Wednesday, November 23, 2016


Its the time of year when most people are focusing on being thankful and grateful. As the year comes to an end and we all start into the busy new year, this thankful/grateful attitude has the possibility to wane. So, here is a great article we found on an awesome site at It focuses on the science behind being grateful and how it can benefit our lives, all year long. They have some great suggestions to keep it fresh and even fun.  
The Science Behind Gratitude (and How It Can Change Your Life)
The benefits of practicing gratitude are nearly endless. People who regularly practice gratitude by taking time to notice and reflect upon the things they're thankful for experience more positive emotions, feel more alive, sleep better, express more compassion and kindness, and even have stronger immune systems. And gratitude doesn't need to be reserved only for momentous occasions: Sure, you might express gratitude after receiving a promotion at work, but you can also be thankful for something as simple as a delicious piece of pie. Research by UC Davis psychologist Robert Emmons, author of Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier, shows that simply keeping a gratitude journal—regularly writing brief reflections on moments for which we’re thankful—can significantly increase well-being and life satisfaction.
You’d think that just one of these findings is compelling enough to motivate an ingrate into action. But if you’re anything like me, this motivation lasts about three days until writing in my gratitude journal every evening loses out to watching stand-up comics on Netflix.
Here are a few keys I’ve discovered—and research supports—that help not only to start a gratitude practice, but to maintain it for the long haul.

Freshen Up Your Thanks

The best way to reap the benefits of gratitude is to notice new things you’re grateful for every day. Gratitude journaling works because it slowly changes the way we perceive situations by adjusting what we focus on. While you might always be thankful for your great family, just writing “I’m grateful for my family” week after week doesn’t keep your brain on alert for fresh grateful moments. Get specific by writing “Today my husband gave me a shoulder rub when he knew I was really stressed” or "My sister invited me over for dinner so I didn't have to cook after a long day." And be sure to stretch yourself beyond the great stuff right in front of you. Opening your eyes to more of the world around you can deeply enhance your gratitude practice. Make a game out of noticing new things each day.

Get Real About Your Gratitude Practice

Being excited about the benefits of gratitude can be a great thing because it gives us the kick we need to start making changes. But if our excitement about sleeping better because of our newfound gratitude keeps us from anticipating how tired we’ll be tomorrow night when we attempt to journal, we’re likely to fumble and lose momentum. When we want to achieve a goal, using the technique of mental contrasting—being optimistic about the benefits of a new habit while also being realistic about how difficult building the habit may be – leads us to exert more effort. Recognize and plan for the obstacles that may get in the way. For instance, if you tend to be exhausted at night, accept that it might not be the best time to focus for a few extra minutes and schedule your gratitude in the morning instead.

Make Thankfulness Fun By Mixing It Up

University of Rochester partners in crime Edward Deci and Richard Ryan study intrinsic motivation, which is the deep desire from within to persist on a task. One of the biggest determinants is autonomy, the ability to do things the way we want. So don’t limit yourself—if journaling is feeling stale, try out new and creative ways to track your grateful moments. My fiancée Michaela decided to create a gratitude jar this year. Any time she experiences a poignant moment of gratitude, she writes it on a piece of paper and puts it in a jar. On New Year’s Eve, she’ll empty the jar and review everything she wrote. When a good thing happens, she now exclaims, “That’s one for the gratitude jar!” It immediately makes the moment more meaningful and keeps us on the lookout for more.

Be Social About Your Gratitude Practice

Our relationships with others are the greatest determinant of our happiness. So it makes sense to think of other people as we build our gratitude. Robert Emmons suggests that focusing our gratitude on people for whom we’re thankful rather than circumstances or material items will enhance the benefits we experience. And while you’re at it, why not include others directly into your expression of gratitude? One Happify activity involves writing a gratitude letter to someone who had an impact on you whom you’ve never properly thanked. You could also share the day’s grateful moments around the dinner table. The conversations that follow may give you even more reasons to give thanks. 
Find more great articles on the science of happiness at:

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

October Sales Market Highlights

The numbers are in for October sales statistics! The market is still quite active this fall rolling right on into November. 

This year the Emerald Coast hit a record in tourism -June alone was a 13% increase from last year- making our area a hot spot for investing in real estate. 

While inventory is quite low, this gives sellers an upper hand, perhaps landing several offers and an increase in sales price. However, with the end of year and holiday season approaching, buyers may discern that this is a great opportunity to make an offer as sellers become antsy with the slowing of the season. 

Either way, we are here to help you make a savvy decision on your real estate investments. 

In the meantime, check out the infographic below that features the highlights for the month of October!

Have an area of interest that you'd like the statistics on? 
Contact us and we can customize a report specific to your needs! 

Okaloosa Island • Destin • Miramar Beach • Sandestin • 30A

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Home Buying Experience

According to a recent survey by TD Bank, the process of purchasing a home is improving and that over 70% of recent buyers ranked their home-buying experience as “very good” to “excellent.”   That is up 10% over the past two years.  That is really good news.

The survey showed that buyers found the most positive factors in the home-buying process are finding a good Realtor, selecting the right lender, and receiving loan approval. Securing a loan is a daunting journey, and current homebuyers are faced with new loan demands and disclosure forms.

Let’s look at some of highlights of this survey:

• 42% believe that the housing market will continue to improve.

• More than half rated their lender as honest, accessible, and transparent.

• 67% said the lenders should include more information and resources online as well as offer financing seminars.

• 14% of the homebuyers researched the lenders via social media.

• 56% feel that it is a good time to buy

• 32% reported that their purchase was “very to extremely stressful.”

• Better than 50% had a down payment of less than 20%.

• 32% used a mortgage affordability program.

• 62% said that they spent more than $2000 in unexpected costs related to the mortgage process.

• 25% purchased home with somebody other than a spouse.

Our advice is to interview two or three lenders and see which one fits best.  There will be some limited differences in the products that they offer, but the most important factor is that you find an accessible and informative mortgage lender. We've got a great list of contacts in this area. Feel free to contact us for any information!