Buy New or Buy Existing in Tampa Bay Real Estate

There are a lot of questions to be answered in today’s Tampa Bay area real estate market, especially if you’re on the homebuyer end. Do you buy now? What is your price point? Do you buy new or buy existing? That last question is one of the minds of many homebuyers and the answer may be surprising.

A recent survey conducted by Trulia this spring asked over 2,000 Americans about their preferences for purchasing a new home versus an existing home. After viewing the results, the survey concluded that twice as many homebuyers prefer a new home over existing homes in Clearwater or St. Pete. If given the choice of two homes, at the same price, two out of five homebuyers (41 percent of them) admitted to strongly or somewhat preferring a newly-built home over an existing property.

The number of survey participants who prefer an existing home in Tampa Bay real estate was just 21 percent, while the remainder did not have a strong preference. And while the results of this survey found that more Florida homebuyers prefer newly-built homes versus existing (meaning someone else has lived in the home), the findings change when asked if they are willing to pay the price for a newer home.

According to the National Association of Realtors, when comparing median home prices, “a new home typically costs $290,000, according to the Census. That’s nearly 50 percent more than existing homes, which typically cost $198,500.”

Albeit newer homes do tend to have more space and more modern features than existing, older homes, but just 46 percent of those who said they strongly prefer a new home would be willing to pay that higher price; newer homes typically have a 20 percent premium in price. In fact, just 17 percent of those surveyed said they would pay a higher price for a newer Clearwater, Tampa or St. Pete home.

“The most compelling reason to buy an existing home is to pay less,” said an economist at Trulia. “However, among respondents who strongly prefer an existing home, it’s not primarily about saving money.” History and character, as well as original wood flooring and sought-after neighborhoods are some of the features that draw homebuyers to existing, older homes.

So which do you prefer in Tampa Bay area real estate? As your local real estate expert, I am happy to help you find the type of home you’re looking for! Let’s discuss your homebuyer wish list and which available homes may fit the bill!

Ken Gorman
Charles Rutenberg Realty
1545 Belcher Road, Clearwater FL 33764
772-452-1098 | ken@kengorman.com

Protecting Your Tampa Bay Area Home

If you’ve been planning a move to a new home in Clearwater, St. Pete or Tampa, you’ll soon embark on a new experience tied to your responsibilities as a homeowner. This year, if there are two aspects of homeownership you should pay close attention to, it’s the following. When you have a handle on these two, you’ll set yourself up for a smooth and successful transition into owning a new residence or vacation home in the Tampa Bay area. As your Tampa Bay real estate expert, I am happy to assist with your entire Florida real estate journey— from home search to home closing.

Research Homeowners Insurance

Your homeowner’s insurance is one aspect of homeownership you’ll want to get to know— take the time to research its in’s and out’s. How extensive is your coverage? Is it enough to repair or replace items in your Tampa Bay area home? You’ll want to know all of the answers to avoid a stressful situation later. What’s more, maybe you’ve planned a renovation or recently added space or upgrades to your home, it’s great to know how your home updates factor into your homeowner’s insurance policy. “Many homeowners don’t realize they need extra insurance for a detached garage, a fence or a pool,” MSN Real Estate reported. It also may be a good idea to look into the optional sewer and drain backup insurance. If you have additional valuables in your home, expensive items of jewelry, it may be worth discussing the added coverage for peace of mind.

Don’t Hesitate on Repairs

Spring is a great time to do a routine check of your home. Walk around the property and make sure everything is in working order. At the start of a new season, you may be looking for a fresh start— kicking off the season on the right foot— and it’s important for you to help your home in the same way. Begin with the exterior of your home in Clearwater or St. Pete. Grab a pen and paper as you walk around the property to keep tabs on what needs fixing. Look at the landscaping, check the trees and shrubbery to see if they need trimming or removing. Move on to the roof to check for signs of damage or typical wear and then the gutters. Move inside to the important elements like smoke alarms, heating and air units and septic systems. If they are not in proper working condition, it may be time to replace them or take the necessary steps for repair. When you get a jump on these repairs early, knowing exactly what may need updating, you can avoid any surprises down the road.

As a homeowner or even future home seller, it’s time to get started on this home health to-do list, especially as we move forward into the busy late spring and summer months. One of the best next steps you can take to ensure you’re thinking ahead to what a Florida homebuyer wants is teaming up with your local real estate agent. I look forward to hearing from you!

Ken Gorman
Charles Rutenberg Realty
1545 Belcher Road, Clearwater FL 33764
772-452-1098 | ken@kengorman.com

Staging Your Tampa Bay Home for Quick Sale

Making your home stand out in a crowd of eager home sellers can be challenging this season. But now that you’ve made the decision to sell your home in the Tampa Bay area, a few things need to be done to help your home attract the right homebuyers. Confidence is growing in the St. Pete/Clearwater market and first impressions will go a long way, so make a great one with staging. It doesn’t take much time or money to stage your home on a budget and make a splash. Here’s how:

De-Clutter
Your home can actually appear larger and younger without clutter, so take the time to clear out the old and unnecessary. Nothing should take up valuable space in your home— no mail or papers on the counters, no small appliances cluttering the kitchen, no personal photos or knick knacks sitting around. Tampa Bay area homebuyers will notice that the home feels more open and be able to visualize themselves living there.

Out with the Old
Clear out the big furniture or move it to another area, especially outdated pieces that may be blocking focal points like fireplaces or windows with a view. If you’ve noticed the space feels crowded, do a walk through. If the flow feels off or difficult to navigate, take all of the furniture out of the room and edit the furniture accordingly.

Every Room Should Have a Purpose
St. Pete homebuyers want to see that each room has a purpose, but may also want to know alternate uses. For instance, you may be using that spare bedroom for an office, but consider setting up a card in the room that says “third bedroom” to drive that point. But be aware, if you’ve turned your dining room into a craft space, you should change it back before listing your Florida home.

Welcome Homebuyers
Details are everything when it comes to the exterior of your homes in Clearwater or St. Pete. That may mean installing a new mailbox or replacing the house numbers— homebuyers like to feel welcomed to Tampa Bay area real estate. It doesn’t take much money to do this, but simply adding a new welcome mat can really increase a homebuyer’s perspective of your home before they even step inside.

Feel free to contact me to discuss how we can attract the right buyers to your homes in St. Pete and Clearwater. As your Tampa Bay area real estate agent, I’d love to chat about the strategy that can get your home sold in the right amount of time and of course, at the right price. I look forward to hearing from you!

Ken Gorman
Charles Rutenberg Realty
1545 Belcher Road, Clearwater FL 33764
772-452-1098 | ken@kengorman.com

Florida Homebuyers Optimistic About Tampa Bay Area Real Estate

Despite the current climb of both mortgage rates and housing prices in the Tampa Bay real estate market, Florida homebuyers remain optimistic about their plans to purchase a home. Whether those plans are immediate, ready to take advantage of the optimal spring and summer buying months, or a task on a future to-do list, Americans are remaining positive about the state of the housing industry. But why now? One of the strongest factors pointing to this general belief comes from a Harvard University study and the Joint Center for Housing Studies:

“Even after the dramatic loss of equity and the high foreclosure rates, the early evidence suggests that people seem to believe that, over the long run, owning is still preferable to renting…The long term cultural preference for owning seems to have weathered the recent housing crisis.”

Potential Florida homebuyers not only recognize that homeownership presents more benefits over renting, but they are ready to make a move in the near future.

Americans Plan to Buy Real Estate in the Future

An additional survey found just how positive Florida homebuyers may be about the real estate market. Its participants contributed to the conclusion that “fifty-three percent of Americans expect home prices to increase by an average of 3.9 percent over the next 12 months,” according to Realtor Magazine and Fannie Mae’s July National Housing Survey of 1,000 home owners. “Only 6 percent expect prices to fall, a new low in the survey’s three-year history.”

And yet no matter how much housing prices climb or interest rates increase, St. Pete homebuyers are confident that the local real estate market is healthy or will continue on a path to be as time goes on. The survey found that seventy-four percent of participants believe now is the time to buy a home, with 40 percent believing now is the time to sell homes in the Tampa Bay area.

“The research on home-buying expectations supports the conclusion that very large percentages of Americans still expect to buy a home at some time in the future,” added the Harvey study.

It seems Clearwater homebuyers are of the belief that real estate is still a major part of the American Dream and their long-term wealth will only benefit from a home purchase; this study only illustrates that point further. Before rates rise even further, Tampa Bay area real estate will be a hot ticket, especially as we move into the summer months.

Are you ready to make a move? As your local real estate expert, I can help you find the property that best fits your needs in our area. Contact me today to discuss your best options for homebuyer success in Clearwater or St. Pete.

Ken Gorman
Charles Rutenberg Realty
1545 Belcher Road, Clearwater FL 33764
772-452-1098 | ken@kengorman.com

Tips for Selling Your Tampa Bay Area Home

Now that spring is here in the St. Pete/Clearwater area, homeowners are preparing to list their homes for sale. But before you see that “For Sale” sign in your yard, there are a few things you need to do. Take some time to boost your Tampa Bay area home’s curb appeal to attract homebuyers. Here are a few tips to make a good impression on Florida homebuyers:

Clean Up the Yard
The very first thing a Tampa Bay area homebuyer will notice is your home’s exterior. Begin your curb appeal project by cleaning up the yard. A homebuyer will notice an untidy yard and may begin their home tour with a lesser perception than they would have if you had cleaned up those branches. Remove all debris and weeds from the yard and be sure to trim the grass, flowers, shrubs, and trees.

Clean Up the Exterior
The past few months probably took a toll on your Florida homes and the driveway, garage and exterior may be dirtier than you’d like. Now that spring is here, it’s time to wash away any dirt and grime that you can see. You can power wash, either by yourself or by hiring out the service, the sidewalks, siding, driveway and deck to clean up any signs of winter and present your home’s best and cleanest image.

Landscape!
Again, with many homebuyer’s beginning their search for homes in St. Pete/Clearwater online, they will notice the outside of your home first. What does your landscaping look like? If you’re preparing to sell, it may be time to plant new flowers, add trees or shrubs and complete the look with well-manicured edging. Take a look at your neighbor’s homes— if you are impressed by their landscaping, but not your own, chances are homebuyers will feel the same. The time is right to fix those issues before you list your property. And don’t forget to tie it all together with outdoor lighting so homebuyers can visit your home, night or day, and be equally as impressed.

As your Tampa Bay area real estate professional, I am happy to discuss more tips for attracting the right buyers to your home. If you’re ready to sell your home this year, contact me today to be sure you’re starting off the process on the right foot.

Ken Gorman
Charles Rutenberg Realty
1545 Belcher Road, Clearwater FL 33764
772-452-1098 | ken@kengorman.com

Homebuyer Myths in Tampa Bay Area Real Estate

When you set out to purchase a new home in the Tampa Bay area, you may turn to family and friends for advice. Especially if you’re new to the real estate market, you will want to gather as much information as possible. But not all of that information may be accurate. It’s best to turn to your Tampa Bay real estate professional— I’m happy to answer your questions and help save you time and money in your home purchase. The market has changed drastically over the past few years, here are some homebuying myths to be wary of as you embark on your home search:

Myth: You Don’t Need an Agent
One of the most common myths in St. Pete, Clearwater real estate is that you do not need a real estate agent. Many homebuyers believe they can do everything on their own, without professional assistance, but that’s just not the case. As this is the biggest purchase you will ever make, I am happy to guide you every step of the way because I’ve been there before. You need someone in your corner to navigate the in’s and out’s of the local real estate market and how you can make the most of it.

Myth: The Home Is the Only One for You
When you find a home you love in St. Pete/Clearwater, it may be hard to visualize yourself in any other property. But truth be told, there will be other homes. Just because you think you’ve found your dream house, stay realistic. That home may come packaged with a higher price tag and problems to be fixed. Be prepared to shop around, don’t be ready to settle, and no home will ever be “too special” to pass up.

Myth: You Need a 20 Percent Downpayment
Twenty percent down used to be the standard, but that is not the bottom line in today’s market. If you don’t feel a large downpayment is in the mix for you, but you have a favorable credit score and a stable income, buying a home in the Tampa Bay area may still be possible. I will walk you through mortgage scenarios that can require little down payment to purchase real estate.

Ken Gorman
Charles Rutenberg Realty
1545 Belcher Road, Clearwater FL 33764
772-452-1098 | ken@kengorman.com

Tips to Help You Decide to Stay in or Sell Your Tampa Bay Home

Is it the right time to sell your Tampa Bay Home? The 2014 Florida real estate market is heating up! Mortgage rates are rising, housing prices are increasing, and homebuyers are growing confident. But that doesn’t mean all homeowners in the Tampa Bay area should jump at the chance to sell. These tips will help you decide whether to stay or sell your Tampa Bay home this year.

Look at the Size
What are your motives for selling your home in the St. Pete/Clearwater area? Does it come down to size? Homes.com suggests, “If the main concern about a home is size, a more affordable, less stressful option may be to sell and find a home with enough space to accommodate [your] family.”

Look at the Maintenance
How much maintenance is associated with keeping up your little piece of Tampa Bay real estate? Big maintenance projects like a new roof or new heating or cooling system can be pricey for a homeowner. If you are not in the position to make these repairs, the value of your home will only suffer and it may be time to sell now.

Look at the Equity
A top reason to stay in your current homes in St. Pete/Clearwater is the level of rising equity you may have. If you expect the levels to rise, it may be best that you stay. Homes.com also advises, “Homeowners already in love with their place should continue to enjoy the comforts of home and reap the benefits of increased equity when the time does come to sell.”

Look at the Location
When it comes to Florida real estate, it’s all about location. Love where you are in the Tampa Bay area? Stay put! Schools, neighbors, community, and commute time are major factors that homeowners should consider this year. These are all excellent reasons to stay in your home and all go “beyond money and the economy,” as Homes.com says.

Have more questions about staying or selling in the Tampa Bay area this year? Contact me today to discuss! As your St. Pete/Clearwater real estate expert, I am happy to go over the benefits of both decisions.

Ken Gorman
Charles Rutenberg Realty
1545 Belcher Road, Clearwater FL 33764
772-452-1098 | ken@kengorman.com

Make the Best Impression in Tampa Bay Real Estate This Year

With spring now underway and homebuyers that much more eager to get into new homes in the Tampa Bay area, it’s time home sellers took the necessary steps to ensure home sale success. From simply cleaning up the yard to replacing hardware, below are a few tips and tricks to help sell your Clearwater home this spring— and bonus, attract the right, motivated Florida homebuyers!

Start with the Yard
It all starts with the exterior of the home as it’s the first impression a St Pete homebuyer will have. Messy yard? Homebuyers will notice and enter your home with a less-than-excited mindset from the beginning. Clean up your yard this weekend— mow your yard to a short length and be sure all flowers, shrubs, and trees are trimmed properly. Remove all weeds and debris like leaves that may have fallen in front of your home.

Plant Flowers!
Landscaping is an easy way for homebuyers to start a home tour (either online or in person) with a sunny disposition. You as the home seller, especially with the level of rising confidence in the Tampa Bay real estate market now, should be sure to plant flowers at your home this spring and ensure the landscaping you have is something you would be impressed by at another home in the area.

Wash Off the Dirt
Spring brings a host of cleaning, but that means outside your Florida homes too! With your garden hose, use the strongest setting and clean the dirt off of your sidewalks, driveways, and front of your home. “If you do use a power washer, don’t put it close to windows or doorways,” one maintenance expert told HGTV’s Front Door. “The pressure can remove caulk and other materials sealing your home.”

Brighten Up the Lights
Light up your homes in St Pete and Clearwater by replacing your current fixtures. This can instantly brighten up the exterior of your property, priming the place for any homebuyers that may take a cruise by after dark. Your home will be lit up, clean and in turn, present a great impression no matter the time of day!

As your Tampa Bay real estate expert, I am happy to help you sell your homes in St Pete and Clearwater! Contact me today for more tips on home seller success.

Ken Gorman
Charles Rutenberg Realty
1545 Belcher Road, Clearwater FL 33764
772-452-1098 | ken@kengorman.com

Finding Your St. Pete/Clearwater, FL Neighborhood

This spring, many Florida homeowners are making the move to sell. But this season, it’s not just the number of bedrooms or outdoor space that peaks homebuyer interest— it’s the neighborhood. The neighborhood is one of the major selling aspects of homes in the Tampa Bay area and also helps your home hold its value when you’re ready to sell. Ready to move on this spring? The neighborhood is what will make it easy to move to your next dream home in St. Pete or Clearwater.

So how do you know if you’re home is in a great neighborhood? Or, on the flip side, if you’re a homebuyer, how do you know what makes a great neighborhood? Be on the lookout for the following factors:

It’s On Your Wish List
As a homebuyer, the best neighborhood is the one that meets your wants and needs. You may find Tampa Bay area real estate that you love, but it may not be close to your workplace. When searching for a neighborhood, keep in mind your wish list. Your ideal will be different from other buyers— is your ideal a home with trees, parks, and close to entertainment? Make note of that when shopping for Florida real estate.

Act Like a Local
If you find a home in St. Pete or Clearwater that interests you, don’t be afraid to ask the neighbors for their opinions on traffic, noise, and pros and cons. Acting like a local can often get you the insider’s perspective on a neighborhood, including getting a feel for the area by visiting local shops and attending open houses.

You Can Shop
One of the selling points of a home is its proximity to shops, entertainment, and commute time. As a home seller, if you see new shops and restaurants— especially coffee shops— going in, it’s a great sign the neighborhood is on the up and up. As a homebuyer, look for these things. It’s a great sign the neighborhood is stable and full of life as these establishments typically do market research to determine the best spots to invest.

Are you ready to buy a new home in the Tampa Bay area? I can help you determine the right neighborhoods to begin your home search and help with selling your current home. As your Tampa Bay real estate expert, I am happy to discuss the other factors that make a great neighborhood, including finding “walkable” areas and locations where homeownership is high. Contact me today!

Ken Gorman
Charles Rutenberg Realty
1545 Belcher Road, Clearwater FL 33764
772-452-1098 | ken@kengorman.com

Why You Should Hire a Tampa Bay Area Real Estate Agent

Whether you’re planning to buy a home in Clearwater, FL this year or sell your current home, it pays to have someone in your corner. An experienced professional who knows the in’s and out’s of Tampa Bay Area real estate will be able to guide you through the process, explaining along the way. And with the recent changes in the Florida real estate market— rising housing prices, mortgage rates— your reasons to team up with a Tampa Bay real estate agent have actually strengthened. Below are just a few reasons to hire a real estate agent:

Paperwork
Your St. Pete home sale requires different paperwork that may be hard to understand. “Each state has different regulations regarding the contracts required for a successful sale, and these regulations are constantly changing,” explained KCM. Your real estate agent, an expert in the Tampa Bay real estate market, can guide you through each one.

After the Home Search
According to the Orlando Regional REALTOR Association, there are over 230 possible actions that need to happen for every successful real estate transaction. Having an experienced professional there to make sure you complete each step can be a great benefit to you as a Florida home buyer and home seller.

Negotiations
One of the most important aspects of a real estate transaction includes negotiations. There is a list of parties involved in both the sale and purchase of a home and you’ll need to negotiate with many of them. Are you prepared to do so? Your agent will be. They’ve done this before and know the best practices.

Knowing Values
What happens when your Clearwater homes aren’t priced correctly? They may not sell in the right amount of time or attract the right homebuyers. Your agent will be able to price your home correctly from the beginning and give you your home’s true value.

In fact, according to the National Association of REALTORS, “the typical FSBO home sold for $184,000 compared to $230,000 among agent-assisted home sales.”

Have more questions about the real estate process in the St. Pete/Clearwater area? Contact us today!

Ken Gorman
Charles Rutenberg Realty
1545 Belcher Road, Clearwater FL 33764
772-452-1098 | ken@kengorman.com