Foreclosures & Summertime Dreaming on The Beach Show

1.  Deal #1 is a Wild Heron Foreclosed bungalow for only $279,900
2,496 square feet, 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths
Gated neighborhood of Wild Heron located on Lake Powell with amazing amenities
Fitness center, Kayaks, canoes, fishing, swimming pool, boat house, walking trails and 24 hour security
2. Deal #2 is a beautiful Gulf front community home for only $765,000
Summertime Dreaming is an amazing beach home with a guest house
Pool with beautiful architecture and landscape
Over 2,000 square feet and total of 4 bedrooms and 3.5 baths
Several walk overs to the beach with 3 pools and playground, tennis courts and 24 hour guarded gate
3. Deal 3 is move in ready GREAT investment condo for $224,900
EXCELLENT rental potential with a fully furnished Beachy Beach FUN
Beautiful pool with murals and great access to your beach front with excellent views
Near the water park making it a family fun spot

30A Sales Activity

What’s Going On in the 30A Real Estate Market?

Are statistics exciting or what? To some, me included, it is like watching grass grow, unless it happens to be about a subject dear to my heart or perhaps my wallet.

Recently there has been a lot of buzz in the area about how the market is going up and the doom and gloom is over. With that in mind I decided it was time to just take a look at the facts and see where things stand.

The area that I am concentrating on is the roughly 18 miles of the Hwy. 30A corridor. I am comparing the first 2 quarters of 2012 to the same period in 2011 (January 1 to June 30th). These numbers were generated from the Emerald Coast Association of Realtors and do not include properties that were handled outside of that format.

These are simply the facts and I will let you draw your own conclusions, but I do have a couple of observations.

It is apparent that sales activity is up as far as single family homes and residential land is concerned. Prices are also up in those 2 categories with 5.6% in price per square foot for homes and 10% for residential land. Time will tell if these increases are sustainable. Condominiums are a different matter, while sales have gone down the prices have gone up 7.3%. It’s possible sales have been affected by the financial market. Condominium mortgages continue to be problematic.

Well, the grass has grown a little since you’ve been contemplating this information. I hope you find it useful and welcome any suggestions you may have for additional research on this topic that affects all of our wallets.

*Statistics were compiled by Hugh Smith using data provided by the Emerald Coast Association of Realtors.

Beachy Beach Real Estate  850-233-4351

5 Reasons Why I love Short Sales!!!!

Short sales have gotten a really bad rap and I am hear to proclaim my Love for short sales but mostly in keeping with the old Song, “Love the one yours With”  Short sales are here to stay for a while and instead of lamenting about the evils and perils inherent in them we might as well just lean to embrace them.  I have learned to appreciate and celebrate the good stuff and so in case you are not yet convinced let me tell you why.

1.  Short sales are a means to help owners get out of an underwater property with some of their dignity and some of their credit in tact. When you have a home that is worth 200,000 and you owe 500,000 and your income is a fraction of that you need some answers.  A short sale will usually be a less ding on your credit than a Foreclosure.

2.  Short sales are better for the neighborhood.  Short sales tend to impact a neighborhood less than several foreclosed properties hitting the market.  Foreclosures generally bring less money thus driving the prices down even further in an already depressed community. There is also more of a psychological negative with a foreclosure in the consumers eyes.

3.  There are many programs out there for consumers such as Co Op  programs, Cash for Keys, HAFA  among others that may allow homeowners to actually do a short sale of their home and receive a check at closing.  I actually did a short sale recently and the homeowner got a check for 1,000 dollars at the closing table that helped with their move.  Check with your favorite Realtor to see if you qualify for any of the programs out there.

4.  Right now and for the rest of this year you are able to do a short sale without a tax implication if it is your homestead.  There is no guarantee after 2013.

5.  Another plus for us Agents is obvious!!! What in the world would we have sold this year if not for short sales???? I know that I said not too many years ago….”Yuck I will never do short sales they are so hard to get closed!!!” Needless to say I changed my tune and have gladly helped customers close them on the listing and the buying side.

This is my short list for why I love Short Sales but if I really share my heart my biggest reason is to hear the sigh of relief and the smiles on the faces of my customers when we come to the end of that chapter in their lives.  It is important to remember all the people that have been so impacted by our changing economy and the fear that has gripped those whose lives have been forever changed.  When the day is done and the sale is complete the homeowner can start over and get his life back on the path that is moving in a positive direction.  Although simple this list…. it can be daunting so my advice is to grab your favorite Realtor and ask some questions and see if you too can fall in love with Short Sales!!!!

“The only people we have to get even with are those that have helped us”  Thankfully my list is long.

Karen Key Smith


The Beach Show – Episode 127

First, let me be the first to welcome The Beach Show back to  This was where it was founded and it’s glad to have it back home.

The Beach Show is part of our Real Estate category where we talk a bit about real estate in the Panama City Beach area. This post originally appeared on The Beach Show which airs a new episode of super hot real estate deals each week.

Will Gulf Front Condo Prices Continue to Fall?

Is the Gulf Front Condo Market at the Bottom?

As a real estate professional who specializes in Gulf Front Condos in Panama City Beach, I get asked all the time for my opinions about the current marketAre condo prices going to drop anymore?   When are prices going to start going back up?   Are short sales and foreclosures still dominating the market?  Should I buy now or wait a little longer?

In my opinion, I think now is a great time to buy.  I know what you’re thinking.  “Of course he’s going to say ‘buy now’, he’s a real estate agent and he just wants to make a sale.”  Not so fast, I like to base my opinions on facts and not just good old fashioned optimism.  So here are the facts.

The Bay County Multiple Listing Service (MLS) shows that there were 44 gulf front condos in Panama City Beach sold in January of 2011.  In Jan. of 2012 that number was up to 47.  It’s a slight increase of almost 7% I know, but let’s look a little deeper.  The average sales price in Jan. of 2011 was $183,509.  In Jan. of 2012 the average was $217,436.  That’s nearly a 20% increase in sale price in just one year.

Are you thinking that 2012’s average sales price must have been skewed by the sale of a huge, really high priced penthouse?  Think again. The highest priced sale in Jan. 2011 was $600,000.  The highest priced sale in Jan. 2012 was $540,000.  Even if that weren’t the case, we can level the playing field by looking at the average price per square foot.  In Jan. 2011 this was $164.27/Sq.Ft. In Jan. 2012 it was $183.93/Sq.Ft. That’s a 12% increase.

Are foreclosures and short sales still dominating the market?  Yes and no.  In Jan. 2012, 36% of sales were either foreclosures or short sales.  While that’s still a considerable percentage, it’s actually down from 45.5% in Jan. 2011.   If you are the type of person that likes to see these numbers in a neat and clean format (like me) here’s a handy table.

Gulf Front Condo Sales Comparison
January 2011 vs. January 2012

Jan. 2011 Jan. 2012 % Change
Total Sales 44 47 6.82%
Average Price $183,509 $217,436 18.49%
Average Price / Sq.Ft. $164.27 $183.93 11.97%
% Foreclosure/Short Sale 45.50% 36% -20.88%
Listing $ vs. Sold $ Variance -7.85% -4.48% -42.93%

The bottom line is that nobody has a crystal ball.  Any investment carries inherent risk.  The savvy investor looks at the big picture.  Does the picture of today’s condo market in Panama City Beach look like we’re at a snow capped peak or are we somewhere near the bottom in the foothills?

If you are interested in finding out more about Gulf Front Condos in Panama City Beach, please contact me, Opey Russ Broker-Associate at Beach Beach Real Estate, at 850-699-1996.

Boardwalk Beach Resort to be Joined by an RV Park?

Jason Koertge has an awesome vacation rental business in Panama City Beach that focuses on remarkable properties right on the gulf.  They range from 1 to 4 bedrooms, they’re clean, and amazing.  He can be found lurking at

There seems to be some popularity with the concept of using a motor-coach RV park as a last ditch effort to generate revenue on a vacant piece of land. This is a topic that’s come up before with the community standing up in opposition.

Well, it’s come up again.

The land that’s being proposed.

The subject land in the limelight is owned by Royal American Development and is the current home to the welcome center for Royal American Hospitality (same principal owners). The land is adjacent to the gulf front resort, Boardwalk Beach Resort and was originally intended to be phase II of the Boardwalk Condominium development.

The actual parcel itself is about 400 feet on the gulf and rests between the Top of the Gulf condominium resort and the Boardwalk Condominium tower.

A need to generate revenue.

The story here seems to be the same. The market tanked before they could sell the other building so it has sat pretty much vacant every sense.

As with the LaBorgata piece of land, you probably have a developer who spend a lot of money on the land, pre-development costs and is badly in need of a way to stop the bleeding.  I assume there are monthly costs associated with holding the land, an annual tax bill, etc.  Of course, this is just an assumption.

But the desire to turn a non-revenue generating parcel into something that makes money is honest enough, right?  But at what expense?

The plan.

On paper, the plan is to turn this into an RV park, although no conceptual plans were turned in with the rezoning request.  The land owner is requesting the approximately 5.6 acres be rezoned from T-2 to T-M.

As noted in the application Data and Analysis document, the reason for the request reads as follows:

The applicants have indicated that they intend to develop the site into an RV park.  However, if the rezoning were approved the site could be used for mobile homes, travel trailers, motor homes, motels, hotels, condos, town homes, apartments, churches, clubs, lodges, parking lots, parking garages and mobile home sales.  

It is the breadth of possibilities that seems to have local property owners up in arms.  The potential for developing anything that could adversely effect their property values in an already depressed real estate market is being reported as unnerving.

The document then goes on to read:

A plan amendment is not required for this request.  As such, the request is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan since the T-2 zoning district and the T-M zoning district are both part of the Tourist Future Land Use Map designation of the Comprehensive Plan.  This means the City must provide competent substantial evidence in the record of the meeting if it is to deny the request. 

Continuing later in the document:

Surrounding parcels are zoned T-M, T-3A and T-2.  Condominiums are located to the east (Top of the Gulf) and west (Boardwalk) of the subject site and an RV Park/Campground, T-shirt shop, and golf course are located across South Thomas Drive to the north.  A proposed RV Park on the subject property is compatible with the uses to the north. . . [With] adjacent property owners. . . the impact on property values of the condominiums is the potential issue.  As with all properties, if an adjoining property is not maintained and kept in a clean and neat condition; properties in the area can be adversely impacted. . . However, the applicant manages several units within the Boardwalk Condominium and will likely manage the subject property such that their values are not adversely impacted.  Whether an RV park in this area will diminish property values of adjacent condominiums is very difficult, if not impossible to determine. . . The RV Park/Campground across South Thomas Drive did not prevent the construction and increase in property values of the Boardwalk condominium. . .  For these reasons, staff cannot determine that the presence of an RV park on the subject property will cause an adverse impact to adjoining property values especially if the use is well maintained and managed. 

The document concludes:

Because the quest is consistent with the adopted Comprehensive Plan, the burden of proof is not with the owner but rather the City to base a decision on competent substantial evidence especially if the request is denied.  Based upon information gathered to date, Staff is unable to identify a substantial reason to deny the request.  However, judicial decisions have indicated that direct testimony of nearby property owners at a public hearing can be considered by a Board and used as competent substantial evidence in denying a request if such evidence indicated the owners will likely be adversely impacted by the approval of the request. 

What all this means and what to do (IMPORTANT).

I’ve been to a few of these meetings and the board is reasonable in hearing the opinions of the audience.  The developer should be amicable regarding the proposed development and how it will effect property owners, but if you’re an owner and you want your voice heard, you need to be at the meeting.

The document reads that there is no reason to deny the request unless the local property owners have substantial evidence that they’ll be negatively effected.

So, if you don’t like this, do your research on how this can be detrimental to your property, show up to the meeting with the facts, and be ready to present.  But, planning on coming to yell at the board, yell at the developer (or his engineer) or cite emotional turmoil won’t strengthen your argument.

The meeting will be held at Beach City Hall on February 13 at 2 pm cst.

So, what do you think, should they put an RV park next to Boardwalk Condominiums?