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Featured Listing

For Sale: $257,500

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Clearwater Florida Market Trends

Separating Fact from Fiction in Home Appraisals

An appraisal is an important and necessary part of the home-selling process. However, many homeowners don’t really understand how it works and what rights they have. They just know it can impact the selling price of their home. It’s essential that you know certain facts about this process to ensure you get the best price for your property. 


What Counts in an Appraisal 
Homeowners often work hard to enhance their home’s appeal for buyers, hoping it will bring a higher price with new features and important updates. Then, they are disappointed because the appraisal didn’t reflect that hard work.  


An appraiser looks at other homes in the area that are nearly the same size and with similar features to find comparable pricing. These are homes that have recently sold, so they know what buyers are willing to pay. They make adjustments based on the location of the property, the square footage and the condition of the home. Some upgrades will weigh in on the final value while others will not improve it or may even lower the value if they are too strange or different from other homes. 


Who the Appraiser Works For 

Many homeowners think the appraiser’s view is eschewed in favor of the buyer because they pay for the appraisal. However, the appraiser actually works for the lender to ensure the amount the buyer is paying is actually at or below the value of the house. The lender wants to be sure they are making a solid investment by lending the money to the buyer for the home.  


An appraiser is unbiased so you don’t have to worry that the numbers will be altered in favor of the buyer. In fact, it’s illegal for the buyer or anyone else to attempt to coerce the appraiser into changing the numbers.  


Some Amenities are Worth More 

When you upgrade your home, look for what other homes have in them. This tells you what a typical buyer looking to purchase in this neighborhood is interested in. Those amenities are the ones that will add the most value to your home. Other features won’t give you the bang for the buck that you’re looking for.  


Don’t worry about the appraisal if you’ve worked with an agent to help you price the house. If you have any questions, you’re real estate agent should be able to answer them for you or find someone with the answers. 

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5 Ways to Adjust to a New Neighborhood

Moving can be difficult, especially if you’re going to a new city or state. You’re in a strange place around people you don’t know. You may feel lonely even if you have a spouse and kids. If you happened to move by yourself, you may feel isolated. Here are three ways to help you adjust to your new place and become part of your community. 


1. Find Local Events 
Find out about upcoming events in your community and plan to attend. Summer is a great time to book your schedule with festivals and arts and craft shows. You may meet some local people as vendors or others who are also attending.  


2. Take a Class 

One of the best ways to get to know people in your area is by taking a class. Choose something that interests you such as a craft or history and sign up. One of the benefits of doing this is you’ll meet people you have something in common with, so you already have a topic of conversation.  


3. Take a Walk 

Plan an evening or morning walk around your neighborhood. Evening is often better to see more people out in their yards or on walks, but allow it to fit in your schedule. Say “hello” to those you see working in their gardens or playing with the kids. If they seem friendly, you can even stop and ask them a question like which coffee shop they recommend.  


4. Visit Your Neighbors 

While it’s customary for the people who live in a neighborhood to visit the new people who move in, you don’t have to wait. Go to your neighbors and introduce yourself. They may be busy or not want to bother you, so you can make the first move. It allows you the opportunity to get to know your near neighbors, so you’ll feel safer and less isolated. 


5. Host a Party 

It doesn’t have to be a fancy party, but plan a get-together after you are settled in. This is a great idea if you have kids, so they can get to know others their age. Make a few appetizers and snacks and invite people over, so you can get to know each other.  


While it can seem awkward to make the first move, you’ll be less lonely if you take the initiative to get to know others in your neighborhood. 


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What You Should Know about HVAC Systems

When it comes time to update your HVAC or install a new system in an old house without air conditioning, you need to understand a few basics about these systems. This information will help you know what kind of system you need and how to care for it.  


Inspecting the System 

You want to do a regular inspection on the unit to help it work more efficiently and last longer. You need to check and replace the filter as necessary. This often means once a quarter, less often in homes with little dust and more often in homes with pets and other contaminants.  

Have the ductwork cleaned. Over time, it can get dirty, which will increase the amount of dirt that gets into the unit. This job needs to be taken care of about every two years. 


Inspect the fan, belts and other components in the spring and fall. Notice any worn areas, loose belts or other parts that are showing wear or age.  


Notice the area around the unit, paying attention to any water pooling from condensation. Mold can grow where there is continual dampness, so watch for standing water as part of your regular maintenance 



When your system gets old and stops working or needs repairs, it is a sign that it’s time for a new HVAC. You’ll want to make sure you get a system large enough to cool and heat your entire house. Look for one with a high-energy efficiency rating to help you save money.  


Another consideration is if you will have to update your electrical or other systems. The old HVAC systems have been replaced by a more efficient model, but they require a few updates to older homes to make them compatible. This will be an additional cost over the price of the system.  


It's a good idea to contact an HVAC installer to find out about your options and learn which system is best for you. If you’re installing the HVAC system for the first time in an older home that didn’t have central air, you’ll have additional expense with installation of the ductwork. However, this is one project that could add a lot of value to your home when you decide to sell because most people like to have central air to keep cool in the summer.  


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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, Belleair 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 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.