Archive for March, 2007

Top 5 reasons why we shouldn’t let Florida voters decide on Property Taxes

Posted on March 22, 2007. Filed under: Buying Tips for Tampa Bay Real Estate, Clearwater Beach Real Estate Report, Florida Property Taxes, Life, Marc Rutenberg Homes, New Construction Projects in Tampa Bay, New Port Tampa, Trump Tower Tampa, Waterchase Real Estate and News, Westchase Real Estate and News, Westshore Yacht Club |

I’m glad to see that Florida property taxes and the negative effects of the “Save Our Homes” amendment are finally being addressed in this year’s legislative sessions. What concerns me the most however is that the new house proposals are leaning toward letting the voters decide on the new property tax structure. I have 5 top reasons why we shouldn’t let voters decide.

1. One needs to remember that it was the Florida voters that got us into this unfair property tax mess to begin with when they passed the “Save Our Homes” amendment back in 1992.

2. Amendments tend to get approved by “headlines” or misleading proposal names like “Save Our Homes” and can get us into a bigger mess than we started with.

3. A voter approved amendment will take to long. If we let individual counties approve whatever they want it will take to 2010 and beyond. We need relief yesterday.

4. What happens if the voter amendment does fix what was broken when it is passed? Look how long its taken to discover that the “Save Our Homes” amendment was a mistake.

5. What happens if the amendment doesn’t pass? Then we are back to square one and have lost the momentum for real tax relief.

Why don’t we set out to fix the problem that was started back in 1992. I’m proposing that we go back to that year’s property base and then add back 3% per year for inflation and whatever percentage the growth rate has been for those years to arrive at the amount are taxes would be today had the “Save Our Homes” never got passed in the first place. Then going forward we cap government spending every year to 3% plus growth rate instead of capping homesteaded property. This would bring much needed relief to second home owners, vacation properties and business owners. We could still keep the $25,000 homestead principle in place but the yearly cap of 3% would no longer be needed because of the cap on government growth. This would eliminate the problems and tax inequality that “Save Our Homes” has brought. Sometimes its the things that are the simplest that makes the most sense in solving complex problems. If you would like to contact your legislator about the recent tax proposals a county by county list is at http://politics.tampabay.com or visit www.tomburkett.com

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The “Mexican Standoff” continues with an edge towards buyers

Posted on March 20, 2007. Filed under: Uncategorized |

I’m surprised everyday waiting for the other shoe to drop and an article to come out telling us what most Tampa Bay area Realtor’s already know. Absorption rates (Inventory Turnover) has been dropping since it hit a peak of 59% back in June 2005. The absorption rate is determined by dividing the total number of units sold in a month by the total number of listings in MLS. It looks like it may have bottomed out in January 2007 at 4.2%!! because last month it improved slightly to 5.4%. That means we how have about an 18 month supply of homes on the market with thousands being added every month. Up until now the sellers have been standing firm and the buyers have be waiting for prices to drop, hence the above mentioned “Mexican Standoff”. Who will break first is everybody’s guess but it would seem that the buyers have the statistics on their side. The condo market in Pinellas is even worst with a 3.5% asorption rate in February 2007, which rebounded a tad from a low of 2.8% in January 2007. On the bright side for sellers is that interest rates have dropped a little and are now around 6 1/4% which helps and will most likely go even lower by the end of the year with the economy continuing to slow. However, we haven’t seen the worst of the foreclosures yet which will put more strain of home prices. Having said all that, sometime later this year and into 2008 will be a good time to buy. Lower rates and lower home prices will be too tempting for buyers who have been sitting on the sidelines for over 2 1/2 years. The pent up demand for homes is growing everyday and will finally burst sometime in the next 2 years. Until then buyers and sellers will continue to just sit and stare at each other. To see more statistics go to Tampabayrealtor.com/stats

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Zen Bistro Grill & Sushi Bar at The Avenue of Westchase

Posted on March 16, 2007. Filed under: Highland Park, Life, Local Entertainment, Local Restuarants, Tampa Bay area Restuarant Reviews, Waterchase Real Estate and News, Westchase Real Estate and News |

Last night I finally got the chance to try out Zen Bistro in Westchase. What a pleasant surprise. A quaint little bistro tucked in the corner of the new Avenue of Westchase just east of West Park Village. My daugthers and I are always on the look out for great local restaurants in the Westchase area and we have found one at Zen. First off, if you love sushi as much has we do then you must try Zen Bistro. We ordered the “Sixth Sense” roll which is Spicy tuna, avocado, tempura onion, wrapped in rice paper and toppped with more spicy tuna, tobiko, and wasabi tobiko. What a delight! We also enjoyed the “Dragon” roll which is spicy tuna, tempura flakes, cucumber, topped with tuna, masago scallion and spicy mayo. We can’t wait to go back and try their “Art Meditation” roll which is chunks of tuna marinated in chili sesame oil and lime sauce with fresh asian herbs and slaw atop a california roll. The atmosphere was surprising upscale and done with serene zen garden boxes set into the floor with a neon light display that gave the bistro a very modern but relaxing feeling. Our waiter Rick was very attentive and made some nice recommendations. We will definitely be coming back.

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Real Estate Update 3/15/2007

Posted on March 16, 2007. Filed under: Belle Harbor on Clearwater Beach, Buying Tips for Tampa Bay Real Estate, Clearwater Beach Real Estate Report, Highland Park, JMC Developments, Life, Manadaly Beach Club - Clearwater Beach, Marc Rutenberg Homes, New Construction Projects in Tampa Bay, New Port Tampa, Trump Tower Tampa, Uncategorized, Waterchase Real Estate and News, Westchase Real Estate and News, Westshore Yacht Club |

There’s been a lot of interesting news out the past two days so I’m combining them into one article.

2007 FLORIDA LEGISLATURE

One hand may not know what the other hand is doing: The Florida House wants to get rid of property taxes; at the same time, however, it has told local school boards to increase property taxes if they need more money to operate. Read complete story.

In Tallahassee yesterday, the Senate began their debate on property tax reform, focusing on a priority of commercial Realtors to change the tax basis of “highest and best use” to one that considers how a property is actually used. In the House, debate continued as Democrats offered their own reform plan.

Read the full story

SUBPRIME MORTGAGES

Subprime mortgage market troubles already make it more difficult for some homebuyers to secure a mortgage, but fear of a broad collapse has caused Congress to consider tougher standards for the industry.

Read the full storyMORTGAGES

HUD is preparing to punish some subprime mortgage lenders under investigation for discriminatory practices it announced yesterday. HUD also suggested that the largest mortgage companies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, should consider giving strapped homeowners more time to make their payments.

Read the full story

CITIZENS PROPERTY INSURANCE

Florida officials approved a new business plan for Citizens Property Insurance, allowing the state-run insurer to be more competitive and offer some savings to policyholders. Under the plan, Citizens will offer a complete policy that covers windstorm damage, as well as fire, theft and liability.

Read the full storyREAL ESTATE FORECAST

The real estate market faces unique conditions right now, such as the subprime mortgage market problem and unusual weather. Consequently, NAR predicts that things will likely get better this year but hesitates to say exactly when that turnaround will occur.

Read Full story

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Trump Tower Tampa

Posted on March 15, 2007. Filed under: Buying Tips for Tampa Bay Real Estate, New Construction Projects in Tampa Bay, Trump Tower Tampa |

trump-tower-tampa-building.gifThis is the lastest update regarding the development status of Trump Tower Tampa which is timely due to today’s St. Pete Times article.
Simdag now has a signed Letter of Intent with The Related Group of Florida, who will serve as a co-developer of the project. The Related Group has a long history of developing luxury high-rise buildings in South Florida, and are currently developing several Trump projects in the Miami area. PCL will remain as the General Contractor for the Trump Tower Tampa project.
With The Related Group involved with this project, they are confident that they will be able to negotiate significantly better construction costs and much more favorable lending terms. Related has already begun re-bidding subcontractor contracts, and those bids are all due this week. They will be reviewing all new subcontractor bids, and will be awarding contracts shortly. Once this process is complete, they will be able to go back to their lenders with a new construction cost figure to secure the required financing.
Simdag also states that soil and geotechnical studies are complete, and they now have the remedy for the soil abnormalities which have contributed to the construction delays. The additional costs for these remedies are not uncommon in large scale developments and are being factored into the new construction financing.
According to Simdag, the purchase price as stated in the original purchase contracts will not be affected.
According to Simdag the new completion date has been moved to late 2009 with construction scheduled to restart in june 2007.

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HOME IMPROVEMENTS

Posted on March 14, 2007. Filed under: Uncategorized |

How long will a home improvement actually remain an improvement? How long do new wood floors last? New stoves? A new countertop? NAHB conducted a study that tries to determine the lifespan of home components. Read the entire story or visit www.tomburkett.com

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Tampa Bay’s Premier Mortgage Broker

Posted on March 13, 2007. Filed under: Buying Tips for Tampa Bay Real Estate, Life, New Construction Projects in Tampa Bay |

I wanted to introduce everyone to one of Tampa’s Premier Mortgage Broker’s in the Tampa Bay Area. His name is Mike Carrier and he specializes in contruction loans and purchase money mortgages in Tampa and is based out of the Carrollwood office. I’ve known Mike for years and feel very comfortable referring my Real Estate clients to him. I know they will receive the best service and I can feel secure knowing that the loan will be approved. He is definitely a valued Partner of “The Burkett Collection. He can be reached at 813.391.5356 or email him at michael_carrier@countrywide.com

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Posted on March 12, 2007. Filed under: Uncategorized |

A flock of Canadian snowbirds are banning together to call for property tax reform in Florida. Snowbird Phyllis Turek says she doesn’t expect the same concessions as full-time residents, but believes snowbirds should get some credit for paying taxes year-round and using services for only a few months. istock_000000771652smallskyway.jpgRead full story 

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2007 FLORIDA LEGISLATURE

Posted on March 12, 2007. Filed under: Belle Harbor on Clearwater Beach, Buying Tips for Tampa Bay Real Estate, Clearwater Beach Real Estate Report, Highland Park, JMC Developments, Manadaly Beach Club - Clearwater Beach, Marc Rutenberg Homes, New Construction Projects in Tampa Bay, New Port Tampa, Trump Tower Tampa, Waterchase Real Estate and News, Westchase Real Estate and News, Westshore Yacht Club |

An alternative House Republican plan to swap property taxes for sales taxes began to gather steam Friday. The idea is to eliminate the portion of property tax bills that go to school districts and pay for education through a higher sales tax. To read the entire story click here.

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SandPearl Resort Openning Summer 2007

Posted on March 12, 2007. Filed under: Uncategorized |

The newest hotel build on a Pinellas county beach in over 25 years is set to open this Summer. The Sandpearl resort is a 253 room 4 diamond rated resort hotel that will host conventions, weddings, socials and the like. It will be one of Tampa Bay’s landmark properties. I have a 1 bedroom penthouse suite at the Sandpearl that will be available for rent starting this summer. Check it out at www.SandpearlSuite.com or visit www.tomburkett.com for local Real Estate information.

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Last week in the news

Posted on March 12, 2007. Filed under: Buying Tips for Tampa Bay Real Estate, Waterchase Real Estate and News, Westchase Real Estate and News |

The nation’s unemployment rate dipped to 4.5% in February, as employers added 97,000 jobs to their payrolls, close to economists’ forecast for a gain of approximately 100,000, the Labor Department reported March 9. Unemployment fell despite bad winter weather that forced construction companies to slash 62,000 jobs, the most since 1991.

The Labor Department also reported that the number of laid-off workers filing unemployment claims fell by 10,000 for the week ended March 2. The decline provided a break from a recent rise in layoffs stemming from a weakness in the housing and auto sectors.

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said there was a “one-third probability” of recession in the United States this year, according to a March 6 interview with Bloomberg news service. His comments contrasted with those of current Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, who said that the Federal Reserve continues to foresee “moderate growth going forward.”

The nation’s trade deficit narrowed slightly to $59.1 billion in January, down 3.8% from a December deficit of $61.5 billion. Exports of goods and services rose by 1.1% to an all-time high of $126.7 billion in January, reflecting gains in sales of airplanes, computers and farm products.

Rates on 30-year mortgages fell to their lowest level since mid-December, as investors moved to the safety of bonds after last week’s stock market turmoil. Typically, more money flowing into the bond market makes more money available for mortgage lending.

This week look for updates on producer prices on March 15 and consumer prices on March 16.

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UF study: The price is right, so buy now

Posted on March 10, 2007. Filed under: Buying Tips for Tampa Bay Real Estate, Clearwater Beach Real Estate Report, Waterchase Real Estate and News, Westchase Real Estate and News |

It’s official: Now is the time to buy a house, according to a UF study, noting that the market has probably bottomed out, and “there’s not much to be gained by holding out at this point.” You are read the entire article by clicking here. For more information about buying or selling Real Estate in the Tampa Bay area.

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Verify sq.ft. of house before you buy

Posted on March 2, 2007. Filed under: Buying Tips for Tampa Bay Real Estate, Highland Park, Marc Rutenberg Homes, Waterchase Real Estate and News, Westchase Real Estate and News, Westshore Yacht Club |

One of the things that some sellers do when they list their house is overstate the square footage of the home. I’ve noticed this happening in Tampa and is a big factor in the final price that you pay. Overstating the square footage of the home based of tax records is the most likely reason. Sometimes tax assessors measure from the outside of the home increasing the avg. home size by 5-8%. When it comes to buying houses you need to make sure you verify the square footage of the home you are buying. Below are 4 ways you can use to help establish the true square footage.

1. Have an appraisel done and make your offer based on a price per sq.ft price that could change based on the appraisel.

2. If you are buying a house that was built by a national or local builder, find out what the model floorplan is and go to their website and verify the square footage from that floorplan.

3. Ask neigbors what the square foot of the house is or a Realtor that is familiar with the area homes.

4. Ask the seller if they have the original floorplan from the builder or a set of blueprints and verify the square footage from that.

A little extra effort on you or your Realtor’s part  can pay huge dividends when the avg. sales prices for homes can reach over $200/sq.ft. or more in Tampa. Overstating the size of a 3,000 sq.ft home by just 5% can add about $30,000 to the final purchase price.

Check back weekly for more home buying tips from Tom Burkett with The Burkett Collection and Charles Rutenberg Realty, Inc.

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Trump Tower Tampa

Posted on March 1, 2007. Filed under: New Construction Projects in Tampa Bay, Trump Tower Tampa |

The word on the street is that the Related Group is going to finally build the Tower. Simdag is out. I don’t think that the tower will be done now until sometime in 2010. Which would actually be ok because the Condo Real Estate Market should rebound by then. Right now the condo market on the beaches and in Tampa Bay is non-existent.

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Hawk’s Landing

Posted on March 1, 2007. Filed under: Marc Rutenberg Homes |

The Preserve at Hawk’s Landing is a Marc Ruteneberg Community located in the back and prices excluding homesites are: 

$755,990 for the Breakers model

$893,990 for the Castaway model

$903,990 for the Lighthouse Grand

$1,232,990 for the Castaway Grand

Please visit www.tomburkett.com for more details and information on purchasing a Marc Rutenberg home through Tom Burkett with Charles Rutenberg Realty, Inc.

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Westshore Yacht Club

Posted on March 1, 2007. Filed under: Westshore Yacht Club |

There is only 7 units left in the first condo tower named Castillo built by WCI Communities.

  • So.
    Tampa’s “only” true guard-gated Community
  • So.
    Tampa’s “only” true Lifestyle Community with our
  • 5 STAR $9 million Bay Club (directly on Tampa Bay) Concierge Service, 2 heated Pools, 2 Fitness Areas, Day Spa, Ship Store, 2 Restaurants, Bayside Bar & Balcony, Billiard and Cigar Lounges plus Daily Sunsets
  • Low Density of homes and numerous Parks & Greenbelts
  • The “only”
    Marina approved in the entire state of FL in 2005 (also deep water with slips ranging from 40′ up to 100′)
  • Some homes for “Immediate Occupancy” and some you can purchase for future completions out to two years
  • NO CDD fees
  • NO  Construction Loans required-only small down payment until closing
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    CourtSide Grill Restaurant

    Posted on March 1, 2007. Filed under: Tampa Bay area Restuarant Reviews |

    Courtside Grill, the sports bar themed restaurant located across from Feathersound in St. Pete and co-owned by ex-NBA star Matt Geiger is coming to the Westchase area by the end of 2007. It will be located at the corner of Racetrack Rd and Nine Eagles behind the new 5/3 Bank. I can’t wait. This is just what this area needs and will fill a much needed void of places to go and hang out, play pool, games and eat some higher end cuisine. This will be the new local hangout for sportsfans and a great local place that will have a hip crowd and a little nightlife to boot. No longer will we have to go all the way to South Tampa to enjoy a little nightlife once in a while. Please post and let me know what you think. I’ve been to the one in St. Pete and is really a cool place done right. I know both owners and they are great people with a lot of experience running a great Restaurant chain.

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    Westchase Area Homes and News

    Posted on March 1, 2007. Filed under: Westchase Real Estate and News |

    Welcome to the Westchase Real Estate News Page. I just start this blog and would like to hear from people who live and work in the Westchase area. Please post any reviews on local restuarants, businesses or anything you think would be of interest to someone living in Westachase. The Westchase area is such a great place to live and is really starting to get that South Tampa feel. I talk to so many people who moved here from South Tampa once they got married, had kids or just wanted more house for their money. There are so many new restuarants opening to review, so let’s get out there and eat so we can tell others about the experience. Good luck! 

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    Inside Waterchase Real Estate and News

    Posted on March 1, 2007. Filed under: Waterchase Real Estate and News |

    As of 3/1/07 there are 56 Single Family homes for sale in Waterchase ranging from $369,900 for a 2046 sq.ft home to $1,650,000 for a custom Marc Rutenberg home that is 4935 sq.ft. The avg. listing price per sq.ft is $220/sq.ft. and the avg. days on market(DOM) is 106. So your avg. Waterchase home is 3,178 sq.ft in size and lists for $697,768 and is a 4/3/3. Today, I will give you a run down on Mar Azul, Allicante and Savona.

    Mar Azul- There are currently 10 listings ranging from $873,900 for a 3942 sq.ft home to $1,650,000 for 4935 sq.ft. home with DOM currently at 96 and listing for an avg. of $285 sq.ft. or an avg. price of $1,121,991.

    Alicante – There are currently 7 listings ranging from $697,900 for a 2800 sq.ft home to $999,500 for 3904 sq.ft. home with DOM currently at 54 and listing for an avg. of $248 sq.ft. or an avg. price of $844,129.

    Savona – There are currently 10 listings ranging from $459,000 for a 2438 sq.ft home to $699,900 for 3800 sq.ft. home with DOM currently at 110 and listing for an avg. of $195 sq.ft. or an avg. price of $604,339.

    As of 3/1/2007 there are 15 Townhomes for sale in Providence. Prices range from $289,900 to 399,900 and the avg. DOM is 91. The avg. list price is $182 sq.ft.

    Please check back for updates and thanks for all the neigborhors who came to the BBQ on Saturday. It was nice to get out and meet neigbors who live in Waterchase.

    Please visit my Real Estate site at tomburkett.com to browse my  listings, search MLS or learn more about Tampa Bay Real Estate.

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    Westchase Area Homes and News

    Posted on March 1, 2007. Filed under: Westchase Real Estate and News |

    Coming Soon!!

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