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7 Things to Look For When Searching For Homes

Abbott Martin Group Press Abbott Martin Group May 10, 2023

Buyers narrowing down a home search must judge a home’s features and factors that aren’t as easy to assess on the first look, such as the home’s condition and property taxes. Those who work with local agents like the professionals on the Abbott Martin Group can rely on their accurate location information, housing market knowledge, and expertise in spotting potential red flags in a home. When searching for Destin homes, look out for these seven things.

1. Good home condition

Buyers making an online home search may have trouble gauging a home’s actual condition. Listing photos often highlight a home’s best features while concealing less favorable aspects like peeling paint or a worn-down door frame. Similarly, poor listing photos can obscure a suitable property causing buyers to overlook the home. Buyers should always read the listing description and view a home in person when purchasing.

A common issue with Florida homes is water damage, especially in areas like Destin or right by the Gulf. Small leaks, poor sloping around the house, and insufficient draining can all cause issues like erosion around the home, cracks in the foundation, or mold. Common Florida issues include damaged roofing, outdated wiring, and other foundational problems.

2. A desirable location

As the only part of a property that can’t be changed, buyers should be completely sold on the surrounding location when buying a home. First, consider the neighborhood’s energy, the noise level in the area, and potential neighbors. Then research the essential services in the area, such as schools, grocery stores, and health care centers. When buyers are satisfied with this, they can look for surrounding amenities like outdoor recreation areas, shopping centers, and restaurants.

Destin’s location along the Emerald Coast and its year-round sunny weather makes it a popular water recreation destination. This city is renowned for its fishing and prime location nearby the 100 Fathom Curve. Destin is also home to excellent golf courses like the Regatta Bay Golf and Yacht Club, shopping at the Village of Baytowne Wharf, and the freshest seafood restaurants.

3. A property suiting your needs

Buyers searching for Destin homes for sale should create a list of wants and needs before looking at properties to help narrow their search. For example, buyers interested in investing in a rental property may want to look at condos nearby the beach to tap into the vacationer population. Those interested in a vacation property may wish for a more private waterfront property outfitted with upscale amenities.

Some things to think about when viewing a property are the home’s size, overall layout, architectural style, and the number of rooms and bathrooms. Also, consider additional storage areas like attics, garages, and basements. Given Destin’s outdoor allure, spaces like front yards, backyards, or balconies are essential for enjoying water views and beautiful weather.

4. Favorable market trends

Market trends can make all the difference in a buyer’s success. The best time for buyers to search is during buyers’ market conditions. This is when there is more housing supply to meet buyer demand, opening up more options for home searchers and a better opportunity to negotiate with sellers. In contrast, a seller’s market can limit a buyer’s choices and make it difficult to secure a good deal.

Areas like Destin are experiencing cooling market trends, which is good news for buyers. The median home price is $615,000, a 7.4% decrease compared to last year. Homes spend a median of 93 days to close, a significant increase compared to the previous year’s 21 days. This gives buyers more time to look for a property they love and secure a fair offer.

5. An HOA

On top of a home’s purchase price and other expenses associated with living in Destin, buyers should factor in a neighborhood’s HOA. Take the time to research how the HOA is governed, the regulations homeowners abide by, and the amenities or services that come with an HOA fee. If buyers want complete property control, living in a community with an HOA may feel restricted. Communities with an HOA are great for people interested in additional amenities that can afford the expense.

6. Property taxes

Another expense that’s easy to overlook in a home search is property taxes. In Okaloosa County, homeowners pay an average of 0.65% of their property’s assessed fair market value in annual property taxes. Using the median home price of $615,000, buyers should prepare for 
yearly property taxes totaling $3,997.50.

7. An expert and local agent

The best thing a buyer can look for when searching for homes is an expert agent who knows the area, like those at the Abbott Martin Group. These agents take the time to understand their clients’ wants and goals for a property, then use this information to search for Destin properties meeting those needs. Experienced agents also have a network of resources buyers may need, such as home inspectors, mortgage lenders, or home appraisers.

A quality agent will keep an open line of communication with buyers, ensuring they don’t miss a lead. Agents can also answer questions, address concerns, and explain the buying process to buyers. With their local expertise, an agent will explain the differences in Destin’s neighborhoods and nearby amenities that make it a popular place to live.

Would you be ready to search for Destin homes?

Living in Destin is excellent for those interested in endless water recreation and year-round tropical weather. When looking for a home, constantly assess its condition in person or by ordering a home inspection. Buyers should also research local information like nearby services, amenities, and property taxes. An expert agent is a valuable asset when finding quality homes. When you’re ready to start a home search in the area, contact one of the experienced agents at the Abbott Martin Group for professional help.

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