New Tampa Homes for Sale

New Tampa is an area in Florida (not to be mistaken with Tampa) that encompasses both a 24-square-mile area within the corporate limits of the City of Tampa, as well as a larger land area that is in unincorporated Hillsborough, but retains a Tampa mailing address.  The incorporated portion of “New Tampa” that lies within the city limits of Tampa is one of the largest city neighborhoods and has a multitude of homes for sale.  The area has grown rapidly since being annexed by the city of Tampa in 1988.

The explosive growth of New Tampa has brought a lot of families to town looking for New Tampa, FL homes.   Among the choices these families have is to choose a brand new home from a reputable New Tampa builder, such as the following:

• New Tampa Homes built by Ashton Woods are designed to complement a diverse range of lifestyles and offer the energy-efficiency, luxury, quality and value you’d expect from one of the nation’s premier new home builders.

• Mercedes Homes takes pride in designing and building thousands of homes each year. Builder Magazine ranks Mercedes Homes as the 20th largest builder in the nation.  At Mercedes Homes, distinctive design has been coupled with a need to innovate.

• KB Home has been a builder of quality homes for fifty years. With KB Home’s Built to Order experience, you’ll enjoy high-quality construction, unique architecture, dedicated customer service and design features from trusted brands that all come together to create your one-of-a-kind home.

• Ryland Homes has the experience needed to ensure that everything comes together in the right way so you can begin making a lifetime of memories in your new home.  At Ryland Homes, they do everything and more so you can feel the quality that goes into your home the moment you step inside. Yet one of the biggest testaments to their quality is that fact that hundreds of Ryland employees – the people who build the homes – are also Ryland homeowners.

So, rest assured that when you choose a new home in New Tampa and rely on the new home builder experience, you will definitely be in good hands.  You will have top quality and customer service next to none.

Tampa Real Estate-Wesley Chapel Homes

Wesley Chapel is a beautiful residential area just north of Tampa.  Real estate in Wesley Chapel has evolved from its early days, when cash crop farming, logging, citrus and cattle ranching were the principal activities.  Today, it is a haven for residents who want the benefits of the big city and the bay area without being directly in the center of it.  Wesley Chapel offers a wide range of choices for any sized family; everything from custom homes and single family homes to condos and townhomes.  For children, the school system features seven different schools (two private):  Saddlebrook Preparatory, Sand Pine Elementary, Wesley Chapel Elementary, Seven Oaks Elementary, Victorious Life Academy, Thomas E. Weightman Middle School, and Wesley Chapel High School.

Chapel Pines offers affordable and modestly priced homes starting around $150,000 for a single family home.  Chapel Pines community is located on Curley Road, just off of State Road 54, only thirty five minutes from downtown Tampa.  Pasco County tax rates are reasonable, offering an even better incentive to prospective home buyers.

Saddlebrook is a stand out community in Wesley Chapel.  Located on State Road 54, east of Bruce B. Downs Boulevard, Saddlebrook provides a luxurious retreat from the stressors and pressure of daily life.  Saddlebrook offers 480 acres of a combination of wildlife, two separate courses of eighteen holes of challenging golf each and a community that is as unique as its name.  Amenities include:  Spa treatment, numerous tennis courts (both clay and grass), an outdoor pool (heated), a health club, three restaurants and two bars.  Prepare to be treated with care when considering this community.

Quail Hollow offers many reasons to consider purchasing home in Wesley Chapel.  One of the main reasons is the value; there are no deed restrictions or HOA fees.  Each home is set upon one acre of land (some up to five acres), so space is not an issue.  Sized vary from 1500 square feet, up to 5000 square feet.  Prices vary from the upper $100,000’s to the upper $500,000’s depending on the size, features, and space. Quail Hollow is an affordable community and a wonderful place to raise a family.

Wesley Chapel is an ideal place to reside outside of downtown Tampa, offering commuters a short trip to any destination around the Tampa area.  The entire community is structured toward enjoyable activities and children’s welfare.  It is a perfect place to raise children and live an active life with homes that are affordable for everyone.

Understanding Community Life Cycles

picture of homes in the skyAnyone interested in buying or selling Tampa real estate should understand the natural life-cycle of a neighborhood. Communities are a lot like people; they undergo various changes throughout their natural lifespan. By understanding what stage Tampa Bay communities are in or likely to be entering; it is possible to make a hefty profit especially given the recent influx of foreclosures or potential for short sales on the market.

When it comes to real estate life cycles, it is important to understand the building boom and bust cycle. Recently, the entire nation experienced a major “boom” cycle where new homes and entire communities cropped up overnight. Across the nation large tracts of land were developed and new communities created seemingly out of thin air. A similar scenario happened during the 70’s. Although large nationwide boom/bust cycles are less common, every city experiences similar – albeit smaller – cycles.

Stage 1 – Brand New Buildings. The first stage of a community is characterized by brand new buildings, a convenient yet slightly out of the way location (usually on the edge of town), new amenities and other modern conveniences. Because the neighborhood is new there is little sense of community. Most homes are financed by conventional methods and purchased by moderate to upper incomes buyers. Little maintenance is required and there are very few rentals available.

Stage 2 – Stable Communities. After five to ten years the community has become more stable; neighbors know one another and new residents come into the area through the sale of existing homes. Normal maintenance on the homes is required and financing may take place to enhance some homes or provide for “extras” like pools or additions. There are a few homes in the area used for rentals which typically obtain better than average rates.

Stage 3 – Mature Communities. Once a community is 10 to 15 years of age it begins to experience a greater percentage of transition; more Tampa Bay homes are used as rental income properties as inflation and appreciation combined with the pay-off of 15 year mortgages makes it profitable to rent these homes. Since the average homeowners remains in a house for 5 to 7 years, most of the original buyers have either transformed the home into an investment property or have long since moved to another community. Major maintenance is required for roofing, HVAC systems and other upkeep. Depending upon the demographics and income bracket of the neighborhood, signs of deferred maintenance, neglect and other problems can begin to decrease the value or – if the homes are generally kept in good repair – the community transforms into a desirable area for first-time buyers and upper income renters.

Stage 4 – Decline. Homes in distressed areas with high crime rates and low incomes that are unable to sustain required maintenance and upkeep on the properties will typically fall into a state of decline. Neighboring homes in a state of disrepair further depress market values of remaining homes with the result of attracting only the most marginal buyers. High numbers of rental properties and undesirable or criminal elements further depress the value of homes in a vicious cycle of decline which will eventually require intervention.

Stage 5 – Renewal.  Once a community has fallen into an abject state of distress and decline, it may continue for decades until a government or private entity take the initiative to intervene. Renewal and renovation projects must be comprehensive and encompass the entire area in question for success; Tampa historic districts like Hyde Park, downtown development cycles and other projects are common examples of successful renewal and revitalization projects.

Tampa Real Estate Review: Doing Business with Bankrupt Builder

image of a new contruction homeThe Towers of Channelside were among the first to file for bankruptcy protection but not the last; in fact, recent months seem to indicate a growing trend among builders of all sizes to file for bankruptcy. Woodside Homes, a nationwide private builder responsible for the Tuscany at Tampa Palms project filed in September.  Smith Family Homes, a mid to upscale builder who build properties among popular community such as Seven Oaks, Connerton and Wilderness Lake Preserve filed in July. Nearly every month the media reports a major builder or sub-contractor filing for bankruptcy; learn how to protect your investment when buying Tampa real estate with these simple steps:

1. Don’t Assume Warranty Protection. Many new home builders included an extended warranty in the sales package of a home; unless the assets and obligations have been sold to another company it is wise to assume the builder will not be able to fulfill any extended warranty obligations once they have filed for bankruptcy.

2. Verify Standard Warranty. Everything from appliances to roofing is often covered by a standard warranty in a new home. If you are considering the purchase of a home built by a bankrupt company, find out how the warranty was registered and whether or not it can be transferred.

3. Check then Double-Check Liens. Unfortunately, many builders facing bankruptcy may not have satisfied all the debts owed on the work performed on the home. Sub-contractors, material suppliers and others may still be owed money and may be eligible to place a lien against the property. Since title companies are also filing for bankruptcy protection it is instrumental to make sure you do business with a reputable Realtor, title company and others when purchasing a home from a developer or building filing for bankruptcy protection.

4. Investigate. Many developers and builders were responsible for more than just building homes; everything from the community club-house to the infrastructure of the neighborhood could be impacted by a bankruptcy. Make it a priority to investigate how and when unfinished roads, side-walks, lighting or other community resources will be completed especially when contemplating the purchase of a home by a company filing bankruptcy. In many cases, property values could be negatively impacted for years to come should work stop on the infrastructure or local homeowners could face the prospect of paying out of pocket for improvements.

5.  Work Closely with a Tampa Bay real estate agent that know the area. It is more important than ever to make sure the agent, title company, builder and others involved in your real estate transaction are reputable and understand the challenges facing the current market.

Tampa Foreclosure Checklist

image of checklistFor those searching for foreclosures in Tampa, Fla, it might seem like a ‘hit or miss’ proposition; how does one go about finding foreclosures that will appreciate and generate a solid return for the buyer? It’s easier than you might imagine once you understand what to look for – and even more importantly – what to avoid. Use this quick foreclosure checklist to get started and be sure to sign up for the foreclosure notification email to be notified as soon as a property that meets your expectation hits the market.

1. Location, Location, Locations. You have heard it before but it is such an important consideration that it is worth repeating. When it comes to real estate, location matters. Search for homes located in areas with good schools, convenient locations and – most important of all – avoid crime ridden neighborhoods with old homes or those with code violations or a history of drug violations in the vicinity. Unless you intend to purchase the entire block or neighborhood, fixing up a home in a blighted area can quickly become a money pit no matter what the purchase price. Instead, spend a little extra money and search for a home with future price appreciation, safety and convenience.

2. Cash-Flow and Appreciation. Whether you intend to purchase a Tampa foreclosure as an owner occupied dwelling or for investment potential it is wise to run the numbers; compare the PITI (principle, interest, taxes and insurance) against what the home would bring in as a rental property to determine if it is fairly priced. If the property can cover all monthly charges and still provide a reasonable expectation of future price appreciation then chances are it is a solid investment.

3. Repairs. The time and cost to rehabilitation and repair a home can take many novice Tampa real estate investors or buyers by surprise. It is often more cost effective to purchase a relatively newer Tampa foreclosure in need of little repairs; not only does it save time and money but your insurance premiums and future resale value are likely to be considerably higher. Some of the very best bargains to be found are Tampa foreclosures built in the past 5 or 6 years; many still have a warranty on appliances or other major items!

4. Restrictions and Limitations. Always understand restrictions, homeowners association and other limitations placed upon the property. Zoning, land-use, environmental impact and other limitations can impact how you use the property and even potential resale value (both positively and negatively).

5. Buy What you Like. In the end, buy because you like the home and area. Chances are, the same reason the home appeals to you is the reason it will appeal to others when it comes time to sell or rent the home in the future.

Six Tips When Selling Your Tampa Home

Searching for creative ways to give your Tampa home a mini-makeover before placing it on the market? Here are a few time tested methods to make your home look its best without breaking the bank.

1. Yard Work. First impressions matter so make sure the first thing prospective buyers encounter is an attractive yet low maintenance yard. Clear away any clutter, position a few welcoming flowers or attractive garden objects and then take an inventory by asking the following questions:

Yes/No  Is the yard low maintenance? If not, consider replacing high maintenance shrubs or grass with native plants that are easy to care for and attractive.

Yes/No  Does the yard provide a focal point? If not, plant a fruit tree, flower bed or other attractive area.

Yes/No  Is there a notable problem spot in the yard? Unsightly power lines, a nuisance object from a neighbor or other unattractive feature can ruin an otherwise beautiful backyard. Put up a divider, shrubs or other screen to minimize the impact so potential buyers have an opportunity to really look around.

2. Paint. Painting is one of the best investments you can make; keep the colors neutral and take time to paint every room for a fresh clean appearance. Pay special attention to doors, window frames and other areas that typically receive a great deal of use.

3. Brighten the Lights. Make sure your home is well lit and bright when shown; open the curtains and install higher wattage bulbs in each room. It makes your home look more spacious and fresh when shown.

4. Pressure Spray. It is surprising how dirty the outside of your home can get; rent a pressure sprayer to clean the driveway, roof, eaves, walkway and other areas of concrete such as a patio etc around the home. It’s an inexpensive way to brighten the area and make it look clean and fresh.

5. Accessorize. The same way accessories turn a plain outfit into a stunning and sophisticated look can work wonders for your home. Instead of replacing doors, windows, cabinets and sinks take time to update door knobs, faucets, plumbing fixtures, lights and other accessories throughout the home. Combined with a deep scrub or fresh coat of paint, new knobs or other accessories can transform a dull appearance into a more modern and up to date look at a fraction of the cost.

6. Clean the Closet! Ditto for the garage, garden shed and cabinets. Prospective buyers are likely to look everywhere so don’t neglect those out of the way places. Make sure they are clean and attractive as well as accessible.

If you are looking to sell your Tampa home please give us a call.

Up-selling in a Down Market

Whether it is due to a job relocation, downsizing or other personal situation some Tampa Bay real estate sellers are faced with the prospect of obtaining the best price for their property in the midst of a buyer’s market. Fortunately, you don’t have to compete with foreclosures and other bottom of the barrel prices if you understand how to list and market your home properly. Follow these quick tips to learn how to give your home a mini-makeover and obtain the best price even in these tough economic times.

1. Work with an effective Realtor. A real estate agent is your best weapon for a fast sale. Ask for their expert opinion on what works and what needs to be updated or fixed – then follow their advice! Price right, make sure promotions are extensive and aggressive then make the property as appealing as possible.

2. Sell, Sell, Sell. Work with the agent to list every desirable features of the home and make a point of providing the agent with all upgrades, improvements and other enhancements performed on the home. Gather receipts, warranty data, copies of invoices or other proof to support your claims; it will assist the agent in presenting your property in its best possible light when showcasing it to prospective buyers. Include local amenities such as proximity to A-rated schools like those in the Plant City district.

3. Tap Potential. Don’t compete on price alone; foreclosures and short sales make it tough to turn a profit when trying to showcase a home on price alone; instead, focus on the areas you are able to change. For example, make sure the home doesn’t need repairs, install energy efficient appliances and low maintenance landscaping to demonstrate cost savings compared to short sale deals. New home buyers, retirees and others without the time and out of pocket cash required to bring a property up to par will appreciate the additional savings without the time or expense required when buying a short sale property.

4. Invest in Success. Work with your agent to form a competitive price then provide incentives to other agents that bring prospective buyers to the table. Do the same for buyers and take time to create a winning package that makes it easy to compare your home against others in the area; flyers, virtual tours, additional photographs, open house and other promotional efforts go a long way toward adding excitement and interest to your home.

5. Spread the Word. Let co-workers, friends and family know the property is on the market and how to reach our agent. Ask for at least 50 business cards from your agent then make it a priority to pass them out to people who might be on the market or in contact with someone looking for a home in the area. Hair dressers, waitress/waiters and others that work in the area frequently encounter buyers searching for homes in the area.

How to Invest for Long Term Wealth

picture of lady and moneyTampa, FL foreclosures represent a tremendous buying opportunity for those interested in investing for long term wealth. Whether you want to supplement your retirement benefits or build a secondary income stream, owning an income producing home or condo provides one more way to build wealth without investing huge amounts of time or energy.

1. Buy Right. Search for foreclosures that are priced right and located near major centers of employment, shopping, schools and medical facilities where prospective tenants will want to live.

2. Price the Market. Make sure rental rates in the area will cover the cost of PITI (principle, interest, taxes and insurance) on the home plus add a little for vacancies and repairs.

3. Obtain Insurance. Investment property requires a different type of insurance that covers damages to the structure plus liability in the event a tenant or guest is harmed while on the property.

4. Active or Passive. You will need to decide how you will hold and manage your Tampa real estate investment property; one of the nice things about holding real estate is the flexibility afforded. You can own it as a single individual, partnership. LLC, corporation or other forms plus activity or passively manage your investments. Speak to a knowledgeable tax consultant and/or real estate professional about your specific situation.

5. Keep Receipts. Unlike many other forms of investment, Tampa real estate allows a plethora of tax breaks, write-offs and other potential benefits. Make sure you understand what is allowed and isn’t allowed then learn how to keep track of your expenses, expenditures and time associated with buying, improving, renting and re-selling real estate.

6. To Manage or Not to Manage – That is the Question. Many Tampa real estate investors decide to manage their own rental properties while others leave it in the hands of a capable agent or professional. Decide in advance if you enjoy screening prospective tenants, showing homes or dealing with repairs then plan accordingly.

7. Make Money. The final step is to make money. Historically investing in real estate has been one of the major ways most Americans build wealth in this nation. Although the market might be down at the moment, the long term outlook for Tampa real estate remains solid. Invest for the future and plan wisely to begin building long term wealth even during the current economic downturn.

Reasons to Give Thanks for the Current Tampa Housing Market

In the midst of one of the most volatile economic crisis to hit the nation in decades, it may seem there is little to give thanks about but like the old adage; every cloud has a silver lining. This year, as storm clouds of economic uncertainty build, it is useful to take time to appreciate the small benefits to be derived from every opportunity.

1. Foreclosure Sales Galore. Tampa buyers that were previously priced out of the market should be thrilled by the availability of low cost foreclosures. Adjusted for inflation, the price of Tampa Bay homes or South Tampa condos are at the lowest rate in a decade.

2. Less Taxes. Whether you are buying or selling a Tampa property, chances are you will be paying less taxes. From Capital gains taxes to reduced property taxes, it’s just a little less to worry about paying out.

3. More Selection. It’s a buyer’s market for sure. Tampa home buyers have an opportunity to negotiate better deals with greater flexibility than ever including bonus items, appliances, additional time extensions and other necessities that can make the deal work for you.

4. Investment Potential. According to the contrarian view – it is time to sell when everyone is buying and time to buy when everyone is selling. This is especially true when it comes to real estate. Prices are low and Tampa is still growing.

5. The Sun is Still Shining in Florida. Let’s face it; other states like California continued to expand even while the rest of the nation experienced severe real estate related withdrawals. Florida is considered “the next California” by industry experts and others.  Although Florida leads the nation in the number of foreclosures and other ills, it is also growing at one of the most rapid rates in the nation. The opportunities won’t last forever; fun, sun and Florida sunshine will remain in high demand for decades to come.

6. First-time Buyer Incentives. Tampa first-time homeowners will appreciate a tax break and other buyers incentives designed to make the purchase of a first home more affordable than ever.

7. Favorable Interest Rates. Rates remain low but it isn’t expected to last forever.  Buy now while you still can…lock-in historically low rates to ride out the remaining economic storm and don’t wait for more banks to go bust. When the consolidation is over it’s likely to result in less competition and more stringent requirements than expected.

8. Get Lean and Mean. If you aren’t positive about your economic future then now is the time to get lean and mean by downsizing, moving closer to work, buying a home that fits your lifestyle and affords you the choices you need to live life on your terms.  Enjoy gardening, family time, a stress-free commute or other low cost living alternatives that give you the biggest bank for the buck without breaking the bank.

Reasons You Should be a Real Estate Investor

image of people in a meetingAs the Christmas holiday nears, many Tampa home owners might be wondering what the new year has in store. Here to provide a glimpse of what analysts, experts and researchers say is the most likely scenario we are also quick to point out the benefits of buying Tampa investment properties or foreclosures as a way to diversity holdings and potentially generate profits during tough economic times.

Remember, buying a Tampa Bay, Fl foreclosure as an investment or rental property allows you to gradually build appreciation in the home while tenants or renters pay the expenses. It’s one of the few bright spots in an otherwise uncertain economic future and one of the very few ways to earn supplemental income for savings or retirement. So, what’s in store for next year? Brace yourself…

1. Forget Ebay or Retail Sales.  Typically October is the beginning of the holiday buying season but this year brought only bad news as retail stores experienced their largest ever decline last month. Experts agree this is a trend likely to continue into next year.

2. Used Car Salesman or Buy/Fix and Trade? Probably Not. Car lovers who like to buy and sell used cars won’t be finding much of a market for their product in this challenging economy.  As the Big Three auto makers line up for their turn at federal funds just to make it to 2009 it should come as no surprise car sales have just experienced the worst performance since WWII.

3. Bye-Bye-Bond Yields.  After adding taxes and the impact of inflation, actual Treasury bond are approaching zero or actually turning slightly negative…which still beats the stock market!

4. Unemployment Lines Coming Soon.  Corporations of every size are cutting back and experts agree – the trend is likely to continue well into 2009. Hopefully your job is safe but don’t expect to see much overtime or a hefty increase in salary to help offset the rising cost of groceries or insurance. Instead, just be grateful you have a job – millions of American’s are expecting pink slips at the same time that credit is tightening. The result? An increased need for affordable housing including conveniently located Tampa homes and condos available for rent.

5. Retirement Planning You Control. From 401-K plans to bankrupt corporations, more Americans than ever have received a rude awakening when it comes to their retirement plans; 30, 40 and even 50 percent declines over the past year have wiped out many hopes and dreams for the future. Rather than rely upon your job or Uncle Sam, investing in foreclosures allows you to build wealth and remain in control of your own retirement destiny.