Blog - Brett Sells Destin

Tips for Home Buying in 2019

Whether you’re buying your first home or your dream vacation home on the beach, the buying process can be stressful. With my knowledge of the local area, schools and local’s favorite spots you can rest assured we can find your dream home on the Emerald Coast.

Home Buying Tips

Credit: Know your credit. Paying all of your credit cards and bills on time to avoid potential hits to your credit and late fees. Avoid closing out old credit card accounts, as having credit longevity is important to lenders.
Choose Your Lender: Shop lenders to find the best interest rates possible. A pre-approval letter from a lender will show the seller you’re a serious home buyer and set you apart from other buyers. Remember, for every $1,000 included in your down payment, you save roughly $20 a month on your mortgage payment.
Review Your Budget: Find a home that fits your budget!
Have a List of Must Haves: Do you need an outdoor space for summer cookouts? A large family room for movie nights? Create a list of must haves to narrow down your search.

Are you ready to begin searching for your dream home in 2019? Call me today to begin!

Why You Should Consider Taking the First Offer

It happens all too often – you take the time to stage your home, hire the right agent and price it correctly all in an attempt to get offers. And then the first offer comes in and you turn it down simply because it’s the first offer and you’re sure that more and better offers will come pouring in behind it. Many sellers will simply ignore or discount the first offer simply because it was the first one. But what sellers don’t realize is that when a new property hits the market, the first people to see it online are those buyers who are looking for that specific kind of property. They usually have been searching for a while and are simply waiting for “the one” to come along. And when it does, they usually act quickly and submit offers they hope will get accepted rather than countered because that property is exactly what they had been searching for. Their offers are typically market value price and there are little if any additional contingencies to cloud the offer. So why disregard that simply because it was the first offer? Many sellers will turn it down, expecting better offers to come, then usually spend the next 3-6 months trying to get offers that were as good as that first one.

So sellers when that 1st offer comes along, give it the consideration it deserves because more than likely you’ve got your buyer right in front of you willing to pay market value for your property.

Recently Reduced: 497 Walton Way!

home for sale in miramar beach

Just listed! 497 Walton Way in Miramar Beach! This stunning family home is tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Miramar Beach, surrounded by beautiful oak and magnolia trees.

Located in the exclusive community, Whispering Oaks, this brick home sits on a beautiful 1-acre lot. Among the landscape is a sparkling swimming pool, perfect for summer pool parties.

This home is open floor plan, with plenty of space for entertaining guests or a family get-together, complete with 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms. The kitchen has recently been remodeled with beautiful cabinets and granite countertops.

This home is just minutes from the Emerald Bay Golf Club, Silver Sands Premium Outlet, Destin Commons, the sugar white sands and emerald waters of the Gulf Coast.

Schedule your showing of 497 Walton Way (MLS #776809) in Miramar Beach today by calling 850.460.4380.

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NEW Construction in Destin & South Walton!!

ResortQuest Real Estate is proud to announce 2 new pre construction opportunities in Destin and South Walton.

Located in Destin, The Henderson Lofts will be a 54 residential condominium building located in Destin, Florida that cannot be replicated due to its location and inclusion in the new Henderson Beach Resort. Its location in Crystal Beach is sought after by owners and vacationers alike because of the low density and central location to shopping, golfing, and transportation in Destin. The project abuts the east side of the Henderson Beach State Park, which offers over 1.5 miles of natural secluded white sand beach. The Henderson Beach Resort will offer fine dining, a beach club with private beach access, large pools and a lazy river, a luxury spa and fitness facility, and unmatched service. The first phase of the Henderson Beach Resort, a 170 room Five Diamond quality hotel, is currently under construction and will open in the fall of 2016. The Henderson Lofts will be located on the Resort’s southeast corner, on the corner of Scenic Highway 98 and Matthew Boulevard. Construction of The Henderson Lofts has begun and completion is anticipated mid-2017. Pricing starting from $315,000.



Located in South Walton, RidgeWalk is 30A’s best new address. Born from a love of the great outdoors, RidgeWalk is a nature-rich planned community of 74 secure home sites peacefully nestled among 19.5 acres of which 48% is untouched nature preserve. RidgeWalk is situated on the eastern boundary of County Highway 393 less than a mile north of the intersection of Highways 393 and 30A. RidgeWalk is a short distance down the paved pedestrian walk to the world class dazzling white sand beaches of Florida’s Gulf of Mexico with direct access from Ed Walline County Park.

RidgeWalk is all about coastal neighborhood living with an appealing flavor of French chateau charm. Picture flickering gas lanterns supported by wood beams illuminating oak tree lined streets peppered with coastal French villa inspired urbane residences. Private front courtyard entrances with brick paver accents provide a sense of relaxed intimacy and a gentle transition from the outside to inside. Energy efficient, sturdy brick home facades are painted in a fresh white palette trimmed with Old World shutters, and gas lit entries offering a subtle grace that radiates warmth. The well-appointed interiors display strong wood beam architectural ceiling detailing with warm hardwood flooring elements, both beautifully refined and casually elegant. Ten thoughtful floorplans are designed for maximum comfort, beauty and livability. Prices start in the low 400’s/


Please contact me directly if you have questions, or would like to learn more about either of these opportunities.

How Often Should I Water My Lawn??

Almost every home has an automatic irrigation system these days and unfortunately many homeowners don’t pay attention to just how much water is being put into their lawn – and almost always the amount is simply too much. An irrigation system is designed to supplement natural rainfall during times when mother nature isn’t producing enough naturally. It is not designed nor recommended to run 7 days a week, not even in the driest of conditions.

Many experts agree that your lawn needs 1 inch of water per week, with watering no more than 2-3 days a week. Some irrigation systems can achieve your weekly water total in just 1 hour!! And on weeks when it rains enough, you don’t need to run your irrigation system at all. Most irrigation systems allow for a rain sensor so that it can automatically shut itself off when rainfall alone is doing a sufficient job.

Here are some signs that you’re watering your yard too much:
1) You’re watering more than 3 days/week
2) Your lawn is soggy when you walk on it
3) Grass and/or soil still looks wet from last time irrigation system ran
4) Water stays pooled in low areas or is draining into the street because soil is so saturated, it can’t handle any more water
5) You have reoccurring disease and fungus problems

Here are some negative effects of overwatering:
1) Poor root system because roots need air too to grow and can’t get sufficient air if soil is always saturated
2) Disease and fungal problems due to grass blades and roots always being wet
3) Weeds! If the grass isn’t growing thick and healthy, weeds will certainly move in and take over.
4) Poor nutrition because the excess water washes away many important nutrients.

What can you do if you’re currently overwatering your lawn??
1) At a minimum, reduce your watering times to only 2-3 times per week.
2) Add a rain sensor to your system so it can shut off when it has rained enough.
3) Test to see how much your system puts out. Put an empty tuna can in your yard (they are about 1 inch tall) and see how long it takes to fill it. This will tell you how long it takes to achieve your weekly watering total.
4) Just be observant – if you don’t have a sensor and it rained a lot this week, turn your system off for a week. Notice water running into the street, cut back how long the system is running. Is your grass dormant for the year, cut watering way back or consider turning it off completely until next spring.

Should I be worried about buying an “As-Is” property??

Some buyers see a property being advertised “as is” and they shy away from it, thinking something is wrong with it. But that is rarely the case. More likely is that the seller simply does not want to re-negotiate again after the inspection to compensate for repairs. Possibly they can’t due to financial issues, or perhaps they simply don’t know the history of the property and do not want to get involved with possible lengthy negotiations over repair items they never knew existed. These sale types are called “as-is” sales but they are actually named “as-is with right to inspect”. This means you can have an inspection done after you agree on purchase terms. If the inspection turns up items that you don’t want to pay for, you can either ask the seller to make them (which he is NOT obligated to do because its sold as-is), make the repairs yourself after you buy it, or you can terminate the contract and get your deposit back.

Selling “as-is” does not excuse the seller or seller’s agent from disclosing items that could impact your decision to purchase the property. For instance, if the roof leaks every time it rains hard (and the seller or agent knows it), they are required to disclose that. So the “as-is” sale type is not a way to hide defects in the property.

In short, an “as-is” property is nothing to be afraid of. But do enter into negotiations knowing that you’ll likely not get a 2nd chance to re-negotiate for repair items discovered in an inspection. While you can certainly ask for it, the seller will not be obligated to make any repairs or give credit for repairs so factor that into your initial offer. The “As-Is” sale type varies between states so to learn more about what an “as-is” sale means in your state, contact a local real estate attorney or real estate sales agent.

The F word in Real Estate

It had been removed from everyone’s vocabulary for the past decade. But now I’m starting the hear the “F” word again in real estate. The “F” word I’m talking about is “Flipping”… The very thing that cost so many people their life savings, credit score and sanity is now making a comeback. Flipping, along with adjustable rate mortgages (which are also making a comeback) are mostly responsible for the housing crash we saw in 2007.

I only bring this up because I see amateur real estate flippers, and some under-funded builders, once again trying to strike gold by flipping properties. I saw what this did to our economy 8 years ago and would hate to see history repeat itself.

What’s the difference between a flipper and a real estate investor or developer? Real Estate investors and developers develop or invest in real estate as a profession. They are well funded in their projects and have their risk spread out over several projects. And they typically have a lender who is holding their funds and will release new funds based on the success of their previous investments. For example – a developer wants to build 60 townhomes on land he/she just purchased. The lender will release construction funds based on the # of pre-sold units they have written contracts for. So instead of building all 60 at once then possibly getting into financial trouble if they don’t sell fast, the lender will release funds to build 10 at a time each time the developer pre-sells 10 units.

On the other hand, a flipper is typically someone who perceives that everyone around them is getting rich off real estate and they decide to jump in to make a quick return. They often lack the funds to do this so they look to financing, usually in the form of an adjustable rate mortgage and lowest possible down payment (because after all they’re flipping it and don’t plan to own it for more than a few months…). Here’s where the trouble begins – the property usually needs upgrades before it can be flipped. So the flipper spends what cash they have on the repairs (which usually cost more than originally estimated). Then instead of selling in 30 days, 90, 120, 180 days pass with no buyer. The flipper is out of cash and can no longer pay the note. The bank forecloses and now the neighbors have a foreclosure property in their neighborhood which will negatively affect their values. Oh, and the flipper is now broke with no credit..

Additionally, some of these amateur investors bought multiple properties with the intention to own them long term and put renters in them. And they made money for a few years on the difference between rent amount and their mortgage payment. Then the adjustable rate mortgage adjusted and their monthly mortgage payment doubled or tripled and suddenly they were having to cover the difference in the monthly payments. It didn’t take long for the dominos to start falling after that.

I write this as a cautionary tale for those who are once again tempted to dabble in real estate flipping. My advice – buy and plan to hold that property for at least 5 years. And get a fixed rate mortgage if you need financing. It’s 2016 now, prices have been steadily climbing since 2010. The real “deals” were bought up in 2009-2012 by cash investors. If you’re a flipper looking to make a quick return, resist that urge to “buy now before prices get any higher”. Speculative buying got too many people in trouble 10 years ago. Let’s not let that happen again.

If you want to see how this all played out in the mid 2000’s watch The Big Short, it’s eye opening to say the least! The Big Short trailer

Walton County to remove all signs from beaches.

Last week Walton County commissioners voted to ban all signage on Walton County beaches in response to the increasingly heated debate over private land vs. public beach. For many many years signs identifying private property have been posted on private sections of beach along Florida’s Emerald Coast. But lately it seems some property owners have taken things a little too far by placing “No Trespassing” signs and other obstructions, including ropes and chains, along property lines BUT extending those lines to the water’s edge. There is not doubt that these owners own a portion of the beach but the area in question is the beach along the water’s edge and extending 20 feet north of where the “wet sand” ends. But by claiming ownership to the water’s edge, these beachfront owners have now created an issue for themselves in where no signage can be placed distinguishing private land from public.

My personal stance on the topic is that the beach is for ALL to enjoy. And yes, beachfront owners do deserve some privacy but they don’t own all the way to the water’s edge. For decades there has been a mutual understanding that beachgoers will enjoy the beach while respecting the privacy of the gulf front owners by not setting up their day at the beach right in someone’s backyard, so to speak. Now unfortunately it looks like we will need to let the legal system decide on this topic as the balance between gulf front owners and public beach goers has been tipped.

Read more on this at – NW Florida Daily News Capture


“I want to buy a condo that will pay for itself”. What does that mean exactly??

As a realtor located onsite in a busy resort, I often find myself discussing financial projections on vacation rental properties. And the #1 question I get asked is “will this condo pay for itself”? The short answer is “probably – if you’re paying cash but definitely not as long as you have a large mortgage”.

1st time investors need to consider the operating costs – HOA dues, maintenance costs, property tax, insurance, rental mgmt. fee and so on. Rental revenue will cover all those expenses and the remainder is “profit”. If you paid cash for the property, its actual profit you can pocket or re-invest. But if you have a mortgage, that profit goes to offset your monthly mortgage expense. This catches a lot of 1st time investors by surprise as they’re hoping to put 10-20% down on a condo with the expectation that the revenue generated will cover everything else.

Some investors looking to finance their purchase might also gravitate to lower priced condos because they are shopping based on purchase price, not on return. When I meet with them I show them how, in some instances, they can actually buy a more expensive condo that performs better and will yield a larger net return for their same investment dollar.

If you’re looking to invest in a resort vacation property, you’ll need sound advice before you begin. Please consider contacting myself, another real estate professional that you trust, or your financial advisor. The average condo owner uses his/her unit less that 4 weeks/year. That leaves plenty of unused time that could be spent generating revenue to help offset or profit from your investment.

Please contact me if you’d like to discuss this topic in more detail.

Deciding on Features You Want to See in Your New Home

We all can’t have a water slide that leads from the living room to the kitchen, sometimes sacrifices have to be made for the sake of reasonability.

  1. Location

    There a many things to take into consideration when you are trying t decide where to move. No necessarily the state or city, by this point you probably have that picked out already. The smaller scope being what neighborhood you should settle into. Are the schools good? Low crime rates? Is there a park nearby to walk the dog? Proximity to work? Consider these questions and talk with your partner, family, and friends to weigh the options. Which aspects are more important to you and which ones can you do without?

  1. Size

    Size depends on what stage of life you find yourself in. If you’re recently married, maybe consider a home with one or two extra bedroom just in case, even if you aren’t planning on having kids. Sometimes a guest bedroom is preferred if you know you’ll be having friends and family visiting frequently. You might even consider an accessory-dwelling if you know that you will frequently be having someone staying with you, such as a college student or an elderly parent. Or maybe you’d like to funnel extra money into garage space. Perhaps you have a partner who fixes cars as a hobby, or maybe you have kids who ride their bike to school. Decide what works for you and your budget.

  1. Effort

    Some people crave the challenge of fixing up and older house while other would prefer a house that is move-in ready, maybe even already furnished. It is up to you to decide which person you are, and in some cases, which person you partner is. The last thing you want is to find yourself in over your head trying to bite off more than you can chew in a house that needs to be completely rewired, or the foundation needs to be fixed. If you’re thinking of making an off on a fixer upper, considering how much money you will need to pour back into the house to make it livable. Consider if it’s worth the effort, and if you can afford the repairs. More often than not, new home owners find themselves in debt because their new home hade more problems than they realized. On the other hand, if you’re purchasing a new/newer home, possibly in a housing development, read through the home owners association laws before you make an off on the house. Make sure these laws accommodate your interests instead of hinder them.

Once all those fine details are hammered out, the real fun can begin: finding your new home!