Fun Things for the Family to Do in Panama City, Florida

Fun Things for the Family to Do in Panama City, Florida

Visit the beaches

This beautiful city has 27 miles of gorgeous beaches. Shell Island in particular is loved by both locals and tourists and is only accessible by boat. You can go there to swim and sunbathe. There is also plenty to see – rolling sand dunes, loggerhead and sea turtles and lots of other nature. If you are looking for undeveloped beachfront you can head to St. Andrews State Park, and Rick Seltzer Beach is also great.

Museum Man of the Sea

This one was founded in 1976 and is run by former Navy Seals and marine scientists. Here you will learn all about the history of man and undersea through interactive exhibits and displays. You get to climb through a submarine, try on a brass diving helmet and learn about different techniques of diving and staying underwater. If you can make the time there is a film that teaches you all about diving.

Man in the Sea Museum

Science and Discovery Center of Northwest Florida

This is a child’s museum that is aimed and introducing children to history, science and technology. They learn in an interactive and fun way, after which they can enjoy an outdoors nature trail through the woods and over a marsh to a pioneers’ village where there is a toddler’s play ground and a nice picnic area. There is an airline cockpit which the children can climb and explore.

Shipwreck Island Water Park, Panama City Beach, Florida

This is an aquatics park with activities that the whole family can enjoy. There is a 5,000 gallon wave pool, a Tree Top Drop, a free fall slide, a Pirate’s Plunge racing slide, 17th century sailing ship Raging Rapids River. For younger children there is a family activity pool with miniature slide. There are kiosks with food and drink and all the staff are professionally trained.

Shipwreck Island Waterpark

Paradise Adventures Catamaran

These are tours on a 52 foot safety approved catamarans. The cruises depart from Pirate’s Cove Marina and each boat can take up to 49 people, so feel free to ask extended family to come along. You can choose a morning or afternoon tour and each tour lasts 3 hours. Evening cruises last for 2 hours and are the perfect way to end a day of exploring in Panama City Florida.

Hombre Golf Club

This is a 27 hole PGA course set between wetlands, marshlands and lakes. It is dotted with palm trees and is home to the Panama City Beach Classic. Some of the world’s best golfers have played here. Do not worry if you are not a professional – there are trainers available for beginners.

Sea Dragon Pirates Cruise

This is an 85 ft ship where kids get to pretend to be pirates. There is face painting, temporary tattoos and lots and lots for kids to do – sword fights, swab the deck, treasure hunts, fire pretend cannon, water gun fights and more. Parents get to relax and enjoy cocktails as their children play. The ship goes all the way to Shell Island and you will see dolphins along the way.

Sea Dragon Pirate Cruise

What Were The Hottest Real Estate Markets of 2017?

What Were The Hottest Real Estate Markets of 2017?

What Were The Top Real Estate Markets for 2017?

Now that we embark on 2018, its a good time to look back and review what happened in real estate for 2017.  As a whole, real estate flourished in 2017, spurred by low mortgage interest rates, high demand and a relatively low supply of homes on the market.  Although 2017 was a good year for just about everyone, what were the hottest real estate markets for 2017?

Back in January of 2017, Trulia released their list of the 10 hottest real estate markets to watch for 2017.  Around the same time, Zillow released their hottest real estate markets for 2017.  Although Zillow owns Trulia, the lists were quite different.  There was one consistency between the two lists — both were full of coastal real estate markets.  Realtor.com consistently puts out their list of the top real estate markets too.  It is easy to come up with different lists for the top real estate markets – it depends on which real estate statistics you choose to look at and how you weight them.  When reviewing real estate market statistics, there are many data points that can be reviewed, including:

  • Number of home sales
  • Increase in the number of home sale year over year
  • Home prices
  • Increase in home prices year over year
  • Dollar per square foot for single family homes
  • Dollar per square foot increase year over year
  • Number of new construction
  • Increase, year over year, of new construction
  • local economic factors
  • population trends
  • Median home prices
  • Year over year increase in median home prices
  • Absorption rate of homes
  • Months of supply of home
  • and much more…

And then, of course, are you looking at every city in the country?  Are you just looking at the top 100 real estate markets by size?  Top 200?  Most entities that are putting together a list of the the top real estate markets then have to choose what weight to give to each data point.  It becomes easy to see how everyone can come up with a different list.

What Were The Real Estate Predictions for 2017?

The Top Real Estate Markets for 2017

Coastal Areas seem to dominate the top real estate markets for 2017 with ***** of the top ten being coastal real estate markets, with California making up the top three spots. The ongoing growth of the California real estate market insures that you will have no problem finding a real estate agent there – with 1 in 7 of California residents having a real estate license.

San Francisco CA

The area of San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward has seen tremendous real estate growth.  That is saying quite a lot considering the real estate prices in San Francisco have not been depressed by any stretch of the imagination.  This is one of those unique areas that already had home prices that were much higher than the rest of the country – but somehow seemed to still see tremendous increases.  Home prices in the San Francisco Bay area jumped 7 percent annually in November of 2017.  That makes the third straight month at such dramatic increases in home values.  The rate of increase was far stronger than the increase in home prices for the first half of 2017. Low supply and high demand are some of the factors attributed to the major gains.

Sacramento CA

Sacramento, much like San Francisco, already had much higher than average home prices.  To see the real estate market grow at such a rate is extremely unusual.  With the commercial real estate market on fire in Sacramento, we have seen the residential market follow.  The Sacramento Association of Realtors recorded 1.6 months of inventory this November, meaning that’s about how long it would take to sell all of the resale homes on the market in Sacramento County and the city of West Sacramento.

Lodi CA 

Although still recovering from the massive downturn, in the last few months of 2017 the Lodi California real estate market has experienced significant decreases in homeowners that are in a negative equity position. Quarter over quarter, the percentage of underwater mortgages is decreasing in the Central Valley, a trend that spreads across the country.

Lodi ca real estate market

Although not as high as its peak, the Lodi real estate market is still strong.

Dr. Frank Nothaft, the chief economist for CoreLogic was quoted as saying “This increase is primarily a reflection of rising home prices in Lodi, which drives up home values, leading to an increase in home equity positions and supporting consumer spending.”

Columbus OH

The Columbus OH real estate market grew more more than fifteen percent to over $150 Billion dollars in 2017.  With the median home value in Columbus rising over seven percent year over year.  The massive growth can be attributed to the affordability of the Columbus area, with the median home price at just over $200,000. The relative affordability of the homes in Columbus, coupled with the tremendous increases in property value has enticed many people to purchase a second home in the area.

Boston MA

The Boston real estate market has seen some bad press because of the massive rise in home prices in the Greater Boston Area.  With the average home price in Boston proper being over $900,000 and the average dollar per square foot exceeding $820.  With real estate prices that high and continuing to rise, to own any home in the city of Boston, regardless of size or amenities, can be considered a luxury home.

Panama City Beach FL

Panama City Beach Florida is another coastal area that has seen tremendous growth in their real estate market in 2017.  With a tremendous influx of insurance money flowing in from hurricanes over the last few years has created a very fresh set of condominium inventory and has many longtime homeowners thinking of selling their home in Panama City Beach.  One real estate broker was quoted as saying “with the numerous hurricanes and beachfront property damage in the last 3 years, almost every home and condo has been rebuilt, we are looking at almost an entire new city of properties to sell…and they are selling fast.”  The combination of the overall economy driving tourism coupled with the fresh inventory, the Panama City Beach real estate market has flourished.

Dallas TX

The Dallas – Fort Worth real estate market has been on this list for many years.  With some Dallas residents waiting for the market to cool off because of the ever-increasing home prices, the D-FW housing market is still seeing homes sell at some of the fastest rates in the country.  Dallas has seen a tremendous shortage of housing inventory over the last few years.

Dallas Tx real estate market

The Dallas real estate market has seen consistent growth.

Currently, the Dallas market has about a 3 month supply of homes – which is approximate half of what is considered a “balanced market”.  In addition, home values have gone up by more than forty percent in the last four years – which is one of the strongest streaks in real estate.

San Diego CA

California makes the list again with San Diego.  Although the San Diego market saw a slight slow down toward the end of 2017, they still pulled $530,000 for the average home there.  That is still not even close to the peak of the Sand Diego real estate market, which was in 2005, with an average home price of $643,000.  Although substantially more than what is found in other parts of the country, many see the current Sand Diego home prices as a “bargain” which is keeping the supply of homes low with the demand high.  Many investors look at the current prices as a steal and scoop up new homes as soon as they hit the market, not even digging too deep to find the perfect property — just anything that is not in a bidding war.

2017 Was a Good Year For Real Estate

Overall, 2017 was a great year for real estate.  Many expect 2018 to also be another stellar year.  One of the major changes in real estate for 2018 over 2017 will be the repercussions of the newly passed tax bill.  With the new tax laws, as they pertain to real estate, we are expecting to see many of the more expensive real estate markets such as Boston and San Diego to slow down.  Many real estate economists feel that the best real estate markets for 2018 will be the more middle of the road markets that won’t be has heavily affected by the new tax laws.  We shall see.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finding The Right Agent

Finding The Right Agent

How to Find the Right REALTOR to Sell Your Home

Many people end up confused when it comes to finding a REALTOR – how do they know that they are picking the right one when there are so many of them around?  Looking at properties is the fun part of purchasing a home.  There is quite a bit more that goes into a real estate transaction and you want to insure you have someone looking out for your best interest.

SPECIALTIES

One thing to keep in mind is just like in any other industry, many real estate agents have areas of expertise.  Some REALTORS may specialize in listing waterfront homes, some specialize in working with first time buyers, lakehomes some may have a depth of knowledge in condos.

In addition to the the types of real estate transaction, you will find some agents will have more experience in the city where others focus on the outlying areas, subdivisions and suburbs.  There are very different skill sets when working in a metro area than working neighborhoods.  You get even a different specialty when looking for vacant land or in even waterfront homes as opposed to Brownstones in a heavily populated area.

As your agent what their specialty is.  If they say “everything” – for smaller areas that may be true – but in larger real estate markets, agents generally end up working the same types of real estate transactions on the same types of properties.

luxury homes

luxury homes

Finding an Agent

It is true that finding a real estate agent can be hard, but if you know what you are looking for you will be able to find a realtor who will help you sell your home fast and for a good price. Here are top tips on how to find a real estate agent:

  • Make sure that you choose a professional. While many people identify themselves as REALTORS, not all of them are members of the National Association of Realtors. Ask them to show you their membership card. It helps if they are members of other professional associations.
  • You want to find a real estate agent who has the right amount of experience. If you go with a REALTOR who is still learning how to sell homes you may end up having to wait for a long term before you can find the right buyer.
  • When you are looking for a REALTOR you should be looking into those that work in your neighborhood. Not only do they know who is in the market for a new home, they also know the buying trends of the market around you and they will help you sell your home for the right price.
  • A good REALTOR provides a comprehensive package. They will provide you with advice on how best to stage, they will bring in the right professionals to do repairs, they will help with valuation and they will also help you with all the paperwork that comes with selling your home. You may find that there are some who charge less because they don’t offer these services – it is not a good idea to go with such a realtor because it means that all these little additional tasks become your headache.
  • Choose a REALTOR who is within your range, Say, for example, that you want to sell your home for about $500,000 – you will not have an easy time of it if you choose a REALTOR who deals with high end homes that sell for millions.
  • If a REALTOR says that they are able to sell your home for a lot more than its valuation be wary – if your home is listed for a lot of money it will stay on the market a lot longer.
  • Good REALTORS are also good communicators – they will listen to you so as to understand your expectation and they will also talk to you often to let you know what kind of progress they are making finding prospective buyers. On your part let them know how you would prefer that they communicate with you – should they call, text or email?
  • Lastly, make sure that you are not paying your REALTOR more money than you should. Find out what the average rates are so that you can negotiate a good deal for yourself. Make sure that the realtor you choose doesn’t have any hidden costs.

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With the purchase of a home being the largest transaction of most peoples lives – choosing a REALTOR is an important decision.  Real estate is very litigious and there is a ton of paperwork and with so much money at stake, you want to trust the person driving.

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Need To Know About Waterfront River Homes?

Buying a Waterfront River Home

Waterfront river homes offers the kind of serenity that is better experienced than described. From the quietness of the quietness of the environment to the wonderful panorama offered by the sea, living in riverfront home can offer the added motivation needed to keep the body healthy and spirit motivated for more life adventures.

Buying a home on the river, however, is not as easy as some will like you to believe. If you are not properly guided, the chances of making a poor decision is very high. When buying a waterfront home, the following factors should be considered before making the final decision.

Carefully consider why you are buying a home on the river:

You have to carefully reconsider your reason for buying a waterfront home. You should consider the interest of the members of your family. Will the waterfront lifestyle suit them? Are you and your loved ones going to take advantage of the water? Once you are sure your reasons are rational and justifiable, consider buying the kind of riverfront homes that is in line with your reasons and will suit your need.

Research about the water:

All water bodies are not the same. They also do not offer the same values. Before buying a waterfront home, make sure that the property is located in the kind of water that will satisfy your need for a waterfront river homes. If you are interested in swimming, research about the water body to make sure that it’s safe for swimming. The presence of some weed and fish species makes water unsuitable for swimming. If you are interested in boating, you have to find out about the depth of the water and determine if it is suitable for the boat you own or want to acquire.

Find out about association or community fees:

You may not know it, but most lakefront properties are part of communities and may attract some form of additional fees to maintain the environment. Is also very likely that the body of water your prospective home is located at is subject to association fees that will be passed down to property owners or residents. Just make sure you have perfect understanding of any financial obligations that may come as a result of taking ownership of your dream waterfront homes.

Learn about insurance cover for flood and related risk factors associated with waterfront homes:

Homes on the river are obviously susceptible to a couple of risk factors. Ideally, these properties require some kind of special insurance policy. Before buying a home on the river, take care to understand the insurance requirements of such properties and decide if it is what you will like to subscribe to. The premium you’ll pay to cover your waterfront home that has a high risk for potential flooding will be greater than what you will pay for properties with less risk.

Buying a waterfront home is a great idea if you can afford it. The possibility of going for the wrong deal is great due to the unique nature of the environment. Make sure to consider the factors above in order to make a sound decision when buying a waterfront home.  

Buying A Waterfront Lake Home?

Things to Consider When Buying a Waterfront Lake Property

Many people dream of living on the water. Unfortunately, not many can afford Lakeview properties. Just as tasteful as they are, waterfront properties are generally costly, but they are choice investments by all standards. If you are among the fortunate set of people who can afford them, there are some factors you need to put into consideration before buying a home on the water.

Location of the property:

Do not jump into buying any lakefront property without considering the significance of the location to a couple of other factors. Firstly, you have to rethink your purpose for buying the property. For many, owning a lake home offers some kind of added motivation. But this wouldn’t mean a thing if the property is poorly located. Even if you are buying the property as a vacation home, it is still important that it is located in such a manner that you have access to essential amenities like clinics, grocery stores and schools.

The size of the property:

At some point, your friends and distant family members will come to have a feel of your waterfront home, you wouldn’t want them to hurry back to their home due to lack of space in your luxury home. Before you settle for any Lakeview property, make sure that it is of the right size to accommodate your family and have some extra space for the right number of visitors.

Your budget and maintenance expenses:

Lakeview properties are expensive! You know this already, but you should also know that your overall expenses are not limited to your home and what you have inside as your properties. Inquire from the realtor or whoever is helping you with the purchase about the maintenance process of the facility and the cost implications.

Inspect the property thoroughly:

Choosing the right and trusted Realtor to help you when buying a Lakeview property is only one piece of the puzzle. In order to make sure that the property you are paying for matches your taste and the amount of money you are spending to get it, make sure you personally inspect the property. The experience of your Realtor will surely count in the process of making the right decision, but since you and your family are the ones who will inhabit the property, it is only fair that you visit the property (preferably with your spouse or close family member) in order to make the decision that is most suitable for your family.

Do some extra research:

You can do your own bit of research about where the waterfront property you want to buy is located. Check the history of the place for chances of natural hazards like flood as well as human hazards like burglary and the likes. You can easily get expert opinions about properties at no cost on the internet.

In all, living on the water is a cool thing. Lakeview properties are ideal both as normal home and vacation home. To enjoy the happiness and serenity that comes with it, ensure that you consider all of the factors raised above before buying a home on the water.

How To Buy Your Oceanfront Home

How To Buy Your Oceanfront Home

How to Buy Oceanfront Homes

In many parts of the country, buying any home at all can be a complicated process. Throw oceanfront properties into the mix and you have successfully doubled the problem (at least). Still, owning an oceanfront home is the dream of many families and you can hardly blame them. The close association with nature and all the beauties that come with it is too tempting to not dream about. Numerous challenges come with this promise of pleasure. Therefore, you should weigh both sides carefully before making a final decision. Here are some tips on buying a home on the ocean.

Decide what you want to use the home for:

Some buy ocean view homes in order to have a place on the beach where vacations could be spent free of charge. Some others buy it as an investment, renting the homes out to families that have come to spend their vacations.  Many of the condo complexes in Florida have tenants in them most of the year.

A few others want the home to serve both purposes. It should be made clear that marrying the two aims is likely to prove difficult in the long run. The house has the highest chances of securing an occupant in the period of tourism boom (e.g., the snowbird season in Florida), so, your family can only visit in the boring periods in the year. It is better to decide what purpose you want the house for and stick to that purpose.

beachfront condos

Know that beach houses are expensive:

Whatever purpose you decide to use the house for, one fact will always stand. Buying a home on the ocean is quite expensive. Many of the most expensive real estate markets in the country focus on waterfront property. An oceanfront home or any house that is a stone throw from the beach could cost up to four times the price of its inland replica.

Mortgage associated with beach houses also attract higher interest rates. Factor in the equally higher taxes, insurance (more on this later), and maintenance costs and you could be having a whole lot on your plate. Except you have a whole lot of spare cash, owning an oceanfront home isn’t a decision you want to make in a hurry.

Make your research about the weather:

Climate change means sea level is on the rise and ocean view homes are at greater risk now more than ever. Spend time to make your research about past and future trends in your location of choice. It’s always good to check up with the state’s geological survey to ensure your oceanfront home is not located in an area that has an increased risk of flooding.

Get a real estate agent that specializes in oceanfront homes:

Ocean view homes have become a niche in the wider real estate business and getting an agent that specializes in the niche is your best bet towards getting the best possible deals. Furthermore, the agent is able to intimate you with the challenges you may face as an ocean view homeowner and how to overcome them. Although such agents may be pricey, believe me, it’ll be a wise investment in the long run.

Ensure you fall in love with the property, and not just the structure:

Remember you’ll be spending a fortune on the home, so anything less than complete satisfaction is inadequate. This means you must fall in love with everything about the property and neighborhood at large. Ensure the view is good enough for you, the swimming is not mucky, enough privacy is assured and the distance to the beach is just adequate. You could talk up with your prospective neighbors to know how much they love the neighborhood. The bottom line is that you should cover all bases to ensure you have no regrets.

Know your insurance costs and get a property manager if necessary:

Because oceanfront homes are more at the mercy of the elements, insurance plans are understandably costlier and more complicated. You will need to get a flood policy, general hazard policy and wind policy if you are to ensure full coverage. You should also think about getting a property manager particularly if you intend to rent out the place.

There you have it! I hope you find these tips a useful guide when buying your dream ocean front home.

 

The Benefits of Waterside Living

The Benefits of Waterside Living

Why Waterfront Living?

It’s no secret that a majority of people prefer to live near or on the water. But did you know there are actual health benefits to living near the water…for example, the Mississippi River? Believe it! Not only can you partake in physical activity on the water, but simply being near it can influence your mind and body for the better. Numerous studies have encountered the benefits to waterfront living as well as the benefits that exposure to green space has on humans. Here are a few that we found to be the most universal…

  • Studies show it was proven that while undergoing a stressful procedure such a dental surgery, scenes with images of calm water, including aquatic images, were much more restorative than those without. In the same study, scientists noticed that images with greenspace reacted as favorably as the images with aquatic images.
  • “Blue Mind“, is a term coined by J. Nichols, it’s named for the mildly meditative state our mind enters when we are near water. Using brain imaging, scientists have found that the proximity to water floods the brain with feel good hormones such as dopamine, serotonin and oxytosin. Levels of cortisol, drop with the close proximity to water.
  • Piggy backing off of #3, our mind and body being primarily made up of water and taking into consideration our brain’s reaction when we are near it, many forms of therapy have been created in association with the water. For example, there’re organizations helping veteran’s suffering from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) by means of water sports. Operation Surf, takes veteran’s out in the ocean to surf, where as Heroes on the Water brings them out fishing and kayaking. Each offer a peaceful activity as a stress outlet.
  • Scientists have found that when people step outside the office into nature, even just for a lunch break they experience increased immune function. Subjects who spent this time outside had a lowered concentration of cortisol, a lowered pulse level and lowered blood pressure, thus an overall feeling of stress relief.

Waterfront Housing

waterfront lifestyle

waterfront lifestyle

Some of the most prestigious and most expensive homes in the country are beachfront properties.  With almost 80% of the US population living within 10 miles of a coastline – the demand for waterfront homes is off the chart.  Some of the areas, such the beaches of Cohasset MA, offer a tranquil alternative to the hustle and bustle of Boston MA living

In summation, it’s clear that simply being by the water and in greenspace it positively influences human well-being. Being that most vacations are centered around a trip to the lake, a river, or the beach, as a means to escape and retreat from everyday life, this is nothing we didn’t already realize. However, understanding the science behind the feelings we have when around water or nature further implies the credibility of them.

Now, imagine living, working or relaxing in a beautiful relaxing hidden gem equipped with 360 degree views of a beautiful river, lake, or beach…that is what The Waterfront is all about!!  Ready to buy an oceanfront home?  Read our article on How to Buy You Oceanfront Home