Real Estate News for North Pinellas County

Archive for the 'homes for sale' Category

Pinellas County real estate: Demand UP, supply DOWN

If you are thinking about BUYING a home in Pinellas County, or if you are thinking about SELLING your home, here are a couple of very important things you need to know:

  • Sales are UP. A lot.
  • Listing inventory is DOWN.

Closed sales in April 2015 were 2,103, up almost 20 percent over April in 2014 (1756). At the same time, listing inventory for the same month was 7,566 units — DOWN 1.5 percent.

What does that mean? Well, it means a couple of things.  First, more buyers are chasing fewer available homes. And when demand exceeds supply like that, it pushes prices UP. And that’s exactly what’s happening in Pinellas County right now.

I have buyers right now who are frustrated because the houses they want to buy are simply not on the market.

So I have a couple of things to tell you: If you are a buyer, prices are going to be higher than they are right now. And if you are a seller, or a potential seller, this is a great time to get your home on the market. There’s a buyer out there right now who is ready to make you an offer.

 

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Mold. What should you do about it?

     I see it all the time – mold on bathroom ceilings, mold in shower enclosures, mold in kitchens and laundry rooms. It’s more than just an aesthetic problem; mold can cause serious health problems, especially for people with allergies or asthma.

But it’s not necessarily a reason to walk away from buying a home.

First, let’s look at what mold is and how it gets into houses:

Mold is a kind of fungus. Its purpose in nature is to help with the decomposition of dead organic material such as trees and plants.  Dig through a pile of dead leaves and you will usually find plenty of mold.

IMG_9706Mold travels through the air in the form of microscopic spores that you can’t see without a microscope. There’s plenty of those little spores around and you probably breathe them in every day.

But that black, dark blue or green mold that you may see on an interior wall results when mold spores find a wet or damp surface. Dampness on organic material is what mold spores love to find.

Mold is bad for humans because it can cause allergenic reactions – sneezing, rashes or even asthmatic attacks. Reactions to mold can run the gamut from a minor annoyance to a life-threatening asthma attack.

It’s possible to remove mold, but if you don’t deal with the moisture that attracted it, there’s a very good chance that the mold will reappear. So if you buy a home that has visible mold, you have to be concerned about removing the mold AND dealing with the source of the moisture that attracted those mold spores in the first place.

There are different kinds of mold, and there are tests available that can tell you what kind of mold you are dealing with. But mold testing can be costly, and mold in a home should be removed and dealt with no matter what kind of mold it is.

So, let’s say you find mold in your home and decide to deal with it. If the mold is on wood, tile or painted drywall, you should be able to use a good detergent and scrub it off with a sponge. You can use bleach or a commercial mold killer if you want, but remember what we said about those mold spores being everywhere; even if you kill all the visible mold, it may well come back if new mold spores come into contact with a damp surface.

If you are dealing with unpainted drywall, you should cut the drywall out and replace it, because drywall is porous and the mold will have penetrated it.

Also, remember that if mold is on one side of a wall, it’s likely to be on the inside surface as well. You could successfully get all the mold of a drywall surface, only to find that a similar mold outbreak is taking place on the inside drywall surface as well. So think seriously about replacing the moldy drywall.

A couple of cautions:

1. Wear gloves

2. If you suffer from allergies or asthma, get a friend (or hire someone) to do the work.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has a page on its website devoted to mold and how to get rid of it. Take a look.

And don’t forget – getting rid of the mold will be a useless exercise if you don’t deal with the dampness that attracted it. So deal with that dampness, whether it’s a leaky pipe, bad condensation or water seeping into the home from outside.

Also, some insurance companies may be leery about providing insurance on a home that has an active or recent mold problem, so check that out ahead of time. If you are planning on financing the home through FHA, be aware that FHA may refuse to guarantee a mortgage on a home that has, or has had, mold problems.

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Gorgeous Ozona townhouse!

I’ve just listed a truly gorgeous three-bedroom, three-bath townhouse in Ozona with more than 2,100 square feet of living space.  Take a look!

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Food truck wars come to Palm Harbor

I’m starting to turn into a fan of food trucks and, as such, should be able to have a pretty good time this evening in downtown Palm Harbor.

food truck rally posterA bunch of food trucks are expected starting at 5 p.m. today as the downtown’s First Friday event welcomes them. I’m not sure which trucks are showing up, but the Taco Bus and Jimmy Meatballs have been part of the food truck crown during past events in Downtown Palm Harbor.

You probably know the routine.  Different food trucks gather to offer their best delights, and you can move from truck to truck and sample different foods. We went to a food truck event in St. Petersburg recently, and there was everything from Asian food from Guam to seafood to barbecue to gourmet hot dogs to fancy desserts.

Live music will be on hand as well, and there will be games for young and old (how are you at spitting watermelon seeds?)

Sounds like fun! And kudos to old Palm Harbor Main Street for putting on another fun event that should attracts residents of Palm Harbor and beyond. And there’s a fun-raiser component, as well; money raised will be put toward new, decorative street lights for the downtown neighborhood.

A similar food truck wars event, this one in Safety Harbor a while back.

A similar food truck wars event, this one in Safety Harbor a while back.

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Pinellas County real estate becomes a sellers’ market

 

 

Here’s a recent development in real estate that I don’t think too many people would have predicted: In recent weeks, we’ve sort of quietly shifted from a buyers’ market to a seller’s market.

 That’s right, buyers are having to scramble to get good, solid, timely offers in on the homes they really want to buy. If they don’t, POOF! The house is gone to someone with quicker reflexes.

sold sign And this shift does not just apply to Pinellas County homes; it’s a phenomenon that’s being noticed across the country. The WALL STREET JOURNAL even wrote about it today.

 According to the JOURNAL, buyers are increasingly competing for homes, and even entering into bidding wars. I haven’t seen anything that I would describe as bidding wars locally, but I have had several buyers submitting offers above the asking price, knowing that the house of their dreams won’t stay on the market.

 According to the JOURNAL (and my own sense of what’s going on locally), this sellers’ market is not so much about increasing numbers of sales – it’s more about a lack of good, desirable properties on the market.

 It makes sense when you think about it. Sellers keep their homes off the market because of declining values. If someone owes $300,000 on a home that is now worth $200,000, why put it on the market if you don’t have to?

 And we are now about six years into the housing slump, which means a lot of homes that would have been sold in a more normal market have simply never been listed.

 And there’s another reason, too. Lenders have been extremely slow to put their foreclosed properties on the market. There’s plenty of foreclosed-upon, unoccupied homes out there, in this market and most others, but the lender-owners seem to fear more value declines if they put all those properties on the market.

 It’s a strange market, no doubt. But it is a market with many great opportunities, for buyers and sellers alike.

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Interest rates are low, but they won’t always be. Remember that when you consider buying a home in Pinellas County

What single factor may splash cold water on the recovering housing market? According to a CNN/Fortune Magazine report, it could be interest rates.

“What’s that?” you say. “Interest rates are at historic lows. Interest rates seem to be the one single thing that we don’t have to worry about when we think about the housing market.”

Yup, you are correct.  But according to the report, rising interest rates could be looming. And if that comes true, it will retard the housing market recovery.

According to the report, there are a number of factors that should have favorable impacts on a better housing market – strong improvements in the rate of single-family housing starts, more construction permits being pulled, and an upward trend in home sales across the nation, to name just three.

And let’s not forget really, REALLY low interest rates.

balancing houseBut, according to the report, interest rates will inevitably rise. And when they do, mortgage costs will go up. And that will be an impediment to a market recovery.

Those historically low interest rates are around 4 percent right now. But the MEDIAN interest rate, looked at long-term, is more like 9 percent. The report says that when interest rates go up, as they inevitably will, the effect is likely to be like an anchor on the recovery of the housing market.

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Something else that is probably inevitable – people saying, “Wow, I wish I had purchased a home in Dunedin or Palm Harbor when the prices and interest rates were really low.”

That doesn’t have to be you. Call or e-mail me now and we’ll discuss what you want to accomplish home-wise. I’m always available! [email protected], or 727-643-7100.

 

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Waterfowl love living in Dunedin

As I’ve said before here, I love Florida’s birds — they are one of things that make living here so interesting.

crane in pondThere’s a pond a few steps from my back door, and it attracts all sorts of different birds. There’s a family of ducks that live there, and they are there every day, but other waterfowl pop in for vistits pretty regularly.

I was outside the other day when this big guy dropped in. I think it’s a heron of some sort, but I’m no expert and I couldn’t find a picture on the internet of a bird that exactly matched this fellow, so I’m not really sure what he is. If you recognize it, please post what you know.

What’s the point of bird pictures on a blog that specializes in Pinellas County real estate? Good question. But it’s my blog, and I like birds, so you can expect to see some photos of birds that I come across in Pinellas County. This particular guy is in Dunedin, a little south of Palm Harbor.

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Nature’s paradise in Cross Creek

woodstream pier 1I don’t usually broadcast individual homes that are for sale on this blog, but I’m offering an absolute gem in Cross Creek in Oldsmar that you really have to see. It’s immaculate and beautifully decorated, but the truly gorgeous feature is what’s out back — a dock that overlooks a small river, with an island nature reserve on the other side.

The pictures tell the story, so click below and take a look at the photo gallery on the website I put together for this outstanding property.

http://1514woodstreamdr.epropertysites.com/

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