Regardless of where you live in the South, it’s impossible to drive just one day in traffic without seeing at least one 30A bumper sticker. Florida’s scenic Highway 30A, a 24-mile stretch of beach road in South Walton County, is an oasis for beachgoers, vacationers and anyone looking to enjoy paradise along the Emerald Coast. Whether you’ve been vacationing along 30A since childhood or just discovered this respite in recent years, it’s THE place to enjoy the beach. And now that relaxation can last year-round by buying a house on 30A.
Hilary Farnum-Fasth, broker and owner of Hilary & Reverie, shares her insider knowledge and guidance of the local real estate market to help us all buy our own piece of 30A heaven. She, along with Hilary & Reverie’s Director of Marketing Corey Birger, help ensure how to make a wise buy in this gorgeous panorama.
“[30A] is a place that once you have experienced it, you just can’t get enough,” says Hilary. “It draws people back year after year because of the special bond it gives families, couples and friends to share time together at the beach, at their favorite spots. It’s a way of stepping back in time to a simpler, more laid-back way of life for a week or two … maybe forever!”
Because this stretch of land is so desirable as well as the homes themselves, these beach properties hold their value. Not only are most of the 30A homes gorgeous, Hilary says there’s a high level of quality construction and building codes, as well as one-of-a-kind custom finishes, that maintain consistent value. The ability to rent these homes at premium rates, as well as the fact that’s it’s a heavy drive (car-friendly) market, holds the value high. And now that two airports have opened, the value should continue to increase as more and more visitors from across the country can come to the beach.
So now that you know how awesome 30A is and why it is such a good investment, here comes the next step: How to buy a house on 30A! First decide your budget — price ranges vary, from studio condos in the mid $200s to palatial estates well into the multimillion-dollar range. The types of beach houses/condos run the gamut as well, depending on what investment level you want to commit to and what lifestyle you are most interested in.
Hilary says, “30A allows you to have golf-course living within two blocks to the beach, resort life with amenities like the WaterSound Beach Club, as well as Gulf-front living where you can put your toes in the sand the moment you step outside. There are low-rise condo units for those wanting low maintenance and easy access to the water as well. But more than that, for someone comparing beach properties to non-beach properties, it’s important to work with an agent who has the experience in the area you are looking to invest, as there are so many factors to consider to ensure you truly get exactly what you want. For example, each community offers something different, but you also want to focus on quality. Here at the beach, the weather factors into not only the build time and high code standards but also choosing sustainable materials for this climate.”
Hilary continues that the typical 30A investor/buyer is someone who has vacationed here with their family and wants to use the home a couple of weeks out of the year, and offer it as a short-term rental for the other weeks they’re not using it. “They are looking to make memories with their families for years to come and provide a home they can pass along to the next generation, while offsetting costs by renting the home. [However], we do have a strong, full-time community of people who have decided a few weeks aren’t enough and have moved here full time.”
Quality of construction should be the No. 1 priority when buying any kind of real estate. When trying to decide between investing in a 30A condo or house, Hilary details the bonuses of each. “Condos are great because they typically give buyers the opportunity to be on the water, have incredible views at a fraction of the cost of a home and provide a low-maintenance ownership experience: For home buyers, it’s the appeal of having a literal home-away-from-home that is not only large enough to accommodate their family and friends, but create lifelong memories for generations to come.”
Regardless of condo vs. house, both Hilary and Corey stress that it’s best to work with an experienced agent who understands each community and neighborhood, as well as local lenders (if obtaining a loan) to purchase the property as they’re also familiar with the ins and outs of 30A.
“We live in paradise, right in the panhandle of Florida,” says Corey. “The soft, white sugar sand and crystal emerald water have drawn people to our area to vacation for years, which is the main attraction to owning a second home on 30A.”
Learn more about 30A and how to buy your own piece of beach luxury by talking to the experts at Hilary & Reverie. Learn more at hilaryreverie.com.
This article is sponsored by Hilary & Reverie.