On the Market A Real Estate Section
In This Section By the Numbers: A Looks at Januaryâ€™s Market Highlights page 61 Time to Sell? Not so Fast, We Got Some Work to Do! page 66
Neighborhood Spotlight Pensacola Beach Page 62 What Makes a Good Vacation Rental? page 70 House Hunting? Use this Handy Checklist Before You Make the Offer page 72
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BY The NUMBERS a look at JANUARYâ€™s Market Highlights
Avg. Days on Market
Median Sale Price
Market Highlights Sales for the month were seven percent ahead of last January.
Average days on market remained unchanged from December, but at 77, were 15 days less than last January.
Information courtesy of Pensacola Association of Realtors
The median sale price for January was $169,000, nearly nine percent less than the preceding month, but five percent over last January.
Pending sales increased every month for the last four months of 2017 and the first month of the new year.
NEIGHBORHOOD SPOTLIGHT PENSACOLA BEACH by tanner yea There are a few landmarks that really define Pensacola: the graffiti bridge, Seville Quarter, Old Christ Church. Perhaps the most distinctive, however, is the Pensacola Beach sign, with its mighty marlin and explosively yellow backing pointing the way to Pensacola Beach for decades. Everyone has dreams of living on Pensacola Beach, but it’s not as unattainable as it may seem. That’s why we are shining our Neighborhood Spotlight on Pensacola Beach. Offering that beach lifestyle close to the city, you can have your cake and eat it too, all for an affordable price. History of the Neighborhood Pensacola Beach was actually discovered about 20 years before Don Tristan de Luna made his first settlement in Pensacola. Diego Malanado, a captain under Hernando de Soto, anchored his ships in Pensacola Bay off of Santa Rose Island in 1539. In 1772, a Spanish presidio was built near the current location of Fort Pickens, but was relocated after hurricanes in 1741 and 1752. Up until 1931, Pensacola Beach and most of Santa Rosa Island was only accessible by boat. However, the construction of the Pensacola Bay Bridge, Santa Rosa Sound Bridge and the nowdemolished Pensacola Bay Casino allowed more traffic and to place Pensacola Beach firmly as a tourist attraction. The distinctive Pensacola Beach sign is the first thing you see approaching the beach, which eventually opens up to miles of beautiful sea shore, blue-green water and an uninterrupted view of the Gulf of Mexico. It’s no wonder it has become such a mainstay of Northwest Florida. Properties and Prices Pensacola Beach is part of Santa Rosa Island, which itself extends all the way to Destin. Pensacola Beach goes all the way from Fort Pickens to the edge of Navarre Beach, but most of that are beaches and dunes – residences and businesses go west to the neighborhood of DeLuna Point and east to Santa Rosa Villa Estates. According to Trulia, Pensacola Beach’s average price varies. A large majority of the land
62 Pensacola Magazine
surrounding Little Sabine Bay ranges between $350k and $400k; however, further east near neighborhoods like Villa Segundo, princes average around $600k. Houses are mostly around 1,500 square feet, new construction, and are either ranch style or beach houses built onto pylons to avoid storm surge. Many high-rise condos are also available, usually located likewise along the Little Sabine Bay and offering stunning beach views. Three beds and two baths are the most common layout, but 2/2s and 4/2s are also easy to find. There are also rental options, with most rentals hovering around $1,500 a month. Pensacola Beach has a low population of permanent residents, but tourism – especially in the spring and summer months – often leads to traffic congestion. Aside from that, most residents are in their 30s to 50s, college educated, and fairly evenly split between married and single. During the off seasons, traffic is light and full of locals—making it easy to get around. Utilities are the standard for Pensacola, with Gulf Power for electricity, ECUA for water and garbage, and AT&T, Cox or DirecTV for internet/cable. Local Attractions Pensacola Beach Elementay School is a small charter school for kindergarten through fifth grade students. Across the Pensacola Beach Bridge are Gulf Breeze Elementary, Middle and High Schools, which are some of the highest rated schools in the entire district. For groceries, Gulf Breeze is once again the answer, having both a Publix and a Winn-Dixie. Restaurants are an entirely different story: Pensacola Beach has some
of the best seafood restaurants in all of Northwest Florida. With places like The Grand Marlin, Flounder’s Chowder House, Paradise Bar & Grill, Red Fish Blue Fish and The Sandbar, there are a ton of options across all price ranges. There are also small cafes like The Drowsy Poet, Native Café and Café Bistro for more subdued fare. There is always something to do on Pensacola Beach. The most obvious is to hit the miles of sugar white sand to sunbath, swim, fish or otherwise just enjoy the Gulf. There are tons of outdoor activities as well, such as bike and canoe rentals, go-karts, miniature golf, camping spots, and the ever-impressive Fort Pickens to explore. Pensacola Beach is also notorious for its nightlife: The Shaka Bar, The Sandshaker Lounge, Paddy O’Leary’s, LandShark Beach Bar and more allow you to unwind with life music, stiff drinks and cool ocean breezes. Summary Pensacola Beach may be a haven for tourists during the height of summer, but during the rest of the year it is calm and laid back. Plentiful condos and rentals, gorgeous views and luxurious beach houses are all within walking distance of bars, restaurants and the natural wonder of the Gulf of Mexico. Though mainland may have a few necessities, nothing can beat island living. For more information on Pensacola Beach and the surrounding areas, speak to your realtor or visit visitpensacolabeach.com.
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On the Market
Time to sell?
Not so fast, we got some work to do! By Eric Milstead
There is a whole lot more to selling a house than putting a sign up and opening the door to let prospective buyers in to take a look. Selling a house is a marketing process. Marketing any product from perfume to automobiles starts with making the product look as good as possible. Marketers spend up to 90 percent of the price of a bottle of perfume in packaging. Good automobile dealers detail every car before it ever hits the lot. Your house is no different—preparing the property is the most important step in the marketing process. First Impressions: First impressions have the most impact on buyers. The front of your house should be picture perfect. Start with pressure washing. Wash all exterior surfaces of the house, all sidewalks, and driveways. Next make sure the shrubbery is trimmed and fresh mulch is in the beds. Seasonal blooming flowers in pots next to the front door are a great way to say “welcome to your property.” In addition, front porch should be staged with chairs and a side table to make it an inviting space. We want the buyer imagine themselves sitting on the porch enjoying and nice morning or afternoon.
Depersonalize and Clear the Clutter Start by gathering boxes and have a storage plan.
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Renting a mini warehouse is a good idea. The less you have in your house the more spacious it will look. Next, remove all family photos. The idea is to depersonalize the space. Buyers need to envision their family in the space not yours. Once you have removed all the family photos move from room to room and clear the clutter. If in doubt, move it out! Rarely do I ever go in a home that is too minimal. Your real estate professional should be able to help you choose what should stay and what should good. Box it up and move it out!
Repairs and Maintenance Nothing is worse than trying to show a property with poor lighting. Replacing light bulbs with LED ones is the simplest way to make your property lighter and brighter. Repairs need to be addressed before buyers arrive. Dripping faucets, lights that don’t work, or rotted wood signal to a buyer that there may be bigger issues beyond the surface. Make a list and make the repairs yourself or hire a professional. A good handyman is a good resource for making minor repairs that make a big difference.
Bold Colors Pull out a color wheel and your wheels may start spinning. I love color and have always enjoyed rooms that are painted dark bold colors. Bold colors express your personality, emotions and decorating trends. When prepping a house to sell, it’s important to keep a neutral color pallet. Builder Beige is a common phrase used to describe a neutral pallet. It washes the room with a neutral
tone and opens the possibilities in the buyer’s mind. We want the buyer to imagine themselves living in the house, not living in “your” house. Tone it down and keep it neutral. Paint is an easy way to make your property more attractive to potential buyers.
Deep Clean Once the house is depersonalized, decluttered, and repairs are complete it is time for a deep clean. Start from the top down. From light fixtures and fans to baseboards and floors. It all needs to sparkle. Windows should be gleaming, appliances and mirrors should be polished, and sinks, showers and tubs should be shiny. Marketing a property is a process. Getting the product ready for the market is the first and most important part of the process. Make sure your property is ready for buyers before the sign goes up! You only have one chance to make a first impression. Eric Milstead is the Senior Real Estate Broker for Florida’s Top Properties. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and a Master’s degree in Administration from the University of West Florida. He has over 25 years of experience helping buyers and sellers with their real estate needs.
• Independent Real Estate Broker for 25 years in the local market • Native Pensacolian, Previous Banker, Tulane and UWF Graduate, MBA • Represents Buyers and Sellers for both Residential and Commercial Properties in All Price Ranges • Land Development and Estate Liquidation Consultant. Own or Inherited Property and Need Guidance?
Sharon Hess Herrick
Broker/Owner Ph: 850-477-7050 | 850-341-1648 Sharon@HessRealtyPensacola.com HessRealtyPensacola.com
Call Sharon today for a free market analysis and in depth discussion about your property!
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On the Market
What Makes a Good Vacation Rental? by Joe Billingsly A significant percentage of people looking to buy in the Pensacola area are planning to offer their newly acquired properties as vacation rentals. The motivations for renting vary from straight investment properties to defraying a portion of the cost of ownership on a second home. I am regularly asked what makes a good vacation rental. There are many factors that affect how well a property will perform on short term rental. Location is probably the single most important factor impacting performance. Regardless of the property being a condo or a house, gulf front is the most desirable location, followed closely by sound front. If a property is not gulf or sound front, then ease of access is important. On Pensacola Beach, we have public access easements running across the island in numerous places, and being close to one of these easements is a big plus. For homes and condos not located directly on the water, a pool significantly enhances the rental potential. A pool not only adds to what you can charge on a weekly basis, but also increases rental frequency. For an average 4 plus bedroom home on Pensacola Beach, a pool will increase the income potential by $20,000 to $30,000 per year. When looking at purchasing a home with the intention of adding a pool, it is important to do research up front to verify you can secure the necessary permits to build the pool. When building a pool requires a variance from the Santa Rosa Island Authority, part of the process includes reaching out to the neighbors to insure they do not have any objection to the pool. If any of the abutting neighbors object to the addition of the pool, they can, in some cases, block the required variance. If a pool is an integral part of your plan, it pays to do the leg work up front. Running a close second to location, would be the number of people the property can accommodate. A two bedroom condo that sleeps six will rent better than a two bedroom condo that sleeps four. A three bedroom that sleeps eight will rent better than a three bedroom that sleeps six. When you are talking about houses for rental purposes, I would recommend a minimum
70 Pensacola Magazine
of four bedrooms. A five bedroom house will generate more than a four bedroom, a six bedroom will generate more than a five bedroom. When you get into the six plus bedroom homes, you ideally want two living areas. The main living area would be for the adults, and the second living area would be for kids. It is not uncommon to have an extended family renting a property where they need to sleep 18 â€“ 20 people. A group this large would require that second living area. Vacation rental properties also need to seat as many people for dining as they sleep. A house that sleeps 18 people and only seats eight for dining really doesnâ€™t work for a large family or multiple families traveling together. So, the dining space needs to be large enough to accommodate the number of people you advertise the home to sleep. It can be a combination of breakfast area table, dining table, and bar stools as long as everyone has a place to sit for meals. I often tell people that the quality of the property and how many people the property sleeps is what drives rentals. Repeat business is a super important factor for long term success in the vacation rental business. We have properties where the same guests have rented the property every summer for 10 plus years. In order to keep the guest coming back year after year, the properties must be well maintained, and updated on an ongoing basis. In most cases, guests today are choosing properties from website photos and sites like VRBO and Homeaway that require lots of photos in order for the property to come up well in searches. Properties that show well in photos with lots of light and pops of bright colors definitely have an advantage over the tired drab properties. It is very important for vacation rental properties to show well both on the interior and exterior. With condos and townhomes, how well the association maintains the common areas also has a direct impact on rentals. Older complexes with poorly maintained exteriors are not a good choice for the vacation rental market. Similarly, older complexes with lots of stairs and no elevators are not generally a good choice
for vacation rentals. Our society is aging and extended families often have members who canâ€™t maneuver stairs. Another path to success in the vacation rental business is allowing pets. One-third of vacationers today travel with pets. Properties with a grassy area and fenced yard are very popular with travelers. The pet fees guests pay for the privilege of bringing Fido are good source of additional income for owners. The bylaws for many condo and townhome associations prohibit short term guests from bringing pets. If a potential buyer of a condo or townhome wants to take advantage of the income potential from this market segment, they need to thoroughly research the rules and regulations for the property before purchasing. Buyers would also generally want to avoid carpet and go with hard flooring such as tile or vinyl plank that is more forgiving when pets have accidents. On Pensacola Beach, there are several nonrental subdivisions and several condos with rent restrictions. If you are looking to buy on Pensacola Beach for vacation rental, you need to make sure you are not buying in a short term rental restricted area. Villa Sabine, Seashore Village, and Sugarbowl, are all examples of rent restricted subdivisions. The Verandas Condo does not allow short term rentals and Santa Rosa Towers enforces a minimum seven night stay. There are some floors at Portofino that do not allow short term rentals. Joe Billingsly is the general manager of Paradise Beach Homes as well as an active Realtor in the Pensacola market for the past 15 years. Joe specializes in Pensacola Beach real estate and investment property. Paradise Beach Homes can provide rental projections for prospective buyers and realtors.
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On the Market
Use this handy checklist before you make the offer
House hunting can feel like an adventurous new chapter in your life. If you’re lucky enough to find the property that checks off all the “must have” boxes - appearance, size, price, location it’s easy to fall in love. Not so fast. Before making an offer on any property, it’s smart to take a deeper look at the overall structure and its systems, just to make sure warning signs of major and costly problems are not hiding in plain sight. If the house holds more issues than your budget (and drive to renovate) can handle, it might be best to walk away. Of course, once the offer is accepted, it’s always a smart idea to hire a third-party home inspector to take an in-depth look at the property. In the meantime, one last pass-through with this checklist in hand can give you peace of mind about taking the next step.
Walk around all four sides of the house, scanning it from ground to rooftop. Note the condition of the doors and window frames, and look for cracked or peeling paint or signs of loose siding. Higher up, eye the chimney, making sure it appears straight and is in good condition, while the gutters and drainpipes should be in place and functional.
Ideally, the roof would be 10 years old or less, so scan the roof for the classic warning signs of aging and neglect. Things like curled and
72 Pensacola Magazine
Take note of the landscaping. Is there a slope angled away from the house, or is there a potential for a flooded basement after a major rainfall? Mature trees provide lots of shade, but watch for overhanging branches, as these can break off in a storm and do major damage to the roof. Finally, take note of the condition of the driveway and sidewalks.
it comes to older systems, energy efficiency is another consideration, according to Tom Tasker, product manager with Coleman Echelon Variable Capacity residential systems. “Newer HVAC systems are remarkably more efficient when compared to those from even a decade ago, which means they keep your house comfortable for as little as half the cost,” says Tasker. For example, Coleman’s Echelon products are rated up to 20 SEER, which stands for seasonal energy efficiency ratio. Compare these to the 10 SEER systems of 25 years ago, and that can give you an idea of what to expect in potential energy costs, he says.
missing shingles, dark stains, moss growth and signs of sagging can signal serious issues. (A home inspector can confirm if full replacement is needed, or if a few simple repairs would stabilize things for another decade or so.)
The sight of a few hairline cracks in the cement is no cause for panic. Do look for telltale signs of serious issues, such as widening cracks, water stains and bulges. It doesn’t hurt to bring a level to make sure the walls are straight. Plumbing: In addition to checking basement and under-sink pipes for signs of leaks, scan the ceilings for water stains. Open all the faucets to check the water pressure as well as the time it takes for hot water to reach the tap.
Know the age of the heating and cooling systems, and check these for tags and other signs of routine maintenance. If the system is older than a decade, that can spell costly repairs and a replacement in a brief time frame. When
Note the age and condition of things like the refrigerator, oven and range, washer and dryer, and hot water heater. As with the HVAC, older appliances tend to consume more energy and you’ll face a shorter timeline for needed repairs and replacements. Buying a house is a big decision, but knowing what you’re buying can go a long way in assuring you that you’ve found the right place!
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PRESENTING THE CHARLES W. LAMAR STUDIO AT P E N S A C O L A S T A T E C O L L E G E
LAMAR FAMILY, REILLY FAMILY, AND SWITZER FAMILY Thank you Lamar, Reilly, and Switzer families for your continued support of Pensacola State College and generous donations to make the Charles W. Lamar Studio at the Anna Lamar Switzer Center for Visual Arts the preeminent art gallery and instructional facility in Northwest Florida. The investment allows Pensacola State to further enhance the College’s leadership in Visual Arts education. As founders of Lamar Advertising Company, members of the Lamar, Reilly, and Switzer families passionately believe in the impact that arts education has in building great colleges and bettering communities. In 1998, the Lamar, Reilly, and Switzer families made a generous $1 million gift to Pensacola State for the enhancement of the College’s Visual Arts program. The gift led to the opening of the Anna Lamar Switzer Center for Visual Arts. Believing that great experiences extend beyond physical spaces, family members generously funded numerous endowments supporting the Visual Arts Department: • The Anna Lamar Switzer Endowed Teaching Chair • The Anna Lamar Switzer Endowed Artist Chair
• The Anna Lamar Switzer Endowed Student Scholarship In August 2014, the Lamar, Reilly, and Switzer families committed an additional $1 million to complete the Visual Arts facility with the addition of the Charles W. Lamar Studio, named in honor of the family patriarch. Since their initial investment in 1998, the Lamar, Reilly, and Switzer families have provided gifts resulting in more than $4 million to the College. The Lamar, Reilly, and Switzer families have a long tradition of not only contributing significant resources to Pensacola State, but to the Pensacola community as well. We are honored to invite you to visit the beautiful Charles W. Lamar Studio now open at Pensacola State College.
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