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Pensacola Realty Masters Blog

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

Military PCS Move to Pensacola
05-05-2022
Nicole St. Aubin
Tenant Education
05-05-2022

military pcs to pensacola

Are you planning a military move to the Pensacola area or moving from base housing?  

Timing is important.

If you are planning a move within 30 days, it’s time to get serious. Click here to view a current listing of our available rentals. Our office is open Monday - Saturday to assist you in your Pensacola area home search!  Many active rentals available now, and you will need to start a lease within 2 weeks of being approved for the property. Since COVID, less landlords and management companies are preleasing properties while tenants are in place. Ensure that the availability date posted on the available rentals matches your needs within that time frame.

If you’re planning to move more than 60 days from now, it’s likely too early to lock in a single-family rental in the area as most renters only give 30 to 60 days’ notice. However, many apartment complexes do lease 60-90 days in advance so if you are looking to lease an apartment, you will need to start earlier to secure one.

Are you attending school at both Whiting Field & NAS?

Many military officers attend flight school at both Pensacola NAS in Southwest Pensacola and at Whiting Field in Milton.  The bases are about an hour drive from each other. We suggest renting something in between the two locations to avoid having to move twice. Recommended areas include Central/Northeast Pensacola, and Pace.  Your commute time will be about the same being 1/2 way between bases and you'll save lots of time and fuel while stationed here. 

PCSing from out of the area and need to rent a house sight unseen?

If you are relocating from out of the area and need to secure a rental "sight unseen", let us help you.  It’s always our recommendation to have a proxy who can view the property for you in your absence. This can be a friend, family member, or coworker who can physically travel to the property and view the home for you to provide a recommendation on the location and the property itself. We are able to complete video tours for military transferring into the property to give you a better idea of condition and location, however, there is no substitute for seeing the property in person. Because of this, some companies do not offer sight unseen leasing. We are happy to work with you to lease a property from afar. The entire application and leasing process is convenient and can be done online!

Please understand, our licenses do restrict us from classifying or offering any personal opinions on any area or home as a “good” or “safe” or “bad or “unsafe” area.  Visit our page on Moving to Pensacola for valuable information to help plan your move. We ask you to do some research including checking with the local Escambia or Santa Rosa County Sheriff's office website's crime map, community links, Pensacola area zip code information, and school district information as these are great resources in your move. 

Options for TDY Moves

If you are coming for a temporary duty move, it’s best to find alternative housing or stay on base. Single family housing is hard to come by in the Pensacola area, and turnover between tenants is costly to landlords. Many families with children move in peak PCS season when housing is scarce. We recommend looking for an apartment complex and being up front about the time you will be staying in Pensacola.  

 

Keep in mind that Florida Statutes Chapter 83.662 do outline the procedures for the termination of a rental agreement by a service member. Be sure that your landlord offers a military clause with your lease agreement, and that it aligns with Florida Statutes procedures.

 

More Military Resources

Read more on our military page Military Information

Search for a Pensacola Rental Find Pensacola Rentals

Considering Buying a Pensacola Home? Search Pensacola Homes for Sale

Pensacola area Military Information Local Military Bases & Attractions

Reach out and let us know how our team can help you with your PCS move to Pensacola.

New Construction Builders in Pensacola
05-03-2022
Lindsay
Pensacola Real Estate
05-04-2022

new construction builders pensacola fl (Small)

We've compiled a comprehensive list of new construction home builders that are continuously building new homes in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties in Northwest Florida. 

Production Builders 

Builder: D.R. Horton (http://www.drhorton.com/)

Flynn Built- https://www.flynnbuilt.com/ 

Builder: Henry Homes (http://www.henrycompanyhomes.com/)

Builder: Adams Homes (https://www.adamshomes.com/communities/florida/pensacola)

Builder: Thomas Home Corporation (http://thomashomescorp.com/)

Builder: Holiday Builders (https://www.holidaybuilders.com/)

 

Custom Builders 

South Bay Construction - https://southbayconstructionfl.com/ 

Owens Custom Homes- https://www.owenshomeconstruction.com/ 

Kevin Russell Builders- http://www.kevinrussellhomes.com/ 

Mack Custom Homes- https://mackcustomhomes.com/ 

 With so much new commercial and residential new construction in the area, the plethora of options involved in the new construction building process can be overwhelming for a prospective home buyer! We are here to help.

We are happy to help lead you whether you have a lot picked out to design and build a home custom to you, or find a new construction home in a newly developed neighborhood. Pensacola is growing at exponential rates and the builder are working hard to meet the supply and demand levels. Give one of our agents a call today for assistance with your BRAND NEW DREAM HOME.

Considerations when Purchasing a Pensacola Multifamily investment
04-28-2022
Pam Keen
Owner Education
04-28-2022

Pam Keen, Pensacola Real Estate Broker and fellow investor, discusses considerations for investors looking to purchase multifamily investment properties in the Pensacola area!

We manage a lot of small multifamily properties including duplexes, triplexes, quadraplexes, and even small apartment buildings up to 16 units. With managing so many Pensacola area apartments, we have a lot of experience in what makes a good multifamily investment. Here's a few major considerations:

  • Most small multifamily buildings are located in areas with other multifamily buildings, rather than in single-family neighborhoods. It's imperative to pay attention to how the other building owners are maintaining their units. This is imperative in attracting quality tenants and maximizing your rents.
  • Look for better school districts. Many renters in these properties have school aged children. 
  • Consider area crime rates as your tenants surely will. Safety is among the top concern for tenants, and it is often a reason we see people vacate their lease early
  • Consider the age of the property. This is important not only for maintenance but for insurance costs. 
  • Check the flood zone for the property. We've seen several small apartments that repeatedly flood. This will surely affect your ability to make a profit with your investment building. Keep in mind in Pensacola, your property does not have to be in a flood zone to be at risk of flooding. We recommend purchasing a flood policy regardless of whether it's required by your lender or suggested due to a higher risk flood zone. Flooding can occur from poor drainage, creeks, streams, drainage ponds, or even excessive amounts of rain  in a short period of time. 
If you have questions about multifamily properties, reach out to Pam via phone or email. She'll be happy to answer them.
What Makes a Good Pensacola Investment Property
04-28-2022
Pam Keen
Owner Education
04-28-2022

Pam Keen, broker/owner of Realty Masters and author of The Real Estate Rulebook discusses What Makes a Good Pensacola Rental Property.

Start by picking an investment strategy. We have a market for both short-term rentals and long-term. What your ultimate plan for the property is im important when choosing a property. Listen as Pam discusses some of the criteria she uses when evaluating properties to purchase as investment properties.

  • She prefers properties near employers, the colleges, and the military bases.
  • She prefers properties that would appeal to families and are in good school districts.
  • She prefers brick homes built after 1978 so you don't have to worry about things like lead based paint and aluminum wiring.

Of course, there are a lot of factors that go into considering a property, but these are some of the basics that make a solid investment in Pensacola. Of course, the rate of return and market rent are among top factors when choosing an investment property. 

 Pam is a long time Florida Real Estate Investor who has bought, sold, and rented hundreds of her personal properties over the last 30 years. She uses her experience as a Pensacola Real Estate broker and investor to help investors buy and sell real estate in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties. Whether you are looking for a single family or multi-family property, Pensacola Beach condo or luxury home, Pam can assist you by discussing tools for investors.

Buy and Hold Investment Strategy
04-28-2022
Pam Keen
Owner Education
05-05-2022

     buy and hold investment

Are you looking to invest in Pensacola Real Estate and take advantage of the active rental market? Would you be interested in increasing your monthly revenue? If your goal is to buy properties and rent them for cash flow, here is some information you should consider when purchasing an income-producing property in the Pensacola area. 

       There are different ways you can invest in property in the Pensacola area. Because of our beautiful, white sand beaches and rich history, Pensacola has a large population of seasonal tourists looking to lease daily or weekly. These type of short-term rentals are leased fully furnished with all utilities included and deemed vacation rentals. They require a different strategy and more expenses than the typical long-term buy and hold single-family real estate investment.

             In order to decide on a good strategy for you, you should consider your long term investment goals for the property. Is your goal to build equity, create a positive monthly cash flow? Or is it to rent it out for a time then sell later at a profit? Do you want to own a property you can come vacation and visit? You should also keep in mind things like how much time you have to take care of and manage your property. 

          Single-family homes come with monthly expenses like trash removal, power and water bills, and yard maintenance which can be passed along to a long term tenant. If you own a condo, you pay a monthly maintenance fee, regardless of whether someone is living in the unit. Most include exterior maintenance, trash and the insurance for the building, some do and some do not include water inside the units. 

Something else to take into consideration is what types of properties appeal to different types of renters. Condos, townhomes and apartments are great for college students and other singles. Single-family homes can accommodate singles but also appeal to married couples with or without children. 

                I personally like to rent single-family homes unfurnished and with long-term leases. I get a signed 12-month lease and make the tenants responsible for all the utilities, yard maintenance, pest control and some minor maintenance. Consistency and continuity are two benefits of investing in this type of rentals, and it takes the least amount of time and effort. Tenants often stay and renew their lease beyond the first year. The average length of time tenants stay in the same place is about 2-3 years in Pensacola, Florida.

       We have a large number of military renters from both Pensacola Naval Air Station in Southwest Pensacola and NAS Whiting Field in Milton. We have two main types of military renters in the Pensacola area. Students attending the flight training program or another school tend to stay one year or less. Military families typically get their orders for three to four years in one location and if they like the home they are living in they will stay the entire time.

       We also have several colleges including Pensacola State College, Pensacola Christian College, and the University of West Florida. Student housing is another rental niche that is very viable in areas located near a college or university. If you are considering investing in student housing, take the time to visit the housing offices on local college or university campuses and ask what's currently available and what students are looking for in terms of housing. Undergraduates typically share housing so be prepared for the unexpected, but you can charge more and therefore it can produce a higher return. Again these students typically will find a place and renew their lease if they are happy with the landlord and the accommodations, so there is the potential for a four-year rental. 

For more info on investing and my personal strategies, you can purchase my book, "The Real Estate Rulebook: Everything you need to know to build wealth and create passive income." Reach out to me if you are looking to purchase Pensacola Investment Property! 

 

Zillow Pensacola Rental Zestimates
04-27-2022
Nicole
Owner Education
04-27-2022

zillow rental zestimates

As Realtors, we frequently hear from landlords and property owners asking about the accuracy of Zillow’s Zestimate for their Pensacola rental property. Right from Zillow’s website, Zillow reports the Rent Zestimate is a “starting point in determining the monthly rental price for a specific property.” They go on to further recommend that you talk to a local real estate agent or property manager that specializes in rentals to determine an accurate listing price. We are that real estate agency that specializes in rentals and property management!

Here’s a few reason’s Zillow’s Zestimates are not accurate in many cases.

1)    Their estimates do not take into account special features, location, and current market conditions. Location is the largest factor among these as, especially in Pensacola, market values vary, even just a few streets over. Zillow does not know Pensacola neighborhoods like we do.  

2)    Often, key factors, such as the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, or square footage are not accurate. This misinformation can skew the numbers greatly. As Zillow gets the information from user-submitted data as well as public records, the information is not always accurate.

3)    Many investors have come in to the market, purchased properties, and remodeled them to increase the value. If your property is not updated, you cannot achieve the same rents as one that is.

Our goal is always wanting to achieve the maximum rental rate for your investment while securing a tenant fast. It is best to price the home close to comparable homes to ensure it does not sit vacant for extended periods of time. Vacancy expenses are among the largest expenses you will face as an investor. Considering the loss of daily rent plus expenses to keep the property on the market, it does not make sense to overprice the home, as financially, you will lose in this scenario. Unfortunately, while demand is high and supply is low, you may achieve a higher than market rent from someone out of the area desperate to relocate. However, experience tells us these tenants are most likely to break their lease and find something more preferred after they are settled.   

So how do we price homes? We run a detailed market analysis on your property using local MLS data from the last 6 months to year. We factor in data that you provide about your home and consult the property appraisers website. We also take into account active listings that are not renting. Of course, we consult Zillow and other leading rental platforms for additional data. Commonly, we see Zestimates coming in up to $500 higher or $500 lower than market rent.

Interested in reading more about Zestimates? Read Zillow Estimates Not as Accurate as You Think on Investopedia, or Think Twice About Trusting Zestimate 'Zestimate' Home Values on Money.com.

If you’d like an accurate rental market analysis for your property, reach out to our team.

Pensacola Military Attractions
04-25-2022
Nicole St. Aubin
Community
05-03-2022

pensacola military attractions

Pensacola is home to several military attractions and has a deep rooted military history.

The Pensacola Navy Yard, constructed in 1826, utilized local timber to build ships, and the base was home to the West Indies Squadron who were responsible for fighting piracy and the international slave trade. While the Navy Yard was later burned during the Civil War, this was the beginning of the military presence and of Naval Air Station Pensacola. Pensacola's most coveted bridge, often known as "The 3- Mile Bridge" is named after a native Pensacola hero and four-star General Daniel "Chappie" James, Jr. 

With a military presence dating back to the 1800’s, Pensacola’s military culture is abundant as you’ll see with the following Pensacola area military attractions. 

All of these attractions are ranked among the top 20 things to do in Pensacola according to TripAdvisor.

National Museum of Naval Aviation

National Museum of Naval Aviation- The world class National Museum of Naval Aviation offers FREE admission to indoor and outdoor exhibits and collections. The museum is located on NAS and is open from 9 am to 5 pm daily. Inside the museum, you will find over 150 restored Navy, Marine, and Coast Guard aircrafts. Enjoy 300,000 square feet of aircrafts and historical artifacts that will blow your mind and take you on a trip through time. 

National Museum of Naval Aviation Pensacola, Florida

  • Blue Angels Practice & Autograph- From March to November, the Blue Angels practice at NAS Pensacola and sign autographs for free on Wednesdays after the morning practice at the Naval Aviation Museum. The public is invited to watch the practice! 
  • IMAX- This is the area’s largest IMAX screen and theatre. IMAX films are shown daily and include history topics, nature films, and of course aviation films. Theater tickets are available for under $10, and of course they offer military discounts.
  • Flight Simulators- The museum features both the Motion-Based Simulator and the Top Gun Air Combat Simulator. The flight simulators offer patrons of all ages a realistic air experience. Rides run constantly daily and can be bought in packages with the IMAX films
  • National Flight Academy- Located next to the National Naval Aviation Museum is the National Flight Academy. This one-of-a-kind experience is offered for 7th through 12th graders interested in aviation. The National Flight Academy offers several programs including 1, 3, and 6 day experiences. They also host Stem Saturday's for 3rd through 8th graders. This facility offers state of the art, hands on flight simulators and an experience your children will never forget. 

U.S. Navy Blue Angels

U.S. Navy Blue Angels- As you read above, you can easily find the famous Blue Angels practicing anytime from March through November in Pensacola skies. Twice a year, thousands come to Pensacola for the annual Pensacola Beach Air Show in July and the annual NAS Homecoming show at Pensacola’s Naval Aviation Museum in November. 

Blue Angels

Veteran's Memorial Park 

Veteran's Memorial Park is located on Bayfront Parkway in downtown Pensacola, Florida 32502.  This park was constructed in 1992 and pays homage to lives lost and thanks those who came home. The park borders overlooks Pensacola Bay and spans over 5 acres of memorials and monuments honoring those who served. Veteran's Memorial Park is home to several military monuments including the most notable Wall South, a one-half scale replica of the Memorial Wall located in Washington, D.C. honoring those who served in the Vietnam War. Across the street, there is a short pier that juts out into Pensacola Bay with a sculpture dedicated to the lost and orphaned children of war. 

Veterans Memorial Park in Downtown Pensacola

 

Fort Barrancas & Barrancas National Cemetery 

Fort Barrancas ​is located on the grounds of NAS Pensacola, Florida 32508. While it is located on the grounds of NAS, It is operated by the National Park Service as part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore. The original fort was built in 1698 under the name Fort San Carlos de Austria. The site of Fort Barrancas has an extensive history with several structures under many different rulers and with many different uses. The current fort was used by the Army until 1947, and in the 1980's it was restored so that visitors could appreciate it and learn more about local history. Barrancas National Cemetery also lies on the grounds near Fort Barrancas. Barrancas National Cemetery is for members of the armed forces and their families, and is also open for members of the public to pay their respects. 

barrancas national cemetery pensacola florida

 

Fort Pickens 

Fort Pickens is located at the end of Pensacola Beach, Florida 32561. Owned and operated by the National Park Service, Fort Pickens serves as a major attraction in Gulf Islands National Seashore on Santa Rosa Island. Its unique location provided a defense There are park entrance fees to access Fort Pickens. In addition to a rich history, the area offers several walking and biking trails, beautiful public beaches, wildlife viewing, a popular fishing pier, and fort tours. The Fort itself, built in the year 1834, can be explored by the whole family! Take a guided or self-directed tour and learn about Fort Pickens extensive history and use. This is a great spot to appreciate history, architecture, and the outdoors and can provide a full day of entertainment for all.

Fort-Pickens-tours-pensacola-beach

Pensacola Lighthouse and Maritime Museum

The Pensacola Lighthouse and Maritime Museum is located on NAS Pensacola, Florida 32508 and can be accessed through the base’s back gate off of Blue Angel Pkwy. This lighthouse is said to be one of the most haunted places in the country. As such, there are regular ghost tours through the building! Additionally, as the lighthouse is the perfect spot to view the Blue Angels practice they offer special viewing times with reservations. The museum area gives you a history of lighthouses and the Pensacola area. In fact, the Pensacola Lighthouse was the first lighthouse built on the Florida Coast by the U.S. Government! Climb the 150 steps to the top and enjoy the view over Big Lagoon and Gulf of Mexico.

Pensacola lighthouse and museum

Most Important Questions for Potential Property Manager
04-22-2022
Nicole St. Aubin
Owner Education
04-25-2022

most important questions to ask potential property manager

Most Important Questions for Potential Property Manager

1.  Are they a property management company or do they rent houses?

While these agents may be licensed, they may not be familiar with landlord tenant laws, security deposit disbursements, inspections, advertising rentals, and the other aspects of property management that come with experience!  You need a company to manage your property with software, systems, checks and balances, quality control, insurance, and a large inventory of homes to attract qualified renters. Our company rents houses- that's what we do, and we are #1 while doing it! 

2. Are their property managers licensed?

Conversely, some property management companies operate with only one licensed broker and hire all unlicensed assistants to do the management. Our property managers are all licensed Florida sales associates with experience in both real estate and property management.

3. Are they members of NARPM?

The National Association of Residential Property Managers is the premier resource for single-family property managers. We have been members of this organization for two decades. Our broker Nicole St. Aubin has served on the local Board of Directors as a Director, President, and Past President. This membership is an affiliation that allows for property managers to receive law updates, best practices, market trends, and more.

4. Are they members of NAR and do they advertise in the MLS? 

All of our rental properties get advertised in the Pensacola Multiple Listing Service. As vacancy is often an investor’s number one expense, we do everything we can to mitigate vacancy time. This means that we advertise your property to 3,000 local realtors, and their clients, and pay a referral fee to real estate agents who bring a qualified renter for your property. This is included in your leasing fee. Many companies skip this step to lease your home without having to compensate other agents. As members of the National Association of Realtors, we receive access to premium tools to help us lease and manage your home better and faster.

5. Do they have a local real estate attorney on their team?

One of the most valuable relationships we have is with our attorneys at Chesser & Barr. Chesser & Barr is a local real estate attorney in Fort Walton Beach who specializes in real estate and property management law. While we don’t always like what the attorney says, we know that we are on the right side of the law when we follow their instructions. Liability carries the greatest risk for you as an investor.

6. How long have they been in business?

Realty Masters been in business since 1998. Our broker/owner Pam Keen is a retired Navy Captain and investor with integrity and experience. Realty Masters has an A rating with the Better Business Bureau since 2001. We’ve been members of the Pensacola Chamber of Commerce for 27 years, and were chosen as Small Business of the Month. As members of a host of local and industry organizations, community and membership matters.

Why is this important? This shows that the company is stable and one you can trust with your funds. Unfortunately, the Pensacola area and property management business in general does have stories of property managers who did not properly account for clients funds. You can rest assured your funds (and your tenants) are being properly cared for. We even have three escrow accounts for security deposits with FDIC limits in mind.

7. Besides the management fees, what additional fees is the management company charging you?

Unfortunately, many property management companies profit off your maintenance and other repairs. There are several ways this is done in the industry. Among the most common are in-house maintenance and maintenance premiums. In-house maintenance companies are companies staffed and run by the property management company. Another common way that management companies profit off maintenance is by hiding a 10-15% maintenance upcharge from every bill that goes to the management company. With rising maintenance expenses, we hate this idea and promise never to charge additional maintenance premiums, maintenance coordination fees, or maintenance surcharges. 

Pensacola's Section 8 Housing Information for Landlords
04-22-2022
Nicole St. Aubin
Owner Education
04-22-2022

section 8 hud program

Realty Masters manages properties for owners who participate in the local section 8 housing program. While some municipalities require participation in the program, participation in the program is voluntary in our area.

Both Escambia & Santa Rosa County have a housing department that provides financial assistance to those who qualify. The program members are open to all but is usually comprised of single parents, elderly, or disabled who must be approved through the county. These assistance programs stay full and keep a lengthy waitlist, therefore, there are always opportunities to lease your property with section 8. 

How does it work?

Tenants complete an approval process with the housing authority. The housing department agrees to pay a portion of, or all of, the rental rate. While the asking rate is set by the landlord, HUD must approve the rental rate and will determine which portion of the rent they will cover. We have seen HUD cover anywhere from only 10% of the rent to 100% of the rent. The check comes directly from the housing office the 1st of each month. The housing department signs a 12 month lease with our company, and the renter, and promises to pay the rental amount, or portion of the rental amount, as long as the renter and landlord keep their contractual obligations. 

We do screen HUD renters the same as we screen our other renters, and renters under the section 8 housing program can be denied based on qualifications.  The housing department performs a rigorous inspection on the property to make sure it’s in acceptable condition and that everything is in working order. If the property does not pass HUD’s inspection, repairs must be made before the lease can begin. We utilize a pre-HUD inspection checklist provided by HUD. As the paperwork is stringent, we handle all the paperwork with the renter and HUD, making this an easier process for you as a landlord.

The Pensacola Housing Authority administers the Section 8 program for Escambia County, and you can read more on their website here https://www.cityofpensacola.com/208/Section-8-Rental-Assistance.

The Milton Housing Authority administers the HUD program for Santa Rosa County, and you can read more on their website here https://miltonhousing.org/.

The housing department is always in need of landlords to participate in the section 8 program.

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

Pensacola Military Discounts
04-22-2022
Nicole St Aubin
Community
05-03-2022

pensacola military discounts

Pensacola is a very military friendly community. With a lengthy military history, Pensacola is home to many active duty, retired, and veteran service members, as well as the U.S. Navy Blue Angels! Did you know Pensacola Naval Air Station was commissioned in 1914 by the U.S. Navy and was the first Naval Air Station? Military pride and respect runs deep in Pensacola.  As many local businesses are owned, operated and staffed by military and veterans (as Realty Masters is!) many offer military discounts. From retail to service providers, to housing, Pensacola military discounts are abundant.

Here's a few things we know about Pensacola Military Discounts:

  • A large percentage of Pensacola area businesses offer military discounts, including small, local businesses and large corporations.
  • Some companies offer active duty military discounts only, while many also offere veteran discounts.
  • Some offer military discounts every day and some offer discounts on a specific day or during specific months or times. 
  • The best thing to do is ask. If you don't see an advertised military discount, that doesn't mean there isn't one.  
  • Many businesses that offer military discounts are owned or operated by former military themselves. Even if you are not military, consider supporting military owned, operated, and staffed businesses in our community. 

Pensacola military discounts are available among all industries including restaurants, retail, hotels, home service, and more! Here's a few of our favorites in each category that offer military discounts.

Local and chain restaurants alike are fond of our military. Nationwide restaurants like Buffalo Wild Wings, Chi-fil-A, Golden Coorral, IHOP, Longhorn Steakhouse, Olive Garen, Outback, Red Lobts, and Tropical Smoothie Cafe offer these discounts. Locally, even more resrautants like Calvert's in the Heights, CJ's Kitchen and Grille, The Fishing Hole, Gulf Coast Brewery, Jellyfish, Nick's Boathouse, Ollie's Neighborhood Grill, True Grit American Bristro, and the Wacked Out Weiner offer discounts.

Retail and service providers also offer military discounts. Nationwide, military are eligible for great discounts at stores like AT&T, Advanced Auto Parts, Best Buy, Budget Truck Rental, Dollar General, Home Depot, Lowe's, Old Navy, and Sam's Club. Some of our local favorites are Costello's Butcher Shop, Flowerama, Lost Key Golf Course, Pensacola Cook's Kitchen and Play Zone. 

Of course, being in real estate, we love all home related discounts and there are several service providers we recommend who offer military discounts. A few of these include A Cut Above Tree Service, Boutwell Air Masters, Bugmeister's Termite and Pest Control, Fields Roofing, Happy Bear Cleaning, Honey Bee Plumbing, Lords Appliance Repair, Nelsons Appliance Repair. 

Many local and nationwide hotels offer a mlitary discount or military rate including Best Western, Candlewood Suites, Comfort Inn, Hilton Pensacola Beach, and both Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express.

And to all the military and veterans reading this, we appreciate you and your service to our great country.

Listing your Home for Sale or For Rent
04-15-2022
Nicole St Aubin
Pensacola Real Estate
04-21-2022

listing your Pensacola home for sale or for rent

Listing with Realty Masters For Rent or Sale at the Same Time

No one knows what the future holds. We understand that better than anyone! You find your housing needs changing unexpectedly and you are toying with the idea of becoming a landlord and renting the house out.  Not all landlords set out to become landlords, but life happens and you should look at your situation, weigh the options, and do what makes the most sense for you. We can help with that.

Are you unsure whether you should rent or sell your home? With Realty Masters, you can do both! As Pensacola's real estate investment specialist, we can help you sell or lease your Pensacola home without committing to one option until it's either rented or sold. 

Here's how it works:

  • A 90 day listing contract will be required to put your home on the Pensacola MLS Multiple Listing Service and syndication to multiple other internet sites to include Zillow, Trulia, Homes.com, etc. Don't worry, there is a $0 cancellation fee. 
  • We would require the home be listed for sale only for at least the first 30 days. If it's not sold, we will list it for rent or for sale, and if the home rents, the listing contract can be cancelled without penalty and the home withdrawn from the sales market. Luckily, average time on the market to sell your home is only 25 days as of 2022, and we feel confident we can get your home sold or rented fast! 

To help you make your decision, we have some information that may be helpful regarding the pro's and con's of renting and selling your home! 

Pro's of Renting Your Home

  • Collect extra income on top of paying off your debt (so long as the rental rate is more than your mortgage and expenses! We hope that is the case for you!) 
  • Own a home while someone else pays off your mortgage
  • Home value appreciation over long term 
  • No utilities costs once occupied
  • Transfer some of your upkeep and minor maintenance duties to your tenant

Cons of Leasing your Home

  • Potential unexpected expenses such as vacancy and damage
  • Deffered maintenance costs will increase as tenants will not care for the home the way a homeowner does
  • Routine maintenance expenses and capital improvements necessary to maintain the investment
  • Continue to pay insurance and property tax, and property taxes will increase if you had a homestead exemption

Pro's of Selling your Home 

  • Largea mount of money received at once
  • Can move money into another investment
  • Casuhing out your appreciation and avoid any temporary changes in market value 
  • Avoid the cost of interest over the life of the loan
  • No more property taxes, insurance, repair expenses 
  • Potential to avoid capital gains taxes (ask your accountant!) 

Cons of Selling your Home

  • One less asset gaining income on your portfolio
  • Loss of rental income
  • Miss out on future appreciation potential 
  • Potential capital gains taxes 
  • Paying out closing fees and closing costs
  • Out of pocket repairs that may come up to get your home sold
  • Typically takes a longer time to find a buyer and close than to find a renter and receive rent 

There may be some drawbacks to this approach as it can scare away rents who don't want to have another property owner sell while they are leasing. It also may not allow enough time for a buyer to view and make an offer before it rents. Luckily, both markets are moving fast and we know we can get your home leased or sold! 

Request a Market Analysis

In order to make any decisions on whether you should ultimately rent or sell your home, you must have a good market anaylsis of both the Rental Value and the Sales Value. To request a market anaylsis for both the sale and rental markets, give us some basic information here. 

Are you cut out to be a Landlord?

Landlording can be a pleasant experience or sometimes a very stressful one. You may learn a thing or two along the way and making mistakes can be costly. Of course if you do not want to actually deal with your tenants yourselves, you can always hire a professional property management firm like Realty Masters of Florida to do the job for you.

Whether your goal is to lease or sell your Pensacola area home, reach out to our team and let us know how we can help you accomplish your goals. 

Top 10 Mistakes New Investors Make
04-07-2022
Erica Parker
Owner Education
04-08-2022

top 10 mistakes Pensacola investors make

10 Mistakes New Investors Make When Purchasing Pensacola, FL Investment Properties

Investing in property has the potential to be a great source of income. However, you want to be smart about your real estate investment. There are many factors to consider when making this important purchase. Below are the top 10 mistakes that investors make when purchasing a Pensacola investment property. 

1.       Paying Too Much. Use a trusted Pensacola Realtor© that is experienced with investment properties including single family and small multi-family properties. A Realtor© will be able to provide you with information regarding comparable properties in the area, potential rent, and can help guide you with finding a suitable investment property without exceeding your budget.

2.       Skipping the Home Inspection. Surprises are not always fun! Be sure to have a thorough home inspection completed even if the property appears to be in good shape. You want to know what you are taking on and ruling out any costly repairs in the beginning can help save you time and money.

3.       Being Unrealistic About Rent Amounts in the Pensacola Area. When house hunting for your investment property with your Realtor©, be realistic about the potential rent. Asking too much for rent will end up costing you more money in the long run. If you price your rental too high, it is likely to sit on the market for a longer amount of time than it would if it were initially listed at a reasonable rent amount. As vacancy costs can be your largest expense, it is best to price the property to rent as quickly as possible. 

We are seeing investors seeking short-term rental and calculating huge ROI’s based off “potential” rents. We caution investors to purchase properties using this formula. Not all properties make a good AirBnB and many factors can derail these plans, such as government regulation, homeowners’ associations, and unknown factors like COVID. Thus, we recommend that your purchase make financial sense as a long term rental also, in case it does not work out as a short-term rental.

4.       Not Hiring a Pensacola Property Manager. Once they’ve purchased a property, some investors underestimate the advantage of securing a property manager to deal with the day to day details of managing a rental. This includes processes such as screening applicants, receiving maintenance requests, performing regular property evaluations, posting notices, and coordinating leases renewals, for example. Having someone to communicate directly with your tenants on your behalf will alleviate a lot of the work that can come along with owning investment properties.

5.       Not Being Familiar with Florida Landlord Tenant Law. Another one of the perks of having a property manager is that we are familiar with Florida Landlord Tenant law. You don’t want to rely on Google or Reddit to find answers about situations that may arise throughout your tenant’s lease term. Having a trusted Pensacola property management company by your side to help you navigate those waters will help reduce stress. However, it is a great idea to review these laws so you know what to expect if certain situations arise, such as unauthorized occupants or evictions, and what your legal obligations are under the law.

6.       Not Considering Local Environmental Factors. Here in Pensacola, FL, we are susceptible to hurricanes and other severe weather conditions including extreme temperatures. As many properties are located near the water, be aware of flood zones and be prepared should the worst case scenario happen. Flood insurance is always a worthy investment, and you should factor flood insurance in as a yearly expense. Pensacola also has termites in the area and if these go unnoticed and/or untreated, they can cause extensive damage to your property as well as potentially hazardous conditions such as a damaged subfloor. A termite bond can be a wise investment or necessity, especially if you have a wood sided or off grade property. During summer, the temperature and the heat index get extremely high. If you notice the HVAC system is older, plan to replace that in the near future instead of making Band-Aid repairs every few months.

7.   Not Taking Into Consideration the Area That You Are Purchasing In. Be sure to pay attention to the area surrounding the property you are purchasing because prospective tenants certainly will! Are there schools or parks nearby? Is there a road with heavy traffic and many businesses? Does the property meet the real estate value principle of conformity? This is important for future resale. 

Evaluate the condition of the houses or apartments that are nearby and if they’re in good or bad condition. Search crime maps for crime statistics to get a good feel of the safety and security offered in the area.. Ask yourself if you would be comfortable living in the area you are considering purchasing in because that will be among the top concerns of your renters. 

8.       Not Considering Expenses for Repairs and Reserves. Be prepared to incur some expenses not only getting the property ready to rent, but also once it’s occupied. Plan for routine maintenance expenses and costly capital improvements over time. Tenants are only responsible for damage caused by accident, carelessness, recklessness or abuse and are not responsible for ordinary wear and tear on a property or extensive upkeep. Take into consideration the cost of future expenses for big ticket items such as the roof, plumbing, or major appliances like water heaters and HVAC units. It is important to know the condition of these items before you purchase your investment property and that is why the home inspection comes in handy!

9.       Not Planning for Possible Vacancies. The rental market can be unpredictable at times, as can tenants. Are you prepared if a tenant breaks a lease and moves out early? The sudden loss of rental income can be scary. Properties are renting fast right now, but we recommend factoring in 5% vacancy costs yearly when planning your budget for your investment property to take into account potential vacancy and turnover.

10.   Skimping on Materials and Fixtures. Once you purchase a property, consider making some upgrades. Beware that cheaper is not always better. Lower-grade materials have shorter lifespans and can make you feel as if you are constantly making repairs. Consider higher-grade materials and fixtures. Not only can this help you get a higher rent, it may also attract better quality tenants. For example, if your Pensacola area investment property has the old original pink countertops in the kitchen or bathroom, consider upgrading them with granite. Not only is it much more attractive, it is practically bulletproof and can withstand greater wear and tear. If faucets or doorknobs are brass, try replacing them with nickel-brushed fixtures, is a more inexpensive way to improve the look of the property. Additionally, updating old appliances will appeal to tenants when leasing and save you routine maintenance expenses later.  

Remember to keep these in mind during your search for an investment property in Pensacola. Be realistic, practical, and run realistic numbers to calculate your ROI. If you are entering the Pensacola market as a new investor, it is a good idea to speak with other local investors to pick their brains and discuss their personal experiences. This is a big purchase and you want to make a wise decision.

Why Choose Realty Masters for Property Management
04-06-2022
Erica Parker
Owner Education
04-08-2022

why choose realty masters pensacola property management

When choosing a Pensacola property management company, many factors can come into play. How do you choose the right one? Who will have your best interest in mind and help protect your investment? Our motto is we treat your home as if it were our own, so let Pensacola Realty Masters take care of you!

Pensacola Realty Masters is the largest family-owned property management company in the Pensacola area with over twenty years of property management experience and over nine hundred properties in our portfolio. Whether you’re a first time landlord or a seasoned investor, we can help you navigate the world of property management and investment real estate. Let our family help yours!

Our trusted team is dedicated to assisting you and your tenants before, throughout, and after the lease term. There are many processes in place to help make for a smooth transition when signing on a new owner, screening tenants during the application process, and also while completing move in and move out evaluations, to name a few.

We offer our services at a reasonable cost without any hidden fees. We also do not charge you to market your property or when the property is vacant. Once you have signed a property management agreement, we your property will be listed for rent and you will not be charged anything until a new tenant moves in. We also offer a discount for our active duty military and investors with three or more properties.

Being a landlord is not always easy. While we are well-versed in Florida Landlord Tenant Law as well as Fair Housing, we also have a legal team to assist with any issues that may arise during. This is an awesome resource to have as a back-up for those tough cases and it only costs a minimal fee of $4/month in addition to your monthly management fees.

Realty Masters requires strict standards for your tenants to qualify. Just look at our online reviews! Almost all of the negative feedback we have from renters is about not meeting the requirements. It is our job to protect your investment.  Applicants of Pensacola Realty Masters are required to meet certain criteria such as a minimum credit score, sufficient income, and a good residential history. We will process applications in the order they are received and will communicate with you regarding the status of applications for your rental property. We must follow the laws of Fair Housing and are limited in what details we can divulge to you, but know that your potential tenants are being well-screened and no one that doesn’t meet the requirements gets approved unless you have given that conditional approval.  

Pensacola Realty Masters strives to provide you with extremely thorough documentation of the condition of your rental property. The evaluation team is excellent at documenting the conditions digitally, as well as in writing. We will complete evaluations prior to move in, ninety days after move in, annually, and after move out. The reports and photos will be sent to you so you can review the condition of your property as well. Our property managers will gather the necessary information to determine if any notices need to be given to the tenants for lease violations during occupancy. Upon move outs, our property managers will communicate with you and coordinate vendors to help make the property move in ready. The property managers will also draft any claims that may be made against a past tenant’s security deposit and keep you apprised of the laws we are all required to follow.

We are readily available for your tenants! Our office is also centrally located in Pensacola and in addition to normal working hours during the week, we are open on Saturdays for added convenience. We also have an after-hours phone for those maintenance emergencies that may crop up after business-hours. Many property management companies are unreachable. You can call our office and get an answer 51 hours each week. You can also text, email, or message us on your portal.

If the time comes when you decide that you no longer desire to be a landlord, or if you may want to reduce the size of your portfolio, we have multiple Pensacola realtors that can provide a comparative market analysis and assist you with selling your Pensacola real estate investment.  

Being a landlord can be a rewarding experience and we are here to help you every step of the way. Contact Realty Masters today to discuss your next steps!

Expect Increased Bills with Gulf Power Transition to FPL
03-07-2022
Nicole St. Aubin
Tenant Education
05-03-2022

Florida Power and Light Pensacola's new power company

You've probably seen by now that Gulf Power was bought out by Florida Power and Light! Here's a rundown of what has changed for Pensacola's new electricity provider.

  • The rates have increased and you should expect an increased amount in your next utility bill. This is also due to a state rate increase.
  • You can manage your account online and track usage. There are some nice features on the account including the ability to pay online and to receive projected bills based off your usage throughout the month. If you had an account before with Gulf Power, your username nd password will still work but the Gulf Power mobile app does not work any longer. Customers already set up on autopay do not need to take any action.
  • Your payments are now made to Florida Power and Light.


Based off some extremely high energy bills we've been hearing about, we recommend your practice some energy efficiency during the peak of winter.

Here's a few things you can try to reduce your energy consumption:

  • Use rugs on wood and tile floors
  • Let natural sunlight in during the day and draw blinds and curtains at night
  • Unplug unused electronics and appliances
  • Change your a/c filter
  • Make sure your fan is set for winter to run in reverse or for summer as desired

A large majority of your electricity bill comes from heating and cooling costs. It is recommended that you keep your heating system set to 68 degrees in the winter. For every degree above 68, you can increase your energy bill as much as 8%.

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.

Holiday & Community Resources from Realty Masters
11-19-2021
Nicole St. Aubin
Community
05-03-2022

holiday and community resources

Community Resources for the Holidays
We can all use a little help sometime! As the holidays approach, we are finding more Pensacola area residents struggling with staying on top of their bills as the price of everything seems to continue to increase. We are here to help! We've compiled a list of community resources to help you this Holiday Season.

Children's Toys for the Holidays

The USMC Toys for Tots program supplies families with kids under 14 with a toy for the holiday season. Families can sign up at: https://pensacola-fl.toysfortots.org/local-coordinator-sites/lco-sites/local-toy-request-single-form.aspx, registration closes December 1st.

The Watson Family Foundation provides a Gift Giving Drive to provide toys for area youth. Check the website and submit a form to request aid here: https://www.watsonfamilyfoundation.com

Food and Meal Donations
Food costs are rising at a record pace. While we face supply chain disruptions, labor shortages and inflation, you can expect food prices to continue to increase. As the holidays approach, local non-profits ramp up their meal and food giveaways. Check out some of the events below.


Thanksgiving Meals
These community partners are providing Thanksgiving meals to all.

The Watson Family Foundation- Community advocate and local attorney Aaron Watson's foundation is hosting a Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner- Drive Up Giveaway. This event is taking place on Monday, November 22, 2021 at 10 AM in Town & Country Plaza at 3300 N Pace Blvd., Pensacola, FL 32505.
Magic 106.1 Magic of Thanksgiving- Thanksgiving Dinner at Favor Flavor Seafood Restaurant on Tuesday, November 23, 2021 starting at 10:30 AM. Free meal whether dine in or to go and is located at 2005 W. Jordan St.
Waterfront Rescue Mission- Will serve Thanksgiving meals at a variety of centers on November 25th and at Opening Doors on November 23rd.
Stripes Pub & Grill in Navarre- Dine in or to go free cooked Thanksgiving Meal Thursday, November 25th from 12 PM to 3 PM.

Upcoming Grocery & Food Giveaways
These events are open to all with no documentation needed and are drive through sites!

Waterfront Rescue Mission in Pensacola- Farm to City Food Giveaway on November 23, 2021 from 10 AM to 12 PM. Car line up begins on 8 AM first come, first serve. The event is located at 348 W Herman St. in Pensacola.
Farm to City at Milton Community Center- Distribution begins on November 23, 2021 from 10 AM to 12 PM. Car line up begins at 8 AM and the event is first come, first serve. The address is 5629 Byrom St., Milton, FL 32570.

Local Food Pantries
The best way to receive access to a full list of food pantries and donation sites is to contact United Way of West Florida. Give them a call at 2-1-1, text your zip code to 898-211, or visit www.211nwfl.org

Manna Food Pantries is helping to stock the local, smaller food pantries in the community and not giving direct support to community members. Both 211 and Feeding the Gulf Coast have a director of food pantry, child meal sites, and more on their websites.

Community Resources and Non-Profits 

  • United Way provides 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.
  • 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.
  • The Watson Family Foundation offers a variety of hardship relief programs including financial relief, mentorship, school readiness support, and faith based outreach. Visit their website to request assistance.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Florida Veteran's Support Line - Special support is available for military or veteran members. Give them a call at (844)-693-5838 or visit them online. 

Happy Holidays to everyone!

Considerations before Getting Solar Panels in the Pensacola Area
11-05-2021
Nicole St. Aubin
Owner Education
05-03-2022

pensacola solar energy a hidden cost

Considerations before Getting Solar Panels in the Pensacola Area

The use of Solar panels becoming more popular as more people are working from home and looking for ways to save money and get tax rebates. As citizens of Earth, we are more concerned than ever about our carbon footprint and the impact we will leave behind on the earth. Since Hurricane Sally, we’ve seen a lot of new roofs comes on and an explosion in the Solar Energy market in Pensacola. We’ve heard mixed reviews on the subject and wanted to bring you some perspectives from those in the real estate, insurance, and construction industry to help with your decision of whether or not to invest in solar energy for your Pensacola area home or business.  

There are several types of solar energy systems. For the purpose of this article, we’re talking about solar panels placed on the roof.

Benefits of Solar

Obviously, the main benefit of solar panels is to save money on your monthly energy bill. In many cases, the electricity bill can be mostly or significantly eliminated through the use of solar panels.   Keep in mind, if you finance your solar panels, you will be paying a monthly bill regardless, just to finance the solar panels.

There may be certain tax advantages, rebates, and opportunities to sell additional energy to the grid. These vary by location and time, so definitely ask your solar representative about these items.

Solar panels are environmentally friendly and a renewable source of energy. Solar energy helps to reduce gasses and fossil fuels created by traditional power sources.

Google Project Sunroof provides an estimated solar savings from Google Earth Imagery. Check it out here: https://sunroof.withgoogle.com/

The software analyzes the size of your roof available for solar panels and the hours of usable sunlight per year. It’s pretty cool, but remember, this is just an estimate based off old google map imagery and not an accurate source.

Hidden Costs of Solar

We are learning that the saving might be offset by higher insurance rates. Some insurance companies will not write policies at all, some will write a policy under certain conditions and some will include them in general policy. It seems a common issue the insurance companies have is the selling back of electricity. Many of the sales representatives for the solar companies use the idea that the company will buy back unused power, however, the insurance companies are saying that changes the home to a business. 

It is also our understanding that the lien placed on the home for the equipment must be paid off prior to or at closing and is not usually transferable to a new homeowner.

Additionally, home appraisers are not assigning any significant value to the solar equipment on your home, even if it’s paid off.

We’ve also spoken to several roofers and they have a negative opinion of solar panels. Unfortunately, the solar panels are attached to roof by nails. This can of course cause roof issues if not installed properly, over time, or in the event of a high wind event. Roofers are not remove solar panels from a roof so the solar company will have to come out to remove the panels in order to have your roof assessed or repaired/replaced. Some contracts include a one-time removal and storage off site while your roof is being repaired (assuming the panels didn’t get damaged) Since we are in Florida and highly susceptible to strong tropical winds, we recommend you discuss what happens if the panels are damaged in a storm and what type of warranty is offered on a solar system before purchasing.

Pensacola Solar Companies

If you do decide to go through with solar panels, it can be hard to decide which company to use. We recommend interviewing at least two companies. Here is a list of the top rated Solar Companies in the Pensacola area:

Meraki Solar, LLC   https://merakisolutions.com/

Suncor Solar  https://www.suncorsolar.com/

Compass Solar Energy https://compasssolar.com   

You can request a free quote on many of their websites!

Fall Family Friendly Events in Pensacola!
10-15-2021
Lindsay
Community
05-03-2022

Pensacola fall October activities and events

Are you looking for some family friendly Pensacola fall activities? We've got quite the list for you and your family to explore. 

Best Corn Mazes and Pumpkin Patches

Sweet Season Farms
2260 Horn Rd., Milton, FL 32570
Sweet Season Farms begins their Autumn season at the beginning of October! They have something for the whole family: corn maze, pumpkin patch, hayride, corn popper pillow, corn cannon, barnyard ball, cow train, sunflower speedway, pumpkin bowling, hop-a-long ride, country carousel, the hay barn, pony rides, corn silo, tractor slide, barnyard petting zoo, redneck gold, farm playground, corn hole, tug of war, duck races, and more! Tickets are $12.50 to $14.00. Pumpkins range from $2 - $25 each. Learn more on their website https://www.sweetseasonfarms.com

Holland Farms
2055 Homer Holland Rd., Milton, FL 32570
Holland Farms is open for the season! They're open from 8-6 M-Sat. and 8-6 Sun. $14 wristband per person for pumpkin patch (includes 1 pumpkin), hayride, and all other activities. Activities include- spider web, sandbox, swings, horse tire swings, pedal tractor cart racing, slides, petting zoo, corn box, zip lines, rat racers, knocker balls, and corn maze. Learn more on their website https://www.hollandfarmsonline.com

Other Pensacola area Fall Family Friendly Activities

2021 Fall Food Truck Fest
You don't want to miss out on all the great food trucks in our area. The event will be held downtown at community maritime park with a $2 admission fee. They are currently looking for judges so check out the website if you are interested.  

Dracula
Ballet Pensacola will be performing Dracula at the Pensacola Little Theatre from October 29 through the 31st. For more information and tickets check out the website.

Pensacola Blue Wahoos
The Pensacola Blue Wahoos are hosting a Halloween celebration at the stadium Friday, October 29th. They will have trick-or-treating, a movie, and a fireworks show. For tickets and more information check out the Website

Pensacola Interstate Fair
This 11-day event is a local favorite.  The Pensacola Interstate Fair will take place October 21st through the 31st this year! Always a good time for all ages, get your discounted tickets on their website for half price now! Wristband tickets are also available for a discounted price. Get your cotton candy and enjoy the cooler weather at the fair. They even have a sea lion show this year. Check their website for more details.

Hadji Haunted House
The popular haunted house is back and ready to scare the boots off you. They are also looking for volunteers if you are looking to scare instead of being scared. They will be open for several weekends leading up to Halloween.

Beach-o-Ween  
This will be the 3rd annual Beach-O-Ween which is a family-friendly event on Pensacola Beach. There will be decorated booths and games for all ages. This is a free event on October 22 from 4-9 PM.  

Halloween at The Park at OWA
The Foley park has a jam-packed schedule for October from Terror in the Park, Kid-Friendly Halloween in Downtown, to Island Movie Nights. See the schedule and get more information on your website.

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 Traffic and Road Conditions
08-11-2021
Nicole St. Aubin
Community
05-03-2022

Pensacola Traffic and Road Conditions

It feels like no matter where you go in Pensacola these days, you are bound to end up in traffic from the road construction or a wreck. Especially with school starting again this week in both Escambia and Santa Rosa County, it’s always best to leave a few minutes early in case you do hit traffic.

We have found some resources to help you see where the traffic is currently as well as all the current road construction projects going on. 

Here’s a few tips on how to combat traffic:

  • Map out alternative routes
  • Experiment with timing
  • Use a GPS device with live traffic updates
  • Consider a toll road as they usually have less traffic that non-toll roads
Hurricane Preparedness Tips
06-30-2021
Nicole St. Aubin
Tenant Education
04-18-2022

Hurricane preparedness

If you have been watching the weather reports lately you probably know that we have already had the first named storm this year.  Back in May, the National Hurricane Center had a preparedness week so if we are to get a hurricane we will be prepared. Did you prepare? Here's a list of ways you can do so now. 

Determine your Risk- use the time now before there is a threat to learn your flood zone and evacuation zone so if a storm comes you will have plenty of time to make an educated decision to stay or leave. https://myescambia.com/apps/knowyourzone/

You can also check out flood risk zones on this map: https://floodfactor.com/ 

Develop an Evacuation Plan- If a storm comes and you will need to evacuate, it's best to have a few plans in place on where you will go. Depending on the storm, you might want to stay with locals that might be in a safer area. Consider your family or friend's homes. Another very important thing to consider is your pets! If you have pets it is a good idea to go ahead and research hotels that you can go to so you can take your pets with you. If you have to evacuate, do not leave your pets behind. 

Assemble Disaster Supplies- Even if you made a kit last year it is always a good idea to take it out and ensure your supplies are still in working condition. If you do not know what to pack into your kit check out this helpful link:  https://flash.org/peril_inside.php?id=84

The home - This is a great opportunity to go around the home and see if there are any limbs that need to be cut away from the home or any dead trees that might become a hazard. If you have patio furniture or lawn items remember that they will need to be able to be safely stored during a storm so plan on where you would put those items. 

Complete a Written Plan - Having a written plan can be very helpful when you are under stress so you will not forget. Let someone that is not in the impact area know what your plan is.

Remember, Hurricane Season runs from June 1st through November 30th with the majority of severe storms in August and September. It's never to late to prepare. 

Summer Activities in Pensacola
06-21-2021
Lindsay
Community
05-03-2022

summer activities in pensacola florida

Pensacola is full of life in the summer and you can never run out of things to do. There is something for everyone from the adventure seekers to those that like the calm and relaxing activity. Here is a shortlist of some of our summer activities here in the Pensacola area. 

  1. Blue Angles- We have very proud of our hometown Blue Angles and always love to see them on Pensacola Beach for the Red, White, and Blues show. This year the shows are July 9th with a full dress Rehearsal and July 10th for the Air Show. https://visitpensacolabeach.com/whats-happening-blue-angels/
  2. For the adventure seekers that are looking for high in the sky obstacle courses, zip-lining, dives, or deep sea fishing trips we have it all. https://www.visitpensacola.com/things-to-do/outdoors/adventures/ 
  3. For those looking to soak up the amazing history, Pensacola has to offer there are several activities for you as well. Our favorite is Fort Pickens on Pensacola Beach. Here you are able to walk through the fort and explore the history up close with some amazing views of the sound. https://www.visitpensacola.com/blog/post/5-historic-hikes-in-pensacola/ 
  4. Pensacola Blue Wahoos- A local favorite here so if they have a home game we highly recommend checking it out. This is a great family-friendly park that overlooks Pensacola Bay offering the most beautiful sunsets over the park as the sunsets. https://www.milb.com/pensacola 

After all that adventure you will probably want to check out some of the amazing restaurants and bars Pensacola has to offer. From Food trucks to fine dining you will find something to meet your expectations here. https://www.visitpensacola.com/restaurants/

Comparing Pensacola with Other Florida Markets
03-11-2021
Nicole St. Aubin
Owner Education
05-03-2022

comparing Pensacola with other florida markets

 We have been hearing a lot of comments about the increased costs of housing in the area. Comments such as "Housing is getting too expensive in Pensacola!" are all too common. While both rental rates and sales prices are increasing in Pensacola, the Pensacola area is still considered to be affordable compared to other cities, especially other cities in Florida.  We decided to research what similar houses cost around Florida and provide you with data on comparing the costs of living amongst popular Florida metropolitan areas.

See the data below comparing different markets in and around Florida. As you can tell, even with increased prices and inventory lows, Pensacola still ranks among some of the most affordable markets in Florida.

Comparing Florida Real Estate Markets:

Florida Metro Average Sales Price Median Sales Price Median Time to Sell

Pensacola

  • $263,397 Average Sales Price
  • $231,000 Median Sales Price
  • 91 days Median Time to Sell

Crestivew/ FWB & Destin

  • $509,200 Average Sales Price
  • $279,900 Median Sales Price
  • 92 days Median Time to Sell

Tallhassee

  • $257,259 Average Sales Price
  • $231,500 Median Sales Price
  • 81 days Median Time to Sell

Orlando/ Kissimmee/ Sanford

  • $326,044 Average Sales Price
  • $280,000 Median Sales Price
  • 78 days Median Time to Sell

Miami- Fort Lauderdale - West Palm Beach

  • $547,362 Average Sales Price
  • $370,000 Median Sales Price
  • 98 days Median Time to Sell

Tampa- St. Petersburg- Clearwater

  • $300,609 Average Sales Price
  • $248,500 Median Sales Price
  • 77 days Median Time to Sell

*Data provided from SunStat Reports from Florida Realtors

Are you interested in purchasing a home in the Pensacola area? Our Realtors can help you whether you are looking to lease or buy. Give us a call or email us today for more information.  

Easy Steps to Buying your First Home
02-26-2021
Mike Hamby
Pensacola Real Estate
05-03-2022

easy steps to buying your first home

Buying a home can be very overwhelming, especially in today’s market. You may be interested in purchasing but not know where to start. Here’s Pensacola Realtor Mike Hamby, Realtor, to discuss the steps for first time homebuyers to find buy a house!

 

  1.  You need a realtor to help you buy a house. The commission is paid by the seller so no cost to you to have a buyer’s agent represent you! Please do note, that some agents and companies may charge a buyer transaction fee so always ask your agent before choosing them if they charge a fee. Our agents do not! Now that that’s out of the way, you want to meet with your realtor to discuss your wants and needs.
  2. Your realtor will introduce you to trusted lenders who can get you pre-qualified for a loan.
  3. Start looking at homes! We will review pros and cons of the location, condition, and price.
  4. Found one you like? Make an offer. If it gets accepted, we move forward to inspections.
  5. Discuss the inspection results and remedies possible.
  6. The bank orders the appraisal to ensure the value matches the price you are paying.
  7. If all comes back well with the appraisal, you move to the next step with the lender which is the underwriting process.  
  8. The typical closing time in Pensacola takes about 45 days once you are under contract. Keep in mind, with the fierce competition in today’s market, it could take 3-5 months to find a house. It is typical to put in a few offers before anything gets accepted!  

This is a really simplified breakdown of the steps towards homeownership, but it does entail a lot more than this. That’s why it’s best to find a Realtor that you feel comfortable with and trust to help guide you through the process. If you are interested in purchasing a Pensacola area home and want more information, call or text Mike Hamby at Mike Hamby (850) 290-4745.

5 Tips to Buyers Purchasing in a Seller's Market
02-24-2021
David Keen
Pensacola Real Estate
05-03-2022

5 tips to buyers purchasing in a sellers market

There is no doubt about it- we are in a seller’s market. Inventory is down as much as 50%, and prices are up, which makes finding a home to purchase more challenging. It is not uncommon for Pensacola area sellers to get 10 or 15 offers upon putting their home on the market. Especially now, buyer’s need a little more than good luck to secure a nice home. Buyers (and us Realtors, too) are easily frustrated over the process of trying to secure a home. With the help of a good realtor and a lot of persistence, you can still find your dream home in the Pensacola area!

Here’s David explaining 5 quick tips for homebuyers to help navigate the seller’s market and get their offer accepted.

  1. Get a realtor who can communicate well with the other listing agent. This can help to find out what is important to the seller and strengthen you offer for negotiations.
  2. Consider an escalation clause to step above other offers.
  3. Consider what the offer will net and come with your own closing costs.
  4. Simplify the contract! Remove contingencies, consider a shorter inspection period, and limit repairs.
  5. Get a strong pre-approval and shop within your budget.

Reach out to David for help finding yours at (850) 375-7529 or email him David@PensacolaRealtyMasters.com

You can search Pensacola area homes for sale on our website here https://www.pensacola-gulfbreezehomes.com/ 

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! 

Pensacola Real Estate Sales Market Update
12-28-2020
David Keen
Pensacola Real Estate
04-21-2022

pensacola real estate market

After a rough year for many business and people due to Covid-19, it has become hard to find the positives for the year 2020. However, landlords and home owners can rejoice, because the real estate market has been absolutely exploding with growth. The market for Pensacola and the surrounding areas in general has been performing at all-time highs in many areas and all the positive indicators of a sellers’ market can currently be seen. 

The area is experience a housing shortage like many areas, but this shortage has only been magnified by the recent coming of Hurricane Sally. This unique situation is causing prices to soar, as options for buyers are limited.

  • First of all, the inventory we are experiencing is significantly lower than 2019. This time last year, the MLS had a total of 2,361 active listing for buyers to choose from. Today, the MLS currently has only 1134 homes that are actively for sale. The drop in supply is over 50% from 2019-2020 and this is causing prices to go up as buyers are working against multiple offers the first week the home goes on the market, in many instances.
  • To put things into perspective, the average sales price of homes in our area has gone up a whopping $46,000 from this time last year. Even the medium sales price has gone up $30,000 from last year at this time.
  • Not only are the prices going up, but even the average days on the market for sales has gone down significantly. Last year, the average time on the market before a home sold was 58 days. That number today, is down to just 41 days.  


Homes are truly selling for historically high prices, while closing in record time. All these factors make for a perfect opportunity for home owners to capitalize on their investments. If you have considered selling your home in the past, now may be the best time to capitalize on the market conditions. Even if you are just curious how much your home could sell for, we would be happy to give you our opinion on the value, while also, helping you weigh the pros and cons of selling. Give our sales office a call today to take advantage of the market today, before it’s too late. 

The Florida Property Manager's Role in an Eviction
08-27-2020
Nicole St. Aubin
Owner Education
04-18-2022

Property managers role in an eviction

Evictions are a hot topic right now. As many tenants have been delinquent through the COVID-19 pandemic, and the legislation preventing evictions is expiring, many landlords are calling us about evictions. 

As your property manager, we handle several aspects of your property management as allowed under our management agreement and Florida law.  These roles have us property managers wearing several hats- Realtor, leasing agent, private investigator, maintenance coordinator, bill collector, bookkeeper, interior designer, and the list goes on. One of the roles we cannot assume, is that of a lawyer.

The Florida Supreme Court does allow for Florida property managers to handle evictions for property owners but only in a limited scope and only in certain instances. They give us the authority to:

  • With the help of our attorney, draft and serve a 3-Day Notice
  • With the help of our local county court, draft and file a Complaint for Eviction and Motion for Default
  • With the help of our local Sherriff’s Office, obtain a Final Judgment and Writ of Possession
  • Prepare eviction forms approved by the Florida Supreme Court

Your Florida Property Manager may be able to file and proceed with an eviction if:

  • The eviction is for non-payment of rent
  • The eviction is uncontested by the tenant
  • We have written authorization from the property owner to evict the tenant

Unfortunately, if your tenant fails to move at the end of the lease, an eviction is necessary, but your Florida property manager may not be authorized to file this on your behalf. Additionally, if your tenant violates a lease term and is served a 7-day notice of non-compliance, we can serve the notice, gather the documentation, but cannot file the eviction on your behalf. Additionally, if we know your tenant will contest the eviction and that they have any ground to stand on, we will not be able to file any eviction on behalf of the property owner.

Why? Well, because the Florida Supreme Court does not want Realtors practicing law. Unfortunately, at a certain point, the eviction process can turn into such. This can be frustrating for property owners as the eviction process can be a little intimidating to navigate. The good news is that many owners, with a little guidance, are able to file and carry through the eviction with no problem. It may require an in-person or a conference call hearing. In many instances, hiring an attorney to handle the process is the best choice for many.

Normal Wear and Tear VS Tenant Damage
07-22-2020
Lindsay
Owner Education
04-21-2022

normal wear and tear vs tenant damage

It seems like every month we are discussing what normal wear and tear is and what is considered tenant caused damage. We strive to be fair with both our owners and tenants so we are always doing our research to make sure our standards are on track with others. Most recently we have compared our guidelines to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development says that “the costs an owner incurs for the basic cleaning and repairing of such items necessary to make a unit ready for occupancy by the next tenant are part of the costs of doing business.”

Some items HUD identifies normal wear and tear are

  • Fading, peeling, cracked paint
  • Small chips in the plaster
  • Nail holes, pinholes, cracks in walls
  • Door sticking from humidity
  • Carpet faded or worn from walking
  • Partially clogged sinks caused by aging pipes
  • Dirty or faded lamp or window shades

Tenant caused damages usually cost more to fix and go beyond normal wear and tear items likely a result of a tenants' negligence or abuse.

Some examples from HUD are:

  • Gaping holes in walls or plaster
  • Chipped or gouged wood floors
  • Doors ripped of hinges
  • Holes, stains or burns in the carpet
  • Clogged or damaged toilet from improper use
  • Torn, stained, or missing lamp and window shades

See the attached HUD document and review Appendix 5C and 5D for more information on normal wear and tear as well as a sample life expectancy chart.

Milton & Pace Real Estate Market Update
07-14-2020
Lindsay
Pensacola Real Estate
04-21-2022

Let’s talk about Milton and Pace real estate market trends over the past year.

Here's the Milton, Florida Real Estate Market update.

  • Median Home Value: $178,000
  • Over the most recent 12-month period, Milton is in the green with an increasing home value of 7.14% and increase of 13.25% in the last 24 months. 

Milton real estate market update chart with stats

Here's the Pace, Florida Real Estate Market update.

  • Median estimated home value in Pace is $219,000
  • Pace, FL is showing even higher increase of 8.26% in the home value over the last 12 months and 12.65% over the last 24 months. 

Pace Real Estate Market update map and stats

This is good news for Pace and Milton homeowners. If you are not planning on moving, it means you are earning more equity in your home. If you are planning to sell, chances are you can probably sell at a profit. The average days on the market is less than a month in both of these areas.

We're sure that many of you are wondering how the COVID-19 virus is affecting the buying and selling of homes in our area. In fact, over the last 3 months, both Pace and Milton real estate have remained strong with positive equity increase, a decrease in number of days on the market, and an increase in number of real estate sales.

Are you interested in purchasing a home in Milton or Pace? Browse Pace and Milton area homes for sale on our sales website at www.RealtyMastersofFlorida.com

2020 Home Design Trends
07-13-2020
Lindsay
Owner Education
05-03-2022

Whats trending? 2020 home design trends

Nonwhite Kitchens- We all know that white kitchens have been all the rave for a very long time. While they are still popular we are seeing an increase in colored cabinets. Colors are ranging from soft greys and pastel blues to bold navy blues and black. Some are even combining the two tends with the colored lower and white upper cabinets.

Rustic/ Antique accents- Locally the “farmhouse” style seems to be the most popular the antique look goes beyond the country feel.  Antique lighting fixtures seem to be the most popular. The combination of new and old creates one of a kind spaces.

Bath Tubs- One of the biggest selling features in a home besides the kitchen is the master bathroom. The new trends are showing that more people prefer the freestanding tub. If you want to take it over the top you can even put the freestanding tub into the oversized shower like one of our recent sellers.

Bathroom Tiles- Like we mentioned before the Master Bathroom is a huge selling feature so many sellers are choosing to use bold tiles to leave an impression. While accent times have been around for a while these have taken it to the next level. In small bathrooms they are commonly seen on the floor while in the larger bathrooms you can find them on an entire wall.

Formal Dining- For a while we were seeing that the formal dining space was going away. It seems that trend may be coming to an end as more people are choosing to use the dining space as a staged room.

Most Missed Items At Move Out
07-08-2020
Lindsay
Tenant Education
04-21-2022

most missed items at move out

One of the worst things a property manager has to do I to tell a previous tenant their security deposit is getting charges because they did not clean properly upon moving out. We hope this helps you be more prepared for your move out to help insure the full deposit back. 

  1. Windows- Window cleaning does not just mean the glass like many seem to think. The window tracks, frame, blinds and sills need to be wiped down and free of dust and grime.
  2. Bathrooms- Bathrooms need to be thoroughly cleaned. 
    1. Exhaust Fan- wiped down and free of dust
    2. Toilet- tank, bowl and base scrubbed. (please make sure the water in the bowl is clean)
    3. Tub/Showers- Scrubbed and free of soap scum and mildew.
  3. Baseboards- All baseboards should be wiped down and be free of dust or grime.
  4. Kitchen- This is where the majority of the issues we see are.
    1. Fridge and Freezer- Should be cleaned out with white vinegar including trays, shelves, seal, and handle. It should be pulled out and the floor cleaned behind and underneath. Don’t forget the top of the fridge, too.
    2. Stove- Clean thoroughly including the outside, inside, racks, underneath and drawers. The drip pans should be replaced as well.
    3. Cabinets- ALL the cabinets including drawers should be emptied and whipped out free of dust and grime. The outside of the cabinets should be cleaned with a mild soap.
  5. A/C- Change air filter and make sure the door frame in HVAC closet is free of dust.
  6. Yard- Please mow the lawn (if required by lease) prior to moving out. Do not leave any debris laying around the yard. If you have trash left over, you may leave it by the road in accordance to the trash providers requirements. It is your responsibility to be sure it is picked up prior to when you cancel your trash service. 

Please note, this is just a list of the items usually missed and is not the full move out cleaning guidelines. You may read those here

Mortgage Forbearance & COVID-19
04-14-2020
Nicole St. Aubin
Owner Education
04-21-2022

mortgage forbearance and covid-19

There's a lot of talk about Mortgage Forbearance since the passing of the CARES Act on March 27, 2020. The CARES Act requires lenders to allow mortgage forbearance options for 90-180 days with an option to extend another 180 days. Mortgage forbearance can allow you to defer, not waive, mortgage payments. Additionally, this option may be available to you without negative consequences to your credit. The CARES Act does not allow your lender to report negatively to the credit bureau during this time.

While this sounds very enticing, we've heard of lot of negative chatter from mortgage and financial professionals on the mortgage forbearance options being offered. Because of this, we are advising against mortgage forbearance unless it is absolutely needed.

Here's some of what we've heard:

A lot of forbearance agreements contain provisions that call the missed mortgage payments due as a balloon payment at the end of the forbearance period, called "reinstatement" to bring your account current. 

Some forbearance agreements call for a repayment plan to repay the deferred mortgage payments for a period of up to 12 months. Keep in mind, you would need to pay your mortgage payment plus the additional amount under the repayment plan each month in order to keep this agreement. 

Some forbearance agreements are offering deferment, where they allow you add the missed payments on the end of your loan. This is best case scenario, but make sure the language is guaranteed. For example, if it is says "at the end of the loan period, you may apply to have these payments added on..." does not guarantee this.  

We've heard that some of these agreements may call for loan modification and can actually change the terms of the loan or call the loan due if you are unable to pay the amount back within a specified amount of time. 

Obviously, each mortgage company has different policies, which is why it is so important to read the details of an agreement before signing it. I've not heard if these details can be negotiated, but we would recommend trying. 

If you find yourself worrying about making your mortgage payment(s), we recommend you reach out to your mortgage company immediately. First, ask them if you fall under the covered category for the CARES Act. Second, ask them about your options for forbearance or any deferred payment plans or options. We strongly advise you to read the fine print of any agreement the mortgage company sends you before agreeing to a plan. In some instances, it makes more sense to investigate alternative options including home equity, personal loans,refinancing, or even selling your property. 

While we advise using mortgage forbearance only as a last resort option, it may turn out to be the best option for some, especially if your bank is more lenient than some of the others. Should you decide to do a mortgage forbearance, it's best to pay as much toward the amount due as possible at this time and defer only what is necessary.  

mortgage help assistance deferment and forbearance

If you are a landlord and considering a forbearance on an investment property, we do recommend that you make a plan that you can adhere to even without your tenant's payment. We are working very hard to ensure tenant's understand their requirements under their lease agreement has not changed and there will be repercussions should they fail to adhere to these responsibilities. We cannot assure you that your tenant will not use this as an opportunity not to pay their rent. Please consider this when making plans. 

Here's a few recent articles to read with more information about these issues. 

We're happy to help and advise in whatever way we can during this time; however, do keep in mind that we are not attorneys, accountants, or mortgage professionals. We remind you to consult these experts with your specific questions. 

Pensacola Grocery Pick Up and Delivery
04-10-2020
Realty Masters
Community
05-03-2022

grocery pick up and delivery

Online grocery shopping is hotter than ever right now.  There are so many options out there it’s hard to pick a favorite.  Walmart, Publix & Target are some that are available to us here in Northwest Florida.  Online shopping makes it easy to get your groceries and still be able to adhere to the CDC social distancing guidelines. If you're ready to start your Pensacola grocery pick up or delivery, this article is for you. 

Walmart grocery Pick up and delivery

Walmart Grocery:  The Walmart App allows you to choose a time slot for pick up.  There is a $30 minimum to reserve your time slot, but once your spot is reserved, you can add or remove items up until 1:45 am on the day of pick up.  You have 3 hours after picking  your time slot to complete your check out before they release your reservation.  Sometimes the 9 Mile Rd Market has same day pick up spots available! 

While it’s been more difficult as of late to find a pick up spot for Walmart, if you time it just right, you'll find a time slot and be able to place your order online and pick it up from the store, have it loaded into your car and you'll be on your way.  The app will alert you about 15 minutes before your pick up time to let you know it’s ready.  Once you arrive at the store and pick a parking spot, you'll enter that into the app and a Walmart associate will be out shortly with your order.  Walmart usually requires a little bit longer of a wait, but they are able to fulfill a much larger array of items than Target or Publix.  So the longer wait time might be worth it to some. 

Tip: I’ve been told that Walmart releases their time slots for the upcoming days at midnight.  If you are willing to stay up, you might have a better chance of claiming your reservation.

Publix Pensacola, Florida grocery pick up or delivery

Publix: Publix delivers using the Instacart app. The app is free and the delivery fee is minimal. However, please be advised that the prices are higher than in-store prices. This is clearly stated on the app. This may be better to use for a few items in a pinch or to stock up on those awesome BOGO deals if you have a budget to stick to.

A lot of times you can get same day delivery if you order early enough. I ordered a few things yesterday evening and they were at my doorstep an hour later!

The app is interactive and you can see who is assigned to your order, when they are shopping, what items they have already shopped for, and what items are left. You can even chat with your shopper and request additional items or changes. If you can’t find something on the app, you can upload a photo of what you’d like them to look for. Once you’re finished submitting your order, you can go ahead and select alternative options in case your preferred choice is not available. When your shopper is finished, you will be notified and you will be able to track them while they’re on the way to your home with your groceries!

Target Pick Up and Delivery

Target: Target is my personal favorite, but they are not able to do refrigerated groceries as they do not have storage space to keep orders cold until pick up.  They do allow household items, clothes, toys, beauty and almost anything else in the store that doesn’t have to be kept cool. 

The Target Drive Up is what makes Target my favorite though!  Target will alert you once your order is ready.  Then just check in on the app when you are on your way.  The app tracks you and knows when you’ve pulled in to the designated pick up spots.  A Target associate is out with your order in just a matter of minutes.  I've never had to wait longer than 5 minutes for my order.  They also allow for same day pick up.  When you place your order it will typically tell you ready in 3-4 hours.  But even some of my larger pick up orders are ready in less than an hour. 

But wait, there’s more!  Instacart isn’t exclusive to just Publix!  You can also use it for Publix Liquors, Target, The Fresh Market, Sam’s Club/Sam’s Club Liquors, Petco, CVS Pharmacy, and BJ’s Wholesale Club.

With so many options for Pensacola area grocery pick up and delivery, there's no need to leave your house. 

Major Employers in Pensacola and Jobs in Pensacola
04-01-2020
Realty Masters
Community
05-03-2022

major employers in pensacola

Outside of working in the tourism industry, or pursuing a career with the U.S Military, Pensacola isn't known for its job market. In recent years, however, Pensacola has been the beneficiary of various company expansions. What was once a job market consisting of predominantly government jobs, is now robust with diversity thanks to the influx of diverse job opportunities on offer. 

Here’s a brief look at Pensacola's major employers and who's hiring in Pensacola.

Navy Federal Credit Union in Pensacola, Florida

Navy Federal

A company that needs no introduction, Navy Federal, has been on a hiring spree due to its Pensacola branch expansions. In fact, their expansion has been so monumental that we had to discuss it in a previous article that you can find here. Thanks to the sheer enormity of the credit union, it’s one of those companies that will always have job openings. Employees seem to enjoy working at Navy Federal, for many of the company reviews highlight the positive work culture and the supportive nature of the management staff. If you’re looking for an internship, entry-level position, mid-level position or a senior-level position in Pensacola. You can begin your search for Navy Federal jobs here

University of West Florida, Pensacola, FL 32514

The University of West Florida

Another Pensacola mainstay that needs no introduction, UWF, employs a vast number of people at both it’s Pensacola campus and its Fort Walton Beach campus. Much like Navy Federal, the sheer size of the university means that there are always positions in need of filling, and the diverse nature of UWF allows for an abundance of careers in various fields. From accounting and finance positions to positions in the medical and nursing fields, UWF is a great choice for those seeking a professional career. If you’re interested in working in a college setting, or you’re looking for career options in a specific field, feel free to go here to browse the current openings at UWF.

Baptist Health Care

Baptist Health Care is a well-established, community-owned, not-for-profit healthcare organization, based in the 32501 area, that focuses on improving the quality of life for those who reside in Northwest Florida. The organization is one of the largest employers in Pensacola; furthermore, the diversity of the staff at Baptist Healthcare is unparalleled, for the company staff is predominantly female with over ⅓ of the company consisting of ethnic minorities. Baptist is the perfect choice for those looking to begin a career in the medical field, or those who are looking to continue his or her career in the medical field. There are an over abundance of other job openings at Baptist Healthcare related to engineering, business, and finance that are in need of filling. For the readers who are interested in a fulfilling career with Baptist Healthcare, you can begin your search here.

While we covered three of the major employers based in Pensacola, Florida, there are many other companies constantly looking to fill open positions. You can browse the job market by using reliable job hunting sites such as Indeed, LinkedIn, and company websites. Indeed and LinkedIn are good time investments for job hunters, for an updated resume will keep you relevant for years to come. 

By using these online resources it’s easier than ever to find work, and if your job search brings you to the Pensacola area and you are in need of a home to rent or real estate to buy, give our friendly agents a call at (850) 473-3983 or visit our website at www.PensacolaRealtyMasters.com

Pam Keen on the Rental Income Podcast
03-05-2020
Nicole St. Aubin
Owner Education
04-21-2022

Our broker and fellow real estate investor recently appeared on The Rental Income Podcast! Listen to her 20 minute episode "The Formula for Buying the Perfect Rental with Pam" as she discusses real estate investments.

Pam discusses her preferences for real estate investments in Northwest Florida, preferably newer, lower maintenance single-family homes. 

If you are interested in purchasing a Pensacola area rental property or real estate investment, reach out to our sales team. For additional real estate investment information, head on over to our Real Estate Investors page. 

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.

Capital Gains Taxes & Opportunity Zones
10-23-2019
Nicole St. Aubin
Owner Education
04-21-2022

capital gains taxes and opportunity zones

There's been a lot of talk this year about Opportunity Zones and a new way to reinvest funds that would have normally been paid towards capital gains taxes in real estate in low income zones designated "opportunity zones." If you are an investor looking to invest in Pensacola area real estate, you may be interested to learn more about Opportunity Zones.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 in conjunction with the Internal Revenue Code Section 1400Z provides new tax incentives in the way of exchanging capital gains if reinvested and held in accordance to the rules outlined. This rule applies until 2026. We're surely not CPA's and this topic digs quite deep into tax code so always consult your tax professionals before moving forward with an investment plan that involves significant tax implications. 

HUD has now created a website with information to further explain Opportunity Zones.  Visit it here as it applies for the entire U.S. and not just the Pensacola area.  https://opportunityzones.hud.gov/  and includes a map to show certified opportunity zones. The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity also has a variety of information about Opportunity Zones on their website here.

In Pensacola, there are limited zones identified as Opportunity Zones and includes 5 small areas in Pensacola, a portion of Milton, Florida and most of the city of Century, Florida. 

  • East of Interstate 10 from Baars Street north to Royce Street
  • A section between Fairfield Drive and Beverly Parkway west of Palafox St. 
  • A section both north and south of W Cervantes St. 
  • An area next to Corry Station including New Warrington 
  • An area west of Palafox Street to P St. 
The Price You Pay- Maintenance Expenses
10-21-2019
Erica Parker
Owner Education
04-21-2022

maintenance expenses the price you pay

When it comes to maintenance of rental properties and the many other expenses that come along with them, of course we would all love to spend the least amount of money as possible. It may make us feel like we are getting a larger return. But beware, there may be a bigger price to pay when you choose to pay the lower price!

If an appliance such as an AC or water heater were to break, it’s important to act quickly. While we want the tenant to be comfortable and back to normal in no time, we also want to be sure the repair is executed properly. Especially for those big ticket items, you would like the peace of mind that what you are paying is fair and reasonable. We all know that the only thing that should ever be ripped off is a band aid! Surprisingly, the amount of time it takes can also turn out to be just as expensive.

One issue that can cause a long repair response time is a home warranty. For example, an AC breaks in the middle of summer. A certain part is needed, but the home warranty cannot get that part for another ten days and after it finally comes in, it may be another two days before the appointment can be scheduled for installation. That is an unreasonable amount of time to make a tenant go without AC. Chances are, your tenant is going to want to stay somewhere else in the meantime. They may also seek reimbursement for their expenses along with a rent abatement. So, while you think you are only paying the minimal service fee to the home warranty, you may also end up losing a few hundred more dollars depending on the amount of rent and expenses you agree to credit. After that all adds up, it’s that likely you could have saved a bunch of time, hassle, and money had you chosen for a vendor outside of the warranty company to make the repair the same or next day, for $200 or less in most cases that we’ve seen. You keep a tenant happy as well!

Such an ordeal can leave a bitter taste in the tenant’s mouth. It may also be one of the main reasons they feel the need to vacate upon lease expiration which will result in a vacancy and additional turnover expenses. Was waiting the extended amount of time to try and save some money worth damaging your relationship with your tenant? Valuable time may also be wasted if you require multiple estimates for a repair. Two estimates can usually give you a good idea of what you can expect to fork out, but wanting to get three or four estimates not only increases the repair time, but also increases your tenant’s frustration.

Many factors contribute to the relationships we have with tenants. The most common feedback we get from tenants includes the condition of the properties they live in, communication, and maintenance request response times. We work every day to improve in all of those categories and we act as a liaison and at times, a mediator, between you and the tenant. While we represent you, we do make sure we are providing an objective outlook on all situations so things may be handled as quickly, efficiently, and as smoothly as possible. Just keep in mind that sometimes you may need to pay a little more to have a little less trouble with your tenant/landlord relationship.

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. 

Do you have Hurricane Insurance?
09-09-2019
Realty Masters
Owner Education
04-21-2022

do you have hurricane insurance

Florida hurricane season is roughly May through November. That is over half the year! On top of that, hurricanes don't always occur during their season. For homeowners in Florida and in other coastal communities, hurricanes are a huge threat.

Does your insurance policy adequately cover hurricane damage? You'll have to consider several items to reach this conclusion. 

In Florida, all insurance companies are required to offer hurricane insurance for deductibles of $500, 2%, 5%, and 10%. Cutting through the insurance technical talk; Say you get a policy that covers $200,000 worth of damage and your house. Your policy has a 2% deductible. If your house is completely destroyed, your insurance company will write you a check for up to the amount of your coverage (in this case $200,000) minus your deductible (in this case $4,000). If this were to happen, you would receive the difference between your coverage and your deductible ($196,000).  If you were to experience damages to your home above your deductible, the insurance company would likely offer to pay the estimated or exact repair costs less your deductible.

As we can see, a 2% deductible is great! But what about 10%? If you had a 10% deductible in the above situation, that would be $20,000! If the damage to your home were $19,995, you would be responsible for those repairs. If the damage to your home does not exceed your deductible, you would be responsible to pay the repair costs out of pocket. 

Sometimes we don’t realize how high our deductibles are and we’re not able to meet it to repair our homes. If you’re not sure what your deductible is, now is a great opportunity to check. If you’re not happy with what you find, it may be time to shop around for a new policy. In some cases, improving your policy could be a matter of speaking with your insurance agent. Some policies can reduce the deductible for a minimal increase in your monthly payments. 

Another thing to be aware of is that your insurance company will only make a payout once during a hurricane season. Hurricane insurance will only be paid out for damages caused by a hurricane declared by the National Weather Service. Deductibles are applied to damages occurring from the beginning of a hurricane watch up to 72 hours aver a watch/warning has ended. 

Please be aware that not all insurance policies offered include hurricane or wind damage coverage as there are several different types of insurance policies. Ask your insurance agent specifically about your hurricane and wind coverage. Some policies require a separate policy for hurricane and wind-related damages. Also, make sure you that you have the right type of policy for your situation. For example, homeowners who occupy their home as their primary residence need different policy coverage than those who rent their properties. If you do not have the correct type of coverage, the insurance company may be able to deny a valid claim.

Are you a homeowner looking to ensure you have the proper coverage or a new homeowner looking for first time coverage? It is best to reach out to an insurance professional to review your policy and inquire about what insurance carrier, policy, premiums, and deductibles are right for you.

Check out these other articles about day to day insurance issues:

·         Aluminum Wiring and What it Means

·         Does It Need a New Roof?

If you need recommendations for local insurance agents, please reach out to us for referrals!

Tips for Raising Rents While Keeping Tenants
08-29-2019
Nicole St. Aubin
Owner Education
04-21-2022

tips for raising rents while keeping tenants

As a landlord, you may sometimes find yourself in undesirable positions. An example of when this can happen is when it’s time to renew a tenant’s lease, and you are unsure if you should raise the rent. It may have been hard getting a qualified tenant in the home and you want to avoid a vacancy, especially if they have been properly maintaining the home. You may also hesitate to raise the rent because you don’t want to risk losing your tenants. But there are many factors that come into play when making this decision. For example, if the maintenance expenses, taxes, or insurance for the investment property have increased you may need to make this raise. Additionally, the rental market has been strong and rents have been rising. It is important to remember that although you want to do well by the tenants and keep your good relationship, you are technically running a business and you need to make a wise decision so you are not losing money and they are not overpaying. So, what do you do?

The way a landlord or property manager delivers the news of a rental increase can have a significant impact on the tenant’s reaction. We suggest you begin by making some positive comments and maybe mention how well they have kept the home up. Then you can move on to explain if there has been an increase in your expenses which will need to result in an increase in rent. You must be sure that you allow them enough notice for them to consider the renewal offer and decide whether or not they want to stay and pay the increased rent or vacate at lease expiration. If your expenses haven’t really increased and you have great tenants, you may want to keep the rent the same for the renewal and then consider raising it the next time around.

Below are some tips on incentives to help make an increase less scary for your tenants:

1.Offer a small rent reduction for the first month after they renew. This will allow them a little break to help adjust to the new rental rate the next month.

2.Buy them something for their home. As you review the evaluation pictures, you will notice the décor so you can pick something out that they may like- a cute welcome mat, for example. This will offer a nice personal touch.

3.Ask them if there are any suggestions they may have for updates around the house. (this may be a more reasonable offer after they’ve occupied the property for a couple of years)

4.Send them a thank you note along with a gift card. This will be a big hit because the tenant will be able to buy whatever they like.

5.You can offer a one-time service like lawn clean up, carpet cleaning, or pressure washing.

Please be sure to communicate well with your tenants so everyone has ample time to prepare for the next step, whatever the decision may be. Remember, if your tenant decides to move and you need a quality property management company to help you rent the property, we are here to help, so don’t hesitate to contact Realty Masters of FL. You can find more information about our Pensacola property management services here and information for real estate investors here.  

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. 

Measuring a Real Estate Investment
08-02-2019
Pam Keen
Owner Education
04-21-2022

measuring a real estate investment

With any measurement based on a future predictions or hypotheticals, we know that many parameters, and events can change the results,but that shouldn't stop us from doing our due diligence on the front end of investment properties.

Let's take a look at the kinds of properties I focus on, which are single family homes that are easy to finance with 20% down for investors.

Below is an example of a home purchased for $100,000 with a $20,000 down payment and an $80,000 mortgage at 5% interest.  I used a 2% property appreciation rate and 2% annual increase for rents and expenses, and a 10 year holding period.

Annual Rental Income:  $1000 per month rents less 2% vacancy = $980 * 12 = $11,760 per year. 

Basic view:  Invested $20,000 (down payment) for 10 years and then cashed out.

See the chart that shows the growth. (Chart is courtesy of Chris Bird with CRS and came from his investment analysis course which I attended).

Investment Anaylsis

Feel free to utilize this formula and information when analyzing your own real estate investments. Reach out if you have any questions about analyzing real estate investments in the Pensacola area. 

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

U.S. Navy Blue Angels 2019 Schedule in Pensacola, Florida
05-15-2019
Nicole St. Aubin
Community
05-03-2022

US blue Angels 2019 Schedule

The U.S. Navy Blue Angels just released their 2019 practice schedule! As the Blue Angels are local hometown heroes, we wanted to bring you the information on how you can catch a practice show here in the Pensacola, Florida area. 

U.S. Navy Blue Angels 2019 Practice Schedule 

blue angels 2019 pensacola, florida schedule

Practices are at 11:30 each day.  The 2019 practice schedule is subject to change on short notice due to weather so be sure to visit the U.S. Navy Blue Angels to confirm. 

2019 Pensacola Blue Angels Show Dates

Pensacola Beach Air Show July 13, 2019
Be sure to check the calendar with events all this week at Pensacola Beach leading up to the air show including Breakfast with the Blues and the practice show the day prior! 

Blue Angels Homecoming Air Show at Pensacola Naval Air Station November 8 & 9, 2019 

Our favorite places to catch a U.S. Navy Blue Angels practice show are:

  • Naval Aviation Musem has the best view and offers autographs on certain days
  • Pensacola Lighthouse and Museum from 150 feet in the air 
  • Fort Pickens 
  • One of the many boat tours offered for both practices and shows. Check with Key SailingPensacola Island Tours with Klein Aquatics, Condor Sailing or on google for more recommendations!

For more information on the best ways to enjoy a Blue Angels practice show, visit:

Pensacola loves you Blue Angels! 

originally posted 02-08-2019

Increasing Rents in Downtown Pensacola
05-15-2019
Nicole St. Aubin
Tenant Education
04-21-2022
Downtown Pensacola, FL rental rates

We've all noticed the increase in rental rates in the Downtown Pensacola area over the past few years. We decided to dig into the data to see exactly how much rents have increased. Overall, single family rents in downtown Pensacola (zip codes 32501 and 32502) have increased approximately 25% over the past 5 years. In comparison, the average Pensacola area rental rates has increased approximately 13% over the last 5 years. That means that Downtown Pensacola rents are increasing nearly 2 times the amount as the overall area rental rate.

The average asking price today on Pensacola MLS for a single family rental in Downtown Pensacola is $1,422! A lot of these properties are new construction homes which of course come with a higher price tag. The rising rates in the Downtown Pensacola area are marking it harder to find an affordable downtown rental.

What do you think are other factors contributing to this steep increase? Here are a few of our observations:

  • Ongoing Downtown Pensacola revitalization
  • Increase in new construction
  • Renovations on existing properties
  • Increasing rental rates overall

We will continue to monitor the Pensacola rental market and keep you posted as to any changes in rental values. 

originally posted 02-02-2019

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

The Impact of Hurricane Michael on the Pensacola Area
05-15-2019
Nicole St. Aubin
Owner Education
04-22-2022

impact of hurricane michael on pensacola area

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.

Insurance Issues Now & Expected Soon
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
In addition to seeing non-renewals coming from certain companies and for certain reasons, we're also seeing a small increase in premiums. 

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 seem 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! 

originally posted 01-12-2019

Landlords: 10 Year Tamper Proof Smoke Detectors
05-15-2019
Nicole St. Aubin
Owner Education
04-22-2022

landlords 10 year tamper proof smoke detectors

As a landlord, you have to mitigate liability by ensuring that your property meets all applicable city, county, state, and national laws. One of the biggest challenges for the do-it-yourself landlord is staying on top of all of these regulations! 

One regulation you may not be aware of is the need to have 10 year tamper proof smoke detectors in your rental property. 

In 2015, Florida Landlord Tenant Law added language that requires all battery operated smoke detectors to be replaced with 10 year tamper proof batteries. Of course, the lithium battery detectors cost more and can be up to $30 for each detector (versus under $10 for the old kind). They still sell the old 9 volt battery detector at your local home improvement store, however, be advised that this detector does not meet the threshold of Landlord Tenant Law (and likely new building codes, although I am not an expert on following those). 

The law dictates if you have to replace the detector, you must replace it with a tamper proof detector. 

Battery operated smoke detectors expire every 10 years. Check the date on the back of the detector to make sure the detector is not expired. 

Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are not optional expenses as they are required under the law. 

originally posted 01-04-2019

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

12 Tips to Make Moving Easier
05-15-2019
Nicole St. Aubin
Tenant Education
04-21-2022

Moving Tips to make moving easier

Moving is one of the most stressful times in a person's life, especially if you are making a move across country or after a life-changing event. We understand how stressful the moving process is and want to help in whatever way possible. 

We found these tips from Florida Realtors we thought were too helpful not to share! 

1. Plan your move far in advance. They recommend this moving timeline and checklist from Upack.com which outlines the moving process and includes a timeline with detailed instructions with planning beginning 2 months in advance. The checklist includes several items many people overlook until it becomes an issue including changing your address. Check it out! 

2. Protect files and photos. As items can get damaged or lost in the move, it's important to be sure you have safeguarded your important items such as family memories, important documents, and more. 

3. Photograph your cords. Have you ever spent 30 minutes trying to hook electronics up? Take a photo of the connections on your computers, TV's, and more so it's easier to assemble when you are unpacking.

4. Make plans for pets. Your pets may need to be kept in a separate area or room while you are packing or moving. Not all hotels are pet friendly. Make sure to consider your pets in your plans. 

5. Get a Movers Guide from the Post office. You can complete the change of address form online here. USPS also includes resources for your move! 

6. Color code your boxes. Create a system to make unpacking easier. You can use color coded boxes or labels!

7. Mark essential items. Find a way to dictate which boxes are most important, fragile, or will be needed first. Label these and set them aside.

8. Create a box of essential items. Use suitcases to carry items that you will need the first night so you are not having to unpack in order to find your essentials. Don't forget essentials like toilet paper that may be easy to overlook when you are packing. 

9. Keep most expensive and most important items separate. If you are utilizing a moving company or help with your move, it may be best to pack the most expensive or important items in your personal vehicle. 

10. Pack cleaning items separate. Often you may want or need to clean up prior to unpacking items. Keep some Lysol wipes or other cleaning items handy! 

11. Make a layout map for your funiture. It's much easier to move and unpack if you know where you want furniture and larger items to go!  Spend some time planning where you want your larger items to go. You can hand sketch a map or utilize a tool like HomeDiary, a free visualization tool, to lay out your furniture before the big day. 

12. Save receipts and records. Make sure you save and submit receipts for reimbursement if they are covered! If you don't get any reimbursement, don't worry, most do not. 

originally posted 11-23-2018

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
Multi-Family Properties for Sale in Pensacola, Florida
05-15-2019
Nicole St. Aubin
Pensacola Real Estate
04-22-2022

multifamily properties for sale

I ran across this article on Bigger Pockets recently entitled "Here's Why I'll Never Sell My Multifamily Investment Properties" and thought it was really telling as to why there's always low inventory in the small to midsize multi-family sector. Most investors, especially the seasoned investors, are in the landlord game for the long haul as this gentlemen is.  The end game is passive retirement income. Sure, it ebbs and flows, and some years are better than others, but over time, the reward is worth the pay off as long as you purchased a property in good condition in a good location and have active management. 

Duplex, triplex, fourplex, and other multi-family owners tend to purchase and hold for long term making less opportunities for others to get into multi-family housing.

Looking at sales prices of duplexes and quads over the last ten years:

2007   Duplexes: 51   Average Sales Price $144,209   Quads: 38  Average Sales Price $223,275

2008   Duplexes: 17   Average Sales Price $139,712   Quads: 12  Average Sales Price $159,200

2009   Duplexes: 18   Average Sales Price $94,338    Quads: 16  Average Sales Price $149,227

2010   Duplexes: 28   Average Sales Price $53,089    Quads: 11  Average Sales Price $99,750

2011   Duplexes: 26   Average Sales Price $47,319    Quads: 12  Average Sales Price $112,650

2012  Duplexes: 30   Average Sales Price $84,715     Quads: 14  Average Sales Price $96,279

2013  Duplexes: 33   Average Sales Price $74,076     Quads: 19  Average Sales Price $96,766 

2014  Duplexes: 49   Average Sales Price $80,440     Quads: 19  Average Sales Price $88,400

2015  Duplexes: 30   Average Sales Price $76,670     Quads: 22  Average Sales Price $98,851 

2016  Duplexes: 44   Average Sales Price $107/521   Quads: 17  Average Sales Price $164,770

2017  Duplexes: 55   Average Sales Price $142,582    Quads: 18  Average Sales Price $174,851

2018  Duplexes: 54   Average Sales Price $129,979    Quads: 18  Average Sales Price $290,394

2019 Duplexes: 57   Average Sales Price $154,090    Quads: 10  Average Sales Price $341,800

2020 Duplexes: 59   Average Sales Price $206,589     Quads: 7  Average Sales Price $307,500

2021 Duplexes: 85   Average Sales Price $224,643    Quads: 23  Average Sales Price $399,536

We've been getting so many calls and emails from investors trying to locate income producing multi-family investments in the Northwest Florida area. We are having an increasingly hard time finding our clients investment properties that cash flow and make sense as prices and interest rates continue to increase. If you have a duplex, triplex, fourplex, or other apartment in the Pensacola area, we can find a buyer for you. Looking at the last ten years of multi-family sales, now may be a good time to sell. 

If you're interested in purchasing a small or midsize multi-family property, reach out to our office as we're always on the hunt!

originally posted 09-27-2018, Updated 4-7-2022

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

Realty Masters Celebrates our 20 Year Anniversary!
05-15-2019
Nicole St. Aubin
Community
05-03-2022

20 years ago, Pam Keen started a small real estate company in an office near Downtown Pensacola. Today, Pam and the Realty Masters family have grown the company to the largest single family property management company in the greater Pensacola area. Thank you for your fearless leadership, late nights, and never ending hustle for our team and clients.

We would like to thank all of our clients and especially our team members, past and present. A special thank you goes out to our veteran team members who have served our clients almost as long as Pam has!

20 Year Anniversary

A huge thank you to our clients, some of whom we have for the entire 20 years! We appreciate you so much. We are proud to be the largest property management company in the Pensacola area. Please reach out if we can be of assistanace. 

The Realty Masters of FL Team

originally posted 05-02-2018

Escambia County Ranked #57 out of 449 Counties as Best County to Invest in
05-15-2019
Nicole St. Aubin
Pensacola Real Estate
05-05-2022

pensacola ranked #57

Across the country, low inventory and increasing home prices are causing rentals to be more indemand. The Pensacola Real Estate market, is definitely a Seller and a Landlord's market as of 2018. The supply of quality homes for rent is currently exceeded by the demand.

In a recent study done by attomdata.com, we see that Escambia County is 57 out of 449 best counties to invest in single family rental properties in 2018, according to the analytics. Pensacola ranked the highest among all Northwest Florida Counties. The data reports less than a 5% investment property vacancy rate and an 11.8% 2018 Annual Gross Rental Yield. 

Neighboring Santa Rosa County was ranked 299 out of 449 and Okaloosa County was ranked 219 out of 449. 

Demand for Single Family Rentals

One of the major things shown by this report, is that there is a demand for Pensacola rental property. People simply want to live is this beautiful area! From our trendy downtown areas to our upscale beachfront communities, there is something here for every person and every budget. Pensacola is still ranked as one of the most affordable markets in Pensacola. 

So what are some contributing factors to Pensacola’s booming rental market? One of the most influential factors, is the military presence in the area. The next factor would be the large growth in the north side of the county due to new jobs being created at the Navy Federal Credit Union. Additionally, we have two colleges including University of West Florida and Pensacola State College which feed the rental market. Finally, there are the renters who simply appreciate the fact that when something goes wrong, they have property management to turn to.

Investing in Pensacola Real Estate

The article points out that the people benefiting the most from the current economic condition of rental real estate, are the owners who have invested in 6 homes. With the demand for rentals on the rise, rents are increasing in the area. We are seeing low supply and high demand so we must admit that it's tough right now to purchase an income producing property. You need a good realtor to help you find, identify, and act fast on good income producing properties.  

As we are fellow real estate investors ourselves, we want to help you build income producing real estate investments. We are here to come beside new and experienced investors to streamline the process. Our sales team and property management team work together to identify viable properties to purchase and our sales team of qualified Realtors are prepared to walk you through the investment process with honest, reliable advice. 

When you are ready to rent it out, our property management team is ready and willing to assist. So if you are considering investing in the Pensacola area or in Escambia County, give our agents a call!

Click Here for the original article and more data on real estate markets around the state and country. 

originally posted 04-04-2018

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

2018 Pensacola Real Estate Market Update & Escambia County Housing and Economic Report
05-15-2019
Nicole St. Aubin
Real Estate Market
04-21-2022

We are facing a shortage of inventory in both the Pensacola real estate sales market and Pensacola area rental market. Low inventory and high demand are causing strain on the Pensacola real estate market and we are seeing the effects on both home buyers and home renters in the Pensacola area. 

Here's a quick 2018 Spring Real Estate Market update from Nicole St. Aubin, Broker Associate at Realty Masters.

Want to see the data? I can't explain it as well as Dr. Rick Harper can! Use the links below to view the actual reports and presentations referred to in the video. 

  • Use this link to view the Escambia County Economic Outlook and Update sponsored by the Home Builders Association of West Florida in partnership with the Pensacola association of Realtors and Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce. 
  • Use this link to view the Santa Rosa County Housing and Economic Report produced by The Homebuilders Association of West Florida along with the Pensacola association of Realtors and Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce. 

If you are house hunting in the Pensacola area, reach out to our agents for help!

originally posted 03-26-2018

Should you Rent or Sell Your Current Home? "Renting versus Selling"
05-15-2019
Pam Keen
Pensacola Real Estate
04-21-2022

for rent vs for sale

You now own your home! You have been living the good life of homeownership, but you find your needs changing. You could have received a job offer somewhere else and need to move. When you bought the place you were single and now you have a spouse and children, or the space is too small and you are looking for more room. If this sounds like you, you may consider the option of selling the home and buying another or keeping it to rent and moving to a new home. Not all landlords set out to become landlords, but life happens and you should look at your situation, weigh the options, and do what makes the most sense for you.

  • The 1st step you should take, look at the math and see what makes sense for you

If you rent the home, will it be a positive or negative cash flow after you make your mortgage payment and other monthly expenses associated with owning the home. For example - Taxes, Insurance, and HOA dues which may or may not be part of your mortgage payment. If it is going to cost you more money to keep the house, you may want to consider selling.

  • The second step, is can you profit from selling

You should take into consideration the expenses of selling. First, determine the approximate value of the home, subtract about 8-10% for real estate fees and other expenses, and look at your mortgage payoff. If you take the likely selling price, subtract your loan payoff and other expenses, how much will you put in your pocket? If you like that number, you should consider selling.  If you would walk away with little or no profit from a sale, or would need to bring money to the closing to sell the home, you may want to keep the home and wait for property values to appreciate more. Especially, if you will have a monthly positive cash flow renting the property.

You will find that one option, or both, other make the most sense in your particular situation based on the math, so lets go a step further and consider the taxes. 

Lets say you bought the home for $150,000 - 5 years ago and it is now worth $250,000.  You have lived in the home for 5 years, but even after subtracting 10% for expenses, you could potentially profit $75,000 from the sale. Normally, if you sell real estate and make a profit, you'll have to pay capital gains tax on the sale, which can be up to 20% depending on your tax bracket. However, the IRS allows homeowners to exclude the gain on a sale of up to $250,000 (or $500,000 if married filing jointly) of a primary residence if you lived in the home for at least two of the last five years, so in this case the $75,000 profit would be tax free. If you move out and turn the home into a rental, it becomes an investment property. If you then decide you don't like being a landlord and sell it down the road, you may have to pay up to 20% of the profit in income taxes when you sell.

I'm not a CPA, so to learn more about this possible capital gains tax exclusion, consult a tax advisor or read the IRS's rules on the topic.

  • The third step, look at past and current market trends where your home is located

Questions to ask yourself when considering selling or renting your home.

  • The quality of the schools in the area
  • Is the area growing and do people want to live there
  • Are property values, as a rule, increasing, remaining the same, or declining?  

We don't know for certain what the future will bring, but if you have doubts or you know of economic factors that could adversely affect future rental potential and/or appreciation, you may want to consider selling now.

  • Last step of all, you should ask yourself are you cut out to be a landlord

Landlording can be a pleasant experience or sometimes a very stressful one. You may learn a thing or two along the way and making mistakes can be costly. Of course if you do not want to actually deal with your tenants yourselves, you can always hire a professional property management firm like Realty Masters of Florida to do the job for you. 

I hope this blog gives you some good information to help you make the decision to sell or rent a little easier for you; However, if you need more information you can read my latest book published in 2017

“The Real Estate Rulebook, Everything you need to know to  build wealth and create passive income" which is available for purchase on Amazon

real-estate-rulebook-pam-brantley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

originally posted 02-01-2018

Pensacola area Zip Codes explained
05-15-2019
Nicole St. Aubin
Community
05-03-2022

Moving to the Pensacola area? 

It's hard to get a good feel of a new community.

If you are moving to Pensacola, knowing and understanding Pensacola area zip codes will definitely help you with your move. Pensacola is located in Escambia County, Florida and includes the following areas of Perdido Key, Pensacola Beach, Cantonment, Beulah, Century and Molino. 

Here's a quick infographic and rundown on Pensacola area zip codes to help you familiarize yourself with the Pensacola area. 

Pensacola Zip Codes

Pensacola Zip Codes

32501 & 32502- Downtown Pensacola! 

Home to Historic Downtown Pensacola, the 17th Ave. Grafitti Bridge, Belmont/ DeVilliers, Pensacola Bay Center, Blue Wahoos Baseball Stadium, Historic Pensacola Village, Veterans' Wall South Memorial and more! 

32503- Southeast Pensacola 

Home to East Hill and East Pensacola Heights Neighborhoods, Bayview Park & Dog Beach, Scenic Highway Bluffs, Pensacola Christian Academy and Pensacola Christian College, 12th Ave. Tree Tunnel 

32504- Northeast Pensacola 

Home to Cordova Park Neighborhood, Pensacola State College, Cordova Mall, Pensacola International Airport, Sacred Heart Hospital 

32505- South & West Pensacola 

Home to Brownsville Neighborhood, Marcus Point Golf Course, T&W Flea Market, Car City Pensacola 

32506- West & Southwest Pensacola 

Home to Pensacola Greyhound Racing, FL/ AL State Line via Lillian Hwy, Corry Station 

32507- Southwest Pensacola & Perdido Key 

Home to front and back gate of Naval Air Station, Perdido Kids Park, Big Lagoon State Park, Johnsons Beach, and Perdido Key 

32514- Northeast Pensacola 

Home to University of West Florida, I-10 Interstate 10, Elylson Indsutrial Field, and the gateway to Santa Rosa County via the bridge to Pace 

32526- Northwest Pensacola

Home to Beulah and Bellview Neighborhoods, Navy Federal Credit Union, Pensacola Fairgrounds, Pensacola Equestrian Center 

32533 & 32534- Cantonment and North Northwest Pensacola 

Home to Ascend Performance Materials, International Paper, and I-65 

32561- Pensacola Beach

Home of beautiful, white sand Pensacola Beaches! 

Moving to the Pensacola area?

Let us know how we can help you with your move. Realty Masters has over 35 rentals available in the Pensacola area at any given time. Give us a call or view our available rentals here.

originally posted 01-29-2018

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

Energy Tips to Reduce your Heating and Cooling Bills
05-15-2019
Nicole St. Aubin
Tenant Education
04-22-2022

energy tips to reduce heating and cooling bills

We've had some cold weather lately and that means a sharp increase in your gas and/or electricity bill! 

To combat this, make sure you are using proper thermostat settings. Gulf Power warns that turning your heater up and down uses more energy than leaving it at a constant temperature. If anything, increase or decrease the termperature only at night. They also recommend keeping the heat set at 68 degrees or below during winter and set at 78 degrees or above during summer. 

Other items you can do to improve your energy efficiency in the winter months include:

  • Open curtains on sunny days to allow sunlight and close the blinds and curtains once it's dark. 
  • Replace your air filter monthly! This is often overlooked in winter when units are not in use as much but should not be ignored. 
  • Make sure the switches on your ceiling fan are in the up position instead of the up position! 

originally posted 01-09-2018

How to Find HOA Documents Rules and Regulations
05-15-2019
Nicole St. Aubin
Owner Education
05-03-2022

how to find hoa documents rules and regulations

Are you considering purchasing a property that has a homeowner’s association or condo association? Before you consider renting or buying a home in a covenant-enhanced community, you should be aware of and fully comprehend the rules that govern the community.

Florida law allows for certain disclosures to be made to home buyers when purchasing properties that have a homeowner’s association (HOA) or a condo association (COA). You should always request the governing documents of any association prior to purchasing your home. If you are selling your house, check the folder the title company gave you when you closed to possibly locate the documents. Unfortunately, many find themselves unable to locate the appropriate documents in time since the real estate market can move so quickly. Here are a few of our best tips on how to locate these documents.

Check with a HOA Management Company

If you know for a fact that the HOA or COA is professionally managed, check with some of the other homeowner association management companies in town to find out if they manage it or if they may know who does. If you happen to know someone who resides in the community, you can ask them who manages the community and they can surely point you in the right direction.

Conduct a Quick Internet Search

Sometimes, a quick Google search will reveal an association webpage, Facebook page, or a page on some other public forums like NextDoor, that will provide you with the information you need to contact the members of the association or Board of Directors.

Check County Records

Often times, the county has a record of these governing documents online. Always check with either Escambia County or Santa Rosa County if you are searching for a homeowner's association in the Pensacola area. 

Search the Division of Corporations

All associations should be registered with the Florida Department of State Divisions of Corporations. You can search their website here. While you will not find the documents here, you may find the contact listed as the registered agent or on the annual report. This will also show if the HOA or COA is still active or has been dissolved and changed to inactive which can happen from time to time. 

It is ultimately the responsibility of the owner of the property to provide the buyer or tenant with the governing documents and other necessary HOA information. It is best practice to be very familiar with all guidelines in order to make for a most peaceful environment and to enjoy your new home and new neighborhood to the fullest!

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Improvements Tenants Want for Their Rental Property
05-15-2019
Nicole St. Aubin
Owner Education
04-22-2022

improvements tenants want for their rental

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. 

originally posted 01-01-2018

Preparing your home for a hard freeze
05-15-2019
Nicole St. Aubin
Tenant Education
05-03-2022

preparing your home for a hard freeze

Temperatures will reach below freezing and may continue to remain below freezing through Friday of next week. Take precautions this weekend and keep your pipes protected for the coming week. Repeat these instructions anytime there is a freeze warning. 

If you do not make precautions now, you will be without water and will be responsible for damages to the property caused by failure to protect your pipes. You must take these precautions to make sure your plumbing, sprinkler, and pool pipes do not freeze leaving you without water on New Years Day or throughout the coming week.

Here's Patty and Carlin with some advice on how to prepare your home for the freeze:  

 

You must take the following precautions to ensure your pipes are protected:

1.  Walk around your home and survey for any outdoor pipes. Any exposed pipes like sprinkler or pool pump pipes should also be covered to insulate it from the freezing temperatures. Simply cover them with towels, blankets, or insulation tape.

2. Leave an outdoor faucet dripping or better yet, wrap your outdoor faucets and/ or cover with insulation boots. The best bet is to wrap all of your outdoor faucets. Hop on YouTube for some solid ideas on how to install your insulation boot cover or to wrap your faucets with common household items.

Also, remember to remove any sprinkler hoses from your spigot. 

3. Leave an indoor faucet dripping slightly to keep water flowing through the pipes.This relieves the excess pressure that can build up inside pipes during freezing weather. 

4.  Locate your water shut off valve in case a pipe does burst as water will need to be turned off at the main connection (usually at the meter in your yard close to the road). This is essential to know and easier to locate in a non-emergency situation.

5. Make sure your heater is on  and set to at least 65 degrees. 

6.  If you have a sprinkler system or a pool, your sprinkler pipes and pool pump pipes must also be covered. If you have insulation tubing, that is best, but if not, cover your pipes completely with towels, blankets, newspaper, or insulation tape. 

originally posted 12-30-2017

Maintenance Do's and Dont's
05-15-2019
Nicole St. Aubin
Tenant Education
05-03-2022

maintenance dos and donts

Very often maintenance problems or damage to your fixtures can easily be prevented with a little knowledge and common sense.  We encourage you to read this section BEFORE a problem can occur.  Residents may be held liable for certain maintenance problems which can be directly attributed to negligent usage.

ELECTRICITY:
If you experience an electrical outage of any sort the first place to check is your breaker box.  Chances are a circuit has been overloaded and the breaker needs to be reset.  Try flipping each switch on the box off and back on again to reset the breakers. Make sure you only do this once as problems can result from activating and suddenly cutting off the power surge.  If the electricity does not come back on, check all of your outlets to be sure they are not being overloaded.

If the electricity has gone out in your entire home and resetting the breaker does not restore it, it is likely that there has been a power failure. A good indicator of a power failure would be to check if you notice outside lights on your neighbor’s house are off as well. The gas and electric company should be notified.  You should then call your emergency service number to report the problem.

If the electricity is off in only part of your home and resetting the breakers does not restore it, it is possible that you have experienced an electrical short.  Lack of electricity in the majority of your home may qualify as an emergency after hours if it affects your refrigerator or other vital areas of your home.

**IF AT ANY TIME YOU NOTICE SPARKS COMING FROM A SWITCH OR ELECTRICAL FIXTURE TURN OFF THE SWITCH AND UNPLUG THE APPLIANCE IMMEDIATELY.  Call the problem in and leave the switch off until maintenance professionals or contractors can respond.

ELECTRICAL APPLIANCES:
Before calling for service on any appliance be sure the cord is securely plugged in and the breaker is not tripped.

  • REFRIGERATORS:

The refrigerator will operate most efficiently if the temperature is set between 3 and 8.  To determine the best setting, test the temperature of the items inside and adjust accordingly. The freezer setting may be too high if freezer items form ice coating shortly after placing them inside. If you do not have a frost-free refrigerator, the freezer should be defrosted when the ice that forms on the side is no more than 1/4 inch thick.  A heavy build-up of frost can severely limit the effectiveness of your unit and increase the electric cost on the utility bill.  To defrost the freezer, we recommend placing all items in a cooler and turning the control knob to off or defrost.  Allow the ice to melt by placing a pan of hot water inside the freezer.  NEVER USE KNIVES OR ANY OTHER OBJECT TO REMOVE ICE!  This can cause irreparable damage for which you may be held liable.  If your refrigerator fails to operate properly, please call for service.

  • OVEN/RANGE:

Keeping your oven clean is very important to the efficient operation of the appliance.  In addition, a buildup of grease or food particles left inside or on the stove can facilitate fires.  It is best to wipe off the top and inside after each use.  A moist towel and mild soap can be used to clean food or grease which has not baked onto the surface.  Always place food on a baking sheet or aluminum foil inside the oven.  To keep grease from building up on drip pans we suggest wrapping foil tightly around the pan itself, being sure to cover the center hole.  When the foil becomes stained, in can simply be removed and replaced with fresh foil.  Drip pans and the outside aluminum rings are chargeable to the resident upon moving out when they must be replaced due to negligence.

  • DISHWASHER:

Be sure to scrape food particles from dishes into the garbage before placing them in the dishwasher.  Use only detergents which are specified for use in dishwasher.  Before running the dishwasher, make sure that the bottom of the washer bas been cleared of any items which may have fallen there.  Make sure all dishes are secure onto the rack, putting bowls and pots on the top rack to keep from blocking water circulating to other areas.  Dishwashers should never be left to run in your absence.  An undetected leak can cause major damage to floors or carpeting if left unattended.  If you notice any water escaping from the dishwasher or the unit fails to operate properly, please turn the machine off and call for service.

  • GARBAGE DISPOSAL:

Disposals operate virtually trouble-free when used properly.  Please read and carefully follow the procedures outlined below to prevent jammed disposals and clogged drains:

  1. Turn cold water on to maximum flow position.
  2. Flip the switch to the on position.
  3. Push refuse through the splash guard keeping hands away from the inside chamber.
  4. Continue to run the disposal until the grinding sound stops.  Then flip switch to the off position.
  5. Continue to run cold water for two to three minutes to be sure all of the waste particles have been flushed away.

Below are some Do’s and Don’ts for disposal usage:

DO:

*Grind a citrus peel or put baking soda down the drain periodically to keep the disposal odor free.

*Run plenty of cold water during and after operation.

 *Grind coffee grounds and eggshells.

DON’T:

*Put your hand down a disposal when it is running – NEVER!

*Use hot water when operating a disposal.

*Try to put too much through the disposal at once.

 

DO NOT PUT ANY OF THE FOLLOWING ITEMS INTO A DISPOSAL:

Fibrous materials (cornhusks, artichokes, etc) Clam, oyster or nut shells

  • Bones                                                       Drain cleaner
  • Tea Bags                                                  Potato or Banana Peels
  • Celery                                                      Tomatoes
  • Grease                                                     Wooden objects
  • Glass, China or Plastic                             Dishrags

Metal objects (bottle caps, aluminum foil, Tin cans, or utensils)

If the motor has stopped due to overloading, turn the disposal off.  Wait three to five minutes, then push the reset button (often located under the sink on the unit itself).  Then follow normal operating procedures.

If the disposal is jammed, turn the power switch to off before attempting to remove any object.  With tongs, remove any object that might be inserted into the mouth of the disposal and turn in a circular pattern to free the blades.  Once the movement has been restored to the blades, push the reset button on the disposal unit.  Then follow normal operating procedure.

PLUMBING:
In the event that a toilet or drain stops up, a plunger is often all that is needed to clear the blockage.  The following will help determine what to do if you experience a plumbing problem.  If it cannot be corrected please call the office for service.

  • COMMODE:

If your toilet should overflow, you can turn off the water supply by turning the shut-off valve in a clockwise direction.  The shut-off valve is located under the toilet tank.  The water flow can also be stopped by pushing the flap firmly over the hole in the bottom of the tank.

If the toilet is stopped up, try using a plunger to clear the blockage.  If this does not clear the blockage and you must call for service you may be charged for the visit if it is determined to be due to over stuffing or foreign objects.  If you have only one bathroom a non-usable toilet will be treated as an emergency after hours.  Otherwise, the other toilet(s) can be used until maintenance can correct the problem.

There are several items that should never be put into a toilet.  These include, but are not limited to, paper towels, feminine products, grease, disposable diapers, bottle caps(or any small metal or plastic items), newspapers, or drain cleaner.

  • CLOGGED DRAINS:

Never put grease or hair down a drain.

Always attempt to clear the blockage with a plunger.  If that is unsuccessful, use draino or another similar product and let it set for the recommended time on the back of the bottle. 

If you are unable to clear the drain, please call for service.  

originally posted 12-01-2017

Items You Should Not Have in a Rental Property
05-15-2019
Carlin
Owner Education
05-05-2022

items you should not have in a rental property

Some items an owner SHOULD AVOID having in their rental property!

As property management professionals, we have a lot of experience in mitigating risk. Because of this, there are several items we would never recommend having in a rental property. Here's a list of our top five:

Trampolines: We understand, you don't want to remove these items from the property as you have enjoyed using them.  While it sounds like a nice amenitiy for your rental property, it would be best case scenario to haul these items away from a rental property.  These items are big liability issues and safety concerns. Additionally, your insurance policy may not allow them at the property. If your insurance policy excludes trampolines, as many do, you will be held liable without protection should someone get hurt.

Playsets and Patio Furniture Sets: The estimated life span of exterior items such as patio furniture and playsets are low. Over time, these items will decay and become a safety liability for your residents. If a tenant or guest is hurt because these items, you can be held liable. 

Above Ground Pools, Expensive Pool Filtration System and Hot tubs:  Unless you are including pool maintenance with the rental amount then I highly recommend not having this installed. Tenants are expected to maintain the home as if it is their own and treat the home with care, but this isn’t always the case. If this system breaks, requires upkeep, or preventive maintenance – you may not be able to rely on the tenant to take care of it. We are recommending that our owners have pool maintenance included, if their property has a pool, for this reason. This will save a lot of headaches and sleepless nights.  Trust us!

Salt Water Treatment System: This is amazing to have in newer homes to increase the longevity of the pipes or in old areas where hard water is a problem. If you have routine maintenance to take care of the system, it is a great asset for the home. Unfortunately, along the same thinking with pools, sometimes tenants do not take the needed care of systems while in your property. If there is an issue with the system or upkeep needed – you are on the hook. 
 

Security Systems or Alarm Systems: Added security is usually always a plus; it is attractive to renters for peace of mind and also can be helpful for any emergency services. The major drawback we have with alarm systems is the service setup with them. Most of the time, the service is disconnected and the hardware is still at the house. This can lead to confusion that it is active or not. Some tenants setup service and are able to use the system in place, but other times if tenants wanted a security system the companies install new hardware. Overall, it becomes an unnecessary hassle that is not maintained​​

originally posted 11-24-2017

The Struggle with Home Warranty Companies and your Rental Home
05-15-2019
Nicole St. Aubin
Owner Education
05-05-2022

struggle with home warranty companies

We wanted to write this article for any homeowners with existing home warranties or are thinking about getting one. Our team is having an increasingly hard time working with home warranty companies, please read this article in full.

As we are writing this, Lindsay, one of our property managers, is on the phone with American Home Shield and listening to a recording that says “your wait time is in excess of one hour. Please continue to hold and a representative will be with you.” She is merely trying to follow up on a work order that was recently placed.

While we understand that using a home warranty for repairs can be beneficial for you, we have experienced that home warranty companies make it difficult to provide quality service to your tenants. We have gathered input from our staff and other industry experts on the pros and cons of having a home warranty. Here is some of our findings.

What is a home warranty?
A home warranty is a pre-paid, 1-year service contract with a warranty provider that agrees to repair or replace certain items in your property during the contract term. It is not the same as insurance for your home, but it can provide some piece of mind to homeowners on a budget in case major components in your home need to be repaired or replaced. The main areas that home warranties cover include electrical, plumbing, heating and air, and appliances. It does not include coverage for major items like your roof or foundation.  

How does it work?
While prices for home warranties vary by provider and packages, we see the average home warranty at a cost of $550 per year or $46 per month. Keep in mind, an additional service trade fee is still due at the time of service which is between $50 and $100 for each request. If your tenant calls in an issue with the front light and the dishwasher on the same day, the warranty company will send two different vendors and charge two trade fees.

Pros of home warranties for landlords:

  • Can help manage the cost of repairs on what the warranty covers
  • We tried really hard to think of more pros, but honestly we’re falling short!  

Home warranties can be advantageous for new homeowners especially in providing peace of mind. The older your home and its components, the more likely you are to find value in a home warranty. We don’t find that homeowners get the same value in newer properties where repair costs are low. The good news is that the warranty company should take care of the item with no additional charge above the warranty and trade fee call for a normal service repair (i.e. appliance repair, hot water heater repair, etc.)  

The only positive feedback we received is that a home warranty can bring a large return on big ticket items, such as water heaters and new HVAC units. Costs for the owners are fractions of the full price that you have to pay if you do not have a warranty.

Cons of home warranties for landlords:

  • Delayed time for service
  • Does not include preventative maintenance or turnover expenses
  • Home warranties will try to repair over and over again to delay replacement, if at all possible
  • Each policy comes with a long list of exclusions as well as it does not cover anything they consider to be “pre-existing” or with “too much wear and tear”
  • Not set up to handle emergency situations
  • Certain costs are not included in the warranty
  • Can just be a "waste of money" if not used or big repairs do not happen

Delayed time for service
The most negative impact we have found from home warranties on your tenant and our team is the delayed time for service. Inputting a maintenance request can take in excess of an hour. Most warranty companies anticipate a vendor to make contact with us or your tenant within 72 hours. Warranty companies require parts to be shipped from their warehouse and can even further delay repairs. The vendors home warranties assign rarely follow up and we never receive a copy of the work order notes from the vendor.

Home warranty situations gone terribly wrong
We’ve had some terrible experiences this summer with American Home Shield, First American Home Warranty and Old Republic Home Warranty with regards to extended delay times for service. We had two different set of tenants without air conditioner for over four weeks this summer. We had another resident with no hot water for a month! Air conditioners going out is something we try to prepared for, so our company owns three portable a/c units for instances like these. We do not charge the tenants, or you, the owner, for this service, but we cannot loan out our a/c unit for a month, nor does the unit adequately cool an entire home during summer.

Even with persistent follow up, calls to supervisors and our local reps, the home warranty company was unable to get these repairs made in a realistic time frame. To say these tenants were just upset is a great understatement and does not describe the situation well. The property owners had to offer rent credits in all three scenarios. And No, the warranty company does not agree to reimburse or care about their inadequate response. Our management team sent apology notes and gift cards to our tenants. Your tenants do not love your warranty company; Therefore, they do not likely love you (or us).

Another example of a bad experience with home warranty companies comes from one of our homeowners with Choice Home Warranty that was refused a new outside unit even though their vendor stated the unit needs to be replaced. We’ve paid three service trade fees this year and despite the cost of the home warranty, the homeowner is getting estimates to replace the unit outside of the warranty. This is unfortunately more common than the warranty companies would like to admit. They are a business and are here to make money. They will delay replacement as long as possible and then can find a reason not to replace.  

After-Hours Emergencies and your home warranty
Another grave concern regarding the warranty companies and your rental property is that the warranty companies are not set up to manage after hours and emergency services. If you have a home warranty and there is an emergency on the weekend, we will need to work outside of your home warranty. The best example of this is a plumbing emergency. Your home can suffer extensive water damage if a plumber is not dispatched immediately. If we have to shut the water off to the home for an extended period of time in order to mitigate damages to your home, you may be liable to pay for hotel reimbursement for your tenant while you wait on the home warranty. In these instances, you are losing money using the home warranty and it makes more sense to pay outside of the home warranty. Our company has a great relationships with our vendors. Most can provide same day service and will go the extra step to take care of emergencies. You won't have that with home warranties.
 
To sum it up, time is money
Tenants who wait extended periods of time for normal service are unhappy and an unhappy tenant will cost you. It is our goal to ensure all owners and tenants are happy with service and response times are critical in this satisfaction rating. 

If you choose to have a warranty - We need your help
We are willing to work with your home warranty; However, we will need the following assistance from you in order to make it work.

  • If you receive a phone call or email from the home warranty company, you must pass along that information to us as soon as possible.
  • If you make payments directly to the home warranty company, please send us a copy of that documentation once received and paid.
  • First American Home Warranty is now requiring the service trade fee to be paid by a credit card before the vendor will visit the property! We will need you to make this payment as not to delay service. For tax purposes, it’s best that we not place your service fees on our company credit card and bill your account. 
  • As we do not receive notifications for your plan expiration and renewal, you must be responsible for renewing your home warranty. Please check with us before you renew your home warranty so we can advise on different options and companies.
  • Before you purchase a home warrant, do your research and be an educated consumer. Customers expect more from their warranty than it will deliver. Analyze the numbers. If you pay $550, and then have an average of four work orders per year with an additional trade fee, are you likely to make money, lose money, or break even? It may make more sense to set aside money each month in a savings account. You’ll be able to access these funds for any number of reasons including preventative maintenance, turnovers, vacancy, and repairs.

Home Warranty Company Ratings on the Better Business Bureau
We investigated the ratings on the BBB website to size up all the major home warranty providers in our area. If you have a few minutes, read some of the reviews of your home warranty company below. It does not seem we are the only ones struggling with getting satisfactory service. The rating scores are as follows:

  • Old Republic Home Warranty - 3.8 out of 5  Read reviews here 
  • Home Warranty of America- 2.9 out of 5 Read reviews here
  • First American Home Warranty-  2.8 out of 5  Read reviews here  
  • American Home Shield- 2.8 out of 5 (also noted for the longest wait times!) Read reviews here  
  • Select Home Warranty & Choice Home Warranty 2.5 out of 5 (we do not recommend using these home warranty companies as they don’t have adequate service or coverage in our area)

originally posted 11-13-2017

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! 

Pensacola List of County Maintained Roads
05-15-2019
Nicole St. Aubin
Pensacola Real Estate
05-04-2022

pensacola list of county maintained roads

If you're looking to purchase a property in the Pensacola area, you need to consult this list of Escambia County Maintained Roads provided by the Escambia County Roads 

Buyers who secure VA and FHA financing may not be able to purchase a home on a privately owned and privately maintained road. If a road is privately owned, it is also privately maintained. 

Here is the link to search roads in Escamba County to see if they are county owned and maintained or privately owned and maintained. https://myescambia.com/our-services/public-works/roads/county-maintained-roads  

Always check with your lender before moving forward with a privately maintained road to be sure the property qualifies for financing. Even if you're not securing a loan and are paying cash, you should research the road situation before proceeding.

  • Reach out to the county for questions.
  • A title company may be able to assist as well.
  • Research to see if there is a maintenance agreement in place.
  • Make sure the maintenance agreement is easy to understand and well defined.
  • What happens if homeowners do not pay their part?
  • Is there language in the agreement to file a lien?
  • When was the last time maintenance was performed on the road?
  • Check to see if there are any other easements. 

Of course, the county website comes with a disclaimer of no warranties, so it's best to verify the status of the each rather than relying on the list of county maintained roads on the website. 

"This road list is maintained for internal use by the Escambia County Engineering Department. Pursuant to Chapter 119, Florida Statutes, the road list is a public record that is available for inspection and copying by any person. While the Engineering Department strives to ensure that this list is current and accurate, Escambia County provides no warranties, expressed or implied, for the information contained in the road list. Under Florida law, Escambia County is not liable for errors or inaccuracies in its public records. Accordingly, persons who view the road list are strongly encouraged to verify the accuracy of the information with other sources."

For information about Santa Rosa County roads including the cities of Gulf Breeze, Navarre, Milton, and Pace, reach out to Santa Rosa County Public Works at (850) 981-5500.

originally posted 08-17-2017

Unapproved Dog List due to Aggressive Breed Status
05-15-2019
Nicole St. Aubin
Tenant Education
05-04-2022

unapproved dog list

We love animals, just like you do! We love dogs of all shapes and sizes, but as a rental company in the Pensacola area, we are not able to approve all dogs to lease a home through us.

Unfortunately, certain dogs are not allowed in the underwriting guidelines of landlord insurance policies which means our office policies do not allow certain breeds of animals in our rental properties. Because of this, many large dog owners choose to purchase a home instead of leasing one. Our team is happy to help you find a nice home to buy should your situation allow for it. 

It is Realty Masters policy not to allow the following animals in our Pensacola area rental properties due to the fact they are assigned as aggressive breed animals by the insurance underwriters. Any mix of the breeds below is also determined to be an aggressive breed dog and not allowed at the property.

Unapproved Dog List Due to Aggressive Breed

  • Akita
  • Doberman pinscher
  • German shepherd
  • Pit Bull
  • American Bull Terrier
  • American Staffordshire Terrier
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  • English Bull Terrier
  • Chow
  • Rottweiler
  • Siberian Husky
  • Alaskan Malamute
  • Korean Jindo
  • Presa Canario
  • Hybrid and Purebred Wolves
  • Coyotes and wild dogs

If the landlord specifically requests or allows an aggressive breed dog in their home,we are happy to accomodate as long as an owner understands there is some risk and liability involved in this scenario. We recommend the renter secure renter's insurance with pet liability coverage in these scenarios. 

Have any questions about this? Reach out to our team and we'll be happy to answer them.

originally posted 06-19-2017

Taking care of your Septic Tank and Drainfield Lines
05-15-2019
Nicole St. Aubin
Tenant Education
05-04-2022

taking care of your septic tank

Plumbing issues can be one of a landlord's most troublesome problems!

Whether you have a septic tank or city sewer system, homeowners and landlords alike should respond to repetitive plumbing issues as soon as possible. If you are having issues with water and sewage backing up in your property, there's likely an issue with the main sewer or septic lines on your property.

Just like other items in and around your property, these major plumbing items in your home may eventually need to be replaced. drain-field-lines-pensacola-florida-landlord

Replacing your sewer lines, septic tank, or drainfield lines are costly repairs!  Why? Sewer and septic lines are buried underneath the ground and hard to access. Heavy machinery must be brought in. We recently had an up close look at drain field lines being replaced at a rental in Pensacola. 

New Drain field Lines being installed at rental property

Our friends at Ensley Septic Company in Pensacola helped our property owner to install new drainfield lines in their septic system and a complex of townhomes in Northeast Pensacola.  The properties were built in 1984 and had a failing drainfield system that was affecting several of the units in the building. 

The residents in this building were having sewage back up into their tubs resulting from failing drain field lines connecting to the septic tank. If you have city sewer and are having these issues, it could be a sign of a clog, growth, or break in your sewer lines. 

Common signs of drain septic tank or drain field issues:

  • Slow draining water at toilets, showers, and sinks
  • Bubbling noises 
  • Sewage back up

Ways to extend the life of your drainfield lines and septic tanks:

  • Limit water usage
  • Decrease the amount of cleaners and bleach you are using
  • Do not use the dishwasher and washing machine at the same time
  • Take breaks between loads of laundry 
  • Be cautious not to use too much water after it rains when your lines are still wet 
  • Have your tank pumped every couple of years
  • It is best not to have a garbage disposal when you have a septic tankseptic tank issues at home in Pensacola

Do not ever flush or introduce the following items into your septic system:

  • Coffee grounds
  • Paper towels, handi-wipes
  • Kitchen greases
  • Sanitary napikins, tampons, or condoms
  • Trash
  • Hair
  • Small animals or dead fish
  • Rangs, strings, or floss
  • Disposable diapers

Often, these issues are exasperated by excessive water usage. If you are experiencing sewer or septic issues, limit excess water usage as much as possible to prolong the life of your sewer or septic system. 

Weather can also affect the performance of your sewer or septic system. During and after periods of heavy rain, the ground around your septic system becomes too saturated to absorb your waste water. 

Septic Tank Companies in Pensacola we recommend:

  • Ensley Septic Tank - 850476-9610
  • Extreme Pumping and Septic, LLC - 850-999-7800 
  • Economy Septic Tank -  850-968-5130

originally posted 05-22-2017

One Minute Maintenance: A/C Tips from Mathews Heating and Air
05-15-2019
Carlin
Tenant Education
05-03-2022

Phil Mathews, owner of Mathews Heating and Air in Pensacola, gives us some tips on how to keep your home cool this summer! By changing your a/c filter and understanding how your system works, you can enjoy your air conditioner with maximum efficiency.

Best HVAC routine maintenance and settings straight from the Professionals:

  • You must change your A/C filter once a month.
  • Gulf Power recommends settings thermostat to 78 degrees in summer and and 68 in winter.
  • Don't set your thermostat below 70 degrees in summer.
  • Your A/C will only cool 20-22 degrees below the outside temperature.

Mathews Heating and Air provides HVAC services throughout Northwest Florida. Realty Masters has been using the services of Phil Mathews for 20 years in the Pensacola, Florida area. Call them at (850) 995-8678. 

originally posted 04-27-2017

One Minute Maintenance: How to prevent AC leaks
05-15-2019
Carlin
Owner Education
05-03-2022

Phil Mathews, owner of Mathews Heating and Air, shows us how to complete proper monthly maintenance on your air conditioner by flushing the drain pipe with bleach and warm water and making sure your drain pipe is not buried. This maintenance, along with changing your ac filter monthly, is required for proper HVAC function.

Required HVAC monthly maintenance straight from the Professionals:

  • Find your outside drain pipe and make sure it is not blocked by debris or other obstructions/
  • Find the bleach port in your inside HVAC system.
  • Turn your a/c off using the thermostat before adding bleach or working with your HVAC system.
  • Pour a 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of bleach and follow with 2 cups of warm water into the port.
  • For systems with safety switches, Remove the safety switch, Dry the inside out using a cloth, and then pour bleach and water into port.

Mathews Heating and Air provides HVAC services throughout Northwest Florida. Realty Masters has been using the services of Phil Mathews for 20 years in the Pensacola, Florida area. Call them at (850) 995-8678.

originally posted 04-27-2017

Common Tenant Lease Violations
05-15-2019
Nicole St. Aubin
Tenant Education
05-04-2022

common tenant lease violations

Here's a list of our most common lease violations!Are you in compliance with your lease agreement?

Serious Lease Violations 

  • Unauthorized Occupants
    Guests are authorized under lease for 14 days. Any guest who desires to occupy the property longer than two weeks must complete an application with our office for approval.  While the occupant does not need to be added to the lease agreement as a lease holder, any occupant(s) must be approved in writing by our office

  • Unauthorized Pets
    Any pets must be authorized by the property owner prior to being in your household. Aggressive breed pets are not allowed under any circumstances and can be grounds for eviction. Pets can be granted upon owners approval and with the appropriate $250 non-refundable pet fee.

  • Not Abiding by Homeowners Association Rules
    Failing to abide by the HOA Rules and Regulations in your community can result in a fine. While the rules may seem trivial to some, a fine can be issued against the homeowner for these minor infractions including, but not limited to, leaving your trash visible, parking a boat in the driveway or parking on the road, and having a basketball goal. If the HOA gives notice of a violation of the rules and regulations, make sure to correct this issue immediately.

  • Failing to Give 30 Day Notice or Breaking the Lease
    Failing to give proper notice to vacate under the lease agreeement or breaking your lease early can have costly cosequences. Your lease agreement states you must give a 30 day notice to vacate prior to the end of the month. Unless you are active duty military using the military clause to break your lease, notice must be given on the 1st of the month and move outs are for the last day of each month.

  • Common Lease Violations- Parking on the Lawn and Trampoline

    Trampoline and Above Ground Pools
    The property owner's insurance can be cancelled because of a trampoline or above ground pool, therefore, these are not allowed under your lease agreement.

  • Parking on the Lawn
    Parking on the lawn will kill any vegetation or grass and is not allowed.

  • Overgrown Lawn
    If lawn maintenance is your responsbility in your lease, you must maintain the lawn properly. In the spring and summer months, most Florida lawns need to be mowed bi-weekly. It is also your responbility to edge, remove leaves, water the grass, and keep the lawn in the same condition you received it in.  If it's too much work for you, hire a lawn guy to perform a routine service for your property.

  • Forgetting to Change A/C Filter every 30 Days
    Failing to change your heating and air conditioning filter is cause for a 7 day notice. Repeat offenses can lead to an eviction without the opportunity to cure. If you do not change your filter timely, this can lead to a breakdown in your system. Additionally, because this is defined as neglect in your lease agreement, you can be charged back the cost of any services that result from neglect.

  • Removing Smoke Detectors 
    Under no circumstances should you remove any smoke or carbon monoxide detectors to stop a chirping smoke detector. Your smoke detector must have working batteries at all time. If you have been living in your property for more than a year, be sure to check the date on the back of your detector to ensure the smoke detector is not expired.

  • Changing Locks and Not Providing a Key 
    You cannot change your locks without providing the office with a new key. This is against your lease agreement. If requests for a new key are denied, the landlord may re-key the locks to gain access to your property. If you'd like to change your locks, just let us know and provide us a key!

  • Not Running Exhaust Fans in Bathroom
    Failing to run an exhaust fan in the bathroom can result in mildew or mold growth in your bathroom. Please use your exhaust fan when showering or taking baths. If you do not have an exhaust fan, make sure to crack a window and leave the bathroom door open to allow the steam and excess to moisture to dissipate before shutting the bathroom door. 

originally posted 03-29-2017

One Minute Maintenance: Preventing Floods from Plumbing
05-15-2019
Nicole St. Aubin
Tenant Education
05-03-2022

Travis Rose with 1st Class Plumbing joins us for another installment of One Minute Maintenance Tips! Watch a licensed and experienced plumber show you how to prevent your toilet and hot water heater from overflowing during a plumbing emergency.

  • How to Stop your Toilet from Flooding:

1. Make sure the flapper is pushed down securely against the toilet and does not remain in the open position

2. Locate your water shut off valve 

3.  Turn the valve clockwise until in the off position 

  • How to Stop your Hot Water Heater from Flooding:

1. Located the water shut off valve to your hot water heater

2. Turn the water shut off valve clockwise until it is fully closed.

3. Locate your temperature and pressure (T&P) valve located on either the top or side of your hot water heater 

4. Turn the T&P valve into the off position  

Did you know?
There is also a water shut off valve beneath your bathroom and kitchen sink! 

If you are unable to turn the water off at the toilet, sink, or hot water heater, the best course of action is to turn the water off at the meter. Often times it is easy to turn the water off at the meter while others are digital and require a call to your local water company. Again, act fast in the instance of a plumbing emergency so contact your water company immediately if you are unsure of what to do. 

Remember, having this knowledge can help you stay cool in the time of crisis.  It is necessary to act fast in these situations as a small amount of water can create a huge problem once in contact with flooring, walls, baseboards, and doors. 

1st Class Plumbing offers full plumbing and gas services from minor routine maintenance to major plumbing emergencies. They service the Pensacola area including Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties and offer same day as well as 24/7 repairs. Give them a call at (850) 637-5781 or visit them online at http://1stclassplumbing.net/ 

originally posted 03-28-2017

How long will the components in your home last?
05-15-2019
Nicole St. Aubin
Tenant Education
05-03-2022

Thanks to Florida Realtors for doing the research and providing this inforgraphic to tell our homeowners how long the average components and systems in your home will last.

This information is especially important for landlords! Don't be surprised as you have to replace major components in your rental home. As your home ages, so do the components in your home. Keeping up with preventative and routine maintenance is imperative for a landlord.

Average Lifespan of home components

originally posted 03-08-2017

Selling your Single-Family, Tenant Occupied Rental Property
05-15-2019
Nicole St. Aubin
Owner Education
05-03-2022

As the real estate market in Pensacola is improving, more hesitant or forced landlords are seeking to sell their tenant occupied rental properties in the Pensacola area. For the first time in years, accidental landlords are able to sell their properties. You may be looking at capital gains taxes and running out of the timeline allowed to sell. Check with your accountant for advice on this. If you are a landlord of a duplex, apartment, or lower end property, it is most likely advantageous to sell your property with a tenant who has an existing lease so this advice does not necessarily apply to you. Investors looking to purchase properties want a property with a current tenant in place so keep that in mind! Most of the properties in our rental portfolio will only be marketable to home owners looking to purchase an owner occupied residence. 

If you are considering selling, consider our best practices for selling your rental property before making a move to list your home. 

1. Approach your tenants first!

  • You may already have a ready, willing and able buyer. We just closed on a property this week for a landlord whose tenant purchased the home at fair market value and have another duplex under contract with current occupants. 

2. Consider putting the property for rent or for sale when you place it on the rental market.

  • Unsure whether you want to try to lease or sell? Let us put it on the market for rent or for sale when your tenants give notice to vacate.

  • Consider the average time on the market for Pensacola homes for sale is approximately 90 days whereas the average time on the rental market is about 30 days. If you are really anxious to sell, it’s best to list it a month on the sales market prior to listing it for rent. While your home being on the sales market may turn away a few renters, it will not keep your house from selling and may even entice a buyer to act faster.

3. Review your lease agreement.

  • Does your tenant's’ lease agreement address the sale of your property? Remember, Florida Landlord Tenant Law does not cancel your lease agreement upon the sale of your property and the new owner is bound to fulfill this lease agreement unless your lease states otherwise.

  • Luckily, our lease agreement says that tenants can be given a 60 day notice to vacate and terminate their lease once the property is under contract for sale. Consider the tenants required notice period as well as the time it will take them to vacate before listing your rental property for sale.

  • If your tenant is in a lease agreement, it will be necessary to give your tenant proper notice to vacate. The law can be confusing in this area and largely depends on what your lease agreement says so if you are homeowner in the state of Florida without a Realty Masters lease, consult your lease agreement and Florida Landlord Tenant Law.

4. Consider your tenants lease expiration date.

  • Don’t put the property on the market for sale when tenants have just moved in or renewed their lease. They will be mad and a scorned tenant is not in your best interest. Think of how much effort is required to move, much less all the extra cost involved in moving. Your tenant will not be cooperative, happy, or good to your property during the time they reside in your home.

  • We find one of the best times to list your property is 2-4 months prior to your tenants move out date.

5. Consider deadlines for the sale and communicate a plan of action to your tenant.

  • If you do have interest in selling and don’t want a vacancy, the best course of action is to set a timeline up front to the tenant. It’s best to approach your tenants to explain your desire and necessity to sell and learn their intentions at the end of the lease renewal. Once knowing if they want to stay or are going to move regardless, you can plan an appropriate course of action. If they want to stay, set the expectations and timelines upfront.

  • For example, you could list the property 90 days prior to the lease expiration and remove it from the sales markes if it doesn’t sell within 60 days.

  • Be sure you communicate a plan you will agree to stick to prior to talking with your tenants. 

6. Consider an incentive for the tenant.

  • Don’t expect your tenants to be as interested in selling your property as you are! Incentivize them to do so. For example, we have seen owners offer a slightly reduced monthly rent and a full return of the deposit even when repairs are necessary as a financial incentive for showings. We recommend offering an incentive to your tenant if you want a smooth sale.

  • One of the biggest hurdles when selling your tenant occupied home is delayed access to the property.  Florida Landlord Tenant Law require reasonable notice as defined as 12 hours.  Our company policy is to require next day notice in order to meet the threshold the law defines. Real estate sales happen in real time and don’t always provide advanced notice. You must realize your home will miss showings to qualified buyers due to this time delay. Renters become disheartened by the number of showings and feel their quality of life is decreased when their home is being marketed for sale. This can cause a tenant to be uncooperative in showings or inspections, vacate your property or even attempt to break their lease early.

  • Tenants have never sold a property and don’t understand the process. Showing your home to multiple sets of buyers repeatedly causes inconveniences and can be seen as an intrusion in privacy. Offering them a financial incentive leads to tenant buy in and will help you achieve your goal of selling your property. 

7. Your rental home probably needs some sprucing up to be competitive in a real estate market with owner occupied homes.

  • Your tenants don’t necessary want your home to sell and most likely hope it does not sell! With competing interests, your property will be harder to sell than a normal owner occupied Pensacola area home.

  • Renters may not necessarily keep in the home in show ready condition. You can avoid negative showing feedback if you have a Realtor walk through your home prior to listing it. Listen to their feedback and make any cost effective changes possible prior to listing your house on the market for sale.

  • Consider a home inspection prior to the sale so you can address issues that be present in your inspection. If your windows are fogging, roof has less than 5 years age, or your siding has a lot of wood rot, this will cause problems. Items like these are common and can be expensive repairs that may prevent you from selling your property to an FHA or VA buyer due to lending restrictions.  It’s better to know and address as many items upfront to be sure your ready, willing, and able buyer will be able to purchase your home. 

Are you interested in a market anaylsis for your rental property? Reach out to our sales team or email me!

originally posted 03-04-2017

Pensacola Real Estate Market Statistics and Update!
05-15-2019
David Keen
Pensacola Real Estate
05-03-2022

The Pensacola Real Estate Market is strong! 

We are taking a look back at 2016 Real Estate Statistics.  The Florida Real Estate market, which was known to be hard hit by the recession, is showing continual signs of improvement.  This is great news for homeowners and landlords but not necessarily great news for tenants. 

Let David Keen, Realtor, give you a rundown of some of the highlights of the 2016 Pensacola Real Estate Market.


Here's a summary of what David Keen, Realtor, has to say.

Pensacola Real Estate Market 

  • Home Sale Prices in the Pensacola Area were up about 5% over 2015 Home Sale Prices
  • Inventory is down and supply is limited
  • New Construction makes up a large percentage of inventory
  • Foreclosures and Short Sales are now only about 3% of active sales inventory
  • Average time on the market for properties for sale in Pensacola is sitting at approximately 90 days

With days on the market down along with inventory and supply, sales prices are likely to continue to increase in the Pensacola area.  As David mentioned, the distressed inventory made up nearly 29% of our active inventory just two January's ago and now the distressed inventory is down to about 3% of active inventory. Because so many of the sales comparables were distressed properties, it kept the market and appraisal values down. In comparison, today in 2017, nearly 1/3 of the active inventory are new construction, or brand new, homes.

As we are expecting an increase in interest rates in the coming months, many buyers are using this opportunity to purchase a larger home and sell their old home or deciding to make the leap from renter to homeowner. 

Pensacola Rental Market

average Pensacola area Rental Rates

  • Rental Rates have increased about 3% over 2015 rental rates. While this is not as strong as the improvement for the sales market, we expect tighter inventory to continue to drive rental rates up!
  • The average rental rate in Pensacola is up to approximately $1,100 
  • Rental Supply is limited with nearly 1,000 fewer units on the single-family rental market than five years ago.

What do these statistics mean? The shrinking inventory of Pensacola area rental properties comes from forced landlords who previously could not sell their homes. These hesitant landlords leased their homes, condos, and townhomes out of necessity, not out of desire.  Because of the improving real estate sales market, hestitant landlords are choosing to sell their properties rather then releasing when their tenants vacate.  This trend began in 2013 but ramped up in 2016.  

The increase in rental supply in 2014 comes from a huge increase in investor purchases as prices were down and distressed inventory was high.  Now that it's harder to find affordable investments in the Pensacola area, the investor sales have finally leveled off although demand has not.  We expect even more landlords to sell their rental properties this year further tightening the rental inventory.  Because of these factors, rental prices will continue to increase over the coming years. This lack of inventory and increase in prices is forcing some renters to make the leap to homeownership earlier than they had desired! Pensacola Rental Market supply and demand

Are you interested in building a rental portfolio? We have owners ready to sell their rental properties and know where you can find the best deals on auction sites, with tax deed sales, and with existing foreclosure inventory.

Do you have questions about the Pensacola rental market or the sales market? Reach out to our team for answers! 

originally posted 03-02-2017

The Right and Wrong Landlord Mindset
05-15-2019
Nicole St. Aubin
Owner Education
05-04-2022

right and wrong landlord mindset

It's important to have the right mindset in order to be a successful landlord. 

Recently, I have seen several stories online relating to violence between landlords and tenants. A tenant was stabbed in the Bronx; a landlord was killed in her house in Clearwater, Florida. It can be hard being a landlord, but it shouldn’t land you in a hospital, a jail, or a morgue.

In most cases, your tenants will rarely take as good of care of your property as you would. Your renters will not pay for maintenance costs willingly and they will most likely not properly prepare your property for the next resident. Your rental is going to have vacancy time and it will cost you money. It is very likely that you will have to pay for a very expensive repair at some point. These are the risks and challenges you accept when becoming a landlord.

When becoming a landlord you must have the right mindset to be accepting of these truths or the entire experience of being a landlord could drive you crazy.

If you go into being a landlord thinking, “I can find the over-achiever, grade A tenants every time!” you will probably be disappointed. 

Another idea new landlords have is, “I just want my property to look like it did when I lived there”, but this is not a realistic long-term approach to being a landlord unless you contribute to keeping it that way. You must put forth effort, money, and energy into maintaining or improving your properties. Landlord Tenant Law does not allow landlords to charge tenants for every cost required to turn over a property for a new tenant.  The majority of tenants will not do routine maintenance tasks such as pressure washing, small interior maintenance, or keeping up with the yard. 

Instead, realize that your tenants are not going to put forth the same effort you may have and incentivize them to do more by equally contributing to routine and preventative maintenance.

Be very appreciative of your excellent tenants.

  • The ones who pay rent on time, keep your place immaculate, plant flowers, and don’t complain or ask for a lot.
  • Send them a thank you card or mail them a small gift during the holidays. 
  • Thank them for preserving your property like you would have and for increasing the property value while they did.

Be appreciative of your good tenants.

  • The ones who paid a week late that one time when their car died, that don’t plant flowers, but that mow the yard timely.
  • The ones that don’t clean right when they move and the walls need a little touch up but everything is intact and well cared for. 
  • By occupying your rental property, they are helping you to gain equity, to keep your credit score up, and to save for retirement.

You can even be appreciative of the bad tenants.

  • Appreciate the ones who call every month with some new major issue because they’re not letting your house fall apart.
  • Appreciate the ones who move in the middle of the lease because they paid rent timely and voluntarily turned over keys so no eviction was necessary.
  • Be appreciative of the ones that stayed for five years even though they were so messy and Florida Landlord Tenant Law says you can’t charge them for fresh paint and new carpet.  Appreciate them because they have saved you months of vacancy costs over the years.

Look at being a landlord as being a small business owner. With revenue comes expeses. 

Routine and preventative maintenance is important for your rental investment and increases the value of your real estate asset. Properties with up-to-date features and in overall better condition will yield higher rents, be easier to maintain, and have less vacancy costs.  

  • Don’t be upset when your tenant calls in routine maintenance, be appreciative of the opportunity to increase the value of your long-term asset in smaller increments over time.
  • It will be a relief when the A/C repair only costs you $350 because it didn’t require a brand new inside and outside unit.
  • Be appreciative when the plumbing emergency doesn’t happen on a Sunday or a holiday and that it didn’t flood your downstairs.

Landlords who invest in real estate with the wrong mindset will constantly be disappointed with their tenants actions and will never appreciate the fact that another person is paying down their mortgage and helping them to build wealth with a real estate investment.

Do you have questions about becoming a landlord in the Pensacola, Florida area? Reach out to our team for honest advice on being a landlord.

originally posted 03-01-2017

Fire Prevention Tips from Complete DKI in Pensacola, Florida
05-15-2019
Nicole St. Aubin
Tenant Education
05-03-2022

As Realtors, we take safety and security at your home very seriously. That's why we reached out to Ashlee Carpenter, Vice President of one of the leading property restoration companies in town, to bring you these Fire Prevention Tips. Watch Ashlee as she gives us several fire prevention tips to consider.

Ashlee warns us that statistics show 1 in 5 people will experience a house fire in their lifetime.  Her quick tips today include:

1. Set a loud timer on your cell phone while you are cooking. Do not rely on your stove timer.

2. Check your holiday lights every year before using them. Make sure to read the safety instructions.

3. Keep atleast a 3 foot buffer around any space heaters you may be using. Do not let space heaters run while you are not home!

4. Have a fire safety plan and emergency plan for your family in the event you have a fire.

5. Inspect your smoke detectors every month! Make sure they are not expired (as they expire after 10 years) and that the batteries are working properly. We recommend upgrading to a 10 year tamper proof detector for maximum protection. 

Complete DKI For more information on Complete DKI, visit their website at http://www.CompleteDKI for more prevention tips and to learn about their restoration services. 

originally posted 02-09-2017

Tour of Fort Pickens, Pensacola Beach, Florida
05-15-2019
Nicole St. Aubin
Community
05-04-2022

tour fort pickens

Plan your Visit to Historic Fort Pickens 

Fort Pickens is located at the end of Fort Pickens Rd on Pensacola Beach in the Gulf Islands National Seashore

 area and is part of the National Park Service. This historic site was completed in 1834 and was used for 113 years as a military fort. 

Fort Pickens has a rich history and is open to the public for exploration.  Fort Pickens offers both guided and self-assisted tours of the different sections of the fort and several batteries.  Fort Pickens area of Gulf Islands National Seashore offers miles of beaches along the Gulf of Mexico and offers views of Pensacola Bay.

You can even see Pensacola Naval Air Station and the Pensacola Lighthouse in the distance across the bay. From snorkeling to hiking to boating, Fort Pickens has recreational opportunities for families of all ages. 

Fort-Pickens-Pensacola-Beach-Florida-historic-fort-toursBest Fishing piers in Pensacola area

 

Beaches on Fort Pickens in Northwest Florida

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fort Pickens offers the following amenities and entertainment:

  • Historic Fort Tours
  • Swimming
  • Beaches
  • Camping 
  • Fishing Pier
  • S
  • cuba Diving
  • Snorkeling Reef
  • Birdwatching 
  • Hiking Trails
  • Biking Trails
  • Boat Launches
  • Boating

 Lifeguards are present on Langdon Beach during the summer from 9:30- 5:30. 

Fort Pickens area is a favorite among nature enthusiasts! You can explore nature in my ways especially during shore bird nesting season, turtle nesting season, and during the butterfly migration. It is also one of our favorite places to watch the sunset along the Gulf Coast.

Watch a quick video tour of some of the highlights Fort Pickens on Pensacola Beach, Florida has to offer:

Sunset Pensacola Beach Fort Pickens
Entrance fees apply.  The current 2017 rate is $7 per person, $10 per motorcycle or $15 per private vehicle which allows entrance onto all ares of the Gulf Islands National Seashore (including Johnson's Beach in Perdido Key) for one to seven days. Gulf Islands National Seashore also offers an annual pass for up to four individuals for only $30. Fort Pickens and Gulf Islands National Seashore also offer camping for nominal fees. 

Remember, the National Park Service offers free entrance for certain holidays including often Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents' Day, Weekends of the National Park Week, National Park Service Birthday, National Public Lands Day, and Veterans Day weekend. Check their calendar for a list of free dates here

For more information, visit their website or follow them on facebook.

Realty Masters of FL  (850) 473-3983 info@pensacolarealtymasters.com 
#1 in Pensacola Rental Houses & Apartments

#1 in Pensacola Rental Houses & Apartments

originally posted 02-02-2017

Furniture and Household Item Donation in Pensacola
05-15-2019
Nicole St. Aubin
Community
05-04-2022

Furniture and Household Item

Are you moving, doing some serious holiday cleaning, or just need to get rid of some items?

There is an alternative if you're not into online marketplaces or don't think you have enough stuff for a good garage sale. How about donating your items to a local Pensacola area charity!

There are four main organizations in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties that support item donations and offer free pick up for these items! Goodwill Industries, Habitat for Humanity Restore, Salvation Army, and the Waterfront Rescue Mission.

Goodwill Industries

Goodwill Industries offers local drop off and pick up from several bargain centers in the Pensacola area including one in Pace, Milton, and Gulf Breeze. Goodwill has 6 locations in the Pensacola area including 15 E Brent Lane, 5998 Mobile Hwy, 600 E Cervantes St., 4081 Olive Rd., 2 E Nine Mile Rd., and 2155 W Nine Mile Rd. Find the closest one to your home. They also just opened a new megastore at 1751 E. Olive Rd. in Pensacola, FL 32514. 

  • What they accept: Household items, furniture, clothing, blankets, and much more!
  • What they don't accept: Items in non working condition with missing parts, items that are stained and torn, and items that have been recalled, banned, or do not meet safety standards. 
  • What they do: Help people in our community build skills and find employment. 

Habitat for Humanity Restore

Local pick up and drop off for Pensacola items offered! Pensacola's Habitat for Humanity Resale Store location for drop off is 5810 North Palafox Place, Pensacola, FL 32503.

How to schedule a Pick up for Habitat for Humanity Restore: Call them at 850-476-0001 or schedule pick up online. 

  • What they accept: Appliances no older than ten years, building materials of all kind, lighting, cabinetry, windows,  hardware, furniture (no mattresses or stained,tears or pet damage), toys, musical instruments, filing cabinets, area rugs, cars, books, and other household items.
  • What they don't accept: Anything that doesn't work, needs a replacement part, is torn, has pet damage, or is soiled, and the following: Appliances more than 10 years old, dishwashers manufactured, microwaves over 5 years old, Automobile parts/ accessories, Baby items, Clothing/linens/bedding/drapes/bed pillows
  • Computers, printers, desks, Electronics, Fireplaces, Exercise equipment, Hazardous chemicals, Hospital Beds, Metal or plastic window blinds, Mirrored Doors or glass, 
  • Pianos, Upholstered items with rips, stains, tears, and/or pet odors, Used Paint, Waterbeds, Water Heaters manufactured before Jan. 2014
  • What they do: Sell items to fund homeownership for hundreds in our local community! 

Salvation Army

Local pick up and drop off for Pensacola items offered! Pensacola's Salvation Army location is 3780 N. Davis Hwy, Pensacola, FL 32514.  Call them at (850) 432-1943. 

  • What they accept: Used matteresses with frame only. Clothes, vehicles, household items, appliances and furniture.
  • What they don't accept: Tube tvs or anything stained, ripped or damaged in any way. 
  • What they do: Items are sold at Salvation Army Family Stores and help fund rehabilitation services. 

Waterfront Rescue Mission

Local pick up and drop off for Pensacola items offered! Pensacola's has several area Waterfront Rescue Mission Bargain Stores including one in Cantonment, Milton, and West Pensacola. The Pensacola Waterfront Rescue Mission recycling and donation center location is 388 West Herman St., Pensacola, FL 32505.  Call them at (850) 607-8340 or schedule pick up online at http://www.pickupmydonation.com  

  • What they accept: household items in good condition including clothing, furniture (no mattresses), appliances, lighting, lawn equipment, musical instruments, home decor, electronics (no tube TV’s of computer monitors), tools, toys, books, recyclable materials, and much more. 
  • What they don't accept: Mattresses, water beds, tube tv's, non-working tv's or computers/monitors, expired foods, hot tubs, and furniture that is not safe or too heavy for their crew.
  • What they do: Provide resources and meals for  homeless men, women, and children in the Pensacola area. 

originally posted 12-05-2016

We have over 50 Rental Homes & Apartments in the Pensacola area for rent!
05-15-2019
Realty Masters
Tenant Education
05-03-2022

It was a hard summer for Pensacola rentals!  We experienced the lowest inventory we've had in years and saw rental prices increase nearly 5%.  Typically, summer is the preferred season for renters to move due to school aged children and PCS Season. Because so many people prefer to move in summer, as a renter you face a huge disadvantage due to competition and the laws of supply and demand. 

Now that school has started and the holidays are in full swing, we are seeing a huge influx in rental inventory and seeing reduced rental rates. So why move in summer? Now is the time to move. 

Fall and winter are the best times to move in Pensacola! 

1) There are more options to choose from! There are nearly 200 more rental properties on the Pensacola market today than there was in July. In summer, we had residents give move out notices only to retract those notices because they could not find a suitable property to rent. Why move when everyone else is trying to move?

2) There is less competition. All summer we had two and three applications on each rental property. Not anymore! Take your time browsing and find the home that is right for you. 

3) Rental rates are lower. When there is limited supply, rental rates increase. When there is an increased supply (like now!), rental rates decrease. 

Here's Mitch giving you a quick glance at over 50 rental properties in the Pensacola area while explaining some reasons to make your move this fall. 

So basically, you can get a nicer house, for less money, and enjoy a less stressful  house hunting experience. We have over 50 rental properties available, check our list to find a cozy home to move in to this fall! 

originally posted 11-01-2016

5 Easy Appliance Care Tips
05-15-2019
Realty Masters
Tenant Education
05-03-2022

Our friends at Nelson's Appliance helped us with some quick appliance maintenance tips to keep your appliances running efficiently to kick off our new web series "One Minute Maintenance Tips."  Take a minute and learn how to keep your appliances running smoother for longer. 

The appliance maintenance tips are:

1. Use jet dry in your dishwasher. 

2. Always wash your dishes. 

3. Run your dishwasher twice a month. 

4. Clean refigerator coils. 

5. Use garbage disposal twice weekly. 

If you have any appliance issues in the Pensacola area, contact Nelson's Appliance at (850) 572-5102 or visit them online at www.nelsonsappliancerepair.com 

originally posted 11-01-2016

Realty Masters Team at NARPM
05-15-2019
Nicole St. Aubin
Community
05-03-2022

The team at Realty Masters of FL traveled to Tampa for the 2016 Florida State NARPM Convention! Here's a quick wrap up video of our time at the Florida State NARPM Conference. 

The National Association of Residential Property Managers is the premier professional association for residential property managers.  We are proud NARPM Members and are anxiously awaiting future educational opportunities to better serve our Pensacola area property owners and renters. To find out more about NARPM, visit their website http://www.narpm.org/ or contact me directly if you are interested in becoming involved in the Pensacola Chapter of NARPM.  

originally posted 09-27-2016

Pensacola Welcome's UWF Football
05-15-2019
David Keen
Community
05-05-2022

pensacola welcomes uwf football

Oh what a time to live in the great city of Pensacola! 

The growth our city has seen in the past few years has been nothing short of phenomenal. No area has seen a shift in popularity quite like the Downtown Pensacola area. The area has gone from a few businesses and restaurants, to a haven for entertainment, nightlife, and now best of all, home town sports. The shift began on Palafox with the addition of multiple bars and restaurants, to surround the already rich historical area that the street sits on and continued to slowly expand outward. With the growth of that area came opportunity.

Blue Wahoos Stadium

Luckily, the University of West Florida, The Studer Group, and former Mayor Vince Whibbs saw this growth potential and decided to expand on it. After years of planning and approval, they formed what is now Maritime Park and the site of the Blue Wahoo’s Stadium.

This site consists of a 3,200-seat "multi-use" stadium. Pensacola finally had a team to cheer for a stadium to cherish, and a new cymbal of the emergence of our great community.

For years this stadium was used for local events, food and beverage festivals, and Pensacola Pelicans games. After 2011, the team made the transition from the Pelicans, to the Pensacola Wahoos. This new team would play in the Southern League and would operate as the Class Double-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds Major League Baseball team. Since the transition, the team has become a beloved Pensacola treasure and even managed to win organization of the year following the inaugural season.

UWF has always flirted with the idea of adding their own twist to this beautiful stadium. Well ladies and gentleman, that day has finally come to fruition. Saturday, August 3, 2016 marked the kick off of the inaugural season for the University of West Florida Argos football team.

The team opened up the season with a bang and energized fans hours away in dominating fashion by beating Ave Maria University 45-0 on their home field near Naples FL. This marked the start of an amazing tradition of UWF Football and gave a jolt of energy to this program for the season ahead. Now, just a day away, we countdown the hours until the Argos march into Blue Wahoo’s stadium for a sellout crowd. In a typical sell out, Blue Wahoo’s Stadium would only hold 5,038 for a baseball game. However, UWF athletic officials said Wednesday, that it in the future it will be expanded to hold 6,238 for football games, with standing room, and temporary bleachers.

The team will face off against Missouri S&T in what is sure to be landmark day for the city and the University of West Florida. Now, in the buildup of the first home game, the team has also managed to gain another huge boost to the program in the form of a 1 million dollar contribution from Pen Air Federal Credit Union. The money will go a long way to spark a budding team and fund any football endeavors they may have. To honor the donation, the turf will bear the name Pen Air Field.

Although the game is sold out, there will multiple options for the avid fan to catch this historical game.

  • The game will be broadcasted on WPNN 103.7 FM and 790 AM, with a simulcast on Blab TV (WFDB).
  • A very limited number of tickets do still remain for the final four home games at Blue Wahoo’s Stadium. Those tickets can be purchased online at www.goargos.com.
  • The final four games will also be available on multiple outlets as well. The games will be featured on television or webcast through Blab-TV (three games) or American Sports Network (one game) or ESPN3 (Oct. 22 vs. Shorter).

On Saturday the stadium areas and the surrounding park will open its doors at 12 for tailgating, while the game itself will kick off at 6 PM. Then, just like many Wahoo’s games, this game will end with a bang by putting on a water front fireworks show to cap off a monumental night. We hope to see everyone come out there to support the Argos and the next big step for the City of Pensacola!

originally posted 09-09-2016

Landlords access to property
05-15-2019
Nicole St. Aubin
Owner Education
05-04-2022

landlords access to property

What does Florida Landlord Tenant Law say about owners visiting their properties while the home is tenant occupied?

As a local landlord with or without a professional property manager, you may be required to visit your rental property regularly for inspections, maintenance, and showings. You may also just be in the area and inclined to drive by and check up on your tenants.  Before you do that, make sure you know and understand your state’s landlord tenant laws. 

For those Florida landlords who live close by their rental properties, here are the 2016 Florida Landlord and Tenant Statutes to consider.

“83.53 Landlord’s access to dwelling unit.—

(1) The tenant shall not unreasonably withhold consent to the landlord to enter the dwelling unit from time to time in order to inspect the premises; make necessary or agreed repairs, decorations, alterations, or improvements; supply agreed services; or exhibit the dwelling unit to prospective or actual purchasers, mortgagees, tenants, workers, or contractors.

(2) The landlord may enter the dwelling unit at any time for the protection or preservation of the premises. The landlord may enter the dwelling unit upon reasonable notice to the tenant and at a reasonable time for the purpose of repair of the premises. “Reasonable notice” for the purpose of repair is notice given at least 12 hours prior to the entry, and reasonable time for the purpose of repair shall be between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. The landlord may enter the dwelling unit when necessary for the further purposes set forth in subsection (1) under any of the following circumstances:

(a) With the consent of the tenant;

(b) In case of emergency;

 

5 Tips to Prevent Bed Bug Infestation
05-15-2019
Nicole St. Aubin
Tenant Education
05-04-2022
5 tips to prevent bed bug
 
Five tips to help you prevent a bedbug infestation in your home:
 
1) Don't buy used furniture!  
 
Bedbugs don't build nests like typical pests; they prefer to live in furniture. While mattresses are the preferred hiding spot for bedbugs, they can hide and live in couches, chairs, rugs, luggage, purses, clothing, inside books and even picture frames! 
 
Because of this, you must be careful when purchasing used furniture as a few bugs can lead to an infestation. Fully inspect all crevices of any furniture before purchasing anything used. 
 
Bedbugs are hard to kill and expensive to treat. We've seen bedbug treatments cost anywhere from $350- $1,000. Plus, treatment will include throwing away any affected items. Why take the risk? 
 
2) Be cautious while traveling. 
 
Google pictures of bedbugs and bedbug infestations. It grosses me out so I can't post them here.  Be aware and take precautions!  Here's some good information from the EPA on bedbugs: http://www.epa.gov/bedbugs 
 
Check prior to your departure to see if your hotel appears on any of these bedbug registry websites: http://www.bedbugreports.com/  and http://registry.bedbugs.net/ 
 
Whenever traveling, ensure you check all beds in your hotel room prior to unpacking any luggage. Pull off the sheets and check on the undersides of the mattresses as well as in all four corners. Look for any live bugs, bloodstains, and fecal matter or residue. 
 
It's also best practice not to put your purse or luggage on any carpeting when you are traveling.  Many people pick up bedbugs at a hotel without ever knowing it because they don't take precautionary measures.  
 
3)  Use mattress covers for all beds in the household.
 
A mattress cover is totally worth the costs, especially if you just googled bedbug infestations.  A mattress cover can protect your mattress from bugs trying to make it home.  Experts suggest purchasing a white or light colored mattress protector so it's easier to spot any critters. 
 
4) Routinely check your bedroom for bedbugs.
 
Be sure to check your entire bedroom and any furniture surrounding the bed, including the edge of carpeting, in nightstands, lamps, and in your clock radio.  They like to be close to possible hosts. Bedbugs feed during the night and often go unnoticed for long periods of time.  Because they are nocturnal and feed while you are sleeping, bedbugs most commonly live in mattresses.  
 
The bite of a bedbug is painless and causes a small red itchy irritation on your skin.  They can often be confused as flea or mosquito bites. Bedbugs are said to feed every 5 to 10 days but can sustain for several months without feeding! 
 
 
5) Act Fast if you suspect a bedbug situation.
 
You can have a casual encounter with a bedbug and walk away unscathed if you act fast. Be aware, do your research, and stay vigilant especially when traveling or visiting others homes.  If you suspect you have encountered bedbugs, notify the appropriate parties.  It's best to isolate any items that may have been exposed. Wash all clothing dry on high heat.  Put shoes, stuffed animals, and purses in dryer on high heat. Throw away items that cannot be dried that may be affected such as luggage.  
 
Contact a pest control person immediately for further advice and examination. Not all pest control companies are experienced in eliminating bedbugs. We recommend locally Florida Pest Control at (850) 432-4103 or Ensec at (850) 474-4000. 

originally posted 07-06-2016

Moving out of a Realty Masters Rental Property
05-15-2019
Nicole St. Aubin
Tenant Education
05-03-2022

Moving out of a Realty Masters Rental Property 

We want all of our residents to receive a full security deposit return! We also want our residents to leave the house ready for the next resident.

Watch this video for tips on how you can receive a full security deposit refund in 15 days. Moving is hard- it takes a lot of time and proper planning. We understand how stressful the moving process! 

 Because we typically have residents moving in right after you vacate, it's important to plan your move and ensure you leave plenty of time to clean, have the carpets professionally cleaned, and have the lawn manicured. Florida Landlord Tenant Law and your lease agreement require these items to be done by the resident. If not completed, the law allows the owner to hire workers to complete the work and make a claim against your security deposit if we have proper documentation to support the claim.  

Please consider how you would like to find a home when you are moving in and understand that if you do not leave the home in white glove clean condition, we will have to hire a cleaning service and make a charge against your deposit which can delay the return of your security deposit up to 45 days! Most residents do not clean as thoroughly as thoroughly as they would expect a home to be cleaned upon their move in. Because of this, we suggest hiring a cleaning service upon move out to ensure your deposit is not tied up due to minor cleaning charges.  

Give us a call or email us with any questions you may have about moving out of a Realty Masters rental property in the greater Pensacola, Florida area. We are happy to explain the move out process and answer any questions you may have. 

originally posted 06-08-2016

Useful A/C Tips for the Hot Weather Season
05-15-2019
Carlin
Tenant Education
05-04-2022

useful ac tips

Here you are staring at the thermostat with the display showing the A/C is set at the lowest setting possible. You expect the house to feel like the inside of your freezer, but the house still feels warm. Some may find this statement all too familiar: "My house won't cool below 68 degrees and I've been running it all day!" In Florida, the days between early May - late August are hot!

The spring and summer seasons provide some of the most enjoyable weather Florida has to offer, but residents would enjoy a reprieve from the heat in their own homes. The next time you are questioning your A/C - Try out these helpful tips to have a more comfortable, energy efficient Spring and Summer season.

The First Step is to know your Climate

The average humidity in most areas of Florida will be above ~70%. All the constant moisture in the air is going to make the outside temperature feel hotter than it would otherwise be. Your A/C may constantly fight the high outside temperatures to keep the inside of your home cool. Gulf Power recommends keeping your thermostat set on 78 in the spring and summer. One of the reasons for this is that most a/c units simply will not cool below 15-20 degrees of the outside temperature.

Let Gulf Power help with your energy cost 

Gulf Power has established a program called Budget Billing to help out cosumers with their higher bills in the spring and summer. With Budget Billing, you will pay approximately the same amount each month based on an average of your previous 12 months' electrical usage. For more information and see if this would work for you; Click here.

Put the Personal Touches on your A/C

Do you have a programmable thermostat? There are low-cost thermostats that allow you to control when your A/C will run. If you are away from home for several hours during the day, it is best practice to set your A/C around your schedule. Gulf Power offers a program called Energy Select that will install a free programmable thermostat in your home. For more information and to see if you qualify; Click Here

Perform Maintenance Regularly

  • Change the A/C filter once a month to allow optimal air flow.  Especially if you have pets, the 3 month filters do not last 3 months. We recommend the 1 month filters only for improved a/c efficiency. 
  • You should plan on flushing the condensation drain line at least once a year. Pour 1 cup of bleach followed by 2 cups of water the next day. There are specific bacterial solutions to clean HVAC condensation lines, but bleach works as well.

Your A/C needs maintenance when:

  • It is leaking water outside the unit
  • There is frost buidup
  • Unit blowing warm air
  • Unit is not blowing any air at all​

Contact your Property Manager if any of these problems occur and we will gladly send a technician.

If your A/C is set below 72 degrees, your A/C may run all day and not reach the desired temperature due to the heat/humidity of outside; however, that does not mean your unit is not working. Keep in mind, if the technician is sent and no problem is found, you may be billed for a service fee. 

Other things you can do to make your home feel cooler

  • A good way to beat the heat is to dress for the occasion. Avoid dark color clothes that will absorb heat and try to wear light, natural fabric that will keep you cool.
  • Run any ceiling fans around your home that will make it feel cooler than it is. Make sure your ceiling fans are switched for summer.
  • Check the doors and windows around your home to ensure hot air is not coming in. Notify us if you find any issues that need to be corrected.
  • Make sure all blind/curtains are closed to block sunlight heating up your home. 

originally posted 05-24-2016

Annual Food Drive to Benefit Manna Food Pantries
05-15-2019
Nicole St. Aubin
Community
05-03-2022

Realty Masters is hosting our annual Manna Food Drive and Gift Card Giveaway May 1 through June 30, 2016. Enter by bringing non-perishable food items when you come to either of our offices or by leaving your tagged food items on your counter during your regularly scheduled inspection.  Thank you for your donation! 

Manna Food Pantries provides emergency food assistance in both Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties in Northwest Florida including the Pensacola area and serves children, families, and seniors. They are especially in need of food items during the summer time when children are more likely to be hungry.  Visit their website for more information and ways you can help. http://www.mannafoodpantries.org/

3 Easy Ways to Give

1) Drop by either Realty Masters office locations with non-perishable food items.

2) Leave your tagged items on your counter during your routine scheduled inspection.

3) Drop by a few dollars or donate directly to Manna on their website! 

Manna Food Pantries, with the help of our community, has helped over 15,645 families in the last year.  Over
22% of those who received assistance last year were seniors. 36% of the donations went directly to children
under the age of 18. Manna Food Pantries assists so many people in our community that your help is needed. 

 

Thank you for your participation! 

Update as of July 1, 2016, we were able to collect 100 pounds of food for the community thanks to our staff and clients.

originally posted 04-30-2016

Conducting a Proper Move In Inspection
05-15-2019
Nicole St. Aubin
Owner Education
05-03-2022

Conducting routine, consistent inspections at your rental property is one of the most important ways you can monitor your home during the leasing process.

Here is Carlin Symmes, lead inspector at Realty Masters, discussing the importance of a move in inspection.  

We document the condition of the property one to two days prior to a tenants move in for many reasons. 

  • Most importantly, to ensure the home is ready for move in and that all necessary repairs were completed. 
  • Secondly, to have documentation needed in case there are damages beyond normal wear and tear when the tenant moves out. Photos and a written form are completed during every inspection. It is also important to note that you should have photos of the home in good condition also and not just photos of any discrepancies found. 

Not conducting routine inspections before, during, and after the tenants move out is one of the most common mistakes rookie landlords and inexperienced property managers make. 

A move in inspection is also valuable to a tenant.  Each of our clients are given a move in inspection to complete within 72 hours of move in. Make sure if you are moving into a new property, you document any issues with the home in writing and submit to your landlord upon move in. This protects you at move out! 

Let us know if you have any questions about the move in inspection process.

originally posted 03-12-2016

5 Tips for Renters in a Competitive Market
05-15-2019
Nicole St. Aubin
Tenant Education
05-03-2022

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.
  • 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.

originally posted 03-01-2016

Phases of a New Construction Home Build
05-09-2019
Mitch Adcox
Pensacola Real Estate
05-04-2022

phases of a new construction build

The Phases of a New Construction Home Build

  1. Prepare site and pour foundation
  2. Complete rough framing
  3. Complete rough plumbing, electrical, and HVAC
  4. Install insulation
  5. Complete drywall, interior fixtures; start exterior finishes
  6. Finish interior trim; install exterior driveways and walkways
  7. Install hard surface flooring and countertops; complete exterior grading
  8. Finish mechanical trims; install bathroom fixtures
  9. Install mirrors, shower doors, and finish flooring; finish landscaping
  10. Final walkthrough!
  • Depending on your timeline, you have a few options for buying or building your brand new construction home!
  1. You can purchase a newly constructed home already built and close within 60 days.  
  2.  You can have a home built on a cleared lot with the option to pick your builder, floor plan, and upgrades which takes between four and six months.
  3.  You can also have a home built on a lot that hasn’t been cleared which can take upwards of a year to complete.

If you want to explore your options to purchase new construction, the best thing to do is contact a new construction specialist like myself, so an experienced realtor can guide you through the home buying process. As a buyer, there is no cost to you to have a realtor represent you in your new construction purchase! 

Don’t make the mistake of going to the model home in the neighborhood. You may end up making the mistake of writing a contract in the first subdivision you visited without exploring your options.

First Time Home Buyer Bond Program
05-09-2019
Nicole St. Aubin
Pensacola Real Estate
05-03-2022

originally posted 05-12-2016

Escambia County Finance Authority Bond Program

Did you know about the first time home buyer program available in Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton Counties?  The Escambia County Finance Authority offers up to $7,500 towards your down payment and closing costs.  Here's our friend Rachael Springfield at Caliber Home Loans explaining some more details about this first time home buyer program available in the Pensacola, Florida area. 

We are happy to help you make the transition from renting to purchasing! Let us know what questions you have.  

Search here for Pensacola area homes for sale. 

New Construction Homes in Greater Pensacola area
05-09-2019
Nicole St. Aubin
Pensacola Real Estate
05-03-2022

originally posted 05-12-2016

Pensacola Real Estate New Construction Homes Infographic 
A snapshot showing 2016 New Construction homes in the Pensacola area.

In recent years, distressed inventory represented a significant portion of the Pensacola area rental market and new construction was minimal. That has officially changed!

Distressed homes, including short sale and foreclosed homes, currently represent about 7% of the active homes for sale in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties while new construction homes for sale now represent approximately 18% of the sales market. 

What's better than a brand new home?  Here's a fun infographic breaking down the new construction being built in the Greater Pensacola area! 

New Construction in the Pensacola, Florida area

There's approximately 550 new construction homes being built with 44% under construction, 27% newly completed, and the other 30% to be built.  

The top areas for new construction include Pace in Santa Rosa County and the Beulah (32526 zip code) and the Cantonment (32533 zip code) area in Pensacola with Southwest Pensacola's 32507 zip code falling behind. 

If you want a list of new construction builders and neighborhoods in the Pensacola area, give our agents a call.  Email info@PensacolaRealtyMasters.com and we'll send you a full list! 

New Construction Home Purchase vs Existing Home
05-09-2019
Mitch Adcox
Pensacola Real Estate
05-03-2022

originally posted 05-10-2016

Comparing a New Construction Home Purchase versus Existing Home Purchase
Mitch discusses the benefits of purchasing a new construction home in the Pensacola area.

Pensacola Realtor Mitch Adcox compares buying a New Construction Home in the Pensacola area versus buying an existing residential home.  

There's nothing like that new home feel! Mitch is a new construction specialist and can help you navigate the many options new construction has to offer.  

1. New construction is booming! 18% of active homes for sale in the Pensacola area are newly constructed or under construction. 

2. Purchasing a new construction home translates to a smoother home buying experience with no fear of failing inspections or causing financing to be denied.

3. New construction means lower maintenance costs.

4. New commercial buildings, parks, and other projects often follow new construction. 

5. It's easier to sell as the original owner later.

6. New construction offers you limitless options.  

7. You can customize your new home and many builders offer to pay a portion of your closing costs!

New Construction is booming- have you thought about building your very own new home? Let Mitch help. Contact Mitch to learn more about new subdivisions in Escambia County and Santa Rosa Counties, new home builders,  and tour the newest homes in the Pensacola and surrounding areas.  

When is the right time to sell your home?
05-09-2019
David Keen
Pensacola Real Estate
05-03-2022

originally posted 05-09-2016

When is the right time to sell your home?
David discusses seasonal Pensacola Real Estate Market Trends.

Realtor, David Keen, discusses the best time to sell your home. Statistically, April through July are the best time to sell your home in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties.  

There are many reasons that real estate is more active in the late spring and early summer months, especially in the Pensacola area.

1) It's easier for families to move while school is out!
Imagine the stress of a cross country move with three young children during the school year.  Many families prefer June and July to move because school aged children are on summer break. 

2) The majority of Military PCS relocations are done during this time. 
Especially in Northwest Florida, we have a lot of military families that move, on average, every three years. Pensacola is home to Naval Air Station Pensacola and several smaller bases including Corry Station and Whiting Field in Milton, Florida. The majority of these PCS military relocations take place between April 15th and August 15th each year.  With so many military service members relocating during this time, the summer Pensacola real estate market heats up. 

Because of these reasons, more people also rent homes in April through July. We are seeing extremely low rental inventory in the Pensacola area. Coupled with rising rents, more renters are choosing to buy instead. 

With more home buyers searching for properties,sellers benefit from higher sales prices and fewer days on the market. If you have questions about selling your home in the greater Pensacola area, give me a call or email me today. 


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