Category Archives: David’s picks!

Firestone Grand Prix this weekend in St Pete

It has been a decade since the Grand Prix first took over downtown, bringing thousands of fans to St Pete.

A series of races along a picturesque 14 turn, 1.8 mile temporary track, featuring the IndyCar, Firestone Indy Lights, Pro Mazda Championship, USF2000 National Championship, Pirelli World Challenge Championships, Expanded Bright House Speed Zone, Yacht Club, Indy Fan Village, autograph sessions, Ferris Wheel, Stadium Supertrucks, go cart racing, celebrity sightings and more!

New this year, the HERO ZONE, a free, interactive military obstacle course, lets kids of all ages test their skills on some of the same obstacles faced by our troops in basic training. The HERO ZONE is deployed by Wish for Our Heroes and is located inside Gate 1, next to the Bright House Speed Zone. Inside the Speed Zone, get physical with rock climbing, power jumping, mechanical bull rides, a pit stop challenge, or gyroscope.

From 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. there is a FREE shuttle service from Tropicana Field to the race course. Parking at Tropicana Field will be $10. The shuttle will pick passengers up on 10th St. S. and drop off passengers near the Hilton on Fourth Ave. S. between Second and Third Streets. There will be a two-block walk to the race entry gate 5. The shuttle will operate all three race days from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

March 28th-30th

http://www.gpstpete.com/

Congratulations Elana & Matt on purchasing 8521 Meadowbrook Drive, Seminole, FL 33777 with The Price Group

Congratulations Elana & Matt on purchasing 8521 Meadowbrook Drive, Seminole, FL 33777 with The Price Group. we hope you enjoy your 4 bedroom home with pool & spa in the Trails in Bardmoor. I’m sure the kids will love the pool in the summer!

Now’s the smart time to buy! with interest rates at an all time low and prices on the rise you can feel confident in The Price Group to help you find the home you and your family are looking for…

The Price Group receives The Presidents Elite award

2012 was an amazing year for the Price Group at Coldwell Banker smashing all team sales records for the downtown and NE offices with over $20,000,000 in sales. We would like to thank all of our friends and clients for their support without them this achievement wouldn’t have been possible!

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New Housing Fears: Home Prices Are Rising Too Fast

By: Diana Olick | CNBC Real Estate Reporter
CNBC.com | Tuesday, 22 Jan 2013 | 11:33 AM ET

“For Sale” signs may seem like an eyesore to neighbors on any given local street, but the lack of them is a much bigger problem.

Just 1.82 million homes were listed for sale in December, according to the National Association of Realtors. That is a 22 percent drop from a year ago and the lowest supply since May of 2005, when words like “boom” and “bubble” followed the word “housing.” At the current sales pace it would take just 4.4 months to sell those homes.

“The greatest concern in the market is the inventory situation,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the NAR. “Even if we see an increase in the Spring and Summer, if home sales hold at the [current] level or even a 5 to 6-month supply, price increases are guaranteed. We don’t want to see rapid appreciation in prices faster than income.”

The reasons for the low supply are varied, and the low numbers are in fact feeding on themselves. If potential buyers can’t find something to their liking, they will probably not list their homes for sale.

There are also still 10.7 million borrowers who owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth, according to the latest report from CoreLogic. An additional 2.3 million have less than five percent equity in their homes, referred to as near-negative equity. Most of these homeowners are stuck in place, unable to sell unless they can afford to pay in to their mortgages. As for new supply, even though builders are increasing starts, they are still not even at half the pace they were at the height of the housing boom.

As a result, home prices are now rising more and faster than most analysts predicted due to this short supply, up 7.4 percent year-over-year in November, according to CoreLogic. They are especially surging in some of the hardest hit markets from the housing crash, where large-scale investors are swarming with cash in hand. In Phoenix, home values jumped nearly 32 percent from a year ago in November and are now at the highest level since October of 2008 according to DataQuick. While still 39 percent off their boom-high in June of 2006, they are now up 41.5 percent from the bottom, and there is not much on the market.

Healthy housing market gains are historically driven by increasing employment and income, not by lack of supply; the latter leads to price bubbles. First-time home buyers, who generally account for 40 percent of the home-buying market or higher are still under-represented at just 30 percent, according to the Realtors. This is due to tighter credit conditions in the mortgage market and now decreasing affordability.

December’s disappointing drop in home sales, month-to-month is a clear warning for the housing recovery going forward. Rising home prices are not the sole measure of a healthy market. Supply and demand need to fall closer in line, and a robust economic recovery should be driving both home sales and prices.

—By CNBC’s Diana Olick; Follow her on Twitter @Diana_Olick or on Facebook at facebook.com/DianaOlickCNBC
Questions? Comments? RealtyCheck@cnbc.com
© 2013 CNBC.com

Click on link to watch video New Housing Fears: Home Prices Are Rising Too Fast

New Housing Fears: Home Prices Are Rising Too Fast

By:Diana Olick | CNBC Real Estate Reporter
CNBC.com | Tuesday, 22 Jan 2013 | 11:33 AM ET

“For Sale” signs may seem like an eyesore to neighbors on any given local street, but the lack of them is a much bigger problem.

Just 1.82 million homes were listed for sale in December, according to the National Association of Realtors. That is a 22 percent drop from a year ago and the lowest supply since May of 2005, when words like “boom” and “bubble” followed the word “housing.” At the current sales pace it would take just 4.4 months to sell those homes.

“The greatest concern in the market is the inventory situation,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the NAR. “Even if we see an increase in the Spring and Summer, if home sales hold at the [current] level or even a 5 to 6-month supply, price increases are guaranteed. We don’t want to see rapid appreciation in prices faster than income.”

The reasons for the low supply are varied, and the low numbers are in fact feeding on themselves. If potential buyers can’t find something to their liking, they will probably not list their homes for sale.

There are also still 10.7 million borrowers who owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth, according to the latest report from CoreLogic. An additional 2.3 million have less than five percent equity in their homes, referred to as near-negative equity. Most of these homeowners are stuck in place, unable to sell unless they can afford to pay in to their mortgages. As for new supply, even though builders are increasing starts, they are still not even at half the pace they were at the height of the housing boom.

As a result, home prices are now rising more and faster than most analysts predicted due to this short supply, up 7.4 percent year-over-year in November, according to CoreLogic. They are especially surging in some of the hardest hit markets from the housing crash, where large-scale investors are swarming with cash in hand. In Phoenix, home values jumped nearly 32 percent from a year ago in November and are now at the highest level since October of 2008 according to DataQuick. While still 39 percent off their boom-high in June of 2006, they are now up 41.5 percent from the bottom, and there is not much on the market.

Healthy housing market gains are historically driven by increasing employment and income, not by lack of supply; the latter leads to price bubbles. First-time home buyers, who generally account for 40 percent of the home-buying market or higher are still under-represented at just 30 percent, according to the Realtors. This is due to tighter credit conditions in the mortgage market and now decreasing affordability.

December’s disappointing drop in home sales, month-to-month is a clear warning for the housing recovery going forward. Rising home prices are not the sole measure of a healthy market. Supply and demand need to fall closer in line, and a robust economic recovery should be driving both home sales and prices.

—By CNBC’s Diana Olick; Follow her on Twitter @Diana_Olick or on Facebook at facebook.com/DianaOlickCNBC
Questions? Comments? RealtyCheck@cnbc.com
© 2013 CNBC.com

Click on link to watch video New Housing Fears: Home Prices Are Rising Too Fast

New Housing Fears: Home Prices Are Rising Too Fast

By:Diana Olick | CNBC Real Estate Reporter
CNBC.com | Tuesday, 22 Jan 2013 | 11:33 AM ET

“For Sale” signs may seem like an eyesore to neighbors on any given local street, but the lack of them is a much bigger problem.

Just 1.82 million homes were listed for sale in December, according to the National Association of Realtors. That is a 22 percent drop from a year ago and the lowest supply since May of 2005, when words like “boom” and “bubble” followed the word “housing.” At the current sales pace it would take just 4.4 months to sell those homes.

“The greatest concern in the market is the inventory situation,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the NAR. “Even if we see an increase in the Spring and Summer, if home sales hold at the [current] level or even a 5 to 6-month supply, price increases are guaranteed. We don’t want to see rapid appreciation in prices faster than income.”

The reasons for the low supply are varied, and the low numbers are in fact feeding on themselves. If potential buyers can’t find something to their liking, they will probably not list their homes for sale.

There are also still 10.7 million borrowers who owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth, according to the latest report from CoreLogic. An additional 2.3 million have less than five percent equity in their homes, referred to as near-negative equity. Most of these homeowners are stuck in place, unable to sell unless they can afford to pay in to their mortgages. As for new supply, even though builders are increasing starts, they are still not even at half the pace they were at the height of the housing boom.

As a result, home prices are now rising more and faster than most analysts predicted due to this short supply, up 7.4 percent year-over-year in November, according to CoreLogic. They are especially surging in some of the hardest hit markets from the housing crash, where large-scale investors are swarming with cash in hand. In Phoenix, home values jumped nearly 32 percent from a year ago in November and are now at the highest level since October of 2008 according to DataQuick. While still 39 percent off their boom-high in June of 2006, they are now up 41.5 percent from the bottom, and there is not much on the market.

Healthy housing market gains are historically driven by increasing employment and income, not by lack of supply; the latter leads to price bubbles. First-time home buyers, who generally account for 40 percent of the home-buying market or higher are still under-represented at just 30 percent, according to the Realtors. This is due to tighter credit conditions in the mortgage market and now decreasing affordability.

December’s disappointing drop in home sales, month-to-month is a clear warning for the housing recovery going forward. Rising home prices are not the sole measure of a healthy market. Supply and demand need to fall closer in line, and a robust economic recovery should be driving both home sales and prices.

—By CNBC’s Diana Olick; Follow her on Twitter @Diana_Olick or on Facebook at facebook.com/DianaOlickCNBC
Questions? Comments? RealtyCheck@cnbc.com
© 2013 CNBC.com

Click on link to watch video New Housing Fears: Home Prices Are Rising Too Fast

MI Tax Deductibility is Back!

It’s official! The recent “fiscal cliff” legislation means MI premiums are tax deductible for premiums paid on home mortgages through December 31, 2013, retroactive for 2012 (deductibility was previously allowed to expire on December 31, 2011).

This means there’s no interruption in MI tax deductibility through December 31, 2013. With tax deductibility renewed for MI, there’s never been a better time to take a closer look at mortgage insurance. MI tax deductibility is one more reason to choose traditional options for housing finance. Not only is MI tax deductible, it can also be cancelled when it meets investor conditions.

10-20-12 Savage race – Why do I do this to myself!

After managing to survive another Savage race with Sid Roberts I’ve pre-registered for the next one. Why do I do this to myself? I can only assume that it’s my way of convincing myself that I’m not getting any older!

Check out the race video

October Gardening Checklist

From what to plant to what to harvest, here’s everything you need to know to prepare your garden for autumn.
By Sally Anderson of MSN Real Estate

There’s a snap in the air, the songbirds are looking at their calendars, and trees are exploding in hues of yellow, pink and red. But don’t think that means you can spend the weekends in your jammies. Make haste while the weather is still gardener-tolerant; you’ll be happy for those shorter to-do lists come late fall and winter.

Perennials
Keep planting spring-flowering bulbs, all the way up until the ground becomes frozen, and prepare tender perennials for winter.

Holes for planting crocuses, daffodils, tulips and other spring-flowering bulbs should be about three times deeper than the diameter of the bulbs. Add peat moss, fertilizer and bulb dust to the soil as you plant; then give them a good watering.

In milder climates, bulbs can still be divided and transplanted.

Before the first frost, move tender plants such as begonias, geraniums, gerbera daisies and impatiens indoors for the winter.

Buy hardy garden mums to plant in well-drained soil in a sunny location; fertilize now, and again in the spring. Color spots of winter pansies and flowering kale and cabbage can also be planted early in the month, or until the ground freezes.

Gladioluses, dahlias, tuberous begonias and fuchsias should be prepared now for winter storage.

Hold off on mulching perennials until the ground has frozen.

Trees and shrubs
October is a great month to shop for trees and shrubs, as they’re showing their true colors at the nursery. Planting can take place now and over the next several months, letting strong, healthy roots develop over the winter.
Make your last selections of trees for planting this month and later, even if you hold off on buying.

Tie up and prune raspberries.

Mid-autumn is a perfect time for planting grapevines.

Take hardwood cuttings.

Lawn care
In most areas, lawn care can continue until about mid-October.
Aerate lawns now while grass can recover easily; if you core aerate, make cores 3 inches deep, spaced about every 4 to 6 inches. Break up the cores and spread them around.

If your lawn needs it, thatch and follow with a fall or winter fertilizer.

Even if thatching isn’t necessary, your lawn will be happy for a dusting of fertilizer now to help roots gain strength before the spring growing season.

Overseed bald patches or whole lawns as needed.

Rake and compost leaves as they fall, as well as grass clippings from mowing. If left on the ground now, they’ll just make a wet, slippery mess, inviting to pests.

Watering
It’s easy to forget about watering duties in the middle of fall, but proper moisture now is key to your plants’ successful survival over the cold winter months.
Check the moisture of all plants, especially those in dry, sheltered areas such as under eaves and around tall evergreens.

Composting
Autumn leaves must fall — but what to do with them?
Rake or otherwise gather all the little fallen ones, from leaves to grass clippings to spent plants and vegetables, and either give the compost pile a good feeding or spade them directly into the ground. Exception: If your grass has been treated with herbicides, it might be safer to compost than to blend into the soil.

As an alternative to raking, if you have drifts of piled leaves, mow over them in the grass to break them up and make a great brown-and-green composting combo.

Save some whole leaves for piling around roses after the ground has frozen

Pest control
Slugs don’t slow down as the weather gets cooler; in fact, you’ll likely find them at all life stages in October, from eggs to youngsters and adults.
Take whatever measures you prefer — salt, slug bait, saucers of beer — to eliminate slugs. It’s best to catch them at early stages, to stop the reproduction cycle.

Keep the ground raked and tidied to reduce their habitat.

Keep staying ahead of weeds this month; they serve as homes for pests and bugs, and destroying them before they flower and seed will save you work in the future.

Harvesting
In many areas, October is the month to harvest.
Do a taste test on vegetables, and harvest them when flavor is at its peak. If you’d like to extend the harvest of carrots, turnips and other root vegetables, leave some in the ground to mulch as the weather gets colder. They can handle cold snaps!

Early in the month, before temperatures drop too much, seed cover crops such as clover, peas or vetch to enrich the soil. It will serve as a natural fertilizer, stifle weed growth and help loosen up the soil for next year’s crops.

Houseplants
If your September was mild enough that your houseplants and geraniums are still outdoors, be sure to make them cozy inside before the first frost takes a bite out of them.
Take geranium cuttings of 2 to 4 inches to root indoors.

If you treat houseplants chemically, after treating be sure to keep them warm and away from direct sunlight.

Fertilize houseplants now; they shouldn’t need it again until March.

Get poinsettias and Thanksgiving and Christmas cacti ready for well-timed holiday color. Give them a daily dose of 10 hours of bright daylight or four hours of direct sun, and 14 hours of night darkness. Christmas cacti need a cool environment of 50 to 60 degrees F, while poinsettias prefer a warmer 65 to 72 degrees. Let cacti dry out between waterings.

October Home-Maintenance Checklist

With fall in full swing, now’s the time to get your home and yard ready for winter.
By Anne Erickson of MSN Real Estate

October is the first full month of fall; by the end of this month, most of your winterization should be completed. Falling leaves and dwindling daylight signal a final opportunity to do some outdoor organizing before winter settles in.

Repair roof shingles
Try to do this on a warm day if you have asphalt shingles on your roof, so the shingles will be flexible. Use roofing cement to seal cracked and torn shingles and to reattach curled shingles. Then tack down the damage further with galvanized roofing nails, and cover the exposed nail heads with roofing cement. Split wood shingles can be patched with roofing cement as well.

Repair siding
Do a fall siding inspection and remedy any problems you find. Look for damaged paint, warped or split wood, cracks or holes in stucco, and missing or slipped siding panels. Your repair tool kit will depend on what kind of siding you have: For example, wood siding may require wood putty, waterproof glue, nails and screws; stucco may require wire mesh, stucco patching compound, a trowel and a chisel. Most types of siding require a coating of sealant or primer, and paint to finish the repair and ensure waterproofing.

Reinforce windows
Replace your screens with storm windows. If your screens are dirty or damaged, repair and clean before storing them to prevent further deterioration. Light scrubbing followed by a blast from a hose will eliminate bird droppings and other grime. Small tears can be sewn up with thin wire. If you have older single-pane windows and no storm coverings, apply heat-shrink plastic to the inner or outer window frame to create an insulating air space and save heating expense.

Fire fluency
Make sure your damper is in good working order by opening and shutting it prior to lighting the first fire of the season. If you didn’t clean your chimney at the end of the heating season, do it now — especially if you burn soft woods, which release more creosote. Often the first indication that a chimney needs cleaning is a chimney fire, so preventive maintenance is important.

Detect deadly gas
If you heat your home with wood heat or a gas heater, a carbon-monoxide detector is a must. These devices look and sound like smoke detectors, but they detect carbon-monoxide gas instead. Units that plug into an outlet are also available.

Check batteries in smoke detectors
Daylight saving time ends Nov. 7. Get into the habit of checking smoke-detector batteries when you “fall back” and “spring ahead.” Also make sure household fire extinguishers are fully pressurized and in good working order.

Close seasonal air conditioners
If you live in a place where air conditioners are used seasonally instead of year-round, this is a good month to close them down. Switch off power, make sure the condensate drain is clear, and clean condenser coils and filters (a vacuum will do). Either remove window units or cover them, to protect your home from drafts and the units from inclement weather.

Bleed air from radiators
Radiators can get air pockets in them when not in use. If air pockets stay, they will keep the unit from heating up to its full capacity. If your unit doesn’t have automatic air valves, you need to bleed it prior to every heating season. To bleed air out, turn on the furnace and circulator and open the supply valve to the radiator. Find the bleeder valve (it’s usually opposite the supply valve) and open it while holding a pan to it. Air should be released, followed by hot water (thus the pan). Close the valve as the water comes out. Lightly feel the radiator to make sure it is heated along its entire surface; if there are gaps, repeat the procedure.

Cut brush back from the house
Before stowing all of your gardening equipment for the winter, walk around your house with a weed whacker and a pair of pruners and cut back any brush, weeds or branches that contact your house. This task will eliminate a common access point for insects, rodents and rot. It will also keep branches and shrubs from scraping away at your siding during windstorms.

Watch those leaves
If you don’t want the tannin in fall leaves to leave hard-to-clean imprints on your deck and concrete walkways, keep those surfaces leaf-free. If you do get some leaf prints, try a solution of half water and half bleach (test it first in an unobtrusive spot — it may lighten the wood on your deck) or trisodium phosphate (commonly known as TSP) and warm water. Or, just leave the prints and consider them an artistic addition to your exterior look.

Store outdoor furniture
Scrub and store outdoor furniture; even furniture designed to stay out year-round will last longer if protected from extreme cold and wet. Store or cover your barbecue unless you cook with it all year. Empty and store large planters — clay or terra-cotta units will crack if left out to freeze and thaw. Clean and store your gardening tools, but don’t put them completely out of reach — shovels are useful year-round.

Winterize external plumbing systems
This is the most important job of fall if you live in an area that freezes in the winter. The simple fact that water expands upon freezing has caused countless homeowners innumerable woes. Ignore this job and flooding, water damage and thousands of dollars worth of plumbing bills will be your constant winter companions.

Here’s your to-do list:
Drain underground sprinkler systems.

Have outdoor pools drained and professionally serviced.

Drain exterior water pipes and any pipes that run through unheated areas (such as a garage, crawl space or unheated porch). If draining these pipes isn’t possible, wrap them with foam insulation or heat tape.

Cover exposed spigots with foam covers. Or, if cosmetics and ease of removal don’t matter, wrap spigots in layers of newspaper, cover the newspaper with a plastic bag, and seal the whole affair with duct tape.

Drain and store garden hoses. Leave one hose and nozzle somewhere that’s easily accessible; you’ll need it for gutter cleaning and car washing.

529 College fund or invest in real estate?

So what does your kid’s college fund have to do with real estate? A whole lot if you’d like to have more control and leverage your money to reap a greater return on your investment.
When you say the words “College Fund” what usually comes to mind is the 529 plan. The 529 plan is an education savings plan that is managed by a state or educational institution that is designed specifically for families to save money for future college costs. These plans are simple to set up and as long as the plan meets certain qualifications there are some tax benefits. Your financial advisor or the 529 plan manager can help you set up the account.
Now let’s talk money. If your child is 1 today, you will have 17 years to sock away money every month. How much do you need to pay for 4 years of college in 17 years time? This number will vary depending on the college that your child will attend and if you plan on paying for room and board. To get a more accurate number visit http://www.savingforcollege.com/college-savings-calculator This tool will help you calculate the future costs of attending university and will allow you to base the calculation on your school of choice. When I did a calculation of $17,336/year which is the national average for an in-state school including room and board and transportation, for 4 years, the amount that I’d have to save monthly was $432. We would invest $88,128 over the next 17 years and at 7% interest that would yield us $204,215. And that is for just one child. We have two so to make it easy, let’s double that. Yes $864 each and every month for the next 17 years or a whopping $176,256. That’s another mortgage payment that we would have to pay for the next 204 months. Yowch! But it is a good return, right?

If that number is just as staggering to you as it was to me, and expect it to be more if your child is older or if you have multiple children, don’t stop reading just yet. The 529 plan is a good plan but it’s not the only way to fund your child’s education. There has never been a better time to buy real estate than today. With the amount of foreclosures, short sales and just plain motivated sellers on the market coupled with historically low mortgage rates your child could have a much brighter future.

The typical home will double in value every 10 years and since we are at the bottom of the market, buy now and you could be the one laughing all the way to the bank. Let’s say you found a property for $50,000, the bank is going to want to see 20% down if this is an investment, so that’s $10,000. Let’s assume it needs some work for another $10,000. So you’re now at a $20,000 investment, but you decide to rent the property out and have someone else pay the mortgage on the remaining $40,000. Only buy a property that will give you a positive cash flow. So now your putting money into your pocket, there are tax benefits to owning real estate and you can expect that property to double in value every 10 years. In 17 years time you’ll be sitting on a property worth $150,000 or more. If you took that same $20,000 and invested it into your 529 plan you would only get about 5 years into the plan and you’d still be on the hook to pay for the next 12 years. So let me ask you, would you rather invest $20,000, make some additional money every month and enjoy the tax benefits or would you rather invest $88,128? Although, you end up with a $90,000 return at the end of 17 years if you were to sell the property, the initial investment and the other benefits along the way is true leverage of your money and time.

You obviously want to consult with a financial advisor, an experienced Realtor, have the home inspected thoroughly as well as speaking with a rental management company to find out what you could rent the home for before you buy. And whatever number you’re told that repairs will amount to add 20% as a buffer for the unexpected. No matter how good of a home inspector you have it’s always a good rule of thumb to plan for the unexpected.

Amortization Table and Early Payoff Chart

”Click Here to Down Load Amortization Table”

This is a great tool I’ve created for you to use. Download the Excel document and play around with how you could reduce your 30 mortgage by making additional principal payments.

By just making an additional $100 per month principal payment you can reduce your 30 year mortgage by 5.5 years WOW!

Leave a comment if you like this tool and tell a friend.

AirFest Tampa 2010 Saturday!

Don’t get stuck in the long lines, watch this and discover the short cut!

We had a blast at the air show with the kinds, also you can take food and drinks into the event.

Don’t forget the downtown St. Pete Grand Prix later this month.

Get a feel for the Signature Auction!

I’ve put together a few short video clips from the Signature Place auction to give you the feel of how exciting the event was. I’d love to see them do this on “The Sage” that Bank of America pretty much owns (100+ units). The Sage is located on the corner of 4th Ave. South and 4th St. South downtown St. Petersburg FL.

This Auction was a great success not only for the health and stability of the Signature building, it also created some MAJOR buzz for the downtown condo market.

If you have interest in this building or other condos in downtown St. Petersburg check out our downtown condo website, we have broken down all the most popular buildings so you can keep an eye on the market (credit tomas), go to http://www.davidpricerealtor.com/downtown.php

We have also setup the ability for you to create custom real estate search and receive new and updated listings each day so check it out at http://www.davidpricerealtor.com/mls_search.php

Always here to help you, so feel free to call or email me anytime.

If you like this info please comment and or forward to a friend!

How to create at custom home search on our site

From this page “Click Here” you can setup an account and create a custom home search that you can control.

Once you have registered for an account (just an FYI you don’t need to register to access the system, but to save a search you will need an account) watch this quick easy to follow video to create as many custom home searches as you like.

If after watching this video you have questions or would like us to setup an account for you, give us a call or send us an email. Looking forward to helping you!

How to search for a new home using our website

The video below will show you how to setup a custom search in an area of your choosing. You can also setup an account to save your results and receive emails with new listings just like a realtor.

Short Sale investors flipping homes – Good or Bad?

Over the past couple of years since “Short Sales” have been the hot topic in the real estate market I’ve been contacted by several mortgage brokers and investors/firms looking to get access to my clients who need to sell properties and who are upside down in their homes value.

These people offered to help my clients by making an offer on their home. (Banks are only willing to talk about a short sale if we have an offer) They will negotiate the short sale on behalf of the client and purchase the home (if they can get a good deal).

I was quite interested when I heard this the first time, because I know how hard it can be to find a buyer who is willing to wait 3-9 months before they can close on a home (these mortgage brokers who weren’t making money by financing homes now wanted to make a living from people’s hardship) It was pitched to me that I would make the commission on the listing side and on the buying side. After the bank approved the sale I would then market the home below fair market value to find a buyer quickly. (Banks typically give us 30-60 days to close the transaction once they have given us their approval) I would then get the commission on the listing side and maybe the buying side for the investor. WOW that could be as much as 12% commission for one deal! Who wouldn’t be interested in that?! (not me if it’s hurting someone)

After further questioning, I discovered these “white knights” looking to help my sellers get out of their homes make offers at 65% below fair market value minus repairs and tie up the home for several months negotiating with the bank. They had no intention of buying the home unless they can sell the bank on accepting this lowball offer, then finding an end buyer who will pay market value for the home. Once they find an end buyer they use a “Hard Money Lender” to close on the property, then resell the home the same day to the end buyer making a huge profit.

If no end buyer can be found or the bank doesn’t accept the low ball offer the seller could end up in foreclosure, plus during the time the home was under contract with the investor any real buyers miss out on these homes. These investors are not helping the turn around of the real estate market they are just taking advantage of desperate sellers and banks, ultimately you and I as tax payers are fitting the bill for these guys because its our tax paying money that has been bailing out the banks from their losses.

Example: At the end of last year a client of mine made an offer on a home in Crescent Heights, we received a counter offer where the sellers name was scratched out and an investment firms name was in its place. The investor had gotten the seller to sign a contract which allowed the investment firm to control the sale as described above. We did come to terms on a sales price after going back and forth for a couple of days. At the closing the investor walked away with over $13,000. The seller could still be on the hook for any unpaid balance of the mortgage.

I feel the banks and/or the government need to set rules to prevent these investors from taking advantage of our down turned real estate market.

The Waterford town homes in Clearwater FL

David Price with Coldwell Banker is pleased to announce 2525 Harn Blvd #5, Clearwater, FL 33764. A 2 bedroom 1.5 bath town home listed with Coldwell Banker and The Price Group.

First time home buyer and investors! This like new townhouse built in 2004 is light bright, open and has a very functional floor plan with high ceilings. Huge living and dining room, large kitchen w/island for the gourmet cook, wood cabinets and great storage. Inside laundry room on the 2nd floor. Covered front porch for morning coffee and an open back patio for the BBQ. You are walking distance to the Morningside pool & recreation center & the Trail, the perfect place to bike, roller blade & walk.

This property qualifies for FHA financing with a low 3.5% down payment. First time buyers may be eligible for the $8,000 tax credit. You would need to be under contract before 4/30/10 and close by June 30th 2010. Close to Clearwater beach just 8 miles away, malls, medical facilities, Starbucks and local restaurants. 20 minutes to downtown St. Pete. Not a short sale! So no waiting for 3-6 months to close, you could be living in this home in just 3 weeks.

For a private showing call David Price 727-851-6189 anytime.

Fed survey shows U.S. recession may be over

WASHINGTON (AP) – Sept. 10, 2009 – The recession is ending and the U.S. economy is finally growing again.

That’s the message implicit in the Federal Reserve’s latest survey of businesses around the country, which found economic activity stabilizing or improving in most regions.

Economists warn the expansion is fragile and will have staying power only if consumers start spending more money. Rising unemployment that keeps Americans cautious could make for a plodding recovery in the months ahead.

The Labor Department will report on Thursday the number of new jobless claims filed last week, which could indicate whether the incipient recovery is slowing the pace of layoffs.

Wall Street economists expect that first-time claims for unemployment insurance benefits fell to a seasonally adjusted 560,000 from 570,000 the previous week, according to a survey by Thomson Reuters.

Economists closely watch initial claims, which are considered a gauge of layoffs and an indication of companies’ willingness to hire new workers.

While the figures are volatile, first-time claims have trended downward in recent months. Initial claims topped 600,000 for most of this year, until falling below that level in early July.

The total number of people receiving benefits, meanwhile, is expected to drop by about 30,000 to 6.2 million. The figures on so-called continuing claims lag initial claims by a week.

All but one of the Fed’s 12 regions, meanwhile, indicated economic activity either was “stable,” showed “signs of stabilization” or had “firmed,” according to the Fed’s survey. The one exception was the St. Louis region, which reported the economic decline is “moderating.”

Businesses in most Fed regions said they were “cautiously positive” about the economic road ahead. The survey, known as the Beige Book, does not include precise figures.

Analysts predict the economy is growing in the current quarter, which ends Sept. 30, at an annual rate of 3 percent to 4 percent. That’s mostly because businesses, which had slashed investments during the recession, are spending more.

Auto sales have been lifted by the government’s recently ended Cash for Clunkers program. Manufacturing and the battered housing market, which led the country into recession when it collapsed, have also shown signs of improvement.

The problem for the economy is that the expected growth this quarter comes mainly from the auto companies and other manufacturers, which are refilling their depleted stockpiles.

Those inventories had dwindled as factories and retailers sought to bring what they had more in line with reduced sales. Any robust growth in the economy might be short-lived if shoppers don’t step up their spending.

In the Fed survey, most regions of the country reported that the clunkers program had boosted sales. Other merchants struggled. And consumer spending remained soft in most places.

Still, the assessments of businesses on the front lines of the economy were brighter than those they provided for the last edition of the Fed survey in late July.

At that time, most regions of the country reflected only that the recession was easing its grip. “That’s a pretty significant change in tone from the previous Fed report,” said Brian Bethune, economist at IHS Global Insight.

The survey’s findings will figure into discussions when Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and his colleagues meet Sept. 22-23. The Fed is expected to keep interest rates at record lows, probably for some time, to help nurture the recovery.

“There are presently some signs that the economy is stabilizing and even reviving in certain areas, despite mixed signals,” Richard Fisher, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, said in a speech in Texas.

The market for homes is still weak — though it flashed some signs of improvement. In most places, buyer demand was stronger for cheaper homes, and in and around Philadelphia, sales were up for more expensive homes, too.

Fed regions credited a tax incentive for first-time homebuyers with increasing sales. Home prices kept falling in most parts of the country, though in the Dallas and New York regions, the survey found prices “firming.”

In a sign that lenders’ efforts to help troubled mortgage holders may be helping, the number of U.S. households threatened with losing their homes held steady last month, RealtyTrac Inc. reported Thursday.

The number of foreclosure-related filings — including default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — remains 18 percent higher than a year ago.

There was plenty of bad news in the survey. In the commercial real estate market, demand stayed weak, and construction fell in all parts of the country. And the job market was still sickly all over the nation.

The nation’s unemployment rate, which stood at 9.7 percent in August, could top 10 percent this year. Fisher, of the Dallas Fed, called for “uncomfortably high unemployment” as businesses keep cutting costs.

September 2009 MLS stats for the Pinellas County Real Estate Market

The light is now in sight! We can see the recovery of the real estate market in full swing. Inventory levels are way down, sales are up and mortgage rates are around 5%.. If now’s not a good time to buy that home you have been thinking about, I don’t know when would be. Review the stats here Click Here

Reports show economy mending

WASHINGTON – July 30, 2009 – Economic indicators keep saying what investors have known for months: Things are getting better.

The latest government report to reinforce a more positive view of the economy’s health was the Federal Reserve’s “beige book,” released Wednesday, which indicated many parts of the nation are seeing economic stability. Earlier in the day, President Obama told spectators at a town hall meeting in Raleigh, N.C., “We may be seeing the beginning of the end of the recession.”

And the July update of the USA TODAY/IHS Global Insight Economic Outlook Index predicts the economy will grow October through December, the first increase since September 2008.

“The evidence (of recovery) is building every day,” says Jim Paulsen of Wells Capital Management. “It’s settling and gives people more faith in what they’ve seen” from stock and bond markets.

The reports echo what stock prices have been predicting since March. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index has soared 44 percent from its March 9 low, despite falling 0.5 percent Wednesday.

While the latest pieces of economic data provide some comfort, they by no means signal a return to the boom times. Economic experts say they still are on the watch for information about:

• Clues on when a meaningful recovery is firmly underway. The beige book indicated the economy is still far from robust, because five of the Fed’s 12 regions – Boston, Philadelphia, Richmond, Atlanta and Dallas – were “subdued” or “weak” and Minneapolis was faltering.

“There may be a bottom, but where’s the bounce?” says Doug Roberts of Channel Capital Research. “There’s still a significant level of weakness in the economy.”

• Signs of health in the commercial real estate market. The beige book sounded concerns about the demand for office buildings, retail space and manufacturing facilities, says John Canally of LPL Financial. The fact commercial real estate remains soft could be a sign that employment, too, will be weak until early 2010, he says.

• Evidence of the federal stimulus kicking in. Much of the future hinges on how stimulus spending steers the economy, Roberts says, which won’t be known until next year. Some additional clues, though, will be released this week with reports on jobless claims today and GDP on Friday.

“There’s a lot of information that supports the idea we’ve turned a corner,” Paulsen says. “But there’s still a lot of doubt.”

MLS stats

Check out these stats. Then ask the queston, has the real estate market in Pinellas County hit the bottom?

6-09_condo_quarterly_median_price_2001-2009

Single family median price 2001-2009

Sure looks that way, wouldn’t you say.. If I was a buyer who had been waiting for the bottom, I’d be getting out into the market to buy me a home. Call me today or visit www.PriceGroupRealtors.com and signup for a free account to access the MLS.

Go Green – Water Your Lawn Less and Reap the Eco-Benefits

RISMEDIA, April 8, 2009-(MCT)-With Earth Day just around the corner (April 22), many of us are thinking of ways in which we can live a greener lifestyle. Now that spring has arrived, one of the best ways to go green at home is to use less water in both your yard and garden. 

April brings showers and showers revive grass, but soon thereafter, people start showering their lawns.

The average lawn rarely needs to be watered, said Bruce Augustin, chief agronomist for Scotts Miracle-Gro Co., a garden products company. Many homeowners think they have to water their lawns because everybody does it, Augustin said. Yet federal research shows only about 15% of homeowners actually do, and the other 85% still have lawns. Here’s why – even if you and your grass are completely hooked on the sprinkler – you can (and should) start weaning your lawn.

For example, the Chicago area gets about 36 inches of rain a year on average; its grasses need about 43, Augustin said.

Overwatering is bad for your grass. It encourages weak, stunted roots that can’t keep the grass alive when the weather gets dry. It fosters fungus diseases and provides a perfect home for root-munching grubs.

Too much watering also pushes grass to grow faster. Lay off the sprinkler and you can mow less often.

What happens to water that your grass doesn’t need and can’t soak up? It runs off into storm drains and, combined with sewage, increases the load on treatment plants. If you’re also overfertilizing, as many people do, the runoff can carry nitrogen and phosphorus that pollute rivers and lakes.

There are other environmental costs that come with watering your lawn too much. The water from your outdoor faucet had to be taken from either a lake or a well; filtered; treated with chemicals to make it safe enough to drink and pumped to your house, at a cost in energy as well as tax dollars. Using potable water for lawns is wasteful, and “your lawn doesn’t really need fluoride,” said Debra Shore, commissioner of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago.

In a world in which fresh water is growing ever more scarce, those of us blessed with an abundance of it “have a moral obligation to show that we are using it wisely and carefully and respectfully,” Shore said.

Here are some tips to keep your lawn happy and be conscious of the environment at the same time: It’s the single most powerful thing you can do to get a lawn that uses less water, has fewer weeds and needs less fertilizer: Set your mower as high as it will go and leave it there.

Mow it high –

Short grass is weak and needy. Taller grass – 3 to 4 inches – grows deep roots that absorb water and nutrients efficiently, collects more life-giving sunlight and shades or crowds out many weeds. Taller grass doesn’t mean you will have to mow more often, but when you do, leave the clippings on the lawn to return moisture and nutrients to the grass.

Get a rain gauge – Knowing how much rain has fallen will reassure you that you don’t need to water. When tempted to water your lawn, get a trowel and dig out a plug of lawn. If the soil is moist within the plants’ root zone, 3 or 4 inches down, leave the sprinkler in the garage.

Get sturdy grass – Fescues are tough and thrifty with water. Usually fescue seed is mixed with bluegrass, which is less drought-resistant but finer and spreads to knit the lawn together. Use a fescue-rich mix to seed or overseed. If your lawn is all bluegrass, overseed yearly with fescue.

Establish grass well – The only time to water your lawn every day is when you have scattered seed, in early spring or early fall, and are waiting for it to sprout. A brief sprinkle will do, just enough to keep the seed moist. Spread mulch to hold the water around the seed.

Embrace summer dormancy – Grass naturally quits growing and dries out in the hottest part of summer, then revives and greens up when fall rains come. Go with the flow rather than watering to force the grass to stay all-green, and you’ll save water and escape mowing under the hot August sun.

Water long and deep – When you do water your lawn, run the sprinkler long enough to lay down the equivalent of 1 inch of rain. (Use a rain gauge to check). Don’t water again until your trowel test tells you the grass needs it.

Fertilize, but not too much – A good lawn does not require the heavily advertised five-times-a-year fertilizing schedule. An application of slow-release fertilizer once in spring and once in early fall is enough.

Work on the soil – Top-dress the soil with screened compost at least once a year to foster the rich ecosystem of underground organisms that delivers nutrients to roots and makes soil great.