Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 1-5 of 5

Biggert-Waters Act, Flood Relief??

by Doug & Gwen Campbell at Sun Bay Associates

Congress is set to vote on H.B. 3370, named the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act, or Biggert-Waters Act.  As currently written, homeowners anywhere near a flood zone are being devastated by the uncertainty happening.  In our area, some homeowners have seen their flood insurance go up from about  $2000 per year to over $15,000 or more per year.  These rate hikes are driving people out of their homes and paralyzing the real estate market.

The Senate passed a bill a few months ago and when the House passes their version of the bill, it will go to committee to work out the differences.  The sooner the better, for consumers, homeowners and the real estate industry, which impacts more than just individual homeowners and Realtors.  The wider net of current uncertainty affects home inspection companies, construction companies, home repair companies, plumbers, electricians, flooring installation companies, and many more.  All of these companies have jobs that may now be going unfilled.  Resolving the Biggerts-Waters Act just might put a whole lot of people back to work, so they can buy products and groceries, pay taxes, and have a positive impact on society.

The House proposal can provide greater consumer confidence by:

  • Permanently removing the new policy rate trigger for primary residences when a home is sold
  • Reinstate grandfathered rates by de-coupling rate increases with FEMA remapping
  • Providing a refund for people who purchased a pre-FIRM subsidized house without total transparency from FEMA
  • Increases the threshold to 50% from 30% of the fair market value that triggers a loss of Pre-FIRM status for homes substantially damaged or rebuilt
  • Include generally accepted affordability measures for items such as: high deductible options, flood-proofed basement exemptions, map certification, flood protection funding recognition, optional monthly installment plans, exceptions on escrow requirements, removing the funding cap on the affordability study and more.

If you, or anyone you know, has been negatively affected by the Biggert-Waters Act, contact your Congressman or Congresswoman and let them know they need to vote for H.B. 3370 so we can get the economic recovery on track and help people move on with their lives.

The president of the National Association of Realtors has written a letter to each representative in Congress supporting the House bill.  You can read the letter from President Steve Brown by clicking here.

Dunedin Homes for Sale

by Doug & Gwen Campbell at Sun Bay Associates

Today, just after Valentine's Day, there are over 140 Dunedin homes for sale.  They range in price from $62,000 to $4.5 million.  If you are looking for variety, Dunedin has it.  All of these are single family homes, there are lots of condos also available, we just won't address them here.  The smallest house is 780 square feet, and is listed for $84,000.  The largest house is over 7,600 square feet and is listed for $4.5 million.  It is in Dunedin Isles, has 5 bedrooms and 6 bathrooms and is on the St. Joseph's Sound, on the Gulf.

There are 12 Dunedin homes for sale for less than $100,000, 64 for between $100,000 and $200,000, another 30 homes for sale between $200,000 and $300,000, so there are lots of options for many price ranges.

Why would you want to live in Dunedin?  It is a waterfront community, the downtown area is vibrant, with lots of interesting shops, some might call some of them quirky, outstanding restaurants - from the Mobile Guide rated Black Pearl, to several restaurants featuring sidewalk patio dining, to "New York" pizza, to hand made ice cream, to dining on outdoor patios overlooking the Gulf.

Then there are the festivals during peak season, or snowbird season, where almost every weekend there is a crafts fair, arts festival, movie in the park, farmer's market, or some other street festival where the City of Dunedin simply closes downtown to cars and there is music, fun, food, happy people, beverages, and lots to do.

Dunedin is a charming community full of welcoming people, and it is business friendly too.  Take a look at living here, find something you like in the Dunedin homes for sale, and get ready for a wonderful lifestyle.

Ten Favorite Breakfast Restaurants

by Doug & Gwen Campbell at Sun Bay Associates

This is a listing of ten of our favorite breakfast restaurants in Palm Harbor, Clearwater, Tarpon Springs and Dunedin.  This is by no means comprehensive and they are in no particular order.  This list has been compiled by going to each one several times, with our parents so we get additional input.  So let’s get started.

Tiffany’s Restaurant in Palm Harbor offers breakfast all day.  They have wonderful crepes and all their portions are plentiful.  Get coffee and your cup is never empty.  With each breakfast comes a basket of mini-corn muffins that are simply delicious.  Tiffany’s is on the west side of US 19, just south of Alderman Road.  Check out their website:

The Lucky Dill Deli in Palm Harbor is also on the west side of US 19N.  This is a true New York deli with New York breakfasts and incredible portions.  The Dill, as many of the locals refer to it, offers a full menu and lunch sandwiches are easily good for two meals.  Check out the breakfast menu:

First Watch in Alderman Plaza, on the west side of US 19, offers fresh ingredients and excellent breakfasts, with as good a cup of coffee as you’ll find in any restaurant.  Their breakfast crepes are on our list of best of the best. They also offer brunch and lunch.  Check out the locations around the area:

Rodies Restaurant and Pancake House, on Alt 19 in Tarpon Springs also has breakfasts worth going out of your way to eat.  And, they top the list of my wife’s favorite for crepes.  ‘Nuff said there.  The breakfast skillets are enough for two, and are delicious.  Take a look at their breakfast menu:

Our Place on Route 580 in Dunedin is the place for home cooking comfort food for breakfast, as well as lunch and dinner.  The breakfast is cooked to order and the staff is really friendly.  Plus, they offer New York water bagels, can it get any better?  Take a look at their breakfast menu:

Chatterbox North on Alt. 19 at the intersection of Alderman Road in Palm Harbor has the friendliest staff you could ask for.  The breakfast is wonderful, as you can tell because the place is full every Sunday morning.  The coffee keeps coming, the food is served quickly and is delicious.  You can’t beat the price either.  Check out the comments on Yelp:

Chloes Family Restaurant on Alt. 19 in Tarpon Springs, just across from Helen Ellis Hospital offers delicious breakfasts and huge portions at very reasonable prices.  The place is very clean, the owner also waits tables and is happy to talk with everyone.  This is another restaurant where if you leave hungry, it is not their fault.  Check out their menu on Yelp:

George’s Breakfast Station on Alt. 19 in Tarpon Springs is easy to miss, however the locals definitely know where it is.  They focus on great service, keeping your coffee filled, and delivering freshly cooked and hot breakfast,  and offer specials all the time.  It is clean, the staff is friendly, the service is really fast, and you get a great breakfast at a great price.  Give them at try on S. Pinellas Ave.

Kelly’s on Main Street in downtown Dunedin is in the middle of the action of the Main Street section of downtown.  The breakfast is outstanding, and the portions are enough for the biggest appetite.  You can eat inside, or when the weather is pleasant (when is it not in Florida) you can eat on the outdoor patio.  The staff is wonderful, the locals eat here and the prices are good.  Check out Kelly’s for a wonderful meal.

Bob Evans on US 19 in Clearwater has wonderful breakfasts, as evidenced by the crowds every morning.  Yes, this is a national chain, and we do eat there, and it is good. The staff is pleasant and the service is very good.  Besides, it made the top four for Gwen’s favorite breakfast crepes. With the total makeover the restaurant had last year, dining in is more pleasant than ever. Check out their menu:

So there is our list of ten favorite breakfast restaurants in the Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater and Tarpon Springs area.  Now go out there try these, then find ten of your own favorites and let us know what you think.  The area has lots more restaurants that are outstanding, these are just some of the many we really like.  Any list that has more than ten places gets watered down.

Dunedin Homes for Sale Between $150,000 and $250,000

by Doug & Gwen Campbell at Sun Bay Associates

Are you looking for Dunedin real estate in the $150,000 to $250,000 range?  You might want to take a close look at Dunedin, FL.  Dunedin offers a great lifestyle.  This gem of a city is on the Gulf of Mexico, has a population of about 45,000, has a small town feel with some big city features – especially top flight restaurants, a downtown that is often closed to motor traffic during the many arts festivals, various holiday celebrations ( Cinco de Mayo, Mardi Gras, Wines the Blues, juried crafts fairs, Old Fashion Christmas, among may others, great beaches, including Honeymoon Island and Caladesi Island state parks, and on and on.  The life style is all Florida.

Oh yeah, the houses for sale.  As of today, there are 91 homes for sale, including single family homes and condos, 39 properties under contract and 10 homes sold in the last 30 days. That is only in the $150,000 to $250,000 price range.  For a more detailed outlook of Dunedin homes for sale, check our Sun Bay Associates home search link.

Of the homes for sale, they range from a 1 bedroom, 1 bath, 695 square feet condo in a 55+ community for $150,000 to a 3,050 square foot single family home zoned as an Assisted Living Facility, for only $189,000 or a 1761 square foot, 3 bedroom, 2 bath single family home on a highly desirable brick street for $249,900.

The ten properties that sold in the last 30 days range from a high of $249,900 for a 1370 sq. ft. condo on the Dunedin Causeway to a 1515 sq. ft. townhouse condo in a Gulf front community.

Now, back to the lifestyle.  The downtown area has terrific options, from a Mobil Guide rated restaurant, the Black Pearl, to some of the very best barbeque anywhere at the Dunedin Smokehouse, to homemade ice cream at Strachan’s Ice Cream, all on Main Street.

If you like to watch the sunset and enjoy a meal or beverage, try the Old Bay Café at the Dunedin Marina or Bon Appetit, both overlooking St. Joseph’s Sound.  Old Bay Café offers a Florida casual atmosphere with the fresh caught fish of the day on the menu.  Or Bon Appetit has an outdoor café and terrace for your enjoyment, including live entertainment, or retreat inside to the more formal dining room. 

This is just a sampling of the Florida lifestyle in Dunedin, FL and of the availability of Dunedin real estate.  Check it out for more of what you’re lookin’ for.

Short Sales Are Affected by the Debt Relief Act

by Doug & Gwen Campbell at Sun Bay Associates

Short sales are affected by the Debt Relief Act, and that act has expired.  As of Dec. 31, 2013, the Mortgage Debt Relief Act expired and here is what that means.  If you, and this is a generic you, owed $300,000 on your house but could only get a market value of $200,000 when you sold it, and you are in a 30% tax bracket, you now are looking at having the $100,000 shortfall considered income.   This means that you are now on the hook for a $30,000 tax bill.  That is money due the IRS, and we all know the IRS does not fool around when it comes to collecting money owed.

Your congressman can get things started and re-enact the Mortgage Debt Relief Act so that you do not get hit with a tax bill of $30,000 or whatever you could be responsible for when your house is sold at short sale.  Say you "only" are forgiven $25,000 on a mortgage.  That still translates to a tax liability of $7,500 if you are in that 30% bracket.  Sounds like a tax increase to me.

Contact your congressman or congresswoman and tell them that it is time to extend the Mortgage Debt Relief Act so that we can get the housing market back on its feet, get the homeowners out from under crushing debt - or tax liability, and get our economy moving.  There are many homeowners who owe more than their houses are worth in today's market and they are not selling yet.  In Florida, where we are just about at the top of the foreclosure rate, short sales are still better than a foreclosure.  Couple this with the uncertainty of flood insurance, which is a topic for another blog, Congress can do something to help the real estate market moving forward.

Displaying blog entries 1-5 of 5




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
Palm Harbor FL 34684
Doug's Cell 727-741-4189
Gwen's Cell 727-741-7260
Fax: 888-447-7908