Property Management Blog

Buying a house? 6 things that are surprisingly negotiable

System - Thursday, January 11, 2018
Property Management Blog

So you've found the right agent to work with and you've secured your pre approval. You've even been checking out neighborhoods, listings and have identified a few homes you want to pursue. Before this goes any further check out these points on the aspects that are potentially negotiable and discuss with your agent before you get into any offer situations.

From Julington Creek to Riverside to Atlantic Beach--wherever you are looking-- your agent will likely be indispensable in helping you navigate your way to an offer.

Due diligence of all kinds on the front end may make this process go that much more smoothly for everyone involved.

  • Closing Costs
  • Transaction related taxes
  • Fixtures & Appliances
  • Furniture (crazy right?)
  • Move Date
  • Repairs

We've included a link to an article on these very items

#NewYearGoals : Let’s Buy a House this Year!

System - Monday, January 1, 2018
Property Management Blog

We think it’s a great goal and we can help with that! It’s a process, for sure but with assistance from a licensed Realtor and some due diligence, it can be fun and relatively painless!

We recommend first and foremost, find an agent you can work with. They can be invaluable in helping you navigate this process, especially if you are first time home buyer. Here’s what to look for:

  • What’s their forte? First time buyers? A particular area? A particular price segment? Does it fit with your objective?
  • Recommendations? Either received personally or via research. Then contact them and find out more. Interview them as if you were hiring them for a job (which you are!)
  • Education and/or designations—indicate investment in knowledgeability in their profession!
  • Are they a member of MLS (Multiple Listing Service)?
  • Recent Listing and/or Closing activity—what’s it been?
  • Are they offering you expertise that will best position you for success, i.e. how to prepare for the process?

These are just a few suggestions to get you started—more to come! We have agents who know Duval, Clay and St. Johns counties very well. Call us at 904-497-4200 or email: if you’d like to talk with an agent about your potential home search!

We’re halfway to the end of the year!

System - Thursday, December 14, 2017
Property Management Blog

So a few more weeks left before the end of the year and especially for the last minute holiday shoppers…here’s more safety tips (courtesy of JSO). This is a bit redundant but relevant AND abbreviated so we encourage you to check out the entire list at:

  • Keep everything locked and secured: cars, home (all doors and windows), garage, etc.
  • Don’t display gifts where they can be seen and don’t put packaging from big ticket purchases on display at the curb
  • Ditto for your car—get valuables OUT and out of view
  • If you must keep documents in the glove box, lock it!
  • Keep your home well lit (especially if not home) and if traveling, have the Post Office hold your mail
  • Make sure your children know not to share personal information on the internet
  • We’re big on this one: Record you serial numbers and place this list with your insurance documents. If possible Invest in a floor safe or larger, heavy, fire-proof safe is recommended

We highly recommend looking at the link above which has many more valuable tips. We wish everyone a SAFE and happy holiday season!

It’s Holiday Shopping Season!

System - Thursday, November 30, 2017
Property Management Blog

We realize this advice may be a day late and dollar short (no pun intended!) since it’s past Cyber Monday but we suspect there are still several of you out there that have some shopping to do and since it’s December now, may be doing it online.

We scoured all kinds of resources and it pretty much boils down to these tips (USA Today was best and most to the point):

  • Look for the symbol: Look for the little padlock in the address bar or a URL that starts with “https” instead of “http,” as the “s” stands for “secure.”
  • Use secure payment methods: Only shop on sites that take secure payment methods, such as credit cards and PayPal, as they likely give you buyer protection just in case there’s a dispute (your debit card almost certainly will not).
  • Be password savvy: A strong password is at least seven characters long, has a combination of letters, numbers and symbols, and with some uppercase characters, too. Change passwords routinely. Or use password management apps if you’re worried you won’t remember the password.
  • Do your research: Don't forget about the No. 1 tip about shopping: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Avoid unbelievably hot “deals” from unknown merchants, check merchant reputation, etc.
  • Mind what you download: Or click on--beware “fake” shopping sites and apps
  • Connectivity Caution: Try not to shop using a public system or free Wi-Fi- you never know if your information is being tracked and logged — so it's best to wait until you get home. Or use your smartphone as a personal hotspot, which is safer than free Wi-Fi.

More Food for Thought………

System - Tuesday, November 14, 2017
Property Management Blog

So we said we’d continue with some more details re: Airbnb; even if the lease did permit such activity, there are further considerations…..

Legality of offering lodging

Sourced from Airbnb

Some cities have restrictions on subletting for a short period of time. In some cities, collection of a transient occupancy tax by Airbnb is required. In many cities, hosts must register with the government and obtain a permit or license. Airbnb has published a list of regulations and requirements by city; however, only cities in the United States are included. In addition, many landlords or community associations also have restrictions on short term sublets. Hosts may be required to pay income taxes on income received via Airbnb and, in the United States, Airbnb sends tax forms to hosts that have earned over $20,000 in rents and received over 200 reservations via Airbnb in a calendar year.]


Airbnb recommends that hosts obtain insurance which covers damages caused by guests. Airbnb offers secondary insurance, called its "host guarantee". The guarantee covers property loss and damage due to vandalism and theft. When first launched in August 2011, the program covered up to US$50,000. However, the maximum was later increased to US$1,000,000. The company also has a 24-hour customer service hotline and a task force to review suspicious activity.

Holidays are Coming………………..

System - Tuesday, October 31, 2017
Property Management Blog

Hard to believe another year is almost over. Does anyone even remember what was going on, say, in February? Neither do we though we’re pretty sure we were probably already talking about making preparations for the coming warner temperatures, etc. Same things we bring up annually because, well, preventative maintenance!! Rest assured, we’ll be talking about it again in 2018.

So now the holiday season is upon us—you’re either traveling or hosting right? In comes the Airbnb concept. Many people love it and if you’re the owner of the property, it may be a viable strategy in any number of situations. However, if you are currently leasing the property you reside in and—without the express written consent of the owner and/or property manager—list the property on Airbnb and “book” guests (and/or take payment), you are subleasing. Check your lease first—it may prohibit subleasing, again unless you have procured express written consent from the owner and/or property manager.

Then there are the possible legal and insurance implications…more to come on that.

Fencing Issues Post Storm

System - Sunday, October 15, 2017
Property Management Blog

Fencing is one of the most likely complications from a strong storm. To date, most of what we’ve seen in Duval, Clay & St. Johns counties has been partially damaged fencing due to wind and/or tree or other heavy object crashing into it.

Depending on the extent of damage and age of fencing, it may become a question of just replacing the affected parts or replacing all the fencing. Either way it raises a host of questions, especially if replacing:

First and foremost, does the fencing in question belong to you? If unsure, check your survey and verify it does not/did not encroach on neighbor’s property line. Once certain of ownership and fencing placement then verify if a permit is needed! Requirements can vary so what applies to an owner in Julington Creek or Atlantic Beach may be different from that in Riverside or San Marco—just as examples!

If repairing: How viable/how much useful life is left? Can it be easily matched and tied in to?

If replacing:

Intent: Privacy? Barrier for animals or children? Aesthetics?

Type of fencing: Wood or vinyl? Straight slat or shadowbox?

Posts: Size? Cement in or not?

Gates: Add?

Maintenance: Will it withstand normal conditions? Will it have to be pressure washed or painted periodically?

Roofing Issues Post Storm

System - Monday, October 2, 2017
Property Management Blog

We learned a few things from past storms and have an arsenal of qualified vendors who are practiced at navigating repairs/replacements for insurance claims in Duval, Clay and St. Johns counties.

Regardless of how “intact” the roof appears after the storm, if there is even one lone loose shingle or branch visible, it should probably be assessed/checked out after the storm. A professional roofer can tell us/an owner if there is any damage (especially not seen from the ground) that would warrant an insurance claim.

If such damage may result in consideration of a new roof, several things to consider and these are just a few:

  • Vent ridges (what type)
  • Shingles (what type)
  • Boots
  • Peel & stick vs felt

When a new roof is all said & done, a wind mitigation & 4pt inspection should be conducted for submission to insurance carrier for possibly lowered premium.

Home Warranties: Cost Savings?

System - Thursday, September 14, 2017
Property Management Blog

We promised (and despite the storm aftermath) to talk about costs associated with home warranty programs as a follow up to our discussion regarding the pros and cons….

A service call for a warranty provider to show up and diagnose a problem runs anywhere from $65-$125. (roughly the same or a bit more than most of our property management vendors). One key difference is many of them require this payment up front before they show up; our vendors typically don’t.

WeUsually the warranty is most useful in covering issues impacting 4 key dynamics: HVAC, Electrical, Plumbing and Appliances. This is where it gets difficult to pin down costs but we’ll attempt to provide some broad generalities here, using APPLIANCES as an example:

  • Fridge Replacement cost: $500+ depending on type (average life 6-15 years )
  • Stove Replacement cost: $500+ depending on type(average life: 10-15 years)
  • Dishwasher Replacement cost: $400+ depending on type (average life: 8-10 years)
  • Washer/Dryer Replacement cost: $400+ each, depending on type (average life: 8-12 years)

Repair or Replace: We weigh if repair cost is close to half of cost of replacement and depending on age. Warranty company will always try to repair first which could translate into repeated issues, repeated service calls and various replaced parts over time.

This is why we urge due diligence in selecting the plan and, in the case of appliances especially, find out what brand they would replace any appliance with and research the service record/performance of that line. If you can, also find out what vendors they work with local to your property’s area: Julington Creek? Riverside/Avondale? Atlantic Beach? It could inform your decision…..

So You Think You Want a Home Warranty…….

System - Monday, September 4, 2017
Property Management Blog

We agree—you should consider it! Can we give you some possibly helpful suggestions and thoughts before you pull the trigger? FPM Properties has a bit of history and experience dealing with home warranties…..

If we sold you this house and you are going to be living in it, you might be very glad you made what is, in the grand scheme of things, a small investment for some protection. Even if we didn’t sell you the house (and you don’t already have a home warranty from the purchase) a home warranty could be a good thing. Take the time, if you haven’t already, to get to know some facts about your home. How old are the major systems in the house (electrical, plumbing, HVAC)? How old are the various appliances? Who are the manufacturers?

Fire up Google and do a little research about what you have. Some brands of appliances have better track records than others. Ditto on accessibility of replacement parts and/or sources qualified to service.

These are all dynamics you should factor into, subsequently, the evaluation of various plans you may look at/consider. Most warranties have specific parameters for what aspects of a major system (plumbing, electrical, HVAC) they will cover or not cover. Appliances—same thing.

Another important consideration—if there is no proof of regular/ongoing maintenance of the system in question, they may decline to cover an item (otherwise covered). Weigh the cost of the deductible, the items that aren’t covered (and the possible associated cost) with the savings you may realize on the covered items. Next time, we’ll talk a little about what things tend to cost……..

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​ Disclosure: First Place Management Properties, LLC is "not" a real estate brokerage and does not lease or sell properties.
All sales and leasing activities are conducted through FPM Properties, dba. & First Place Management, Inc. both are licensed Florida Real Estate Brokerages. ​

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