Welcome Ben Ward to Rulnick Realty

I am pleased to introduce Ben Ward, who has joined my team at Rulnick Realty. Ben has over 25 years real estate sales experience, has managed real estate companies in the Memphis TN area and is now licensed with us as Broker Associate! Welcome, Ben!

Email ben.ward@rulnickrealty.com Cell Phone 901-848-7245

Mortgage Tool Kit if You Want to Buy a Home on the Emerald Coast of Florida


Are you thinking about buying a home on the Emerald Coast? Here is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Home Loan Toolkit.  This will help you understand the mortgage process, and required documentation from your lender and title company, called the Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure.

For more information, also check out “Owning a Home: Tools and Resources for homebuyers“.

We can help explain these forms and the process to you. It’s best to get pre-qualified before you start your home search, so you will look at the right properties to meet your budget. The seller will also require you to provide a pre-qualification letter from a lender along with your offer.

Call me for a list of lenders to start shopping a mortgage.  When you are ready to begin your home search on the Emerald Coast, start here.

It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, sells real estate in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, 30A, Miramar Beach, Seagrove Beach, Watercolor, Sandestin, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Florida.

Free Instant Home Value

Sale Pending – Sunsail Subdivision, Destin FL

Sunsail Destin Florida

In less than a week, this lovely home in Sunsail in Destin Florida is now under contract. The pending home for sale at 4680 Windstarr Dr. will close in April.  At over 2100 square feet and built in 1997, this attractive house is within walking distance to the beach on the Gulf of Mexico.  What actions cause a home to sell so quickly? Here is a quick list:

  1. Price it right.
  2. Make the condition as clean and fresh as possible. In this case, the seller painted the home in neutral colors.
  3. Hire a professional photographer.
  4. Advertise the property for maximum exposure. We promoted this Destin home to a targeted market on Facebook, as well as Linkedin, Google+, Pinterest, Youtube, Tumblr, WordPress, craigslist, Trulia, Zillow, Twitter and hundreds more websites.
  5. Pay careful attention to presentation, follow up and  feedback.
  6. Understand the seller’s needs and negotiate in his best interest.

This Sunsail home in Destin Florida sold as a result of all of the above. What do you need to sell?

Instant Destin home valuation.

It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, sells real estate in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, 30A, Miramar Beach, Seagrove Beach, Watercolor, Sandestin, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Florida.

How Feedback Sold a House in 3 Days in Destin Florida

When I list a home in Destin Florida or anywhere on the Emerald Coast, one thing I do as a listing agent is follow up on any showings. What does that mean? Whenever an agent shows one of my listings, I send them an email asking for “feedback” and if they have any questions. There are a few reasons I do that for my listings.  The first is that I can find out for my seller the public response to their real estate offering, so that if there is anything we can fix, we do. Sometimes you can fix an issue by a repair, other times by price. For example, “the home was dark”. This could be as simple as making sure the blinds are open before showings. “The home felt cramped.”  If that’s a repeated comment, we can remove furniture.  Feedback can also be about something that cannot be fixed, such as a location challenge, like a home backing up to commercial property, having a poor lot, cost-prohibitive structural repairs, etc.  We also may hear that the price is too high compared to other homes. What we get is a feel for is the market perception of the property and the price. I always send the feedback to my sellers so they understand, and we are working as a team to get their property sold.  Any objection can be overcome by proper pricing. If there is any confusion about the offering, I can also change my presentation to better explain nuances to buyer’s agents. For example, I add information for further clarity to MLS descriptions if there are repeated similar questions from buyer’s agents.  I wouldn’t learn these things unless I asked for “feedback”.  That’s what helps me sell real estate.

My most recent example of successful follow up leading to a sale was a few days ago. The buyer’s agent responded to my feedback inquiry by saying her buyer mentioned making an offer that was fairly low, so he didn’t think it was worth writing it up.  I said, “Hold on, let me relay this to my seller!”  I asked and the Destin seller was actually open to receiving an offer in the price range mentioned, although it seemed low and the property was recently put on the market.  I encouraged the agent to write the offer – and guess what? We are now under contract! If I hadn’t solicited feedback from that buyer’s agent, she would have moved on, the buyer would have lost a great home purchase in Destin, Florida and my seller would have lost, as well.

There are some real estate agents who never ask for feedback. They think it’s a waste of time and that no unsolicited comments from the buyer’s agent just means the house wasn’t right for those particular buyers. I’ve also heard that some listing brokers feel it sounds “desperate” to ask for feedback, or so I’ve been told by previous sellers.  I could not disagree more.  Reaching out for feedback is the first step in finding a meeting of the minds, improving a property’s presentation, proper pricing and getting a handle on the market. What is the result? SOLD in three days!

It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!

Free Instant Home Value

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, sells real estate in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, 30A, Miramar Beach, Seagrove Beach, Watercolor, Sandestin, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Florida.

Are you ready to sell your Destin area real estate?

South Walton Art Festivals in Spring 2017

Guest Post: This post was written by Destin resident Lori Saczynski. She and her husband Andy own an art gallery in Grayton Beach. Andy was the 2013 South Walton Artist of the Year, and was voted Best Local Artist multiple times.

If you love art, you’re in luck the next couple months! Here’s your list of three amazing South Walton art festivals in Spring 2017…

art in the park South Walton Art Festivals in Spring 2017
Art in the Park | March 18, 2017 | WaterColor, FL | free + open to the public
The 12th annual Art in the Park festival is a one-day event (9 AM – 5 PM), held in WaterColor’s Cerulean Park and Town Center! This event features talented artists from all over the southeast, including some of your favorite local artists. Bring the family and enjoy beautiful weather, original art, and live music. | more info |

ArtsQuest South Walton Art Festivals in Spring 2017
ArtsQuest | May 13-14, 2017 | Sandestin, FL | free + open to the public
The ArtsQuest Fine Arts & Music Festival takes place in Sandestin’s Grand Boulevard. What a fun way to celebrate Mother’s Day weekend! In its 29th year, this event now showcases 200 artists from around the country. You’ll have an opportunity to meet them and purchase their original art. ArtsQuest also offers live musical entertainment, activities for kids, and great food. | more info |

digital graffiti South Walton Art Festivals in Spring 2017
Digital Graffiti | May 19-21, 2017 | Alys Beach, FL | tickets must be purchased
Launched in 2008, Digital Graffiti is a one-of-a-kind projection art festival. International artists use the latest digital technologies to project their original works onto the iconic white walls of Alys Beach. This festival explores how design, technology, and architecture can intertwine to create entirely new art forms. Digital Graffiti transforms Alys Beach into a living work of art. If you’ve never attended, you’ll definitely want to get tickets as they celebrate their 10th year. | more info |

Selling Real Estate is More Than “Filling Out a Contract” – Destin Florida

types of Florida broker representation

A few days ago a buyer contacted me to write an offer on a Destin area “For Sale By Owner” property. He asked how much I would charge to “fill out the contract”. I responded with my fee, which I thought was fair.  Here is what I wrote the buyer:

“Most ‘For Sale By Owners’ (FSBOs) gladly pay a buyer’s agent, but I understand if this particular party won’t do it and am grateful you asked me to help. However, if I get involved writing contracts I am immediately taking on responsibility, liability, care, diligence, etc., and thus there is a fee.” I suggested he contact an attorney to write his offer if that were more suitable in terms of fee for representation. The minimum form of representation a real estate broker in Florida can provide to the public is called “No Brokerage Representation”.  Those duties to the buyer or seller include:

1. Dealing honestly and fairly;

2. Disclosing all known facts that materially affect the value of the residential real property which are not readily observable to the buyer; and

3. Accounting for all funds entrusted to the licensee.

The minimum form of representation I provide, however, is at a higher level,  called “Transaction Brokerage”, which in Florida means:

(a) Dealing honestly and fairly;

(b) Accounting for all funds;

(c) Using skill, care, and diligence in the transaction******

(d) Disclosing all known facts that materially affect the value of residential real property and are not readily observable to the buyer;

(e) Presenting all offers and counteroffers in a timely manner, unless a party has previously directed the licensee otherwise in writing;

(f) Limited confidentiality, unless waived in writing by a party. This limited confidentiality will prevent disclosure that the seller will accept a price less than the asking or listed price, that the buyer will pay a price greater than the price submitted in a written offer, of the motivation of any party for selling or buying property, that a seller or buyer will agree to financing terms other than those offered, or of any other information requested by a party to remain confidential; and

(g) Any additional duties that are mutually agreed to with a party.

Florida broker representation

Notice, importantly, that omitted by the “No Brokerage Representation” designation is that of using “skill, care and diligence”.  I could not, in good conscience, write a contract for a buyer nor represent a seller not using skill, care and diligence. What are the opposites of these attributes?

Skill is something that has been “acquired by training”. The opposite is “inability”.

Care is “judiciousness in avoiding harm”. If I weren’t careful in writing your offer, what harm could be caused to you?

Diligence is “conscientiousness in paying attention to a task”. Who would accept the opposite– sloppiness and inattention?

Writing a real estate contract in Florida, or presenting one to a seller, to me, requires, at a minimum, skill, care and diligence. A real estate transaction is commonly one of the most substantial financial transactions a person makes in his lifetime.  Who would you want representing you?

Here is the complete copy of Florida Statues Chapter 475.278.  For more information, please contact your attorney.
Florida Real Estate Representation by Wendy Rulnick on Scribd

It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, sells real estate in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, 30A, Miramar Beach, Seagrove Beach, Watercolor, Sandestin, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Florida.

Guest Post: Things to Do With Kids in Destin, South Walton, and on 30A

Guest Post: This post, written by Destin resident Lori Saczynski, originally appeared on Andy’s Saczynski’s web site in July 2014 and was revised in February 2017. Andy was the 2013 South Walton Artist of the Year, and was voted Best Local Artist multiple times. His art gallery is located in Grayton Beach.

I’ve called the Emerald Coast home since 1990, so I’m very familiar with the area. I have five kids ranging in age from 3 to 17. Below are my top 10 things to do with kids in Destin, South Walton, and on 30A. These activities are listed in no particular order.

Destin beach
#1 The Beach
My favorite public beach access is James Lee Park (at the Crab Trap) because they have a playground, restrooms, showers, plenty of free parking, and an option to buy food if you’re too lazy to pack snacks.

Village of Baytowne Wharf playground
#2 Playgrounds
These are my favorite playgrounds and why: The Village of Baytowne Wharf (built of wood and the most interesting), James Lee Park (on the beach), Morgan Sports Center (surrounded by a tall fence to prevent little ones from escaping), Destin Commons (has a splash pad), and Clement Taylor Park (shaded with bay access).

Village of Baytowne Wharf fireworks
#3 Fireworks
During the summer, you can see fireworks every Tuesday night at The Village of Baytowne Wharf, and every Thursday night at HarborWalk Village. Arrive early to both or parking will be a nightmare.

#4 Outdoor Movies
Throughout the summer, you can enjoy family-friendly movie night in the Seaside amphitheater every Friday night.

Gulfarium Fort Walton Beach
#5 Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park
The Gulfarium gives you an opportunity to see dolphins, sea lions, sea turtles, otters, sharks, alligators, tropical fish, and more!

Big Kahuna's Destin waterpark
#6 Big Kahuna’s
My kids love water parks, especially Big Kahuna’s. I hate to say it, but sometimes the beach is too hot to enjoy in the summer.

Destin paddleboarding
#7 Surf or Paddle Board Lessons
My kids have never taken surf or paddle board lessons because their dad teaches them. I know there are a few companies in town that rent boards and offer lessons, but since I haven’t personally used them, I’m not sure who to recommend.

Biophilia Center Freeport
#8 E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center
The Biophilia is a great place to learn about northwest Florida’s natural habitat and see a lot of cool animals.

Big Kahunas mini golf
#9 Putt-Putt
You can play miniature golf at The Track or Big Kahuna’s.

Fudpuckers Gator Beach
#10 Gator Beach
Gator Beach at Fudpucker’s in Destin offers free interactive gator shows every day at noon, 2pm, 4pm, and 6pm. You can even hold a gator and get your photo taken with one.

The fun doesn’t stop there, but this is a good start. And if you’re on vacation, this should at least keep your kids occupied for a week. If you’re looking for things to do that don’t necessarily cater to kids, check out this post.

Emerald Coast Holiday Events 2016

Emerald Coast Holiday Events 2016

There are so many events happening between now and the end of the year, I have compiled an Emerald Coast Holiday Events 2016 list just for you!

Santa to arrive at Destin Commons with fireworks
November 18, 2016 6:00-8:00 PM
Santa Claus is coming to town at Destin Commons on November 18, 6 – 8 pm. At 7 pm, join in Santa’s arrival with a festive holiday celebration parade down Main Street and the official lighting of the center’s spectacular 50’ Christmas tree. Delight in a fireworks finale to kick off the holiday season. Activities and entertainment for the whole family include musicians playing traditional holiday favorites, kid’s craft projects, and free photos with Santa at Bass Pro Shops. Kids can visit Santa at Bass Pro Shops throughout the rest of November and December. Visit basspro.com for Santa’s hours.

Baytowne on Ice
Everyday until mid-February
The Village of Baytowne Wharf
A seasonal ice skating rink with the first hour of each day reserved for kids 12 and younger.
(850) 267-8184 | dates/hours

The Nutcracker
November 18 & 19 – 7:30 PM; November 20 – 2:30 PM
In November, NFB will present their thirty-seventh annual performance of the brilliant holiday favorite, The Nutcracker. Performances will feature the return of international ballet stars Adiarys Almeida Santana and Joseph Michael Gatti in the principal roles of the Sugar Plum Fairy and Prince. Several other international guest artists, the NFB Company and over 100 local children round out the cast.
Mattie Kelly Arts Center, 100 E College Blvd, Niceville, FL | (850) 729-6000

Sparkling Wine & Holiday Lights
November 19, 2016 4:00-6:00 PM
The Village of Baytowne Wharf
Cruise the twinkling lights and greenery, as you sip a variety of champagnes with featured menu items from various Village restaurants.

Festival of Trees, Grand Boulevard
November 22, 2016 – December 25, 2016
Grand Boulevard’s seventh annual “Festival of Trees” will showcase 12 uniquely decorated Christmas trees from area non-profit organizations, November 22 – December 25 in Grand Park. The public is invited to attend the kick-off on Tuesday, November 22, 4:00-6:00 PM, as the trees are lighted, judged on their decorations and winners are announced at 6:00. A People’s Choice winner will be selected by the voting public that night as well. Refreshments will be served, making this a fun kickoff to the holidays for the entire family. The trees will be on display through Christmas and open to the public to enjoy at no cost. This free event is presented as part of the Coastal Culture calendar of events, made possible by Grand Boulevard Arts & Entertainment Program.
(850) 837-3099 | grandboulevard.com

Santa’s Arrival at HarborWalk Village
November 25, 2016 noon-4:00 PM
Santa makes his grand entrance to the Destin Harbor at their holiday season kick-off! Kids will enjoy free activities and can visit with Santa Claus! The event is free and open to the public. This day and evening is sure to get you into the holiday spirit!

Rosemary Beach Wine Spectacular Showcase
November 25, 2016 5:00-8:00 PM
Don’t miss the most spectacular event of the season as they transform the town into a winter wonderland of amazing sights and live entertainment! Rosemary’s greens will be filled with a bevy of characters that will amaze and entertain all! Take a photo in a life-size snow globe and enjoy dazzling performances from our cast of entertainers that include Stilt Walkers, Balloon Artists, Face Painters, Ariel Artists a Snow Queen, Fortune Teller and several spectacular shows to fill your evening with holiday spirit and joy!

Holiday Movie Night under the Stars
November 25 – 26, 2016 6:00-9:00 PM
The Village of Baytowne Wharf
Enjoy a holiday movie under the stars on Friday night followed by Santa’s arrival and tree lighting on Saturday night with fireworks over the lagoon.

Tree Lighting Ceremony, Rosemary Beach
November 25, 2016 6:00-6:30 PM
Tree Lighting Ceremony on South Barrett Square. Don’t miss the excitement as we “turn on the town!” Enjoy musical performances by the Charles Dickens Carolers, see Santa’s big arrival and take a carriage ride through town.

Chautauqua Winery’s Christmas on the Lawn
November 26, 2016 8:00 AM – 2:00 PM
364 Hugh Adams Rd, DeFuniak Springs
Music, free wine tastings, vendors.
(850) 892-5887

Breakfast with Santa, Rosemary Beach Town Hall
November 26, 2016 8:00-10:00 AM
Bring the kids to Santa’s Workshop for a magical morning filled with delight! Included are a boxed breakfast, a professional color photo with Santa and a special goodie bag from Gigi’s! Tickets are $15 per child (adults are complimentary) and are available at the door. (100% of money from ticket sales will be donated to a local Children’s Charity to help spread some holiday joy to children.)

Visit with Santa
HarborWalk Village
It’s time for the children to bring their wish list and visit with Santa Claus. All of Santa’s guest receive a special treat!

Sequins & Suits Auction and Wine Tasting
December 1, 2016 7:00-10:00 PM
Superior Residences at Bluewater Bay, 4595 Highway 20, Niceville
Silent and Live Auctions, Wine Tasting, Delectable Small Plates, Live Music, Festive Holiday fun and prizes! Benefitting Charities: Sharing & Caring and Fisher House of the Emerald Coast, Inc.
buy tickets

12 Nights of Lights
Every Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday between December 2 – 31, 2016
The Village of Baytowne Wharf
A festive light show in the Events Plaza set to holiday music with shows at 6:00, 7:00, and 8:00 PM.
(850) 267-8117

Wednesday Night Concerts
Every Wednesday between December 7 – 21, 2016 1:00-3:00 PM
The Village of Baytowne Wharf
Every Wednesday in December come listen to the holiday edition of the Concert Series with a light show and Ole’ St. Nick. Free admission.
(850) 267-8117

Mattie Kelly Sounds of the Season
December 2, 2016 7:00 PM
Village Baptist Church, 101 Matthew Blvd, Destin
21st annual evening of spectacular holiday music.

Christmas In The Park and Navarre Community Christmas Parade
December 3, 2016 10:00 AM – 5:30 PM
Navarre Park at the foot of the Navarre Bridge

Navarre Jingle Bell Run-5K-Walk
December 3, 2016 7:00-10:00 AM
Bring out the whole family, even the dog, and start off the holiday season with the Jingle Bell Run 5k at Navarre Main Fire Station (behind McDonald’s). Race starts at 8:00 AM. Dress up for the season – a special prize will be awarded for the most festive participant.
more info and sign up

Santa’s Workshop, Navarre Conference Center
December 3, 2016 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM
The Navarre Garden Club will again sponsor Santa’s Workshop Craft Fair.

Niceville Christmas Parade
December 3, 2016 10:00 AM-noon
Niceville Christmas Parade sponsored by the Niceville Valparaiso Rotary Club.

Santa’s Arrival at Silver Sands Premium Outlets
December 3, 2016 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM
Join Silver Sands Premium Outlets Saturday in the courtyard in front of Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH to greet Santa as he arrives on a fire truck. Enjoy photos with Santa, complimentary treats from Carrabba’s Italian Grill & Pino Gelato Cafe, coloring with Disney Store Outlet, face painting & crafts provided by Abrakadoodle and more! Be sure to bring your camera for photos with Santa. Sponsored by ZT Motors of Fort Walton Beach.
more info

Dig In! Holiday Brunch – Trees Destin
December 4, 2016 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM
Destin Bay House, 127 Calhoun Ave, Destin
Join Trees Destin as they Dig In! and celebrate the holidays at their brunch event. Proceeds will benefit the local non-profit, which is dedicated to improving the Emerald Coast’s tree canopy and enhancing the area’s beauty through planting, conservation and education. Tickets are $30 for adults and $10 for children (age 10 or younger). Live entertainment will be provided along with a fabulous full brunch buffet, courtesy of The Local Market/La Paz; Bloody Mary Bar, sponsored by Timbercreek Distillery and Lulu’s Destin; and much more! The event will also showcase a fabulous silent auction.

Holiday Pops
December 9, 2016 7:30-9:30 PM
The Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra’s 30th Season continues with their popular annual HOLIDAY POPS concert in the Mainstage Theater of the Mattie Kelly Fine & Performing Arts Center in Niceville. Ring in the season with all your holiday favorites as the NFSO is joined by the Northwest Florida Symphony Chorale and the talented NWF State College Madrigal Singers and Belle Voci Women’s Ensemble. $25 adult/$18 Active-duty Military & Youth.
(850) 729-6000 | more info

Tuba Christmas
December 10, 2016 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
The Village of Baytowne Wharf
More than 30 brass instruments will play holiday music with entertainment for the kids.

Yule of Yesteryear – A Traditional Holiday Festival
December 10, 2016 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
The Spirit of Christmas will fill the air with musical performances from local choirs, musicians, dancers and historic theatrical performances. The Walton Guard Civil War Re-enactors will portray a living history in Perrine Park across the street from the Museum. Visit their camp and experience life as it was 155 years ago during the Civil War Christmas of 1861. There will also be historic craft demonstrations including blacksmithing, basket, seat and loom weaving. The museum will be open with free admission all day. Discover the history of Northwest Florida with exhibits about the areas first inhabitants, early industries including, fishing, boat building, turpentine and pioneer living. Kids will play and learn in the “Discovery Room” while everyone will enjoy “Paradise Gardens”. There will be ornament making for children, a holiday bake sale and free picture taking with Santa Claus. Feast on fabulous favorites and shop for unique one-of-a-kind gifts from talented art & craft vendors and find affordable stocking stuffers in the Museum’s Gift Shop.
Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida, 115 Westview Avenue, Valparaiso

Smooth Jazz and Jingle Bells
December 10, 2016 7:30 PM
Mattie Kelly Arts Center, Northwest Florida State College, Niceville
“A Peter White Christmas” with trumpeter Rick Braun and saxophonist Euge Groove.

Tee Off for Toys
December 10 – 11, 2016 7:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Raven Golf Club / Baytowne Golf Club / The Links Golf Club
Donate new, unwrapped toys or gift cards with a value of $15.00 or more in exchange a game of golf with golf cart fee. Toys and donations will be given to Harvest House’s “Hope for Holidays” and Children in Crisis programs.
(850) 267-8155

Breakfast with Santa
December 10, 11, 17, and 18, 2016 8:00-11:00 AM
Grande Vista Bar and Grill, Emerald Grande
Ring in the holiday cheer and have breakfast with Santa Claus at Grande Vista Bar and Grill!

30th Annual Destin Harbor Boat Parade
December 11, 2016
Harborwalk Village
The Destin Harbor will be dancing with holiday lights and cheer during the 30th Annual Destin Boat Parade. Come enjoy live music, children’s arts and craft and hot chocolate! Visit with Santa Claus from noon-4:00 PM at HarborWalk Village’s Main Stage. Boat Parade will light up the harbor beginning at 6:00 PM.

27th Annual Destin Christmas Parade
December 13, 2016
The City of Destin presents the 27th Annual Christmas Parade! “Christmas Past, Present and Future” is the theme of this year’s parade that will travel down Harbor Boulevard.

Santa Pub Crawl with the Destin Nights
December 17, 2016 7:00 PM
Emerald Grande at HarborWalk Village 10 Harbor Blvd, Destin
Dress in your Christmas best (tacky sweaters, Santa outfits, elves and more) and spread Holiday cheer through HarborWalk Village with cheerful drink specials at every stop. Passes can be purchased in advanced or on the day of the event.
more info

Dreamcatcher Vocal Performance Studio’s Make It Shine Concert
December 18, 2016 5:00-7:00 PM
Harborwalk Village, Destin
No instrument is more deeply moving than the human voice. Watch talented young vocalists perform at this stirring musical holiday experience.

Gingerbread Tea
December 22, 2016 1:00-3:00 PM
The Pearl Ballroom, Rosemary Beach
Bring the kids to The Pearl Ballroom for an afternoon tea and individual gingerbread house decorating!
$25 per Adult | $15 per Child | $25 per additional Gingerbread House
Reservations Required

Chanukah Menorah Lighting
December 26, 2016 5:30-7:30 PM
Enjoy a grand menorah lighting on the main stage with hot latkes, Chanukah music and kids activities.
more info

New Year’s Eve Street Party
December 31, 2016 – January 1, 2017
Park once and party all night with thousands! Celebrate with free live concerts by Flow Tribe and Departure: the Journey Tribute band, two fireworks shows at 8:00PM and Midnight, and the 9th Annual Ball Drop over the Harbor. This will be Destin’s most exciting place to be on New Year’s Eve!
(877) 443-4005 | more info

Mid-Bay Bridge Tolls Fees Affect Emerald Coast Commuters

Mid-Bay Bridge Tolls

See November 17 update at end of post.

If you are a local, you probably occasionally travel the Mid-Bay Bridge. If you work in Destin, Miramar Beach or Santa Rosa Beach and live in Niceville or Crestview, you use the Mid-Bay Bridge regularly. If you are an employer in the Destin area, you’ve probably experienced difficulties hiring or keeping employees because of the tolls they would pay to come to work.  The current cash rate to go through the Mid-Bay Bridge toll is $4.00 each way. For travelers with a Florida SunPass account, the rate is $3.00 each way. For SunPass users who go through the toll booth 41 times or more per month, the rate is $2.00, credited back to your account.  The Spence Parkway “toll by plate” and electronic portion of the roadway has a separate toll schedule. It’s $2.00 each way, or with a SunPass account the toll is $1.50.  Frequent users of 41 trips or more per month pay $1.00 each commute.  Spence Parkway crossings are not counted as frequent trips toward the main toll booth section of the Mid-Bay Bridge nor vice-versa, so you would have to take 41 trips on each section to get the discounted rate for that particular section.  SunPass accounts can have multiple users, so a family’s bridge travels can add up toward the 41 trip monthly discount issued as an account rebate.

The problem is- is the toll fair and affordable for local residents? Is it fair for employers and employees? Employees would be paying, at best, $82 per month for 41 trips.  For a part-time employee who doesn’t make 41 trips, they would pay more. If employers are sick or on vacation one month, they may miss their 41 trip count. Employers competing for workers in Destin or Miramar Beach have to pay higher wages than offered for similar jobs in Niceville or Crestview if their employees need to drive the Mid-Bay Bridge.  What about residents of Niceville and Crestview who like to shop, dine and go to the beach in Destin? The tolls decrease business opportunities south of the Mid-Bay Bridge for business owners because fewer people want to pay to cross over. Shopping one town away with a toll may be a financial burden for some residents.

There has been much discussion lately on ways to reduce tolls for locals.  Check the Mid-Bay Bridge website and also the calendar to attend a public meeting in Niceville or Destin, Florida.  Let me know what you think.

UPDATE: The Mid-Bay Bridge Authority voted on November 17 to reduce the Mid-Bay Bridge trips required for a discount to 32, effective January 1, 2017.

It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, sells real estate in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, 30A, Miramar Beach, Seagrove Beach, Watercolor, Sandestin, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Florida.


Justifying Your Low Offer? Price Per Square Foot CMA’s Are Misleading


real estate appraisals

Recently, I received three offers on Destin Florida area real estate listings that were quite low. In each case, the buyer’s agent attached a comparative market analysis, called a CMA. The only problem was that these so-called analyses only used “price per square foot” as a value determinant. The agents chose nearby homes, plugging their sales prices into an online program, and spat out the results of average price per square foot, multiplying that figure by the square footage of my listing, thus “justifying” their buyers’ low offers….  One agent stated the buyers were afraid of paying any more, as they felt the property would not appraise. Correction – he misled the buyer into thinking that is the only way homes are valued.  That is just plain wrong.

Home valuations are more than just plugging in price per square foot, just ask any appraiser (and I did!).  Here are other factors that are considered when appraising real estate:

1. Land Value: Is the lot flat, built into a cliff, larger, smaller, wet, backed up to commercial property, adjacent to state forest, a highway, near a land dump, on a cul-de-sac, on a lake, with a water view, etc. By the way, if it has a water view (or mountain view or any cityscape view) how does the view corridor compare with others?

2. Concessions: Did comparable sales include seller credits such as furniture, cars, boats, free rental time, closing costs, etc.?

3. Quality: Are the building and finishes superior or inferior? Are amenities superior or inferior? Are there quartz counters, upgraded baths, tile or carpet floors, paneling, popcorn ceilings?

4. Condition:  Does the comparable or subject home need work?  Here is another example: A home built 20 years ago that was gutted and remodeled may be worth more than a ten year old home with no improvements and poor maintenance.

5. Age/Number of Baths/Garage/Parking

6. Amenities: What are the adjustments for porches, decks, fences, pools, irrigation systems, patios, fireplaces, docks, boat slips, etc. If one property has the same amenity, is it equal to the subject property? Reference quality and condition.

I tried to gently explain this to one of the buyer’s agents. He didn’t understand and another agent wrote an offer that was significantly higher. The original agent wrote an offer for $150 per square foot, based on the plug-in computer program he used.  The couple that entered into contract paid $170 per square foot, and paid about 10% more than the original agent contended the home was worth. It was a flawed analysis, it misled the buyer and they lost a home.

By the way, the house appraised.

It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, sells real estate in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, 30A, Miramar Beach, Seagrove Beach, Watercolor, Sandestin, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Florida.

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