The Emerald Coast Renters’ Guide

Everything you need to know about renting in the area

With Okaloosa and Walton County beaches trending virtually everywhere, a growing number of short term rentals and the era of Airbnb and Vrbo® renting a place on Emerald Coast is getting harder and harder every day.

If you’re frustrated with your rental search, you’re not alone.

Below, we outline everything you need to know about the rental process, starting with a step-by-step guide on how to find your next rental. Welcome home!

How to find a great rental?

1. Set a budget. For reference, the average rent for an apartment in Destin is $1,605, a 17% increase compared to the previous year, when the average rent was $1,376.

Compare to Nearby Cities Average Rent: Source

The average size for a Destin, FL apartment is 963 square feet, but this number varies greatly depending on apartment type. Studio apartments are the smallest and most affordable, 1-bedroom apartments are closer to the average, while 2-bedroom apartments and 3-bedroom apartments offer a more generous square footage.

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In addition to the cost of monthly rent, you’ll probably have to put down a security deposit, first (and maybe last) month’s rent, plus an application fee, which is usually around $30 to $50.

2. Should you pick a neighborhood? Pick a neighborhood close to where you work. Having a shorter commute during the summertime with a lot of tourists in town or during the rush hour can make or break your daily life.

You are likely to find better deals during the fall and winter months, when fewer people are in town.

3. Search for an apartment. That’s the best way to find a place? Find the neighborhood closer to your work. Landlords like to put the phone number to reach them on the in front of rental complex, you may get lucky and stumble upon a pad that’s not listed online.

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More than half of home searches are mobile!

4. See the place in person. Once you find a place you like, call or email and ask to set up a time to view it. You’ll very likely deal directly with the property owner, on-site manager, or a management company. This is a key to ensuring you will not get scammed or deceived by an online listing.

5. Apply right away. When you find a place you like, submit an application immediately.

You likely don’t need to hire a realtor in most cases, although it may be a good idea, since you more likely to get more accurate information from MLS than any other online search

Because the market is tight, landing your dream apartment often comes down to being the first one to apply. (You’ll need a solid credit score, too).

You can be an hour late and may miss out on a great rental.

Have key pieces of information—like phone numbers for your employer and former landlords—handy.

Although, you may find some rental information on the trusted websites, it may not synchronize fast enough. Contact me to get access to it.