Wednesday, June 5, 2013

5 Ways Not to Shop for a Beach Home in Florida

Sloane and I made a fast road trip to Panama City Beach yesterday. Fast equals leaving at 9:00 am Tuesday morning and getting home at 5:00 am Wednesday morning. Yep, round trip in 20 hours! We have a new name - "Flor-idiots"! Because we truly ARE after this mad trip. Here's what we learned about real estate shopping in PCB.

  1. Beware of rude real estate agents. Disclaimer: All real estate agents are not rude.  I spoke to at least 6 agents from different agencies and all of them were rude. Maybe I was under the wrong impression that real estate agents are supposed to work for the customer! Every time I inquired about a property, the answer came a week later and was always "Sorry, just went under contract". What?
  2. Be your own real estate agent. Sloane and I drove around the city looking at property addresses. We found one property open and decided to show it to ourselves via trespassing. (Sorry, the trespassing video is PG13) It went really well until we started thinking "what if we had run into a squatter inside this abandoned house"? Suddenly, we realized why this was not a good idea! Also, if you get motion sickness, it's not a good idea to browse properties on an iPhone while driving.
  3. Make reservations for your house hunt. I thought getting a hotel off the beach would be easy. Wrong! Sloane called several places to negotiate a deal. We thought about sleeping in Floyd. We name all our cars. Floyd got his name because he's a Pacifica wagon. The media says this wagon fills a void between the car, van and SUV. Fills a void? Gotta name him Floyd! Here's a video.
  4. Choose a 100% satisfaction guaranteed hotel. We found a great rate and a vacancy at Hawthorn Suites. We checked in with an "upgraded" two room suite. Things are going pretty well. As soon as we opened the door, the fragrance flew up my nose and my allergies kicked into overtime. While my head was spinning, Sloane hit the sack. I was busy catching up on email and she said "Ouch! I'm getting bit!" I didn't pay much attention until I looked and saw the evidence. We checked out without a refund. Look at the bites on Sloane's face and arm. Bed bugs? What would you do in this situation?

  5. Check the weather. Two a.m. is not the time to find out you are in the middle of a severe thunderstorm warning and you are driving in the same direction the storm is moving. Looking at the radar, we were in the red severe part not the green rain part. Sloane kept telling me "Mom, just get us to Pittsview and we'll be ahead of it according to the radar!" It was pits getting there but we certainly had a nicer view!
Our trip wasn't successful. We didn't buy a house but we had tons of fun! I hope these tips help on your next beach house hunt.

Not a beach bum yet,
The Happy Handicap

Do you have any helpful tips or know where we can find a cheap, luxurious beach house?

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