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Jacksonville, Florida is a beautiful city known for large parks, beaches and, of course, the Jacksonville Jaguars. However, the city has far more to offer residents and visitors. Here’s a look at 15 of the top sights and landmarks found within the city.

Friendship Fountain

Found on the west end of the Southbank Riverwalk, Friendship Fountain is a very popular landmark in Jacksonville. It was dedicated in 1965 and provides plenty of beauty for all to enjoy. The fountain is one of the largest self-contained fountains ever built, with the ability to pump up to 6,500 gallons of water each minute. It also includes 265 lights providing shows set to music throughout each day.

Kingsley Plantation

Located on Fort George Island, Kingsley Plantation includes a plantation house, a bar, a kitchen house and the ruins of 25 slave cabins. It’s a very historic spot named for Zephaniah Kingsley. The plantation is found off Florida A1A and open daily from 9am to 5pm.

Jacksonville Landing

Found along the St. Johns River, the Jacksonville Landing is one of the most popular sights in Downtown Jacksonville. You’ll find plenty of entertainment, waterfront dining and amazing shopping throughout the site. Jacksonville Landing is also home to more than 600 events held every year including celebrations for Florida/Georgia weekend.

Veterans Memorial Wall

Located on East Adams Street in Jacksonville near EverBank Field, the Veterans Memorial Wall provides a tribute to the many who have sacrificed their life for our country. It’s a well thought out monument perfect for paying respects to the soldiers lost during service.

St. John’s Cathedral

If you enjoy beautiful woodwork and amazing stained glass windows, St. John’s Cathedral won’t disappoint. This amazing church provides one of the most beautiful churches in the entire city. Many residents are surprised by the beauty inside and out when they discover the Cathedral for the first time. It’s located on East Church Street in the Cathedral District of downtown.

Jacksonville National Cemetery

The Jacksonville National Cemetery was started in 2007 and covers 526-acres. It serves veterans and provides a well thought out sight for honoring fallen veterans. The cemetery is located on Lannie Road about five miles from the airport.

Camp Milton Historic Preserve

What remains from one of the most important sites of the Civil War in Florida is found at Camp Milton Historic Preserve. It’s located on the western side of Jacksonville and provides a wonderful sight for history buffs to enjoy. Camp Milton was the site of Confederate siege works and camps. It’s a beautiful preserve providing a peak into history.

Braddock Blueberry Farm

A wonderful farm where you can pick your own berries, Braddock Blueberry Farm has been known as a top sight in Jacksonville for many years. The prices are very reasonable and the farm is located on Thomas Mill Road. This is certainly a sight to enjoy with the entire family.

Ribault Monument

Found on Fort Caroline Road, Ribault Monument doesn’t offer a variety of things to see. However, if you understand the importance of the site, you will understand the beauty. This is a sight offering beautiful scenery and a great find for residents and visitors.

Riverside/Avondale Historic District

If you love older architecture, the Riverside/Avondale Historic District is perfect for you. This area of Jacksonville provides a look at some of the most historic buildings in the city. You will also find eclectic shops, antique malls and plenty of beautiful parks throughout.

James P. Small Memorial Park

Located on Myrtle Avenue, James P. Small Memorial Park was originally called Barrs Field. It was the sight of a baseball stadium called Durkee Field, which served as the home of Negro League teams, along with minor league baseball teams. Many of the greatest players passed through, including Henry Aaron.

Greenleaf/Jacobs Clock

A wonderful landmark of Jacksonville, this clock was built in 1901. It was actually destroyed in 1974 by a bus accident, yet glued back together. The clock is found in the downtown area on North Laura Street.

San Jose Episcopal Church

A Spanish Style church created in the 1941, San Jose Episcopal Church was a part of the San Jose Estates. This was a planned community with a hotel, golf course and plenty of residential housing. Only about 20 of the original homes stand today. It was originally known as Grace Chapel before the name was changed in the 1950s.

Morocco Shrine Auditorium

Founded in 1888, Morocco Shrine encompassed Alabama, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. The auditorium is very large and provides a venue for many different shows. It’s a historic landmark, along with an active place with plenty of events throughout the year. The auditorium is located on St. Johns Bluff Boulevard South.

All Saints Episcopal Church

Found on Hendricks Avenue, this church provides gorgeous windows and plenty of history. They even hold Celtic and French services on Sundays.

There are several amazing sights and landmarks found throughout Jacksonville. Whether you are visiting the city or you’ve lived in Jacksonville for many years, taking the time to rediscover these amazing sights will provide plenty of fun and history.

Originally posted 2016-02-04 14:03:13.

15 Excellent Sights & Landmarks to Enjoy in Jacksonville, FL is from: 904Living.com

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When you’re looking to buy a home in the Jacksonville area, it’s important to know how much you will need for a down payment.  The amount will vary based on the price of the home and the type of mortgage you choose.  The days of needing a 20% down payment are gone.  Here’s a look at what you might need to save for your down payment.

Zero Down Options

For first time home buyers, less is truly more!  In some cases, you can get into a new home without any down payment at all.  There are two primary options for 100% financing: a mortgage guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture or USDA and the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) program.  These programs are not available to everyone though.

The USDA programs have tight qualifications with income-to-payment ratios and specific locations of the country. Their intent is to focus on rural areas, and they have some income limitations.

If you are a military veteran, you may be able to get a home with 0% down with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs program. This maybe the best option if you want to buy new construction or you want any type of pest damage fixed before closing.

3.5% Down Options

Putting 3.5% of the purchase price down will allow you to get into your home for a very low down payment. However, this type of program is only found with FHA loans.  Most of the lenders carrying these programs will lend up to $417,000.  You will also need to pay the monthly mortgage insurance payment, which may make this a more expensive mortgage (overall) than a conventional option.

5% Down Options

A conventional mortgage will usually require at least 5% down. These loans will go up to $417,000, but will allow you to get right of the PMI once you have 20% equity in the home. Many lenders carry these types of programs.

Down Payment Assistance Programs

If you’re struggling to save enough for the down payment, you may be able to qualify for a down payment assistance program. Many of these programs are found in the Jacksonville, Florida area including: the Head Start To HOME Ownership Program (H2H).This program will provide financial ad for both closing costs and the down payment. It does have specific requirements and the applicant will need to have a minimum of $500 towards the down payment.

Find out about all of the requirements here.

Other down payment assistance programs are available for first-time homebuyers and other types of home buyers.

Other Down Payment Options

Have any family members that would volunteer to gift you the money for a down payment?  That’s an option.

If you don’t qualify for one of the many assistance programs or one of the special loan types, you may need a non-conventional mortgage. This type of mortgage will most likely require a larger down payment between 5% and 20%. A non-conventional mortgage lender often works with lower credit scores and higher debt-to-income ratios. They may also be the right option for self-employed individuals that struggle to prove their income.

The best way to find out exactly how much you will need for a down payment is to speak with a lender able to pre-approve you for a mortgage. They will be able to give you an accurate estimate of how much you will need to save for your down payment.

If you need assistance in finding a home, feel free to  or send me an email.

Originally posted 2015-06-18 15:00:24.

How Much Money do I Need for a Down Payment? is from: 904Living.com

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Often, sellers want to know how long it will take before their home sells. It’s hard to define an average number of showings necessary to get a home sold.

Since every home is different and many real estate agents take different approaches to selling homes, there are too many variables to really come up with a true average for showings and open houses.

According to Movoto.com, a home for sale in Jacksonville, Florida will spend about 65 days on the market before it sells. Over the past year, this number has been as high as 82 days and as low as 57 days.

There are some things you and your agent can do to ensure your home sells faster. Here are a few ways you can make sure your home sells faster than the average home.

Set the Correct List Price

One of the biggest factors affecting how fast a home sells is the list price. If the list price is set too high, it will be hard to find interested buyers. However, the same is true if the list price is set too low. With a low list price, buyers will wonder what is wrong with the home.

The right real estate agent will know how to set the right list price. When the price is set just right, it will not only attract buyers, but also communicate the quality of the property. With the right list price, your home will have a better chance of selling faster.

Curb Appeal Sells

Another huge step involved with selling a home faster is creating curb appeal. It may not seem all that important, but the first impression sets the tone for any showing or open house. Painting the front door, planting flowers, adding sod to the lawn or just replacing the mailbox could make a huge difference in how fast your home sells.

Declutter and Depersonalize

Decluttering the inside of your home will help potential buyers see the space better. This is one of the most popular tips any professional stager will give you. Get rid of anything unnecessary.

Depersonalizing will go a long way to getting your home sold, as well. Taking down family pictures, packing up your collection of knick knacks and storing any other personal items will help buyers see the home as a blank slate.

Use a Professional Stager

Staging provides the ability to make the home look appealing to buyers. When you hire a professional to stage your home, they will use their expertise to ensure it looks the best it possibly can. This will go a long way at open houses and showings.

Choose an Agent with a Great Track Record

Not every real estate agent will be fully motivated to sell your home. Some simply don’t have the work ethic, while others don’t have the marketing plan.

An agent with a solid track record understands the local market and provides the best tools for marketing your home. They are motivated to get your home sold as fast as possible without compromising on the price.

Understanding the average number of showings or open houses needed to sell your home may seem important. However, it’s more important to understand the things you and your real estate agent can do to ensure you sell your home faster.

Use these tips and the advice of your Jacksonville real estate agent and your home may just sell faster than the average home in the area.

Originally posted 2015-11-05 14:03:44.

What is the Average Number of Showings Before a Home Sells? is from: 904Living.com

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This is a guest post from a friend of mine, Jeff Lichtenstein, who is a real estate agent in Palm Beach County.  I thought this was applicable and would be of benefit to sellers in Northeast Florida as well…  Enjoy!

Last Thursday was Take Your Kid To Work Day, so my 8-year-old daughter, Jade, came with me.  Other than the big breakfast of eggs, bacon, and rye toast with lots of butter, I asked Jade what she thought of the day.  Jade said, “Dad, you work with a lot of stubborn people”.  I laughed, as I never thought of it that way.

One example was a meeting we had with clients on an offer we had on their home. My reply to Jade was that the people were not stubborn, but it was my job to help them clarify the situation so they could make an intelligent decision.  A home sale is a stressful event.  Money is involved, people don’t know where they are going, etc. My worst fear is if they call me in a week to ask if the buyer is still interested, only for me to say that they purchased something else or felt it “wasn’t meant to be”. Clients end up regretting their initial ‘stubbornness’.

The offer on the house was lower then what my client wanted and their ‘bottom line number’ was not going to keep the negotiations alive. If they didn’t work out a deal, my clients would probably have to wait at least 6 months for another offer because their home was more of a seasonal buyer purchase.  That becomes 6 months worth of taxes, insurance, cost of money, depreciation, HOA costs, and worry.  I outlined those costs for them and asked them to fast forward a month into the future. Would they still be happy hanging onto the house, paying all of the costs, going through hurricane season, etc? They ended up countering at a number which ensured a better chance of a deal happening.  Today the house went under contract! And thankfully there will be no regrets at having been too stubborn a month from now.

I guess I owe Jade a referral on this one!

Jeff Lichtenstein specializes in luxury real estate in Singer Island condos for sale and  Palm Beach real estate in South Florida.  His website is at www.JeffRealty.com

Originally posted 2012-05-03 07:55:14.

Helping Home Sellers See Their House Through The Trees is from: 904Living.com

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Florida has long been known for its active tennis community, which includes some 50,000 adult and junior players who compete in leagues and tournaments throughout the state. A great number of those players hail from Jacksonville, the nation’s largest city by land area, which has no shortage of public and private tennis court facilities spread throughout the metropolis’ varied neighborhoods. But why pay to play as a member of a private tennis club when there are so many public courts in the 904? Here’s a look at some tennis courts in your Jacksonville-area neighborhood that cost little or nothing to rent for a few hours.

Jacksonville Beach

Huguenot Tennis Facility

218 16th Ave S

(904) 247-6221

The outdoor lifestyle is huge in and around Huguenot Park, where surfing and rollerblading are common weekend activities. Tennis fanatics can also find their own fun at the park’s seven-court tennis center, which has a hitting backboard, pro shop and lounge. Courts are available to rent for just $5 per hour, and on Friday nights you can join the facility’s weekly round-robin tournament, advertised as a social event where players forget the score and enjoy some lighthearted competition.

St. John’s

Mills Field

1721 Race Track Road

(904) 209-0384

St. John’s County has consistently been ranked as the no. 1 city in Florida for health, an unsurprising achievement for a community that enjoys an active lifestyle from the golf course to the tennis court. Among the best public recreational facilities in the area is Mills Field, a 27-acre green space that includes four lighted tennis courts. The park’s hours are dawn until dusk, so schedule some court time at the hour convenient for you.

St. Augustine

Treaty Park

1681 Wildwood Drive

(904) 209-0385

The historic capital of Spanish Florida is home to one of the area’s most modern recreational complexes, Treaty Park, whose 47 acres encompass six full-size tennis courts and eight paddle tennis courts. If an hour on the tennis court isn’t enough exercise for you, the park also has a one-mile bike path and a canoe trail around three acres of lake.

Orange Park

Gano Avenue Park

1101 Gano Avenue

(904) 264-2635

The Naval Station community of Orange Park has a multitude of choices when it comes to athletic endeavors, with tennis being one of them. The Orange Park Athletic Association located adjacent to Gano Avenue Park provides sporting activities for youth ages 5-16, including T-ball, cheerleading and football. For adults who want to play tennis while kids have their own fun, Gano Park also has three hard courts with lights.

Didn’t find a tennis facility close to your 904 neighborhood? Check out the Jacksonville tennis court locator to play at the spot most convenient for you.

Author Bio: Avery Shackelford writes for MyTennisLessons, the largest online marketplace for tennis instruction, which operates in Jacksonville and cities nationwide.

Originally posted 2015-02-10 12:00:40.

The Best Public Tennis Courts in Your 904 Neighborhood is from: 904Living.com

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Written by: Morgan Burden

If you’re moving to a new home or new neighborhood and you have a lovable fur dog, you’re bound to consider a location based on what’s going to be fun for the family and pup.  Let us share with you a place where your 4 legged best friend can run free and dig holes that aren’t in your own yard.  There’s a glorious dog park in Springfield, right outside of Downtown Jacksonville.

This place has become my second home.  I find myself here several times a week in hopes to burn the energy of my crazy pup, Jack.  Confederate Dog Park is located in on Confederate Street and is surrounded by a basketball court, children’s play area, walking path and is a short walk away from Uptown Market and City Kidz Ice Cream.

Meet Jack, my chocolate weimaraner.  He loves the park just as much as I love taking him.  Confederate Park truly is a great place for anyone!  To list some of its amenities, it is all fenced in with a separated unleashing area; it has a dog washing station; there is a small dog park just across the fence; and it’s completely free.  The park is usually pretty active.  There are always a bunch of sweet dogs and awesome people to talk with.

There are many neighborhoods within Jacksonville that are quite lovely, but Springfield is near and dear to most of us locals.  You’ll find within any city there is a hip cool area being revitalized.  Going to the dog park, you’ll be able to sit right in the middle of your neighborhood and not just watch rejuvenation happen but be apart of it.  If you’re looking to not just live in a house but be a part of a community and know your neighbors name we suggest Springfield.  If we haven’t raved enough about this neighborhood consider checking out Springfield.

Originally posted 2014-07-23 10:31:55.

Confederate Park | Springfield | Jacksonville FL is from: 904Living.com

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Getting the perfect family picture isn’t always an easy thing. It starts with choosing the right place for the picture and ends with the hope that the weather is perfect at the time of the picture.  And, in the middle you just hope that everyone cooperates and doesn’t end up screaming/crying/fighting!

If you live in the Jacksonville, Florida area and you want to get the perfect family picture taken, you need to know where to go. There are plenty of great choices, but some attractions and local spots are better than others. Here are a few of the best spots in town.

The Jacksonville Zoo

One of the top spots for a fun family picture is the Jacksonville Zoo. They have more than 100 acres of exhibits, so you can get all kinds of different fun pictures with your family.

Within the gates of the zoo, you can have your picture taken in front of the African thatched houses, the splash ground, the monkey tree house or even in the botanical gardens. If you want a variety of family pictures with plenty of nature, the Jacksonville Zoo is a great choice.

The zoo is found at 370 Zoo Parkway in Jacksonville. Admission is just $13 for adults and $8 for kids.

Acosta Bridge

If you prefer a more classic family picture, Acosta Bridge is the spot for you. You can park at the Friendship Fountain and get your picture taken in front of the dancing water. There are many other great picture opportunities around the Acosta Bridge area, as well.

The bridge is just a short walk from the river level and provides a classic view of the city. You can get a picture with the sailboats, skyscrapers and even the St. Johns River in the background. The best part about pictures at Acosta Bridge, you can get them done during the day or at night.

Acosta Bridge is found at 835 Museum Circle Drive in Jacksonville.

Hemming Plaza

As the oldest park in Jacksonville, Hemming Plaza is a great spot for pictures. You can take your family to the park and enjoy getting pictures in front of the Confederate statue. This statue is one of the few structures that survived the great fire of 1901.

The plaza is found in the heart of downtown Jacksonville.

Rex the Dinosaur

A landmark many locals didn’t want removed, Rex the Dinosaur is still part of the Goony Golf Park. It was nearly demolished, but the residents rallied to save the landmark, which has been around since 1960.

If your family loves dinosaurs, this is the right spot for your picture. You will not only get a picture with a large orange dinosaur, but also a piece of history.

Rex the Dinosaur is found at 10150 Beach Boulevard in Jacksonville.

The Beaches

Of course, one of the best places for family pictures is one of the area beaches. You can head out to Atlantic, Neptune or Jacksonville Beach for great pictures with the ocean as the background. If you head to Jacksonville Beach, you can even get pictures with the pier in the background.

There are many great spots at each of the beaches for family pictures. Whether you just want the ocean in the background or you prefer to have your picture with the sunset behind the buildings, you will find great family photo opportunities at all three beaches.

Other great places for family pictures around Jacksonville, Florida include:
  • Jacksonville Landing
  • Amelia Island State Park
  • Huguenot Memorial Park
  • Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park
  • Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve State Park
  • Southbank Riverwalk
  • Treaty Oak Park
  • San Marco Skyway Station

All of these spots provide a great place for your next family picture. Whether you prefer the beach, a park or another type of destination, you can find the perfect spot in Jax if you search hard enough.

Originally posted 2015-07-09 12:29:04.

Where is the Best Place in Jacksonville, FL to Take a Family Photo? is from: 904Living.com

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Looking for luxury real estate in Jacksonville Beach?  Look no further…

For a more descriptive text on the area visit the Jacksonville Beach Real Estate page.

Drum roll please…

Originally posted 2013-11-17 16:08:00.

Top 10 Most Expensive Listings in Jacksonville Beach FL is from: 904Living.com

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