How are you handling showings and managing listings during the COVID-19 crisis?
Due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) related limitations & restrictions, I am happy to do a virtual walk-through for you via FaceTime (iPhones), Google Duo (Androids) or Zoom, or take specific videos for you and email them to you - just let me know what you'd like to see!
When touring homes as a potential buyer, you may choose to wear a mask, gloves and booties over your shoes - and wash your hands or use sanitizer when you are done - and as directed by the CDC, its best to stay 6 feet away from other people.
When preparing your home for potential buyers to view, you may choose to leave masks, gloves and booties at your front door - and leave hand sanitizer out for buyers to use.
Do you think prices are going down because of COVID?
I can only answer this question based on my personal experience working as a real estate agent, helping both buyers and sellers, in the Tampa Bay area during this pandemic. My answer is "no". I have not seen prices going down as a result of COVID. In mid-March, when we all became acutely aware of the situation, there were many people who had to cancel their existing contracts, people who were approved for loans who lost their jobs, and we did experience a slump over 2-3 weeks where the number of showings decreased dramatically - which resulted in decreased offers, decreased contracts and decreased closings. By mid-April, showings, offers, contracts and closings were back up, and it hasn't slowed down since, and prices have held steady with pre-COVID prices.
Are you a Buyer's Agent or Listing Agent?
I handle both buyers and sellers. Some agents choose to only handle listings, or focus soley on buyers. I choose to make myself available for both, as I believe it helps me be a more rounded Realtor® as a listing agent understanding the many obstacles facing buyers, and likewise it helps me as a buyer's agent understanding what situations sellers must face during a transaction.
My lease ends October 31st. I want to stop renting and buy a home. When should I start looking?
Great question! Congratulations on taking this step to start building your personal wealth and equity position as a homeowner! Contract to closing typically takes 30-45 calendar days (convential loans are closer to 30 days, while FHA/VA loans tend to take a little longer around 45 days). Many first-time homebuyers utilize the benefits of a FHA loan, so let's use that for this scenario. It is helpful to have some overlap between closing on your new home before your lease ends. That way you will have some time to move, and clean out your rental before you hand in your keys. In order to be in your new home before the last week in October, you will want to be "under contract" by the first week in September. How long it will take you to find a home depends a lot on you, what you are looking for, where you are looking, and how realistic you are in what you are looking for. It can take looking at 6-8 homes in a day that fit your needs, or a several homes over a matter of weeks, to fit just the right home. I would suggest starting to look at homes the beginning of August.
How much money do I need to have saved for a down payment? What other costs do I need to save money for?
Another great question, but the answer will largely depend on the purchase price of the home, the type of loan (VA, FHA, or conventional), your income, your debts and your credit score, among many other factors. Contact me for the names of some great, reputable lenders in the Tampa Bay area.
I live out of state and want to purchase a home in Tampa Bay. Can you help me?
Absolutely! The best way to handle this is for us to have a brief phone conversation (15-20 minutes) so I can get a good idea of what you are looking for, where you want to be and how much you are looking to spend. With that information, I will set up a customized search for you to be sent to your email. The next step is up to you... you can either make a trip down here to see the homes you like the most in person, or you can send me a list of homes you'd like to see and I can arrange virtual showings for you. 99% of contract paperwork can be done digitally, so you really can buy a house online! I have had a lot of experience with both scenarios and have some very, very happy clients as a result!
Do you help find rentals?
No. As a Realtor®, I have access to the MLS, which is an amazingly powerful search database to find homes for sale - much better and much more accurate than any third-party website (i.e. zillow, trulia, realtor.com, etc.). However, since most property owners/landlords do not want to pay for MLS access, most rentals are not listed in the MLS. As a result, I would be able to find the exact same rentals that you can find in classified listing sources, like Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, Apartments.com, etc.
Is it true that new construction takes a long time to build and costs more?
Not necessarily, but that largely depends on what type of new construction you are buying. Many builders build homes without buyers called "spec" or "inventory" homes that will be ready (or close to ready) with move-in ready availability similar to resale homes. Many times, these "inventory" homes are very closely priced to the resale market, plus the builders offer incentives that resale sellers cannot compete with (warranties, large discounts, lower rates, money towards closing costs, etc.) You can find GREAT DEALS on "move-in ready" inventory homes. On the other side of this coin is semi-custom, custom or building a home from dirt. On these homes, the base prices with their standard included features are similarly priced to the resale market, however after homesite premiums and design center upgrades, a new construction home can cost more than a typical resale home. The homes also take 6-8 months to build, but are worth it to get the exact home you want!
Is it possible to buy a new construction home, but also live in the city, close to the downtown areas?
Yes, you can! There are some builders who build on "infill" lots scattered around the urban areas of Tampa and St. Pete. Similar to the other builders, they offer "move-in ready" homes and build from dirt options. While these homes typically costs more than brand new construction homes in the more rural areas of Hillsborough and Pasco counties, the prices are on par with the prices of renovated or upgraded resales in the same urban areas.Are we currently in a Seller's Market or Buyer's Market?
I've been asked this question a lot recently (June 2020). This is determined by the number of months of inventory a market has and how many days on market (before going under contract), on average, a market is experiencing. A "balanced" market ranges from 90-120 days on market, or 3-4 months. A Seller's market in less than 90 days on average. A strong Seller's market is less than 60 days on market. Likewise, once the days on market start to average more than 120 days on market, the tide will start to shift to a Buyer's market. Last May (2019), 4476 single-family homes sold for median sales price of $260,000 for 99% of list price after 25 days on market. Compare that to last month (May 2020), where fewer homes sold (probably due to COVID) 2924 single-family homes but for a higher median sales price of $275,000 for 99% of list price after fewer days on market at 20 DOM. What did we learn from this? Prices are still increasing, sold prices are still holding steady with list prices, and days on market are still decreasing. …and remember, "the house you looked at today and want to "think about until tomorrow" may be the same house someone else looked at yesterday and will buy today!"Have a question that hasn't been addressed here?
Call, email or text me anytime at Tabi@TabiSellsTampaBay.com or 813-758-9971 and I'll be more than happy to answer your question!