Area Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

March 16, 2022

March Madness

It’s the month of shamrocks, leprechauns, and Irish blessings, and while some are worried about getting pinched, you’ve got other things on your mind — like how you’re gonna get your home listed and sold fast.

It’s the month of shamrocks, leprechauns, and Irish blessings, and while some are worried about getting pinched, you’ve got other things on your mind — like how you’re gonna get your home listed and sold fast. ⁣

In honor of St. Patty (and so you can kick luck to the curb), We’ve got 3 secrets that we can’t wait to spill — secrets that’ll hand you a successful sale, and quite possibly, your very own pot of gold. ⁣

Secret #1: It’s your kitchen that’ll sell your home.⁣

While buyers want the right bed and bath count to meet their needs, years of experience tell me it’s your KITCHEN that’ll sell your home. ⁣

As you get your home ready for the market, every minute (and dollar!) you spend prepping your kitchen to look its best will give you a high ROI. ⁣At a minimum, clean, declutter, and clear off those countertops for every show.


Wanna do a little more? Update cabinet hardware, replace the faucet and sink, install a backsplash, or splurge on new light fixtures.⁣


Secret #2: DON’T goes overboard on upgrades.⁣

It’s a mistake we’ve seen too many times. ⁣

In an effort to get top dollar for their home, well-intentioned sellers take on major renovations without consulting a realtor first. Misinformed and assuming they’ll get every dollar back (and then some!), they go overboard on upgrades only to be disappointed at the closing table.⁣

And while there are upgrades worth doing prior to selling, they’re often quick fixes, not major renovations. ⁣If you’re thinking about selling soon, reach out to a realtor who knows your neighborhood and can give you data on the upgrades that matter most to buyers in your area. ⁣


Secret #3 is all about pricing your home to sell — fast.⁣

Find out what your home is worth, then we could shave a bit off the price to *hopefully* spark a bidding war.⁣ Sound scary? That’s okay — we're here to walk you through every step. Here’s why we love this pricing strategy: ⁣

• Pricing your home just below market value instantly gets buyers’ attention and motivates them to schedule a showing ASAP.

• Once buyers see your home (and LOVE it), they’re more likely to put in an offer if they feel like they’re getting a deal.

• When they realize there are other offers on the table, buyers tend to get competitive and are willing to increase their bid to land the home they want

With interest rates staying low and a lower than normal inventory, if you're looking to sell, you'll 100% be in the driver’s seat. ⁣



Dec. 10, 2020

When you’re thinking about selling...

When you’re thinking about selling your home, suddenly every real estate headline can be interpreted as a clue to your future.

While no one can predict the market, or how buyer activity will be in your area, there’s quite a bit in your control when it comes to boosting the odds of a successful sale. Whether you’re on a tight timeline or just want to decrease the odds that your home will be the one to linger on the market, here are five things you can do now to help your home sell fast. Your real estate agent will thank you later. 


Clutter seems easy to define to most of us. You definitely know not to leave out hampers of laundry, cover your kitchen table with piles of papers, or let toys continue their take over of your living room floor if you are going to show your home. However, you’d never consider your gallery wall of tasteful family photos, shelves of gorgeous glassware, or a priceless collection of genuinely interesting items to ever fit the definition of “clutter.” 

Yet, to a buyer, that’s exactly what all of this is. Anything that is taking up space, getting in the way of sightlines, inviting strangers to ask questions about your personal life, or filling up cabinets counts as clutter. The harder it is for buyers to get a sense of what it would be like to live in your home, the longer it’ll take for the home to sell. Your realtor will tell you this (tactfully), but save the time and tackle the excess now.

Ideally, you'd get into the headspace where you round up everything you don’t need, toss it all in bags, and send it to the proper donation channels without thinking twice. However, most of us can get quickly overwhelmed by this. Professional organizers can take the emotion out of the decision-making process so you can stay focused on your goals. If you’re truly struggling with getting through all the stuff, look into temporarily renting a storage unit for challenging items (usually sentimental things) until you have the time and space to deal with it. 



Stage 1 Staging

While you don't need to handle each aspect of staging a home our team provides this service free with our listings.  There are a few things that you can do now that will make the process go faster later. 

Here are some things to consider tackling now: 

Painting Walls Neutral Colors
Replacing Or Removing Worn-Out Area Rugs
Getting Rid Of Out-Of-Date Bulky Blinds Or Drapes
Giving Your Entire Home A Thorough Clean (from the ceiling cobwebs to the forgotten corners)

By doing this, you’re giving your real estate agent a blank slate that can quickly get professionally staged or photographed ASAP.

Our Staged Home

Rounding Up Documents

Head to the office supply store for plenty of folders, an accordion file or two, and perhaps even a small safe. Finding all the important documents you need now means you won’t have a paper chase later. In addition, the more information your realtor has about your home, the more thorough they can be when it comes to protecting your interest during negotiations. 

Here’s what you’ll need to find: 

The sales contract for your home (original)
Anything relating to mortgage and financing
Tax records
Proof of homeowner’s insurance
Proof of any repairs or improvements done (including receipts, certificates filed with your township, etc.)
All documents relating to your homeowner’s association (if applicable)
Warranty information (including manuals)
The original appraisal of your house when you bought it (and any other appraisals you’ve had since)
Everything relating to the title or ownership of your home

The latter is especially important: Looking up your title may reveal red flag issues that could affect the sale of your home.

For one, there may be an easement on your property that might not have been created properly. For reference, an easement is basically a permission slip for others to access the land on your property. For example, homes on shared private roads may have an easement that allows neighbors to use the road, but there isn’t a road maintenance agreement in place. When this happens, some lenders will reject a buyer’s home loan. Smaller issues can arise when it affects how a future buyer can use a property. If you or the previous owner granted a solar easement to a neighbor so they could install solar panels, a future owner may not be able to add anything to the yard that could block sunlight. 


Get a Pre-Listing Inspection

In the same way that having all of your documentation helps protect your interests during the future sale, a pre-listing inspection is another move that can only help you. Hiring a thorough inspector can give you a definite idea of what condition your home is in and alert you to significant problems so you have time to fix them. An inspection report also gives your realtor an important data point for pricing your home accurately. Having the power to address previously-unknown issues before a sale means there will be less for a buyer to negotiate, down the line, increasing the likelihood of getting your asking price. It also provides potential buyers confidence to put an offer down as soon as possible. 


Snap and Share

If you’ve gotten your home in excellent shape and have a phone with a high-level camera, you might be able to take photos that will help the professional photographers while you get ready to list. If you list with us we will hire a pro, but your photos can be sent to the photographer to give them an idea of what they’ll be shooting and save a scouting trip. YouTube has countless tutorials available with tips on using your phone to photograph interiors and exteriors. 

If you’re further out from selling your home and have been able to take gorgeous photos, you could try to make your property a social media star by documenting the story behind your home as you get it ready to hit the market. This tends to be more successful when you have a type of home with a specific niche (historic homes, midcentury homes, etc.) in order to take advantage of existing hashtags that’ll surface on social media, but renovations also captivate new audiences. 

Don't worry if you're not into social media - we'll take care of all the marketing and advertising to make sure your home stands out from the rest. 

Dec. 9, 2020

Whether you’re ready to list now or later we’re here for you

It’s the most wonderful time of the year... to sell?

Winter can be a great time to sell your home. Especially since “winter” doesn’t dip too far below 50 degrees here. Just like with any season, there are pros and cons to selling your home in the winter and tips that may be able to help with a successful sale.

If you’ve been contemplating whether you should sell your home now or wait until the holidays wind down, we've made a list of 5 things that will help you sell your home before the first April showers!

Take Advantage of the Season

Even though this year is a bit different, living in a warm climate during the winter has its perks. There tend to be more people here and the "snowbirds" flee from the snow which means that there are more people available who might want to make their winter vacation spot a permeate residence. 

Additionally, this is the type of weather we wait for all summer long so make sure to leverage the outside space at your home. We'll make sure to highlight this in our descriptions, photos, and showings (virtual or otherwise). If the weather is particularly beautiful on the day of an in-person showing go ahead and open the windows to let some fresh air in. 

Put Your Best Foot Forward Online

As Dave Ramsey says, “the internet has no seasons.” Since most people would rather be enjoying the beautiful snow-free winter weather and virtual showings are the first step for most buyers right now, making sure your home has a good online presence is very important. Most buyers will start their search online before in person. In fact, according to NAR the share of home buyers who used the internet to search for a home increased to an all-time high of 97% this year. 

Leveraging the power of high-quality photography, virtual walk-through tours, and videos has never been so important but when you pair it with competing against outdoor activities it becomes vital. 

Be Flexible in Showing Times and Methods

This is one of the busiest times of the year and with extra hurdles to jump this year like planning holiday celebrations online and shipping holiday gifts to family in time, free time might be hard to come by. The good news here is that most folks do tend to take more time off work around the holidays leaving more time to search for their new home. Once the holidays are over, there are a few 3-day weekends in January which are perfect to host virtual open houses and schedule showings. 

Offering a virtual tour option for your home is vital in today's world so don't be surprised if you're getting a lot of showing over FaceTime or Zoom - that doesn't mean a buyer is any less serious. 

Work With What You Have

When the sun sets at 4 PM, it’s a lot harder to show off your home’s exterior. Make sure that your lights around the house - holiday and decor lights, as well as year-round outdoor lighting, are all set up and turned on when the sun goes down. If you took advantage of the summer by making some improvements to your curb appeal make sure to disclose those upgrades to us as we'll make sure that any potential buyers are aware of upgrades being made around the house even if viewing homes in the dark doesn't always let them shine.

Keep Budgets and Timelines in Mind

As we wrap up the end of the year, a lot of people are tied up with other financial obligations such as holiday gifts, paying taxes, and making sure their own houses are ready for the holidays. While typically this may cause a lot of buyers do not want to invest in a home at this time of year this year is anything but normal. Buyers are competing by offering over asking and homes are selling quickly - the holidays may slow that down a bit but we expect things to heat up again by the time the trees have all been taken down.

Staying "Show Ready" Makes a Difference

While keeping your home show-ready during the winter may be more difficult it's not impossible. You’ll need to minimize the amount of decor and clutter around the house, remove packages arriving on the front steps, and keep up with putting away the wrapping paper and holiday prepping that you’re doing yourself.  

Pro Tip: If may be dark outside, but be sure to keep things cozy and warm inside by turning as many lights on as you can.


Whether you’re ready to list now or plan to wait until spring, we’ll be here when you’re ready.

Aug. 27, 2020

I love a great Run and a Great Pun!

This morning my husband Ron and I started back our health journey. I love our neighborhood and what a great way to look at it in a new light or rather the dark.   I hate to admit that’s its been longer than just the surgery since I’ve had any motivation to exercise.  But today none of that mattered.  It’s truly amazing what you miss durning the day when life gets so busy.  The quiet of a 5 am morning (only my chatter to be heard lol) the darkness paralleled with the bright stars in the sky, the family of deer watching us back.   We were able to see Orion and Gemini bright in the sky and Ron told me about his astronomy poster he had as a kid.  We chatted about how if a man with no arms can shoot a bow and win silver against able bodied men we can surely run to the stop sign.  But I exceed my goals this AM and we ran a mile without walking.  Now that may not seem far or a great accomplishment, yes Ron and I are both marathoners, but to me this was huge.  We’ve been over coming obstacles our entire relationship from financial hardships to health scares, Pulmonary Emboli, brain surgery and  my most recent surgeries.  But the highlight of the run was the PUN - yep I love a good pun.  Everyone that knows me knows I’m always one with the PUN and this morning as we were headed back to our house we looked for the deer and Ron says “where are our Deer friends” he cracks me up! and guess what they met us in our yard before disappearing into the woods. SO I ask what is you favorite PUN or do you shun the pun? 

Posted in Random Thoughts
Aug. 16, 2020

Why we offer FREE home staging

Home Staging and Design


Why do we stage our vacant listings at NO charge to the homeowner? And offer free home styling if the home is still occupied, here is why. 


There’s been a lot of buzz about home staging even in hot real estate markets like Tampa Bay.  The facts are undeniable, staging helps sell a home for more money and on a shorter timeline.


The numbers suggest that staging homes for sale can generate sales faster, and result in less days on the market. Many sellers don’t even consider staging.  It just doesn’t come to mind 

Yet, at the same time; hotels, resorts and homebuilders have been effectively staging for years. Or it is cost prohibitive. Staging companies can charge up to $600 per room, and often charge a consultation fee.  We saw this as an opportunity to add value to the services we already offer our clients. 



Have you ever visited a new community? and witnessed the difference between the models and the actual units, you’ll see how true this is.  It’s a way they can showcase their higher-end options. When it comes to making a good first impression, Builders have taken advantage of staging the models. Why wouldn’t you do the same!?


A well staged home can make all the difference in a potential buyer leaving to look at other homes or coming to you with a generous offer.  


Staging can definitely help elevate value and speed in selling. We believe in our proven track record of getting our clients the most money with less days on the market.  That’s why we offer free home staging as just ONE of our services, saving our clients thousands of dollars!  


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July 24, 2020

The subtle art of negotiations

Negotiation is a subtle art in real estate, but skilled negotiators can usually find some common ground that satisfies all parties. On the other hand, using the wrong negotiation tactics can sink a deal pretty quickly. Here are some negotiation tactics buyers (and real estate professionals) should avoid:

  1. Lowball offers: Going far below market value when you make an offer damages your credibility as a buyer and can be insulting to the seller. The seller has a range in mind that they’ll accept, and if you’re not even approaching the low end of that range, they won’t even consider the offer.
  2. Incremental negotiations: Don’t continue to go back to the seller with small increases in your offer ($1,000 or less). The constant back-and-forth can grow tiresome and lead the seller to consider other opportunities.
  3. “Take it or leave it”: Try not to draw a line in the sand with your initial offer. The seller can get defensive and consider other offers if you immediately show that you’re unwilling to budge. Even if it’s true, don’t make a show of it.
  4. Nitpicking after inspection: Obviously if inspection reveals a major issue, it should be factored into the final sale price. But insisting on a lower price for every minor repair can put negotiations in a stalemate.
  5. Asking for more, more, more: Some buyers will request that the sellers throw in add-ons like furniture or appliances that weren’t included in the listing. Try to avoid giving the seller a reason to build up resentment and think that you’re being greedy.

This is why its so important to work with a professional in this fast paced market. - Mica

July 24, 2020

5 criteria for pricing your home

When you put your home up for sale, one of the best ways to determine the asking price is to look at comparable sales. There’s rarely a perfect apples-to-apples comparison, so a pricing decision often relies on comparisons to several recent sales in the area. Here are five criteria to look for in a sales comparison.

  1. Location: Homes in the same neighborhood typically follow the same market trends. Comparing your home to another in the same neighborhood is a good start, but comparing it to homes on the same street or block is even better.

  2. Date of sale: It varies by location, but housing markets can see a ton of fluctuation in a short time period. It‘s best to use the most recent sales data available.

  3. Home build: Look for homes with similar architectural styles, numbers of bathrooms and bedrooms, square footage, and other basics.

  4. Features and upgrades: Remodeled bathrooms and kitchens can raise a home’s price, and so can less flashy upgrades like a new roof or HVAC system. Be sure to look for similar bells and whistles.

  5. Sale types: Homes that are sold as short sales or foreclosures are often in distress or sold at a lower price than they’d receive from a more typical sale. These homes are not as useful for comparisons.

July 24, 2020


Staging your home is all about putting the best foot forward for potential buyers. By highlighting its most desirable features, you can draw more interest for your home and leave a lasting impression that is sure to help you sell it more quickly. Here’s what you should keep in mind as you prepare for your next open house or viewing!

  1. Help them visualize it as their own. Make it easier for buyers to imagine themselves making your house their home by removing personal memorabilia, knick-knacks, and photos. Instead replace them with simple décors, such as paintings, nature images, and plants.
  2. Think sleek instead of comfy. Modern-day buyers are leaning toward modern, crisp, clean interiors over comfy, homey looks. When staging your home, keep a minimalist mindset, and incorporate bright colors and metal accents.
  3. Deep clean the small spaces. It's obvious to say you should clean your home before viewing, but don’t forget to cover your bases by deep cleaning the small spots. Take time to scrub porous areas like grout that may hold on to stains and baseboards where small pet hairs and dust love to cling.
  4. Spruce up your landscaping. The first impression your home gives to potential buyers is its exterior. Ensure you have a freshly mowed lawn, neat hedges and shrubbery, bright flowers, and a clean driveway.
  5. Set the mood. A home is so much more than just the way it looks, so you need to appeal to the other senses. Prior to having potential buyers over, set the mood by burning delicious smelling candles and selecting an upbeat, happy soundtrack to play in the background.

We offer staging services and free design consults with all of our listings! "the home sweet home team fl" 

July 31, 2017

Curious About Local Real Estate?

Receive the Latest Local Market Stats

Curious about local real estate? So are we! Every month we review trends in our real estate market and consider the number of homes on the market in each price tier, the amount of time particular homes have been listed for sale, specific neighborhood trends, the median price and square footage of each home sold and so much more. We’d love to invite you to do the same!

Get Local Market Reports Sent Directly to You

You can sign up here to receive your own market report, delivered as often as you like! It contains current information on pending, active and just sold properties so you can see actual homes in your neighborhood. You can review your area on a larger scale, as well, by refining your search to include properties across the city or county. As you notice price and size trends, please contact us for clarification or to have any questions answered.

We can definitely fill you in on details that are not listed on the report and help you determine the best home for you. If you are wondering if now is the time to sell, please try out our INSTANT home value tool. You’ll get an estimate on the value of your property in today’s market. Either way, we hope to hear from you soon as you get to know our neighborhoods and local real estate market better.

Posted in Market Updates