Florida Real Estate & News

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

June 30, 2020

Factors that Influence Resale Value

Although it may seem unnecessary to consider resale value when looking for a new home, resale value is actually important to remember because, even if you’re buying your forever home, it will need to be sold again one day. Although every home buyer has their own “must have” and “never again” lists, there are elements from each that can impact the home’s resale value. Here are a few you should consider, especially if you’re torn between two properties you love.

Location

We’ve all heard a Realtor® say the biggest factors in a home’s sale potential are location, location, location. That’s because there are so many elements that go into location. Here are three things to consider when it comes to the location of a home.

Location in the neighborhood: For many buyers, a through street is not ideal because they often have more traffic. Many buyers with small children prefer a cul de sac. Others want the often-larger corner lot and some never want to live on a corner again.

Convenience of the neighborhood: Is the neighborhood near the highway for easy access to downtown? Is there shopping, childcare and recreation nearby.

The neighborhood itself: Depending on the type of home, the neighborhood may be geared toward families, couples or seniors. Does the neighborhood have the right amenities for the target demographic? Families often want sidewalks for their children’s safety. Seniors sometimes want quiet so you’ll want to consider noise, like frequent flights over the home. Constant emergency vehicle sirens and traffic noises can detract from resale. Also, look beyond the neighborhood. Do you see signs of future development that could make your home choice less than ideal in the coming years?

The Home Itself

If you know you’ll be selling the home within the next five years and don’t plan to do any remodeling, consider the condition of the home today and imagine it after five years of wear and tear. Things like granite and quartz countertops, wood or tile flooring, energy efficient windows and appliances, and a good floor plan can influence the resale value. If you’re seeing things in the home that you want to change should your budget or time allow, consider those in your offer, especially if you plan on selling the home in the near future. 

Because of our military bases in the area, we know some buyers want to own their homes but are only able to be residents for a few years. Resale value is even more important when you know your time in the area may be just a few years.

If you’re buying or selling a home in Tampa Bay, trust Jason Duraj and his team at Future Home Realty. As a full-service real estate brokerage office, we can help you with all aspects of buying and selling. Call us to schedule a consultation at (813) 992-7771 today.

June 15, 2020

Humidity and Your Home

If you’re new to Florida, you soon will encounter its humidity. You probably experience this in many different ways. Did you know that the same humidity that affects the way you feel also affects your home? The more humidity in your home, the higher the chance for mold and mildew growth which may lead to issues with your floors to your roof and everything in between.

Types of Humidity Damage

Let’s start with your floors. Wood-based floors can cup or warp with too much moisture. Rarely, however, is this from humidity. It’s more likely a result of ground moisture coming up from your slab which can contribute to increased humidity in your home. You may find that tile floors appear to have dark grout. This can be due to excess humidity allowing dust to stick to the grout and grow mold.

Window sills are another prime location where you can see damage from humidity. Mold or mildew can grow on older, poorly sealed windows as well. This can lead to the need to replace your window sills or even to replace the entire window. If there is too much humidity in your attic and near the roof, this can lead to wood rot and wet insulation resulting in roof damage or decay of your roofing system.

How to Prevent Damage

When you’re cooking, always use your stove’s fan. This helps remove the moisture created during the cooking process. Also, when you shower it's a good idea to utilize the fan during and even after you turn off the shower until the humidity falls. If you notice mildew around just one or two windows that have plants near them, you should spread the plants throughout your home. Having them all at one or two windows can contribute to moisture in one area which leads to window damage.

Make Changes to Your Home

Although new windows are no small investment, if your windows are older, they may be the main culprits allowing moisture into your home. Replacing them can not only lower the humidity levels in your home, but also help your air conditioner work less, resulting in lower electric bills.

Check your attic for proper insulation as well. Insulation works both ways; it can keep air out and in. When you don’t have the right amount of attic insulation, the moisture from your shower and cooking can go into your attic and damage your roof. Likewise, humidity can get into your home through your attic floors. While your roofing company inspects insulation levels, also have them check the ventilation to ensure that the moisture has a way to escape.

Ideally you want the humidity level to be under 50% in your home. If it is consistently above that in the summer months, call your HVAC company for some guidance as to why. You may need a tune-up or repair.

If you’re moving to the Tampa Bay or surrounding area, Jason Duraj and his team at Future Home Realty would be happy to assist you with your needs. Our Realtors® will help you find your dream home and ensure that your potential home is checked for signs of humidity damage during your inspection prior to your closing. Call us today at (813) 992-7771.

Posted in Home Maintenance
June 2, 2020

Home Buying Tips — Things You Should Know

With interest rates low, more people are looking at buying a home for the first time. Because buying a home is unlike any other process you may go through, the first time may feel a bit daunting. If you are planning on becoming a homeowner sooner rather than later, here are some tips you should consider before you find a home and plan on making an offer.

Know Your Limits

Most of us go into the search process knowing our financial limits, however, this is only one thing to consider. How do you feel about yard maintenance? If that doesn’t seem like something you have time for or want to do, you may want to consider a community that does the maintenance for you unless you have the budget to pay someone. You’re not limited to just a condo if you want community maintenance either. Many villas also offer complete yard maintenance. Pool maintenance is another big consideration. A pool not only takes work, but it’s also an additional expense. You’ll want to make sure your budget allows for this additional expense if you’re considering a pool.

Know the Area

This is easier for someone moving locally, but it’s also true for everyone. Here are a few specifics you may want to consider when buying a home:

  • Commute to work, if applicable
  • Walkability of the community
  • Local schools, parks and recreation facilities
  • Proximity to health care, stores, and houses of worship

Once you narrow down an area, you’ll want to look closely at the neighborhood you want. Some neighborhoods have homeowners’ associations. Those associations have different rules. If you find a neighborhood you love, you may want to look at the association to see if there is anything you can’t abide by such as not allowing vehicles with logos or boats in the driveway overnight.

Know What You Must Have

Sometimes the list is simple, like requiring a certain number of bedrooms and bathrooms. Other times, things like a home office or a three car garage are non-negotiable. You and your Realtor® should discuss what things are non-negotiable so you don't spend time viewing homes that don’t meet your minimum requirements.

If you don’t have a Realtor® and are considering buying a home, call Jason Duraj at (813) 992-7771. He and his team at Future Home Realty are here to help you find your new home in the ideal neighborhood that meets your needs.

Posted in Home buying tips
May 19, 2020

Is Your Home Hurricane Ready?

The local news has already started talking about making sure you and your family have a hurricane readiness plan as the first named storm has already formed. Although Arthur isn’t going to impact Tampa Bay in any way, we still need to be prepared for the season. Mostly we hear about having a good supply of necessary medication, bottled water, and canned goods in the event of an extended power outage. But what about your home? Is your home hurricane ready? Here are some things you should do now so that in the event of a tropical storm or hurricane impacting our area, you’re ready.

Trim Trees

One of the biggest dangers in any storm is the wind. Strong winds can bring down trees and branches. If you have trees with limbs that hang over your home, brush against it, or have the potential to hit your home during a strong gust, consider contacting a tree trimming company about inspecting your property. Remember to have them look at trees with branches that overhang into your neighbor’s property. If those fall and damage their property, you’re still liable.

Get a Roofing Inspection

A roofing company can inspect your roof and make sure that the shingles are all well-affixed and that you don’t have a problem which could lead to roof leaks in high winds. They can also make sure the roof straps are properly placed. If they find any issues requiring repair or maintenance, they can handle those so your roof is hurricane ready.

Clean Your Gutters

Even if a storm hits north or south of us, we can end up with a tremendous amount of rain. When you have clogged gutters, you end up with issues from your roof to your foundation. Take the time now to clean your gutters to prevent water damage.

Have a Plan for Your Outdoor Items

Many people take their patio furniture and put it in the pool so it doesn't blow away during a storm. That might work, but it may also cause damage to the furniture. If you don’t have anywhere indoors to put your patio furniture, use bungee cords or rope to strap it all together to lessen the chance of it becoming a projectile in the wind. Be sure to move your outdoor planters inside or close to your home as well.

Have a Copy of Important Documents

Many people keep their Living Will, Power of Attorney and Heath Care Surrogate paperwork in their safe deposit box. However, in the event of a widespread evacuation or power outage, you may not be able to get one of those documents if you need it. Be sure to have a copy to take with you if you evacuate in case there is a need.

Also, print out your homeowner’s insurance policy so you have the proper information in the event you need to file a claim and don’t have internet access. Although you may be able to access it on your phone, it’s a lot easier to have it in hand while you’re talking than not. And another tip about those documents: don’t put them in your dishwasher or other appliances for safekeeping. Appliances aren’t entirely waterproof and, in the event of a flood, those documents could be destroyed.

If you’re looking at relocating to the Tampa Bay area and need an experienced Realtor®, Jason Duraj and his Future Home Realty team can help. Our teams know and understand the flood and evacuation zones and can help you understand the potential risks associated with the areas. Call us at (813) 992-7771 to schedule your confidential consultation today.

Posted in Home Maintenance
May 5, 2020

Virtual Home Tours

Just because travel is limited, it doesn’t mean you have to put your home search on hold. In fact, with today’s technology there are many ways you can tour a home without actually being there. Even if you’re local, but prefer not to attend open houses or take your entire family through someone else’s home, you can feel like you’re inside with one of these options.

3D Virtual Home Tours

When it comes to pre-recorded video tours of homes, you will get an excellent idea of the home, flow and layout. You view virtual home tours on your smartphone or tablet and move around to “look” around the room. Look up at the ceiling fan and down at the flooring. Turn to gain an idea where the closet is in relation to the room’s entry. These advanced video tours are not only a great way to look at a home but also one way to sell yours faster in today’s changing world.

Walk Through Tour

This type of video tour has been around for years. In some, the agent walks through the home, filming it room by room. Then, they edit it with comments on the screen to let you know the room’s dimensions, kitchen features, and other things you’ll find in the listing as well. This type of video is a great way to preview a home and gather a feel for its flow. You may gain a better impression than you would with pictures and a floor plan alone.

Real-Time Video Tour

One service many agents offer is a real-time video tour. This isn’t completely new. Often an agent did these with one partner if the other was unavailable to attend in person but needed to be included. Today, with the many options for video chatting, it’s easy for you and your Realtor® to "walk" through a home together. One of the benefits of this sort of video viewing is that you can ask the agent specific questions about certain elements in the home in real time, and they can show you things that may not have been shown or highlighted in a pre-recorded video tour.

No matter where you are, if you’re looking for a home in the Tampa Bay area, Jason Duraj and his team at Future Home Realty can help you find it. Call us today at (727) 992-7771 for an initial consultation and we’ll start sharing virtual home tours of properties that meet your requirements.

Posted in Home buying tips
April 15, 2020

Choosing the Best Paint Color in Your New Home

During your home search have you ever wondered what a homeowner was thinking with their paint color choice? The good news is that updating paint in a home is one of the least expensive changes you can make. Not only is it an affordable upgrade, but it can make a big difference in how the room looks and feels.

Impact of Color

Color makes a big impact on mood, digestion, emotions and behavior. The paint color influences how a room feels. It can make the room feel bigger and brighter or more cozy and comfortable. Some studies suggest that oranges and yellows are good for kitchens because yellow aids in digestion and orange is associated with cheerfulness. If you have a home office, homeschool or craft room, you may want to consider a shade of blue to increase productivity. Blues are also great for living areas and bedrooms as they can inspire a sense of calm. Here is a helpful article about the psychology of color.

Color Trends

Right now, one of the biggest paint color trends is griege, a combination of grey and beige. Depending on the other elements in the room, you may want to steer more toward a grey undertone or toward a tan undertone. If you’re looking for some color, you could go with a very bright and bold color like teal, blue or green. Warm-toned pastels tend to work well if you are looking for a more subdued color trend.

How to Choose the Right Paint Color

There are many ways to determine your preferred color pallet. Some paint manufacturers have apps that allow you to snap a picture of the room and “paint” it digitally with one of their colors. If you’d like a low-tech approach, you could visit a local paint store where you can choose samples for free, or if you really don’t know what color you’re interested in, rent or borrow one of their color books with all of their options.

Once you’ve narrowed it down to a few colors you think you like, purchase a quart (not the sample size) and a few pieces of white poster board. Sample sizes don’t always have enough pigment to give you a good representation of what the color will look like. Then, paint at least half of the poster board. Once it’s dry, you’ll not only see how the color looks against white (the color of most baseboards) but also how much color is in the paint. Move the poster board around the rooms you’re considering painting. You’ll be able to see it against different walls and in different types of light better than if you were to paint one swatch on the wall.

If you’re still looking for the perfect home, Jason Duraj and his team at Future Home Realty can help. Once you find it, we can connect you with local painters or help you decide how to move forward so you can make sure your new home matches the feel you have in mind. Call us today at (813) 992-7771 to start your home search.

Posted in Home Maintenance
March 31, 2020

A Guide to Common Listing Terms

Whether you’re looking at homes online yourself or working with a Realtor® to find listings, there may be terms you see in a listing that aren't familiar to you. Each region of the country refers to various parts of the home using terms which may be completely familiar to locals but not to someone from another area. Here are some terms that are local to the Florida region.

Lanai

Although this isn’t only used in Florida, it’s most commonly used in tropical locations to refer to any covered and screened-in area. Some listings may mention a lanai-enclosed pool which means the pool is also screened in. Some even refer to the screened pool enclosure as a cage. To those moving from northern areas, this could sound quite odd, but it’s the most common way of enclosing a pool in the area.

Split Floor Plan

Because many homes throughout the Tampa Bay area and all of Florida are single level, many are built with a split floor plan. This means the master suite is on one side of the main living area while the rest of the bedrooms are on the other side, splitting the bedroom areas, hence the name.

High Volume Ceiling

In homes with ceilings taller than eight feet, the listing agent may slip in the little-known term high volume ceiling. These ceilings aren’t vaulted and don’t necessarily have any special finishes like a tray or coffered decoration, but they’re simply more than eight feet. Further details may reveal they have crown molding or another feature in addition to the height.

Executive Pool

If you’re looking for a home with a pool, you may wonder what the difference is between a pool and an executive pool. There isn’t a true official definition of this, but you’ll find that most executive pools include an attached hot tub with a spill-over feature. Some may also include a tanning shelf.

Let Your Realtor® Help

Your Realtor® knows the various terms used by their peers in the listings and can help you decode the them even over the phone. If you’re not yet working with a local Realtor®, call Jason Duraj at (813) 992-7771. His Future Home Realty team has vast experience with Tampa Bay area neighborhoods, and they can help you find the perfect home for your family today.

Posted in Home buying tips
March 27, 2020

Infographic: Recessions Are Not Always a Housing Crisis

Posted in Home buying tips
March 24, 2020

Understanding Home Categories

Everyone seems to understand the term single family detached home when it comes to real estate. In our area there are many different types of single-family homes you can buy including one-story, two-story, split-level, and even the McMansion. However, there are other categories that aren’t so well understood. If the photos with the listing you’re looking at don't provide much clarity, the explanations below may help. We want you to know what to expect before you get to the home with your Realtor® or before you visit during an open house.

Villa

Although villa may have a different meaning outside of Florida, for the most part, in the Tampa Bay area, the term villa is used for homes in communities that have a shared wall with at least one other home. They are often single level and frequently include a covered porch or patio. Most villa communities include a pool and lawn care services which benefits its residents.

Bungalow

The Historic Kenwood neighborhood of St. Petersburg has the biggest concentration of bungalows in our area. These small, single-family detached homes often have three bedrooms in about 1,500 square feet. There are bungalows in other areas, and some are new construction too. They’re often craftsman style and almost always have a lovely front porch. Many may have a partial second floor.

Condos

There are four primary categories that can be called condominiums. Here is what you can expect if you find a Realtor®’s listing for one of these types of condos:

·        High-rise condo — A high-rise condo means the building has ten or more stories. Often these condos are in downtown areas and along the beaches. Most offer a wide variety of amenities which means higher monthly dues.

·        Mid-rise condo — Condo buildings with between four and nine stores fall into this classification. Depending on the complex, you may enjoy a fitness center, community pool, clubhouse, or other amenities.

·        Low-rise condo — Some of these are converted apartments and others are newly built. Most have comparable amenities and monthly dues as a mid-rise condo.

·        Townhome — There are many townhome-style condos geared toward families and retirees. Some have garages. You may have fewer amenities with a townhome-style condo than with one of the other types of condominiums.

·        Coach house — This is a combination of a low-rise and townhome style. One unit is upstairs and the other is downstairs. Often, because of the stairs, the upstairs unit has slightly more square feet; however, the benefit of the downstairs unit is that there are no stairs to climb.

Manufactured and Mobile Homes

Although the terms are often used interchangeably, these styles aren’t the same. Both are built and moved to the site. However, a mobile home is a home that was built before 1976 and likely was actually mobile. This is because there was a time when the owners often moved their home and family to follow jobs. These are similar to a modern-day camper which has been moved off the wheel bed and onto a concrete block foundation.

Manufactured homes are built to be permanently located once moved and assembled on a site. These are what many people know of as single-, double-, and triple-wide, which are the terms used to describe the number of trucks required to move the home. They are always placed on a permanent foundation as part of the final assembly. You may tour a manufactured home and not even realize it wasn’t a site built home.

If you’re looking for a Realtor® to help you find your family's new home, a retirement property, or a rental, call Jason Duraj at Future Home Realty. He’ll help you find your new villa, bungalow, condo, manufactured home, or whatever type of home is right for your family. Call (813) 992-7771 today for your free consultation.

Posted in Home buying tips
March 17, 2020

Tips to Help Your Home Sell Faster

Often the first step in buying a new home is selling your current one. Your Realtor® should share the basics with you, like decluttering and removing family photographs from view so buyers can picture themselves in your home. However, if you’re looking to sell your home fast, preparing your home for sale means more than just those two things.

Start at the Front Door

The first impression buyers gain is when they pull up in front of your home. It’s an immediate impression not forgotten. Go out your front door and see what they’ll see while their Realtor® is dealing with the lock box and unlocking your door. Does your front door need a new coat of paint? Could your shrubs be trimmed back? Consider adding an attractive flowering potted plant to cheer up your entryway. Make sure to continue this on the inside too!

Baseboards & Blinds

We tend to overlook our baseboards from day to day. If you haven’t wiped yours down and there’s a layer of dirt on them, potential buyers may look at the home as dirty even if the rest is clean. The same goes for your blinds. Home buyers often look out the windows of homes they’re considering because it’s the view they’ll have as long as they own that home.

Kitchen & Bathroom Details

We’re not talking about a kitchen or bathroom remodel, but look at the smaller elements in the space. Things like the faucet—does it leak or look corroded? If so, either repair it or replace it. If your cabinet knobs are barely hanging on or look bad, you can buy new round-brushed chrome knobs for about a dollar each. Hang nice quality towels that brighten your bathroom. Also, make sure your sink is clean and there’s no odor coming from the disposal.

Organize Your Storage

Kitchen and bathroom cabinets, closets, and storage areas in your home can turn a buyer off. If you haven’t been through yours as part of your clean up and decluttering process, do so. You want it to appear that the home you’re selling has an abundance of storage. You may have two or three sets of sheets for each bed in the home and multiple sets of towels. If so, put some in storage or in an underbed box where a buyer is less likely to look to make your closets and cabinets appear bigger.

Jason Duraj and his professional Realtors® at Future Home Realty can help you find the perfect home for your family. We know the Tampa Bay area and have agents ready to find your new home. Call us today at (813) 992-7771 for your consultation or to schedule an appointment.

Posted in Home Selling Tips