Welcome to the Perdido Key Lifestyle Blog!

Perdido Key Lifestyles

I hope you'll find my news items interesting and helpful to your real estate needs. Let me share my knowledge of the Perdido Key area with you! Check in for updates and news.

Looking forward to talking with you!

Dawn Marino

July 14, 2021

Happy Birthday Pensacola!

I't Pensacola's Birthday.

Everyone who lives or vacations in Pensacola, Florida, knows it is special. Yet, for the curious, there are many unknown facts about Pensacola and its history to be discovered. On July 17, Pensacola will celebrate its 200-year anniversary as part of the United States. To celebrate, below are some lesser-known facts about this historic city.

1. The history of Pensacola can be traced to when it was first sighted by Juan Ponce de Leon in 1513.  

2. Pensacola was originally pronounced Panzacola. This name was told to Spanish military officer Juan Jordan de Reina by local Native Americans in 1698. Panzacola is thought to be the name of that local tribe.

3. The white sand beaches in Pensacola and surrounding coastal areas get their color from fine ground quartz crystal. The crystal comes all the way from the Appalachian Mountains by way of a river. It spreads out in the Gulf of Mexico and ends up on the beaches from Panama City to Eastern Alabama.

4. The world’s largest artificial coral reef is off the coast of Pensacola. The USS Oriskany aircraft carrier sits in its final resting place 28 miles off the coast. It is nicknamed “The Great Carrier Reef” and is a renowned deep-water dive site. 

5. For those considering calling Pensacola home, the city boasts the shortest average commute time in the country at only 19 minutes, has a 5.80% lower cost of living than the U.S. national average, and has approximately 220 sunny days per year!

Posted in Pensacola News
July 4, 2021

3/2 Pool Home on Quiet Cul-de-sac

Great brick home on a large cul-de-sac lot. Large backyard with inground pool. Newer Appliances, HVAC, and Roof!


Click Here For More Info

May 29, 2021

Perdido Key RV Cottages

2021 is being called by some, “The Year of the RVer.” RV sales hit an all-time high in 2020, according to the RV Industry Association. A common buyer request received by Dawn Marino and The Marino Team is the desire to own a piece of land near the beach where one can accommodate their RV. However, local zoning restrictions only allow RVs in designated RV Parks. 

Now there is a new option in Perdido Key! 

Perdido Key RV Cottages

Eighteen brand new RV cottages are to be constructed just off the intercoastal waterway, near Perdido Key Drive. At last, there is an option to own a piece of land that offers perfect accommodations for you and your RV!  These 800 square foot cottages will be luxuriously appointed with granite counter tops, plank wood floors, and stainless-steel appliances. Each will have a rooftop observation deck and a large carport to cover your RV. 

These RV cottages will be situated in an ideal location. The Perdido Key Oyster Bar & Marina is a very short walk away. The Sunset Grille and Holiday Harbor Marina are about a half mile away. These cottages are listed at $249,000. This type of opportunity does not come around too often. If you love RVing and the beach, this could be your little piece of paradise!

Posted in Perdido Key Homes
May 4, 2021

5584 Ponte Verde Rd.

Lovely lakefront home for sale in desirable Grande Lagoon neighborhood in SW Pensacola. Newly renovated, close to beach, and tons of neighborhood amenities. These include community beach, tennis courts and park.  

Click Here For More Info

April 30, 2021

Planning On Buying A Vacation Home?

These Are 4 Things You Should Keep In Mind A vacation home can be a fantastic investment. If there's an area that you go to every year for vacation, then purchasing a vacation home may be more sensible than always having to find a place to rent. Having your own vacation home means that you never have to plan that far ahead since you won't have to deal with finding and booking a place to stay ahead of time. However, before you decide to invest in a vacation home, there are a few things that you should consider. The following are four tips to keep in mind when buying a vacation home.

1. Spend some time in the area - If you've been vacationing in the area in which you plan to purchase a vacation home for a few years already, then you probably already know that you'll make plenty of use out of your vacation home. However, if you've never been to that ski village or that beach town where you are planning to buy a vacation home, you should be sure to spend some time there first to make sure that you actually enjoy the area. You don't want to end up with a vacation home that you never use because you go tired of its location.

2. Understand the costs of owning a vacation home - A lot of buyers don't understand that the costs of owning a vacation home are often different than that of owning a primary residence. First of all, you're still going to have to pay for utilities, landscaping and maintenance costs even if you're not there. And don't forget that you're going to need to furnish it as well unless you don't mind spending your vacation in an empty house. Additionally, your homeowners insurance is probably going to be higher since there's more risk associated with insuring a house that's not occupied for most of the year. In fact, you'll probably want to hire a local property manager in order to maintain your vacation home throughout the year if you're not going to be there most of the time.

3. Consider renting out your vacation home - One of the ways that you can make up for the cost of the vacation house is by renting it out. In fact, rental income can allow you to build equity and let you pay the mortgage off early. Be sure to speak about the ability to rent the vacation home out with your real estate agent. Understand that even though this is a great way to recoup some of the money that you are putting into buying the property, renting it out will require a lot of responsibility on your part -- you will be the landlord, after all. You should also be aware that many of the people that will want to rent out your vacation home will want to do so during peak holiday times, which means you may not be able to spend some of those holiday vacations in your vacation home if you're renting it out.

4. Don't forget about accessibility - Your vacation home may be a dream house in an absolutely gorgeous piece of beachfront property, but if it's all the way across the country, then you probably won't be heading out there for a long weekend any time soon. If your vacation home is within the state you live in -- or within a day's drive at least -- you'll probably make more use out of it. Also keep in mind that the further away it is, the more it's going to cost to get there.

A vacation home can be a great investment for you and your family. However, before you go out and purchase a secondary property to be used as your vacation home, be sure to keep these four tips in mind. The last thing you want to do is end up with a vacation home that you never use, after all.

Posted in Real Estate News
April 18, 2020


In this age of science and technology, it is difficult to wrap your brain around a global pandemic. Yet, here we are living a scene of what would appear to be straight out of a movie. There is no doubt, the world is full of uncertainty and is experiencing unprecedented times. In every situation, there is a silver lining. This one is no different. There is much good that has come from this ordeal. We have pulled together as a community, as a state, and as a country. Our front-line workers are getting recognized for the heroes they’ve always been. We have all realized the importance of our family and friends. We have a better understanding of what’s important. We have a newfound appreciation for taking the time to enjoy a bike ride or a walk with your dog. We have adapted and survived. It is amazing how fast life can change. Enjoy the moment, whatever the moment may be.

From my family to yours, stay healthy, stay happy, and stay safe.


Dawn Marino

Boat near shore

Video Call

Time at the park

Blue Angels

Flora-Bama beach

Time at home on the deck



Perdido Bay

Palms on the bay

Sunset on the bayou

Posted in Real Estate News
April 17, 2020

How Social Distancing Might Delay a Home Sale

How Social Distancing Might Delay a Home Sale

Real estate traditionally has been more a "people" business than a technology business, but with advances in recent years, tech has certainly established its place in the industry.

During trying times that require social distancing or sheltering in place, those tech tools can be saviors. Buyers can virtually tour homes via the internet, make offers, and apply for home loans online. All parties involved can sign documents electronically and sometimes even get documents notarized remotely.

All those things are components of most home sales. Having the means to do them online allows for real estate deals to continue, even during social distancing. But that doesn't mean it's all going to be smooth sailing. Here are some ways social distancing could delay a home sale.

Reduced staffing and hours of operation

When companies are attempting to keep fewer people in the office, or workers are out for extended periods of time, or even if a business just cuts its hours, work can take longer. It's a matter of fewer people doing the same amount of work with less time each day to do it. Backlogs can happen.

A good example might be the mortgage business. When very low interest rates hit, there are surges in demand for refinancing that can come right as companies find themselves shorter-staffed. As long as fewer people are working, or working shorter hours, in banks and title companies, there could be delays in home sales.

Home inspections

Home inspections are especially tricky during a time of social distancing. Unlike a buyer on a virtual tour, a licensed home inspector is required to physically be in the home they're inspecting. That can cause some hiccups.

For example, a seller might not want a stranger in their home. On the other hand, maybe not every home inspector wants to go poking around in a stranger's house, which may or may not be properly sanitized.

Most real estate agents have pre-written addendums - some issued by the state - that cover any delays in a sale related to public health or social distancing. Some homebuyers might forego their right to a home inspection, and some sellers might agree to one so long as the inspector is the only person in the home and is properly equipped with safety wear. If not, a delay in the sale can be addressed with an addendum to the contract with neither party penalized.

When a home inspection is done, the inspector could do a virtual walkthrough with the buyer and/or provide them with more visual results (pictures and video) in their report than they would in normal times.


Real estate appraisals are typically done in person as well, but there's more leeway for appraisers than there is for inspectors.

For one, the Federal Housing Finance Agency in March 2020 allowed for appraisals without necessarily requiring an appraiser to look at a home's interior. The term "drive-by appraisal" has been around for years, but it's more literal when people are under stay-at-home orders.

And even in normal times, not every appraisal includes an interior inspection. In markets that are very active, it's not difficult for appraisers to ascertain a home's value using mostly a computer, because there are plenty of comparable recent sales. But in slower markets, or for homes with unique features, an appraiser or lender might not be comfortable with an appraisal that doesn't include an in-person look at a home. That sort of circumstance could also delay a sale's closing.

Again, a proper addendum to the sales contract should be able to satisfy all parties involved should such a delay occur.

The bottom line

Technology has advanced enough in recent years to help real estate adapt to a period when face-to-face interaction is limited. While not every step in the home process can be automated, the result during social distancing could be delays at certain steps in the homebuying process, but safety measures alone should not grind a home sale to a halt.

Posted in Real Estate News
Feb. 27, 2020

Can You Predict the Best Time to Sell Your Home?

Best time to sell your home

There are many life events that can make it time to sell a home. A job change, a child on the way, or even a failing marriage can nudge homeowners to sell relatively unexpectedly.

Still, there are would-be home sellers who can choose when to put their home on the market. Of course, any seller is looking to get the most money they possibly can for the home they are selling and they want to sell it as quickly as possible. So they might wonder: "When is the best time to sell?"

If you are lucky enough to choose when to put your home on the market, here are some things to consider when it comes to timing.

'Tis the season

Traditionally, spring and early summer have been the times when more homes hit the market. There are reasons for this, one of them being that families with children want to be in their new home before a new school year begins. Also, winter weather can make it a little more difficult to show your home in the best light.

But the internet has kind of changed things. More potential buyers begin their home search online, so they are armed with information before ever setting foot inside homes for sale. They're not necessarily traipsing in and out of cars, physically visiting house after house. That means that home searches can start at just about any time of the year. Weather is less a factor.

It is still generally true that there are more buyers out shopping in the spring and summer than in the winter, but if you live in a very competitive market, it might behoove you to put your home up for sale before winter is over, when there's likely less competition among homes for sale.

Markets can vary from neighborhood to neighborhood

The saying "all real estate is local" still holds true, and it's getting more hyper-local than ever. Information you can find online might indicate that there's a lot of buyer activity in your county or even zip code, but in your neighborhood, that might not be the case.

Homebuyer activity and closed sales can literally vary from neighborhood to neighborhood. An online search could tell you that your zip code has a lot of closed transactions, but they might not be exactly where you live. The homes around the corner from you could be the ones selling like hotcakes.

It is probably best to talk to a local real estate professional to determine what kind of demand there really is for homes in your specific area. The higher the demand at any given time, the better your home-selling prospects will be.

Keep an eye on mortgage rates

In the last 12 years or so, interest rates on mortgages have been at or near historic lows. It is not going to last forever, though, and homebuyers tend to become more active when they think that rates could start creeping up.

If you are thinking of selling, it is responsible to keep an eye on the financial markets. If there's a sign that mortgage interest rates are set to rise, it's likely that real estate markets will see an uptick in buyers. The more buyers there are in the market, the better the prospects are for you to sell your home quickly and for top dollar.

The short answer about timing the market is that you can't expect to ever do it perfectly, just like you can't "time" the stock market. But if you're considering selling your home, you'll want to put it on the market at a time when there is less competition from other sellers and more buyers are actively searching for homes. Keeping your finger on the pulse of market indicators and talking to a local real estate professional should help you toward that goal.

Posted in Real Estate News
Dec. 16, 2019

Looking for a Fixer-Upper? Four Reasons a New Home Might Actually Be a Better Fit

Looking for a Fixer-Upper? Four Reasons a New Home Might Actually Be a Better Fit for Your Needs

Buying a home that needs some TLC can look like a fun endeavor on popular reality TV shows and online, but fixer-uppers might come with more issues than families can handle on their own. If you don't really have a DIY spirit or a background in fixing up homes, a fixer-upper can quickly turn into a money pit. Budgets and locations are always a factor, but if you have a choice, it is worth it to do a little introspection on your personal lifestyle when picking a home. Here are four reasons a new home might be a better option for potential home buyers on the market.

1. Energy Efficiency Benefits

While historic homes might have unique qualities, these can come with a ton of deficiencies, including a higher power bill. Newer homes strive to have energy-efficient windows, doors, and appliances. This can save you money on your power bill and might also bring tax cuts depending on when you buy and where you live. Having a home that is built with energy efficiency in mind can be a great start to a long-term cohesive home environment.

2. Move-in Ready Homes

If you have been looking for your dream home for awhile, you might be ready to move in the second you get the key. This might not be possible with a fixer-upper, especially if more issues are uncovered when working through smaller renovations. Adding the stress of moving into a home that will immediately need extensive renovations might be more than your family can manage. A new home will be turn-key ready for families to move in, without any setbacks or surprises lurking. 

3. Up-to-Date Safety 

Safety should be a top concern when it comes to a home - old or new. The great thing about a newer home is the assurance that this will up-to-date on housing codes and requirements stated in your area. Electrical problems can lead to fires in older homes, so outlets that are new and appliances that are built for newer outlets will make your living environment more compatible and safe. You'll have peace of mind in a new home that can keep your family safe and free from emergency problems an older home might have.

4. Options for Green Homes

Green homes are built with specific materials and specifications that make these less impactful on the environment from day one. Green homes use solar power, are insulated better, and are made of less impactful or even recycled materials. Green homes tend to use less energy, water, and can have a better resale value. These green factors aren't something that can be added to older home without extensive renovations and upgrades.

Being honest with yourself and needs will help direct your home search. If you aren't quite sure if you are ready for all of the work that an older home or fixer-upper can come with, the benefits of a new home can be appealing. Choosing a newer home that is move-in ready can make for a smoother transition and will offer fresh start that you and your family needs. 

Posted in Real Estate News
Oct. 31, 2019

Calculating Return on Equity

Return on Equity

Real estate rental property investors enjoy many benefits from income tax advantages to resistance to damage from inflation and interest rate gyrations. If you're talking to an accountant, they tend to be deep in the numbers, and they want to know how you're doing for return on the money you have invested in your rental property. Return on Equity (ROE) is one way they like to measure investment performance.

A simple example of ROE is an interest rate of 5% on a Certificate of Deposit of $100,000, resulting in $5,000 that year in interest. Your equity is clear, the $100,000 you deposited. So, dividing $5,000 by $100.000, you get your 5% ROE. You received 5% on your equity in the investment. For rental property, it's more complicated, but the basic structure is the same.

Suppose you purchase a rental home for $150,000 with 20% for a down payment. You have a mortgage for $120,000 because your down payment was $30,000. This is the year you buy the home, so it's the ROE for the first year. Suppose your rents minus your expenses, pretty much your positive cash flow, come to $3,200 for the year. Dividing that $3,200 by your $30,000 in equity, you see that your ROE is 10.67%. That's a nice number, and you're satisfied.

Now you're a few years down the road. You've paid down your mortgage, and you've been able to increase your rents a bit, and this increases your positive cash flow or return. You've paid down your mortgage to $106,000, and your home has appreciated in value to $158,000. This gives you a new equity number of $158,000 - $106,000 = $52,000. With your rent increases, your cash flow or profit after expenses is now $4,100 for the year. Our new ROE is now $4,100/$52,000 = $7.89%. This is how ROE in subsequent years is calculated. It is simple, and there may be some extra pieces for some investors that their accountants will include.

At the beginning of this article, tax advantages were mentioned. That interest on your CD would have been taxed in the year earned. When it comes to the cash flow from the rental home, you can deduct depreciation, which is a major factor in how much money hits your bank account that you get to keep.

You can depreciate the structure value (not the land value) over 27.5 years. Using the example above, if the structure was worth $110,000 when purchased, you could depreciate approximately $110,000 / 27.5 = $4,000 per year as a depreciation deduction. You've just wiped out that positive cash flow profit for taxes. Later, when you sell the home, there will be some recapture of that depreciation depending on how long you owned it, but you get the tax advantage idea.

There are several other calculations for evaluating a rental home's investment performance, but ROE allows you to compare it to non-real estate-related investments. It's easy to see why so many millionaires hit that income level through real estate investing.

Posted in Real Estate News