Real Estate Information Archive

Blog

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 96

2017 Real Estate Summary through November. For Pinellas County real estate for sale.

by Doug & Gwen Campbell at Sun Bay Associates

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!  Let's kick off 2018 with a very positive outlook. Today's Morning Coffee does that, get even with those who are good to you.  Check it out.

As for the real estate outlook for 20018, no one really has a crystal ball so no one can truly predict the real estate market, except to promise that people will be moving. causing housing to be bought and sold.

Here are some end of the year numbers, for those who really like this sort of stuff.

We are awaiting the final numbers for 2017 from our Pinellas Realtor Organization, however, here are the numbers thru November. For the first 11 months of 2017, there have been a total of 21,502 residential sales.  Of those, 40.88% were cash and 42.07% were conventional mortgages.  In addition, 56.01% were sold in 30 days or less, with another 15.94% being sold in 60 days or less.  This clearly indicates that these properties were priced at the correct market value.  The $200,000 to $400,000 price range accounted for 35.82 of all residential sales in the area. For those looking for "bargains", or at least low prices, a total of 3350 properties were sold below $100,000 for the first 11 months of 2017.

The absorption rate for November for single family homes was 36.5%, and the absorption rate for condos was 31.6%. Absorption rate is the percent of available properties that sell in a given month. Thus, a 36.5% absorption rate means that just over 1/3 of the houses listed for sale actually sold in November.  This represents a strong sellers' market, leaving buyers very little room for negotiating downward.

For more detailed information on specific markets or property types, check out our website.

Now, on to the very first trivia for the new year.

Appropriate for today, in 1913, a severe winter storm hit the mid-west, dropping temperatures in Chicago to -13F and dumped 19 inches of snow. This storm was blamed for 68 deaths.s

In 1981, British police arrest Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper, a serial killer.

In 1906, Willis Carrier received a patent for the world's first air conditioner. And that made Florida livable.

In 1961, the very first AFL Championship game took place, with the Houston Oilers beating the LA Chargers, 24-16.

Today's birthdays include Isaac Asimov (1920) science fiction writer, "I, Robot"; Roger Miller (1936) singer, "Dang Me", "King of the Road"; Cuba Gooding Jr. (1968), Oscar winner for his role in "Jerry Maguire".

Make it a great week.

Buyers Need to Know About Closing Costs

by Doug & Gwen Campbell at Sun Bay Associates

Very often buyers come to the closing table to buy the house of their dreams and there is an unpleasant surprise waiting for them. A survey by ClosingCorp of 1,000 first time home buyers revealed that 17% were surprised that there were any closing costs, and 35% were surprised at how high the closing costs were. Wow, someone is not communicating.

 These buyers got the news that it cost money to borrow money, and then other costs were added to the transaction, and they were caught by surprise. What buyers need to understand, and they should be told by the professionals, is that there are additional costs to buying a home over and above the price of the house.

When a buyer is paying cash, the closing costs are minimal. Very often under $1500. When purchasing a home for, let's say, for $250,000, costs to consider include the following.


Bank Fees, such as loan origination, loan discount or other fees unique to that lender

Title Insurance

Credit Report

Survey

Appraisal Fee

Termite Inspection

Home Inspection

Deed Recording

Balance of HOA or condo Fees for the month

Doc Stamps

Homeowner's Insurance

And others as well.

It is incumbent on the lender to provide the information well ahead of closing to their buyers that there will be fees above simply the cost of the house. It can be embarrassing for a buyer to sit at the closing table and not be aware of these charges. The lender and the real estate agent should have disclosed these fees to the buyers so they are  prepared and know well in advance.

Fannie Mae has estimated that closing costs run between 2% and 5% of the purchase price of a house. It is good for the buyer to be aware that if purchasing a home for $250,000, they may need to come up with as much as $12,500 in cash, above the down payment, to have a successful closing.

In order to avoid unpleasant surprises like this, buyers need to work with reputable lending institutions that encourage buyers to ask questions. And real estate agents ought to provide every buyer an estimate of closing costs well ahead of the closing date. This estimate is not a binding document, however, it does notify the buyer that there are costs involved when buying a home. A professional real estate agent will be careful and the estimate in most cases, will be very close to the final amount actually due for closing. 

Buyers should obtain wire instructions directly from the title company so that all funds are wired a day or two in advance of closing. This will eliminate delays at closing, as well as embarrassment.

An informed buyer is a great buyer who will have a good experience.

Get Ready to Sell Your Home

by Doug Campbell

Selling your home doesn′t just mean hiring a realtor to stick a sign out front. There are a lot of preparations you should make to ensure you get the best offer possible in the shortest time.

Repair. Just because you’ve gotten used to the cracks in the walls and the rattles in the radiators doesn’t mean a buyer will too. If you have hardwood floors that need refinishing, be sure to get it done—hardwood is a huge selling point. And typically, refinishing hardwood floors costs less than tile or new hardwood flooring. Buyers like to snoop around, so be sure to fix any sticky doors or drawers as well.That backdoor you have to kick to open, make the needed adjustment, it could cost you thousands. Finally, don’t forget to address any issues with the exterior—fences, shingles, sidewalks, etc. Electric colors for trim may have been great while you lived in the house, it just may turn off a buyer though, and they won't even get out of their car. After all, without curb appeal, some buyers may never get to see the inside.

Neutralize. You want buyers to see themselves in your home. If your living room has lime green shag, wood-paneled walls, and all your collectibles and personal photographs, this will be much harder for them to do. If the carpet is 15 years old, whether you admit it or not, it has an odor, so go ahead and replace it, or at the very least get it steam cleaned. Try replacing any bold color choices in your floors and walls with something more neutral—beiges, tans, and whites. Repainting and re-flooring will make everything look fresh and new, and help prospective buyers imagine all the possibilities. After all, repainting a room is the least expensive thing you can do to maximize your profit.

Stage. Once your house is clean and updated, it’s time to play dress up. Home stagers can add small details and décor touches that will bring out the possibilities in the various spaces in your home: lamps, mirrors, throw rugs and pillows, flowers, decorative soaps and towels, patio furniture. Home staging can be particularly useful if your home is especially old or if the exterior looks dated. Think of it as a little mascara and rouge—if it’s done right, you notice the beauty, not the makeup. If you have moved out of the house while it is still on the market, it is very important to have a professional stager come in. Empty rooms always look small and most people can't envision what it might look like with furniture. A professional stager will address the room dimensions, make the most of the colors and light, and it will almost make you wonder why you wanted to move.

A final note on appearance, be sure your Realtor has professionally done photographs of the house and yard. Most Realtors do not know how to take good photos, although some do. A point and shoot camera is not what you want for taking quality pictures for a $400,000 house.

Now, relax and let the professionals sell your house so you can move into the next phase of life.

Good Restaurants to Eat in Dunedin

by Doug & Gwen Campbell at Sun Bay Associates

Great Restaurants to Eat in Dunedin, FL.

 

How often do you visit a community and need to find a restaurant that will serve a good meal at a fair price. Do you automatically head to the closest national franchise place, where you know the food will be decent, the prices will be generally reasonable and the service may be pretty good? Or do you prefer to be a bit more adventurous and seek out a good place where the locals like to eat and sometimes treat it more as a social event than just a place to go eat.

 

If you are one of the latter, and you are ever in the Dunedin area, here are some really good establishments that provide a nice local flavor. And the locals love them!!

Casa Tina Gourmet Mexican and Vegetarian Restaurant in the heart of downtown Dunedin on Main Street. The food is wonderful and fresh and authentic. Javier, the co-owner with Tina, is from Mexico and the food is true to his heritage.  If you are in town on Cinco de Mayo, the block of Main Street in front of Casa Tina is closed for the day long festival of music, fun, and food.  Visit www.casatinas.com or call 727-734-9226.

Sea Sea Riders Restaurant is just west of the immediate downtown area of Dunedin, and only a block from the Gulf of Mexico. There is dining on the porch, where you can have a drink and dinner while you watch the people walking by on their way to whatever event is happening in town that evening, or enjoy the newly remodeled and expanded bar inside. The seafood is fresh and the service is really friendly. Come in for a friendly beverage and enjoy the live music. Visit the website for this week’s activities  www.seaseariders.net  or call 727-7347-1445

Bon Appetit Restaurant is right on the Gulf of Mexico at the marina in Dunedin. The outside bar is covered and has several TVs so you can watch our local teams, Rays, Bucs or Lightning when in season. It is a favorite gathering place for locals to meet, have a beverage and catch the sunset. The outdoor dining area is another place to enjoy the Florida lifestyle, have a delicious meal, and again, catch another free and spectacular sunset provided by nature. You can take advantage of the valet parking service too so your evening will be all the more carefree. Bon Appetit has been voted as Tampa Bay’s best waterfront restaurant.  Visit www.bonappetitrestaurant.com/  or call 727-733-2151

Cafe Alfresco is right in the mix of what’s happening on Main Street in Dunedin AND it is at the crossing of the Pinellas bike trail and Main Street. Enjoy the sidewalk cafe for the alfresco dining experience.  Watch the bicycle traffic whizzing by on the Pinellas Trail, or dine inside. The food is really good, the servers are excellent with personality, and the prices are very reasonable. Just outside the entrance is one of several custom made bicycle racks you can find all over the city. This one looks like a locomotive. Watch around town for these interesting bike racks, made by the local Institute for Creative Arts. Visit the website  www.cafealfrescoonline.com or call 727-736-4299.

For a dining experience that will be a highlight of your visit to Dunedin, make reservations at the Black Pearl of Dunedin.  This is a Mobil Guide rated restaurant with limited seating.  It is worth it!! The food is freshly prepared and it is high end quality. The Black Pearl is also right on Main Street in Dunedin so after dinner, stroll the downtown area to get a true taste of what makes Dunedin so special. Visit the website at  www.theblackpearlrestaurant.com  or call 727-734-3463.

At the other end of the spectrum, visit the sometimes raucous Flanagan’s Irish Pub. The food is hearty, the drafts are cold, and the music is Irish. Flanagan’s is Dunedin’s oldest and best Irish pub. Locals flock to this colorful pub, and if you want to have a seat on Friday or Saturday evening, get there early. Visit the website at  www.flanagansirishpub.net/  or call 727-736-4994.

Kelly's Chic a Boom Room is casual chic. It is also a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence winner. The outdoor patio is wide open for a wonderful dining experience. Lots of space so you won’t feel crowded by other tables, and at the same time the friendly atmosphere will make your meal fun and entertaining. Not to mention that the portions are more than enough and delicious. Kelly’s is most assuredly a favorite of the locals in Dunedin. For Sunday brunch, get there early or be prepared to wait. The good news, the brunch is worth the wait. Kelly’s is in the heart of downtown Dunedin on Main Street.  Visit the website at  www.kellyschicaboom.com  or call 727-736-5284.

Umberto's of Long Island is a little bit off the beaten path. This family owned hidden gem is on Patricia Avenue. The pizza is terrific New York style.  Visit their website,  http://www.umbertosoflongisland.com/ or just call them at 727-736-3138. It’s worth a little drive from the downtown area. You won’t be disappointed.

If you like comfort food that is served with a smile, try Country Boy Restaurant. This is yet another restaurant that the locals flock to, and Sunday morning brunch is very busy. Breakfast, lunch or dinner, stop by and enjoy a really solid meal.  This gem has been a family owned and operated establishment since 1985. Visit their website at http://www.countryboyrestaurant.com/ or call them at 727-734-9108. Country Boy is on 1353 Main Street in Dunedin.

Our Place Restaurant of Dunedin is an unassuming eatery in a little strip mall on 1336 Main Street. The food is fresh, the servers treat you like family, and the owner will seat you and fill your coffee cup all the while making you feel like you’re a long lost friend. Don’t be misled by the not flashy decor, the food is great and the prices are unbelievable. Watch for the daily specials. And be sure to stop at the bakery display case. The pies, oh my, the pies. The cinnamon buns are only a taste of heaven. Our Place is a winner of the 2015 Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence. Visit the website http://ourplacedunedin.weebly.com/ or call 727-239-7886.

Olde Bay Cafe is the definition of Florida’s casual lifestyle. Stop in for dinner on the open air patio, which is also dog friendly or just enjoy a beverage and the fresh catch of the day while sitting literally over the water of the Dunedin Marina.  In the evening, while having the freshest fish or one of Dunedin’s local micro-brewery products, enjoy yet another sunset. The atmosphere is as friendly as you could ask for, and just as casual. Watch the boats coming into and going out of the marina while you contemplate your next day’s activities. Visit the website  http://oldebaycafe.com/ or call 727-733-2542.

Right at the gateway entrance to Dunedin’s Main Street is the Clear Sky Draught Haus. This is so much more than a draught haus, serving 37 craft beers on tap and another 60+ brands of bottled beers and a full bar. And the food, awesome. The lobster mac ‘n cheese is divine, maybe not heart healthy, but, we all need a little temptation once in a while. Besides, it really is worth it. Everything for breakfast is really tasty, from the Mexican flatbread to lox and bagels. There is something for everyone at the Draught Haus. Visit the website http://www.clearskydraughthaus.com/ or call 727-286-6266.

With all these restaurants, you have a wide range of delicious eateries in Dunedin. So whenever you are in the area, pick one of these places. We feel they are among the very best places to eat in Dunedin. We are locals, and lots of other locals feel that these are among the very best places to eat in our little town. These eating establishments are one of the many reasons we love living here. Check it out. If you are looking for a house, you might find a place you want to call home.(727) 286-6266(727) 286-6266



 

The Mortgage Pre-Approval Process, Why It Is Important

by Doug & Gwen Campbell at Sun Bay Associates

Why should you go through the pre-approval process when beginning your house-hunting efforts? There are many questions that should be addressed before anyone invests a lot of time searching for homes, driving around looking at houses, and dreaming of the one perfect home. Click on the dollar sign to learn about the mortgage pre-approval process.

For additional information on buying a house, visit our home page, then click on the buyer reports under the Buyer tab. There is a lot of excellent information for the buyer who wants to be educated.

The first thing that should happen, is the buyer should identify a lender and contact that lender to talk about the entire mortgage approval process. If the buyer has not gone to a lender, when she does talk with a Realtor, a good professional Realtor will ask if the buyer has been pre-approved. If the answer is no, then the Realtor can suggest highly competent lenders who can do the pre-approval. In essence, the pre-approval phase in the overall mortgage approval process is that the buyer will learn what she qualifies for. This keeps the buyer from asking a Realtor to show her houses that are too far above her means, it prevents the Realtor from investing hours of time and effort looking for houses that she simply can't afford, and it prevents a seller from getting excited because someone made an offer on his house and finding out weeks later that the buyer cannot qualify for a mortgage. 


For instance, if a buyer wants to find a waterfront house for sale in Dunedin, and has not gone through the pre-approval process, who really knows how much that buyer can pay for a house? Go to the dollar sign and click on it to review the steps in mortgage pre-approval. Brian P Forrester with VanDyk Mortgage explains the process in easy to understand words and makes it less scary, as the unknown tends to be. The worst part of getting a mortgage is being unprepared, and the video explains it very well.

So, click on the photo to the right if you would like to see waterfront houses for sale in Dunedin. Then, take a moment to think about what kind or mortgage will it take to buy that house. If you need a lender, take the time to do your homework and find one. Or talk to your professional Realtor who can suggest highly qualified lenders and get the process started.

Be the well prepared buyer, talk to your Realtor and talk to your lender, get pre-approved before you start looking. It will be time well spent and you will avoid being disappointed.

 

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.

 

 

 

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.

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 96

Syndication

Categories

Archives

Contact Information

Photo of Gwen and  Doug Campbell - Sun Bay Realty Group Real Estate
Gwen and Doug Campbell - Sun Bay Realty Group
at Keller Williams Realty
30522 US Hwy 19N, Suite 107 S
Palm Harbor FL 34684
Doug's Cell 727-741-4189
Gwen's Cell 727-741-7260
Fax: 888-447-7908