Current Events

My partner and I are being foreclosed on. Why did I get served with papers when I am not on the note, just on the deed?

The note is the obligation to pay, so it sounds like your partner may have to wage that battle alone. However, everyone that may have an interest in the disposition of the property will typically be served when the lis pendens is filed. That would include all of the parties on the deed, the HOA or condo association, second lien holders, etc.

It is not too late to structure a short sale just because you were served with foreclosure documents. In most cases, a short sale is the best option for the owner and lender. Please call us direct for more details.

As always, please visit us at or for questions, email us at


What happens to a rental property that I own after my bankruptcy?

After your bankruptcy/debt is discharged, you are still the owner of record. Liability associated with the property typically resumes at that point.  After discharge, the bank may choose to file a foreclosure action or they may prefer to entertain a short sale proposal from you.

Some lenders will choose to actually pay you at closing for cooperating with a short sale after bankruptcy. In one such instance, our client received a check for $20,000. You should of course consult with your attorney before pursuing any post-bankruptcy real property action.

As always, please visit us at or for questions, email us at

Ed & Terri Smith, Broker Owners
RE/MAX Coastal Properties
850-837-5500 x1

Is the government shutdown impacting home sales?

In an indirect sense, yes it is. Specifically, one of the biggest impacts on the real estate market is the psychological effect that it has on buyers. As to VA, FHA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, all is well. They are processing loan packages as normal.

An interesting development … Most all lenders had been requiring a form 4506 from the IRS when processing a home loan. This is a request for your tax return transcript. IRS is not processing such requests during the shutdown, so fortunately, almost all lenders responded by waiving the requirement!

For more info, please visit us at or for questions, email us at

Ed & Terri Smith, Broker Owners
RE/MAX Coastal Properties
850-837-5500 x1

Hurricane Karen… Really?

First and foremost, there is no Hurricane Karen.  It is a figment of Jim Canotore’s brain.

Our airport is shut down, the Destin Seafood Festival is cancelled, the county has declared a “state of emergency” and cancelled all scheduled weekend school events, blah blah blah ad nauseum.

OK, we get it, err on the side of caution. But local reaction appears more a reflection of weather channel hysteria than reality.  Want to know what a storm is going to do?  Go to the docks or the downtown Destin Waffle House early in the morning and you will be in the company of the greatest weather prognosticators in the area. They all concluded early-on that this was to be a non-event.  Most folks around here trust them far greater than Jim Cantore or anyone at the National Weather Service.

Tomorrow will prove them right or wrong 🙂

Emerald Coast in the News

The local area has been in the national spotlight not once, but twice last month:

The Travel Channel announced that Destin has been named “Best Family Beach” in their Best Beach Contest. Cited among the many reasons were Destin’s many fishing options, the Emerald Grande Hotel, Destin Commons, the Okaloosa Island Pier, Kelly Plantation Golf Course, HarborWalk Village and the Gulfarium.

The U.S. Census Bureau released its report on America’s fastest growing metropolitan areas. The MSA primarily making up the Emerald Coast ranked 3rd in the entire nation based on growth rate. Midland Texas came in first, followed by Clarksville Tennessee. Of the top 10 MSA’s in the nation, two were in Florida and three in Texas. 


Home Prices Fall 3.8%

According to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, January 2012 home prices fell 3.8 percent compared to January 2011. The report also indicates that prices fell from December to January in 16 of 19 markets tracked. Charlotte, N.C., was not included due to reporting delays. Phoenix, Detroit and Denver were the only 3 markets that experienced price gains. 8 of the 20 markets actually saw new lows in January. Those 8 markets are Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, Las Vegas, New York, Portland, Seattle and Tampa. As illustrated by the graph below, the index shows that prices are back to early 2003 levels. January’s prices represent a 34% decrease from 2006 levels.


Conversely, the National Association of Realtors predicts that not only will home prices rebound this year, but that existing home sales will jump 7 to 10 % in 2012. If correct, that would represent the highest sales level seen in 5 years.

Metro area Change December-January Change from year ago
Atlanta -2.1% -14.8%
Boston -0.4% -2.8%
Chicago -1.9% -6.6%
Cleveland -2.0% -3.3%
Dallas -0.4% -1.2%
Denver -0.6% 0.2%
Detroit -1.1% 1.7%
Las Vegas -0.5% -9.0%
Los Angeles -0.8% -5.4%
Miami 0.6% -1.9%
Minneapolis -0.8% -1.8%
New York -0.8% -2.9%
Phoenix 0.9% 1.3%
Portland -2.1% -4.3%
San Diego -1.1% -5.3%
San Francisco -2.5% -5.9%
Seattle -0.7% -4.0%
Tampa -0.8% -3.8%
Washington 0.7% -0.6%
Composite-20 -0.8% -3.8%

Sources: S&P Indices and Fiserv.

Destin Harbor Dredging Complete

Emergency dredging of Destin Harbor has been completed, just in time for spring break.  The Destin Harbor channel at Norriego Point has been filling in for many months. During Destin’s October Fishing Rodeo, boats were often required to enter and exit the harbor in single file.

The City of Destin declared a coastal emergency on February 13th and committed $150,000 of the $250,000 needed to complete the dredging project. Okaloosa County Commissioners and the Okaloosa County Tourist Development Council came to the rescue with a one-time grant in the amount of $100,000 to complete funding of the project. These funds come from Okaloosa County bed taxes and not the County’s general fund.

To help protect Norriego Point and the channel from future erosion, the city is planning to use “increased vegetation, a scour mat, a rubble mound groin and a sheet pile wall” along the harbor side of the point. Additionally, a planned stepped seawall along the tip of Norriego Point should help to further stabilize the peninsula.

Senate Districts to be Re-apportioned

The Florida Supreme Court has declared the Legislature’s Florida House apportionment plan valid, but has declared the plan for Senate districts unconstitutional.  “The Legislature is now tasked by the Florida Constitution with adopting a new joint resolution of apportionment ‘conforming to the judgment of the supreme court,'” the Court said.

Vision Airlines – What’s Up?

Vision Airlines is the biggest local news of the new year. For months we have been reading stories about Vision’s failure to pay landing fees at some of the airports that it serviced.  At last tally, we were told that Okaloosa a/k/a NW Florida Regional Airport is owed approximately $225,000 in back fees. It was therefore no big surprise when Vision announced that they would terminate service here as of February 29th. The agreement between Vision and NWFRA was set to expire September 30, 2013.

An unfortunate event, but we still have American, Continental, Delta and US Airways servicing NWFRA. Additionally, great connections and fares are available in both Pensacola and Panama City. Will Vision be back? Maybe. Both if they do return, we hope that they will inject a little prudence into their business plan and take a more reasoned and methodical approach.

Resort Casino at Sandestin?

A Sandestin town hall meeting is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. January 10th at the Linkside Conference Center’s Grand Ballroom.  Only  Sandestin  Resort owners may attend, according to Sandy Matteson who serves as executive director of the Sandestin Owners Association (SOA).  Northwest Florida Daily News seems to have taken offense at the fact that news media is not invited to the event.


According the SOA website, Sandestin CEO  Tom Becnel will present his ideas to the homeowners.  Ideas with regard to opening a “small entertainment-based gaming facility” just west of the Marriott Courtyard on Highway 98.


This may all be moot as Florida Senate president Don Gaetz has stated in no uncertain terms that he does not support the bill in the Florida Legislature that would create a State Gaming Commission.  The bill is structured in such a manner so as to possibly/eventually  license up to five gambling casinos in Florida but again, passage seems unlikely.