WaterColor is a unique master-planned community and part of the prestigious 30A group of neighborhoods. Although the houses in WaterColor are not uniform, they all share a sense of design continuity. Many have beautiful wrap-around porches and lush landscaping.
WaterColor has gorgeous tree-lined streets, pocket parks, walking and bicycle trails, and a picturesque beach along the Gulf of Mexico. Locals enjoy the trendy shops and restaurants within a short walk, bike, or golf cart ride away. They are also treated to amenities like the exclusive WaterColor Beach Club and Camp WaterColor. However, buying a home in WaterColor, Florida, is more challenging than it sounds. People adore the community, which makes it a very competitive market.
What is the market like in WaterColor, Florida?
You like everything WaterColor offers, but is it a good time to buy? Unlike most of the country, the 30A neighborhoods in the Santa Rosa Beach area have entered a buyer’s market. Typically in a buyer’s market, more homes are for sale, they stay on the market longer, and they are lower in price.
So while buyers have a better chance at finding and bidding on a home this year, the home's price still favors the sellers in many cases.
Homebuying tips for Watercolor
To be ready to compete and get the house of your dreams, make sure the following items are in order:
Check and, if necessary, repair your credit rating
Save for a down payment
Research the different types of loans (Conventional, Portfolio loan)
See if you qualify for any homebuyers’ assistance programs
Be prepared to seek pre-approval and obtain a pre-approval letter before bidding on a home
Dream home, dream location
What type of home are you looking for? Is it a permanent home or a vacation home? Some owners live in WaterColor full-time, but many buy a vacation home that they rent out for part of the year. Both condominiums and single-family homes have incredible rental potential.
The advantage of a condominium is that there is no yard maintenance to worry about. If you are looking for a house, remember that the biggest house does not always mean better, especially if you plan to resell it at some point.
Also, while WaterColor is a beautiful area, other lovely locations exist in and around 30A. Having an open mind about neighborhoods may help you find your dream home in a place you had not thought of looking at before.
Choose an experienced local guide
Finding someone local is the key to success when looking for a real estate agent. A local agent knows specifics about the area that only someone with their feet on the ground would know. The best practice is to interview several agents to find someone knowledgeable and a good fit for you. While you want someone top in the field, you do not want someone with such a heavy load that they cannot give you the assistance you need.
Another tip is to ask each real estate agent if they have experience in renovations or flipping properties. Agents with that knowledge may be able to spot a property’s flaws or help with questions about possible renovations you have in mind.
Shop under budget
There is more to the cost of a new home than just the sales price. Additional expenses, such as property taxes, insurance, and utilities, must be considered. The Walton County Property Appraiser site can give you an idea of the taxes paid on a particular property. The WaterColor Community Association is the homeowner’s association (HOA) in WaterColor. Many homes in 30A have an HOA, which has monthly fees in addition to your mortgage.
As you look for a new home, examine the total costs, not just the initial price, and look for one under budget so the extra fees will not be a burden. You may find that a fixer-upper or a home slightly away from your target location is a better bargain.
A home is an important decision and a significant investment. Many buyers rush to purchase, only to discover later that the neighborhood is not a good fit for them. Ask yourself a few questions.
How is the commute?
How far is the grocery store or other services?
Is the home in a good school district? Even if you do not have children, this is important because school performance impacts home value.
Once you find a home, visit the area a few times but at different times during the day and evening. That way, you can observe the foot and car traffic and get a general feel for the area.
Cash is king
Admittedly, only some people can buy a home with cash, but if you are one of them, consider making a cash offer. Many sellers would rather accept a cash offer than worry that a potential buyer’s financing will fall through.
Sweeten the deal
If there are multiple offers on a home, there are things you can do to make your offer more attractive.
Add an escalation clause. This is an amount you offer over competitive bids.
Shorten the option period. This is the time frame when you get home inspections, etc.
Add a lease-back. This is where you let the homeowner stay for an additional period.
Waive contingencies. These are things like home inspections, keeping appliances, etc.
Refrain from doing anything against your better judgment, and consult your real estate agent because they will be able to guide you. If it is not in your best interest, do not do it. Passing on a home is better than giving a concession you will regret later.
Make a strong offer the first time. It should be an amount you can afford and what you think the property is worth, but not so low as to insult the seller.
Let Tanika O’Brien be your guide
Buying a home in a new area is like traversing uncharted waters. It can be dicey if you go it alone. Why not find a trusted partner instead? Tanika O’Brien is a top real estate agent
with a background in new construction. She knows about houses for sale in WaterColor, Florida, and nearby neighborhoods. The Tanika O’Brien Group
has been helping clients buy and sell homes in 30A for years, and they can help you, too.
Go with real estate professionals you can trust. The ones that know the Emerald Coast like no other and will give you the attention you deserve. Contact Tanika