Northwest Florida Real Estate and Community News

May 16, 2019

Grand Fiesta!

Beads, bands, and floats! Join us on Friday, May 31 in downtown Pensacola for the Annual Grand Fiesta Parade, sponsored by Beach Community Bank. Come catch some beads, hear the sounds of local high school marching bands, and enjoy watching beautiful floats parade through downtown beginning at 7:00 p.m.” -visitpensacola.com

 

Who doesn’t love a good parade? The floats, the music, the fun! According to the Pensacola News Journal, “Fiesta of Five Flags celebrates Pensacola's history under five flags: United States, Confederate, Spanish, French and British.” So not only is this a fun filled event, it is a celebration of our city’s rich cultural history.

 

The parade is just the start of Pensacola’s Festival of Five Flags. Through the weekend there are tons of events and celebrations happening through the downtown area to celebrate this time in our area’s development.

 

The parade began in the 50s and is now a long honored tradition. People come for the parade and stay for the music and food! So grab someone you like and head downtown on Friday, May 31st at 7pm to be part of this fun and cultural event!

Posted in Community News
Feb. 28, 2019

Simple Ways to Turn Your Home Into a Great Vacation Rental

Renting out your home has many benefits. For instance, it can be a great way to meet new people, cover homeowner expenses, earn additional income, and invest in your retirement. Plus, it gives you an excuse to fix up your home, and you can enjoy the upgrades since you still own the place. If you’ve decided to turn your home into a vacation rental, there are some simple ways to prepare it so that it satisfies your future renters.

 

Think About What You Would Like

 

First of all, it helps to put yourself in the renter’s shoes. What would make a vacation home appealing to you? The most important characteristic would likely be your comfort level. Therefore, make any necessary changes to maximize comfort and livability in the home — whether that means adding an ottoman (you can find one at Overstock for $53) in the living room or removing a large kitchen island to create more space. Also, make sure the home has enough seating, good lighting, and any other components that make a living space comfortable.

 

While you want the home to be comfortable, you also want it to appeal to a wide range of customers. This means you may have to remove some personal items here and there. For instance, if you were renting a home that had family photos everywhere, you may feel like you were intruding on someone else’s space. You want your renters to feel at home during their vacation. Furthermore, it doesn’t hurt to plan for the worst-case scenario (i.e., theft, accidental damage), so don’t have anything in the home that can’t be replaced.

 

Perform Regular Maintenance.

 

One of the most important aspects of renting out your home is regular maintenance. You want to make sure the property is functional and safe at all times — from the plumbing, electricity, and smoke/CO alarms to the roof, gutters, and windows. Also, it’s essential to change your air filters regularly, and air filter subscription companies can make your job easier by sending you filters whenever you need them (FilterEasy offers filters for $11.97 a piece, plus a $3 surcharge). The simplest way to ensure your home is kept up is to hire a property management service, which will arrange all maintenance, repairs, cleaning, and any other housekeeping services you need.

 

Make Room

 

When you’re renting your home out, it’s beneficial to make room for more people. For example, think about any extra rooms that you’re using just for storage and consider turning them into guest rooms. Think of it this way: The more guests that can sleep in the vacation rental, the more money you can rent it out for. If you have furniture or other items that need to be moved, you can always put them in storage. For the best value in Pensacola, consider renting a 10-by-10 self-storage unit for $59 at Emerald Coast Storage/Parking and U-Haul.

 

Provide the Basics.

 

Finally, you want to make sure your vacation rental has the basic amenities and upgrades that will attract the most visitors. This includes appliances such as a washing machine, dryer, dishwasher, oven, microwave, and so on. Be sure to provide plenty of dishes, cooking utensils, bedding, and towels. Stock up on electronic goods like a TV, DVD/Blu-ray player, and radio (and make sure they work). Also, upgrading the home to smart technology (e.g., smart locks, thermostats, lights, etc.) will bring the highest ROI.

 

If you’ve done your research and decided to rent out your home as a vacation rental, a little preparation will go a long way toward making it a good experience for you and your future guests. Start by considering things you would like in a vacation home, but remember to remove personal and/or irreplaceable items. Be sure to keep up with maintenance, and consider hiring a property management service to handle all matters for you. Finally, expand the guest space as much as you can, and stock the home with attractive amenities.

Posted in Home Owners
Jan. 2, 2019

Pensacola Living

Why Live in Pensacola?

 

Movoto.com, a real estate blog, has revealed its picks for the “most exciting” places to live in Florida, and under several of its criteria, the Pensacola area ranked among Florida’s hottest spots.

 

Pensacola is ranked third per capita in the state for nightlife (bars and nightclubs) and active life (parks and outdoor activities). For nightlife, that puts Pensacola behind only Miami Beach and Sarasota, and just ahead of Orlando. On the active life chart, Pensacola falls behind Sarasota and Fort Myers and ahead of Boca Raton.

 

Pensacola also ranked fourth per capita for live music venues, behind Miami Beach, Gainesville and Orlando and ahead of Miami. And we ranked sixth for arts and entertainment, which includes movie theaters, festivals, galleries, theaters and the like.

 

Pensacola is the only Panhandle city to make the Top 50 list. The closest city to Pensacola geographically to make the list is Tallahassee at No. 31.

 

Besides the amazing beaches let’s look at some other amazing things to do in Pensacola that is somewhat inland…

 

Flora-Bama Lounge

Situated near the Florida-Alabama border, this beach side honky tonk and oyster bar – and America’s “Last Great Roadhouse” – is a premiere venue for live music (mostly country and rootsy rock ‘n roll) and an excellent port of call if you’re looking for a laid-back place to kick back a few cold ones.

 

Fort San Carlos e Barrancas

This hilltop fort overlooking Pensacola Bay is a National Historic Landmark. Originally constructed by the Spanish in 1698, it bounced between Spanish and British rule until the United States became a nation and was a strategic point during the War of 1812 and the Civil War.

 

Historic Pensacola Village and the Colonial Archaeological Trail

This historic village comprised of more than 20 period buildings (mostly from the 19th century) and museums are located in downtown Pensacola. A great way to experience the village is to walk the Colonial Archaeological Trail which features museum artifacts and archaeological sites along the way.

 

JW Renfroe Pecan Company

Love pecans? Be sure to stop by this third-generation family-owned shop for some of the area’s tastiest souvenirs. Most famous for its pecans and pecan treats, JW Renfroe also sells a delectable variety of nuts (candied, roasted and salted, or raw) as well as fudge and New Orleans style pralines. Yum!

 

 

 

 

The Market Shops at Sandestin

A quick daytrip just outside of town in Miramar Beach, this upscale shopping destination is popular with locals and visitors alike and features a great range of independently owned boutiques, a calendar of free events, and live entertainment throughout the year.

 

McGuire’s Irish Pub & Brewery

Pensacola’s must-see watering hole offers its own beer brewed onsite, Irish pub grub, live music most nights, and a festive atmosphere anytime you drop in.

 

National Museum of Naval Aviation

Pensacola’s top attraction, the National Museum of Naval Aviation, is the largest Naval Aviation museum in the world and one of Florida’s most visited museums.

 

Palafox Market

Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. offers a chance to check out the best “fresh produce, live plants, baked goods, fine art, and antiques” from northwest Florida where locals sell their goods “straight from the field or kitchen” in the shade of Martin Luther King Jr Plaza.

 

Pensacola Bayfront Stadium

Take me out to the ballgame! The Pensacola Blue Wahoos are the local minor league baseball team. Part of the Southern League, the Wahoos are the Class Double-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds Major League Baseball team. The team’s bayside stadium is only a few years old, and an evening out catching a game is guaranteed fun for sports fans.

 

Pensacola Lighthouse

Built in 1849 and still in operation today, this beautiful lighthouse is open to the public for a small admission fee and offers a glimpse back in time along with the “best view in town.”

 

St. Michael’s Cemetery

These eight acres of green space are in the heart of town with evocative tombstones and memorials dating from the early 1800s. It’s one of the only cemeteries in the US where both nobility and slaves were buried next to one another.

 

Pensacola, FL Quick Stats

473,477 METRO POPULATION                   $40,220 AVERAGE ANNUAL SALARY

38 MEDIAN AGE                                            $158,513 MEDIAN HOME PRICE

4.1% UNEMPLOYMENT RATE                    $926 MEDIAN MONTHLY RENT

24.1 minutes AVG COMMUTE TIME

https://realestate.usnews.com/places/florida/pensacola

 

Cost of living in Pensacola is reasonably low. https://www.expatistan.com/cost-of-living/pensacola-florida.

 

If you are thinking or getting ready to move to the Pensacola area, whether renting or buying you should give us a call.

Realty Masters of FL
Pensacola - 4400 Bayou Blvd • Suite # 58B 
Pensacola, Florida 32503

(P) 850.473.3983
(F) 850.473.3975

(Toll Free) 888.479.8282

Posted in Buying a Home
Dec. 27, 2018

Water Leaks in Florida Condomeniums

Water is one of the most long-term destructive substances in the indoor environment and water leaks are one of the most damaging events that can happen to a condominium, whether in the units or on the common property. There are some stealthy leaks that can be very hard to detect. Among other things, the leaks can be caused from a poorly constructed building, old pipes, poorly-maintained valves, and damage caused by natural disasters. Some instances are out of the owners’ control, but others are caused by owners not maintaining upkeep on their units.
Research has shown some of the main causes of water leaks are
*Appliance Malfunctions
*Frozen and Burst Pipes
*Wind-Driven Rain
* Balcony Drain Lines
https://www.puresituationroom.com/insights/2017-3-19-condo-advice
Damage to condominium property, who is responsible for the cost of the repairs? Most of the time unit owners, board members and association managers are unsure which entity is responsible for the maintenance, repair and replacement of certain items when damages occur. It can be a confusing task to decipher Florida Law on this issue. The answer often depends on a multitude of variables.
When determining the entity responsible for the repair and replacement of the damaged property, the first question one must ask is who is responsible for the damage or what caused the damage? The Florida Condominium Act makes a distinction on liability depending upon whether the damage was caused by an insurable event such as a hurricane, fire, or flood or other reasons such as normal wear and tear, an intentional act or a negligent act. The act mandates insurance coverage requirements for all condominium associations. The effect of this mandate is when damage results from an insurable event then the requirements of the Condominium Act concerning the responsible entity will control, and when damage results from a non-insurable event then the Association’s governing documents will control. http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0700-0799/0718/0718.html
Unit owners are responsible for the cost of reconstruction of any portions of the condominium property for which the unit owner is required to carry property insurance.  Fla. Stat. § 718.111(11)(g)2.
 
Any portion of the condominium property that must be insured by the association against property loss . . . which is damaged by an insurable event shall be reconstructed, repaired, or replaced as necessary by the association as a common expense.  Fla. Stat. § 718.111(11)(j).
 
Regardless of whose fault it is, water damage is expensive and often preventable if the property is properly maintained.
 
Realty Masters of Florida provides professional property management services for Condominiums and HOAs in the Pensacola area.  Give us a call at 850-473-3983 to inquire about our services.
Water is one of the most long-term destructive substances in the indoor environment and water leaks are one of the most damaging events that can happen to a condominium, whether in the units or on the common property. There are some stealthy leaks that can be very hard to detect. Among other things, the leaks can be caused from a poorly constructed building, old pipes, poorly-maintained valves, and damage caused by natural disasters. Some instances are out of the owners’ control, but others are caused by owners not maintaining upkeep on their units.
Research has shown some of the main causes of water leaks are
*Appliance Malfunctions
*Frozen and Burst Pipes
*Wind-Driven Rain
* Balcony Drain Lines
https://www.puresituationroom.com/insights/2017-3-19-condo-advice
Damage to condominium property, who is responsible for the cost of the repairs? Most of the time unit owners, board members and association managers are unsure which entity is responsible for the maintenance, repair and replacement of certain items when damages occur. It can be a confusing task to decipher Florida Law on this issue. The answer often depends on a multitude of variables.
When determining the entity responsible for the repair and replacement of the damaged property, the first question one must ask is who is responsible for the damage or what caused the damage? The Florida Condominium Act makes a distinction on liability depending upon whether the damage was caused by an insurable event such as a hurricane, fire, or flood or other reasons such as normal wear and tear, an intentional act or a negligent act. The act mandates insurance coverage requirements for all condominium associations. The effect of this mandate is when damage results from an insurable event then the requirements of the Condominium Act concerning the responsible entity will control, and when damage results from a non-insurable event then the Association’s governing documents will control. http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0700-0799/0718/0718.html
Unit owners are responsible for the cost of reconstruction of any portions of the condominium property for which the unit owner is required to carry property insurance.  Fla. Stat. § 718.111(11)(g)2.
 
Any portion of the condominium property that must be insured by the association against property loss . . . which is damaged by an insurable event shall be reconstructed, repaired, or replaced as necessary by the association as a common expense.  Fla. Stat. § 718.111(11)(j).
 
Regardless of whose fault it is, water damage is expensive and often preventable if the property is properly maintained.
 
Realty Masters of Florida provides professional property management services for Condominiums and HOAs in the Pensacola area.  Give us a call at 850-473-3983 to inquire about our services.

Posted in Home Owners
Oct. 18, 2018

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Posted in Buying a Home
July 30, 2018

Vacation House

Everybody needs that getaway, and there may be no better place than Pensacola to create your perfect vacation.

Some of the most inconvenient parts of vacationing is scratchy sheets, too little room, an unfamiliarity of an area, and towels that you know you're not the first one to use. 

When you have your own vacation home, you don't have to worry about the towels. Now, those are some very surface reasons to invest in a vacation home. 

  1. A vacation home can quickly become a money-making opportunity. If you plan properly, you can make money off of your vacation home when you're not using it. Homes in the Pensacola area can be great investments all year round.
  2. A vacation home can become your retirement investment.
  3. Buying a vacation home allows you to learn a new area and explore off the beaten path.
  4. Buying a vacation home in Pensacola means that you have the added benefit of exploring all the way into Foley, AL. You have weeks and weeks of new exploration.
  5. The home can become like a family heirloom full of memories.

So if you are considering investing in vacation, consider investing in a vacation home.

Posted in Buying a Home
July 20, 2018

Quality Over Quantity

There are two things that can really bring up the value of a home one is the size of the home and the other is the quality of the home. While there is not a whole lot you can do to increase the size of a home, there are things you can do to improve the quality.

Here are 3 things that will increase the value of your rental:

1. Linoleum flooring that looks like hardwood

There are more than a dozen reasons to invest in linoleum flooring. My top three reasons are that they are affordable, they look good, and they do not hold odors like carpet does. By using the more affordable flooring, even if something does happen to portions of it it can be easily replaced, which reduces turn over costs. The appearance of the flooring can give a more updated look to the home and boost the initial opinion of potential tenants. Finally, the flooring does not hold on to odors. By eliminating the padding in the flooring you are making the homes more pet-friendly while protecting your investment. By making the home pet-friendly, you are creating a larger earning potential for your investment.

 

2. Updated kitchen

Whether someone will actually cook or not, they want an updated kitchen. Why? Because everyone wants to believe that they will cook. By investing in new appliances and cabinets you increase the likelihood of a short list time. In some cases, though it is unlikely that the rent increase based off of the improvements will compensate. Make sure you consult a property manager for their professional opinion. 

3. Fresh paint

There is an association in our minds of clean paint and a quality home. A fresh coat of paint can drastically improve the perceived quality of homes. The best part is that it is a reasonable monetary investment. The resulting increase in rent is likely to cover the cost of the painting in a limited amount of pay periods. 

Every property is unique and has simple opportunities for improvement. If you are interested in improving your investment, talk to a property management specialist for tips on your specific property. 

Posted in Investing
July 17, 2018

Making Good Investments

Everyone says that Pensacola is a great place to invest in property but does anyone really tell you why? Well, we want to!

The Tenants:

Pensacola is an excellent area for investment for many reasons. But the first and foremost reason may be that it is a military town. Military families often rent because they are only going to be in an area for two or three years. This is a great asset to owners because it means that you can get two or three-year leases. By having longer leases, you are reducing costs by eliminating potential turn over costs. 

Pensacola is also an excellent investment because it is a college town. There are several notable colleges in the Pensacola and Milton areas. Because of the colleges' locations, students are often looking for homes in Pensacola. Turnover rate may be a little higher but by renting to students you are ensuring that there is a self-renewing pool of possibilities. 

Another reason to invest in Pensacola is the retired community. Many people decide to retire in sunny Florida and that gives owners yet another pool of ready and willing renters. 

The above mentioned are the majority of renters. However, there are a few more categories or renters that fill Pensacola. Renters who are trying out an area, habitual renters who just enjoy renting more than the idea of owning, and people moving into the Pensacola in the growing gentrified areas. 

The Area:

Not only is Pensacola great because of the potential tenant pool, but it is great because of the area. The area is really what attracts the tenants. Pensacola is surrounded by gorgeous waterways, the ocean, beautiful parks, and a lively city. When it comes to amenities and places to go, Pensacola has everything! 

Surrounding the immediate area there are great attractions like the zoo, awesome restaurants, shopping, escape rooms, and every amenity that vacation life requires. 

The Lifestyle:

The final, and most compelling reason to live in Pensacola is the lifestyle. When you create a space for people to rent in Pensacola, you're giving pole the opportunity to live the vacation lifestyle. From the beachfront properties that offer days in the sun to the community properties that offer community BBQs. 

The Conclusion:

When it comes to choosing an area to invest in, Pensacola has a lot to offer. If you're considering investing in the area give us a call, we'd love to help you find that perfect property.  

Posted in Investing
July 15, 2018

Cleaning Hacks

There is always a reason to clean and there is always a reason not to. The main reason to clean is that things are dirty. The main reason not to clean is that it is time-consuming. So the key to a clean home is to use some hacks.

Grout

I think the worst thing about cleaning tile is the grout. Sometimes it feels like there isn't a food way to clean grout. It feels like no matter how hard you scrub or spray it is still dirty. So what is the solution? A toothbrush. By combining scrubbing bubbles with a toothbrush. 

1. Spray the scrubbing bubbles on the tiled area you would like to clean.

2. Immediately use a new toothbrush on the grout areas.

3. Wipe the tiles down with Windex and paper towels. 

Fridge

I don't know how the fridge gets weird goop in it, but it does. The problem with cleaning out the fridge is that there never seems to be a time when it is empty enough. For this project, all you need is a calendar and some Clorox wipes. 

1. Set a reminder for the day before you buy groceries.

2. Throw out all leftovers.

3. Throw out all old foods.

4. Move everything off the top shelf.

5. Clean the top shelf.

6. Move everything to the top shelf.

7. Wipe down the rest of the fridge.

 

Couch

The couch is probably the most utilized piece of furniture in a home. Because it is such an important part of the home, it needs special attention.

1. Grab the shop vac or your regular vacuum. 

2. Pull the cushions off the couch.

3. Fabreez the cushions tops and bottoms.

4. Vacuum the interior of the couch.

5. Vacuum the cushions. 

6. Flip around the cushions on the couch for a fuller seat.

 

With these tricks, your home can have a brand new feel. It is the little changes that make the biggest difference. 

Posted in Home Owners
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