The Pros of Choosing a Gated Community

You’re house hunting with us and know you want a new custom Florida home with all the latest features, construction materials and techniques.

Do you also want a gate?

It’s a good question to ask. Some of you will and some of you won’t, but you should know that gated communities are perennially popular, and never more than in today’s housing market, where they’re one of many must-have resident amenities.

Like anything, there’s no absolutes for everyone. However, as one of Florida’s largest homebuilders for more than four decades, we at ICI Homes can tell you that gated communities are very much […]

House Hunting? Why You Should Talk to the Neighbors

Searching for or building a new custom Florida home requires a massive amount of preparation.

There’s so much you have to know, and so much you probably don’t know, that all the websites and handouts and conversations with builders and real estate agents eventually run the risk of coalescing into a blur.

Add that to the fact that family, work and personal lives must continue humming along in the background, and you’ve got a recipe for house-hunting overwhelm.

There is one way to get the lowdown on potential new communities, however. Talk to the people who already live there. Those early settlers […]

Live Like a Floridian: Plan Your Outdoor Water Feature

If you live in the Sunshine State or are moving here, water might be prominent on your list of homeowner must-haves.

Florida beaches are important for many of us, followed by recreational options involving Intracoastal Waterways, creeks, lakes and well-known water parks.

Then there’s that Florida staple, the swimming pool. If you’ve never lived with a backyard pool and have the opportunity to build your own, go for it. They’re tons of year-round fun.

But, a swimming pool isn’t the only water feature you can incorporate into the outdoor living space of your new custom home.

Here are a few other suggestions of […]

Dog Parks: Why They’re Good for You and Fido

“Walking the dog” has new meaning in today’s 21st-century, master-planned communities.

Opening the back door just so Fido can work off energy and do his or her business at a safe distance, no longer is the norm. Although it’s definitely the default option if you’re stuck inside watching the kids, whipping up dinner or moderating a conference call.

In many new communities, walking the dog means a healthy stroll on fitness trails that meander through the neighborhood. These usually are paved and are wide enough to accommodate dog walkers, runners, cyclists, strollers and, occasionally, electric golf carts.

But there’s one amenity that’s […]

A Fresh Spin on Decluttering: Try Downsizing

This is it. You’re moving into a new custom Florida home or soon will.

What do you do with all of your stuff?

Odds are it’s not only yours. If it’s your family moving, multiply “stuff” by the number of family members and you might have closets, drawers, containers and garages crammed with unnecessary, outdated or duplicate items.

We assume you don’t want to lug everything into a brand-new house. We also assume you’ve heard the phrase “declutter,” which means to clean out and sort through whatever’s clogging your space. It’s a popular buzzword for jettisoning extraneous possessions, so we’re going to […]

Using a Local Lender Could Save You Money and Hassle

It’s no secret that buying a home is one of the biggest financial decisions you will make in your lifetime. It may also become one of the busiest times in your life as well. In this busy, modern world many of us shop online for goods and services, such as groceries or home owner’s insurance and possibly even mortgages. But, in this era of “browse, click, and buy,” how can you be sure you really are receiving the best mortgage services to fit your needs? If you are only shopping an online lender, you may be leaving money on the […]

Our Guide to St. Augustine’s Historic District

St. Augustine. It’s one of the oldest places in the United States and one of the most heavily visited.

We at ICI Homes promise it’s worth it. The Ancient City is less than 50 miles south of Jacksonville and under 100 miles north of Daytona Beach. That makes it the perfect day trip for residents in many of our communities! It’s the nation’s oldest city (founded in 1565) and contains many structures that are “the oldest” in some guise.

You’ll find six centuries of architecture, history and just plain “wow” moments. It’s also easy to find great photo opportunities and food and drink.

Let’s […]

Mortgage “Gift Fund” Etiquette

Etiquette experts agree that giving someone a gift of cash for a birthday, graduation, or wedding celebration is commonplace. But, did you know that it’s also common to receive a gift of cash for a down payment on a home? In fact, in 2017, the National Association of Realtors Profile of Homebuyers and Sellers estimates that 25% of first time homebuyers used gift funds for their down payments. Receiving cash for a birthday or graduation gift may only require a thank you note, but for a mortgage, there is a little more paperwork involved.
Who can give:
Anyone can give you […]

Cool Ways to Get on the Water in St. Augustine

Unless you’re allergic to water — is there such a thing? — one reason you may be planning a move to Florida is so you can dwell near an ocean.

Or, a cool, calming river, lake or creek within view of your backyard. And there are few places to better enjoy Florida’s watery riches than the metro Jacksonville area, where the St. Johns River flows through its downtown, and the Atlantic Ocean is only a few miles east.

But you don’t have to live in Jacksonville proper to find the water. Nocatee, the master-planned community south of “JAX” that’s one of […]

Why Jacksonville is a Bit Different

If you’re considering a move to Florida because of career or other obligations, you understand immediately how crucial tourism is to the state’s economy.

It provides jobs, revenue, services and amenities, among other things. But, most of us likely don’t want to live right in the midst of a tourist area. That’s common sense and perfectly okay.

Good news! You don’t have to if you move to Jacksonville on Florida’s Atlantic Coast. There are many wonderful places to live in the state — which you’ll discover during your new home search — but few blend convenience with Florida’s spectacular natural beauty like […]