Tampa Real Estate and Community News

March 19, 2018

How To Get Pre-approved For A Mortgage

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Friends and Clients —

There's no doubt about it:

It's a very competitive market today if you are looking to buy a home.

Inventory is near record lows. At the same time, more and more homebuyers are entering the market. This means you will need every advantage to grab that perfect home when you do find it.

One no-brainer aspect of preparing to buy a home is to get pre-approved for a mortgage.

After all, getting pre-approved informs you of how much you can borrow.

It's something you will need to do at a later point anyway.

In our current competitive market, it can mean the difference between having your offer accepted or having to watch your dream home go to somebody else.

You can definitely get a leg up on the competition by starting your home search at the loan office rather than at the open house.

In general, here's what you will need:

Proof of income
At a minimum, lenders will want to see pay stubs from the past 30 days showing your year-to-date income, two years of federal tax returns, and two years of W2 forms from your employer.

Proof of assets
You will need to present statements from your checking, savings, or investment accounts to prove that you have funds for the down payment and closing costs.

Good credit
Most lenders reserve the best rates for homebuyers with a credit score of 740 or above. You can still qualify for a mortgage with a lower credit score, but a good lender will also recommend ways to improve your credit and qualify for a better loan.

These are the most common things you will need to get pre-approved, though your lender might want to see some other documents as well.

Once you're pre-approved, what happens then?

The lender has committed to lending you a given sum of money for a certain period of time (typically 90 days).

This will make the buying process faster, more convenient, and less stressful. Most importantly, it will make it more likely that your offer for that perfect home gets accepted.

Now, if you are thinking of buying a new home, take a look at some of the great homes that have recently come on the Tampa market:

Click here for all available Tampa homes for sale.

And if you want to start your home buying process in earnest, give me a call at 813-907-2555. I know several top Tampa mortgage lenders, and I can put you in touch with them.

Posted in Buying a Home
Feb. 21, 2018

The First Crystal Lagoon in the Nation Is Coming to Tampa

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Today we are here at the first Crystal Lagoon in the entire nation.

This is an exciting new community in Wesley Chapel, just north of Tampa, called Epperson Ranch. The focal point of this brand new master planned community is a seven acre sparkling clear water lagoon—this community is gaining national attention. The Crystal Lagoon is a top amenity and homes here are selling quickly. You’ll be able to swim, kayak, paddleboard, and enjoy all kinds of water activities in this resort style lagoon, as well as enjoy access to the fastest internet in the nation.

There are 2,000 homes planned and currently six builders to choose from. The average price point is right around $300,000, and you can purchase a home in this exciting community for as little as the mid 200’s. Whether you are looking to raise a family, or retire and downsize, or even purchase a vacation home to get away from the cold, you need to check out Epperson Ranch.

This section of Pasco County that has always been designated as an area of economic and development growth has earned the distinction as the first true Connected City with an infrastructure built on the fastest internet and WiFi speeds in the nation. Buyers will enjoy access to top schools, leading healthcare and notable commerce as well as great homes.

If you would like to learn more about Epperson Ranch including exclusive access to all of the builders, floorplans, and upcoming lots to be released soon,  call or email us today.  Our team of real estate advisors is here to help you make great real estate decisions. We look forward to hearing from you!

To view all Epperson Ranch Homes available, or arrange showings, click here: https://www.tampahomegroup.com/epperson-ranch/

Feb. 12, 2018

What Happened in the 2017 Tampa Real Estate Market?

The final numbers for the 2017 Tampa Bay real estate market are in, which means it’s time for your market recap.

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Buying a home? Search all Tampa homes for sale

By every measure, 2017 was a very strong year for the Tampa Bay market.

Overall home sales were up by 7.85%, with 36,044 closed sales in 2017, up from 33,422 sales in 2016.

The average sale price in Tampa Bay grew by 6% in 2017.   In comparison, the Tampa Bay region had an 11% increase in prices in 2016, and a 7% increase in 2015.

A lot of that growth has been fueled by new construction here in our market.

Experts predict that 2018 will be another strong year for the market, but the pace of growth is expected to stabilize, with the National Association of Realtors predicting a nationwide average price growth at a more conservative 1% to 3% annually.

If you have a home to sell, it’s certainly a great time to put it on the market. I’m happy to share with you the best time do that based on your own particular situation.

“Experts predict that 2018 will be another strong year for the real estate market.”

Inventory has been a huge topic of discussion lately since it’s so low. For homes under $300,000 in Tampa, supply is extremely low, with less than three months of inventory available on the market. When we look at the $1 million and up range, there are 11 months of inventory on the market, so the upper price ranges are still experiencing a buyer’s market.  Supply and demand in real estate is highly localized – so the national headlines won’t always translate literally when we examine your home’s value.  Pricing can change week to week, and is a direct product of the pool of available buyers and how many other homes are on the market.

Keep in mind that a lot of the new construction that is out there for buyers is not listed in the MLS and therefore not reflected in these inventory numbers.

You can check out the full list of market statistics here.

If you have any other questions about our market or about buying or selling a home, just give us a call or send us an email. We would be happy to help you!

Dec. 7, 2017

Is Your Home Fit for a Professional Athlete?

Have you ever wondered if your home might be fit for a professional athlete?

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Buying a home? Search all Tampa homes for sale

Here at Tampa Home Group we are members of a national organization called Sportsstar Relocation that specializes in serving the needs of professional athletes relocating across the country.

I wanted to share with you today their exciting monthly digital publication called The Lineup. It features the best of the best of the listings that we as Sportsstar Relocation agents list around the country.

So if you'd like to expose your home to 100% of relocating professional athletes and their agents, The Lineup would be a great place to get your home featured.

I'd be delighted to give you more information on Sportsstar Relocation and The Lineup please call me on 813 907 2555.

Please click the image below to take a look at the latest edition of the Lineup.

Sportsstar Relocation - The Lineup

Oct. 1, 2017

Is the Holiday Season a Good Time to List Your Home?

The fourth quarter is a great time to put your home on the market in Tampa Bay because you’ll face less competition and the buyers you encounter will be more serious about buying.

Selling your Tampa home? Get a free home value report

Buying a home? Search all Tampa homes for sale

It’s been a fantastic year to buy and sell real estate, and we’re now heading into one of my favorite times to put a home on the market.

It’s the fourth quarter, and we’re entering the holiday season. A lot of sellers have been taught to believe that it’s a good idea to take their home off the market during the holidays because nothing sells then.

Well, I’m here to tell you that nothing could be further from the truth. Tampa Bay is a year-round market with a strong fourth quarter. Would it surprise you to know that last year, a full 25% of the homes that sold in Tampa did so in the fourth quarter? Out of 33,422 home sales across the entire year, 8,831 sales occurred during the fourth quarter.

If you’re thinking of taking your home off the market and listing it after the new year or once spring comes, have you considered taking advantage of the fact that inventory will be lower now because so many other sellers plan on doing the same thing? You’ll face less competition, and you’ll deal with fewer but more serious showings because buyers who look for homes during the fourth quarter tend to be more serious.

Who are these buyers? They include:

  • Out-of-towners flying in over the holidays who want to tie in visits to friends and family with their home-shopping trip.
  • People who are starting new jobs at the first of the year and need a new place to live.
  • In-town residents who want to purchase a home and close on it before December 31st so they can put a put a homestead exemption on it.
  • People who are busy with work and have some time off over the holidays to shop for their homes.

If you’ve been thinking about making a move but have been assuming it would be best to wait until after the holidays to do so, pick up the phone and give me a call so we can go over which options are best for you.

If you have any more questions about our Tampa Bay market, feel free to reach out to me. I’d love to speak with you.

Sept. 1, 2017

Have You Heard of This Amazing Down Payment Assistance Program?

Have you heard of this amazing down payment assistance program that is available in our state? Today I’m bringing you the details.

Selling your Tampa home? Get a free home value report

Buying a home? Search all Tampa homes for sale

Today I’d like to tell you about a little known program that has already thousands of people buy homes. This program can give you up to $15,000 toward your down payment. Unfortunately, many of today’s potential buyers have never heard of this program, so we want to spread the word to all of our friends and clients who might be able to take advantage of this wonderful program before it’s too late!

Back during the housing crisis, the federal government designated funds to help in the bailing out of the housing crisis.

However, because not all of this money was used, the funds that were left over were given to several of the most affected states in order to aid in their recovery.

Florida was one of those states. As a result, state bond money is being given out to aid in home purchases in many counties here in Florida.

Not only does the program give you up to $15,000 toward your home purchase, it also doesn’t need to be repaid as long as you stay in the house for at least five years.

But this down payment assistance program isn’t going to last forever—funds for the full $15,000 assistance are running low, and are set to run out around October 31-November 3 this year, and once they do, the program will change. While the program will continue, the amount of money that is offered will be dropping to $7,500, and the repayment requirements are stricter should you sell the home.

So, who qualifies for this program? If you have not owned a home in the last three years, or are a veteran, you may qualify. Additionally, the income requirements are less strict than you might think. In fact, you can still qualify as an individual with a base salary of up to $82,600.

This program is absolutely worth checking out. If you know anyone who would benefit from this program, please feel free to forward this message on to them, and call us immediately for more details.

If you have any other questions or would like more information, feel free to give me a call or send me an email. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Aug. 1, 2017

Did You Know You Can Appeal Your Property Taxes?

You should have already received in the mail your county’s assessment of your home’s value for 2017. Here’s what to do if you think it’s too high.

Selling your Tampa home? Get a free home value report

Buying a home? Search all Tampa homes for sale

We’re nearing the end of the summer, which means that your TRIM notice from your county containing the proposed assessed value of your home for tax purposes in 2017 has been sent out.

It’s not a bill that you have to pay, but it is something that you are going to want to open and read carefully. If you feel that your assessed value is unfairly high, or that you are entitled to an exemption that you have not received, you do have the right to contest it with the county appraiser’s office. However, you only have a short time period in which to do this so acting fast is key.

If you need some advice, give us a call or send us an email and we would be glad to help. It’s important to know that this assessment may not reflect what your home would sell for today on the open market—if you need to know what your home would sell for, just call us, and we’re happy to discuss what your home is worth.

If you have questions about how the Property Appraiser determines an assessed value for your home, check out the informative discussions at each of the county websites:

Hillsborough County Property Appraiser website
Pasco County Property Appraiser website
Pinellas County Property Appraiser website

Remember, if you feel your assessment is unfairly high or a mistake has been made, you have the statutory right to appeal it. Keep in mind that you only have a short time to do so, so don't wait. Here are some helpful links:

How do I appeal my Hillsborough County tax assessment?
Pasco County Real Property Value Appeal Form
How are values determined by the Pinellas County Appraiser?

As always, if you have any other questions about our market, just give me a call or send me an email. I would be happy to help you!

July 1, 2017

2 Trends to Watch in the Tampa Real Estate Market

How is the Tampa real estate market doing? May and June set new records in home sales, and prices are on the rise.

Selling your Tampa home? Get a free home value report

Buying a home? Search all Tampa homes for sale

The June numbers just came in. You can check out all of the details here, but there are two important trends that I want to highlight.

We just had two record-setting months in sales volume and home prices.

In May, 3,573 homes sold, which is a record for the Tampa market. Then in June, 3,616 homes sold, breaking that record! Overall, there was a 13.2% increase in sales in June 2017 compared to June 2016.

Home prices have also seen a healthy increase of 9.3% year-over-year.

If you are thinking of putting your home on the market, now may be a good time to do so. If you have any questions about which improvements will get you the best return on investment, reach out to me and I can help you.

Homebuyers, if you are struggling to find the home you want, let us know. We search daily, along with a dedicated staff, for off market properties for our buyers. We always have a number of properties entering the market in the next three or four weeks, so we can certainly help you.

As always, if you have any other questions about our market, just give me a call or send me an email. I would be happy to help you!

May 4, 2017

How Has Our Market Done This Spring?

Our Tampa Bay market is so hot it’s breaking records. Where is the dividing line between buyers and sellers, though?

Selling your Tampa home? Get a free home value report

Buying a home? Search all Tampa homes for sale

The numbers are in for the month of March, and it was a record-setting one for our Tampa Bay market. Two very important year-over-year statistics prove how well we did compared to March 2016.

First, there were 3,283 closed sales, which was an increase of 22%. To put that into perspective, our market traditionally averages between 2,200 to 2,500 sales per month. Across the market, prices were up roughly 8.7%. Depending on your neighborhood and price range, however, this figure can vary. 

March was a record-setting month for our market.

What do these statistics mean? We have a clear dividing line where we switch from a seller’s market to a buyer’s market. In Tampa, that dividing line is right around the $500,000 mark. Under that price point, we have less than a six-month supply of inventory. Over that price point, the inventory starts to climb. 

To get a more in-depth look at the latest statistics our spring market has brought, click on this link. 

Who do you know who might need help buying or selling? As a friendly reminder, our Referral Rewards Vacation contest is taking place again this year, and there is still time to refer your friends and family who have real estate needs. Our winner will be drawn in December. If you have any questions about our market, don’t hesitate to give me a call. I would be happy to help you.

March 24, 2017

Is It Smarter to Remodel Your Home or Just Move?

Should you love it or list it? Depending on your situation, these factors will help you decide if it's smarter to remodel your home or simply move into a new one.

Selling your Tampa home? Get a free home value report

Buying a home? Search all Tampa homes for sale

Should you love your home or list it?

Many homeowners we talk to are thinking about remodeling projects and spending anywhere from $15,000 to $50,000+ on renovations, and wondering if it makes sense to just move to a new home instead. The answer really depends on your own situation, but you certainly want to think about whether the home will support your long-term needs if you make the upgrades, the eventual resale value of your improved home, and whether those improvements will pay off.  There might just be something about your current house that doesn't work for you and your family at this time.  Moving might make more sense, especially if you are over-improving your home for its neighborhood.

Depending on what you decide to do, getting your money out when it comes time to resell can be a challenge, so it’s worth doing a bit of research before you decide.  If you'd like help with this decision, give us a call and we can help you run through the numbers for your individual situation to figure out what's best for you and your family. Be careful about over-improving for your neighborhood.

If you decide to sell, be aware that the opportunity is good in our market right now, especially if you're selling a smaller home and moving up into a bigger home. That's because the inventory of available houses in the entry-level market and lower price ranges is low, but it's higher in the higher price ranges. You could sell your house at a high-demand level and take advantage of decreased demand and better deals in the higher price ranges. 

You can get a look at all the latest market statistics here.

If you have any questions at all or you'd like to discuss whether it's smarter to renovate your home or move, I'd be more than happy to help. Just give me a call or send me an email today!