South Tampa & Beyond Real Estate News

Investors are still shaking off the memory of watching what happened to their IRA stock portfolios during the nightmarish global financial crisis. Even the groggy recovery that’s been under way ever since has featured the kind of stomach-churning drops that drive investors to the Pepto-Bismol.

So it’s not surprising that some have been searching for alternative assets that could grow tax-free within their retirement accounts. And lately I’ve been hearing from more clients who are asking about the possibilities in real estate, including Tampa Bay area second homes and even vacant acreage.

You read that right: real estate is a little-publicized yet entirely legal vehicle for IRAs! Right now, when prices are at bargain-basement levels, investing for

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For a future homebuyer scanning through the Tampa Bay Multiple Listing Service (MLS) listings, first there are the meat-and-potatoes factors (baths, bedrooms, square footage), then any number of other distinguishing factors.  Is the kitchen upgraded?  Does the floor plan work?  Will I like the backyard?

It’s easy for buyers to become enchanted by the bells and whistles as they search through the MLS listings.  But no matter how permanent they consider their intended move, that home purchase should always include a thoughtful appraisal of its long-term investment value.  Some of the underlying factors in that respect don’t change a lot.

Location, Location, Location!  When your agent sends you a batch of new MLS listings, be sure to click on the link

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With election season poised to roar into high gear, I’m about to begin officially (oh, all right – unofficially) to discount most of what I read over the next few months. Especially from experts, since many seem to have a horse in the race.

But while we are still in the nobody’s-paying-attention-yet month of August, I thought I should bring Tampa Bay area real estate readers — homeowners and future homeowners alike – an item that caught my eye last Friday. I had to read it three or four times before it sank in.

The headline read, “Housing: Good Vibrations,” with the subhead, “Real mortgage rates plunge into negative territory.” It’s the kind of negative news I don’t remember seeing a lot, but it certainly sounded interesting.

The author was

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If you are organized and willing to put in some serious spadework, buying a Tampa foreclosure can save you thousands of dollars.  A new wave of foreclosures could be heading our way later this year. According to RealtyTrac, the leading source of foreclosure statistics, one in every 665 national housing units received a foreclosure filing in June. More foreclosures mean more opportunities; but it also means that more buyers will begin to think seriously about going after them. In other words – more competition.

If you have never looked into what is involved in snagging one of the foreclosures in the Tampa Bay area, a few basics will greatly improve your chances for success:

Do Your Research So You Can Act Quickly.

The foreclosure market performs

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Many potential Tampa Bay area homebuyers rate fireplaces near the top of their ‘nice to have’ list. Not a ‘gotta have,’ but definitely a solid plus. For them, fireplaces are romantic additions to any property.  Sometimes a backyard fire pit or open-hearth barbecue can fill the bill. Especially during these July evenings, the allure of the dancing flames, crackling sound and woodsy aroma are all that are needed to bring back fond family memories and build new ones…

However – whether indoors or out, there are some practical advantages and drawbacks to both wood burners and gas fireplaces.

The main advantage to a wood burning fireplace or an outdoor fire pit is the ambience it creates. Since wood is the original renewable fuel, all the positives that

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The latest indications that we have seen the end of the sagging real estate market have started some Tampa Bay area homeowners thinking it may be time to sell. For those who are wondering if the long recession has altered how people look for homes – and if so, in what ways  – we’ve noticed a couple of new trends.

As before, the first stop for most potential buyers is the Tampa Bay area MLS listings. When you compare the language and features most prominent there, huge changes do not leap out. But a comparison with former language does reveal something of a shift in emphasis: many details that highlight opulence (to some, excess) are being replaced by features much more in tune with practicality and efficiency (to some, frugality). You would expect

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Uncertain economy or not, we Americans remain a highly mobile bunch. In fact, the Census Bureau says that no fewer than 6,700,000 Americans packed up and moved to a new state in the period between 2010 – 2011, the latest year on record. The study sheds light on the movement of people within the U.S. — and it lets us know that of the most common reason for interstate relocation (43.9%) was for employment-related reasons.  The official stats are not yet available for last year, but the relocation numbers are expected to increase as people continue to relocate in search of more stable economic environments.

For just about everyone, even thinking about relocating is a daunting proposition. Although it can turn into a planet-sized headache, if you are one

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Designers of today’s Tampa new homes are continuing to regard the kitchen as the functioning central gathering place – the family’s social hub, where a great deal more than meal preparation takes place. The trend toward bigger kitchens is on track: many feature kitchens designed with open space for family gatherings as well as multi-generational cooking. Many new homes deck out their kitchens in the hottest new colors (it’s become a widespread international fashion trend).

When you are making decisions about your own kitchen, if you decide to keep future home values in mind, your color choices may differ from what they might have been a decade ago. According to HGTV, “People are viewing kitchens that have too much of any one color as flat, so more

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July tends to be a busy month in most South Tampa homes. If you have kids who are out of school, it’s up to you to dream up new ways to keep them out of trouble (and away from non-stop video gaming). Even if kids are not at homes, you probably have to get twice as much done anyway – you want to be ahead at work and around the house so you can relax and enjoy your vacation. Or recover from it.

And then there is the likelihood that in the back of your mind is the knowledge that you’ve been putting off what should be an annual maintenance once-over. All homes have areas that need looking after, and July and August are the best time to get at them.  On dry days that aren’t too blisteringly hot to work, it’s prime time to fix areas that the year’s wear and

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Following some legislative changes, successfully navigating a Tampa short sale has become a little easier, but is still a transaction that takes care and vigilance. A short sale — the arrangement between seller and mortgage lender that allows the seller to sell the property for less than what is owed – can be quite involved.  It requires negotiation directly with the lender, and contractual arrangements that can carry over into the future. If you are considering short selling your house, or simply want to know more about what it would entail, these are a few pointers to bear in mind:

A short sale is not always the best solution.One alternative, for instance, may simply include opening a discussion with the lender to see if a revised payment plan would

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