Florida Real Estate & News

Get to know Pinellas County real estate and communities on our Florida Real Estate & News blog!

March 2, 2021

Tips to Help You Make the Winning Offer

Putting in an offer on a house is much easier in a buyer’s market. However, today’s market favors the sellers. Many homes receive multiple offers and sell for above asking price. Without a strategy and an experienced, local Realtor® you may not get your dream home. Here are some tips that will help you secure the house you love.

Divulge Information

When you make an offer, the more information you include in that offer, the better. For example, if you’re flexible on closing, let them know that through your Realtor. This might mean you could close quickly or you are willing to have a long closing or even rent the property back to the current owner for a time. Even if your offer isn’t the highest offer, because you put forward something else they may want or need, you may get the house. If you feel connected to the house, write a letter about your family and how you see yourself in the home to provide to the sellers. It may even benefit you to have your Realtor call the listing agent and communicate the offer and any other relevant information verbally rather than just through email.

Offer More Earnest Money

Buyers may commonly put about 1% of the purchase price down in earnest money; however, the more you offer to put down, the more serious you appear. If you have available cash and are willing to pay more for the house than what it appraised for, also offer to bring cash to closing to cover the difference. Both of these can sway a seller to choose your offer over another.

Limit Contingencies

One of the easiest things you can do as a homebuyer is to eliminate is financing issues ahead of time. Pre-approval shows that you won’t have issues with obtaining financing. If you currently own a home and the sale is not needed to purchase your new home, you can remove the contingency of selling your current home. However, there are many other contingencies you can waive. Although we won’t recommend skipping a home inspection, you can agree to waive any issues discovered other than discoveries pertaining to the structural integrity, termites, or other health or safety issues.

Work with an Experienced Local Realtor

An experienced local Realtor, like the Jason Duraj team at Future Home Realty, can help you submit the right offer and communicate with the listing agent throughout the negotiations. Jason Duraj and his team know the market and will work with you until you get the home of your dreams. Call us today for a confidential consultation at (813) 992-7771.

Posted in Home buying tips
Feb. 16, 2021

Flooring for Your New Home

Today, there are more options for flooring than ever before. Not all flooring materials are well-suited for every room or even for every home. Here are some things to know about various flooring materials before you install new flooring in your new home.

Hardwood and Engineered Wood Flooring

Hardwood flooring is a single layer of wood. Engineered wood has a top layer of hardwood and then layers of plywood beneath. Sometimes other materials are added to engineered wood to aid in structural stability. Both types of flooring come pre-finished or bare so you can apply a custom finish. Hardwood flooring is able to be refinished several times. Quality engineered wood floors can be refinished at least once or perhaps twice depending on the wear layer. It is not recommended to install hardwood, engineered wood, or laminate in a bathroom or laundry room as these areas are more likely to sustain water damage.

Wood-Look Flooring

If you know hardwood or engineered wood floors are not the best flooring option for your home, but you do like the look of wood flooring, consider one of the many wood-look flooring options. The three most popular wood-look flooring options are:

  1. Laminate – This is one of the least expensive common flooring materials available today. However, it’s not a great choice for a bathroom or laundry room. Quality laminate will last for decades and, when you choose one with the right AC rating, it will look great for a long time too.

  2. Wood-look tile – Wood-look tile is a great option throughout your home, but especially in bathrooms, laundry rooms, and any other wet area. Wood-look tile has continued to grow in popularity over the years.

  3. Luxury vinyl plank – This is the newest of the wood-look materials. Also called LVP, it comes in a wide variety of styles and with a wide price range. LVP will last for decades when properly installed. Quality brands are waterproof, and this is a fast-growing segment of new flooring.

Tile & Luxury Vinyl Tile

If you love the look of tile but prefer something with a softer feel, consider luxury vinyl tile (LVT). LVT is the same product as LVP except it’s made to mimic the look of tile and natural stone. It’s a great option when you’re on a budget or if you want to install it yourself.

Tile is one of the most common flooring materials in the greater Tampa Bay area. That’s because it doesn’t scratch easily from contact with sand, and it resists water damage. Tile comes in countless styles and colors so you can create a look entirely your own.

Listing or Buying? Call Jason Duraj

Whether you are listing your home soon and would like to refinish the flooring first or hoping to update the flooring in a home you are planning to purchase, let us know. Jason Duraj and the team at Future Home Realty are happy to put you in contact with professionals we trust in the area. Call us at (813) 992-7771, and let's get started.

Feb. 3, 2021

Tips for Selling a Home in 2021

It’s still a sellers’ market. That means if you’re going to be selling your home in 2021, you need a plan for where you’re going to go. This may even need to be established before you list your home. Many homes receive multiple offers on the day they’re listed.

Have an Experienced Realtor You Trust

These days it seems many people have at least one or two friends who are Realtors®. However, not every Realtor, is the right person to sell your home quickly and for the most money, whether they are a friend or not. You want to partner with a Realtor who is experienced in your area. They should have a good understanding of your home type and have great strategies for selling. It is also beneficial if they know of others who may be in the market for a listing like yours. Selling a home is a business transaction. Be sure to partner with a Realtor who has the experience you need.

Declutter

Ask any experienced Realtor and they’ll tell you to declutter before they (or a professional photographer) come in to take photos. Remove personal items like family photos, piles of toys, and collectibles. Although it's okay to put things in a closet for photos, your closets should be decluttered for showings in order to highlight available storage space. If you have made an effort to declutter and find your home still seems full, consider renting a portable storage unit to store non-essential things until you move.

Touch Up & Clean

We all know it is important to have a clean house for a showing; however, your home may also benefit from touching up dirty paint or repainting rooms before listing. This is especially true if you have rooms with dark or bold paint colors which may not appeal to a variety of people. If investing a few hundred dollars for paint and a painting service helps your home sell faster and for thousands more because you end up with a bidding war, it’s worth it.

Consider a Home Inspection

If you’re not sure about the condition of your home, you may want to consider a home inspection prior to listing it. A home inspection may cost between $300 to $500 but will also help you know if you need to offer any incentives in the listing or if you need to fix something before a potential buyer’s inspector comes through. You don’t want to lose a buyer because a few outlets don’t work or due to an unknown roofing issue. By taking care of minor repairs before a potential buyer is involved, you may be able to receive an offer for your asking price instead of enduring several rounds of negotiations to cover the repairs.

Work with Jason Duraj

Jason Duraj and his team at Future Home Realty can help you list and sell your home. We work as hard for our sellers as we do for our buyers. As experienced Realtors, we’d be honored to speak with you about your listing and to help you find your dream home anywhere in the Tampa Bay area. Call us today at (813) 992-7771 for your confidential consultation. If you are looking for tips for buying a home this year, click here.

Posted in Home Selling Tips
Jan. 18, 2021

Tips for Buying a Home in 2021

Whether you’re buying a home for the first time in 2021 or hoping to downsize or find something larger, you need to be prepared. Throughout 2020, we saw fewer homes come on the market, and they sold rapidly. This is a continuing trend. If you’re not ready, you may miss out on a home you love. Here are our tips to help you find your dream home in 2021.

Work with an Experienced Realtor®

Many people know several Realtors. However, when choosing the Realtor with whom you want to partner, you will want to pay attention to their experience within the area and market where you would like to move. If they don’t have that experience, you’re not going to see what you want to see right away. This means by the time you find the home you love, someone else may already have made an offer.

Get Pre-Approved

When selling a home, sellers look more favorably on an offer that includes financing approval compared to an offer without pre-approval. Plan ahead to take care of this. In today’s market, pre-approval takes some time. This is unlike in years' past when it was simply a matter of submitting a few paystubs. Be sure to take care of this step prior to making your offer.

Freeze Spending

Once you get your pre-approval, avoid using your credit cards. Don’t take out any new loans (car loans too) or draw against your current equity line. In summary, try not to make any unnecessary purchases, don’t open any new credit cards, and be wary of overspending.

Know What You Need, but Be Flexible

Because the number of available homes continues to be low and prices continue to climb, you may quickly come to realize that what you really want isn’t available. This could be because of your budget, the limitation of neighborhoods you’ve chosen, or even what you’re willing to undertake as far as renovations. You may find that if you really want a new home, flexibility and compromise may be required.

Call Future Home Realty

Jason Duraj is an experienced Realtor, and his team at Future Home Realty has vast experience throughout the Tampa Bay area. When you call us, you work directly with us! Call us at (813) 992-7771 for your confidential consultation.

Posted in Home buying tips
Jan. 5, 2021

New Year’s Resolutions for Homeowners

As a homeowner, you know there are tasks you should take care of in your home on a regular, yearly basis. If you’ve not done them in previous years, perhaps making a homeowner resolutions list will help you stay on track in the future. Then when each new year begins, you will already have a checklist ready to go to keep your home in good condition. Here are a few resolutions and tasks you'll want to complete each year to keep your home functioning at its best. 

Change Your Air Filters

This is one of the quickest homeowner resolutions you can take care of. While we all know that we should change our air filters about every 90 days (more often if you have pets), it can be easy to forget. Clean air filters reduce dust in the home and keep the air you breathe cleaner. Dirty filters cause unnecessary strain on your HVAC system, which could lead to more frequent repairs or higher utility bills. Use the new year as an opportunity to take care of this task, then add ongoing reminders to your calendar or download one of the many apps available to help you stay on schedule. 

Check Your Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Smoke alarms expire after ten years. If you don’t know how old yours are, pull a few down and check the expiration date and replace as needed. Also, remember to change the batteries twice a year. A good way to remember to do it is to add a reminder for yourself to take care of this on New Year’s Day and the Fourth of July.

Get a Roof Inspection

Your roof is one of the most expensive parts of your home to replace. Keeping it in good repair will help it last throughout the duration of its expected life. Many roofing contractors recommend a roof inspection annually to look for roof leaks, loose shingles, failing flashing, and other issues. Proactive maintenance, like a roofing inspection, costs a lot less than reactive repair.

Check Your Hurricane Emergency Kit

We hope we never need to use the items in a hurricane emergency kit; however, hurricanes are an inevitability in our location, and it is important to keep supplies on-hand. Having a well-stocked emergency kit will help you manage should your home lose electricity. Emergency kits are also easy to pick up and put in the car if you need to evacuate. Here is a link to FEMA’s recommendations for building your hurricane emergency kit.

Also, remember to take a photo or video of your home and the belongings inside at least once a year. In the event you need to make an insurance claim, photo or video proof of the home and its contents can be invaluable.

The team at Future Home Realty wishes you and yours a very happy, healthy and prosperous new year. If you are hoping to buy or sell a home in the greater Tampa area, we would love to be of service. Call Jason Duraj at (813) 992-7771 for your free consultation.

Posted in Home Maintenance
Dec. 10, 2020

It's Time to Review Your Homeowner’s Insurance

Whether you’re staying in your home or planning to buy a new one, the end of the year is a great time to look at your current homeowner’s insurance policy and decide if you should make changes. Here are some things you should know about homeowner’s insurance for your primary residence.

Replacement Cost vs. Actual Cash Value

Have you ever looked at your insurance policy and determined which type of coverage you have? Replacement cost will actually replace the cost of your lost goods from a robbery, fire or other covered loss, while cash value will only provide you with the estimated value of those goods. Although the difference in what you’d receive from a loss varies greatly, typically the cost of the insurance is nominal when spread across monthly payments. Many policyholders don’t look at what they currently have. When buying a new home, be sure to tell the insurance agent which type of coverage you want on your personal property.

Look at the Dwelling Coverage Costs

If you have or will have a mortgage on your home, the bank may set the coverage required to fund repairs to the property. Keep in mind if you buy a home for $250,000, you don’t need $250,000 in dwelling coverage because some of your purchase price was the land.

If you are self-financing or have paid off your mortgage, you may not have thought about this number recently. Some builders today say that the cost of lumber alone is up more than 10% in just the last year. Make sure that the dwelling coverage you have would be enough to rebuild your home in the event of a total loss.

Deductible

Ideally you will never need your insurance policy. If you do need to fall back on your insurance, you want be sure you have the right deductible. Different insurance companies have different options. Some allow you to choose a dollar amount. Others have a percentage of the claim. Keep in mind that the higher the deductible, the lower the payment. If you have the option of a set amount, $1,000–2,500 is fairly common.

Riders

Insurance riders are an addendum to the standard policy. There are different types. For example, the scheduled personal property rider includes valuable named items. Things like an engagement ring or other valuable jewelry items, coin or stamp collections, firearms, and valuable artwork may be included. Another type is a life insurance rider. This helps a surviving spouse pay the balance of the mortgage in the event of the death of one of the owners.

If you’re looking at buying a home, Jason Duraj and his experienced team at Future Home Realty are ready to help. We can connect you with trusted insurance agents for your new home if you request. Call us today for your confidential consultation with one of our professionals: (813) 992-7771.

Posted in Home Maintenance
Dec. 1, 2020

Painting Your New Home? Consider These Trending Colors

Every year, the major paint manufacturers announce their Color of the Year. The 2021 colors have all been released and vary greatly. This is great news for homeowners looking for a modern and trendy paint pallet. Hopefully these will provide you with some inspiration for your home.

Bathroom

We’re starting here because bathrooms are smaller and easier to complete, especially if it is your first painting project. If you want a beachy or calm feeling in your bathroom, consider Aegean Teal by Benjamin Moore. With a blue-green base and a grey hue, it will compliment both white and grey décor.

If you prefer a more neutral tone or have bold or vibrant elements in your bathroom space, a neutral paint color may be better for your project. In this case, take a look at the color pallet of the year from Valspar. Our top bathroom pick from their dozen Colors of the Year is Unforgettable, a warm cream color, that will work well with virtually any vanity, whether it is stained or painted in any hue.

Kitchen/Great Room

As many homes today have open floor plans, kitchen paint colors are rarely just used in the kitchen anymore. You’ll want to consider a color that complements your countertops and cabinets as well as the colors in your adjoining rooms. Again, we’d recommend looking at Valspar’s Colors of the Year as a starting point. They have hues like Granite Dust, a true grey, and Gallery Grey, a greige, which are both great neutrals and in keeping with recent trends in home décor.

Dining Room

The dining room is a room where you can use almost any paint color and achieve a beautiful result. If you want something warm and rich, consider Passionate by HGTV in the Sherwin-Williams line. It’s a deep berry-red color, yet soft and perfect for dining.

Dark Accent Walls

Although accent walls overall aren’t a hot trend currently, there is one exception: a dark or black accent wall. One color perfect for this is Urbane Bronze which is Sherwin-William’s color of the year. Consider it in your bedroom against light furnishings. It’s also an option for your great room if you’ve chosen a neutral color throughout the rest of the space and want a little pop.

Of course, if you’re painting all or part of your home to sell it, make sure to use light neutral colors. Anything with a hint of grey is popular with buyers. The goal is to make your home look clean and bright and the darker the color, the smaller and darker the room looks. If you’re ready to list your home and need a Realtor®, Jason Duraj and his team at Future Home Realty can help you with buying and selling anywhere in Tampa Bay. Call (813) 992-7771 for your consultation today.

Posted in Home Maintenance
Nov. 19, 2020

Tips for Selling Your Home During the Holidays

Although it rarely feels like an ideal time to sell your home, it may seem more challenging during the last quarter of the year during the holiday season. Finding a balance between celebrating with your favorite décor and keeping the house clutter-free can be hard. If you are selling your home during the holidays this year, here are some tips that may help.

Take Photos Before Decorating

Because the first impression most people have of your home is online, ask your Realtor® to take pictures of your home before you begin decorating. It’s easier for a buyer to picture their belongings in a home that’s not decorated.

Don’t Go Overboard

In most cases, if you’re selling your home during the holidays, decorating less is the right decision. Some well-placed and modest-sized decorations are as far as you should go. The goal is to make your home feel festive but not crowded.

Check Your Curb Appeal

In Florida, we're lucky that we don’t have many leaves to rake this time of year as much of the rest of our country does. However, you should still trim the shrubs and remove overgrowth before adding exterior decorations. Lawn ornaments will draw attention to your home when done well, which is great when you want to sell your home, but only if the home looks well-kept to begin with.

Add Subtle Holiday Scents

It can be common for Realtors to bake a batch of cookies during an open house to provide a cozy, homey feel. You may choose to do something similar prior to a showing. Whether you put baked apples in the oven, bake cookies, or turn on a warmer with a holiday scent, your house will feel more like home to potential buyers. Just remember not to let the scent become overpowering.

Choose an Experienced Realtor

This is a good suggestion for anytime of year. However, during the holidays, it’s even more important to have a great real estate team on your side. Having a Realtor who understands buyer behavior during the holiday season can make a big difference between a quick sale at the price you want and no sale. Jason Duraj and his team at Future Home Realty have vast experience helping homeowners sell their homes and assisting buyers in finding the perfect new home. Call us for your no obligation consultation at (813) 992-7771 whether you’re looking at selling your home during the holidays or any other time of year.

Posted in Home Selling Tips
Nov. 3, 2020

Home Addition or a Move?

When you or your family needs more space in your home, it may warrant a move to a larger home or the creation of more space with a home addition. There are pros and cons to each option, but ultimately the decision comes down to what is right for your family.

Pros and Cons of an Addition

When you have the space on your property for a home addition, expansion may be an excellent option for you especially in the current seller’s market today. There are three main benefits of a home addition:

  • You are guaranteed to stay in your neighborhood.
  • There are no moving costs.
  • You create exactly the space you need.

However, most homeowners know that any sort of addition can be expensive, time consuming, and will likely interrupt your day-to-day living. Your HOA may have rules about the size and type of addition you are able to build. There also may be zoning codes and restrictions related to allowances for an addition. You may have to temporarily move out of your home so contractors can perform demolition and reconstruction. If these considerations are of concern to you, then you may choose to move to another home instead of moving forward with an addition.

Pros and Cons of a Move

If you feel that you have fallen out of love with your current home, it may feel as though the decision to move is an easy choice. However, if your main concern is space there may be much more to consider. The search for the right house can take time, especially if you want to stay in your neighborhood. You also need to consider the costs associated with moving. Although home values have recently trended upward, a new home will likely cost more than your current home if you want more space. In addition to the added expense of the new home, you will need to pay a moving company or rent a moving truck. You may also need to repaint or perform other minor fixes to your existing home before listing it for sale.

To Move or Renovate

As you can see, there are many things to consider as you address your need for more space in your home. If you’re on the fence about the best option for you and your family, talk to your Realtor®. He or she can help you weigh the benefits of each to decide which option will fit best your needs. If you don’t have a Realtor®, call Jason Duraj at (813) 992-7771. He and his team at Future Home Realty can help you with all aspects of buying and selling.

Posted in Home Maintenance
Oct. 21, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Buying a Fixer-Upper

Whether you are just beginning your home search or have been looking for a while, you likely have a good grasp on the priorities you have as you look for your new home. If you’re having trouble finding exactly what you want, you may want to consider a fixer-upper to meet your needs. However, before you make that purchase, carefully consider all the pros and cons associated with a home that will require some work before it is move-in ready.

Reasons to Consider a Fixer-Upper

Everyone knows that a home that needs updating or significant renovations is going to be a lower-priced listing. However, it's important to consider the bigger picture and not just the listing price when evaluating the purchase. Three of the main advantages of buying a fixer-upper are:

1) With renovations, you can create the exact home you want by choosing the style and finishes you’ve pictured all along.

2) There is less buyer competition, and you may be able to find a home with good “bones” in the neighborhood you want without overpaying due to competition.

3) Greater flexibility in your budget. You can decide your spending priorities and the timing of each phase of your home renovation to fit your budget.

Cons of Buying a Home That’s Not Move-in Ready

Some home buyers simply don’t have the time to deal with a home renovation, and that can be enough of a reason to choose a move-in ready home. Remodeling any space takes time, creates dust, and can be expensive. And, depending on the state of the home, you may not be able to move in and live there comfortably until some of the remodeling is complete. Maintaining two house payments isn’t financially feasible for everyone.

Finally, although you may have an estimate remodeling budget, sometimes the biggest risks of a remodel are the hidden issues you’re not aware of until work is already underway.

Future Home Realty Can Help You Find the Right Home

Whether you’re considering buying a fixer-upper, need a move-in ready home, or want something that just needs a little TLC, Jason Duraj and his team can help you. We know the communities throughout Tampa Bay and will diligently work to find you a home that you love. Call us today for your free consultation: (813) 992-7771.

Posted in Home buying tips