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Pensacola Realty Masters Blog

Realty Masters is happy to present the following Pensacola area community and Pensacola real estate information! 

Pensacola Community Resources for Homeowners
04-22-2022
Nicole St Aubin
Pensacola Community
04-22-2022

pensacola community links

New to the Pensacola area or not sure where to go for Pensacola area information? We've compiled a list of Pensacola area resources for homeowners to assist with finding solutions to common questions and situations in our community. From a lost dog to a gas leak, the links below will help you. Reach out to the resources below for more information. 

Escambia County Resources

Santa Rosa County Resources

Wildlife And Other Resources

5 Reasons to Clean Up After your Pets
01-18-2022
Nicole St. Aubin
Tenant Education
04-18-2022

5 reasons to clean up after your pet

It's easy to let your dog out and forget about the waste they leave behind when you are not looking. Pet waste is a huge nuisance and one that is often not tended to in the way it should. So here's 5 really good reasons why you should scoop the poop regularly.

1. One dog can excrete an average of .75 pounds per day. Over the course of 2 months, your dog, on average, will have deposited over 45 pounds of waste in your backyard.

2. You might say, it's waste and it will eventually decompose. Based on the time of year and weather conditions, it could take several months for a single pile of dog waste to decompose.

3. The EPA defines dog waste as an environmental pollutant in the same category as pesticides. It is dangerous to your family. Parasites like worms, coccidia, and giardia are prevalent in dog waste as well as bacteria and viruses that can harm you and your family. These can all be transmitted to other pets and some even to humans.

4. It attracts insects and pests like fleas and maggots. These insects themselves carry additional diseases.

5. When you mow your yard, these particles spread throughout the yard, onto plants, and you inhale into your lungs. It can leech into your groundwater and affect local water sources causing environmental dangers to local marine life.

For these reasons and more, add picking up dog waste to your weekly chore list for a healthier 2022. 

3 Easy New Year Resolutions for your Home
01-18-2022
Michelle
Tenant Education
04-18-2022

3 new year resolutions for your home

Declutter.

Every year we find ourselves accumulating things in drawers and cabinets that we never use and even forget we own. This new year, make one of your resolutions to get rid of items in your home that you do not use, are broken, or do not bring you happiness. Having a lot of clutter in your home can make things feel messy and drain your energy; donating items is a great way to get rid of your unwanted but usable items without feeling wasteful.

Shrink your bills by going green.

Trying a more Eco-Friendly way of living does not have to mean expensive purchases like solar panels. You can try these simple and inexpensive changes to your home life to try to lower your carbon footprint as well as save on your bills!

Switch off all lights before leaving your home. (This one seems like a little thing, but can make a big difference!)

Switch to LED lights. LED lights use much less energy than the normal light bulb, have a longer lifespan, and are more cost-effective.

Clean and replace air filters regularly. If your air filter is dirty, your AC is more than likely working twice as hard to keep your home cool or warm, almost doubling your electric bill and also damaging your AC unit. A greener and more cost efficient option for the normal air filters is getting a washable air filter instead. Eco Plus makes affordable washable air filters and can be found in various sizes at your local Home Depot.

Work out a cleaning system to keep your home tidy.

We all love the feeling of a clean home, but working up the energy to clean a messy home is hard! Trying to put together a set daily, weekly, and monthly cleaning schedule can make cleaning your home so much easier and less tedious. Here is a link that can help you to create the ideal cleaning schedule for you.

Our Florida Rental Assistance Grants
09-30-2021
Nicole St. Aubin
Tenant Education
04-21-2022

Relief on utility and rent bills

The Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns has made life difficult for everyone. We understand this has been a very trying time, especially for our tenants, and we would like to ease the financial burden that has weighed down our tenants over the last two years. If you are in need of financial assistance to help pay rent and utility bills, we have good news for you. 

OUR Florida is a program of the Florida Department of Children and Families, and is providing rental assistance to those in need. Funding is provided by the federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program, and all tenants are free to apply to see if they qualify for financial help. You can view all the necessary steps and required documentation at OUR Florida Supports Renters | Our Florida, where you can also find help and answers to any questions you may have about the application process.  We hope this aid will help all those who need it as we continue to move forward to a return to normalcy and away from the shutdowns and financial strain of the last two years.

Please reach out to your property manager or landlord if you have additional questions. 

Pensacola Rental Market 2021
02-19-2021
Nicole St. Aubin
Owner Education
04-21-2022

Low rental inventory

More comforting news for Pensacola area landlords is that the Pensacola rental market is performing stronger than ever despite COVID and financial difficulties for many households. Despite the COVID pandemic, Pensacola’s rental market saw increases for the 2nd half of 2020 by 10%, on average, for new move in rents.

We came across this New York Times Article entitled “How the Pandemic Blew Up Rents” discussing the disparities between different markets and metros. The article cites that Nationwide, 2020 rents were down 1.2% year over year. The majority of larger markets saw rental decreases while smaller metros had the opposite, rental increases. As mentioned, we definitely saw strong rental increases in Pensacola’s market. According to Apartment Lists National Rent Data, our data matched up with theirs in showing that the Pensacola area saw nearly a 10% year over year increase. In contrast, other Florida markets did not perform as well. Markets like Orlando and Tallahassee saw a 5% rent decrease in 2020.

Locally, our employment numbers are strong despite and remained so during the pandemic. While we did experience high unemployment in the tourism industry, it’s clear that our area was not affected as much as others in the state of Florida, whose economy highly depends on tourism dollars.

Locally, inventory levels for both the real estate sales market and rental market are at record lows. Hurricane Sally’s impact on our area in September 2020 exasperated our low inventory issue causing a spike in both rental and sales prices. Into 2021, we continue to see record low inventory and vacancy rates. Both rental rates and home sales prices continue to rise and affordability continues to be an issue as rents and mortgage rates are rising above what the average Pensacola family can pay. Many landlords continue to choose to sell their properties as they become vacant, especially with costly hurricane repairs and eviction moratoriums that limit the landlords right to collect rent and evict for non-payment.

According to the New York Times Article, rents are now stabilizing around the country and rent fluctuations are starting to slow. Locally, we expect the trend of low supply and increasing rents for the foreseeable future.

If you are considering purchasing a property in the Pensacola area, reach out to our team to discuss the rental market! 

What is Renter's Insurance and How Much Does it Cost?
02-17-2020
Nicole St. Aubin
Tenant Education
04-21-2022

what is renters insurance

Many renters are confused as to why they would need renter's insurance and surprised at how affordable renter's insurance can be, especially here in Florida! Renter's insurance protects more than just the landlord and your contents. 

Realtor Mitch Adcox sat down with Felicia from our local AllState to talk about Renter's Insurance. In the video below, we cover what renter's insurance includes, how it protects you, and what the typical cost for insurance is. 

We strongly suggest all of our renters secure insurance to protect yourself and your property. Additionally, remember that renter's insurance and homeowner's insurance do not cover flood losses unless you secure a separate flood insurance policy. Reach out to Allstate Insurance at (850) 479-3111 or your local insurance agent for more details and to obtain a quote today!

Rental Scams Still Prevalent
01-27-2020
Nicole St. Aubin
Tenant Education
04-21-2022

rental scams still prevalent

According to an article by the Better Business Beureau, rental scams are still widespread in the online community in both long term rental homes and short term vacation rentals.

Pensacola is on the BBB’s Scam Tracker list of metros with the highest number of complaints from clients in regards to the rental scams.

Here are some statistics according to the BBB:

-More than 5 million people lost money to rental scams

-1 in 3 victims lost more than a $1,000 in a rental scam

-43% of online shoppers came across a scam listing in their house hunting search

With these statistics in mind, please be diligent when utilizing free classified websites including Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace as well as other more reputable online listing sites including Zillow and Apartments.com.

The best websites to view rentals in the Pensacola area is the Pensacola MLS as this shows all inventory listed with real estate companies in the Pensacola area. You can always view our rental inventory of over 40 Pensacola area rental homes and apartments on our website here.

Of course, feel free to utilize 3rd party websites, but be diligent when doing so.

Here are some more tips to help you avoid rental scams while house hunting in the Pensacola area! Click here to read the full article from the BBB’s Rental Scam Study which provides very comprehensive information on different scams and recommendations for consumers to avoid being taken advantage of in a variety of scams, including rental scams.

3 Reasons to Get Renters Insurance
09-10-2019
Nicole St. Aubin
Tenant Education
04-22-2022

three reasons to get renters insurance

As a renter, it's important to remember that your landlord does not have insurance for your personal property. Your landlord has insurance for the structure of the home which excludes your personal property inside. Because of this, it is strongly recommended that you secure a renters insurance policy.

Renters Insurance

There's several advantages to having renters insurance, and considering the affordable cost, there's no reason not to have renters insurance if you live in the state of Florida.

Here's 3 reasons why you should have renters insurance. 

1. You can get policies for as low as $15 per month. Not sure where to start? Check with your car insurance provider or contact local insurance companies for a free quote. 

2. Renters insurance provides comprehensive coverage. You can secure a policy that covers the following:

  • Fire damage
  • Water damage (not flood damage)
  • Wind damage
  • Theft
  • Personal injury
  • Wind and hurricane damage! 

It is important to note that you would need a separate flood policy to protect yourself against flooding water damages. 

3. If a disaster hits our area, you may be out of work for some time. Even a paycheck or two makes a substantial difference for the majority of renters. Imagine the cost of having to purchase all of your household items on top of loss of wages.

Here's a few other examples of how renters insurance may pay off!

Did the fridge in your rental go out the day after you spent $200 in groceries? Renters insurance may provide reimbursement!

Without air conditioning for an extended period of time? Renters insurance may provide coverage for a hotel stay. 

Have a tree fall on your call? Renters insurance may work with your car insurance to provide coverage. 

There are so many great reasons to purchase renters insurance. Check with an insurance agent today for a free quote. 

Getting a Mailbox Key from USPS
08-06-2019
Realty Masters
Tenant Education
04-21-2022

getting a mailbox key in Pensacola

How To Get Keys To Your Pensacola Area Community Mailbox

If the mailbox has a USPS sticker on it, you will need to get a key from the United States Postal Service. Here's how to do that in the Pensacola area.

  1. Once you have done that, call 850-434-9109 and follow the directions on the answering machine. It is an automated system so it will ask you to leave a voicemail and they will be in contact with you.
  2. The USPS will confirm your address and let you know what day they will re-key your box. There is a $25 key to get the key to your mailbox.
  3. If you are not home at the time of rekeying the USPS will leave the keys on your door.

The whole process should take 2-3 days.

If your mailbox does not have a USPS sticker on it, it is likely privately owned by a Homeowners Association of Condo Association and you will need to reach out to them or your proprerty manager. 

Pensacola Pest Control Tips
05-15-2019
Nicole St. Aubin
Tenant Education
04-21-2022

Florida Pest Control Tips

Tips from our pest control vendors on how to reduce the number of bugs you have inside and around your home this year! When we reached out for advice, we found that most of the tips on how to keep bugs from coming inside involved reducing the habitats for bugs on the exterior of your property.

Pest Prevention:

  • Keep exterior lights off at night. Bugs are attracted to light. Turning off exterior lights at night can also keep termites away. You can purchase yellow insect lights which can deter insects.
  • Do not keep standing water around the property. Certain items kept outside can cause water to pool and harbor mosquitoes. Moisture also attracts termites.
  • Rake and remove all leaves around your property to drastically reduce the number of pests you have. Leaves from winter are a perfect habitat for roaches.
  • Keep the grass short and well manicured as bugs are attracted to tall grass.
  • Clogged gutters and downspouts can increase bug activity around your home so report any clogged gutters and remove any debris from downspouts.
  • Check around the exterior for ant mounds and eliminate them before they come inside.
  • Clean around entryways (doors and windows) to remove spider webs.
  • Store items in plastic totes as opposed to cardboard boxes.


Pest Control:

  • When dealing with ant invasions, you can use white vinegar to neutralize the pheromone trail which will assist you in helping to eliminate them.
  • One of the best things people with pets can do is have their pets on flea and tick prevention.


All insects are looking for food, water, and shelter. Eliminate these and you will be less likely to have a pest infestation. You're welcome to purchase your own pest control products or give a technician a call. The average price for a pest professional to come treat your property would be about $75. Prices range depending on size of property and frequency of desired visits as some vendors offer a discount for a quarterly pest control service. Reach out with any questions!

Pest Control Help
We have a lot of bugs and pests in this part of the world. If you are not from the area or used to this, this can cause great dissatisfaction this time of the year. If you want the assistance of a professional pest company to keep your property bug free, give one of these companies a call.

Bugmeister Household Termite & Pest
554-6952 Email Danny

Ham Pest Control- Travis
376-1523 Email Travis

Tombstone Pest Control
932-0977 Email Alan

originally posted 03-15-2019

Pensacola Moving Companies, Truck Rentals, and other Resources for your Pensacola Move
05-15-2019
Nicole St. Aubin
Tenant Education
04-21-2022

Pensacola moving tips and resources

Moving Soon in or from the Pensacola area? Here are Resources to Help!

Moving is so much work. If you are looking for moving resources in the Pensacola area, we have some advice for you including a list of reputable professional moving companies in Pensacola, do-it-yourself Pensacola moving truck rental companies, moving resources, packing tips, and moving tips below. 

Professional Movers in Pensacola 

There are quite a few moving companies in the Pensacola area! I'm going to give you the list of those we've had more experience with and that have the highest ratings. 

  • All My Sons Moving  & Storage- offers Pensacola residents local, in-state, and out-of-state moves. 
  • Two Men And A Truck- offers local and long distance moves as well as packing services. 
  • Coastal Moving & Storage- offers local and long distance residential and commercial moves as well as storage and packing services. 
  • A Student Movers of Pensacola- is a locally owned and operated company that offers moving and storage services. 
  • Bayside Moving- is located and Gulf Breezes and serves Navarre, Pensacola and beyond. They offer both local and long distance moving assistance. They also offer a load/unload only option which allows you to pay for only assistance for loading or unloading should you desire. 

Moving Truck Rentals in Pensacola
Need to save money with your move? Rent your own moving truck to easily relocate your family and possessions. 

  • U-Haul Moving & Storage- By far, U-Haul has the largest number of stores in Escambia and Santa Ros counties, making it the most convenient choice for a do it yourself move. They also offer storage, boxes and packing supplies, and moving labor. 
  • Budget Truck Rental- Budget Truck Rental has two locations in Pensacola. With one location in West Pensacola on Fairfield Drive and one location in Northeast Pensacola on Davis Hwy., it is another great option to consider for your Pensacola move. 
  • Penske Truck Rental- Penske Truck Rental has three locations for truck rentals in the Pensacola area. They also offer storage and packing supplies. 
  • Enterprise Truck Rental- Entprise Rent-A-Car features several options for vehicles to assist with your Pensacola move. 

Packing Tips

  • Start early! Begin packing away non-essential items a month before your move.
  • Put saran wrap over your utensil trays so items don't fall out when moving.
  • Put trash bags around your hanging clothes so you don't have to take them off the hangers.
  • Label everything! You will forget later, we promise.
  • Take a picture of the back of electronics so you know exactly where the wires go when you hook everything back up.
  • Pack the items you will need first in a clear plastic bin so you can easily find them.

Moving Advice
Two of our team members just made a move and they have some advice for you.

  • Start early. Secure your new property weeks in advance of your move out date so you can have a stress free, easier moving process.
  • Make sure to transfer your utilities in time; don't procrastinate. Consider weekends and holidays when planning.
  • Make a checklist of who you need to change your address with and do not forget your driver's license.
  • If you have a yellow star in the corner of your Florida license, you can change your address online. If not, you must change your address in person at the DMV.
  • Make sure you know which day the last day of the month is so you can plan accordingly.
  • Line up your moving help or truck in advance as availability is low in spring.


Moving Resources:

And of course, if you need a Pensacola home or apartment to move to, visit our website to view our avaialble rentals.

originally posted 03-05-2019

Rent & Utility Assistance Hardship Funds in Pensacola area
05-15-2019
Nicole St. Aubin
Tenant Education
05-03-2022

Pensacola rent and utility assistance

Statistically, housing costs consume over 1/3 of our income nationwide. We hate to hear when residents have unexpected situations that cause a hardship and that they are having a hard time paying rent. 

If you find yourself in this situation, there are resources in the Pensacola area to help with financial assistance for rent and utilitiy bills. We've compiled a list of resources available in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties should you need them now or in the future.

United Way can provide resources. While they do not provide financial assistance, they do serve as a resource referral center for emergency food and shelter, services for families and senior citizens, health care, child care, services for people with disabilities, counseling and mental health services and more. Call them at 2-1-1 or find them online. 

The Salvation Army provides emergency assistance for needs such as rent, utility bills, food and clothing. If you need  assistance due to an unexpected hardship, the Salvation Army provides financial assistance. You can reach them at (850) 432-1579 in Pensacola or (850) 623-4099 in Milton or online. 

Catholic Charities of Northwest Florida provides emergency financial assistance for basic needs including financial, food, prescriptions, housing, and utilities. Call (850) 436-6425 in Pensacola or (850) 244-2825 in Fort Walton Beach or visit them online.

United Ministries of Pensacola offers help in a financial crisis with past due rent, mortgage, or utility bills. This assistance is contingent upon having a child in the home under the age of 18. Call their office in Pensacola (850) 433-2333 or online.  

Northwest Florida Area on Aging provides assistance with home energy costs for those who are eligible over 60 years of age should the need arise to pay utility bills or repair heating and cooling systems. Call them at (850) 494-7101 or find them online. 

Community Action Program Committee provides emergency financial assistance for utility bills when in need through their Home Energy Assistance Program. Give them a call at 1-844-356-8139 or find their application online.

Opening Doors offers utility assistance for those who are at risk of getting their utilities shut off. Call at (850) 439-3009 or visit them online.

FavorHouse of Northwest Florida provides assistance to victims of domestic violence including temporary and transitional housing. Call them at (850) 434-1177 or visit them online.

While this is not a comprehensive list, this is a good start in finding assistance from several Pensacola area non-profit organizations that can assist with financial needs in the way of rent and utility bill assistance.

originally posted 01-31-2019

New Year's Resolutions for Tenants and your Home
05-15-2019
Nicole St. Aubin
Tenant Education
04-21-2022

A new year is the time to start new habits. Remember that leasing a home is a tool to help you become prepared to one day own and care for your home. Building good habits now can help you in the future. Here are a few suggestions to be sure you and your home are ready for the new year!

  • Make sure rental insurance policy up to date or start a policy! You can insure your personal property for as little as $20 per month.
  • Work on a family budget. Review your expenses from 2018 and see how you can cut back to establish a savings, build your credit, and ensure you can make payments timely.
  • Don't forget- you can pay your rent online with RentTrack and opt-in to credit reporting. As long as you make payments on time, you can build credit while you are renting through us! Are you taking advantage of this?


Inside your home

  • Pick up a year's supply of air filters for the A/C system, then you can have one to change out every 30 days, and can date them to remind yourself.
  • Check batteries in all of your smoke detectors and change them if you have not in the last 6 months. Report any concerns about detectors to our office.
  • Check all water sources for leaks inside, especially those that are not seen often! Open sink cabinets and check for dripping pipes under the sink. Inspect the hot water heater. Look at the water pipes going to your washing machine. Open the toilet lid and inspect the inside to see if the flapper is sealing properly.


Outside your home

  • Walk the yard and check for areas of concern! Are there any soft spots in the yard? Is there debris on the roof? Report to us any safety concerns.
  • Inspect the exterior pipes, faucets, hoses, and sprinkler heads for any damages or leaks.
  • Clean up any pet debris in yard!
  • Trim back shrubs, bushes and low lying tree branches to be sure they will grow back healthy in spring.
  • Rake leaves in the yard and remove all excess debris to ensure grass can grow back in spring.

Is becoming a homeowner on your list of resolutions?

If you are interested in becoming a homeowner in 2019, reach out to our sales team with your questions. Don't forget that we have a cash incentive for our residents who purchase a home through a Realty Masters realtor!

We have recently sold a few of our tenants the home they are currently leasing! If you are interested in seeing if the property owner would sell the home you have been leasing, reach out to our team. 

originally posted 01-16-2019

Alternatives to hiding a key under a doormat
05-15-2019
Rebekah
Tenant Education
04-22-2022

alternatives to hiding a key

Keeping your family and property safe is imperative. Too often, especially around the holidays, residents leave keys for friends and family members carelessly around their property. DON’T hide a key outside your home, under mats or above your door frame on the outside of your home! These are the first places someone will look.

Here are some alternatives to hiding a key under your door mat.

  • Get an envelope or pouch to put the key in and keep it in your car.
  • If you have a neighbor you trust or a friend/family member that lives close, have them hang on to it.
  • A lockbox with a combination code is easy to use and you can put on almost any type of rail or knob outside. We use a lot of these in real estate to make sure keys are kept safe. 

If you have no choice but to hide a key outside your home, make sure you’re clever and choose an object like a fake sprinkler head or a walkway lights. Make sure this is a temporary hiding spot and never permanently leave a key outside of your home. 

Write the location of your spare keys some place safe like a sticky note in your phone. You can also set a reminder to confirm the keys are still in place at least once a week. Losing track of your keys leaves you open to someone else finding them and getting into your home.

originally posted 12-27-2018

Maintenance and Use Tips for Septic Tanks
05-15-2019
Nicole St. Aubin
Tenant Education
04-22-2022

maintenance and use tips for septic tanks

Do you have a septic tank? The easiest way to determine if you have sewer or septic is by looking at your water bill. If you do not pay for sewer, you are likely on a septic tank! Being on a septic tank does save money each month, however, it requires certain care that sewer does not. 

If you have a septic tank, you should be following certain practices to ensure that you are not damaging the tank or drainfield lines. Here are some tips on septic tank systems! 

Be Careful What you Introduce into your Plumbing System
Never flush cat litter, disposable diapers, sanitary napkins, “flushable” baby wipes, dental floss, Qtips, tampons, paper towels, facial tissues, coffee grounds, or cigarette butts and filters. These items will clog your septic tank and cause a sewage back up!

Use Garbage Disposals Wisely
Do not ever put starchy or stringy vegetables such as celery, asparagus, artichokes, lettuce, potato peels, pasta, rice, egg shells or coffee grinds in the garbage disposal.

Do Not Pour Grease Down the Drain
Milk, cooking oils, grease, or anything that is liquid but solidifies into a solid can clog up your septic tank drainfields and pipes. These items should be placed into the trash.

Avoid Hazardous Chemicals
Varnish, paint, paint thinners, motor oils, gasoline and other similar chemicals can ruin your system and are a hazard to groundwater. Dispose of them properly.

Minimize Heavy Duty Cleaners
Overuse of heavy cleaners kills beneficial bacteria in the septic tank, so solids won't break down as well. Try using vinegar as alternative to chemicals when cleaning. 

Use Rid X monthly!
Using a powder, liquid, or gelpac septic tank treatment (like Rid-X or Draino Septic Tank) monthly to reduce your chances of a messy septic tank backup.

Do not Park on the Grass
Your septic tank is located in the yard. Parking on top can damage the tank.

Avoid Excessive Water Use on Rainy Days
On heavier rainy days, please do not wash clothes. As the ground is saturated with water, using excess water during heavy periods of rain fills the tank.

Promptly Report any Plumbing Issues
Dripping faucets and other leaks in the plumbing at your property can cause your tank to overfill. Promptly report any plumbing issues to our office. If you own your home, make sure to address any of these plumbing issues immediately. 

If you Rent, you Can be Charged for Causing a Septic Back Up
Should you disregard these instructions causing your tank to back up, you can be charged for the cost of septic tank pumping. It is expensive! Please be careful and mindful.

originally posted 11-29-2018

Burning Debris Among Top Causes of Wildfires
05-15-2019
Nicole St. Aubin
Tenant Education
04-22-2022

burning safely outdoors

One of the leading causes of wildfires in the state of Florida is from debris burning. Because of the high number of wildfires that are a result of careless burning practices, there are a number of government agencies that regulate outdoor burning.  The Florida Forest Service is the top government agency tasked with creating and enforcing burning regulations. They regulate the statutes in place; however, local government agencies can place additional restrictions on burning. If you live in the city limits of an area, you may be subject to additional ordinances that regulate burning.

Personal Experience with Fires

Our team has experienced the results of irresponsible burning with several instances over the years. Here are a few examples of first hand experiences our team members have seen as a result of irresponsible practices.

-A fire pit that was not properly extinguished. The ashes from the fire pit were put in a trash can. The trash can caught on fire and caught the house on fire. The house had to be torn down and all the tenant’s items were ruined from smoke and fire damage.

-A burn barrel fire that caught the grass underneath it on fire. The fire spread to several acres and threatened homes nearby.

-Several kitchen fires that resulted from leaving the kitchen while cooking something on the stove top.

It is imperative that you practice fire safety, have working smoke detectors, and have a personal fire extinguisher and water hose available.

Considering Burning Outdoors?

The law does allow for burning of dry outdoor vegetative debris such as leaves, tree limbs and shrubs; however, it does place several restrictions on this which could make burning even these items in your yard a violation of the regulations.

Outdoor Burning Regulations

-It is illegal to burn household garbage including paper products, treated lumber, rubber materials, tires, pesticides, paint and aerosol containers.

-Dry (not green) vegetative debris such as grass clippings, pine straw, leaves, tree limbs and shrub trimmings can be legally burned between 8 a.m. and one hour before sunset if it is in a pile not larger than 8 ft. in diameter and located:

-25 feet from any forested area (grasslands, brush or wildlands).

-25 feet from your home or other combustible structure.

-50 feet from any paved or public roadway.

-150 feet from any occupied dwelling other than your own home.

-A burn pile greater than 8 feet in diameter requires an authorization from the Florida Forest Service and additional requirements.

When you consider these distance requirements, it is very likely that your property is not large enough to accommodate a burn pile. We do not recommend you utilize a burn pile for yard trimmings. You can place these items by the road for your trash company to compost or dispose of properly.

The Florida Forest Service warns you that if your fire escapes, you may be held liable for the cost of suppressing the fire and for any damage to the property of others!

Safety with a small Fire Pit

If you are looking for a small fire to roast a marshmallow or cuddle in front of on a cool night, we would recommend the use of a small fire pit with a cover if your property allows for one. Be sure to practice fire safety by adhering to all regulations discussed and by practicing the following:

  1. Be sure you have a fire extinguisher nearby before you operate a fire pit.

  2. Be sure to saturate the fire with water after it is out.

  3. Use the protective screen.

  4. Never leave a fire unattended.

  5. Do not place a fire pit on a balcony, too close to a property, or under any covered area.

  6. Do not underestimate the amount of time it takes for the wood or coals to extinguish properly.

Live in a Condo, Townhome, or Apartment?

Condos, townhomes and apartments often have regulations built in regarding restrictions for safety. The Florida Fire Prevention Code regulates this with the following:  With respect to cooking equipment, section 10 of the code prohibits using hibachis, grills, and other similar devices for cooking, heating, and any other purpose on a balcony, under any overhang portion, or within 10 feet of any structure, other than in one and two-family dwellings. The section does allow for some smaller electric grills, however, most associations do not permit any type of grill or fire pit on the premises for safety.

Check with your condo association’s rules and regulations or the local fire marshall for more information or clarification on your community’s rules.

Renting & Your Lease Agreement with Realty Masters

Remember that your lease agreement contains an addendum as to the use of fireplaces, stove, fire pits, and candles. Please refer to this addendum to be sure of your responsibilities under the lease agreement. It requires, among other things, that you have a water hose or a fire extinguisher when utilizing any item with an open flame.

Additionally, if you damage any part of the yard or home from a fire, you can be held responsible for any damage to the home or property.

For more information on burning in Escambia County, visit Escambia County’s website and for more fire safety tips and regulations, visit the Florida Forest Service.

Please make sure you are abiding by all regulations and practicing fire safety. Now is also a good time to check your property for smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. We want you to have fun this holiday season, but we also want you and your family to remain safe while doing so. 

 
originally posted 10-25-2018
Safety Tips & Crime Prevention from the Escambia County Sheriff's Office
05-15-2019
Nicole St. Aubin
Community
05-03-2022

safety tips and crime prevention

Recently, I had the pleasure of listening to Deputy Howard Enderson with the Escambia County Sheriff's Office Crime Prevention Unit give a talk to the Pensacola Association of Realtors on safety.  

A lot of the advice he gave us is applicable to safety for all at your home and business and I wanted to pass along my favorite tips from the crime prevention unit. 

  • Have a free security assessment of your property and home for specific recommendations on how to make your home safer.
  • Survey your property and look for places that people can hide. Eliminate those places!
  • Use the 2/6 rule- shrubs should be no higher than 2 feet and tree limbs should be no lower than 6 feet. 
  • Do not let shrubbery grow above or over your windows. 
  • Never hide a key at your property.
  • Always lock your vehicle and do not leave garage door openers in your vehicle overnight. 
  • Did you know that you can have a background check done for a small fee at the Sheriff's Office in one day? Before hiring someone to come pet sit, clean your house, or babysit your children, use this service and order a background check. 
  • Don't open the door for solicitors. Additionally, you can call the Sheriff's Office to report door to door solicitors.
  • Make sure everything is password protected.
  • Choose flight over fight but protect yourself if necessary. 
  • Always be alert and listen to your instincts! 

Did you know that the Escambia County Sheriff's Office offers free security assessments of your home, business, or church? They will come in the residence and offer tips to increase security at your property. To request a security assessment of your property, do so at this website: http://www.escambiaso.com/security-surveys/residential-security-survey/ 

The Escambia County Sheriff's Office also offers training including sepcial programs like the Neighborhood Watch and the Citizen Law Enforcement Academy.

For additional security tips from the Escambia County Sheriff's office, visit this page: http://www.escambiaso.com/home-safety/ 

originally posted 08-08-2018

ECUA Offers Free Bulk Pick Up Service
05-15-2019
Nicole St. Aubin
Tenant Education
04-21-2022

ecua offers free bulk pick up service

ECUA has Free Bulk Waste Pick Up
Did you know that ECUA offers bulk waste pick up included in your bill?

ECUA is the largest provider of trash services in the area and now offers recycling for a lot of Santa Rosa County and even the City of Pensacola. 

How does it work? If you have old household items you want to get rid of, place them in a 6'x 6' x 6' pile and leave them at the curb on your normal trash pick up day. They inform us that they start picking up bulk items early so to have your items on the curb by 5:30 a.m. on your routine trash collection day.

What type of items can you get rid of? 

  • Couches and mattresses
  • Other furniture items 
  • Desks, dressers and chairs
  • Rugs and carpets
  • Vacuum cleaners
  • Bicycles
  • Grills 
  • Electronics must be placed in plastic bags to keep them dry

If you live in Santa Rosa County, you must call to schedule pick up.  ECUA is the largest water and trash provider in our area. If you have a different trash service, please reach out to them as they likely have similar programs available. For more information, visit ECUA's website.

ECUA also offers oil and grease recycling as well as traditional recycling programs. 

If you have nice items you think others may enjoy, check out our article on item and furniture donations in the Pensacola area. 

Call ECUA at (850) 476-0480 to schedule your trash pick up.

originally posted 07-03-2018

How to Avoid a Housing Scam when House Hunting
05-15-2019
Realty Masters
Tenant Education
04-22-2022

how to avoid a housing scam

In the Pensacola Bay Area, there are plenty of single family, multi-family, luxury apartment homes and other real estate developments to choose from. If you are not familiar with the area or process then you probably are wondering, where do you start? Of course, the first place I would suggest is the Pensacola MLS, as it is not a third party website and is accurate with most available listings by real estate companies. The other place would be the actual website for the property management company or complex that you are inquiring about. I would scroll their website, send in an email/ rental inquiry or give the office a call. 

The average rents in the Pensacola Bay area are around $1,100-$1,500 per month. As prices are increasing and the availbility is decreasing, many house hunters are turning to websites like Craigslist or Zillow to find a rental property.

Potential renters can find private owners but also real estate companies post on Craigslist, Zillow or Facebook Marketplace as well. There are many online rental scams active in the area and several were found on these websites. They take a home that is listed for rent with a management company or offered for sale and advertise the property for rent. It is wise to be mindful of sending your personal information and money via online/email. We've had several potential renters tell us they sent money and personal information like social security number and dates of birth to these scammers. As technology improves, it is harder to spot a scam. Scammers are now able to utilize local phone numbers from free avenues such as Google Voice. 

Here are a few things to look for:

  • Below market rent or a deal that looks too good to be true
  • Usually some or all utilities are included (this is not common practice in our area)
  • The ad says the house can be rented furnished or unfurnished
  • Out of state contact information especially when it comes to sending money or picking up keys 
  • Scammer tells you the property is vacant and door is unlocked (be careful, this may not be true and presents a dangerous situation!)
  • Emailing an application or request for personal information that does not look legitimate

If you see a listing on Craigslist that may fit the above description then please flag the post. In order to flag a post for misrepresentation then you would click on the box in front of prohibited to inform the Craigslist administrator.  This information is located at the top left corner of the Craigslist ad. Please see example below :
X prohibited[   ]

It would be good practice not to release any personal information to anyone over the internet. It's also best practice to meet with the person at the property or if you are out of town then verify with the local property appraiser site to see if that person owns the home. Here is a link to Escambia and Santa Rosa County Property Appraiser sites. Keep in mind that these scams are sophisticated and scammers also create email addresses using property owners names. Do a google search on the property to see if any other contacts or real estate companies come up associated with the address and reach out to them to verify the status. The more cautious you are the better. This can save you from identity theft or losing $1,000’s in move in fees.

Here's an article on WEAR with some details on a particular recent scam.

If you have any questions regarding a particular address then don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We will be happy to see if we can provide assistance to you in determining if the property is clearly a scam based off our experience. 

The Realty Masters of FL Team

originally posted 06-21-2018

Subleasing and Renting a Room in your Property
05-15-2019
Nicole St. Aubin
Tenant Education
04-22-2022

subleasing and renting a room

Subleasing is Not Allowed at your Rental Property!

We understand that some residents may want to add a roommate to help with housing expenses. Please remember that you must request prior written approval to add an occupant on your lease agreement. Occupants will need to apply with our office and be approved by the property owner in advance of their move in.

This is important for many reasons, and is also enforced for your protection. There are many applicable laws and many times residents are not aware of those laws. You can actually face criminal charges for removing a roommates personal items or trying to force a roommate to move from your property. This happened recently in town and now a Pensacola area resident is facing criminal charges.

Want to rent a room out?

Most leases have a clause that prevent subletting. If you lease from another company or landlord, check your lease agreement to see if this is allowed.

You cannot advertise a room for rent on AirBnB and attract short term residents at your property. This is against the lease agreement and does present some safety hazards for your family. Please be careful and cautious. Reach out to our office with questions on adding, removing, or replacing roommates.

What if I own my own home?

Even if you own your home, you should also exercise caution and consider possible consequences of subleasing, whether short or long term, before proceeding. A new younger generation of homeowners are offering rooms for rent in their home on internet sites like Home Away, AirBnB, Craigslist, and VRBO. Before doing this, you should carefully consider the following:

  • Check with your insurance company to see if short term subleasing is allowed and covered under your policy.
  • Document your personal property and furniture before you allow guests with photos and written reports. You should thoroughly inspect between each guest. 
  • You need a good lease or occupancy agreement. 
  • Use a platform that helps to screen or vet potential renters, even if they only plan to stay one night.

We recommend you thoroughly research this before deciding to lease out any portion of your space.

originally posted 06-16-2018

House Hunting Tips for Renters in a Housing Shortage
05-15-2019
Nicole St. Aubin
Tenant Education
04-21-2022

house hunting tips for renters

If you are house hunting this spring or summer in the Pensacola area, you will find that the active rental inventory is tight! We're seeing record lows in the single family rental market in the Pensacola area.

There are simply not enough properties for rent at this time to meet the current demand of renters looking to move. To help you ease the stress and frustration of house hunting this season, we've put together a video with helpful house hunting tips. 

Here are some of the highlights from the video:

  • Do your research. It's up to you to do the research on the neighborhoods and areas. Do a neighborhood search (Escambia County Crime Map: http://www.escambiaso.com/crime-map/
  • Be prepared! Review the requirements for renting and have all of your documents necessary ready to apply. Have a double security deposit ready if you do not meet the rental criteria. 
  • Consider purchasing a home.
  • Check into the multi-family apartment complex community for availability.
  • Have vet records, photos, and extra pet deposits for your pets.
  • Don't just apply to apply! This lowers your credit score and is costly. Be intentional and serious before you apply. 
  • If you are relocating, do not expect to be able to pull a U-haul into town and move in a property the same weekend. If you have someone who can view properties on your behalf, have them coordinate viewings and sign a lease. 
  • Be available for showings! You may have to take some time off work in order to be successful in house hunting this season.
  • Have a back up plan in case you don't find a property!
  • Adjust your expectations for the criteria you need, not the criteria you want. It is not the time to find a dream house!
  • Housing affordability is an issue and will continue to be as the economy and real estate market improves. Rents will continue to increase. Plan for this! 
  • Be happy where you are. Do not be upset by a small rental increase or an unresolved maintenance item that is not important. 
  • Show up at real estate offices! The call and email volume is overwhelming for us now. Make time to pop by the office and talk with someone in person for best results.
  • Act fast when you find a nice property. Be ready to pay a deposit and sign a lease when you apply.

​Reach out to our office and let us know how we can be of assistance whether you are looking to buy or rent a home in 2018. 

Realty Masters of Florida Rental Office (850) 473-3983 http://www.PensacolaRealtyMasters.com 

originally posted 03-27-2018

New Construction Apartment Complexes in Pensacola
05-15-2019
Realty Masters
Community
05-03-2022

new apartment complexes in north pensacola

New construction in the Pensacola area is booming. The Northwest Pensacola region in Beulah and 9 Mile Road areas along with Downtown Pensacola has shown the largest growth.

Over the last year, we’ve seen an explosion in brand new apartment communities with the most growth in North Pensacola. The Navy Federal Credit Headquarters on 9 Mile Rd. continues to develop and bring in thousands of new jobs for the Pensacola area. Coupled with the growth at the University of West Florida, demand has been strong for the North Pensacola area. While a few single family neighborhoods that have popped up in these areas, so far, the growth has been in the commercial sector and, most impressively, in new apartment communities.

Our real estate team has done some research to bring you some great information on these new apartment complexes.


New Apartment Communities in Northwest Pensacola - 9 Mile Road area

  • The Pensacola Grand Apartments – 9091 Airway Dr., Pensacola, FL 32534

The Pensacola Grand apartments are located at 9091 Airway Drive and are still undergoing construction although some residents have already moved in.  Amenities include a pool, sauna, fitness center, clubhouse, a dog park, and a playground. The Pensacola Grand Apartments are pet friendly with a $250 pet fee and $20 per rent, per month with some breed restrictions.

The Pensacola Grand offers 1, 2, and 3 bedroom units for lease. The 1 bedroom 1 bath apartments are offered for lease at approximately $1,000 per month, the 2 bedrooms 2 bathroom range around $1,300 per month, and the 3 bedrooms 2 bathroom apartments cost approximately $1,350 per month. They have various floor plans on each level and rates do vary based on availability, amenities, and apartment type.  A media package is included! The apartments offer a modern interior with all black appliances and ceramic wood tile look.
 

  • The Crossings at Milestone – 1431 W. 9 Mile Rd., Pensacola, FL 32534

The Crossings at Milestone is located at 1431 W 9 Mile Rd. and was built in 2017. The Crossings at Milestone features 1, 2, and 3 bedroom apartments for rent. The complex features a pool, fitness center, furnished clubhouse, a playground, and a dog park.  Garbage and pest control are included in the rental rate. Rates vary depending on the floor, floor plan, and amenities but are currently being offered around $1,050 for a 1 bedroom, $1,265 for a 2 bedroom(,) and $1,450 for a 3 bedroom. The community is gated with security so good they wouldn’t allow us to take photos of the complex from the outside! They also offer private garages.
 

  • West Woods Apartments – 3202 W. 9 Mile Rd., Pensacola, FL 32534

The West Woods Apartments are located at 3202 W. 9 Mile Rd. This community was just developed in 2017 and offers brand new, luxury apartments just minutes to Navy Federal and I-10. West Woods Apartments offer 1, 2, and 3 bedroom units for rent and all units come unfurnished. The 1 bedroom 1 bath units are between $1,000 and $1,075 for rent, the two bedroom, two bath apartments range between $1,220 and $1,295, and the three bedroom two bath apartments range between $1,425 and $1,477 per month. All apartments include a full size washer and dryer and the rental rate includes trash and pest control. The apartments feature stainless steel appliances, granite counter tops, and wood like ceramic tile floors. The community is very pet friendly with no weight or breed restrictions(,) but are charging $500 pet fee and a $10 per pet monthly pet rent.  The complex is beautiful with two pools, two grills, two fitness centers, a car care center, dog parks, and more.

We’ve also written about new schools under construction to support this new growing population. Read that article here! (Link to School Article)
 

  • Student Housing near UWF – 10300 University Parkway, Pensacola, FL 32514

The Edge Pensacola is a new, off-campus, student housing apartment complex located at 10300 University Parkway that opened in August 2017. The Edge caters to University of West Florida students and offers individual leases for students in shared apartments. The apartments come in 3 bedroom/3 bath, 4 bedroom/4 bath, or 5 bedroom/5 bath units. Renters can choose their housemates or can be placed in a roommate matching system to share the common areas including living room, kitchen, and dining areas.  Amenities include laundry, computer lab, study lounge, pool, and a fitness center. The units come furnished and most utilities are included.

Similar apartment communities including The Next Apartments and College Vue have opened in 2015 and 2016 within a 1/2 mile of the UWF main entrance.

While apartment complexes offer amenities, these increasing prices for apartment communities make leasing a single family home look more affordable than ever! Interested in comparing prices with single family rental properties on the market? Visit our available rentals to browse homes and apartments for rent in Pensacola. 

originally posted 01-10-2018

Credit Scores: What are they and how to see yours for free!
05-15-2019
Realty Masters
Tenant Education
05-04-2022

credit scores

Credit Scores have vital information that lenders and other companies use to help decide the credit worthiness of consumers. Having good credit helps one make the large, important purchases in life like getting an auto loan or home mortgage. To most people, it is a mystery on how credit companies calculate your score and what information they are using. 

Realty Masters, like other property management companies, have some minimum criteria that renters have to qualify for to be approved - one of the big ones is your credit score. 

  • The First Step is knowing where to look:

There are many websites and services available to consumers to evaluate or monitor their credit score. The first step is finding out your score. One of the most widely used credit scores are FICO® Scores. Some great information is provided on FICO® Scores at http://www.myfico.com/credit-education/credit-scores/. Also, here is a little more information on credit scores directly from the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) that is valuable: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0152-credit-scores.

  • The Second Step is knowing your score and monitoring it:

There are several companies and services that give you access to your credit score. There are websites, apps, and banking services that help consumers monitor their credit. Some of those cost money as an one-time fee or monthly subscription. 

You are eligible to get a free credit report every 12 months as authorized by the FTC.

There is a website where you can get access to all three of your major credit reporting companies – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion - https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action. It is important to know as the more times your credit is pulled, that also affects your score. The credit agencies vary slightly on how they score your credit and even each credit reporting company (like ours being Resolve) can come back with a slightly different score based on the criteria and which credit bureau they use. I know, it’s so confusing!

I understand it’s frustrating getting approved for a rental property without a rental history and a credit score, however, those are the only criteria we have to give to the owner as Fair Housing doesn’t allow us to tell the owners anything about our potential renters.

  • Tips on Improving your Credit Score:

    • Paying your bills on time

    • The % of available credit to the credit limit

    • How long you have had credit

Realty Masters is excited that we are now partnered with - Renttrack - Our new payment system allows for online payments at a discounted rate from Payclix and also allows you the opportunity to build your credit by reporting your rental payments to the credit agencies! 


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