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How a Sober Living House Can Add Value to a Neighborhood
Tanya Douglas
How Sober Living House Can Add Value to a Neighborhood

How a Sober Living House Can Add Value to a Neighborhood


There is an irrefutable stigma surrounding sober living homes. And we understand where the fear is coming from. Having a domestic violence shelter in our neighborhood holds an entirely different narrative; our hearts go out to those who suffered greatly at the hand of a barbarous loved one. No wonder Netflix's TV show "Maid" is one of the ten most-watched shows. The injustice enrages us; it makes us want to get up and do something for those who cannot stand up for themselves—all the women, children, and men. We feel compassion for the elderly, we watch Animal Planet with a box of Kleenex, but somehow, someway, when it comes to the ones most in need of our sympathy and support, we pull back, and we shut down. And we discriminate with disgust. Let's not look away this time. This is how a sober living house can add value to a neighborhood.

Your problem is not my problem

Addiction is a problem that affects every one of us on many substantial levels. Drug abuse and alcoholism have always been around as pain relievers, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the collective human psyche has gotten exceptionally frail. And it's getting worse. We witness 95,000 alcohol-related deaths and 100,000 drug-related deaths annually in the US alone. So, if you are a young family relocating to one of Jacksonville's top suburbs, but you happen to learn there's a sober living house in your neighborhood, will you politely turn down the offer and keep on looking?

"US" vs. "THEM"

Sober living houses are almost always located in quiet, low-crime, safe and stable neighborhoods. And for a reason. You could be living in one of the best neighborhoods in Jacksonville with recovering individuals two doors down. Why? Because your contribution as an accepting neighbor is just as meaningful and valuable as the facility itself. Just by not discriminating and showing angst, you show the sober residents they are indeed a part of this world, an equal member of the society. Just by not looking away, you indicate that it's possible to get back (or to move towards) to that healthy life they're missing and possibly once had.

Suspicious minds

  • Oh, that's great, I have a recovery home next door, so I need to have 911 on my speed dial from now on. And maybe get a guard dog.
  • Probably half of the residents are criminals and convicted felons.
  • Drug dealers will be swarming around my home. I need to protect myself and my family.
  • The residents will most likely cause disarray in what used to be a good, low-key neighborhood.
  • The value of my property will decline if I choose to move house.

None of it is true. The more rehabilitated people leave that house, the safer your community becomes.

Things you need to know about SLH

If you can't get your mind around how a sober living house can add value to a neighborhood, we'll go as far as to say it's a legitimate concern. A healthy dose of skepticism is anticipated and welcome. But let's try to debunk common misconceptions and chase your doubts away. According to Bright Futures Treatment Center FL, any residential facility offering non-medical services for recovering individuals is required to own licensure (also claimed by ADP / Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs)

The rules are strict

  1. Random drug tests are mandatory. There is no tolerance related to alcohol and drug use. You're clean, or you're out.
  2. Sober living houses are not rent-free. Residents are expected to participate with rent, utility bills, and groceries. A sense of independence is built by enforcing responsibility, which is necessary for a successful social comeback.
  3. Rules and regulations. There are curfews, only drug-free visitors are allowed during specific visitation hours, and there is no excess socializing.
  4. To get admitted to a sober living house, completing a rehab program is required.
  5. Sober living homes are not homeless shelters. They are more of a bonus quarantine time for the rehabilitated residents to prepare for the "outside" world and get their life back on track.

How SLH adds value

Sober facilities are not shady crack houses. In truth, residential housing has progressed immensely in the past decades. There are some state-of-the-art facilities all across the US. A sober living house doesn't necessarily scream unsightliness. You'd be surprised how pleasant they can be on the eye. The appearance is not what matters, though; it's what they do and who they are: simply a community within a community doing fantastic work for someone in need. When did philanthropy and being humane stop trending?

How it gives back

Alcohol and drug addicts and recoverees are not ungodly creatures. They are simply suffering souls with their self-image bruised, their self-worth annihilated, and only guilt, shame, and remorse to keep them company. Residents of sober living housing haven't targeted your neighborhood to make your life a living hell; they are there to redeem themselves. Give them that chance. Be a good neighbor.

The pilgrimage to society

Do you know why Jacksonville is one of the best places to live in the US? Because recoverees contribute to maintaining that reputation. They successfully integrate back into communities through volunteer work. It's their opportunity to give back to those who accepted and supported them when they were at their lowest. Sober houses often organize community service as it proved beneficial for residents and their neighbors. They assist the elderly and people with special needs, collect trash and keep the neighborhood nice and clean. They trim rose bushes and plant seeds to give your street a vibrant green feel.

What it all comes down to

The problem lies within us if we're still wondering how a sober living house can add value to a neighborhood. Not "them." Spend a little time with one of the SHL residents. Hear their story. It will blow you away (and probably make you feel ashamed for having had a privileged childhood). You have the power to stop the stigma. The biggest value-added to your neighborhood will be the accepting and open You. Most of the SHL residents are benevolent, warm people. By giving them a sense of belonging, you give them what they need the most. Hope.


 Meta description: How a sober living house can add value to a neighborhood: The stigma around sober houses seems insurmountable. Let's prove ourselves wrong.



How to Tenant-Proof Your Rental Property
Tanya Douglas
Tenant-Proof your rental

How to Tenant-Proof Your Rental Property


Investing in real estate is a brilliant move for your future. Regardless of your profession or the economic trends, leasing a property provides you with a constant income. Besides, you can sell that property if you wish to do so. However, having tenants is not as easy as it may seem. It's not just about having a good relationship with them but also about protecting the rental. As a homeowner, you invest a lot of time and money in a property. But since tenants change homes pretty often, they don't take that much care of the rental. So here are some ideas on how to tenant-proof your rental property.

Protect the floors

The floors of a property are always subjected to the most wear. This is unavoidable even in your own home. Nevertheless, as a homeowner, you are a bit more careful. So here’s how you can make your property’s floors tenant-proofed.

1)No hardwood floors

While it's true that hardwood floors look very good and are preferred by most homeowners, they should be avoided in a rental. The reason for this is that they scratch easily. Therefore, when tenants move in and out of the property, you need something that's going to endure. A good choice would be bamboo or faux wood flooring. These options are cheaper and less sensitive - plus, they look good.

2)No carpets

To tenant-proof your rental property, you should avoid carpets. The main reason is that they stain easily and sometimes not even professional cleaners can help with that. And it would be too expensive to change the carpets with every new tenant. Besides, they retain smells and pet fur that can be difficult to remove.


However, if your rental property already has hardwood floors, you should cover them for protection. In such cases, go for dark-colored carpets that can hide the stains. And choose low-grade rugs that are cheap to replace if necessary.

3) Impose felt pads

You should require your tenants to place felt pads on all their furniture. This will protect the floors from all the scratching. To make sure this rule is applied, you can add it to the lease agreement. Moreover, you can stipulate that this is a requirement for the security deposit to be reimbursed.

4) Set a good example

Don't expect your tenants to be aware of all the things that can damage the flooring of a property. However, if you set a good example, they might follow your lead. Before showing off the rental, make a tiny investment in indoor and outdoor doormats, including a shoe rack. When you present the property to potential tenants, please wipe your feet on the doormats, then take off your shoes and place them on the shoe rack. This will make them aware of the no-shoes policy. Of course, this doesn't mean they will comply with it, so you can also add a clause in the lease agreement.


Protect the walls

Walls are the second most important thing to consider when you tenant-proof your rental property. If you have to repair and repaint them every time you get new tenants, you will lose more money than you make. Here are some ideas on how to protect the walls.

1)Consider the type of paint carefully

If you are leasing the property for the first time and are on a budget, you can use the cheapest option: white paint with a flat finish. However, be advised that you will likely have to repaint when your tenants move out. Stains on the walls are unavoidable. Just think of the grease in the kitchen or kids with dirty and sticky fingers. The best solution for this is to choose a glossy finish because it enables you to wash the walls. It's indeed a bit more expensive, but it will save you the money of repainting in the future.

2)Set some rules

Every tenant wants to feel at home. Thus, they are eager to start by decorating a rental apartment to fit their style and preference. However, if you don't want to have drill holes all over the walls at the end of the lease, you should explain the dos and don'ts. For example, you can let them use a few small nails for hanging pictures or artwork because they are easy to fix. But it would be best if you didn't allow them to mount their TV on the wall since it will leave huge holes. You can also add this to the lease agreement.

Protect the rest of the property

While it’s true that the floors and walls are subjected to the most wear, there are other things to consider. So, here are a few things you shouldn’t skip when you tenant-proof your rental property.

1)Your personal belongings

Of course, you have the option of leasing an empty property, but that entails finding long-term tenants. And this is harder to come by. Besides, usually, people rent properties that they used to live in at some point. In this case, you should think about your personal belongings, like pieces of furniture and other things you left behind.


Suppose you have valuable furnishings or other personal belongings that you don't want your tenants to damage. In that case, it would be good to rent a self-storage unit. And don't worry, this option is much cheaper than replacing those valuables. Nevertheless, if you want to rent a self-storage unit for storing antiques, wooden furniture, or artwork, you should know what to look for. In such cases, the storage conditions are essential because humidity and extreme temperatures can damage those items.

2)The installations

Sometimes people forget about the things that are not visible, like the electrical or plumbing installation. But if those installations get damaged, the security deposit won't cover even half of the repairs. Therefore, find some experienced professionals to do regular maintenance and inspection work. This will help you avoid unexpected costs in the future. Not to mention that your tenants will appreciate it as well.


While leasing a property can be very beneficial for your future finances, you should ensure that it doesn't cost you more than you gain. Finding a good tenant is never easy, and sometimes even they have accidents and can damage things. Nevertheless, to avoid as much damage as possible, you can use these preventive measures to tenant-proof your rental property.

Meta description: If you’re thinking about leasing your property, you should also look into protecting it. So, here are some ideas on how to tenant-proof your rental property.

How to Maintain a Good Relationship With Your Tenants
Tanya Douglas
How to Maintain a Good Relationship With Your Tenants

How to Maintain a Good Relationship With Your Tenants

Being a landlord is a walk in the park. You have the property, you have tenants, they make regular payments, and you spend them. Easy. There is nothing to it - except for the fact that there is. This mindset could cost you a lot of time and money. The wiser and healthier approach to this would be to understand that you are the one offering a service. As such, you must maintain a good relationship with the tenant. The most important thing to you as the landlord, probably, is that somebody trustworthy and reliable is staying in your property. Knowing it is being taken care of and that the tenant will pay the rent in time is worth the extra effort. On the other hand, a lack of action on your part attracts a different type of tenant. Here is how to maintain a good relationship with your tenants.


Maintain a Good Relationship Through Maintenance

At the end of the day, what you advertised and what the tenant is paying for is the property and all the utilities that come with the house. Nobody expects that there will never be any maintenance issues, as they come with the territory. Therefore, you should always have a few reliable handymen and vendors among your contact numbers. Furthermore, timing is vital. If a tenant informs you of a situation, be a good landlord and get on the phone ASAP. Minor problems can turn into more costly ones over time, all the while eroding your tenant's trust and good faith. A nice touch would be to follow up with the tenant once the repairs have been done. See if the repair work was up to scratch and see how they are doing.


How to Maintain a Good Relationship With Your Tenants? The same as with any Other Relationship - Communication!

An active line of communication is essential. Tenants need to know they can reach out to you if there is a problem. They also need to know that you will listen. On the other hand, it also means being straightforward when communicating your requirements. As the landlord, you ought to maintain effective communication from the very beginning. If you manage to achieve this, you can expect tenants to offer the same. They will inform you of any problems they notice around the house. Likewise, they will advise you about when they plan to move out in due time.


A word of warning about rent collection, though, make sure you have a system in place for the payments to be made regularly. Yes, a good relationship is advisable, but letting your tenants be late with their rent is not the way to achieve this. Allowing obligations to be skipped is not the cornerstone of good communication.


Clean and Updated

It should go without saying, but keeping the property clean and decluttered sends the right message. It doesn't matter if you plan on clearing everything up right before your tenants move in - they need to see it clean when they first come to visit. Furthermore, sprucing up the place could do wonders for an old property. A fresh lick of paint can do wonders for the interior. If there are clear signs that your HVAC needs replacing, bite the bullet and do it! The indirect benefit is that the tenants themselves are more likely to take good care of a home that has been taken care of by the owner. If you haven't put in the effort, why should they?


Difficult Tenants

Now, not all tenants are born alike. With some, things will be easygoing, but others can be a tad more difficult. You need to be able to handle such situations. Staying calm is essential in these situations. You should never take any comment personally and should confidently approach the problem. Sometimes, you might need to consider legal action, but this is the last resort. Still, you need to know what to do in that sort of situation too. You must learn to solve problems of this nature, as most landlords will find themselves dealing with difficult tenants at some point.



Honesty is the best policy. We've all heard it said and with good reason. Be clear about how you plan to divide the responsibilities. Don't tell them you will cover the utility charges, and then when it's time to pay, tell them this is their expense. Be trustworthy, and don't go back on your word. Sending an e-mail or two once you agree on an issue is also not a bad idea. Having things in writing is always handy should a misunderstanding unfold down the line.


What to do With Your Things?

We talked about the need to declutter and offer a tidy space for your new tenants. There will be things in your property that you need, but your tenants most certainly won't. That grand piano may be a precious family heirloom for you, but to them, it could just represent part of an obstacle course in an overcrowded living room. The best solution would be to find some cheap storage for these possessions. Keeping only those items that are essential could be helpful in this regard. Paying long term can also help reduce costs. If you dig a little, you are sure to find some low budget options out there, and rest assured that all the work one needs to invest in finding a cheap storage unit always pays off!


Happy Tenant Hunting!

There you go, how to maintain a good relationship with your tenants! It mostly boils down to common sense and thinking about how you, yourself, would like to be treated had the roles been reversed. Of course, there are legal aspects to a landlord-tenant relationship you should know about, but you know where to find this information, now don't you? An open and amicable relationship works in everybody's favor, and there is no reason why you cannot create one with your tenants. Once that has been done, well, maybe and only then, being a landlord becomes a piece of cake!

Meta Description:

Being a landlord may seem simple, but there is more to it than meets the eye! Here is how to maintain a good relationship with your tenants.



7 Best Long Distance Moving Companies
Nessa Brown
Best Long Distance Moving Companies

6 Best Long-Distance Moving Companies 2022

Long-distance moves are often complicated and stress-inducing, but they don’t have to be. Our top pick for the best long-distance moving company to help you is International Van Lines.
Home Media March 16, 2022

The moving process can be time-consuming and stressful if you let it, and picking a good moving company requires reading through the fine print.

To provide you with some peace of mind, we at the Home Media reviews team researched the top moving companies in the United States and created this detailed guide on the best long-distance moving companies to help you understand the services, payment process and major benefits of each provider.


6 Best Long-Distance Moving Companies

Here are our top picks for the best long-distance moving companies:

  Superlative Star Rating Link
IVL Insurance Plans
American Long-Distance Moves
Allied Editors' Choice
NAVL Easy Claims Process
JK Financing
PODS Self-Service Mover


International Van Lines

  • Award: Our Pick for Insurance Plans
  • Availability: 50 states
  • Service Model: Full service
  • Founded: 2000

International Van Lines (IVL) started in 2000 as an international moving and logistics company but has provided full-service moving options across the United States and in more than 180 countries since 2004. The company is a carrier for long-distance moves, but it may act as a broker for some moves. In both cases, customers can choose full-service options, such as packing and loading, to create custom moving packages that fit their needs and budget.

If you have particularly expensive belongings, IVL provides some of the most comprehensive moving insurance options on this list.

Pros and Cons of International Van Lines

Offers a discount for active and retired military members
Creates custom crates for TVs and other fragile items that do not fit in standard moving boxes
Fully refunds deposits for cancellations made at least 48 hours prior to scheduled service
Charges a 25% deposit to schedule a move
Uses third-party providers to handle moves in Montana, Oregon, Utah and Washington state

IVL International Moves:

All-risk insurance, available to customers with packing services, protects the full value that you claim. Its cost is 4% of the declared value. Total-loss insurance, available to customers who opt to pack themselves, also provides full reimbursement in the event of a total loss and can be purchased for 2% of the declared value.

IVL Domestic Moves:

Its full-value protection plan offers either a $500 and $1,000 deductible. You then pick a coverage cap that covers the actual value of your belongings. If you do not purchase this plan, you receive access to IVL’s limited liability coverage at $0.60 per pound per article. You may also purchase a third-party moving insurance plan.


IVL determines the cost of moves based on the total weight of your belongings and the overall distance of your move. The company accepts checks, credit cards and cash for payment, and it requires an up-front deposit of 25% of your total cost. IVL also offers discounts to military members.

Get a Quote: International Van Lines

To Learn More: International Van Lines Review



American Van Lines

  • Award: Our Pick for Long-Distance Moves
  • Availability: 48 states
  • Service model: Full service
  • Founded: 1967

American Van Lines holds more than 50 years of professional moving experience. From its beginnings in Pompano Beach, Fla., American Van Lines has grown to provide national availability for full-service, long-distance moves. These factors have earned it one of Newsweek’s ‘Best Customer Service’ Awards twice, in 2019 and 2021.

American Van Lines employs full-time movers who hold an average of 10 years of moving experience each. The company also provides training on a regular basis to each worker. American Van Lines’ experienced employees, flat-rate pricing model, award-winning customer service and its contents protection plans make it one of the best options for long-distance moves.

Pros and Cons of American Van Lines

Is a carrier-only moving company, meaning it will not broker your move with a third-party provider
Has moving crews dedicated to handling pianos and antiques
Requires moving crew members to complete annual trainings
Will not guarantee a delivery date without additional payment
Charges a deposit between 10% and 50% to book your move


To provide a binding estimate that does not change over the course of your move, American Van Lines requires either a virtual or in-home estimate. The company considers factors such as the weight of your household goods, special requests and specific moving services you purchase. The company also features a price-matching policy, so gather a few other quotes to give yourself an edge in negotiation. American Van Lines accepts cash, check and credit cards, and it requires a deposit.

Get a Quote: American Van Lines

To Learn More: American Van Lines Review



Allied Van Lines

  • Award: Editors’ Choice
  • Availability: 50 states
  • Service model: Full service
  • Founded: 1928

Allied Van Lines is a licensed, bonded and insured moving broker-carrier and holds more than 90 years of professional moving experience. As a broker-carrier, Allied conducts some moves with its own equipment and team, but it is also able to outsource your move to a partnered company in areas it does not have direct operations.

This makes it an excellent choice for long-distance, international or interstate moves with availability in all 50 states and 130 countries. However, when it acts as the middleman, communication may become difficult.

Though Allied provides high-quality full-service moves, it does offer some DIY options. The company offers a fragile-only packing service and a portable storage container moving service called Allied Express. In addition to these options, Allied provides vehicle shipping, storage services and online resources such as GPS tracking, a moving blog and packing checklists.

Pros and Cons of Allied Van Lines

Offers optional appliance disconnection and reconnection
Provides mobile storage containers similar to PODS that include loading and unloading assistance
Partners with the Salvation Army to transport and donate your unwanted items to the non-profit organization
Requires payments to be made in full ahead of your moving date
Uses third-party providers to handle moves in Montana, Oregon, Utah and Washington state


Allied Van Lines calculates your moving cost based on factors such as the total weight of your shipment, the total distance of your move, the services purchased, contents protection plans, any storage services you require and the time of the year.

Allied provides customers with binding estimates after an in-home survey. This means that your moving cost will not change unless you add major items to your inventory. The company offers an online survey tool, which eliminates the need for an in-person visit from a moving coordinator.

Allied offers flexible payment options as it accepts cash, certified checks and credit cards. Best of all, Allied does not require an up-front deposit.

Get a Quote: Allied Van Lines

To Learn More: Allied Van Lines Review



  • Award: Our Pick for Easy Claims Process
  • Availability: 50 states
  • Service Model: Full service
  • Founded: 1933

Based out of Fort Wayne, Ind., North American Van Lines brings more than 85 years of experience to full-service and partial-service moves all across the country. If filing claims during the moving process is a major concern for you, we recommend you look into North American Van Lines. The company provides easily accessible forms for both domestic and international claims across its website.

The company features separate customer support lines for domestic and international moves, and each customer receives a personal moving agent. In addition to these communication perks, North American Van Lines offers a large collection of online tools such as a moving calculator, a space calculator, relocation guides, checklists and assistance with shipping wine collections.

Pros and Cons of North American Van Lines

Has a Not-to-Exceed Pricing package in which actual costs may fall below, but never above, estimates
Provides shipment tracking using its WorldTrac satellite system
Does not require an up-front deposit to schedule a move
Requires payments be made in full ahead of your moving date
Has limited storage options, depending on your location


North American Van Lines creates your moving estimate based on the overall distance of your move, your contents protection plan, the services used and the total weight of your shipment. It also creates a binding estimate for you after a virtual survey is conducted, and it accepts payment in the form of certified checks, cash and credit cards. The company does not require an up-front deposit.

Get a Quote: North American Van Lines

To Learn More: North American Van Lines Review



JK Moving

  • Award: Our Pick for Financing
  • Availability: 50 states*
  • Service model: Full service
  • Founded: 1982

Since 1982, JK Moving has aimed to combine the newest moving technologies and solutions, such as climate-controlled storage and GPS tracking, with reputable customer service. The company engages in sustainable practices, such as recycling its materials, and partners with Habitat for Humanity, the Race for Hope and Fight for Children.

JK Moving employs only drug-tested and background-checked workers who receive annual training in a dedicated facility. In addition, it provides you the option to finance your move. Through a partnership with Enhancify, JK Moving matches customers with lenders, making it possible to pay for moving services over time instead of all at once. Some customers receive rates as low as 0%.** This is a rare offering in the moving industry, but before you agree to financing, you should consider the rate; if you have a poor credit score, you may be subject to a high interest rate, which could leave you paying far more in the long run.

*Local moves available only in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.
**Subject to credit approval

Pros and Cons of JK Moving

Has 24/7 customer support, which not all providers offer
Offers in-house financing options with Enhancify
Provides customized coverage plans to protect your belongings
Does not match competitor pricing
Requires a $250 deposit to reserve a moving date


JK Moving packages are customized to fit each customer’s moving needs and budget. Customers receive a personal moving coordinator who will assist them throughout the entirety of their move. This coordinator also helps create a binding estimate, so there are no unexpected costs once your price is determined. JK Moving accepts cash, checks, credit cards and payments through its financing option. It requires an up-front deposit of at least $250.

Get a Quote: JK Moving

To Learn More: JK Moving Review




  • Award: Our Pick for Self-Service Mover
  • Availability: 44 states
  • Service Model: Self service
  • Founded: 1998

PODS, short for portable on-demand storage, provides a different approach to moving than the other companies on this list. Started in 1998 after founder Peter Warhurst watched a boat get lifted by a hydraulic machine, PODS introduced the moving industry to portable storage container moves. This is a flexible way a moving company can help families move long distances.

PODS delivers one of its portable storage containers (or a combination of them) to your home. You then load your belongings at your own pace within a 30-day period, or you can purchase more time. Once your belongings are loaded, you notify PODS when to pick up and deliver your belongings to one of its 230 storage facilities near your new home. The company then delivers your belongings to your new address when you notify it, and you unload them at your own pace.

PODS is our top pick for a self-service mover due to its high-quality containers, positive customer reviews, transparent pricing, flexible payment options and discounts for military service members. Customers also receive options to hire third-party labor and third-party vehicle relocation. Though the company features physical locations in only 46 states, it states that it can most likely help you move wherever you need to go.

Pros and Cons of PODS

Provides containers in three sizes
Allows 30 days for loading and unloading
Offers optional moving crews through third-party providers
Is not available nationwide
Only gives instant quotes for local moves


PODS uses a pay-as-you-go model. Customers pay for certain stages of their move a week in advance, namely drop-off, transport and the second drop-off and final pick-up. Longer-term storage rentals are billed on a monthly basis.

PODS accepts payment in the form of credit card, but it may also accept cash and check payments depending on the location. The company does not charge a deposit for its services, and it features a 10% discount for active military members.

Get a Quote: PODS

To Learn More: PODS Moving & Storage Review



Compare the Top Long-Distance Moving Companies

  Superlative Star Rating Link
IVL Insurance Plans
American Long-Distance Moves
Allied Editors' Choice
NAVL Easy Claims Process
JK Financing
PODS Self-Service Mover


Which Is The Best Long-Distance Moving Company For You?

Each company on this list will bring a different experience to your cross-country move. We named International Van Lines our top pick for insurance plans because you can never be too safe with your household items.

Determine if a full-service move or self-service move better suits your needs, then gather free quotes from at least three different providers to accurately compare costs and service offerings.

You will also want to make sure you can trust the moving company you hire.

To help you determine this, obtain its USDOT number and visit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) website. Input that USDOT number towards the bottom of that page, which will allow you to access the company’s licenses and certifications.



Factors That Influence the Cost of a Long-Distance Move

A variety of factors can affect the total cost of your long-distance relocation, including:

  • How far you are moving
  • The time of year you are moving
  • The size of your move, measured as the total weight of your belongings
  • The size of the moving crew
  • The specific layout of your home, including any narrow hallways, low ceilings or steep staircases that could make moving more difficult
  • Any special handling needed (i.e. for bulky, high-value and/or fragile items)
  • Mileage
  • Gas
  • Any applicable toll charges



Preparing for a Long-Distance Move

An out-of-state or cross-country move requires a lot of advanced planning and organization. It is best to get at least a three-month head start on moving day by creating a master list of the major tasks you need to accomplish.

Major tasks can include:

  • Creating a moving budget
  • Researching moving companies
  • Requesting estimates from multiple moving companies
  • Determining how you and your family will be traveling to your new destination and if you will need a mover that can transport your vehicle(s)
  • Hiring a moving company

It may be helpful to create a “Moving” folder on your computer to keep your notes, moving estimates, receipts and checklists in one place.

In the weeks leading up to moving day, pack items you don’t need and sell or give away items you no longer want. Consider organizing belongings for packing. We recommend creating a detailed list of all belongings you plan to move; in fact, many moving companies will require this before giving you a binding estimate. An accurate inventory will ensure your binding estimate will not change on moving day and will also make it easier for you to review your moving shipment upon delivery to check for any broken or missing items.

Ahead of your move, it is also a good idea to go ahead and contact physicians for copies of any records needed and your homeowners insurance provider to confirm your coverage will transfer to your new location.



Full-Service vs. Self-Service Movers

Other than moving truck rentals, there are two major types of moving companies in the current home movers market. To get a better understanding of what each type of mover entails, read over the descriptions below.

Full-Service Movers

This type of mover is a good option for anyone who wants a moving company to handle practically all parts of their move. A full-service mover offers services such as furniture disassembly, packing, crating, loading, transportation, unloading, unpacking and furniture reassembly.

Often these companies can provide specialty services for difficult and fragile items, such as pianos and antiques. Customers can typically mix and match these services to create partial-service moving packages, which saves some money.

International Van Lines is a great example of a full-service mover that can help with your long-distance move.

Self-Service Movers

A self-service mover is a better option for those looking to save money and those who enjoy taking the DIY approach to things. Self-service movers are also referred to as portable storage container movers.

This service model has the company deliver a portable storage container to your home, and you then load your belongings into that container in a certain time frame. Once your belongings are loaded, you notify the company when to pick up and deliver your belongings to your new home. You then unload the container at your own pace. This option tends to be significantly more affordable than full-service movers.

PODS is an example of a self-service mover.



Long-Distance Moving Companies FAQs










Methodology: Our System for Ranking the Best Long-Distance Moving Companies

We collected data on dozens of moving companies, both full-service and self-service, and created a comprehensive rating system to formulate our rankings, grade each company and provide objective findings to our readers. The end result of weighing a wide range of factors is a cumulative score for each provider.

We called each moving company directly, spoke with representatives to get an in-depth understanding of their offerings and simulated the quote and scheduling process. We also reviewed each company’s contents protection (insurance) plan information in detail, and we closely examined more than 100 customer reviews to understand the customer service experience with each provider.

All company data is monitored on an ongoing basis so that all rankings and information remain up-to-date.

Once we gathered all relevant data, we used the following scoring system to grade each moving company on a 100-point scale:

  • Moving Services (20 points): Does the company provide its services for local moves, interstate moves and/or international moves? The more options available, the higher the score. Points were deducted for any local moving restrictions, such as a minimum mileage requirement or limited availability.
  • Mover Type (3 points): Is the provider a moving broker or a carrier? Given that carriers often offer a more seamless customer communication experience, more points were awarded to companies that act as carriers instead of or in addition to acting as moving brokers.
  • Additional Services (20 points): Services we factored in include packing and unpacking, loading and unloading, vehicle relocation, fragile pack or specialty services and storage service. The more services a moving company offers, the higher the score it received.
  • Insurance Coverage (10 points): If a company offers only the minimum requirement of 60¢ and a full-valuation coverage option, it received a lower score. If the company offers multiple moving insurance options, such as customizable full-value coverage, it received a higher score.
  • Payment Process (20 points): For each payment option the company provides, it received more points. Options include binding estimates or fixed rates, discounts or price-matching policies, credit card payments, cash or check payments and/or financing options. Points were deducted if a company requires a deposit.
  • Availability (5 points): Companies were awarded points based on state availability.
  • Scheduling (6 points): The more scheduling options a company offers, such as online scheduling, over the phone or both, the more points it received.
  • Trailers/Containers (6 points): Companies received higher scores for having a range of trailer or container sizes.
  • Additional Benefits (5 points): What additional benefits do customers receive from the company? Does the customer have access to a moving calculator, GPS or online tracking options, a moving checklist, packing and moving materials and/or a moving inventory app? The more of these options a company provides, the more points it received.
  • Reputation (5 points): We factored in the company’s score on the Business Better Bureau (BBB) and deducted points for any alerts or pending lawsuits.


7 Best Long-Distance Movers
Nessa Brown
7 Best Long-Distance Moving Companies
Top 6 Jacksonville Area Suburbs for Young Families
Tanya Douglas
Top 6 Jacksonville Area Suburbs for Young Families

Top 6 Jacksonville Area Suburbs for Young Families

Jacksonville is the biggest and the most populated city in Florida. It is a hot spot for beach lovers as it is located along the Atlantic shore. There is never a shortage of great activities in the Jacksonville area suburbs. Those who want to live near this great city without being surrounded by crowds have the option of choosing superb nearby suburbs to call home. Make sure to keep reading to learn about our top picks!

Why Pick Jacksonville?

Jacksonville is a family city, and a large percentage of households in the city limits have children. These numbers increase the farther you move away from downtown. With fantastic weather year-round, a thriving economy, and high quality of life, it is no surprise that the area is excellent for families to settle down and raise kids. Young families buying a home in Jacksonville will be happy to have their peers in the neighborhood. Jacksonville also has excellent local schools and shopping options. The urban parks system is the biggest in the United States. The cost of living and the unemployment rate in Jacksonville are lower than the national average.

Making a Long-Distance Move

When you are moving long-distance, you want to be able to settle into your new home quickly. For inexperienced families, it can be quite a task, and hiring a moving company will make your life a lot easier. Even if you have moved more than once, there are many aspects to cover, and you might end up resenting it. Experienced professionals will know all the shortcuts and fastest and easiest ways to take care of your Flofida move.

1.   San Marco

San Marco offers city living at its finest. This historic district has excellent dining options and upscale boutiques. You can relax at sunsets and host family picnics in Riverfront Park. Here you will also find some of the best restaurants Jacksonville has to offer. You can also enjoy a family outing during the San Marco Art Festival held twice a year. San Marco also has a lot to offer to the more urban families looking for an artistic element in the suburbs.

2.   Deercreek

Deercreek is a safe, stable Jacksonville area suburb for families with some of the lowest crime rates in the city. This makes it a great area to raise a family in. The average price of homes in Deercreek is almost 50% higher than in the rest of the city, making it less accessible to first-time home buyers.

If you are in Deercreek with your family, you will have an excellent time being so close to the fantastic beaches. Some of the top activities for young families to enjoy are:

  • Swimming
  • Surfing
  • Golf

3.   Southside—Affordable Jacksonville Area Suburbs

Young families looking for a more affordable market should take Southside into account. The area has an abundance of grocery stores and a whopping nine parks within a mile radius. The neighborhood was designed with homeowners with children in mind.

Southside is also home to St. Johns Town Center. This enormous open-air lifestyle center offers retail, residential, hotel, and dining options.

4.   Orange Park—The Suburbs for Young Families That Enjoy the Outdoors

If you are not prioritizing being in the center of Jacksonville, think about buying a home in Orange Park. This is a very popular neighborhood for families who love a rural environment. In Orange Park, young families can enjoy the outdoors by going camping, doing water sports, and hiking. The suburb is near St. Johns River, Doctor's Lake, and Black Creek. This makes it ideal for wakeboarding, fishing, and numerous other watersports. Orange Park is 45 minutes away from Jacksonville, but it has all the perks of living in the city. It is also home to Jarboe Park, which is packed with playgrounds, sports fields, and walking trails. With such a wide selection, young families can plan fun activities every weekend.

5.   Oceanway

Oceanway offers more affordable housing for young families looking to move here. This is a very desirable area due to the low cost of living and average prices for riverfront houses. The Oceanway suburban area has access to family-friendly destinations like the Jacksonville Zoo. Oceanway is home to a large shopping center and is one of the fastest-growing areas in the city. This neighborhood has many single-family and upscale homes that will meet all your family's needs. In addition to all the amenities, it also offers various hiking trails and playgrounds for the little ones.

6.   Neptune Beach

This Jacksonville area suburb is one of the most well-known. It is only a short 25-minute drive from the city center. As an oceanfront town, Neptune Beach can be great fun for the entire family. Oceanfront Park is only 30 minutes away. One thing to keep in mind is that this area has higher-than-average home prices. It may not be the most affordable choice for young families, but it certainly is one of the best to enjoy the beach life. The whole family can go fishing, have fantastic seafood, and play golf at the beach golf club.

Additional Fun Activities in the Nocatee Suburb

There are countless options to choose from when it comes to Jacksonville area suburbs for young families. Here are a few more activities to explore in the area:

  1. Nocatee Spray Park—The biggest interactive spray playground in the area. It offers a playground for kids and a bar and grill for the parents to relax and enjoy the day.
  2. Electric vehicle pathways—Nocatee is the first community in the region that is home to pathways created for electric vehicles.
  3. Splash Water Park—Loads of fun for the entire family. There is a lazy river for relaxing for the tired moms and dads. Splash Waterpark offers a big slide tower for the more adventurous adrenaline seekers. It even has its own tiki bar with delightful cocktails.



Meta description: If you are thinking about moving to Jacksonville this year, take a look at our top 6 Jacksonville area suburbs for young families.



House Hunting Tips after you Retire
Tanya Douglas
House Hunting Tips after you Retire

House Hunting Tips for After You Retire

Older couple researching tips for house hunting after you retire

Alt-tag: An older couple researching house hunting tips for after you retire.

House hunting is never easy, especially after you retire. Not only do you have to go through the whole buying process, but this is also probably the last property you'll buy. It's a house you'll live in for the rest of your life. Therefore, you have to consider many factors before you make the final decision. For example, you'll have to think about your needs more than your wants when purchasing a retirement home. It's not going to be an easy journey, but if done right, it's going to be worth it. That's why we're giving you house hunting tips for after you retire. So, let's see how to find the perfect home for you!

Think accessibility and universal design

As you get older, you won't be as agile and flexible as you were. This is an important factor to consider when house hunting after you retire. Therefore, one thing you cannot overlook in your new house is accessibility. This implies a universal design when it comes to floorplan. What do we mean by this? For example, make sure the bathroom is close to your bedroom and kitchen to the dining room and living room. Additionally, all these rooms need to be easily accessible. In other words, make sure to purchase a home with a cohesive space that won't cause any problems in the future.

Additionally, think about the entryway. You need to make sure the front door is big enough - you may need a walker or a wheelchair in the future, or you already do. Also, stairs on the porch are something you want to avoid for similar reasons.

Speaking of stairs, purchasing a two-story house is not ideal if you're retired. Just imagine having a bedroom upstairs and going up and down multiple times a day. It's simply not convenient. That's why we suggest avoiding houses with stairs and going for one-story ones. As far as house hunting tips for after you retire go, choosing accessibility is by far the most important one.

Consider downsizing

The truth is you won't be needing as much space once you retire. Yes, having a few guest bedrooms for your kids and grandkids is always nice. But do you really need to purchase a bigger house just for that? After all, you are the one who is going to live in that house, not them. Therefore, you need to think about yourself and your needs.

The fact is larger houses come with some drawbacks. For example, the monthly costs are significantly higher, and the homes are harder to maintain. That's why we suggest choosing a smaller house that is enough just for you. In fact, downsizing is the number one rule of retiring. It's okay to buy a home with one extra bedroom, but it's also important to keep the balance.

With downsizing comes decluttering. Therefore, we recommend starting this process even before moving into your new home. We all have many items in our homes that we never use and that have been piling up for years. So, see which of these items you can donate or recycle. Also, if you want to declutter your home properly, get rid of all the junk you can't use anymore. This will make the whole downsizing process easier.

Choose low-maintenance housing

Another one of the house hunting tips for after you retire is looking for low-maintenance housing options. This implies two things. First, when house hunting, look for move-in-ready houses. You simply don't want nor need to deal with fixer-uppers. And second - choose a home that's easy to clean and keep organized. You don't need many rooms, hidden corners, too much storage space, or a large backyard. Keep it simple and easy to maintain on every level. Of course, you need to have enough storage for your stuff, and it's nice to purchase a house with a backyard. Just don't overdo it; you probably don't need anything extravagant.

Location, location, location

Once you retire, your daily routine and needs will change. You won't have to commute to work every day, you won't go out as much, and busy and noisy streets will start to bother you. Therefore, when it comes to house hunting after you retire, think about location. For example, many retirees choose to purchase a house in their favorite vacation spot. However, you have to be careful. Not every vacation destination is ideal for everyday life. Maybe you have the best time when you come there for a 10-day vacation, but find out what it's like to live there off-season as well.

On the other hand, places like Florida are ideal for both vacation and retirement life. Many retirees will agree that there are more than enough reasons to retire in Florida. It's the perfect area to age in place.

Additionally, quiet suburban life is ideal for retirement. Therefore, we suggest choosing suburbs over downtown life. You also need to make sure you have everything you need near your house. The pharmacy and your doctor's office should be close to you. Also, having a grocery store and farmers' market in the neighborhood would be ideal. Make sure public transportation is available as well.

Look for retiree-friendly communities

Studies show that today's retirement communities are much more active than earlier generations. As a result, many neighborhoods offer retiree-friendly activities that will help you lead a healthy, fulfilled, and active life in your retirement days. These types of communities usually feature activities such as hiking, swimming, cycling, tennis as well as golfing, and other outdoor activities. Additionally, many neighborhoods have a clubhouse and community center where you can take different courses (cooking, dancing, pottery, etc.). There are also various events and happenings organized by locals that retirees will definitely enjoy. So, if you want to have a quiet yet active retirement, look for these types of neighborhoods when house hunting.

Work with an experienced real estate agent

The last one of the house hunting tips for after you retire is to work with an experienced real estate agent. Just like some agents are experts for luxury real estate, there are also those who know everything about buying a house after you retire. So, make sure you find yourself an agent that will help you make educated decisions along the way and purchase a home that is perfect for you as a retiree. This will definitely make the whole process smoother and easier for you. And let's be honest, you've had enough stress in your life.

Final words

With these informative house hunting tips for after you retire, we're sure you'll find a house that's perfect to age in place. Think simple, small, and accessible. Also, consider the location and everything it will provide you - doctor's office, pharmacy, friendly and active community, serenity, and beautiful surroundings. After all, you want to spend your golden years healthy and happy. So, make sure you surround yourself with things that allow all this!


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Meta Description: With these informative house hunting tips for after you retire, you'll find a perfect home for your golden years to come! 

Why Jacksonville is one of the best places to live in the US
Tanya Douglas
Why Jacksonville is one of the best places to live in the US

Why Jacksonville is one of the best places to live in the US

Why Jacksonville is one of the best places to live in the US (1).jpg

Featured image

Alt-tag: A bridge in Jacksonville

Residents of Jacksonville understand why it's such a popular moving destination for numerous folks. Some of the top reasons people consider moving to Jacksonville are its stable economy, great weather, affordable housing, and highly-ranked schools. Thus, it's no wonder Jacksonville was ranked as one of the best places to live in the US. 


J-ville is the most populous city in Florida, and there's room for everyone in the housing and job market. So, if you want to find out why moving to Jacksonville is a great idea, keep reading.

Things to know about one of the best places to live in the US - Jacksonville

If you are planning a long-distance move to Jacksonville, you'll be glad to learn this city has a different feel than NYC or LA. Living here allows you to have a slower pace and enjoy every moment. In addition, a place where you can own a home, have a job, and raise kids is the perfect place for relocation with your family


So, without further ado, let's take a look at some of the top reasons why starting a life here is an excellent idea.

Stable economy and job opportunities

One of the most common reasons people choose Jacksonville is its economic health and different job opportunities. Some of the city's biggest employers are:


  • Jhonson&Jhonson
  • Aetna
  • Fidelity Investments
  • Deutsche Bank
  • Mayo Clinic
  • JP Morgan Chase
  • Jacksonville Port Authority
  • growing tech sector
  • military base

two people handshaking because of a new job opportunity in one of the best places to live in the US

Caption: The possibility of landing a good job in Jacksonville is very high.

Alt-tag: Two people shaking hands because of a new job opportunity

The city's job market is continually rising by 14%. Therefore, it's completely reasonable why the job market is expected to grow by 44% in the next 10 years. 

The cost of living is below the national average 

You will be glad to find out that the living costs in Jacksonville are pretty reasonable and around 10% lower than the national average.

two hands holding a dollar bank note

Caption: Both healthcare and groceries in J-ville are lower than the national and state average.

Alt-tag: Hands holding a dollar bill


So, if you are planning on relocating this winter to one of the best places to live in the US, you should make a plan according to your financial health and goals. The good news is that living in Jacksonville doesn't cost a fortune, and finding a job won't be a difficult task here.

Affordability of housing

Another major factor that draws people here is the affordability of housing. Houses are moderately affordable for all employed folks. So, whether you'd like to purchase a more affordable home in the suburbs, live downtown, or by the beach, the good news is there's a place here for everyone's preferences and budget.

a neighborhood in Jacksonville

Caption: Jacksonville housing prices are 17% lower than the national average.

Alt-tag: A neighborhood in Jacksonville as one of the best places to live in the US

Prime location

It's a fact that Jacksonville, FL, is in a perfect location. It offers easy access to the major hubs in the South, like Atlanta, Savannah, Orlando, Charleston.


Another geographical advantage of Jacksonville is that it's located slightly away from the cost. This results in the city not suffering direct hurricane impacts and its residents enjoying the Florida lifestyle. 

Home to beautiful beaches

Jacksonville is one of the best places to live in the US because of its abundance of beaches. So, if you are a beach lover and enjoy the feeling of sand between your toes, Jacksonville could be the perfect place for you. 


J-ville beaches offer surfing, kayaking, boating, and piers. Along with that, each beach has its own vibe and distinct feel. If you are an ocean lover, here are the must-visit beaches:


  • Neptune beach - suburban beach perfect for families;
  • Jacksonville beach - where you can enjoy long walks and learn how to surf;
  • Amelia Island - a beach with beautiful wildlife and some of the top-rated resorts and golf courses;
  • Ponte Verda Beach - offers luxurious golf courses and has some of the highest dunes in FL;
  • Atlantic Beach - a pretty clean and laid-back beach.

Rich cultural life

Another trait of this city is that it has numerous theaters, cinemas, music venues, and performing art centers. So, if you fancy attending cultural events, there will be a lot to choose from in Jacksonville.


Two of the most significant annual happenings are the Jacksonville Jazz Festival and Jacksonville Film Festival. Other cultural attractions are the Great Atlantic Seafood and Music Festival, Jacksonville Art Walk, Riverside Arts Market, and Jacksonville Museum of Science and History.

Abundance of activities

The residents of this city, sometimes known as Jaxons, enjoy are a wide array of outdoor activities. The number one activity is spending time at the beach. This doesn't just mean tanning and swimming, but also kayaking, surfing, paddle boating, diving, fishing, and exploring wonderful shores.


Other activities you can add to your bucket list are the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, Little Talbot Island State Park, TIAA Bank Field (Home of the Jacksonville Jaguars), Fort Clinch State Park, Top Golf Jacksonville, St. Johns Town Centre, etc


a park in Jacksonville

Caption: Jacksonville is one of the best places to live in the US because of its large urban parks.

Alt-tag: A park in Jacksonville

Highly rated schools

Finally, if you plan on raising kids here, Jacksonville education won't disappoint you.


The top-ranking schools are Nassau, St. Johns, Clay, Duval, to name a few. Additionally, Jacksonville is home to several state and private 4-year colleges, such as Florida State College, University of North Florida, Jacksonville University, First Coastal Technical University, and St. Johns River State College.

Final thoughts on Jacksonville being one of the best places to live in the US

As you can see, Jacksonville is one of the best places to live in the US for many reasons. Numerous activities, growing job opportunities, and affordable living costs make moving here a smart decision. So, be sure to contact us to help you find the perfect home for you and your family.


Meta description: If you are wondering about the best places to live in the US, stay tuned to learn why moving to Jacksonville is a good idea!

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Tips for Long-Distance Apartment Hunting
Tanya Douglas
Tips for Long-Distance Apartment Hunting

Tips for long-distance apartment hunting

Alt: A person looking for apartments for rent online

Searching for a new place to live is not an easy endeavor. Add the distance to the equation, and you get a massive source of headaches. However, long-distance apartment hunting is far from impossible with proper preparation and a solid plan. The goal is to make the entire process, from picking the destination of your new home to transporting your belongings into it, as smooth and stress-free as possible. And to achieve that, we have a set of advice that will help you avoid making a mistake and point you in the right direction.

Research potential neighborhoods and narrow down your options

When moving to a new city, it's essential that you employ your trusted friend, Google, and thoroughly research the neighborhoods. The excellent news is that the Internet offers numerous forums and similar resources where you can find valuable information about anything you need and is of particular interest to you. Here are some points to consider when researching different neighborhoods:

  • Crime rates. Regardless of whether you are moving by yourself or with a family, safety should be your primary concern.
  • Family-friendly activities and amenities. If you are moving with kids, it's important to find an area with plenty of parks, playgrounds, and fun activities.
  • the school district - again, if you have children, you must know what education options for them there are
  • Commute time. When researching different areas, it's essential to consider how far your job from your home would be. That will tell you how much time the daily commute will take.
  • Public transportation. Check where the nearest subway station or a bus stop is. See how well-connected the neighborhood is to other parts of the city and the downtown. 
  • Cafes and restaurants. If the ability to dine out without traveling too much is important to you, be sure to research what options there are.
  • Nearest hospitals and grocery stores. It's crucial to know you can quickly pop out to get what you need. And it's vital to know where to go if you need medical help. Health and safety are the most critical concerns when searching for a home.
  • Other important facilities. Every person and family has unique needs and priorities. Thus, make sure you know what they are and factor them in when you begin your search and research.

Why is it important to narrow down your neighborhood options?

Finally, spend some time reading other people's reviews, comments, and stories from the neighborhood. Residents are the best people to tell you about the vibe of the area and its quality of life. Of course, nothing beats going to the place and seeing it for yourself. Still, some research will help you cover the basics and narrow down your search.

Narrowing down your options is essential because it will help you find a perfect apartment much faster. It may sound counterintuitive, but if you look at available apartments all over the city, you will have a much harder time finding a suitable place. Moreover, the neighborhood you pick will influence other financial aspects of your long-distance apartment hunting, such as rent and taxes. 

Know what you want but be flexible

After you know where you want to live, it's necessary to figure out what you need from the apartment. Knowing what you want will help you narrow down your apartment search. You won't waste time on places that don't suit your needs. Therefore, decide how big an apartment you need and how many bedrooms and bathrooms it must have. Do you need an open-plan design? Also, think about the commute time and amenities you need nearby. Finally, or perhaps this should have been the first point, set your budget.

Ultimately, you have to create a list of must-haves. These will be the criteria that you will not compromise on. Everything else will be nice-to-haves. That is the flexibility you must offer regardless of whether you are looking for an apartment long-distance or in your own time.

The budget issue

You must have a budget set because moving to a different city demands other expenses besides the rent. And the most significant ones are relocation costs. Moving is a complex task when you are going to a place just around the corner. And moving long-distance is a whole other ballpark. Thus, it's always best to do it with the help of professional movers. So, if, for instance, you plan to relocate from Miami to Jacksonville, find a moving crew that will ensure everything goes without a hitch. Check how much the relocation will cost and factor it into your budget. 

Consider hiring a real estate agent

Hiring a real estate agent is really helpful when long-distance apartment hunting. They will be your eyes and your ears. Perhaps they will also know about apartments that have not yet made it to the renting adverts. Also, agents know the city where you are moving to well. So, they can help you find the perfect neighborhood for you, too. 

Check out virtual tours

Covid-19 had a substantial negative impact on the real estate industry initially. However, if there is one good thing that came out of it, it's virtual tours. The pandemic has considerably accelerated the growth of this type of showings and has actually made apartment hunting easier. So, if you can't visit the place yourself, virtual tours are an excellent solution.

If you have hired an agent, they can walk you through potential apartments while on a video call. It is a much better option than viewing the photographs and gives you a better feel of the place.

Try to plan an apartment hunting trip

As you can see, it's possible to rent an apartment long-distance. You can check listings online, apply online, and virtual tours will come near actually visiting the place. However, it is still best to see the city yourself. So, if at all possible, plan for a weekend apartment hunting trip to ensure everything is just as advertised.

If you decide to do so, make sure you schedule as many showings as you can possibly fit in your short visit. Take many photos of each apartment and ask as many questions as you want. Also, write notes about each apartment. These steps are necessary because seeing so many places in a short span of time will make them all blend together. 

Be ready to sign a lease while you are there

It may be best to have all the necessary paperwork ready when you schedule your visit so you can sign the lease if you find an apartment you like. So, prepare previous landlord recommendations, paystubs, and everything else you may need. 

Long-distance apartment hunting is not a nightmare

With some research and good preparation, your long-distance apartment hunting experience will be much more pleasant. If you follow the tips we have given you, you will realize that it doesn't differ much from searching for a new home in your city. It all starts with you knowing what you need and want. 

Meta: Long-distance apartment hunting may seem like an impossible task. However, some research and good preparation will make it go smoothly and quickly. 

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Most Popular Jacksonville Neighborhoods for Millennials
East Coast Haul
Most Popular Jacksonville Neighborhoods

Most Popular Jacksonville, FL Neighborhoods for Millennials

Most popular Jacksonville, FL neighborhoods for millennials
Featured image
Alt-tag: Most popular Jacksonville, FL neighborhoods for Millennials.

More and more people every year decide to settle in Florida. With its beautiful beaches, friendly neighborhoods, sunny weather, and exquisite lifestyle, this doesn't surprise at all. Young professionals often choose Miami because of its booming job market and exciting night lift. On the other hand, millennials usually look for a more tranquil environment. That's why Jacksonville, FL is on top of their lists. Besides the warm weather and white sand beaches, this city offers lower costs of living, many local businesses, and a vibrant downtown scene. Therefore, Jacksonville is the perfect place whether you're looking for a new job opportunity or you're ready to start a family and live that quiet suburban life. So, let's check out the most popular Jacksonville, FL neighborhoods for millennials and see what they have to offer!


Riverside is one of the most popular Jacksonville, FL neighborhoods for millennials, and it's one of the oldest ones as well. It dates back to the early 20th century, so it's no surprise that its historic charm attracts many residents. With its early 20th century homes and contemporary apartment complexes, this neighborhood is the perfect combination of old and new. It offers a suburban lifestyle bustling with a ton of urban amenities. Additionally, residents of Riverside are proud of the neighborhoods' diversity, which makes it so desirable.

If you decide to live in Riverside, you'll be surrounded by amazing architecture and a lot of greenery and parks. The best part about this neighborhood is that it's walkable, so you'll have the opportunity to explore it on foot. You won't have a problem finding places to sit down and relax with a nice cup of coffee and a lovely meal as Riverside is packed with cute little coffee shops, restaurants, food trucks, and bars.  As a plus, Riverside is excellent for those millennials who are working hard on their career since it's only a short commute away from Jacksonville's business area.

Besides all this, many people choose Riverside because of its low median rent. However, with today's housing market trends, more and more people are able to buy their first homes. 

San Marco

The second most popular neighborhood in Jacksonville, FL for millennials is San Marco. If you're yearning for Italy, San Marco is the perfect neighborhood for you. Built in the 1920s, San Marco mimics classic Italian piazzas, and the "The Lions" fountain at the center of this beautiful neighborhood makes the perfect meeting spot with your friends. As a plus, it's surrounded by exquisite art galleries, fine dining restaurants, and trendy boutiques. Additionally, San Marco is Jacksonville's hub for art and culture, so its residents can enjoy some amazing evening shows and fantastic exhibitions.

Oh, and don't worry - you'll be able to wear some pretty uncomfortable fashionable pieces as everything is within walking distance. Therefore, no need for comfortable shoes that don't go with your fancy outfit!

With its energizing and vibrant atmosphere, the neighborhood of San Marco leaves a huge impression on everybody who visits. And just imagine living here - amazing!


If you thought only NYC has a Brooklyn, think again. Florida has one as well, and it's one of the most popular Jacksonville, FL neighborhoods for millennials. Brooklyn is especially attractive to young professionals as it's in the center of the city's business district. Therefore, people can have a relaxing walk to their office instead of being stuck in the rush hour every day.

One of the things that set aside Brooklyn from the rest of Jacksonville's neighborhoods is its location. It's well situated along the banks of the local river. The long Northbank Riverwalk is only a few steps from your door and is the ideal spot for a morning walk or jog.

Additionally, the architecture of Brooklyn is mesmerizing, and it makes every stroll down the neighborhood entertaining. You can even treat yourself in one of Jacksonville's famous restaurants here in Brooklyn. 

Jacksonville Beach

If you're into the laid-back, beach lifestyle, then Jacksonville Beach is an ideal neighborhood for you. You come here for palm trees and sandy beaches but stay for an energetic atmosphere. With many fun music and art festivals, cultural gatherings, fantastic restaurants, and world-class shopping, you will never be bored.

When everyday life overwhelms you, there is nothing better than relaxing by the ocean or drinking coffee with the view of the incredible sunset. You will get to enjoy all this if you choose this amazing neighborhood.

Now, you may think living by the beach might be out of your price range. However, the real estate market of Jacksonville, FL offers a wide range of housing opportunities. Simply put, there is something for everybody's budget. So, whether you're looking to settle down with your family or you simply want a rental, you'll definitely find something.

Make your new Jacksonville house feel like home

Once you move to one of these Jacksonville, FL neighborhoods, you'll probably need some time to adjust to it. Luckily, there are a few tricks to make it homier for a short amount of time. The first thing you should do to make your new place feel like home is cozy it up with some family pictures and comfy blankets. Additionally, put out some plants and clean it well. Make your bed just like you're used to. Drink coffee from your favorite mug every morning, and make your favorite breakfast. Little things like this will definitely help you embrace your new home sooner than you think.

Final thoughts

Jacksonville, FL is a beautiful place for millennials who want to live in an exciting and bustling city full of opportunities but without all that rush. As you can see, all these neighborhoods are unique, but they all have something for everybody, from the lively art scene, fine dining restaurants, and world-class shopping, to fun music festivals and amazing fun on the beach. So, whichever one of these most popular Jacksonville, FL neighborhoods for millennials you choose, you won't regret the decision. One thing is for sure; you'll have the time of your life here in Jacksonville, FL!


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Meta Description: If you’re ready for a new home in Florida, keep reading to learn about the most popular Jacksonville, FL neighborhoods for millennials. 

6 signs it’s time to replace your HVAC system
Tanya Douglas
6 signs it’s time to replace your HVAC system

6 signs it’s time to replace your HVAC system


Alt: An air-conditioning unit leaking and freezing due to malfunctioning, one of the six signs it's time to replace your HVAC system.

In states like Florida, an HVAC system is a necessity in any household or office. High levels of humidity foster mold formation, while high temperatures can cause dehydration in people, sometimes resulting in severe consequences or even death. These units efficiently regulate temperatures and increase your overall mood. However, after some time, you might notice that the unit does not operate correctly anymore. Whatever the reason may be, there are two possible solutions. First, you can call someone to do the maintenance. And second, you can purchase a new unit. Even though buying a new unit may seem expensive at first, you must consider that your electricity bills will be lower, especially if you opt for an energy-efficient one. Thus, in the long run, a new unit will actually save you money. To help you save money and time, here are six signs it's time to replace your HVAC system.

1. Your HVAC system is making funny noises

We have all experienced this at one point. You click the button on the controller, the unit starts to work, but it emits unusual noises, like loud humming, clapping, etc. If you notice this, be careful when using the unit. Test it for some time, and if the noise is consistent, it is best to replace it. Otherwise, it may lead to unnecessary expenses, trying to fix something that will keep happening again.

This issue usually happens when there is a problem with loose or worn-out parts. Even if you fix the problem temporarily, chances are you won't be able to avoid the part replacement. At that point, it is better to get a new system. You can find many quality companies that sell residential HVAC systems.

2. The energy bill is higher and higher every month

If your energy bill starts to rise substantially every month, that's a serious red flag. This is an even more significant issue if the HVAC system is in an office. Increased home bill is one thing, but a high company bill is a horse of another color. If you don’t use your HVAC for a while, humidity can cause your wood floors to bend, plaster on the walls may crack, and we have already mentioned the danger of mold growth. Therefore, since you can't afford to turn the HVAC off for an extended period of time, the best way to deal with this issue affordably is to look for licensed mechanical contractors that sell commercial HVAC systems, and that can install the unit in your office.

3. The temperature is uneven

If you notice that the HVAC unit is working inconsistently, and the place is too hot and then too cold, that means the unit is getting older. Sometimes you could try to repair it or change the filters. However, no number of repairs will fix old age. It is simply more efficient to get a new one. Who knows, that might give you wings to spruce up the rest of your place and give a new look to your household.

4. Are you calling the maintenance person every few weeks?

If the answer is yes, then it's time to get a new HVAC system. You will save yourself a bunch of trouble, stress, and unnecessary expenses.

5. The HVAC system is emitting an unpleasant smell

Honestly, there is nothing worse than when you want to cool yourself down or warm up the room to fight high temperatures, and the HVAC system emits this awful, dusty or moldy smell. You can't really turn it off because the idea is to balance the temperature, but the smell is just unbearable.

When this happens, you need to replace the filters and make sure you do it as often as your unit requires. Some units will need to have filters replaced monthly, and others will need new filters every three months. This will depend on the type of unit you have, as well as the kind of filters. Also, it may be necessary to blow out the system. The smell may appear if you didn't use the unit for a long time as well.

However, if you replace the filters and the issue happens again soon, the refrigerant might be leaking, or there could be too much moisture inside.

6. Your circuit breaker trips when you turn on the HVAC system

Finally, if you turn on the HVAC system and your circuit breaker trips, that is a sign the there is too much electricity flowing through it, or it cannot handle the current load. If you have never had this issue, and it has just started to occur any time you turn on the unit repeatedly, that's a clear sign that the heating system is faulty. In this case, know that you cannot repair it permanently.

How does COVID-19 affect HVAC systems?

The Coronavirus pandemic substantially changed our lives. All industries are finding ways to continue to do business while protecting employees. Because of the danger that COVID-19 exposed, new technologies are being developed - improved systems that will have built-in protection against a dangerous virus, now and in any future event.

Per CDC, air ventilation and filtration are good ways to prevent the virus from spreading. It is another important reason why you need to pay special attention to how your HVAC system works. Any malfunctioning can reduce the efficiency of your unit to ventilate the rooms properly.

If getting a new HVAC unit, you need to look for those that use HEPA or high-MERV filters. They increase the clean air delivery rate. Furthermore, they should have precise temperature and humidity control systems.

Another essential piece of advice is to let the unit run 24/7, especially if it's located in a public place like schools, public halls, and other sites where people pass all the time.

Additional features you should look for in your new HVAC unit are:

  • Increased outdoor ventilation;
  • Precise control of the vapor pressure;
  • Increased filtration system.

A few closing words

Let's do a quick summary that will help you recognize when the time comes to replace your HVAC system:

  • Recurring funny noises are a sign that there might be damaged, loose, or worn-out parts.
  • A sudden increase in your monthly utility bills is a sign that there is something wrong with energy consumption.
  • Uneven temperature and frequent situations where the unit suddenly turns off is another reason to be worried.
  • If you are trying to repair the unit every few days or weeks;
  • There is horrible odor coming out of the HVAC system;
  • If the circuit breaker trips as soon as you turn on the unit;
  • Consider the current situation with COVID-19, and make sure that your HVAC unit is following the latest requirements for air circulation and ventilation;
  • If needed, purchase a more advanced unit that lets you control all of the operations more precisely;
  • If the units are located in a public place with a high circulation of people, let them run 24/7, to reduce the chances of airborne virus transmission.

6 signs it's time to replace your HVAC system delivered

And there you have it. Be on guard for these six signs it's time to replace your HVAC system and save yourself a lot of trouble, unnecessary expenses, and stressful situations. Act quickly and improve your living space today! On the other hand, if you are a property owner with too many daily obligations, you might want to consider delegating some tasks to a professional property management company. They will maintain your rental units and address any issues that come up, swiftly and efficiently, so don’t hesitate to reach out!



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Healty & Safety
Old Republic Home Warranty

Health & Safety

Stay Healthy Through the New Year

It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle of the holidays and skip your normal self-care
routine. Don’t wait until January to make your health a priority. Follow these healthy tips
to take better care of yourself now and you’ll be happier in the New Year!
Protect yourself and others from illness.

The CDC recommends annual flu vaccines for everyone age 6 months and up. Wash
hands with soap often to help prevent the spread of germs.
Avoid dehydration by drinking plenty of water throughout
the day. Try to limit alcohol consumption. If you’re
drinking, alternate with a glass of water between cocktails.
Plan your winter workouts. The busier you are, the easier it is
to put off exercising. Modify your existing routine to avoid skipping
out altogether.

Eat well whenever possible. It’s okay to indulge once in a while, but
don’t use the holidays as an excuse to throw a healthy diet out the window.
Manage stress the best you can. If the pressures of the holidays have you feeling blue,
take a moment to relax!

Get some rest no matter how busy you are. Try to get eight hours of sleep at night and
avoid waking up early or staying up late to fit more into your day

Best Move Out Checklist for Landlords | Property Management in Jacksonville, FL
Property Management Education

The best move out checklist for landlords will closely resemble the checklist that’s used during the move in process. The idea is to compare the condition of your home before the tenants moved in and after they have vacated. This will be a crucial document when it comes to determining whether the full security deposit will be returned to the tenant or part of it will be withheld to pay for damages.

Moving In

Your move out checklist starts when a tenant moves in. Go through the property and note its condition in detail. Take a lot of pictures and don’t leave anything out. You want to document every room, each floor, the walls, the appliances, the closets, and the ceilings. Capture the condition of the paint, whether there are any visible scratches, and if something looks old or worn. Give your tenants the opportunity to contribute to this inspection report, and then make sure you and your tenants sign the move in checklist so everyone agrees on the condition of the home at move in.

Document Ongoing Maintenance

Throughout the lease term, keep careful records of any maintenance that’s performed at the property. Document anything that is fixed or replaced, and keep track of any problems that the tenants continue to have with appliances or systems. When you inspect the property, or send a contractor over to do work, make notes on how the home looks and whether there is any reason to be concerned about how a tenant is caring for it.

Moving Out

When tenants give notice of their intent to move out at the end of the lease, follow up immediately with your acknowledgement as well as a list of things they need to do before leaving. That might include cleaning requirements, returning keys, and replacing things like air filters, light bulbs, and smoke detector batteries. After the tenants and their belongings have been moved out, you need to go through the property with your move in checklist. Make notes and take pictures so you can see if anything has been damaged or changed. There is bound to be normal wear and tear, which you cannot charge the security deposit for. Small nail holes in the walls and scuff marks where furniture was placed will need to be allowed. However, if you notice torn carpet, large holes in your walls, or a filthy refrigerator that has rotting food in it, you can charge the tenant’s deposit for the cost of taking care of these items.

A good move out process starts when a tenant signs the lease. If you have any questions about this or anything pertaining to property management in Jacksonville, FL, please contact us at Heth Realty.

How to Be a Good Landlord | Jacksonville Property Management Tips
Property Management Education

When you want to keep great tenants in your property for the long-term and protect its condition, you must know how to be a good landlord. Being a good landlord doesn’t mean you’ll develop a personal friendship with your tenants or let them get away with whatever they want. It means being consistent, fair, and responsive.


Good Landlords Communicate

Communication is critical, and a good landlord will communicate well with tenants, vendors and contractors, as well as HOAs and other public officials. Make sure you are available and responsive. When you’re signing the lease with your tenant, go over it in detail. Let your tenants know what they will be responsible for and what you expect during the term of the tenancy. Answer any questions and provide your contact information so they know how to reach you, especially in emergencies. Keep in touch with your tenants. You don’t have to bother them, but you can send them reminders to change their air filters or check in via email to see if things are going well.

Good Landlords Have Procedures

Tenants perform best when they know what to expect. Good landlords will have consistent policies and procedures in place, and they will follow them. If you attach a late fee to rental payments that aren’t in by the third of the month, for example, make sure you collect that fee. You have to follow the terms of the lease, and you need to let your tenants know that you’re serious about what you’ve said. If you promise to respond to all maintenance requests within 24 hours, make sure you do that. When you say you’re going to schedule a property inspection every six months, make sure you show up for it.

Good Landlords are Fair

When a responsible tenant runs into trouble one month and is late with rent, a good landlord will be understanding. You can still serve the three-day notice and require that the late fee be paid, but you can also make an arrangement that will help the tenant catch up. If a tenant requests new carpet or an upgraded appliance, be willing to hear their reasons. Maybe you can offer it in exchange for a lease renewal. When it’s time to renew the lease and the rental market is competitive, consider not raising the rent on a tenant who is following the lease terms, paying rent on time, and maintaining the home. Tenants will appreciate the fair treatment they receive from you, and it will encourage them to stay longer.

These are just a few tips on how to be a good landlord. We can help you with a lot of other ideas, so please don’t hesitate to contact us at Heth Realty for all your Jacksonville property management needs.

Rental Property Maintenance: How to Avoid Unexpected Costs with Preventative Care in Jacksonville, FL
Rental Property Maintenance in Jacksonville

Rental property maintenance will be required on your investment home even if it’s new and in excellent condition when you buy it. To keep costs from growing out of control, you need to stay on top of preventative maintenance so that small problems don’t become gigantic issues with never-ending price tags. Reign in your maintenance budget with these tips.


Start with a Clean, Functioning Property

When you hand the keys over to your tenant, make sure you are providing a home that is clean, well-cared for, and functional. You should always conduct a move-in inspection prior to the tenant taking occupancy, and while you’re doing that inspection you can check to make sure that everything works. Show the tenants how to change the air filters, reset the garbage disposal, and turn off the water supply. Providing a home that’s in excellent condition will set the standard for how you expect the property to be returned.

Respond Immediately to Repair Requests

When you receive a request from your tenants for maintenance work, respond immediately. It might sound like an issue that isn’t too serious, but you still want to get over to the property to have a look. Not only will this responsiveness keep your tenants happy, it will also provide you with an opportunity to check the property. A dripping faucet or a toilet that won’t flush will allow you to check for leaks throughout the house, for example. Make sure your tenants know how to make a repair request, and encourage them to share any concerns with you promptly.

Schedule Regular Inspections and Service

In Florida, the air conditioning system in your home will run almost all year long. It’s important to have that cooling system serviced and inspected annually by an HVAC professional. Have your roof and gutters cleaned and checked annually, especially before hurricane season. Put together a schedule of preventative maintenance items and stick to it. These might seem like rental property costs that you don’t need, but spending a couple hundred dollars is better than having something malfunction. If you have to replace your air conditioning system, you’ll be spending thousands.

Keep your maintenance costs low by taking care of minor problems and inspecting your home whenever possible. Having good tenants in place will also help you with caring for the property, so think about your preventative maintenance plans when you’re screening as well. If you have any questions about repairs or Jacksonville property management, please contact us at Heth Realty.

Tenant Screening in Jacksonville: Advice for Finding a Good Tenant


Tenant Screening Tips in Jacksonville, FL

Finding a good tenant for your rental property will determine whether you are a successful landlord or one who is constantly dealing with frustrations and disputes. The tenant screening process is an important way to separate the highly qualified tenants from those you’d be better without. Make sure you have a thorough and consistent process in place, and if you don’t – contact a property manager.

Providing an Application

Your screening process starts with a thorough application. Most tenants prefer to apply online because it’s fast, efficient, and easy. Make sure you use an application that has been reviewed by a property manager or comes from a reputable organization that supports landlords and property owners. It should gather all the necessary information and provide you with permission to conduct a background check, a criminal check, and a credit check.

Screening Criteria – Credit

Pulling a credit report is always necessary, but don’t focus too much on the credit score. What you’re really looking for is the credit history, so you can see whether this applicant pays bills on time or just lets them slide. You want to be careful of any tenant who has judgments pending from lawsuits or a lot of debt that isn’t being paid. Always check for past evictions.

Screening Criteria – Employment and Income

A good tenant is gainfully employed, and can provide an employer reference. You also want to verify how much income is earned. Generally, you’re looking for someone who earns at least three times the monthly rent. So, if you rent your property for $1,200 per month, you are looking for a tenant or tenants who earn at least $3,600 per month. Validate the income by speaking with the employer, looking at pay stubs, or collecting bank statements or tax records.

Screening Criteria – Landlord References

Talking to current and former landlords is an important part of the tenant screening process. This is the best opportunity you have to find out what kind of tenant your applicant has been in the past. Verify that the applicant did live there, and then ask how much rent was paid, whether it was paid on time, and if any damage was left behind after vacancy. You can ask if the security deposit was refunded and whether there were any pets or lease violations.

If you have questions about tenant screening or anything pertaining to property management in Jacksonville, please contact us at Heth Realty.

The Importance of Florida Landlord Tenant Law | Property Management Advice
Landlord Tenant Law

One of the best reasons to work with a Jacksonville property management company is so that you’ll have access to an expert in Florida landlord tenant law. If you’re not current on the local and state laws, you’re putting your rental property at risk and exposing yourself to a lot of liability from tenants and other parties.

Rights and Responsibilities

The Florida Landlord Tenant Act provides all the information you need on what you’re responsible for as a landlord and rental property owner. It also lists the tenant’s rights and responsibilities while living in your property. It includes the requirement that landlords provide a safe and habitable home and that tenants pay rent on time according to their lease. You should use this law for guidance when you’re screening tenants, signing leases, and conducting inspections throughout the term of the tenancy.

Handling Tenant Disputes

If a dispute arises with a tenant, you’ll need to refer to your lease first. You’ll also want to consult the landlord tenant laws so you know how to proceed without violating the law or falling out of compliance. Some of the most common areas of conflict include security deposits, tenant damage, and lease violations such as unauthorized pets or people.

The Benefits of Professional Management

Professional property managers spend a lot of time educating themselves on the details involved in all Florida laws pertaining to landlords, tenants, and rental properties. We keep up with changes in the law, and we partner with attorneys, insurance professionals, and tax accountants to make sure that you and your property are protected. Trying to manage your own home without understanding the Landlord Tenant Act is a dangerous enterprise. A single and unintentional mistake can have consequences that may cost you thousands of dollars. Whether you violate a fair housing law with your marketing materials, take too long fixing an important repair, or neglect to return a security deposit on time, you can be taken to court and forced to pay punitive damages. Work with someone who knows the laws so you don’t have to know them yourself.

If you have any questions about how to stay out of legal trouble, please contact us at Heth Realty. We’d be happy to tell you more.

What is the Eviction Process in Jacksonville, FL? Property Management Education
Tenant Eviction


Eviction Process in Jacksonville Explained

Your best chance at avoiding tenant evictions is to thoroughly screen your applicants so you are sure to place a resident who is responsible and has never been evicted before. However, even good tenants can run into financial problems that may cause them to stop paying rent. The eviction process in Jacksonville, Florida is fairly straightforward. However, you must follow it carefully or risk spending more time and money than is necessary.

Serve a Three-Day Notice

As soon as rent is late, you should try to contact your tenant to find out if there’s a problem. Don’t waste too much time chasing your tenants down, however. Immediately serve the Three-Day Notice so you don’t stall the eviction process. The notice must state the amount that is owed, and the date that it is due before further action is taken. Serve this to your tenants directly, post it on the door, or send it via mail. If you send it by mail, you must add five days before you can move forward.

Filing a Complaint in Court

It’s possible that your tenants will pay what they owe within that three-day period. It’s unlikely that they will vacate the residence. If you don’t hear from them at all, your next step is to file for the eviction in court. You’ll need to go to the courthouse in the county where your rental property is located. You’ll get a hearing date, and the tenant will be served with a copy of your complaint. The tenants will have five days to respond to that compliant, and then both parties will show up for the eviction hearing. Make sure you bring all your documentation to that hearing, including the lease, your Three-Day Notice, and any accounting records that demonstrate what is owed.

Removing the Tenants

If you can prove that your tenants are in violation of their lease, the court will set a date that the tenants need to vacate the property. At that point, you can receive possession of the home, and begin getting it ready for new tenants. Sometimes, tenants don’t leave by the required date. In that case, you’ll need to contapixact the sheriff to physically remove the tenants and their belongings.

A Jacksonville property management company can help you navigate this legal process and prepare you to find and screen a better tenant. If you have any problems with tenants who aren’t paying, or questions about how to evict, please contact us at Heth Realty.

Rental Property Maintenance 101 | Tips for Property Management in Jacksonville, Florida
Rental Maintenance

Rental Property Maintenance 101 | Tips for Property Management in Jacksonville, FloridaRental property maintenance is part of being a landlord, and it’s a cost that you need to factor into your long term investment budget. Most maintenance and repair work falls into one of three categories; preventative, annual, and emergency maintenance. Make sure your tenants know exactly how to report issues to you, and be prompt about fixing the things that need attention in your home.


Managing Preventative Maintenance

The best way to keep your house maintenance costs low is by taking care of preventative maintenance. When you handle a small problem, you’re keeping it from becoming a large problem. For example, when a tenant reports that a sink is leaking, get a handyman over there to address the leak immediately. If you don’t, you’ll have water damage and maybe mold to deal with later on. Check for preventative maintenance issue when you’re inspecting your property and getting it ready for a new tenant. When you stay on top of these repairs, you save money.

Managing Annual Maintenance

Annual maintenance is also an important way to keep your repair costs low and your investment property in excellent condition. Air conditioning is critical in Jacksonville, because it’s very hot for most of the year. So have your cooling system serviced at least once a year. Clean out the gutters, and have your plumbing and electrical systems inspected. Setting up a schedule for annual maintenance will keep you on track and alert you to any potential problems that could become expensive.

Managing Emergency Maintenance

When you have the benefit of professional property management in Jacksonville, Florida, you don’t have to worry about emergency maintenance. Your property manager will take care of any anything that happens unexpectedly. If you don’t have a property manager, make sure you’re responsive to your tenants, even if it’s the middle of the night or a holiday weekend. Hot water heaters will explode, trees will fall through roofs and catastrophes will occur that need immediate attention. Without a property manager, you’ll need to be prepared to handle these stressful and chaotic situations at your rental property.

Using a Jacksonville property management company will ensure your maintenance and repair needs are taken care of swiftly and affordably. Your professional manager will know when to dispatch a handyman for a quick fix, and when a licensed and insured contractor is necessary to tackle a larger project. If you have any questions about handling maintenance at your rental property, or property management in Jacksonville generally, please contact us at Heth Realty.

Rent Collection Rules of Thumb | Policy Advice for Jacksonville Landlords
Rent Collection

Rent Collection Rules of Thumb | Policy Advice for Jacksonville LandlordsOne of the biggest mistakes that many landlords make is that they are reactive instead of proactive when it comes to collecting rent. Jacksonville property management companies like Heth Realty have the advantage of using rent collection software to make the process efficient, easy for the tenants, and successful in bringing in rent on time every month. When you’re collecting rent, be consistent and avoid letting payments slide because you want your tenants to like you.

Create a Consistent Rent Collection Policy

Your lease should indicate when rent is due, how much is due, and what the consequences are for late payments. When these expectations are clearly spelled out, your tenants cannot claim that they didn’t know where they were supposed to pay or when their payment was due. Enforce your rent collection policies and be consistent. If you let the rent come in late one month, you are essentially inviting your tenants to pay late every month. That’s not good for your relationship or your cash flow.

Treat Your Rental Property Like a Business

Sometimes owners will become friendly with their tenants, and then it gets awkward when you find yourself trying to collect late rent. Your tenant should not be your buddy. If you get emotionally invested in the relationship with your renters, it’s going to be difficult for you to run your rental property like a business. If you find that you cannot be professional and businesslike when it comes to dealing with your tenants and enforcing the rental due dates and late fees, you need to get professional property management in Jacksonville, Florida. A property manager can remove the emotional aspect of the relationship, and keep you out of the rent collection process entirely.

Have a Process for Collecting Past Due Rent

When rent is officially late, which means the due date and any grace period has come and gone, you need to immediately begin collecting past due rent. Send a letter, make a phone call, and do whatever your lease says you will do. If there’s a late fee associated, make sure you collect it. If you aren’t aggressive in collecting the rent that is owed, tenants will feel like they can take advantage of you, and you’ll be struggling to get the rent paid throughout the entire lease term.

We have an excellent process in place that ensures our landlords and property owners get their money on time every month. We use our rent collection software to track and accept online payments and implement a collection schedule when rent is late. If you’d like some Jacksonville property management help, please contact us at Heth Realty today.

Landlord Guide to Security Deposits | Jacksonville Property Management Education
Security Deposits

Florida landlords need to be very careful when it comes to handling the security deposits paid by their tenants. You need to know how much to charge for security deposits, where to hold it, what you can use that deposit for, and how quickly you need to return it at the end of the lease period. If you don’t have any experience with security deposits, talk to a Jacksonville property management company. Otherwise, you’re taking on a lot of unnecessary legal and financial liability.

How Much to Charge for Security Deposits

Most landlords charge the equivalent of one month’s rent when they are collecting a security deposit. If you have a tenant with pets, or your screening process has revealed that this tenant is more of a risk because of poor credit or property damage issues in the past, you might want to charge a little more. There is no limit to what you can charge according to Florida law, but don’t make the deposit so high that you discourage otherwise good tenants from renting your property.

Holding the Security Deposit

You are required to hold the security deposit in a Florida bank, separate from your other funds. You cannot let the tenant’s money co-mingle with your own, and you cannot use those funds for your own purposes. If you hold the money in an interest-bearing account, you need to report it to the state monthly and pay the accrued interest to your tenant annually and at the end of the lease term.

Security Deposit Timelines

When the tenant leaves your property in excellent condition and you plan to return the full security deposit, you need to do that within 15 days of the tenant moving out. If you’re going to keep some of the deposit to pay for damage or repairs, you’ll have to send the tenant written notification of that intent within 30 days of the tenant moving out. Explain why, and provide a detailed accounting. If you do not pay attention to these timelines and requirements, you will have to give back the full deposit, regardless of the damage that was left. This is an area where property management in Jacksonville, Florida can help you. If we fail to manage the security deposit return properly, we will pay it back to the tenant so your own funds are protected. As experienced property managers, we handle security deposits and tenant disputes all the time, so we’re confident we’ll get it right.  

If you have any questions about Jacksonville property management or how to collect security deposits, please contact us at Heth Realty. We’d be happy to tell you more.

How to Set the Right Rental Price | Property Management Jacksonville, Florida
Setting the Right Rental Price

How to Set the Right Rental Price | Property Management Jacksonville, FloridaPricing rental property correctly is critical to avoiding long vacancy times and finding a great tenant for your property. If you’re not sure how to determine rental price, be sure to seek some Jacksonville property management advice. Many landlords price their homes too high, and that results in the property sitting vacant on the market. An unrented property costs you rental income. Others price their homes too low, which also costs you money and gives you a lower return on your investment overall. A few things can be done to ensure you’re in a competitive and profitable rental range.

Conduct a Comparative Market Analysis

In order to price your property correctly, you need to know what other homes are renting for. This will require you to analyze the current rental market and compare your home to those that are also on the market. Look at properties in the same neighborhood as yours, and similar in size, amenities, and condition. It’s very important that you compare similar properties only. It doesn’t matter what the four-bedroom house with a swimming pool is renting for when you have a two bedroom on the market.

Finding Relevant Data

Not all landlords know where to look when they’re finding home prices. It’s a good idea to check Zillow and rental sites like it, but remember that what a property is listed for is not necessarily what it’s going to rent for. They might be overpriced, and you don’t want to use incorrect estimates. This is one area where professional property management in Jacksonville, Florida can help you. Property managers spend a lot of time studying the market so they can accurately price the homes they manage. They will know how to price your property so that it rents quickly to excellent tenants.

Utilize the Multiple Listing Service

Another great resource that’s only available to real estate agents and property managers is the Multiple Listing Service How to Set the Right Rental Price | Property Management Jacksonville, Florida(MLS). This will give you information that’s far more reliable than what you’ll find elsewhere on the Internet. You won’t have to worry about dated or delayed information that can be misleading. The MLS will give you a good idea of what tenants are willing to pay for a property like yours.

If you’re not sure how to set up a rental property and attach an accurate price to it, contact us at Heth Realty. We handle Jacksonville property management for owners and investors like you.

How to Get Your Home Rent Ready | Tips for Landlords in Jacksonville, Florida
Getting Rent Ready

Before you list your home for rent, you need to make sure it’s in excellent condition so that prospective tenants will see it as a desirable place to live. This is one of the most essential parts of Jacksonville property management. Make sure you take care of any necessary maintenance, create outstanding curb appeal, and have a plan to keep it in outstanding shape while you’re showing it to potential residents.


Professionally Clean Your Rental Home

The best way to rent out a house is to get it as clean as it can possibly be. This is going to require more than running a vacuum and wiping down counters. You want to hire a professional cleaning crew to make your property shine. If it’s vacant, make sure all debris and items that were left behind by previous tenants are removed, and have everything thoroughly cleaned. The carpets, floors, walls, appliances, and fixtures should all shine before you put your property on the market.

Make Any Necessary Repairs

When you’re trying to figure out how to lease out a house, you need to understand that tenants don’t want to walk into a property that still needs work. They want to see the finished product. This means you need to fix anything that is broken and take care of maintenance items that might have been put off or ignored. Check the appliances and the electrical system and have the air conditioning unit serviced. Clean out your gutters, test all the locks on the windows and doors, and make sure everything is in proper working order.

Take Care of Upgrades and Updates

A fresh coat of paint and a few upgrades in landscaping will do wonders for your curb appeal. Use this as a guide to renting your house: take a look at the property from the street and ask yourself if you’d be interested in going inside to look around. If the answer is no, you need to make some upgrades that will make your property appealing to renters. Keep your lawn cut, trim back the weeds and the bushes, and plant some colorful flowers near the front door. Making upgrades and updates to your home does not have to be expensive. There are some minor things you can do before you put it on the market, and it will help you rent the property quickly to high quality tenants.

Our team provides property management Jacksonville, FL landlords appreciate. If you have any questions, please contact us at Heth Realty. We know how to set up a rental property, and we’d be happy to help you get your investment home on the market.



6 Reasons to Work with Heth Realty | Professional Property Management Jacksonville, Florida

Heth Realty is a local company providing full service property management in Jacksonville, Florida. Today we’re sharing 6 reasons that you should consider working with us when you are looking for Jacksonville property management.

Access Our Knowledge and Experience

At Heth Realty, we have been providing outstanding property management to the Jacksonville area since 1970. We are a family-owned business familiar with the local market, and we understand what owners are looking for and what tenants need. When we manage your property, you can take advantage of all the knowledge, skills, and talents our team members have gathered over the years.

Leave all the Management Details to Us

Our team takes care of everything for you, from preparing the property for the market, determining the right price for the property, screening tenants, reviewing the lease, handling inspections and maintaining the home. We are the first point of contact for your tenants so you don’t need to worry about those phone calls in the middle of the night or while you’re on vacation.

Tenant Placement Services

If you’re an owner or a landlord who has the time and knowledge to handle the day to day management of your property, and you don’t need our full service option, we can work with you to place a high quality tenant who will pay rent on time and take care of your property. We are willing to customize our services to meet your needs.

Communication and Accessibility

We keep you informed of how your property is performing at all times. You’ll receive a report with your monthly rent, which explains all of the income and expenses associated with your property, as well as any maintenance or repair work that was required. If you have any questions, we always welcome you to call, email, or visit us at any time. We are in the office six days a week, and we maintain emergency contact information for tenants in case there’s a problem after hours.

Legal Knowledge and Protection

Our experience in rental home management services ensures we can keep your property compliant with all local, state, and federal laws. We know what is required under fair housing laws, and we can protect you through difficult situations such as evictions. Protecting your income and your asset is our highest priority.

Professional Affiliations and Leadership

At Heth Realty, we work closely with organizations like the National Association of Residential Property Managements (NARPM). Our affiliations with professional organizations allows us to stay up to date on all the changes in the property management business, and provides us with 12-1013 Heth Realty Logo Final_PMStools and resources that help us care for your property more efficiently.

If you’re looking for professional property management in Jacksonville, Florida, we hope you’ll contact us at Heth Realty. We’d love to tell you more about how we can help you.

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