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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Is it a good time to buy a Waterfont Home in Tampa?

Waterfont home for sale in Tampa for great deal!
• River/Bay Access
• 2/2.5
• Bonus Office/Guest Room
• LRG 2-Car Garage
• Wood Floor
• Fireplace
• LRG Deck/Balcony
• Corner Lot
• Dock On River
• 7 Minutes From Downtown
• Near Lowry Park
6726 N River Shore Drive Tampa 33604List Price: $299,900

Seminole Heights/Lowry Park area home on the Hillsborough River with Tampa Bay access: Situated on a corner lot with river frontage and boat dock in place. Short sale call for details.

“Listing courtesy of Keller Williams Realty”

Looking for waterfront homes for sale in the Tampa Bay Area? Have a Real Estate question?
Feel free to email or call us 813-784-7744
Rae Catanese, PA and Michelle Jordan, PA

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Stonelake Ranch-Boating and Equestrian Community-Tampa, Fl

Tampa Lakefront Property on the Shores of Lake Thonotosassa. Over 10,000 feet of waterfront property lining the eastern shores of Lake Thonotosassa make the gated, master-planned Stonelake Ranch community a private, natural sanctuary.

From the wrap-around porches of the lakeside lodge to the beauty of the equestrian trails to the endless activities on and near the water, this Tampa lakefront community offers an abundance of varied amenities sure to please even the most discerning of tastes.

Here you will find the best in Tampa lakefront living, with lakefront and lakeview home sites, private docks and boatside access from the lakeside lodge. This wide open and wooded expanse of private countryside is worlds away from city life, yet located a mere 20 minutes east of metropolitan Tampa.

At this beautiful Tampa lakefront site you will find an expanse of open fields as well as diverse woodlands, all brought together by winding creeks. Oaks, magnolia, hickory, citrus and palm trees populate the dense forests while an island avian sanctuary provides refuge to native birdlife like ibis and spoonbills. For the boating or fishing enthusiast, the great Lake Thonotosassa is a secluded haven with very limited public access. There will be days that you will have the lake all to yourself. For those who prefer to enjoy their free time on land walking, jogging, biking or horse-riding.
Stonelake Ranch boasts 240 lush acres of common area and an extensive trail system that winds throughout the community. No matter where you roam on the pristine acreage of Stonelake Ranch there will be wide open spaces and awe inspiring views. And with only 160 home sites, spread over 685 acres, you are sure to always feel a sense of privacy and tranquility in this unique Tampa lakefront community surrounded by cool waters and endless sky.
Would you like more information on homes for sale at Stonelake Ranch?
Feel free to email or call us 813-784-7744
Rae Catanese, PA and Michelle Jordan, PA

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Prudential Tropical Realty

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Towers of Channelside-Bankruptcy Update-Tampa, Fl

Towers of Channelside announced in the Tampa MLS condo listings that "DEVELOPER EMERGES FROM CHAPTER 11 ON OCTOBER 1. CHECK OUT LATEST DISCOUNTED PRICES."

I emailed my friend Michael at the Tampa Bay Business Journal to see if he had heard of anything regarding the bankruptcy. He says "It's on the front page of our website today"! Ok, so I'm a Realtor, not a journalist, but I do try and get the scoop on the Tampa Real Estate Market!

Here's the latest good news for The Towers of Channelside

Towers of Channelside emerges from bankruptcy
Tampa Bay Business Journal - by Michael Hinman

It looks like at least one high-profile condominium project in the Channel District will have a fighting chance to weather the housing market bust.

The Towers of Channelside LLC emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Wednesday evening with a new plan to pay back creditors over a five-year period and, its principals believe, the momentum to sell the remaining 150 units of its twin 29-story towers.

“We’re officially out,” said Richard Sacchi, one of the development partners for the project that was completed last year only to find that many of the potential buyers that placed deposits for units were not closing.

It was a problem afflicting a number of condominium projects across the Tampa Bay area, and eventually forced Towers of Channelside to reorganize and seek protection from its creditors last January when Wachovia Bank threatened to default on its $105.8 million loan used for construction.

That started a string of bankruptcy and foreclosure problems along Channelside Drive that included Key Developers Group LLC, which will auction off The Place at Channelside Oct. 15; Tampa Condo 2 LLC filing for Chapter 11 protection in March after failing to build its 51-story The Tampa Tower 2; and last May when Ventana Tampa LLC decided to give its 84-unit complex on Kennedy Boulevard and Channelside Drive back to the bank in lieu of $16.8 million still owed to Mercantile Bank.

But Towers of Channelside can now remove the bankruptcy clouds that have hovered over the project for the last 10 months, Sacchi, said.
“We were just better situated than these other projects, and we were driven to try and make it work,” he said. “The easier thing would’ve been to walk away, but we wanted to make it work and try and get everybody paid back. We’ll continue to stay involved and continue to sell units.”
Chasing away the cloud

When Towers of Channelside filed for bankruptcy protection, developers had sold 89 units, and had eight more that were just about ready to close. Even with the project in bankruptcy court, Sacchi said Towers of Channelside closed 16 units since March, and he believes those numbers could rise now that buyers don’t have to be concerned about what the bank will do about the money developers owe.

“It hasn’t been an issue to the people who have come in to buy units, but maybe being in Chapter 11 and the threat of foreclosure didn’t bring buyers to the property,” Sacchi said. “Now that they know we won’t be going to foreclosure, maybe some of those who shied away will come back.”

The biggest issue facing buyers right now is the lack of funding for home purchases – especially condominiums – coming from banks. Developers can’t control that, but a five-year window to repay its debts will at least give the market time to readjust, Sacchi said.

Buyers also could likely see prices on units drop at much as 15 percent from original pre-construction prices because of the reorganization, and drop that Sacchi said couldn’t come at a more perfect time with the housing market trying to rebound.

Last year, before the bankruptcy filing, Towers of Channelside earned more than $47.4 million in gross revenue from the sale of units, and had a net income of $5.9 million mostly from deposits and interest in escrow accounts, according to court documents. However, 98 percent of that net income was paid to Wachovia, which left $58 million of the developers’ initial loan still due.

The development team included Sacchi, Bradley Hite and Michael McGuinness, each who received compensation of more than $210,000 between July 2005 and June 2007 for their services, legal filings show. In the court-approved bankruptcy plan, however, each of them will receive $72,600 over the next 18 months with incentive compensation capped at $2.1 million total.

see also:
The Place at Channelside in Tampa sells at Auction.....read story

Feel free to email or call us 813-784-7744 with any questions regarding The Towers of Channelside or any other condo developments.

Rae Catanese, PA and Michelle Jordan, PA

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Prudential Tropical Realty

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

SkyPoint or Element Condos? Looking to buy or rent?

For Sale- Skypoint Condos on Ashley Drive in Downtown Tampa are still for sale. Resales are now starting in the 150's, originally selling for 220's and up for the same size 1 bedroom unit. There are bank owned/foreclosures and short sales available, as well as developer units for sale.

Send me an email for a current list of SKYPOINT Condos for sale! realtyrae@yahoo.com

or phone 813 784 7744

This is the latest news on The Element and their decision to consider the rental market.

Tower opens up to renters

By James Thorner, Times Staff Writer Published Friday, September 19, 2008 9:09 PM

Developers of Element, the still-incomplete 35-story downtown Tampa condominium tower, are considering converting much of the building into apartments until the housing market improves.
A shortage of qualified buyers forced the hand of Novare-intown Tampa Development LLC, whose completion of the neighboring SkyPoint condo tower was among the few success stories in the imploding urban condo market.

Novare is considering renting out units, which range from 691 to 3,445 square feet, and using the income to help cover its debts until the sales climate improves in a couple of years.
Christine Burdick, head of the Tampa Downtown Partnership, said the move makes sense: Better a vibrant apartment building than a half-empty condo tower. The partnership has banked on new downtown dwellers to stoke the city's restaurant and arts scene. "There are a lot of people not eligible for mortgages and there's a lot more renters," Burdick said. "I think having people living downtown and contributing to its vibrancy is one of the objectives.

Lauded as a bold follow up to SkyPoint, Element broke ground in February 2007. Work has advanced to the point that Novare expects to remove its tower crane this month from the construction site on North Franklin Street. Though the building is nearly topped out, interior work will stretch to the spring.

Sales prices for the estimated 395 units range from about $220,000 to nearly $1-million. That's proved to be too rich in a condo market where foreclosures and bankruptcies are rife.

Three prominent condo tower bankruptcies within sight of Element are Trump Tower Tampa, The Place at Channelside and The Towers of Channelside.

Interested in purchasing a condo at SkyPoint in Downtown Tampa?
Feel free to email or call us 813-784-7744
Rae Catanese, PA and Michelle Jordan, PA

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Prudential Tropical Realty

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Tampa, Florida Economic Real Estate Report 2008

I've been receiving a lot of requests for the 2008 Tampa Bay Economic Report, which addresses the Real Estate Housing Market here in the Bay area. It also has data on new construction housing starts

If you would like to receive a copy of this 30 page in depth analysis just send us an email with your request. The file is in PDF format so I cannot post it to the site.As a Real Estate agent working with buyers; these are the trends I've seen over the last 3 months in the Tampa Bay area.

  • Buyers who are inquiring are investors that have money in REITS and realize that it makes good business sense to buy low.

  • Mother's are calling for their college kids; considering buying instead of renting.

  • People wanting to move to Florida, or purchase a second home to buy now and have for retirement.

  • Buyer's who need to relocate for their jobs.

Invest in that beach house you've always wanted. Beachfront and Waterfront Property is at an all time low in Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Indian Rocks Beach, and all the beaches within a 30-45 minute drive from the Tampa Airport.

We track where people are from through the site; so I can tell you most of the buyers are coming from New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio. Even International buyers from Shanghai. If that isn't proof that things are turning around I don't know what is.

Indicators like these are a very good sign that the bottom has bottomed out, and that now is the best time to buy a home. Yes, people type into Google "when is the best time to buy a home?"
Thinking about buying or selling real estate in the Tampa Bay Area?
Have a Real Estate question?
Feel free to email or call us 813-784-7744
Rae Catanese, PA and Michelle Jordan, PA

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Prudential Tropical Realty

Friday, August 01, 2008

Why People are still Moving to Florida- Tampa, Fl

Could the Tampa, St. Petersburg area still be one of the BEST places to buy a home and enjoy the sunshine? I say YES! Will the Real Estate Market come back to some sense of normalcy? As long as we still have our best attraction.....beauty!

The other day I was searching the internet and came across a blog site by Robert Payne. He travels all over the world, takes amazing photographs and documents his journeys. Robert just happens to live in Tampa, Fl.

As I was searching his website, I noticed beautiful nature pictures of our wonderful Tampa Bay area. It reminded me that although the Florida Real Estate market is the worst it's been since the early 1990's, people still want to live here, and people are still relocating to Florida.

Sometimes we forget just how amazing our landscapes are, just how lucky we are to say "I feel like going to the beach today" and doing it! That is what living in Florida is all about. Not shoveling snow or having to carry layers of clothes, jackets and shoes. You may want to invest in a good umbrella though!

Robert gave me permission to post some of his photos to The Tampa Real Estate Insider. Not only is his site a wonderful resource but he's a nice guy too!

One of his posts pertains to Canoeing and Sea Kayaking. If you are an outdoors adventurer then you'll enjoy reading about his trips to Weedon Island Preserve, Hillsborough River and Fort de Soto Park.

Here's Robert's posting:
In the time I have been in the Tampa, Florida area I have managed to discover quite a few nice places to explore in a sea kayak. Many of them are within an hours drive of downtown Tampa and can easily be accomplished in a day or less. Choose from brackish rivers, saltwater estuaries and white-sand beaches; it is all up to you as to what you want to experience. ......read full story

Thinking about relocating to the Tampa Bay Area? Have a Real Estate question?
Feel free to email or call us 813-784-7744
Rae Catanese, PA and Michelle Jordan, PA

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Prudential Tropical Realty

Monday, July 28, 2008

Tampa Bay Area Voted in top 10 Cleanest Cities-Forbes Magazine

Ybor City-Tampa, Fl

Forbes Magazine recently released a report on America’s cleanest cities. The Tampa-St. Petersburg area ranked 8th in the top 10. The study was not based on just trash removal, but environmental aspects. The story written about the report noted specifically Partnership member company Tampa Electric Company “for going beyond federal and state requirements on emission reductions.” Way to go!

Want to live where the air is sweet, the water is pure and the streets are clean? Try the country. But what if you don't like the sticks? Then try Florida.

Led by Miami, the Sunshine State dominates our 2008 list of America's Cleanest Cities with four metro areas in the top 10--Jacksonville (No. 3), Orlando (No. 4) and Tampa-St. Petersburg (No. 8) all make appearances. Clearly, a state that relies so heavily on tourism and part-time snow-bird residents knows the value of keeping itself spruced up for company.

read full story
See Also:

What to know about relocating to the Tampa Bay Area

Thinking about buying or selling real estate in the Tampa Bay Area? Have a Real Estate question?
Feel free to email or call us 813-784-7744
Rae Catanese, PA and Michelle Jordan, PA

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Prudential Tropical Realty

Friday, July 25, 2008

Hyde Park Historical Neighborhood-Tampa, Fl

Hyde Park, Tampa, Florida
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Hyde Park is a historic neighborhood and district located within the city limits of Tampa. The ZIP code for the district is 33606.

Hyde Park is located near the University of Tampa and close to Tampa's business and cultural arts district. Roughly, the boundaries of the neighborhood include the Hillsborough Bay to the east, Kennedy Blvd to the north, historic and picturesque Bayshore Boulevard to the south, and Armenia Avenue to the west. Major thoroughfares within the historical district include Kennedy Boulevard, Bayshore Boulevard, Lee Roy Selmon Crosstown Expressway (Florida State Route 618), Howard Avenue, and Swann Avenue

Areas in Hyde Park
There are subareas within Hyde Park. These include Hyde Park Village, a unique shopping district located along Swann and Rome Avenues, and encompasses several city blocks. SoHo, a small sublet that runs though South Howard Avenue; and Bayshore, an area around Bayshore Boulevard.

If Hyde Park were its own independent city, its downtown area would most likely be centered around Hyde Park Village, a unique shopping mall located on Inman and Swann Avenues, and encompasses three city blocks. As opposed to the stuffy covered shopping malls common in the Tampa Bay area, the shopping center in Hyde Park is open and airy, with greenery and fountains everywhere and unique shopping discoveries around every corner.

see also: Best Neighborhoods in Tampa
Tampa Heights

Thinking about buying or selling a home in the Tampa Bay Area? Have a Real Estate question?
Feel free to email or call us 813-784-7744
Rae Catanese, PA and Michelle Jordan, PA

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Prudential Tropical Realty

Housing Bill Set to Become Law - How will this effect you?

Ballast Point- Tampa, Fl

This is the best news article I found that outlines the details of the new Housing Bill and what it will mean to first time home buyers, as well as, homeowners facing possible foreclosure. Our Tampa Real Estate market will see a huge impact from this new law, as many people have been faced with foreclosure.

Also, note that the tax credit for first time homebuyers is retroactive and will continue to be in effect for another year! Another reason to start your home search in the Tampa Bay area now!

Understanding The Housing Bill

NPR.org, July 25, 2008 ·
The Senate is expected to clear a sweeping housing bill Saturday and send it to the president for his signature. The legislation would address the home-foreclosure crisis and shore up the government-sponsored mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The House passed the bill Wednesday by a vote of 272-152.

A look at what the bill would do:
— Give the Treasury Department the power to extend Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac an unspecified line of credit and to buy their stock, if necessary, to prop up the mortgage companies. The two companies back or own $5 trillion in U.S. mortgages — nearly half the nation's total.

— Allow qualified homeowners facing foreclosure to apply for lower fixed-rate, 30-year mortgages backed by loan guarantees from the Federal Housing Administration. The original lenders would have to agree to take a loss on their loans.

— Create an independent regulator to oversee Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The regulator could establish minimum capital requirements for the two companies and limits on their portfolios. It would also have approval power over the pay packages of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac executives.

— Provide $3.9 billion in grants to communities with the highest foreclosure rates to buy foreclosed and abandoned properties.

— Give about $15 billion in housing tax breaks, including a credit of up to $7,500 for first-time homebuyers who bought homes between April 9, 2008, and July 1, 2009.

— Increase the cap to $625,500 on the loans Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac can buy in certain high-priced areas, and a cap in other areas of up to 15 percent above the median home price.

— Count any federal infusion for the mortgage giants under the debt limit, essentially capping how much the government could spend to stabilize the companies without further approval from Congress. As of Tuesday, the national debt that counts toward the limit stood at about $9.5 trillion, roughly $360 billion below the statutory ceiling.

Before this formally goes into effect, NOW is the time to take advantage of existing home buying assistance programs that may be going away.

Two proposed changes are:
1. All government-sponsored zero-down-payment assistance programs would be eliminated as of October 1, 2008. To be eligible for these programs, all home loans would need to be approved by September 30, 2008.
2. The minimum down payment for Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans, the largest purchaser of mortgages in the United States, would increase from 3 percent to 3.5 percent.

Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Thinking about buying or selling real estate in the Tampa Bay Area?
Have a Real Estate question?
Feel free to email or call us 813-784-7744
Rae Catanese, PA and Michelle Jordan, PA

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Why Bank Owned is Better than a Short Sale if you need to close quick-Tampa, Fl

The past 3 weeks have been like a flood gate opening in the Tampa real estate market. I've seen more activity from interested buyers than I've seen in the past 3 years. Everyone is recognizing that now is a great time to buy.

I've been working with a buyer who is being transferred with the military and instead of renting he's taking advantage of our great deals.

We looked all day in Wesley Chapel, Fl. Previewed about 10 homes total. Every single home was either a short sale, foreclosure or bank owned property. I didn't look for properties that were in distress, however, every single home we saw was listed for less than what the seller paid.

At the end of the day my client decided to put in an offer on a 3/2 home in the Meadow Pointe Subdivision. The home is around 1,700 sf, has granite in the kitchen, nice wood cabinets a deep stainless steel sink, fireplace, outdoor grill area with a built in bar, pre-wired surround sound and yes a pool. The home sold for 189K back on 2004. It's now listed for 169K. A similar home in the same subdivision could have sold for around 250K in 2006.

Since they buyer needs to close quickly, having a home that's already owned by the bank turned out to be a better option. We submitted our offer and within 2 days the bank countered and my client accepted. We are still hearing it may take up to 5 weeks to close however. If you need to move quickly, a bank owned property will be your best bet. It's better than having to wait 45 days to hear back from the bank on a short sale to find out they didn't except your offer.

Thinking about buying or selling real estate in the Tampa Bay Area? Have a Real Estate question?
Feel free to email or call us 813-784-7744
Rae Catanese and Michelle Jordan


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Prudential Tropical Realty

Thursday, July 17, 2008

First Time Home Buyer Down Payment Assistance-Tampa,Fl

Down Payment Assistance could mean buying a home with no money down. One of the biggest struggles with first time home buyers is coming up with the down payment and closing costs associated with buying a home.
The AmeriDream Downpayment Assistance Program was created to overcome the greatest barrier to homeownership, the downpayment. The program provides an opportunity for qualified low to moderate income individuals and families to purchase affordable homes by receiving money for the downpayment on a home.

Homebuyers never have to repay the gift from AmeriDream. The program has helped over 250,000 qualified homebuyers become homeowners. AmeriDream is recognized as the most trusted and valued name in gift assistance.

Thousands of homebuyers a month purchase their own homes using The AmeriDream Downpayment Gift Program, which provides down payment assistance of up to 10 percent of the home's price.

How It Works
  1. Contact a qualified real estate professional and qualified mortgage professional in your area if you are not already working with one.

  2. Contact a lender and get a pre-approval letter for a loan that accepts gifts from AmeriDream.

  3. Choose a real estate professional and begin your home search

  4. Find the home you’d like to purchase

  5. Make an offer on the home

Once the contract is ratified, your lender will submit a gift application on your behalf to AmeriDream. The Homebuyer will receive a notice of gift approval from AmeriDream.

Lenders and real estate professionals will explain the home buying process to buyers, as well as the AmeriDream’s Downpayment Gift Program.

Buyers will need to be qualified for a loan that accepts gift funds, such as an FHA or conventional loan. Interested homebuyers should contact a lender or a real estate professional to begin the down payment assistance process.

Take advantage of the Tampa Real Estate Market! Now is the time to buy a home. Learn how you too can become a homeowner through the AmeriDream Downpayment Gift Program.

Feel free to email or call us 813-784-7744
Rae Catanese and Michelle Jordan


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Monday, July 14, 2008

JUNE MLS Statistics-Tampa Real Estate Market

June statistics are in for the Tampa Real Estate Market






Thinking about buying or selling real estate in the Tampa Bay Area? Have a Real Estate question?
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Rae Catanese and Michelle Jordan Realtors.

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Relocating? Consider three things when moving to Tampa Bay

Determining the most desirable neighborhoods means considering three things..........
Convenience, Location and Price

What is most important to you? Pick one of the three and narrow your search from there.

Convenience: I recently began working with a couple who has rented for the past five years in the Feather Sound area of St. Petersburg, but have realized that there is no better time to buy a condominium in the Tampa/St. Pete area than now. They are getting ready to retire which means the maintenance of a home is something they want to avoid. Isn't that what retirement is all about?

These neighborhoods are located in a very convenient locations. They provide easy access to Tampa, St. Pete and major highways. Shopping and restaurants are all within a couple miles. For people who work at Raymond James Headquarters in St. Pete, or Franklin Templeton, the Feather Sound Community is an ideal location! Feather Sound is also 10 minutes to Tampa Int'l Airport and the Westshore Plaza Shopping mall.

Price: Although there are many great deals for all types of buyers today; buyer's who have the best chance of getting a great deal are able to pay cash and close quickly. My clients are in the driver's seat because they can do both! In this tight seller's market with almost a 2 year supply of housing inventory on the market Cash IS King! Every property on the market is negotiable; so ask for comparable properties sold with in the past year. Offer less and negotiate, negotiate....you are in the driver's seat.

As an experienced realtor who believes in showing properties matched to the buyers' needs, I was able to show them several properties in the Audubon Condominiums in Feather Sound and have located several more condos for them to preview as well in Clearwater.

Sunshine Skyway Bridge, Tampa Bay

If you are relocating to the Tampa, St. Pete or Clearwater areas and need advice on the best places to live, give me a call.

See also: Feather Sound Community-Clearwater, FL Golf Course, Grocery Stores, and more

Search MLS for homes for sale in Feathersound. See map of area, save favorites, findout what homes are selling for and more...Prudential Tropical Realty

Thinking about buying or selling real estate in the Tampa Bay Area? Have a Real Estate question?
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Rae Catanese and Michelle Jordan
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Thursday, July 03, 2008

Prudential Listings Now Display on Nine Real Estate and Search Sites

When deciding who to use as a listing agent or firm, you'll want to have the most internet presence possible to get your home sold quickly. We are very excited to now have these additional listing tools available for our clients.


Affiliate Listings Now Display on Nine Real Estate and Search Sites

TAMPA BAY (July 1, 2008) – Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc., has begun flowing at least 140,000 for-sale property listings to Internet hot spots Cyberhomes.com, Google BaseTM and Oodle. The move positions Prudential Real Estate affiliates’ listings in front of the growing ranks of consumers who shop online for real estate and related services and information.

“Prudential is sending its affiliate listings to Cyberhomes, Google Base and Oodle for a couple of simple reasons,” explains Dewey Mitchell, President, Prudential Tropical Realty. “The sites are very popular among consumers, and each offers a rich search experience with a lot of useful information. Our listings as well as our services and resources are now readily available to the millions of consumers who frequent these great Internet sites.”

Prudential Real Estate teamed with Cyberhomes earlier this month to offer “Value Range Estimates” and “Property Profiles”, free consumer services now available on Prudential.com/realestate. Through Cyberhomes, Prudential Real Estate listings also will appear on AOL.com.

Moreover, Prudential Real Estate’s marketing plans include display and banner advertising on Cyberhomes and Oodle.

“Our mission is to drive significant consumer traffic to our listings,” states Mitchell. “Aligning with Cyberhomes, Google Base and Oodle will help us get that job done.”

Online listings include property descriptions, photos and company/listing agent contact information. In addition to Cyberhomes, Google Base and Oodle, Prudential Tropical Realty listings also appear on Frontdoor.com, PropSmart.com, Trulia.com, Yahoo! Real Estate and Zillow.com. They are also featured as part of its “Company Showcase” on Realtor.com.

Cyberhomes valuations provide access to most of the same information from Fidelity National Information Services, the leader in property information, services and technology for REALTORS®, appraisers and lenders, to created detailed, proprietary analysis of a property and the surrounding community. Cyberhomes enables the exploration of real estate data ranging from property facts, value estimates and a variety of important indicators of local and national changes in the housing market.

Google Base enables structured data such as real estate listings to better surface on the Google search engine improving the quality of search results. Real estate listings from Google Base are available on Google MapsTM. Google, Google Base and Google Maps are trademarks of Google Inc.

Oodle allows consumers to buy and sell through online classifieds. Bringing together more than 40 million listings from over 80,000 sites, Oodle improves the way people buy and sell locally. Oodle offers the most comprehensive search, convenient email alerts and information to empower consumers to make better buying decisions.

Thinking about buying or selling real estate in the Tampa Bay Area? Have a Real Estate question?
Feel free to email or call us 813-784-7744
Rae Catanese and Michelle Jordan Realtors.

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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Taps Wine and Beer Merchants opens in SKYPOINT Condo Building

By: Gary Shepherd For James DeVito, owner of newly opened Taps Wine and Beer Merchants in the SkyPoint condo building, the future is now.

Sure, downtown Tampa’s business climate may still be on the upswing, with the best days ahead. But, says DeVito, business has been fabulous since he opened on June 6, and he couldn’t be happier about how things are going.

“Our timing is good, and business is astonishingly good. We have to chase people out every night at closing,” says DeVito, a former Wall Street employee of Deutsche Bank. “Tampa really needed something like this. That’s what I hear all the time.”

His customers include a pre-theater crowd, visitors from Hyde Park and other local communities, as well as downtown workers and residents. “We definitely have a big happy hour crowd just about every day.”

And DeVito expects business to get even better – he just held his grand opening in late June, and he is just now opening up a Web site and doing other marketing.

The concept is unique: Half of the 1,850-square-foot business is devoted to beer, with about 25 beers on tap and another 275 sold by the bottle. As for wine, nearly 60 wines are on tap and about 100 are available by the bottle.

Taps uses “variety and technology as entertainment. The goal is to encourage our guests to experience our diverse collection of beer and wine,” said DeVito. More expensive wines are sold by the ounce or other small portions, so that customers can try exotic labels inexpensively if they wish to. Customers can by a swipe card that tracks purchases.

DeVito, who says opening Taps is a $500,000 gamble, says business has been great both for lunch and during the evenings. Taps, located in SkyPoint’s ground floor, seats about 130, and there is plenty of seating outside facing Ashley Street.

Taps menu includes sandwiches and salads at lunch, and tapas-style plates of food – cheeses, cured meats, fruits and breads.

Thinking about buying or selling real estate in the Tampa Bay Area? Have a Real Estate question?
Feel free to email or call us 813-784-7744
Rae Catanese and Michelle Jordan Realtors.

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Monday, June 30, 2008

More Good News for buyers-Tampa Real Estate Market Update

Earlier this year Dave Ramsey, financial author and Radio Talk Show host, was on CNN Larry King Live touting what a great buy Tampa Bay housing is right now. He was on The CBS Morning Show this week again commenting on the real estate market from Nashville Tenn. He said “There is no longer a national real estate market. We are made up of local real estate markets which may be completely different.” He further said, "If I was in Tampa, Florida and I am a buyer this is a great time to buy!”

Thinking about buying or selling real estate in the Tampa Bay Area? Have a Real Estate question?
Feel free to email or call us 813-784-7744
Rae Catanese and Michelle Jordan Realtors.

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Saturday, June 28, 2008

How Many Foreclosures? How Many Homes on the Market? Tampa, Fl

How's the Real Estate Market in Tampa, Fl? That's a question I am often asked by clients looking to relocate to our wonderful Bay area. The facts are revealed in this article that was published in The Tampa Tribune. It is hard to believe that The Tampa Bay area is number two in the nation for foreclosures. Yes, now is the time to buy!

Where Business Is Booming
The region's real estate market has been among the hardest-hit in the nation. The Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater area had 4,773 foreclosure filings in May alone, or one in every 271 households. That was up 15 percent from April and 29 percent from the same month last year. Nationally, the foreclosure rate is one in 483 households.

Along with the construction of homes, the foreclosure spike is contributing to a housing glut that has depressed prices. The median sales price in the area was $176,100 in May, down 16 percent from $209,300 a year earlier.

The Greater Tampa Association of Realtors says there is a 15-month inventory of homes on the market in this area, compared with one to two months in 2004-05. One key to a housing turnaround would involve removing a big chunk of the 19,800 listings on the local market.

Economists report that new housing starts are down, which can bring alarming headlines but is good news for the bloated Bay area market. A reduction in the number of foreclosed homes on the market would also provide a shot in the arm.

Thinking about buying or selling real estate in the Tampa Bay Area? Have a Real Estate question?
Feel free to email or call us 813-784-7744
Rae Catanese and Michelle Jordan Realtors.

Search MLS
Prudential Tropical Realty

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

What makes a neighborhood desirable? Tampa, Fl

Picture a walkable neighborhood. You lose weight each time you walk to the grocery store. You stumble home from last call without waiting for a cab. You spend less money on your car—or you don't own a car. When you shop, you support your local economy. You talk to your neighbors.

What is Walk Score? We help people find houses and apartments in walkable neighborhoods. Walk Score shows you a map of what's nearby and calculates a Walk Score for any property. Living in a walkable neighborhood is good for the environment and good for your health.

What makes a neighborhood walkable?
Walkable communities tend to have the following characteristics:

A center: Walkable neighborhoods have a discernible center, whether it's a shopping district, a main street, or a public space.

Density: The neighborhood is dense enough for local businesses to flourish and for public transportation to be cost effective.

Mixed income, mixed use: Housing is provided for everyone who works in the neighborhood: young and old, singles and families, rich and poor. Businesses and residences are located near each other.

Parks and public space: There are plenty of public places to gather and play.

Accessibility: The neighborhood is accessible to everyone and has wheelchair access, plenty of benches with shade, sidewalks on all streets, etc.

Well connected, speed controlled streets: Streets form a connected grid that improves traffic by providing many routes to any destination. Streets are narrow to control speed, and shaded by trees to protect pedestrians.

Pedestrian-centric design: Buildings are placed close to the street to cater to foot traffic, with parking lots relegated to the back.

Close schools and workplaces: Schools and workplaces are close enough that most residents can walk from their homes.

You can go to the Walk Score site directly to find out information about any neighborhood. Just type in an address and go.

Hyde Park Village-Tampa, Fl

Some of our neighborhoods in Tampa that are popular and have these characteristics are:

To receive a list of homes, condos or townhomes for sale in these popular neighborhoods you may search MLS listings here,
or send us an email with your request.

Feel free to email or call us 813-784-7744
Rae Catanese and Michelle Jordan

Monday, June 23, 2008

Tampa Florida's Best Neighborhoods

It seems that everyone wants to know how to find the best neighborhood in the Tampa Bay area.
The website for the City of Tampa has many useful resources, which I've provided a list below.
Keep in mind this is only for the actual City Limits of Tampa.
I will be posting a similar report on Hillsborough County
which will include areas like
Westchase, and Citrus Park.

Here's a link I posted a while back on The BEST neighborhoods in Tampa so feel free to check it out.

Recently, I went back to the website for The City of Tampa and did some searching around. You really need to navigate the site because there is so much information.

For instance, the following information was listed under city "characteristics".

Not a link I would normally click on to find out where the schools and libraries are.

Hope this will help you find your perfect neighborhood.

Lawn Watering Days
Places of Interest
Public Libraries
Public Schools
Street Cleaning

Thinking about buying or selling real estate in the Tampa Bay Area?

Have a Real Estate question?
Feel free to email or call us 813-784-7744
Rae Catanese and Michelle Jordan

Search MLS
Prudential Tropical Realty

Monday, June 16, 2008

How to sell your home faster-Tampa, Fl

I found an article from one of our Real Estate Industry magazines we receive. It instantly reminded me of a listing appointment we went on last week in the Westchase area.

This was of course before I read this article. The concept and buyer's mindset was our top conversation.

The sellers want to move to a different city and they orginally had their home on the market last year for about 10 months. They've decided to give the buyer's market another shot using the techniques listed below.

Realty Times Article
June 13, 2008

Sell Faster When You Understand The Buyers Mindset

by Phoebe Chongchua

When most sellers list their home for sale the first thing they think about is how much will I get and that is usually followed by how soon will I get the money. It's certainly understandable that those two concerns are, most often, top of mind. After all, you're likely selling your home to buy another one or invest the money in something else.

But, if as a seller, you can get into the buyer's mindset, the sale of your home can come faster and for more money. Understanding the way buyers think involves seeing things not from your perspective but from your potential buyer's mindset. It can sound easy but actually it's often harder to do than most sellers think. The psychology of buying is driven by emotional experiences, money, and timing. With that in mind, sellers can help create optimal circumstances that literally help walk the buyer through the process and completion of the sale of your home.

It starts with a feeling. When you meet someone for the first time, you form a first impression based on a feeling. That's exactly what happens when buyers set foot into your home. Work with an experienced agent to learn exactly what kind of impression your home is giving off. If it's a small home, make sure it's not overfilled and cluttered.

"Pick up all the loose clutter that's floating around. Throw out old magazines. People like to see things that are streamlined or clean or fresh looking. There's nothing worse than walking into a place and seeing a stack of magazines all over the place or an unmade bed," says Benny Landman, Realtor, Coldwell Banker Del Mar.

Go the extra step and take care of items that might have been overlooked for quite some time. "Steam clean the carpets, the upholstery, the furniture, if that's what's needed. Have the windows cleaned, light fixtures cleaned. Make it feel clean when you walk in," says Landman.
Go back to basics. You may love your turquoise carpet but do you really think buyers will? Getting inside the buyers mind will help you answer these questions. You can also pick up home d├ęcor magazines and see what appeals to the masses. You don't have to change everything in your home, but going back to basics in a few areas will help buyers see how your home can become their home.

"As soon as buyers see a really loud red, orange or lemon-green color they automatically think about re-doing," says Landman. That, of course, means the buyers are already beginning to calculate the amount of money they need to take off of the sale price in order to get the home in the condition they would like it.

If instead you stick with neutral colors such as painting the walls off-white, light beige or Navajo white, you have a better chance in preserving the sale price.

Repair anything that looks torn, worn or broken If you walked into a retail store and saw a garment that you liked but it was torn or missing buttons, chances are you'd search for another one or ask for a discount if that were the only one of its kind.

That's what buyers will do with your home when they spot torn screens, garage doors that don't open, or broken light fixtures that are hanging out of the wall. Buyers, if at first they don't get completely turned off and walk away from the sale, will first begin to think that there is more damage to the home than what they're able to see and then they start to calculate the cost of repairing those damages. But Landman says buyers often exaggerate the amount of money needed to fix the repairs.

"I know in today's market people are looking desperately to find out what's wrong with a home so that they can lower the price," says Landman. "I just did a deal last week in Solana Beach and the house was in really bad repair. It had been lived in by the same person for 30-years without anything done. The buyers came back toward the end of the transaction and said they wanted $100,000 off because they didn't know what was going on behind the walls and they could see there was mold, cracked slab, and deferred maintenance," explains Landman.

The buyers were afraid that when they opened up the walls there would be even more repairs needed. That's how they justified their significant deduction in the price.
In this case, Landman, says "The sellers gave it to them but that's a real exception to the rule." He adds, however, that if sellers don't take the time to fix up their homes before putting them on the market, then sellers can expect to see offers anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000 lower than the asking price just because of cosmetic issues.

"In the buyers' minds, they come up with some kind of incredible price to fix repairs. In their mind, they go way overboard and eventually it affects the bottom line price for the seller," says Landman.

Tell your neighbors when you list your home for sale "The other thing that most people don't do, and it's a big one, is notify the neighbors that the home is going to be put on the market. There's a high percentage of friends, relatives, and neighbors who buy in the same area," explains Landman.

Don't miss an opportunity to get the word out about your home being listed for sale. It only makes sense to let your neighbors know. Landman says by doing this your neighbors can sometimes become great facilitators and supporters of the sale.

"The other thing is that if you notify the neighbors, if they do run into people who are thinking about buying your home, they're going to say you're a nice person because you're not trying to hide anything. You're trying to get a sale but you're also letting the neighbors know that you are for sale," says Landman.

Stage your home before you put it on the market "If it's vacant stage it. If you're going to do this, you might as well do 100 percent instead of 90 percent," says Landman.
Landman says furnish the entire home even down to placing flowers in rooms to create a warm and cozy environment.

Most people are visual buyers. If the home doesn't look clean, spotless, and repaired then the buyer thinks what's behind the walls, how much more money do I have to put into this home," says Landman.

Remember understanding the psychology of the buyer's mindset can help you sell faster and for the price you really want.

Thinking about buying or selling real estate in the Tampa Bay Area? Have a Real Estate question?
Feel free to email or call us 813-784-7744
Rae Catanese and Michelle Jordan Realtors.

Search MLS
Prudential Tropical Realty

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Channel District Condo Developer To Turn Units Over To Bank

The Place at Channelside in Tampa sells at Auction.....read story
It's been a long road for those who have purchased condos in Channelside. Since we have been posting articles relating to downtown Tampa; I thought everyone would want to hear what's happening in the Channelside District.

Keep in mind that Downtown Tampa is a different market even though they are very close in proximity. If you haven't read the report on growth and statistics for Downtown Tampa you
may read it here.

Channel District Condo Developer To Turn Units Over To Bank
By SHANNON BEHNKEN The Tampa Tribune
Published: June 3, 2008

TAMPA - Facing foreclosure, the developers of the Ventana condominiums in the Channel District have agreed to hand the keys to the project's lender and walk way, according to documents filed in Hillsborough County Circuit Court.

Ventana, completed early last year, has 85 units, but the developer has sold only 41 units, county property records show. None of the six retail condominiums have sold.

Ventana Tampa LLC, a company run by local developer Bill Ware, agreed to turn the building over to Mercantile Bank, according to a partial mortgage release filed in county court May 28. Ventana is located on Kennedy Boulevard at the corner of Channelside Drive.

Court records show that Mercantile loaned the developer $31.8 million to build the condominium. The lender filed a notice to foreclose in March.
Ware did not return a call for comment today.

The developer of Ventana sold 38 units in 2007 for a median sales price of $455,000, and three units in 2008 for a median price of $480,000, county records show.

Ventana is not the only Tampa condominium that is struggling. Three others in the Channel District have filed for bankruptcy reorganization this year. They include:
Towers of Channelside LLC, the builder of Towers of Channelside, filed for bankruptcy protection in January after Wachovia cut off the company's credit.

Key Developers, the developers of The Place at Channelside, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March.

Tampa Condo 2 LLC, the developers of the proposed 472-unit Tampa Condo II, filed to reorganize under bankruptcy in March. The company is a subsidiary of Daytona Beach-based Amon Investments LLC.

The developers of these projects have something else in common: weak sales. The developers have said buyers signed contracts to purchase before the buildings were constructed but some didn't follow through after the real estate market softened.

For questions about investment opportunities for bankrupt developments
in Tampa and Channelside
please contact
Rae Catanese at 813-784-7744

Find this article at: http://www2.tbo.com/content/2008/jun/03/channel-district-condo-developer-turn-units-over-b/

See also
Downtown Tampa Condos and Lofts for sale

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Shaping and Growth of Tampa's Downtown Real Estate

While researching downtown’s independent businesses for this issue’s “Heights Highlight,” the New Heights staff was introduced to Ellen Brown, co-owner of the Old Tampa Book Company and respected, vocal member of the Tampa Independent Business Alliance (TIBA). Since one of our goals is to encourage community participation in the magazine, we asked Ellen to personally share her thoughts with our 20,000 readers from an insider’s perspective. – Jay McGee, editor

What do you get when you mix new high-rise condos with historic urban housing; then line the streets with one-of-a-kind boutiques, shops, galleries and restaurants? For some cities, like Austin, Tex., Chattanooga, Tenn. and Charleston, S.C., it’s a successful formula for revitalizing a once dilapidated downtown district into a location visited and enjoyed by residents and tourists from near and far.

It’s also a formula that appears in Tampa’s 2005 Vision & Action Plan, which was sponsored by the city and the Tampa Downtown Partnership ((TDP) an organization created by the city to promote downtown revitalization). This sits fine with me, but my concern lies in the methodology being used to implement the plan and the types of businesses it will attract.

Many city officials shaping downtown share a philosophy that “retail will follow roofs” and that only minimal government participation is required. To that end, their focus has been to encourage developers to build condos.

But now that SkyPoint Condos has been built (and occupied) and the Element is in its construction phase, what kind of retail businesses will follow? More to the point, what kind of businesses do we want to follow?

Let’s not pretend there isn’t a difference between ubiquitous national chains and unique, independent stores. There are plenty, but perhaps the most prominent is the latter’s commitment to the community over the stockholder.

According to the Washington Post, an increase in independently-owned local businesses would boost downtown Tampa’s economy. There is a more personal reason for this than potential tax revenue or income streams from built, bought or leased commercial space. Because independents invest their own time, money and emotion into the city to grow their business, they are more likely than national chains to spend their money to support other local businesses, charities and community institutions.

See also:
Downtown Tampa Residential Growth Study
New Heights Magazine-Downtown Urban Corridor

Thinking about buying or selling real estate in the Downtown Tampa area?
Have a Real Estate question?
Feel free to
email or call us 813-784-7744
Rae Catanese and Michelle Jordan

Search MLS
Prudential Tropical Realty

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Real Estate News-Downtown Tampa Building Renovations

Downtown Tampa building undergoes renovations
Tampa Bay Business Journal

Renovations to 511 N. Franklin St. should be completed by this fall, adding to the rejuvenation of north downtown Tampa.The building's bottom floor will house a sports bar and restaurant with the top two floors and penthouse leased as office space. Details on the restaurant's name and opening date aren't yet available, said Levin Investment Realty Corp.'s Raquel Coryer.

The building will feature smart technology, electronic key access, intercoms and an art-filled gallery. Its 2,000-square-foot penthouse space features exposed brick walls and long windows with sunset views of the University of Tampa's minarets."With this part of town transforming, the improvements being made will blend with the city's plans to bring this area to life as a new destination for business and dining,"

Levin Investment Realty principal Jane Levin said in a statement.Levin Investment Realty, a Tampa commercial real estate firm, focuses on investment properties that include the sale of office, restaurant and retail buildings.

see also:
skypoint condos for sale (1)
Downtown Tampa Condos and Lofts (8)

Thinking about buying or selling real estate in the Tampa Bay Area? Have a Real Estate question?
Feel free to
email or call us 813-784-7744
Rae Catanese and Michelle Jordan

Search MLS
Prudential Tropical Realty

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Wilderness Lake Preserve Homes for Sale-Land O Lakes, Fl

For more information about this home for sale contact us at 813-784-7744 or email

Wilderness Lake Preserve, is a 680 acre master-planned community surrounding a crystal-clear spring-fed lake. It features a Rustic Lodge style clubhouse, Activities Center, Nature Center, a Swimming Hole and a Bath House & Spa. What more could a homeowner want?

While some are still waiting to see what happens with the market, there are still people who are looking for a place to live. Now may be the best time to purchase but you'll want to know all your options. Don't limit yourself to the builders inventory. Some communities don't allow "for sale" signs so you'll want to contact a Realtor that can show you what is available for resale.

Advantages for homebuyers are the selection of resale homes for sale. Since most of the premium lots with views and conservation tend to sell at the beginning stages of the sales process, you may find just what you are looking for in a resale property.

Another advantage is the convenience factor. There is something to be said for the whole process of building and having contractors coming and going for months after closing fixing those last punch out items. It's like getting a new home without the hassle and inconvenience.

The prices on resale homes are also competitive since the contract price was most likely set a year or more before the completion of the home.

Rae Catanese-Shatto, a Realtor who specializes in new construction, can be reached at Prudential Tropical Realty- 813-784-7744 or send an email to: realtyrae@yahoo.com

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Monday, May 19, 2008

2008 Economic Report-Tampa Real Estate Housing Market

Dr. Lawrence Yun, NAR Chief Economist gave a speech last week at the Greater Tampa Association of Realtors in Tampa. Myself, along with 200 other Real Estate agents attended the informative lecture.

His main focus was to let Realtors know to inform clients that our Tampa Real Estate Market is NOT the same as the National Market. National figures and statistics are much different. He emphasized the importance of buyers and sellers to contact an agent who can provide detailed information for specific neighborhoods, and to compare sold, list pricing and days on market on each community.

For instance, a home located in the Hyde Park area may not be the same as a home in Westchase, or Seminole Heights for many different reasons. We factor in Days on Market, How much inventory is available and what homes are actually selling for. You've heard the saying "location is everything"?

When you are starting your search, a Realtor can be an invaluable asset in being able to differentiate what the best price to list your home for based on these numbers. The same applies to purchasing.

I personally have seen an increase in buyer activity over the last 6 months. Dr. Lawrence Yun confirmed this by projecting the 2nd half of this year to see a decrease in inventory and an increase in buyers who have been "sitting on the fence" to move forward in making their home buying decisions.

Yun also stated that FL, AZ, NV & CA saw the biggest boom and are now experiencing the largest decline. This is why we are one of the Best Places to Buy Real Estate! The bottom is here.

The media met with him afterwards. FAR Early Bird picked up the Tribune article CLICK HERE and the Times article is HERE When meeting with the media, Dr. Yun said that 20% appreciation would be conservative in the next five years in Tampa Bay and should actually be significantly higher...another reason to buy now on the low side. He also said that Tampa, like San Francisco, would be a “superstar city”. He went on to say this is an anomaly that economists can’t explain, but being surrounded by water was part of the drawing power. This corresponds to what I heard Dave Ramsey say on CNN’s Larry King Live...that “people buying real estate now in Tampa Bay would look like geniuses five years from now”.

To recieve the Tampa Economic Report, send us an email with a request.

Thinking about buying or selling real estate in the Tampa Bay Area? Have a Real Estate question?
Feel free to
email or call us 813-784-7744
Rae Catanese and Michelle Jordan

Search MLS
Prudential Tropical Realty

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Downtown Tampa Housing Study shows signs of growth

Studies and Reviews

Last week’s release of the first-ever Downtown Tampa Study showed some interesting results. Here are some of the key findings:

Downtown workers and residents are heavily engaged with the downtown cultural and entertainment community. Many have annual memberships to the facilities and attend events at these facilities on a regular basis.

Of the 60,000 downtown workers, 12.5% have a strong interest in living downtown. This translates to close to 6,000 potential new residents. Currently, there are not enough units built to accommodate that kind of growth.

Downtown residents and workers would like to see a stronger retail market. The research also shows that if there was a stronger retail market place, people would shop at the stores.

Downtown workers and residents both want downtown to offer better parking, improved bicycle paths, friendlier pedestrian walkways and a more user-friendly means of commuting within the core than having to use the car.

While downtown residents tend to be mostly male, downtown workers tend to be mostly female.
To view the presentation that was made on April 30th during the Tampa Electric/Novare-Intown Group Downtown Debriefing Series event, click here.

See also:
Downtown Tampa Condos and Lofts (8)
property near downtown Tampa (3)

Thinking about buying or selling real estate in the Tampa Bay Area? Have a Real Estate question?
Feel free to
email or call us 813-784-7744
Rae Catanese and Michelle Jordan

Search MLS
Prudential Tropical Realty

Monday, April 28, 2008

Finding the BEST Neighborhoods in Tampa, Fl

Ever wonder how to find the best neighborhoods in Tampa?

Welcome to Find a Neighborhood. Your guide to obtaining neighborhood specific information including capital improvement projects, demographics, land use, maps, places of interest, association contacts, meetings, and more.


Once you find the neighborhood you are looking for visit our website to search for homes

see also:

Why Tampa Real Estate is a good choice?

Resources for Relocation

The Best Places to buy a home

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