Deal of the Week – Ortega Waterfront Under $900K!

yacht club road backyardJust when you thought it couldn’t get any better! An amazing waterfront property in Ortega was listed in the last few days for under $900,000! Yes – that’s right – under $900K! A lovely house on a huge piece of property on one of the best streets in Ortega (within walking distance to the famous Florida Yacht Club), this house is an amazing buy. The lot is 70 feet x 340 feet and has 3 bedrooms, 2 baths with a full two car garage PLUS  a two car carport. There have been some nice updates  including an incredible master bathroomyacht club road master bathroom renovation. The house is situated on Pirates Cove , a protected waterway, just minutes from the St. John’s River. If you’ve been sitting on the sidelines waiting for a deal — this is it! Call me today  for an appointment to see this house and you’ll be sitting on a gold mine! Thanks for looking!

Find Homes for Sale in Jacksonville from your Cellphone!

Get House Price in Jacksonville from your cellphone!FREE SERVICE! Okay, this is something really cool! My business partner Caroline Powell and I are proud to offer our customers a new property search tool that works directly from your cellphone.

Simply text the words myhome to 87778 and the application will be downloaded directly to your cellphone.  

As you are driving through a neighborhood (anywhere in Jacksonville) and see a cute house for sale, you naturally want to know how much it costs – right? Well, now you can get all the information you need directly from your cellphone!

Imagine that you’re sitting outside a house and notice a for sale sign. You want to know how much this house costs and what it looks like on the inside right now! Easy – whip out your cellphone, click on the Smarter Agent icon and search for the property by address (be sure to include the city and state).

The listing will pop up almost instantly and show you everything you want to know. Pictures, square footage, lot size, and PRICE! How cool is that?

Oh, and by the way, it’s FREE!! No cost to you — a complimentary service from the Powell Steilberg Team!

It will also show you other homes for sale nearby so that you can be sure to see  them all. If you decide you like what you see and want to learn more about the house or possibly go have a look, simply press the call to see button and you’ll be patched through directly to us and we’ll schedule an appointment — Easy!

Determining the Value of your Home – A Puzzle or a Process?

House PuzzleA CMA is short for a Comparative Market Analysis . We all like to compare – don’t we? It’s human nature. We compare our new laptop to our co-worker’s laptop, our cars to our neighbor’s car, our bodies to other people’s bodies and our houses , well….to our neighbor’s houses. Guess what? We realtors compare your house to other people’s houses too!

 In order to figure out this crazy housing puzzle, we systematically compare your house to ones that have either sold recently or are currently on the market. There are many factors involved in a CMA. There’s 1) square footage 2) lot size 3) number of bedrooms and baths 4) interior improvements (fancy gourmet kitchen or original cabinets with formica countertops) 5) exterior curb appeal (good landscaping counts for a lot) 6) location (busy street or prime street in fancy neighborhood), etc…

If you work with a good realtor who’s been in the business for a while (me), she’s seen a LOT of houses and has a good idea of what’s attractive to buyers. I take the hard facts (closed sales & active competition), add in healthy dose of market knowledge, mix it with a little  intuitive know how and mix it all together to help you solve the puzzle of how to properly position your house in today’s volatile real estate market. A final word… PLEASE listen to me! I do this for a living — all day, every day and I work hard to come up with an accurate opinion of value — so trust my market expertise and let’s price your house so that it will sell!

August 2009 Home Sales!

20090225141512587043000000There were 17 closed sales in the month of August ranging from $28,500 to $2,900,000. Please see the list below of the addresses, square footage and sale price.  Please note: PPSF= price per square foot!

  • 802 Acosta Street , 1,185 SF, 3BR/1BA, Sales Price $28,500(ppsf $24.05)
  • 2581 Haldumar St., 1381 SF, 3BR/1BA, Sales Price $35,000(ppsf $25.34)
  • 4676 Blount Avenue, 1121 SF, 3BR/2BA,Sale Price $94,500(ppsf  $84.00)
  • 1240 Dancy St., 882SF, 3BR,1BA, Sale Price $112,000 (ppsf $126.98)
  • 746 Ralph St.,1,475SF,3br,2ba,sale price $129,500 (ppsf $87.00)
  • 1239 Wolfe St.,1,300SF,2br,2ba,sale price $137,000 (ppsf $105.38)
  • 4368 Genoa Av.,1321SF,2br,2ba,sale price $162,000 (ppsf $122.63)
  • 1433 Talbot St.,1,300SF,3br,1ba,sale price $159,000 (ppsf $122.31)
  • 1266 Cherry St.,1,160SF,3br,2ba,sale price $205,000 (ppsf $176.72)
  • 1220 Cherry St.,1,556 SF, 3br,1ba,sale price $194,000 (ppsf $124.68)
  • 2237 Myra St .,2,218SF,3br,1.5,sale price $190,000 ( ppsf $85.66)
  • 4637 Princess Anne Ln,2,150SF,3br,2.5ba,sale price $272,500 (ppsf $126.74)
  • 2823 Forbes St.,1992 SF,4br,2ba,sale price $260,000 ( ppsf $130.52)
  • 1686 Woodmere Dr.,1615SF,3br,2ba,sale price $265,000 (ppsf $164.09)
  • 2103 Ernest St.,2,640SF,3br,2.5ba,sale price $299,900 (ppsf $109.81)
  • 5058 Ortega Forest Drive,4br,5ba,sale price $865,000 (Waterfront-ppsf $194.73)
  • 4593 Ortega Blvd .,6,900 SF, 5br,6ba,$2,900,000 (Waterfront – ppsf $420.29))

As you can see, the prices and price per square foot vary widely. In my opinion, the house on Myra Street that sold for $190,000 was an amazing deal! It had tall ceilings, beautiful detail in the woodwork, a large backyard, a decent kitchen and a renovated bathroom. It also offered walking distance to the great Five Points area.  Stay tuned for more stats next month!

The great house hunt – are you analytical or a big picture person?

ANALYZEYou’ve just gotten a great job in Jacksonville, FL and you’re ready to make the move to the largest land mass city in the United States! That’s right, Jacksonville, FL is BIG. Generally speaking, it stretches from Orange Park on the West Side of the city to Ponte Vedra Beach (ocean front) on the East side! There are lots of areas that you might want to consider home including Orange Park, Ortega, Avondale, Riverside, Downtown, San Marco, Deerwood, Deercreek, Jacksonville Golf and Country Club, Atlantic Beach, Jacksonville Beach and Ponte Vedra — whew! That’s a lot to consider!

You’ve surfed the web and decided that you really love the historic district of Avondale and are ready to find your dream home. We all know that finding the perfect place will be a compromise. Sadly, nothing is perfect. I’m not, you’re not and the house you’re going to buy isn’t. So, you WILL have to make trade-offs. What will yours be? One house will have a perfect kitchen and another will have a incredible master bathroom with jacuzzi tub and steam shower. Yet another may have a huge yard and finally there’s the one with the great garage. But guess what? You can’t find ONE HOUSE that has all those features but you’ve still got to find a place to live — so what to do?

Generally speaking, you can change the house but you can’t change the location! This is an important thing to remember when looking for your house. Don’t get too bogged down with trying to find the perfect house — chances are, it’s not out there. Consider the BIG PICTURE and find one that’s close enough and in a great location — you’ll be glad you stopped obsessing and just made a decision! Move in, be happy and move on with your life!


Park Lane ExteriorWe recently listed a fantastic condo at the Park Lane building in Jacksonville FL’s Riverside neighborhood. Riverside is walking neighborhood with a great park (Memorial Park) designed by the sons of New York’s Central Park (Frederick Law Olmstead) creator.

The 2BR, 1.5BA unit has tall ceilings, wood floors, butler’s pantry, separate dining room, extra large kitchen with laundry closet, coffee bar and lovely little fire escape where you can keep your potted plants. The 1,313 square foot unit has a wonderful feature — a “flow through” view with the St. John’s river in the front and the vibrant comings and goings of Riverside in the back. Whether you’re just starting out or looking for a pied a terre, this would be perfect!

Small Memorial park with soccer players

view of fire escape & Riverside from 6A

Is Ortega really like Mayberry RFD?

map1Last year at a Sunday School class, I heard someone refer to Ortega (in Jacksonville, FL) as a little like Mayberry RFD. What they meant was that Ortega really is a small town where everyone knows each other and neighbors  look out the window to keep a watchful eye out for what your kids are up to. Little children have lemonade stands and bake sales (and people stop to buy some!) and there’s a tiny little village with an old time pharmacy and lunch counter (yes, that’s right, a lunch counter!). The pharmacy will even deliver your prescriptions — not too manyof those around!

st marks day schoolFrom many parts of the neighborhood, the kids ride their bikes to school (St. Mark’s Episcopal Day School) and some walk to church (also St. Marks) on Sundays when it’s not too hot. Ortega has everything you might want in an old fashioned neighborhood. Large yards, nice people, kids riding their bikes and local parks where people throw in a fishing pole.

imagesIn an ever changing world, Ortega represents some old fashioned values. In a world of the Blackberry, FedEx, flat screen tv’s and things that go fast, Ortega harkens back to a slower and more friendly pace. Neighbors come by to share the bounty of their fruit trees (oranges, lemons and even a few grapefruits) and bake casseroles for their friends who are sick or have experienced a loss.

The houses in Ortega range from multi-million waterfront homes on Ortega Blvd. to two story brick colonial homes in Ortega Terrace to little wood frame cottages along McGirts Blvd. To see a list of homes for sale in Ortega, click here. There’s something for everyone here so jump on your bike and have a look.

Villa Riva – Riverside’s Shining Jewel!

Villa Riva Exterior

You’ve made the decision — you’re ready to downsize! The kids are gone and you love to travel but you just can’t bear the thought of a tiny condo and, gasp…waiting for an elevator every time you want to go somewhere or need to walk the dog!

Problem solved — move to Villa Riva — a luxury building in the heart of Jacksonville, FL’s Riverside neighborhood that many of of Jacksonville’s influential people call home.

libraryOne of only four terrace level units, in this space you’ve got over 3,000 square feet with 3BR and 3BA’s. Eleven foot ceilings, your own private two car garage, full size laundry room, gourmet kitchen with granite countertops, gas cook top and a stunning wood paneled library with custom built cabinetry are a few of the other special features.

Although this is a terrace level unit, you’ve got tremendous river views because the building is built up over the parking garage, so effectively, you’re one story up.

If you’re a gardener, you’ll fall in love with the large garden terrace which gives you tons of space to develop a lovely container garden. You’ll also enjoy fantastic amenities including top of the line gym, guest suite for overnight guests, business center and Riverfront swimming pool. Give us a call today to see this outstanding unit that offers a wonderful transition from single family living!

What’s the Best Way to Determine the Value of a Home?

CalculatorYou’ve decided that you’re ready to buy a home! Great decision — it’s a buyer’s market and now is the time to get a great deal! But how in the world do you determine what a great deal is?

A lot of realtor’s use a method called Price Per Square Foot or (PPSF). To get this, take the asking price of the house (say $200,000) and divide it by the number of square feet in the house (let’s say 1,800 SF).

So, in this example, the asking price of the house is approximately $111 per square foot.

The house that you’re interested in is renovated with a nice kitchen and bathrooms (more value) but lacks that awesome garage (less value) that you really wanted. It’s on a nice quiet street (more value) so you won’t be woken up by the rushing noise of passing traffic.

As you can see with this example, the price per square foot gives you a “jumping off” point or a good starting place but then you need to manipulate the figure based on the improvements, location and supply. Are there a lot of houses just like this one (less value) or is it unique (more value).

Beginning to get the picture? The valuation of a home is an art, not a science. You need a realtor who specializes in the market where you’re looking and who has seen thousands of homes to compare it against.

A realtor knows how much to add for the quiet street and can look up homes that’ve sold recently (within the last 4 months — essential to pick recent sales in this rapidly changing market) as comparisons.

Sometimes, things cannot be reduced to a simple equation — there’s the BIG picture to be factored in — how quickly do you need a home? Do you LOVE this one? —  the advice of a realtor specializing in the area where you’re looking can guide you to a proper evaluation of price.