How do I prepare my Tampa Bay home for sale in 2017?

Image result for preparing my home for sale

Have you made the decision it’s time to sell the house?  How can you prepare your home to sell quickly and for the most money?

De-clutter your home.  Consider renting a storage facility or borrowing your friend’s garage while your home is listed for sale.  You will want to remove any personal items and excess knick-knacks that can make the home appear smaller than it actually is.  Closet floors should be clear, shelves should not be packed, cabinets and pantries should have some room on the shelves.

Clean the house thoroughly and when you’re done clean it some more.  Look at your home objectively as if you were a prospective buyer, they are going to notice all of those little things you don’t.

Repair the little things.  Simple things such as torn screens, missing door stoppers and tiny holes in the walls from pictures can give the home an appearance of not being well maintained.

Refresh the paint if it’s been a while since you’ve painted.  Repaint any bold colors a soft neutral color which will give a better first impression of the house and will appeal to a broader range of buyers.

Consult a staging expert.  Staging is a crucial step in selling your home.  It allows you to engage buyers by highlighting the best aspects of your house and allows them to envision living in the setting you create.  Staging is more than removing clutter and cleaning and involves rearranging or removing furniture, adding accents and optimizing the flow of the house.

Kelly Harden, Realtor®, GRI

Century 21 Affiliated, Tampa Bay

(813)244-9688

Ballantrae and Land O’Lakes Market Report March 2017

ballantrae-park

Here is a look at the market conditions in the Ballantrae Community of Land O’ Lakes Florida.   We are currently in a strong sellers market with just a few months supply of homes for sale.  If you are thinking about selling, now is a great time to do so!

  • 2 Town Homes for Sale
  • 9 Single Family Homes for Sale
  • 15 Homes Under Contract
  • 14 Homes Sold in the Past 90 Days, 25 Homes Sold in the Past 6 Months

Of the homes that were sold in the past 90 days, it took an average time period of 69 days for them to sell for an average of 96.7% of their original list price.

For comparison, here is a current snapshot of the entire Land O’ Lakes area:

  • 9 Town Homes for Sale
  • 311 Single Family Homes for Sale
  • 227 Homes Under Contract
  • 304 Homes Sold in the Past 90 Days, 634 Homes Sold in the Past 6 Months

Of the Land O’ Lakes homes that sold in the past 90 days, they sold in an average of 53 days for an average of 95.9% of their original list price.

If you have further questions about the Ballantrae or Land O’ Lakes market or would like to know what your home is worth today give me a call!

Kelly Harden, Realtor®, GRI

Century 21 Affiliated, Tampa Bay

(813)244-9688

 

 

 

Time for Breakfast at the Breakfast Nook

The Breakfast Nook

Lately Buddy and I have been celebrating our birthdays by going out to breakfast.  We celebrated Buddy’s on Friday by dining at the Breakfast Nook in Lutz.

I’ve always heard great things about the Breakfast Nook, but for some reason we had never taken the time to go there.  It’s a seat yourself restaurant, we chose a pub table near the back with a good view of the front door.  You can also eat outside if you prefer.  I could not believe how many people kept coming in to eat!

Our waitress was very friendly, attentive and quick.  We each ordered eggs, mine with pancakes and his with biscuits and sausage gravy.  It didn’t take long before our food arrived and it was tasty.  The biggest surprise was when the bill arrived, I can’t remember ever spending that little for the two of us to eat.

Next time you want someone else to do the cooking give them a try!  They serve breakfast and lunch 7 days a week from 6 am to 2 pm.

Kelly Harden, Realtor®

Century 21 Affiliated, Tampa Bay

(813)244-9688

How to choose the right home for you

Congratulations, you’ve decided the time is right to buy your first home!   Here are some helpful tips to help you select the right home for your needs.

Before you begin your home search your Realtor® is going to have you speak to a lender to get pre-approved.  Do not feel as though you must purchase a home that costs the maximum amount you have been approved for.  You will still want some money in the bank for savings when you move in.  Plus there may be additional purchases of furniture, lawn care equipment, new paint, etc…

We are in a very hot market right now and you may be anxious to find a place to call your own.  Don’t make the mistake of buying the first house you see because you feel rushed.  Educate yourself before you begin your search.  What part of town do you want to be in, how big of a house do you want, what is available in the price range you can afford?  Take the time to make sure it is the right property for you so you don’t make an expensive mistake.

At the same time, the market is hot right now and properties are selling fast.  If you find the home you love make an offer right away, don’t delay.  A favorite saying I tell my buyers is”the home you fall in love with today and want to put an offer on tomorrow is the same house someone else saw yesterday and wants to put an offer on today.”  When you find the right home for you don’t dilly dally, in this market you could lose the home to another buyer.

Finally, make sure you work with a Realtor® you are comfortable with.  They are your agent in the transaction and they represent you and your best interests.  They should be experienced with the current market, knowledgeable about the area and be able to answer your questions (or advise you who can).

Kelly Harden, Realtor®

Century 21 Affiliated, Tampa Bay

(813)244-9688

Bexley, and one of our first days in our home

Newland Communities is building Bexley, a beautiful new community behind my home.  For now our new neighbors are trucks and builders, but that wasn’t always the case.

I will never forget how I first “met” the neighbors when Buddy and I moved to Ballantrae eleven years ago.  We were one of the first residents in our section of the community and when we first moved in most of the homes were still under construction.

Early on one of our first mornings in our new home just before the sun came up I took our dog Dolly for a quick potty walk.  I kept hearing this strange noise, a loud EEERRRRRR sound.  Dolly and I looked at each other perplexed, we had never heard anything like that before.

We quickly go home and once safely inside the house I tell my husband I’m not sure what it is but there is some kind of animal outside making a very strange noise.  Buddy quickly goes outside to see if he can hear what is making this strange noise I heard.  After a minute he comes back inside, looks at me very lovingly and says “Honey, those are cows!” all the while trying to control his laughter!

I don’t know about you, but I had played with one of those Fisher Price See in Say toys before and I know that the cow goes MOO!!!  The toy was wrong, hungry cows go EEERRRRRR!  

The new Bexley community and elementary school used to be pasture land and for almost 10 years our nearby neighbors were cows.  Bexley is now filled with beautiful homes, parks and trails but I must admit sometimes I miss my cow neighbors.

Image result for hungry cows

Kelly Harden, Realtor®, GRI

Century 21 Affiliated, Tampa Bay

(813)244-9688

Florida Down Payment Assistance help you buy a home in 2017?

Currently I am working with three buyers who are using down payment assistance to help them buy their first home.  Two buyers are currently under contract and one is currently searching for her new home.  Maybe this program can help you become a home owner?

Florida recently expanded the Florida Bond program in 11 counties, including Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco.  Typically the bond program covered $7,500 in down payment and closing cost but with the expansion the program has doubled to $15,000 in these areas.

The Bond is actually an additional loan on the home that is forgiven 20% each year for the first five years you own the home.  If you live in the home for 5 years the money is completely forgiven, you don’t have to pay it back!

The program is for first time home buyers or buyers who have not owned a home in the last three years.  You must meet certain guidelines such as a minimum credit score, meet the income requirements, take a home buyer education class, plan to live in the home you purchase and  few more.

This is a great program for first time home buyers who qualify.  If you want to learn more give me a call!

Kelly Harden, Realtor®, GRI

Century 21 Affiliated Tampa

(813)244-9688

 

 

 

Making your offer stand out in a multiple offer situation in Tampa Bay

Currently most of the Tampa Bay area is experiencing  a “sellers market”, there are more buyers looking for homes than inventory currently available.  This has caused many properties to have multiple offers at the same time.

What can we do to make your offer stand out when you are in a multiple offer situation?

Take the time to get pre-approved by your lender before you begin your home search.  Pre-approval is different than pre-qualified.  Pre-qualified means a lender has asked qualifying questions and you meet the criteria to get a loan.  Pre-approved is a more involved process where the lender reviews your credit history, financial documents, pay stubs, etc and has determined you are qualified for the mortgage, making you a more appealing buyer to the sellers.

Present your offer quickly and make sure your offer is strong as possible.  The seller will review each offer presented and compare yours to the others.  This is not the time to place a low ball offer, the seller will omit yours and move on to one of the others instead of countering.  Provide a larger than average down payment to show you are serious and less likely to walk away from the sale. Limit the number of contingencies to the sale, the less hurdles the better.  And try not to ask for seller contributions to your closing costs, this will reduce the profit the seller will make from your offer and may make it less appealing than the other offers.

You could also include a personal letter to the sellers telling them why purchasing their home is important to you.  Many sellers are emotionally attached to their home and want to know the new owner will care for it and be as happy in the home as they were.

Finally, make sure you have an agent who can advise you on the best strategy to get the home of your dreams!

Kelly Harden, Realtor®

Century 21 Affiliated, Tampa Bay

(813)244-9688