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Doug & Gwen Campbell at Sun Bay Associates

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Looking for a Home in Pinellas County

by Doug & Gwen Campbell at Sun Bay Associates

Are you looking for a home in Pinellas County and having trouble finding a good school in Pinellas County? Do you have kids in elementary or high school, or both? Are you debating about whether to look for a home in Seminole, or Palm Harbor, or Dunedin or Tarpon Springs? When deciding on a home and you have children, the location, as it always is in real estate, is critical.

Did you find a house that you really like and want to know what schools it is zoned for? Try this link and get it straight from the county school district. Are you looking for general information on the area, to see if you really want to look for a home for sale in Palm Harbor, or homes for sale in Dunedin? What about  houses for sale under $250,000 in Dunedin or maybe look for Palm Harbor houses for sale under $350,000.

Maybe you are looking for a home for your parents, your kids' grandparents, so someone trustworthy will be available to watch the kids, or help out when time becomes an issue. Find the parents a home in an active 55+ community and then rest comfortably knowing they are just a short drive away to share family time with the kids, or attend the school science fair, or recitals or watch your child in the lead in the school play.

If you want to find out about individual schools in Pinellas County, visit the Pinellas County school system website and search for each school to find out all you would want to know about that school.  In the meantime, enjoy looking for homes for sale in Dunedin, or homes for sale in Palm Harbor or anywhere else in Pinellas County you want to live.

Why Live in Palm Harbor!

by Doug & Gwen Campbell at Sun Bay Associates

Why live in Palm Harbor? Instead of a whole lot of text and bad writing, here are a few bullet points. Enjoy.

  • Gulf of Mexico, waterfront homes
  • Close to Tampa International Airport, 30-45 minute drive
  • Great schools, including Palm Harbor University High School, East Lake High School, Countryside High School
  • Old Palm Harbor downtown area, with Peggy O'Neils, Thirsty Marlin, Boyle's Backyard
  • More Old Palm Harbor downtown: annual Parrothead Festival, antique car shows, Taste of Palm Harbor

  • Fishing, on the Gulf of Mexico and the Intra coastal waterway, inshore for speckled trout, redfish, tarpon, snook, flounder or go off shore for grouper, snapper, amberjack and more
  • Kayaking, kayak in the mango groves, watch the dolphins, manatees, sees living sponges, much more
  • Golf courses, there are several golf courses in Palm Harbor, the crown jewel is Innisbrook's Copperhead Course, and there are also Tarpon Woods golf course, Chi Chi Rodriguez golf club, Lansbrook golf club and several other excellent venues
  • Retirement, Highland Lakes is a terrific active adult community with access to Lake Tarpon and has unlimited golf for the residents of Highland Lakes

Just check out the lifestyle in Palm Harbor. You're gonna love it.

 

Got Snow?

by Doug & Gwen Campbell at Sun Bay Associates

So, how about the snowbirds who are asking of us Floridians, "Got snow?" As a matter of fact, we don't.  We are, however, in the midst of a "wicked cold snap", at least for Florida. The thermometer is right now sitting at a frigid 47 degrees, heading to only 66 for the high today. How 'bout Buffalo, 5 feet of snow in the last day.

Would any of those folks asking the question "Got snow" be interested in finding real estate for sale in Palm Harbor, or homes for sale in Dunedin? We can certainly help you recover from the winter blues - even before you get them. Come visit our site to find the perfect winter residence.

Avoid the winter rush, call us today. I promise, no snow plows will block the road, or plow a three foot barrier at the end of the driveway you just spent two hours digging out.

Homes for sale in Dunedin are very inviting about now. There is always Thanksgiving when you can have family visit you in the winter. Find some real estate for sale in Palm Harbor, then take a walk along the Gulf coast to catch the sunset, maybe wearing only a windbreaker.

Seriously, would I give someone a hard time about living in a cold clime? Surely not, since we did live in Maine for many years. When we did make the move to Florida, we found a nice piece or real estate for sale in Palm Harbor, and when we moved in it took about an afternoon to get acclimated. I even got a sunburn putting holiday lights our new house the winter.

You can even bring your ski equipment for the week you might want to go skiing. Then bring it back, and enjoy the rest of the "winter" in Florida as a snowbird.

The Florida lifestyle is pretty laid back. There are many 55+ communities, so if you want to retire here, or have a winter residence, come on down. Search for exactly what you want and then think warm.

After all, we don't "Got snow".

 

 

What Is My House Worth?

by Doug & Gwen Campbell at Sun Bay Associates

How often have you wondered "What is my house worth?"  This is a common question for every homeowner.  Whether your house is a real Victorian mansion or a little cottage, everyone wants to know "What is my house worth?"

There are a few things you can control to enhance the value of your house. 

  1. The curb appeal, does it look good from the street?
  2. Is the lawn neat and trimmed, the paint fresh?
  3. Inside, is the house clean and uncluttered?  Clutter costs you cash.
  4. Are the windows clean?
  5. Are there pet odors, or smoker odors?  These odors will eliminate lots of buyers.
  6. Are the carpets clean.
  7. Is the roof in good condition?
  8. Does the air conditioner perform efficiently and quietly?
  9. Staging.  This is all about presenting your house in the best possible light for the buyer.  Remember, once the seller has made the decision to sell the house, it is now a commodity and must be presented in the best light for sale at the best possible price.

A couple of things you and your Realtor cannot control when wondering what is my house worth.

  1. Location - you really can't say the house would be worth more or less in a different location, it is where it is.
  2. Price.  Some Realtors will tell you they can set the price.  Quite simply, they can't.  The marketplace will set the price.  Some sellers, and some Realtors, won't like it, however, the market will give you the answer to your question, what is my house worth.

So, when pricing your hose, be sure to keep it real, don't ask for more than the market value, don't try to sell memories - buyers want to make their own memories and won't pay a premium for yours.

And most important of all, do everything you can to enjoy the entire experience.

 

Selling Your Home.

by Doug & Gwen Campbell at Sun Bay Associates

Are you selling your home by yourself, or do you have a professional Realtor working for you?

A common question from many home sellers is "Why is my home not selling?"  If you are selling your home, either as a For Sale by Owner, or with the professional help of a Realtor, here are a few possible reasons the house is not selling.  These are all a part of the home staging process.

1.  It is priced too high.  Regardless of what you "want" to get for your house, the market is only going to pay what it is worth, in the marketplace.  You can see what the marketplace is doing by checking out our Market Insider feature.  The fantasy of finding that "one cash buyer who will pay my price" is just that, a fantasy.  Cash buyers have cash because they are smart with their money.

2.  People may not know it is for sale.  A For Sale by Owner is not really helping himself and as a rule makes about 12-16% less money than using a professional Realtor, who has access to many, many more sales and marketing outlets than a For Sale by Owner.

3.  Is there one little nagging issue that keeps popping up when buyers go through the house.  If you get a common thread from buyers that seems to indicate something wrong with the house, do not take the comments as personal insults, act on it.  Not everyone likes pink carpets, or avocado appliances, or that purple flowery wallpaper in the guest room.  If it is a regular comment, it could be stopping buyers from making an offer, even if unconscious.

4.  The house does not show well.  Are the lights one, the curtains open so there is plenty of light?  Is there the back of a couch blocking the way as soon as people enter the house?  The placement may be great for watching the TV, but it could give the appearance of a tiny living room.  Sometimes subtle items can kill enthusiasm for a house that otherwise would be perfect.  Simple home staging can make a huge difference in the presentation of your home.

5.  The buyer can never see themselves in this house.  Is the house cluttered?  Do you have too many personal photos on every inch of wall space?  Can people see the beautiful stainless refrigerator, or is every piece of art your child ever drew stuck on it?  Remove the clutter, it is costing money.

6.  How is the curb appeal?  Does the lawn need to be mowed?  Are the flower beds or shrubs overgrown, dead, or just plain neglected?  Does the front door need a fresh coat of paint?  Trim the grass and shrubs, it might make a difference that sells the house.

If you want to get an idea of what the market value of a particular home is, take a look at our free and automated market value estimator of any property you want to consider.

Try taking to heart these little home staging tips for selling your home.  It just might mean more money in your pocket quicker than if you do nothing.  And you probably should consider hiring a professional Realtor, in almost every case this will net you more money faster.

Looking for a Retirement Home

by Doug & Gwen Campbell at Sun Bay Associates

If you are looking for a retirement home, the Clearwater/Palm Harbor area has what you need.  There are lots of 55+ communities with the active Florida lifestyle you are looking for.  You can search for exactly what you are looking for, in the price range you want, in the location you want to be, and do it for free.  Do you want your Florida lifestyle by living in a condo, a single family home, a villa, or a townhouse?  Senior living in the Clearwater and Palm Harbor area does not mean living a sedentary life.

The Florida lifestyle options are bountiful.  The Pinellas Bicycle Trail offers lots of opportunity to get exercise, see beautiful scenery, and not have to share the road with car traffic.  The Pinellas Bicycle Trail runs from Tarpon Springs in north Pinellas County, all the way to St. Petersburg, in south Pinellas County.  There are off-shoots along the way: ride along the Anclote River, stop for a picnic, go fishing; or take a pleasant detour to Honeymoon Island, Florida's most visited state park, with it's wonderful white sand beach, lots of opportunity for fishing, and just plain relaxation.  Or ride across to Clearwater Beach, do all the beach things you want to do, head back to the Pinellas Trail, and maybe stop an any of the many restaurants along the way.

Several retirement communities are pet friendly, some prefer no pets so you can choose which you prefer.  The prices in these 55+ communities range from as low as $25,000 to over $250,000.  Some offer community pools, travel clubs, golf, various alumni associations, movie nights and so much more.

Of course, you can save a lot of time and call us.  We'll do most of the work for you.

 

 

 

Dunedin Retirement Communities

by Doug & Gwen Campbell at Sun Bay Associates

Are you looking for Dunedin retirement communities, or your winter home away from home? Dunedin is the place.  It has the lifestyle, the location, affordability, and almost every amenity you could ask for.  Do you want an active adult community?  You can use our Market Insider to follow the real estate trends in Dunedin.

There is the Pinellas Bike Trail, for those who like to get exercise and go somewhere.  You can ride the Pinellas Bike Trail the length of Dunedin, take a side trip over to Honeymoon Island state park, or just stop on the Dunedin Causeway to watch the boaters, or the windsurfers, or other people simply enjoying the view. There is the Dunedin Golf Club, which is the former home of the PGA, with a wonderful clubhouse and restaurant.  Downtown Dunedin has lots of shops, restaurants and plenty of festivals and events during the season.  Coming in November is the Arts Harvest, a major event with juried artworks available for purchase, lots of good food to eat, and many people just enjoying the fall weather.

So, you ask, what about the Dunedin retirement communities in the area with property for sale?  The Douglas Arms is a 55+ community that is very affordable, with prices typically under $75,000.  Douglas Arms is a no pets community.  There is also the Heather Hill Apartments.  Heather Hill Apartments are villas, have a no pets policy and also are generally priced in the under $75,000 range.  Heather Lake condos, Patrician Oaks and Pinehurst Village are also 55+ communities typically priced under $100,000. You can use our automated price estimator for the estimated value of your home, or any other home you might be interested in purchasing.

Edgewater Arms condo is on Edgewater Drive in Dunedin, with prices in the general range of $150,000 to $225,000.  Edgewater Arms is right on the Gulf coast with spectacular views of the Gulf of Mexico and the nightly sunset show, which is free.  Edgewater Arms is also a no pets community.

Another outstanding Dunedin retirement community is Royal Stewart Arms.  Royal Stewart Arms is located on the Dunedin Causeway, just before the entrance to Honeymoon Island state park.  The Pinellas Bike Trail goes right by the community, so residents can walk along the Dunedin Causeway to Honeymoon Island, or head east on the causeway to the beach, or over to the mainland for a meal at Frenchy's Island Outpost, and dine on the open air patio.  The listing prices for condos in Royal Stewart Arms are generally from about $175,000 to $250,000.  Some of the condos in this waterfront community have simply incredible views of the Gulf and the intra-coastal waterway.  There is even a community fishing pier where people gather for fishing and conversation, or to watch the dolphins swimming around.

The lifestyle is there, you simply choose the value.

 

A Moving Checklist for When You Sell Your House

by Doug & Gwen Campbell at Sun Bay Associates

When you sell your house, the entire experience can be stressful, to say the least.  There are a few things you can do to ease the pain and have as "calm" an experience as possible.  The following moving checklist for when you sell your house may come in handy.

Of course, there is the part about selling your house.  When you sell your house as a "For Sale by Owner"it  is not often a good idea.  In the end, statistically, according to the National Association of Realtors, a For Sale by Owner ends up losing money because the house sells for less than it could have.  Hire a professional Realtor, get the right price, and worry about your move instead of showing the house.

Now the house is sold, here are a few things to consider.  Get in touch with the Utilities, including electric, phone, water, internet/cable, gas, etc.  Be sure to leave the utilities on at least until the day of closing.

Then make sure you let various professionals know about your move and new address, including your broker, accountant, doctor, dentist and lawyer.

Next, check to make sure the appropriate government offices are aware of your new address.  These include: the IRS, the Post Office, school (if applicable), motor vehicles, voter registration, Veterans Administration, etc.

Do you belong to any clubs, such as Rotary, Kiwanis, health and fitness, country club?  Check in with your insurance companies: auto, health, home, life, etc.  Don't let coverage lapse because the insurance company can't get the bill to you.

What about your business accounts, like the banks, cell phone, internet provider, department stores, credit cards and finance companies.  Protect your credit and give them notice of your move and forwarding address.

Then move on to newspaper and magazine subscriptions.  Be sure to give plenty of notice so you get continuous coverage, or don't get billed for a newspaper that you no longer receive.

And of course, there is the "miscellaneous" category.  This might include your pharmacy, house of worship, dry cleaner, hair stylist, and your business associates or golf buddies.

The more you can do to prepare for moving when you sell your house, the easier the entire experience is going to be.  So relax, be organized, and as much as possible, enjoy the experience when you sell your house.

Dunedin Condos for Sale

by Doug & Gwen Campbell at Sun Bay Associates

Dunedin condos for sale.  Is this an exciting sentence or not?  It is if you are looking for a condo in Dunedin, FL.  If you are interested in the Florida lifestyle, Dunedin is the city for you.  Dunedin is a small city or just under 50,000 people, it is located on the Gulf of Mexico, just north of Clearwater Beach and just south of Tarpon Springs and Palm Harbor.  Actually, if you go to the west edge of Dunedin, on the Gulf, and look across the water, there is Clearwater Beach and Caladesi Island.

Caladesi Island is accessible by boat only.  No cars, no roads.  There are nature paths for walking, and you can observe bald eagles, various sea birds, tortoises, dolphins just off the beach, osprey, and other forms of wildlife.  Caladesi Island has been named by Dr. Beach as the best beach in the country.  If you are a sportsman, the fishing off Caladesi Island is excellent, and includes redfish, snook, and for excitement the occasional shark.

Of course, Clearwater Beach is a world famous beach destination, with a wide sandy beach with lots of things to do, including watch stunning sunsets, Pier 60 and its attractions, various restaurants and attractions such as dolphin cruises, dinner cruises and parasailing.  Clearwater Beach is a very short drive from Dunedin and provides a good bit of extra entertainment for those who are looking for Dunedin condos for sale.

Oh yeah, we were talking about Dunedin condos for sale, weren't we.  The prices range from the very affordable to the luxury market.  Look at the listings below to see what is happening with Dunedin condos for sale.

And did we mention the lifestyle?  Dunedin's Main Street has great restaurants, interesting and unique shops, hand-made ice cream, lots of parks with outdoor concerts, green markets and an endless schedule of arts and crafts fairs, special events festivals - Cinco de Mayo, Mardi Gras, Wines the Blues, juried arts fair, and lots more.

Check it out.  Dunedin is a great place to live.  And there are Dunedin condos for sale.

Leaks in the Slab, Wet Floors, Oh My!

by Doug & Gwen Campbell at Sun Bay Associates

Some weeks are  more interesting than others, and this week I learned a whole lot about leaks in the slab, wet floors, oh my!!  According to the plumber and the leak detection specialist we worked with this week, Florida and floors can be interesting.

The old saw about "don't put a wood floor in a house in Florida" is just that.  Lots of houses in our area, the greater Clearwater area, are 75 - 100 years old and have beautiful wood floors.  They are built with a crawl space under the house so air gets to circulate under the house and moisture doesn't get trapped and build up.  Projects done right will add value to a home.

Newer construction is built on a concrete slab.  Nothing wrong with that.  People decide to install nice, expensive wooden floors.  Nothing wrong with that either.  According to our leak detection expert, and the plumber, what can go wrong is the slab may not get a sealant, or the sealant could be improperly applied, and the floor will be installed with only a moisture barrier on the concrete, then the wood floor is set on top of the moisture barrier.  Again, our expert says that the moisture barrier slows the moisture from getting to the wood, but doesn't stop it.  He says he is getting a significant increase in calls for "leaks" or ruined wood flooring, mostly because of the increased number of wood floors being installed, but also because so many of them are improperly installed, as far as moisture is concerned.

What should happen, is the installer should seal the concrete and let the sealant dry for a couple of days.  Then it is OK to install the wood flooring.  In his opinion, using a combination sealer/adhesive does not work as well and will result in damage to the floors, because the combination does not protect from moisture penetration as well as sealing the floor first and then doing the installation.

He showed me a concrete floor, that appeared dry, even to the touch.  When he took a reading with his moisture meter, it maxed out on the meter.  It was only a matter of time before there would be damage to the flooring installed on that slab.

Another issue the plumber pointed out, in one of our listings, is that when the house was built, the copper pipe did not have a sleeve around it where it went through the slab.  This caused the pipe to rub against the concrete when the water was turned on or off, or if there was vibration.  Eventually, the concrete wore through the copper pipe and voila!!, there was a leak in the slab.  Good news, the homeowner purchased a home warranty.  Unfortunately, the home warranty, while covering a lot of the damage, did not cover all of it and the homeowner is still on the hook for a major part of the cost of repair.

The moral of the story, is buy a home warranty.  Seriously, if you are going to install a wood floor, just be sure it is done right.  Don't go for cheap, pay for a little extra time, get the floors done right and they just might last a lifetime.  And if they don't, a home warranty will defray the costs for repair.

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Photo of Gwen and  Doug Campbell - Sun Bay Realty Group Real Estate
Gwen and Doug Campbell - Sun Bay Realty Group
at Keller Williams Realty
35095 US Hwy 19N, Suite 100
Palm Harbor FL 34684
Gwen's Cell 727-741-4744
Doug's Cell 727-741-4189
Fax: 888-447-7908