Is Real Estate Better Off Than 4 Years Ago?

That depends on whether you are a seller or buyer.

Is-Real-Estate-Better-Off*Graphic by the KCM Crew

 To find out more about the local Tampa Real Estate market contact an URBAN REALTOR® with SHELTER | Urban Real Estate at 813.951.0907 or by email at

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Homeowners Associations Under Siege By Foreclosures

Do your homework on the Homeowners Association befor Buying.

About one in six Americans currently live in a community run by a condo or homeowners association.  With the recent increase in foreclosures, some homeowners associations are running out of cash.  HOA’s are like miniature governments that depend on revenue to finance upkeep of common areas, community pools, tennis courts and private roads.

Homeowners-Association-ResearchBefore a property goes into foreclosure, many owners stop paying their monthly HOA dues. In fact, HOA fees are generally among the first bills struggling homeowners quit paying.   If they can’t afford their mortgage, then they aren’t going to pay their HOA fees.  Adding to the problem, some banks aren’t paying HOA fees on properties they have foreclosed on and now own.   As a result, association fees rise and the property may be less desirable to buyers.

In the current climate of foreclosures, it’s even more important for potential buyers to read the bylaws; as the bylaws will explain what services are provided and if there is a cap on the annual fees.   Some of the bylaws even include information on how they’ll handle foreclosures and payments of fees.  It’s also important to know how the board is managed.   Boards are typically managed two different ways; by the homeowners themselves, or by an outside company that has been hired by the homeowners association.  In the uncharted waters of foreclosures, a professional management company may be the best bet for a home owners and potential buyers.

Homeowners-Association-Balance-SheetWhen looking at the balance sheet of a homeowners association, a buyer should look at their reserves. Buyers want to make sure there is enough cash on hand to take care of maintenance and other services.  If there is no reserve fund, the association may have to impose special assessments when major projects become necessary.   If HOA’s don’t have reserves, they may be forced to close community amenities like parks, pools and community centers, because they can no longer afford to build and maintain them.

It’s also important for buyers to remember that Associations aren’t corporations.   They operate year to year. They collect in dues what they believe they need to pay for amenities and services that residents expect.  Even though many homeowner associations have the power to foreclosure if dues are in arrears, few have the money or means to do it.

Buyers need to do their due diligence; as it will help them avoid surprises after they move in.   Realtors who specialize in being a Buyer’s agent or who have the Accredited Buyers Representative designation can help guide a buyer to get the documentation they need; as well as they can find out how many foreclosures are in the area.

To find out more about buying a property with an HOA contact an URBAN REALTOR® with SHELTER | Urban Real Estate at 813.051.0907 or by email at

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What counts as a fixture?

Pendant Lighting FixturesBuying a home entails figuring out the numerous, little-known ins and outs of real estate transactions. As a buyer, one of the questions you may have could relate to fixtures – specifically, what stays in the residence after the home has been purchased?

What generally stays

Generally, built-in appliances, lighting fixtures, shutters, in-ground flowers and plants stay behind at a home when a sale is finalized. In all likelihood, the sellers won’t miss these items, as they likely have them in their new residence or no longer have a use or need for them.

Gray areas

While there are clear-cut fixtures as those already mentioned, others may not be completely defined as fixtures. For instance, what if a homeowner had applied window treatments in the residence they’ve now sold? Do they get to keep them or do they have to stay at the home?

Items like these, as well as free-standing appliances like washers and dryers, are not always considered fixtures. It’s best to ask the sellers’ real estate agent about specific fixtures rather than assuming they will remain with the property after purchase.

Remember, if you’re purchasing a foreclosure or short sale, these properties generally come “as-is” and may be missing the common fixtures that typically come with a new home

For more information about fixtures and selling & buying a home contact an URBAN REALTOR® with SHELTER | Urban Real Estate at 813.951.0907 or by email at

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Foreign Buyers Binge on U.S. Homes

To many Americans, plowing money into real estate has never looked like such a risky venture. But to many foreigners, U.S. housing has never looked like a smarter investment.

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Why You Need To Find A Tampa Condo Now!

Buying a CondoThe time is now to buy a Tampa condo! The prices are only going to go up the longer you wait. Condos are becoming more popular every day and the good ones are being snatched up pretty quickly. If you are serious about purchasing a condo in the near future the time is now to do so.

Tampa condos are the wave of the future. As home prices become out of reach for many middle-class families, condos become the perfect entrance point to real estate. It takes a lesser down payment to secure a condo and there are less maintenance costs.

Perfect for singles, perfect for families and perfect for…

Anyone! There are condo developments that cater to singles, adults only, families and seniors. No matter what stage you are at in your life there is a perfect Tampa condo out there for you.

Most are pet friendly too! You can bring along your furry feline or your courageous canine to many condos. You just need to check with your Tampa URBAN REALTOR® to make sure that you look at only the ones that are deemed pet friendly when you start hunting for a condo.

Why is this important to you?

Tampa condos are going fast! Ask anyone looking for something in Channelside.  In some cases they can hit the market and be sold before they even get advertised on the MLS. According to recent trends, condos are only going to get scarcer as the demand goes up. The timing to buy a condo is right now before the prices increase and there is a shortage to choose from.

If you would like to discuss your options for purchasing a Tampa condo now, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. We can show you what’s available in your price range and preference in the city today.  Begin your search now by clicking below:

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