Can I use a VA loan to purchase a new construction home?

A question that often comes up is can a buyer purchase a new construction home with their VA loan? The answer is it depends. In Nocatee, Palencia, or most of our new construction communities the answer is yes. Since you aren’t actually closing on the home until it’s completed the process isn’t much different than purchasing a resale. If you want to purchase a vacant lot and build a custom home then the answer is technically no but it can be done. How you ask? A very select few lenders offer what’s called a construction to perm (short for permanent) loan. The way it works is we find the lot you want to build on. After we negotiate with the owner or developer we go under contract for the lot. During the due diligence period we bring in a custom home builder and design your new home. After closing on the vacant lot the builder starts building their home on your land. Once your home is completed the loan is converted from a construction loan to a VA home loan.

In the Jacksonville Florida area you typically see these types of custom built homes close to the beach or in more rural settings. I see them a lot in Vilano Beach, St. Augustine, Palencia and more rural areas of St. Johns County.

My name is Andrew Michael and I work with eXp Realty in Ponte Vedra. For more information on how to build your new home in NE Florida give me a call/text at 904-460-8501. You can also email me at

Las Calinas

Las Calinas is a popular community located in the unincorporated area just north of St. Augustine close to Ponte Vedra. The community is a popular alternative to Nocatee and Palencia because it does not charge it’s residents a CDD to live in the community. The community offers it’s residents an adult and child swimming pool, tennis court, basketball court, soccer field, and two covered picnic areas. The current fees in the neighborhood are around $600 a year.

Another factor that makes Las Calinas popular is many of the homes are built with concrete block construction. The majority of the homes that are built in other area communities are built with wood frame and stucco. Several of the homes in Las Calinas are built with concrete block and covered with stucco. The advantages to concrete block is sturdier construction and better able to weather hurricanes and extreme storms.

If you are interested in homes that are currently available in Las Calinas you can contact me directly or click on the link to see what is currently available.

Available Las Calinas Homes


What is a CDD or Community Development District Fee?

A question that often comes up working with home buyers in St. Johns County and Nocatee in particular is what is a CDD fee? A CDD fee is broken down into two parts. The first is the bond or debt portion. When the developer purchases land and develops it they take out a large mortgage to cover the costs. As the homes sell for the first time the developer breaks off a piece of the mortgage and assigns it to the lot. The CDD fee will vary depending on the neighborhood within the development and the width of the lot. Two homes in the same neighborhood with different size lots may have a different CDD fee. The bond is like an assumable mortgage and is paid off at some point. When the first home owner sells the home to a new buyer the bond portion of the CDD does not reset. It continues as if the original owner still owns the property but the new owner is making the payments. A buyer also has the option of paying off the CDD bond if they like.

The second portion of the CDD is Operational and Maintenance. As the name suggests homeowners fund the operational and maintenance expenses for the amenities in the communities with this portion of their CDD.

Is a CDD community right for you? That depends on your and your family’s lifestyle. In Nocatee for instance you have a splash park, spray park (beginning construction soon), and several other amenities. If you don’t think you are going to have time to use any of the amenities then I would suggest against them. On the other hand if you, your spouse, or your children would actually use the amenities then it might be worth the expense. If not then you may want to consider other communities. When a home buyer asks me what I think I usually ask them if they like the amenities enough to right a check for $2,000 to $3,000 a year for the privilege of using them. Something else to remember is the CDD is not the same as expenses charged by the HOA or Home Owner’s Association. Home owners in CDD communities often have to pay both HOA fees and CDD.

If you have any questions or would like to talk about which community is right for you and your family please register with this site or send me an email at

Can you purchase an investment property with a VA Home Loan

A common question about VA home loans is whether or not a Veteran can purchase an investment property using their VA loan benefit. The textbook answer is no but it’s not that simple. A veteran can purchase a two to four unit building as long as they are going to live in one of the units. So if a Veteran purchases a four unit building or a quadplex and then moves into it after the sale then yes you would be able to use a VA home loan to purchase an investment property. If you are interested in purchasing, selling, or professional management for a home in St. Johns or Duval County Florida then please let me know. You can either register with the website or contact me directly at (904) 460-8501 or

Property Management in St. Johns County Florida

My name is Andrew Michael and I’m a full time Realtor and Property Manager. For Property Management I work in St. Augustine, St. Johns, Ponte Vedra, Ponte Vedra Beach, Nocatee and the metro Jacksonville area.

Many people start by asking me what a property manager does. The first thing I do is help you to find a quality tenant. I do that by having a professional photographer take pictures of you home to ensure it is shown in it’s best light. I then use the photos when I advertise on my website, Zillow, Trulia, and Military FSBO. Once I find a tenant I have them complete an application that includes a credit, criminal background, and eviction search. Once I have a completed application I sit down with the owner and help them to decide if the tenant will make a responsible resident or not. Once the property owner/investor agrees on the tenant I draw up the lease, collect the deposit, and facilitate the tenant moving into the home. Once they are moved in my office collects their rent checks and pays the property owner.

Your next question is probably how much do I charge for my services. In the North Florida area most property managers charge one month’s rent for tenant placement and 12% to 15% of the month’s rent for management. If a client purchases the home with me I don’t charge them to place a tenant. If they already own the home then I charge 50% of one month’s rent to place the tenant. I only charge 10% of the monthly rent for management.

If you are interested in purchasing an investment home or having a tenant placed in your current home please give me a call. My cell is (904) 460-8501 and my office number is (904) 562-1371.

Thanks for making 2016 so successfull

I would like to thank my Friends and Clients for making 2016 such a successful year. Because of your support I was able to earn RE/MAX’s coveted “Platinum Agent” Award. Agents are given this award when they help their clients buy or sell over $8,000,000 worth of Real Estate in one year.

Thanks for your support and if you happen to know anyone in our area who is looking to buy, sell, or place a tenant in a home and have it managed please give me a call at (904) 460-8501.

How to make money in Real Estate

I’m often asked by people what my thoughts are on flipping homes. Personally I think house flipping like you see on HGTV is a financial disaster waiting for a place to happen. I know investors who make money flipping homes but they aren’t purchasing them on the open market or court house auctions. All of them have a source of home sellers who are looking to sell quickly and aren’t interested in fixing it up to sell for top dollar. Usually it’s the result of a death and the family doesn’t have the time or want to spend the money to fix up the home. They want the money to settle the estate quickly and are willing to sell for less than it’s worth.

With that being said the best way to make money as an investor is to purchase a property, place quality tenants, and hold for a number of years. Real Estate investing offers unique opportunities you probably won’t find in other investments. As the home is going up in value you are collecting rent from the tenants. Even if the market declines in value and the home won’t sell for what you paid you can still rent it out and collect a check while we wait for the market to recover.

If you are interested in finding quality tenants for your current home or purchasing an investment property let me know. The best way to reach me is on my cell (904) 460-8501 but you can also email me at

2016 Real Estate Market Statistics for Jacksonville, St. Augustine Florida

The North East Florida Association of Realtors just published the market statistics for 2016 and it’s interesting to look at. The inventory of homes that were available to purchase decreased from 2015 by 20.4%. Overall sales increased by 3.8%. As you can guess the amount of time the average home was on the market decreased. In 2015 it took an average of 83 days for a home to go under contract once it was on the market. In 2016 that number decreased to 76 days.

So what does all of that mean? Basically it means that homes are selling a little faster than they did in 2015 which is good for sellers. The study covers a wide area but should give a snapshot as to what the market is doing. If you have any questions or would like to know what your home would sell for please give me a call at (904) 460-8501 or respond to this email.

Lender Mediated Sales 2016

I’m often asked by clients or potential clients what my thoughts are regarding lender mediated sales (better known as short sales and foreclosure sales.) For those of you who don’t know a short sale is when a lender and other parties have agreed to accept an offer for less than what the home owner currently owes. A foreclosure sale takes place after one of the parties that the home owner owes money to forecloses on the home and it is listed for sale with an agent.

If you are behind on your mortgage or face a situation where paying your mortgage payment is not possible than selling your home as a short sale is definitely better than letting it go into foreclosure. If you are looking to purchase a short sale or foreclosure it’s possible but the market has been steadily declining. Last year the percentage of homes that sold as a the result of a short sale or foreclosure declined 38%. Only 16.5% of the homes that sold in 2016 were lender mediated sales. That means if you focus exclusively on finding a short sale or foreclosure home you are eliminating 83.5% of the homes that are available for purchase.

If you have any questions or want to discuss your situation give me a call at (904) 460-8501 or email at


How do VA home loans work? Who is lending the money?

One of the most common misconceptions with VA home loans is that the VA is actually loaning the money. The way it works is the VA guarantees a portion of each Veterans’ loan and sets the guidelines for the program. Individual lenders are allowed to participate and loan their own money to veterans as long as they follow the guidelines set forth by the VA. Lenders are free to add their own conditions but they must also follow the ones set by the VA. For instance the VA doesn’t set a minimum credit score for borrowers. Each lender sets their own criteria. That’s why if a Veteran has a 620 credit score some lenders will loan to them but others won’t. I hope this helps and if you have any questions please feel free to call or email me.