St. Augustine Life

The most up to date information on the local St. Augustine real estate market and a place of reference for everything going on in St. Augustine, FL including top news stories and community events. 

Aug. 3, 2018

Why you need an agent when purchasing new construction


Why you need an agent when purchasing new construction


We all know that new construction is everywhere around us in St. Johns County. Just look on any street corner and you are sure to find new development in the area. Now more than ever its more important to work with a professional when considering a new construction purchase. 


Builder Reputation

As a full time agent that is working in the field 7 days a week I have many vendor connections as far as lenders and other industry professionals and word gets around when customers are not taken care of by certain service providers. 


With new construction there are many things that could go wrong. One of the biggest complaints I get with new construction is a builder delivering their promise on construction timeframes and completing the home when promised. Working with an agent can help you in guiding you with a builder who has a reputation and can get it done… and most importantly on time. 


Guide on you appropriate upgrades and Plan Modifications

One of the nice things about purchasing new constructions is that with most builders you will have the opportunity to pick out your upgrades and change plans to fit your needs. Having an experienced agent in your corner can assist you with picking out updates and additions that will add value to the home over the years and help you with the overwhelming choices you ill have while designing the home. The last thing you want to do is make specific changes that will cause a loss in future value when you may be potentially ready to sell down the road. 


Making sure the paperwork and the contract is all in order

When purchasing a new home the contracts can greatly differ than purchasing a re sale home. These contracts in most cases are written to protect the builders interest and can cause confusion if not working with an agent that is experienced with dealing with such contracts. Contingencies on binders and inspections among other things are some of the most important aspects of these contracts. 


Another thing to consider is the closing costs as they can vary vastly when purchasing new construction. In St. Johns count many of the customary seller closing costs are passed on to the buyer when purchasing a new home. Although this can be a cause for concern there are many advantages to buying new.. one example is closing cost incentives… many new home builders will provide the buyer with substantial closing cost incentives which is another reason an agent is so important in making sure you are aware and given those at the time of contract. 


The agent on site represents the builder, NOT YOU. 

The most important advice is that the agent on site represents the builders interest and not yours at the end of the day. You need someone looking out for your best interest, and the best part is that the builder covers the agent fees at closing so there is no cost to you for this representation. There are many things that need to be looked over when purchasing a new home from picking the builder, lot choice, upgrades and plan mods, contracts, and most of negotiating on your part. 

June 8, 2018

Buyers Leaning towards Location and Lifestyle in Recent Market News

Since the crash in 2006/07 buyers are now focusing their attention on more lifestyle and location choices when searching for a new home as opposed to larger home purchase or “mini mansion” dreams!


Buyers are now focusing their attention on 3 items when searching for a home in St. Augustine and St. Johns County:


  1. Location

  2. Lifestyle

  3. Maximization of Space

No longer are the days of the new first time homebuyer with dreams of the mini mansion or the biggest home in the neighborhood. Buyers are now focusing their attention on things like high tech smart home features, modern finishes, and ease of maintenance. Large communities have become the norm in the northern part of the county with many communities featuring elaborate amenities and recreational attractions. Buyer now value the lifestyle and time with family over the egotistical larger home as an extension of their net worth.


The dream of homeownership has shifted following the recession, Tommy Owings, president of Silverstone Residential, said in a recent NEFAR post. “The new buyer now appreciates a home that maximizes space with open great room plans and a place as a homeowner to live and grow within a healthy means.”


Posted in Buying
June 1, 2018

Tips For Retirees Who Are in the Market for a Vacation Home

Tips For Retirees Who Are In The Market For A Vacation Home



Photo via Pixabay by Annamos


Buying a vacation home is a huge investment, but it can pay off in a big way for retirees who are ready to live their best life. Whether you want to head south for the winter or just have a retreat in the woods for summertime fun, there are so many options out there--and lots to think about in the way of decisions. Not only are there lots of financial details, but buying a second home comes with quite a few responsibilities, not the least of which is the upkeep. 


Some people buy the home and then rent it out when they aren’t using it, which gives them some extra money to put toward the mortgage. Keep in mind that if this is the route you’re going to take, you’ll need to look into the insurance options available and, because you’ll in effect be a landlord, you’ll need to take on certain jobs to ensure your renters stay happy. 


For those who just want to enjoy their second home, there are fewer things to consider, but it’s still a big decision. Here are a few tips on how to get started.


Location is everything


The first thing you’ll want to consider is location. Your new vacation home may be gorgeous, but if it’s in a secluded area far away from the nearest town, it may become a hardship for you to find supplies, especially in the winter. If you’re going to rent it out, you’ll probably want it to be near shopping and restaurants for tourists. Think carefully about the kind of home you want and where it needs to be situated, and do some research on local listings to get a feel for the cost. For some great info on the median price of homes in the St. Augustine, Florida, area, click here.


Get your financials taken care of


The financial aspect of buying a second home can be confusing, so it’s best to talk to a real estate agent who can help you understand everything you need to know. Start by setting a budget, and make a decision about whether or not you want to rent it out. Keep in mind that if the home is far away from your permanent house, you may need to hire a caretaker, so money for their work should be taken into consideration when you make an offer. 


Whether you decide to rent out the home or not, you’ll need to furnish it with furniture, dishes, pots and pans, towels, linens, decor, and cleaning supplies. Make an estimate on how much this will run, and include it in the budget.


Get familiar with the rules


Some homes may be involved with an HOA that has strict rules regarding just about everything, from the length of your grass to whether or not you can rent it out. Get familiar with all the rules before you make the decision to buy and, if possible, talk to some of the residents in the area you’re looking at to see if they’re happy. 


Get protection


Vacation homes often sit empty for several months at a time even if they are used as rental properties, so it’s important to keep it safe. Never leave valuables lying around, and consider installing motion-sensor lights around the perimeter as well as an alarm for every entrance. Not only will this give you peace of mind, it will be an added attraction for renters, who will appreciate feeling safe while they’re staying there.


Making the decision to buy a vacation home shouldn’t be a quick process. Talk to your spouse or loved one about the pros and cons of each home before you commit, do your research, and talk to your mortgage company to find out if there are any special offers when it comes to buying a second home. Careful planning at every stage is essential and will help you make the right choices.


Article Created By: Jim McKinley

Posted in Buying
Dec. 1, 2017

Thinking about selling your home during the holidays?

Image via Pixabay

Home Selling for the Holidays

A new home isn’t on the top of many holiday shopping lists. People are focused on festivities with friends and family and may also be on the road to visit loved ones, driving down demand. Similarly, many home sellers don’t want to put property on the market while dealing with holiday hassles themselves.


"The upside of selling during the holidays is that seller competition is very low, meaning your home will be competing with a lot fewer homes," said Mia Simon, a Redfin real estate agent in Silicon Valley.


And those who are house hunting over the holidays are typically highly motivated buyers looking to close a deal quickly. So slim seasonal pickings could drive up interest—and bids—for your property. Here are some suggestions for getting your home in selling shape.

Organizational Tips


Clean out closets - Potential buyers are inevitably going to open cabinets and closets to check out a home’s storage space. So take some time before the holidays get hectic to clear clutter. Consider donating clothes you haven’t worn since last year and evaluate kitchen gear with an eye toward what you really use. Pack up or donate the rest.


Set up a holiday calendar - A holiday calendar to help you track seasonal chores and events can be useful any year, but it is an essential tool for homesellers. Use it to schedule shopping sprees to coincide with showings, for instance. And be sure to pencil in time to purchase and wrap gifts early. That way, you can display them rather than crowding closets with unwrapped items.


Consider hiring help - A personal organizer can bring an objective eye toward downsizing holiday decor and ditching underused items. Some organizers can also act as personal assistants, helping homeowners buy and wrap gifts or plan parties, according to House Beautiful magazine. 

Selling Tips

Carefully consider your listing - If you really need to sell you house before the New Year, real estate experts suggest listing it either a few weeks before Thanksgiving or between Thanksgiving and Christmas. And price it to sell from the start. While you want to get a fair deal, your asking price should be firmly based on comparable sales in the neighborhood and realistic expectations for the current market. Most experts strongly suggest hiring a knowledgeable real estate agent to help you with your holiday home sale rather than trying to handle it on your own.  


Polish your home’s online profile - It’s critical to help your home look its best in an online listing. Most potential buyers start their search from the comfort of their computer nook these days, especially during cold-weather months. So have top-quality photos taken, including some spring and summer shots of your landscaping if possible, and include a video tour of your home.


Keep your home neat and neutral - This is a good rule of thumb for selling a home at any time, but the holidays add their own challenges. Some real estate agents recommend keeping your guest rooms unoccupied for the season and possibly skipping some holiday trimmings to cut down on clutter. Any decorations should be tasteful and sized right for the space. And they shouldn’t be overly personal or religious. The goal is to help potential buyers see themselves in the home.  


Keep it cozy - Set your thermostat at a comfortable level and add other touches that encourage home viewers to look and linger for a while. If you have showings scheduled, HGTV suggests putting on some classical music at low volume and setting some home-baked treats on the counter that perfume the house with holiday scents. To make things easier, have some sweet treats in the freezer to pop in the oven on short notice.


Consider curb appeal - Before the worst of winter, touch up paint and make sure the gutters, trim, and steps are in top condition. If it’s icy, be sure to clear and salt walkways so real estate agents and their clients can make their way to the door without a hitch.



Try these tips to get organized and help your home sparkle during showings. Who knows? You could help a family find a home for the holidays—yours.

Nov. 15, 2016

3 Reasons Why Using a Realtor Website Is Helpful

Zillow, Trulia,, We all know these as some of the main websites to begin your home search online. While using these websites can be helpful, in the long run they tend to work at your disadvantage.  

Using a REALTOR website can and should be the website you use to begin your home search. Here we will discuss 3 major advantages to using an agent website, as opposed to jumping on one of the larger top mind home search websites. 

1. Instant and Automatic Updates

Choosing an agent is almost as important as the property you finally end up deciding to call home. You will want to make sure you are working with an agent who utilizes an IDX website. In essence a website that feeds directly from the licensed agents database of homes for sale, more formally recognized as the MLS. By using such a site you will be notified each and every morning, week, or month based on your criteria of new homes that have recently come on the market and of recent price reductions in the area. 

2. Custom Searches

Creating custom searches on an IDX website is easy as pie. Create a search that allows you to receive all properties under $500K that have a water view and a saltwater pool. It can really be that detailed, and guess what? Be the first one to know about them coming on the market with an instant email sent to you each and every morning. Want a leg up in that hot sellers market where homes are going under contract the same day they come on the market? Be the first to know about them before anyone else... get in touch with an agent that can position you and your search on a highly effective and fast driven IDX website suited to your SPECIFIC search parameters. 

3. Immediate Agent Contact

This may be the most important aspect of the website of all of them. Being able to immediately reach out to your agent via email, text, or phone right from the website. No longer do you have to request information on a specific property and then be bombarded by every new agent in town that gets your information. Using an IDX site puts you back in control with an area expert that you have built a professional relationship with over time. 

Want to begin your custom search today and have immediate contact with a professional agent in Saint Johns County, FL?



Start Your St. Johns County Home Search Today!


Brad Barfield Realtor

Watson Realty Corp.

Brad Barfield Real Estate

(904) 501-8995







Posted in Buying
Nov. 12, 2016

Sold in 7 Days on Market! 14 Botany Lane, Palm Coast, FL 32137

JUST SOLD! 7 Days on Market!!

This beautiful home in Indian Trails sold in just 7 Days on Market! 

There are a few important things that go into getting a home sold quickly and for top dollar in today's market.. 

Check out the link below for a free home market value and to discuss how we can do the same for you!


14 Botany Living

Brad Barfield REALTOR®

Watson Realty Corp. 

Brad Barfield Real Estate

(904) 501-8995

Facebook: bradbarfieldrealtor

Instagram: bradbarfieldrealestate

Snapchat: jaxking1864

Twitter: sellstaugre

Nov. 12, 2016

Tips for Selling Your Home this Fall

Selling your home this season can be in your advantage, however there are a few important tips and tricks that can help position you better to go to market, before you make that next step. The following tips will supply you with the right armor to suit up and gain top market value this Fall. 

1. Clean Up 

Just like for "spring cleaning" ... the Fall season requires us to apply the same attention. Most of your work will be geared towards exterior projects like cleaning out gutters, updating landscaping, and raking yards. Outdoor features like patio furniture, kitchens, and pools should be cleaned. These steps will vary depending on your particular market, however a little sweet equity can go a long way to obtaining a competitive advantage over your competition.

2. Understand the Market

You have to understand that this might be the best opportunity to sell your home and garner top dollar in today's market. The old adage of waiting until the spring season to sell is not always the best advice, varying from market to market. Typically what we find is that we get much closer to the asking price in the Fall market rather than waiting until spring. There are a few contributing factors to this equation. There will be far less competition on the market in the Fall as opposed to the Spring... it really comes down to supply and demand. Less competition and steady buyer demand will help in obtaining the most money for your home. Also, you will find that most buyers looking to purchase during these times of the year will be more serious home buyers as there are so many other things going on in their lives, that if they are taking time away from other important plans to purchase a home they tend to be VERY SERIOUS. 

3. Highlight Seasonal Pluses

Maybe your beautiful colonial downtown cottage has a vintage fireplace. Set the atmosphere and what it will be like to entertain and live in a home with such unique characteristics. The more you can play off the emotions of the season the better. 

4. Have Patience

Typically you will find that the market will tend to slow down during the Fall months. Keep your patience. The buyers that are coming through will be serious and now is the best time to attract the buyer that will pay the most for the property. Patience is key this time of year!

Fall can be the best time of the year to sell your home. Just keep in mind that there are some very key factors that must be taken into account prior to getting the home on the market for sale.

If you are thinking about making a move this fall. Get your FREE Home Market Valuation now:


Brad Barfield Real Estate

Watson Realty Corp. 

(904) 501-8995

Snapchat: JaxKing1864

Instagram: bradbarfieldrealestate

Nov. 9, 2016

JUST LISTED! Palm Coast - 78 Welling Lane

78 Welling Pool

JUST LISTED - 78 Welling Lane, Palm Coast, FL 32164

Extraordinary concrete block pool home featuring three bedrooms, two baths and a large private lot. A covered entry leads to an expansive great room and formal dining. The cook’s kitchen offers a center prep island with cook top, raised breakfast bar, custom cabinetry with endless storage, full appliance package, and a sunlit breakfast area. The open and spacious kitchen, which seamlessly meshes with the casual dining space and great room, is ideal for entertaining. 

The adjacent great room features natural light and sliding glass doors that open to a heated and cooled Florida room overlooking the screened pool and private backyard. Retire for the day to the large owner’s suite with trey ceilings, double walk-in closets and an en suite owner’s bath with dual vanity, walk-in tiled shower, and garden tub. This versatile home is further enhanced by two additional bedrooms, a conveniently located guest bath, and a two car garage with ample storage. Beautifully landscaped lot includes full sod, irrigation system and lots of extra parking. New Roof in 2015. Enjoy Florida living at its best with all living on one floor. Pine Lake is an upscale golf community with no HOA fees and this home is not in a flood zone. Pine Lakes has a central location close to all the shopping and dining and about 10 minutes from both Hammock and Flagler Beach. One year American Home Shield Warranty Included.

Get Additional Information and Search All Available Properties for Sale

Brad Barfield Real Estate

Watson Realty Corp.

3505 US 1 South

St. Augustine, FL 32086

(904) 501-8995

Facebook: bradbarfieldrealtor

Instagram: bradbarfieldrealestate

Snapchat: jaxking1864


Posted in New Listings
Nov. 3, 2016

3 Essential Steps to Purchasing a New Home

Purchasing a new home can be a daunting task to home buyers, especially if it's your first time. Although, the process can be stressful the right professional and advice can make the track to homeownership an enjoyable experience. 

1. Obtain a Pre Approval from a Local Lender in the Marketplace

The first step in the home buying process should always be to speak with a local lender, familiar with the local marketplace, than can educate you on the in and outs of the loan process as well as what you can afford and what price points will be able to keep you in your desired monthly price range. An experienced local lender will get you started in the right direction to begin your home search. 

2. Request the Services of a Local REALTOR Professional in the Area 

Having the services of a professional in your area will benefit you tremendously. Just the shear knowledge that a local professional who has a grasp on the market can convey to you when purchasing a home can help in a number of ways. A local professional can help you with getting in touch with that perfect lender, setting you up on custom home searches though the MLS, inform you on areas that may be preferable considering your criteria, draw up and negotiate a contract that benefits you..the buyer, and lead you through the purchasing process from loan application to closing. Researching and choosing the correct agent in your desired marketplace can and will be one of the most important decisions you make when starting your home search. 

Search all Available Homes for Sale in St Johns County NOW!

Click Here! Start your home search now!


Lets Go! Great, you have completed your homework and now the fun begins. Get started searching for you new home immediately. Your REALTOR should be able to set you up on a home search that meets your criteria and you can start driving around neighborhoods to get a feel of which community or section of town is going to serve your needs best. In the end, its all about getting in the hands of professionals that can lead you in the right direction. 

Posted in Buying
June 27, 2016

6 Steps to Sell your Home for Top Dollar in Today’s Market

Selling a home can be an overwhelming and stressful task to some... Here are 6 steps you can take to ensure the sale of your home is fast, easy, and effortless.


1.) Declutter – I cannot begin to tell you the amount of times I have heard from home sellers… What is the number 1 things I can do to make the home show better? The ANSWER – Declutter!

There is not 1 thing a buyer hates more than to walk into a home for sale that does not show well. We need to imagine the home showing like a model home. Picture yourself walking into a new construction model home… got it? Now do it! Buyers want to immediately have the WOW feeling when walking into a home. They want to be able to picture themselves living and settling down into the home for years to come. Do yourself a favor… before you even call a professional to come out to the home… DECLUTTER! You will thank me later.


2.) Spend Your $ Wisely – Folks, the fact is that “yes” this is your home… NOW… but we are trying to appeal to the masses here. One of the most frustrating things is walking into a home where the owners have spent enormous amounts of money on upgrades that are specific to their particular style and taste… While this is just fine… if you are planning to spend the rest of your lives in a particular home, then go for it… just keep in mind that when it’s time to sell that pink wallpaper or green mosaoic tiled custom shower will not provide the most resale value. While it may be the best thing since sliced bread to you… it will hold absolutely NO VALUE to most buyers. Yes, I know there may be that one buyer that will love it… but do you want to wait and try to appeal to that 1 specific buyer… or appeal to the masses for a fast and effortless sale that will net you the most money in the long run… We all know that time on the market is death to a home sale! Final words of thought – THINK NEUTRAL!


3.) Cleaning, Fresh Paint, and Curb Appeal GO A LONG WAY! – In most cases these 3 items will net you more money at closing than putting in those fresh new black granite counters in the kitchen…. Let’s spend less… Make the home "POP" from the moment the buyer lays eyes on the home and get you moving forward to that next chapter in your life. While these 3 items may be the least expensive to complete… they will without a doubt improve your chances the most! Say it with me now… CLEAN, PAINT, and FRESHEN UP THAT LANDSCAPE…. LET’S GO!!


4.) Ease of Access – making your home as easy as possible to show will benefit you greatly. The last thing an agent with a very qualified buyer wants to see when scheduling appointments is... showings only between, or 72 hour notice to show, or “tenant occupied”… and on and on. Providing easy access for showings will allow you to obtain the most amount of showings and eyes on your property. In the end it’s a numbers game and we need to allow the most amount of prospective buyers through your home as possible to garner the best possible offer on your home.


5.) Price, Price, PRICE – We have heard the old cliché’ that price is everything… well take it to heart! PRICE IS EVERYTHING! Time on the market is death to a home sale… pricing your property properly from the start will allow you to attract the highest number of buyers in your price pool and garner you the highest dollar amount that the current market will bring. We all have to understand that the market sets the price… not the client or consumer… Price it right from the start and you are on your road to a successful sale.


6.) HIRE A PROFESSIONAL - Even the owner of hired the help of a professional to sell his residence. The National Association of Realtors reported that using a professional agent to assist you in the sale of your home helped the homeowner net $39K more on average than selling the home themselves. Seek the advice and help of a Full Time Professional agent to assist you in the sale of your most valuable asset. It's just that simple.

Posted in Selling