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The Benefits of Downsizing

Owning a home has been the American Dream for generations, and while many still seek the biggest house their money can afford, for many buyers and current homeowners in the United States, finding a smaller home has become very appealing. Throughout the U.S., homeowners are jumping on the downsizing bandwagon, and with the current trends of tiny homes and minimalism becoming more and more popular coast to coast, there are many homeowners and buyers looking into smaller homes and the many benefits provided by downsizing.

Save Money

Smaller homes just cost less to live in (depending on the location). Downsizing can provide a number of financial benefits and help save money in the long term. By downsizing, many homeowners can reduce or eliminate mortgage payments (a reduction in the monthly amount, or even paying off the loan sooner than expected). Downsizing or buying a smaller home can also mean deductions in other areas pertaining to home ownership: lower property taxes, lower property insurance costs, reduced utility costs and much more. If you’re moving from a high-cost area, you may also experience a reduction in the overall cost of living, and if you’ve built up a lot of equity in your current house, downsizing to a smaller and less expensive home can actually free up that extra money for immediate use or saving all of it since federal tax law may well eliminate taxes on any gain from the sale of your previous home (verify your specific situation with a tax professional prior to the sale of your current property).

Less Maintenance/Upkeep

If there’s something that almost every homeowner complains about, it’s home maintenance and upkeep. A larger home ultimately means more to clean, more to maintain, and overall more upkeep. For many households in the U.S., a larger home also brings wasted space: according to the book Life at Home in the Twenty-First Century, for many average households in the U.S., most of any main floor traffic occurs in the kitchen, living and family rooms. Downsizing not only means less maintenance overall, it also means more of the house is utilized on a daily basis

Optimize Small Spaces

While a ragtag mix of second-hand furniture might be perfect for the rented college house, for many adults a design-savvy dĂ©cor is often sought-after when it comes to a furnished house to call home. With a large house, the cost of furnishings and other design elements can run into the thousands, and if you or your family members happen to have luxury taste, costs could go even higher. Downsizing to a smaller home gives homeowners the ability to optimize the small spaces: for example, going from a house with a family and living room to just a family room can mean splurging on a nicer sofa or bigger television when only one room needs to be furnished, not two. Downsizing to a smaller home can also mean getting rid of all the items you’re currently not using, which for many American households, is quite a lot of stuff.

Afford Popular Areas

For many different cities throughout the U.S. there are specific areas and neighborhoods that are sought-after by buyers and investors alike. Whether they have great schools, affordable real estate prices, up-and-coming amenities, or are a hub of events and activities, buyers will inevitably look to owning a home in or around the area. Downsizing can actually make the popular areas more attainable for many buyers, as smaller homes will or should be more affordable than larger houses. It’s also important to note that if you decide to downsize, smaller homes may be more readily available throughout a popular area’s real estate market than those that offer more square footage, and buyers may even experience less competition in those more popular markets for smaller homes

Reduction in Environmental Footprint

For many in the U.S., being more conscious of the environment and ‘living green’ has become a way of life. Homes are not excluded from an environmental footprint, and for those looking to reduce their own energy consumption, downsizing can provide that opportunity. A smaller home means less heating and cooling of the property, a reduction in electricity use, and overall less waste. But it’s not just an environmental footprint that can benefit from downsizing — homeowners can also find it more affordable to upgrade a home’s current systems to more environmentally friendly and energy efficient technologies when the home is small and more compact.

Thinking About Downsizing? Talk to your agent! Your real estate expert can help you determine the current market value of your home, as well as provide you an advanced look at what to expect as you seek to purchase your new one.

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Five Social Media Pages Every Real Estate Buff Should Follow

Social Media Tips for RealtorsIf you are a real estate agent, or simply obsessed with HGTV’s House Hunters and Fixer Upper, you know the challenges of navigating the real estate market. Buyer’s market, seller’s market, interest rates, down payments—numerous factors must be considered. Buying or selling a property is one of the most important transactions a person will make in his/her lifetime. That said, there are some amazing online tools to help you chart your course to real estate success.

Here are five social media pros you should be following, no matter where you are in the real estate game:

  1. If You Need a 360 Look at Everything Real Estate

If you haven’t already subscribed to Inman, do. This real estate site sends free emails about the latest trends in technology, marketing, home improvement, and lending. A typical email may include market strategy, a feature on the unusual habits of a successful realtor in Miami, and the latest tech trends to improve relationship building. Simply put, Inman covers all the bases.

  1. If You Want to Up Your Social Media Game

An L.A. based realtor, Lance Tuazon makes stunning collages of his listings on Instagram. Potential buyers get a sneak peak of the property, as well as a feel for the flow of the home. His Instagram account is nothing short of jaw-dropping.

  1. If You Sell Luxury Real Estate

Another Instagram to follow is Saunders & Associates.  This luxury real estate firm based in the Hamptons, New York gives a glimpse into the iconic real estate market of Sag Harbor. Their photos emphasize the Hamptons lifestyle as much as they emphasize the homes themselves. Followers are sold on a way of living, rather than a single property (although, trust us, they’re all gorgeous!)

  1. If You’re a House Flipper

Follow the husband and wife duo—no, not Chip and Joanna, but hey, follow them too—Bryan and Catherine on Instagram. Realtors, designers, and house flippers, the pair from Ohio will leave you eager for your next project with every photo. The amazing transformations alone are worth following. But, of course, you’ll also get a dose of business savvy insight.

  1. If You’re Ready to Mingle

Want to connect with other highly motivated realtors? Follow Real Estate Investing Events on Facebook. The Fortune Builders post daily blogs on advertising, networking, and best practices, plus they host an annual event. The 2016 conference in Las Vegas was one of the largest real estate conferences ever.

With your RE/MAX Southern team as home base, and these online tools from experts across the industry, get ready for a record-breaking year.



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Realtors: Four Foods to Keep You Sharp


Realtors, what’s powering you through the day?

As a Destin or 30A realtor, you’re almost always on the go. Although you’re not sitting in an office all day, which is one of the most unhealthy traits of the modern American,  you’re often in the car, grabbing lunch at a drive-through, and scarfing it down before your next appointment.

As a realtor, though, you rely on your memory and energy levels to sustain your career, both of which are greatly affected by diet.

So here are some of the best food you can eat to keep yourself healthy, happy, and hitting those quarterly numbers!


You already know the avocado’s reputation for creating glowing skin, but it is also rich in Vitamin K and folate which improve cognitive function.

Easy Recipe: Pit an avocado and then drop one egg yolk into each of the halves. Season with parsley, salt, and pepper and bake for 15 minutes at 425.


Eggs contain choline, which helps the brain create memory neurotransmitters and protects against dementia. Of course, choline is concentrated in the egg yolk, so no skipping that little ball of sunshine.

Easy Recipe: To really pack a protein punch, whip up an omelet with spinach, sprouts, and mushrooms.


Blueberries are one of the healthiest foods available. You can add them to a smoothie, a salad, or eat them as a snack. Keep a few handy for car rides or at your desk (wherever that may be). They’re known to protect the brain from stress.

Easy Recipe:  Create a blueberry grilled cheese, with spinach, white cheese, and balsamic vinegar for an unexpectedly delicious flavor profile.


You already know salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are great for brain function. But did you know it helps reduce the risk of macular degeneration, cancer, and cardiovascular disease?

Easy Recipe: Mix garlic powder, basil, and salt in a small bowl and rub on to salmon filets, then cook in a skillet over medium heat using extra virgin olive oil.

Incorporating these, or other brain-boosting foods, is sure to improve your performance and energy levels at work and at home.



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Five Ways to Capitalize on Bad Weather during Your Open House

Your RE/MAX Southern Realtor has scheduled an open house, and you’re anticipating a day of back-to-back showings. Then, lo and behold, rather than sunshine and blue skies, storm clouds have rolled in and the skies have opened up.

You’re wondering if you should cancel your open house, but don’t. Sure, bad weather presents challenges, but it also has some great advantages.

On the downside, wet shoes carry in dirt and debris, and your welcome mat has become a puddled mess. With careful execution, however, you can maintain the integrity of your home’s staging during a downpour by using these simple tips from the experts at RE/MAX Southern:

  1. Don’t cancel your open house on account of rain.

Serious buyers are going to show up regardless of weather. In fact, you’re likely to get more serious shoppers on bad weather days. These people are looking for a home and ready to make an offer. With the weather weeding out window shoppers, you have a better chance of going under contract.

  1. Keep booties on the front porch.

The easiest way to keep potential buyers from tracking in a mess is to offer cloth booties in a basket at the entry way. Be mindful of presentation though. You don’t want your guests to feel inconvenienced; quite the opposite, you want them to be aware this home has been cared for and carefully maintained. Consider a simple sign next to the booties that reads, “This could be your future home. We’ve provided booties so you can step into it thoughtfully.”

  1. Emphasize the structural integrity.

A rainstorm is a great chance to highlight your home’s roofing, gutters, and structural integrity. Potential buyers will see that your roofing doesn’t leak, gutters have been well maintained, and the lawn (if there is one) doesn’t incur runoff or flooding issues. If any of these issues, are present, however, discuss a plan of action with your realtor to address buyers’ concerns.

  1. Create a cozy setting.

Especially on a stormy day, potential buyers want to step into a home that feels like a refuge. Put a simmering pot of seasonal herbs and spices on the stove to create an inviting aroma, or use naturally scented candles. Then, turn on soft lighting, like side table lamps or lanterns, to create shadows that speak to a person’s primal desire for shelter. Speak to your buyer’s senses.

  1. Provide hot drinks.

Offer buyers hot tea or coffee. Don’t simply ask if they’d like some, have it poured and waiting.  This does three things. One, it creates a feeling of welcome. Two, it gives them reason to linger until they finish their drink (which also, gives them more time to explore and fall in love with the house). And three, it cements a positive association with warmth and the home.

For more tips on staging your home and marketing to potential buyers, contact the experts at RE/MAX Southern.





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Three Ways to Make Your Home Cozier This Summer (Sellers this is especially for you)

Wooden table on defocused summer window with flower pot backgroundWhen you think of a cozy home, your mind’s eye may conjure images of thick sweaters and crackling fires in a tiny little cottage. We automatically associate coziness with warmth (not heat, mind you, or Florida would be the coziest state in the union). During winter months it’s easy to achieve a sense of coziness, and thus intimacy, in your home. It is a refuge; simply stepping inside fills you with warmth. Family-filled holidays during winter months also add a sense of community and sanctuary.

In the summer, then, when you’d rather have the A/C blasting to keep you cool, how do you achieve a sense of warmth and coziness—a climate in your home that remains welcoming and inviting all year round? Particularly, if you’re staging a home to sell, this is important so that potential buyers feel at home the moment they walk in.

Practice the art of hygga (pronounced hoo-guh). In recent years, you’ve no doubt heard that the people of Denmark have ranked the happiest in the world—in three consecutive polls. One of the identifiable factors in their lives is a practice so intertwined with their daily lives and approach to living that it’s nearly innate: hygga.

While many have attempted to define hygga, it is a way of being more than a matter of definition. To create an atmosphere of closeness in your home is hygga. To take care in setting a table so that guests feel comfortable and welcome, rather than impressed, is hygga. Myriad ways exist to make your home a sanctuary; here are a few to implement during summer:

  1. Create aromas with your favorite simmer pot recipes.

Simmering your favorite spices, herbs, and fruits creates an irresistibly welcoming aroma. What’s more, it’s all natural, which is a cornerstone of hygga. For spring, load up on the citrus. One of our favorite simmering pot recipes is simply rosemary and lemon. A few slices of lemon and springs of rosemary produce a clean, crisp scent. Another great option is lime, mint, and ginger. Toss your selection into a small pot of water, then simmer on low.

  1. Adjust the mood with lighting.

How to use the art of hygga to stage your home.You wait all year to throw open the windows and let in natural light. By all means, brighten your home with sunshine. But in the evenings, turn down the lights. Use lamps and natural candles that create soft, round shadows. Hygge advocates the use of candles or lanterns as often as possible. The live flame speaks to a primal comfort.

  1. Keep fresh flowers, herbs, or plants inside

Hygga is really about being present. And what better way to remind ourselves of the privilege of life, growth, and daily persistence than plants in bloom? Few things provide as much pleasure as a bouquet of fresh flowers or a small pot of herbs. Keep them on your nightstand, beside the bath, or at an entry point. This serves as a simple reminder that each day, albeit temporal, is a special occasion.

To find the perfect home in which you can hygga, reach out to your RE/MAX Southern agent today.

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Realtor Bobby Parish Joins the Hall of Fame

Bobby Parish reaches the $1 million club with RE/MAX Southern.

Bobby Parish with RE/MAX Southern Realty has recently been presented with the RE/MAX Hall of Fame Award, which honors successful agents who have earned more than $1 million in commissions during their careers with the company. Less than twenty-three percent of all RE/MAX affiliates have earned this prestigious award.

Parish has been working in the real estate industry for years and has extensive experience consulting, buying, and listing services. Among Parish’s list of achievements, he has earned a reputation for expertise in local knowledge and market trends.

“Bobby has been an integral member of our team and is more than deserving of this very prestigious award,” said Kerry Veach, Owner and Broker of RE/MAX Southern Realty. “Winning this award is a tremendous accomplishment. Bobby continues to raise the bar in real estate, making us, and this community, proud.”

RE/MAX Southern Realty began back in 1995 when Kerry Veach joined RE/MAX, then three years later teamed up with his brother to buy the office. Now, RE/MAX Southern Realty features some of the most successful real estate agents on the Gulf Coast. In addition to Parish, the RE/MAX Southern team is known for outstanding customer service and performance.  RE/MAX Southern Realtor Susie Kirkland is rated in the top one percent of all realtors, and Destin Lowery is regularly featured on HGTV’s House Hunters.

RE/MAX is the most productive real estate network, with its sales associates averaging more sales than other real estate agents. Over 100,000 agents provide RE/MAX a global reach of nearly 100 countries.Schedule your appointment with Bobby Parish today.

Nobody sells more real estate than RE/MAX Southern Realty.



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Two Real Estate Tools You’re Not Using (But Should Be)

Tools for Realtors to stay on top of trends

With rapidly changing technology, new tools to help real estate agents emerge almost daily. Every now and then, a couple of resources come along that are actual game-changers. Drawbotics and Blend are two such tools. Find out how you can use them to build relationships and increase conversions.

  1. Blend

Real Estate is about relationships as much as it is about supply and demand. Once a lead has converted to a customer, it’s important to keep the relationship in good standing. Whether or not a customer needs a local realtor in the future, they’ll recommend you (or not) based on the rapport you established. Enter Blend Campaign. Blend is an automated service that helps you to coordinate a “missed call” voicemail and a postcard every season. Choose one holiday each season, plus your customer’s birthday, and Blend automates the postcard and voicemail. You pre-record the voicemail (Hey, this is John with RE/MAX Southern Realty, just wanted to wish you a happy birthday and hope you’re enjoying your new home’s pool!). And the postcard contains a handwritten—well, a font that looks like handwritten—note. In fact, for $500 you can create a font based on your handwriting, or use to create yours for free. The arrival of the post card and voicemail together boost personal outreach. Plus, personal follow-up results in a five-times return on your spend.

  1. Drawbotics

Research and realtors agree: selling an unfurnished home is a greater challenge. Staged homes sell faster. While the realtor and even the seller may have vision for an empty home, you cannot count on the buyer’s vision. Buyers want to see what the home can be—right on display. It helps them imagine living in the home with their own furnishings. When a professional staging experience isn’t feasible, consider Drawbotics. Without question, Drawbotics is one of the coolest tools to hit the real estate market in years. Their products allow you to show homes for sale with digital restyling. Services include an interactive floor plan, photo editing, restyling, 3D interior, 3D exterior, and 3D floor plan. The restyling service allows you to take a photo of the room, and they digitally decorate it (think HGTV) so you can share it with potential buyers. Plus, restyling starts at less than $50!

For Destin and Panama City Beach realtors who use the latest technology to provide buyers and sellers the best experience, count on RE/MAX Southern Realty.

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Our Own Destin Lowry Is A Celebrity!

Realtor Destin Lowry

Our very own RE/MAX Southern Realty Realtor Destin Lowry was featured in the
Northwest Florida Daily News this month. Why, you ask? Well because she’s been featured on HGTV’s House Hunters six times now!

Several years ago when HGTV was considering a new market for its hit show House Hunters, a friend of the producer mentioned she knew a realtor in Destin named Destin. The producer didn’t miss the serendipity of the situation and decided to shoot an episode on the Emerald Coast. Based on her name and outstanding reputation, Lowry already had the gig.

She has since showcased three different Destin homes for sale to potential homebuyers in each episode. She exposes them to the area’s best beaches, amenities, and attractions to seal the deal, and of course, Destin (the city) welcomes two new homeowners.

But just how did Destin Lowry come to be the face of Destin, Florida?

Well, it all started in a little town in Alabama when her mother chose the name, having never heard of the city. In fact, neither of Lowry’s parents had heard of the world’s luckiest fishing village until nearly a decade later, when they were offered a town home in Destin in a business trade.

As Lowry grew up and went off to college at Florida State, she made her way to the area that shared her name and decided to stay. That was nearly 20 years ago! Since then, Lowry has been a multi-million dollar producer as a RE/MAX Southern Realty Realtor. In 2004, she received the Chairman’s Club Award and was inducted into the hall of fame. In 2015, she earned the Lifetime Achievement Award.

The latest episode of House Hunters featuring Destin Lowry will air May 22, 2017 at 4:30 CST. To learn more about Destin Lowry and the rest of the RE/MAX Southern team, visit

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Five Things to Expect Once Your Offer Is Accepted

Re/Max Southern gives an insider look to the closing process.

Everyone tells you the necessary steps to buy a home: check your credit score, determine a budget, save a down payment, and secure pre-approved lending with the best interest rates. But what happens once you’ve found the perfect property and your offer has been accepted? How long will it be until you’re setting out the welcome mat on your new front porch?

While you’ve already begun mentally decorating or envisioning dinner parties with friends and family, the closing process is just getting started. It would be ideal if you could make an offer, learn it was accepted and pick up the keys within the same month, but that’s not always feasible.

Utilizing Re/Max Southern’s expertise, you can avoid unrealistic expectations and potentially costly mistakes by knowing what to expect:

  1. There Are A Lot of Moving Pieces and Paperwork

As the buyer, you need to know only two things: the house you want and whether you have the assets or lending to secure it. The bank, however, has to collect the appraisal, inspection report, proof of insurance, title, and other documents, some of which you will need to gather (the mortgage loan officer will provide you with a list). Each of these items is necessary before you can close and each one comes from a different source, making it crucial that all parties adhere to the lender’s suggested time-frame.

  1. Closing Costs Vary

Either the buyer or seller will incur closing costs, unless you agree to split them. For every home purchase these expenses vary, but it’s best to be aware of the potential costs so you aren’t surprised. The most prominent fees in closing costs include the lender application fee (which may include your credit report fee and appraisal; ask), escrow fees, courier costs, property taxes, insurance premiums, and fees for inspection, underwriting, surveying, recording and transferring the title.

  1. The Average Closing Takes 45 Days

Your realtor and mortgage loan officer know few things are as exciting, and stressful, as buying a new home. They’re ready to get you settled into your new home as much as you are. That being said, the average closing takes 45 days (see number one), and more than likely, you can expect a modification or two to your original closing date.

  1. Close Near (But Not At) the End of the Month

So many homebuyers request an end-of-the-month closing, one, because their anxious to move in, and two, because they want to reduce accumulating interest. However, if something delays your closing date—a form is missing a signature or notary stamp, the MLO’s computer crashes —then your closing is pushed to the next month and results in additional closing costs due to accruing interest for that month. A closing date near the end of the month provides a cushion in the event of a change, without risking a spike in closing costs.

  1. You’ll Need These Items At Closing

It’s wise to bring a binder of all the items you’ve received throughout the home buying process, including any inspection reports, proof of homeowners insurance, and the good faith estimate. In addition, make sure you have your photo I.D. and checkbook. While Florida doesn’t require a closing attorney, you are welcome to bring yours should you prefer. Just be sure to update your attorney of any changes to the closing date and factor his/her fee into closing costs.

With Re/Max Southern’s insider look at the closing process, you’ll be able to enjoy the home buying experience. Search our listings to find your future dream home or call an agent to schedule viewings today.

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Real Estate Tip: Disclosure

houseIf you have recently decided to put your home up for sale, you may have some questions about seller disclosure. What really needs to be disclosed? How do you disclose information without discouraging buyers? It can be a delicate situation. It’s always best to work with a professional real estate agent in 30A to handle these problems because there is a gray area that can be tricky to navigate.

Don’t guess. Once you have an interested buyer, they might ask you questions about the home you have never considered before. It can be tempting, but it’s important that you don’t try to guess at an answer, especially when it comes to the square footage.

Don’t be afraid to disclose. If you are unsure if you should disclose something or not, the answer is you should. It’s better to be upfront in the beginning than have serious problems later on.

Disclose inspection reports. Even if they are old, disclosing inspection reports can save you trouble down the road. Providing inspections to the buyer can help them make an informed decision and keep you in the clear.

Don’t worry. The old saying, “what you don’t know won’t hurt you” is true. Don’t worry about being held accountable for issues you are unaware of. You can’t disclose what you don’t know.

If you are selling a home and have questions about seller disclosure or about the process, contact one of our real estate agents in 30A today!

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