount it increases varies depending on your overall driving history, where you were driving, and how fast you were going.

These annual averages might not reflect your situation, but they can give you an idea of how different types of speeding tickets impact insurance rates. The annual average premium without any speeding tickets was $1,427. The increase after a speeding ticket depends on how fast you were driving when you got a ticket:

  • Six to 10 mph over the limit: $281 (a 20 percent increase)
  • 11 to 15 mph over: $298 (a 21 percent increase)
  • 16 to 20 mph over: $329 (a 23 percent increase)
  • 21 to 25 mph over: $348 (a 24 percent increase)
  • Speeding in a 65 mph zone: $401 (a 28 percent increase) 
  • Speeding in a school zone: $293 (a 21 percent increase)

Advertising and using Airbnb, VRBO or similar apps to use your home as a seasonal rental will catch up with you if your home is homestead!

Why you may ask? Any state providing homestead exemption and you rent your home out, classifies your home as income property and therefor eliminates your exemption. The state is now auditing and receiving notifications from these apps and sooner than you may think, your exemption will be nullified.

I wish this was good news, unfortunately it is not, and anyone challenging this does not have much ground to stand on. So before you consider using one of these apps to rent your home for any reason, even special popular events, take heed and think twice.


Entryways are often neglected as the place for leaving snow-soaked boots or coats, but a few, easy DIY projects can turn the space into an experience buyers will never forget. HGTV suggests revamping plain mud room by lining the inside with plaid or houndstooth outdoor fabric, and transforming coat racks with a coat of white paint and ribbons to invoke the image of a snowman.

You can budget less than $200.00 and put remarkable dead, dull space into a vibrant image that buyers will remember! “Hey that home we saw with the cool entryway and mudroom. I can’t remember the address but lets go back and take another look!”

Lastly, if large Christmas trees aren’t your cup of tea, placing a mobile Christmas tree in the entryway might be a good (and surprising) compromise. My wife does this every year during the holidays.

“While Christmas trees in living rooms or dining rooms are the norm, why not greet friends and family at various entrances of your home with a mobile Christmas tree?” suggested HGTV in-house designer Brian Patrick Flynn. “Outfit a galvanized metal wash tub with wheels, and firmly place an artificial tree inside and weigh it down with sandbags or bricks.”

“The mobility of the tree allows you to roll it to whichever entrance is being used for your next Yuletide gathering,”

Get cozy with oversized blankets and board games

Blankets and Pillows, not expensive, “GOODWILL” excellent resource

Getty Images: Bulgac

The holidays are all about family. Help buyers imagine their current (or future) family cozying up in the living room on Christmas Day with some expertly placed oversized blankets and throws on the couch and a stack of classic board games on the coffee table.“Another overarching theme is just that quality time you spend with your family. Oops, don’t forget to turn the A/C cooler, helps take away odors and gives an ambient feel that buyers remember over the one down the street. More than ever you’ll see items that are really bringing families together,” Etsy trend expert Dayna Isom Johnson told Martha Stewart Living. “Anything that’s really celebrating a retreat from day-to-day life and spending that quality time together.”

Use fresh foliage to spruce up your space

Inexpensive sparkle to the stage
Do it yourself ideas, with evergreen fragrance is a huge plus
The smell of Fresh baked cookies
Over the real, gas, or ambient accessories are plus

Although artificial foliage is arguably easier to take care of, fresh wreathes and garlands made with evergreen, spruce, holly, pine, juniper and mistletoe instantly inspire holiday nostalgia by making rooms feel and smell warm and woodsy.

According to the Clemson School of Agriculture and Forestry, spruce, cypress, fir and pine are best for wreathes since they hold their shape and clean up is as simple as sweeping fallen needles out the door.

“Wreaths are the main use for spruce greens,” Clemson’s blog read. “The branches are stiff with short, sharp needles. Blue spruce is especially attractive because of its color, and it holds its needles better than other spruce. [However] needle retention is poorer on spruce than on other conifer greens.”

To keep wreathes and garlands fresh, spray them with water every three days and avoid hanging them above hot vents, which will dry them out. When properly taken care of, designer and lifestyle blogger Julie Blanner said foliage should last anywhere from three to four weeks.

If your you not keen on sweeping up needles and spraying garlands, then Blanner suggests making table arrangements with garland, berries, spruce and your favorite wintertime flowers. Spraying the arrangements with an anti-desiccant will seal in the moisture and reduce some of the day-to-day care.

Yun: Barring a Major Trade War, No Recession in Sight!

NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun predicts a slowdown in GDP and job growth next year but still says residential real estate will be strong.

November 8, 2019 Wendy Cole

Compared to a year ago, the economy is on firmer footing, and the outlook for residential real estate is improving, said National Association of REALTORS® Chief Economist Lawrence Yun on Friday at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in San Francisco. “A year ago, conditions were soft, mortgage rates were close to 5%, and consumers were backing off,” said Yun, addressing a packed audience at the Residential Economic Issues & Trends Forum. “When housing is positive, the economy doesn’t go into a recession. There will be no recession if there is no major trade war.”

Yun foresees GDP growth of 1.6% next year, down from 2% in 2019, while 1.5 million jobs are expected to be created in 2020, a slower pace than this year’s forecast of 2 million.

Home sales have been buoyed because of the Federal Reserve lowering interest rates three times this year, and current mortgages rates for 30-year fixed loans are in the vicinity of 3.7%. Yun says rates should remain under 4% for the year ahead.

Yun clarified that falling mortgage rates are less related to actions taken by the Fed than they are to “communications about policy changes” by the Fed. The national homeownership rate has been steadily recovering over the past three years and is now approaching 65%. Still, that remains well below the pre-housing crash rate of 69% in 2004.

Low interest rates and strong job creation have led to increasing home prices in most parts of the country. “We’re seeing high housing costs because of the housing shortage. We have underbuilt for 10 years,” he said. “We need more construction to tame housing inflation.” Only two states, Illinois and Connecticut, are showing a slowdown in buyer traffic. Yun noted, though, that slower price rises in new construction reflect the fact that builders are starting to add more affordable units, an encouraging sign amidst the protracted shortfall in housing inventory.

While favorable mortgage rates are a help to all buyers, Yun noted that first-time buyers are more likely to act in response to incremental changes. “First-time buyers are more sensitive to small changes in mortgage rates. They help get buyers into homeownership,” he explained.

Risks to Rates

Yun is keeping a close eye on the state of GSE reform, an NAR advocacy priority, to ensure that consumers have continuing access to 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages. “If there is no government guarantee [of those mortgages], interest rates will rise,” he said.

Inflation caused by a variety of conditions, including continuing housing shortages, tariffs, and a strengthening economy can also lead to higher interest rates. Yun forecasts that the inflation rate will fall from 2% this year to 1.7% in 2020. The federal budget deficit is another threat to the low-interest-rate environment.

Veterans may qualify for a Jumbo Loan!

Paper with words va loan on a wooden background.

Home ownership has long been part of the American dream. For veterans, the Department of Veterans Affairs-guaranteed home loan provides a means to make that dream a reality.

Periodically, something will trigger me to revisit this valuable benefit of service. About three years ago, it was my own family weighing whether to use a VA loan for our new house (we did). This month, it was a conversation with a co-worker and military spouse who, because of a recent divorce, was disappointed that she is no longer eligible for a VA loan

Even if you’re familiar with VA home loans, these four facts may surprise you:

1. A down payment may be required. The fact that there’s no requirement for a down payment and no private mortgage insurance or mortgage insurance premium is probably the VA loan’s biggest draw. In 2020, there is no set figure for which a lender will require a down payment.

2. VA home loans are attractive in a rising-rate environment. Your VA lender may allow a buyer to step in and assume your loan — a particularly nice feature if interest rates rise. The terms of the loan could be a lot more favorable for the buyer, and the cost of the transaction could be substantially less. There are liability and VA loan entitlement issues to be aware of, so you’ll want to research the ramifications with your lender.

3. These home loans are quick and competitive. Really. It’s common for veterans to be concerned about these two issues, but you need not worry. Today, the VA’s automated system facilitates the process from beginning to end. Typically, you can close your loan in just a few weeks. According to the loan processing firm Ellie Mae, VA purchase loans took four to five days longer than conventional loans during the early months of 2019. From an interest-rate standpoint, VA loans are typically lower than a conventional loan with the same terms.

4. You can use it more than once — and maybe more than once at a time. Yes, you can use a VA loan more than once. If you’ve paid off the previous loan, all of your entitlement is restored and you’re eligible to use another VA loan. One note: Subsequent use may require an increased VA funding fee. If you have a VA loan but decide to rent your home when you relocate to a new primary residence, you may be able to use another VA loan to buy your new residence and have two VA loans simultaneously. This can be a bit complex but, if the numbers work, it can be done.

Visit va.gov to learn all the details. Buying a home is a big decision, so your first task is to ensure it makes sense, given your personal circumstances. However, if you’re buying, a VA loan is worth a look.