Smart investors know that the best time of year to invest in beach property is during the winter months, so if you’ve been entertaining making a permanent move to the Florida panhandle or just want a second investment property, now is the time to make a move.

Winter is the Time to Buy

Though there is sometimes less real estate available along the Florida Gulf Coast during the winter months, the pros of buying during the off season will more than pay for themselves in the long run.

  • One reason is that you’re more likely to get a better deal during the cooler months on beachfront property; buyers are more motivated to sell. This line of logic follows the same one regarding vehicle sales. Motorcycles, Jeep Wranglers, boats, and other open-air vehicles sell for less than they do in the summer because fewer people are enjoying the full range of their benefits during winter.
  • You have more leverage for investigating if there are any issues (such as flooding) with the property during the cooler months. Without the competitiveness that often comes when buying real estate during the summer, you will be able to have the property thoroughly inspected for additional concerns that might not be immediately visible.
  • The property will be at its worst, which enables you to see what the lush foliage of spring and summer often cover.   This is important regardless of the property’s purpose. If you’ll be living there, you certainly don’t want to view the back of a restaurant for half of the year, and if you’re renting the property, renters prioritize two things: proximity to the ocean and the view; if you plan to try to rent during the off-season, then a good view will help maintain interest in the property.
  • Buying in the winter equals enjoying during the summer whether you will be living on the property or renting it to tourists, you will be able to enjoy the full benefits of your investment come the warm season.

Another reason to buy now (in 2014) is that interest rates are still historically low. Locking in at a low interest rate on a property priced below market value because sellers are motivated is almost guaranteed to payoff big later.

How to Decide What to Buy

Once you commit to buying on 30A, you’ll need to decide what type of Florida real estate do you want and where. For example, will you want a condominium in Destin? A bungalow in Seaside? A beach house in Panama City? Is waterfront essential? Before you make up your mind, consider the following:

If you plan to rent:

  • Determine the rental’s purpose; are you renting to families who will be in the home long-term, or will your rentals be short term (ex: a weekend, a week, a month)?
  • Make waterfront a priority.
    • Renters care about views and beach access because the beach is a novelty, so make sure you spring for the views with whatever you buy.
  • Factor in who will manage and maintain the property
    • Look at beachfront condominiums if you will need an estate agent to help manage the property in your absence.
    • If you prefer a beach house or cottage, you will need to hire an agency to manage the property; your real estate agent can usually recommend someone

If you’re planning to move to 30A, then your priorities will be a little different. This includes shopping in the right neighborhoods and school zones (for those with children). Additionally, while waterfront is always an option, you might want bayside, which is a little more intimate, than beachside, where you’ll encounter more tourist traffic.

No matter what you decide to buy, if you are looking at Florida beach real estate, now is the time to buy. Get in touch with a realtor who knows the lay of 30A and who can help you find the perfect rental for your budget or who can find the ideal beach home for you.

The Florida Panhandle is one of the hottest beach real estate markets with properties available in all price ranges. Whether you are investing or moving, now is the time to buy on 30A, so get in touch with a “real” coastal living real estate expert, Melissa Clements, who wants to help you become her newest neighbor.


Keywords: 30a, condominium, Destin, estate agent, Florida Gulf Coast, Panama City, Seaside, bungalow, beach house, real estate