Emerald Coast Real Estate News

Feb. 6, 2018

What Does Homesteading Your Property Mean?

When you purchase your primary residence, we highly recommend applying for a Homestead Exemption on your property taxes.
There are numerous benefits from doing this:
1.    Your property taxes are based off an assessed value on your home. If your home is assessed at less than $75,000, then filing for a homestead exemption entitles most home owners to a $25,000 deduction off their property’s assessed value, which can greatly reduce your property taxes. If your home is assessed at more than $75,000, you will receive an additional $25,000 deduction for a total of $50,000 off your assessed value, which can save you hundreds of dollars per year and reduce your monthly mortgage payment. The additional deduction does not apply to school tax levies.
2.    Once your right to a basic homestead exemption on your property is established, you may also qualify for additional homestead exemptions if you are over 65 years old or have a disability. 
3.    Most importantly, due to the Save Our Homes Amendment to the Florida Constitution, the assessed value of your homestead property cannot increase more than 3% per year or the percent change in the Consumer Price Index. 
4.    There are also benefits to protect your property from creditors, to learn more about these specific benefits, please contact your local county property appraiser office.
There are two deadlines which must be met in order to benefit from the Homestead Exemption:
1.    January 1st: you must be a Florida resident, as well as own and occupy the property as your primary/permanent residence.
2.    March 1st: you must apply for Homestead Exemption by this date.
What do you need to apply for Homestead Exemption?
1.    Evidence of ownership: A copy of the deed to the property recorded in the public records or a copy of the property tax bill or a notice of the proposed property taxes.
2.    Evidence of a permanent Florida Residence: A valid Florida Driver’s License or Florida ID Card which must reflect the permanent residence address.
3.    One of the following: Florida vehicle registration, proof of Florida voter registration. 
4.    Or two of the following: Employment verification (must show address), proof of payment for utilities or bank statements that are mailed to address.
5.    Must provide Social Security Number.
Other Homestead Exemptions Available:
1.    Senior Exemption with Limited income (Over the age of 65)
2.    Disabled Veterans Homestead Property Tax Discount (Over the age of 65)
3.    Total & Permanent Disability Exemption (Service Connected) Taxes waived
4.    Total & Permanent Disability Exemption (Non-service Connected) Taxes Waived
5.    Widow/Widower Exemption- $500
6.    Disability Exemption: $500
7.    Blind Disability Exemption-$500
8.    Disabled Veteran: $5000
For More information contact your local county property appraiser! 
Steve Brown
Your Realtor for Life
Southern Choice Properties, LLC
Real Estate Sales Associate
850-333-2590 (CELL)
Posted in News
Jan. 17, 2018

If you are a veteran, did you know that you have specific homebuyer benefits?

Since the VA loan program’s beginning in 1944, the Department of Veterans Affairs has backed more than 21 million loans for veterans, active-duty military members, and their spouses. There are several positives to using your VA benefits that you have available to you. These benefits include no down payment, no mortgage insurance, lower average interest rates, limits on closing costs and more lenient credit requirements. Typically, veterans and active-duty service members are eligible for a VA home loan if they have served in the following capacity: 90 consecutive days on active duty during wartime, 181 consecutive days on active duty during peacetime and 6 or more years in the National Guard or Reserves. Some spouses of military members who died in the line of duty or of a service-related disability may also be eligible for a VA loan. Let me help you determine if you qualify for a VA loan!
VA has made buying a home more accessible to those who most deserve the American dream they helped build and protect. I am here as your realtor to help you learn the unique needs you have as a VA home buyer and I also promise to help you through the process to make sure you understand it. I am very passionate about serving others who served our country. You personally have given and continue to give my family and I the freedom we have today! You served OUR country let me serve YOU! Happy VETERAN'S DAY! GOD BLESS!
Briana Burgess
Your Realtor For Life
Posted in News
Dec. 11, 2017

Where Do I Begin Buying A Home?

Whether you’re a first time home buyer or you’ve bought numerous times, utilizing a Realtor that specializes in working with Buyers is a must. Finding that perfect home can be tricky and sometimes stressful but with my help we can make it happen together.
Where do I begin?
When you’ve made the decision that it’s time to buy, consulting with Mortgage Broker or Mortgage Banker for a Pre-Approval is the first and most important step in the journey. You always want to know exactly what price range you need to stay within so you are able to maximize your complete buying potential. It also puts you in the driver’s seat when viewing potential homes. There’s nothing better than walking into your dream home and having the confidence of a pre-approval letter so you can make that offer on the spot!
How do I find the home I’m looking for?
If you’ve ever visited sites like Realtor.com, Trulia or Zillow, you know searching for a home can be a daunting process. This is exactly where having a Realtor that specializes in the buyer’s needs helps you tremendously. Through a checklist of must haves and would like aspects of the potential home, a buyer’s agent takes that information and does all the leg work for you. They search through all these sites and many more to locate homes that fit exactly what you are looking for, so all you have to do is show up and buy it!
How do I know what to offer?
Once your buyer has located your dream home, it’s time for an offer. Many people think that the “Zillow Price” and others like it are the actual going rates. However this is far from true. A buyer’s agent conducts a specific Market Analysis of your home comparing it to other recently sold homes near it. This will give you a much better starting point so you come in at the right price with your offer.
They accepted my offer! What happens next??
The next 30-45 days can be a crazy rollercoaster but with the right Realtor it’s just the last step in owning your dream home. This time period is all about inspections, underwriting and lots of paperwork. A buyer’s agent will give you a checklist of expected dates for each area to wrap up so you can know exactly where you are in the process. All the follow up with inspectors, mortgage companies, title companies and listing agent is all done by your Realtor.
The Emerald Coast Team at Southern Choice Properties knows the market and knows how to help you determine what you need and give you the service that should you expect and deserve. We strive every day to make this process seamless and amazing! Call us today so we can talk about finding your dream home!
Joey Caz
"Where Dreams Come Home"
Santa Rosa Beach, FL
Posted in News
Oct. 20, 2017

It's Time To List Your Home For Sale!

Choosing a Realtor to represent you through the process of selling your home can be a challenge. Being a Seller’s Representative Specialist I understand your perspectives and commit myself to achieving a successful transaction.
What can you do to help spruce your home without spending a ton of money?
Paint it! A fresh coat of paint can do wonders! Think about it, most of the surface area in your home is walls and ceiling which require paint! One of the biggest differences you can make in an afternoon is to re-touch and re-paint your interiors. With not knowing who will end up purchasing your home, you need to appeal to a wide range of potential buyers.
Make sure you remove all old, dated wallpaper and paint over areas that are too bright or too dark. Neutral colors are best and don’t give off negative reactions. Its best to use lighter colors in smaller spaces and rooms because it will make the area seem larger.
Its easy to spend mega bucks to make your home stand out better, but in the long run finding tasks that you can do yourself saves you a ton of money. Our marketing services at Southern Choice Properties are designed to get your property maximum exposure! Call or text me today to schedule your free market analysis!
Kristen Davis, GRI
"Don't Make A Move Without Me!"
Seller Representative Specialist
Licensed Sales Associate 
Southern Choice Properties 

Lender Spotlight

Question: Do you have to have 20% to put down.
Answer: No. Some loan products such as VA or USDA financing allow for 100% financing. Many first time homebuyers prefer the FHA loan because the down payment is 3.5% of the purchase price. The type of loan that you qualify for will also depend on your credit score.
Patrice Bobo-Miles 
Senior Loan Originator
1301 Eglin Parkway #A,
Shalimar, FL 32579
NMLS# 432180
Posted in News
Oct. 13, 2017

Fall into listing your home!

Fall is a wonderful time of year! We all go crazy for pumpkins, sweaters, hot cocoa, bonfires, football etc. But one reason you probably didn't think of to love fall is that it is a great time to sell your home! Selling your home in fall comes with many benefits as a seller and one of those really great reasons is LOW INVENTORY! 
Inventory starts to decrease at the end of the year because most sellers tend to list their homes in the Spring and Summer months. Most of these homes are under contract or have been sold already. This gives you as a seller a huge advantage. When inventory starts to decrease in the fall, actively looking buyers start to get discouraged because they haven't found the home of their dreams yet! When really they just haven't seen YOUR home yet. Your home may be the dream home they have been waiting for. Buyers want to be in the perfect home before the holiday festivities begin! They want to decorate their homes for Halloween, have a big Thanksgiving dinner and deck their home with the most beautiful Christmas decorations they could find. Take advantage of the decrease in properties on the market this fall and List your home!
If you are serious about wanting to list your home this fall, then let's get started on this life-changing journey! I as your agent promise to help you and encourage you the whole way through! 
Briana Burgess
Your Realtor For Life
Licensed Sales Associate 
Southern Choice Properties 

Q: How many homes should I see before making an offer?

A: It varies greatly from buyer to buyer and how specific a person's needs are. These days, buyers can look at dozens of homes online before actually viewing their first home. Some buyers find "THE ONE" with the first showing, while others take months to commit to a home. On average though, a buyer will view ten homes, before putting in their first offer. My advice though is if you love a home, then put an offer on it. The home you saw today and want to think about until tomorrow, may be the home that someone viewed yesterday and will want to buy today.
Brandy M Brown
Real Estate Broker
ABR, e-Pro, C-REPS, REO Pro
Southern Choice Properties LLC

Lender Spotlight

Question: Can Cash be Used for Down Payment or Earnest Money Deposit?
No Cash CANNOT be Used. Reason:
For documentation purposes there is not any paper trail to Cash. There is no way for a lender to show where the cash came from, funds have to come from a Source- meaning: a checking or savings account, a IRA, a 401K, a Certificate of Deposit or Money Market account anything which shows a history and has a record typically lenders require 60 days history of funds.When using funds for Down Payment and Earnest Money- A check is best used. Lenders require a copy of the check and a copy of the bank statement to show funds have cleared the bank. Cashier’s check is also okay as long as the Lender can verify the funds coming out of the bank account to purchase the Cashiers Check. It is best to include your name and property address on the check so it can be linked to the property the funds are being used for.
Amanda Shepherd – Senior Mortgage Consultant
Centennial Lending Group, LLC
Office 215-469-1000 ext. 332
Mobile 850-585-0939
Fax 850-835-8404
NMLS# 198755
Posted in News
July 14, 2017

Explore Emerald Coast Waters Near Santa Rosa Beach Homes

Play all day in the waters near Santa Rosa Beach homes with Stay Afloat Paddle Board. Locally owned and run, this shop provides paddleboard rentals, lessons, and sales. Residents of Santa Rosa Beach property know this is the place to go when adventure calls.

Find Adventure In The Waves Along Santa Rosa Beach Property

Paddle boards may be rented for the day or the week. Kayaks are available for rent too. Friendly employees will conveniently drop off and pick up the boards. Those new to the sport will find patient and energetic instructors waiting to teach them the skills to maneuver through the water. Lessons range from beginner to intermediate. Paddle boarding yoga frequents the calendar as well. Tour guides also take groups along Emerald Coast beaches. Experts in the region, explorers showcase regional wildlife and landscapes. Popular sunrise and sunset tours are great ways to begin or end the day. Paddle boarders living in Santa Rosa Beach homes can upgrade their equipment at the shop. A great selection of the top brands are available for sale.

Reservations can be made online or by calling 850.420.3884. Come ride the waves of the pristine blue waters of Santa Rosa Beach and the Emerald Coast soon. Stay Afloat Paddle Board can help you ride through the ways.


Posted in News
July 13, 2017

Dine With Style On Defuniak Springs Property

Defuniak Springs property sets the scene for sophisticated dining. At Bogey’s Restaurant, found in historic downtown, the classy one and only Humphrey Bogart is paid tribute to. A symbol of Hollywood style and elegance, Bogart was often described as a “man’s man and ladies’ gentleman”. His signature uptown style is seen throughout the building and reflected in the menu.

A classic setting awaits diners with tables draped with linen spaced to create an intimate ambiance. Outdoor eating on the upstairs patio is more casual but still stylish. Guests can also grab a stool at the bar and indulge in a drink with friends. Bogey’s critically acclaimed menu is extensive. From appetizers to entrees, there is something to please every palette. Lunch and dinner are served with the doors open Tuesday through Friday. Saturday the restaurant is open for dinner only.

Locals Living In Defuniak Springs Stop In For Happy Hour

Weekday Happy Hour creates smiles with drink and appetizer specials. Locals living in Defuniak Springs love to frequent Bogey's in the middle of the week. Wednesday is prime rib night and the deliciousness keeps them coming back for more. An Early Bird Menu is stacked with tempting choices such as stuffed shrimp and chicken marsala. Defuniak property residents appreciate the take out option the restaurant offers. Easily solving the age old problem of what’s for dinner, hungry souls can order up and then swing by and grab it. Call in an order at 850.951.2233. View the takeout menu here.


Posted in News
July 12, 2017

Destin Real Estate Has Gone To The Dogs

Tails are wagging on Destin real estate at the Destin Dog Park. Located at 4100 Indian Bayou Trail this space is perfect for pet owners to mingle. Designed for peace of mind, the park has separate areas for both big and little dogs. Here a variety of breeds romp and play with one another. Open spaces encourage exercise for both owners and four legged friends. There are plenty of shady spots provided by pine and oak trees for pet owners living in Destin to enjoy. Benches are spread throughout for resting and relaxing. Pooches and their people hydrate at various water stations. Acres of lush Bermuda grass are just waiting for tail chasers.

It’s A Ball Living in Destin

Destin Dog Park is open from sunrise to sunset making practically anytime the right time for walking the dog. Animals must remain on a leash before outside the park entrance. Children are welcome to come along but must be accompanied by an adult. There is a no tolerance policy in effect for dogs showing aggression resulting in a peaceful and stress free environment. Destin real estate has definitely gone to the dogs and their owners are thrilled with this place of play for both animals and humans.


Posted in News