We've felt some impact from the aftermath of major Hurricane Michael, which hit the Panama City area in October 2018. Here are the ways we've been impacted.
Rental Market Remained Steady
On the positive side, we waived application fees for storm victims and received quite a few renters from Bay County. Along with tightened inventory, the storm helped to cool the winter slow down we normally have.
With the help of a few owners that did some upgrades and remodeling, we were able to raise our new move in rents 6.5% the last quarter of 2018! Statistically, homes leased in the last quarter of the year receive the lowest increase in rent and have the highest days on the market.
Roofers and Other Contractors
We have been struggling with contractor resources as many contractors went over to aid in hurricane relief.
Roofers, general contractors, and remediation companies in the area have been extremely busy. Coupled with extreme rain, there have been several delays with roofing projects in the Pensacola area. Please be patient if you need roofing estimates or roofing work. We expect this to demand to continue into the coming months and year.
Another impact of a major hurricane in our state is increased requirements at insurance renewal time! Insurance companies are being really tough right now.
We've heard of insurance companies sending non-renewals and cancellations or threatening a non-renewal for the following reasons:
- Roof older than 15 years
- Homes built before 1972
- Homes with trees over the roof line or leaning over the home
- Homes with cracks in the driveway
- For filing previous claims on any homeowner's insurance policy
With so many of these instances happening, we want you to be prepared and aware of the insurance issues we are seeing currently. Here are a few ways you can be prepared for this:
Limit Insurance Claims
It makes sense to file an insurance claim if something minor occurs and the total costs will be over your insurance deductible. I mean, isn't that what insurance is for? Instances like vandalism, water leaks, and other minor damages is why you pay for insurance each month.
We understand the premise, but with the recent hardships in the insurance field, we recommend being cautious when filing insurance claims. We have heard of cancellations from filing a claim or insurance companies raising the premium. It can also prevent you from easily switching insurance carriers, as a carrier can use previous insurance claims as a reason to deny a new policy with them.
Did you know that insurance claims follow you as the homeowner as well as the property?
We've seen instance where a claim on a rental property affected the owner on securing insurance on their primary residence. We even saw an instance where a new buyer was trying to purchase a home that had a history of a renter's insurance claim and the new buyer was having a hard time procuring a new insurance policy.
We recommend you pay for these small instances above the insurance policy and only utilize insurance when appropriate and necessary. Consider the long term consequences of filing an insurance claim when computing the expenses for the repair. We know- insurance makes us mad sometimes too.
Consider Replacing your Roof Instead of Repairing
It could be a waste to repair your roof. Often times, when a roofing issue is reported, a roofer will provide an estimate to repair and/or to replace. The roofer will give their opinion on the life of the roof and what the cause of the issue is.
It may seam easier to repair the roof now and worry about replacing later, but do keep in mind the following:
- Roof leak repairs are not always guaranteed and the leak could occur again or arise in another location.
- Repairing could be a waste of money as you will eventually need to replace the roof.
- If your roof is older than 15 years, you will definitely have to replace your roof soon, or in the coming years, to keep your property insured.
- If you try to sell the property without replacing the roof, you will NOT be able to sell the property if the roof is older than 15 years. FHA/ VA financing will deny the loan AND the new buyer will likely be unable to secure a new insurance policy.
We strongly suggest replacing your roof at this time and not spend funds to repair the roof. Of course, we will review each situation on an individual basis.
As many of the homes in our area had roof replacements after Hurricane Ivan in 2004, please keep in mind that these roofs are now 15 years old. Many of the homes that did not need a new roof at the time of Hurricane Ivan were built between 1999 and 2004. These roofs are 15-20 years old now! Reach out if you have any questions or concerns.
If we have any insurance professionals reading these, please feel free to reach out to us with additional information!
The Realty Masters of FL Team
#1 in Pensacola Property Management and Leasing!
Rental Office 4400 Bayou Blvd. #58B, Pensacola, FL 32503 (850) 473-3983 www.PensacolaRealtyMasters.com
Sales Office 4400 Bayou Blvd. #52B, Pensacola, FL 32503 (850) 453-9220 www.RealtyMastersofFlorida.com
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Landlords: your tenants want updates.
When asked the question "What one improvement would you wish for your rental?" upon vacating, our tenants had a lot to say.
Here's a list of the most common answers we received this year in order of frequency:
- Needs upgrades and updating
- Update appliances most commonly mentioned is the fridge
- New flooring (carpet or vinyl is old)
- Provide lawn care
- New light fixtures; fans in all rooms
- Windows and screens are old
- Fenced yard or repairs to old fence
- New counter tops
- Needs new a/c unit
- No gutters on home
- Updated bathroom
- Wallpaper ripped out everywhere
- New exterior doors
We know the old saying is "if it ain't broke, don't fix it", but your tenants disagree. They want new fixtures and updated energy efficiency. Tenants expect their landlord to continually make upgrades and provide routine maintenance. Landlords should build up a reserve to make these upgrades.
As your property ages, it's a good idea to invest in routinely replacing components in your home. To keep your home in good condition, you should be completing maintenance frequently on your properties. Making these and other improvements will yield higher rents, less vacancy, and an overall better experience for you as a landlord.
Reach out to us with any questions about becoming a Pensacola area landlord. We specialize in working with investors and landlords in the Pensacola real estate market. As we manage over 1,000 rental properties, our real estate agents understand rental market trends.
We are currently accepting new properties in good condition in Pensacola, Pace, Milton, Gulf Breeze, Pensacola Beach, Perdido Key, and Navarre.
5 Tips for Pensacola Renters: Finding a home in a competitive market
- Do your research! Look up school districts, view all photos, walk down with street view on google maps, do a sex offender search. Read our blog here for more tips and websites to do research. If there is a real deal breaker, know about it in advance and don't waste everyone's time. Remember, a lot of the homes on the market are occupied so an appointment has to be arranged with a property manager and a current resident!
- Don't be so picky. I know, you want a fabulous house for as little as possible, we all do! With low availability, you can't be picky about
- Not all homes are brand new or just remodeled. If that's what you require, you will have a harder time finding a place and will have to act fast.
- Sure, East Hill is a great place to live but with only 5 rentals available in the area and a median price of $1,000 per month, it's nearly impossible to find a 3 bedroom 2 bath affordable rental in the area. Downtown is similar with very few available and the majority being smaller, older homes in outlying areas of Downtown.
- Gulf Breeze schools are among the highest rated; that's why there's less than 20 properties for rent in the area with only four rentals in Gulf Breeze Proper and nothing available on Pensacola Beach. The average rental rate in Gulf Breeze is currently $1,700.
- As we approach PCS season, we see limited availability especially nearby the back gate of Naval Air Station. Expand your search area.
- Come prepared! We see great applicants miss out on homes every day as we are getting multiple applications on the most desirable properties. Be flexible and available for open houses and showings. Be sure you have your deposit ready when you apply.
- Have a folder with the following documents ready for when you find the right house!
- Driver's license copy for all adults over 18 residing in the property
- Pay stubs or income verification for at least one month. Have all forms of income available and documented for each adult.
- Photos of any pets you may have
- Previous landlord information including phone and email address. Better yet, ask your current landlord for a letter of recommendation stating your rental rate, dates of residency, and contact information.
- Have a folder with the following documents ready for when you find the right house!
- Be weary of scams. Unfortunately, people like to take advantage of others when inventory is low. Never send your personal information via email or send money overseas without verifying. Craigslist scams are common and scammers are smart about their scams. They even create email addresses to mirror the actual owners name. This happens all the time so please be careful when leasing from owner, especially from out of state.
- Consider Purchasing. In 2011,the average rental rate was $960 per month. The average Pensacola rental is now over $120 more expensive per month representing a 13% increase in rents over the last four years. Interest rates are low. Talk to us about your options to own your own home! Unsure about whether you have the funds required to purchase? Look into first time home buyer bond and grant programs. If you want more information, contact our office or email me here.
Pensacola Rental Market Shortage
We are into peak rental season with below average inventory in the Pensacola rental market. The Pensacola rental market picks up drastically in February and March and peaks in July and August. The market slows drastically over winter with the slowest month of the year being December.
Rental rates have been increasing since 2011 and have increased on average $120 per month over the last four years from $960 per month to an average rental rate of $1,080 per month.
- The average list price for a 3 bedroom 2 bath in the Pensacola metro area is $1,144.
- 3% are over $1,000 a month (179) and 47% of those under $1,000 per month (158) .
- The least expensive 3 bedroom 2 bath home is $750 and the most expensive is $2,295.
- There are 338 rental properties on Pensacola MLS. This is just at one month's inventory for a typical March.
- 221 properties are located in Escambia County (Pensacola, Cantonment, Perdido Key, and Pensacola Beach) and 106 in Santa Rosa County (Pace, Milton, Gulf Breeze, and Navarre)
- Of these, 237 are single family homes, 19 are condos, 68 are town homes or duplexes/apartments, and 8 are mobile/manufactured homes.
Last week, areas of Northeast Pensacola and Milton were affected by tornadoes in the Pensacola area. The week before, a tornado devastated the town of Century in Northern Escambia County, Florida. The Pensacola News Journal reported over 170 houses with "major damage." A lot of these renters and homeowners have been misplaced. This puts further stress on the Pensacola real estate market, especially the rental market as these misplaced homeowners seek a rental property. Supply and demand always affects pricing and of cousre, home prices typically peak in the summer months as competition is more intense.
It will be hard summer to nail down your "perfect dream home" whether you are looking to rent or purchase! Make sure to sign up for new rental alerts and enlist the help of a real estate agent if you hope to purchase a home.
Nicole St. Aubin, Broker Associate
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