Dear Glen Williams,
Check out the schools for yourself at http://schoolgrades.fldoe.org
for clay county check out http://www.clay.k12.fl.us/
for the Clay Cty School Board. Duval has a grading system A-F in their school accountability reports.
I live off Argyle Forest Blvd about 1/2 mile from the Clay County line. I have lived and worked in this area for about 7 years and I love it. Oak Leaf Plantation Shopping Center has been built and I hear that a movie complex may be added in the future. We have a new library. Duval is planning to widen Old Middleburg Rd S, Rampart, and Shindler to 3 or 4 lanes. Work has already started on Rampart. No matter where you go in Jacksonville there will be roads under construction.
One of the things to consider when purchasing a home is how much the HOA and CDD fees will add to your expenses. Some areas do not have these fees. Property values in general have returned to approximately the prices they were selling for in 2004 - 2005. There are some good buys in foreclosures or short sales but be prepared to pay for your own repairs required by your lender.
Step 1: Get pre-approved by a lender and submit documentation to send your application through underwriting without a property selected. This will save you time and aggravation later. If you chose a foreclosure, the selling bank is limiting the buyer to 14 days for loan approval and the mortgage companies are not able to deliver this. Therefore, your binder deposit becomes at risk.
Step 2: Choose a Realtor to work with that you feel comfortable with. Give them all the information you can about your search criteria: location, floor plan, price, etc. Any Realtor can show you all the homes listed through MLS reguardless of which company or agent has them listed. All foreclosures are listed in MLS also.
Step 3: Line up the companies you plan to use for Home inspection, home warranty, homeowners insurance, WDO inspection so you will know who to call as soon as you have a home selected. You only have 10 days for inspections and if you purchase a foreclosure the seller will probably only give you 5 days for inspections.
Step 4: Be prepared to act quickly when you find the home you want. The best values usually have a contract on them within a week if they are a primo property. Be aware that price reductions happen frequently and can affect a change in what is considered a primo property this week as compared to the week before. If you find a home you love, reguardless of the price it is listed for, have your Realtor check to see what other properties have sold for in the neighborhood within the last 6 months. This should determine how much you offer, not the list price. Don't be afraid to offer $20000 - 50000 less if the comparable sales justify it. Have the Realtor submit copies of the comps with your offer to justify the price you are offering. Market value is determined by what a seller is willing to sale for and what a buyer is willing to pay.
Step 5: If you choose to make an offer on a short sale be prepared for disappointment. Realtors in Jacksonville have had many offers rejected by the banks as short sales. These same listings are then forclosed on and listed for sale for $20000-50000 less than the short sale offer previously submitted. I know this does not make sense but remember we are dealing with a bureacracy that does not rely on common sense.
If you need assistance with your home purchase, please feel free to contact me.
Brenda Gravitt CRS,GRI
Coral Shores Realty