Charming. Convenient. Personable. Peaceful. Memorable. Idyllic. How would you describe your perfect community? What if you could have all of these traits plus the shimmering waters of the Florida Panhandle, a walkable and bikeable town scene, a small-town environment with world-class dining, and year-round sunshine and warmth?
Does that sound far-fetched? Let me introduce you to the gorgeous 30A area, where you’ll find endlessly beautiful neighborhoods with plenty of promise and prestige.
From the Blue Mountain Beach community of Santa Rosa Beach to Seaside real estate, Grayton Beach, Rosemary Beach, and more, this stunning region is replete with remarkable properties, picture-perfect views, and sunny skies.
After a day on the pristine, white sand beaches, families gather for live music, outdoor movies, ice cream truck visits, and more. Residents and tourists alike stroll to a variety of delectable restaurants for dinner, because in 30A, every day feels like vacation.
Are you considering relocating and wondering if the 30A region is right for you? Let the Live Love 30A | Destin team, brokered by The Premier Property Group, provide some pro tips to make the search for your new home and neighborhood a breeze.
Before beginning your search
A little preparation goes a long way in helping you choose the right home in the right location, whether you’re looking at Rosemary Beach, Destin, or Seaside homes. Proper preparation will also keep the emotional appeal of “love at first sight” balanced with a bit of pragmatism.
Ask yourself the right questions
Before beginning your home search, spend some time contemplating the following:
- What do I need in a home, and what features do I prefer to see?
- What is my current lifestyle? Where do I go frequently? How long of a commute can I handle to work, school, and my favorite restaurant?
- Do I want a lawn to care for? What about landscaping?
- What are my current space needs? How might my family’s dynamics change in the next five to ten years?
- Do I prefer privacy, engaging with my neighbors, or somewhere in between?
Financial readiness and working with an agent
With a list of these crucial questions in mind, it’s time to do some practical work to prepare yourself for the home search.
First, meet with your financial advisor and discuss your long- and short-term plans for this purchase. Will it be your primary residence or vacation home? Is it an investment property aimed at rental income? Ask for guidance as to how the property can help you achieve your financial goals. Determine a budget you are comfortable with and stick to it.
Meet with a trusted lender to get pre-approved for a home loan. This will help you narrow down your search to properties that fit your financial situation.
Interview and select a personable and qualified real estate agent who will serve as your advocate and guide through this entire journey. You want someone on your side who is well-connected in the industry and has the skills that get results.
Find your perfect neighborhood
Buying a home is never just about a single property with your name on the deed. Each home is part of something greater — a larger community that you are becoming a part of. Thus, it is important that you step back and use a wide-angle lens to observe your prospective neighborhood and make sure it is the right community for you.
1. Determine your preferred level of community engagement
Would you love to invite your neighbors over for a barbecue night, or are you more likely to smile and wave before ducking back into the privacy of your own home? Do all of your neighbors know you and drop in for a cup of coffee? More importantly, are you happy with this level of interaction? Look for a neighborhood that is as sociable or reserved as you would like it to be.
2. Inquire about community amenities
If you purchase a condominium or a home in a gated community, you’ll most likely find fitness rooms, pools, sports courts, and green spaces as shared amenities. Are these features important to your lifestyle? Ask about HOA fees, what they cover, and how often “special assessments” for improvements pop up.
3. Visit the neighborhood at different times of the day
You’ll learn a lot about the neighborhood by observing traffic patterns, outdoor activity, and noise levels at various times of the day. Is there a bottleneck at certain times or when school buses pass by? Do you see children outside playing after school? What are people doing in the neighborhood on the weekends? You want to find a community that matches well with your preferred activity level and lifestyle.
4. Drive or walk through the neighborhood like a local
If you want to get the best feel for the neighborhood, it’s time to explore it as if you already lived there. You might even have a chance to meet some of your potential neighbors; this is an excellent opportunity to ask about the community’s personality and character. What do residents love about living there?
5. Explore the local businesses
To get a true sense of the neighborhood vibes and local amenities, make a visit to the nearby shops and restaurants. Check out the Airstream food trucks in Seaside, enjoy an ice cream cone at Blue Mountain Creamery, or head to Shaka Sushi and Cocktail Bar in Inlet Beach. Exploring these dining destinations and local businesses can give you an insider’s perspective on the amenities you can enjoy if you call the community home.
6. Time your commute
Drop in on the neighborhood at various times, especially when you are likely to be driving to school, work, worship, or other scheduled activities. Time the length of your drive under real-time conditions. Are you comfortable with the length of time you’ll spend in your vehicle? Are the most important places you visit easily accessible?
7. Review the rankings of local schools
Whether you have school-aged children or not, the reputation of local schools can tell you a great deal about the community’s commitment to education and the neighborhood's appeal. Should you choose to sell the property at some point in the future, homes in top-rated school districts typically sell more quickly and for higher prices.
In a nutshell, leave no stone unturned. Talk to everyone you see, research all you can, and experience as much of life in the community as possible. With some planning and careful investigation, you’ll soon be a savvy home buyer. Your efforts will pay off once you’ve found your perfect neighborhood and a beautiful new home.
Reach out to an expert
Of course, the most reliable source of intel regarding local neighborhoods is an expert agent who is well-versed in the housing scene and has connections to all the top properties. Get in touch with the Live Love 30A
| Destin team, brokered by The Premier Property Group, for the guidance you can count on. From Seaside real estate to Inlet Beach, Grayton Beach, and more, this is the team
you want on your side.*Header photo courtesy of the Live Love 30A | Destin team, brokered by The Premier Property Group