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Clearwater Beach Florida Real Estate Blog
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1. Upcycle what you have
Upcycling is a way of restoring or transforming your stuff—"the art of taking something old and used for one purpose and turning it into something fresh and, oftentimes, unique," said the Times Union.
When it comes to furniture, upcycling is a way to preserve history, keep an eye on the environment, and hold on to quality you may not easily find today. "Furniture is discarded a lot of times for new trendy designs and finishes," they said. "This is sad because so much of the new stuff is low-quality pieces. We are keeping the quality and the history and incorporating that into pieces that would otherwise be junk."
Check out Pinterest and Etsy for ideas.
2. Make a trade
If you want something new, get rid of something old. Put that unused or unliked armoire on Craigslist or eBay. When it sells, use the money to purchase something new. It might just start a trend in your house!
Get a pair of headphones you don't want for Christmas instead of the set of cast-iron pans you need? Head to a site like BarterOnly.com. Their mantra of "One Man's Junk is Another Man's Treasure" says it all!"
List your unwanted items for free on Craigslist. The benefit to using this site over eBay is that you can keep it local and forgo the need to deal with expensive and clunky shipping. As it is always smart to protect yourself against strangers in your home, you'll want to take precautions. Make sure you're not alone and try to do transactions outside of your home, like in the front yard or garage.
5. Craigslist's free section
Be sure to check Craigslist's free section on a regular basis. You never know what you'll find! (Our own two-second search yielded everything from an Epson Printer to toilets to 10 packs of beef ramen.)
6. Garage sales
Garage sale shoppers aren't just fond of the process. They're bordering on fanatical, and for good reason. The savviest shoppers can find more than a few great deals. They can also make some real money, if they know what to look for.
"The best way to become what I call a ‘garage sale millionaire' is to become an expert on a handful of items, so when you come across those items, you know how much, if anything, they're worth on the market," said Mint.
Becoming a part of your local Nextdoor community can help you find a babysitter, a plumber, and a new bedroom set. Because the site is community based, transactions will be local.
This retail store is widely embraced for its affordable designs. If you don't have a HomeGoods in your area, check out Marshalls and T.J, Maxx. Because all three stores are owned by the same company, they overlap merchandise.
9. Home Improvement Stores
Home Depot, Lowe's and other home improvement stores are often great places to look for furniture and other household items—but you'll find the best choices online. Some supermarkets also carry housewares and offer great prices on items like bedding, storage, and kitchen items.
10. Thrift Stores
You may not think a thrift store is the place to go for furniture and home furnishings, but if you pick the right thrift store, you might be surprised what you'll find.
"The fact is, we all would like to save money, especially when it comes to home items," said the Huffington Post. "Furniture, tableware and accessories can be staggeringly overpriced and/or shoddily constructed. Visiting a thrift store can yield genuinely high-quality items that have withstood the test of time for far, far less."
Housewarming gifts don’t have to be homemade brownies or a “Home Sweet Home” cliché.
New homeowners have just plunked down a serious chunk of their savings. Help them settle in with these practical gifts and offerings, in a range of budgets, that can truly make a new house feel like home.
Seriously, moving is hard work. Who wants to cook when you’re surrounded by boxes and can barely remember where your phone is, much less a clean pot? A stash of paper plates, plastic cups and a gift card to a local restaurant can feel practically luxurious after a long day of unpacking.
A six-pack of craft beer or a bottle of wine can serve as a fun way to christen a new home. Include glassware, openers and coasters for a gift that lasts longer than the consumables will!
Look beyond your grandmother’s ficus. If you know the new homeowner’s style, look for a fun planter that matches—farm-style wood, modern ceramics or a color that matches the decor.
Because really, unless the homeowner in question has a horticultural degree, there’s always room for a little greenery. Or, if your friend has a nice yard, a few tasteful outdoor flowers ready for replanting could have an impact.
4. New Address Items
Gift self-addressed fine stationary. Order mailing labels in fun designs or self-inking stamps.
If you feel confident in your knowledge of the new homeowner’s design tastes, order fun house numbers or a plaque for inside the home with the family name and new address.
5. Unpacking Essentials
Duct tape, extension cords … everyone needs things like this when they move.
“Our real estate agent gave us a five-gallon bucket with some mugs, tape, scissors, Band-Aids, microwave popcorn and a Pizza Hut card—sort of an unpacking survival kit,” says Camilla Powell, a homeowner in Washington.
6. Make Pictures Perfect
Beautiful frames—even basic ones—always add style. Include extra wire, picture hangers and a level to help with both the new pictures and the old.
7. Safety Devices
Think smoke detectors and fire extinguishers—especially for first-time homeowners who previously rented, where landlords usually handle such things.
“Who buys them ever?” says homeowner Beth McNally in Ontario, Canada. “But they are needed.”
While technically smoke detectors might be considered fixtures that should stay with the house, you can’t be too safe.
8. Garden Tools
A hose, good shears and ergonomic shovels never go to waste. Gift them in an organizing bin or tote with room to customize.
Don’t have a lot to spend on a friend or relative? Rustle up some discounts.
“My (mother-in-law) had saved a ton of Bed Bath & Beyond coupons,” says Meredith K. in Utah. “It saved me over $300 when I got my first home and had to stock everything.”
10. Gift Certificates
The old standbys work for a reason. As new homeowners settle in, they’ll notice fixes and projects that they’ll want to make the home truly their own.
With a gift certificate, they can cover everything from new paint to caulk—their call.
As part of the homebuying process, your real estate agent may create a comprehensive market analysis or CMA. Later, when you apply for a mortgage, a bank appraisal is conducted by a licensed appraiser. Are CMAs and appraisals the same thing?
While both CMAs and appraisals help determine a home's market value, their purposes are not the same. The CMA is a sales tool to help you find an offer price for the home you want to buy. The homes in the CMA include the home you want to buy plus similar nearby homes. This helps you see how the home you want compares to other homes so you have an idea what to offer.
A real estate professional may prepare a CMA for their sellers to help them choose a listing price. The CMA includes recently sold homes and homes for sale in the seller's neighborhood that are most similar to the seller's home in appearance, features, and general price range.
Although the CMA is used to help determine current market value, the seller's home is typically not even featured in the CMA. The CMA is merely a guide to help the seller learn what's happening in their local market, so they can better understand where their home fits in term of price ranges, based on location, features, size, condition and other factors.
The CMA offers the same advantages to you as a buyer. They help you better understand the local market. You can expand the search and get different results in a CMA simply by changing the zip code or the price range or the number of bedrooms and baths.
Appraisals are all about risk retention for banks and their customers. If the buyer is receiving financing through a bank, the bank will order an appraisal.
Unlike the CMA, a bank appraisal is a professional determination of a home's value. It's performed by a licensed appraiser, using guidelines established by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which regulates federal housing loan guarantors such as FHA, VA and housing loan purchasers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
An appraisal is a comprehensive look at a home's location, condition, and eligibility for federal guarantees. For example, the home you want may have porch steps but no handrail. If you want to buy the home with an FHA or VA-insured loan, your seller will have to repair or install a handrail. The FHA or VA appraiser will look at the home a second time to make sure the steps were made safe.
Appraisers use the same data in their market research to find comparable homes as Realtors do. They are also members of the MLS, but they have additional guidelines from the bank to follow to minimize risk to the bank and to the borrower. If home prices are falling, the appraiser takes the number of days a home has been on the market far more seriously.
When the appraisal is finished, the bank makes the decision to fund the loan, or it may require the seller to fix certain items and show proof that the repairs have been made before letting the loan proceed. If the loan doesn't meet federal lending guidelines, the bank will decline the loan.
Despite stricter lending and appraisal standards, most buyers' loan applications go through to closing. One reason the system works so well is that real estate agents are preparing CMAs that are better tuned to lending standards as well as market conditions. As a buyer, it's in your best interest to understand how lenders approach risk and to learn what the market is doing.
Simply put, you need both a CMA and an appraisal to determine market value. A CMA helps you decide what you should offer the seller. An appraisal determines what the lender is willing to lend to help you purchase a home.
1. Price Points
2. Showcasing Your Home
3. Customer Mindset
4. The Right REALTOR®
20 Inspirational Quotes To Maximize Your Potential
1. “It’s not what you achieve, it’s what you overcome. That’s what defines your career.” –Carlton Fisk
2. “Failure doesn’t mean you are a failure it just means you haven’t succeeded yet.” – Robert H. Schuller
3. “Think big and don’t listen to people who tell you it can’t be done. Life’s too short to think small.” – Tim Ferriss
4. “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude” – Maya Angelou
5. “If you don’t build your dream. Someone will hire you to help build theirs.” – Tony Gaskins
6. “Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle.” – Christian D. Larson
7. “If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place.” – Nora Roberts
8. “No man can succeed in a line of endeavor which he does not like.” – Napoleon Hill
9. “The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.” – Vince Lombardi
10. “You never stop earning when you do what you love.” – Asha Tyson
11. “Communication–the human connection–is the key to personal and career success.” – Paul J. Meyer
12. “What is the recipe for successful achievement? To my mind there are just four essential ingredients: Choose a career you love, give it the best there is in you, seize your opportunities, and be a member of the team.” – Benjamin F. Fairless
13. “I think everyone should experience defeat at least once during their career. You learn a lot from it.” – Lou Holtz
14. “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” – Mark Twain
15. “Don’t set compensation as a goal. Find work you like, and the compensation will follow.” – Harding Lawrence
16. “Great work is done by people who are not afraid to be great.” – Fernando Flores
17. “The only way to get people to like working hard is to motivate them. Today, people must understand why they’re working hard. Every individual in an organization is motivated by something different.” – Rick Pitino
18. “Find out what you like doing best and get someone to pay you for doing it.” – Katherine Whitehorn
19. “The only person you are destined become is the person you decide to be.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
20. “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.” – Aristotle
1. Direct Focus On One Thing
The only formula these individuals seemed to need was the 80/20 principle, also known as the Pareto Principle. What it says is that 80% of your success comes from only 20% of your effort. And the principle applies not only to their business lives, but to all areas of life, whether health or relationships or anything.
They do less but accumulate more.
2. Treat Yourself With Self-Compassion
The people I studied all engaged in a simple process for being successful: Becoming a master. And the only way you become a master is through action. Perhaps you’ve heard of the 10,000 hour rule, which gives you an idea of the kind of time you have to put in to become world-class at anything.
Too many individuals fear failure, but the path to success is to put in your best effort all the time. You will fail, but failure is merely a bump on the road to success. Successful people don’t beat themselves up over mistakes. They are gentle on themselves, creating an internal environment to reflect and learn, not to rant and rave.
3. Practice Self-Awareness
Self-awareness has to be accessed and cultivated daily, but once a certain level of self-awareness is attained (and for everyone that special point differs), it will bring great value and clarity to your life.
Self-awareness will give you a clear perspective of your personality, strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes, values, beliefs, and motivations. This awareness is how decision-making happens among those who are decisive.
4. Be Present In the Now
Successful individuals seize not only the day, but each moment. And the only moment that’s worth anything is the one happening right now!
Timing, as they say, is everything.
5. Show Up To Life With Passion
This is where it all starts.
The energy that the people I studied bring to life an energy that radiates outward, and you can actually feel it. It’s both contagious and magnetic. This energy is what attracts the people, the money, and the resources. This is what allows them to “work” long hours and still have the energy to spend time with family and friends.
This passion allows them to “show up” in all aspects of their life.
6. Live A Purpose-Driven Life
The successful people I’ve met all have a vision of who they want to be and what they want to do. This purpose isn’t just thought about, it’s both felt and known.
Although the specific expressions of this purpose may change over time, such as in a career path, the overall message is constant.
7. Learn to Give and Receive
They lose themselves in others. Giving and receiving in love is important to all of them.
By giving to others they became aware of their abundance and become flooded with gratitude. Appreciation of others and themselves becomes an uplifting experience. In today’s age, I’ve seen more individuals lack success because of the inability to receive anything.
Receiving the gifts of others is the only way one can create abundance in life. Accept the greatness of others when it is given to you.
8. Listen To Understand
Individuals of this caliber realize the full power that is inherent in listening. They listen to others in order to understand them, not to be understood.
Too many people fail to listen because they’re busy crafting their own response, usually with the intention of being understood, rather than first taking the time to understand the speaker. Failing to learn and live active listening is a recipe for costly mistakes in life.
9. Subtract, Not Add, to Your Lives
It’s not in adding (whether it’s cars, clothes, prestige, or money) that we find happiness and growth, but in subtracting.
Successful individuals realize this on a deep level. They also realize that the only reason they don’t have what they want is because of their own limiting beliefs about what they can accomplish.
Successful individuals consciously or unconsciously eliminate beliefs that don’t support their vision, replacing them with beliefs that do.
10. Set Goals With Deadlines
Successful individuals have a clear vision about what to focus on and how to accomplish their goals. They have deadlines and stick to them, holding themselves accountable for their progress. Their word is everything, so much so that It’s the easiest way to literally speak their reality into existence. Once they say they will do something, they do it!
The people I’ve studied aren’t successful by chance. They chose to be successful and then made it happen by first nailing down their vision. They don’t ask for permission and they don’t search for acceptance. The successful individuals I surround myself with don’t win by getting angry or using force. They win with love, which is the definitive difference between force and power.
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:
- 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;
- 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);
- The future total monthly costs of owning and renting;
- 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).
- 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.
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