Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Tiny Home Trend

Flipping through the television channels and social media, you may have noticed that many people are shifting towards downsizing their living space. Shows like Tiny House, Big Living and Tiny House Nation document the trending transition to tiny homes.

So why are so many Americans jumping on the tiny home bandwagon?

According to, the average home is 2600 square feet – compared to the minimal square footage for tiny homes, averaging between 100 – 400 square feet! Those joining the Tiny House Movement are doing so to protect the environment, live frugally and have the freedom to travel.

With their petite structure, many tiny house homeowners have found financial freedom that would have been difficult to achieve had they opted for a mortgage on a traditional home. The savings from high property taxes, lower maintenance costs and less major repairs are illustrations of many sources of household savings through Tiny Homeownership. The mobility of these homes, in conjunction with financial savings also allows for individuals to pay off debts and save more of their income for travel expenses they otherwise would not have been able to afford.

Unsurprisingly, tiny homes use less materials, thus decreasing the amount of lumber for building and fuel used to transport supplies.  Stemming from the small size of the home, it is also more feasible to use environmentally friendly materials that would be far more expensive if used on a larger home.  In contrast to traditional real estate, tiny homes can be easily powered by solar panels due to their small stature, hence drastically decreasing energy use. This means lower utility bills and more money to save or use for other life style priorities.  All in all it is very easy to “go green” in a tiny home! 

Aside from all of these benefits, many are finding it difficult to find a place to “park” their tiny home.  In an article from The Washington Post, most homeowners use the land of family members, friends, or rent space in an RV Park.  However, many governments around the U.S have not caught up to the legality of tiny homes regarding building codes and parking provisions.  So still some work to do to make this a stronger part of mainstream. 

Now that you’ve got the scoop, do you think you could trade in your home for a tiny house?

Smart Homes: The Future of Homeownership

Traveling back to the 1960s, homeowners were just beginning to enjoy the luxury of having a television in the home.  The families of the 1990s experienced the convenience of owning their very own computer. Fast forward to 2016, and not only has technology advanced in the way of entertainment, but it has become a part of our everyday lifestyle.  For years, technology has filled our homes – now our homes have become an integral part of new age technology.

While the definition of a smart home is debatable, most consider a smart home a house that has remotely controlled systems including temperature, lighting and electronic devices. Once considered a luxury for the wealthy, smart homes have become a mainstream component of homeownership. Combining security with convenience, smart homes offer families enhanced peace of mind.

Beyond the ability to remotely access security footage from your smart phone or tablet, some smart homes have the unique capability to assist you and your family to safety beyond an alarm alone. As explained in an article from ‘How Stuff Works’, “not only would a resident be woken with notification of a fire alarm, the smart home would also unlock doors, dial the fire department and light the path to safety”.

Technology with this level of sophistication also proves to be beneficial for elderly individuals living alone. Reminders can be set to take medication, turn off unused appliances such as the stove or an overflowing tub, and notify emergency personnel of bodily injury. Many families have found smart home technology to be more efficient than placing their loved one in a nursing home.  Additionally, many have discovered that this form of personalized care is also more cost effective - all while allowing their loved one to maintain independence.

Furthermore, smart home technology has become the epitome of convenience. Never mind digging in your pocket or purse for your keys, your smart home will open the door for you as you approach! Forget to feed your pets? Your smart home will dispense a preset amount of food for them at meal time!

Whether you are just hearing about smart home technology, or have been enjoying the benefits for years, SI Real Estate Tampa wants to know – What’s your favorite smart home feature? 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

First Time Home Buyer

It’s time to take the next step and buy your first home. Where to begin, you ask? By and large we find ourselves scouring the internet for real estate listings and then driving by potential homes only to find that it’s been sold, or doesn’t live up to those beautiful online photos.

Here’s the good news! Before getting too wrapped up in the home searching process, there are a few steps you should take to save yourself time, money and lots of disappointment.
First and foremost: Prepare Your Credit for Mortgage Approval.  Now that you’ve decided to turn those rent payments into mortgage payments, the natural tendency may be to start looking for your dream home. But taking a step back to analyze your finances will be of absolute benefit to you when it comes to the mortgage approval part of the process! 

The preliminary home search stage is the perfect time to check your credit score and the contents of your report.   If needed, you may dispute any errors that you find. A mortgage professional can counsel you in this leg of the journey!  Additionally, starting the credit review process gives you time to pay off any outstanding debt (especially those with high balances and high interest rates), but only as recommended by your loan officer.  Getting a handle on your capital early in the game reduces your debt-to-income ratio, giving you more buying power and far more confidence.

Next, it’s time to: Determine How Much Home You Can Afford. After taking a close look at your finances you’ll have a better picture of your budget, which is probably higher than expected!   There are many online sites with interactive calculators that provide a general estimate of your home affordability – but the best way to get sound advice on the home buying process leads us to the final step…

Find a Trusted Realtor: Not only does finding a trusted realtor provide you with a skilled professional in your corner, but many real estate agents have a “trusted” network of companies and colleagues that are ready to deliver the best services possible on your new home purchase.

While working with the listing agent may seem convenient for your home purchase, don’t forget that there are buyer’s agents that work directly with the buyer throughout the purchase process. This agent has the best interest of the buyer in mind, rather that juggling the loyalties of the buyer and the seller.

Count on your buyer’s agent to represent you while negotiating the home price, facilitating a home inspection - to check for any issues with the home that may not be obvious during the showing, and carefully examining the closing paperwork.

After all of your hard work and dedication to preparing for your first home purchase, you deserve the best potential services, mortgage rates and much more from your agent including: expert negotiating skills, compelling ethics and access to minute-by-minute updates on available properties and the purchase process!

If you have found this information to be helpful, please share it with your friends and family who have embarked on the home buying journey! SI Real Estate Tampa is ready to exceed your expectations!