Florida Real Estate & News

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

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
Oct. 7, 2020

Things to Consider Replacing Before Listing Your Home

As you get your home ready to sell, you have likely taken the steps to prepare by decluttering the interior. You may have put extra work into your landscaping or made improvements to your home’s curb appeal. However, there may be more you can do to help your home stand out from others on the market. Many of these considerations are small time or monetary investments, but they can make a difference in how quickly it sells and in the final sale price.

Paint

Freshly painted entryways make a great impact. Having a good first impression as a prospective buyer walks in is essential. New paint in a neutral color can give a sense that the home is clean and well-maintained. If pictures or wall hangings have been removed, it’s a good idea to patch and paint the areas so the buyer doesn't feel as though they would need to do the work upon moving in. A home for sale with new paint gives a better impression than one that doesn’t look fresh.

Faucets

If your bathroom faucets are dated, corroded or simply look bad, replace them. It’s simple and doable in an afternoon. The cost is low—often you can spend less than $100 per sink and have a shiny new faucet that makes the entire bathroom feel updated and attractive.

Light Bulbs

Light bulbs have both a lumen rating and a Kelvin rating. Lumens tell you how much light a bulb provides and Kelvin ratings denote the warmth. Although you want your home to feel warm and comfortable, you also want it to be bright and cheery. Replace any bulbs that are burned out or any that don’t provide sufficient light with a higher lumen bulb.

Cabinet Hardware

It may not be worth the investment of time or money to remodel a kitchen prior to moving, but replacing the knobs or drawer pulls can improve the appearance of the kitchen without all the work. When you update cabinet hardware, it elevates the appearance of the cabinets themselves. Use a modern or trending metal to make the room feel current. This can be done anywhere you have cabinets, whether in the kitchen, bathroom or elsewhere.

Clean Your Grout

If you have tile floors throughout your home, or even just in the bathroom showers, clean it well. If the build-up is too much to remove yourself, call a grout cleaning company and have them professionally remove the dirt, mildew and hard water stains. Your potential buyers won't notice the quality of the flooring if the grout is dirty and needs attention, so take care of this before listing your home.

As you ready your home for sale, you also want to find a Relator® that will work hard for you. Jason Duraj and his team at Future Home Realty are ready to help you list your home or find your new dream home. Call us today at (813) 992-7771 to schedule your free consultation.

Posted in Home Selling Tips
Sept. 23, 2020

5 Things to Do Immediately After Buying a Home

Congratulations, on buying a home! If you’re like most people, moving in is at the top of your to-do list. Second might be repainting or making other updates to the home's appearance. However, if you can, you may want to do these five things before anything else.

1. Change the Locks

Unless you’ve bought a new home and the builder provided means for you to re-key the locks, you should change all the locks to the home. You never know who may still have a key, like a babysitter, dog walker, or even an old homeowner. Also, make sure all the windows are locked and, if there’s a keypad to the garage, change the code there. Ensuring your family’s safety should be at the top of your list of things to do after buying a home.

2. Check Smoke Detectors

Although your home inspector may have tested a few detectors throughout the home, they may have missed others or batteries may have been removed during the move out. Take every smoke detector down, check its date (remember, they expire after 10 years), clean to remove any dust, then replace the batteries. If the home doesn’t have a smoke detector inside and outside every bedroom, add them. It’s also advisable to purchase at least one fire extinguisher for each floor of the home.

3. Take Care of Your HVAC System

In the Tampa Bay area, your HVAC system runs on cool much more frequently than any other setting. It also runs a lot. Clean air filters and proper maintenance can help keep your HVAC system running as it should and as long as possible. Unless you have a receipt from the previous owner for a system tune-up in the past year, doing it now can save you money and frustration.

4. Perform Simple Maintenance

Although the previous homeowner may have had the house cleaned after they moved out, cleaning companies often only handle surface cleaning. That means you have some cleaning to do. If the refrigerator conveyed, pull it out and clean underneath it and around the coils in the back. This will help prevent it from needing repair in the future.

The dryer vent is another item you should maintain now and then once a year. It’s much easier to take care of cleaning the vent before the dryer is installed. Lastly, check the gutters. If they have filled with debris since the inspection, chances are the previous owner did not clean them out often enough. Make sure to do so.

5. Get to Know Your House

Buying a home is exciting. Although you know how many bedrooms and bathrooms there are and where the doors are, there may be a lot you don’t know. For example, you should know where your emergency shut-off valves are. Knowing where the water shut-off valve is can save your home thousands in water damage should there be an issue. If there’s gas, locate that emergency shut-off as well.

Jason Duraj and his team at Future Home Realty can help you buy or sell your home. Because of our extensive experience in the Tampa Bay market, we also know many highly-rated contractors who can help you with your to-do list before you list your home with us or when you buy a home with our assistance. Call us today at (813) 992-7771 to speak with one of our team members.

Posted in Home buying tips
Sept. 3, 2020

What You Should Know About Home Staging

Although it is definitely a seller’s market right now, that doesn’t mean it's unimportant for your home to show well. Your listing agent will provide you with some guidance regarding removing clutter and personal effects prior to listing your home, but you may still want to consider staging it as well.

Benefits of Home Staging

Home staging provides many benefits. The biggest is that staged homes sell faster, 73% faster on average according to the Real Estate Staging Association. Another benefit is related to the way your home shows online. The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) reports that 95% of buyers start their home search online, so presenting a great first impression is essential. Finally, staged homes often sell for more than their non-staged comparable homes according to a 2017 NAR survey.

When You Might Want to Hire a Staging Company

There are many reasons to consider staging your home. Sometimes your home will greatly benefit from staging. For instance, let’s assume you need to move quickly and need to pack up your belongings and leave an empty home. Although empty homes may seem ideal because it’s a blank canvas, this often creates a disconnect for buyers who have a hard time gauging the size of a room when there’s not a bed or couch in it.

If you're planning on staying in the home while it is on the market, a stager can remove the items that contribute to a cluttered feel in order to make your space feel bigger. They can also arrange your furnishings or bring in some of their own so the flow of the home feels more comfortable and universal. As they are experts in their field, they are usually able to identify and address aesthetic challenges, especially as they are able to view the home with a fresh perspective.

If your home has already been on the market for more than 30 days, it may be even more important to call a staging company. They can de-clutter and provide the right size furniture that will help your home look better to a prospective buyer.

Is it Worth the Investment?

Home staging costs range from $500 up to thousands of dollars. It depends on how much of their furnishings and décor the staging professional needs to bring in and the size of the home. For most, home staging is a small investment of about $1,000. And, if your home sells faster, that’s less interest you’re paying, especially if you’ve already moved. If the home sells for more than other comparable-listed homes, then you’ll likely easily make up that small investment.

If you need a Realtor® to sell your home in Tampa Bay, call Jason Duraj at (813) 992-7771. His team at Future Home Realty can help you sell your home and find the perfect new one. Although we can make recommendations about décor and decluttering, we can also refer you to one of the staging companies with whom we regularly work.

Posted in Home Selling Tips
Aug. 25, 2020

What it May Mean if You Have Water in Your Home

Water damage or leaks of any kind are often costly. However, sometimes the source of the leak is easy to spot and it's easy to know who to call for repairs. Other times, it’s not so obvious. If you find water in your home, the first step is to do everything you can to dry it up or take steps to prevent it from causing further damage. Next, you’ll want to determine the reason for the leak. That can be tricky.

Rule Out the Obvious

Water in the bathroom is often a leak from a hose or pipe. If that’s the issue, turn off the valves on the toilet and sink and see if that stops the leak. Most bathroom leaks require a plumber. Many kitchen leaks also require a plumber unless the water is leaking from the dishwasher or refrigerator. In these cases, you’ll need a repair person who is knowledgeable about appliances.

Another easy-to-diagnose issue is a roof leak. When water is coming into your attic and then leaking into your home, it is good to seek assistance from a roofer. If it’s safe to go outside, look at your roof in the general area where the water is coming in to see if there are missing shingles or another reason for the leak. Make note of any damaged areas, take photos if possible, and call your roofer.

Under Floors, Around Windows, and Under Molding

Warped floorboards or water coming in around the windows or underneath your molding is trickier to diagnose. Water follows the path of least resistance. This means that even if the leak presents around your window, the issue may not actually be a window leak. Sometimes you can clearly see cracked caulk or damage to the window frame, but if not, you may actually have an issue with roofing or siding.

If your floors are damp, warping, buckling, or even coming unglued, there are several possible causes for these issues. Figuring out where the water came from that can cause these problems isn’t always easy. If the flooring is installed on the slab, it may not have been properly installed. Flooring on slabs, especially in Tampa Bay, should have a water barrier between them and the flooring material. There could also be a crack in your foundation that has damaged your water barrier which could be allowing ground moisture to collect under your flooring. Other reasons could be water coming in through your siding or even a roof leak that’s come down through the walls and is leaking out under molding, resulting in wet floors and water damage.

Call a Professional

Once you come to a conclusion regarding the origin of your leak, you’ll want a professional assessment if the fix isn't easy. When the professional finds the source of the issue be sure to ask them if they believe that it should be covered by your homeowner’s insurance. If so, call your agent right away and report the claim. Be sure to take pictures before any work is done, even work to stop the leak. Your agent will let you know what work can be done before the adjustor arrives.

Jason Duraj has been a real estate professional in the Tampa Bay area for nearly 20 years and is familiar with the causes of water damage. He and the team at Future Home Realty always recommend a home inspection as a contingency clause in any offer to check for water damage and other issues. If you are considering buying or selling a home, call us at (813) 992-7771.

Posted in Home Maintenance
Aug. 11, 2020

5 Things to Think About as a First-Time Homebuyer

As Realtors® we want you to find the home you love; however, we also want it to be a home you can afford. If you’re a first-time home buyer, you may be considering a mortgage that equals the same amount as you pay in rent. But there are other factors beyond mortgage to remember that come along with homeownership and must be considered. Here are five things to think about and discuss before determining how much home you can afford as you transition from renting to owning.

1. Homes Need Maintenance

If you look at your rent and think, “I’m wasting so much money. I could have a home for the same amount that I pay in rent,” remember homes also require maintenance which is paid by the homeowner. If your budget after paying your mortgage, taxes and insurance wouldn’t leave money for upkeep of landscaping, lawn care, pest control, appliance repair, and savings for replacements as appliances break, you may want to consider a lower-priced home to better fit within your budget.

2. Insurance

In Florida especially, homeowner’s insurance may be a substantial portion of your monthly budget based on where you live. Companies insuring homes in Florida factor in hurricanes, wind damage, and sink holes in addition to the other risk factors the rest of the country has. Depending on where you choose to buy a home, you may also need separate flood insurance. For many, homeowners insurance payments are made as part of their mortgage payment, but this is not always something buyers factor in when looking at homes and evaluating the estimated payment.

3. Homeowners Association

If you live in a planned community, you will likely have homeowner association (HOA) dues. Although these are mostly a fixed amount per year, they can fluctuate. You’ll also need to know if you may be subject to a special assessment from time to time. These can include hundreds or even thousands of dollars to fix roads or the pool in the event of a need for repairs.

4. Time

As a first-time home buyer, it's important to consider the time homeownership can require. While your landlord or apartment complex may handle maintenance like changing air filters, weeding, and trimming landscaping now, these things become your responsibility upon homeownership. If you’re already pressed for time, you may need to allocate additional funds to pay someone to take care of routine maintenance for you.

5. Consider a Condo, Villa or Townhome

Sometimes the best option for a first-time homebuyer is a community where some things are handled for you, like exterior maintenance and groundskeeping. Condos, villas and townhomes include maintenance and some elements of insurance in the HOA dues which takes some of the workload off you. You’ll still need to remain vigilant regarding maintenance inside your property, but this may be a good first step into homeownership.

If you’re ready to buy a home, villa, townhome or condo, the Realtors® at Future Home Realty can help. Even if you are not ready at this exact moment but want to take the steps toward being ready in the months ahead, we can help you. 

Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or looking to sell a home and buy a new one, Jason Duraj and his team will help you find the perfect property that fits your budget and lifestyle. Call us today at (813) 992-7771 for your confidential consultation.

Posted in Home buying tips
July 14, 2020

Lawn Care in Tampa

Lawn care techniques in the Tampa Bay area are often unique to our region. The grass is different, the bugs are too numerous to name, and watering can be a tricky puzzle to figure out especially this time of year when we have frequent afternoon thunderstorms. Here are some tips we’ve gathered from the experts that can help you with lawn care for your new home.

Water the Right Way

Too many homeowners see that they can water Monday, Wednesday and Saturday based on their house number, so they do at every opportunity. This sometimes leads to either over watering or watering the wrong way. Your grass needs about one inch of water per week. To do this, you can choose one of those days and water for as long as it takes for each zone to receive that much water. You can measure the water by using an empty tuna can. Put the empty can in each zone as you water and see how long it take each zone to get about an inch of water, then set each zone for the determined amount of time. Also, try to water in the morning rather than mid-day or late in the evening. On a rainy week, turn your sprinklers off completely.

Cutting to the Right Height is Important

Many homes in our area have St. Augustine grass. To help prevent disease and insect infestation, keep this type of grass cut to about four inches. Don’t bag the clippings; allow them to nourish your lawn. If you have another type of grass, look up its ideal height. Also, make sure to use a sharp blade for a clean cut to keep the grass looking its best. If you’re using a lawn care company, talk to them about grass height if you notice they cut it too short. And, if you see that the tips appear shredded rather than cut, your (or the lawn care company’s) blade needs sharpening.

Proper Pest Control & Fertilization is Essential

The experts we’ve spoken with recommend a slow-release fertilizer two times a year, once in early spring and once in mid-fall. Some areas have regulations that prohibit fertilization in the summer, so make sure to fertilize your lawn at the right time.

Pest control requires a case by case solution. One of the most common pests in Tampa yards is the chinch bug. There are many insecticides that are effective in treating these lawn-destroying pests. Mole crickets are another common invader. If you’re not familiar with identifying either the pest or their damage, you may want to consider calling a lawn care service company and use their services. Many offer both fertilization and pest control.

If you’re looking for a new home in the Tampa Bay area, call Jason Duraj at Future Home Realty. He and his team would love to help you find your new home or sell your existing one. Reach us by calling (813) 992-7771 today for your free consultation.

Posted in Home Maintenance