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Sun Bay Blog

Doug & Gwen Campbell at Sun Bay Associates


Displaying blog entries 311-320 of 322

Limited Time $8,000 Tax Credit for First Time Home Buyers

by Doug & Gwen Campbell at Sun Bay Associates

For a limited time home buyers can claim a special tax credit worth up to $8,000. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act offers qualifying homebuyers a tax credit equal to 10 percent of a home's purchase price, up to a maximum of $8,000. The tax credit is offered to first time homebuyers, and those who have not owned a principle residence in the past three years. To be eligible for the tax credit, the home purchase must be recorded between January 1 through December 1, 2009.

The full tax credit is offered to buyers with reported income up to $75,000, or $150,000 for married couples filing a joint return. Partial tax credits are available to for those with income levels up to $95,000, or $170,000 for those filing jointly. Contact us today for more details on this exciting program!

Rent, hold or sell in the current Tampa Bay real estate market??

by Doug & Gwen Campbell at Sun Bay Associates

In the current market lots of homeowners are upside down in their homes.  They have to ask themselves do we want to sell our house at the current market value and lose our equity, or even have to do a short sale just to get out of the situation, can they rent the house for a while until the market comes back, or should they just sit tight and hold on to their home until the market improves. 

The answer to these questions is "It depends on the situation."  For the homeowner who is farily comfortable financially and has no real pressing need to move, it may be the best course of action to do nothing and continue living in the house for a few more years.  For the homeowner who needs to sell, for whatever reason, whether it is a growing family, job change, health, and they do not want to sell at the current market value, renting could be an option. 

Experts are speculating about the recovery of the real estate market.  Some say we are near the bottom, others, such as PMI, the company that insures mortgages, estimates two more years of price decline, at least in the Tampa Bay area.  PMI did not just throw a dart at their estimate, but analyzed Florida foreclosures, unemployment and other data from the last quarter of 2008.  Other experts are predicting that Tampa foreclosures will increase in 2009 especially as unemployment continues to go up in the Tampa Bay area.

At a recent conference in Orlando, Florida, David Gergen, former presidential advisor and currently a professor of public service at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, predicted that the housing recovery would look like a saucer or soup bowl. that is an eventual leveling at the bottom, but staying there for a while and then there will be a very gradual recovery.  These predictions indicate that if someone decides to rent their home now, it may take another two years of decline, then with the gradual real estate recovery, two or three more years for prices to get back to today's level.  So the homeowner who opts to rent until the market recovers may have to rent their house, act as a landlord, for 3-5 years to just break even, if inflation is not taken into account.

If there is little to no equity in the house and the owner has a negative cash flow, holding or renting might be risky strategies.  A loan modification could work, selling at a loss if the owner can sustain a financial loss, a short sale - if the bank is willing, or going to foreclosure are other options.  In every case, serious consideration of the consequences, including the unintended consequences, must be carefully evaluated.

For specific legal advice, or financial advice, you should contact your attorney or accountant.

Dunedin, Florida Restaurants

by Doug & Gwen Campbell at Sun Bay Associates

Dunedin Restaurants

There are wonderful restaurants in Dunedin, Florida.  For some of the very best, mouth watering Florida cuisine anywhere, you must visit Dunedin.  From the very freshest seafood, to fantastic Italian or Mexican food to simply great steaks, Dunedin has a little bit of everything.  Click on the selections below for more information.

Casa Tina Gourmet Mexican and Vegetarian Restaurant.  Fresh, healthy and authentic Mexican cuisine.  727-734-9226

Sea Sea Riders Restaurant, Inc.  Fresh and tasty seafood on the Gulf. 727-7347-1445

Bon Appetit Restaurant.  Voted Tampa Bay's best waterfront restaurant.  727-733-2151

Bellini's Restaurant.  Voted one of the 20 best restaurants in 2005 Florida Trend magazine.  727-733-5449

Spoto's Steak Joint II.  A great steak house for over 30 years.  727-734-0008 

Cafe Alfresco.  Sidewalk cafe and bistro right on the Pinellas Trail.  727-736-4299

Black Pearl of Dunedin.  A special place for special occasions.  727-734-3463

Flanagan's Irish Pub.  Dunedin's oldest and best Irish pub.  727-736-4994

Kelly's Chic a Boom Room.  Casual chic, Wine Spectator Award of Excellence and outdoor dining.  727-736-5284

Umberto's of Long Island.  Terrific pizza, best in Florida.  727-736-3138

Country Boy Restaurant.  So good, it doesn't need a website.  Wonderful Sunday breakfasts.  727-734-9108

John's Pass Florida

by Doug & Gwen Campbell at Sun Bay Associates

John's Pass, on the Gulf Coast of the Tampa Bay area, is a fascinating village full of shops, restaurants, ice cream shops, parasailing and charter sport fishing.  It is a bustling area on the intracoastal waterway just a few miles south of Clearwater Beach with lots of family oriented activities.  Find a parking spot, then walk around.  Watch hand rolled cigars being made, then, if you smoke 'em, try one for a wonderful cigar smoking expeience.

As you walk along the boardwalk, get a hand packed ice cream cone or frozen custard, then watch the boats on the inlet coming and going, some jet skies, some charter sport fishing boats, some pleasure cruisers and some sailboats.  There are watercraft for everyone on the water at John's Pass.  And as you watch the boat traffic, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for dolphin sightings.  There are always dolphin swimming around the inlet and it is fun to watch as tourists see their first dolphin.

Try Gators restaurant for a good meal, a cold beverage, and during football season, be surrounded by Florida Gator fans every Saturday afternoon.  As you munch on a grouper sandwich in the evening, you just might see people on the dock dipping blue crabs from the water for a very fresh lunch the next day.  It is truly a Florida experience!

John's Pass is one more wonderful reason to own real estate in the Tampa Bay area.  It is a great place for a family to spend a day, having fun, seeing the unique sights of the Florida waterfront lifestyle, eating good food, and just maybe even sighting a dolphin.

So c'mon to the Tampa Bay area.  Enjoy the laid back Florida lifestyle  Take a look at buying real estate in the Tampa Bay area.  The time has never been better for getting a home in this terrific part of the country.

For information about other communities in the Tampa Bay area, visit our website,

Fun Restaurant in Tarpon Springs

by Doug & Gwen Campbell at Sun Bay Associates

Despite all the gloom and doom of the sinking economy in the news, there are lots of great things to like about the Tampa Bay area.  One of the wonderful benefits of the Sun Coast of Florida is the selection of restaurants.  In northern Pinellas County, in the eclectic City of Tarpon Springs, there is a gem of an eating establishment called Snookers Floribbean Bar and Grill.  Fresh seafood, straight from the Gulf of Mexico, succulent shrimp, seared Mahi, ice cold adult beverages and friendly servers all combine to make Snookers a fun place to meet after a hard day at work or for a dinner with friends. 


We just ate there, had a really good dinner of fresh caught seafood, an absolutely wonderful coconut bread pudding for dessert, enjoyed the live music, and Basilia our server was really helpful and pleasant.


Snookers has an outdoor tiki bar and a pool of live gators that is just outside the tiki bar.  There are lots of flat screen TVs for viewing your favorite sports or even CNN.  Weekends there is live music on the outdoor patio.  Sit there and enjoy dinner, have a relaxing drink and listen to your favorite music.


And as you enter the inside dining area, be sure to check out the very large saltwater aquarium with live snook, a favorite Florida gamefish, and redfish swimming around.


To learn more about this fun and casual restaurant in the Tampa Bay area, visit their website at


We’ll occasionally write about a fun thing for the Tampa Bay area lifestyle.  If you have a special interest, let us know and we’ll discover more together.


Be sure to check out our website for more information on real estate and the Tampa Bay area:

Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure

by Doug & Gwen Campbell at Sun Bay Associates

Basically, a deed in lieu of foreclosure is the action a homeowner takes to give his/her house back to the lender in exchange for being forgiven the debt of the mortgage.  When considering a deed in lieu, be sure that the lender will accept it, and get the acceptance in writing.  As part of the written agreement, have the lender agree to forgive any amount that is not covered when the house is later sold by the lender.  Some experts believe that a deed in lieu looks better on a credit report than a foreclosure. 


From a lenders perspective, this is an act of last resort because banks really do not want property that needs to be maintained and hopefully resold.  The banks really want cash so they can continue to issue loans. Some lenders require that the house be placed on the market for at least three months in a good faith effort to sell it.  Many lenders will not consider a deed in lieu if there are other liens on the property. 


Another issue to cover in detail with the lender is to see how the lender will deal with the outstanding balance due.  Will the debt be forgiven or will the lender provide, in writing, assurance that it will not sue the homeowner for the balance at a later date.  Some lenders will keep the mortgage and not cancel the debt until the property is resold.  Be sure you know all the details of any agreement concerning the mortgage, your debt and what the lender is, in fact, agreeing to.


A short sale is preferable to a deed in lieu because in a short sale, the bank has agreed to forgive the difference between the sales price of the home and the amount owed to the bank, and the property is sold outright, freeing the homeowner from further obligation to the bank.  A short sale also frees up funds for the bank to lend instead of having to manage a piece of real estate.


As with short sales, it is wise to determine the impact a deed in lieu may have on your tax obligations before entering into any agreement.


For legal advice, consult a real estate attorney in your area. 


To learn more about short sales or other solutions to your real estate issues, visit or visit


Remember, you have options.


Call Gwen at 727-939-1515 or Doug at 727-741-4189.

Or email or

Short Sales Explanation

by Doug & Gwen Campbell at Sun Bay Associates

Last time we talked about the merits of a short sale vs. a forebearance of mortgage.  Today we will go into the short sale process a bit.


The short sale option is something that most borrowers do not know about and many realtors do not want to deal with because of the length of time to complete such a transaction.  Under the best of situations, a short sale can take three months to complete and it is not unusual for a short sale to drag on for five or six months before closing. 


In the past, a bank would require that the borrower/homeowner, be behind by several months before even considering a short sale.  However, due to the changing market and the simply overwhelming number of houses in pre-foreclosure or outright foreclosure, some banks are accepting a short sale transaction before the homeowner is actually in arrears.  There are several items that must be provided to the bank to get a short sale approved.  Among these items are the previous two years tax returns, pay stubs for the past 2-3 months, bank statements for the past 2-3 months, a financial worksheet showing all assets and liabilities, including monthly payments, all sources of income and more.


A key advantage to a short sale, especially when considering foreclosure, is that a short sale might not tarnish your credit rating, where a foreclosure can affect your credit rating for seven years or much longer.


There are short sale specialists available to guide you through the process.  It may take 3 to six months or even longer, depending on the bank, but the time and effort may be worth it for the homeowner whose alternative is foreclosure.  To learn more about if a short sale is the right option for you, contact a reliable realtor and ask for a review.  If you want to get a jump start and find out if a short sale may be the option for you, go to  Your inquiry will be handled with the utmost respect and integrity.


Next time we will address a deed in lieu of foreclosure.


Remember, there are always options.  Foreclosure does not have to be the only way out of a temporary financial difficulty.

Merits of forebearance vs. a short sale

by Doug & Gwen Campbell at Sun Bay Associates


Last time we talked about the forebearance of mortgage agreement.  Today we will briefly address the merits of forebearance compared to a short sale.  For specifics, be sure to consult a real estate attorney in your area.


The biggest benefit to a forebearance agreement is the postponement of the monthly mortgage payment and the potential to keep the house if all agreed payments can be made.  However, if the borrower cannot make the agreed payments, and repay the delinquent balance within two years (or the agreed time frame) the house will still go into foreclosure.  Also, interest continues to accrue on the outstanding loan during the forebearance period.


The main benefit of a short sale is having the bank agree to settle the mortgage for less than the amount owed.  This may even preserve the borrower-homeowner’s credit rating.  The greatest disadvantage to a short sale is that because it is dependent on the bank to approve acceptance of an offer for less than the amount owed on the mortgage, this process may take months.  The borrower’s credit rating may be negatively affected, but usually for two years or less as compared to seven years or longer for a foreclosure.


Next time, we will address the short sale process in a bit more detail..


Remember, there are options to foreclosure.  To learn more about a short sale, visit




Forebearance of Mortgage Agreement

by Doug & Gwen Campbell at Sun Bay Associates

Forebearance agreement


Previously, we talked about different options to avoid foreclosure on a mortgage.  Today we will address a forebearance of mortgage agreement.  This is not a definitive discussion and we strongly suggest you consult with an expert in your area. 


A forebearance agreement is only one of several ways to avoid foreclosure.  It is simply an agreement between the bank and the borrower or homeowner to delay payment of the monthly payment for a specified amount of time.  The borrower usually has to be able to make a payment of at least 50% of the delinquent amount and can pay back the full amount due within two years.  If there is a lot of equity in the house, the borrower might be able to refinance the house to cover the amount due.  Refinancing could salvage the house, but is very likely to result in a much higher interest rate on the new mortgage.  The higher interest rate may be worth it to save the equity in the house.  Of course, if there is little or no equity in the house, refinancing is not likely.


Unfortunately, national statistics show that it is very likely that the borrower/homeowner who has fallen behind on the present mortgage is going to default on the new note within just a few months to a year.


Next time, we will address the relative merits of seeking a forebearance agreement or going with the short sale option.  To learn more about the short sale option to avoid foreclosure, visit

You Have Options

by Doug & Gwen Campbell at Sun Bay Associates

Do you live in the greater Tampa Bay area and love it, but are having a hard time making your mortgage payments?  If you purchased a house in the last few years when the market was hot and now that the market has cooled off you might have a house with no equity that is simply not worth what it cost only a couple years ago.  With the economy in the condition it is in now, people are struggling to make their mortgage payments.  No matter the reason, if you can’t make the mortgage payments you are in a very stressful situation.


There are options, however, to avoid foreclosure.  Among the options available are:  forebearance; deed in lieu of  foreclosure; restructured loan;  renting the property, or, there may be an option most people don’t even consider, called a short sale.  This is when the house is worth less than what is currently owed to the bank, based on the current market conditions, there is no chance of selling it for enough to recoup the original investment, and the bank will agree to it. 


In the next few blogs we will discuss a little more of each of these options.  In our next discussion we will address a forebearance of mortgage agreement.


Remember, there are always options, foreclosure does not have to be the only way out of a temporary financial difficulty.  Visit for more information.

Displaying blog entries 311-320 of 322




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