Renter Beware

It is a common occurance as of late to get a phone call much like this…. “Hey I saw your rental listing and see that we can get a 4 bedroom house for monthly rent of 900.00” Is that really the real deal???? Well thankfully this wise person called us before they sent their money via Western Union to an overseas mystery scammer. Rental scams are on the rise and there is reason to believe  that this trend will continue with the bulk of our business being done via internet.

As a Broker it is quite common that scam artist will copy our listings and put a false number to call and mimic a real rental listing. Craigs List is not the only avenue these criminals are using to pull the wool over our eyes, there are inacurrate listings found now on Trulia and Zilow as well.

The story lines follow the same theme…. the renter is typically overseas and most times on a mission trip so they want someone to live in their home for a cheap price. The price is usually much lower than the going rate and the money needs to come via cashiers check or western union wire.

The best way to protect yourself is to call a trusted local Real Estate agent or Rental company to verify your suspicions. I get calls almost weekly from would be victims and thankful that they have reached out to me. Also realize if you see a rock bottom rental price in a high priced neighborhood it may just be, “Too good to be true”

Thanks for letting us share our selves with you each week on Pcbdaily!!! Please remember, “The only people we have to get even with are those that have helped us”

Ever Seen a 90lbs Amber Jack?

Now every offshore angler loves a good tale of dedication, careful planning and a skillfully executed record catch…. this is not that tale. Those guys were somewhere else and we were all that was available. So here is what happened instead.

So this story really starts back before Christmas when several friends and I went spearfishing way offshore in 150′ of water.  On that trip we got some very large amberjacks (69lbs and 82lbs) and I was pretty sure I saw a cubera snapper for just an instant in the low visibility. I was willing to concede that I could have been suffering  from narcosis due to the depth. I was pretty sure its tail was as tall as my torso from hip to shoulder though and I got a really good look at the scales.  But I had doubts about what my own eyes were reporting so we didn’t back dive the site that day. That split second has haunted me ever since and I made up my mind that at the very least almacos and AJs were worth going back for a second peek. A month later we finally got our break in the weather and my charter boat wasn’t booked so we headed out to the deep reef.

This is the same spot I saw the cubera last time. My buddy and I prepare to dive, double checking our gear and that our Go Pros are recording. This spot is just at 150′ to the sand and sometimes the current out here can get pretty extreme, so we always drop the marker buoy at the same time the divers hit the water to eliminate any lateral swimming in the column that you might have to do if the current has already pushed it far off the top of the site. Well that’s well and good except the last guys to run a spearfishing trip on my boat must have had the buoy get snagged as there was no weight and only about 50′ of line on it. We will have just 15 minutes of bottom time before we will have to ascend due to the amount of nitrogen we will have absorbed into our bodies. So as we prepare to dive bomb the ledge we hope for great visibility and no current so we can see and easily swim to the reef.   Fate was on our side though, vis is 60′ or better and the dark limestone stands out starkly against the sand below us as we kick past 70′ and get swallowed in a swarm of Almaco jacks. 70 or more almaco jacks envelope us for the entire dive from this point until we return to the surface.

The top of the limestone is in about 126′ deep and as we get the lay of the land hovering over the high side of the break , some truly large and very curious AJs start creeping by us amidst the Almacos. On any other trip I would be slinging steel into the Almacos, but I am a man on a mission. I came for my date with a cubera snapper and that is all I care about. Copper belly gags are visible in the distance warily watching us as well. I ignore them as soon as I can make out their body shape as grouper. Cubera are the holy grail of Gulf Spearfishermen because they are fast, strong, smart and incredibly wary.  He isn’t out in the open, so I decide to check under the ledge which also holds a small cave that we have yet to explorer more than 10′ into.  As I drop down and kick on the bayonet style mounted flashlight on my Ocean Rhino I don’t see anything under the 10′ ledge UNTIL…. a 120lb baby goliath grouper shoots out and silts up the whole ledge reducing the visibility to zero.  RATS!!

I take the moment to collect the 2 halves of a broken fishing rod that has been laying in the sand and then decide that the Cubera will have to wait for another day as I am not about to crawl into a cave at the bottom of the ocean with zero visibility and hope to corner several fish as large as I am. So plan B was to get a nice jack.  So with our nitrogen limit rapidly approaching, I decide to get off the bottom to preserve my remaining minutes of the dive. Almacos and a few really nice amberjacks that look better than 40lbs are circling in range. I start to load my spearshaft and notice one of the big jacks eying me and actually swimming towards me!  I stop watching it and just focus on loading, knowing it is going to be right on top of me when I band the gun. Sure enough, the AJ comes with in 5′ of me. I try to line up for the sweet spot; the fish actually gets closer and swims between me and the low piece of the ledge forcing it on a completely predictable path. I pull the trigger with my thumb, the AJ is just a few feet off the spear tip.  I prepare myself for the epic war that usually happens when a diver shoots a large, powerful fish.  My plan was to try to get a hand in the fish’s gills and scissor lock my legs around his tail to immobilize it and then finish it with my dive knife. The fish will buck and head butt me in the face to get me to let go if I can grab it.  I have had my nose busted, mask broken and regulator ripped out of my mouth in the past.

Anticlimactically due to the closeness of the fish, my shot instantly turns his lights off and there is no struggle. I quickly secure my fish to my stringer and double check on my buddy. He is also holding a nice Almaco on his stringer and we begin our ascent. I decide to launch my fish to the surface on a lift bag to the waiting boat and we slowly ascend with me thinking how awesome the dive would have been if we could have gotten the cubera.

When we get on the boat I am amazed to see the jack laid out and taking up the entire 320quart cooler with its tail curled up the side. It is completely obscuring the two 45lb jacks and several scamp that our other divers got on their dive site earlier. I grossly underestimated its size on the bottom. The guys on the boat are still complaining about having to lift it into the cooler.

Back at the Bay Point Marina we use their Retired billfish weigh tower to mount our digital scale and figure out exactly how big this fish is….. and it turns out to be my biggest to date at 89.5lbs! Proving once again it is far better to be lucky than good. Even better, upon reviewing the camera footage you can clearly see the large Cubera snapper make a break into the cave earlier in the dive, I never noticed it in the open but there it was! So we’ll be back out on the deep reef as soon as the weather clears.

Short of going to the Keys or Hawaii, Panama City Beach has some of the best diving in the country.  Want to dive Panama City?  Visit PanamaCityDiving.com

5 Ways to Update your Vacation Rental Property for Rental Season

Spring is almost here and for many of us in Panama City Beach, we’re thinking about how we can best maximize the rental season just ahead of us. At Panama City Beach Luxury Properties, you can be sure we see our fair share of opportunities to update, renovate, suggest and redo to help out properties make the most money they can make.

If you have a rental property, you know how important it is to keep everything updated and in good shape. Letting anything fall too far behind can cost positive reviews or worse, a great rental season.

Here are five easy things you can do to help freshen up your Panama City Beach vacation rental property.

Bedding

One of the easiest (and least expensive) ways to give your place a totally new look is to install new bedding in your vacation property. There are a variety of local options, including Target, Marshall’s and local retail stores that sell a great variety of quality, inexpensive bedding options for all sized beds.

When you’re buying new bedding, make sure you pick out styles and colors that are consistent with the theme of the property. And make sure it’s easily washed incase it needs to be laundered during the rental season. If it needs to be dry cleaned, a quick turn around on a turnover day may be impossible.

Also, when you replace bedding, go the extra mile and get some matching throw pillows for each bed to help finish off the look.

New or Additional Art

So often we walk through new condos and they are fitted with the standard setup they came with when they were brand new. There are many advantages to these kits, including having a cohesive look throughout and a design that was likely well thought out.

However, in the interest of saving costs, the property is often left bare with few art hanging on the walls. I’m a fan or organized and purposeful blank spaces, but when the place looks empty, it feels empty.

There are tons of local places that sell great art that is tasteful, beachy (if that’s your thing), and inexpensive. I’ve even picked up some neat stuff from Marshall’s.  There are also a lot of amazing places to shop for art along 30A.

The art you hang should reflect a fun personality, should match the decor of the rental property and should be creatively hung. Take advantage of bare walls to create patterns of pictures and don’t be afraid to hang some family portraits to make it feel personal.

New Furniture

Lets face it, this is probably one of the more expensive things to update in a vacation rental property. Furniture can be costly and very difficult to move in. But, when that old couch can’t be cleaned anymore and the cushions are looking slouchy, it’s time to replace it with something new. The more you try to squeeze that last rental season out of it, the more you’re going to hurt your reviews and repeat visitation.

Sometimes it isn’t all about wear and tear either. Its important to keep your property looking up to date as well. The style and decor of your property should be reviewed about every 5 years or so as styles change. What was considered “in” back in 2008 isn’t necessarily in-style today. You have to realize as new property owners come online and redecorate, eventually you’ll see an industry wide shift in style. And if you miss it, you’ll be left behind.

Decorative Nick-Nacks

One thing I’m asked a lot is, “What about decorative nick-nacks? Should I have them, what if they are lost or broken, and how much is too much?”

These are all great questions. I don’t have some magic formula for how much is a good amount or what to go where, but I reiterate, if it looks empty, it feels empty.

Just like art on the walls, there should be decoration on the shelves, countertops, and nooks and crannies. Now, this is not to say there should be something on ALL countertops and shelves, but there should be some.  The trick is to stay tasteful and consistent with the decor and have a balance of not too much and not too little.

Also, just like art, many neat decorations can be found in the same places you’re looking for art. And it doesn’t have to be expensive.

Consistent with all rental properties, I would strongly consider the amount of money you put into decorative items knowing they could be broken or lost by guests, or their children. I never recommend keeping things you’d have serious heartburn over if it were harmed.

Flooring

Again, like furniture, this is one of the more expensive things to address in an aging vacation rental property.  But, it is something that needs to be taken care of on a regular basis.

The first thing I recommend on the property with carpet is to have the carpet replaced with a hard-surfaced floor.  Now, I like having a soft surface in the bedroom just as much as the next person, but that is easily accomplished by putting in a nice big rug that is easily replaced when needed.

Many people prefer just to tile the entire place, and while that can be a very tasteful solution, there are many other things that you can do to make your condo stand out from the rest.

One of my personal favorite flooring options is a  manufactured laminate wood floor.  This flooring material is intentionally created to be extremely durable and very good-looking.   Generally speaking, it is manufactured so well, that upon first inspection it is indiscernible to the real thing.  The reason I personally favor the laminate hardwood flooring is because of its durability, low cost, and it’s ease of replacement should it ever need to be replaced.

When I get to do it however I want, my personal preference is to have a hardwood floor surface in the bedrooms with a huge rug under the bed (extending out the sides) and tile throughout the living and all common areas.

Some Examples of Tasteful Decoration

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This is one of our Southern Exposure townhomes.  It’s been a phenomenal rental, partly because it’s a townhome right on the beach; but also because it was very tastefully decorated.  Guests comment regularly that it’s one of the nicest places they’ve stayed in, hands down.

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This condo is one of our Calypso three bedrooms owned by Karen Smith at Beachy Beach (one of the owners of PCBDaily.com).  When she bought it, she went all out, buying local art, some new furniture and decorative items to spruce up the existing furniture.  What she has done with her rental has created a frenzy of activity that will net a tangible revenue one-upmanship over the competition.

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This home is one of our rental properties in Watersound West on 30A.  Our 30A rental company, Swantree 30A manages this one and it’s tasteful decor promised positive reviews and a comfy, beachy style.

 

 

Humane Society of Bay County announces Chicken Wing Championship

 
Local Organization To Raise Money With Cooking Competition
“Pro’s versus Joes”

PANAMA CITY, FLA. – Celebrating the amazing tastes and spices of local chicken wing vendors, The Humane Society of Bay County announced their 3rd Annual Aaron Rich Invitational Chicken Wing Championship fundraiser this week.

The event will be held on Saturday, March 16, at The Wicked Wheel Restaurant from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.  The fundraiser will consist of 25 chicken wing chef contestants competing  for the best tasting wings in the county.

There will be local celebrities participating in a blind taste test as well as voting for the People’s Champ.  Vendor spots are filling up quickly, but the organization is still looking for chefs to compete.  Private chefs do not need to own a restaurant to compete.  The fundraiser was filled with “half pros” (established restaurants) and “half Joes” (private chefs) last year.  The organization strongly encourages more private chefs competing alongside the bigger named establishments.

One-hundred percent of the proceeds will benefit The Humane Society of Bay County and their ongoing mission to find forever homes for the homeless animals of Bay County.  If you are interested in competing in the wing competition or purchasing advance tickets for the event, please contact the Sean Brosnan at 850-691-2725.

 – COMPETITION INFO –

 

If you’ve got some amazing wings and would like to compete, entry is only a $25 donation and SPACE IS LIMITED TO 25 COMPETITORS. All competitors will be accepted on a first-come-first-served basis upon receipt of the application and entry fee.
The championship will consist of categories for “Buffalo Style” and “Free-For-All Style” for the wings. A panel of judges will award 1st and 2nd place trophies for the wings based on taste, originality, and cooking.
The “People’s Champ” trophies will be determined by attendee voting at each booth.
100% of the proceeds benefit The Humane Society of Bay County and their mission to find forever homes for the homeless animals of Bay County.
For more information on attending, competing, or to be a vendor, contact Sean Brosnan at 850-691-2725 or email marketing@adoptme.org.
 Sign up for this FUN FILLED EVENT on their FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/events/414022978677643/

 

Head to Idea Camp this Tuesday Night!

 

 

Some people were good at sitting still at school.  

They could look at the teacher patiently and listen until it was their turn to talk.

And then there was those of us who couldn’t wait to jump in or had a hard time fighting the urge to go someplace else in our heads…..

If you can relate….you need to join the Panama City Beach Chamber of Commerce and attend IDEA CAMP  this upcoming Tuesday night, February 26th at 5:30 pm at the Kingfish Restaurant and Sushi Bar  inside the Wyndham at Bay Point.

If you are someone who needs to be engaged….then you need to come to IDEA CAMP!

This IDEA CAMP is not your typical sit down and listen kind of event, it is anything BUT that.  

It is a fast paced, high energy sharing of ideas with a handful of speakers who are small business leaders just like yourself.

This is an informal event with an opportunity for learning and a little bit of networking in a more casual, intimate setting.

And the best part, because it is being built around the concept of “doing things differently”, it is an event that is a live, organic thing, changing and growing, just like its’ participants.

PCB Daily founder and owner of Panama City Beach Luxury Properties Jason Koertge spoke at the inaugural IDEA CAMP and will be facilitating at this event.

My mother and Beachy Beach Real Estate Broker, Karen Smith will also be speaking this time, on the topic she seems to own…ENTHUSIASM.  I am pretty sure the woman could find a way to get excited about towel lint.

If you want some of that enthusiasm then you need to come to IDEA CAMP!  Also speaking will be Kandi Gardiner, Michael Mace, Zachary Dickerson and more.

Idea Camp  events are made possible because of the support of Southwest Airlines with Tuesday’s event locally sponsored by North Florida Financial and Emerald HR Solutions, Inc and of course, Kingfish Restaurant and Sushi Bar in Bay Point.

The first event they gave away airline tickets, this time, word is they have a gong.  No long-winded speakers allowed here!

Panama City Beach Chamber of Commerce Members attend for FREE and guests may attend for only $20. 

Participants enjoy a two hour program with interactive learning, networking, light appetizers and one drink ticket,…oh and a chance at the gong. 

If you can not make this event, mark your calendars for Thursday March 21st and get ready to share, learn, and network at G.Foley’s in Panama City for next month’s IDEA CAMP.

For more information, email Marta Rose: marta@pcbeachchamber.org.

 

 

 

The Violet Blues Back at the Beach for a Limited Time!

The Violet Blues featuring Ashleigh Smith,  Jenne Weaver and Beth Beighey are a Folk/Blues/Soul trio based out of Nashville, TN with ties to the Gulf Coast area with two it’s members hailing from Panama City Beach, Florida.

For a limited time only, two of the three members will be doing some shows in the Panama City Beach for those of us who have missed their unique sound and warm harmonies.

They will be playing at some of the local hot spots so check out their tour lineup on their website www.thevioletblues.com  or follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/thevioletblues.

Here’s their lineup so far:

3/1 Morning & Midday News Panama City Beach, FL

Channel 2 WMBB News 13

3/2 Finn’s Island Style Grub Panama City, FL
St. Andrews location

3/4 Newby’s Back Door Lounge Panama City Beach, FL

3/7 Hook’d Pier Bar Panama City Beach, FL

3/9 Hook’d Pier Bar Panama City Beach, FL

3/11 Newby’s Back Door Lounge Panama City Beach, FL

3/14 Tin Lizzie’s Atlanta, GA

3/15 Tin Lizzie’s Atlanta, GA

3/16 Tin Lizzie’s Atlanta, GA

And for their friends in Nashville…come see them at The American Pickers Store: Antique Archaeology on Sunday 4/14 at 2:30PM!

Wild Deals at Wild Heron!

Hot Deal #1 Wonderful Wild Heron home overlooking 10th fairway of
Shark’s Tooth…$405,000

Beautiful coastal craftsman 4BD/3BA home with 2650 sq ft w/,hardwood flooring
20 ft ceilings, floor to ceiling windows, top of the line appliances,
granite counters
Enjoy all of the amenities Wild Heron has to offer with home ownership!
(Courtesy of Keller Williams)

Hot Deal #2 Beautiful Wild Heron condo situated on Lake Powell priced
at $229,900

Well appointed 2BD/2BA with gorgeous views, lots of upgrades including
Viking 6-burner range
Hardwood floors, coiffured ceilings, large master suite w/steam
shower, nice built-ins
Complex offers 2 pools, boathouse for kayaking, fitness center,
playground, nature trails
(Courtesy of Beachy Beach)

Hot Deal #3 Lovely Linkside condo priced to sell at $165,000

Approved short sale price NEED BUYER, ground floor unit w/full-size 2-car garage
3BD/2BA with 2000+ sq ft, 10 ft ceilings, nice wood floors, granite counters
Designer upgraded lighting, sun room overlooking green space & small lake
(Courtesy of Beachy Beach)