Friday, January 9, 2015

Real Estate Boost for 2015

Reduction in FHA insurance makes home buying more affordable  

The President announced on Wednesday that the federal government will reduce PMI insurance premiums on FHA loans with the goal of making it easier for Americans to own a home. This is fantastic news for anyone in the market for real estate since this reduction will save home buyers an average of $900 a year. The lower insurance premium will affect 800,000 home owners immediately, as they will save on their monthly mortgage payments. This change is coming out at a great time considering all of the other positive news in the Real Estate industry the first week of 2015. Unemployment is down, gasoline prices are the lowest in 7 years and spending power is up.

In the Tampa Bay market, SI Real Estate is already noticing the enthusiasm and buzz this news is bringing to the area. Federal Housing Administration loans are largely popular for many home buyers in America. “I want to talk about helping more families afford their piece of the American dream, and that is owning their own home,” Obama said. First time home buyers are a significant building block to a healthy economy. Reducing the cost of buying a home is a surefire way to again boost the economy immediately. Qualifying for an FHA loan will be more attainable since you will have lower monthly payments to qualify for the same loan.

Lowering the cost of monthly mortgage payments also entices the switch from renting to buying. The rental market has become more expensive every year since the recession. “Apartment rents are rising at the highest pace in seven years, which means some of the renters . . . will seriously consider buying,” said Yun of the national real estate group. Yun is expressing what everyone already knows; buying a home is always a better investment than renting. Reducing the cost to own is a great way to spur renters into buying.

Here at SI Real Estate, we utilize our years of experience while working with clients in all possible situations. Our personal relationship with each customer makes us a very valuable asset in the search for a new home. No matter if you are a first time buyer or if you just want to get more information about the current market conditions, SI Real Estate will take the time to go over all the possibilities with you. We will make sure that you are 100 percent satisfied with our services. Real People | Real Results!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Momentum in the Housing Market: 2014 Updates!

Since 2010, the Floridian housing market has been stabilizing, and this pattern continues through 2014. According to Florida Realtors Association, Florida’s housing market has had an increase of sales and median prices since 2013.  In fact, the statewide total for single-family houses sold in October was over 21,800, an increase of nearly 18% since October 2013.  Statewide, even the sales price of single family residences has increased nearly 5%.
Be assured, these are signs that the housing market is not only gaining momentum, but truly stabilizing and becoming a healthy and prosperous industry once again.  According to Sherri Meadows, President of Florida Realtors, October of this year marks the 35th month in a row (nearly 3 full years) that the state wide median sales prices have rose for both single family homes, and for townhouse-condo properties.
Florida is on track to close out 2014 with tremendous momentum, more than we’ve had in years. The statewide “closed sales” for townhomes and condos reached over 9,000 just in October. The closed sales data also shows that short sales for townhomes and condos have declined 55.6% from the previous year.  Short sales for single family homes have declined 47.6% from the previous year as well.

The health of the Floridian real estate economy is undeniable and the momentum seems to be unstoppable. Everything Real Estate in Florida is heading in a positive direction. With the increase of home sales and sustainable price changes in market, the Florida housing market is booming! 

Monday, November 10, 2014

South Tampa: The Treasure of Tampa Bay

Tampa is centrally located on the west coast of Florida and has many alluring attractions.  Everything is available to us; from the many Orlando Theme Parks to our celebrated sunny beaches. Many of our best kept secrets in Central Florida are known only to its residents. One of the popular treasures of Tampa Bay is South Tampa. Its energy and popularity have continued in full force, even during the economic adjustments.  It’s easy to understand why, once you've visited South Tampa.

South Tampa is home to several mini neighborhoods. Davis Island, which is one of the most beautiful areas in the city, is about to get another make over. One example, according to the Tampa Bay Business Journal, a low-slung brick home on Davis Island is scheduled for demolition to make way for a brand new 6 million dollar mansion. This West Indies style home will be over 7,300 square feet and is slated for completion in late 2015.

Housing on Davis Island isn't the only thing that’s getting a real estate makeover lately.  The Tampa International Airport is set to begin a 2.5 Billion dollar project for improvements after Thanksgiving. Rated as one of the best airports in the nation, the Tampa International Airport is awarding 250 million dollars in contracts to expand the main terminal beginning December 2nd, 2014. It has been stated that up to 7000 jobs will be created as a result of this massive expansion!

It’s not only our real estate and infrastructure that’s being reworked, it’s our laws and policies, too. Among the new Tampa Bay developments is Riverwalk. This recently added district is home to many residents and businesses of all varieties. Riverwalk now invites you to wine and dine in open air outdoor cafes, take in the skyline, the vistas, and the surrounding activity. A new city ordinance has recently passed to allow responsible adults to enjoy a cocktail while taking it all in around this beautiful and newly developing vicinity. Tampa has been very assertive in developing the surrounding area for our residents, businesses and visitors alike.  Patrons of eight local and licensed alcoholic beverage provides will be able to get their drinks in a special plastic cup that bears the Riverwalk logo and has been provided by the city. The law is slated for approval by December of 2014.

South Tampa has been ranked as one of the best up and coming areas in the southeast and its energy is absolutely incredibly contagious! This snapshot of the development in and around Tampa area does no justice to the area itself. It’s something you truly have to experience.   

Monday, October 27, 2014

Tampa Real Estate & Builder Pulse: New homes abound around Tampa

A New Home may be the very best option for you to review! 

“Thousands of new homes are under construction in the Bay Area.” According to the WFLA and the Tampa Bay Builders association, Tampa Bay has been booming with constructions. Since 2011, the housing market has been steady, and new home building has been slowly increasing. This could be due to the continuously low interest rates on mortgages over the past 2.5 years.  There are at least 3,000 new home construction starts in Tampa Bay this year, and there are still more coming. 

Why new homes?  There are many floor plans and color options to choose from. You will enjoy less competition in the contract and offer process. Enjoy the streamline procedure of one stop shopping in a new construction development. These are just a few of the innumerable options available. 
Jennifer Doerfel, the current Vice President of the Tampa Bay Builder Association says that if consumer confidence stays where it is, there should continue to be an increase in building activity. This building activity has created hundreds of jobs in the Tampa Bay area, and will continue to stabilize the housing market through 2015.

The Tampa Bay Builders say their biggest challenge in this surge of activity is the lending community, of course.  Although in the past several years it has been somewhat challenging for some to get a mortgage, the rates still remain low. Recently, mortgage applications have surged 11.6%. According to this article, the average contract interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances have decreased to 4.03%, the lowest it has been since May 2013.  The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage has decreased to 3.28%, also the lowest since May 2013.

If you are considering your real estate purchase options, you may want to consider buying a new home. Many of the stresses of purchasing a home can come from bidding wars with other home buyers. When purchasing a new house, not only will you be the first owner, but the only buyer.  A new home in Tampa bay may be just what you want for your next home. Contact SI Real Estate with any questions you may have. SI Real Estate has fantastic connections with new communities, home builders, and lenders. We guarantee quality service and satisfaction to our clients!   

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Real estate investors are moving to Tampa, should you?

Plans for retirement are important to start thinking about during your career. There are many ways to plan for retirement by investing your money. You can invest in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, or real estate. In recent years, more investors have been reaching for the real estate industry. Investors purchase homes and rent them to tenants, creating a stable form of income with little expenses.

Real estate isn’t always easy to invest in, but it is more stable. Stocks have the tendencies to rise and fall with investment trends over the course of a year; however, a rental property with a locked in lease generates predictable and stable income. This is ideal for risk adverse investors, or investors who are getting a later start in building their portfolio.

There are many opportunities to invest in real estate. The first of which being crowdfunding. This new concept is to split up the cost of a venture (or in our case, property) into sections and having different investors purchase a part of it.

A different way to invest in real estate is through a purchase and rental. In fact, now is a great time for investment in real estate. If you’re considering investing in real estate and need a mortgage to do so, interest rates have just dropped from a four month high, according to this Bloomberg article. With mortgages low, and the average cost of a rental home increasing, it seems as if now may be the perfect time to invest.

Once you have invested in real estate, the decision to manage the property is up to you. If you’re retired, you may find your properties easy to manage. Property management is rarely a full time occupation, but it can be daunting if you’re still in your career. If you chose to manage your own property and are in the last decade of your career, you may even find it overwhelming at first. If you’re unfamiliar with how to manage a property, there are companies like SI Real Estate to help with your maintenance and marketing needs. These are value added services for your portfolio that will help elongate the life of your investment to make sure you’re getting everything possible.

If you’re considering investing in the Tampa Bay area, feel free to contact SI Real Estate for more information and learn how we can assist you in the real estate  process.  

Friday, September 19, 2014

Changing the mortgage game? Here's what it means for you!

Recently, bankers have joined loan guarantors to push the ease the proposed capital rules for mortgage insurers. The bankers advised that easing up on the proposed rules will make real estate financing even more affordable for buyers seeking a new home and loan.  Along with the bankers, the National Association of Realtors discussed the importance of having accessible mortgages for first time home buyers.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Citigroup and Bank of America are providing mortgages at discounted interest rates as a part of their efforts to help borrowers with low incomes or lack luster credit histories. These discounts are larger than what other banks currently offer on fixed-rate mortgages with high credit scores.

This new home loan program encourages borrowers to pay points as a means to receive an even larger discount rate. A point upfront fee lowers the interest rate on a mortgage, and one point is equivalent to 1% of the loan. If you have a $100,000 loan, one “point” is equivalent to $1,000. In the past, a 15-year fixed mortgage could be as high as 3.25% of the loan, but with this program in place, there have been cases where it dropped to an astounding 0.125% for the entirety of the loan.

Because of bankers pushing to ease the capital rules, and loaners like Citigroup and Bank of America offering discounted programs for mortgages, what does that mean for you as a borrower?  It means as a borrower, you have easier access to a mortgage even if your credit isn't stellar.

If you are considering a home purchase, the mortgage game has changed and the benefits are to your favor!  

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Where were you?

“Where were you on September 11th?” is a question you’ll hear a lot today. Some of us were in school, others were at work. When the news was broadcast, Americans all over the country were in disbelief. America hadn't had an attack of this scale on its own soil since Pearl Harbor.

As a country, we were devastated. As a country, we were united. With empowering speeches from former President George W. Bush, we came together as a nation and declared that we will not stand for acts of terrorism. We would unite as Americans and support the victims of this tragedy. We would act to prevent this from happening again, to America or to anyone in the world.
         On this day, we chose to remember those who have lost their lives in the World Trade Center. We chose to grieve with the families who have lost someone when the towers fell. We chose commemorate the firefighters and police officers who gave their lives to help trapped victims.

          Today, please remember to take a moment of silence today for all of those who have had their life taken away by the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 and for those who have fallen as a volunteer to help rescue victims. Be sure to give thanks to our soldiers who continue to defend the freedom and safety of our nation.

          Beginning at 6 pm today in New York City, the Memorial Plaza will be open to the public for a special viewing of the Tribute in Light. The memorial will remain open until midnight for the anniversary to ensure the experience is available for all who wish to pay tribute to ground zero.

          If you’re interested in learning more about September 11th, please be sure to visit the memorial’s website here, and if you’re ever in New York, pay it a visit.  God Bless America.

Where were you on September 11th? Be thankful and grateful for America, especially today.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Want an Easy Home Buying Experience? Read This!

Now is the time to act on purchasing your home. The housing market climate has drastically improved and builder confidence is at the highest level it has been in nearly a decade.  Recent mortgage and inventory trends are allowing you, as a first time buyer or a repeat buyer, to make your move.  But are you ready?  Purchasing a home is one of the biggest financial investments that is made in a lifetime. Although you might be ready to buy your home, there are a few ways to simplify the purchasing process, making it smooth sailing for you.  Here are four key ways to prepare for your new home purchase:

  1.  Credit: When purchasing a home, make sure to check up on your credit. The higher your credit score is, the more likely you’ll be able to finance your purchase with lower interest rates. Credit is influenced by many things, so it’s imperative to be mindful of it.  Do not purchase anything from a car, furniture, or take on any debt before, during or after a contract.  Sit tight and make not changes to your debt or income until after your closing!
  2. Get pre-approved: Before home shopping begins, get pre-approved for a home loan. You’ll know how much you’re able to comfortably spend and what your interest and financial scenario will be like. Knowing your monetary situation will help you target a price range for your home purchase.  Dick Gaylord, past president of the National Association of Realtors says that the preapproval process is much more extensive than it was a few years ago.  Be prepared, be involved.
  3.  Hire a real estate professional: An experienced real estate agent can make the home buying process efficient and effortless. Real estate professionals have access to a network of agents and sellers, mortgage and title agencies. That network will of other experts in the marketplace will assist you in the home buying process.  Agents have access to properties, are trained to use real estate specific websites and outlets to help you find the perfect property which meets your very specific home criteria. Real estate experts are proficient with geography, terms and industry jargon, inspections, appraisals, and HUD statements. These are incredibly useful, especially while closing on a house.
  4.  Closing the transaction: Getting to the closing table is the most important part of home buying, and there are several components of the process. First, your lender will order a home appraisal to ensure that the property is being sold and purchased at a fair market value.  This value is determined by comparable sales and an evaluation performed by the appraiser.  Next, a title search will then be performed to examine any issues that could affect the property’s title. Finally, the seller will sign the deed,  a legal component of the real estate transaction and the buyer will sign the new mortgage. The closing process is the most difficult. Real estate agents and title agencies have had extensive training on how to close a real estate transaction, and may be able to search out any hidden costs to ensure your purchase is fair.

Home buying is one of the most exciting milestones in life. Make it an enjoyable experience with SI Real Estate.  Never a cost to a buyer, only benefits and savings.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Real Estate News | Housing Inventory Remains Low while Buyer Demand Remains High

According to, real estate inventory remains low in the US housing market nationwide. With such a significant shortage in inventory and such high demand; homes are becoming more difficult to come by for many first-time buyers. Low inventory continues to be a collective frustration in the real estate market, specifically in the affordable price bracket.  According to Zillow Real Estate Market Reports, the inventory constraints on the affordable side of the market make it particularly tough for entry level buyers. 

Buyers are not finding ample options, while the costs of affordable homes continue to rise.  
Reports indicate that in addition to the low numbers of affordable homes for sale, home buyers with traditional financing are still competing with all cash buyers in today’s market. According to Zillow, “more than one third of all sales of the lowest-priced homes were made with cash.” In cities such as Tampa Bay, Miami, and Detroit, more than eighty percent of all home sales in the affordable price bracket were cash transactions.

On the bright side, the increase in home prices has helped to boost an impressive surge in builder confidence.  CNBC News cites a monthly sentiment from the National Association of Home Builders reached an all time high in the month of July. This is the highest level builder confidence has been since January, which is great news for buyers in the real estate market. David Crowe, Chief Economist of the NAHB notes that builders across the country have been expressing a positive outlook on current sales conditions. The amount of consumer traffic is more than builders nationwide have seen in the last five years. Stuart Hoffman, Chief Economist at PNC Financial Services Group suspects that although inventory is low, the increase in home prices will eventually bring more homes into the market. Prospective sellers will gain confidence to sell their homes, which will satisfy the growing demand of buyers.

Despite low inventory conditions in the real estate market, 2014 is still a great year to purchase a home in Tampa Bay. The National Association of Realtors has named Tampa one of the ten housing markets it believes will see a  housing turnaround. Take advantage of these positive market conditions, and see what Tampa Bay has to offer. SI Real Estate serves clients both locally and internationally. With over 40 years of experience, and extensive knowledge of the Tampa Bay area; SI Real Estate is here to answer any of your real estate questions, and assist you with any of your real estate needs. Call us today at 813.631.5144.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Moving to a New Home Made Easy! The Ultimate Moving Survival Guide!

Summer is always a tremendously popular time of year for families and movers changing homes across the United States. According to the American Moving and Storage Association, 15.3 million Americans moved between the summer months of June and August last year. Moving into a new home can be a stressful and overwhelming task. Fortunately, a little preparation and careful planning is all it takes to reduce stress, and ensure a smooth transition into your new home. Save time and reduce stress with these helpful tips provided by Mattress Firm, Inc., and

Be ahead of the game:  Saving all your tasks for one day is not the best idea, but planning ahead is a great way to stay organized and make your move much easier. Start planning your move as early as possible, and be sure to mark your move in date.  Utilizing a calendar is a great tool to visualize your move. You can schedule a day for each room, and save the most used rooms for a later date.  Storing all of your moving information in one place is can also be helpful.

Protect Your Valuables:  Some items may need to be dissembled when moving, keep small screws and pieces in a small bag that is marked and labeled accordingly. Fragile items like dinnerware should be wrapped separately with extra padding to avoid damage. Using old clothes to wrap your dishes is a great way to save money and protect fragile items. Just make sure to label your boxes accordingly to ensure safe handling.
Pack your Closet:  Your clothes can be vacuum sealed and stored in boxes to make more space. If you have clothes that are hanging, wrap them in trash bags for a quick and easy alternative.
Pets:  All of the commotion that is involved with moving can be frightening and stressful for animals. Consider making arraignments to check your pet into a pet day care facility. You can also arrange to leave Fido with a friend or family member on move day.
Change your address! You can change your address online with the US Postal Service. You can also specify the date you want your address change to become effective.
Get Organized: Moving is a great opportunity to get rid of old belongings. Sort out the items that can be donated instead of throwing everything out.  Shred old documents, try not to move anything that you don’t have to.
Survival kit: Pack an overnight suitcase with all the necessary items you will need on the first day, and be sure to have snacks and plenty water available. Keep a first aid kit on hand in case of an accident, and make sure that it is easily accessible.
If you are thinking of moving to the Tampa Bay are, let SI Real Estate give you a hand.  We can streamline the process for you and your family whether you are seeking a home in suburb, and urban residence, or a hot spot on the Beaches!   We have you covered!  Call us at 813.631.5144 or feel free to email us at