What Renovations Are Best For Your Rental Property

Ultimately, every rental property owner wants to maximize their profit. But in order to do so, there are several things that every rental property owner has to do to make this goal a reality. Investing in your first rental property can be intimidating at times, but it’s important to be open to renovations that will benefit your property.

Exploring funding options for your rental property and evaluating where improvements can be made, you can get a better sense of which renovations will be the most beneficial. Although almost every estate is unique, it’s important to consider a variety of upgrades that will generate the best resale value for your unique property.

Things to Consider

Conduct A Home Evaluation or Appraisal

The first step when considering the most optimal renovations is to accurately evaluate your property. Conduct a thorough walkthrough to determine what areas need the most revival. A home appraisal may also help to analyze the potential market value, along with identifying which parts of your property are the most run down. From there, you’ll get a better sense of the what upgrades will provide the most resale value.

Analyze Ways To Pay

Home renovations can be pricey, but by keeping the long-term value in mind, you can get the best return on your investment. Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to pay for these projects. Two reliable funding options include finding the best credit card or personal loan. In your efforts, perform additional research to find the lowest interest rates possible.

Other ways to fund your renovations include using a home remodel loan or a home equity loan. A home remodel loan is an unsecured personal loan that you can receive from a bank or credit union. On the other hand, a home equity loan uses your current home as funding provided in a lump sum. This option often has lower interest rates than a credit card or personal loan. By analyzing the pros and cons of each of these funding options, you will find peace of mind when deciding which projects will generate the best returns. Below are some renovations that will help increase the value of your home one way or another.

What Generates The Best Returns?

A Kitchen Remodel

Conducting a minor kitchen renovation is one of the best ways to not only revamp your property, but to also add a personalized touch to the home. This type of remodel is quite popular amongst homeowners and rental property owners alike. Since the kitchen space is an essential part of your property, it is typically a focus for prospective buyers. By upgrading your kitchen space, you can recoup up to 70% of the cost of the renovation.

Some of these potential updates include: switching to modern cabinets, changing the flooring, and implementing a new kitchen island. Modern kitchen cabinets can be aesthetically pleasing, while also providing sufficient functionality. Changing the floor will also make your kitchen space more attractive and functional to walk through. Adding a new kitchen island in quartz or granite is a reliable way to add luxury to your property; these attractive patterns not only appeal to the eye but also provide a durable surface for cooking and other kitchen activities.

Vinyl Siding

Adding vinyl siding to your rental property can provide a variety of advantages. However, the main reason vinyl siding is a valuable option for homeowners is because it’s cost effective. For its lower price point, vinyl siding is surprisingly durable, which is why it’s become so popular. In terms of returns, you can recoup practically up to 68% back for the installation.

Additional benefits include increased home exterior protection, enhanced curb appeal, and reduced heating and cooling costs. Also, this material is practically maintenance free and eco-friendly. There is a large selection of styles, colors, and trims when it comes to implementing vinyl siding. The installation process is also relatively easy, however, if you do want to ensure best practice, try hiring a siding contractor to professionally install it for a fee.

Garage Door Replacement

When it comes to curb appeal, replacing your garage is one of the most popular ways to instantly improve your rental property. Not only does this provide reliable functionality when opening and closing your garage, but you can also use this space for insulation and storage purposes. Be mindful of garage door materials. Some popular features include steel, wood and plastic. Consider garage spring systems and insulation effectiveness when deciding which door is best. For the smoothest and safest installation, hiring a garage door installer is best practice.

This specific property renovation will retain a higher value than the previous two updates. At the end of the day, you could recoup approximately 94% of your initial investment. This project initially costs less, and you will retain practically everything you spent in the first place while improving the value of your real estate asset.

Although choosing the right renovations for your property is subjective, it’s equally important to consider which ones will provide the best return financially. Be proactive and decide which upgrades are the most ideal for your rental property. Using these general renovations tips will help increase the value of your home one way or another.

Interested in more advice for Rental Property Renovations?

Contact Sunset Properties at info@sunsetproperties.com for more information on what your property needs! Looking to sell? Contact John 251-979-4100

6 Reasons to Plan a Girls Weekend Getaway! 

When was the last time you took a vacation with your best friends? If you’re on the edge of making a decision maybe this list will help! What better way to relax than sit with your toes in the sand and listen to the waves crash against the shore?

Here are 6 Reasons to Plan a Girls Weekend at the Beach in Gulf Shores: 

1) Take a break

After spending the last two years in a global pandemic, everyone is in need of a girls weekend to reset so you can be the best version of yourself. You have been everyone else’s caretaker, making sure your family survived and made it through a global pandemic. You know you need a break from your everyday responsibilities, clients, contracts and time clocks. Where the only thing you have to worry about is what time the sun sets. What better way to celebrate than to take your girlfriends and head to the Alabama Gulf Coast for a weekend on the beach!

2) Let someone else cook

Being able to go out and enjoy someone else’s cooking is something we don’t always get to appreciate! But, when you’re on vacation and able to sit back and relax, it becomes a treat. With all of the great restaurants Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan have to offer, it probably isn’t easy to pick! We have something for all kinds of eaters. For seafood, try local faves Cobalt, TinTop or Sassy Bass. Want a delicious steak? Check out Cosmos for delicious food and a super friendly staff. Hungry for a big ole seafood pizza? You must visit Papa Rocco’s or Cricos! How about gumbo to make your mouth happy? Sea-n-Suds is the place for gumbo. And the best part is that someone else is on dish duty tonight!

3) Shop for yourself

Sometimes it’s hard to forget we need new things too! What better place to look for new clothes and souvenirs than Main Street at The Wharf in Orange Beach. Retail therapy is one of the best things especially when you’re on vacation! You could dedicate a whole day to just exploring SanRoc Cay in Orange Beach or Pelican Place in Gulf Shores. We also have a huge Tanger Outlet for those seeking bargains! All of these places have great boutiques and shopsl. So, once you’ve gotten too much sun for the day, go ahead and take a shopping trip!

4) Kick off your shoes and kick up your heels

After a day of shopping and beach combing with your tribe, you want to sing along with a band and do a little dancing?  Well, you’re in luck! The Flora-Bama, our favorite roadhouse, is just a few minutes away. If you planned your mini-vaca for late fall, you might even get to enjoy The Frank Brown Songwriters Festival. There is always someone singing and dancing there!

Another great place for food, spirits and laughter is Lucy Buffett’s LuLu’s located in Gulf Shores. A fun place to spend an evening is Live Bait. With fabulous cocktails and great music, you can sing along while sampling their unique appetizer menu. Oh, and don’t forget to get a tee shirt from each place y’all visit! What a great way to have a cool souvenir collection and remember one of the best weekends ever!

5) Visit the Spa

Who doesn’t like to be pampered sometimes, and what better time than when you’re with your favorite people? Spend the day having some of your favorite treatments done at The Beach Club Spa in Fort Morgan . They have a wonderful selection of everything from massages, facials and even hair services! To relax even further you may want to try out their Aromatherapy Stress Fix Massage. It features “Swedish and Deep Tissue massage with lavender infused auroras to calm the senses.” What a wonderful way to finish off your relaxing vacation! Locals love Austin Massage where you may find yourself melting into the table.

6) Stay in an amazing beach home

You don’t know where to stay? We can help with that! At Sunset Properties, we have just the perfect mini-vaca spot for you and all of your girlfriends! If youl want to stay together, we have the perfect beach home for you like SEA TURTLE and GOLDEN YONA that sleep 10-17 guests comfortably. If you’d like to reserve a penthouse condo for your girls weekend, check out Caribe C Penthouse 14. Talk about luxury!! Or, maybe you’d prefer an individual condo, but want to be in the same building. The Dunes and The Indies will probably be perfect for your group. The Dunes and Indies offer one, two, and three bedroom condos, so finding the perfect one shouldn’t be hard! All of our properties come with stocked kitchens, beautiful views, and comfy beds. Do you have that one bestie who simply cannot leave her fur baby at home? Not a problem! We have several homes that are pet friendly and allow dogs to stay with their owners! We even have a new condo called Pleasant Greens with a beautiful view of Kiva Dunes Golf Course! At Sunset Properties, we have a home for just about anyone!

 So what are you waiting for? It’s time to book your girls weekend in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach or Fort Morgan with Sunset Properties! Go ahead, give us a call! We are ready to help you move your daydream into reality!

www.sunsetproperties.com

251-543-1370

5 Tips When Investing In Your First Investment Property

Investing in rental properties has become one of the top trending ways to create a revolving wheel of wealth in the residential space. Very few assets, if any, reward investors with a greater return on investment for extended periods of time.

These residential rental properties allow investors to make money passively. However, there are several things to consider when immersing yourself into the home renting experience. If you find yourself intrigued by the passive income lifestyle, use these tips when buying your first investment property.

  1. Research The Right Properties

The first step when jumping into the rental real estate market is to search for the right properties. Anyone can purchase an ordinary property and call it a rental, but the investors who do research will find the most success. It’s essential to strategically find what kinds of properties are doing the best in the current market.

Ask yourself these questions: Are you looking for a single or multifamily property? How many bathrooms? Is there backyard space? Are you looking for a property in the suburbs or the city? Is it a new house or an old house?

Before you do anything else, you should develop a solid understanding of the types of properties along with the condition and features of that property before committing. Conducting a rental real estate market analysis could also be beneficial when trying to reach your financial goals. As rewarding as rental real estate can be, investing in a non-desirable property can alter your passive income aspirations. Once you discover the right type of property for your investment, you can then consider the right location.

  • Find An Ideal Location

Another important step when buying an investment property is to consider the right location. One of the golden rules of real estate investing is focusing on the location of the prospective property. The location of your potential rental property asset is one of the most critical elements in the process. Proximity to desirable locations like restaurants, shopping malls and well-established education will contribute to demand and value, which will allow landlords to increase their rental asking prices. As a result, prospective landlords need to be aware of where they intend to buy.

The specific location of a property will determine a variety of factors, which also may dictate the opportunities your property may open. As a real estate investor, you don’t want to go for a location that has too many available properties for rent. Ideally, you need a location with reasonable supply and high demand. This will also greatly impact the types of potential clients your assets will attract. For example, if the property is acquired in a tourist destination, it may be better served as a vacation rental. Similarly, properties that are close to college campuses may be best suited for student housing. Overall, finding the right income property location is very important and will determine almost everything moving forward, so spend time studying up.

  • Start Thinking Like A Landlord

When you have ambitions to become a landlord, it’s important to start thinking like a landlord. Navigating this process can create a certain level of stress for people who aren’t familiar with best real estate practices. For some, this may mean developing handy skills around the house. If you’re serious, you should take the time to learn about the infrastructure of homes along with how you can maximize your ROI. For others, this may require more real estate assistance like hiring a third-party property manager.

More importantly, however, prospective landlords should look into third-party property managers. The assistance of a property manager can reduce the workload significantly for a landlord. Using the help of a property manager will free up more time for you to spend on more valuable things than the typical landlord assignments. Usually, investment property owners who hire property managers are able to add more estates to their rental property portfolios while avoiding additional work to their daily itineraries.

  • Consider Financing Options

In order to find prosperity in this extensive process, begin by considering the most valuable financing options for your investment aspirations. On the outside looking in, most people who are unfamiliar with owning a rental property are unaware of the funding options best suited for them. However, it’s a bit more financially complex than that. Naturally, the higher your monthly payment, the less cash flow that is available. Perhaps, the cash flow isn’t as high as you anticipated.

One of the things to consider when buying rental property is your financing options. When you apply for a mortgage loan, you’ll find plenty of options available for financing your first investment property. Should you choose a 15-or 30-year mortgage? An FHA loan or a conventional loan? Of course, different options come with different benefits and costs. Therefore, it’s important that you weigh all your financing options carefully to make sure you choose the right loan option that best suits your financial standing and real estate investment goals.

  • Budget For The Unexpected & Any Improvements

When considering your expenses before buying your first rental property, it’s also important that you budget for unexpected costs and any improvements that come with owning that property. Some of these include fees, taxes, vacancies, and damages done by previous tenants. Take the time to set aside money for revamping your projected budget. Over time, using your funds for improvements and upgrades can decrease the amount of extra expenses needed for repairs in the future. Making the proper upgrades to your rental property not only provides a safety net but also increases the value of your home as well.

If saving money and budgeting is an issue for you, try to think of other ways to gather funding. For example, if you’re a homeowner yourself, there are additional ways you can collect money to make upgrades. A HELOC is a reliable way to gather funds in order to tend to certain projects on your property. This is a secured loan where you can qualify for lower interest rates than you would for an unsecured personal loan. Ultimately, use your updated budget to restore any items to the condition they were in before they stopped working. For example, a landlord who replaced old, broken wooden flooring with fresh hardwood has  made an invested improvement, thus increasing the lifespan and value of that property.

Like any occupation, becoming a real estate investor has its ups and downs. It’s essential to work strategically and mindfully to generate a cash flowing rental portfolio. In order to find success, use these tips to build your rental real estate knowledge.

What the PEOPLE Are Saying About the Most Popular Rentals in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, and Fort Morgan

By: Raven Hunter

If you’re new to the vacation rental game, or even if you’ve been at it for a while, you probably know what it’s like to be faced with dozens, maybe hundreds of rentals on any given website and have no idea which one fits best for your vacation. I know it can be time consuming and taxing combing through all of the options, ascertaining their amenities, and trying to fit each person’s interests to the perfect rental for your next beach vacation. That’s why I found the highest rated Sunset Properties rentals that had the most buzz in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, and Fort Morgan and figured out what previous guests liked so much about them to help you narrow down your search. 

Gulf Shores – Lighthouse 607

Starting in Gulf Shores, Lighthouse 607 has an average rating of 4.5 stars, and people had the most to say about it in 36 glowing reviews. A recurring praise for this luxury rental was centered around the optimal space provided by the two bedrooms and bunkbed room. Each bedroom comes equipped with a king-sized bed, so whether you and your spouse are looking for room to spread out or you need some extra space to squeeze in a few of the kiddos, Lighthouse 607 has more than enough room. Multiple guests were excited about the bunkbed room having a door rather than a curtain because it kept noise out of the room after the kids had gone to bed. Enjoy some adult time and conversation with no fear of waking the kiddos after bedtime! Many guests testified to having big families stay in the rental or to their kids being able to bring friends and still stay comfortably. Lighthouse 607 is perfect for that big trip where everyone is invited! 

In addition to space, Lighthouse 607 also comes with a lot of extras that renters thought made the stay worthwhile. Many people loved the jacuzzi tub in the master bath and access to the two large pools and two hot tubs. This rental offers means of relaxation for people of all ages! People were also impressed by the large balcony accessible from both the living room and the master bedroom. This amenity allowed for these guests to enjoy the equally praised view of the beach, which is just a boardwalk trip away from the rental. Flashlights, boogieboards, and nets are also included as extras, giving the kids and grownups every opportunity to make the most of the easy beach access. After the beach fun, Lighthouse 607 is ready and waiting for the renters to use the fully stocked kitchen and wind down with some of the rental’s family games! For those who don’t feel like cooking, iconic restaurants like Sea n Suds and the Hangout are right nearby!  

If I’ve sold you on Lighthouse 607, you better hurry. Many renters stated that they would rent again, had already booked their next stay, or even extended their initial stay! People are rushing back to Lighthouse 607, so go ahead and place your dates while you have the chance! 

Orange Beach – Grand Caribbean 215

One of Orange Beach’s most popular Sunset Properties rentals, Grand Caribbean 215, offers a relaxing getaway for families just looking for some calming time together at the beach. The trend in the twenty reviews placed on this rental is praise of the condo’s cleanliness and comfort. When people’s favorite thing about a rental is the atmosphere, you know you’ve got the perfect place to relax and unwind. The location of Grand Caribbean 215 furthers the opportunity for relaxation this rental offers as it’s right across the street from the access to Cotton Bayou State Park. Most guests were appreciative and impressed by this aspect, but one reviewer did express frustration of having to cross the street with a young child. If you have young children and don’t want to take your car to the beach, then you may want to consider one of Sunset Properties venues closer to the beach accesses. Otherwise, enjoy the crosswalk interlude to your rejuvenating experience in one of the most beautiful beaches Orange Beach has to offer. 

Grand Caribbean’s location continues to minimize renters’ stress by being centrally located between grocery and shopping areas. Former guests were ecstatic about this feature, and it’s no question why! The last thing you need on a restful family vacation is to run out of or realize you’ve forgotten an essential and are miles from the nearest store. This rental was also praised for having an easy check-in/checkout process, so no front desk nightmares for these renters! The general consensus on Grand Caribbean 215 seems to be that it’s the perfect environment for much needed R&R. 

Fort Morgan – Out of Office

As Sunset Properties’ top rated rental in Fort Morgan, Out of Office has provided past renters with everything necessary for family vacation fun! Almost every review praised the rental for close proximity to the water, and many people enjoyed walking on the pier to experience the local wildlife. One family even saw dolphins! A few renters also made use of the rental’s extra kayaks, taking beach fun to a whole new level. And, once the sun goes down, Out of Office also comes with crab traps! This rental offers everything necessary for families to enjoy beach time at any time of day.

When the beach becomes too much, Out of Office also comes equipped with extras for family fun that doesn’t involve even leaving the property. Former guests were thrilled with the grills and fully stocked kitchen with everything they needed for indoor or outdoor family mealtime. Renters also loved the board games and cornhole set up, so the fun just continues! However you and your crew kick back, Out of Office is where you want to be for your next family vacation. 

In addition to all of these amenities, a common theme throughout reviews on all of these properties commended the Sunset Properties management for being friendly and attentive during the rental process. This stellar customer service is also on display in the review section of all of these rentals in management’s engaged replies to renters’ comments. Even on the rare occasion that there was a complaint, management was gracious and responsive. These renters know firsthand that there’s nothing to fear in turning to Sunset Properties for your next getaway, so click or call to start your journey with them today!

Make Spring Break 2022 Count in Gulf Shores, Alabama!

By: Raven Hunter

It’s finally time for Spring Break! I remember my school years years of counting down the days till the middle of the spring semester when we got that glorious span of nine whole days with no classes, assignments, or obligations. Once high school came, you’d have homework assignments due the day classes returned, so you’d have to portion out some of your fun time to make sure those things got done, but otherwise, you were free. The perfect solace to hold you over until the end of the year! For all of the students out there, I’m sure this is an exciting time; but, for parents, this time may be more stress than excitement because now you have to face the inevitable question of  “What do I do with my children without school during the day?”

Worry not! Gulf Shores is here to answer that question for you with plenty of options for you to tire your kids out over their long-anticipated break from school. And, this can be a chance for you to get a break for a few days as well. With the kids at school all day and you working or busy otherwise, it can be hard to squeeze in some family time. You want to make the most of this time you have together, and the Gulf Shores area is exactly the place to do that. 

Events

At this point, you may be wondering, “What is there to do that’s so special Gulf Shores that will keep my kids entertained?” And that’s a valid question. While some kids love the beach, many can find it boring. Especially if they live near a beach themselves. But, Gulf Shores has many events happening this March that will surely bring the fun that you and your family are looking for with this trip.

The Ballyhoo Festival

I remember school as a time for growing and learning new ideas and perspectives as I got older and learned more about different kinds of people. If your kids are like me and love that part of the school, then the Ballyhoo Festival gives them the opportunity to take it on vacation with them. The Ballyhoo Festival is an arts festival and cultural exchange that showcases all kinds of art from across the southeast. Held in the Lake Shelby picnic area of Gulf State Park, this event offers diverse art, live music, and food for your whole family to feast on while broadening your perspectives with the cultural sights and sounds. If you’ve got some musicians among the group, sign them up for the Fiddle and Banjo Competition. It’s fun and free for people of all ages to enter, just make sure you’re all ready to bring the heat! 

Whatever your kids’ artistic interest, there’s something for all of them to enjoy and learn from at the Ballyhoo Festival. The dates are March 5th and 6th, so make sure to mark your calendar and get a few days off. You’ll be glad you did. 

Legends of Country in Concert

Got some country lovers in your crew? Then ride on down to OWA in Foley, AL, to see Legends of Country! At this seasonal event, you can familiarize your kids with legends Martina McBride, Shania Twain, Garth Brooks, and Elvis Presley while reminiscing about the days of their fame yourself! This event runs all spring, so no matter when your kids’ Spring Break starts, you’ll have the opportunity to experience tribute performances to some of country’s biggest stars. You won’t want to miss it! 

St. Pawtty’s Day

Reading through all of this, you may be concerned that some of your friends might have to miss out on the fun; that is, your furry friends. Finding a rental that accepts your beloved pet probably seems like enough of a blessing; but the people over at OWA want your pups to feel welcome, too, so they’ve got a whole holiday event just for them! On March 12th, take your kids’ best furry friend down to the OWA theater for the St. Pawtty’s Day celebration! There, they can enjoy music, a parade where your kids and pups can strut their stuff, and a costume contest to show off a little extra flare! Attendance is free! Registration for the parade and costume contest is available for $15 the day of, and it’s only $10 to register ahead. What better way to commemorate Spring Break 2022 than by making memories with your kids and pets to enjoy for years to come? 

The Beach 

Okay, okay, I know I lured you into this talking about things to do in Gulf Shores that weren’t the beach, but in the middle of your exciting event hopping, why not take a stroll with the whole family on one of eight public accesses to the most beautiful beaches on the Gulf Coast? If your kids object, remind them that a change in scenery is always nice, and your high school students might enjoy the chance to walk the beach without the possibility of running into that teacher they owe a reading assignment to. Once they see the beautiful coastline and crystalline blue water, it won’t take long to win them over. 

Andrew’s Cottage

At the end of the day, when your kids need time to finish that one lingering assignment, or, you know, sleep, Sunset Properties is ready to offer you Andrew’s Cottage, a two bedroom, dog friendly rental.  Even with only two bedrooms, this rental sleeps six. Depending on the size of your family, you can all fit in this beautiful house with easy access to trails to give your furry friends a chance to stretch their legs. As an added plus, this rental has two bathrooms, one for you, and one for the kids!

If you’ve got a bigger family, Sea-Rae, Hangar Outer, Happy Clam might be more suitable for your needs. 

Your kids are another year older this break, but you’ve still got time to make these years special. I hope you all enjoy the chance to seize the moment on your Spring Break trip to Gulf Shores, Alabama.

There’s So Much To Do at Christmas at OWA!

At this point in the holiday season, many of us are approaching the dreaded Christmas vacation planning rush. You know the feeling. You’ve been too caught up in work or bills or whatever commands your attention this time of year to plan any fun Christmas trips or events, and then suddenly you look at the calendar and it’s mid-December. You rush to the computer to find something to do with your family this season as everyone’s off-time approaches, but everything you find has already been done, has already passed, or is too soon for you to have time to plan for it. Before you give up the ghost and spend your Christmas budget getting yourself a new computer, take a look at OWA’s website and browse the recurring events that Christmas at OWA has to offer all the way through the end of December. 

OWA’s entertainment venues are split up into two main locations, the Park at OWA and Downtown OWA, and both places have holiday events and opportunities for the whole family to enjoy. Here are just a few options to help you decide how to plan your itinerary for this year’s vacation! 

The Park at OWA 

The Park at OWA is an amusement park on the OWA property that offers super fun rides, challenging games, and delicious concessions for all ages! The park doesn’t offer many specific holiday events; however, the Last Chance Season Pass Sale runs from December 10-23. If you take advantage of this sale, you can gift your whole family with passes to the Park at OWA for the entire year of 2022 plus some bonus dates in December 2021! So, not only can your crew enjoy the park fun this year, but the gift just keeps on giving into the next. 

Downtown OWA

If you’re looking for some exciting or chill events for your family to just enjoy together, then Downtown OWA has more than enough options to suit your vacation needs. If you’ve got kiddos, then you’re going to want to make a stop or several in the North Pole. I know, the North Pole in southern Alabama sounds a little far-fetched, but if you can get past the warm weather, you’ll have no shortage of holiday fun and memories to enjoy with the younglings. 

First, take them over to Mrs. Claus’ Crafty Christmas to become Honorary Elves for the day! They’ll get the whole elf experience by baking cookies and decorating Christmas ornaments. Each child will get to keep an ornament for your tree and receive their own honorary elf certificate for your scrapbook, so you’ll walk away with plenty to commemorate this family vacation. 

If you visit on a weekend, make sure to take the kids to Storytime with Santa’s Elves! This fifteen-minute story time will give you a chance to take a break and unwind in between your holiday adventures while you listen to Santa’s elves read some classic Christmas stories. The stories start at the top of the hour at 1 pm, 2 pm, 3 pm, and 4 pm on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday until December 23, so take the opportunity to get cozy with your kiddos at least once while you’re here. You may decide to go back a few times to hear other stories! 

The North Pole at Downtown OWA also gives you the quintessential North Pole Experience with photos with Santa and Christmas crafts. Don’t miss this chance to build your holiday spirit! 

Downtown OWA offers many other events for the family as well, like the Holiday Tree Show or the Tinsel Tones caroling. If all of this sounds too good to pass up, click on over to Sunset Properties to find one of the best rentals in Gulf Shores for you and your family to stay in, and let the holiday fun begin. 

Reasons to Head to Gulf Shores, Alabama for Your Thanksgiving Vacation

Thanksgiving seems to be one of those holidays that has unique implications for every family that celebrates it. For some, it means piling in the car to traverse to a large family get together, for others it’s an intimate dinner at home with family or friends, and for many it’s an annual rotation of all of the above. But what if we could take Thanksgiving outside of the home and intermix the best of both beach vacation time and family holiday time? Well, fortunately, Sunset Properties and businesses out in Gulf Shores, Alabama are working to make this possible! Give me a chance to tell you why mixing up your traditions (and possibly creating some new ones) could be exactly what your family needs this holiday season! 

  1. Possibility for Cost Distribution

You’ve probably looked at some of Sunset Properties’ larger luxury homes and thought, “That’s nice, but not a chance on our budget.” I can’t speak to your personal budget, but I can say that costs can be mitigated by sharing them with your family. How long has it been since everyone in your family got to be together on the holiday? Probably since you all had your own families, right?! It’s just so hard nowadays to find times that everyone’s available all at once, and you never know when you’re going to be able to afford that big vacation. But, if everyone in the clan can squeeze a few days off for Thanksgiving weekend, the kids will already be out of school and every family unit can split the cost of the flat rate to lessen the financial burden on everyone. Take advantage of some of Sunset Properties’ 15+ guest rentals and grab some family vacation time that’s kind to everyone’s expense budget! 

  1. Less Pressure

Now that we’ve established that vacationing in a Sunset Properties rental in Gulf Shores could allow for more people to be included at a lower price, we can also figure that this destination could alleviate the stress of other aspects of the holiday, too! For example, you no longer have to worry about hosting anyone in your house. Now, instead of making up a map of where everyone is going to sleep and having arm wrestles for who gets the floor, you can let everyone choose their rooms and move on to vacation fun! Many Sunset Properties rentals also come with fully-stocked kitchens, so you’ll have everything you need to tag team your family Thanksgiving feast! And, since it’s not anyone’s personal kitchen, there will be no worries about letting someone else use your favorite skillet or mixer. It’s new territory for everyone, so let the different family units come together and blaze a new pathway to your favorite part of the holiday. 

To take even more of the pressure off, The Hangout offers an option for people who don’t feel like cooking to enjoy all that a traditional southern Thanksgiving dinner has to offer! The Hangout is hosting Thanksgiving Dinner on November 25 from 11 am to 4 pm. Adults eat for $29.99, kids 5-10 eat for $14.99, and your little ones under 5 will eat for free! This event offers reserved time slots for families to enjoy delicious Thanksgiving delicacies with a little bit of Gulf Shores flair. Register today to reserve your slot and add some seaside spice to this year’s Thanksgiving meal.  

  1. You Can Still Enjoy the Beach! 

I know most people don’t associate winter weather with walking out on the beach, feeling the cooler air blow in from the gulf, but hear me out here. In Alabama, it doesn’t really get as cold as it does in more northern parts of the country. We’re generally lucky if it stays in the mid 60’s for more than a few days at a time by late November. So, even if you’re not wanting to get in the somewhat chilly water, you and your family can still enjoy a nice walk with a beautiful view, and the kiddos can build sand castles (or sandmen!) as a memorable pastime. Gulf Shores beaches are open all year, so don’t miss the opportunity while you’re down here for your family Thanksgiving get together! 

As you can see, there are many benefits to meeting up with your family on Gulf Shores gorgeous coast this Thanksgiving. Don’t wait! Those luxury rentals won’t stay open forever, so secure your spot this Thanksgiving weekend for unforgettable family memories on the most beautiful beaches in the Emerald Coast.

Choose the Alabama Gulf Coast for Your Next Homeschool Fieldtrip

By: Raven Hunter

            Homeschooling offers many appealing advantages to a child’s education, among those being schedule flexibility and creative license. Not only can homeschool families organize schoolwork around family plans without having to worry about makeup work or excuse notes, but they can also use those family plans as educational opportunities to broaden their students’ learning horizons! With the COVID-19 pandemic making virtual school a popular schooling option, many public school families are also experiencing these benefits, and Alabama’s Gulf Coast gives all at-home learners the opportunity to make the most of them. If your student is learning at home, here are some destinations in the Gulf Shores and Fort Morgan area that will make your next educational vacation one to remember:

            Fort Morgan State Historic Site

            Fort Morgan is a historical preservation of the fort built to refortify its predecessor, Fort Bowyer, in 1819. The site offers a detailed account of the site’s complicated history from the war of 1812 to World War II through a series of information panels spread throughout the site that will allow you and your students to absorb the history while being immersed in the location itself. As a result of COVID-19 restrictions, tours of Fort Morgan are currently self-guided. While this change may seem disappointing initially, this independence will give your at-home learner the opportunity to explore and learn at their own pace. What better way to develop a love of learning? Sunset Properties offers several rentals on Alabama State Highway 180 that are just a hop, skip, and a jump away from Fort Morgan, making the site perfect for an early morning start to a full day of educational fun! Admission is only $5 for children and $8 for adults with a $20 deal for families of two adults and two children. Prepay for your family’s tickets today!

            Nature Exploration

            If at-home learning has you always looking for opportunities to explore the outdoors, Alabama’s Gulf Coast offers many places for you and your kids to connect with nature! Also on AL 180 is Bon Secour Wildlife Refuge. This refuge contains four different nature trails and offers your young learners multiple different avenues to experience the coastal wildlife, such as birdwatching (seasonal for spring and autumn), interpretive material and activities, photography, and fishing if you have anglers in the bunch! Over in Gulf Shores, Gulf State Park also offers many opportunities for your children to discover a love for wildlife with attractions such as the Interpretive Center, the Nature Center, and the Forest Pavilion & Butterfly Garden as well as many trails with rest stops to make for a relaxing and bonding nature experience. The park also encourages you to teach your children about the importance of conservation with their many initiatives! Make sure to include a day immersed in the wonder that the coastal flora and fauna has to offer to your family’s learning vacation!

            Family Fun, Dinner, and Dessert

            After a long day of learning and fun, you may be looking for a fun place to unwind as a family. Alabama’s Gulf Coast has no shortage of family-friendly hangout spots! Hangout, appropriately named, in Gulf Shores offers live bands and seafood for the whole family. Come and attend an event, or just relax and enjoy dinner accompanied by the sounds of the band of the evening. For dessert, you can head over to Chocolate Corner & Ice Cream for a quick to-go treat of ice cream or chocolate. Rated five stars on Yelp, this parlor offers takeout and delivery services for sweet treats from milkshakes and frappuccinos to truffles and chocolate bark! These delicacies will be perfect for you and your family to wind down and remember the fun times you had on your family field trip.

If you’re looking to seize the creative spontaneity made possible by at-home learning, then Alabama’s Gulf Coast is the place to go to give your family relaxing and educational fun!

Should I rent a beach home or a hotel room in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach or Fort Morgan?

Someone who knows I write blogs for Sunset Properties asked me, “Do you always stay in a condo or house when you go on vacation? Don’t you ever stay in a hotel?”  To answer honestly, I had to say “yes”.  Like everyone else who has ever traveled and stayed overnight somewhere, I have stayed in a hotel.  Do I like it for longer than one or two nights?  Absolutely not.  I like to spend my money wisely.  I like having my privacy and I enjoy the luxury of staying in a home away from home instead of just having a bedroom.  For business travel, a hotel is ok, I guess.  But for vacation, I much prefer having all the amenities I am accustomed to in my personal home available to me in my vacation home.

Here are five reasons why staying in a beach house or condo can be a better choice than renting a hotel room:

1.      Comparing the costs, beach homes are the better deal.

Oftentimes we are fooled into believing a hotel room is cheaper and therefore it is the better deal.  For years, our brains have been conditioned to think that way.  The fact is, that when we compare apples to apples (I mean, as close as we can compare said apples) the beach condo or house is the better deal.  Let me prove this.  For the week of August 9-13, 2021, which would be for four nights, we have the following options.  A large internet booking site posts a hotel that is right on the beach in Orange Beach for $1226 total cost including estimated 13% taxes and fees.  That sounds pretty good, right?  This is probably a nice hotel, too.  It’s part of a well-known chain with a great reputation.  And this room has a pool view.  Can’t beat that, can ya?  So for right at twelve hundred dollars, you can rent a two-bed room (not a two bedroom) right on the beach in Orange Beach.  Breakfast is not included with this reservation.  Then I searched Sunset Properties for the same time period.  I found this: for about $1263 (all fees included) only about $40 more than the hotel room I mentioned, you can book a one bedroom condo with a sleeper sofa and a private balcony that overlooks the beach in Gulf Shores.  That’s right!  For almost the same amount of money, you can bookIsland Winds West 177 in Gulf Shores.  Like the hotel room, this condo doesn’t come with breakfast, either, but, unlike the hotel room, it does come with a fully stocked kitchen that has full size appliances.  All you have to do is stop by Rouse’s and get some breakfast groceries or go out to eat breakfast. But let’s face it, you were going to have to do that anyway, if you rented the hotel.  So, maybe you can beat the hotel deal!

2.      Privacy matters for private matters.

So, we’ve all been in a hotel room when we overheard our neighbors.  Maybe they were talking, or singing or the kids were playing loudly.  It happens, right?  We sort of expect it.  But when we are on vacation, do we really need to know what our neighbors are doing?  As for me, I’d rather not.  And hotel turndown service and restocking the toilet paper is great for a couple of days.  But after that, when I’m on vacation, I don’t always want to pre-clean my room before the housekeeper comes.  I’d rather just relax a bit and leave my clothes on the floor if I am tired from a long day of beaching.  A beach home is definitely the way to go for longer stays!  When you book a beach home, house or condo, you get so much more privacy during your vacation.  When you reserve a condo, like Gulfside Townhome 31, much like an apartment, some neighbor noise does filter through.  But when you reserve a beach house, like Alta Vista, for example, it is like being in your own home.  When you’re cooking that great local Alabama Seafood you purchased right off the boat from one of our amazing seafood retailers and you are singing along to your favorite Jimmy Buffett song, your neighbors won’t be able to hear you.  No one will come and turn down the covers for you each day while you’re away and no one will come and restock the toilet paper, but the overall benefits really outweigh the inconvenience of having to buy your own restock roll.  And, once your seafood is ready, you can enjoy it right on your own balcony overlooking some of the most beautiful beaches that surround the Gulf of Mexico.

3.      Amenities like well-stocked kitchens with full size appliances alleviate stress.

I love to dine out when I travel.  I love to dine out in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan.  That’s no secret.  I actually will admit to being a Destination Dinner Diner ( a little term I coined which is actually quite fitting!).  Like a lot of folks I know, I will look ahead to find the best places to eat before I travel.  And we do have some great places here along the Alabama Gulf Coast!  Want to know where to have a memorable breakfast or brunch?  Check out my breakfast/brunch blog.  How about a great place for a Bushwacker?  I have a Bushwacker blog. The list goes on.  At Sunset Properties, we are happy to make recommendations on our favorite local spots.  But what about those days when you don’t want to wait in line at a restaurant to be seated?  When you’re not feeling especially people-ly and you just want to go in for the night and cook your own seafood and have your own adult beverages?  In vacation peace and serenity.  We can’t really do that in a hotel, can we?  But if you were staying a few days in Happy Clam, located just two streets from the beach, you can have it all.   This lovely beach house has a great kitchen, stocked with everything you need to cook any meal, except your menu items.  It also has a grill for your use.  And if you have too much of your favorite adult beverage, you won’t have to drive home after dinner, because you’ll already be there!  So to review, you can get a really nice private beach home, with a great kitchen and grill, that’s a five minute walk to the beach, for about the same cost as a hotel.   I’d say that’s a win, win, win, win, stress-free WIN!

4.      Everyone, including the dog, has their own space.

Most of us like to travel with our dogs.  They are as much a part of our family as our human relatives are.  Frequently, unless your dog is a service animal, this is not an option when staying in a hotel.  Leaving our dogs at home while we go away on vacation can get expensive.  If you have to rent a space at a doggie spa or vet, your vacation cost can go up exponentially.  If you have to get a neighbor, friend or relative to doggy-sit, you also face extra charges.  Both are great options, and we have all tried them, but they also cause stress on our fur babies.  Not only are they sad because we are away from them, but they are left in the care of semi or total strangers, and that can make them terribly uncomfortable.  Why not pack up Spot’s favorite toys and bed and bring him with you?  When your family stays in adog friendly Sunset Properties beach home, everyone can enjoy their vacation.  When I say everyone, I actually literally mean “everyone”.  Check out the dog friendly breath-takingly beautiful beach home Grace.  Up to twenty humans can stay here.  And dogs, under certain restrictions, are welcome, too.  There are so many things you can do with your dog along the Alabama Gulf Coast, I can’t think of one reason to split up the family and leave your fur baby at home.

5.      The staff gets to know you by name and can help you customize your vacation.

While some hotels do have consistency in staffing, many, many do not.  When you call in to check on a reservation or for assistance at your hotel, often you’re just a “last name and a room number”.  But at Sunset Properties, a small family-owned company, our staff turnover is very low.  That works to our guest’s benefit!  We get to know you by name and many of our guests become our friends.  We learn about your family’s wants and needs and are able to help you customize your reservations to line up with your vacation goals.  Where do you want to stay in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach or Fort Morgan?  Do you prefer a condo or a house?  Pool or beach front or both?  Bay front or boat slip needed?  These are things we learn about our guests, and we are able to offer vacation homes to meet each of these wants and needs.  Again, for a less personal experience and for a quick on night stay, a hotel is probably the way to go.  But if you want a vacation that specifically meets your family’s lifestyle, reserving a beach home from Sunset Properties is probably going to provide you with the memories you’re hoping for.  

Though there are too many to list them all here, this little blog outlines some reasons why I prefer staying in a vacation home instead of a hotel.  If you have questions about a home you’re considering booking, reach out to us.  At Sunset Properties, we are very familiar with all of our available homes, and we are happy to answer questions you may have.  Remember, if you’re looking for someone to turn down your covers and restock your toilet paper during your stay in one room, that’s not us.  But if you’re looking to be the King or Queen of one of the nicest “Sand Castles” on the Alabama Gulf Coast, reach out to us at Sunset Properties.  We can definitely get you a key to a castle that will fit your whole family’s needs.

www.sunsetproperties.com

251.543.1370

Post-pandemic Golfing in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan – Top Five Courses

Now that the Covid-19 case numbers have decreased and we are starting to hang out with our friends again, we golfers are excited to get back out on the courses!  Here along the Alabama Gulf Coast, our amenities are starting to open back up fully in our island home.  A post-pandemic golf weekend in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach or Fort Morgan may be just what the doctor ordered to help you get over those pandemic lockdown blues!  There is no better time than now to make up for all the missed tee times from last year and according to Sports Show , golf ranks among the ten most popular sports in the world, so it is no coincidence that some of the best golf courses in the world are found right here along the Alabama Gulf Coast.  But how do you know which course is right for you?  To make your decision easier, we have listed the top five golf courses in our area:

  • Peninsula Golf and Racquet Club 

Located just off Fort Morgan Road, Peninsula Golf and Racquet Club is another of our local favorites.  Peninsula offers three separate 9 hold courses:  Lakes, Cypress and Marsh and we encourage you to play all three.  Combine two of the three to make an 18-hole round.  Each provides a distinctly different challenge and reward.  Finding this type of variety in one resort location is not always easy.  Make sure to visit the Peninsula Golf and Racquet Club website  to learn about tee times and fees.  Sunset Properties is proud to offer the golfer with discerning taste an elegant beach home located about ten minutes from Peninsula Golf and Racquet ClubCoquille at Martinique is a six-bedroom, five bath gorgeous beach home located in the golf cart friendly gated community of Martinique just off Fort Morgan Road.  After a day of golfing and enjoying the sun and breezes that flow through the Peninsula Golf Course, you’ll only be a short trip from a relaxing shower and a private sunroom or deck where you can enjoy your evening cocktail.

  • Craft Farms Golf Resort

Every serious golfer knowsCraft Farms Golf Resort is one of the top resorts in the country.  The Cotton Creek Course and The Cypress Bend Course were both designed by the legendary golfer Arnold Palmer, making them extremely appealing to anyone who swings a club.  With perfectly trimmed fairways and surrounding areas unmatched in beauty, these 18-hole courses are a must for any golfer, pro or otherwise.  Craft Farms, located at 3840 Cotton Creek Circle in Gulf Shores, about fifteen minutes from the beachfront luxury home Lighthouse 607, offers beautifully furnished clubhouses managed by a knowledgeable and professional staff.  These courses are both challenging and entertaining.  To book your tee time, visit the Craft Farms online.  To get a closer look at the exquisitely decorated Gulf front beach home called Lighthouse 607, visit Sunset Properties.   Make sure you give Craft Farms a serious look, too.  After all, you may find Arnold Palmer designed the perfect course for You!

  • One Club Golf

For one of the most distinctive golfing experiences around, try One Club Golf.  Along with traditional day time golfing outings, One Club Golf offers golfing after dark.  That’s right, you can experience this glowingly fun way to golf, after the sun goes down. With Sunset Golf, Glow Golf and Golf Happy Hour, we are sure everyone in your family will have a blast.  So much of what we think of when we consider visiting a beach resort town, revolves around enjoying sunny days.  Well, with this new twist on a favorite sport, starry nights are in style, too!  Conveniently located at 4000 Gulf Shores Parkway in Gulf Shores, One Club Golf is just a short drive to the Bon Secour River area where Hangar Outer is located.  If enjoying the stars is something that appeals to you, be sure to consider Hangar Outer.  This special beach home was constructed out of an old airplane hangar and it is perfectly and appropriately located for any sky watcher.  Surrounded by 380 feet of water, the views of both water and sky are unmatched!  So after a day or night of golfing at One Club Golf, come home and continue your fun experience of enjoying twenty-four hours of fun at Hangar Outer!

  • Gulf Shores Golf Club 

Located in the heart of Gulf Shores at 520 Clubhouse Drive, Gulf Shores Golf Club is a semi-private club.  Guests are welcome to play this top rated Alabama golf course, along with members.   This beautifully kept 18 hole course is home to several local non-golfing residents.  Raccoons, squirrels and alligators can be found on or near the course.  The course has some challenging holes, as well.  Trees and ponds make navigating this local favorite fun and exciting. While you’re here, be sure to visit the Pro Shop and clubhouse.  Gulf Shores Golf Club, built in the 1960s, is an icon in our area and we know you will want to visit it while you’re in our neighborhood.  Speaking of neighborhoods, one of our favorites is the Fort Morgan Community.  Just minutes from Gulf Shores Golf Club, Tetherdown is a Mobile Bay front beach home just waiting for you and nine of your friends.  If a guy’s or girl’s golf weekend that includes fabulous views of the water is your goal, be sure to give this beach home a look.  Tetherdown, like Gulf Shores Golf Club, is surrounded with the natural wildlife that makes the Alabama Gulf Coast so inviting.  Be on the lookout for dolphins in Mobile Bay and possibly raccoons, squirrels or alligators near the home.  Also, if you see any of our Alabama Beach Mouse friends, please don’t disturb them.  They are endangered and we need them to help us keep our dunes intact.  

  • Kiva Dunes Resort and Golf

The Golf Course at Kiva Dunes has just over 7,100 yards of play area and is one of the top courses in Alabama.  Located just off Fort Morgan Road at 815 Plantation Road near Gulf and Golf East and Gulf and Golf West, Kiva Dunes is a completely public course.  In April 2018, it was ranked the top public course in Alabama by Golf Advisor.  The golf course, itself, as well as the professional staff, constantly receive rave reviews from guests and locals alike.  We are quite partial to them, as well!  Because of the novel location of this amazingly manicured course, which is literally between The Gulf of Mexico and Mobile Bay, the winds that pass over it change frequently.  Winds blow across the course from both the Gulf and Mobile Bay.  As every golfer knows, as the winds that blow across a course change,  the course, itself, changes.  This makes each golfing experience at Kiva a unique one. If you’re looking for a course that is constantly a challenge, well-kept and managed by super friendly folks, and is within walking distance from beautifully decorated beach homes that sleep up to seventeen of your closest golfing buddies, Kiva Dunes Resort and Golf is perfect for you!  For tee times and fees, visit Kiva Dunes online.

If you’re looking for a great place to practice and just hit a few balls around, be sure to visit The City of Orange Beach’s Orange Beach Golf Center located at 4700 Easy Street in Orange Beach.  Easy Street is just off Canal Road near The Wharf in Orange Beach.  The Orange Beach Golf Center features 9-Hole, Par-3 Course, lighted driving range, practice putting/chipping greens, practice sand bunker, and Pro Shop.  This golf venue is so lovely and well-kept.  We encourage island guests to visit The Orange Beach Golf Center for a relaxing afternoon.

Many of you have heard about the great courses in our area, but you’re not sure which one or ones to visit.  As locals, we’ve tried them all.  We are happy to recommend these courses, managed by our neighbors and friends, to you, our guests.  We believe you will fall in love with Golfing the Gulf Coast, just like thousands have before you.  And if you’re a repeat guest golfer, welcome back!

Remember, your vacation home is just as important as finding the perfect place to tee off.  Visit us at Sunset Properties and we can help you find those perfect accommodations for you and your family or you and your golf buddies.  From private pools to dog friendly options, to vacation homes with places to park your golf cart or your personal watercraft, at Sunset Properties, we have them all!  And we can’t wait for you to see them!

www.sunsetproperties.com

251.543.1370