Forgotten Coast Real Estate and Community News

May 20, 2024

Weekend Getaway to Panacea, FL On the Forgotten Coast of Florida

Panacea, Florida is home to various local businesses, including the freshest seafood restaurants, an aquarium, bait and tackle shops, and RV parks. Part of the Forgotten Coast of Florida, this beautiful seaside town is home to many local gems and hidden treasures for the whole family to enjoy right on or near the water.

You can continue to read to find a complete weekend getaway to Panacea, FL today.

Weekend Getaway to Panacea, FL On the Forgotten Coast of Florida

Eat at Panacea, FL

Mineral Springs Seafood 
1612 Coastal Hwy, Panacea, FL 32346

Mineral Springs Seafood is a popular market in Panacea, FL offering fresh and local seafood. They provide their seafood along with several other local fishermen. This restaurant specializes in smoked fish, homemade smoked fish dip, deviled crab, stuffed bacon-wrapped shrimp, crawfish, and alligator. Known best for their great customer service and wide seafood selection, this restaurant offers a one-of-a-kind dining experience.

Outlaw Oysters 
11 Rock Landing Rd, Panacea, FL 32346

Outlaw Oyster Company is a wholesale and retail oyster distributor in the Southeast. Founded by two locals who grew up loving the water and raised millions of oysters themselves, they now buy oysters from all the local farms, process them, and sell them wholesale and retail. They also specialize in selling oyster farming equipment and supplies nationally. They also participate in local and regional festivals on the Forgotten Coast of Florida.

Posey's Steam Room and Oyster Bar 
1506 Coastal Hwy, Panacea, FL 32346 

Considered to be an institution in the community of Panacea, Posey's Steam Room and Oyster Bar is a local restaurant providing fresh seafood and southern cuisine. Locally owned, they provide the option to bring your fish and they will cook it for you, or choose amongst other dishes like locally steamed and seasoned shrimp or blue crabs. Of course, oysters are available in a variety of ways: on the half-shell, steamed, fried, baked with bacon and cheese, or baked with garlic and parmesan. The fried mullet and flounder are well regarded as a house specialty.

Seineyard at Rock Landing
99 Rock Landing Rd, Panacea, FL 32346 

Family-owned and operated in the community of Panacea, FL, Seineyard at Rock Landing is a favorite local seafood restaurant, offering visitors oysters on the half-shell, fresh fried mullet, and other local seafood right on the water. Visitors can arrive by land or gulf, as they offer a place to dock boats. The Seineyard always has live musical performances on weekends, and lunch specials plus full catering options for the area.

Play at Panacea, FL

Gulf Specimen Marine Laboratory & Aquarium
1506 Coastal Hwy, Panacea, FL 32346 

At Gulf Specimen Marine Laboratory in Panacea, visitors get a good sense of what is out there. Water bubbles and swirls sustain unique collections of the bizarre and the beautiful, with a primary focus on seahorses and hermit crabs, emerald-eyed spiny box fish, electric rays, and red and white spotted calico crabs—just a few of the endless living treasures of north Florida's still shining coast. There are touch tanks, offering visitors a close and personal look at some of the best sea life.

Holiday Park & Campground 
14 Coastal Hwy, Panacea, FL 32346 

Located on the picturesque shores of Ochlockonee Bay, Holiday Park and Campground is conveniently located just outside of downtown Panacea, and within prime distance to some of the region's most popular attractions. Visitors can stay anywhere from one night to a couple of weeks or a couple of months. In addition to the beach, playground equipment, a recreation room, fire pits, Wi-Fi, and other amenities, the Campground hosts multiple events a year.

Shop at Panacea, FL

Crum's Mini Mall
1321 Coastal Hwy, Panacea, FL 32346 

Crum's Mini Mall is a one-stop shop for fishing bait, fishing tackle, hardware, marine hardware, swimwear, beach supplies, gifts, souvenirs, gas and diesel, and more. Locally owned for over 40 years, their in-store stock includes over 400 fishing rods, live and frozen bait, marine supplies, marine and home hardware, and souvenirs.

Mike's Marine Supply 
1296 Coastal Hwy, Panacea, FL 32346 

Mike's Marine Supply specializes in providing a well-rounded inventory of boats, trailers, parts, and accessories paired with great customer service. Visitors can find expert repair, boat motors outboard sales, and fishing boats for sale. Mike's Marine Supply has been family-owned and operated since 1970, Mike's is committed to ensuring everyone who passes through their doors has a great fishing experience on the Gulf.

Rock Landing Marina 
99 Rock Landing Rd, Panacea, FL 32346 

Rock Landing Marina is a full-service marina located on Dickerson Bay. Offering dry and wet slips, storage options, an onsite store, and concierge service for no additional charge. Customers can call ahead to have their boat in the water, full of fuel, oil, bait, ice, and any other necessary items.

Interested in spending a day exploring Panacea, FL? The stunning little seaside town on the Forgotten Coast of Florida is home to plenty of local gems, as well as hidden treasures, most notable for bringing out the best in the locals of Panacea for its delicious dining venues, good time family-fun, and plenty of shops to choose from, all giving back to the community. Let professionals at the Coastal Realty Group guide you in finding your stunning oceanfront property in Panacea, FL today!

 

Posted in Community News
May 13, 2024

6 Red Flags When Buying a Home on the Forgotten Coast of Florida

If you have scoured the market for available homes and found the one of your dreams, it might be time to make an offer. Before you put your money on the line, could you look around the neighborhood? There is always a reason the pros emphasize location when buying real estate. You can always change your house, but you can't change the neighborhood. If your neighborhood is on the decline, you might have difficulty offloading your home when you decide to sell. However, a bad neighborhood isn't always obvious, though, sometimes you need to do further digging to know if a community is truly worth buying into.red flag about a neighborhood

Continue to read to find out the 6 identified red flags that should give you pause before signing on the dotted line.

1. Too Many Houses are on the Market 

There is nothing wrong with two or three listed homes in the same neighborhood. However, if you see an army of "For Sale" signs in the same area, it might be worth considering looking elsewhere. This issue will point to liquidity in the market and pricing pressure, which is a risk for buyers. The reason for those "For Sale" signs will depend upon the shade of red of the flag. Perhaps the neighborhood is gentrifying and longtime residents have decided to cash in. Or maybe many older residents are downsizing. It is always important to do your homework to assess the situation before making any big moves.

2. Schools are Enrolling Fewer Students 

Schools in healthy communities should be increasing their enrollment, or at least keep the population steady, if there is no physical room to grow. There are always many reasons why enrollment might decrease. Local schools might have a reputation for poor management, sending parents fleeing to charter or private options. Perhaps residents are staying put as their children grow, leading to older neighborhoods and fewer nearby pals for your children.

3. The Area is Industrial 

A nearby strip of cute boutique stores might be a great selling point, however, it is worth reconsidering the purchase if the closest commercial influences lean toward the industrial. It is important to be mindful of commercial influence on the block, such as close gas stations or anything that can be classified as undesirable. Nearby industrial plants should automatically nix a neighborhood, and think long and hard before buying across from a car dealership or auto body shop, which attracts a lot of car traffic, unsafe for neighborhoods with tons of children.

4. Stepford Style is in Full Force 

It is one thing to love the homogeneous, well-groomed suburban look, but take a moment to examine it more closely. Are there unique decorative doodads dotting each garden, like aluminum chickens or wind chimes? Or is the front porch furniture too closely similar? If all the homes and landscaping in the neighborhood are similar looking, the HOA might be extremely restrictive.

We reached out to Bob Jamison of Tuscana Properties to offer some insight on buying this type of home.

"When you encounter a neighborhood that seems too perfect, with every lawn immaculately manicured and every house looking identical, it's essential to dig a little deeper. Often, overly strict homeowner associations or hidden community issues may not be immediately apparent. Always ask about the community rules, fees, and how disputes are handled. It's the nuances and the people behind those perfect facades that determine if you're making a wise investment or walking into a restrictive nightmare."

5. There is Little Parking Space 

The property might be equipped with a one-car garage, but it is important to be mindful of where your friends park, and where you can keep your significant other's car. If the streets have bumper-to-bumper traffic, it is worth thinking twice about buying in the neighborhood—especially if the home lacks a garage or carport. To tell if the neighborhood has reliable parking, it is important to visit at night or on the weekend to truly be able to tell. Unless you choose to commute by foot or bike, the neighborhood might not be a good fit for you.

6. Surrounding Homes are Ill-Maintained 

A street in shambles might seem like an obvious red flag, however, you might have heard that buying the best house in the worst neighborhood is a prime opportunity for profit. A street full of rundown homes with overgrown yards and broken fences should be setting off warning signals. This typically has nothing to do with wealth, lower-income neighborhoods can be just as well-kept as more expensive ones. Neighbors with no pride in their home's appearance and upkeep decrease property values for everyone.

The Bottom Line 

Problems with homes next door can indicate that the house you might be interested in may have bigger issues than what meets the eye. Look at every house on the block for issues such as water pooling in the yards, or flickering porch lights. If there are any other issues like water pipes or electrical issues, it comes down to issues of more than one home on the block. Let the Coastal Realty Group guide you in choosing the best home from the Forgotten Coast of Florida today.

 

Posted in Buying a Home
May 6, 2024

10 Effective Ways to Save on Utilities in the Florida Summer Heat

Many flock to Florida for its beauty, unique way of living, and tropical weather. Whether you own a home in Apalachicola or a townhouse in Port St. Joe, all Forgotten Coast Floridians have one common goal in the summer, and that is to beat the heat without breaking the bank. It makes sense you don't want your utility bill to sweat in the summer heat, as the cost of running an air conditioner in any home can present a challenge and can make up for a significant part of your home operation budget.

A big benefit of purchasing a new Florida home is the energy-saving technology that can easily be installed in older builds and is currently being added to newer builds, which helps to keep your home cool and comfortable as well as saving you money. In addition to energy-efficient features, shave dollars off your monthly bills without sacrificing your comfort by planning way ahead and getting creative.

Continue to read to find 10 effective methods to save on utilities this summer.

10 Effective Ways to Save on Utilities in the Florida Summer Heat

1. Seal Up Your House

Make sure to seal up your home by not allowing money to leak through cracks around doors and windows. We suggest you invest in caulk and weather stripping to seal up any cracks that pests can burrow their way beneath.

2. Invest in Smart Tech

There are a plethora of smart home devices that can be purchased from the store and easily installed in your dated home. These devices typically have a strong focus on energy efficiency and power usage. To save you time and money, keep an eye out for newer builds that come equipped with a programmable thermostat that allows you to schedule a/c usage so it can be optimized for different times of the day, such as when you are away from home.

3. Install Ceiling Fans

Stay cool while you doze with an overhead fan instead of pumping air conditioning throughout the entire house. In the warmer months in Florida, you should run your ceiling fans counterclockwise. Since heat rises, the counter-clockwise motion can help pull the cold air up toward the ceiling. Newer builds make cooling off easy with included ceiling fan prewires built into these homes.

4. Light Bulbs

Newer Florida builds include Sealed LED Recessed Lighting in main living areas, such as kitchens and living rooms, providing 75% energy saving. These light bulbs emit very little heat and provide bright and evenly distributed lighting throughout your home.

5. Ready Your HVAC System

Older homes come with a 7 SEER HVAC system, while newer builds include a 14 SEER unit that will save you over 50% in utility costs. It is also important to clean filters and vents regularly.

6. Know Your Windows

Many windows in newer Florida builds consist of dual panes of glass with a Low-E coating to reflect infrared energy (heat) which reduces heat passing through the glass and into your home. Be sure to keep the blinds closed during the day to drastically reduce the heat in your home.

7. Garage and Exterior Insulation

The best kind of insulation is R-11 Foam Injected Wall Block Insulation. This insulating foam fills the hollow cells in the concrete masonry blocks of your exterior walls and provides a barrier against heat entering your new Florida home.

8. Water Temp

When asked, Bob Jamison of Tuscana Properties offers this advice:

"To enhance energy savings in Florida, particularly with the example of a rapid recovery 50-gallon hot water heater, it's essential to focus on efficiency. Such heaters are engineered to heat water more quickly and maintain temperature with less energy compared to traditional models. By upgrading to energy-efficient appliances like these, homeowners can significantly reduce their energy consumption. Additionally, adopting habits such as reducing hot water usage and insulating hot water pipes can further maximize energy savings and contribute to a more sustainable household."

9. Keep an Eye on the Bathrooms

If you don't plan to spend money on a low-flow toilet, you can make yours far more efficient by dropping a soda bottle filled with sand or water into the back. It will use far less water each time it flushes. Installing a water-conserving showerhead will also save on the water bill.

10. Radiant Barrier

One of the most popular energy-efficient options to save energy is the radiant barrier. This will reduce cooling costs by a game-changing 8-12%. This innovative product can save an estimated $25 a month by doing its job—deflecting heat in the summer and conserving warmth in the winter months.

Learn more about your personalized new Florida home with energy-saving features in the Forgotten Coast of Florida.

 

Posted in Homeowners
April 29, 2024

Top 10 Must-Eat Restaurants to Visit in Cape San Blas, FL

Cape San Blas is the perfect place on the Florida Gulf Coast to roll casually with a picnic lunch on the beach. There is no short supply of tasty spots to enjoy a sit-down meal, either.

In this article, we have rounded up 10 of the most popular restaurants not to miss out on in Cape San Blas while visiting the Forgotten Coast of Florida. Wipe the sunscreen out of your eyes and leave the beach chair at home for a delicious meal served perfectly.

Top 10 Must-Eat Restaurants to Visit in Cape San Blas, FL

1. The Smokehouse on Cape San Blas 

980 Cape San Blas Rd, Port St. Joe, Cape San Blas, FL 32456 

Did someone say BBQ? If you are crazy about smoked barbecue meats, plus generous, homemade side dishes, the Smokehouse on Cape San Blas is a must-see and eat. This unpretentious and family-friendly restaurant offers a casual setting, with tons of choices off the menu, from burgers and barbecues to some of the most tasty appetizers around. Don't miss out on their rack of ribs with a side of ooey-gooey Mac and cheese and an ear of small corn on the Cobb.

2. Peachy's Beach Eats 

145 Acklins Island Dr, Port St. Joe, FL 32456 

From tacos and nachos to fresh peaches, you can find everything at the cash-only casual Peachy's Beach Eats. Located on St. Joseph's Peninsula, a narrow strip of land that features some of the best views on either side and a state park at the end of the road. Peachy's specializes in BBQ pork, plus a couple of key menu items, from a simple counter-order restaurant that is great for to-go orders as well as unfussy sit-down meals to get you back out in the sun for some more fun. Don't miss out on the Grouper sandwich.

3. Indian Pass Raw Bar 

8391 County Rd 30A, Port St. Joe, FL 32456 

Like some of the best seafood joints around, the Indian Pass Raw Bar has a limited menu that focuses on super-fresh seafood, including raw, steamed, and baked oysters. You can also find the likes of shrimp, crab legs, seafood gumbo, and some more basic options for landlubbers featured on the menu. Not interested in seafood? Not to worry, they also have hamburgers and hotdogs! With a rich history dating back to the 1930s, this is a local institution that is an absolute must-visit.

4. Skully's Low Country Boil 

5544 Cape San Blas Rd, Port St Joe, FL 32456 

Imagine the convenience of hanging out in a cool neighborhood backyard, only to be offered a piping hot bucket of boiled shrimp with all the fixings. Skully's Low Country Boil gives that neighborly feeling right down to the complimentary beers and soft drinks that come with your chosen meal. Each serving will feature generous portions of boiled seafood served steaming hot with a little added spice and plenty of tender potatoes and corn on the Cobb. Don't miss out on the fresh seafood boils featuring all of your favorite seafood and land-dwelling foods.

5. Sister's Bistro 

236 Ried Ave, Port St. Joe, FL 32456 

Get all-you-can-eat downhome cooking in a cheerful, colorful environment, where Sister's offers unquestionably great service with a menu focused on comfort food classics. Investigate their daily specials in a relaxed eatery featuring American breakfast, lunch, dinner, and desserts in a quaint setting. Amongst the filling items off the menu, you can find homemade meatloaf or BBQ chicken. Don't miss out on the Lobster Ravioli.

6. Paul Gant's Bar B Que 

470 W Hwy 98, Port St. Joe, FL 32456 

Embrace the charming family tradition of going to Paul Gant's Bar B Que, where you will be served with generous portions of homemade barbecue smothered in their signature sauce. A perfect option for catering if you have a large group sharing a beach home, or an excellent spot for a quick and messy lunch. Don't miss out on the plate of pulled pork, with a bun and your choice of a side. We recommend the coleslaw.

7. The View on Old 98 

51 Goodmorning St Suite R-103, Port St. Joe, FL 32456 

Spot the stunning decor and intimate vibes at the View on Old 98. Sure to please all, you can find lobster favorites and chocolate desserts at this establishment that will knock your socks off! This spot is not only delicious with warm decor, but it also has a friendly and attentive staff to boot. With a fun seating selection either indoors or on the roof, you can find breakfast items off the menu, and other foods with a midwestern twist. Don't miss out on the Lobster Lettuce Cups—butter lettuce cups, fresh Maine lobster with grilled Iowa sweet corn topped with a house-made pico de Gallo and a crema drizzle—yum!

8. Krazyfish Grille 

113 Monument Ave, Port St. Joe, FL 32456 

Krazyfish Grille brings all the fun beachy vibes, along with a huge menu of cocktails, including frozen favorites, margaritas, martinis, and more. This hot spot is a great place to go with a group of friends or for a fun night out with a special someone. A fresh, coastal-inspired menu features plenty of great sushi options, as well as plenty of sandwiches and entrees, where everyone in your party will find something tasty to enjoy. Don't miss out on the Krazy's Shrimp and Grits, or the Fried Shrimp Platter.

9. Sand Dollar Cafe

301 Monument Ave, Port St. Joe, FL 32456

The Sand Dollar Cafe is a comfortable, cozy restaurant featuring Southern cooking prepared from scratch. Breakfast and lunch are served Thursday through Monday, with daily specials posted on social media regularly. The warm, laid-back cafe is full of memorabilia, with even better comfort dishes. Don't miss out on the omelet of the day, or the blackened catfish Mac and cheese and green beans.

10. Scallop RePUBlic 

411 Cape San Blas Rd, Port St. Joe, FL 32456 

Last but not least, Scallop RePUBlic is a place to kick back and listen to live music on Cape San Blas, the area's number one indoor live music venue. There are over 16 beer taps with 12 of them dedicated to Florida craft beer. You can also find premium on tap, and a selection of canned beer, ready-made cocktails, and non-alcoholic drinks for children. Though food is not served, there is a food truck that will come and serve those who do wish to dine.

Enjoying a leisurely meal in a gorgeous setting is easy to do in Cape San Blas, and trying every restaurant from the list is a fun way to fill our bellies while recharging in paradise. Explore the best of the Forgotten Coast of Florida today. 

 

 

Posted in Community News
April 22, 2024

Radon 101: What are the Basics of Radon Testing?

Radon testing is used to detect the radioactive gas radon, naturally occurring in the soil under and around homes. Radon is invisible and odorless, so testing is the only way to know if your home has it. Exposure to high levels of radon poses very serious health risks. When testing for radon, indications will alert you to your home's radon levels to ensure they are within acceptable safety limits. Do-it-yourself tests are inexpensive and easy to deploy. Reducing radon in the home can be as simple as sealing cracks and improving ventilation or might require a vent pipe installed in the foundation to vent radon gases outside.

Continue to read to understand the basics of radon testing and all it can do for you and your home.

What is Radon Testing?

To begin, radon is produced when radioactive metals uranium, thorium, or radium break down in rocks, soil, and groundwater, producing a gas. Radon is everywhere, but some places have more of it than others. Radon testing measures the presence and level of radon in the home either with charcoal canisters or with a special film. The charcoal method tests for radon over a short period, usually two to seven days. The film method runs from three months to a year.

What Areas of the Home Have Radon?

Areas in the home that are more than likely to have higher radon levels are below ground level or exposed to the earth. Even areas that aren't located in lower areas might have elevated radon levels simply due to occupants spending more time in them.

  • Basements
  • Crawl spaces
  • Living rooms
  • Bedrooms

Radon can come through cracks in the floors or walls, suspended floors, construction joints, or spaces around service pipes.

How to Test for Radon

A common method of testing for radon is with short-term tests, such as charcoal canisters, or with longer-term film detectors. Both are do-it-yourself tests that are inexpensive and easy to do.

Charcoal Canister Short-Term Radon Testing 

Charcoal canisters are placed in the home for a short period, typically two to seven days. During this time, the charcoal will absorb radon gases from the air. The test must follow a strict schedule. Upon completion, the test is mailed to a lab for testing. Short-term radon tests will produce relatively fast results, though they are less accurate than with other methods because the tests capture only a small window of time.

Film Long-Term Radon Testing 

Film radon detectors use a special film that is exposed to the air in the home for a longer period than the charcoal canisters, typically three months to a year. The film is sent to a laboratory after testing to determine the radon levels in the home. Radon levels fluctuate from season to season and even from day to day. Long-term radon testing produces more accurate radon level results since they are averaged out over a long period.

When and How Often to Test for Radon

  • When buying or selling a home
  • If a radon mitigation system is in place—every two years
  • After home remodels, or projects that open up the basement for living

As a Home Buyer or Seller 

Buying or selling a house are events that usually trigger radon testing, especially if your state or government requires radon disclosures. As a seller, you may want to make sure that the last radon test was within the last two years and that it was done correctly. As a buyer, making sure that the last test was within two years is a necessity, as a radon test should be performed and results returned before the closing date.

As an Occupant of the Home 

As an ongoing occupant of the home, there is no set schedule for testing for radon. You may want to test for radon if the following occurs:

  • The lowest level of your home will now be occupied, as if with a basement finishing project.
  • Any part of the home has been remodeled or altered since the last test.
  • You have long-term plans for selling the home and want to be able to take preemptive action in the reduction of radon levels.
  • The home has a radon mitigation system in place, in which case the radon should be tested every two years.

Why is it Important to Test for Radon?

Elevated levels of radon can cause lung cancer. Even though smoking is the number one way to contract lung cancer, and radon is second. Many deaths a year can be traced to radon exposure. That is more cancer-related deaths than all other types of cancer except for lymphoma and leukemia.Radon 101 What are the Basics of Radon Testing

How to Reduce Radon Levels in the Home

John Cheney of Pristine Home Inspections adds this: "If the radon test shows radon levels of 4 pCi/L or more in your home, several steps can be taken to reduce the levels of the gas, like sealing cracks, improving ventilation, and installing a radon mitigation system."

Seal Cracks and Cover the Earth 

Seal cracks and other openings in the home's foundation. Cover the crawl space with plastic sheeting.

Improve Ventilation 

Improve ventilation by opening windows and doors more frequently. Use kitchen and bath exhaust fans more frequently.

Install a Radon Mitigation System 

Installing a radon mitigation system in a professionally installed vent pipe that starts at a hole in the foundation and vents outside through the roof. The pipe's start point should be located as close as possible to the source of the radon gas. In many cases, this will typically be in the basement or crawl space. A fan is usually installed on the vent pipe to help exhaust the radon gas to the outside.

Interested in learning more about radon testing? Understanding what radon testing is, to learning the timeframe of when it should be done will keep you and your family safe from the negative effects of radon exposure. Let the Coastal Realty Group walk you through finding your dream home and get it radon tested.

 

Posted in Buying a Home
April 15, 2024

The Pros & Cons of Going For Sale by Owner (FSBO)

For sale by owner or FSBO is a term you have more than likely heard or seen in the world of real estate. In real estate, FSBO (pronounced fiz-boe) means For Sale By Owner, the process by which a homeowner sells directly to a buyer. No agent is involved, which will spare both parties from steep commission fees. This sounds like a win-win, right? Well, not necessarily. Despite the initial cost savings by eliminating commission fees, this DIY approach can end up being more costly overall, particularly for inexperienced sellers.The Pros & Cons of Going For Sale by Owner (FSBO)

Before you proceed with the FSBO route, consider these pros and cons of selling for sale by owner. Continue to read to find the pros and cons of going the route of for sale by owner.

Pros of Going for Sale by Owner

Pro: Lower Commission Fees

One of the more common and appealing reasons for selling FSBO is the potential for cost savings. When selling a home with an agent, you will be able to expect to pay 5-6% in commissions 3% to your listing agent and 3% to the buyer's agent. But, when you are selling for sale by the owner, you will only be responsible for the buyer's agent commission. This can reduce what you owe in commissions come closing time.

Pro: More Control Over the Sale

When you are selling for sale by the owner, the buck will stop at you, meaning you will have the final say on your home's listing price, what improvements will be made, who you show it to, and ultimately, who you will sell to. If you like the idea of maintaining control, selling FSBO might be the right choice for you. This can also mean that you are responsible for handling every part of the transaction, whether you are prepared to or not.

Pro: Insider Knowledge

You know your home like the back of your hand. You also know first-hand what it is like to be a resident in your neighborhood and a part of the community you live in. You can share this insider knowledge with prospective buyers who are eager to know what it would be like to live in your home.

Pro: Full Dedication to Selling Your Home

When you are the sole individual responsible for selling your home, you can stay 100% focused on just that, getting it sold. Most real estate agents will work with multiple clients and juggle their personal needs at the same time—especially during the busy season. When you are FSBO, you don't need to worry about your home sale getting the time and attention it deserves.

Cons of Going for Sale by Owner

Con: No Pricing Strategy

Pricing is never going to be easy, but pricing your home without an agent is a different story—which is why it is hardly a surprise that pricing consistently tops the list of FSBO challenges. Public access to market data is limited, homeowners have no clear way of knowing which homes are or are not selling. Because closing prices are not always required to be publicly disclosed, and there is no precise way to compare one home value to another. You can, however, use an Automatic Valuation Model (AVM), where every AVM relies on unique criteria and data, which leads to a wide variety of estimates, so you won't always know which to trust.

Con: A Biased Opinion

Agent or not, it is essential to make sure your home is listing-ready. First impressions are everything, and you will want potential buyers to see your home at its best. You may love your interior decor, but someone else might not. An unbiased agent can provide countless suggestions and quick improvements to ensure your home is as marketable as possible.

Con: Inaccessibility to Marketing Channels

Your target audience contains buyers who are not only looking into buying a home in your neighborhood but are also willing and capable of purchasing one. What's not as simple is reaching individuals. You can post on Facebook or throw up a for-sale sign in the front yard, but research shows this isn't actually how buyers are finding new homes. A benefit of working with an agent is listing your home on the MLS, which will help you reach buyers who are working with an agent. This is a good start, but you are only reaching 34% of prospective buyers. It will take more than a yard sign and an MLS listing to find the right buyer for your home at the right time.

Con: Lack of Realtor Knowledge

Legal terms, acronyms, and other types of jargon are all overwhelming, especially for someone who is not on the ins of real estate terminology. Things can get shaky if you aren't confident with every detail you sign off on, and we don't recommend risking it. Agents offer expertise and guidance on things like pricing and marketing strategy, market knowledge, legal standards, and more. They have experience negotiating with not only buyer's agents and buyers, but also inspectors, appraisers, and lenders.

FSBO is a Time Commitment

Selling a home FSBO-style is a huge time commitment. From repairs and improvements to inspections and approvals, the to-do lists can feel endless, and selling your home completely on your own can feel like a full-time job. No time? You are not alone. Agents can help you save time but help you also tackle each of the challenges listed above.

Contact Your Forgotten Coast of Florida Realtor. 

 

 

 

Posted in Selling Your Home
April 8, 2024

Understanding Mortgage Rates

What is a Mortgage Rate?Understanding Mortgage Rates

A mortgage rate is the percentage of interest that is charged for a home loan. Mortgage rates change with the economic conditions that prevail at any given time. However, the mortgage rate a home buyer is offered will be determined by the lender and depends on the buyer's credit history and financial circumstances.

Some key takeaways from this article will include the following:

  • A mortgage rate is the charged interest rate for a home loan.
  • Mortgage rates can be fixed at a specific interest rate, or variable, and can fluctuate with a benchmark interest rate.
  • Potential homebuyers can keep an eye on trends in mortgage rates.

Continue to read to find out what to know about mortgage rates and how they work under different circumstances.

Understanding Mortgage Rates

The mortgage rate is a primary consideration for homebuyers looking to purchase a home using a loan. The rate a homebuyer gets has a substantial impact on the amount of the monthly payment that a person can afford.

Mortgage Rate Indicators to Watch For

Given the impact on monthly living costs, people who are in the home-buying process are wise to keep an eye on the direction of interest rates. There are some indicators to follow, the prime rate being one. This rate represents the lowest average rate banks are offering for credit. Banks use the prime rate for interbank lending.

The prime rate tends to follow trends in the Federal Reserve's federal funds rate. This is usually 3% higher than the current federal funds rate.

Another indicator for borrowers is the 10-year Treasury bond yield, helping to show market trends in interest rates. If the bond yield rises, mortgage rates will typically rise as well. The inverse is the same, for example, if the bond yield drops, mortgage rates will also drop. Mortgages are based on a 30-year timeframe, many mortgages are either paid off or refinanced for a new rate within 10 years.

Bill Gassett, founder of Maximum Real Estate Exposure, provided some helpful tips on the direction of interest rates.

"As a real estate agent, I am often asked about interest rates. Usually, a buyer or seller asks me for my opinion on where rates are headed. While there isn't an exact science and nobody has a crystal ball, some key indicators exist.

The Federal Reserve and its policies are the first place to examine. For example, the government has been raising the federal funds rate over the last year to ease inflation. While not a direct tie to mortgage rates, it can influence them.

With inflation finally coming down, there is now talk of reducing the rates later in the year. This could eventually help with lower borrowing rates."

Determining a Mortgage Rate

A lender assumes a level of risk when it issues a mortgage, and there is always a possibility a customer might default on the loan. Several factors go hand-in-hand when determining a buyer's mortgage rate, and the higher the risk, the higher the rate. A high rate ensures the lender recoups the loan amount at a faster rate if the borrower defaults.

The borrower's credit score is a key determining factor in assessing the rate charged on a mortgage and the size of the mortgage loan a borrower can obtain. A high credit score indicates a borrower has a good financial history and is likely to repay debts.

Is a Fixed-Rate Mortgage or a Variable Rate Mortgage Better?

A fixed rate mortgage gives you security, so your payment will never go up, no matter what happens to interest rates in the world outside. If rates happen to go down, you can refinance. A variable-rate mortgage has a lower interest rate in the beginning, keeping costs low at a time when you are squeezed for cash. This is because the bank is betting that interest rates will go up, while you might be betting they go down.

The Bottom Line

A mortgage rate is the interest that a home buyer will pay to finance their purchase. You might get the best rate available if you have a good credit rating and a financial history that proves you can afford to repay the loan. The range of mortgage rates that are available at any given time is outside a buyer's control, whereas prevailing interest rates determine mortgage rates, and they change from week to week depending on economic conditions.

Contact Your Forgotten Florida Coast Realtor. 

 

Posted in Buying a Home
April 1, 2024

6 Efficient Ways to Save Big Money During a Home Rehab

A good philosophy for treating real estate investing like a business is to minimize the risk and maximize the return on investment (ROI) at all times. One way to do this is by keeping remodeling costs down without sacrificing quality in the process. Certain real estate projects have certain expenses that are fixed, such as taxes, insurance, and closing fees. Apart from these, materials, and labor are the two main remodeling expenses where your efforts to be frugal can make a difference. There are ways to beat ever-increasing costs so that you can stay profitable on flips or rentals.

Continue to read to find out 6 tips for saving money on materials and labor for your next project.

6 Efficient Ways to Save Big Money During a Home Rehab

1. Know Your Local Stores Personally

Do you know which stores have the least expensive ceiling fans, appliances, flooring materials, and paint? Costs can vary widely from store to store, so it is important to get to know where the bargains are in your town. Talk with other investors too, and find out where they're buying their materials. Networking is a great way to discover new stores or services that can reduce your costs. Make sure your local stores know that you're an investor or contractor and that you will be making numerous purchases from them. Sometimes these businesses are inclined to give special deals on materials to contractors or investors.

2. Check Online Deals

You may regularly get emails from stores letting you know about upcoming sales. You can save large percentages at home goods stores by timing the purchase of new goods, such as cabinets when they are on sale.

3. Buy Contractor Packs

Our own Preston Russ offers this information to homeowners:

"Some big-box stores will discount materials if bought in large quantities. Even little items like doorstoppers or switch plate covers are cheaper when bought in bulk packages, rather than individually. In some stores, you can knock a couple of dollars off the original price of a typical ceiling fan if you buy three or more at one time."

4. Get a Store Credit Card

An in-store credit card can save you upwards of 5% off every purchase, even if the item is already on sale. When you spend several thousand dollars on appliances, cabinets, flooring, and other materials, a 5% discount can save you a few hundred dollars. With that card, you have a choice of 5% savings or six months without interest.

5. Clip Coupons

Stores like Lowe's or The Home Depot will mail or email you coupons that you can use to purchase materials at a discount. The Home Depot often gives 10% off on paint, which saves you $50 or $60. Lowe's occasionally mails coupons out offer $50 off on purchases over $250, or $10 off $50 or more.

6. Establish Relationships with Good Service Providers

The best way to minimize labor costs is to find good service providers and then stick with them. Refer them to other investors or friends, and make sure they'll thank you by charging you less than they might charge others. The best way to save on labor is to do as much of the work yourself as possible.

Conclusion

By following these six tips, your remodeling expenses will either stay the same or even decline, even if the costs rise. This will in turn increase your ROI on every project. Interested in learning more about saving money during a home rehab? Use this guide to create a good philosophy toward saving money when rehabbing your Forgotten Coast of Florida home.

 

Posted in Homeowners
March 25, 2024

10 Oversimplified Steps to Declutter your Florida Home

Whether you are prepping to move into your new home in Florida and want to minimize what is being packed and moved, or you have lived in your home for a long time and it is starting to feel a bit cluttered, you might be thinking it is time to declutter and organize. But where to start?

Continue to read to find the top 10 oversimplified tips to declutter your home, then put on your favorite tunes or podcast and get started!10 Oversimplified Steps to Declutter your Florida Home

1. Take a Moment to Plan

Before you begin your physical work, we recommend starting with a little bit of planning first. Take a walk around your Florida home and take note of the areas that need the most work, whether it is an entire room or a specific space. Write down all of the things you want to tackle, then rank your list from highest priority to lowest priority. Once you have given every space a priority, set goals on when you will have it completed, being realistic about how long it will take and how much time you can devote to the task.

2. Create a Sorting System

A sorting system will help you make decisions, and we recommend sorting things into three groups—keep, toss, and store. Items you want to keep accessible will go into a keep box. Items in the toss box can either be donated, sold, or trashed and recycled. You can decide what to do with them after sorting. Items you decide to store go into the last stack, and can later be sorted, put into plastic bins, labeled, and put in an out-of-the-way space for safekeeping.

3. Be Realistic About What you Need to Keep

As you go through your items, you need to be realistic about what you need to keep and what you can reasonably get rid of. This might be the hardest aspect of decluttering, but once the task is complete, it will be well worth it! We recommend you ask yourself questions such as:

  • When was the last time the item was used?
  • Does it work?
  • Is it irreplaceable, valuable, or sentimental?

If the answer is no to any of these questions, consider getting rid of it. Remember, getting rid of said item doesn't mean trashing it. You can also recycle, donate, or sell it! Consider your options as you are considering whether to keep an item.

4. Set Aside 10 Minutes Each Day

If you are uncertain about how to start or feel like you don't have enough time to devote to serious decluttering, just start by setting aside 10 minutes each day to do a simple decluttering task. This short daily clean-up will give you the psychological benefits of decluttering, and make it all the easier to do a serious decluttering when the time is available to you.

5. Closets

If a space you struggle with is a closet, you aren't alone! Everyone makes up excuses to keep clothes, shoes, and accessories that haven't been worn in forever. Use this simple trick to help be realistic about what you need, and what you don't. Begin by turning over all your hangers backward in the closet, and over the next 3 to 12 months, each time you wear an item and rehang it in your closet, turn the hangers the correct way. At the end of the season, take inventory of what you have worn, and what you haven't.

6. Enlist the Help of a Friend

Sometimes all the tips and tricks you can find aren't enough to help you make decisions on parting with your personal belongings. Consider enlisting the help of a friend! Ask someone who is emotionally unattached to the objects in your home to come and help. Make sure you ask someone you know will be honest with you and encourage you to be realistic about what you need, and what you don't.

7. Stay Organized

Don't forget to think about organizing as you begin the process of decluttering. Make a plan for the items you are planning on keeping and think through where each item should go. Part of ensuring that your clean-up doesn't become clutter again is giving everything a proper place so it is always there when you need it, and you always know where to put it when you are done with it. Some questions you can ask yourself include:

  • Where will you use it the most?
  • Where are similar items stored?
  • Does it need to be accessible, or in storage like the attic or shed?

8. What Do You Need to Help Stay Organized?

While you are decluttering and deciding which item you will be keeping in your home, you might want to consider what you will need to help stay organized to prevent future clutter. Do you need baskets or dividers? Can you incorporate storage into existing furniture? Can you add furniture that doubles as storage space, like a bench, hatch, or bookshelf?

9. Look Beyond the Expected

When you are winding down with your decluttering project, look beyond the expected for ways you can make your home feel cleaner, more organized, and clutter-free. Find ways to hide cords from electronics and appliances. Create a space to drop and hide items on cluttered counters, whether it is a built-in drop zone by your entry door, or a simple basket to contain items like keys, sunglasses, and mail.

10. Don't Let your Toss Items Hang Around

Last but not least, don't let your decluttered home "toss" items hang around. If you haven't already separated which items you are planning on selling, donating, or trashing, plan a day when your errands or commute can take you to donation, garbage, and recycling locations. If you plan to sell any items, decide whether it will be through a yard sale, online, or at a store that purchases gently-used items.

Once you have decided what you will do, block time on your calendar to make it happen. Completing these final tasks will allow you to wipe your hands off the decluttering process and sit back and enjoy a job well done. Explore the best of the Forgotten Coast today. 

 

Posted in Homeowners
March 18, 2024

10 Most Affordable Landscaping Tips for Your Florida Home

Your new home in Florida comes with beautiful landscaping, and investing in the landscaping of your home is one of the best means of standing out in your new community. Having the best curb appeal doesn't have to take up all of your time and money, and when you utilize Florida-friendly plants and flora, you don't need a green thumb for them to thrive.10 Most Affordable Landscaping Tips for Your Florida Home

This list of 10 affordable and environmentally-safe landscaping tips showcases fantastic ways to add flair to your new home all without taking from basking in the amazing summer sun.

1. Do Without Fertilizer

The Florida rain can wash fertilizer into bays, lagoons, rivers, lakes, and oceans. Not quite so environmentally friendly. Since residents, tourists, and animals spend a lot of time in the water, you can help by reducing fertilizer pollution from going into the water. Some cities and countries even have a fertilizer ban to protect the Florida waters, as the soil has plenty of phosphorus so there is no need for fertilizer.

2. Utilize Iron and Micronutrients

The grass isn't always greener on the other side. The hot Florida sun is known for leaving brown dry patches in unkempt lawns. Iron and micronutrient supplements in plenty of garden centers can help keep your grass green and healthy. In addition, iron doesn't cause excessive growth, which will save you from hours spent mowing your lawn in the hot sun.

3. Use DIY Weed Killer and Save Money

Making your weed killer is easy and completely affordable. There are plenty of recipes floating around the internet, but the most standard recipe includes: 3 cups of vinegar, white distilled with 5%, 10%, or 20% acetic acid, and 1/2 cup of salt, allow the salt to dissolve into vinegar before adding soap—1 tbs—liquid dish detergent without bleach is safe and effective.

4. Buy Sun-Friendly Plants

Buy plants and flowers that can withstand the warm summer months in Florida with minimal effort. Florida-friendly plants don't always require as much water and fertilizer, which allows you more time to do the summer activities you want. Plants like beauty berries, various palm trees, and beach sunflowers are very drought tolerant and are natural Floria natives. If you are interested in implementing your green thumb, try citrus plants, cherry tomatoes, and peppers.

5. Don't Overplant

Keep in mind the size of a plant when it matures. Leaving enough space around each plant to make it easier to grow them effectively, will in turn prevent crowing and the need for excessive pruning later on.

6. Leave Grass Clippings

Leave grass clippings after you have cut your lawn, as it is a natural fertilizer that can leave your lawn feeling lush and radiant. It is also less for you to clean up.

7. Reduce Your Grass

Reduce the amount of grass in your yard by making a pathway with gravel, stone, and even reclaimed wood. Rock gardens and water features are another way to add some character to your new home without adding grass. The less lawn you have to maintain, the more time you have to have fun in the sun.

8. Plant Small, Slow-Growing Trees

Small trees cost less than large trees. This means that you can get more of them for the same amount of money. In addition, smaller and sturdier trees are less susceptible to the elements and possible storm damage. Think of trees like the Twilight Crape Myrtle, Dogwood, and the Hydrangea, all grow well in the Floridan heat and yield beautiful blooming flowers.

Bill Gassett of Maximum Real Estate Exposure provided excellent advice for those who want to dramatically improve their curb appeal.

"One of my favorite things to do every few years was getting my driveway seal coated. The impact it had was always significant. A ratty-looking driveway distracts from all the other projects you may be doing, such as gardening, planting flowers, or adding mulch.

Seal-coating the driveway ties all your hard work together into one final masterpiece. If you are selling a home, it is a perfect improvement for giving your property an edge over the competition.

If you are ambitious and love DIY projects, you can pick up everything you need at the local Home Depot or Lowe's and do it yourself. I always preferred a pro, but you can save significant money if you are okay with the work."

9. Recycle Materials

Invest in using old bricks and stones in creative ways to make pathways, benches, walls, pond edgings, and more. Planters are versatile and can be made out of anything. Try using pallets, or old barrels to create some fun, eye-catching, and unique planters.

10. Save and Trade

End up with too many fruits, vegetables, or plants? Try trading with your neighbors and community by starting up your local Food is Free Project. Trading can save you money on food and gardening and gives you the chance to connect with others in the community.

With these tips in mind, you can enjoy easy outdoor maintenance and spend more quality time with your family and friends doing the things you love this summer. For inspiration, check out an outdoor living Pinterest board for more gardening and outdoor tips. Explore the best of the Forgotten Coast of Florida. 

 

Posted in Homeowners