The Tonya Loves NWFL

Those who know me know how much I love Northwest Florida. If I didn't, I wouldn't have lived here my entire life. I've done plenty of traveling, but there just isn't a place Florida's Gulf Coast and the surrounding areas. Check out my monthly newsletter highlighting real estate news, local recommendations and more. 

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Happy New Year

January 2020 Newsletter

2020 is shaping up to be one crazy year, and it hasn’t even started yet! I hope you and yours had a joyful and safe 2019. This was my first year at Keller Williams Gulf Coast Realty, and they have been a perfect new home for me, and for my new team as well. 

I’ve got a lot of fun stuff planned this year, like charity events, prize giveaways and a few surprises too. If you’ll be at this year’s Pensacola Mardi Gras Kick-Off downtown on the 4th, you’ll get to see one of them firsthand!


A Chat with Duane Tant of the Florida Native Plant Society

Duane Tant getting ready to plant native plants at Bruce Beach in Pensacola, Florida

Preserving Florida at Bruce Beach and beyond

Although relatively unknown in many circles, The Florida Native Plant Society is one of the most important organizations in Florida. They "Conserve, preserve and restore native plants and native plant communities of Florida", which doesn't just result in a prettier state for us all, but a more environmentally sound Florida for all its animals, from birds to butterflies to humans. Later in January, on the 10th, I will be releasing a blog post which delves into the importance of native plants and how invasive plant species harm everything from other plants to migratory birds. Today, I'd like to share with you a chat I had with Duane Tant, member of The Florida Native Plant Society's local Pensacola chapter, the Longleaf Pine. If you'd like to learn more about the importance of native Florida plants, as well as what The Florida Native Plant Society accomplishes throughout this great state, visit FNPS.ORG.

A Chat with Duane Tant of the Florida Native Plant Society

Tonya Zimmern: Tell me a little bit about the Florida Native Plant Society.

Duane Tant: The Florida Native Plant Society has a long history in Florida, I do not know what their founding date is, but I have been with the Longleaf chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society here in Pensacola for about a year now. We cover three counties to the east, and the FNPS itself does a broad range of activities, but our mission is to promote the use and conservation of native plants and habitat in Florida, and in so doing, that's why we are out here in Bruce Beach, trying to reclaim some of the native habitat which has been damaged by years of neglect. 

What exactly are you guys doing out here at Bruce Beach?

So, before any development happens out here, I'm sure there will be some development, it is a natural area and the Mayor has a commitment to maintaining native habitat, so before any work goes on out here, we wanted to at least start improving the native seed bank. There are invasives out here and varieties of plant that are not suitable for the task of salty, brackish, kind of eroding forces out here, so we're trying to experiment with some areas on improving the seed bank, bringing some competition to the invasives and performing the function of erosion control in areas which need it.  

What can I do to help bring native plant life back to Florida?

There are many native plants that are well suited for the home residential landscape. They have beautiful blooms, they offer erosion control, they provide food for pollinators, they bring in all kinds of butterflies and bugs and the pollinators and insects bring in the birds and everybody is real happy. Our website,, has lots of information on both native plants and invasive species, and our chapter meets on the fourth Thursday of every month at the Tryon Branch Library, off Langley Ave in Pensacola, at 6:00 PM.  

Bruce Beach

Downtown Pensacola's Best Kept Secret

Ask Tonya!

Home Values in 2020

 This month’s Ask Tonya question comes in from Coyce, who asks:

“Tonya, my wife and I plan on buying our first family home in 2020. Are house prices going up or down in 2020? Tell me they are going down.” 

Hi Coyce, great question. Experts such as CoreLogic are forecasting continued appreciation in the U.S. housing market for the next two years. In Florida specifically, the ARCH Risk Index has an average increase of 5.7% in expected home values, with only a minimal risk of values deprecating. Nothing is ever written in stone however, especially when it comes to any financial market, so don't necessarily take these estimations as facts. CoreLogic is a corporation which provides data analysis for real estate and a wide variety of other businesses. Due to their professionalism and track record, they are a respected name in data analysis. The Arch Risk Index is put out by The ARCH Mortgage Insurance Company, who is the leading U.S. provider of mortgage insurance, so know these aren't just random people off the street's opinions, but the top names in multiple industries.  


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Blog Post Schedule

January 4th: The History of Mardi Gras in Pensacola

To be read on

January 11th: Multigenerational Homes 101

January 18th: Mistakes to Avoid While Selling a Home in 2020

January 25th: Restaurant Review: Fleming's Sandestin

To be read on 

Six DIY Tips for Home Sellers

Cosplay as a buyer


Get in your car and take a drive. When you pull up back at your house, pretend you're someone else. Someone interested in buying a home in your neighborhood. What do you see? Be as critical as you would be purchasing your next home. I guarantee you'll notice at least one thing you want to fix up. 

Wash those windows


Windows are focal points for potential buyers. They want to see what their view is going to be in their new home, and they'll want to see how easily their new neighbors may see them. Wash those windows and give those buyers the sunny rooms they want to see. 

Respect the garage


Your garage is a garage, not an ill kept storage facility, or even worse, a city dump. Let buyers imagine what they could do with their new garage by treating yours the way it should be. Not to mention, you don't want them to worry your home doesn't offer enough storage space!



Get all that dirt, gunk and who knows what else from everywhere while giving your property a sparkling clean look. Sidewalks, the house, your car, POWERWASH EVERYTHING a buyer may see. 

Don't go paint happy


You don't need to paint absolutely every room in your house. Instead, just focus on painting over scuffs, scratches and any other imperfections which have popped up over time. Your new buyers may want to paint themselves anyway, so just worry about presenting them with as beautiful and consistent of a home as you can. 

(Cheaply) update your kitchen


Everybody loves a nice kitchen, but it’s not worth your money to remodel the thing if you're on your way out. If you have old wooden cabinets, try painting them. Replacing aesthetically outdated light fixtures with newer models is cheap and easy too. I think cheap and easy ways to update your kitchen will actually be something I touch on next month.