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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

View MLS Sales & Inventory Data 2006, Tampa Fl

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Landlords in best spot to cash in...Tampa, Fl

Landlords in best spot to cash in...

One part of the residential real estate market isn't shedding tears in its beer: apartments. The Tampa Bay area is on a pace to be the 13th-hottest U.S. market for rents over the next year.

Boston's Property and Portfolio Research predicts rents will rise 7.3 percent, faster than anemic single-family housing values. Why? Condo conversions constricted supply. Renters might have better luck leasing a house. With thousands of unsold investment homes on the market, owners are, how shall we say it, motivated.

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Sunday, November 26, 2006

Trump Tower Tampa Acquired, Tampa Fl

An Orlando-based private-equity firm has acquired Trump Tower Tampa, a glitzy, high-rise project that recently broke ground on the Hillsborough River but stalled for lack of financing. Mirabilis Ventures Inc., which boasts a growing collection of about 70 companies in a range of businesses including real estate, said it purchased the tower project from SimDag Investments LLC. The price and terms were not disclosed.

When first announced in early 2005, the 52-story tower was billed as an exclusive residential high-rise overlooking Tampa Bay, with units that would sell for $700,000 to $5.5 million each, sporting features such as imported-marble floors and valet service. But the project has been hampered by delays and a legal skirmish between the developer and original contractor over unpaid bills. SimDag, which specializes in waterfront properties, said it found itself juggling "an abundance of development projects" along with Trump Tower Tampa and needed the financial backing of Mirabilis to help it move forward."Now we can harvest the seeds of our work over the past several years and leverage the resources of Mirabilis to bring these projects to fruition," SimDag's chief executive officer, Frank Dagostino, said in a written statement. "The timing for this partnership could not be better."Mirabilis representatives said the company expects to acquire other projects from the real estate developer, which is based in the Tampa area but works in New Jersey and Maryland as well as in Florida. About $700,000 in unpaid liens owed to the Trump Tower Tampa's original general contractor, Turner Construction, will be paid by Mirabilis, a spokesman for the equity firm said.Earlier this year, another company owned by Mirabilis, a security outfit called AQMI Strategy Corp., made news when several of its employees were detained briefly in the Democratic Republic of the Congo during an assignment in the African nation. The men were working a security detail for an unsuccessful presidential candidate. They were released eventually without charges. Mirabilis was launched in 2004 by Frank L. Amodeo, a venture capitalist and former bankruptcy lawyer who provided the seed money. He was disbarred in Georgia and spent two years in federal prison after pleading guilty to defrauding a client in the 1990s. Amodeo, of Orlando, no longer has a financial stake in Mirabilis, said Woody Johnson, the company's executive vice president. Amodeo had a two-year agreement to generate business for the company, but that agreement expired in September, Johnson said."We bought back his ownership, of less than 1 percent, for $1 million," Johnson said Wednesday. Amodeo continues to act as an adviser under contract, he said, but holds no management position or equity stake.

Jerry W. Jackson

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Saturday, November 25, 2006

Why use a Buyer's Real Estate Agent? Tampa, Fl

If Real Estate Buyer's Agents are free to use, why wouldn't you want to use one?

Answer: If you want to know the following information you won't be able to find it any other way:

  • How much a home was listed for originally and how many price reductions were done?
  • How many days the home has been on the market?
  • If the home has been listed as a rental in the MLS?
  • Any history of the home in MLS, i.e.... if it was listed prior with another Realtor and how much they were asking at that time?
  • Information about property taxes and how much they will go up next year?
  • Homestead Tax Exemptions and how they work?
  • Capital Gaines taxes and what you need to know before you make a decision to purchase.
  • Neighborhoods popularity and where the housing trends are?
  • What homes sold for in a particular neighborhood, called a Comparable Market Analysis .

    Since a Buyer's Agent is compensated by splitting the Selling Agent's Commission it cost you nothing.
If you are a thinking of purchasing a home in the Tampa Bay Area and would like to be referred to an agent in your area, you can go to http://www.tampabaydwellings.com

You will be asked for some basic information regarding your home search preferences. A qualified Real Estate Agent will then be assigned to work with you at no cost.

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Has the bottom of the Real Estate Market already hit? Tampa, Fl

Waiting For the Bottom That May Have Already Hit?
by M. Anthony Carr

I've been getting asked this question now more than ever: "Is now a good time to buy a house?" Many buyers have been waiting for the bottom of the real estate market to hit before getting off the fence to make that next real estate purchase. When it has been officially deemed a buyers market by all the national real estate associations -- then yes, it's a good time to buy. You just better hope you haven't waited too late.

Could it be that the buyers market has begun to subside and we're going to return to the "glory" days of yesteryear? Hopefully not. Having less than a 1 month's supply of houses to serve a community of 1 million-plus, is not healthy. The good thing about the inventory (and this doesn't include the new homes) is that it's now going to take a while to eat up that inventory, which means buyers have a while now to choose from the homes they want and purchase with cheap money.

Ask most realtors in your market area about buyers' and sellers' movement in the marketplace and you'll find out the same result -- buyers are waiting for the bottom to hit and sellers are holding onto prices (or removing their homes from the market).
With this latest analysis, it may be that we've actually hit the bottom. So to answer the question: "Is now a good time to buy?"

Here's why I think buyers should get off the fence, get financed and purchase a home.

Money is cheap. We have historically low interest rates. Currently, for most borrowers, they can nab a mortgage in the 6-ish percentage range. Depending on the points you want to pay (and for those with good credit), loan rates are from 6.75 and down.

Inventory is high. This results in two things -- choice and negotiation power. For sellers who are set to take opportunity by the horns and get moving, the buyer can get thousands off the list price so the seller can turn around and do the same thing. Most sellers, in this market at least, can afford to take a $25,000 - $50,000 hit on the sales price because they'll be able to negotiate the same type deal on the backside of the transaction. (In some communities, there's more than a year's supply of houses on the market.)

Income is growing. The stock market is on the march, resulting in a growth of personal income and wealth. This also contributes to the buying power of buyers.
Is it a good time to purchase a home? Well, they don't call it a buyers market for nothing.

Published: November 24, 2006

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Monday, November 06, 2006

Renovate or Build? "Whole House Makeover"-Tampa, Fl

Finz of Tampa featured their exotic salt water fish

Saturday Nov, 4th our home was featured in the "Tampa Bay Fall Tour of Homes"

As some of you may already know, our Waterfront home was featured for the "Whole House Makeover" for the Tampa Bay Home Builder's Association.

The concrete floors were a hit, as many single family homes don't have them. You usually only see them in trendy lofts like The Place at Channelside or the Meridian. A lot of people were surprised because the outside has a very Spanish style and the inside is modern.

The home features many "hidden" upgrades: All lower third of bottom floor is Green board with sheet metal, hidden attic door, insulation in interior walls, wireless internet, laundry shoot, double insulated windows. This waterfront home on a beautiful lagoon style canal is a 4/2.5 bath with circlular paved driveway, 2 story block, polished & stained concrete floors, vessel sink, balconies overlooking water, courtyard, wall fountain, private entrance for office or bedroom, tile roof, new electric, plumbing, HAVC, drywall, large kitchen with rare granite, maple cabinets, butlers pantry, 2nd story balconies, Radius walls, gameroom/children's retreat, Japanese Soaking tub, wall mounted Fish tank, dock and deck.



Left: John Velge, Contractor of Bayard Construction, Right: Alan Dobbs, Archectural Designer of Florida Design Studio Corp

Vendors were onsite to answer any questions regarding building, remodeling and Interior Design. Sponsors included Bayard Construction who was the Contractor on our home and Alan Dobbs ,from Florida Design Studio Corp, who transformed our home from the 1960's to what is now a Spanish Style 2 story contemporary design.

LAVOGA donated their unique floral arrangements, Ramos Marble and Granite supplied all the granite counters. Impact Pest Eliminations installed our Sentricon Termite System. Other sponsors include: Revere Title and Trust, Concrete-n-Counters featured their colored Concrete Flooring, Future Form Foam of Bradenton featured their foam moldings around windows and doors. De La Pava Painting provided paint services, including deck painting and refinished our original 1968 front Doors. Royalty Driveway Concepts installed our beautiful brick pavers.

Special Thanks to The Maids Home Services of Tampa for donating their time to get our home looking it's best for the show!

For questions regarding any of the vendors or to inquire about the home please email: realtyrae@yahoo.com

Monday, October 30, 2006

$400 million live-work development shapes up, pending zoning change. Tampa, Fl

TAMPA --Tampa Bay Business Journal - October 27, 2006 by Alexis Muellner, Editor

An expansive, 10-phase, mixed-use development is set to come together next year in the Westshore Business District.

Lindell Properties snapped up the former JP Morgan headquarters last year and has $28 million in the deal already. Over time, construction costs could reach $400 million on the site.

What was originally nine of 27 holes on the Rocky Point Golf Course became a one-tenant industrial park and now could morph into a new jewel for the city's tax base to include many small businesses, a structured garage, residences, ponds and green space. There could even workplaces employees could walk to from home, said Lindell Properties CEO Ron Weisser.

The City Council was scheduled to vote on a land use change late on Oct. 26 that would turn a purely office and industrial use to "CMU-35" to allow hotel and residences. (Monitor the newspaper's Web site, tampabay.bizjournals.com, for updates on the vote.) If approved, the change would need a second reading.

At deadline Wednesday, the developers were cautiously optimistic.

"After six months of knocking on doors and meeting with staff and hiring experts and talking to fellow developers and doing everything we could possibly do, we have broad support and no opposition," said Carl Lindell, principal.

Not your father's office park
The site has its original Development of Regional Impact, the standard development rights process that dictates concurrency thresholds for traffic and density, in place.

"Back then, all they had were these giant office parks, and you'll notice around the country that these are now going mixed-use and cities are discovering that if people can live where they work, there's an advantage," Weisser said.

The 44-acre site bounded is on the north by Memorial Highway and on the west by Independence Parkway.

"One of the most significant things for us and the city is that there's $250 million road program where the Veterans (Expressway) meets I-275 and the airport and Highway 60 to Clearwater and we're right there," Weisser said.

The property's existing structure is a 125,000-square-foot office building that housed a Johnson & Johnson unit originally. JPMorgan Chase bought the building and occupied it until just a few weeks ago, Weisser said.

In January 2005, the company announced plans to lay off 1,900 people in Tampa Bay.

Lindell Properties plans to renovate and retrofit the single tenant building for multi-tenants and add structured parking on the current surface lot.

The property is 25 percent ponds and 25 percent green spaces, and the plan is to reconfigure the ponds and wrap the buildings around them, Weisser said.

Lending partner
Wachovia Bank (NYSE: WAC) helped finance the sale of the property and will continue to lend on the project.

The bank has a comfort level with the project based on the developer's track record of landing prime sites, developing successful projects and land entitlement, said Ted Starkey, the bank's Florida real estate manager.

"When this opportunity on the site came up, we helped them take down the site and are a big fan of the location," Starkey said. "It's hard to find an infill location of this size with the potential density you can put there and create a unique live-work environment."

The Evans Group in Orlando, which has experience in infill urban projects, is the architect. Grady Pridgen Inc., a St. Petersburg-based developer, is a minority partner.

Despite 10 phases, the whole site including sewer lines, ponds and drainage will develop at once. There could be six to 10 buildings, all master planned, added over time.

The current DRI has certain maximums: 1,100 residential units; 650,000 square feet of office; 250 hotel units and 100,000 square feet of retail.

"We'll probably have 1,000 dwellings and 30,000 feet of retail, and that'll all blended together and won't hit the maximums," Weisser said. "These are all trade-offs. We never will exceed the traffic to the site if it was only office."

Intuitive vision
Strangely, the location has been one of the most overlooked, said Ron Rotella, executive director of the Westshore Alliance.

"They were very intuitive to look at that property," Rotella said. "If you look at the Westshore Business District, it's no longer a commercial office market, it's a regional activity center and has mixed use spaces, dining and restaurants to fit any budget -- and adding residential cuts down those commute trips on the highways," he said.

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Million-dollar St. Pete townhome plan betting on Old Northeast allure

Tampa Bay Business Journal - October 27, 2006
by Michael Hinman
Staff Writer

ST. PETERSBURG -- J Square Realty Associates is working with Samter Homes to develop five $1 million townhomes on the corner of Beach Drive and 11th Avenue North to be called Merecido.

The project is being proposed just ahead of zoning changes coming in March, but the developers behind the five-unit building in the midst of Historic Old Northeast say they are not looking to stand out.
The tri-level units will be 3,000 square feet and will utilize an architectural style that pays homage to the homes predating the 1960s that surround it.

"There's a lot of 1950s and 1960s vintage condominiums on this section of Beach Drive, but no one has built anything new there in a long time," said Jay Miller, president of J Square Realty. "It has a little bit more of a residential ambiance for those who are attracted to the historic charm of the Old Northeast." Hedging bets.

The developers have yet to put a price tag on the construction of the property but feel they can sell each unit for a little more than $1 million. That would be a significant change over the single-level rental units now on the site that Samter President Peter Bennett said were renting for $300 to $500 a month.

With new condominium sales continuing to drop in the region, it is risky trying to build in a climate that has been favoring buyers over sellers, Bennett said. But he believes absorption of existing inventory will be more rapid than some think.

"I lose a lot of sleep over it, but I have to believe the fact that all of the studies are saying people are moving to Florida and that they are going to need houses," Bennett said. "The marketplace is just going to be back to what it used to be a few years ago before it was inflated by investors."
Samter is hedging its bets on a few other multifamily projects as well, including the mostly complete 175-unit Villas of Carillon in North Pinellas County, a $70 million project offering 2,000-square-foot units beginning at $400,000. Samter also is getting ready to start a 52-unit project on the Anclote River near New Port Richey, also expected to sell at about $400,000 a unit.

"People aren't interested in projects that will be done 10 or 12 months down the road," Bennett said. "They want product that is going to be ready 30 days out. It's back to if you build it, you hope they come."

Staying consistent Samter and J Square are expecting to pre-sell two Beach Drive units and then market the others when the structure is finished in spring 2008.

With a lot of the St. Petersburg market is completely built out, more and more infill projects are popping up, especially in what is considered to be historic neighborhoods, said Susan Ajoc, St. Petersburg's Neighborhood Partnership director. Because of that, the city council is trying to concentrate more on maintaining the character of its neighborhoods through new zoning regulations set to be put in place by next March.
"We don't have a lot of vacant land, and we have quite a number of houses that have been in existence for a long period of time," Ajoc said. "What we want to do is make sure that what is being built is compatible with the rest of the neighborhood. The intent is to add some language to our zoning code to protect the character of our neighborhoods."

Old Northeast
The Historic Old Northeast Neighborhood, one of the oldest neighborhoods in St. Petersburg, was first built in 1911. It overlooks Tampa Bay and is home to some 9,000 people living in a mixture of home styles that range from old Mediterranean to bungalow. It's located between Fourth Street North to the bay between Fifth and 30th avenues north.

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Six Ten Franklin and Downtown Developments-Tampa, FL

So what's going on with Six Ten Franklin Condos? Well they have a big sign up and a website but no one has said anything about when they will be ready to start writing contracts. When you go to the website you have to provide all your information, but they give little. "Starting in the 200's" I believe is what they say.


Friday, October 13, 2006

Real Estate Market Downturn Nearing End? Tampa, Fl

Real Estate Market Downturn Nearing End?

The increase in unsold listings was this cycle's early warning indicator, the economist points out. And a decline will be the sign that the market is rebalancing itself. Real estate consultant, John Burns, says "The supply problem will be resolved when the market returns to 2.5 months of supply in the resale market, and only a few standing units of inventory in a typical new home subdivision," he says. In a sales meeting yesterday, speaker Patrick Ferry told us that the Tampa Bay Area has a 8-10 month supply of homes on the market.

The correction "could take years" in outlying areas. In built-out markets such as San Diego, over-supply is "likely to correct earlier" than in sprawling markets like Phoenix. But economic growth will "play a huge role as well," and help many markets recover sooner.

Home builders have already corrected for their share of the over-supply. During the boom years, builders overbuilt the market on a national basis by about 15 percent, he wrote. Last year's construction pace was at about 2.3 million units, but the rate has already slowed to 1.8 million, which is less than the 1.9 million to 2.1 million units a year that are needed to satisfy the demographics of the housing market.

The housing economist told his clients to worry more about the location and price of the oversupply than the overall number itself. The Nation's Capital is one example where location and price matter more. In the Washington metro area, a healthy ratio of 2.2 jobs were created for every new housing start. Unfortunately, most of the development is occurring outside the market's main employment centers. And D.C. is not alone. In Phoenix, the largest number of resale houses on the market are on the outskirts of town, which is exactly where home builders are most active. And construction in Tampa, Orlando and Sacramento, to name just a few places, is most active far away from where the jobs are.

The investment leg of the stool is the wild card. Demand is strong, just not at current prices, he says. "Affordability is an issue in the major markets, but not everywhere."

On the other hand, consumer confidence is strong. In fact, it hasn't been an issue, at least not like it has been in previous down cycles, largely because most folks are secure in their jobs, the housing consultant says.

But speculators remain a bugaboo. At the height of the market, Burns says, "an unprecedented level of investors created 40 percent more sales activity" than should normally have been created. Now, we have to wait and see how they will react. Will they hold until the market turns more favorable, or will they panic and sell at any price just to be over and done with it?

As in politics, all housing markets are local. But if you are watching the national numbers, Burns concludes that 5.6 million total sales -- both new and used -- is indicative of a normal level of demand.

In June 2005, the annual rate reached 8.5 million. But it has already slowed to 7.3 million. Unfortunately, he believes the market will need to over-correct to below the 5.6 million benchmark because of affordability problems and the huge number of investors before it can right itself and begin heading north again.

If you are thinking of selling your home you can visit http://www.tampabaydwellings.com and receive a free home market analysis.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Insider Real Estate Blog named top 500 blogs to watch!, Tampa Fl

I couldn't have said it better myself! Our very own blog has been included in the top 500 Real Estate Blogs to watch by Pittsburgh Homes Daily. With over 55.9 million blogs online and more than 75,000 new blogs being created every day, being tagged as one of the top 500 in the real estate niche is very encouraging.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Real Estate Market Sales Drop-Tampa, Fl

Real estate sales continue to diminish
Tampa Bay Business Journal - August 15, 2006

Sales of single-family existing homes dropped during the second quarter, according to the Florida Association of Realtors.

Statewide, sales dropped 27 percent, to 53,161, compared with the same period last year. In Tampa Bay, there were 10,187 sales, 31 percent fewer than last year's 14,768.

"Sales of existing single-family homes in Florida behaved like much of the U.S. in the 2006 second quarter, with the declining strength of the domestic economy continuing to act like a stiff wind in the face of the existing real estate market," David Scott, executive director of the Dr. Phillips Institute for the Study of American Business Activity and professor of finance at the University of Central Florida, said in a release.

The statewide existing-home median sales price rose 9 percent to $254,800 in the second quarter; a year ago, it was $234,500. Tampa Bay's median price rose 21 percent to $232,200 from last year's $191,700.

This environment is likely to endure across the remaining months of 2006 owing to several factors, Scott said, including the declining rate of growth in the real gross domestic product, a tepid increase in the number of jobs being created over the past three months, rising conventional mortgage rates and a rising inventory of homes for sale. He said the rising costs of gasoline and energy are starting to strain many household budgets while wages are just barely keeping up with the recent price inflation of about 3.6 percent a year.

The latest economic outlook from the National Association of Realtors notes that the housing market is in the process of stabilizing with little change in overall sales volume expected over the balance of the year. Analysts report that the level of activity remains high historically and 2006 is expected to be the third best year for existing home sales. According to Freddie Mac, the national commitment rate for a 30-year conventional fixed- rate mortgage averaged 6.6 percent in first quarter 2006; last year, it was 6.24 percent.

The Florida Association of Realtors provides programs, services, continuing education, research and legislative representation to its nearly 155,000 members in 68 boards/associations.

To view property listings anywhere in the Tampa Bay Area visit:

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Real Estate Contracts- Tampa, Florida

When is a contract ratified and binding? When both the buyer and seller have signed and initialed off on changes. There may be a loop hole if you aren't careful. If the expiration date for an offer of acceptance has passed then the contract becomes unenforceable.

For example, an offer on a home is received and the buyer gives the seller until 5pm to respond. The sellers make changes, initial the changes and sign the dotted line. The seller would then put an expiration for their counter offer to the buyer, let's say 5pm the next day. The buyer doesn't get the initialed changes back to the seller until after 5pm. Technically, there is no obligation for the seller to go through with the offer because the offer expired.

It can also work in the reverse. The buyer's offer expires and the seller's think they have a contract because they signed it and sent it back. Even if the seller didn't make any changes to the contract if they didn't get it back to the buyer within the time specified on the contract there is no deal.

Why would this become an issue? What if the seller gets a better offer, or the buyer finds another home they like better? Both parties can miss out on opportunities.

When it comes to contracts and selling a home let the professionals handle the details. A qualified Realtor would know when a contract is binding and what the stipulations may be. Too many times there have been cases where the moving truck is coming, arrangements have been made to purchase another home or rent, and the buyer finds a way to back out of a deal at the last minute.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Selling your home 2008-Tampa, Fl

What are you doing differently now to sell homes than you were a year ago? Here are some posts from local Realtors.

"We are lowering prices, raising commissions and staging vacant homes. In some segments of real estate, there is 800 percent more inventory than there was a year ago.

"It is said that we have the same amount of buyers as last year, and even so, only one out of eight homes will sell this summer. We are advising sellers to make their homes as most attractive as they can, not only physically, but priced attractively as well."


"A year ago, we were in a seller's market. Now we are in a buyer's market. We are advertising more, marketing ourselves more, showing buyers more property because there is more to choose from. Buyers are now more selective.

"We are also educating more sellers and teaching them how to price realistically. A year ago, everything sold no matter what condition, but that is not the case this year. We have to teach more curb appeal now and price more in accordance with the market."

"A year ago, we didn't have a chance to negotiate with buyers and sellers.

"We have to educate buyers and sellers on price and interest rates.

"The real estate market has cooled down and changed. We have 18,000 homes this year on the market as opposed to the 3,200 we had last year.

"Buyers were trying to buy homes faster last year, the demand was high and the supply was low. But this year, that is not the case."

For more tips on home buying and selling visit:

A directory of real estate blogs

http://renohomestalk.com/ Ron Bell's Reno, Nevada Real Estate Blog

St. Paul Minnesota-Teresa Boardman's popular real estate blog site


Grow A Brain Real Estate BLOG

Saturday, July 22, 2006



It seems as though the whole Real Estate industry is at a stand still. At least in Tampa, FL where for the past 4 years we have seen a big boom.So what happens when sellers want to sell their home and the buyers aren't BUYING? The answer is NOTHING until something changes.

With interest rates higher than the past few years and insurance rates doubling and tripling in some areas my guess is the prices will have to come down. We are seeing insurance at 3,500 per year for an average 1,500 sf home in Seminole Heights. Add that on to your monthly payment and what you can afford will come down by nearly $300 per month. Stephanie D'attoma, with SunTrust Bank, figured that on a regular 30 year fixed loan, that the extra $300 per month would equate to approximately $46,300 less that a buyer can spend. Likewise, an interest only loan would be equal to approximately $52,500, which is what most home buyers are doing.

Many sellers many not want to hear that they may not be able to get the highest price as their neighbor who sold last year at this same time. Looking back on the past few years one could say it was a feeding frenzy to get a buyer's offer accepted. Once you submitted an offer there was always that intense waiting period when the buyer would want to know if another offer came in behind theirs and beat them out. I would always say to my clients, "if you really want this home your offer has to be very aggressive". I had one client last year offer 10K above the asking price because he really wanted the home.Fast forward 1 year, and I cannot say those same words to my clients looking to buy. In fact, buyers have become a hot commodity in this section of the State.

When my Real Estate partner, Michelle Jordan and myself attending the Greater Tampa Realtor Association Meeting a couple weeks ago, we heard that GTAR was expecting a 25% decrease in membership in the next year! Our guess is because of the lack of buyers in the market. Sellers are being told to expect for their home to be on the market 6-8 months, instead of the abnormally quick 2-3 month listing period last year.

What to do if you are a Buyer?If you are a buyer and are considering purchasing a property have a Realtor search properties that have been on the market at least 90 days. There's a pretty good chance that the seller is getting tired of waiting for a buyer and may be more motivated to sell.

If you are searching on-line, you don't have a way of knowing how long that particular home or condo has been on the market. A Real Estate Salesperson can give you that information. We can also tell you if the home had been previously listed and taken off the market. Why would someone want to know that? A property that has been listed since October of last year, had 3 price changes before listing with a new Realtor. Chances are that the sellers are very motivated and a lower offer with no Contingencies may get accepted.

Make sure you are pre-qualified with a lender and get a "good-faith estimate" This will detail your closing costs, estimated taxes, insurance and your monthly payment. This should be a free service that lenders provide. Ask your Realtor to look at the estimate to make sure it is a realistic amount for Home Owner's Insurance and Taxes. We are seeing buyers become unqualified because their lender didn't estimate the correct amount and the whole deal falls apart, sometimes at the last minute.

Sellers, hire an experienced Real Estate Agent.If you are selling your home make sure the Realtor you choose is doing the appropriate marketing for your property.

Do they have a website?How many websites will your property be submitted to? There's always Realtor.com that once a property is listed in the MLS it also goes on Realtor.com.
Does your Realtor pay for extra pictures on Realtor.com, or is there just one picture?
What do the pictures look like? With so many homes on the market your home should stand out with professional looking high quality images.Has your Realtor suggested de-cluttering your home? This will make a big difference on how the home presents itself.

Ask for feedback on showings at least one time a week. This will help you determine why your house isn't selling.Price the home competitively.Take a preview of other homes for sale in your neighborhood. How does yours compare?Is there new construction in your area? If so, what are they selling for? Expect to be priced less than a brand new home.

Rae Catanese, a Realtor who specializes in the Tampa Bay Area, can be reached at Prudential Tropical Realty- South Tampa at 813-784-7744or on-line at: http://www.tampabaydwellings.com/