COVID-19 Policies

Our standard cancellation policy is in effect for bookings done after 03/31/2020.

Although not mandatory, Resort Management kindly requests guests to wear masks wherever they cannot socially distance (i.e. elevators)

ALL OPEN: Beach, indoor and outdoor pools, beach service, Tiki bar, cafe, gym, hot-tub, sauna, steam room, gas grills
UNDER CONSTRUCTION: 3rd outdoor swimming pool
Restaurants and bars operate at 50% indoor capacity, outdoor is unlimited.
Boat rentals etc. are operational observing social distancing and capacity restrictions. Theme parks should submit their opening plan and get approved to open.

How do we clean our condos?

– Bathrooms
Clorox 4 In One Disinfecting Spray Clorox Clean-Up Cleaner + Bleach
Clorox Toilet Bowl Cleaner Clinging Bleach Gel

– Kitchen and living rooms
Microban 24 Hour Multi-Purpose Cleaner.
Alcohol to clean windows and all glass surfaces.
Soap and hot water and new sponge

Housekeeper washes hands immediately after entering the condo and puts on rubber gloves, sprays all light fixtures and door knobs. Keeping the gloves on; gathers all dirty linen in a trash bag and in laundry linen bag.

She washes her hands, puts on new pair of gloves and clean the kitchen. Soaks the counter tops with Microban multi purpose disinfectant spray. To decontaminate a surface, she scrubs it until the entire surface is wet, and then let it dry on its own. She wipes it up with paper towels and then spray a light spray and let air dry. For food preparation areas she uses hot water and soap; scrubbing the entire area.

She sprays disinfectant on all remotes, wipes them and sprays again, lets dry. She vacuums all floors and uses steam cleaner and a hand held steamer. She steams the couch and beds before making them up with clean linen. The bathrooms are sprayed down with bleach and disinfectant spray, everything is soaked and cleaned. All towels are replaced no matter if they are clean and bath mats are replaced with clean ones. Trash cans are washed and wiped out and sprayed with disinfectant.

Destin Beach Webcams

Beach cams are great ways to watch the weather and crowds before you begin your travel. Weather forecast may not always give the best idea, it may show rain but actual rain may be just an hour. So it is always fun to check different points from below link.

Contact us to add your beach webcam in Destin area.

You can check the beaches from Destin Florida area webcams:

Pelican Beach Resort New Outdoor Pool to open in 2020

We are excited to give this great news. Owners of condos voted last year to build an additional outdoor swimming pool to replace the underutilized sun deck. The project began in February 2020 and because of COVID-19 a bit delayed, now expected to complete sometime in October.

The big pool area will be constructed in the place of the sun deck, which was seldom used by guests. It will be on the front of the building between dunes and balconies, just next to Tiki Bar area.

The new pool will consist of

• New expansive Pool Decking

• Zero-entry Swimming Pool, for kids to play in the shallow area

• Large Outdoor Spa to fit more people inline with demand

• Additional Seating for 80 people with additional beach seating inside the pool

Pelican Beach Resort being one of the most popular resorts in the area, had every year more and more guests. This has increased the usage in the pools as well as hot tub, hence it was time for such expansion. There were also complaints that the legacy outdoor pool is shady in the afternoons. Now you guys will get sun tan all day long.

Pelican Beach Resort Stay Rules

Following are the rules published by resort management for our guests staying at Pelican Beach Resort, Destin Florida

We are happy to have you as our guests! Below are our “House Rules” which we ask that you respect. Please take a minute to read them; ask us questions about any you don’t understand.

All owners and guests will be required to wear Pelican Beach wristbands during their stay with us.

For Your Safety and Enjoyment and the Safety and Enjoyment of Your Fellow Guests, We Ask You to:

 Non registered visitors will not be permitted access to the property at any time during spring break and July 4th holidays.
 Do not from throwing any items over the balcony railings
 Refrain from leaving your underage children unsupervised in the units or in the common areas of the property.
 Sleep in the same unit as your children to ensure they are properly supervised during your entire stay.
 Remember that only registered guests (no more than 6 in a 1 or 2 bedroom unit or 8 in a three bedroom unit) are permitted to stay in the rental units. One parent/guardian for every 3 children!
 Refrain from allowing children under the age of 15 years to use the fitness equipment; ages 15 – 18 may use facilities if accompanied by a parent or guardian.
 Use the trash chutes anytime, except between 10:00 PM and 7:00 AM. Bagged trash only!
 Do not take luggage carts into the units. Return carts to lobby when finished
 Do not hang towels and clothing on the balcony railings.
 Never under any circumstances feed birds from your balconies!  Remember that excessive noise after 10:00 PM can result in your eviction and loss of deposits.
 Remember that the legal age for drinking alcoholic beverages in Florida is 21 years.
 Remember that adults who supply alcohol to minors can be arrested (fined and/or jailed) and evicted from the premises.
 Remember to display your parking pass on the dashboard at all times – only 2 vehicles per unit.
 Remember that your rental unit is someone else’s second home! You are responsible for any damage done while you rent the unit. Take care of it as you would your own home!
 A charge of $25 will be assessed for lost wristbands.
 This is a Smoke-Free Property. All use of tobacco or non-tobacco products will only be allowed in designated smoking areas. Smoking outside of the designated smoking areas will result in eviction and a $250.00 fine.
 No Pets Allowed

Pelican Beach Resort Beach Service Rates

Following are the 2020 Rental Rates for Pelican Beach Resort Beach Service. Our guests can use the free set we provide in our units. Personal sets are only allowed behind rental rows. Tents and canopies are not allowed on our beach. You can reserve your set by calling 866-651-1869  if you prefer to sit around front rows. You can also book online at

(Tax not included)

2 Chairs & 1 Umbrella                          $35 a day

      $175 a week

Half Day Rate                                         $25 half day

(9am-1pm) or (1pm-5pm)

Single Chair                                            $10 a day

Single Umbrella                                     $20 a day

5 Chairs & 1 Giant Umbrella Set         $100 a day

                                                                  $500 a week

Single Giant Umbrella                          $60 a day

                                                                  $200 a week

Kayaks/Stand up paddle boards        $35 an hour

                                                                  $75 half day                                                                    $100 full day

How much are Airbnb, VRBO, Homeaway Service Fees?

Online travel agencies dominated the market place and have been a fruitful platform for property owners while giving guests the comfort of real reviews and variety of vacation homes to choose from.

The biggest ones in the market are Airbnb, VRBO/Homeaway and Tripadvisor/Flipkey. recently penetrated into vacation rental space too.

What are Airbnb fees?

Airbnb charges the guest around 10-13% depending on the amount of the booking, the more you pay, the less % is the service fee. They do not hold a security deposit on your card, but if your host claims and documents damaged, you may be charged for it. They charge hosts 3%, which is kind of similar to credit card processing fee. They pay the host a few days after the guests check-in. Hosts have an option to eat up the guest service fee and pay all themselves.

What are VRBO/Homeaway fees?

They lately became more greedy every year after being acquired by Expedia. They did not use to charge the guest, but only host until 3 years ago but now similar to Airbnb, they charge the guest between 9-13% service fee. But for the host, there are two options: 1) Pay $499/yr listing fee plus 3% of bookings 2) Pay per booking model of 8%. They charge the security deposit on guests card, and it is easier for host to hold the deposit against damage. Depending on the payment model, they pay the host around 5-7 days after the payment was made or guest checked-in.

What are Flipkey/Tripadvisor fees?

They have always been charging the guests 8-16% booking fee (I believe it is a flat 15%), however lately they began not transparently displaying it as a line item, but embed into rent price. They charge the owners 3% as others do. Security deposits were used to held on the credit card, but again lately, guests reported that they did not see the security deposit. They pay the host after check-in

How to avoid Airbnb, VRBO, Homeaway Service Fees?

It is not fair trying to avoid the fees which you willingly accept as a host. An honestly, we do not do it. However, for the guest, the situation is different. It can be a bit annoying to pay a hefty 15% on top of a $3,000 vacation.

Most hosts try to avoid a situation to divert the inquiries to direct bookings for not only fairness, but also the lesser you get bookings from OTA, the lower your ranking becomes in time. Also they would give up on the valuable review opportunity.

Sometimes, it is the guest, who wants to know how to book direct and avoid fees; otherwise he would not book your property. All the OTAs have policies against doing this, no surprise there. All these portals have sophisticated algorithms to prevent you from exchanging contact details before booking (one exception being VRBO, showing contact details to some trusted hosts in the inquiry). Tripadvisor filter can be so annoying, you cannot even share the Tripadvisor links of your other properties, it gets blocked. They also do not share the contacts until the last payment is done

For direct bookings to happen, hosts must have a platform to get paid. That could be by means of a professional looking website like this one, or sending a Paypal invoice (which may let guest feel secure knowing Paypal’s Buyer Protection, if not, they may feel suspicious). Hosts are also advised to keep a mailing list of the inquiries and past bookings, and use mailing platforms like Mailchimp (free up to 2000 subscribers) to send emails from time to time to remind themselves and divert guests to their booking site.

If you likes our page, we can design and publish one for you. Just contact us.

Vacation Rental Income Tax

Let us first begin by the disclaimer that I am not a tax professional and my personal opinions may not be correct and does not constitute tax advice

Having my vacation rentals at Pelican Beach Resort, Destin since 2016; I have been learning and learning about income return requirements

What is debt to income (DTI) ratio?

Your debt-to-income ratio is all your monthly debt payments divided by your gross monthly income. While some people are trying to save tax, I was some years trying to pay more so that my gross income can raise in order to be able to get a new loan (capitalism, right !). On the side note, if your monthly payments to gross income ratio is higher than 43% including the projected payments of the new property, it is unlikely that you would qualify for a conventional mortgage. Annual debt also includes HoA payments you make for every condo plus the prospect. Getting a 30 year term loan would decrease your payment, and increase your ability to get the loan.

How to get a vacation condo mortgage?

Getting mortgage for a condominium can be challenging. The big banks we know wants to see new, approved condominium projects to fund. Therefore, you may be likely denied. However, local banks know the market and risk, hence easily approve these mortgages. In Destin, you can use Trustmark Mortgage or Bankcorp South. You may also shop using mortage brokers, who are middlemen but it may be a more expensive loan

Tax Deductable Costs for Vacation Rentals

When January comes, it is time to open the excel to sum up the revenues collected and expenses. I usually categorize the expenses in a column as Advertising, Travel (excl mileage), Cleaning, Maintenance, Commissions, Insurance, Professional Fees, Management Fees, Repairs, Supplies, Real Estate Taxes, Other Taxes, Utilities and HOA Assessments. This helps me to build a pivot table from excel and enter these in Turbotax.

If you spent less than $2500 to buy an appliance, it is deductible as expense. If you spent more than $2500 for an A/C unit, it is an improvement and will be depreciated according to schedule of the improvement but will not be a direct expense for that year. The $2,500 limit refers to individually invoiced items and includes any sales tax. For example, if you buy furniture and the receipt said, “Furniture – table and chairs – $3,000” you would have to depreciate this under the normal rules of depreciation

Also try NOT to claim home office expenses as it may trigger suspicion.

What closing costs are deductable?

Again, you are a vacation rental owner, and make profit from your vacation rental. If you purchased your property recently, you can deduct the origination fees and points from your income without limit. Needless to say, the prorated portion of property tax and HOA for that year is also deductible as business expense

Following closing costs are not tax deductible but added to the property basis, hence depreciated with the property however most of the time they are small compared to the property itself.

  • Attorney fees in connection with obtaining property
  • Commissions
  • State stamp taxes and transfer taxes
  • Tax service fees
  • Title policy fees or title insurance
  • Miscellaneous abstracts of title, surveys, recording of deed

All of us know that there are 2 important milestones, April 15th which is due date for returns; and Jan 31st which is the last mailing date for 1099 forms. In order to avoid underpayment penalty, you should be paying at least 90% of your projected taxes or the amount of taxes you paid previous year, whichever is lower. In order to keep this safe zone, you must be making quarterly payments on rough calculations and the last quarterly payment you can make is due Jan 15th before you file your income tax return.

Tax forms from Airbnb, VRBO/Homeaway, Flipkey/Tripadvisor and Payment Processors

End of January, you should be getting 1099-K forms from vacation rental sites. Airbnb and VRBO send Form 1099K if you earn over $20,000 and have at least 200 or more reservations in the previous year. If you used payment processors such as Square, Stripe, Paypal and had $20,000 and at least 200 transactions, they will also send you 1099-K forms. Tripadvisor/Flipkey sent me 1099-MISC form. It is important that you report your income correctly, hence the income should be equal to or more than the sum of these forms as they also file them to IRS. Even if you do not get any forms, you must be reporting your correct income to IRS. Only exception is if you rented for less than 14 days in the year.

You may see more $ on these forms than you were paid. Some OTAs include the gross payment they collected from the guests, but they keep some of them for them. In such case, you should document and report that difference as expense.

How to file 1099-MISC for your Vacation Rental?

Next step is to send 1099-MISC forms to whoever you paid more than $600 in the subject year. You may have received an invoice, but if the entity is a simple LLC (not S corp), you would still need to give them 1099-MISC by January 31st.

In order to file 1099-MISC, you should get from them a W-9 form stating their personal information and SSN/EIN, as well as a signature saying that they are subject to withholding tax. If you do not get this form when you pay them, good luck getting it later.

1099-MISC is an overwhelming form, it has carbon copies which you would need to distribute around. So better way to handle this is either a Turbotax Desktop version or using (as I do), to file these forms and share it with the recipients. They charge a few dollars for every form and if the recipient does not confirm receipt by email, you can also pay a little more to have them mailed. For housekeepers, you will need to put the amount you paid in Box 1.

As most homeowners aren’t, I am also not a real estate professional

To qualify as a ‘Professional’ for tax purposes, a taxpayer, or their spouse, must meet a two-part test: (1) the taxpayer must spend the majority of his or her time in real property businesses, and (2) the taxpayer must spend 750 hours or more in the real property business and rentals in which he or she materially participates.

So we will report the income as passive income in Schedule E. In such case, if you incurred losses, you cannot deduct it from your overall income but carry it over to next year to offset your profits. Schedule E is a pretty simple form, and Turbox will handle that for you when you answer the questions.

What is Depreciation?

One of your expenses will be depreciation. For real estate, the property is depreciated in 27.5 years. You need to know the purchase price less the land value, and divide it by 27.5 to write depreciation as an expense. Depreciation helps you today but also decreases the base cost of your property. If you bought the property for $275,000 and depreciated every year $10,000 for 10 years, that means every year you had a fictive cost of $10,000 reducing your income, hence tax. However, if you now sell the property for $400,000; while the taxable capital gain is $125,000, you would still pay regular income tax on the depreciated amount of $100,000 (depreciation recapture).

Capital Gain Taxes of Rental Property

When you sell a property you’ve owned for more than one year, the profit (the difference between the net sales proceeds and the tax basis of the property after subtracting depreciation deductions) is generally treated as a long-term capital gain. As such, it will be taxed at a federal rate of no more than 20% (or 23.8% if you owe the 3.8% Medicare surtax). However, part of the gain—an amount equal to the cumulative depreciation deductions claimed for the property—is subject to a 25% maximum federal rate (28.8% if you owe the 3.8% Medicare surtax). The rest of your gain will be taxed at a maximum federal rate of no more than 20% (or 23.8%).

Qualified Business Income (QBI) for Vacation Rentals

We lined up our income and expenses, and have a net income in Schedule E for each investment we have. With the new tax code, there is a significant pass-through benefit which is called QBI. The QBI deduction is potentially available to eligible non-corporate owners of pass-through business entities for tax years beginning in 2018 and extending through 2025. The deduction is scheduled to disappear after 2025, unless Congress extends it. It doesn’t reduce an individual’s adjusted gross income (AGI), but decreases your income. QBI is not reported on Schedule E but on 1040 form (main return).

Qualified Business Income (QBI) Limit for Vacation Rentals

If you pass the Safe Harbor Test (you can find on page 5 of this IRS publication), (in simple terms you and/or your contractors can document with contemporaneous records that you have spend 250 hours for your vacation rental), you can deduct some of your income from Schedule E. The deduction is 20% of your net income, however it is capped.

Above specified income levels, the QBI deduction for income from an eligible business can’t exceed the greater of:

  • 50% of W-2 wages paid by the business, or
  • 25% of W-2 wages plus 2.5% of the unadjusted basis immediately after acquisition of qualified depreciable property used in the business.

It is likely that you will not have W-2 employees, hence the deduction will be the lower of 2.5% of the price you paid for your property and 20% of your net income.

Tax Disclaimer

The information contained herein is general in nature and based on authorities that are subject to change. Author guarantees neither the accuracy nor completeness of any information and is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for results obtained by others as a result of reliance upon such information. Author assumes no obligation to inform the reader of any changes in tax laws or other factors that could affect information contained herein. This publication does not, and is not intended to, provide legal, tax or accounting advice, and readers should consult their tax advisors concerning the application of tax laws to their particular situations.

Vacation Rental Owner’s Recommendations for Destin

You will see other blog posts here but these are our own recommendations in the area during your stay. You can also have huge savings by using the bookings system of our provide HERE.

We strongly recommend a visit to Destin Marina and Harborwalk Village; there are nice restaurants with a view (AJ’s is the most famous one), kids activities as well as water sports. At nights, you can check if they have fireworks. Sunset is great.

We also recommend the Dolphin tour. We heard that morning tours are much better. You may see the dolphins up close also with the Jet Ski’s. There are 4-5 tour operators for the dolphin tours at the Destin Marina. You can click HERE to book.

You can rent Pontoons for around $150-250 with your car driver license and sail around the Crab Island (under the bridge) or around. You can click HERE to book.

Henderson Beach State Park is a park with limited facilities (restrooms, grill area) but a nice beach. Topsail Hill State park is a further and larger national park, where you can walk in the woods or rent bikes around the lakes and to the shore. Entrance is from W County Hwy 30A. Bike rental closes at 5 o’clock but you can drop your bikes back when they are closed.

Visit Village of Baytowne Wharf preferably at night, there are kid’s activities, a large playground as well as great restaurants and shopping. There is live music and entertainment too. Also do not miss the fireworks. Sunset if also great.

If you like playing golf, HERE is a package for you.

Our favorite restaurants are Back Porch, Crab Trap, Acme Oyster House, Bayou Bill’s Crab House, Stinky’s Fish Camp and Aegean (Greek). Another Broken Egg Café across the street is great for breakfast.

Highly recommend installing Nowait app to your phone. You can enter your name while you are at the condo and avoid long waitlist in restaurants where reservations are not accepted.

We also recommend a visit to the Silver Sands Premium Outlets, 8 miles to the east. They sell designer brands at a discount.

Gulfarium Marine Adventure ParkBig Kahuna’s Water & Adventure Park HERE

Destin Harborwalk Village

Harborwalk village is in the heart of Destin, with a lot of attractions, restaurants and shopping. It stretches over the shore with its boardwalk, so it is a good venue to walk around. It also hosts the marina to all fishing boats and fishing shows

In 2008, Del Sol was the first retail space to open in Legendary Inc.’s $250 million mixed use project that already included the Emerald Grande. It was soon followed by Sawyer Art Gallery, Harry T’s, KittyHawk Kites, Commander’s Palace and other food and retail stores. HarborWalk Village actually began over 40 years ago in 1972.

With so many things to do in Destin; here you can find waterfront shopping, paddle board and kayak rentals, pontoon and jet ski rentals, parasailing, glass bottom boats, world class fishing, pirate ship excursions, dolphin cruises, concerts and live music, weekly fireworks, weekly Fat Tuesday parades, live entertainment, and an array of restaurants, including Jimmy Buffets Margaritaville and Harry Ts, to satisfy all tastes.

There are many activities for kids in peak season, including a long zip line, ice cream vendors, bouncing. Parking is also convenient, but $10. Years ago, the city of Destin began charging to park in city parking lots.  People then began parking at the Harborwalk to avoid the fee.  Store sales went down dramatically after this so they decided to implement a parking fee. Zerbe Street Parking Lot (corner of Zerbe and Silbert Avenue) is located across the street from Harborwalk Village, behind McGuire’s Irish Pub.  It is open weekdays and weekends and is free to park.

The Harborwalk Theater is a performing arts theater at the Harborwalk Village.  They host magic, comedy, and hypnosis shows.  It is owned and operated by Heather and Noah Wells, two award-winning illusionists.  They even have a magic school for children!

Located in Harborwalk Village, the zip line tower is around 500’ distance from the top to the end of the line and is held between two 80’+ 100′ foot steel towers.  It is fitted with LED lights to maximize your experience at night.  Because it has two towers, it is capable of allowing two people to ride, simultaneously.  This is great if you want to enjoy the experience with friends or family.

Fireworks are scheduled for every Thursday evening during the summer.  Also, many holidays and events will get a fireworks show. 

Fat Tuesdays are in summer. There are themed floats, beads, and anyone can get in on the action.  The festivities begin at 7 PM and the parade starts at 8:30 PM.  It’s a crazy experience so you better get there early!

You can check the Harborwalk Village webcam from our webcams list.

You can check more suggestions and discounted Destin Activities here.

Destin Harborwalk Village Map

Allegiant announces 5 new nonstop routes to VPS

DESTIN, Fla. Jan. 14, 2020 — Allegiant announced on Tuesday five new nonstop routes to Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport (VPS).

To celebrate, the company is offering one-way fares on the new routes as low as $33.*

“Destin is one of the most popular destinations on the Emerald Coast,” said Drew Wells, Allegiant vice president of planning and revenue. “We’re always excited to provide travelers with the chance to experience the beautiful, white beaches and excellent fishing off the coast of Florida.”

1. Boston, Massachusetts via Logan International Airport (BOS) – beginning May 14, 2020 with one-way fares as low as $33.

2. Dayton, Ohio via Dayton International Airport (DAY) – beginning May 14, 2020 with one-way fares as low as $55.

3. Houston, Texas via William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) – beginning June 5, 2020 with one-way fares as low as $33.

4. Chicago, Illinois via Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW) – beginning June 5, 2020 with one-way fares as low as $33.

5. Hudson Valley, New York via New York Stewart International Airport (SWF) – beginning May 21, 2020 with fares as low as $55.