Gainesville Real Estate and Community News

March 22, 2024

Decoding the NAR Settlement: Separating Fact from Fiction in Real Estate

As the Brokers of Rabell Realty Group, we want to address the Proposed NAR Settlement. This is for past and future Buyers, Sellers, Customers and Clients and other Realtors. We did get some of this from Heather Cook Of Real so want to credit where credit is due.
Buyers & Sellers: Stop believing in the attention-grabbing, alarmist news reports from any media outlet
photo of Lincoln saying you can't believe everything you read on the internet
Realtors: (please see above)
The media is like that obnoxious youngest sibling the parents "accidentally" birthed 10 years later that will do ANYTHING for attention, and they will be onto the next Kardashian or Trump/Biden mishap next week.
You can’t always rely on the news as a source of truth. But you can rely on your Real Estate Professional who is in this business 24-7 to give you 100% truth. We live it. We know it. We are unabashedly transparent about it.
We are here to share our Cliff Notes version after reading the PROPOSED Settlement offer from NAR to the DOJ.
Disclaimer: We are not attorneys. We weren't around during Watergate. We were kids in the 80s. We started real estate in '06 and survived the Short Sale period. We love quoting Glengarry Glen Ross. We live and breathe Real Estate.
meme from Glengarry Glen Ross --Coffee is for Closers
We are here to dispel some untruths fed by the media's desire to keep you afraid, dumb you down, and turn you in their Sheepole.
If you turn off the news - this isn't actually that wild.
Buyers and Sellers:
Working with an agent is still going to get you to the same destination-- THE AMERICAN DREAM. The changes just bring a slightly different route.
Buyers AND Sellers will need to sign a contract with your agent regarding your commission. This is already a normal practice in some states like North and South Carolina, but will become commonplace in every state.
That part is pretty simple to understand.
The bigger confusion is compensation.
Let us break it down - here is what the NAR Settlement Offer says, along with some rumor displacement:
1. Cooperation Compensation -- AKA Co-Op to buyer's agent -- will no longer be required to be offered on the MLS.
✅ TRUE: Sellers can still offer compensation to buyer agents
❌ FALSE: Buyers agents can no longer be compensated
✅ TRUE: Sellers can still offer compensation to the listing agent representing them and representing the buyer
❌ FALSE: Listing agents won't be paid if the buyer goes directly to them
2. MLS does not allow Co-Op (buyer agent) compensation
✅ True: There are plenty of other ways to market compensation to buyer agents and buyers will still be able to make offers on your homes with their buyer agents.
❌ FALSE: Sellers can not give Buyers Agents compensation
3. The requires the MLS to remove any fields that pertain to Broker to Broker compensation fields
This is like deja-vu. Rinse repeat. See above
✅ True: There are plenty of other ways to market compensation to buyer agents and buyers will still be able to make offers on your homes with their buyer agents.
❌ FALSE: Sellers can not give Buyers Agents compensation
4. Offering co-op commission to be published on brokerage websites is ALLOWED.
Just not in the MLS. See!! I told you it was going to be ok. 🩵
5. Sellers need to sign a co-op broker compensation form in advance.
✅ Truth: this is no different than we have treated FSBO’s and off-market properties for as long as I’ve been in real estate (and it wasn’t new THEN). It’s an article of transparency. And, SEE, we have always already been transparent. This new settlement is actually less transparent.
6. Realtors are required to enter into a written buyer agreement with buyer BEFORE touring any home showing compensation that is obvious and stated.
✅ True: Buyers will be asked to sign an agreement by ANY Realtor before being able to see any home.
❌ FALSE: You will not be able to view any homes in person.
✅ True: You will know if you are paying your Buyer agent or not. Your Buyer agent will guide you through this with their agreement and when they are showing you the homes.
❌ FALSE: You will always be forced to pay the Buyer agent you hired.
✅ True: Buyer and Seller agent commissions are negotiable.
✅ True: Buyer and Seller agent commissions HAVE ALWAYS BEEN negotiable.
✅ True: There has NEVER BEEN a set standard for Realtor Commissions
✅ True: Consumers HAVE ALWAYS BEEN ABLE TO negotiate commissions.
✅ True: Buyer Agent Commission HAS NEVER BEEN FREE for Buyers.
❌ FALSE: Sellers will lower prices now.
Let's be REAL. Sellers are not going to suddenly slash prices with the new ways commission is paid. Some may out of spite just so a local businessperson (Realtor) does not get paid-- but good luck buying that person's house! The Realtor is probably not the only one getting the short end of the stick.
❌ FALSE: Realtor services will be cheaper.
More Reality: You will get what you paid for. There always was and always will be discount agents. If you want the discount, you will get it when you choose that option. If you want the full luxury service, you will get it when you chose that option. Research the option you want. Research the Realtor you want. You will get the service you want.
Agents/ Realtors
1. Your job isn’t going to disappear unless you let it.
Take this opportunity to sharpen your buyer and listing presentations and be the BEST representative your clients have ever seen.
2. Get better at your job. And then DO your job.
Be a figure of authority. Become a subject matter expert in Real Estate. Educate your clients with truth and transparency - always.
3. Know your worth and market it!
Get your name out there. Show them what you know, what you have done for others, and what you will do for them. This is not the time to be a silent agent. This is a time to rejoice in your profession. Be proud of what you do for homebuyers, sellers, renters, property owners, developers, investors, your community.
4. Diversify your income streams.
Think bigger than today. Become business-minded and view things as an entrepreneur would - give yourself financial freedom and future peace of mind by securing “back-up” revenue sources.
Above all - and this applies to buyers, sellers and agents - live and act with grace and kindness.
If you’re curious about things you can do to start running your real estate business like an entrepreneur - to provide financial stability and peace-of-mind - DM us, call us, text us. Don't be a stranger. WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER.
Things aren’t any scarier than you give them permission to be.
Take control of the narrative of your life.
Posted in Real Estate News
Sept. 28, 2023

Give Your Backyard a Summer Makeover with These 6 Budget-Friendly Backyard Furniture Ideas

 

 

1. Build a DIY Deck 

If you have a lot of green space but need somewhere to display your Traeger grill and wicker egg chair, start your backyard remodel with a DIY Deck. A deck can instantly give your yard more functionality and ambience, while adding value into your home. Add a simple DIY deck on a budget with this step-by-step guide and continue reading for our simple but effective decoration ideas.

2. Roll Out an Outdoor Rug 

To adorn your beautifully crafted deck, consider displaying an outdoor area rug to add in some colors and patterns and give your deck a new look, without committing to repainting/restaining your existing space. Machine washable rugs are probably your best bet for an outdoor space, especially if you have kids, dogs, or frequent parties/gatherings. 

3. Add Decorative Planters 

Liven up your backyard or deck with a few decorative planters! Planters are super versatile products that allow you to house a variety of different plants in a shared space and bring individual character and charm to a bleak environment. Of course, accompanying your planters with vibrant and colorful plants makes your space feel bright and inviting. 

Save Water And Keep Your Lawn Green With These Florida Lawn Irrigation Tips

Learn how to irrigate your Florida lawn, save money and conserve water, all without resorting to a wasteful sprinkler system. Read more >>

4. Hang Solar String Lights 

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

If you're looking to have a beautiful backyard, we recommend investing in some outdoor string lights. Lights can easily elevate your space and give your deck a warm, welcome glow at an inexpensive price point. If you have a little more money in the budget, we recommend looking into solar powered lights, as they won’t impact your electricity bill since they store up energy from the sun.

5. Suspend a Hammock 

To take advantage of your renovated yard, suspend a cozy hammock between two trees for ultimate relaxation. If you don’t have two trees sturdy enough to hold a hammock, you can also purchase an affordable hammock with a stand to replicate the same cozy vibes. 

6. Install/Build a Fire Pit 

Roast some marshmallows on your beautiful deck, complete with a new fire pit. You can impress your friends by building your own stone fire pit or buying a budget-friendly metal fire pit. Either of these options will complete your picture perfect summer yard, but make sure you provide enough comfortable seating to make s'mores and sing songs around the campfire. 

Further Reading and Final Thoughts 

The inspiration for this blog post came from Tom’s Guide, awesome products to give your backyard a makeover under $50, so definitely go check out their article. 

If you are feeling motivated to keep renovating after your backyard summer makeover, don’t forget to check out our blog post on how to make your home look expensive on a budget! We hope you enjoyed our backyard furniture ideas, summer edition. Check out the Rabell Podcast for more tips on backyard makeovers on a budget.

Posted in Tips and Tricks
Sept. 14, 2023

Fit for Fun: Rabell Realty Group's Health and Wellness Event

Get ready to revitalize your mind, body, and spirit at Rabell Realty Group's exciting "Fit for Fun" event! Hosted by the dynamic duo of Kristen and Rebecca, Rabell Realty is inviting you to join them on September 23, 2023, from 9 am to 12 pm at their office for a morning of health-focused activities and a chance to explore the world of wellness.

This event isn't just about real estate; it's about nurturing your well-being. We've lined up five amazing health-oriented vendors to guide you on your journey to a healthier and happier you. Let's dive into the exciting lineup!

  1. Rose Quartz Wellness Spa:

Start your day of wellness with a splash of relaxation! Rose Quartz Wellness Spa is offering 15-minute free massages to ease your tension and soothe your muscles. Plus, if you decide to book a massage on the same day, they'll sweeten the deal with a fantastic discount. Don't miss this opportunity to pamper yourself!

  1. Halo Health:

Explore the world of CBD oils with Halo Health. Their knowledgeable team will be on hand to educate you about the benefits of CBD and showcase their high-quality products. Discover how CBD can fit into your wellness routine and experience the potential benefits firsthand.

  1. GWP Physical Therapy:

Think physical therapy is just for athletes? Think again! GWP Physical Therapy is here to break down misconceptions and show you that their services are for everyone. Learn about the importance of maintaining your physical health and how GWP can help you lead a more active and pain-free life.

  1. Soda Fit Foot:

Elevate your fitness game with Soda Fit Foot's stunning fitness apparel and footwear. Whether you're hitting the gym, going for a run, or practicing yoga, they have the perfect gear to keep you looking and feeling great. Explore their latest collections and find your perfect fit!

  1. Sage Wellness:

Mental health is a crucial component of overall well-being, and Sage Wellness is here to support you. They offer counseling services to help you navigate life's challenges and achieve mental clarity and balance. Discover the power of holistic wellness with their expert guidance.

Don't forget to bring your friends and family along for this exciting event! There will be something for everyone to enjoy, from relaxation and rejuvenation to learning about new ways to improve your well-being.

Mark your calendars for September 23, 2023, and join us at Rabell Realty Group's office. Kristen and Rebecca can't wait to welcome you to this fantastic morning of health and wellness. Let's make wellness a priority and have a blast while doing it!

Stay tuned for more updates and information about our "Fit for Fun" event. See you there!

Posted in Community Events
Aug. 1, 2023

Affordable Gainesville: Best Neighborhoods for First-Time Homebuyers

Hey there, all you fabulous first-time homebuyers! If you're looking for the perfect place to plant your roots, look no further than vibrant Gainesville – one of the fastest-growing cities in the country. Despite those high interest rates, there are affordable options if you know where to look. We’re here to show you some Alachua County neighborhoods that make sense for first-time homebuyers in the current market.

Pleasant Street and Duckpond

Duck Pond home for sale

Let's start with the charming and historic neighborhoods Pleasant Street and Duckpond. If you want historic charm in your first home, these two neighborhoods should be on your radar. 

The Pleasant Street area and Duckpond were built up before major developments came to town, and are the richer in architecture and walkability for it. Tree-lined streets and wraparound porches complete with rocking chairs lend these neighborhoods a sociable, laid back vibe. 

The Duckpond is popular with professors and other professionals, while Pleasant Street tends a little more toward graduate students and first-time homebuyers with young families. Pleasant Street has deep roots in the African American community and was an important center of activity during the civil rights era.

Both neighborhoods are walking distance to Downtown Gainesville, where you have ample access to restaurants, shopping, and entertainment. Closer at hand, locals support a weekly farmer’s market at Cypress & Grove brewpub, and a growing hub for all things vintage -- from arcade games to clothes -- along the NW 8th Ave corridor. 

Well-maintained Victorian homes abound in the Duckpond. In Pleasant Street you’ll find smaller Victorians and Florida vernacular style cottages.. If finding a first home with character and charm is a priority, the homes here will fit the bill. Many were built in the early part of the previous century.

A Walking Tour of Gainesville’s Bed and Breakfast District

Gainesville’s beloved Bed and Breakfast District is located in the historic Southeast neighborhood of the city. Read more >>

High Springs

Home for sale in High Springs FL
High Springs home for sale

High Springs is a growing suburb of Gainesville that’s worth a look for first-time buyers. It's located ten minutes past Alachua on 441, about thirty-five minutes from downtown Gainesville and the University of Florida, and still within the excellent Alachua County School District. Not only are High Springs homes affordable, they’re typically set on larger lots with lower taxes and utility bills. 

The nearby springs draw tourists from all over for the canoeing, river tubing, cave diving, and camping. But High Springs is more than just outdoor fun. Locals don’t have to travel far to enjoy nice restaurants, the High Springs Brewing Company which hosts events throughout the week, and the High Springs Farmer’s Market, which takes place every Friday afternoon. 

All in all, High Springs is a great place to stretch out and put down roots.

Grand Oaks

Grand Oaks Gainesville home for sale - Phase II
Grand Oaks home for sale - Phase II

At the higher end of the affordable range we have Grand Oaks, Southwest Gainesville’s next great residential community. It's got everything you need and more – a convenient location near I-75, great restaurants, shops, and entertainment at nearby Celebration Pointe and Town of Tioga. Plus, you have access to lots of green space, a pavilion with a pool and a playground.

Grand Oaks is going to be a great neighborhood to raise kids. Along with the amenities we touched on above, the neighborhood is zoned for A-rated Chiles Elementary.

New construction homes are available now with an additional 80-85 homes slated for 2024. If you’re interested in seeing these beautiful homes in person, we invite you to call or text Kristen Rabell at 352-213-6760 or email info@buysellrabell.com for more information.

Grand Oaks in Gainesville FL Sign

Grand Oaks Gainesville Phase 2: What’s on the Market Now?

Exciting news from Gainesville, Florida’s Grand Oaks development! As the community enters the second phase of construction, we are thrilled to announce that there are 44 beautiful homes or lots available for sale between the builders represented by Rabell, and more on the way. Read more >>

Blues Creek

Blues Creek home for sale

Blues Creek is another quiet and friendly place to raise a family in Northwest Gainesville. Blues Creek is zoned for Talbot Elementary.

Residents enjoy access to a pool and tennis courts. If that weren’t enough, the community is surrounded by lush greenery, with Blues Creek Ravine to the southwest, and San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park, Devil’s Millhopper Geological State Park, and Possum Creek all nearby, so there are plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation.

Blues Creek’s compact footprint and modest HOA fees are the secret to the community’s affordability. That smaller land area also means you need to act quickly if a home becomes available.

Micanopy

Micanopy FL fall festival
Downtown Micanopy

Looking for some charming Southern small-town vibes? Look no further than Micanopy! Only 10 miles south of Gainesville, this place is as quaint and charming as can be. 

Micanopy’s lovingly preserved historic homes are situated on some of the most beautiful Spanish-moss covered roads in Florida. Majestic Payne’s Prairie borders Micanopy to the northwest.And with its convenient access to I-75 and SR 441, you'll never feel far from the action.

The tree-lined historic district supports a handful of antique shops and restaurants. It’s no wonder the Huffington Post included Micanopy in its list of the 12 Cutest Small Towns in America.

University Park

University Park home for sale
University Park home for sale

Given its storied history and proximity to the University of Florida, University Park is a surprisingly affordable option. And for a neighborhood so close to campus, University Park is a peaceful, quiet place to put down roots.

One of the oldest neighborhoods in Gainesville, University Park boasts a lush tree canopy that helps keep the neighborhood cool during the hot months. Locals enjoy easy access to the Paynes Prairie Preserve, the Kanapaha Botanical Gardens, the Harn Museum, the Florida Museum of Natural History, and much more.

Downtown Gainesville is walking distance and offers a wealth of dining, shopping, and entertainment options. If you're a Gators fan, you'll appreciate the proximity to Ben Griffin Stadium and its many events.

First-Time Homebuyers

Now, I know being a first-time homebuyer can be a bit overwhelming, but don't fret! We're here to help you navigate this exciting journey! Before you start the house hunt, you will want to get your financial ducks in a row, evaluate your credit score, and create a budget. When you’re ready to get serious about your search, getting pre-approved by a mortgage lender is key. Lenders will look closely at your credit, employment history, and debt-to-income ratio. It's important to learn the expectations for a down payment and what your closing costs will include. In addition to monthly mortgage payments, homeowners pay property taxes and mortgage insurance.

Check out our Questions for Prospective Homeowners to learn how far ahead of the game you are and how we can help.

Finding Your Perfect First Home

Happy real estate agent giving first-time homebuyers the keys to their new home.

 

Gainesville is a perfect place to buy a first home. It's bustling with a robust housing market and many unique neighborhoods to give you all the options you might want as first-time homebuyers. But you don't have to do it all alone! Reach out to Rabell Realty Group to connect with an experienced real estate agent. We can help you with first-time homeowner down payment assistance programs and any other resources you may need. Contact us today, and together, we'll find your perfect first home! 🎉

Posted in Real Estate News
July 28, 2023

Join Us for an Exciting Back-to-School Snow Cone Social!

As the summer draws to a close and the back-to-school season approaches, there's no better way to celebrate than with a fun-filled community event! We are thrilled to invite you to the Back-to-School Snow Cone Social, hosted by Rabell Realty GroupDarr Schackow Insurance and Advisors Mortgage Group. Set to take place on August 11th from 3:30pm until 5:00pm at the Rabell Realty office, this event promises to be an afternoon of delightful entertainment, refreshing treats, and memorable family moments.

Live Music by The Medicine Show

Get ready to tap your feet and groove to the rhythm of live music performed by The Medicine Show. This talented local band will set the stage ablaze with their energetic and captivating melodies, ensuring that everyone has a fantastic time. Their eclectic mix of genres guarantees that there will be something for everyone to enjoy, making it a perfect opportunity for families and friends to come together and have a blast.

Delicious Snow Cones from Charlie's Snow Shack

No summer celebration is complete without icy treats to beat the heat! We are excited to have Charlie's Snow Shack on board, bringing their delectable snow cones to the event. Whether you prefer classic flavors or adventurous combinations, Charlie's Snow Shack has a wide range of options to satisfy your taste buds. Indulge in these vibrant, flavorful treats while catching up with friends and neighbors, creating lasting memories with every refreshing bite.

Engaging Family Games

In addition to the live music and mouth watering snow cones, we have planned an array of exciting family games to add an extra dose of fun to the event. From extra large connect four to cornhole, there will be something for all ages to enjoy. Gather your loved ones and challenge each other to friendly competitions, fostering a sense of camaraderie and community spirit. With laughter and cheer filling the air, the Back-to-School Snow Cone Social promises to be a joyous occasion for everyone involved.

Join Us for an Unforgettable Afternoon

The Back-to-School Snow Cone Social is an excellent opportunity to bid farewell to the summer and welcome the upcoming school year with open arms. Hosted by Rabell Realty Group and sponsored by Darr Schackow Insurance and Advisors Mortgage Group, this event promises to bring our community together for an afternoon of laughter, music, and camaraderie. Mark your calendars for August 11th from 3:30pm until 5:00pm, and head on over to the Rabell Realty office for an unforgettable time.

We look forward to seeing you and your family at the event! Spread the word, invite your friends and neighbors, and let's make this Back-to-School Snow Cone Social an incredible success. Together, we can create lasting memories and celebrate the start of a new academic year in style!

Posted in Community Events
July 10, 2023

How New Construction Homeowners Are Adapting to Alachua County's New Landscape Irrigation Standards

A Florida-native palm
Photo by Lisha Brown on Unsplash

Alachua County is embracing a new era of sustainable planning with its recent changes to the Landscape Irrigation Design and Maintenance Standards. The revised code, which went into effect on June 12, 2023, marks an important milestone in water conservation efforts and sets an example for North Florida.

Here's what new construction homeowners need to know about the new rules, along with some ideas for creatively adapting your landscape in the Gainesville area.

What You Need to Know

The Alachua County Commission has limited the area that can be permanently irrigated to 50% of the permeable area, with a maximum irrigated footprint of 0.25 acres per residential lot. These changes ensure that new irrigation systems and additions to existing systems adhere to the new efficiency standards, which must receive a permit before installation. Alachua County also requires irrigation companies to register their businesses with the County and make sure their practices align with the latest guidelines.

Why Is This Happening?

Water conservation lies at the heart of these code revisions, aiming to combat the growing trend of what Alachua County officials consider over-irrigation in new construction communities.

Stacie Greco, the Water Resources Program Manager at Alachua County Environmental Protection Department, highlights the significance of this step in reducing water consumption. “Since almost 60% of residential water use occurs in our landscapes, this is an important step for reducing water use,” Greco said. “The water savings will not only help save our springs and groundwater supply but will also save homeowners money on their utility bills.”

Fertilizer from over-irrigated lawns running off into the groundwater and tourist-friendly springs is another problem the new rules aim to address.

Water Conservation Ideas for New Construction Homeowners in Alachua County

Now, you might be wondering, what are the options for homeowners to embrace these changes without losing their beautiful landscaping? Below we discuss a few alternatives to sprinklers that not only conserve water but also enhance the beauty and functionality of your landscape:

Native and Drought-Tolerant Plants 

Field of black eyed susans
Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

Embrace the natural beauty of Alachua County by incorporating native and drought-tolerant plants into your landscape design. These plants are adapted to the local climate and require minimal irrigation once established. Drought-tolerant species such as palms and Florida-native grasses like fakahatchee and cordgrass are excellent choices that can thrive with limited water. Low maintenance annuals and perennials include aloe, blue daze, black eyed susan, rosemary, lavender and many more. 

For more tips on choosing drough-resistant plants, check out the University of Florida Extension’s blog article on Florida-friendly landscaping.

Rainwater Harvesting

Capture the abundant rainfall in Alachua County by installing a rainwater harvesting system. Collecting rainwater in barrels or cisterns allows you to reuse it for irrigation purposes during hotter or drier periods. It's a sustainable and cost-effective solution that reduces reliance on municipal water sources.

Efficient Irrigation Techniques

If you prefer some form of irrigation, consider more water-efficient methods like drip irrigation or micro-sprinklers. These systems deliver water directly to the root zones of plants, minimizing evaporation and runoff. Additionally, smart irrigation controllers equipped with weather sensors can adjust watering schedules based on real-time weather conditions, further optimizing water usage.

Here are a few things an experienced irrigation professional does to make sure your irrigation system is working as efficiently as possible:

  • Test controller and make seasonal adjustments
  • Test all zones and valves for proper operations
  • Adjust and fine tune all sprinklers
  • Check for broken and leaking pipe(s)
  • Check for broken or clogged sprinkler heads and nozzles
  • Determine if any sprinkler heads need raising or straightened to ensure correct coverage
  • Test and clean rain/freeze sensor
  • Examine Backflow Preventer
  • Clean filters for drip irrigation (if applicable)

By staying on top of maintenance, you can rest assured that your irrigation system will continue to perform optimally and save you money on water.

Mulching

Mulch is a superhero in water conservation. By applying a layer of organic mulch around your plants and shrubs, you can significantly reduce water evaporation from the soil, maintain soil moisture levels, and suppress weed growth. Organic materials like wood chips or shredded leaves make excellent mulching options.

Grand Oaks: Embracing Water Conservation in Alachua County

Phase 2 Grand Oaks Gainesville home for sale
Grand Oaks home with native landscaping and drought-tolerant zoysia grass

Grand Oaks is a brand new residential community in Southwest Gainesville, with convenient access to tons of retail, restaurants, and I-75. Grand Oaks amenities include access to ample green space, a covered pavilion with a pool and playground, and proximity to new retail offerings. 

Phase 1 and Phase 2 are on the market now. Phase 3 of the development, set to be completed in 2024, will comply with the new irrigation standards in creative ways. Grand Oaks builders are embracing the new rules by designing landscaping with drought and heat tolerant zoysia grass and Florida-friendly landscaping.

Final Thoughts

As real estate professionals, we encourage homeowners to make the most of these changes by adopting water-wise landscaping practices. Not only will you contribute to water conservation efforts, but you'll also create stunning, resilient landscapes that add value to your property.

Let's embrace this new chapter in Alachua County's journey toward a greener future. Together, we can protect our water resources and create sustainable communities for generations to come!

Posted in Real Estate News
July 5, 2023

Scallop Season in Florida Is Here!

Scallops

Scalloping is a tradition every Floridian has to experience, and there's nothing quite like snagging those succulent bay scallops right from their cozy seagrass beds. It's a treasure hunt like no other!

The season in Florida is a relatively short window and you don't want to miss the opportunity to score the freshest of bay scallops from the seashore.

If you live in North Florida and are looking for opportunities for family fun, it's time to learn more about scallop season. Read on to learn more.

What Are Scallops?

The Florida Bay Scallop is a Bivalve Mollusk that grows in the seagrass beds of the Gulf of Mexico. These scallops filter the salt water for nutrients that suspend in the water column and fall into the seagrass once they are fully developed.

Bivalvia means that the scallop has two halves to its shell, which the scallop will open and close when it sees shadows in the water. Interestingly, the bay scallop has blue eyes which are used to monitor the light around it.

Our Florida bay scallops live fast and die young, rarely making it past a year of age. But in that short time, they grow their shells to an average size of three inches. And they've got style too—their top shells sport a dark mottled color while the bottoms shine bright white.

They also open their shells to eat and breathe. The bay scallop opens its shell and filters algae out of the water when they eat. They also pull oxygen from the water so they can breathe using gills inside their shell.

Scallop Season in Florida

Harvesting Florida bay scallops
Harvesting Florida bay scallops. Photo: FWC

Most people are familiar with scallops because of their delicious sweet flavor. It's the reason that Florida's scalloping is an annual tradition dating back to at least 900 AD.

Each summer thousands of locals and visitors alike travel to various locations around the state to partake in this activity. The scallop season runs from Pasco County through the Florida Panhandle in Gulf County along the west coast of Florida.

Florida Regional Bay Scallop Season 2023

The scallop harvesting season takes place in the greater bay region of central Florida's west coast waters. It runs from July 1 to nearly the end of September in different sections of the west coastline.

Franklin and Northwest Taylor Country have their scallop season from July 1 to August 24. Likewise, Levy, Citrus, and Hernando Counties' scallop season run during the same period.

The Fenholloway and Suwannee River Zone scallop season runs from June 15 through Labor Day. Pasco County scallop season starts the third Friday in July and runs for ten days.

If you're looking for a late-season chance at scallops, the Gulf County season runs from August 16 to September 24.

Florida regional bay scalloping season 2023
Regional bay scallop seasons along Florida’s west coast and panhandle. Map courtesy FWC
Region Start Date End Date
Gulf County Zone Aug 16 Sept 24
Franklin - NW Taylor County July 1 Sept 24
Fenholloway - Suwanne River Zone July 1 Sept 24
Levy, Citrus and Hernando Counties July 1 Sept 24
Pasco County Zone July 1 Aug 6
     

What You Need to Do to Be Ready for Scallop Season

If you're ready to give this activity a try, it's important to know a few things. You need a license, in some circumstances, and the right equipment for a successful experience.

Here's what you need to know to be ready for scalloping season.

Florida Fishes Licenses

Now, before you dive headfirst into this scalloping extravaganza, let's cover the essentials. 

First, if you're wading along the shore, no fishing license is needed. But if you're venturing out on a private boat, grab yourself a Florida saltwater fishing license. 

Or, for a hassle-free option, join a scallop tour boat—they'll take care of the license and even provide the necessary equipment.

Daily Bag Limits

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission carefully monitors the bay scallop population from year to year. It seems the scallop population has a natural ebb and flow in density that varies over a five to seven-year period.

Because of this they do have bag limits restricting how much you can harvest at any one time. These limits include:

Gulf-NW Taylor County and Levy-Pasco County

  • Per Person: 2 gallons of whole bay scallops in shell or 1 pint of bay scallop meat
  • Per Vessel: Max of 10 gallons of whole bay scallops in shell or 1⁄2 gallon bay scallop meat (1⁄2 gallon = 4 pints)

Fenholloway through Suwannee River Zone

From June 15 30:

  • Per Person: 1-gallon whole bay scallops in shell or one cup shucked
  • Per Vessel: Max of 5 gallons whole or 2 pints shucked

From July 1 Labor Day:

  • Per Person: 2 gallons of whole bay scallops in shell or 1 pint of bay scallop meat
  • Per Vessel: Max of 10 gallons of whole bay scallops in shell, or 1⁄2 gallon bay scallop meat (1⁄2 gallon = 4 pints)

Individuals can't exceed their limits even when aboard a scalloping vessel.

Photo by Evan Wise on Unsplash

Grilling and Chilling, the Safe Way

Summer in Florida wouldn’t be complete without epic downpours, magnolia blossoms, and the intoxicating smell of food cooking on the grill. But hang on a second there, partner. Barbecue grills present many safety risks that even the most seasoned grill masters may not be aware of. Read more >>

Scalloping Supplies

To catch scallops from the water, you'll need some specific supplies and you need to be ready to get into the water to look for them.

The most prepared scallop fisherman has:

  • Small dip net
  • Mask
  • Snorkel
  • Fins
  • Mesh scallop bag
  • Dive bag
  • Gloves

Once you harvest a scallop, it's important to keep it wet until you get to shore and are ready to clean them up. They are highly sensitive to going without water.

You can place them on ice, but not in ice water as it will almost immediately kill the scallop. Keeping them on ice will make preparing them easier once you get to shore since they're more likely to keep their shells open.

How to Harvest Scallops

Steinhatchee scallops
Steinhatchee scallops. Photo: Under the same moon… via Flickr

To make your scalloping adventure a success, equip yourself with a small dip net, mask, snorkel, fins, mesh scallop bag, dive bag, and gloves. And don't forget to keep those scallops wet until you're ready to clean them—these little beauties don't like going without water.

When you're out in the water, keep an eye out for scallops in four to eight feet of water near the seagrass edges. Snorkel over, scoop 'em up with your trusty dip net, and stash them in your mesh bag. But beware of their pinch—they can close their shells faster than a bidding war on a beachfront property!

Scallop Harvesting Along Western Florida's Coasts

Every Floridian should have the experience at least once of diving and catching bay scallops straight from Florida's coast. The season is now so give it a try.

Posted in Community News
June 16, 2023

Renovations to Beat the Summer Heat: Making Your Gainesville Home More Energy Efficient

Hello, Gainesville homeowners! Welcome to the 'Stay Indoors' edition of Gainesville living. Are you feeling the heat? With summer in full swing, it's time to explore your energy-saving options and transform your home into a cool oasis while getting those utility bills in check.

As a Florida-based real estate team, we're here to share some valuable tips and ideas that will help you transform your Gainesville abode into an energy-efficient haven. From insulation upgrades and HVAC system improvements to harnessing the power of the Florida sun, we've got all the information you need!

Insulate and Chill

When you'd rather turn your home into a cozy pink igloo than brave the broiling Florida sun. | Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

When you think of insulation, you might envision a cozy pink blanket that keeps your home warm during the winter months. However, insulation plays a crucial role in keeping the cool air inside during summer and preventing unwanted heat from seeping in. That’s why ensuring proper insulation in your attic, walls, and floors is essential. 

Insulation tends to settle and thin over time, becoming less effective. Refreshing your insulation means it takes less energy to keep your home cool. It’s a cost-effective home improvement that pays off in greater comfort and lower summer electric bills.

If you live in an area served by Duke Energy, like High Springs, and you own a single family home, Duke will give you a rebate on your attic insulation upgrade. Additionally, GRU offers free energy efficiency upgrades to insulation for low and moderate income homeowners who qualify

HVAC Heroes: Upgrade Your System and Regularly Change the Filters 

Your trusty HVAC system works hard to keep you cool when the summer heat tries to sneak its way in. But is it up to the task? 

Consider upgrading to a more energy-efficient model that will save you both money and stress. Look for units with high SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) ratings, smart thermostats, and zoning capabilities to cool specific areas of your home. Switching to a high-efficiency air conditioner can reduce your energy use by 20% to 50%, according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, and could net you a federal tax break of 30% of the cost (up to $600).

Regularly changing your HVAC system's air filter is also crucial. Replace the filter once every two months during the hot months and once every three months for the rest of the year. Dust and dander build-up strains the system, causing it to draw more power to compensate. Neglecting to change those filters regularly reduces energy efficiency, leading to higher energy bills. 

GRU offers free replacement or servicing of inefficient HVAC systems to qualifying low to moderate income homeowners

Landscaping for Shade: Outdoor Enhancements 

On a hot Florida day, the temperature under trees can be as much as 25°F cooler than nearby blacktop | Photo by Thirsty Turf Irrigation on Unsplash

Creating natural shade around your property is an elegant way to maximize your home's energy efficiency. While trees and shrubs take time to grow, they offer long-term benefits. 

Strategically planted trees and shrubs provide relief from the intense Florida sun by reflecting the heat that would otherwise reach your home. The shade and water vapor produced by trees and other landscaping elements can lower the surrounding temperature by as much as 6° F, according to the Department of Energy.

Shade trees not only keep your interiors cooler but also allow you to enjoy your outdoor space more. Cool air settles near the ground, making the area directly under trees as much as 25°F cooler than nearby blacktop.

While we’re on the subject of outdoor spaces, we invite you to take a brief detour to consider the benefits of transforming your lawn into a beautiful sprinkler-free – and cost-efficient – landscape.

 

Save Water And Keep Your Lawn Green With These Florida Lawn Irrigation Tips

Learn how to irrigate your Florida lawn, save money and conserve water, all without resorting to a wasteful sprinkler system. Read more >>

Window Wonders: Treatments and Upgrades

Windows are your home's eyes to the world, but they can also be major energy wasters. Upgrade to energy-efficient windows that are designed to block heat and UV rays while keeping the cool air inside.

Duke Energy’s window replacement program offers homeowners who make upgrades a rebate of $2 per square foot of window area (up to $400) on east, west and south-facing windows.

You can also reduce the need for air-conditioning by installing window treatments such as blinds, shades, or curtains to further enhance your home's insulation and reduce heat gain during the sunny days.

Let the Sun Shine: Solar Panels

A Gainesville homeowner embraces solar power. | Photo by Bill Mead on Unsplash

Installing solar panels is a great long-term investment in energy efficiency. By generating your own electricity, you can keep your home comfortably cool while lowering your electric bills over time. It’s also a fantastic way to reduce your carbon footprint.

With the region boasting an average of 64% sunlight per day and a 9.7-year solar payback period, Gainesville is an ideal location for going solar. Numerous solar incentives are available to homeowners in the Gainesville area, offered by state agencies and power companies, making solar energy an attractive option.

GRU offers a net metering program, where customers who install photovoltaic (PV) systems for their home can connect with the GRU grid and receive credit for the surplus solar energy they produce. 

Here are a few more available incentives:

Florida Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs

https://floridapace.gov/about-pace/
Financing for renewable energy upgrades, determined locally
Property Tax Abatement for Renewable Energy Property Residential: 100% of the added value
Lakeland Electric - Residential Energy Efficiency Loan Program

www.lakelandelectric.com
$5000 loan
Federal Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit

www.ecowatch.com
30% federal tax credit for systems placed in service after 12/31/2021 and before 01/01/2033. Good for: solar water heat, solar photovoltaics, biomass, geothermal heat pumps, wind (small), fuel cells using renewable fuels.

Final Thoughts

As a savvy homeowner in Gainesville, you have the power to make your home more energy-efficient and beat the summer heat. By implementing these tips and ideas, from harnessing solar power to upgrading insulation and HVAC systems, you'll create a comfortable and sustainable sanctuary while saving money on your utility bills. So, embrace the sunshine, unleash your inner energy-saving superhero, and enjoy a refreshingly cool home all summer long!

Remember, Rabell is here to assist you with all your real estate needs. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions or require professional guidance on buying an energy-efficient home. Stay cool and keep your energy bills in check!

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as professional advice. Always consult with qualified professionals for personalized recommendations based on your specific circumstances.

Posted in Tips and Tricks
May 31, 2023

5 Reasons You'll Love Living in Oakmont

 

Oakmont Gainesville FL pool and amenities center

Looking for the perfect Gainesville neighborhood? Look no further than Oakmont, a luxurious subdivision in Gainesville, Florida. This neighborhood has it all: a built-in community, tons of family-friendly amenities, and of course, an awesome pool! In this article, we'll explore the highlights of living in Oakmont, which easily made our list of Gainesville's Best Neighborhoods.

1. Picture-Perfect Location

Oakmont is nestled in a quiet corner of SW Gainesville, surrounded by lightly developed countryside. It's a peaceful oasis spread over 550 acres – 45 of which are set aside as a permanent nature preserve – that’s still within easy reach of major highways, Butler Plaza, restaurants, and more.

  • 6 mins to Publix at Market Square
  • 8 mins to Haile Village farmer’s market
  • 15 mins to Celebration Pointe restaurants and shops
  • 17 mins to Butler Plaza - Whole Foods and Trader Joes
  • 20 mins to University of Florida, Downtown Gainesville

2. Community Love

Oakmont is all about community. You'll find friendly neighbors, charming streets with sidewalks and benches, and endless opportunities to make friends. From group fitness classes to casual chats by the pool, Oakmont knows how to bring people together and create lasting memories.

Oakmont’s community development district, or CDD, is the first of its kind in Gainesville, and covers the cost of amenities as well as community programming, including seasonal festivals like the annual Easter egg hunt, guided exercise classes, family movie nights and much more. 

3. Resort-Style Amenities

Oakmont is an active community. The complete fitness center plays host a variety of group classes. You also have exclusive access to basketball and tennis courts, volleyball nets, and a multipurpose activity field.

Now, let's talk about the star attraction: the resort-style pool! The Olympic size swimming pool features lap lanes for the aspiring olympians and a splash pad for the kiddos. Surrounded by swaying palm trees and beautiful landscaping, it's the perfect spot to beat the heat. 

4. Fun for the Whole Family

Oakmont is an attractive option for young families. With amenities like a playground, sports facilities, walking trails and bike lanes, everyone can stay active and entertained. It's a fantastic way to spend quality time together and stay healthy -- without having to get in the car and deal with traffic hassles.

For a change of scenery, head on over to neighboring Celebration Pointe, which features a walkable town plaza ringed by shops, restaurants, a movie theater, and a dog park. 

Families with little ones can opt to enroll them at top-rated Chiles Elementary or Terwilliger, Gainesville’s newest elementary school, which opened in 2021 to ease crowding.

5. Nature at Your Doorstep

Sweetwater Wetlands Preserve

Gainesville is known for its natural beauty, and Oakmont residents have easy access to lush state parks, nature reserves, and hiking trails. If we had to narrow it down to just three day trip ideas, they would have to be:

  • Devil’s Millhopper - shaded trails wind down a collapsed sinkhole / miniature rainforest ecosystem.
  • Sweeter Wetlands Preserve - 3.5 miles of boardwalks, observation decks and raised trails allow visitors to observe wildlife from close up without interfering with the natural habitat.
  • Gainesville-Hawthorne trail through Payne’s Prairie - 16 miles of level trails, much of it shaded

Read more about exploring Gainesville’s nature spots here.

Final Thoughts

Oakmont's amenities signal luxury and exclusivity, complete with a fantastic pool and amenities galore. So you might be surprised by how affordable some of the homes are. Oakmont actually supports a variety of budgets and home sizes. If homes are availabe, they'll be listed below, so be sure to bookmark this page and check back often. Happy house hunting!

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Posted in Real Estate News
April 29, 2023

Grand Oaks Gainesville Phase 2: What's on the Market Now?

Phase 2 Grand Oaks Gainesville home for sale

Exciting news from Gainesville, Florida's Grand Oaks development! As the community enters the second phase of construction, we are thrilled to announce that there are 44 beautiful homes or lots available for sale between the builders represented by Rabell, and more on the way. With phase 3 in the works and slated for completion in 2024, this development will ultimately offer a total of 304 stunning homes.

Grand Oaks, Gainesville's Next Great Neighborhood

Grand Oaks is perfectly situated between Newberry Road and Archer Road, close to national retailers, restaurants, nature preserves, and a brand new mixed-use development. 

The homes range from 1,700 to 2,200 square feet and start in the high $300k range, making them affordable for many. Each home boasts luxurious features such as LVP flooring, 9-foot ceilings, quartz counters in the kitchen and bathrooms, tiled floors in the bathrooms, and decorative niches. 

Plus, Grand Oaks residents have access to green spaces, a covered pavilion with a pool and playground, and proximity to new retail offerings. These amenities are currently open and being enjoyed by residents.

A-Rated Public Schools

For families with children, Grand Oaks is located in the highly regarded Alachua County School District, with schools such as Chiles Elementary, Fort Clarke Middle, and Buchholz High School and Fort Clarke High School all receiving an A rating.

The Weseman Family: Trusted Names in Gainesville Building

The Weseman family, with over 150 years of experience in the Alachua County/North Central Florida area, is behind the development of Grand Oaks. Their team of builders, including Michael Weseman and Gary Weseman, offer a range of spacious floor plans ranging from 3 to 4 bedrooms, with added upgrades, luxury finishes, and smart home additions that surpass other builders in the SW Gainesville market in craftsmanship and attention to detail.

Mixed-Use Development Next Door: Markets West at Tower Road

Markets West is a 16.5-acre mixed-use development that will bring retail and office space to this desirable pocket of Southwest Gainesville. The development is part of the Grand Oaks master plan spanning 135 acres, which includes over 300 homes and 248 multi-family units.

You'll love the convenience of Markets West with entrances at both Tower Road and SW 24th Ave. They're even adding a new east-west road to connect the two, making access smoother and reducing congestion.

The first businesses to sign on include O2B Kids preschool, and North Florida Regional Medical Center.

More Information and Scheduling a Tour

For those who want more information on Grand Oaks Gainesville, we highly recommend visiting our comprehensive Guide to Grand Oaks Gainesville page. There you will find everything you need to know about this amazing community, including a virtual tour of the site, floor plans, pricing, and more.

Grand Oaks Gainesville Phase 2 Map as of April 25, 2023

If you're interested in seeing these beautiful homes in person, we invite you to contact Kristen Rabell or Jackie Mercier to schedule a tour. These experienced real estate agents are passionate about helping you find your dream home in Grand Oaks. Contact us today to schedule a tour and see why Grand Oaks is being touted as Gainesville's next great neighborhood!

Kristen Rabell - Broker/Owner

352-213-6760

info@buysellrabell.com

Jackie Mercier - Realtor

786-556-2298

jackie@buysellrabell.com

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Posted in Real Estate News