Our sales team is now offering personal and group seminars on home buying, investing, and credit repair especially designed for our Veteran residents in the Pensacola area. If you have questions on investing in Pensacola real estate, home loans, credit and credit reprots, applying for mortages, home ownership tax planning, credit repair, how much house you can afford, and what types of Pensacola properties are available for sale, reach out to our sales team! You can call our sales office at (850) 453-9220 or email Pam.
Realty Masters of FL Sales Team
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.
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.
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.
Realty Masters of FL
There are a number of ways to build your credit. The easiest way to improve your credit score is to pay your bills on time. Most, but not all, of your recurring bills are reported to the credit bureaus. Your credit cards, car loans, and personal loans are just a few of the items that appear on your credit reports. If you pay these bills as agreed and on time, your credit score will improve over time simply by making timely payments.
Unfortunately, a lot of the bills you pay timely each month are not reflected on your credit report unless you default on the payment and close the account owing money. For example, if you owe your cable provider money upon moving, they will file this on your credit report, but will not report the monthly payments paid on time.
For most renters, this is the case. Landlords do not report your timely payments to the three major credit bureaus and only report collection accounts when renters owe funds above the security deposit after moving out. Why? Because most landlords don't have the resources to do so.
Realty Masters is proud to be one of the only landlords in the greater Pensacola area that offers a payment platform which allows our residents to opt in to credit reporting. The partnership we formed with RentTrack in 2017 now allows our renters to build and improve their credit score simply by paying rent on time.
Here's how it works:
- You pay your rent online through RentTrack's portal. Read more here.
- You opt into credit reporting!
- You pay your rent before the 3rd of each month online.
- Your credit score improves over the term of your lease!
- By the end of your lease, you will have a higher credit score which will allow you to
Because rent is paid as one amount, RentTrack's portal only offers this credit advantage to one resident. If you are renting with roommates or other lease holders, it makes sense to choose the lease holder with the
If you have questions about the RentTrack program, give our office a call.
For more information on building and understanding your credit score, read Credit Scores: What are they and how to see yours for free.
Realty Masters of FL
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.
Realty Masters of FL
Energy Tips to Reduce your 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!
Realty Masters of FL
Are you considering purchasing a home in a home or condo association? Before renting or buying a home in a covenant enhanced community, you should be fully aware of the homeowner's association and the rules governing the community.
Florida laws allow certain time periods to rescind from contracts when purchasing a condo in a condominium association but does not have the same resicion period for single family homes in a neighborhood. Prior to entering into a contract for a residential property, you should be aware of and have reviewed the HOA documents relevant to the community.
The most relevant HOA documents you should receive and review include:
- Covenants and Restrictions
- Rules and Regulations
- Community By-laws
- Annual Meeting Minutes
- Financial Information
But how do you find these documents?
There is unfortunately not a great public database to collect these documents, and you must be aware that these documents can be voted on and changed. Because we manage several neighborhoods, we get this call a lot so we have some tips for you.
- Legally, it is the responsbility of the property owner to provide a prospective buyer with the homeowner's association documents and other pertinent information. The best place to get these documents is from the property.
There are several ways you can look up rules for a covenant enhanced community!
- Many HOA management companies have these documents and some of them are available online. You can find these by searching google and including HOA with the subdivision name.
Our company manages 30 local home and condo associations in the Pensacola area. Each of our communities has a website with the relevant documents you need uploaded to the website. You can find a list of local Homeowner and Condo Associations Realty Masters managers here: http://pensacolarealtymasters.com/homeowners-association-condo-associations-realty-masters-of-fl
- Realtors are another great resource! We have access to the Pensacola Multiple Listing Service (or MLS) which stores pertinent documents related to transactions. An experienced realtor can identify properties that have sold recently in the same HOA or condominium community and locate a copy of the covenants and/or the association manager.
Don't know which community a property is located in? Or if there is an active HOA? One of the best ways to find out is to visit the Escambia or Santa Rosa County Property Appraiser, search the property address, and find the subdivision name in the legal description.
- Once you have the name of the subdivision, visit the Florida Division of Corporations Website to search the subdivision name. Here, you will find a list of active corporations across the entire state. You can identify the corportation easily by viewing the addresses associated with the "Registered Agent" and/or "Officers." Keep in mind, there may be several similarly named communities across the state of Florida, however, only likely one in the Pensacola area. Additionally, you will most likely find the words Condo Association, Owners Association, or Homeowners Association in the corporation name.
While the documents are not stored on this website, it does typically show the community association manager and/or the board of directors for the community. Often you can google these contacts to find a phone number, email, or website, or at minimum their address so inquiries can be made.
As many associations have a company that handles their affairs, a company name is likely to appear for easy contact.
If you find a community name, but see it is inactive, it's likely that the association was dissolved, but it's best to verify with the title company. You should never sign a contract to move into a HOA neighborhood without reading the rules that govern the community.
Let us know if you have any questions!
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.
Hard Freeze Coming New Years Day
Temperatures will reach below freezing by New Years Day 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.
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.
Nicole St. Aubin
Realty Masters of FL~ (850) 473-3983
4400 Bayou Blvd. #58B, Pensacola, FL 32503
The holidays: a time for family, fun, and fabulous food and drink. However, it’s also a time for healthy doses of stress and chaos – some of which may present a hazard for you and your family.
That’s why the World Ford Pensacola team has put together this infographic that we thought was too great not to share! By following it carefully, you can keep the holidays as safe as possible this year!
Maintenance Do’s & Don’ts!
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.
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.
Before calling for service on any appliance be sure the cord is securely plugged in and the breaker is not tripped.
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.
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.
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:
- Turn cold water on to maximum flow position.
- Flip the switch to the on position.
- Push refuse through the splash guard keeping hands away from the inside chamber.
- Continue to run the disposal until the grinding sound stops. Then flip switch to the off position.
- 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:
*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.
*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 hs 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.
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.
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.
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
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)
Nicole St. Aubin
Realty Masters of FL~ (850) 473-3983
4400 Bayou Blvd. #58B, Pensacola, FL 32503
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!
For more information - head over to our website to learn more - Realty Masters Payments
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.
We love animals, just like you do! In fact, this is one of our property manager's dogs, Buck.
While we love Buck, it's a good thing Patty is a homeowner as a rental company in the Pensacola area would likely not approve Buck as an authorized pet.
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
- Doberman pinscher
- German shepherd
- Pit Bull
- American Bull Terrier
- American Staffordshire Terrier
- Staffordshire Bull Terrier
- English Bull Terrier
- 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.
#1 in Pensacola Rental Houses
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.
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.
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 tank
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
- 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
#1 in Pensacola Rental Houses
Realty Masters has a nice selection of Pensacola rental homes for the first time in 2017!
After months of below average inventory, we've got over 40 rentals in the Pensacola area with apartments and single family homes for rent in Pensacola, Pace, Milton, and Navarre, Florida.
We also have properties in the popular Downtown Pensacola and East Hill areas for the first time all year.
Nicole St. Aubin, Broker Associate
#1 in Pensacola Rental Houses
We would like to invite you to our seminar "HOME BUYING 101" hosted by Realty Masters, Calibar Home Loans, and Surety Land Title
Are you tired of being a renter? Join us to learn the ins and outs of purchasing your first home! Caliber Home Loans will present useful information on the different loan programs available to First Time Home Buyers. Surety Land Title will walk us through step by step through the home closing process. Realty Masters agents will be available to talk about the home purchasing process and bring a list of Homes on the market for Sale!
--------------------------------- FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC ------------------------------------
Attend Event: Event registration is by invitation only. Sign up on the Facebook Event Page - Home Buying 101 Seminar to attend this event.
WHO: First time home buyers and anyone wanting to know more about the buying process should attend. OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
WHAT: First time homebuyer’s seminar
WHEN: Thursday May 18th, 2017 at 6:30 PM
WHERE: 1403 East Belmont Street, Pensacola, FL 32501
Goals of the Seminar
Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions you will ever make. It's important to be equipped with the right information before you start your journey.
JOIN US & LEARN MORE ABOUT THE HOME BUYING PROCESS
- HOW MUCH CAN YOU AFFORD
- WHAT ARE YOUR FINANCING OPTIONS
- WHAT TYPE OF ASSISTANCE CAN YOU GET
- HOW TO WORK WITH A REALTOR
- WHAT IS IT ALL GOING TO COST
- HOW TO FIND THE HOME THAT IS RIGHT FOR YOU
- WHAT TO EXPECT UP UNTIL CLOSING
We hope you can make it!
Realty Masters, Caliber Home Loans & Surety Land Title
#1 in Pensacola Rental Houses
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.
#1 in Pensacola Rental Houses
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.
#1 in Pensacola Rental Houses
Here's a list of our most common lease violations!
Are you in compliance with your lease agreement?
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
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.
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.
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.
Realty Masters of FL~ (850) 473-3983
#1 in Pensacola Rental Houses
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/
#1 in Pensacola Rental Houses
It's the first day of spring! Students in both Escambia and Santa Rosa County are out for spring break this week. Spring Break typically marks the beginning of a busy tourist season in the beaches of Northwest Florida.
According to Visit Pensacola, the tourism industry employs over 16,000 inidividuals in Escambia County and nearly another 4,000 in Santa Rosa County. Over 72% of visitors surveyed said they chose the Pensacola area for our beautiful, white sand beaches. According to studies done by Visit Pensacola, vacationers from Atlanta, Detroit, New Orleans, Birmingham, Nashville, Dallas, Gulfpot-Biloxi, Baton Rouge, and St. Louis flock to the Pensacola Beach area in large numbers during spring and summer. One of our favorite sayings in the state of Florida is that we live where others vacation.
Check out this video from Visit Pensacola on the value of tourism in our community.
To plan your vacation to Pensacola Beach, check out Visit Pensacola online.
#1 in Pensacola Rental Houses
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.
#1 in Pensacola Rental Houses
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 dislike being a landlord or are in the financial position where selling your property is a necessity for you, this advice is for you.
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.
Make sure 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!
Nicole St. Aubin, Broker Associate
#1 in Pensacola Rental Houses
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
- 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!
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!
David Keen, Realtor
#1 in Pensacola Rental Houses
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.
Nicole St. Aubin, Broker Associate
#1 in Pensacola Rental Houses
Welcome to 2034 Juno Circle in the Beulah area of Pensacola, Florida 32526.
This four bedroom three bathroom executive home is located in the Creekwood Community in Northwest Pensacola in Escambia County. It features over 2,734 square feet, a 3 car garage, and best of all, a screened in-ground pool overlooking the fenced in backyard. This home now has new carpets, fresh paint, and is available for move in immediately.
Take a quick video tour here:
The rental rate of $2,150 includes professional pool service. View more photos and apply online on our website. Then call us for your personal tour!
#1 in Pensacola Rental Houses
The Escambia County School District approved the purchase of 32 acres of land in 2015 for the construction of a new middle school in Beulah.
This middle school is part of a larger plan that includes a new elementary school and other renovations to relieve overcrowding issues for the north Escambia schools.
The groundbreaking ceremony was held October 28, 2016 for the new Beulah Middle School located at 6000 West Nine Mile Road, which was previously the Coastal Airport.
The plans for the school estimate the cost to be $45 to $48 million and will have the capacity of around 1,100 to 1,300 students. The current students from Woodham Middle and some from the overcrowded Ransom Middle School will be relocated to the New Beulah Middle School.
The new elementary school, Kingsfield Elementary, will cost around $25 million and be able to hold 800 students. It will be built on 10 to 12 acres of land next to Ransom Middle School that the district already owns. This will allow some students to be relocated from Beulah Elementary and Pine Meadow Elementary since they are having overcrowding issues as well.
In addition to new school construction, the district has plans for renovating the current Woodham Middle facilities to accommodate moving West Florida High School. The $3 to $5 million renovations are an effort to prepare Woodham Middle to be a high school and to provide improved athletic facilities to future students.
Both of these newly constructed schools hope to be ready by the start of the 2018-2019 school years and are funded from the half-cent sales tax. The half-cent sales tax funds the construction of new schools, school improvements, and updates to school technology. Although it will be several months until the completion of Beulah Middle School and Kingsfield Elementary School, it is awesome to check out the progress and see the half-cent sales tax funds be put into motion.
The renovations and new construction plans are the response from Escambia County School District to alleviate crowding issues in schools and prepare for projected growth in the Beulah, Cantonment, and north Escambia areas. Much of this growth is fueled by the creation of nearly 10,000 jobs as Navy Federal Credit Union Headquarters in Beulah.
Take a look at this drone aerial footage of the ongoing new Beulah Middle School construction
#1 in Pensacola Rental Houses & Apartments
As Realtors, we take safety and security at your home very seriously. That's why we reached out to Ashlee Carpenter, Vice President of Complete DKI, 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.
#1 in Pensacola Rental Houses & Apartments
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 offers the following amenities and entertainment:
- Historic Fort Tours
- Fishing Pier
- cuba Diving
- Snorkeling Reef
- Hiking Trails
- Biking Trails
- Boat Launches
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.
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.
#1 in Pensacola Rental Houses & Apartments
We are now hiring in the Pensacola, Florida area for a full-time property condition assessor to join our team!
Realty Masters of FL is seeking a full time, motivated, hardworking property condition assessor for a fast paced real estate property management company in Pensacola, Florida. Realty Masters manages nearly 1,000 rental properties.
- Self-starters, good with time management and organized
- The ability to use technology including cameras, ipads, and basic computer skills are required
- Customer service skills are a must as the employee will be interacting with tenants and property owners
- Must have basic knowledge of home systems and/ or general maintenance knowledge or be capable of learning basic acceptable conditions for the interior and exterior of properties
- Must have a valid driver’s license with a clean driving record and your own reliable vehicle although company vehicle is available for frequent use
- Have a great attitude regardless of where the day takes them or what they walk into
Description of Property Condition Assessor Job
The property condition assessor will visit multiple properties per day in Escambia, Santa Rosa and Okaloosa Counties. Property condition assessors spend the majority of their day out in the field, checking the condition of single and multi-family properties. The condition assessor is responsible for taking photos and completing a report of vacant and occupied properties to thoroughly document of the condition of each property. Reports include but are not limited to move in condition reports, new property reports, move out reports, 90 day reports, and renewal reports of occupied properties.
Other duties in the field include taking advertising photos, collecting room sizes, putting up and taking down rental and sales signs and key lockboxes, posting notices, following up on work completed by vendors, reporting all findings to team, and working with the property managers.
Secondary duties include: Answering incoming phone calls, sitting front desk, responding to rental inquiries via phone and email, scanning and filing documents weekly, assisting property managers and supervisors with overflow work, maintaining client databases, assembling move in cups and folders, and completing any other duties assigned to the employee as needed. While the primary job duties of the condition report team involve out of the office work, employee is expected to provide value to the team when in the office.
This is a full time position with 40 hours weekly. Monday- Friday 8:30 to 5 pm at our Cordova Square location. Employer offers insurance assistance and four paid holidays a year. Hiring range is $10-$12 per hour depending on qualifications and experience.
Realty Masters of FL is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate against any applicant or employee because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age, or military or veteran status in accordance with federal law. In addition, Realty Masters of FL complies with applicable state and local laws governing non‑discrimination in employment in every jurisdiction in which it maintains facilities. Realty Masters of FL also provides reasonable accommodation to qualified individuals with disabilities in accordance with applicable laws.
For more details on this position, please contact Nicole St. Aubin at Realty Masters.
#1 in Pensacola Rental Houses & Apartments
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 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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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
Nicole St. Aubin, Broker Associate
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.
Nicole St. Aubin, Broker Associate
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.
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!
Please be aware there is some serious upcoming weather headed to our area this week. Review the information we have compiled below to prepare for the heavy rains / potential flooding coming our way.
Weather Information Article
FloridaDisaster - Florida Division of Emergency Management
Florida Disaster Website
08/06/16 - Florida Gulf Coast Residents and Visitors Urged To Prepare For Heavy Rain; Potential Flooding Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) officials are urging residents, visitors and businesses from Tampa to Pensacola to prepare for heavy rainfall and potential flooding as the National Weather Service monitors a developing weather system along the Gulf Coast.
FDEM Director Bryan W. Koon said, "The National Weather Service expects this to be a slow moving heavy rain event which could last through Thursday. We’re urging everyone along the Gulf Coast to prepare for increased flooding potential as rainfall totals accumulate throughout the week."
Potential impacts include:
The National Weather Service forecasts a large swath of rain currently extending from the Big Bend to the Tampa area to remain through Sunday before shifting west, placing portions of the Big Bend and Panhandle under a risk for heavy rain Monday through Thursday of next week.
Locations from Tampa to Pensacola will have the potential for heavy rain and flooding.
The current National Weather Service forecast calls for 10-15 inches of rain in locations from Tampa to Pensacola through the next 5 days.
Isolated areas could receive rainfall amounts in excess of 18 inches over the next week.
Rivers and creeks near the coast could also be susceptible to flooding
Flash flooding could occur in areas that receive rain amounts in excess of 3 inches in a short period of time.
The National Weather Service has issued Flood Watches for Taylor, Dixie, Levy, Citrus, Hernando and Pasco Counties and may issue additional watches as conditions merit.
Plan for severe weather and follow these important safety tips:
Turn Around, Don’t Drown: NEVER drive through flooded roadways as road beds may be washed out under flood waters, and less than one foot of fast-moving water can move most cars off the road. If you see a flooded roadway, turn around and take another route.
Avoid areas known to flood: Flash floods can occur near streams, drainage channels, culverts and other low-lying areas with little or no warning.
Be aware of flash flooding: If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground. Do not wait for instructions to move.
If thunder roars, go indoors: If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck by lightning and should seek shelter.
Turn on your weather radio: Ensure it is programmed for your area or stay tuned to a trusted local media outlet for the most current weather situation.
Check your emergency supply kit: Make sure all of your emergency supplies are updated and accessible.
If a tornado warning is issued: Seek shelter immediately in an interior room away from any windows.
Know Your Zone: Know where you are located, and prepare to follow all instructions from local officials.
*The Florida Division of Emergency Management is the state agency charged with preparing for all types of disasters in Florida. The Division is the state's disaster liaison with federal and local agencies, and is the lead consequence management agency for the State Emergency Response Team (SERT). The Division maintains the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) in Tallahassee and the State Warning Point, the 24-hour communications and command center for response coordination.
Residents Encouraged to Monitor Weather
MyEscambia webpage with helpful information and details on how to be prepared.
MyEscambia - Inclement weather - Flood
The National Weather Service in Mobile is forecasting an extended period of heavy rain, with rainfalls in our area up to 15 inches, Tuesday through Saturday. At this time, the greatest threats to our area are minor to moderate flooding along area rivers, creeks and low lying areas that typically have poor drainage and possible flash flooding of roadways. Escambia County Emergency Management staff are continuing to monitor the system.
At this time Residents are encouraged to:
Monitor the weather forecast daily as conditions can change quickly.
Remember that sand and sand bags are available at local home improvement stores for purchase.
Clear your yard of any debris that might clog stormwater drains when washed to the street by rain such as leaves or limbs.
Turn off any automatic sprinkler systems and do not water your lawn until after the storm passes.
Remember heavy rain may quickly flood low-lying areas including roads and bridges. Standing water creates a serious road hazard, even when only a portion of the roadway is flooded. Most deaths from flooding in the United States are due to people driving their cars into flooded areas - “Turn around, don’t drown.”
*For the latest updates on this storm system or other issues impacting our county, sign up to receive news via email at myescambia.com by clicking the subscribe button and selecting “Emergency Updates” or follow them on their Facebook page here.
SERVPRO of Santa Rosa County
What you can do until help arrives
Water Tips - After any water damage situation, your primary focus should be safety first:
Is it safe to stay in the house?
Electrical and "slip and fall" hazards are some of the most prevalent concerns.
Only do activities that are safe for you to perform.
Wet materials can be VERY heavy. Be careful!
What To Do After Flooding
Remove excess water by mopping and blotting.
Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removal of lamps and tabletop items.
Remove and prop wet upholstery and cushions.
Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting.
Turn air conditioning on for maximum drying in summer.
Remove colored rugs from wet carpeting.
Remove art objects to a safe, dry place.
Gather loose items from floors.
What NOT To Do After Flooding
Don't leave wet fabrics in place. Hang furs and leather goods.
Don't leave books, magazines or other colored items on wet carpet or floors.
Don't use your household vacuum to remove water.
Don't use television or other household appliances.
Don't turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet, and keep out of rooms where ceilings are sagging.
*SERVPRO of Santa Rosa County
"Like It Never Even Happened"
850-939-4700 NAVARRE, 850-932-2488 GULF BREEZE, 850-983-0091 MILTON, 850-994-0320 PACE, 850-939-5995 FAX, 850-232-5866 CELL
- 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;
(c) When the tenant unreasonably withholds consent; or
(d) If the tenant is absent from the premises for a period of time equal to one-half the time for periodic rental payments. If the rent is current and the tenant notifies the landlord of an intended absence, then the landlord may enter only with the consent of the tenant or for the protection or preservation of the premises.
(3) The landlord shall not abuse the right of access nor use it to harass the tenant.”
- Landlord's Access to the Property
The law protects both landlord and tenant and provides the landlord access to the property without violating the privacy of the tenant.
The law allows you to inspect, make repairs, and show the property “from time to time” with reasonable 12 hour advanced notice during reasonable hours even if the tenant refuses to consent. As a landlord, you can give prior reasonable notice and visit your home to routinely inspect how it’s being cared for.
- How should you notify your tenants?
Call your tenant ahead of time to notify them.
If your tenant does not answer, consent, or acknowledge receipt of your message, you should post a notice to the door outlining the time and reason for the visit.
The law does not allow the tenant to refuse entry under normal circumstances as long as reasonable notice is provided. While twelve hour notice is required under the law, best practice is to provide at least next day notice for showings, inspections, etc. If the tenant consents to earlier notice, the landlord is allowed entry under the law.
- In Case of Emergencies
The law does protect you in case of an actual emergency.
Say you own a condo and the HOA calls to yell you water is leaking from your unit. You have tried to contact your tenant and they are not responding but you have left a message. You can legally enter the property (after knocking) with a key to turn the water off. You do not have to wait for the tenant's authorization or post reasonable notice on the premises. Make sure to examine the situation and ensure it is an actual emergency prior to entering! It is always better to get the tenant's authorization prior to entering the property.
If you cannot reach your tenant and are worried about their health or safety, best practice is to call the police for a welfare check on the property. You cannot enter without adequate notice or the tenant's approval.
- Outdoors and Backyards
Keep in mind, you may be held in violation of the law if you are accessing the backyard or any outbuildings, especially if it’s a fenced backyard and/or locked, without prior notification and consent.
Exterior pool or lawn maintenance should be planned in advance or scheduled on a routine basis. Under the law, you cannot show up in the backyard without some sort of advanced notice.
There is a fine line between being proactive with your tenants and offending them and breaking the law! Confronting your tenant with anger or other elevated emotions will only worsen your situation. It’s best to keep cool if you see something you don’t like about your rental property or tenants behavior. You must keep in mind that the tenant is paying rent and you have granted possession under the law to the tenant.
- If you have an issue with your tenant, address it properly.
Provide advanced notice for inspection to the tenant to inspect the situation further. Document your issues properly with photos and a dated written report.
Discuss your issues with your tenant and give them an opportunity to cure the issues. If they don’t, you can provide them with a 7 day notice under the law to cure any lease violations.
Be sure to follow procedures under the law to ensure safety for both your tenant, your property, and yourself.
Summer is here! With that, comes constant rain storms and sometimes unbearable heat. As with snow, you have to prepare for the heat accordingly.
The Pensacola Fire Department shared this information on hot car safety regarding your pets on their facebook this week. With lows in the 90's all month, it's imperative you make plans for your pets accordingly.
You may not realize how much higher temperatures are inside your vehicle.
Cracking the windows or leaving them down does not decrease the temperature enough to be safe.
This is also the time of the year where accidentally locking or leaving a child in your car can be fatal. Some recommend leaving one of your shoes in the backseat. Older siblings can easily accidentally lock a child in a car. Do not allow your other children possession of your keys.
With such high temperatures, it only takes a few minutes for one to succomb to heat exhaustion. If you are working outside or in the heat, be sure to take short breaks often, properly hydrate, and follow safety protcolls!
For more safety tips, follow the Pensacola Fire Department on Facebook.
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.
Realty Masters of FL~ (850) 473-3983
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.
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 (4400 Bayou Blvd 58B, Pensacola, FL 32503 or 6800 W Hwy 98, Pensacola, Florida 32503) 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.
The Realty Masters team spent the afternoon at downtown Pensacola's first live escape game, Escape on Palafox, and it was a blast! Escape on Palafox is a group activity and is well suited for groups of friends, family, and coworkers of all ages. The premise of the game is to work together to uncover clues and solve a mystery within 60 minutes to "escape" the room.
Our staff broke into three groups and attempted to escape the "Secret Agent Room." Our last group escaped with 9 minutes to spare while our first two groups got hung up on the last clue. Everyone had a great time!
Two additional rooms will be opening in the coming months including The Museum Robbery Room and the Haunted Room and we plan on visiting with our team again.
We highly recommend this event as a fun weekend activity with your family or as a team building experience! To learn more about Escape on Palafox, visit their website http://www.escapeonpalafox.com/ or ask us your questions below.
Team 3: Christine, Lacey, Celia, Sheri, Chuntell, Carlin and David Escaped with 9 minutes to spare! — at Escape on Palafox.
Team 2: Brandon, Marie, Nicole, Fern, Becky, Pam, Patty, and Jay — at Escape on Palafox.
Team 1: Bob, Rick, Kathy, Crystal, Erica, Krissy and Mitch almost escaped! — at Escape on Palafox.
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.
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.
- Have a folder with the following documents ready for when you find the right house!
- 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.
Pensacola Rental Market Shortage
We are into peak rental season with below average inventory in the Pensacola rental market. The Pensacola rental market picks up drastically in February and March and peaks in July and August. The market slows drastically over winter with the slowest month of the year being December.
Rental rates have been increasing since 2011 and have increased on average $120 per month over the last four years from $960 per month to an average rental rate of $1,080 per month.
- The average list price for a 3 bedroom 2 bath in the Pensacola metro area is $1,144.
- 3% are over $1,000 a month (179) and 47% of those under $1,000 per month (158) .
- The least expensive 3 bedroom 2 bath home is $750 and the most expensive is $2,295.
- There are 338 rental properties on Pensacola MLS. This is just at one month's inventory for a typical March.
- 221 properties are located in Escambia County (Pensacola, Cantonment, Perdido Key, and Pensacola Beach) and 106 in Santa Rosa County (Pace, Milton, Gulf Breeze, and Navarre)
- Of these, 237 are single family homes, 19 are condos, 68 are town homes or duplexes/apartments, and 8 are mobile/manufactured homes.
Last week, areas of Northeast Pensacola and Milton were affected by tornadoes in the Pensacola area. The week before, a tornado devastated the town of Century in Northern Escambia County, Florida. The Pensacola News Journal reported over 170 houses with "major damage." A lot of these renters and homeowners have been misplaced. This puts further stress on the Pensacola real estate market, especially the rental market as these misplaced homeowners seek a rental property. Supply and demand always affects pricing and of cousre, home prices typically peak in the summer months as competition is more intense.
It will be hard summer to nail down your "perfect dream home" whether you are looking to rent or purchase! Make sure to sign up for new rental alerts and enlist the help of a real estate agent if you hope to purchase a home.
Nicole St. Aubin, Broker Associate
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