Tampa Bay Real Estate Blog

Want to know what is happening in the local Real Estate market?  Joseph Kipping created a Blog about the Tampa Bay Real Estate market for Buyers and Sellers.  We have agents on our team who specialize in the buying and selling side of real estate and will work with you through every step of the way.  Real Estate information you can use.

Feb. 9, 2018

Three Things You Should be Doing Today if You Want to Sell Your Home Later.

Are you thinking about selling your home this year, next year, or anytime in the future? If so, there are three strategic things you should be doing now.

  • Organizing
  • Keeping up on small repairs
  • Cultivating curb appeal

If you find getting organized is difficult, staying organized is a bigger challenge. I can speak to this fact. So many people purchase organizational items, start a board on Pinterest, and have good intentions to follow through, but do not know where to start. The answer is simple, start with one cabinet, one drawer, one closet and work out from there. Take one room at a time, one weekend at a time and reward yourself as you progress. Some tips: if you have not used it/wore it in a year - get rid of it, if it is chipped or broken in anyway - toss it, if it is expired - throw it away. Doing this will give you a jump start on organizing your home.

That dripping faucet might not bother you, neither does the dent in the wall from when your child opened the door too fast. However, to potential buyers - these are a big turn off. Keeping up with small repairs around the house will keep your home in sell condition. It will also make it easier to list, when the time comes, because you won’t be scrambling to fix them when you are ready to put your home on the market. So, touch up the paint, clean up the baseboards and fix the dripping faucet.

You don’t need to hire a landscape architect to give your home curb appeal. Simply plant a few plants, keep your pretty flower pots full of lovely blooms and limit your lawn ornaments so your front yard does not appear 525 13th Ave NE, St Petersburgcluttered. If you have weeds coming through your mulch or rocks, pull them. Start small, stand back and look at your home from a potential buyer’s eyes. Check out this example of simple, yet beautiful example of curb appeal.

The effort you put into organizing, keeping up on small repairs and cultivating curb appeal will be well worth it when you decide it is time to sell your home. Based on average cost and return on investment (ROI), HomeGain.com reports that each of these three low-cost, do-it-yourself home improvements will net between 100-400% ROI to the seller.  When that time comes, contact us. Our experts will guide you through the entire transaction from beginning to end. Getting you the most for your investment, and making the entire process streamlined, is our commitment to you.


Feb. 8, 2018

Bidding Wars Abound… How Long Will They Continue?

Just like with any product or service, the law of supply and demand impacts home prices. Any time that there is less supply than the market demands, prices increase.

In many areas of the country, the supply of homes for sale in the starter and trade-up home markets is so low that bidding wars have ensued, and the busy spring-buying season is just around the corner.

CoreLogic recently conducted an analysis on national home prices at the time of sale for their January 2018 MarketPulse Report and found that a third of homes sold for at least list price.

“The share selling above list price was almost three times the trough in January 2008 and represented more than one-fifth of total sales.”

Many markets in the western part of the country and around major cities are experiencing higher shares of homes selling above list price.

“San Francisco had the largest share of homes—76 percent—that sold for at least the list price, and Seattle and Los Angeles followed with 63 and 51 percent, respectively. Miami had the lowest share—16 percent—of homes selling at or above the list price.”

Increased demand during the spring and summer months, the traditionally busier seasons for real estate, will no doubt influence how many homes continue to sell over list price.

This should not be seen by sellers as permission to overprice their homes, though. Buyers are becoming more and more educated, especially those who have been searching for their dream homes for a while now while waiting for new inventory to come to market.

Realtor.com gives this advice:

“Aim to price your property at or just slightly below the going rate. Today’s buyers are highly informed, so if they sense they’re getting a deal, they’re likely to bid up a property that’s slightly underpriced, especially in areas with low inventory.”

Bottom Line

Without a large wave of new listings coming to market, buyers will continue competing with each other for the homes that are available. If you are thinking of selling your home, now may be the time to do so before more competition comes this spring. Let’s get together to determine the demand for your house in our area.

Feb. 7, 2018

Is it Less Expensive to Buy than Rent in Tampa Bay?

The struggle is real. Do you buy a home right now, or continue to rent? While there are many misconceptions about why a person thinks they should continue to rent - transient job status, inability to maintain a property, afraid to “take a risk” etc. - the overwhelming evidence shows it is fiscally prudent to purchase a home instead.  According to the Tampa Bay Times, people earning an average wage in the Tampa Bay area spend between 37% - 48.7% of their income on rent, whereas, home owners spend only 32% – 34.7%on their monthly mortgage. (http://bit.ly/2DVn8sk)

So why aren’t more people purchasing homes? One misconception is transient job status. In other words, they move a lot with their jobs. Purchasing a home is a great investment. As it continues to build equity, it continues to build wealth for your future. It is also necessary to our psychological wellbeing, to have a place to call home. Michael Schreiner, from Evolution Counseling, says it best, “where the existential meets the physiological, where the biological and spiritual align, is in the deep human need we all feel, at some level of awareness, to have a place to call home.” (http://bit.ly/2EdCkod)

Another misconception is some people do not feel they can maintain a property. There are many property options where the owners have minimal maintenance responsibilities. Some condo associations and even some HOAs include outdoor maintenance in their dues. Other properties simply do not have anything to maintain. And, of course, there are always the neighborhood youngsters willing to do projects around the house for extra money, so they can purchase an item their parents told them they would need to earn for themselves.

For those afraid to “take a risk”, the market has adjusted itself to more than compensate for past errors of judgment. When the recession hit in 2008-2009, the average American household lost a third of its net worth. (http://bit.ly/2DJgtRQ) The housing crash contributed, along with systemic factors already in play, to create a volatile environment of debt. Now, almost ten years after the start of the fall, the data shows the U.S. housing market has gained back $9 trillion in value. (http://bit.ly/2rPvZtT) Essentially, righting itself once more.


Therefore, if you are struggling with the decision to buy a home or continue to rent, investigate your buying options. Contact a trusted professional - we at Tampa Bay Home Team have over 65 five-star reviews on Zillow and have been a part of more than 1400 buying/selling real estate transactions over the last 15 years. We will work with you to find the perfect home for your family/budget needs. With constant changes in interest rates and property values on the rise … the time to buy is NOW.

Jan. 26, 2018

If You’re Considering Selling, ACT NOW!!

Definitely an aggressive headline. However, as the final data on the 2017 housing market rolls in, we can definitely say one thing: If you are considering selling, IT IS TIME TO LIST YOUR HOME!

How did we finish 2017?

  1. New-home sales were at their highest level in a decade.
  2. Sales of previously owned homes were at their highest level in more than a decade.
  3. Starts of single-family homes were their strongest in a decade and applications to build such properties advanced to the fastest pace since August 2007.

And Bloomberg Business just reported:

“America’s housing market is gearing up for a robust year ahead. Builders are more optimistic, demand is strong and lean inventory is keeping prices elevated.”

And the National Association of Realtors revealed that buyer traffic is stronger this winter than it was during the spring buying season last year.

The only challenge to the market is a severe lack of inventory. A balanced market would have a full six-month supply of homes for sale. Currently, there is less than a four-month supply of inventory. This represents a decrease in supply of 9.7% from the same time last year.

Bottom Line

With demand increasing and supply dropping, this may be the perfect time to get the best price for your home. Let’s get together to see whether that is the case in your neighborhood.


Jan. 19, 2018

91% Of Homes in Florida Have Positive Equity!

CoreLogic’s latest Equity Report revealed that “over the past 12 months, 712,000 borrowers moved into positive equity.” This is great news, as the share of homeowners with negative equity (those who owe more than their home is worth), has dropped more than 20% since the peak in Q4 of 2009 (26%) to 4.9% today.

The report also revealed:

  • The average homeowner gained approximately $14,900 in equity during the past year.
  • Compared to Q3 2016, negative equity decreased 22% from 3.2 million homes, or 6.3% of all mortgaged properties.
  • U.S. homeowners with mortgages (roughly 63% of all homeownershave seen their equity increase by a total of $870.6 billion since Q3 2016, an increase of 11.8%, year-over-year.

The map below shows the percentage of homes by state with a mortgage and positive equity. (The states in gray have insufficient data to report.)


Significant Equity Is on The Rise

Frank Nothaft, Chief Economist at CoreLogic, believes this is great news for the “housing market.” He went on to say:

“Homeowner equity increased by almost $871 billion over the last 12 months, the largest increase in more than three years. This increase is primarily a reflection of rising home prices, which drives up home values, leading to an increase in home equity positions and supporting consumer spending.”

Of the 95.1% of homeowners with positive equity in the U.S., 82.9% have significant equity (defined as more than 20%). This means that more than three out of four homeowners with a mortgage could use the equity in their current home to purchase a new home now.


The map below shows the percentage of homes by state with a mortgage and significant equity. 

Bottom Line

If you are one of the many homeowners who are unsure of how much equity you have in your home and are curious about your ability to move, let’s meet up to evaluate your situation.

Nov. 13, 2017

Thinking About Buying? Know Your Credit Score

Knowing your credit score or getting a recent copy of your credit report is one of the first steps that you can take toward knowing how ready you are to start the home buying process.

Make sure all the information listed on your report is accurate and work to correct any mistakes. The higher your credit score, the more likely you will be to receive a better interest rate for your mortgage, which will translate into more ‘home for your money.'

Many potential buyers believe that they need a 750 FICO® Score or higher to be able to purchase a home. The truth is that according to Ellie Mae’s Origination Report, over 53% of loans were approved with a FICO® score under 750 last month!

Here are some tips for improving your credit score:

  • Make payments, including rent, credit cards, and car loans, on time.
  • Keep your spending to no more than 30% of your limit on credit cards.
  • Pay down high-balance credit cards to lower balances, and consider balance transfers to free up credit.
  • Check for errors on your credit report and work toward fixing them.
  • Shop for mortgage rates within a 30-day period — too many spread-out inquiries can lower your score.
  • Work with a credit counselor or a lender to improve your score.

Once you know your score, your next step will be finding a lender and getting pre-approved for a mortgage. Doing this will ensure that you know your budget before you start looking for your dream home.

Nov. 13, 2017

7 Reasons to List Your Home This Holiday Season


Every year at this time, many homeowners decide to wait until after the holidays to put their homes on the market for the first time, while others who already have their homes on the market decide to take them off until after the holidays.

Here are seven great reasons not to wait:

  1. Relocation buyers are out there. Many companies are still hiring throughout the holidays and need their employees in their new positions as soon as possible.
  2. Purchasers who are looking for homes during the holidays are serious buyers and are ready to buy now.
  3. You can restrict the showings on your home to the times you want it shown. You will remain in control.
  4. Homes show better when decorated for the holidays.
  5. There is less competition for you as a seller right now.
  6. The desire to own a home doesn’t stop when the holidays come. Buyers who were unable to find their dream home during the busy spring and summer months are still searching!
  7. The supply of listings increases substantially after the holidays. Also, in many parts of the country, new construction will continue to surge reaching new heights in 2018, which will lessen the demand for your house.

Bottom Line

Waiting until after the holidays to sell your home probably doesn’t make sense.

Posted in Sellers
Oct. 31, 2017

Buying a Home in Tampa Bay Can Be Scary... Unless You Know the Facts!

Some Highlights:

Many potential homebuyers believe that they need a 20% down payment and a 780 FICO® score to qualify to buy a home, which stops many of them from even trying! Here are some facts:


  • 40% of millennials who purchased homes this year have put down less than 10%.
  • 76.4% of loan applications were approved last month.
  • The average credit score of approved loans was 724 in September.
Oct. 25, 2017

Is Your House Haunted?

Did you know that 42% of Americans believe in spirits? Check out this awesome article, Is Your House Haunted? Real-Life Ghostbusters to the Rescue. The author talks about haunted homes and how some people go about "cleansing" them!

Here's some highlights from Clare Trapasso's article:

  • 33% of people would knowingly buy a haunted home, according to a recent Realtor.com survey!
  • 42% of people were absolutely opposed to the idea of buying a haunted home.

What do you think? Do YOU believe in ghosts? 


Posted in Misc
Oct. 21, 2017

Millionaire to Millennials: Buy a Home Now!


In a CNBC article, self-made millionaire David Bach explained that “the single biggest mistake millennials are making” is not purchasing a home because buying real estate is “an escalator to wealth.”


Bach went on to explain:


“If millennials don’t buy a home, their chances of actually having any wealth in this country are little to none. The average homeowner to this day is 38 times wealthier than a renter.”


In his bestselling book, “The Automatic Millionaire,” Bach does the math:


“As a renter, you can easily spend half a million dollars or more on rent over the years ($1,500 a month for 30 years comes to $540,000), and in the end wind up just where you started — owning nothing. Or you can buy a house and spend the same amount paying down a mortgage, and in the end wind up owning your own home free and clear!”


Who is David Bach?

Bach is a self-made millionaire who has written nine consecutive New York Times bestsellers. His book, “The Automatic Millionaire,” spent 31 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. He is one of the only business authors in history to have four books simultaneously on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek and USA Today bestseller lists.


He has been a contributor to NBC’s Today Show, appearing more than 100 times, as well as a regular on ABC, CBS, Fox, CNBC, CNN, Yahoo, The View, and PBS. He has also been profiled in many major publications, including the New York Times, BusinessWeek, USA Today, People, Reader’s Digest, Time, Financial Times, Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, Working Woman, Glamour, Family Circle, Redbook, Huffington Post, Business Insider, Investors’ Business Daily, and Forbes.


Bottom Line

Whenever a well-respected millionaire gives investment advice, people usually clamor to hear it. This millionaire gave simple advice – if you don’t yet live in your own home, go buy one.