Tampa Real Estate and Community News

June 26, 2018

What Answers Should You Insist on Before Hiring a Listing Agent

Buying or selling a home is a significant business decision. Having a trustworthy, experienced agent to guide you through that process can be an invaluable asset. How should you interview potential real estate agents to see who would be a good fit for you?

Here are the three best questions to ask a listing agent before choosing one to hire to help you sell your home:

1. How many homes have YOU sold in the last 12 months?  Insist on experience.
Many real estate agents may have an impressive presentation, or share statistics on the number of homes their company sells. That's useful information, yet it is the INDIVIDUAL AGENT’S TRACK RECORD that is the best indication of the type of service and results you will receive. Many agents today have limited experience, and when it comes to pricing and marketing your home, strategically positioning your home vs. the competition, negotiating offers, handling appraisal, inspection, and repair issues, you may find yourself at a severe disadvantage because an agent with less than 10 years of experience has never been through a complete market cycle, or represented enough sellers to bring you the desired result. An experienced agent who has been selling 100+ homes a year  over the last decade has a treasure chest of knowledge that cannot be duplicated. Selling real estate for over 20 years means an agent has guided clients in both up and down markets. Avoid the common trap of simply hiring a “friend in the business”,  the agent that sold the home down the street, or the brand new agent who has just few years (or less) of experience - all agents are not the same, just like all surgeons are not the same. Many sellers we meet whose homes didn’t sell with a prior agent regret failing to do the research upfront the first time.

2. How many of your listings have sold vs. how many of your listings have failed to sell?
Many agents can advertise impressive numbers of homes sold, but what they don’t share is how many of their listings never sell. Here at Tampa Home Group, over the past 10 years, we successfully sell more than 95% of the homes that we list. The agent you choose to hire should have a great track record of successful home sales as opposed to a great track record of getting homes listed.  

3. What is your list-to-sale price ratio?
This is a very important statistic that serves almost like an agent’s report card. The average home here in Tampa Bay sells for 97% of its list price, and many agents in the market have a track record far below that. Year in and year out, Tampa Home Group has sold our listings at an average of over 99% of  list price. The 2% difference in our net proceeds really adds up to more money for our sellers. Our proven marketing plan, years of experience, and personalized service allows us to deliver these extraordinary results to our sellers.

If you have any additional questions for us about your specific situation or about the real estate market in general, don’t hesitate to give us a call or send us an email any time. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

June 11, 2018

How a Pre-Approval Letter Can Boost Your Home-Buying Success

As we know, our current market is extremely competitive. This means there is a strong likelihood that buyers in our Tampa area market will encounter multiple offer situations while engaged in their home search.

To combat these potentially difficult conditions, it’s critical for buyers to approach the market with a strong pre-approval letter in hand. Also, the distinction between a pre-approval and a pre-qualification letter is key—so be careful not to confuse these terms as you proceed.

Allow me to clarify how these two items differ. A pre-qualification letter indicates that you may qualify for a loan up to a certain amount based on information you have provided to your lender.

A pre-approval letter, on the other hand, is much more powerful. A strong pre-approval letter states that your income, assets, and credit have all been verified by the lender. The concrete nature of this document will help reassure sellers of your credentials, and of the fact that making a deal with you would be a secure decision.

Presenting a pre-approval letter alongside your offer is a great step to take as a buyer, but it is equally important to work alongside a strong local lender in generating this document and in navigating the deal, overall.

If a seller has multiple offers from between which they must choose, they will tend to gravitate toward offers that are backed by recognizable local professionals. Working with a lender who understands, and has a positive reputation in, the Tampa area will be of great benefit to you. Many out-of-state banks or online lending services are out there, but working with them will not provide the same results or the same level of service as seeking the guidance of someone from our area.

Ultimately, entering our market as a prepared, professionally backed buyer will be essential to your success.

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


Posted in Buying a Home
May 21, 2018

3 Reasons to Consider Listing Now

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If you are a Tampa Bay homeowner and you have been thinking about listing your home for sale, now is a fantastic time to do so. There are three reasons why May 2018 is the perfect time for you to sell your home and maximize your profits. The first reason is that the window of peak buyer activity is here. Many buyers time their move with the school year, so they want to buy now, close in June or July, and get all settled in before school starts in August. To learn the other two reasons why now is such a fantastic time to list your home, watch our latest video.

Posted in Selling Your Home
May 15, 2018

Never Buy New Construction Without an Experienced Agent by Your Side

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Buying a home? Search all Tampa homes for sale

When buying new construction, having a great agent by your side will be critical to your success. Today I will share five key reasons why this is the case.

1. We are going to help you spend your money on the right things. Having a professional working by your side will ensure that you invest your hard-earned money wisely. An agent will help you make choices that will bring you the biggest return on investment, including the right lot, the right upgrades, and more.

2. Your Realtor has your back. The builder’s representative may be pleasant and friendly, but they represent the builder—not you. If you meet with a builder without an agent on your side, you have essentially given up your right to representation.

3. We can negotiate for you. Agents are aware of the kinds of promotions and incentives that builders offer. Having a great agent negotiating on your behalf will make sure you don’t miss out on any benefits or opportunities.

4. Working without a Realtor will not save you money. Despite the common misconception that forgoing representation is a cost-effective way to navigate new construction purchases, this is simply not true. The builder’s price already has the cost of an agent’s commission figured in. So you will pay the same price whether you work with an agent or not. In the end, going into a transaction alone can be a costly mistake.

5. We can be your personal shoppers. If you’re engaged in a new construction purchase from a far-away location, whether you’re out of town or overseas, we at the Tampa Home Group would be happy to attend to details of the transaction on your behalf. We have many clients who purchase remotely. We can even show you the property directly via FaceTime or another similar system. Beyond that, we will do everything from attending appointments to overseeing the final walkthrough.

Our team is made up of real experts, and we are passionate about making your transaction a great experience.

So, if you have any other questions, would like more information, or would simply like to speak to one of our passionate team members, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I would be happy to answer any questions you may have about building or buying. I look forward to speaking with you soon.

Posted in Buying a Home
May 1, 2018

The Importance of Working With a Buyer’s Agent on a Strong Listing Team

Selling your Tampa home? Get a free home value report

Buying a home? Search all Tampa homes for sale

Why is it so important to work with a buyer’s agent who is part of a strong listing team? In today’s market, inventory is at a 10-year low. If you’re currently looking for a home, you may have already experienced the difficulty in finding the perfect house.

When you hire a strong buyer’s agent who is part of a strong listing team like the one we have at Tampa Home Group, you’ll see the benefits right away. For example, you will have advanced knowledge of many of the homes we list every week. We also prospect every week for new listings in the neighborhoods where our buyers are looking. 

If you’re having a hard time finding the home of your dreams, don’t bother with search websites. Reach out to us. If it’s out there, we’ll find it for you.

If you have any questions at all about your home search or any specific neighborhoods you’re interested in, please don’t hesitate to give us a call or send us an email today. We’re here to save you time, stress, and money. We look forward to hearing from you.

Posted in Buying a Home
April 17, 2018

How Our Passion Translates to Your Success

Selling your Tampa home? Get a free home value report

Buying a home? Search all Tampa homes for sale

When clients hire us to help them sell a home, we are absolutely passionate about helping them maximize their net proceeds from the sale of their property.

We are passionate about helping clients prepare their home for the market, and we work hard to generate massive exposure for the property so that our sellers can earn as much as possible from their home sale.

We love what we do and we’re constantly improving on our systems so that we can do the best job for you, our clients.

But, don’t just take our word for it. Here’s what our clients Brenna and William Sands had to say about their experience with us:

“We chose John and Maria to sell our home for a number of reasons. They’re very easy to work with. They have a very good understanding of the market. They are very easy to communicate with, and are very supportive and helpful,” says William.

“We were able to sell our house for a record high,” added Brenna. 

So, if you have any questions, would like more information, or you’d like to talk about your own real estate situation and goals, we would love to hear from you. Feel free to give us a call or send us an email. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

April 6, 2018

Spring 2018 Tampa Home Price Update

Selling your Tampa home? Get a free home value report

Buying a home? Search all Tampa homes for sale

Friends and Clients —

Each year, spring is the hottest season for real estate.

However, spring 2018 looks to be an especially important time for anyone looking to sell a home. Here are a few facts to get you thinking:

1. Demand continues to outstrip supply

The number of homes on the market is near an all-time low, and listings of existing homes have plunged 8.1% over the past year.

While this means that the total number of sold homes has actually decreased, demand continues to be strong. This is driven in large part by a good job outlook and the growing number of millennials entering the market for the first time.

2. Home prices are still surging

Home prices are up 6.3% year over year in the last quarter for which we have data.

It's not just Tampa that's doing well—areas around the country keep posting record highs for home values.

This is unlikely to change in the near future considering how much stronger demand is than supply right now.

3. Mortgage rates are finally rising

The Fed increased its benchmark rate several times over the past year, but this did not translate to an immediate increase in mortgage rates.

However, mortgage rates do seem to be finally responding, and the 30-year fixed rate is now hovering around 4.5.%

While this is a four-year high, it is still near historic lows and makes mortgages affordable to would-be buyers.

What does all of this mean for you as a home seller?

First off, right now is a very good time to sell.

That's because of the strong demand and the high level of current prices.

In other words, if you were to put your home on the market right now, you could get top dollar, and you would be able to sell quickly and without hassle.

Second, it's not clear how long this favorable situation will last.

As I mentioned, mortgage rates are on the rise.

Currently, that is not enough to dampen demand. But if rates continue to rise, it might drive more buyers out of the market, eventually driving down prices and making it more difficult to sell your home.

Another thing to consider is the effect of the new tax plan.

It's not entirely clear how it will affect the real estate market, but odds are good it will make purchasing a home more expensive. That's because of a new cap on state and local tax deductions, which could combine with higher mortgage rates to push more buyers out of the market.

To sum up, if you have been considering selling your home, consider selling now. The current market is very favorable, but it won’t last forever.

Here's how to get started. You can get a quick but accurate estimate of the current value of your home, based on recent Tampa sales:

Enter your street address here to find out what your home is worth.

And if you want a more detailed estimate, or you want to get the ball rolling on selling your home while this boom lasts, give me a call at 813-907-2555. I'm here to help.

March 19, 2018

How To Get Pre-approved For A Mortgage

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Buying a home? Search all Tampa homes for sale

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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Buying a home? Search all Tampa homes for sale

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.

Selling your Tampa home? Get a free home value report

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!