Residential Real Estate News, Reviews, Things To Do, Events, Neighborhood Information and Market Updates by Wes and Nicole Benwick

March 15, 2018

Spring Break Slump?

If you are a parent you may be wondering what to do with the kids over spring break. Here are a few ideas for you to consider!

For as large of a city as Jacksonville is, you don't need to go far to find something to keep your children busy!

 The Jacksonville Zoo offers a Spring Camp! March 19-23..check it out!

 Another hot spot in Jax for kids is Adventure Landing. There are various passes you can buy along with add-ons for say meals or tokens for games. In case you were unaware of all of the things to do here, there is laser tag, miniature golf, a water park, and even a roller coaster! It is a full day of fun at Adventure Landing. 

If your kids have more energy than you care to deal with I suggest one of these places for full on movement. Jumpstreet offers different pricing based on the child's age. This location offers all the typical jumping trampoline courts and dodge ball courts. It is located on Beach Blvd. Pump It Up is also on Beach Blvd. and offers slides, air hockey, and mostly bounce houses.

 Velocity is another jump place that on the southside of Jacksonville.  This place also has a trampoline park and an arcade. They also have foam pits and slam basketball as well. Rebounderz has the same activities as well and is located off of Old St. Augustine Road.   

Why not check out a movie? Always a family hit!  Be sure to check out the different theaters as each one has different days and specials for a cheaper way to take the whole family.  Buy a large REFILLABLE popcorn and you will save some money when all the little ones are wanting some buttery fingers to enjoy the cinema! 

 MOSH stands for Museum of Science and History. Here your child will exercise their brain! There is a great Dinosaurs in Motion and other Discovery Camps designed to entertain and educate. 

If your child needs some quiet time (yes, this is the teacher part of me) I'll always suggest hitting your local public library.  Not only can you check out FIFTY books at one time, there are plenty of programs to take part in. 

Do your children like rock climbing? Ok, so it's indoors but the Edge Rock Gym offers classes to teach people how to rock climb for all ages. They also offer yoga and Pilates classes.

If your child is too young for those of those places, try Bay & Bee. There is a location on Atlantic Blvd. and one near  Bartram. This company bases its philosophy of "free play". This place takes more of the Montessori approach of allowing children to play on their own and explore. Creative dance, learning Spanish, and even learning sign language are just a few of the classes you can sign up for here at Bay & Bee.

How about the good 'ol YMCA?  They have multiple locations around Jacksonville and offer an array of activities and camps for your child.  

Maybe you want to spend the day with your kids and miss the days of roller skating. Try Skate Station at their two locations in Mandarin and Orange Park. Now there is much more to do than just skate!  They offer a playground, rock climbing, and an arcade. Click here for the Skate Station in MandarinClick here for the location in Orange Park.

Frankly, after writing this blog post, I also want to remind parents that bored children is not always a bad thing. Let them be bored and have to use their imaginations to inspire creativity and fun. Kids do not need to be entertained 24/7!


Feb. 2, 2018

The Roof! The Roof! How Long is the Life Of My Roof!??

Over the years I have heard so many different answers to the age old question of "How long will my roof last?" Is it ten years, twenty, thirty or possibly more?"

Find out the facts on roofs once and for all. 

 No roof is universal. There are so many types of materials that a roof can be made of as well as conditions that affect the roof; therefore there can be no one answer to the exact life of a roof.

Here is a common range of life for roofs with different materials.

-Asphalt shingles -if it is a three tab it should last 15-18 years

-Asphalt shingles -architectural type-should last 24-30 years (the difference is these are thicker and are laid differently than the regular asphalt shingles)

-Metal roof-lasts around 30-45 years

-Concrete tile lasts around 35-50 years

-Rubber roof lasts about 10-16 years

- What Makes a Roof Last Longer Than Others?

1. The average weather conditions affect the life, so if you live in more extreme weather climates the life will be on the shorter end.

2. The color of the roof is another factor. If the roof is dark, the shorter the lifespan, because as we know sun absorbs the darker colors and that shortens the life. 

3. The higher the pitch of the roof-the longer the roof will last.

4. Where does your roof face? If your slope faces south it gets more sunlight which lessens the life of the roof as well.

5. Do you have trees near the roof? Yep, that will make the life shorter on your roof due to the rubbing of leaves on the roof as well as the acid that comes from all of the debris harms your roof.

6. If you had a cheap roof installed then you can bet it will be a shorter life than a quality installed one.

7. Your attic has something to do with the life too. If it is not properly ventilated it will lower the life as well.

Soooo....When Do I Replace? When you see...

-Cracked shingles

- Shingles that are curling up

- Missing spots

- You see others in your neighborhood replacing theirs

- If it is at its 20 year mark

- It looks worn and old

- You find spots on the shingles, either dark streaks or moss growing on it

Last Things to Know:  

It's good to know you are only allowed two layers of roof shingles on your roof. Therefore, if you plan to repair know your roof's age. Is it best to start off in the bare patches from scratch or leave an existing layer on and layer the new shingles on top? The old saying applies; you get what you pay for. If you put new shingles over the old you are kicking the can down the road. It will be less money, but you will need to have more expenses down the road. 

If you already have two applications of roof, you cannot repair. You have to replace. Another reason to consider replacing is now roofers use more nails which makes your roof safer and last longer. 

If you're going to do it do it right.Get the 50 year shingles. It's $300-$500 more on average but that life span is huge especially when selling. 


All in all once you notice on the calendar or by looking up on your roof it is time to do something, call roof companies. Yes, more than one. Most will come out and give free estimates and see which ones are able to offer pictures, reviews from live people, and make sure they are reputable and insured. 










Jan. 26, 2018

What Can You Do For Your Kids on Valentines Day?

We have written about ways to show your love to your significant other on Valentines Day, but let's not leave out our children!!

Here are some fun ideas to let your children know they are very special to you and that they are your forever Valentine

-Put some red or pink balloons outside their bedroom door before they wake up

-When they come to breakfast have food shaped like hearts! Toast, eggs, or pancakes 

-Have a special treat of a nice hand written letter to each of your children

-Make heart shaped paper decorations together! (Then save them for next year!)

-Take your daughter for a pedicure or manicure       

-Take your son to Top Golf or putt putt

-Take them out for food they like for dinner

-Watch a movie of their choice

-Do something good for someone else...make everyone's hearts "happy"

-Read Valentine themed books before bed

Posted in Kids & Families
Jan. 23, 2018

This Darn Flu

  Surely you know many people who have been hit with the flu this season. Is this the worst season yet?  The CDC Centers for Disease Control says no it's not. However, we could hit a higher rate because we aren't through the worst.

We all know to wash our hands and drink a lot of water but... 

What should you know about the flu?                        

According to the CDC the flu causes an estimated 9 million to 35 million illnesses, 140,000 to 710,000 hospitalizations and 12,000 to 56,000 deaths each year. 

Do you know the age of the highest risk group to be hospitalized with the flu? It is 65 and older. The next age group affected are the 50-64 year olds, and following that are the children under the age of 4.

How do people catch the flu?

Is it by kissing, being near someone who sneezes or being within breathing distance?? The official word is you can catch it when sick people sneeze, cough, or talk within SIX feet of you!!!  You can also catch it by touching a contaminated surface then touching your mouth or nose.

How can I prevent the flu?

The CDC suggests getting the flu shot to prevent the flu. Most doctors will advise that it's better to get some protection than none. Studies show only about 60% of the fly vaccines are effective.

Common sense should tell you to constantly wash your hands, and if you do cough always cover your mouth. Use hand sanitizer and alcohol wipes when you touch things outside the home. If you are at work and feel ill, see if your employer will allow you to work from home...would they rather you come in and get everyone else sick? ;)

I GOT IT!! Now what?

 If you get the dreaded flu..think QUARANTINE!!! Unless you or your child are not using the restroom, have trouble breathing, or vomiting constantly, don't go to the ER. This flu needs to be taken care of with rest, fluids, and over the counter medicine. 

Jan. 3, 2018

Top 5 Ways to Improve Your Home's Value

How can I improve the value of my home? 

Whether or not you are planning to move, keeping the value of your home increasing instead of decreasing is on the minds of every home owner. There are so many ways to improve your home's value but what are the TOP 5 ways?

1. Do an annual home inspection. You don't have to hire a professional! You can even do it yourself.  

[Click Here to see what you should do for your yearly inspection]

2. The Kitchen. It is the focal point of homes and buyers want to see an updated one. You don't have to spend a fortune, but make sure your appliances are updated and a fresh coat of paint makes your kitchen look its best. This is the stainless steel era so your appliances should reflect this..let's face it the bone colored refrigerator is no longer popular. As well, the counter tops should be updated. Quartz, marble, and granite are the top sellers for homes these days.

3. The bathrooms! Update the toilets and check out your floors. Does your bathtub/shower area need new grout or an entire redo? Lighting and mirrors are an easy yet very effective way to keep your bathrooms updated. Consider a fresh coat of paint as well. One more quick update is to replace your cabinet hardware

4. If you have been a buyer you want a deal. We all do no matter what we are buying. If you are a buyer and a home has the words energy efficient your ears perk up. When you do your personal home inspection and you have checked the windows, are they doing what they should be for you?  Energy efficient windows have been known to cut your energy bill by as much as 7-15%!  That's a nice relief to your bank account each year. Consider as well using LED lighting. We have these throughout our home and not only does it save you from having to change light bulbs but it saves energy (and money on light bulbs!). The average life of an LED light bulb is 20+ years!! Another big energy eater is your water heater. They can run upwards of $2000 installed but well worth it as it is about 15% of your energy bill. 

5. Rounding out the top five was....a challenge. Some would say "fix the exterior", and others say "paint"! There are SO many ways to improve your home's value, but if we had to choose one....we would say flooring.  Carpet is now considered so ..."yesterday" although some people do like their carpet (me included in certain rooms!). Flooring has become more affordable these days, from tile that looks like hardwood, to inexpensive laminate that replicates the look of tile or hardwood. Also, cork and marmoleum are some new options for flooring. If you have old floors with cracks, tears, or it bows, consider getting some pricing on new floors.

Whether you are thinking of buying or selling these tips will keep your home's value up!

If you have any suggestions or comments please leave them below...and as always, thank you for checking out   



Dec. 27, 2017

What to Do in Jax this New Years Eve!

What is going on in Jacksonville this New Years Eve?

Main Event has a NYE party going on with half price games after 10p! 

Adventure Landing continues their Wintefest! Fun for all!!

The Jacksonville Landing will offer bands and fireworks!

One Ocean (it's our favorite staycation!) offers an amazing menu for NYE!

St. Augustine Beach Pier is offering a great time with food, music, and fireworks! *They also have a kids zone!

Myth Night Club will be happenin with 4 rooms of music-a black tie masquerade affair for the adults!

Casa Marina at Jax Beach is opening their doors for $100 per person-there is a balloon drop and champagne toast!

Ritz Carlton Amelia Island has a black and white masquerade gala!!

Venue Indochine San Marco & Buddha Lounge for a nice night of dancing and a swanky evening.

Top Golf!! So much fun at Top Golf if you have a big group or a lot of family!

Pussers Bar & Grille in Ponte Vedra is offering a 3 course dinner! Check with Open Table to make a reservation,

River City Brewing Company is also offering a five course dinner with champagne for $98pp. 

Jacksonville Symphony-maybe some music is more to your liking this NYE...check out what the symphony is doing!


Wes and I know the extreme importance of NOT drinking and driving this New Years. We were hit by a drunk driver going 90 on JTB. PLEASE do not drink and drive, it is NEVER WORTH IT.

Use Uber or Lyft.....DOWNLOAD it on your phone...please.  Have a safe holiday...

Dec. 18, 2017

New Maple Street Biscuit Company!!

New Maple Street Biscuit Company Point Meadows!



If you have not made it to their other locations around Jacksonville, you will definitely want to try out the newest Maple Street Biscuit Company located in the Point Meadows area off of Baymeadows Rd. 

They have a great menu focused on ...yes, biscuits. Their sausage gravy is also amazing. They also have chicken, ham, waffles, and more. MSBC also has wonderful salads and sides such as sweet potato fries!

The hours at Maple Street are Monday-Thursday 7a-2p, Friday and Saturdays 7a-3p, and Sundays they are closed.

One of the other great things about Maple Street is you can order online...try it here

Check out for all of your real estate needs!

Dec. 4, 2017

Fun Facts About Hanukkah

We all SOME things about Hanukkah but what don't you know? 

 We know during December most people focus on Christmas, but for Jewish people Hanukkah is their biggest holiday. What do you know about Hanukkah? Here are some fun facts about this Jewish holiday.

  • Hanukkah begins this year on December 12th. It kicks off an 8 day celebration which is also known as "The Festival of Lights".
  • Hanukkah is Hebrew for "dedication".
  • The Menorah is a candelabra that has nine candles on it representing the eight nights of the holiday. The center candle is the one that lights the other eight candles.
  • Why isn't Hanukkah mentioned in the Torah? The events of Hanukkah happened after the Torah was written. It is however, cited in the New Testament.
  • What is gelt? It is the Yiddish word for coins, however the interesting thing about gelt is not that it's only a few hundred year tradition one knows who even started it! Nowadays, you may see chocolate "gelt" which look like chocolate coins as well. 
  • Dreidel was a copy of a game which was a copy of a game! The game was originally started by the Irish and English, which was then copied by Germans. 
  • Do you remember in 2013 when everyone was saying "Thanksgivukkah"? That was when Hanukkah and Thanksgiving were on the same day. The next time that will happen will be November 27, 2070. That is when Thanksgiving day and Hanukkah's first night will occur.
  •  Latkes are usually eaten during this holiday (and oh my GOSH are they good!). People eat them with sour cream, applesauce, etc. But why latkes? Potato latkes, along with other fried foods, are eaten to celebrate the oil in the menorah. To me latkes taste a lot like hash browns.  Here is a great latke recipe courtesy of Simply Potatoes:



1 20oz. pkg of Simply Potatoes shredded hash browns

1/2 cup Better n Eggs

1/3 cup whole wheat flour (or all purpose flour)

1/4 cup finely grated green onion

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp baking powder


In large bowl stir together Simply Potatoes, Better'n Eggs, flour, green onion, pepper, salt, and baking powder.

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a 12" nonstick skillet over medium heat.

Cook 4 latkes at a time: spread 1/4 potato mixture for each latke into 3 1/2" cirlces in skillet.

Cook 4-5 minutes turning once. Repeat with remaining potato mixture and add oil to skillet as needed. 

Season with salt and pepper as desired.

*Enjoy your holiday season with your family and friends...all the best from us at









Dec. 1, 2017

Should I Sell My Home Over the Holidays?

Some say yes some say no! 

It's a "challenging" time to have your house for sale during any time. But to sell during the holiday season or to leave your home on the market during the holidays?  Some say yes keep it on the market because if someone does look they must be serious. Others say no because ...well, it's the HOLIDAYS and who wants to be bothered?

Pros of keeping your home on the market-

As stated those buyers could be serious ones, and as well, no matter what time of year, there ARE always people who need to move. Another good reason is this:with fewer homes on the market yours becomes even more appealing.  If it's not on the market, people won't know about it will not sell what is not FOR sale. To note as well, more people have time off during the holidays, therefore, more online shopping is happening and time to think about buying a new home. If you are traveling a lot during this time, why not have it on the market to show? It stays clean if you aren't there! ;) If you are going to be home, your Realtor can also put "blackout" dates in the notes. This is convenient for you if there are dates or times that simply will not work for you.

Cons of keeping your home on the market-

Yes it is a pain if you are super busy and someone wants to see your home while you're home may be in a rather chaotic state. You have decorations out, gifts even, and maybe kids that are excited about being off of school etc. WHO wants to be bothered with strangers in your home any day let alone during the crazy  It is ok to ask your Realtor to take your home off of the market during December; they can put it back on the market in January. 

Although it is true there are less buyers during the holidays, as the saying goes "You only need one!" If having showings doesn't bother you or you need to sell, then keep it on the market. If you are going to have family and friends over, or the whole idea of having people coming through your home is too much stress, have your Realtor take it off of the market until the new year.


Nov. 9, 2017

What Should I do (or not do) Before I Sell My Home?

Should you paint or not? Should you change the flooring or leave it?  HOW much should you do before putting your home on the market?

 How much should you do before putting your home on the market? Shouldn't your home be at its best so you will get top dollar?  Or.....should you do nothing and let the buyers change what they want?

There are many factors that go into whether or not to fix, replace, update, etc., or leave it as it for the buyers to make the changes they see fit. 

The number one thing to consider when wanting to put money into your home before selling is, will you get your money back out of it?

Remodel? Where? You Must Compare!

Most of us know kitchens and bathrooms hold the highest ROI (return on investment). Does that mean you should automatically remodel? Not necessarily, and here is why..

Your Realtor should be your "go to" adviser for what you should and shouldn't do in regards to spending money on remodeling. Your Realtor should check out the comps (the comparable homes) in your area. You should ask to have your Realtor take you around to these comps as well. Do all the homes share the same relative age, similar style, and therefore most likely over time have needed comparable fixes? If you tour these homes and see many have upgraded the downstairs bath, you should highly consider doing the same. 

It's the Little Things..

 Ok, so you've seen the comps and know whether or not you need to make some changes or you can leave your home as is. However, remember the "Golden Rule"-first impressions are important. Do not overlook the basics. Is your home clean, are there cracks in tile, marks on hard wood etc.? Is the sink showing corrosion or is there mildew in the bathroom? Stains in the carpet? Some will see rooms dirty and assume you do not take pride in your home and if that is dirty what else that they can't see is dirty?  

Paint is a cheap and great way to spruce up your home. It makes your rooms look clean and buyers will love knowing that is one less thing they have to do after they move in.

Clean your carpets and floors. Enough said!

 Make the basic fixes and keep your home very clean. It makes a huge difference.

 The Roof and Other "big ones"...

Yep, I said it. The roof, water heater, air conditioner, etc. all the nightmare expenses for homeowners. If yours is close to the end of its life you really should consider replacing. We have seen buyers turn away from even walking into a home if they see nothing but a HUGE expense hanging over them. For example we have sold homes that the sellers decided to replace their roof before listing and these home have sold much quicker than those needing a roof. Buyers want peace of mind and those are BIG expenses no buyer wants to incur right after buying your home. If you think you simply cannot afford to replace say your roof, there are companies we know that will delay getting paid until your closing.

  Consider a Pre-Inspection!

This is probably the best "insurance policy" any buyer can hope for. How does this help?

If you decide to get your home inspected before putting it on the market, you will know exactly what you need to fix and have done before you have your first showing. Usually a seller will put their home on the market and showing after showing, an offer comes!! Then, the buyers do their "due diligence" and get a home inspection.  Only then, do you find out all of the things that need to be fixed. This is a great negotiating tool for the buyers to either ask you to fix them or ask for a price reduction. Why not cut that part out, have the fixes done so your buyers have one less thing to worry about before they put in a solid offer?

All in all, there is no concrete "yes" or "no" answer to fixing up your home before you sell or not. There are many factors and a solid Realtor is the person you should ask to get the most out of your home.