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Articles Tagged "South Walton"



Moving This Winter? Here Are 5 Relocation Tips That Will Help Ease the Stress of Moving


Moving is not exactly enjoyable at any time of the year, but it can be especially stressful in the winter. Moving all of your items in the Destin area when it is cold and blowing outside makes things a lot tougher. However, if you prepare accordingly and have the right attitude, you'll find that your move will go much smoother. Here are five relocation tips that will help ease the stress of a move.

Do not Pack Your Winter Supplies

When you are moving in the wintertime, you should keep your winter supplies, such as a snow shovel and salt, in the car with you. For example, let's say you get to your new place and there is a lot of snow on the ground. If you have your shovel nearby, you can dig out a path from the driveway to the front door. If you see ice on the ground, you can sprinkle salt on it to prevent falling and hurting yourself.

Pay Attention to the Weather

It is a good idea to watch the weather reports the day of your move. If they are predicting a big snowstorm or other dangerous conditions, it may just be best to reschedule your move to a different day.

Hire Movers

Hiring movers will cost some extra money, but it will be well worth it. If you hire professional movers to move your belongings, you will not have to worry about carrying heavy furniture in the snow and ice. They have the experience to get your items moved in a timely manner.

Get Your Car Serviced

If you are moving a long distance, you should get your car serviced beforehand. Take it to a trusted mechanic and have him check your tires and brakes. If you let a professional look at your car before your move, you will be less likely to break down on the road.

Protect Your Entryways

When you move in the winter, you can bring in a lot of snow and salt from the outside, damaging your floors. That is why you should place cardboard or plastic on your flooring before you start the moving process. It will prevent snow, ice and other particles from ruining your floors.

Moving during the winter is not exactly pleasant, but it does not have to be impossible. If you follow these helpful tips, you will have a much easier move. If you have any more questions, you should contact SRE at 850-267-8100 or email us at



Winter's Coming: Prepare Your Destin House with These Three Home Maintenance Tips


Have you prepared your Sandestin or Destin home for the winter? With colder temperatures just around the corner you'll need to spend an hour or two getting your home ready to deal with the possibility of harsher weather and below-freezing temperatures. Let's take a look at a few quick home maintenance tips that will help you get your house ready for the winter season.


Check Your Roof, Gutters and Spouts


Your roof is one of the most important structural elements in your home and one that is going face the brunt of any inclement weather that passes through your area. If you feel comfortable on a ladder, climb up and quickly inspect the roof for damage or missing shingles. You'll also want to clean the gutters and drain spouts, removing leaves and other gunk so that water can flow freely from your roof to the ground.


Drain Your Faucets, Hoses and Irrigation System


If you have exterior faucets and hoses you'll need to flush out and drain any remaining water before storing them away for the winter. In-ground irrigation systems should have an anti-freezing treatment performed by a professional as freezing can cause a significant amount of damage to pipes and outlets.


Check Your Doors and Windows for Drafts


Leaky windows and doors can cause your heating bill to skyrocket, so spend a few minutes going around the house to inspect seals and frames to see if anything is leaking. Pay close attention to any single-pane windows as leaks can appear over time due to expansion caused by temperature fluctuations. It takes just a few cents worth of caulking to save many dollars in wasted heat.


Store Your A/C and Prep Your Furnace


Finally you'll want to ensure that your air conditioning unit has been fully shut down and properly stored. If you have an in-ground unit, you'll also need to cover it to protect it from rain, snow and wind. If you use a furnace to heat your home, be sure to clean or replace its air filter and consider firing the entire system up so you can check the ducts for leaks.


These home maintenance tips will help keep your home in peak condition and prevent damage that can reduce your resale value. Call SRE Real Estate Sales for more information and useful tips at 850-267-8100 or email us at


The Pros and Cons of Buying a New Home Versus Buying Pre-owned


Are you thinking about buying a new home in Destin? Congratulations! Buying a house, condo or townhouse is an exciting and rewarding time which tends to be a lot of fun. However, along the way you'll need to make a number of decisions – including whether you want to buy a pre-owned home or one that has been built recently. Let's take a quick look at some of the pros and cons of buying a new home versus buying pre-owned.

1. New Homes Tend To Have Fewer Problems


One of the major upsides of buying new is that newly-built homes tend to have very few problems within the first few years of ownership. While you'll still be required to make regular maintenance on a new home, when you buy pre-owned you're buying a house that has seen years or decades of weather and regular wear-and-tear.


2. New Construction Allows For Customization


If you want to be able to customize certain aspects of your home, it might be better to buy brand new as the builder will be able to incorporate your requests as they're building the home. Of course, you can always renovate and upgrade a pre-owned home but if you have significant needs you may find it easier to get them built into the home as its being developed.


3. The Major Downsides To Buying New: Cost And Location

While there are a number of upsides to buying new, there are some downsides that you'll need to know. First, new homes almost always cost more than an equivalent pre-owned home. Brand new homes are filled with new appliances, fixtures and modern building materials which add to the overall cost of the home. Unless the pre-owned home is on a larger lot or property, you'll generally be able to save a bit when you buy pre-owned.


Depending on where you're buying, you may also find that the location where brand new homes are being constructed is much further from the downtown or urban area. In many cities, the only available space for new construction is in suburban areas, which means that you may be in for a lengthy commute to and from work each day if you choose to buy new.

These are just a few of the factors that you'll need to consider when buying your next dream home in Destin or Sandestin. For more information or to get your house hunt started, contact SRE • Real Estate Sales at 850-267-8100 or email us at and we'll be happy to assist.


Creative Ways To Recycle Everyday Household Items


Every week the trash truck comes to pick up our garbage and unwanted items, which are promptly taken to landfills. Instead of filling landfills and just buying new items to stuff our Destin or 30A homes, we can help the earth and recycle everyday household items. Below are a few fun and creative ideas for recycling things around your home that you might be ready to trash.


Coffee Table Into Bench

If you just purchased a new coffee table, don’t give away the old one — repurpose it. Find a space in your home where you could use some additional seating, like at the end of your bed or in the entryway. Push it up against the wall so that any drawers and shelves are facing out. Then add some cushions and pillow. Tada; a bench!


Copper Piping Into Bathroom Hardware

Whether you’re going for a modern industrial look or a French country theme, old copper piping can add an attractive and interesting conversation piece to your restroom. Utilize a U-shaped piece of piping as a toilet paper holder and long pieces of pipe as towel racks. Polish the copper and then seal it with spray lacquer so that it keeps its sheen.


Light Bulbs Into Decorations

Recycle filament light bulbs with a fun little craft project for your children. Grab paint, twine, glitter and glue. You can make little bats, pumpkins and ghosts for Halloween or snowmen and Santas for the Holiday season.Use the twine to create loops for hanging.


Pillowcase Into Shopping Bag

Take an old or vintage pillowcase, lay it flat and cut the top corners off of the open end. You’ll want to cut the corners off in a half-C shape so that that there is only about a two-inch strip left in the middle at the top. Sew that two-inch strip together and you’ve got your handle. This reusable shopping bag rolls up tight and is easy to wash.


Drawer Into Dog Bed

The size of your animal will dictate the size of drawer you should repurpose. A cat might like a kitchen drawer while a bigger dog would use a large dresser drawer. Strip the wood off the drawer and repaint. Remove the hardware. Maybe stencil your pet’s name on the front of the drawer. Then create a mattress using foam, batting and a soft and durable material.


Before getting rid of that broken side table or trashing those carry-out chopsticks, take a second look and tap into your creative side to see if you might be able to recycle and give them a second life. Call SRE at 850-267-8100 or email for suggestions. 


6 Key Questions to Ask when Hiring a Real Estate Agent to Market and Sell Your Home


The work of a real estate agent can make or break how a prospective buyer feels about the property. Now that it's time to sell your home, you want to find the right agent to market it. How do you find someone you can trust who will make you feel confident they can sell your home quickly for the best price possible? Here are the questions you should be asking. 

Are They Licensed?

This one is the easy one. You should be working with a member of the National Association of Realtors. It is also important that you check whether they have any complaints on record about their practices. You can check with your state's real estate department as well. 

Are They Successful?

A successful real estate agent is more than the number of sales they have completed. You should also find out the average difference between listing and selling prices on their most recent sales. If an agent is closing deals at far below the original asking price consistently, that might be a red flag.

How Busy Are They?

Make sure you ask in advance how often the agent will contact you and how they will keep you informed of potential buyers. If you're going to be working with one of their associates at times, you should know.

How Familiar Are They With Your Neighborhood?

A real estate agent is not just marketing your home – they're marketing your entire Destin, Sandestin or 30A community. If they have closed nearby sales before, they are familiar with the selling points of the neighborhood as well as the right price range for properties similar to yours.

How Much Commission Do They Expect?

Normally you will pay the agent about 6 percent of the sale price. If you find one that offers their services for a low percentage, you should know why. Are they just trying to stay competitive? Or do they expect you to do a large share of the marketing yourself?

Do They Have A Plan?

The real estate agent should be able to tell you exactly which marketing techniques they would use for your home and how they plan to promote the listing. They should come to the table with ideas from the very beginning specific to your Emerald Coast location.

Now that you have a clearer idea of the basics, contact SRE today at 850-267-8100 or email to begin your journey toward becoming a successful home seller today.


Millennials Have Great Homebuying Tools Available To Them


The economy seems to be finally turning, and home loan interest rates are still historically low. Real estate values are starting to climb as well, all of which makes for a growing opportunity for new Destin homeowners to get into the market before it gets too expensive again. However, Millennials don’t seem to be on board. They represent the next generation of homebuyers, but a number of barriers seem to be smack in the way, discouraging many. Yet there are ways around these issues.


According to the Boston Globe, only 32 percent of Millennials are homeowners in 2014, either with a house or a condominium. A number of factors contribute to this situation, and the big issue is finding a viable career. The general unemployment rate for young people is at 16 percent nationwide, almost double the regular average for all ages combined. Add in the fact that many have large student loans eating up what income is earned in loan payments, and that doesn’t leave much for saving into a down payment or a mortgage payment. In fact, one out of three college graduates right now has moved back in with the parents.


The career-chase situation is not a new one. The previous bunch, Generation X, experienced the same thing in the early 1990s with just as high an unemployment rate. The big takeaway from their experience is that the dip and labor famine is temporary. Most Generation X folks now are well-employed and living in regular, affordable homes across the country.


Further, some very helpful tools are still available for new buyers:

  • Any homebuyer with military status can take advantage of Veterans Administration loans with far better rates than the normal market, making mortgage payments cheaper.
  • Those buying in rural areas can take advantage of rural homebuyer’s assistance programs provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help people move to small towns and similar communities.
  • The Housing and Urban Development Agency provides HUD loans that make it very affordable for those with limited income to purchase HUD-owned homes as first-time buyers and get into real estate.
  • And the current market still has plenty of quality used homes from prior foreclosures that are marked well below their real value to move these units in sales.


Of course, the big response from Millennials is how do I earn more to even get started. Like Generation X folks before them, Millennials can’t wait for a job to be made available on a platter. While looking, many smart folks have started their own businesses on the Internet. If a current job is enough to cover current bills, a second income can be entirely dedicated to saving, which can generate thousands of dollars quickly. Even a part-time second job that creates $1,000 a month produces $12,000 a year and in two years enough for a sizable down payment.


Don't give up, but definitely try smarter. And of course you can always contact SRE today at 850-267-8100 or email for tips and all of your 30A, Destin, and Sandestin Real Estate needs.


What’s in a Color? Six Paint Colors That Will Affect Your Mood


Believe it or not, paint colors can affect your mood. When remodeling your Destin home, the color you use on the walls can end up being just as critical to the thematic consistency of your home as the furniture you use to decorate it. Before you slap any old color on the walls, take some time to consider what mood you'd like each room to inspire.


Red, Yellow And Orange: The Colors Of Excitement, Hunger And Happiness


Ever wonder why the dining rooms, kitchens and entertainment rooms you see in magazines always seem to come in every shade of red? It's because these rooms are dedicated to eating and leisure time. Shades of red, especially bright, vibrant reds, have been linked to increased appetite and increases in energy levels.


In a similar vein, we have shades of yellow. Typically, yellow hues have been known to encourage feelings of happiness and joy. That said, it's a good idea to steer clear of especially bright shades of yellow that can be harder on the eyes, as they can foster feelings of frustration and an inability to concentrate.


Orange, like red, provides a great way to bring up energy levels, but like yellow, is prone to cause irritation when used excessively. People are more likely to be excitable and show more enthusiasm in rooms that incorporate this color. In order to reap the benefits of orange without causing irritation, restrict your use of it to the odd wall here and there.


Blue, Green And Purple: The Colors Of Restfulness, Peace And Serenity


It's no surprise that blue is the color of calm and relaxation. For bedrooms and bathrooms, blue hues are ideal for inspiring restfulness; however, this color's calming influence makes it a poor paint color choice for high traffic areas where high energy levels are necessary.  Occasionally, overusing this color - especially in darker shades - can bring moods down beyond calmness and into sadness and depression.


Green is yet another color that inspires peace and restfulness. The advantage of green is that the serenity it brings on is accompanied by feelings of rejuvenation and replenishment. Think of green spaces as places where you can gather yourself and quietly rebuild your energy levels.


Purple is often associated with lavishness and luxury in deep, rich hues that spark creative thinking. In lighter shades, it has the same calming influence of blue but, thanks to its red undertones, none of the sadness that blue can often have.


Making The Most of These Colors: A Little Goes A Long Way


It's unlikely that you will be painting any of the rooms in your house in a single shade of any of these colors. Experiment with different shades and work with colors that inspire similar emotions to break up the visual impression of the room. You can use neutral paint colors like brown, black and white to bring depth to room, or to suppress the harsh tones of brighter colors like yellow and orange.


Psychologists have long known that colors affect mood, and in recent years, the interior design world has caught on as well. Now that you understand how paint colors can alter your mood, it’s important to paint your Sandestin, 30A walls wisely. To learn more about home care and prepping your Emerald Coast home for sale, Call SRE at 850-267-8100 or email today!


Homebuyers Avoiding Chores Fuel Condo-Hotel Revival


NEW YORK – July 10, 2014 – Nationwide, developers are bringing back a concept that folded with the 2008 real estate bust: combination condominium-hotel projects.


In cities such as Miami, New York and Los Angeles, a rebounding hospitality sector is coinciding with rising demand for luxury residences. Those market conditions are prompting more developers to erect new full-service lodgings that also contain premium-priced residential units.


Hotelier Ian Schrager, for example, is developing a luxury lodging-and-residential tower with Marriott International Inc. on Miami Beach and a similar project in Lower Manhattan with Witkoff Group.


"When you add condos to a hotel, the sum of the parts is more than the value of each individual component alone," he says. "They complement each other."


Also in Miami, LeFrak Organization Inc. CEO Richard LeFrak is developing 1Hotel & Homes South Beach with investor Barry Sternlicht. Demand has been so strong that LeFrak is considering another similar property in L.A.


For these and other developers, adding condominiums to a hotel project can attract financing that may not be available otherwise.


"Whenever you do mixed use, different developers are awarded different phases with different time horizons. That provides for different types of income with different returns," says Bruce Ford, director of business development at Lodging Econometrics Inc. "That can help attract different types of investors, while it also diversifies your revenue stream."


Source: Bloomberg (07/02/14) Brandt, Nadja


© Copyright 2014 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688


Is It Best To Put Down A Large Down Payment, Or Be Agile With Your Savings?


Putting down the largest sum of money at your disposal might seem like the best way to go when it comes to your mortgage down payment. There is a certain amount of truth to this, but the reality is bigger is not always better. Ideally, the amount of money you settle on for your Destin home mortgage down payment will take into account your monthly budgeting requirements.


The Big Advantages Of A Large Down Payment


Fewer Mortgage Payments: The larger the Sandestin home down payment, the higher the likelihood that you will be able to afford a shorter mortgage. Unlike some of the other benefits of large down payments, ensuring this perk is available to you is solely dependent on whether or not your post-down payment budget will be able to support the necessary payments.


Lower Payment Totals: If you choose to stick to a longer payment plan, each month's payment will be significantly less than it would have been had you chosen to put less money down up front. Of course, if you choose a shorter mortgage you will be required to pay more.


No Need For Mortgage Insurance: When the down payment is a lower percentage of the purchase amount, lenders will often require clients to apply for mortgage insurance as way to protect themselves in the case that a client defaults on the loan. However, if the Destin buyer is able to make a larger down payment, mortgage insurance can be completely avoided.


Lower Interest Rates: The interest rate on your mortgage is dependent on how much you need to borrow. The more you pay out of pocket, the less money you will have to borrow from a lender. This means the interest rate on the loan will be lower and you will lose less money on the loan overall.


Coping Smartly With A Small Down Payment


Making a larger down payment may not be an option for you in your current financial state. Opting to make a smaller down payment will still allow you to purchase your new Emerald Coast home, with a few extra conditions. Higher interest rates and having to take out mortgage insurance are the two primary conditions you are likely to come across. Once the down payment is made, your main concern becomes making the most of your monthly mortgage payments.


A great coping strategy is to get into the habit of paying off more than the amount due on as many scheduled payment days as possible. Another good strategy is to arrange for an accelerated payment schedule. These small adjustments could help you pay off your mortgage faster, and save you more money as a result.


When settling on a down payment amount, the most important issue to factor into your decision is whether or not you are capable of remaining financially secure after the payment is made. If a larger down payment is going to dramatically impact your emergency funds, you may want to reconsider. Contact SRE today at 850-267-8100 or email We can get your set up with a local mortgage professional to learn more about choosing the most suitable mortgage for your budget.



How Paint Color Choices Can Dramatically Affect The 'Mood' Of Your Home


Whether you're sprucing up your Destin house to sell or simply looking for a color to bring out the beauty of your home, it's imperative that you do your homework. Before you head off to your local DIY store with a paint sample in one hand and a wallet in the other, you need to ensure that you're picking the colors that are right for your Sandestin home and your personality. It is true that you can never go wrong with a neutral, but you can also go so much more right with the correct color in the appropriate space, whether it's a neutral or not.


Give The Buyers The Blues


Blue is a great calming color and has even been known to lower blood pressure. When a person walks into a blue room they feel tranquil and at peace. Blue is also the color of trustworthiness and dependability, so if you are selling your 30A home, or if you just want to make your guests feel welcome, put a blue paint color on the walls of your front hall or foyer.


Eat Your Heart Out Red


Red is a high-energy color and it has been proven to stimulate the appetite. This makes it a perfect color for a kitchen. An accent wall splashed with a deep, rich red can bring interest and vibrancy to an ordinary Destin kitchen. Be sure not to overdo the red though; one wall or a back splash is enough to get the point across without becoming garish.


Approach Yellow With Caution


Yellow is one of the most difficult colors to pull off correctly in a home. The light plays tricks with it, and what you thought was a sunny yellow in the store might become a sallow jaundice on a cloudy day. If you must paint with yellow keep it very pale and keep it in a less used room. It can be a soothing color but it's best to leave it out of the main rooms.


Give Green A Go


Green is said to be the most restful color on the eyes. Certainly, when we think of green, we think of the outdoors. Experts say the color green taps into our need for balance and makes us feel safe and at our Walton or South Walton home. With all that going for it, the color green is an ideal choice for any room in your house; especially an Emerald Coast master bedroom where the restfulness of the color invites you to climb into bed and have lovely dreams.


Visions Of Violet


Purple or violet is often a favorite color of children. As we grow older, we tend to forget about this under-used color. The truth is, however, it can be an absolutely stunning color in a family room or living room. Although we associate purple with children, a deep royal purple can give your room a regal look, which is perfect if you have high or vaulted ceilings. If you want to give your home a feeling of luxury with a bit of decadence, then violet or purple is the color for you.


No matter what colors you choose in your Destin/Sandestin home, if you're looking to resell it's a good idea to consult an expert to ensure that your colors are compatible with one another. There's nothing worse than a house that has a chopped-up effect due to its rooms being painted a myriad of different colors. If you need a hand choosing paint shades for your home, be sure to contact SRE today at 850-267-8100 or email  If we do not have the answers, we'll find someone who does.


Creative Lighting Installations That Will Enhance Your Home


When people purchase their Sandestin home, one of their common requests is "plenty of light." And for good reason! This is a critical factor for enjoying your home, and when designing your interior, you should pay special attention to just that: your sources of light. See them not only as a way to brighten up your room, but also as an opportunity to infuse your Walton/South Walton home with a fashionable design and aesthetic appeal. You'd be surprised at how much lighting can dramatically enhance any given room in your home. Here are our six favorite lighting installations that are bound to give you and your Emerald Coast home that "wow" factor.


The Chandelier For Pretty Places


Chandeliers provide arguably the prettiest and most classic fixtures possible, and they are a growing trend right now in interior design. Acting as the "centerpiece" if you will to any room, chandeliers offer the perfect amount of brilliance and light, while instantly multiplying the room's feeling of warmth and appeal. Create a pretty place you won't be able to resist; hang a modern crystal chandelier above your dining room table or a bright pendant chandelier in your master bedroom.


Quirky And Contemporary Ceiling Lights


To achieve the same sense of fashion-forward style for your home's décor but in a more practical way for the tall folks, consider a close-to-ceiling light fixture in its many different quirky and contemporary styles. You can also opt for the bright, patterned pendant style, or get a wide crystal embellished highlight for your ceiling lights.


The Demure Brilliance: Recessed Spot Lighting


For the most demure, nearly hidden brilliance, opt for recessed spot lighting. These light installations typically offer dimmer switches and provide the perfect ambiance for any space, especially kitchens, living rooms, and dining rooms.


Perfect Pendants For Closer Lighting


Perfect hanging pendants come in many different shapes, sizes, and colors, and can be hung in a row for horizontal spaces like your kitchen's eating bar. They can also be hung at varying lengths to achieve a tasteful fashion statement.


Instant Modernity: Arc Floor Lamp


The arc floor lamp, which typically rests in one corner of the room and reaches over in an arch for center lighting in a sitting area, is a growing trend in 30A home décor. You can find these floor lamps in virtually any style, ranging from textured, retro versions to sleek, contemporary styles.


Matching Shades: Table Lamps


To tie your room together in its design aesthetic, the most perfect - and most simple - option may be matching table lamps. Perfect for your side tables in your living room, or the nightstands on either side of your bed in your master bedroom, matching shades can be a quick fix to a room that needs more brilliance and a more cohesive look.


Whether you already have plenty of natural light flooding your Miramar Beach home, you can never have enough brilliance to rely on when the sun goes down. So take a look at these six light installations that will instantly enhance your living space, and infuse your Destin home with the light it deserves. And if you could use a trip through a show home for further design inspiration, contact SRE today at 850-267-8100 or email for assistance. 


How To Save Money Moving Into Your New Condo


Moving to a new Sandestin, Destin condo can be very stressful, and unexpected moving costs can make it worse.  It’s hard to budget for the unknown.  But, with a little planning, you can have the extra cash on hand for those surprise expenses.


Start finding moving supplies well in advance of your moving date.  Waiting until the last minute may find you frantically searching and ultimately paying more than you needed to.


Save Money On Boxes

Moving boxes from a retail store or moving company can cost a few dollars per box.  By the time you have packed your whole Emerald Coast condo, you could be out hundreds of dollars.  Instead, try these money saving ideas:


  • Look on your local Craig list for low-cost or free moving boxes.  Most people will let you have them for free just for getting them out of their way.


  • E-bay is another good place to look for cheap moving boxes.  Remember to factor in shipping costs before making a purchase.


  • If you can’t find any boxes online, you can check with your local grocery store.  They are always unpacking shipments and usually have an assortment of boxes that you can pick from. 


Save On Packing

It’s convenient to hire a moving company to pack your belongings.  But, the added expense of using their boxes, packing supplies and labor can really add up.  You may find that the costliness will motivate you to do the packing yourself.


Don’t spend a lot of money on packaging materials.  Newspaper is great for cushioning breakables, like dishes and wine glasses.  You can even use your clothing, bedding and towels to wrap delicate items.  And socks can fill up extra spaces in boxes just as well as styrofoam.


Save On A Moving Van

Before you pay a lot of money to rent a moving van, check with your family and friends.  A trailer or a long-bed truck is good for moving most everything.  Offer to pay them for the gas.  It will still be cheaper than renting a U-Haul.


By following these suggestions, you can save yourself big bucks moving to your new Walton/South Walton condo.


Are you ready to make your move to a new Miramar Beach condo?  We can help you find the perfect location, amenities and get it at the best price. Contact SRE today at 850-267-8100 or email for assistance.


Staging Your Home For Spring: Tips To Use The Season To Your Selling Advantage


Spring has arrived! The flowers are blossoming along the Emerald Coast, the greyness of the sky is clearing, and the air is warming. The best season to sell your Sandestin home is here, and with the added natural light and blossoming colors, you can easily take advantage of the benefits of spring when it comes to selling your 30A home. Make sure to show it for all its worth- follow these simple tips for staging your home in spring, and making your home the One listing that buyers can’t resist.


Fresh Flowers: Get Mother Nature Working For You


Nothing says spring like fresh-cut flowers. Bring the beauty of nature inside your home and brighten up your space with fresh flowers. You can get colorful tulips, lilies, and other flowers for use in your kitchen table centerpiece, as well as smaller arrangements for around the house. There's no reason why a bouquet can't brighten up your master bedroom or entryway, either. Orchids also make for lovely decorative pieces, and are best for bathrooms or anywhere that's suitable to a smaller flower. Add that extra intrigue to your entryway with colorful flowers in hanging baskets, and tidy up your front garden with some new colors, all while making the prospective buyers much more enthusiastic about entering your home.


Get That Spring Feel With A Light And Airy Home


To make the most of the spring season, make sure you use the added light and the warmth of the air. Open up the windows and lift all the blinds in your home, and consider scheduling showing times during the time of day when the sun shines brightest.


Decorative Colors: Brighten Up Your Home


You can also further take advantage with the colors of spring by adding pops of color to your living room, dining room, and kitchen. Consider hanging colorful drapes or adding a decorative throw and couch pillows. Some new and inexpensive artwork for the walls can also be an inventive way to bring color into your home, while creating a warm and inviting space that the buyer will love.


It’s Time For Spring Cleaning


Just because you're selling your house this year, doesn't mean you get to excuse yourself from spring cleaning. Actually, partaking in this annual event can be a great way to sell your home faster. A clean home tells buyers that you have taken great care of the property and helps them to envision themselves living in the space. Get out the pressure washer and rid your front steps and driveway of the remnants of winter, clean out the gutters, and give the floors and bathrooms a scrub. Consider an early packing job, and box up your winter clothes to help create the appearance of well-organized and spacious closet space throughout the home.


Spring is a great season in which to sell your Destin home. You can easily take advantage of the warmer weather and bright colors to make your house more attractive to potential buyers, which will help you sell faster and get a higher price. With an airy, clean and flower-filled home that bursts with color, you’ll be able to persuade buyers that your home is the perfect place for them – and you’ll be glad you put in the extra effort. For more great advice about selling your Walton/South Walton home in the spring, or to list your home for sale, call your trusted real estate professionals at  SRE today  850-267-8100 or email us at


The Market Shops unveils multi-million dollar renovation, and announces new merchants and first community event


Miramar Beach, Fla(April 24, 2014)The Market Shops located at the entrance to Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort has unveiled specific details and a timeline for the extensive renovation that is currently taking place on the property.


Construction on the property began on March 17, 2014 and includes major exterior repairs including: doors and windows being installed to all storefronts facing Emerald Coast Parkway, which will provide easy access from the parking lot and visibility to traffic passing by, as well as redesigned courtyards and walkways. Brick pavers are being laid in the interior common area of the center to create a courtyard that will be the epicenter for events, nightlife, live music and more. The center will also receive cosmetic enhancements including a new façade, stone columns, a new paint color scheme and a complete redesign of landscaping. The lawn on the east side of the property has been expanded and refreshed to host festivals, concerts and other special events in the future. The renovation is scheduled for completion by Summer 2014. In the interim, the local community is invited to the center every Sunday for the Seaside Farmer’s Market at The Market Shops beginning Sunday, April 27, 2014 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.


The Market Shops confirms the addition of several new merchants that will be joining Sunset Shoes, Sandestin Real Estate and Tandestin including a new fine dining concept by the managementof Bistro Bijoux, Sirens at the Beach, a locally owned lingerie, lounge, swim and sleepwear boutique, Favori Gift Boutique, a mini sweet shop, apparel, jewelry and art boutique as well as Market Shops Nails & Spa. Several additional new merchants will be announced in the coming weeks, and many of The Market Shops merchants will be open for business during the renovation of the center.


Built in 1985, this is the first renovation that the 52,000 square foot center has undergone. Owners of the center, OBP Partners of Miami, Fla., acquired the property in 2002, and in 2013 took over the asset’s management duties from the prior operator.


“With OBP Partners’ experienced team now managing and operating The Market Shops, and with the real estate market making a strong comeback, we think this is the right time to revive The Market Shops,” said Ian Schenkman, Vice President of OBP Partners. “We are excited to reestablish the center as a location for the local community to enjoy.” 


JPB Commercial Real Estate Advisors is handling all leasing for The Market Shops and has seen very strong interest from local and regional retailers and restaurateurs.  Currently in the pre-leasing stage, the center has reached more than 50% occupancy. Those wishing to inquire about leasing space at The Market Shops should contact JPB agents Tom Watson at 850-527-3524 or Doreen Baca at 850-460-5050.



How to Add Color to Your Emerald Coast Home Décor Without Going Overboard


There is a fine line between adding color to your home décor and using too much color. You do not want to feel like you are living inside a rainbow.


A little bit of color will add a lot of fun and interest to your Miramar Beach, 30A home design, but too much color can be overwhelming. How can you achieve that perfect balance?


Here are some tips to keep in mind for using color in a subtle and balanced way:


  • Color Schemes

Before choosing the colors for your décor, do a little bit of research into color schemesand how they work, so you know how to combine colors harmoniously.

For example, you can choose a complementary color scheme with shades that are across each other on the color wheel – such as blue and orange or purple and yellow.

Or you could try an analogous color scheme, which is a scheme where the colors are next to each other on the colour wheel – such as blue, green and purple.


  • The 60/30/10 Rule

This is a rule that interior decorators use in order to use colors in a balanced way. Use the dominant color on 60% of the room, so that it will create a unifying look.


Then, use the secondary color on 30% of the room in order to add visual interest. Lastly, use an accent color for 10% of the room to add that little extra.


For example, you might use the dominant color for the walls and carpet, the secondary color for the upholstery and the accent color for some pillows, a wall hanging or a throw rug.


  • Try an Accent Wall

Perhaps you have found a gorgeous paint color, but it’s just a little too bright and overwhelming to use for all four walls of a room.


In this case, you can simply paint one wall with the color and the other walls with a neutral tone, so that you can enjoy the shade without it being overpowering.


You could also simply use the color in one aspect of the room, such as the baseboards or the door jams.


These are just a few of the ways that you can incorporate color into your Sandestin or Destin home design, without it being overpowering. For more advice contact SRE today at 850-267-8100 or




Inspect and Maintain Your Garage

In most parts of the country, especially in the South Walton, Destin/Sandestin area garages are particularly appreciated at this time of year. Even if you don’t live in a colder climate, it’s important to do annual inspections and routine maintenance to keep everything in working order. So make sure yours is doing its job by following the care tips below.


Check The Tracks

You’ll want to make sure the garage door can go up and down smoothly. Get your leaf blower and blow any cobwebs, bugs or leaves from the track. With older doors, you’ll also need to oil the metal rollers, hinges and tracks in order to keep everything moving easily.

Inspect For Pests

This time of year, pests are searching for a place to take shelter and find food. Look along the walls where they meet the foundation and double-check any spots where you’ve had moisture problems. If you see chewed wood or trails of sawdust, call an exterminator because they could be signs of termites or carpenter ants.

Insulate Your Garage

If you have a workshop or gym located out in the garage, then insulating this space is a must for certain climates. Not only will it make your home warmer, but also it will reduce your electricity bills. You can buy DIY kits for under $100. However, be careful if your door is over nine feet wide, because the extra weight can be too much for some opening mechanisms.

Spend Time On The Floor

Don’t actually get down on the floor, but definitely give it some care. Move everything out and hose down the entire surface. Patch any gaps to prevent tripping. Then give the foundation a good inspection. If you notice mold or major cracks, call a contractor to come take a look and see if you have settling or water drainage issues.

Consider Replacing The Doors

You’ll know it’s time to replace your door when the panels are rusted and scratched or there are wooden ones that are warped. There are many decent replacement options, including wood, steel or aluminum. The prices can range from high to reasonable depending on the quality of the material. If you decide to do a replacement, talk to an expert and take your climate into account.


These are just a few of the ways you might want to consider getting your Emerald Coast/30A garage in working order. For more advice, contact SRE at 850-267-8100 or


Tips On Protecting Your Home From Sneaky Pests


As the rain falls, we spend less time outdoors and more time inside our South Walton homes where it’s dry. Unfortunately pests have the same idea. This is when rodents and cockroaches seek shelter from the weather. They can carry diseases like salmonella and Hantavirus as well as cause damage to your wiring; so make sure you take precautions to keep the pests away from your Sandestin/Destin home.


Seal Up Your House

Pests have an incredible ability to sneak into your home through the tiniest of holes. A mouse can squeeze through even a dime-sized hole. Double check the screens on your windows for any tears or holes, and replace any damaged screens. Caulk the edges of your windows and inspect the weather stripping under doors to make sure there’s no way for pests to get in.

Keep The Firewood Away

Don’t stack firewood against your house. A woodpile serves as a safe haven for rodents, and if it’s too close to your house, the mice will find a way in. Keep it at least twenty feet away. Overgrown bushes and shrubs can have the same effect so keep them trimmed and weeded.

Check Your Dryer Vent

A common entry for pests can be the laundry room. When a dryer isn’t installed correctly, the vent can be left open to the outside air, and this open vent can be an open door for critters. Double check your vent to make sure it’s fully sealed. It could be raising your electric bills as well.

Keep Your Food Out Of Reach

Nothing attracts pests more than food. Don’t leave crumbs on the floor and be sure everything in the pantry is closed and sealed. A common mistake is to leave dog food out. Keep the bag sealed, and empty the bowl. You’re feeding your dog after all, not the fall pests.

Moisture Is The Enemy

Moisture breeds pests. You don’t want any standing water around your house, so clear any clogged drains or gutters. Rake moist soil and mulch away from the house a few inches as well to keep the bugs away from the walls.

Monitor For Infestation

Put some mousetraps and glue traps in your attic and basement. Hopefully, there won’t be anything to catch, but if you keep traps out, then you’ll know at the first signs of infestation.


As the Sandestin, Destin and South Walton weather changes, pests are searching for a warm, dry place to stay. With a few simple measures you can make sure that warm, dry place isn’t your house. Take the time now and boost your defenses against the fall pests, and avoid an infestation later.


9 Tips To Make Your Home Look More Luxurious On A Modest Budget

Have you been flipping through home décor magazines and gazing with wonder at the dazzling homes inside? Would you like to add a touch of elegance and luxury to your Sandestin, South Walton or Destin home, but you are on a tight budget? No need to worry, there are many ways that you can make your home look like a million bucks, without actually having to spend a fortune.  

Here are a few great ideas that don’t have to cost a lot, they just require a little bit of planning and some elbow grease and they will take your home from ordinary to luxury.

  1. Mount your curtains at ceiling level rather than the top of the windows. This draws the eye upwards and gives the illusion of high ceilings.
  2. Paint your interior doors a sleek and shiny shade of black. This looks very modern and sophisticated and is much cheaper than buying expensive doors.
  3. If your home doesn’t have crown moulding, paint a white band around the ceiling to fake the look.
  4. The little details can make a big difference when it comes to making a home look elegant and luxurious. Add in finishing touches such as a beautiful glass vase, a stack of coffee table books, fresh flowers or a piece of artwork.
  5. Remember, less is more and a cluttered house will not create the impression of luxury. Eliminate as much clutter as possible, making your home seem more spacious and sophisticated.
  6. You can take simple and cheap accessories such as a candle holder or a vase from the dollar store and then paint them with gold paint. They will have a luxurious look, for much less than the real thing!
  7. Lighting can also have a big impact on how luxurious your home appears. Invest in a few beautiful and stylish lamps, or a chandelier, and you will transform the entire space.
  8. When choosing fabrics for accessories and upholstery, go for fabrics that have a luxurious texture such as velvet, satin or fur. They can be faux to make them cheaper, but they will still add to the luxurious look.
  9. Throw pillows are a fabulous addition to your sofa, loveseat or oversized chair. Opt for the larger 22-inch pillow covers and stuff them with 24-inch inserts.  The overstuffed pillows provide you with that luxurious feel you are craving.


These are just a few ideas that you can incorporate into the home décor of your South Walton, Destin or Sandestin home in order to make it look and feel more luxurious. For more tips, contact SRE at 850-267-8100 or


Sandestin Real Estate Announces Top Agents for December 2013

Miramar Beach, FL – January 22, 2014;  Sandestin Real Estate is proud to announce the top producing Agents of the Month for December 2013:

  • Jessica Jones - Sales Agent of the Month (Both Dollar Volume and Transaction Volume)

  • Christine Thompson - Listing Agent of the Month (Number of Listings)

  • Stephanie Vogel - Listing Agent of the Month (Dollar Volume of Listings)

Stephanie Vogel offers up her take on the 2013 real estate market, “Real Estate predictions for 2013 came up short. National sales increased by 11%, and in Florida, condo sales were up 18% according to numbers released by Florida Realtors®. With interest rates holding relatively low and properties still priced well below mid 2000s prices, I believe sales will continue to grow throughout 2014.”   That’s good news for sales in the upcoming year, but it takes more than a strong real estate market to be a top producer.

When asked about their secrets for success, Christine Thompson states simply that “a good real estate agent doesn’t disappear once the closing papers are signed”.   Jessica Jones goes on to explain that “a successful real estate agent evaluates the clients' needs and consistently puts their best interests first. An amazing thing happens when you do - both your clients’ and your own personal goals will be achieved beyond your greatest expectations!” These are important qualities to have in a successful real estate agent as these top producers demonstrate.

Sandestin Real Estate’s team of expert agents proves to be tough competition, so congratulations to our Agents of the Month!

Agents of the Month

From left - Stephanie Vogel, Jessica Jones, and Christine Thompson



Want to sell your home in 30 days?

According to the National Association of Realtors, the best way to sell your home or other property quickly is to price it just below the most recent sale. Today's lean inventory of homes on the market typically means that your property goes to the top of buyers' lists when it is priced aggressively.

It's smart to weigh the cost of ownership (association fees, taxes, maintenance, etc.) and holding your property for 4-6 months before it sells vs. pricing it just below the most recent sale.

Want to know more? Contact us at 850-267-8100 or

Jennifer Howard


Sandestin Real Estate



10 Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before Applying For a Mortgage

If you are considering applying for a new mortgage or a refinance, it is important to understand the mechanics of your mortgage loan. Before you sit down to speak with your loan officer, you should consider preparing a list of questions you feel may need to be answered.

Typically, your Emerald Coast loan officer will be available to assist through the entire mortgage process. Here are some questions that you may need to get answers to before completing your application:

1. What Type Of Loan Is Best For Me?

Your loan officer can discuss the various loan programs available to help you buy or refinance. Some borrowers will benefit greatly from adjustable rate mortgages while others prefer fixed rate. However, other borrowers may find a fixed rate is the best option. Discuss various loan terms such as 30-year or 20-year mortgage loans.

2. What Documents Are Required?

Be prepared to provide your loan officer with several documents. The most common documents include pay stubs, bank statements and tax returns. Loan officers will also need a complete list of debts including auto payments, credit card payments and student loans.

3. What Costs Are Involved?

Prior to a loan closing you will be required to pay some costs up front. These may include appraisal fees, credit report fees and application fees. Discuss all these costs with the loan officer to determine how much money will be required prior to the loan being approved. In addition, discuss any funds that will be required to complete the loan closing.

4. Can I Select My Own Appraiser?

When you apply for a new mortgage or refinance loan in Florida, lenders will require a property appraisal. Lenders typically maintain a list of approved appraisers and supply those lists to the loan officers. Typically, the loan officer will assign an appraiser to review the property. Borrowers generally have no input regarding the choice of appraisers.

5. When Will I Get A Good Faith Estimate?

Good Faith Estimates (GFE) must be issued after you have completed your loan application. A second GFE is typically presented along with the HUD1 prior to closing. Keep in mind, the GFE is only an estimate of costs and that actual costs may be slightly higher or lower.


6. How Long Until We Can Close Our Loan?

Loan closing times are based on a number of factors. Closing dates may be delayed if there are missing documents or other underwriting delays. Speak with the loan officer to get an estimate on the time from application to closing.

7. What Possible Delays May I Face In Closing?

There are a number of delays that often cannot be avoided. However, some can be avoided by making sure you provide your loan officer with all the documents they request in a timely manner. In some cases, there may be a delay in getting the appraisal completed or for title searches. Your loan officer can discuss other reasons why a delay may occur.

8. Do I Need An Attorney For Closing?

When you are ready to close your loan, you are welcome to have an attorney representing you. Generally, there will be an attorney present at the closing however, they are there to represent the lender. If you feel more comfortable having an attorney present, discuss this with your loan officer to ensure the attorney receives the date, time and location of closing.

9. Should I Lock In My Interest Rate?

Before locking in a rate, make sure it is important to understand there may be fees associated with an interest rate lock. Bear in mind, should rates decline during the period between application and closing you will not be able to take advantage of those lower rates.

10. When Will I Get A HUD1 Statement?

As a borrower, you are entitled to review their HUD1 statement prior to closing. Your loan officer should make arrangements with you to provide the statement one or two days prior to closing for your review. This will give you an opportunity to review loan terms, interest rate and costs of the loan.

Never hesitate to ask your loan officer any questions you may have. The more questions you have addressed during the application process, the less likely you will be to be confused at the time of your mortgage closing. Keep in mind, your loan officer is there to answer your questions and guide you through the entire loan process.


Sandestin Real Estate is excited to announce the recent launch of our brand new website!  With increased functionality, better resources, and more information, you will find everything you need at
Since we are in the Holiday spirit, we are giving away a
$100 Amazon gift card! 
To be entered in the drawing, just follow these 3 easy steps:
  • Visit between now and December 15th 
  • Sign up for your free account at the top of the home page, or log in to your current account
  • Save a search or a property 
That's it!  The lucky winner will be announced on Monday, December 16th.  Enjoy the new website!
*Please note that if you are currently in our database, you automatically have an account on our website and simply need to sign in using your email as both the username and password.  Then just save a property or a search to be entered!  You can change your password after signing in.

Do Those Additions Really Add Value To Your Home?

When you own a home in the Destin, Sandestin, or Emerald Coast area, there are additions that you can make to the property that will improve the value of your home. For example, a newly renovated kitchen or bathroom is a popular choice that will really make the home more desirable to buyers.

Also, adding storage space or a well-thought-out family room or other practical space can be a very good investment that will bring up the home’s value.

However, there are other projects that are not really worth your time or money and will allow very little opportunity to recover your costs when it is time to sell the property. Here are a few examples of things that you think might add to the value of your home, but really don’t.

An Elaborately Landscaped Garden

A beautifully landscaped garden might make the home more visually attractive to buyers when they are looking at the property, but it will not likely add to the selling price. This is especially true if the new buyer is not interested in putting in the effort to keep the garden well maintained and sees it as a burden. If they don’t have time to do the landscaping, they will need to hire a gardener which will add to their expenses.

Bold Color Choices

Statement wall colors may be all the rage, but when it comes to your home’s resale value, understated might be the way to go.  Just because that dark purple accent wall in the living room looks great with your couch, does not mean it will appeal to potential buyers.  The same goes for outside paint.  Being in a beach environment, it might be tempting to repaint your house bright beach colors like seafoam green, aqua, or pink.  This might actually be a positive improvement to your home if you are in a beach cottage style neighborhood, but if your neighbors’ houses are all traditional colors, it might be wise to follow suit.  

A Hobby Specific Room

Are you tempted to convert a bedroom into a room that is specific to one of your particular interests, such as an art studio, a library or a wine cellar? This will not add a lot of value to the home, because the next buyer is not likely to share your passions. It might even make the home less than desirable, because the next owner will not want to spend the time and money renovating the room back into a bedroom.

You can create a hobby room; just make sure that you make non-permanent chances to the room so that you can quickly and easily switch it back to a bedroom.

A Renovated Garage

Redoing your garage and turning it into a family room or a play room might give you a short term benefit, but you might regret it when you go to sell the home. Most people want a garage to serve its original purpose – as a place to protect their cars from the elements and store their shovels, garbage cans, leaf blowers and other outdoor things.

These are a few examples of home additions that will not add to the resale value of your property. To find out more about selling your South Walton home, contact Sandestin Real Estate at or 850-267-8100.


13 Trick-Or-Treating Safety Tips

Gone are the days where parents sit at home while their costumed children run around the neighborhood alone. These days, most small children are walked door to door by family, or even forgo neighborhood trick-or-treating altogether in favor of planned events at their school or church.  While there is relatively little mischief they can get into under their parent’s watchful gaze, below are even more trick-or-treating safety tips for an untroubled, fun and haunted evening.


1.      Light Them Up – Put reflective tape on your children costumes and bags, so drivers can identify them easily. It’s dark out there!

2.      Plan A Route – Hit up familiar homes and don’t get too far from your house in case a small one gets tired or needs to go to the bathroom.

3.      Stay Out Of The Street – Keep kids on the sidewalk and be sure to look both ways before crossing the street.

4.      Take Stranger Danger Seriously – Don’t go into any dark, unfamiliar homes or get into cars with strangers.

5.      Hem Long CostumesAfter purchasing a costume, sake sure it’s at least three inches above the ground, so your little ghost won’t trip.

6.      Be Cautious Getting Ghoulish – Test makeup on a small portion of your child’s skin before putting it all over his or her face. Also, be sure to remove it before bedtime.

7.      Pack Away Pointy Toys – Make sure your children’s swords, knives and axes are short, flexible and made of foam.

8.      Wear Comfy Shoes – Avoid princess shoes with heals or anything that’s not flat and comfy for your tot. You don’t want them to trip in the dark.

9.      Watch Out For Flames – Keep flammable costumes away from luminaries or any open-topped glowing pumpkins.

10.    Pretend You’re At The Pool – Walk; don’t run.

11.    Put A Spotlight On Those Monsters – Carry a flashlight so that no one trips.

12.    Mind the Mask - If your child is wearing a mask of any kind, make sure they can see well through the eye holes and have plenty of breathing room.

13.    Check Out The Treats – While this might seem paranoid, just quickly double-check the treats to make sure none have been tampered with or could pose a choking hazard.

Having your little witch in the emergency room instead of indulging in a late night sugar rush would put a damper on the entire holiday. So follow the 12 trick-or-treating safety tips above to help your child enjoy a hauntingly fun and safe Halloween.


SAN JOSE, Calif. – Oct. 22, 2013 – – The National Association of Realtors®’ (NAR) consumer-facing website operated by Move Inc. – released the results of its Haunted Housing Report that explored consumer sentiments about their perceptions of “haunted” real estate.

“Survey data reveals that while the majority of consumers are open to purchasing a haunted home, many buyers conduct their own research on a home’s history to be aware of any weird incidences,” says Alison Schwartz, VP of corporate communications for Move. “Data also finds that while some respondents are willing to purchase a haunted home at a discounted price, many say levitating objects, ghost sightings and seeing objects move from one place to another would deter them from purchasing a home.”

• 26 percent of survey respondents would consider purchasing a haunted house
• 36 percent might consider a haunted house
• 38 percent would not consider a haunted house

• 51 percent of respondents heard about someone else’s haunted home experience
• 35 percent of respondents lived in a home they suspected to be haunted
• 25 percent have researched a home’s history to find out any eerie past incidents

Popular haunted house warning signs
• 61 percent: a cemetery on the property
• 50 percent: homes over 100 years old
• 45 percent: quick turnover of ownership
• 45 percent: an unexplainable low price on the home
• 43 percent: homes in close proximity to a battlefield

Many respondents that would consider a haunted home indicated that they expected a discounted price:
• 12 percent would pay full market value or over
• 34 percent would purchase if discounted 1 to 30 percent
• 22 percent would purchase if discounted 31 to 50 percent
• 19 percent would want a discount of 51 percent or more

Deal breakers
Even survey respondents willing to buy a haunted house had reservations, and certain events would make them reconsider:
• 75 percent would be scared off by levitating objects
• 63 percent objects that moved from where they were placed
• 63 percent by ghost sightings
• 61 percent by supernatural sensations
• 61 percent by flickering lights/appliances
• 60 percent by strange noises (footsteps, doors slamming)
• 34 percent by warm or cold spots

© 2013 Florida Realtors®


Flood insurance rate increase?

Do your homework as you may be able to lower your bill.  You can challenge the flood map!  Subsidized policies for non-primary residences and commercial property will see annual increases in their rates of 25% until the rate matches the full risk rate.

If you know of a change in structure or water body, a change in mangrove vegetation that could affect water flow, or suspect the map is inaccurate or you have been mapped in the wrong zone, apply to FEMA to modify the map or the property’s risk designation.  This can be simple or complex.  Homeowners can pool resources and get an entire community or area remapped.  Your elevation certificate may be part of your mortgage package, or in your file with your insurance agent or lender.

FEMA offers a Hazard Mitigation Asst. program.  Click here to visit FEMA’s website or call your Sandestin real estate agent for more information.


Destin,  FL - The World's Luckiest Fishing Village

Destin's history dates back to the seventh century A.D. Artifacts confirm American Indians lived here, surviving off the abundant seafood in area waters. Spanish explorers visited some 900 years later, and divers are still finding wreckage of old ships in area waters.

Destin traces its immediate history to a fisherman, Leonard Destin, who moved here from New London, Conn., and settled in Northwest Florida about 1845. For decades, he and his descendants fished and navigated the only channel passage to the Gulf of Mexico between Panama City and Pensacola, known as Destin's East Pass.

Fisherman of Leonard Destin's era fished close to the shores
with seine nets from small boats called yawls, which they operated with oars. The oldest seine fishing boat still in existence is The Primrose, a 1920s era boat now restored and on display at Destin's History and Fishing Museum. A trip through the museum reveals the evolution of fishing in the Destin area, from methods used by its earliest Indian
inhabitants to seine nets, the introduction of rods and reels, and, eventually, to the largest charter fishing fleet in the state of Florida.


The Emerald Coast real estate market is back, and running in high gear.

Data and statistics look more positive every day. In Walton County, the median sales price of detached single family homes in August was up 38.9 percent over last year. The number of closed sales rose by 4.8 percent for the same time period. Sellers received 92.9 percent of their original list price for property. According to Florida Realtors, this is usually the last measure to indicate a market has shifted from down to up.

One significant set of numbers is not part of this upwardly bound momentum. Sales of perennial buyer favorites — short sales and foreclosures — are going down, down, down. Data shows that foreclosure/REO sales have plummeted 36.8 percent from August 2012, and short sales are down 59.1 percent. The number of properties on the market has also fallen by a little over 20 percent from last August, meaning that Walton County has only 8.9 months of inventory of places for people to buy.

The picture is clear, but many buyers have not yet adjusted to the new reality.

Not a week goes by that someone doesn’t come by our office or call in to request a list of available foreclosures. They are often disappointed to learn that foreclosures and short sales are in short supply, and the ones on the market sell for close to market price. In some instances, foreclosure sales prices have actually raised the market prices of area properties.

After several years of sloshing through a swamp of distress sales, lenders have become more efficient and smarter about how these sales are handled. Lenders now expect a distress sale home or condo or lot to sell for its appraised price, or very close to it.

They dribble properties on the market one by one, raising the list price of the following property with each completed sale.

So what’s the next great value in the South Walton County real estate market?

New homes and resale homes that have been updated may now be the best “bang for your buck” in real estate. Local builders have geared up to build new homes, with a wide range available. A new condominium is now available for reservations on Scenic Gulf Drive (Old 98). Local Realtors report that new homes are selling as soon as they are framed up, with buyers eager to select colors and fixtures.

Meanwhile, sellers who have updated their homes and condos find buyers are most interested in places that compare well to new ones. With compellingly priced distress sales largely gone, buyers are no longer willing to clean and paint and replace old appliances. They want spotlessly clean, turnkey properties that they can enjoy now.

Jennifer Howard

Jennifer Howard is a Realtor at Sandestin Real Estate. Learn more at

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