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Old 08-12-2011, 07:53 AM
20 posts, read 42,693 times
Reputation: 29


Greetings. We are going to be moving to the greater Destin area in the next few months. We currently live in Colorado and we previously lived in the Tampa area. I have a wife and 3 kids (1 in high school and 2 in 8th grade). We own several vacation condos in Destin and FWB.

In regards to employment, I own a wholesale electronics business which is strictly online and therefore can be managed from anywhere. All I need is a small (500 sq ft) warehouse space.

We are considering the Destin area and also Freeport as we want to get a lot of house for the money (by beach Panhandle standards). We need terrific schooling as one of my kids is gifted and the other 2 are top performers. We looked at Bluewater Bay but it seems that most of the areas in there are older.

We just came across considering Freeport and Hammock Bay and would like other members opinions. As far as housing goes, I need 4 bedrooms and at least 2000 sq ft. I would like to spend under $300k or so. We either like newer construction or traditional beach cottage homes. What concerns me about Hammock Bay is simply the drive to get to anywhere as my wife likes to shop! What I am wondering is IF Freeport is ready to start to boom (after this recession ends)? We have not been there before and we are trying to visualize is if shopping and infrastructure is on the way for this area? what is the status of the Publix and Wal-Mart? Are there other businesses on the drawing board?

With our situation and the fact that I am self-employed, it would seem that Hammock Bay would be a great choice, but we need advice.
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Old 08-12-2011, 09:41 AM
Location: Niceville, FL
7,642 posts, read 15,985,901 times
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If schools are a concern, I really would stick with the Okaloosa side of things. Walton schools are above average, but still something of a work in progress, especially at the secondary level.

As for Freeport, it's going to take a combination of a) middle class job growth specifically in Walton County and b) a spike in housing prices south of the bay in order to make Freeport look like an attractive affordable alternative. Commercial is going to lag until the people start to arrive, even though Publix is supposed to start construction Real Soon Now. A coworker and her husband bought what was supposed to be their 'rest of their life' home out in Windswept Dunes Golf Course, which is granted even more rural than Hammock Bay would be, and within two years got sick of the drive to get anywhere and ended up building in Blue Mountain Beach instead.
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Old 08-12-2011, 03:58 PM
20 posts, read 42,693 times
Reputation: 29

I have read your posts on here going back years. You are ALWAYS SPOT-ON and I appreciate that! Since we have our own business and can live anywhere, we thought Destin would be great. I worry a bit about the transient nature of the area. We were there from Colorado a few weeks ago and drove around Bluewater bay a bit. Are there newer areas and homes up there? From what we saw, they were all 70's-early 90's build. I may be wrong.

I appreciate your comments on Freeport as well. Since we own 3 condos in the area, we may prefer to be closer to Destin so we can clean them and maintenance them ourselves.

Are there any residential areas in Destin or a bit East where there are community pools? I have 3 teenagers and need the best schooling and things to do in the neighborhood. Do school buses pick up as far out as Miramar Beach or is that not feeding to Ft Walton High?

For a few months we will live in one of our condo in Miaramr Beach. It will be cramped but very fun. We will then start to look for homes.

One other question...vacation property cleaners in the area....we have had some real losers over the past 6 years which is why we want to clean our units ourselves. Do you think there is a potential for cleaning other vacation properties on the side as well or is that saturated? We would be licensed, bonded, insured and BBB-Accredited PLUS we are local condo owners so we know how hard it is for other owners to find reliable cleaners. Interested in your thoughts!
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Old 08-12-2011, 07:52 PM
Location: Niceville, FL
7,642 posts, read 15,985,901 times
Reputation: 7616
Emerald Lakes, Emerald Bay, Regatta Bay, and Kelly Plantation all have community pools. You might be able to find something at Emerald Lakes at your price point, though I'm not sure what inventory is out there right now. Bayside by the outlet mall also has a community pool and might be at your price point, and a few of the other smaller subdivisions thataway might have one as well.

Schools down here are county by county- Destin proper is Okaloosa County and you're zned for Ft. Walton Beach. Miramar Beach is Walton County and you're zoned for South Walton HS. Complicating that is that it's pretty common for students to get waivers outside of what you're zoned for, so you'll get kids from Destin waivering into Niceville HS if they can manage the transportation. You'll even get a few Walton County kids that get waivers to go to Okaloosa high schools, usually because they're trying to position themselves to get college athletic scholarships and the bigger high schools draw more football/soccer/baseball/softball recruiting interest down here.

Bluewater was indeed largely built between 1980 and about 2002. (design trends show up a couple of years late down here.) And the HGTV renovation bug has caught on slow in these parts- lots of military families in the $350K and below buyer range that will keep up the maitenance on the house but they don't want to put a whole bunch of money into a house they'll only live in for 2-5 years.

During The Season, it seems like it's hard for anyone to keep up with demand for Saturday cleaning services, and I've known cleaners who make almost as much on Saturdays during the season as they do on their normal M-F job. If you're good, reasonably quick, and reliable, you should be able to pick up a decent number of homes/condos over time.
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