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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Arlington Historic Lofts-Downtown Tampa

The Arlington is a Historic Renovated Loft Residential building.
Only 1 unit remains!

Rooftop terrace overlooking Downtown Tampa.

LOCATION: 1209 N Franklin St., downtown.
DEVELOPER: Stephanie Ferrell and Russell Versaggi as Arlington Partners LLC.

DESCRIPTION: Two-story circa 1910 brick vernacular building with 31,000 square feet. The ground floor is being converted into 10 units ranging from 1,200 to 1,620 square feet for retail, commercial, residential or live-work use. The upper floor will have 11 residential units, seven of which will be one-story flats. They will range from 680 to 1,200 square feet. Four other units will be two-story townhomes ranging from 1,200 to 1,500 square feet.

AMENITIES: The flats and townhomes will feature much of the historic building's original trim work, including doors, transom windows, carpentry accents, 12-foot ceilings, plus hardwood floors and stone kitchen countertops. The townhomes will have rooftop decks.

WHAT THEY'RE SAYING: "I was definitely charmed and surprised by (the building)," said Stephanie Ferrell, a Tampa architect who specializes in historic preservation. She said much of the building's interior, "hadn't been disturbed for 50 years. The whole interior was a time capsule from 1910."

TIMELINE: The second floor used to house the 52-room Arlington Hotel. The ground floor had the hotel's lobby and other retail businesses. The hotel closed shortly after Badcock furniture store took over the ground floor, about 1946 or 1947, Ferrell said. The second floor was likely converted to low-rent apartments and eventually vacated, she said. Ferrell bought the building three years ago with former business partner Bob Harrell. Badcock moved out of in October, and renovations began in early January.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Resources for Relocating to the Tampa Bay Area

Tampa BayConvention & Visitors Bureau
Tampa Chamber of CommerceRelocation and Information Guide
Tampa Tribune"Tampa Bay Area Relocation Guide"
Tampa Tribunetourist oriented, "Florida Info"
Tampa Tribune"virtual tour of Tampa
Tamp Bay Home Search

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Tampa Heights, the first suburb of Tampa

Tampa Heights is a beautiful community. It is a picturesque neighborhood where stately oak trees, brick streets, and dedicated residents create a small-town feeling. The convenience of being close to downtown and Ybor City, as well as easy access to both I-4 and I-275, affords Tampa Heights a uniquely central location.

Its glorious past sets the stage for the renaissance now taking place. Established in the early 1880's, notable 'Heights' residents included Judge Joseph Robles, W.B. Henderson, and Wallace Stoval, founder of the Tampa Tribune. Thomas Puch Kennedy, the son of one of Tampa's earliest pioneers is credited with naming Tampa Heights when he moved just one mile north of downtown to the "Highlands". Thus began downtown residents' first flight into the suburbs. One hundred years ago, Tampa Heights was developed as the first suburb of Tampa. One hundred years later, the neighborhood is experiencing resurgence as downtown's newest/oldest suburb.
The picture you see above is of a typical 1925 Bungalow home that has been thoughtfully and beautifully restored. It is traditional in spirit and appearance, but modern in convenience. Many original bungalow features are present such as heart-of-pine flooring throughout with large base molding and double hung windows. There is a separate formal dining room, a laundry room and 3 bedrooms with 2 full baths. The brick wood burning fireplace is the center of family room life. A huge back yard is perfect for family gatherings and gardening. There’s even alley access in the back and a Porte cache that keeps you and your car shaded on those hot days. Large front and back porches are covered. Something you will not find often in Florida is a hidden wine cellar or basement which can be used for many things.
To search all homes in the Tampa Bay Area visit: http://www.tampabaydwellings.com/

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Best Websites for Tampa Real Estate- Tampa, Fl

It seems as every Realtor has their own website today. They are used to promote Realtors listings, MLS searches and even financing options.

One of the things we considered when developing our website is what would a buyer or seller want to know that they may not be able to get access to.

Real Estate Information such as statistics on the housing market. The data compares home sales with average days on market, average sales pricing and current inventory. The BEST information is through our local MLS board. It is more accurate than many other market analysis sites such as Truillia. Mainly, due to the extensive search capabilities Realtors are provided. When you are comparing homes sales, drilling down to specific upgrades you may have done will make a difference in your asking price when you put your home on the market.

It will also make it easier for Realtors that want to show buyers homes they are interested in. For instance; I have a buyer who only wants a home with hardwood flooring, gas appliances, and only specific neighborhoods. The search capabilities of our MLS allow Realtors to select these options. There is one catch! Some of the fields are not mandatory per MLS rules. If your Realtor isn't putting in every feature you may be missing buyers. In this down Real Estatee market, who can afford that?

Visit our Tampa Area Real Estate Website to request information on buying or selling your home http://www.tampabaydwellings.com/

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Are Waterfront Lots in Tampa a good investment?

What a great time to be a buyer. Waterfront lots in the Tampa Bay area are priced aggresively and owners want to sell. Think about purchasing your lot now and holding on to it until you are ready to build your dream home. It's like having an investment in your back pocket. A nest egg for retirement.
Like most sales cycles prices go up and they come down. Buy low, sell high is what they say. I just took a listing for a Waterfront 1/2 acre lot on the Hillsborough River last week. It's listed for 400K. When things were hot, the same lot could have sold for 550-600K.
Holding on to Waterfront property is the way to go. You won't have any insurance to pay for until you build and the taxes are always lower on vacant land. Let's face it, they aren't making anymore waterfront in Tampa.

In recent years past, some Real Estate Investors choose to buy a 2/2 condo in Hyde Park and Channelside for about the same price. They are now competing with all the other owners trying to rent their units, or sell them because they can't cover their mortgage on what they are renting for.

The future of waterfront living in the Tampa Bay area can be displayed by The City of Tampa which will reshape the waterfront for everyone to have access to and enjoy by developing a Master Plan for the Tampa Riverwalk, a continuous pedestrian walkway extending from the Channelside area to Tampa Heights along the east side of the Hillsborough River. It will incorporate pedestrian amenities, art and interpretive elements, retail and restaurant uses, parks and open space, and other urban amenities.
Have a question about the Real Estate market in Tampa? Email us

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Monday, January 22, 2007

Tips for First Time Home Buyers, Tampa Real Estate

Top 7 Tips for First Time Homebuyers
by Eric Bramlett

Purchasing your first home is a big step, that comes with some very serious decisions. Many homebuyers are intimidated by the process, and continue renting much longer than they should, or need to. However, if you break the homebuying process down into these simple steps, and follow these important tips, you will find the process less intimidating, and much more manageable.

1) Before You Begin, Ask Yourself One Question
Will you live in your next home for at least 3 years? If the answer is "Yes," you should probably purchase, rather than continue renting. With average appreciation, you'll break even on your closing costs after 2 years, and start making money at year three. Every year after that will put more money in your pocket! The most expensive aspect of real estate is buying & selling, so the longer you can live in the home the better. However, purchasing makes sense if you can make as little as a 36 month commitment.

2) You Don't Need a Down Payment!
It always surprises me how many people want to purchase a home, but don't because they believe that a hefty down payment is required. Zero down programs are very common, and are quickly becoming the norm, rather than the exception to the rule. Because your new home is collateral for the loan, there are many banks that will jump at the chance to loan you 100% of its value. Perfect credit isn't a requirement, either. Because real estate typically appreciates in value, it's often easier to be approved for a 100% mortgage than it is to borrow 100% for a car!

3) Get Pre-Qualified
Pre-qualification is a very important step, and the step that first time home buyers dread the most. Qualifying to buy a home is pretty easy and requires relatively little work for you. Pre-qualification is what gives you buying power and allows you to make an offer on your dream home when you've found it. More importantly, pre-qualification will let you know how much your new home will REALLY cost - in monthly payments. A $150,000 or $300,000 home doesn't mean a lot to most buyers - but $1200 per month and $2500 per month are tangibles that everyone can understand. After your lender pre-qualifies you, ask them for a "payment table" that shows you a rough estimate of TOTAL monthly payment based on purchase price. Pick your payment, and you know the price range to shop in.

4) Consult a Real Estate Professional ASAP
Many first time home buyers avoid contacting a Real Estate Agent because they dislike high pressure sales. However, Real Estate Agents have an advantage over traditional salespeople because they have access to the Multiple Listing Service, which is a database that lists roughly 99% of the homes for sale in a given market. This means that your Real Estate Agent doesn't have to sell - he/she merely presents your options. The most important qualities to look for in your Real Estate Agent are his/her knowledge of your specific market and their willingness to help. Interview a few agents and choose one that will help guide you through the process, and best of all it doesn't cost you the buyer a dime! You'll find the help & insight will be invaluable - and you'll be glad you contacted your Real Estate Agent sooner, rather than later.

5) Make a List of "Must Haves" & "Wants"
Many new home buyers mistakenly think that they will "just know" when they "walk into the one." While some buyers DO fall instantly in love with a home, this is not the norm. You'll find your search is easier, and you will be more confident in your decision, if you take a systematic approach to your search. The best way to organize your search is to make two lists: Your "must haves" and your "wants." Your "must haves" are the absolute necessities in your new home - in fact, you don't even need to view a home if it doesn't have every "must have." Great examples of your "must haves" are price, school district, size, etc... Your "wants" are the qualities that you would like for your new home to have, but it's not a necessity. Great examples of "wants" are color, flooring, kitchen appliances, surround sound, and type of exterior. By taking the time to articulate what you need and want in your new home, you will know exactly what to look for when viewing prospective homes.

6) Pick Your Favorite Neighborhoods
You can always make changes to your house, but you can never change its location. Most home buyers already have a good idea of where they would like to live because of school districts, work, or other factors. However, neighborhoods can be pretty different, even in the same area of the city. Ask your Real Estate Agent to email you a list of homes in the specific area of town you're interested in. Take a drive through the different neighborhoods on the list your Real Estate Agent sends you, and choose your favorites. Pay attention to area amenities, how well the yards & common areas are kept, and if you see a lot of "for lease" signs - which can be an indication of a heavy rental area, and lacking in "pride of ownership." After you have picked your favorite neighborhoods, and you know your "must haves" and "wants," you can literally make a list of EVERY home available that meets your criteria, and view those homes.

7) Make Your Decision!!!
Homebuyers often hesitate after they've found the right home because they're not confident about their decision, or their decision-making process. Your home is probably the largest investment of your life, and it's normal to feel butterflies in your stomach before putting your first home under contract. However, if you do your due diligence - and you have if you followed the steps above - then you will have your bases covered. If you've found a home that meets all of your "must haves," most of your "wants," is in the right neighborhood, and in your budget - it's the home for you! Don't wait and let another buyer take YOUR home!
Buying your first home can seem very intimidating, but can be extremely exciting. If you think that buying a home is right for you, it probably is. Make sure and follow these important tips and you'll know you made the right decision when you find your first home.
To find an agent in your area send an email to: realtyrae@yahoo.com or visit www.TampaBayDwellings.com/forBuyers

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Friday, January 12, 2007

Tampa Real Estate Investor Group

North Tampa Sub-Group of TBREIA: The North Tampa Real Estate Investors Association meets from 6:30 to 9 p.m. on the second, third, fourth and fifth Thursday each month at Bull Rings Restaurant and Bar, 1241 East Fowler Ave. Meetings include seminars and networking. Visitors and prospective members are welcome. Call (813) 238-8833.

To recive a list of homes in your area visit www.TampaBayDwellings.com
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Questions about future developments? Send us an email: realtyrae@yahoo.com

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Back impact fees, commissioner-from the St. Pete Times

I thought this was worth reading. I know it's not in our County but it really says it all about the state of mind people are in now.

Editor's note: The following letter is addressed to Commissioner Gary Bartell and is being printed at the author's request.

I consider you one of the good guys and have voted for you as long as I have lived in Citrus County. Now, I am asking once again that you and your fellow commissioners exercise some fortitude and implement the recommended impact fees that we paid a consultant a lot of money to advise you all.
I gather from the newspapers that you are vacillating and leaning toward phasing the fees in. I would submit to you and the others that phasing in has been happening for many years. The only phasing in I have seen is exorbitant tax bills on those of us who own property.
If you do not implement the fees fully, our real estate tax bills are going to soar due to the downturn in real estate sales and property values. It's bad now, but you "ain't seen nothing" until that happens.
Have you considered the negative impact that not raising the fees is doing to those of us who want to sell our property? When are you all going to protect the homeowners rather than developers? All you have to do is look at the projected figures for the future and realize that all Florida is going to grow tremendously regardless of your raising impact fees.
Those fees are amortized over 30 years and the interest is tax-deductible and likely will only be paid for the five years that most live in a home. I believe it comes to about a pack of cigarettes a day. I hope I won't have to quit smoking so I can pay my taxes. Commissioners Joyce Valentino and Vicki Phillips are on the right side and it's time for you to vote the way we believed you would.

Frank B. Hill, Homosassa

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