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Clearwater Beach Florida Real Estate Blog

Michelle Chenault

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The median list price for Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla. area homes was $171,900 in March 2014, up 10.9% from March of last year, according to the National Housing Trend Report for March 2014 published by Realtor.com.  That's below the national median of $199,900. Meantime, the market ranks sixth in the number of available listings out of 146 metropolitan regions ranked by Realtor.com. This means relatively low prices and a fair amount of inventory – a promising opportunity for potential buyers.

The properties currently listed for sale on www.realtor.com for the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater area range in price from the mid-teens for a small one-bedroom, one-bath condo in need of some renovation to $17.5 million for a 23,000+ square foot, gated waterfront home with two pools, tennis court, basketball court, carriage house and boat docks.  Of nearly 9,000 properties listed on www.realtor.com, there are currently 82 single-family homes and condos/townhomes for sale in the $171,900 to $175,000 price range. Here's what's available for $175,000 in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater market.

Attention First-Time Buyers

The Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater market is the second-best city for first-time homebuyers, according to a new report by Realtor.com listing the top ten metro areas for new purchasers. The only metro area that ranked better was Pittsburgh.The five key factors that make a market ideal for first-time homebuyers:

  • Market popularity. First-time buyers often "move up" to a larger house within a few years. Buying in a popular area helps ensure they can make a profit when it's time to move.
  • Prices. Buyers have to be able to afford the mortgage as well as the down payment.
  • Inventory. Markets with limited inventory (i.e., not enough homes on the market) often have bidding wars in which first-time buyers can easily be out-bid by investors or buyers who can spend more. Ample inventory reduces the likelihood of these bidding wars.
  • Time on market. The median age of inventory is an indicator of demand in a particular market. Markets where homes are on the market for a very short amount of time, typically because of high demand, can also lead to bidding wars.
  • Unemployment rates. A lower unemployment rate means first-time buyers are more likely to find and keep jobs and be able to pay their mortgages.

The largest number of real-estate markets on the top ten list were in Florida. In addition to Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, first-timers were directed to the Orlando and Jacksonville metro areas. The others in the top ten: Philadelphia, and its N.J. suburbs.; Philadelphia and its Pa. suburbs; Fort Worth-Arlington,Texas; Dallas; Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill; and Phoenix-Mesa.

 

What $175,000 Will Buy

There's a wide selection of homes at the $175,000 price point, including a number of short sales. In the single-family home market, buyers will find one-level, ranch style houses with between two and five bedrooms and from one to four baths. Size varies greatly; $175,000 can get you anything from an upgraded two-bedroom, one-bath bungalow with 864 square feet ($203/sq. ft.) to an older five-bedroom, four-bath house with 3,056 square feet ($57/sq. ft.). Many properties have updated kitchens, including granite countertops, stainless-steel appliances and tile backsplashes, as well as hardwood/tile flooring, en suite baths with dual sinks and separate tub and shower in the owners' bedrooms, walk-in closets, and mature landscaping. Some properties are part of homeowners' associations that offer community amenities, such as swimming pools, and a few have private pools and/or spas.

In the condo/townhome market, buyers will find mostly one-bedroom, one-bath or two-bedroom, two-bath units. Properties range in size from a 731-square-foot modern condo ($239/sq.ft.) to a three-bedroom, two-bath, short-sale townhome with 1,848 square feet ($95/sq. ft.). At this price point, buyers can find hardwood/tile flooring, updated kitchens with granite countertops, and community amenities including swimming pools, tennis courts and fitness centers.

Rent or Buy?

Trulia's Rent vs. Buy Report, released by online real-estate aggregatorTrulia.com, shows it is 38% cheaper to buy than rent, on average nationwide. The report compares costs for a seven-year period using five calculations:

  1. The average rent and for-sale price for an identical set of properties. For example, the costs of buying a $175,000 home and what it would cost to rent the same house;
  2. The initial total monthly costs of owning (assuming 20% down and a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at 3.5% interest, as well as annual maintenance, insurance, utility and property-tax expenses) and renting (monthly rent plus renter's insurance);
  3. The future total monthly costs of owning and renting;
  4. One-time costs and proceeds (for owning, this includes closing costs and capital-gains tax of 15% for gains above the $500,000 annual exclusion; for renting, this includes one month's security deposit).
  5. The net present value to account for opportunity cost of money (this compares cash flows over time).

How long you plan on living in an area, the mortgage rate you secure and your tax bracket are all key factors in deciding whether it makes better financial sense to rent or buy. For example, if your target home price is $180,000 and you get a 4.00%, 30-year fixed-rate loan; are in the 28% tax bracket and plan on living in the home for seven years, it might be 44% cheaper to buy than rent in Tampa-St. Petersburg, according to the Trulia report – assuming it would cost $1,450/month to rent a similar property. If you plan to stay in place for only two years, however, renting or buying would cost about the same to rent or buy, all other factors remaining unchanged. If you plan to remain in the same area for three to five years, it is typically cheaper to buy than rent.

9 REASONS TO BUY A HOUSE RIGHT NOW

by Michelle Chenault

Buying a house is like having a baby: there's no absolute perfect time to do either.

The down payment-interest rate-economic factors-qualification quadrangle can be so confusing. Rising rates, loosening requirements, down payment options, buyer's markets, seller's markets - what does it all mean to you if you want to buy a home? The truth is that while the banks might have a magical formula to determine your mortgage-worthiness, determining if the time is right really comes down to three main questions:

 

Do you want to buy a home? 
Are you financially prepared? 
Is your credit where it needs to be?

If yes, then go for it. Here are nine reasons to do it now.

1. Prices are good. According to the latest S&P/Case-Shiller report, home prices are still gaining, but have slowed. "The 10-City Composite gained 5.5% year-over-year and the 20-City 5.6%, both down from the 6.7% reported for July," they said. "The National Index gained 5.1% annually in August compared to 5.6% in July." This is good news if you were afraid that big price gains would put homeownership out of reach and also bodes well for your long-term equity once you purchase.

2. Rates are low. "Imagine paying over 18% interest on a 30-year fixed mortgage. It's almost unthinkable. But that was the reality for home buyers in October 1981 -- a year when the average rate was almost 17%," said Yahoo Finance. "The average rate has been 5.18% since the start of this country's history," making today's rates, which hover around historic lows at 4%, sound even better.

3. Loan requirements are softening. They're not approaching the look-the-other-way-and-stamp-it-approved levels that led to the market crash, but the overly tough restrictions that followed have loosened. "Major lenders are making adjustments," said The Street. "Wells Fargo has lowered the minimum FICO score for borrowers applying for loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration to 600 from 640." They also count JPMorgan Chase's lowered loan-to-value "standards in certain markets for both jumbos and conforming mortgages." For buyers that can mean an easier road to loan approval, even without a ton of money upfront and perfect credit.

4. FHA loans make it even easier for first-time buyers. If your credit is less than stellar and you don't have a large down payment, an FHA loan can get you in the door. Credit scores can be as low as 620 to qualify and only 3.5% down is required. Whether you've never bought before or have been out of the market for a few years, an FHA loan can be your answer.

5. Fewer buyers around the holidays means less competition for you and more negotiating power. "Sellers who are actively looking to sell their homes during the holiday months -- namely, October through December -- are serious about shedding the weight of their residences," said US News. "This often works in favor of savvy buyers looking to get a deal on discounted homes. Having less competition on the buyer's side can mean lower prices on homes, in addition to fewer counter-offers to compete against."

6. Rates are predicted to rise. "The Mortgage Bankers Association expects the average rate on a 30-year, fixed rate mortgage to rise slowly to 5.1 percent by the end of 2015," said the Washington Post. If you want to take advantage of low rates, now is the time.

7. Pent-up demand could zap affordability. "The housing market is about to get even more competitive," said Yahoo. "The pent-up demand of younger professionals, who moved back in with their parents during the recession, is about to explode. This eager subset of buyers will create some steep competition for homes, especially if they have been saving up to make larger down payments or high ticket offers. If the current homes on the market have more potential buyers, bidding wars develop, and the purchase prices are driven up.

8. "Buying is cheaper than renting in most markets," said Housingwire. With a little knowledge of loan options and low down payment programs, you can easily flip the switch from renter to homeowner.

9. Because you want to buy a home. There really is no more compelling reason than that. You want it. So make it happen.

 

2014 Turkey Trot

by Michelle Chenault

It's that time of the year when turkey lovers, runners and friends gather for an appetite-inducing morning of good-natured competition.


All races begin at Keene Road just south of Gulf to Bay Blvd. (except the 5k Fun Run) and end in Jack White Stadium at Clearwater High School. 

 

Proceeds from the Tampa Bay Times Turkey Trot help support many local charities including the West Florida Y Runners Club Scholarship Programs. All collected foods will be given to the Food Pantry Program at Religious Community Services, Inc.

If you have questions not answered at this website, call 727-562-4700.Online registration begins September 1. Click here to register. 

Early T-Shirt Pick Up & Last Chance Registration 
Monday, November 24 

3 - 7:30 p.m. Bright House Networks, Westfield Countryside Mall (2nd floor mall entrance near JC Penney, 27001 U.S. Hwy. 19 N., Clearwater) Online registrants can pick up their race numbers (with confirmation number) and/or T-shirt (with race number/T-shirt tag). 

Tuesday, November 25 
5 - 7:30 p.m. Fit 2 Run (2 locations) 256 2nd Street N., St. Petersburg and 2223 N. Westshore Blvd., Tampa. Parking will be available at the public lot on 2nd Street, across from St. Pete College. Additional parking available in the MidCore Garage on 1st Ave N and 2nd St N. Online registrants can pick up their race numbers (with confirmation number) and/or T-shirt (with race number/T-shirt tag). 

Turkey Trot Kick-Off Party Wednesday, November 26 
5 - 7:30 p.m. Jack White Stadium, Clearwater High School It's the last chance to pre-register! (Please bring EXACT AMOUNT in cash or check.) Come out and enjoy a FREE evening of snacks, live music, fun and games. Purchase official Times Turkey Trot merchandise the night before the race. Online registrants can pick up their race numbers (with confirmation number) and/or T-shirt (with race number/T-shirt tag).
 
 
 
 

Neighborhood History -- Island Estates in Clearwater Beach

by Michelle Chenault

ISLAND ESTATES — Some 50+ years ago the North Bay Company, headed by a local named Wallace Skinner, began to develop Island Estates. 
 
In phase I, they dredged the channels and built the seawalls to create the streets known as Leeward, Midway, and Windward Islands, and Windward Passage. 
 
Next, they built the four Palm Islands (NE, SE, NW and SW) along with improving sidewalks in Phase II.  
 
Lastly, they built Phase III, which consisted of the north end of Island Way, Snug Island, Harbor Island and Harbor Passage, and included the improvements of sidewalks, trees and underground utilities. 
 
They opened a small development office on Windward Passage and began selling lots.  
 
I first became acquainted with the Island because my father, Joe King, established the first real estate company on Island Estates in 1969 known as Island Estates Realty. He bought the land where he built our office on Island Way from a man named Frank Houston, an investor. I remember Houston was an older gentleman and a close friend of the fried chicken king Colonel Sanders who started Kentucky Fried Chicken. I never knew he really existed until his death in 1980.
 
Looking back to my earliest memories of the Island, I recall the fresh new black asphalt roads north of the Palm Islands. There were lots for sale on either side of the roads, but they didn't look like lots because all you could see was white sugary sand, like Clearwater Beach sand, billowing across the roads.
 
Around the same time, local Clearwater High School students used Clearwater Point on the south end of the beach as a favorite "parking spot" after dates. The streets also had lots covered in beach sand, with lovely water vistas and reflections of  the evening stars and moon. 
 
At the same time Sand Key was a favorite for weekend bonfires for high school students because nothing existed there except sea pines. Both the Point and Sand Key now are home to thousands of condominiums.
 
Island Estates began to grow and develop, but the Island Estates Shopping Plaza had not as yet been built. The closest food store was downtown.  I remember going with my mother to shop for groceries at what was then known as Cleveland Plaza on Cleveland Street east of Missouri Avenue. 
 
All the residents, by then known as "Islanders," were excited and happy when the Island Estates Plaza was built in 1974, and shopping became very convenient. Soon followed by all the conveniences we enjoy today.  
 
St. Brendan's Catholic Church was built behind the shopping plaza in the late 1970s.
 
Ross Yacht, owned by a friend of mine, Courtney Ross, was established on Windward Passage just west of the Island Way intersection.  It was a well known brokerage and yacht repair establishment catering to the yacht racing community throughout the area for many years.  It was eventually sold and absorbed into the Aquarium property.
 
I remember the small green ceramic banks, shaped like turtles used to raise money for the Aquarium. A lady named Mary McCormick, a community activist, lived on the Island at Clipper Cove Condo.  She placed the turtles in all the local businesses to raise money for the Aquarium, among many other things I am sure she did to help the cause. The aquarium, then located in the old sewage treatment plant on Windward Passage, is today of international fame.  Home to Winter the dolphin with the prosthetic tale, and of movie stare fame in the movie "Dolphin Tale".  Winter's success has allowed the Clearwater Marine Aquarium to do the important work of rescuing and rehabilitating injured marine animals.  She draws disabled children and adults from all over who identify with her success story.   
 
There was a dry storage marina located on the west end of Windward Passage named High and Dry Marina which was a successful business for many years. Boaters could fuel dockside, and buy snacks and drinks for their day of boating.  There was a large metal building which housed 3-4 levels of storage racks that held boats hoisted by forklifts and stacked them on the racks.  At the end of their day on the water, boaters simply docked, and let the handlers lift and store their boats until their next boating adventure.  In 2005 High and Dry was sold to make way for a new condominium.  The developers of The Residences of Windward Passage condo purchased it and developed the last condo built on the Island.
 
The Island Yacht Harbor wet slip marina at the west end of Windward Passage still exists today, and was the area's first condominium boat slip product.  Next door is the neighborhood playground provided by the City of Clearwater, with a lovely waterfront vista to the southwest.
 
A lovely and popular restaurant known as the Seaspire was built in 1974 on the west end of Windward Passage.  The triangular shaped three story structure was two levels elevated above parking, mostly glass, capitalizing on the beautiful water views overlooking the waterways, marina and causeway to the beach.  Later it was closed when backers tried to convert it to a private club, and absconded with the monies they had collected from willing patrons to do so.  Today the site houses the lovely townhomes known as The Pools.
 
At the entrance to the Island the popular seafood restaurant known as The Flagship was built in 1978.  It suffered two fires, and after the second one in 1985 it underwent a major renovation, replacing the “beachy pecky” cypress with elegant rich wood finishes and leaded glass interior windows.  
 
In 1999 the Flagship sold to Landry's Seafood. Landry's never really took hold, and after a year, they sold to the Island Way Grill, owned by local entrepreneur and area promoter, Frank Chivas, and partners, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Mike Alstot and Mike Moore. 
 
Today Island Way Grill is a local landmark, and fabulous, thriving restaurant featuring Pacific Rim cuisines.  
 
The first multi family structure on the Island was built 50 years ago. The Dearborn Towers at 223 Island Way was built in 1962 by the City of Dearborn, Michigan as a Florida rental retreat for its senior citizens.  It was later affectionately referred to by Island residents as the blue beast because of the unusual blue paint color of the building.
 
The co-op known as Horizon House located at 31 Island Way was also built in 1962. It is the only co-op on the Island, and is very popular with snow birds and second home owners due to its pricing and close proximity to shopping.
 
Next door to Horizon House is 51 Island Way Condominium which was originally rental units, converted to a condominium in 1978. 
 
Over a dozen other condos were built over the years, and the Island Estates Realty staff has sold the same condos and homes many times over.  
 
Today, this beautiful and vibrant waterfront community consists of over 550 single family homes and approximately 1300 condominium units.  Accessed by beautifully landscaped mediums and cul-de-sacs, the commercial and multi-family areas are appropriately designated in conjunction with the single family homes.  
 
Along with the casual quality of life it affords, Islanders enjoy the secure sense of community where we can walk to boutiques, restaurants, salons, banks and grocery.  Not to mention the deep navigable waterways, and proximity to beautiful, award-winning Clearwater Beach.  Everything is within walking distance, and public transportation and the Jolley Trolley run daily.  
 
The developers envisioned a thriving, self-contained waterfront neighborhood over half a century ago.  Little did they know that their ideas would evolve into a destination community.  
 
If you live on Island Estates, you'll love where you live!

Full Disclosure: Reveal Your Home's Flaws to Speed the Sale

by Michelle Chenault

~~In most states, the law requires sellers to fill out paperwork regarding their knowledge of the property they intend to sell. Many agents and sellers see disclosures as a thorn in their side. Why would they badmouth their property or listing? Why not say as little as possible and see if the buyer discovers any issues on their own?

This is a penny-wise and pound-foolish mentality. Non-disclosure can lead to major headaches during escrow. You could lose the buyer, be forced to renegotiate the price or have to put the property back on the market. Non-disclosure can also lead to litigation months or even years after the sale.

Self-disclosing, pre-inspections and putting it all out there prior to a buyer making an offer helps to usher the sale along and make the process simpler. It’s smart business, and ultimately saves time and money.

If handled well, disclosures and calling out known issues helps inform your pricing and marketing strategy. Here are five tips to use disclosure to your advantage.

Order a building report

Each municipality has a building department that keeps records on every property. For a small fee, they provide building reports that contain valuable information about the home, such as the building’s history, permits issued, closed permits, violations, zoning information and sometimes landmark or historic status.

Buyers or their banks will likely request this report. When they see open permits or violations, you better believe they are going to ask you to cure them, request a credit or walk away.

Be prepared by ordering a building report early in the selling process. If you have issues to address, you can take care of them before you list the property. The potential buyer will then see a clean report, which will inspire confidence — not only in the property, but also in you as a seller.

Have inspections done prior to listing your home

Most sellers balk at this idea. Why pay to have the home inspected if you plan to sell?

The answer is so that you can ultimately make more money. A home listed for sale at a great price gets a buyer in the door to make an offer, but that buyer will have his or her inspection regardless. It they find dry rot in the garage, they will either walk away from the deal or ask you for money.

If you lose the buyer, the property goes back on the market with a stain on the listing. Everyone will ask what happened to the first deal, and you will likely be forced to disclose this new, known issue.

If you credit the buyer, your ultimate net proceeds will be lower than if you had priced the termite work into the asking price and let buyers know about the issue up front.

Be the bearer of the bad news

Provide buyers with disclosure documents before they make an offer. Let them know you recently replaced the roof, completed some electric work without a permit or once had a window leak but remedied it by replacing some flashing.

By revealing these issues, you’ll let the buyer know they are working with a fair and honest seller, and they will know more about the home. They will likely pay more for that piece of mind, and might even feel more comfortable moving ahead — even with some issues.

Arm your agent with knowledge

The listing agent is the only person who sees, meets and knows every member of the transaction. They should know as much about your home as possible before taking the listing.

Knowing about defects helps the agent advise you on price and strategy for going to market. If your home needs a new roof and some electrical updating, the agent will likely factor that into your list price.

Your listing agent is your team member. Keeping information from them will make you appear to be dishonest when the issue eventually comes up.

Get buyer sign-off on disclosed information

Nobody wants to be bothered with a legal issue after the sale. But when markets slow, or a buyer feels remorseful about their purchase for any reason, it’s not uncommon for them to go after the seller.

To avoid post-sale legal hassle, document any issues in writing, and get the buyers to sign off on all reports, inspections and disclosures. This step is especially important with known issues or big-ticket disclosure items.

No one likes surprises and you, the seller, ultimately lose when you don’t properly disclose information about your property. Think of the buyer as your customer, and treat them well. You’ll be better off in the long run.

 Related:
•5 Steps to Selling Your Home
•Why You Should Have Your Home Inspected Before Selling
•8 Home Improvements To Boost Your Chances of Selling

 Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.

 

 

Millennials are Staying Put at Mom and Dad's Place

by Michelle Chenault

~~Remember all of those Millennials living in their parent's basements because they couldn't find a job or afford a place of their own?

Well, they haven't moved out yet.


They also don't seem to be in a hurry to get married, have kids -- or buy a home. And that has pushed the homeownership rate among young adults ages 18 to 34 to a new low of 13.2%, according to an analysis of Census Bureau data by Trulia.

Related: Amazing shipping container homes

And that's not great news for the housing market.

Thanks to a sluggish job market, heavy student loan debts and tight lending standards, Millennials are moving out of their folks' homes at a snail's pace. In 2014, 31.1% of 18- to 34-year-olds lived with their parents, down slightly from 31.2% a year prior.

What paints an even grimmer picture is that those who do manage to leave mom and dad's place aren't moving out to form their own households, said Jed Kelko, Trulia's chief economist. Instead of renting or buying a home, they are bunking with friends, siblings or other relatives.
 


Millennials shy away from marriage  


In fact, the headship rate -- or the percentage of people who own or rent their own homes -- fell to 36.6% in 2014 for this group, down from 36.9% a year earlier.

Related: Best cities for Millennial homebuyers

With fewer young people renting or buying homes, fewer new households are being formed, explained Kolko.

According to Trulia's analysis of the Census data, just 425,000 new households were formed last year, a far cry from the estimated 1.2 million that would have been formed had that headship rate not declined.

"Thus, [the] Census data show that the housing market is still struggling to recover," wrote Kolko. 

GeckoFest

by Michelle Chenault

3129 Beach Boulevard, Gulfport, Florida

This weekend your entire family is invited to come out and indulge in a whimsical Labor Day weekend event at the GeckoFest spectacular. The end of the summer happening is likened to a Mardi Gras affair, with an oddly-paired Renaissance flare. The annual festival brings together people from near and far, and is 100% dedicated to the unofficial mascot and favorite Gulfport reptile, the gecko.

Returning for its 14th consecutive year, GeckoFest will be featuring entertainment for both adults and children alike. The event will include live entertainment, street performances, costume contests, arts and crafts vendors, a walking parade, and much more.  The theme for this year’s GeckoFest experience will be “Roaring Geckos”, evoking the 1920’s era.  So break out your flapper attire and begin practicing your “Charleston” dance moves, as Gulfport’s scenic waterway will be transformed into a venue from the famous “The Great Gatsby”.  Extraordinary entertainers and street performers will have your family amused throughout the course of the day.  Belly dancers, pirates, clowns, mimes, and magicians will all be present, along with a live fire show, drum circle routine, and more.  Food and drink vendors will be in abundance, offering a variety of nourishment and beverage options.

Admission to attend the GeckoFest event is free for your entire family.  So this Labor Day weekend start a new family tradition by attending this unique, “Looney Tune Party gone gecko” burlesque.  Be sure to wear your most outlandish 1920’s attire, and bring any noisemakers that you can get your hands on.  GeckoFest has full intentions of permeating the streets with the sights and sounds indicative of the “roaring” 1920’s. The event is one you will not soon forget, all in honor of the gecko!

Saturday August 30th

10:00AM-10:00PM

For more information regarding the GeckoFest event, please click here.

Michelle Chenault
Your Local Clearwater Beach, Florida Real Estate Expert

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Michelle Chenault is your ultimate resource for Clearwater, Clearwater Beach, Belleair Bluffs, Island Estates and Tampa Bay real estate.  Visit our website for detailed information on all real estate including Clearwater Beach Condominiums  

Photo courtesy of buggi/openclipart.org.

Healing Heroes “Sunday Funday” Military Appreciation Event

by Michelle Chenault

Sunset at Pier 60, Clearwater, Florida

Clearwater Beach is honored to be the venue for the inaugural Healing Heroes “Sunday Funday” Military Appreciation Event, occurring this Sunday.  Promising to provide fun for the whole family, the happening will be celebrating our military forces, in a family-friendly, festival-style manner.

Healing Heroes is a network that was designed to assist the deserving men and women of the Armed Forces in transitioning from military, to civilian life.  And what better way to do so than to hold an extravaganza on their behalf. The “Sunday Funday” Event will be featuring games of all sorts for both children, and adults alike. Throughout the course of the day raffles will be taking place, and there will be a variety of giveaways. The highlight of the event will salute four military families, awarding them with a very special prize pack, including theme park tickets, restaurant gift cards, and more. To nominate and vote for a family, please click here.

In addition to the on-going activities, there will be a special veteran guest speaker in attendance.  And following, Nashville Recording Artist, Jamie Tate, will be taking to the stage.  With a distinct sound, Tate will be singing songs from classical, to more traditional country.  She is happy to be teaming up with Healing Heroes in paying tribute to our military families. 

The Healing Heroes “Sunday Funday” Military Appreciation Event is free for your entire family to attend.  So this Sunday come on out to Sunset at Pier 60 to indulge in a day chalked full of fun, while showing appreciation for all retired, and current members of our Armed Forces!

Sunday August 24th

12:00PM-3:00PM

For more information regarding the Healing Heroes “Sunday Funday” Military Appreciation Event, please click here.

Michelle Chenault
Your Local Clearwater Beach, Florida Real Estate Expert

Clearwater Beach Featured Properties
Clearwater Beach Area Homes for Sale 
Your Homes Value
Email Me 

Let's Connect!

Facebook

Twitter
LinkedIn
Google +1
Pinterest

Michelle Chenault is your ultimate resource for Clearwater, Clearwater Beach, Belleair Bluffs, Island Estates and Tampa Bay real estate.  Visit our website for detailed information on all real estate including Clearwater Beach Condominiums  

Photo courtesy of Cort Percer/flickr.com.

Property Wars: Condo vs. House

by Michelle Chenault

On our quest to find the perfect home, debating whether to purchase a house or a condo sometimes factors into the debate. Sure, there are lots of factors that make this an easy decision for some—kids, location, money, space—but for others there isn't a black or white answer.

That's because each has its advantages and disadvantages. Let's take a look at some of those now.

Traditional House (Pros and Cons)

Houses are traditionally more appealing to the "do-it-yourself'ers" and those with children because they have the advantage of having total remodel power over every inch of the house, without having to worry about consent from others—homeowners association rules aside. This allows for more flexibility when it comes to children and pet accommodations, as well as more room both inside and out. This also means that your neighbors generally don't live close enough to know what you're having for breakfast just by peering in a window.

But there are also drawbacks to homeownership, mainly in the form of effort. When you own your own home, you're required to perform (or pay for) maintenance on your yard and trees, which means you have to purchase equipment and tools to keep up with things. Then it not only becomes a financial investment, but a time investment as well. Utility bills are also usually higher due to the size of a house.

Condominium (Pros and Cons)

There's a growing sect of people that pushed for more urban living, giving rise to larger and larger cities. The appeal of living in these close quarter areas is the accessibility of stores, restaurants, sports facilities and other amenities. If you're one of the many that struggle to find free time each day, condos can be an attractive choice for their convenience and low-maintenance living. And because you're only responsible for the interior of the condo, association fees cover exterior concerns such as a structural damage and lawn care, leaving you more time to enjoy the area.

Just like owning a traditional home, condos have a few drawbacks. Remember those association fees we talked about earlier? Well, these are extra fees that are in addition to your monthly mortgage payment. Think of them as H.O.A. fees, but for your condo. Oftentimes these may not be a set fee, and can fluctuate depending on needed maintenance. Not to mention that you're continuously surrounded, elbow-to-elbow, with all your neighbors. If you don't particularly like that neighbor that blares music until the early AM, you better hope that your homeowners rules have something that can help you.

It's Easy, Choose More Pros

There are pros and cons to every situation, you just have to determine which cons you can live with, and which pros you most look forward to enjoying. Both housing situations can be perfect depending on your lifestyle. Just remember that when the pros outweigh the cons, the cons will eventually start to dwindle away. Contact me today for a consultation. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have, and/or help you find your dream home.

Michelle Chenault
Your Local Clearwater Beach, Florida Real Estate Expert

Clearwater Beach Featured Properties
Clearwater Beach Area Homes for Sale 
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Michelle Chenault is your ultimate resource for Clearwater, Clearwater Beach, Belleair Bluffs, Island Estates and Tampa Bay real estate.  Visit our website for detailed information on all real estate including Clearwater Beach Condominiums  

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Rock n Blues Hippiefest

by Michelle Chenault

Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater, Florida

One need not be a hippie in order to indulge in this weekend’s Rock n Blues Hippiefest event.  The happening aims to offer a rare opportunity to see some of the most legendary artists of the rock and blues musical genres on one stage, in a one-night only musical extravaganza.  You are invited to come out and experience the greatest combination of the two musical art forms, featuring the best of the best in the industry.

The Rock n Blues Hippiefest event will be showcasing musical performances by the Johnny Winter Band, the Edgar Winter Band, and Savoy Brown’s, Kim Simmonds.  Special guest appearances will include Vanilla Fudge and Peter Rivera, formerly of the band Rare Earth.  Johnny Winter has been hailed as being one of the most highly-acclaimed guitarists in both blues and rock, while Edgar Winter is known to have been the first musician to utilize the synthesizer, as the main instrument in a rock song.  And Kim Simmonds made a name for himself by founding the blues and rock band, Savoy Brown. They have now been touring the world for over 40 years, entertaining musical enthusiasts of all ages. The history behind these famous musical artists is quite astounding.  And this Saturday you have the chance to treat yourself to a night of unforgettable Rock n Blues, legendary-style!

Tickets to attend the Rock n Blues Hippiefest event range in price from $45.75 to $79.75, dependent on your seating selection.  A dinner package is available for $125.00 and includes premium seating, a pre-show dinner, and a voucher for valet parking.  To view your ticket purchasing options and to buy them online, please click here.

This weekend you don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to be in attendance at what is sure to be the musical spectacular of the summer. The Rock n Blues Hippiefest event will provide you with an extraordinary evening of non-stop entertainment, courtesy of some of the most highly-revered musicians in the world!

Saturday August 16th

7:00PM

For more information regarding the Rock n Blues Hippiefest event, please click here.

Michelle Chenault
Your Local Clearwater Beach, Florida Real Estate Expert

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Michelle Chenault is your ultimate resource for Clearwater, Clearwater Beach, Belleair Bluffs, Island Estates and Tampa Bay real estate.  Visit our website for detailed information on all real estate including Clearwater Beach Condominiums  

Photo courtesy of Rudi/flickr.com.

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Michelle Chenault  is your ultimate resource for Clearwater, Clearwater Beach, Belleair Bluffs, Island Estates and Tampa Bay real estate. Michelle Chenault helps people with all of their Clearwater, Clearwater Beach, Bell and Tampa Bay real estate needs. Michelle Chenault helps people who are: relocating to Clearwater, relocating to Clearwater Beach or relocating to Tampa Bay . She can help you if you are: buying a home in Clearwater, buying a home in Clearwater Beach or buying a home in Tampa Bay, selling a home in Clearwater, selling a home in Clearwater Beach or selling a home in Tampa Bay, buying a waterfront condo in Clearwater Beach and Tampa Bay or selling a waterfront condo in Clearwater Beach and Tampa Bay. Michelle Chenault is an expert in Clearwater, Clearwater Beach and Tampa Bay foreclosures and Clearwater, Clearwater Beach and Tampa Bay short sales. The MichelleChenault.com website is dedicated to helping you search all Clearwater, Clearwater Beach and Tampa Bay homes for sale and any other types of properties available for sale like Clearwater, Clearwater Beach and Tampa Bay condos, land and luxury real estate in the Clearwater, Clearwater Beach and Tampa Bay area MLS. You may also use this site to find out everything you need to know about living in Clearwater, Clearwater Beach and Tampa Bay, relocating to Clearwater, Clearwater Beach and Tampa Bay, a Clearwater, Clearwater Beach and Tampa Bay real estate search and finding things to do in Clearwater, Clearwater Beach and Tampa Bay.