Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Is Now the Time to Buy Your Dream Home?

If the time is now, consider Tampa, Florida for your next luxury real estate purchase.
Wealthy borrowers with real estate mortgages that exceed $1 million are foreclosing or turning to short sales at almost double the average U.S. rate.

Payments on about 12% of mortgages exceeding $1 million were 90 days or more overdue in September, compared with 6.3% on loans less than $250,000 and 7.4% on all U.S. mortgages, according to data from First American CoreLogic Inc., a Santa Ana, Calif.-based research firm.

Many home buyers are taking advantage of the current prices on these “McMansions” that will already have instant equity in them at the time of closing. Atlanta Falcons’ linebacker, Porter Michael Peterson recently purchased a mansion near Tampa, Florida for $1.1 million – That is almost half of what the sellers paid for it 3 years earlier!

Before you try to find your dream home, keep a few things in mind:

Know your budget and pre-qualify with a lender…Can you really afford that home even at this relatively low price?

Consider what is most important to you and your family….Do you really need 6 bedrooms and 6 bathrooms if it’s just you, your spouse and your beloved dog?

Location. Location. Location…It may be your dream home, but will you be happy with the neighborhood?

Wouldn’t Tampa, Florida be a great place to start your search! Luxurious Mediterranean estates, bungalows and contemporary Florida architectural concepts abound throughout the Tampa area. Prestigious areas such as Harbour Island, Davis Island, Bayshore Boulevard and even New Tampa offer truly spectacular residences which will capture your interest.
SI Real Estate has specialists who are on-hand to assist you with your home buying needs. Contact our Tampa Bay office today to help you find YOUR luxury dream home! Please call 813.631.5144 or e-mail us at

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tampa Bay Real Estate Year End Wrap-Up 2009

Tampa’s real estate recovery has surely been underway in 2009, with changes in the housing market taking place throughout the Bay area. Appropriately priced Tampa homes spent fewer days on the market this year, banked owned property inventory saw depletion, and new home starts began to increase in mid-2009.

The first-time home buyer tax credit gave way to significant results in the Tampa real estate market, with home sales soaring during the last few months leading up to its anticipated expiration date. Multiple offers were placed on discounted properties as many first-time home buyers hurried to take advantage of unprecedented deals. The Internal Revenue Services reported that more than 105,000 Floridians had applied for the credit prior to its extension.

This positive rise in real estate market activity was not restricted to the Tampa Bay area in 2009. The St. Petersburg Times reported in November that all 19 Florida metro areas reported year-over-year gains in home sales. Tampa, being one of Florida’s largest metro areas, has seen a much welcomed increase in home sales and buyer interest.

As we near the end of 2009, Tampa Bay continues to be a buyer's market with homes for sale still reasonably priced. However, experts predict that the housing market will rebound in the next two years, translating to higher home prices and an increase in competition for what is available. Clearly, our local market is changing rapidly as we move towards steady stabilization.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Tips to Consider when Investing in Real Estate

With economic and housing market stabilization underway in many metropolitan areas, investors are becoming increasingly interested in the real estate market again. The abundance of available housing at rock bottom prices makes this an appealing time to boost property holdings. Markets such as the Tampa Bay area have seen an increase of both seasoned and new real estate investors interested in taking advantage of our developing city.

If you are considering a real estate investment, there are many details you will need to take into account. Here are a few tips to help in your property investment decision:

Weigh the rewards and risks –Investing in real estate carries great potential for wealth. However, such opportunities rarely come without making difficult decisions. Before investing, consider your options. Are you qualified to handle evictions, time management, repairs, reinvesting into the property, and keeping up with documentations and inspections on your own? If the demand seems too much, are you willing to employ the assistance of real estate professionals to address your property management requests? Weigh the rewards and risks to decide how to receive the best return for your investment.

Consider your location - Be sure to target markets where you can buy low and add value over time. Do your own thorough research to ensure that you are making an informed business decision. Stay away from hot, over hyped, over competitive markets. In hot markets, often times you may have already missed the boat and are buying high.

Have a sizable down payment – Investors are more scrutinized than ever by banks, and financing can pose much more of a challenge than it may have been in years past. According to, mortgage insurance won’t cover investment properties, so you will need at least 20 percent down to secure traditional financing for your investment. Cash is king and making a substantial down payment, or even a full cash purchase, gives you instant equity in your investment.

Do your best in ensure positive cash flow – Being unprepared for a property that may swallow cash every month can quickly reduce the amount of capital you have to work with. Predicting constant appreciate is never easy. Lack of due diligence places a painful strain on your investment income and may force you to sell your investment before the full benefits are discovered. However, with market knowledge and the assistance of seasoned real estate professionals, you can take the necessary steps to ensure positive return on your investment.

To learn more about investing in the Tampa real estate market, please visit

Friday, December 11, 2009

Tampa Bay - A Destination to Watch in 2010

USA Today recently released an article naming the “Destinations to watch in 2010”, and guess which booming metropolitan hub made the list? With its vastly expanding cultural and entertainment offerings, thriving business environment, swiftly stabilizing real estate market and its well-connected location to the rest of the U.S., 2010 is expected to be a banner year in Tampa Bay.

Tampa Bay has continued to grow towards being one of Florida’s top business and leisure destinations, while gaining significant recognition on both national and international levels. New developments slotted for the bustling city in 2010 include the addition of Busch Garden’s newest theme park, the opening of a new children’s museum, and the finalization of the Tampa Museum of Art’s newest downtown facility, providing visitors with even more reasons to explore the Bay area.

Foreign and national real estate investors are taking note in Tampa’s bright economic future as they search for the best buys in the Bay area. While the local housing market is quickly moving towards stability, there are still great deals available for investors looking to expand upon their real estate portfolio. Clearly, with so much positive movement already underway, it’s not hard to see why Tampa Bay is going to be a destination to watch in 2010.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

New Study Finds that International Investors Plan to Buy More Real Estate

Individuals with more than $800,000 to invest are poised to increase their property holdings, with real estate investments among wealthy individuals set to rise to 30 percent over the next few years, according to a survey covered by Bloomberg report. This recent global survey was conducted by the major global financial services provider Barclays and revealed several interesting statics regarding international real estate investing in the current market conditions.

Investors foresee better long-term returns on property investments than from bonds and stocks. Three out of four investors surveyed said that residential real estate is looking attractive and two thirds of investors are interested in exploring commercial real estate investments, according to the study’s findings.

The survey showed that the U.S. was the most attractive real estate market for investors outside their home country, with many investors believing that it is the country with the highest potential for return on investment. Many sunny parts of the U.S. such as Florida continue to be seen as very attractive investments for buyers.

Investors from Canada and the Persian Gulf were reported to be the most likely to increase their property allocations. Interestingly, the study revealed that about 30 percent of British and Indian investors have more than half their wealth placed in real estate.

In the current real estate market it is important for buyers interested in building their real estate investment portfolio not to try and time the bottom of the market. If you may be trying to wait for the last 5 to 10 percent of downside that is expected to come in the first half of 2010, any potential savings may be offset by higher mortgage rates.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tampa Real Estate Update –Throughout Tampa Bay Home Sales See Best October in Four Years

Tampa Bay home sales had their best October in four years! According to recent data from the Florida Association of Realtors real estate sales in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, and Hernando counties totaled 2,758 in October, the month’s highest sales number since October 2005. This excellent progress in the Tampa Bay real estate market is largely attributed to first-time buyers purchasing sharply discounted homes while taking advantage of the $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit.

However, this positive rise was not restricted to the Tampa Bay area. According to an article from the St. Petersburg Times, all 19 Florida metro areas reported year-over-year gains in home sales. This greater number of home buyers was also seen nationally with interest and activity increasing throughout the country. Foreclosure and pre-foreclosure homes made up close to half of all sales in October.

In addition to the activity from the first-time home buyers, Florida has also seen a great deal of recent interest from foreign real estate investors. Florida currently leads the country in the amount of international buyers, accounting for nearly a quarter of foreign home buying activity, according to

These foreign investors are turning to the Florida real estate market in search of vacation homes and rental properties, drawn to the sunshine and low priced homes. While these foreign buyers love floor-level prices, they are also confident in the housing market resurgence and a long-term recovery of the U.S. economy. This confidence has helped drive sales.

Throughout Tampa Bay we have witnessed an increase of interest from Canadian, Russian, European and South American investors looking to pick up the best deals before they are gone. Between these foreign investors and first-time home buyers, housing market activity continues to make a steady move upward.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Tampa Bay Real Estate Market Forecast - Home Sales Expected to Increase

Over the past few weeks many news sources have released predictions for strong real estate stabilization in 2010. A recent article from NuWire credited the expansion and extension of the first time home buyer tax credit for the predicted stabilization and home sales increase. According to NuWire recent article, “Home Sales to Increase in 2010”:

"After more than a three year downturn in the hardest hit areas of the nation, some markets have experienced slight rebounds, prompted by the first time buyers' tax incentive and low mortgage rates. But higher price ranges have been hindered in their recovery. However, momentum should gain strength in the second half of the year with expected improvements in mortgage lending and make strides towards stabilizing in 2010.

A series of interest rate cuts taking mortgage rates to near historic lows are one of the Fed's attempts to re-stimulate the housing market. But record foreclosures are producing a market that threatens to keep home prices at low levels for years to come. More than 19-million vacant homes sit empty in the U.S., much of which is an inventory that will have to be absorbed by home buyers before markets fully stabilize.

Still, signs of a recovery in housing are showing promise. As we maintained last year in our annual national forecast, improving conditions, however, do not signify that housing inflation or appreciation will develop in most areas for a number of years. The recovery will be a long haul."

Tampa’s real estate recovery is underway. We have seen signs of real estate market stabilization throughout Tampa Bay, with appropriately priced Tampa homes spending fewer days on market, multiple offers being placed by first-time buyers and foreign investors, and sharply discounted homes being quickly absorbed.

We have even seen an increase in interest from Tampa home owners who were previously unable to sell their homes, now more interested in listing their property for sale. It surely is going to be a long haul but with positive signs becoming more and more prevalent, we are sure looking forward to what 2010 may have in store for the real estate market!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

NAR Predicts a Positive Real Estate Start to the New Year | 2010 to See an Even Stronger Market Stabilization

“Home sales will increase 15 percent to about 5.7 million units in 2010” stated the National Association of Realtors Chief Economist Lawrence Yun late last week during the 2009 NAR Conference and Expo. Yun credits the popular first-time home buyer tax credit for the surge of home sales in the market, with the expectation that the extension to the program will continue to drive an increase in real estate sales.

NAR reported that this year’s first-time home buyer tax credit brought 400,000 first-time buyers into the national real estate market who may not have purchased a home otherwise. The incentive was successful in driving home sales throughout the U.S. The influx of buyers tightened the inventory of starter homes and helped reduce the fear shared by many current homeowners and sellers of continued price drops.

According to the NAR, this positive cycle is expected to continue into 2010 with the extension and expansion of the tax credit, which includes a new credit for repeat buyers and an increase in the income limitations. The tightening inventory at all price points will help improve the real estate market performance by bringing supply into better balance with demand.

New home sales, which make up approximately 10 percent of the market, is expected to continue at somewhat suppressed levels - about 550,000 units, mainly due to builders scaling projects back because financing has not been readily available. However, it is predicted that new home sales will see more of an increase in 2010 then they did this year, with signs of stabilization continuing in the market.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Featured Property of the Week - 5637 16th St, St. Petersburg FL 33703

Recently listed by SI Real Estate Investments, this beautifully remodeled 4BR/2BA St. Petersburg home with attached garage will not last long. The single family home is situated on a large corner lot and has been fully renovated to include spectacular upgrades such as hard wood floors throughout, fresh interior paint, designer lighting and ceiling fans, and newly installed roof.

The upgrades in the kitchen of this St. Petersburg home are spectacular. With brand new 42” cabinets, new countertops, new ceramic tile flooring, and high-end stainless steel appliances, this spacious gourmet kitchen is a dream. Attention was paid to every detail in order to make this home shine.

Additional home features include formal living room, family room, open floor plan, ample closets throughout, master suite with walk-in closet and attached private mater bathroom, covered patio, fenced backyard and mature landscaping. There is also an area in the back of the home with additional parking room for a boat or RV.

New home owners will be able to walk to bus lines, shopping and great schools. The house is conveniently located in the quiet neighborhood of North Euclid in North St. Petersburg, just minutes from downtown St. Pete and the award winning beaches of Pinellas County. Commute to South Tampa, MacDill Air Force Base, and Tampa International Airport in less than 30 minutes.

Currently listed at $179,000, this home is not a short sale and can close quickly, with buyer motivated and willing to offer concessions, including allowance for new exterior paint. The property is both FHA and VA approved and the seller will include home warranty to the new owner.

View other SI Real Estate property listings at

Friday, November 6, 2009

Housing Tax Credit Extended and Expanded | Current Tampa Home Owners Now able to Benefit

Congress announced yesterday that the first-time home buyer tax credit, originally set to expire at the end of this month, will be extended through June of 2010. In addition to an extension, the bill includes a $6,500 credit for “move-up” buyers interested in purchasing a new primary residence.

The first-time home buyer tax credit has shown significant results in the Tampa Bay real estate market, with home sales soaring over the last three months. The Internal Revenue Services reported that more than 105,000 Floridians have applied for the credit so far. Now, under the new bill, an even larger base of potential buyers will be able to benefit and take advantage of the program.

The new plan is designed to spark interest in the “move-up” market, with these potential home buyers previous excluded for tax credit program. This additional incentive is designed to make real estate purchases even more desirable for qualified repeat buyers.

The tax credit, along with affordable home prices and low interested rates, has helped boost real estate home sales over the past year. The National Association of Realtors estimates that by the end of November, the credit will have been used by 1.8 million buyers, at least 355,000 of whom would not have purchased a home otherwise.

The new bill, which also includes an extension to unemployment benefits, is expected be signed into law today.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Tampa Builders, Buyers and Real Estate Professionals Anxiously Await News of Tax Credit Extension

The U.S. Congress is currently discussing an extension and expansion to the $8,000 tax credit for first-time home buyers in a bill which has been instrumental in breathing life into the U.S. real estate market. With a decision expected to be made this week, Tampa builders, Tampa buyers and Tampa real estate professionals are all anxiously awaiting the good news that is expected to continue the positive momentum in the housing market movement.

With the current tax credit expiring on November 30th of 2009, this extension would give buyers until mid-2010 to close on a new home. In addition to the extension, an additional credit of $6,500 would be created for move-up buyers who are searching for a new primary residence.

The National Association of Home Builders expects that the extended and expanded home buyer tax credit will generate 180,000 additional sales, bring in $5 billion in federal taxes and create 211,000 new jobs. Home builders, who have recently been seeing progress in the market, will directly be affected from an extension, with new homes starts already expected to increase in 2010.

Tampa Bay home builders are highly motivated, currently offering an abundance of incentives to sell inventory of their new homes to qualified buyers. Our SI Real Estate professionals have seen an increase in outreach and enticements from new local communities and our expectation is that builder and seller incentives will continue at an irresistible pace for the near term. An extension to the tax credit partnered with this abundance of builder incentives would give Tampa buyers an ideal opportunity to find the perfect new home in the new year.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Featured Property of the Week - 1694 Palace Dr. Clearwater, FL

This spacious three bedroom three bathroom single family home is located in the desirable neighborhood of Woodridge Estates in Clearwater, Florida. Situated on a large corner lot, the single story home features beautiful details and upgrades throughout including new custom oak cabinetry in the kitchen, ceramic tile and new bamboo flooring, and French doors that open to a separate den.

The foyer opens to the large living room and formal dining room. The spacious kitchen has been upgraded with all new appliances, sparing no detail whatsoever. Accessible from the kitchen is an additional large dining room with built-in computer niche and back yard access. New home owners will love this fresh and updated house.

A hall leads to a full the beautiful master suite with large closet and attached bathroom. The two guest bedrooms are also furnished with large closets and bamboo flooring throughout. A fully functioning laundry room is located off of the two car garage and features full-sized washer and dryer, sorting table, drying shelves, wash basin, and additional bathroom.

A large, low maintenance backyard is an excellent value to this Clearwater home. Privacy fence, mature trees, tree house, and patio makes this yard a wonderful Florida retreat. The home also features a shed and private cement pad ideal for boat, RV parking or additional car parking.

The concrete block house in Pinellas County has hurricane shutters and a new Genex 18KW propane generator capable of providing two weeks of electricity for the entire house, making it a solid residence. The home is conveniently located just minutes from ample shopping and dining and just fifteen minutes from the pristine Clearwater beaches and SR60 - allowing for an easy commute throughout Clearwater and Tampa Bay. This house is a must-see and is currently listed at $285,000 with no improvements needed.

View a virtual tour of the home:

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Positive Real Estate News | Positive Home Builder Growth

Economists Annouce that the Three-Year Housing Slump is Coming to an End

The positive real estate and economic recovery news is hard to ignore these days. Although there may still be some mixed signals, overall economy and real estate trends look encouraging. Some of the most recent upbeat news this week was from one of the country's top group of forecasters. The National Association of Business Economists declared that the 22 month recession is finally over!

After its latest survey of members, the NABE stated "The good news is that the deep and long recession appears to be over, and with improving credit markets, the U.S. economy can return to solid growth next year without worrying about inflation." The association also said that the three-year downturn in the housing market appears close to an end.

As reported by BusinessWeek, more than 80 percent of economists believe the recession is over and an expansion has begun, though it is expected that the recovery will be slow as worries over unemployment and high federal debt persist.

The consensus forecast from the business economists is for the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to grow by 2.9 percent, and for new housing starts to jump by an impressive 38 percent. Home resales tend to be closely tied with the GDP, meaning that positive growth for the GDP will result in positive growth for the national and local Tampa Bay real estate market.

Additional positive news for the real estate market is that home prices in many major metropolitan markets are continuing to bounce back. Although some are still seeing a decline, cities such as Boston and New York are reported to have experienced more than a 1 percent increase. Tampa has also been witnessing its own signs of price increases.

Even more positive news - the real estate market right now continues to enjoy mortgages at sharply discounted interest rates. Fixed 30 year rates averaged 5 percent last week, and 15 year rates came in at 4.4 percent.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Tampa Bay Real Estate | A True Sense of Urgency for First-Time Buyers

The deadline is quickly approaching for potential home buyers to complete their first-time home purchases in order to qualify for the $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit. Buyers who are eager to take advantage of this government incentive have until November 30th to reach a successful closing on their new home.

The average home buying process typically takes 30 to 45 days from the contract date to closing. During that time, inspections must be conducted, the mortgage company must complete an appraisal and all financial documents are required. In order to meet the looming deadline for the tax credit, a home needs to be under contract not much later than October 25th in order to ensure enough time for the mortgage closing process.

It's important for people to recognize that the sooner they act, the better. Many first time buyers may not fully understand the time it takes to finalize all the elements of the buying process. In order to avoid additional complications that may slow the buying process, buyers should simultaneously organize all financing details when placing an offer on a home.

The real estate market in Tampa Bay has changed drastically for buyers seeking low priced properties. Tampa home buyers are competing with multiple offers and depleting inventory of aggressively priced homes. First-time home buyers need to be vigilant and ready to compete during these final days leading up to the end of October.

The combination of near historically low interest rates, favorable pricing, along with the $8,000 credit, makes buying now the deal of the century. If you have been considering home ownership, now is the time to act. Do not miss out.

The tax credit is for first-time home buyers only. For the tax credit program, the Internal Revenue Service defines a first-time home buyer as someone who has not owned a principal residence during the three-year period prior to the purchase. Single taxpayers with incomes up to $75,000 and married couples with incomes up to $150,000 qualify for the full tax credit.

The IRS reports, so far, more than 1.4 million Americans have taken advantage of the tax incentive. Are you ready take the step towards home ownership?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Real Estate Inventory is Moving Quickly in Tampa, Buyers Now Facing a Competitive Housing Market

The housing inventory is moving quickly in the Tampa Bay area, a definite change from previous months. Buyers who are looking for rock bottom prices are finding their search to be more difficult than originally expected. Multiple offers, fewer days on the market, and a rise in home sale prices are all evidence of this new market shift in the Tampa Bay area real estate market.

For example, three months ago the Mid-Florida Regional Multiple Listing Service reported over 600 bank-owned properties in Tampa Bay. This number has now been reduced to fewer than 370, as the inventory continues to be quickly absorbed. In 2008 we were looking at a vastly different real estate inventory with a much higher number of bank-owned and short sale homes in Tampa, giving buyers a wide selection to choose from. In our current condition, buyers who are looking for a “best buy” need to be ready to act fast. With multiple offers being placed on low-priced real estate, sellers are now receiving offers at even higher than the listing price.

Tampa home buyers are facing a competitive housing market, with sellers now frequently asking for best and highest offers. This shift in the market has been particularly difficult for first-time home buyers, with many now faced with having to make offers on multiple properties only to find out that they were outbid by another buyer. Good deals for first-time home buyers are becoming fewer and further between in Tampa. If prospective buyers do not act quickly, it could mean a missed opportunity to take advantage of this exciting Tampa Bay real estate market.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Tampa Continues to Work towards a Steady Real Estate Market Stabilization

The backlog of foreclosed homes hitting the market is slowing the housing recovery in Florida. However, the Sunshine State is still proving its resilience with improving home sales for more than a year and is starting to show signs of a steady stabilization.

Tampa area home sales are rising as the inventory of foreclosures is being absorbed by new home owners and those seeking vacation homes in the Florida sunshine. But the pattern of sales has been erratic with some months recording higher sales only to decline the next.

The $8,000 federal tax credit for first-time buyers is helping to move the real estate inventory in the Tampa Bay area. There is clearly a sense of urgency and buyers are acting now and purchasing their dream homes. A large portion of sales are foreclosed properties and new construction that bankers and builders are slashing the prices on to move the inventory before more foreclosures and distressed properties hit the market. The sooner Tampa’s low priced properties are absorbed, the sooner we will see a steady stabilization in its real estate market. Recovery is just around the corner.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Featured Community of the Week – Beso Del Sol in Dunedin, Florida

Can you imagine waking up each morning to a majestic view of the sparkling Gulf of Mexico waters? This all-inclusive resort condo community in Dunedin, Florida provides a perfect waterfront retreat. Situated directly on the Gulf, panoramic waterfront views overlook the St. Josephs Sound and Honeymoon Island, creating a tranquil setting that is far from the ordinary.

Condo and community features include:
· Fully furnished, all-inclusive studio, one and two bedroom units
· Flat panel TV’s, stainless steel appliances, and granite countertops
· Two waterfront heated swimming pools and hot tub
· Fully-equipped fitness center and bicycle rentals
· Onsite property management and housekeeping
· Boat slips
· All utilities included in HOA fees
· Castaway Tiki Bar onsite with weekly entertainment

Beso Del Sol Resort offers three wonderful floor plans to choose from with prices starting in the mid $100,000’s. Whether you are looking for a real estate investment, weekend retreat, vacation property, second home or your new permanent residence, this community has it all. Each home is fully furnished with beautiful tropical décor, granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. Condos are turn-key and ready for immediate move-in.

This is an excellent opportunity to invest in a piece of paradise! Beso Del Sol is minutes from the world renowned beaches of Honeymoon Island State Park, Caladesi Island. Residents and guests can enjoy fishing off the resort pier or exploring the area by boat.

The City of Dunedin was recently awarded the 2009 "Communities for a Lifetime" and it's not hard to see why. Dunedin is a renowned vacation destination thirty minutes outside of Tampa known world wide for its pristine beaches and boating atmosphere, quaint downtown district full of unique shops and restaurants, and multitude of cultural events. Dunedin's village-like atmosphere and relaxed lifestyle draws international interest, luring people for decades from around the world.

If this resort condominium sounds like the investment you are looking for, call or email SI Real Estate today for more information. We can help find you the perfect Tampa Bay real estate investment.

Monday, September 14, 2009

How to Choose the Right Real Estate Agent When Buying a Home

Buying a home is one of the most important financial decisions most people make, yet many give little thought to finding the real estate agent best suited to their needs. The process of purchasing a new home is much more involved than simply cruising open houses, “for sale” ads, or have someone simple unlock doors for you. Buying real estate can quite be complicated so it is essential to have the right professionals on your side. With so much at stake, working with a skilled real estate agent can help ensure that you find the right property for you at the right price.

So how do you choose the right real estate agent for you? Here are a few helpful hints:

  1. Interview potential Realtors from different agencies and consider their qualifications. How competent are they? How compatible are you together? There’s no underestimating the importance of both when choosing a real estate agent.

  2. Do they know the neighborhood? Is the agent familiar with the housing market and values in the cities and communities you’re looking to buy in? Agents with a history of transactions in neighborhoods that interest you will know what’s available and in what price range.

  3. Keep in mind when choosing a real estate agent that he or she has access to a powerful tool -- the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), the inventory of all active, pending and sold homes by region. A skilled agent can use the MLS, plus their own experience, to locate homes in neighborhoods matching your property wish list -- such as a certain school system, ample shopping and dinning or convinient access to your place of employment.

  4. What level of customer care will you receive? A real estate agent is your business partner in a huge financial undertaking, so you’ll want to choose a real estate agent who is always ready, willing and available. Be sure that communication stays open and phone calls are returned.

Choosing the right Realtor for you can be one of the most important steps in the home buying process. Start your home search by ensuring that you have the best real estate representation for your needs. A good agent will keep your best interests in mind throughout the process, making the home search a smooth and enjoyable experience.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Featured Property of the Week – 2709 E. Linebaugh Ave.

This beautiful and centrally located 3BR/2BA single family house has been fully renovated, with an extreme make-over inside and out. Attention has been paid to every detail in this large and spacious home. From the kitchen, to the flooring, to the bathrooms, to the roof, everything is fresh and new.

New homeowners will enjoy upgraded kitchen cabinetry, countertops, tile backsplash and flooring, as well as the wide range of new appliances including refrigerator, microwave, range, dishwasher, disposal, washer and dryer. Both bathrooms have been have also been fully upgraded; now featuring new sinks, vanities, bathtubs, faucets, and toilets. New carpeting and ceramic tile flooring has been installed through out the house.

French doors open to a large fenced backyard has been well maintained and beautifully landscaped. Mature trees surround the house, creating natural shade and privacy, a great place to escape the Florida heat while enjoying summer days outside.

This home is conveniently located on Linebaugh Avenue near 30th Street, within close proximity to the University of South Florida, Busch Gardens, University Community Hospital, I275, and the Carrollwood and Temple Terrace areas.

Seller is motivated and some owner financing is available. The home is FHA approved, making it a great purchase for new home owners looking to take advantage of the first-time home buyer tax credit. Recently reduced, the house is currently listed at $136,000 and is not expected to last long.

Visit for more information about available properties in the Tampa Bay area.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Home Buyer's Check-List: What to Consider When Purchasing Your Home

Many benefits come with the purchase of your home, such as having a place of your own, having stable housing costs, having a sound investment, having a financial stepping stone and even having access to tax benefits. There are important criteria that should be considered when buying a home, regardless if you are a first-time home buyer, second home buyers or real estate investor. Knowing the home buying process will help make your experience a smooth and pleasurable one.

Set the stage for an easier home buying process.

1. Find professionals you can trust.
- Ask questions and express your concerns up front.
- Learn what to expect — and what will be expected of you.
- The right people will walk you through, talk you through — and see you through!
2. Start with getting pre-approved.
- Loan pre-approval gives you a rough estimate of how much you may be able to borrow. The process will help you figure out how much you can afford.
3. Determine the right financing for you.
- There are many loan programs available for home buyers, from FHA financing, to VA loans, to conventional loans and reverse mortgages. Your mortgage provider will help you weight the benefits of each and find the program that works best for you.
4. Shop for a home
- Make a wish list of the features you would like in your home, the area you would like to live and the factors that are most important to you. Discuss this list with your Realtor so that they can stream line the search process.
5. Make an offer and start negotiations
- It is important to discuss your offer process with your real estate agent to determine your particular needs. If the seller counters your offer, you may need to be ready to negotiate until you both agree to the terms of the sale.
6. Get a home inspection
- Make your offer contingent on a home inspection. An inspection will tell you about the condition of the home, and can help you avoid buying a home that needs major repairs
7. Shop for homeowners insurance
- Mortgage lenders require that you have homeowners insurance so be ready and be sure to shop around.
8. Sign papers
- You're finally ready to go to "close" on your new home! Be sure to read everything before you sign.

Your decision to buy a home is both a sound financial decision and a commendable achievement. SI Real Estate Investments and our skilled Tampa Bay real estate specialists are here to assist in this exciting transaction. The Tampa Bay housing market is moving fast and the SI Team can help buyers take advantage of the dramatically discounted prices while they are still favorable. Finding our clients the perfect home is our business.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Positive, Positive, Positive Real Estate News! The Recovery Continues.

Excellent news - the U.S. real estate market is rebounding faster than expected. For the first time in five years, existing home sales have increased for four consecutive months., the National Association of Realtors announced today. Existing home sales, including single-family homes, townhouses, condos, and co-ops rose 7.2 percent to a total if 5.34 million in July. An NAR survey showed that 30 percent of the homes purchased in July were by first-time home buyers, as buyers have started to come off the fence to take advantage of the $8,000 tax credit.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index reached 18 this month, its highest level since June 2008. The numbers show that confidence among home builders is continuing on a steady rise. This increase can be contributed to buyers taking advantage of the dramatically discounted home prices, with nationwide housing affordability continuing to hover near its highest level in more than 18 year and the $8,000 tax credit posing as an appealing incentive.

In the South, existing home sales rose by 7.1 percent and the median sales price was recorded at $164,500. Florida reached its 11th straight month of sales increases, while the Tampa-St.Petersburg-Clearwater area saw sales of existing homes spike 30 percent.

Economic recovery is being seen throughout the U.S. and abroad as France and Germany recently reported a return to economic growth in the second quarter, marking a stunning turnaround from the beginning of the year. This rebound, as reported by the Associated Press, stoked hope that the recession in the wider 16-country euro area may be ending sooner than originally thought. As international economic rebounds continue, an increase of foreign buyer interest in the U.S. real estate market is being noticed.

It seems that the recovery is expected to continue, as more positive numbers are released each month.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Featured Property of the Week - Upgraded West Tampa Home

This week's featured property is a centrally located and newly updated, charming West Tampa home. The two bedroom house for sale located at 2710 W. LaSalle features new interior and exterior paint, upgraded cabinets and all new kitchen appliances including range and hood, refrigerator, and dishwasher, as well as a washer and dryer, new window treatments, baseboards, molding and new tile flooring. The bathroom has also been updated to include new grout, fixtures and flooring. The remodeling of this home was well thought out, aimed at preserving its pleasant qualities while adding modern luxuries.

We absolutely fell in love with this West Tampa house and its endless old Tampa charm and unique details such as the Florida room and the little niches built into the walls used to hold artwork, plants or photos. The concrete block house exudes character both inside and out with a newly painted concrete tile rood and beautiful fenced lawn with mature plants and trees. Inside the home an entirely new eat-in has been installed, reconfigured and functional.

The location is ideal for the working professional who enjoys the nightlife of South Tampa and Hyde Park and the bustling business centers of downtown Tampa and Westshore Blvd. The home is seated off of I-275 near Howard and Armenia, just minutes from great shopping, entertainment and a host of restaurants to please any palette. Tampa International Airport, International Plaza, and the Westshore business district are all easily accessible from the house.

The property is listed by SI Real Estate at $111,000 and the home's owner is motivated and willing to offer concessions. FHA financing for the property is available. This purchase would be an excellent opportunity for new home owners to take advantage of the $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit.
  • Seller financing may be available
  • The house can be purchased for a lease option.
  • The home is also available for rent.

Visit for more information about this property and many others through out the Tampa Bay area.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Featured Property of the Week - Discover the Award Winning Dunedin Lifestyle

Beautiful and pristine, this three bedroom, three bathroom is located in the heart of Dunedin, just two blocks from downtown and all of its offerings. This newly constructed home is FHA approved, has never been lived in and includes all of the finest amenities and comforts. The home, priced at $260,000, features a spacious floor plan, with 20ft living room ceilings, open kitchen, enormous master bedroom and ample storage space.

The master bedroom suite features a large walk-in closet, walk-in shower, double sinks and a garden tub, perfect for unwinding after a long day. Both the second and third bedrooms also feature their own private bathrooms and walk-in closets.

Ample space is provided in the kitchen for cooking and entertaining, with a roomy layout and large breakfast bar. The home includes a complete kitchen appliance package with refrigerator, range, microwave, disposal and dishwasher. The townhouse also features hurricane shutters, a two car garage and a large, upstairs laundry room with washer, dryer, sorting table and wash basin.

Walk to the marina to see the sunset everyday, spend your evening at one of the many local restaurants and enjoy the weekend strolling the Green Farmers Market and various art galleries and shops. The City of Dunedin was recently awarded the 2009 "Communities for a Lifetime" and it's not hard to see why. Residents enjoy access to award winning beaches, ample dining, shopping and entertainment, and the multitude of cultural events. There is always something to do, just minutes from your home. This is a great way for home buyers to take advantage of the $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit.

Dunedin's village-like atmosphere and relaxed lifestyle has lured people for decades from around the world. Enjoying the natural wooded and subtropical setting and close to four miles of picturesque waterfront, Dunedin sits on central Florida's west coast, in the heart of Pinellas County's Suncoast. Is it also one of the few open waterfront communities from Sarasota to Cedar Key where buildings do not obscure the view.

This exceptional home for sale in a must-see! To learn more about this property and to see other properties available throughout the Tampa Bay area, please visit

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The National Association of Home Builders Fight to Extend the $8,000 First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit

An Extension Could Mean More Jobs and Stronger Economic Stabilization

Home builders, finally seeing positive movement in the housing market, are fighting to extend the $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit for an additional year. As members of Congress return home for the August congressional recess, the National Association of Home Builders is urging its more than 200,000 members to contact their lawmakers, asking them to help create more jobs and set the stage for a strong recovery by extending the credit program.

"If Congress acts to extend the tax credit program, it would spur 383,000 additional home sales, including 80,000 housing starts, creating nearly 350,000 jobs over the coming year." said the NAHB Chairman Joe Robson. "That's good for the economy and good for America."

Mark Zandi, the chief economist at Moody's, says a healthy housing market is one of the leading indicators for an economic recovery. A secure real estate market is a necessary condition for rebound. The financial system can not stabilize, nor can the economy gain traction until the housing down turn comes to an end, according the Zandi.

The NAHB recently agreed to launch a major grassroots campaign to focus congressional attention on housing "in order to ensure that the first flickering of recovery in the housing market and economy isn't extinguished". According to the new campaign, housing equals jobs.

There has been proven boost in the housing market over the past months, with the July housing market index climbed to the highest level it has been in nearly a year. The NAHB believes this extension is necessary for continued real estate growth and housing rebound throughout the country.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

U.S. Pending Home Sales Rise for Fifth Consecutive Month

June saw a rise in pending home sales for the fifth straight month, according to the National Association of Realtors. This increase of 3.6 percent to 94.6 is an encouraging sign for the U.S. housing market as it makes its way toward recovery. According to an article by Inman News, the increase in pending home sales marks the first five consecutive months of gains since July 2003.

The largest jump was seen in the South, where pending home sales rose 7.1 percent. All regions saw at least a minimal increase with the smallest seen in the Northeast, at just .4 percent. Almost all regions were significantly higher than in June of 2008.

"Historically low interest rates, affordable home prices and a large selection are encouraging buyers who've been on the sidelines. Activity has been consistently much stronger for lower prices homes." said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist.

In addition to the increase in pending U.S. home sales, home resales have also risen for three months in a row for the first time in five years. Along with the low prices and attractive mortgage rates, the $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit has kick-started homes sales throughout the Tampa Bay region and greater U.S. real estate market. Recovery is surely underway and the time for buyers to act is now.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

8 Facts About the $8,000 First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit

  1. The American Recovery and Reinvestment act of 2009 authorized a tax credit of up to $8,000 for qualified first-time home buyers purchasing a principal residence on or after January 1, 2009 and before December 1, 2009.

  2. Any home that will be used as your principal residence qualifies for the tax credit.

  3. The law defines a "first-time home buyer" as a buyer who has not owned a principal residence during the three-yaer period prior to the purchase.

  4. First-time home buyers purchasing any type of home, new or resale, are eligible to receive the tax credit as long as the closing date and title transfer occurs before December 1, 2009.

  5. The tax credit is equal to 10 percent of the home's purchase price up to a maximum of $8,000.

  6. The income limit for single taxpayers is $75,000 and $150,000 for a married taxpayers filling a joint return.

  7. The money comes in the form of a tax refund, meaning that you will not receive the money until after the house is bought and your 2009 tax return is filed.

  8. If you are seeking an FHA (Federal Housing Administration) loan, the federal $8,000 tax credit may be used toward your down payment or closing costs.

The $8,000 tax credit has been motivating first-time buyers to take advantage of current real estate market conditions. Buyers can look at this refund as a reduction in their home price, with a $100,000 purchase effectively becoming a $92,000 once the credit is awarded. The fact is that this credit has made the dream of home ownership a reality for many who may not have had the opportunity before.

We encourage you to consult with a qualified tax advisor or legal professional about your unique situation.

SI Real Estate, Tampa's premier real estate boutique, will be holding an information session for first-time home buyers on August 2 at the Courtney Palms clubhouse to help discuss what you need to know in order to be a prepared buyer in today's Tampa Bay real estate communities/ Please join us for this exciting event! Send RSVP to or call (813) 631-5144 to reserve your spot.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Join Us for Our Upcoming First-Time Home Buyer Information Session on August 2nd at Courtney Palms Condominiums

Have you been considering purchasing your first home? Today's drastically low interest rates and discounted real estate prices make home buying a reality for many.

Come join the SI Real Estate team of professionals for an information session to discuss what you need in order to be a prepared buyer in today's Tampa Bay real estate communities. We will discuss current trends in the Tampa Bay real estate market and help you understand what to plan for when making a home buying decision.

Here are just a few of the questions that we will be answering:
  • Why is it a good time to buy a house?
  • What is the $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit?
  • What are the financing options available for first-time home buyers?
  • What does it mean to be prequalified?
  • What are the benefits of buying verse renting?
  • What does your credit score mean?

Come and enjoy a light lunch, meet with our skilled professionals and get prequalified on site by Wells Fargo mortgage specialists. All attendees will receive a $350 gift certificate to use toward closing costs!

The SI Real Estate First-Time Home Buyer Information Session will take place at the Courtney Palms Condominiums clubhouse on August 2nd and will begin at 11:00am. The address for Courtney Palms is 10003 Courtney Palms Blvd., Tampa FL. Click here for a map

Seating is limited. Please send RSVP to or call (813) 631-5144 to reserve your spot for this exciting event.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Housing Market Index at Highest Level in Nearly a Year

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) announced that its July housing market index climbed to the highest level it has been in nearly a year, as improved sales conditions boosted confidence in the market for new single-family homes. The index rose to 17 points, two points above last month's index and the highest it has been since September 2008.

"Builders are seeing slightly better sales conditions this month as consumers takes advantage of the first-time buyer tax credit, low interest rates and attractive home prices." said NAHB chairman Joe Robinson.

A rise in the home builder index is a positive sign for the U.S. housing market, which has been showing continued signs of stabilization with home sales rising and price declines moderating throughout the country. Low interest rates and other incentives have helped builders attract home buyers while the government's $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit has facilitated a boost in sales.

On a regional basis, the Southern region of the U.S., which includes Florida, posted the most positive change with a five-point increase in their housing market index. Both the Midwest and West regions were unchanged during the month of July while the Northeast posted a three-point decline.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Tampa Bay Real Estate Market – Just the June Facts, Straight from the Stats

According to recent statistics posted by the Greater Tampa Association of REALTORS® (GTAR), June saw a significant increase in home sale prices and properties sold, as well as a notable decrease in days spent on the market. While we may not yet be out of the woods, this raw real estate data shows significantly improvement conditions in the Tampa Bay market.

According to June’s market statistics, units sold were up by as much as 14 percent from May 2009 and 23 percent from last June. Year to date, home sales are up by approximately 20 percent. The days properties spent on the market were down by 7 percent from June, with an average of 110 days for the entire Tampa Bay area.

The most positive shift in June’s statistics was the increase in home sale prices throughout the Tampa Bay area. All sub-areas of Hillsborough County saw an increase in selling price with the exception of Town n Country. The average home price was up by $14,000 from May with the average selling price at $191,160. Pasco County also experienced a moderate increase in home sales prices.

The two markets of Tampa that continue to see strong increases in home sale prices remain New Tampa and South Tampa. Not surprisingly, South Tampa average home prices were up by $18,000 from May 2009, while New Tampa saw an even more significant increase of $45,000. Statistics have shown that these two highly desirable Tampa Bay regions have been strong areas of the market with relatively stable conditions. Buyers continue to view South Tampa and New Tampa as smart real estate purchases. These are just the facts, delivered by SI Real Estate.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Featured Property of the Week- Lake Chase Condominiums

Tampa Buyers Choose Highly Desirable Westchase Area

Lake Chase is a lake front gated residential community surrounded by lush and tranquil landscape. Residents enjoy a resort style pool and sauna, a 24-hour fitness center, tennis courts, a playground, winding nature trails and a large community club house. Lake Chase, adjacent to the master planned and highly desirable Westchase community development in Northwest Tampa, is conveniently located near shopping, dinning, schools and entertainment.

Home owners enjoy an exciting, fun, and active community with access to numerous parks and recreational facilities, convenient retail shopping and outstanding schools, all within a few short miles. The Westchase Square retail center is located five minutes from Lake Chase and includes a grocery store, bank, dry cleaner and other necessary services as well as a wide variety of restaurants and entertainment. Along with the local conveniences offered by the community, Lake Chase is also located near three major highways and is within 15 minutes of Tampa International Airport and downtown metropolitan Tampa.

Homes can be found in a variety of floor plans and prices. A beautiful lake front condo for sale was recently listed by SI Real Estate in the Lake Chase community for $101,000. This home comes with the finest features including carpet and ceramic tile flooring, custom lighting, walk-in closets, washer and dryer, blinds, and a garden tub with shower. Among the amenities, this condo also features a fully equipped kitchen with range, dishwasher, disposal, and refrigerator. This property is move-in ready and is not a short sale, foreclosure or bank owned. The condo offers excellent value for any home owner and is an ideal choice for anyone looking to buy their first home.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Growth Comes to New Tampa and Wesley Chapel with T. Rowe Price’s Pasco County Land Purchase

T. Rowe Price paid $13.5 million last Wednesday for a 75-acre site on State Road 54 in Pasco County. The Baltimore based financial services firm plans to use this land as the site of its new Tampa Bay corporate campus that is expected to bring at least 1,200 new jobs to the Tampa Bay area.

The company, aimed at expanding in the region, plans to build three 150,000 square foot buildings on there new site. The relocation to Pasco County is part of an important expansion of T. Rowe Price’s overall operations. This move gives Pasco County a major global employer and is anticipated to bring significant growth to the region.

A county commissioned study said that T. Rowe Price could add more than $58.5 million in government taxes and school coffers during the next decade. The project will bring more high-wage jobs to Pasco and reverse some of the heavy commuting along the State Road 54 corridor, the state road that runs along New Tampa, Wesley Chapel and Odessa. With this new development, additional residential and commercial growth can be expected in this still expanding region of Tampa Bay.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

How to Make FHA Work for You

One of the best real estate successes offering aid in this troubled housing market is the FHA loan program. What exactly is an FHA loan? For those who might still be confused about their financing options, an FHA loan is a United States federal assistance mortgage loan insured by the Federal Housing Administration. The loan program, usually issued by federally qualified lenders, can provide an affordable financing option for many first-time and second home buyers.

The current property prices offer an excellent opportunity for investing and because of this cash buyers have taken an active role in today’s real estate market. For home buyers who have had trouble competing with these cash investors but have 3.5 percent to put toward their purchase, finding an FHA approved condominium communities is an excellent option.

FHA recently came out with its long-awaited rules on condominium loans, and they are a mixed bag for investors, second home and other buyers and sellers.

FHA has said it will not insure units in condominiums where more than 25 percent of the total space is allotted to commercial uses, such as retail stores or offices. In fact, the agency made a point of emphasizing that it will reject loan applications from any property that it deems not "to be primarily residential" in character.

The agency won't endorse loans from projects where less than 50 percent of the total units already have been sold, or where less than 50 percent of the units are owner-occupied or sold to buyers "who intend to occupy them." FHA also won't insure condo loans if more than 10 percent of the units are owned by investors.

A small percent of condo communities in the Tampa area are FHA approved and finding these communities can be difficult. A mortgage broker or real estate professional can help buyers determine what properties are in fact FHA approved. Although they may not be as abundant, FHA approved communities do exist and it is important that buyers research their area of interest thoroughly. FHA guidelines were designed to protect home buyers from buying in high risk communities and working with a knowledgeable real estate agency will help ensure that buyers gain access to the best real estate in FHA approved communities.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Real Estate Market Rebound, Certainly Underway

According to a recent Realty Times article, “The most bearish of Wall Street economic analysts have made the same point for the past 18 months. There's no recovery or rebound in the housing market, they said, until home builders start building again.” The numbers that they have been waiting on are here. Last week the Commerce Department reported an unexpected rise of 7.5 percent in single family home starts during the month of May.

New construction has been one of the weakest segments of the housing market since 2007. May’s increase was the third consecutive monthly gain in single family starts, bringing total starts, including multifamily apartment starts and condos, up by 17.5 percent. Not only were starts significantly up, but so were other key indicators of future home building activity such as single family permits, which saw an increase of 8 percent. Consumer confidence, which is extremely important for home buying, was also up for the fourth consecutive month.

Sales of previously occupied homes rose from April to May, representing the third monthly increase this year. The National Association of Realtors also reported that the number of unsold homes on the market at the end of May fell 3.5 percent to nearly 3.8 million. These numbers provide additional evidence that the real estate market’s much anticipated rebound is clearly underway.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Consumer Confidence on the Rise

Consumer confidence recently saw its most dramatic rise in eight months, showing Americans are regaining their confidence in the U.S. economy. According to the Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, which had improved considerably in April, May saw an even larger increase. The Index now stands at 54.9, up from 40.8 in April. May’s level is the highest since last September’s level of 61.4

According to Lynn Franco, Director of The Confidence Board Consumer Research Center, consumers are considerably less pessimistic than they were earlier this year, and expectations are that business conditions, the labor market and incomes will improve in the coming months. The survey also reported that there was a rise of 23.1 percent in consumers who are expecting business conditions will improve over the next six months.

While confidence is still weak by historical standards, it seems that as far as consumers are concerned, the worst is now behind us. According to a Bloomberg article, the gains in stock prices, consumer confidence and residential and commercial building permits that are propelling the leading index higher bolster forecasts that the economy will start growing again in the second half of 2009.

This increase could mean even more positive news for the real estate market, with housing starts soaring 17 percent, as construction of single-family homes gained for the third straight month. The economy shows signs of recovery and this trend is clearly expected to continue.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Featured Property of the Week - Cordoba Beach Park

Affordable real estate prices and adequate market availability have made owning at Cordoba Beach Park, one of the most desired luxury townhome communities in South Tampa, a reality for many. Hard wood and ceramic tile flooring pair with vaulted ceilings, dramatic interior views, fully equipped kitchens with granite countertops, cherry cabinets and black appliances, abundant storage space, walk-in closets, garden bathtubs, private garages, and three story spacious floor plans are just some on the features that accompany the townhomes of Cordoba.
Mediterranean inspired architecture partnered with fountains and lushly landscaped courtyards brings charm to this upscale community. Residents enjoy access to a community fitness center, a 24-hour business center, clubhouse, sundeck and resort-style pool and spa.

Cordoba Beach Park is located in South Tampa at the heart of the Westshore business district. Westshore is the economic and business epicenter of Tampa Bay, boasting over 11 million square feet of office space and hosts more than 4,000 companies. The townhomes of Cordoba are within walking distance to the Westshore Plaza, Tampa’s finest restaurants, world-class shopping, and several luxurious hotels. Clearwater and St. Petersburg, home to some of Florida’s award-winning beaches, Macdill Air Force Base and the Tampa International Airport are also just a short commute from the community.
Cordoba Beach Park offers one, two, and three bedroom floor plans and homes can now be found priced as low as $170,000. Rentals are also available and a one bedroom unit can be leased for as little as $1,150.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Reasons to Cheer for U.S. Property Investments

Although U.S. real estate prices have taken a hit during the troubled economic conditions, there are reasons to cheer if you are looking for diversity in your investment portfolio. While the discounted prices may not be good for short-term investors who wish to purchase real estate in a booming economy and then immediately resell it for a profit, investors with a long-term vision see bigger opportunities. With the ever changing conditions of the U.S. real estate market, right now appears to be the best time for bargain hunters to grab cheap properties that will grow in value over time.

According to “Three reasons for cheer for the overseas property investors” published by Assetz Property News Services, “whenever the recovery may come, be it in the next few months, not until the end of the year or even well into 2010, the acquisition of something for a low price now may look like a very good deal in 2014 or 2015.” With evidence of U.S. market conditions turning around, investment decisions should be made while the opportunities are attractive and available.

An official at the money exchange firm Currency Index stated “With property prices and mortgage repayments now significantly lower than in 2008 in many of the UK’s favorite foreign holiday home destination, we are seeing a renewed demand for currency exchange as people pick up property bargains in Spain and Florida.” Florida properties have consistently been an ideal investment for many international investors and are a notable opportunity now with the lower prices and an improved exchange rate.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Foreign Investors Show Confidence in Florida’s Real Estate Market Recovery

While some U.S. buyers may still be uncertain whether or not it is time to step off the fence and buy their dream home or condo in Florida, international investors are showing increased confidence in an early Florida real estate market recovery and are quickly taking advantage of the deeply discounted prices. Foreign buyers continue to recognize the U.S. real estate market as a desirable, profitable and secure investment and the weak U.S. dollar partnered with the housing surplus has made the U.S., and particularly the Florida, real estate market even more attractive, according to an article by the Gerson Lehrman Group.

According to a recent survey by the National Association of Realtors, in cooperation with the Florida Association of Realtors, half of the Florida Realtors surveyed indicated that more than 25% of their business now comes from international clients. These foreign investors come from all over the world and have shown a particular interest in the Tampa Bay, Sarasota-Bradenton, Orlando, and Miami-Ft. Lauderdale areas.

Showing a high demand for Florida properties, Canadian buyers account for more than 25% of recent sales to foreign investors, United Kingdom buyers account for 21% and Latin American buyers account for another 17% of recent real estate sales to international clients. The state of Florida, and in particular, the Southwest region of Florida, is benefitting extensively from this influx of international real estate investors.

This increase in interest from international real estate investors further suggests that buyers who delay in taking advantage of Florida’s record low real estate prices may find themselves paying considerably more for the same property is just a few short months. Rock bottom prices are becoming more difficult to find in the Tampa Bay region and property are staying on the market for much shorter periods of time, providing evidence of recovery in our local real estate market.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Florida Earns Top Rankings Nationally, Worldwide

Florida consistently earns top rankings from lifestyle, business, education, retirement and travel publications. Constant economic growth, pristine landscape, and the consistently temperate climate are just a few factors that make the state an ideal location to retire, start a family, build a career, attend university, or advance in a profession. Florida is ideal for anyone’s relocation needs.

• “Top State Business Climate.” Florida’s business climate ranked 4th among executives and 6th overall on Site Selection magazine’s 2008 Top State Business Climate rankings. Read more.

• “Best Tax Climate for Business.” Florida continues to rank among the top five states for best tax climate for business, according to a Tax Foundation survey. With no state income tax, low corporate taxes, a low unemployment insurance tax rate, and sales tax exemptions for certain business transactions, Florida has remained among the top five U.S. states since the survey’s inception. Read more.

• “#1 in Online Education.” Florida ranks top in the nation in online education, according to the Center for Digital Education, which evaluated each state’s vision, policies, programs and strategies to transform their academic environments to meet student needs. Read more.

• “Best Colleges and Universities.” Florida colleges and universities were ranked among the best by several national surveys. For instance, six Florida universities, including University of Florida at No. 2 and New College of Florida at No. 8, were named to “Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges.” These rankings recognize schools with top-flight academics and affordable costs. The University of South Florida's graduate entrepreneurship program was ranked No. 5 in the country in the 2008 ranking from The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur Magazine. Read more.

• “Top Ranked High Schools.” Florida leads the nation in Newsweek’s “Top 100 U.S. High Schools,” accounting for nearly 1 out of every 5 of the top ranked schools as measured by the magazine’s Challenge Index. Read more.

• “Top Biotech Region.” Florida was named a “Top 5 Region for Biotech” in 2008 by the industry's daily monitor, Fierce Biotech. This is Florida's second consecutive year at the top of this ranking for regions supportive of biotech development. Read more.

• “Best Places to Retire.” In its 2008 list, Money cited Dunedin as one of the nation’s top locations for a waterfront lifestyle and Collier County (Naples-Bonita Springs) as one of the best places for a long life. U.S. News & World Report highlighted Punta Gorda as one of the nation’s top retirement destinations. Also, the 2008 list from features Sarasota (#2), Fort Myers (#13), Venice (#14) and Gainesville (#17). Read more.

• “Best Beaches.” Florida beaches were awarded more top-10 spots than any other state, including the No. 1 beach in the U.S. (Caladesi Island State Park in Dunedin) on this year’s America’s Best Beaches list. This internationally recognized ranking is based on 50 criteria including number of sunny days, sand softness, algae and pollution content, safety record, and more. Read more.

Tampa, being on of the many thriving metropolitan regions in Florida, has seen its share of award and accreditations. Most recently, Tampa was named a finalist for the National Civic League’s “All-America City Award” and is the only city in Florida to be selected as a finalist this year. The city is also home to award winning hospitals such as Tampa General Hospital and Moffitt Cancer Center, nationally accredited universities such as the University of South Florida and the University of Tampa, the Florida Aquarium – named one of the best aquariums by, and the Lowry Park Zoo – named number #1 zoo in US by Parents magazine.

The city is nationally known for its booming metropolitan growth, major tourism attractions, diverse spectrum of planned communities, and award-winning beaches. The Tampa Bay area continues to grow in popularity and has quickly become a nationally recognized destination.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Featured Property of the Week

New Townhome Community Gorgeous and Incredibly Spacious 3BR/2.5BA for Sale in Brandon, Florida FHA Approved!!

Brand New Townhomes Excellent Builder! These tastefully decorated homes are offered in the $140’s, and are located in the Brandon/Riverview area of Florida, offering the finest amenities and most convenient location. Enjoy the privacy of having no backdoor neighbors as you relax on your screen enclosed lanai overlooking the park and picnic area. Enjoy your morning coffee in the eat-in kitchen, at the breakfast bar, sitting at the dining room table, or on the lanai enjoying our fantastic Florida weather.

The living area is spacious and open, providing an entertainment cut-out and an ideal lay-out for furniture placement. The large master bedroom boasts vaulted ceilings, walk-in closet and private bathroom with dual sinks, garden tub, and separate shower. The laundry room with washer and dryer hook-ups is conveniently located on the second floor allowing easy access. Total sq ft range of 1,700. All homes include attached garages.

Located within close proximity to all major roads, you are less than twenty minutes from downtown Tampa and walking distance to everything you need, including fine dining, shopping malls, and a variety of entertainment. Both 1-75 and the Crosstown Expressway are easily accessible and ensure a quick commute to Tampa International Airport, downtown Tampa, Tampa General Hospital, MacDill Air Force Base and the beautiful beaches of St. Petersburg and Clearwater. Chosen for its great location, this gated community puts you in contact with all that Tampa Bay has to offer and is a fabulous place to call home! This intimate townhome neighborhood appeals to a variety of lifestyles and interests. Residents have access to the beautiful resort-style pool, covered cabana, and modern recreation center. NOT A SHORT SALE - NOT BANK OWNED.

SI Real Estate has recently sold a 3BR/2BA home in this new community for just $139,500! With an FHA-approved loan and only 3 1/2% down payment, our buyer was successful closing as a first-time home buyer with a affordable monthly payment in the range $975. Our team can show you the realization of home ownership, so why continue renting when you can buy?

Tired of sifting through all of the ads on the internet trying to find the perfect home or real estate investment for your family? Let SI Real Estate do the legwork of finding you the perfect place to live! Call and speak with one of our skilled real estate specialists today to discuss your home buying needs at 813-631-5144.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Just the Facts – Tampa Bay Real Estate Market Statistics

Cash buyers are grabbing deals at rock bottom prices in the Tampa Bay real estate market. According to the market statistics provided by the Greater Tampa Association of REALTORS® (GTAR), in April of this year 38% of all financing was cash. This is more than a 10% increase from April of 2008.

Cash financing increased from 285 transactions in April of last year to 508 this year. FHA and VA financing has also seen an increased from last year, although not as drastic. Conventional financing has decreased from 555 transactions to 394, signifying that a majority of real estate transactions being made in the Tampa Bay area this year are by cash buyers.

According to the same report from GTAR, homes sales have increased from 897 in April of last year to 992 in April of this year, with more than 3,424 total homes being sold to date in 2009. Market activity is definitely moving quickly in Tampa, Florida.

Monday, May 11, 2009

It's Time to Consider Turning Student Housing into a Real Estate Investment, Rather than an Expense

Student housing makes up the majority of costs when sending a child off to school. Instead of giving more of your money to the University or landlords, why not invest in Tampa real estate market and produce an income? SI Real Estate can assist you in locating a real estate property for your eager student that will provide safe, affordable housing, while at the same time contributing to your family’s investment portfolio and build your student’s credit while they are still in school.

Now is an excellent time to take advantage of the real estate market’s drastically reduced prices and our historically low interest rates. An investment in a condo or townhome now could prove to be a valuable asset four, five, or six years in the future, after the degree is earned. Make graduation not only a joyous occasion, but also a lucrative one!

Why not join the savvy investor minded families who are enjoying real estate investment properties? After graduation, rent your property or sell in for profit. Tampa is one of the best places to take advantage of the market’s spiraling prices. Have roommates buffer the cost while your new student invests in their future.

How you can benefit:
- Families purchase a brand new condo or townhome for the student to live in while attending college.
- The student’s name will be on the mortgage, creating an opportunity to build their credit while in school.
- The buyer will receive an $8,000 tax credit*
- Families use the property as an investment and can either sell it when the student graduates, or rents it to new incoming students.
- Families lock in now with the historically low interest rates on mortgages.

Rent a one bedroom, one bathroom townhome for an average of $800 a month.
Buy a three bedroom, two bathroom townhome with an FHA loan, 3.5% down at a purchasing price of $140,000 and pay just $956 a month.

Why rent when you can buy?

Have something more to show at years end than a George Forman grill and an oceanography book that the bookstore won’t buy back!

Multiple properties and skilled representation with the SI Real Estate team of professionals.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Would You Like to Buy a New Home But Lack the Necessary Finances to Make Your Dream Come True?

The dream of home ownership is now more accessible than it has been in years, and for many Americans owning a home is still the American dream. If you are not financially prepared, today’s excellent deals may pass you by.

Try some of these money saving tips to add more cash to your future home fund:

- Take a fixed amount from every paycheck and make sure it goes directly into your savings account. This can be a fixed percentage (10%) or a fixed amount ($200.00).
- Create and closely watch your budget. Many people have no idea where there money goes every week or month. Watching where you spend your money may surprise you and you may not be so quick to buy lattes 5 days a week.
- When you go shopping, make a list and stick to it. Get only what you need and forget about the extras that you don’t.
- Cut back on utilities. Do you need all 10 HBO channels? Do you use 3-way calling? Probably not. Do away with them and you will be surprised by how much you will save each month.
- Have a garage sale! Get rid of everything in your home that you don’t use or no longer need.
- Receiving a windfall? Put that cash away into your “Future Home” savings account.

Cutting costs now will help you reach your future goal of home buying. It is important to also remember that FHA loans are still available. With an FHA loan, only 3.5% is needed up front, providing a viable option for those who are qualified and ready to buy now.

If you have been saving and are ready to purchase a home, contact Nibal Elsaadi of SI Real Estate at to set an appointment to see available houses, townhomes, and condominiums in the Tampa Bay area or call 813.631.5144 to speak to one of our Real Estate Specialists.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Tampa Bay Federal Credit Union is Planning an Expansion

When the Federal Reserve announced that they would acquire the debt and mortgage-backed securities (MBS) of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Ginnie Mae, homeowners across the United States rushed to lock in lower fixed-rate mortgages to preclude adjustments that were impending due to the acquisition of interest-only and adjustable rate mortgages (ARM’s). Consumers are getting smarter about their finances due to the current recession and the government is offering refinance programs that makes it even easier to get low fixed-rate mortgages.

Here in the Tampa Bay area, we have seen several expansions due to the so-called “refinance surge”. One such expansion was an announcement last week from Tampa Bay Federal Credit Union (TBFCU). TBFCU has announced that they are expanding their Real Estate Lending/Servicing Division to handle the foreseen surge in the refinancing market.

Dean Clark, Manager of Real Estate Lending/Servicing for TBFCU said, "In the first quarter of 2009, we have seen a surge in new clients taking advantage of refinancing their Fannie Mae mortgages (TBFCU is a Fannie Mae approved servicer). All you have to do is visit and search their database to see if Fannie Mae owns your mortgage. If they do, the homeowner can pretty much go with any new finance option, which gives incredible advantages in the declining real estate market." (PR Newswire)

Becoming a member of a credit union such as TBFCU has many advantages like having a local lender, local servicer and local decision makers. Add lower closing costs, exemption from intangible state tax, no origination fees, no underwriting fees, no processing fees, and no third party broker fees and very competitive interest rates and it is easy to see abundance of benefits for any member.

If you have an interest in purchasing a new home at today’s low rates, please contact Nibal Elsaadi of SI Real Estate at 813-631-5144 or email

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Featured Property of the Week

Waterfront, Custom Designed 2 Story Home for Sale. Just reduced by $100,000.00! Located in the Prestigious Keystone area of Odessa, Florida. If luxury is what you seek, this home is for you!!

This spacious, 3300 square foot, 3BR, home has it all including 25ft. ceilings, a unique sunken great room, formal living and dining room, and a fantastic master suite with stunning lakefront views from the private balcony. The master bath/spa features dual sinks and Jacuzzi tub, while the enormous 10x20 walk in closet is sure to accommodate any size wardrobe. True hardwood floors, 18in ceramic tile, crown molding, and spiral staircase make this home a must see!

The light and bright kitchen features an abundance of cabinet space, newer appliances, breakfast nook, and desirable island. Included in this amazing home are the modern conveniences of and oversized laundry room with new front loading washer and dryer and plenty of storage space.

Relax by the enclosed pool, private lake front and enjoy the sunset with a glass a wine from the custom wine cellar that features brick flooring and an ornamental iron gate. Perfect for the wine connoisseur. This lavish home is situated on a large lot with lush landscaping which Odessa real estate is known for.

A professional paint job in the interior and on the exterior of the home completes the finishing touches to make this home feel like pure luxury. Odessa is located on the outer edges of Tampa Bay Real Estate, offering conveniences to the airport, businesses, shopping, dining and area attractions.

Odessa, Florida is also convenient to Interstate 275, Veteran's Expressway, Suncoast Parkway, Tampa, St. Petersburg, and the Gulf Beaches.

Owner is motivated and reduced property to $540,000. Do not let this excellent deal pass you buy. Take advantage of the new $8,000 federal housing tax credit available to first time home buyers and those who have not purchased a home within the past three years! Only available until November 30, 2009!

Relocating to Tampa? Call today and speak with one of our Tampa Relocation Specialists. We can assist in making this transition a smooth and exciting process! Call 813-631-5144 or email