November Home Improvement Tips

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Lila Keim Real Estate Agent

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Happy November,

Cooler evenings and shorter days indicate that winter is just around the bend. Make the most of your daylight hours by preparing your house for the cold season.

Whatever your needs, Lowe’s is here to help. With expert advice and home remodeling supplies from paint to lighting and everything in between, Lowe’s has you covered.

- Lila Keim, REALTOR® | contact me | 904-753-3944

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Winter Home Wood Floor
10 ways to winterize your home

Fall is in the air already, which means that another chilly winter  can’t be too far behind. So before the cold weather arrives, here’s your annual checklist of things to do to get your home ready for the change of season.

3 steps to fixing a warped floor

Q: Our shared-wall townhouse was flooded when our     neighbor’s washing machine overflowed. The concrete foundation is apparently not that even, and the water puddled in the middle of our place.

Read More Read More


Remodel for less with modular cabinets

Cabinets If you’re considering remodeling your kitchen, bathroom, laundry room or any other area in your home that needs cabinets, modular cabinets can be a great time and money saver.

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Top 20 healthiest housing markets

What can you say about the fickle economic forces that drive the homebuilding industry?
Read more »


True costs of a monthly mortgage

The whole idea of an infographic is to take a topic that is complex or difficult to understand via text, and to display it, with graphics and visuals, in a way that makes it simple to understand at a glance.
Read more »


How real estate distress can scar your credit score

E-books, video books, blogs, Web videos and infographics now all contribute to the knowledge we need to help make smart decisions, especially in the realm of real estate and personal finances.
Read more »

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Is Your Home Winter Proof?

To all of those contemplating a move to Florida but still living in the North…Is your home winter proof?  Here are some great tips on how to winterize your home before those cold winter months set in.

Is Your Home Winter Proof

Protect Your Home from Cold Weather Threats

By: Gwen Moran
Published: September 24, 2009

The right tools and pre-winter maintenance will ensure that your home and your family are safe and from cold-weather threats.

First, understand the threats

Blizzards. Storms with heavy winds and large amounts of snow accumulation can cause roof or other structural damage and leave you isolated.

Ice storms and ice dams. Ice storms coat structures, trees, power lines, cars, roads—and virtually everything else—with ice. As the ice melts, large chunks can fall and cause injury to anyone below. When ice melts during the day and then re-freezes at night, ice dams, which block water from flowing in the gutter, may form. This condition can force water back under the roof line and cause leaks.

Sleet or freezing rain. Combinations of snow and freezing rain may cause slippery conditions and coat roads, sidewalks, and driveways with ice when temperatures drop.

Protect yourself

The Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends that home owners have shovels on hand, as well as melting agents, such as rock salt. Some of the new, more environmentally friendly deicers include calcium magnesium acetate and sand to improve traction. Be sure to stock up early in the season, as these agents tend to be in short supply during periods before a well-publicized storm.

FEMA also advises you have enough fuel to maintain heat in your home, as well as a backup heating source: firewood if the home has a working fireplace, or a generator to power heaters in case of power failure. However, use caution as these can represent fire hazards when not used correctly. Be sure to follow directions explicitly and keep a fire extinguisher. Some generators and fireplaces also require proper ventilation, according to the Institute for Business and Home Safety, so follow directions carefully and keep them away from curtains or other flammable items.

Stock up on extra blankets, warm clothing, and enough food and water to sustain your family in case of a few days of isolation. And a transistor radio with fresh batteries can help keep you updated on news and information in case of a power outage.

Protect your home

Before winter, there are some precautions you can take to protect your home from the ravages of cold weather storms:

Winterize your home. Check shutters, siding, and other exterior materials to ensure they’re secure, says retired contractor and home improvement expert and writer John Wilder of Jacksonville, Fla. High winds, ice, and moisture from winter storms can easily strip off such outside elements if they’re loose.

Be sure that gutters are clear of debris and that walkways are even and don’t represent tripping hazards that can be exacerbated with snow or ice. Caulk drafty windows and apply weather stripping to doors—both inexpensive strategies that can keep heat in your home. Air sealing can help you save about $350 in energy costs or one-third of your average annual heating and cooling costs. The average annual home energy bill is about $2,200, according to Energy Star, of which about $1,000 represents heating and cooling. An assortment of air sealing materials and tools, including silicone foam, caulk, aluminum flashing for flues, and additional insulation, will run roughly $100-$350.

Watch your roof. Consider roof heating cables to prevent ice dams on roofs and in gutters, Wilder recommends. They emit a low level of electric-powered heat and prevent ice from blocking gutters and downspouts. These cables can also help melt snow as it falls and help prevent it from accumulating on your roof, where its weight may cause damage.

The cable costs approximately $50-$100 for a 65 to 100 ft. package and can be purchased online or at home improvement retailers. Well-ventilated attics, which release warm air and melt ice, can reduce the risk of ice dams as well, according to the Institute.

Winterize pipes. Be sure your pipes, especially those exposed or in unheated areas like crawl spaces, are wrapped in insulation to prevent freezing and bursting. Also, learn where your water shut-off valves are so you can turn off the water supply in case of a leak. Six feet of insulation can cost anywhere from $7 to $17; it’s available at most home improvement stores.

Trim tree branches. Branches that overhang roofs or areas where you park your car—or which are simply overgrown—represent a risk to structures, vehicles, and people. Keep trees trimmed and remove those that are weak or sickly to prevent them from falling on or near your home. Tree trimming and removal pricing varies greatly, and you may have additional restrictions if you live in an historic community or if the trees are close to power lines.

Check with your municipality about any regulations and contact your local Chamber of Commerce, municipal offices, or contractor rating sites like or to get the names of reputable pros. Tree trimming and removal can be dangerous, so don’t attempt it on your own unless you’re experienced.

By keeping your home in good repair and stocking up on the supplies you’ll need before the rush for rock salt and shovels begins, you’ll be as ready as possible to tough out the storm.

Visit for more articles like this. Reprinted from with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.”

Nassau County Receives Global Recognition

Amelia Island MarinaIf you know of anyone that would like more information on why we are ranked so highly in so many reports, please contact me!  I would be pleased to give you a thorough tour of our beautiful area and our exceptional quality of lifestyle.

Best in the World Islands

Amelia Island has been featured as one of the Top 5 Islands In The World for 3 consecutive years.

Where America is Moving

Nassau County ranked 3rd in the Nation by the Conde Nast Traveler’s Reader’s Choice Award.

Best Little Beach Town

Fernandina Beach made the list of Top 10 Best Little Beach Towns in the Nation.

“Low taxes, warm sunshine and deep discounts on real estate.  No wonder IRS data shows the wealthiest among us are
headed south” Report by Jon Burner at June 2010

Best Small Town Getaways

Fernandina Beachranked #1 in the Nation.  Coastal Living Magazine September 2010.

Southern Living Magazine October 2010

Omni Hotels and Resorts Purchases Amelia Island Plantation Resort.

“We are exceptionally pleased to add this extraordinary resort to the Omni portfolio given its great beauty, gracious accommodations and broad range of amenities,” said Mike Deitemeyer, president of Omni Hotels & Resorts. “We believe that the property extends our luxury resort collection and exemplifies our commitment to deliver memorable experiences to our guests”

Always Assume a Hurricane Will Hit You

Always Assume a Hurricane Will Hit You Article

MIAMI – Aug. 23, 2011 – As of late morning, Hurricane Irene appears to be turning from the Florida coast and heading toward the Carolinas – though Atlantic coastal cities should still expect rough surf, blustery weather and possible tornados.

But even if Irene avoids the Sunshine State altogether, Floridians should be generally prepared for hurricane season and specifically prepared for any named storm lurking off the coast.

Preparation includes family and home first, but business records should also be preserved, either by using a cloud computing system that stores records in a non-hurricane state, or by backing up the information manually before power potentially goes out.

For more information, check the hurricane center.

Consider the following:

Before hurricane season
• Review your homeowner’s policy. Consider whether you have flood insurance and if your policy covers current rebuilding costs. Understand your responsibilities, which may include installing shutters and ensuring that sump pumps are functioning.

• Consider improvements to protect your home, including storm shutters for windows and sliding doors, and a hurricane-proof roof.

• Make a home inventory. Be as detailed as possible, listing all personal items and include photos or videos. Keep your inventory in a fireproof safe or a safe deposit box.

• Stock emergency supplies, including a battery-powered radio, flashlights, extra batteries, first aid handbook and kit, a week’s worth of non-perishable food and water, tools, blankets and/or sleeping bags, cooking and eating utensils, paper plates and cups, boards, plastic sheeting, tape and toiletries (soap, bleach (for disinfecting), diapers, etc.).

• Develop an evacuation plan and notify family and friends where you will be staying if forced to evacuate. Give them your cell phone number and be sure to compile a list of key numbers you might need in the case of an emergency.

• Secure your home: Repair loose boards, shingles, shutters, down spouts—the kind of things that could become greater problems in high winds or torrential rain.

During a hurricane watch
• Listen to advisories on radio or TV. Follow advice from local officials.

• Double check emergency supplies.

• Charge cell phone batteries.

• Fill the car’s gas tank.

• Bring items inside that could become dangerous as flying objects, including toys and lawn furniture.

• Securely anchor sheds, cabanas and other detached structures.

• Protect glass windows with boards, shutters or tape – they could be broken from wind pressure.

• If flooding is possible, move important papers and valuables to the second floor.

• Turn a refrigerator to the coldest setting; if the power goes off the food will last longer.

• Fill a clean bathtub with extra water.

During an evacuation
• Turn off utilities, including gas, water and electricity.

• If going to a shelter, leave animals in a secure place with food and water to last for several days. Never tie them up – they won’t be able to escape in the face of danger.

• Lock doors and windows.

• Leave a message for authorities notifying them where you will be.

• Take important documents, including your insurance policies, and emergency supplies, such as a battery-powered radio, flashlights, extra batteries, prescriptions, first aid handbook and kit, non-perishable food and water, tools, blankets or sleeping bags, cooking and eating utensils, paper plates and cups, boards, plastic sheeting, tape, baby food, clothes, cash and toiletries (toilet paper, soap, bleach for disinfecting, diapers, etc.).

• When advised to leave, go as soon as possible. Follow recommended routes only.
Keep your radio on for current storm information.

• Evacuate motor homes and take shelter in a grounded building.

During the storm
• Stay inside.

• Open a window or door on the side of your home opposite the prevailing wind in order to reduce dangerous inside pressure.

• Stay away from windows.

• Remain in the center of the room, or in an inside room.

• Turn off electricity if flooding begins.

• Listen to the radio for advisories.

After the storm
• Check utilities. Turn them off if you suspect damage and don’t turn them on again yourself.

• Listen to the radio for advisories and instructions.

• Stay home unless ordered to evacuate.

• Let a car dry out before starting it.

• When returning to a home, be cautious when entering a damaged structure.

• Stay away from damaged or weakened walls.

• Wear shoes around debris.

• Avoid fallen power lines.

• When beginning cleanup, use protective gear such as eyewear or gloves.

• Dispose of digestible items touched by floodwater – food, drinks, and medicine.

• Notify your insurance agent as soon as possible if you have experienced damage.

• Create a list of damaged property that includes photographs and/or videotape when available.

• Do not dispose of damaged items without prior approval from your insurance claims adjuster.

• Keep an accurate record of any temporary repairs or expenses that can be part of your claim.

Reprinted with permission. Florida Realtors®. All rights reserved.
© 2011 Florida Realtors®

What Today’s Home Buyers Desire

Top 9 items home buyers desire in 2011More and more in today’s market we are seeing buyers trending towards wanting all the hard work and finishing touches to be complete prior to purchase. Not only is it important for the home to be updated, the materials used are equally as important.  Read more to find out what other items are considered highly desirable to today’s buyers.

Amelia Island Concours D’Elegance 2011

As thousands of people from across the world prepare to embark on Amelia Island, FL, March 11-13, for the 2011 Concours D’Elégance, one of the world’s largest classic and antique car shows, many are also preparing to look or purchase a vacation or second home.

Amelia Island Concours D'Elegance by Lila Keim Real Estate(If you have never thought about buying a home on Amelia Island prior to planning your trip to the car show, I have the feeling you will before you leave. :))

Amelia Island, FL is one of Florida’s (some say the east coast’s) best kept secrets with nationally recognized, remarkable natural beauty, glistening sea shores and soft sandy beaches.  For those who love golf, tennis, art, festivals, and all water sports, Amelia Island is the place to live.  I am already scheduling Concours D’Elegance visitors for private home showings.  Please contact me to schedule your home visits.

Note: Time slots are still available for Home Showings this weekend during Concours D’Elegance (March 11-13, 2011). Take note, showings are booked on a first come, first serve basis!

Contact Lila Keim now to reserve your Private Home Showing:

I look forward to answering any questions you might have about our local real estate.

Update! As my readers know, I have a big heart for charities. So, to my surprise and delight, I was just informed that the Amelia Island Concours D’Elegance is a 501(c)3 charity, with Community Hospice of Northeast Florida and the Spina Bifida Association of Florida at Jacksonville (SBFJ) as the two main beneficiaries!  Go here for the full list of affiliated charities. I thought you’d like to hear news about how this luxurious event is actually helping those in need.

Plein-Air Painters Visit Amelia Island

Street Study by Anne Blaire Brown

Street Study by Anne Blaire Brown

Update: This article now features photos of actual paintings made during the Amelia Island Plen-Air excursion. I would like to give a special thanks to my friend, Anne, for taking the time to take and send me the beautiful pictures. Though, I have a feeling they in no way compare to the actual pieces of art!

Original Post Date: Feb 10, 2011

Yesterday, in Downtown Fernandina Beach, something very interesting was happening that got very little local attention.

Since last week’s fun happenings, I’ve been on the look out for new and interesting things happening around the island. Well, as I drove to the Prudential Chaplin Williams office in Downtown Fernandina Beach, I couldn’t help but notice a slew of artists, painters it looked like, under the shady oak trees, scattered across the back streets of Ash and 8th, aiming their canvasses at unsuspecting, Victorian-style homes in the historic district.

I hadn’t read or heard about this event in any local papers or news establishments. (I was sure The Bicentennial was the next exciting thing going on around here!).  So, naturally, I stopped by for a bit to satisfy my curiosity.  The ladies I happened across were so friendly and even agreed to answer the few questions I had about their event!

As it turns out, this event was not an event. Make no mistake. I was informed by a very friendly Sandra Harris, the first lucky artist I interviewed. She explained that their ‘gathering’ consisted of about twelve artists, all women (by coincidence), and each of whom identifies herself as an artist, a “Plein-Air Painter” to be exact. Sandra added, the two-word phrase “translates to ‘fresh air’ in French.” Without skipping a beat with her brush and palette, she went on to explain that Plein-Air Painter is also a “title an artist gives him or herself if they paint on location, from real life.”

House Study by Anne Blaire Brown

House Study by Anne Blaire Brown

The gathering of these dozen or so artists, painting the streets of Historical Downtown Fernandina Beach, was the result of a workshop entitled Painting Coastal Light, a collaboration effort of professional artists Anne Blair Brown and Diane May with Rachel Brown as workshop coordinator.  Sandra went on to say, (surprisingly, with ease rather than excitement) that the group of ladies were indeed not local, but rather they were all from out-of-state, from several different states even. “Some from Tennessee, Wisconsin…” Sandra briefly stopped painting for the first time during our Q&A, “…and West Virginia.”

I couldn’t believe it. All these gifted artists traveled from other states to come to Amelia Island to paint our “real life” scenery? Why – I mean, besides our rich history, sunny beaches and wholesome community? What connection did this group have to the area? How did they find out about us? What drew them here? I had to know.

After asking Sandra a few questions, it was obvious I was barking up the wrong tree. She gladly pointed me in the direction of Anne Blair Brown, the said instructor. As I began to walk toward the instructor, Sandra continued her painting of an old downtown home, stroking ever so carefully and purposefully with different shades of brown, gray and white. She obviously knew what she was doing, and I was impressed to say the least!

Anne (“that’s Anne with an ‘e’” she instructed me) is a life-long artist, having been a professional painter for over twelve years.

Boat Study by Anne Blaire Brown

Boat Study by Anne Blaire Brown

She has this great website that showcases recent paintings and workshops. I asked her why her class was in Fernandina Beach, and why she chose this place over all other places in the world. She quickly informed me that an artist friend of hers, Brenda, who happened to be among this workshop’s students, had a condo on the island that the class could use for the trip, to cut costs, I’m assuming.

Anne went on, “And the weather where we all came from is terrible. It’s cold and snowy.” (As a side note, I’d like to point out that our weather in the past few weeks hasn’t exactly been ideal, but everyone I spoke with did say it was better than back home.) “Also,” Anne continued, “I’m very familiar with this area. I come here with my friend Diane May several times a year. I love the history of Fernandina Beach and the scenery.”

She wanted me to emphasize, her travel buddy, Diane C. May, is also a professional artist and actually the president of – the Southeastern ‘Plenair Painters group’ through which she was instructing this week’s workshop – an interesting story in and of itself. If you’d like to read more about that fascet of this story, visit Diane’s website here.

So, Anne Blair Brown, from Nashville led her class to Amelia Island, FL. The group’s venture is to be about five days and set in different locations around the area. They arrived on Tuesday; their workshop that day took place at Tiger’s Pointe, to work on painting nautical scenes, namely boats. Then yesterday, Wednesday, when I saw and met the group, they were downtown for a ‘lesson’ on historical homes and street views. Today, they were scheduled to paint at one of the Talbot State Parks to practice marsh scenes, weather permitting (I’d like to hear back from Anne about how that went). Tomorrow, they are supposed to be back at Tiger Point to paint boating scenes, and Saturday they will be back on the streets of Downtown.

Marshing Along by Anne Blaire Brown

Marshing Along by Anne Blaire Brown

According to Anne, each student has a level of mastery ranging between intermediate and advanced. “No beginners at this workshop,” she made clear.

As I ran out of questions, I asked Anne if there was anything else she’d like to add. She did, but asked that I not write it down. Later, I asked if I could paraphrase her kind words, and she gladly gave me permission to do so.

Here’s what Anne Blair Brown (the instructor) had to say: Before executing this fantastic workshop, she made certain to get approval from the city. The city acknowledged her level of respect (for our Historic District) and gave her permission to set up painting stations in and around the downtown area. Once on the streets and all set up, she noted how friendly the actual residents downtown were. Yesterday, for instance, a lady from one of the homes in front of which they were painting offered the artists her restroom. Anne really felt the friendliness of our community shines through our residents.

I just want to remind our readers, local or not, that that is what really makes Amelia Island special. We are a small town with a big heart. We have history. We have culture.  We welcome visitors with open arms – especially our out-of-state Plenair Painters! – and hope to make our home a regular destination. Who knows, maybe this beautiful island can become your next permanent destination.

For more information about our community and to inquire about homes for sale in our area (Fernandina Beach/ Amelia Island, FL), please contact Lila Keim here or write her an mail at We look forward to hearing from you!

Why Purchase a Home in Amelia Park

McArthur Drive, Amelia ParkLast year, I wrote about why Amelia Park is such a great neighborhood. Well, a lot of buying and selling has happened in the past six months and we’ve since welcomed quite a few more readers. So, I decided I would re-post the article, so no one has to miss out. :)

(Note: If you’re currently thinking about buying a home in the Amelia Island area, we have some great resources to help you along with your preliminary search. For instance, just last month I posted this breakdown of everything you need to consider when buying a home. Additionally, you might find helpful our  homemade Featured Listings section complete with updated pictures, information and videos of homes currently on the market, and our MLS Search feature which allows you to search properties several ways, by price for example. As always, it is my pleasure to assist you in buying and selling real estate in any way I can!)

Why Amelia Park is So Wonderful

From a heavily treed pasture in the center of Amelia Island came a breathtaking sub-division known as Amelia Park.  Amelia Park was named after the Island and the daughter of one of the first explorers to discover the beautiful NE Florida Barrier Island.  Amelia Park is truly a park like setting within the city limits of Fernandina Beach, and boasts timeless coastal architecture of days gone by.

The values of the area are built on neighbors and community.  The lifestyle is quiet while vibrant.    [Read more...]

Amelia Island Tea Party Event

Amelia Island Tea Party Table What a beautiful day for an “English Tea” – Sunday, January 30, on Amelia Island, FL was a sun filled, fun filled day with glorious blue skies and 70 degree Tea Party Attendees Dressed in their Best Hatstemperatures.

In this Southern resort community, over 100 ladies dressed in their finest, with hats and gloves ventured out for an afternoon of food, fun, conversation, music, and fellowship.  Each table was decorated uniquely by a member of the Partin Circle of the Memorial United Methodist Church in Historic Downtown Fernandina Beach, FL.

The table decorations were as original and unique as you could possibly imagine.  The food was out of this world and hand made by the Partin Angels.  Various teas, scones, sandwiches, and a variety of homemade sweets filled the room with scents of cookies baking in your kitchen.

The proceeds from this First Annual English Tea are going to our local Barnabas Center, Safe Harbor, and other mission endeavors.

Keep your eyes open for the next English Tea.  You will not want to miss it.  To read more about English Teas enjoyed in many different countries you visit Wikipedia’s interesting entry about the topic.

823 South 7th Street

823 South 9th StCute cottage with white picket fence. Interior and exterior recently painted. Beautiful hardwood floors and tile thoughout. Attached garage. Fence back yard with mature shade. Within walking distance to Historic Downtown Fernandina Beach. Close to pristine Amelia Island beaches, golf, tennis, boating, fishing, Jacksonville and JAX International Airport, Mayport, and Kings Bay, Georgia. [Read more...]