Northwest Florida Real Estate and Community News

July 10, 2018

Fighting the Heat One Filter at a Time

 

It is HOT HOT HOT this week. It is one of the great things about Florida, it is almost always great weather for the beach. But the hot weather isn't a friend to us all. 

The problem with the heat is that when we are inside, we're running our AC the whole time. Most units can keep up with the increased usage but not all. Some units start to lag behind and in weather like this, you don't want that. 

Maintenance of the AC unit is really a monthly process. There are a lot of small things that can go wrong with an AC unit. Many of the issues with the units can be prevented with minimal effort. The number one AC issue isn't even with the unit itself. It is the filters!

A dirty AC filter can seriously damper the effect that AC has on the house. To prevent failure at critical times, AC filters should be changed out at a minimum of every three months, although it is better to change them out every month. The problem is that it can be a real pain to go to the store every month, and you might forget about them if you just buy a bunch. Sometimes you don't know what the MERV should be. 

So what if there were a service that could help you maintain your system year round so that it works great during the summer? What if a company mailed you the filters you needed on a monthly or trimonthly schedule? That service exists! It is called Filter Easy. Filter Easy is a web-based company that cuts out the middleman and ships you the filters you need when you need them.

Check out the website here: https://www.filtereasy.com/our-air-filters

Take the future of your heating and cooling system into your own hands and check out Filter Easy today.

Whether you use this service or not, it is very important to have a schedule for your filters.

Pro Tips: 

1. Write yourself a recurring reminder on your digital calendar. That way you never miss a change.

2. Write the date on filters before you install them so you can keep track of the recently changed ones.

3. Make sure you change them right before significant weather changes in the summer and winter. 

Let us know your pro tips in the comments! 

Posted in Home Owners
June 16, 2018

Vacation at Home

Living in Pensacola is like living the vacation life 24/7. So what do you do when you want a break from the sun and the waves? Here are three ideas for your summer break.

The Zoo

There are two zoos near Pensacola. One is the Gulf Breeze Zoo which is located near the beach. This central location is great for an excellent day trip.

The second zoo is the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo. It has many animal interaction opportunities. 

Check out the websites here:

http://www.gulfbreezezoo.org/

http://www.alabamagulfcoastzoo.com/

The Movies

There is a wonderful theater in Pensacola and it can be just the break you need. Sit back and relax in the theater while that wonderful airconditioning does its thing. Catch all the latest films and enjoy the break!

The website: https://www.amctheatres.com/movie-theatres/pensacola-mobile/amc-bayou-15

Shopping

Skip the Pensacola mall and head over the border. Head to Alabama to the outlet mall for hours of fantastic shopping. If you like fudge, make sure you check out the adorable fudge shop hidden in the mall. The Foley outlet has the best shopping in the area and the drive out there isn't half bad either. 

The Website: https://www.tangeroutlet.com/foley

Sometimes it is nice to take a break and head out for a new adventure! Check out for the great adventures in Pensacola. 

Posted in Community News
May 20, 2018

Summer is Here!

Summer has finally come to Pensacola! With this exciting change, the area is preparing for the onslaught of vacationers.

One of the best parts of living in a beach town is that it is a great vacation spot. Not only do you get to be on vacation 24/7 yourself, but you get to meet so many people. The summer is the height of tourist season and offers the greatest opportunity to meet people.

Tourists

There are a lot of great benefits to having so many tourists over the season. The number one reason to be excited is all the income coming in. Tourist LOVE to shop and it is fun to see people getting so excited about our little bit of heaven. It is very exciting to have the opportunity to share the experience, all be it temporarily, who are as excited in the area as we are. Watching tourists discover the hidden treasures of our home is fascinating.

The second reason to be excited about the tourists this summer is meeting new people. Living in Pensacola is such a delight because people are just so friendly here. And why not be friendly? We are living in a virtual paradise! Whether you’re suggesting your favorite eatery or just giving directions to the closest bathroom, the impact you can have on people is incredible. Every interaction that we have with visitors is just adding to and enhancing the experience of people visiting.

Finally, because Pensacola has so many visitors over the summer we get a lot of events to keep them coming back. There is never a boring day in Pensacola! If you want to hit the beach in the evening you’re sure to find dozens of restaurants teeming with people and live music. If you want to head downtown, you’ll find the outdoor cafes and shops pleasantly full of life. And if you just want to people watch, head to Cordova Mall to watch the shoppers.

Pensacola has something for everyone. It has areas full of life and adventure sitting right next to quite havens. This is why it is such a great place to live and invest in. You want to live here because you can find the lifestyle that fits you. You are here to invest because there is a market for vacations homes and rentals because this is where people want to be.

If you are interested in moving to or investing in the Pensacola area, call (850) 453-9220.

Posted in Community News
May 17, 2018

Home Away From Home

The elusive guest bedroom. Everybody says they want one for one reason or another. Only a few people ever actually set up a guest room though. So whether you're converting your college kid's room into a universal guestroom or finally redoing the "storage" room, here are a few tips.

 

Throw It Out

Before you can redo your would-be guest room, you have to clean out the rest of your stuff. So grab some trash bags and some gloves and throw it out if you can. Now, I understand that not everything can be thrown out but do your best! The more you throw out, the better the rest of the process will go.

Pick a Color

If you pick a color it gives you a good guide for the rest of your project. When you pick a color it helps to stick with soft and warm colors. I highly suggest yellows and greens.

 

Focus on Comfort

You are creating a wonderful home away from home for your guests. One of the major contributors to the comfort of the room will be in the mattress and the layout of the room. As the rooms are bedrooms, it helps to treat the bed as the focus. With a proper comforter and pillow paring, the bed becomes a work of art. 

 

Finishing Touches

Once the room is set to your standards, comes the final decorating. The best touches are the practical ones. Adding things like a set of guest towels and toiletries really set the great guest rooms apart from the mediocre guest rooms.

 

So here's to you and your project! 

 

If you've always wanted a guest room but have never had the space, it may be time to move. Call Realty Masters at (850) 453-9220 and we'll help you with your buying, selling, and renting needs. 

Posted in Real Estate News
April 7, 2018

Pensacola Real Estate Market – Average Price of Houses

Are you planning on buying a home in Pensacola, FL? Or maybe you plan selling one. Whichever the case may be, one thing will always come into consideration; price. Understanding the Pensacola real estate market puts you in a better position to make the most money from your home that you plan selling.

What You Need To Know About the Pensacola Real Estate Market

When it comes to houses sold in this location, there are some factors or variables that affect the price. This post lists some of the factors that usually determine the average price of houses in Pensacola. Discovering them will help to put you in a very good position to sell yours at the highest price possible.

The Type of Home

The style of a home will actually help determine the price range when you’re looking to buy. For instance, if you plan on going for a villa, it is not the same as wanting to buy a simple home. While the average price for a villa could be from $350,000, the price of a simple home could be from $150,600 – $20,000. Another thing that you also have to consider in this regards is the condition of such a home. The prices could reduce by almost 30% – 40% if the homes are not new and thus need some repairs.

The Market Trend

The price of homes is strongly determined by the market trend. There are times when a simple home could average over $200,000. This usually happens when there is a high and unusual demand for them. This is where you need the professional pieces of advice from the best real estate agents of a platform such as Realty Masters. It will help you to know the right price for a home and how you can get the best deals possible.

Despite all these facts, Pensacola is one of the best cities to buy a home in the United States. For instance, the cost of median home in this location is about $122,800. You can see that it is a combination of affordability and fun based on what it can offer you.

If you have any questions about the Pensacola real estate market, please reach out to us on our contact page.

Oct. 3, 2017

Selling Your Home – 10 Things To Do

Selling your home is not as simple as it might seem. Putting your home on the market can be a stressful and tiresome process. Luckily, there are many things you can do to get the best return possible on your home. Here are some tips to better prepare you with listing your home for sale.

Find a Realtor: First of all, start by finding a realtor that works for you. Your realtor can give you valuable information regarding the local market and help determine a selling price. Additionally, your realtor can also give you suggestions on improvements to get the best value for your home.

Research recently sold properties in your area: Your realtor will be able to assist you with this. However, do some research on your neighborhood and get an idea of your homes value compared to recently sold properties in the area.

Find all your important documents: This can be anything from deeds to utility bills. Having documentation on the major mechanics and updates for the home will be extremely helpful for your Realtor.

Declutter and organize: This step will help make each and every room appear larger. This is a great time for a garage sale. Go through each room and closet and get rid of things that you no longer want. Make sure to clear floors, desks, and window sills.

Lighten up your home: Turn on the lights and open up the window sill. Natural lighting will brighten up your home, making it more appealing.

Repair or replace it: Ask a friend or relative to walk through your home and point out anything that should be repaired or replaced to increase value. Again, having an outsider take a look is helpful because there are things you might naturally overlook.

Look into repair estimates: If you choose not to repair something, have an estimate of the repair cost on hand. Having this information readily available is beneficial to prospective buyers. Also, be ready to answer questions regarding repairs or have a reliable source you can easily contact to get the answer.

Make your home sparkle inside and out: First and foremost make sure to do an overall deep clean of the home. Vacuum the floors, wash the windows, make the mirrors sparkle, and dust the lights. These are all things that can make your home sparkle and improve overall appearance as a result.

Don’t forget about your lawn and garden: Actually maintaining your lawn is big deal during this process. Most people automatically think the outside of a home is a reflection of the inside. Furthermore, mowing, de-weeding, and planting flowers will help your home look more appealing.

Invest in good photos of your home: Of course, this is a very important step. Because pictures are an initial view of your home, it is the first chance to see it. Having a professional camera or a photographer take photos can help make your home look better from a screen and can help bring in potential buyers.

 

In conclusion, we hope these ten tips help prepare you for selling your home on the market. Always remember that if you have any questions, don’t be afraid to ask.

 

Posted in Selling Your Home
Sept. 26, 2017

Energy Saving Tips For Your Home

Energy Saving Tips For Your Home

Heating – Cool Weather

  • Set your thermostat to your comfort level, but for conservation purposes, 68 degrees or lower is recommended. For every degree above 68, the unit requires 5% more energy and will reflect a 5% increase in your utility bill!
  • By opening shades, drapes or blinds during the winter, sunlight can enter the house and help to naturally warm the home. At night, close the shades, drapes, or blinds to help retain heat.
  • If you wish to use a ceiling fan, operate it on low speed and switch it to run in reverse if possible to push hot air from the ceiling level to the occupied- lower areas of the room. Use fans only when the room is occupied.
  • Use an electric blanket when you set your thermostat back at night. An electric blanket is more economical than heating the entire house all night long. Or use several light blankets.
  • Change your air filter monthly!
  • Wear layers of clothes rather than one heavy piece of clothing. Layers trap in body heat and keep you more comfortable!
  • A pan of water placed near a heating outlet will add moisture to your home or use a humidifier. In the winter, a properly humidified home is as comfortable at 68 degrees as a dry one is at 75 degrees!

Efficient Water Heating Tips

  • Check to ensure that your thermostat on your hot water heater is not set higher than 120 degrees. If your dishwasher doesn’t have a booster heater, then you may have to set the thermostat at 130 to 140 degrees.
  • Install a timer on your hot water heater! Limit the run times to 3 hours or less daily.
  • For old fiberglass insulated water heaters, an insulation jacket is recommendation to reduce heat loss!
  • Install a shower flow controller. It reduces the flow of water down to 3 gallons per minute. You can save 1 gallon of hot water per minute or up to 4000 gallons per year!
  • If you’re going to be away from home for more than 3 days, turn off your electric hot water heater. It will reheat in less than an hour after you return. Use the breaker to shut it off.
  • Repair leaky faucets.  One drop of water per minute from a leaky faucet can waste about 60 gallons a week.
  • Take shorter showers or shallower baths.
  • Close the sink drain when you are shaving, you will save gallons of hot water that pour down the drain.

Laundry

  • Try a warm-water wash and cold-water rinse. Or use one of the new all-temperature detergents that allow use with cold water on both cycles.  Also, one large load of laundry uses less energy than two smaller loads.
  • Don’t use too much soap. The washer has to work harder and may require a second wash to remove the excess soap.
  • Clean the lint filter on your dryer after each use and clean out the dryer vent pipe to the outside every 6 months.
  • Don’t over dry your clothes! It harms your clothes and wastes energy.
  • Dry loads of clothes consecutively to take advantage of heat that has built up during previous loads.
  • Wash and dry full loads at a time!
  • Iron large amounts of clothing at one time.
  • Turn off the iron when interrupted and when finished.

Dishwasher

  • Proper loading is important.  Operate only when it is filled to capacity.
  • If manufacturer’s instructions permit, open the door of your dishwasher after the last rinse cycle to allow moisture to escape and the dishes to dry as they cool.  Some units have a power saver switch that automatically eliminates during the drying cycle.

Refrigerator

  • Keep fridge between 37 and 40 degrees and the freezer settings at 0.
  • Keep condenser coils clean. Vacuum the coils at least TWICE a year!
  • Make sure the door gasket seals tightly.
  • Let hot foods cool before placing them in the fridge.
  • Position the fridge away from heat sources. If the unit has back coils, position it at least 4″ from the wall.
  • Open and close the fridge and avoid keeping the door open!!

Cooking

  • Oven preheating is usually not required and wastes energy.  When preheating is required, avoid preheating longer than necessary. Preheating takes less than 8 minutes.  A lot of recipes do not require the pre-heating option.
  • Turn off the electric range a few minutes before cooking is finished.  Retained heat will complete the job.
  • Use the microwave whenever possible, it’s the most efficient way to cook or reheat food.
  • Don’t use your range or oven to heat the kitchen.  It’s inefficient and can be a safety hazard.
  • Choose pots and pans that have wide flat bottoms that just cover the burner.  They will absorb all the heat and cook food more evenly.  Aluminum pans with flat bottoms, straight sides, and tight fitting lids are best for energy savings.

Lighting

  • Don’t leave lights on in unoccupied rooms.  Many people mistakenly think it takes more energy to turn on a light back on that it does to leave it on.  Thats not true!!!
  • Use fluorescent lights whenever possible.  Fluorescent lighting is ideal for use in kitchens, baths, workshops and laundry rooms where lights are left on for long periods of time.
  • Compact fluorescents are some of the most efficient replacements for incandescent bulbs.  They give an equivalent amount of light and are 60% more efficient.  They will cost more but will last 8-10 times longer.
  • Use one large bulb rather than several small ones, but don’t exceed the maximum wattage listed on each fixture.  One 100 watt bulb produces as much light as two 60-watt bulbs or size 25-watt bulbs and is more efficient.
  • Energy can be saved by installing dimmers so illumination can be reduced/ controlled. Three way bulbs provide similar control by being able to reduce the wattage/ lighting output.
These tips brought to you by Realty Masters of FL courtesy of Gulf Power – A Southern Company!
Posted in Investing
Sept. 19, 2017

The Nest

What it is:

The Nest is a thermostat that can be programmed by your phone but can also program itself. The thermostat quickly learns what times, and how often you change the temperature in your home. Also, the compatible app is on your phone, alerting your system when you are away and switches the system to a preset energy saver mode.

How it Works:

The smart thermostat will show a blue screen when cooling your home or a red screen when it is heating. The screen on the thermostat will turn off when not in use to conserve energy. When you want to turn it on, all one has to do is walk past, or wave your hand over the device.

Nest Thermostat

Perks:

Finally, the Nest is not limited to just telling you the home temperature. Because it is wifi enabled, the nest can tell you the weather, the time, and even keeps a record of the energy saved.

Right down to the installation, the nest was designed with simplicity in mind. The average installation time for a Nest is 30 minutes. If you are looking for a fast way to start your smart home transformation, try the Nest.

Learn more at the Nest website.

Posted in Smart Home
Sept. 15, 2017

Five Steps to Starting Your Home Search

Five Steps to Starting Your Home Search

You just got that big promotion at work. Maybe you just graduated college. Perhaps you are simply looking for a change. Whatever the case may be, you now find yourself ready to move. Sometimes in our excitement, we miss some of the fundamental steps to finding a new home. So now what you want to know is where to start. Here are five simple steps to starting your home search.
   

1. Location

An important step to making a move is to identify where you want to be. Some people may want to be closer to work and others may want to be closer to city features like local shopping or clubs. In either case, it is all about location, location, location. Make sure you take some time to identify the areas in which you would want to live.

2. Budget

Whether you find yourself buying or renting, identifying what your goal monthly payment is matters. When creating a budget try to keep your housing costs under one-third of your monthly income. Defining a budget allows for you to see homes that you can realistically afford.

3. Buy or Rent    

Decide if you want to buy or rent. Many people are averse to buying because of the large price tag. However, monthly payments on a mortgage are often less than rent on comparable houses. So what really matters is how long you intend to live in a particular home.

4. Features

Pick what features of a home are most important to you. Some people absolutely must have that gourmet kitchen, and others insist that there be space for an in home office. Try outlining exactly what you want in your home, ranking items by need, want, and convenience. This saves you a lot of time and potential buyer’s remorse.

5. Cost

Your final step is to calculate the actual cost of living in the dwelling. In any home, you will need electricity, water, and insurance. The larger the home the larger the price tag on the cost of inhabitance. So consider the cost before you commit.
 
Even with these suggestions, house hunting may seem daunting. We at Realty Masters are here to help you through all the steps of the moving process! Contact our office or one of our agents at (850) 453-9220, and we’d be delighted to answer any questions you may have.
Posted in Buying a Home
Sept. 5, 2017

Homeowner’s Association: Dream or Nightmare?

Homeowner’s Association: Dream or Nightmare?

A good homeowner’s association may be your ticket to living the white picket fence dream or nightmare. Every HOA’s purpose is to create and uphold standards. For some people, this is the answer to their dreams of living on a street where every home is in their ideal condition in a style they like. For others, the idea of living in a community where they are told what color they can or cannot paint their door seems absurd. So what are some of the different advantages and disadvantages of an HOA?

Advantages

-Standards that every person is expected to uphold
-Higher home values
-Additional perks including playgrounds, pools, and community activities
-Upheld standards and consideration for any issues addressed

Disadvantages

-HOA fees
-The approval process for repairs on a home (roof replacement, painting, or even paving a driveway)
-Less desirable as a rental property

Living in an HOA is not for everyone. Many people simply do not care for the imposed. There are people, however, who find that the HOA requirements are extremely reasonable and enjoy living in close communities. Before deciding where to live, research the different rules for the HOAs in your area.

Realty Masters wants to help with your home search in any way we can. Give us a call at 850-453-9220. We will send you copies of the community handbooks and set up alerts for listings of homes in the areas you are interested in. We look forward to hearing from you!

Posted in Buying a Home