Life Without the Mid-Bay Bridge, Oh My!

I had just made it across the Mid-Bay Bridge to White Point Road and then to my home in Bluewater Bay. I had groceries in the car from my stop at Publix in Destin, as I frequently do on my way back from the office in Miramar Beach.  I either stop there or at Whole Foods to get our nightly dinner.  Being as obsessive compulsive as I am about food quality, I carry insulated bags in my car for groceries.  I worry about the food getting warm, even though it’s only about twelve minutes to my house from Highway 98 (I did say OCD, right?) For some weird reason, (probably another OCD) right after I put my groceries on the kitchen counter, I popped open Facebook before unloading them.  There was a community post for the Southwind neighborhood where I live in Bluewater Bay.  It said the Mid-Bay Bridge had been closed indefinitely for repairs.  Of course, I thought this was a joke.  I had just driven across the bridge, right?  Huh? There was a link and I followed it, still thinking it was a mistake or old news.  Then I went directly to the Northwest Florida Daily News website and there again, was the article. The Mid-Bay Bridge had been suddenly and indefinitely “closed” for repairs.

How could this be? I had driven across the bridge only five minutes earlier! I had seen no closure signs.  The only clue was earlier in the day, on my morning trip to the office, which by the way, normally takes 17 minutes, when I saw four large trucks parked and about a dozen workers with orange vests peering over the edge on the northbound lane on the side of the bridge nearer to Destin.  I had thought they were either doing repairs or inspections or looking for a body (I hate to say it, but I’ve seen that before). Alas, no. It must have been part of their re-inspection of the corroded tension cables, so they say.  I was in a state of shock. How would this affect my commute to work? Sure, I can work from home in my business field (real estate), but I need the “office” atmosphere to put myself in the mood.  I whipped out Google Maps on my phone and asked for the shortest route to 12889 Emerald Coast Parkway from Bluewater Bay.  It was buzzing all over Facebook that Google Maps were already updated and were not showing the availability of the Mid-Bay Bridge route.  Google Maps showed me the fastest path was Highway 20 through Fort Walton Beach, stating the time to arrival would be 54 minutes.  Posting this immediately on Facebook, receiving dozens of “friends” comments, I was told that Highway 20 to Highway 331, then through Santa Rosa Beach would be faster.

I had to give this the college try the next morning. I already knew (told you – OCD), that to get to Publix in Freeport took about 22 minutes.  It did. But how much longer would it be to get to Miramar Plaza? By the time I passed Sandestin, no, Sacred Heart Hospital, no, Walmart in Santa Rosa Beach, I had about lost it. There was no way I was going to have to do this again to get home, right? Call me spoiled. Tell me how it “used” to be in the good old days “before” the bridge. Tell me to toughen up “we used to do that all the time”!  I’ve got to counter you there – what life choices would have been made or not made had there been no Mid-Bay Bridge? I probably would have moved to Fort Walton Beach, had an office there, or one in Destin with a home in Destin.  NOT moved to Bluewater Bay with an office in Miramar Beach. (OK?) Anyway, after reaching my office (subtracting six minutes for a gas stop and Starbucks – bought as a present for myself for the commute turmoil), it took me a total of 58 minutes to reach work.  Typically, as I stated, it is 17 minutes.  My next issue was timing going home. I cannot drive in the dark. I’m one of those people with poor eyesight, contact lenses, coke bottle glasses, and get very distracted with headlights on me driving in pitch black. Since it gets dark about 5:00 p.m., I knew I would have to start home by 4:00 p.m.  After consulting with my engineer husband, he suggested I leave no later than 3:45 p.m.  The other catch was the gym time. I work out at Gold’s Gym in Destin and normally go there at 3:30 p.m. each day to exercise for an hour.  To keep up my gym routine, I would have to leave work at 2:45 p.m., lift weights for about 30 minutes, then scramble out to Highway 98. I did this. Stressed out the whole time. Ineffective work out.  Driving home was another story. It was now “rush hour”.  I could tell it would take longer. When I hit Highway 331, the sun really illuminated the cars in front of me, so much so that I didn’t notice the brake lights on the car I was following. No, I did not get in an accident, but definitely screeched the brakes. Pay attention, Wendy! By the time I got home it was an hour and fifteen minutes later.

Here is where I am today. Home. I’ve decided that driving for almost two and a half hours a day to work on my P.C. for three hours makes no sense. And I will go batty. So, I am remoting into the office computer and trying not to get distracted by doing the laundry, cleaning, playing with cats and writing blog posts.  I actually joined Bluewater Fitness yesterday, as it’s only three minutes from my house.  Am I being productive? No.  Not really. As I sit here typing away in my pajamas at 10:30 a.m.

Yesterday one of my real estate friends called me and said he heard the Mid-Bay Bridge had re-opened. I screamed with joy.  He called back five minutes later and said he misunderstood and was wrong. I was crushed. All day long I scour the internet looking for articles about the Mid-Bay Bridge. Any hint or hope of it re-opening soon. I feel for all my friends who MUST commute and are not able to work from home. People who travel from Crestview or Niceville to Destin or Miramar Beach. Eglin AFB workers who live in Destin and go to the base.  Of course, duh, safety is first.  Meanwhile, I’ll leave the hard-core investigating to the reporters and I will try to stop bird-watching long enough to get some work done.

It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!

UPDATE: Breaking News!! The Mid-Bay Bridge is tentatively scheduled to re-open on Wednesday evening, January 16, 2019!  My life is complete!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: [email protected]

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.

Email Newsletter Reactions – Good and Bad

 

I usually send out about five email newsletters per year to my database, once every couple of months.  These contain a few local real estate articles or blog posts that I’ve recently written. The articles may be about houses or condos for sale, pending or sold, local information, “Diary of a Realtor” stories, and other items about the Emerald Coast real estate market or real estate in general.  The reactions from my customer base can be quiet at times. For example, I may get no responses at all. Sometimes, however, I get a call to list a property or for more information about local real estate for sale.  A few days ago I sent out a quick email newsletter about a charity event in Miramar Beach at The Wine Bar in Grand Boulevard to welcome the holiday season and raise funds for an autism support group in Walton County.  I received two email responses.

Email Response #1:

Subject Line: STOP EMAILING ME (all caps)

Content: QUIT EMAILING ME (all caps)

Email Response #2:

“Thank you for thinking of us -we would love to go but will be headed out of town that day for a few days. Please let us know of any future events like this as we would love to attend.”

I felt really bad that the first party was annoyed with me. I immediately emailed her and told her I would remove her name from my database.  The second party’s response made my day, however!  If you would like an occasional local real estate update via email, let me know or subscribe here.

It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: [email protected]

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.

Selling Your Fort Walton Beach Apartment Complex? Get Ready for Questions from Buyers

Are you thinking of selling your Fort Walton Beach Florida apartment complex or multi-family, duplex, triplex, four-plex etc?

  1. What is the apartment complex occupancy rate?
  2. What are the rents?
  3. Are all the rents for each apartment the same?
  4. Do the rents correspond with unit sizes?
  5. How long have the tenants been there?
  6. Are the leases on month-month, six month, one year or other?
  7. Are any rents paid in advance? If so, is there a discount for advance payment of rents?
  8. What is the main source of the tenants for the Fort Walton Beach area apartment complex? Is there a specific industry drawing tenants? If so, is the industry cyclical (such as tourism) or is the industry growing or declining? For example, if a new manufacturing plant is being built, that would be very attractive to a landlord. However, if companies are shutting down, that would be a negative.
  9. May I have the last three years profit and loss statements?
  10. What condition is the roof? If the roof age is questionable, have a roofer inspect it prior to selling, repair if necessary and give a life expectancy statement.  If you don’t wish to do so, get bids for roof replacement from three reputable roofers, as the buyer certainly will if it’s in question. This will save you valuable time during the buyer’s feasibility period.
  11. What improvements have been done to the apartments?
  12. How old are the air conditioning units?
  13. How is the plumbing? How old is the plumbing?
  14. What does the area look like? Is it near new shopping, old shopping, schools, water?
  15. Are there other apartment complexes nearby?
  16. Are there vacant lots adjacent to the apartments or  multi-family units? If so, what is the intended use of the adjacent parcels?
  17. What does the apartment complex owner pay for? Water, sewer? Garbage? What is the cost for each?
  18. Is flood insurance required? Has the property ever flooded?
  19. What are the other insurance costs for the apartments? If insurance is high, why?
  20. Is there a survey for the apartment complex? Can more units be built? What is the zoning?
  21. Has there been any construction done without a permit?
  22. Repairs or renovations to the apartment complex or multi’s such as electrical wiring not done to code?
  23. Are there leaky windows, doors, or pipes?
  24. Is there any mold? Has mold been remediated in the past?
  25. Is there lead paint? Was the property built before 1978?
  26. Termite issues? Is there wood rot on the exterior of the apartment complex?  Wood rot is very common in Northwest Florida.
  27. Has there been any property line or zoning disputes?
  28. Neighbor issues?
  29. Is there noise from airports or other affecting the property?
  30. Have deaths occurred at the Fort Walton Beach apartment complex?
  31. Are there any liens on this property?
  32. Is there protected wild life that has prevented building around the complex?
  33. Is there weather damage to any of the units?
  34. Has the soil been tested for development?
  35. Has there been an offer on the apartment complex or contract that fell through? If so, why?
  36. Why is the apartment complex owner selling?
  37. What were the recent and past capital improvements, capital expenditures (CapEx) for the multi-family apartment complex?
  38. Do you have a platform online to attract tenants?
  39. Do you have an apartment complex Facebook account for your Fort Walton Beach multi-family?
  40. Do you have a website?
  41. Do you have a 1-800 number?

These are just some questions you should be prepared to answer if you want to sell your Fort Walton Beach area apartment complex.

Are you looking for professional assistance in selling your apartments or multi-family units? Give me a call.

It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: [email protected]

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, DeFuniak Springs and Freeport, Florida.

It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!

SOLD – 12 Unit Apartment Complex, DeFuniak Springs Florida

Sold! This 12 unit apartment complex in DeFuniak Springs Florida! 537 N 20th Street was a multi-building apartment complex on approximately 4.5 acres.  One building had six units, and two smaller buildings had three apartments each, for a total of 12 units. The complex was built in 2000 and well-maintained. The asphalt parking lot had been re-poured.  Each unit in the apartment complex was about 1000 square feet and included a screened porch. The total time from listing to closing was 9 months. Marketing for the apartment complex included drone photography, area feature photography, such as the LECOM School of Dental Medicine, Chautauqua Vineyards and Winery and historic DeFuniak Springs. The multi-family property was advertised extensively on the internet, including Linkedin, Facebook promos, real estate agent email promotions, Twitter, Google+ and hitting the streets with scrappy follow up.

Are you thinking of selling your multi-family apartment complex anywhere on the Emerald Coast? Give me a call, because…

It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: [email protected]

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.

 

 

 

Coming Soon Listings!! Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, Okaloosa Island, Crestview Florida!

What real estate are you in the market for on the Emerald Coast of Florida?

Here is a teaser of upcoming listings I will have for you in the next few weeks:

  1. Santa Rosa Beach: Single family home for sale in the Mack Bayou area, near Sacred Heart Hospital. Hardwood floors, granite, custom extravagant lighting, 9′ ceilings, backs up to state forest with fantasy yard! Under $500,000.
  2. Fort Walton Beach: Bay front condo with boat slip on Okaloosa Island! Under $300,000.
  3. Destin: Remodeled townhome, three bedrooms, two and a half bathrooms, garage, new granite, appliances, flooring! Under $250,000
  4. Crestview: Pool home, new carpet, paint! Under $250,000

There are more to come! Would you like to be notified when these hit the market?  Email, text or call me!

It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: [email protected]

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.

Why Isn’t My House Selling – Destin Florida

 

I was recently asked to review an expired Destin Florida listing. The home seller was dismayed that hardly anyone had looked at his Destin Florida house during his previous listing period. It was well priced, so that wasn’t the issue. I read through the old MLS (Multiple Listing Service) description and it was bland and generic. “Immaculate”, “must see”, and “motivated” were some of the terms used. How did that make the house stand out?

When writing an MLS description (with the help of a well-worn thesaurus) one thing I focus on is the uniqueness of a property. Here are some questions to give the description a little wow factor and ideas to tickle your creative brain – “imagine” how someone would “live” in the house. Alternatively, how does the “house” live? What are the home seller’s favorite features? What makes it unique? Of course, you can use the words “beautiful” and “lovely”, but why is the house so?  Does it have an enormous deck, pergola, and hot tub in the backyard meant for sinking into each evening while being lulled by the wind in the trees? Is the kitchen edgy with its mirrored backsplash reflecting the host’s good taste? When entering the home, are your eyes teased to seek little architectural delights, like built-in wall niches?  Property descriptions in the Emerald Coast Association of Realtors’ system are limited to just 800 characters in the main field.  Some agents ramble on filling up entire supplements.  You have to do that in a few cases, but normally, it’s not a good idea. Why? Because the internet is filled with syndications of MLS house listings sent to hundreds of websites and a potential home buyer is scanning thousands of listings. The message must get the point across fast.

Further analyzing the expired Destin listing, I noticed the biggest flaw of all. In the public remarks, it said “easy show”.  That is a Realtor term, not a consumer-oriented term.  And to the contrary, it was not easy to show. There was no lockbox, the listing broker stated he must accompany all showings and it reiterated “appointment only”. (The last is redundant because most listings shown in Destin are by appointment anyway.)  What does that mean to a buyer’s agent? That the house is not easy to show at all.  Picture this scenario – you are a buyer’s real estate agent and you receive a call from someone coming to Destin for one day to look at homes.  This particular home is in the buyer’s price range and matches her desired square footage, room count and year built. The issue is there are also 15 other homes that may be suitable. Given the time frame, the buyer’s agent can select eight homes to show.  Guess what? This house won’t be on the list. Why? Because it’s not easy to show!

There are myriad reasons why houses don’t sell.  Price, marketing and availability are three.

It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: [email protected]

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.

Lot 5 Warwick Drive JUST SOLD in Shalimar Florida 32579

Lot 5 Warwick Drive, Shalimar Florida just sold in less than 60 days.  Finding residential building lots is not so easy in Fort Walton Beach Florida or Shalimar, especially for lots this size.  Lot 5 Warwick Drive was almost three-quarters of an acre with dimensions of 75 x 400 feet. Located across the street from Chula Vista Bayou and enjoying the neighborhood park, boat launch and swimming area at Longwood/Poquito Bayou Park, this parcel was very attractive for either building a grand home or perhaps even splitting the lot to have a rear piece. The Poquito Bayou lot was located close to Eglin Air Force Base and also a short commute to Hurlburt Field, VPS airport and Niceville Florida.

Lot 5 Warwick Drive, Shalimar Florida sold for $155,000.

How may I help you?

It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: [email protected]

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.

The Magic Number in Selling Your Home

What is your property worth? How much do you want for it? Those are two very different things. Even in the strong market in and around Destin Florida, sellers often overprice their homes, condos and lots when selling.  They do this for various reasons, for the same reasons that occur in every market.  Here is a laundry list of reasons for overpricing:

  1. The seller “needs” a certain amount of money to pay off other things, such as personal loans, cars, mortgages on other real property, or to buy a new home valued at “x”.
  2. The seller feels the property is worth what they originally paid plus the actual cost of any improvements they made plus holding period profit, plus any capital gains they must pay (if it’s an investment property or they’ve held it for a short period of time).
  3. The seller has a “magic” number.  For example, “We need to sell for $500,000, or $200,000, or $2,000,000, etc.”. There is a dream number where they can do all the things they wish financially and have leftover. It has no basis in reality. It cannot be a variation of their magic number, for example, “$190,000″ or $487,000”.
  4. The seller feels his property is worth what the neighbor’s sold for or more, because his is better.

The value of a property is not what we “need”, what we “wish”, how much we “need to pay for other things”, what our “right return is”, or a “magic number”. Those are common lines of reasoning for overpricing a property. The market tells us what it’s worth. If the market feels a property is overpriced, there will be no offers, or offers will be far lower than list price. Historically, the closer a property is priced to where it should sell, the more it will sell for, the closer to the original list price and in a shorter period of time.

What is the definition of market value?  According to Fannie Mae, “market value is the most probable price that a property should bring in a competitive and open market under all conditions requisite to a fair sale, the buyer and seller, each acting prudently, knowledgeably and assuming the price is not affected by undue stimulus”. How can you get true market value? First, start with a market analysis by your trusted real estate agent. Do not rely on often erroneous automatic valuation systems, such as Zillow and Trulia, whose sites cannot fine tune differences between comparable properties. Then, once on the market, realize that the market itself will be giving you feedback.  Here are the clues that you are overpriced – no one is looking at your property, or many are looking but you get no offers, or you get very low offers. Remember pricing a house, condo or lot is an art, not a science. If you are getting clues from the market that your list price is too high, lower it.

 

It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: [email protected]

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.

My Latest Zillow Review – and “She Speaks Italian”!

My most recent Zillow review brings on the smiles! Thank you, Kate and family, for allowing me to help you sell your Bluewater Bay property!

 

It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: [email protected]

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.

 

SOLD in the CAR – Lakeview Condo #3, Miramar Beach Florida!

I wrote the offer in the car. This is not a plug for the Verizon wifi hub, not exactly.  I decided to take a few days off (not really) and accompany my husband on a business trip to Cincinnati.  Always working on these Hubby trips while he’s doing his thing, I usually exercise in the hotel gym in the morning, then work on my PC all day, until he gets back. You see, most of my clients are out-of-state sellers, so my communication with them is by phone, email or text, but rarely in person.  My Surface Book PC is the best I’ve ever had, but it didn’t have built-in wifi. I went to Verizon a few days before the trip and bought the Verizon Ellipsis Jetpack. It cost about $50, plus the monthly fee of $10.  They ended up changing my plan, so added the Ellipsis and included my iPad wifi for a total of $10 per month for both!

Anyway, back to the story. As we were driving home to Destin, I received a call from a former client. She said her good friend wanted to buy the condo he was renting and did not have a Realtor representing him.  That would become “me”. I called the kind gentleman and we wrote his offer while I drove back home (I mean while my Hubby drove) on my computer in the car.  The counter offer came back swiftly. It was accepted!

So, did I have guilt about taking a few days off? Not exactly!

SOLD – Lakeview Condo #3, Miramar Beach Florida.

What do you need to buy or sell?

It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: [email protected]

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.