June 6, 2013

725 Sandy Hills Ave Tarpon Springs FL 34689 - Coming Soon

Front Exterior This home at 725 Sandy Hills Ave Tarpon Springs FL 34689 is just about ready to be listed on the MLS.  Call or text us at 727-366-0325 for your sneak preview of this or other Tarpon Springs homes for sale.

Built in 2002, this 3 bedroom 2 bath block home is in the secluded neighborhood of Cypress Park with easy access from US 19.  The home has an open layout with high ceilings that give it a welcoming feel.  The floor plan is split so everyone has their own space.

In the spacious kitchen you'll find gleaming wood floors, wood cabinets, an over-sized closet pantry, and a breakfast bar, and it opens to a good-sized breakfast area..  There's a dining room area behind the breakfast bar that opens to the light and bright living area.  The generously sized master bedroom has a walk in closet. Separate laundry room with washer and dryer included.

This nice, newer neighborhood is convenient to the Historic Sponge Docks, Fred Howard Park and other beaches, The Pinellas Trail, golf courses, schools, plus many great shops and restaurants.

More pics coming soon!

725 Sandy Hills Ave Tarpon Springs 34689 Living Room


May 17, 2013

Selling Soon? To Improve or Not Improve?

remodeling tips for your homeAs Pinellas Realtors with expertise in marketing homes online, when Matt and I consult with home sellers, we perform our "Outside Inside Home Review" to identify any and all issues that can increase the value of their home and minimize its time on the market.  Often these "fixes" don't cost a thing and just require a little effort.  Some fixes do cost money and definitely should NOT be done!  Some improvements just don't pay off.

Yet for those that do, and if you're on board with making some improvements, you may want to take a second look at Houzz.com. Cited as a source for inspiration and collaboration and research for home owners everywhere, Houzz is also a source for hiring local contracting professionals, too.

With more than sixty categories of home related projects to choose from, including interior remodeling contractors and outdoor living space professionals, Houzz is more than just a place to get great ideas for your home. Houzz is also a great source for you to find the interior designers, architects, and landscapers for your home who created and constructed those designs in the first place!

Increased home values often result in homeowners deciding to make changes in their homes, whether due to a potential sale or just a quality of life improvement, and technology makes this process so much easier.

“Homeowners and professionals alike are telling us that they are moving forward with more building, renovation and design projects this year,” said Liza Hausman, VP Community at Houzz. “Houzz provides homeowners with the absolute best resource to find the right professional for their project."

As a homeowner, ideas for improving your home may come in many forms, but Houzz.com is definitely a resource to be considered. Another resource to consider when determining whether a home improvement will add to your home value are trusted Tampa Bay real estate experts. If you would like some tips on projects that will help to increase the resale value of your home and your own "Outside Inside Home Review, just give us a call at 727-366-0325 or find us via the "Contact Us" link above.

Posted in Home Staging Tips
May 17, 2013

Tampa Bay Homes for Sale - How to Compete

Multiple Offers On Your HomeTampa Bay homes for sale are scarce, and home buyers are bemoaning the lack of inventory.  If you happen to be in the market to buy your home, there are a few things you should know.

When you find the perfect home, make an offer.

Don’t wait, don’t bargain.

Offer your best possible price and a high deposit (1% of purchase price is customary in Tampa Bay, so you may want to offer 2% if you can swing it) with all your personal details, including a fantastic story about why you want why you NEED that house to be your home!

You see, the offer you write may be your ONLY chance to win the home, your home, and you want to give it your best shot.

In a housing market like ours, where inventory is low and homes are only staying on the market for a short amount of time, multiple offers are being submitted on homes that are marketed professionally and priced right.  By the way, about half of the bank owned homes are NOT priced right currently, but that's a story for another day.   Homes that are selling now are selling at 98% of asking price and quite a few are selling well above asking price.  The ones that sell above asking price generally go into contract within the first few days, and there are reasons for that as well (your agent needs to have the expertise to market and present it to the world in a certain manner).

Home sellers need to evaluate several offers and if yours is one of many (your agent should be able to tell you if other parties have indicated interest), it needs to stand out. That’s where your story comes in (along with your best price offer and earnest deposit).

3 Steps to Writing the Best Offer For Your Home


  1. Offer up as much cash as you can in the form of an earnest deposit with the best possible price you can pay.
  2. If you need lending, get pre-approved by a LOCAL lender and formalize it by including a letter from your lender as part of your offer.
  3. Write a from the heart appeal that explains your feelings about the house and why you need their home to be your home. If you have a good personal story, share it as well. Some home sellers are motivated by more than price and if they can “see” you in the home, it could make a difference.

Hey, it can't hurt!


April 19, 2013

Being Credit Smart With Your Home

Building security in your homeThe Tampa Bay housing market and what it means for you and us as Pinellas Realtors is definitely a hot topic of late.  No matter where you turn, you can catch an "expert" discussing historical growth, the housing "bubble" or market scarcity and options for buying and selling your home.

Even Fannie's Mae Economic & Strategic Research Group report released on April 17th, indicates a 3.2 percent surge in economic growth over the first quarter, and seems to be setting the stage for an even healthier housing market, as it predicts continued increases and potential economic growth of 2.3 percent throughout the rest of 2013.

Despite other significant issues that could impact consumer spending, Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae Chief Economist, indicates that hope may remain in housing trends, stating, "...the housing recovery continues to broaden and may be more robust than we anticipate, helping to offset fiscal headwinds.”

Considering that potential home buyers may need some assurance and coaching as they enter this changing housing market, Fannie Mae has launched a new online CreditSmart® tutorial to guide individuals as they seek to make wise financial decisions, including many which could lead to the purchase of your home.

A multilingual curriculum, Christina Diaz Malone, Freddie Mac Vice President of Corporate Relations and Housing Outreach believes CreditSmart® will reassure home buyers explaining, "Our new online CreditSmart® tutorial is a stepping stone to homeownership, especially for working families who are unsure how to start household budgets or build the personal savings and strong credit for the future."

With twelve modules on the importance of credit and money management, goal setting, banking, financial traps, and becoming a homeowner, CreditSmart® provides resources and practical help for those just entering the housing market as well as homeowners that may be struggling in their current situations.  You may find that some of the material can benefit you in your home and financing search, making it worth taking a look.  Of course, if all that makes you dizzy, feel free to give us a call to chat about your situation!

Posted in Mortgage Updates
Sept. 25, 2012

Real Estate and the Presidential Election - Why Wait To Buy

Real estate and the economy are on people's minds during this election season. The Presidential ad campaigns are in full swing (don't we know it down here in the sunny swing state of Florida), the economy is creeping back but is definitely not booming, and now you may be looking to buy or sell real estate. The question is whether you should wait until after the election to make the leap, or do it now? It's a good question, and here's a look at what could be coming to help you decide.

Real Estate and the Presidential Election - Why Wait To BuyThe election is just about a month and a half away, and it would be very easy to buy a property, but should you wait?

Tax policy is a big issue. Democrats have said that they are not in favor of keeping existing tax cuts in place, for varied reasons. Republicans want tax cuts to stay and become permanent. Whether they will remain can make a difference in the decision to purchase real estate. If Obama wins, the temporary tax cuts will not be extended beyond this year. He’s constantly saying this in speeches, and his record shows that he is in favor of raising taxes versus cutting spending. If Romney wins, he says he will extend the cuts and try to make them permanent.

Some of those tax cuts revolve around how you can deduct the costs of buying real estate, as well as the cost to maintain a loan to make the purchase. Any homeowner will tell you that the deduction on their taxes for mortgage interest is a big deal. Depending on how new the loan is, or more accurately how much of your montly payment is being applied to interest vs. principal, that figure can be a large one. Even an 8-10 year old loan of $200,000 can mean a deduction of over $10,000 in a year. Depending on your income, that is a substantial reduction in what you will be required to pay in income taxes.

So the decision to buy real estate is probably a good one to make now. Any cuts will be in place for at least a year, and if you purchase smart and within your budget, home ownership is never a bad idea!

If you are outside the area and wondering about the local Tampa Bay real estate market, please feel free to give us a call today to find out more. With the exception of the political ads, Florida is a great place to have a main or second home and the time is still right to buy (before prices go to farther up!). We are happy to talk to you about the Florida real estate market and work with MANY out of towners...:) Julia and Matt Fishel 727-366-0325

Sept. 18, 2012

Real Estate Myths - They Won't Just Make an Offer

There are some real estate myths out there that make selling your home more difficult, even with the real estate market slowly picking up. Most of those myths have to do with pricing your home and updating it to get the best value.

Real Estate Myth #1: You should price your home higher than market value so you have room to negotiate. Wrong! If you overprice your home there are two problems that you will create. First, people who are looking at the right range for your home won't see it because the listing will be in the wrong price range. People who DO see it won't bite because it isn't what they are looking for. The other problem that presents itself is that you will inevitably have to lower your price and prospective buyers will wonder what is wrong with the home that it had to be re-priced. If your home is priced right, negotiating will be easy and offers will be close to what you want to get for your home. People will consider it a good value when you price it right.

Real Estate Myth #2: I need to do things like replace my carpet or do some updates to make it look better, but I don't have the money to do that, so should I just wait and offer a credit at closing so the buyers can fix it up themelves? No! Before real estate listings went internet, this would be a feasible idea, but with people Real estate myths - Palm Harbor Realtorschecking out properties before they see them in person, first impressions are incredibly important. Some updates are inexpensive for the value they give, such as freshening up paint, or updating cabinetry in a bath or kitchen with some paint. Check with the people at your local home improvement store to find inexpensive ways to freshen up your interior, spruce up your appliances, even how to make your carpet look less worn.

Real Estate Myth #3: De-cluttering makes sense, but do I really have to stage my home for sale? De-cluttering and paring down the amount of furniture is essential in selling a home. The fewer pieces of furniture you have, the bigger your rooms look. Buyers don't expect that a home that is being lived in is going to look like a designer's show piece, but some staging is a good thing.

Being aware of the above real estate myths is a smart way to get your home sold!!! If you have weird real estate questions that you want to find out about, please please please give me a call today to find out the REAL real estate answers! Julia 727-366-0324

Sept. 12, 2012

Palm Harbor Short Sale Real Estate- The Tax Credit Is Going Away

Palm Harbor short sale real estate is going to be different soon because the short sale tax credit is going away. Over the past several years, many homeowners have used a short sale to get out from under a home that is worth less than is owed on it, including residents of Palm Harbor. It is a good option because it keeps them out of foreclosure when they are unable to find another way out. While it is a great relief, it's also a great burden when it comes to your tax return. In response to that, Congress passed the Mortgage Debt Relief Act to help out.

Palm Harbor Short Sale Real Estate- The Tax Credit Is Going Away A short sale is when a lender agrees to accept less than what you owe on your home in order to release you from your mortgage. Basically, short sale credit involves forgiving part of your debt. But as far as the IRS is concerned, forgiven debt is income which means that they are taxed. That can mean a huge tax bill come April. In response, Congress passed the Mortgage Debt Relief Act in 2007 which exempts the debt forgiven in a short sale from taxes for up to $2 million (married couples filing separately are eligible for $1 million each).

This was a great relief for homeowners, and Congress figured that the bad economy would be better by 2012 and the exemption would no longer be widely needed. So they made the law effective through 2012. As we now know, we are still firmly in the grip of the Great Recession, and homeowners who need to take advantage of this short sale tax credit need to list their property now in order to get the short sale completed by the end of the year.

Many Palm Harbor realtors are finding that homes are selling more quickly than in years past. Most sales are taking a few months, rather than a year or more. If you are under water on your mortgage and are thinking that you want to wait until prices rise, you may be risking your credit rating and a higher tax bill. So our Palm Harbor potential sellers should list now, so that you can sell by the end of the year. Also get the paperwork for the short sale in process so you can be ready to sign on time!

If you have any questions about doing a Palm Harbor Short Sale in time to take advantage of the tax credit, please give us a call today! 727-366-0324

Aug. 28, 2012

Waterfront Homes with Gulf Access 1330 Chancellor Drive MLS U7557236

Florida waterfront homes where you can literally eat off the floor don't come along every day. Take a peek at 1330 Chancellor Drive Holiday Florida MLS U7557236 that was just listed. It's not your typical short sale as its spotless and TRULY move-in ready. Only 1 lender to negotiate with!

Contact us at 727-366-0325 for details.

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Aug. 28, 2012

Palm Harbor Homes for Sale - Who Are "Typical First Time Homebuyers"

Although these days it can be a bit more challenging to purchase a new home, there are Palm Harbor homes for sale and first time homebuyers to buy them.

Palm Harbor Homes for Sale - Who Are "Typical First Time Homebuyers"Those first time buyers are of all races, creeds, religions, ages and nationalities, but they all have some similarities in what makes them “typical.” A “typical” first time home buyer, according to the National Association of Home Builders, is an average age of 33 and the average household size is 2.7 people, some a couple, some single some small families.

Their average income is $64,000, and those incomes are the median for the area where the home is. That means that they have a typical income for the area where they live. About a third of them are married with children. Interestingly enough, about two thirds of first time buyers are white, 11 percent are African American and 15% are Hispanics.

First time buyers typically purchase homes in the $150,000 range, and those homes have an average square footage of about 1500 square feet, and those homes tend to be older homes. This is because most new homes average 2,000 square feet or more, leaving smaller, older homes that are lower in cost. Those homes also tend to be single family homes. Almost 79 percent are this type, while 22 percent are townhomes or condominiums.

So why are all of these “typical homebuyer” facts important? Because if you are doing anything in the market right now, you know that true starter homes for "typical first time homebuyers" are harder to come by than you think! There are some short sales out there, there are some in high insurance areas and there are foreclosures that have been stripped to the teeth, but that glut of first time homes has come and gone.

If you are looking for a starter home, you need to be really clear with what is important to you. You also need to be pre-approved for financing so that you can make a move if that perfect starter home comes on the market.

What if you are thinking of moving up to your second Palm Harbor home for sale? You lost some value on your starter home, BUT what you lost is probably in balance with your move-up home and you will come out ahead in the long run! For example, if you bought a house for $150,000 and lost 10% of the value, you are down $15K. Now consider your move-up home which may be in the $400K range. If they lost 10%, then they are down $40,000 and you get the difference of $25,000 in the process!!!

Neat huh? So, whether you are looking to sell or buy one of our Palm Harbor homes for sale, please, please, please make sure to get with a professional to make sure your transaction goes well! If you are looking for a great Palm Harbor realtor, please give me a call today!!! 727-366-0324

Aug. 21, 2012

Palm Harbor Open Houses - Nosy Neighbors or Potential Sellers

So we do Palm Harbor open houses from time to time and LOVE when we get neighborhood traffic through the door - the funny thing is what these lovely walk-ins actually mean!

Palm Harbor Open Houses - Nosy Neighbors or Potential SellersImagine this, you are a top-notch Palm Harbor Realtor, sitting in an open house for two hours on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon. You have your stack of Realtor mags, a few postcards and thank you notes to send out and a Starbucks latte by your side.

Ho-hum...well it IS a nice day out there, hopefully you will get some people to see this great listing...la ti dah...anytime now.

Next thing you know, BAM! Someone walks in and says, "oh I am just the neighbor from across the street, do you mind if I take a peek?" Mind, OF COURSE NOT! First off, they could have a friend or family member who is looking for a place to live close by (we call this picking your neighbors!)

But more likely for us, they are a potential seller! Maybe not now, but NO ONE stops after work or on a glorious day at an open house unless they are considering listing their home sometime for sale within the next year or so.

Now while most realtors are FAMILIAR with listing and selling homes, a word to the wise about picking your LISTING agent at an open house...

Most Realtors who are holding an open house are Buyer's agents. They work primarily with people looking to purchase a home, not sell them. They do open houses to get buyer leads and think of the people who just pop by as "nosy neighbors", not potential clients.

Lucky for you, here at the Pinellas Peach we work as a team, Matt mostly handling the buyers and me handling the seller's sides. SOOO if you are looking for a great agent, please consider giving us a call 727-366-0324!

That having been said...we have a couple of more bits to consider about using open houses or researching potential home prices on your own!

Going to open houses to figure out pricing...

We have talked about it before, but it bears repeating, what a home is PRICED for is not necessarily what it will sell for! There is nothing to stop your neighbor from pricing their home 10, 20, or even 30 THOUSAND dollars over market value. In fact, if you see a house that has been for sale in your neighborhood for a LONG time, you know that it is overpriced. Either it costs too much for the neighborhood or the condition compared to other houses for that price is not comparable.

The reason this matters is if you are really scoping out realtors, you don't want to pick one that will let you overprice your home! These conversations are hard and not fun, but we will always tell you the truth about the market!

Going to open houses to figure out pricing, part deux...

We find that oftentimes houses in adjacent neighborhoods (also called subdivisions) are not always comparably priced. Real estate IS all about location, location, location and going just one street over could mean a swing of REALLY big proportions pricing-wise.

If you are thinking about listing your home in the next year, we have tools that will let you track ACTUAL selling prices of homes around you and in comparable neighborhoods (free ones that let you search the MLS just like you are a realtor yourself). We can also do a CMA (comparative market analysis) to give you a snapshot of pricing today. Oh, oh, oh and we are happy to come out and let you know which updates are worthwhile to do and which you can skip.

Seriously, this is not just a job to us...this is our life's work, helping people sell their homes and finding them new ones that they LOVE. We are always happy to come out and chat, even if you are not ready to list today!!!