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What to Expect When Purchasing Real Estate On The Emerald Coast

There comes a point when you realize one thing — you’re finished visiting the Emerald Coast. It’s time to face the facts: you’re hooked on the pristine white beaches and turquoise waters and you’re ready to change your life. Moving to the beach probably sounds like a dream where you spend your free time on the sand, by the water, in the water, enjoying water sports, reading a book in the sea breezes, or just having a cold cocktail while enjoying the sun and the warm weather. If this dream matches your vision for your future and you’re focused on a truly monumental shift in scenery, simplicity and style, then you’ll need to embrace some truths about a permanent move to the beach. If you currently live in a city like Birmingham, Atlanta, Nashville, Jackson, Houston or Dallas, you’ll want to go into your coastal real estate adventure with your eyes wide open. There is more to city life versus coastal life than asphalt and high rises.

A vibrant city life has many perks and the allure can be intoxicating. After all, you’ve stayed in an urban area for a reason. The fast pace, the cultural events, the latest trends in restaurants, quirky neighborhoods and the diversity of people are all part of what makes city life fascinating. There’s always something to do, somewhere to be or someone to meet. And, of course, the housing market can be astounding in terms of pricing. Be prepared that you may not find the same energy, style, pricing and perks as the city you’re leaving. What you will find, however, is different and better in so many ways.

Keep in mind that the closer to the beach, the higher the price of the home. What you paid for a 2,000-sq.-ft. home in Austin may be quite a bit less than the 2,000 square feet you’ll find from Destin to Panama City Beach. The sprawling ranch house or the mega-mansions you’re used to seeing in city neighborhoods translate into smaller versions of reality with beachy price tags. Spreading out on an acre of land is not typical; rather, building several stories to maximize vertical space is the norm here. Features that might have come standard in homes in Nashville may cost more here. Essentially? It’s not an apples-to-apples comparison in housing because of the proximity to the sand and shore. That view, the beach, those breezes, that “feet-in-the-sand” feeling changes everything.

When you make the decision to say goodbye to city life and start your search for the perfect Emerald Coast home, remember to be patient. Allow time to adjust and recognize that it may be hard to leave city life. What makes it easier is the thrill you get when you come over that bridge on Highway 331 or the hill on State Road 393 and get a peek at the crystalline waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Recognize that you are moving to a small town and to a vibe that comes with a sense of community and camaraderie. People are friendly here; they love the locals and want to help you get to know the area including traffic patterns, the housing market and where stores, schools and other amenities are located. Lean on them, ask them questions and enjoy the dazzling beauty and sense of simplicity that called you here.

You come to the coast for the weather and the beach, which offers the soothing sounds of the gulf and the warm rays of the sun. These are natural stress relievers and healers right under your nose. You come for a healthier environment: gulf air that’s good for breathing, sun that helps create more vitamin D and that scrubs the dead skin cells off your body in a natural way. You come for the amazing natural beauty of the area, the sea life, the coastal vegetation, the interesting animals and the coastal dune lakes. You come for your family, to raise kids in a healthy environment and a warm climate that allows outside activities throughout the year. Winter is not for sitting inside playing video games.

You have your own reasons for moving to the Emerald Coast, some of which we’ve touched on here and some of which are more personal to you and your family. Whatever draws you to the coast, you will find a difference in housing, in architecture, in amenities and in pricing. Once you recognize the true value of a home here and why you are choosing such a move, you will understand it is worth the cost.