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Jim Gilliland


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Most expensive homes in Destin

by Karen Dishner

Our last blog post covered the most expensive homes in Fort Walton Beach. Just to update you, all five of those homes are still currently available (give us a call if you feel like taking a look. We'll be happy to show you a few homes!!). Let's head east and look at the most expensive homes currently on the market in Destin.

As of today, April 24, there are currently 129 homes in Destin priced over $1,000,000 active on the market. There are 38 listings over $2 million, and 20 over $3 million. There are just 5 homes currently listed for over $4 million. Let's take a look at the Destin's top 5 most expensive homes!

#5 - 55 Lands End Drive - Destin Pointe, $4,168,000

5 bedrooms, 5 and half baths, and over 4700 square feet -  The balcony on this home is huge! I think my favorite little detail is the large fireplace in the Gulf-front master bedroom.


#4 - 4730 Ocean Boulevard - Destiny by the Sea, $4,250,000

4 bedrooms, 4 and a half baths, and 4,264 square feet - This home has 4 master suites, but I think I could just live in the rooftop hot tub. You can see the whole coast from there!


#3 - 627 Gulf Shore Drive - Holiday Isle, $4,400,000

11 bedrooms!!! ELEVEN!! 

This home is almost 12,000 square feet and 90 feet of deepwater frontage on the Destin Harbor. And check out the home theater!! 


#2 - 793 Bayou Drive - Joe's Bayou, $4,995,000

Only 7 bedrooms in this hovel....Ok, it's not quite a hovel. It might be my favorite one on this list. The lot alone is gorgeous! Jeremy Fretwell, our Broker/Owner here at RE/MAX Gulf Coast Realty always likes to talk about "mature trees" in his listings. This home definitely has mature trees. BEAUTIFUL old oak trees draped with Spanish moss - I love it! Take a look at the pictures of the inside - I am a sucker for a clawfoot tub!!


# 1

618 Gulf Shore Drive - Holiday Isle, $9,800,000

This one gets two pictures because it's just that gorgeous. But I highly recommend clicking the links and scrolling through the rest of them. No amount of description is going to do this place justice! At almost twice the price of the second-most expensive home in Destin, the house truly has everything!

I hope you enjoyed our little stroll (scroll?) through the most expensive homes in Destin! Check back next week - we'll see what the most expensive homes in Santa Rosa Beach look like!

Most expensive homes in Fort Walton Beach

by Karen Dishner

In the next few weeks we’ll be doing our own little take on that 80’s show Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. (Wikipedia tells me it actually ran until 1995. Did you realize it ran well into the 90's? I sure didn't.) We’ll be blogging about some of the most expensive homes currently for sale along the Emerald Coast! So read the next few posts in the voice of Robin Leach…Today, we’re looking at the Top 5 most expensive homes currently for sale in Fort Walton Beach (as of April 12, 2017). Interestingly, not one of them is on the beach. Take a look:


# 5 903 Santa Rosa Boulevard – Okaloosa Island, $1,250,000

This is one of my favorites. It has gorgeous views of the Santa Rosa Sound! You can sit on your patio off the enormous master suite and watch the boats go by. Or you can hop in your own boat and take off from  your dock with a boat lift that can handle up to 16,000 lbs! 903 Santa Rosa Boulevard also has one of the biggest pools on Okaloosa Island.



# 414 Sleepy Hollow Road – Mary Esther, $1,450,000

This is what nearly one and a half million dollars gets you in Mary Esther. Over 7,000 square feet! The views of the Santa Rosa Sound are phenomenal. My personal favorite little touch is the black and white tile in the foyer.



# 3124 SW Miracle Strip Parkway – Fort Walton Beach, $1,550,000

One of three penthouse units at Presidio Yacht Club. On the 16th floor with 12 foot ceilings, you can bet your views from this unit are spectacular!



# 23 Garniers Post Road – Garniers Bayou, $1,699,000

I am about 95% certain I saw this house on Airbnb one time. I went back to that site to try to rent Fort Walton Beach’s 2nd most expensive home, but I couldn’t find it again. Oh well.. Anyway, this home is pretty amazing. It sits on its own little peninsula. 4 bedrooms and amazing views from all of them.



# 1471 W. Miracle Strip Parkway – Mary Esther,  $2,999,000

There aren’t too many pictures to peruse on this listing. The sellers had an estate sale a few months ago, and I was able to get a peek inside. It was AMAZING!! It was like stepping back in time. The home was built in 1926. Exposed wood throughout and incredible views of the sound. I did snag a pretty cool Billy Bowlegs poster at that sale. It had been rolled up in its shipping tube since it was ordered in 1978 from the original artist. 


So those are the 5 most expensive homes for sale in Fort Walton Beach! Got some extra cash burning a hole in your pocket? Call the Gilliland Team, and we'll be happy to show you one of these! Or any other property you want to see! Since Jim Gilliland sells the Panhandle, and not JUST Fort Walton Beach, our next blog post will be on the most expensive homes in Destin. Keep an eye out!

Giving to your children

by Jim Gilliland

Tips for Gifting a Home Down Payment to Your Child

Are you in the fortunate position of being able to give your adult child the down payment he or she would need for a home of their own? There are many reasons parents consider doing this: maybe as a wedding present, perhaps instead of paying for a wedding at all, or maybe just to know that their child will have a roof over his/her head.  There are several things to think about in relation to a sizable gift like this.  Keep in mind there are rules and tax regulations pertaining to this type of gift. Knowing these will keep you from making a hefty financial mistake when helping your daughter buy her first home.

The Down Payment Must be a Gift and Not a Loan

If you plan on helping out your kids, the down payment must be a gift and not a loan. To prove this, the parents will need to write a letter to the lender stating that the money never needs to be paid back. 

Otherwise, the lender will factor in the loan amount from the parents into the mortgage approval amount. This may mean you qualify for less on a  Fort Walton Beach home.

The Tax-Free Limits

Remember the limits when gifting a down payment. Any gift of $14,000 or more will result in a tax bill. However, there is a loophole that is possible if done right. The rule says $14,000 per year per donor, so technically, each parent could give $14,000 for a total of $28,000 in a year. 

It’s best to talk to your lawyer and work out the details if you are planning on going this route. 

Provide the Down Payment in Advance

It is important to give the down payment well before your child begins their Fort Walton Beach Real Estate search. Getting this money during the early stages of home buying saves paperwork and logistical headaches. 

The gift does not have to be addressed if the funds have been in your child’s account long enough that the last two bank statements do not show the deposit.

If you are thinking about helping your son or daughter begin their search for a home in Fort Walton, Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, or anywhere else on the Panhandle, give us a call! 

The Breakers of Fort Walton Beach

by Jim Gilliland


Anybody who knows me knows I LOOOOVVE The Breakers of Fort Walton Beach. Any given Saturday, if Alabama football isn’t on, you can find me on the beach at The Breakers. The units are spacious. The property has some of the best pools on the island. There’s a fantastic gulf-side grilling area. These are grills you actually want to use, not those dirty grills tucked away in a parking garage or next to the dumpster like at a lot of other rentals. The Breakers has an in-house 24 hour front desk, so if there is ever a problem, help is right there! Among the amenities are a very nice fitness facility (I’m in there every morning!), shuffleboard, and a really nice party room. The Breakers of Fort Walton Beach is my favorite property on Okaloosa Island.  I’m not alone in feeling that way either; according to TripAdvisor, The Breakers of Fort Walton Beach is the # 1 property in the Fort Walton Beach Specialty Lodging Category – beating out Waterscape, Destin West, and every other condo on the Island!


I have sold more units in there than any other agent. I know that property better than anybody else in town. The developer even calls me with questions about the property! If you are interested in buying or selling a unit at The Breakers, give me a call! I can answer any question you may have about The Breakers! Check out their website here: 



The last few blog posts have focused on waterfront properties. While 501 Fallin Waters isn’t waterfront, the neighborhood is. Since we will be hosting an open house there this weekend, I thought I’d take a minute to tell you a little about this great home and neighborhood.


Fallin Waters is situated right on the Santa Rosa Sound, and has a FANTASTIC private community dock with boat slips available. When we were out there taking photos there was a couple kayaking in the sound, and another gentleman out cleaning his boat. You really can enjoy the Florida life here. Fallin Waters features a great little community park area with a fire pit, picnic area, and volleyball. The Fallin Waters waterfront gazebo is actually in one of the photos on our homepage –

The house itself is awesome. Absolutely no detail was overlooked in the design. The builder of the community actually built this home for himself. The kitchen has instant hot water. The huge master bathroom has a steam shower. The home has a sound system installed. There are two master closets, a nice little office, new paint, a brand new roof, and so much more! If you get a chance, stop by our open house this Sunday to check it out!



Sunday, May 15, 2016

1 PM – 4 PM


501 Fallin Waters Drive

Mary Esther, FL 32569

blu on Okaloosa Island

by Jim Gilliland

Have you heard about the newest waterfront development coming to Okaloosa Island? It’s called blu, and it is going to be GORGEOUS. The Gilliland Team has partnered with the developers to bring you the opportunity to be one of the first to call blu home. I’ve seen the plans and the renderings, and let me tell you, it’s going to be amazing. The balconies are going to be nice and big - at least 10 feet deep and 29 feet wide. blu is going to be a gated property. There will be two huge gulf front pools and a state of the art fitness center. I think my favorite feature will be the Gulf-side fire pit. There’s nothing like sitting around a hot fire with a cold drink listening to the waves and the banter of friends.  If you’re interested in finding out more about blu on Okaloosa Island, give us a call!


790 Santa Rosa Blvd, # 207 at The Islander Beach Resort

by Jim Gilliland

Continuing our blog posts on waterfront properties, today we’re going to share a little about The Islander Beach Resort. Longtime residents of Fort Walton might walk into the lobby of the Islander with a weird sense of déjà vu. That’s because it used to be home to Jamaica Joe’s, a popular restaurant and bar on Okaloosa Island. Our marketing director used to work at the Islander, and she mentioned that every couple of weeks or so, someone would walk in to the lobby to check in, stop and take a look around with a puzzled look on their face. She could tell that they were trying to figure out exactly why/when they had been in there before. Inevitably, it was because they had spent some time at the bar at Jamaica Joe’s.

From a 1985 article in the Sun Sentinel:  “in Fort Walton Beach there`s the very popular Jamaica Joe`s at the Islander Beach Resort on Santa Rosa Boulevard, reminiscent of something romantically tropical in the islands. Jamaica Joe`s at this time of the year is packed elbow to elbow with those lining up for the best happy hour munchies on the Emerald Coast. Those who stay for dinner dig into a good assortment of steaks or the Steambucket for Two, a collection of just about everything from the deep.”

These days, the Islander is popular with vacationers. The property has a large gulf front pool, heated seasonally, beach service, and fitness facility. Unit 207 is a 1 bedroom, 2 bathroom coastline view unit. The Islander has some of the larger one bedroom units on Okaloosa Island. In addition to the living room, there is a separate sitting room, which means the unit can comfortably sleep 6, whereas most one bedroom units can only sleep 4. This extra space and the lower rental price of a coastline unit means these one bedroom units at the Islander are a great value for renters. Because they stay rented, they are also a great value for investors. Take a look!

903 Santa Rosa Blvd, Fort Walton Beach

by Jim Gilliland

Our last post was about how great the weather is here in May. The beautiful weather and the abundance of outdoor activities here along the Gulf Coast leads one to just want to be outside. In that vein, our next few posts are going to focus on some of our waterfront listings. Boating, fishing, jet-skiing, swimming…these are just a few of the activities these waterfront properties have to offer.

 The first one we want to look at is 903 Santa Rosa Boulevard. This 5300 square foot estate has 82 feet of waterfrontage along the Santa Rosa Sound! There’s a dock with a boat-lift that can handle boats up to 8 tons. You can watch the boats go by in the Intracoastal Waterway while floating in your sparkling 25’x50’ in-ground pool. There’s fantastic fishing in the Sound. From time to time, you can even spot the current owner spear-fishing around the dock. The beach is just across the street. With 3 master suites to retreat to after a long day on the water, this home is all you could ever want! 

Check out the visual tour!


It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

by Jim Gilliland

Locals in this area know that May and October are the BEST months to be here at the beach! The weather is perfect, and tourist season hasn’t really kicked in to high gear so traffic to and fro is a breeze. High temperatures range from 75 to 85, with lows only about 62-70 and the humidity isn’t out of control. The Gilliland Team was out at the beach this past weekend for Mother’s Day. The water was crystal clear! Emerald water, green flags, and a high of 79! It was a great reminder of why we live here, and we are so lucky that we do! 

It's a great time to sell in South Crestview!

by Jeremy Fretwell, Broker/Owner RE/MAX Gulf Coast

As your neighborhood real estate expert, I just wanted to share an article from with you and give you my opinion as it relates to South Crestview.

The first point in the article talks about inventory and how it is shrinking. This is true for our area as well. We have gone from almost 7 months on market to just over 6 months for the last 12 months. I expect to see that number dip under 6 months with the growing demand this spring. The average sale price has increased $3,750 over that same time as well,  and the days on market saw a substantial drop from 145 days to now just 91 days on market.

The second point in the article speaks to what happens with shrinking inventory. Many buyers are being driven to new construction. We aren’t seeing this trend in South Crestview, mostly because there aren’t many lots left on which to build. I am finding that existing sellers are enjoying more activity due to a lack of new home inventory. This is not the case in North Crestview, so being in South Crestview is a big benefit at present.
The third point of the article speaks to the benefit of purchasing over renting due to the high demand for rental property. After the Great Recession many homeowners were caught up in the aftermath and lost their good credit. The result has been a new influx of renters. This has caused rental prices to skyrocket in the area, driving renters into home ownership in an effort to balance their monthly budget.

I see a great year for my sellers in South Crestview due to these developing factors. If you are thinking of selling your home please let me know and we can set up a no-obligation meeting to discuss your options and current home values.

Here is a link to the article posted on

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 15




Contact Information

Photo of Jim Gilliland Real Estate
Jim Gilliland
RE/MAX Gulf Coast Realty
28 Walter Martin Road NE, Suite A
Fort Walton Beach FL 32548
Office: (850)243-2220
After Hours: (850)864-7459
Fax: (850)664-6068