1. I noticed the rate on your website is lower than VRBO, why is that?
VRBO has changed their billing process in the last year. They are now charging YOU the guest a 6% fee and ME the owner a 6% fee, for a 12% total increase for all listings. Additionally, they charge the owners a large annual fee. Finally, they hide both the owner and guests emails and phone numbers from each other until a reservation has been made through VRBO. If you book through VRBO you will pay on average $400 - $600 more than if you call or email us directly. What should you do? Contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 708-212-0649
2. How far to the beach?
Shutters is 100 yards from the top of the walkover. (See photo)
It’s so short that if you forget something and need to go back to the house it’s no big deal. We are closer than nearly all of the homes in Seaside and Watercolor. And the beach is much less crowded in Seagrove Beach than in Seaside, Watercolor, or Rosemary Beach.
3. How do you get to the beach?
Shutters is on the north side of 30-A. There is a pedestrian crosswalk at our corner and most drivers know to stop, but we recommend helping young children across. Walk south of 30-A one short block to the Andalusia Street Walkover.
4. Are there any extra charges for cleaning, linens etc
Linens and bath towels are included, but not beach towels. Housekeeping is $250, tax is 12% of the weekly rate. Additionally there is a $500 refundable security deposit provided there is no damage or missing items.. During Spring, Fall and Winter season there is a charge for heating the pool.
5. Do you provide beach chairs or bikes?
No, but we provide many excellent recommendations on vendors who do and include them in our "Welcome" document before you arrive.
6. We are looking for a week in July. What kind of deal can you give us?
Shutters is one of the most poplular and booked houses in Seagrove Beach. Our price is based on our location and the impeccable quality and detail of this luxury home. We rarely discount our prices during high season, but occasionally for a last minute booking or during the fringe seasons .
7. We're a family of 4 and don't need the guest house. Can we get a break on the rate if we don't use it?
No. The main and guest houses are connected by the second floor deck AND the back stairs to the pool and feel very much like a connected unit. We do not rent the guest house as a separate unit, nor do we give any breaks for not using it.
8. Do you have Wi-Fi or cable TV?
Yes, there is free Wi-Fi and cable TV. Downloads speeds for Wi-Fi are 15 mbps. Cable TV includes all the regular cable channels, CNN, TWC, ESPN, etc, but non of the premium channels such as HBO, SHOWTIME etc. There are also DVD players in the Living Room, King Master Bedroom, and Guest House. Additionally, the Guest House and King MBR are Smart TV so they are able to connect to your Netflix, Hulu or Prime accounts.
9. Is there a TV in every bedroom? Are they HDTV?
ALL TV's are HD. Living Room, King (blue) Master Bedroom, Queen (green) Master Bedroom, Guest House, and Tower. The King MBR and Guest House are Smart TV's.
10. What are the sleeping arrangements? How many people does your Beach House sleep?
The maximum number of guests is 10. Here’s how we would imagine everyone sleeping.
Master Suite: 2 people in the king bed
2nd Floor Bedroom: 2 people in the queen bed
1st Floor Bedroom: 1 person in EACH twin bed (total of 2)
Guest House: 2 people in the Queen bed
Guest House: 1 person on the extra large sofa
Tower Room: 1 person on the futon.
11. Your web site says 10 guests maximum, but our family doesn't mind a few more. Can we bring some blow up mattresses and sleeping bags?
No, we're sorry. It's not just the number of beds, it's how many people does the dining room table seat, how many place settings are there, how many bath towels are there, how many chairs at the pool, etc. etc. The house it set up for 10 and 10 is the maximum. If your family is larger I would consider renting the house next door, Sugar Magnolia in addition to Shutters by the Sea.
12. What is your cancellation policy? Here it is from the Rental Agreement;
Refunds will not be given for late arrivals or early departures. Refunds will not be given for inclement weather, marine pests, unsafe beaches, water or acts of nature unless there is a mandatory evacuation as mentioned in our hurricane policy. Cancellation more than 6 months in advance: $15 processing fee.Cancellation more than 60 days before your arrival date: $100 processing fee. Cancellation less than 60 days before arrival date: Loss of all money already deposited. Cancellation less than 2 weeks before your date: Loss of all money paid minus the $500 security deposit and $350 for cleaning, linens, and amenity products.
13. How big is the pool?
The pool is an L shape 20' x 20' and holds 10,000 gallons. You can easily have 6 or 7 kids in the pool at one time and it's much bigger than a normal Florida kidney shaped "dipping" pool. The shallow end is 3', the deep end is 7".
During the Spring the pool is heated free of charge to 86 degrees. During the Fall Season there is an nominal charge for heating the pool.
During the Summer Season the pool is cleaned twice a week, Mondays, and Fridays. During the Spring, Fall and Winter it is cleaned just on Mondays.
14. What do you supply? What do we need to bring?
We supply all linens, towels and an initial supply of cleaning products. and amenities such as bar soap, toilet paper and shampoo. You will need to bring;
Cooking spices, aluminum foil, Baggies etc.
15. Do you have a grill? Do you have a blender? Do you have a toaster?
Yes we do. You can't have a beach house without a gas grill and blender. Our kitchen is VERY WELL supplied with all the pots and pans you will need plus many other things you may not expect such as a food processor, garlic press, gravy separator, salad spinner, shrimp de veiner, quality knives, and much more. Both my wife and I love to cook so you'll be able to cook anything you do at home right here at Shutters.
16. We have 4 teenagers and they would each like to bring a friend. Are you available the first week in April?
No. Here is the year round policy from our Rental Agreement: Shutters is strictly a family rental home. We do not rent to students or anyone under the age of 25 unless they are accompanied by at least one (1) parent for every two (2) children under the age of 25. The parent(s) must be staying at Shutters for the duration of the rental. This does not include being accompanied by an Aunt, Uncle, friends parents or older sibling, only a parent of the child under age 25. Any guests making reservations under false pretenses will be removed from the unit by our Property Management and the County Sheriff and will lose the remainder of their rent plus full security deposit. Underage drinking or drug use will not be tolerated at any time, even if the parents are present. Any evidence of illegal drug use or underage drinking will be meet with the county Sheriff and immediate removal from the property, loss of remaining rent and security deposit.
17. How do we make a payment?
Shutters is a verified credit card merchant. We accept: VISA, MASTERCARD, AMERICAN EXPRESS, and DISCOVER CARD. For you security, we do not provide a way for you to give us your credit card information on our website or via email. You will need to CALL US with your information. That information is then stored and encrypted on a secure computer. I'm sorry, we no longer accept checks.
18. How do we get the keys? What are the directions to Shutters?
Once we have received your final payment and signed Rental Agreement, and one week before your arrival we will send you our "Welcome To Shutters" pdf which introduces you to our Property Management Company, and gives directions so Shutters as well as a handy dining and recreation guide. When you are an hour away from Shutters you will call our Property Management Company who will meet you at the house, walk you through it and explain anything you need to know, and give you the keys. They will also be nearby to trouble shoot and repair any problems that may arise during your stay.
19. What is Shutters address?
For the privacy and security of our current guests we do not give out the address in advance. We have in the past, and had complaints by our guests of people up on the porch pearing in through the windows. What you see here on our website is EXACTLY as it is at Shutters and our many 5 star reviews verify this.. Go to the VIDEO page of our site, and you will be walking through Shutters.
20. How many stairs is the walkover? Can my parents make it up and down?
All of the homes in this area are 30 to 40 feet above the beach. The stairs leading down to the beach are called the "walkover" which are 4 or 5 flights of 10 - 12 stairs each. There are landings between each fight of stairs. My 85 year old Aunt makes it up and down the stairs no problem, but not without resting between flights. There is wheelchair access to the beach about 1/4 mile east at the Bramble Street walkover.
21. My parents are not good with stairs. Can they stay at Shutters?
Shutters is a 3 story house and is very vertical living. They would be able to stay on the first floor of the main house in the bedroom with two twin beds, but there are 3 stairs to get in and out of the house and to the pool, and much of the space at Shutters would not be accessible.
22. We would like to rent the entire month of June. What kind of deal can we get for renting the month?
Shutters is booked back to back every week from the second week in March until October. Our costs are the same whether we sell 4 weeks to one family or to 4 families so there is no discount for renting multiple weeks.
23. What's your favorite part about Shutters? What's the best time of year to come.
Wow, so many things I love about this house. We rarely come just the 4 of us, because we love sharing our home with friends and family - the Guest House is perfect for that. Yet, with all the different outdoor seating areas I never feel crowded here. Fall is my favorite time of year, the end of September would be my pick. The Gulf is still warm, it's less crowded and the rates are lower. One of my favorite spots in the house is the front porch seating area with the swing, coffee table and Adirondack chairs. I like reading my email and drinking coffee there in the morning - and playing cards after dinner. I also like the tower if I need to do some work while on vacation, and of course the Tower deck for cocktails at sunset.
I LOVE the mattress in the blue king bedroom. It's the most comfortable ever, and I love having a TV in the bedroom that can shut itself off. I love how the kids play endlessly in the pool, but my favorite is when the kids are gone and I can just float in the pool by myself. I also like the outdoor shower, in fact I prefer it to any inside the house. I love taking a long bike ride to Rosemary and coming back and just jumping in the pool with my clothes on. I love grilling with a beer in one hand, a cigar in the other, and my kids playing in the pool and the music going. It doesn't get any better. Most summer days I will get up with any early risers in the house and claim our spot down on the beach. Then sit and read and sip coffee until others come down. Our kitchen is so well supplied that we have a thermal coffee carafe just for the beach or tower. If the water is flat I'll see if I can swim all the way to Seaside. I love having a fried Grouper sandwich from The Village Market for lunch poolside. And going for dinner and drinks at Bud & Ally's Rooftop bar, especially in the winter when it's cool and the windows are on and it's raining. Very cozy! I love going to The Red Bar because the key lime pie there is the BEST and I like the band. I love Shutters' location. Seagrove's beach is less crowded and just better than Seaside and the short walk to the beach is nothing. Yet I ride my bike to Seaside everyday for a muffin, or shave ice, or BBQ, or a book, or just to hang out - then I get to leave. It's perfect.
24. We would like to book 4 nights in September Thursday to Monday. How much would that be?
During the Fall and Winter seasons we will take a 4 night minimum booking HOWEVER, it must either start or end on a Sunday. Why? Sunday is our changeover day. If I take a Thursday to Monday booking I say yes to 4 nights, but no to potentially 10 other nights of bookings, because it's just too hard to sell a Sunday to Wednesday, or Tuesday to Sunday booking.
25. How do you determine your price? Do you ever give a discount?
Our Price is determined by 4 factors; 1. Size, both number of bedrooms and square footage - inside and out. 2. Location to the beach and Seaside. 3. Extras - Guest House, private pool Tower Room etc. 4. Intangibles such as decorating, how well it's maintained, booking history, and repeat business. By the way, these first 3 are identical to buying Real Estate. What's the most important part of Real Estate? Location, location, location and cost per square foot. Shutters is 3250 square feet heated and cooled, but another 2650 of deck/outside space. The porches and decks are living space during our rental season, so you are renting a 6000 square foot home for just .71 cents per square foot during our most expensive season. That's a very reasonable rate and square foot to square foot much less expensive that a week at the Destin Holiday Inn.
Do you ever discount your rate? Sometimes in the fringe seasons, Fall and Winter, and also last minute bookings, but never for Summer or Spring Break seasons. We always sell out at the posted rate.
25. We would like to book Saturday to Saturday and noticed your house is Sunday to Sunday. Will you make an exception?
Most likely not. Most of the beach house rentals on 30-A are either Saturday to Saturday, or Sunday to Sunday. When we hired our cleaning company, who is the best on the beach, they were already booked for Saturdays, and we felt it was more important to have a clean house than a Saturday arrival, so we became a Sunday to Sunday. Once you're a Sunday changeover it's hard to switch back and forth because you can't sell the 6 day week (Sun – Fri) that would precede a schedule change, so we rarely allow a Saturday arrival, and never during peak season. There are some advantages to a Sunday changeover. The grocery store is much less crowded on Sunday or Monday, and your last day at the beach, Saturday, is also less crowded.
Our philosophy on running Shutters
Before we were owners we were renters, just like you. Over the years we’ve stayed in some nice rental homes but also some pretty crummy ones. Houses where all the furniture and floors were worn, none of the flatware matched, and there weren't enough pots and pans to prepare a simple meal. We can't stand that! From day one we vowed to never let that happen at Shutters. Today a portion of each rental goes toward maintenance because a house that sits this close to the beach and salt air requires constant attention. Our weekly cleaning and linen costs are VERY high because we use the very best cleaning service on the beach, who know and care for our house like it's their own. And every Sunday afternoon I know this house will be spotless when the next guests arrive. During the off season we spend a tremendous amount of time keeping Shutters in a "like new" condition, but we also like to add new features and upgrades for the next season. I want our return guests to always find something new each time they come back. This home is more than a business, it's a labor of love, and the most gratifying part is we're making memories not just for our family, but the many other families who call Shutters by the Sea their home year after year.
Below is a list of some of the upgrades and annual maintenance items through the years.
Purchased in 2002
New furniture in dining room, King MBR, Guest House, tower
Decorated, repainted, added art work
Supplied kitchen properly
Put in gas service and added pool heater
Added gas grill
Sanded, sealed, stained all decks
Added seating area outside King MBR
Annual repair, built trash can holder
New pool furniture
Painted full exterior
New deck furniture for Guest House
High Speed internet
Additional night lighting
Changed exterior drainage
Refinished interior wood floors
Connected to County sewage system
Pressure washed house
Painted all deck furniture
Painted pool deck
New A/C in Guest house
New A/C in main house 1st floor
Removed foliage around pool
Poured new deck area north of pool
New pool furniture
New roof on tower deck
Repaired roof soffits
New living room furniture
Re stained all decks
Painted pool deck
New pool heater
Pressure washed exterior
Resurface kitchen cabinets
Replaced all linens
Drained, resurfaced and refilled pool
New pool pump and filter
Pressure washed exterior
New seating area on first floor deck
Resurfaced all bathroom and Guest House cabinets
Pressure washed exterior
New HDTV's through out
Repainted pool deck
Repaired tower deck
New front sidewalk
Pressure washed exterior
New 1st floor blinds
Refinish wood floors
New mattress Guest House
New Furnace and AC in Guest House
New Furnace and AC in Main House 1st Floor
Replaced all insulation and ducts in Guest house
Repaint interior Guest House
Repaint interior Main House 1st floor
New privacy fence around pool.
New kitchen counter tops.
Re stain first floor deck
New Kitchen Appliances
Re decorate Main House first floor
Paint interior first floor
Whole house dehumidifier Guest House
New Pool Heater
New 1st Flr. Hot water heater
Paint Exterior (November)
New bike racks
Repaint pool deck (August)