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Ballast Point Neighborhood Guide | South Tampa’s Hidden Treasure

Ballast Point Neighborhood in South Tampa: Historic, Quiet, Scenic and on the Move Just north of MacDill Air Force Base, on the west side of Hillsborough Bay, sits the neighborhood of Ballast Point. From the Ballast Point park there’s a wonderful view of Tampa’s downtown skyline. I often go to the park at dusk and watch the sunset reflecting off the buildings. There’s always a nice breeze, and it’s never very crowded. As Rick Martinez, founder of Sweetwater Organic Community Farm, put it in a recent Creative Loafing article, there’s no better place to enjoy your surroundings than at the Ballast Point Pier: “Take a bag of popcorn,” he advises. “Walk out on the pier and enjoy the waterfront.” Here are some of the reasons Ballast Point is sometimes called “South Tampa’s hidden treasure”: Proximity to downtown Tampa, Ybor City and Channelside-10 min away Near MacDill Air Force Base Still Affordable, less than renting Mature trees, most notably live oaks Two city parks, one of them on the waterfront Street configuration that is resident-friendly and discourages traffic The parks are spectacular, with Ballast Point Park (aka Jules Verne Park) offering not only a pier, boat ramp and waterfront view but also public facilities that include a community/fitness center. The Taste of Boston restaurant is situated on the waterfront as well. Why Live in Ballast Point? Reason #1: It’s Family Friendly Ballast Point is an established residential neighborhood with an enduring history. The Tampa Tribune covered a recent milestone event: Ballast Point Elementary School celebrated its 90th anniversary in March, where Principal Debbie Fitzpatrick said, “Our theme is 90 years... read more

4 of the Hardest Loans You Didn’t Know You Could Qualify For

Home financing may be getting easier for homebuyers. One of the mortgage companies here in the Tampa Bay area that I’ve been working with is Caliber Home Loans. They are a portfolio lender that adheres to all standard loan program guidelines but also has portfolio programs with more lenient credit qualifying guidelines to meet more buyers’ needs. While I don’t work with or endorse only one lender, I thought some of their programs were worth sharing. If it has been a while since you last checked to see if you could qualify for a loan, you may see guidelines have become a little less stringent, especially if you are self-employed or have a gone through a short sale, foreclosure or bankruptcy.   At one time, 40 percent of the homes on the market in the Tampa Bay area were distressed homes. Those previous homeowners are now renting and are dreaming of home ownership again.   Here are 4 loan programs that you may qualify for and may not even know about: #1 Self-employed buyers: Self-employed people are allowed to write off expenses on their tax returns; this reduces their income, and in turn they pay fewer taxes. That’s a good thing, right? It’s good for your taxes, but not so good if you are trying to purchase a home. Mortgage lenders have to use the income that you report to the government to qualify you for financing. They have programs that allow up to 60 percent of your income to be used for qualifying for a home loan. Most other lenders only use up to 43 percent of your income. They also... read more

Money’s BEST Big Cities | Tampa Is On The List..Here’s Why!

Tampa has made Money’s 2015 “5 Best Big Cities” list, classified as “Best in the Southeast.” Whether you’re picking Tampa as a place to relocate, retire, or simply choosing to continue calling Tampa home, you’ll be pleased to see the city recognized in key quarters. Tampa is in the news, and in a good way. Most prominently, Tampa has made Money’s 2015 “5 Best Big Cities” list, classified as “Best in the Southeast.” What impressed the editors? The write-up mentions sports, of course, including ice hockey and the Lightning’s try for the Stanley Cup as well as 2017’s college football national championship. There’s also room for celebration of the arts, and it’s great to see the arts getting well-deserved praise. The Tampa Museum of Art’s contemporary collection is a draw in a “stunning new building,” and the city’s hosting of the 15th International Indian Film Academy Awards – the Bollywood Oscars – also puts Tampa on the map. Median home price is listed at $121,200, which stacks up against the other four “best cities” on the Money list: Pittsburgh in the Northeast with a median home price of $115,200 Omaha in the Midwest with a median home price of $116,300 Mesa, Arizona, in the Southwest with a median home price of $172,500 Denver in the West with a median home price of $288,800 Tampa’s real estate prices are still more than a third below the peaks reached in 2006, the article points out, which is a boon to those looking to relocate in a town that offers good value in housing. A three-bedroom historic bungalow in trendy Seminole Heights... read more

FL: Still No. 1 in The US for Foreclosures | Million-Dollar Sales Increase by 93%

Florida: Still No. 1 in the United States for foreclosures, while million-dollar real estate sales multiply in Tampa, St. Petersburg metro area Foreclosures in Florida are down 22 percent from last year, but Florida is still the state that dominates the list of metro areas with the highest foreclosure rates. In fact, of the 10 metro areas with the highest rates, eight are in Florida. And here’s another figure that sets Florida apart: Length of time to complete the process. It takes more than two-and-a-half years (989 days, to be exact), on average, for the clock to run out on a foreclosed home. So if you’re eyeing all those tempting pre-foreclosure listings on Zillow, you could be waiting a very long time before that home gets listed for sale. Here are some fascinating figures from Hillsborough County: Short sales are down almost 31 percent over last year (trending downward from 104 to 72) Sales of homes priced at $1 million or above are up 93 percent – a higher jump than in any other price range Lump all the price ranges together in Hillsborough County, and home sales are up more than 27 percent Homes are selling faster in Hillsborough County than they were a year ago (spending 20 percent fewer days on the market before sale) A year ago more than four-and-a-half months’ worth of inventory existed, and that figure has now shrunk to less than four months As I’ve said in the past, sellers should strongly consider putting their homes on the market now before interest rates increase! All of this comes against a backdrop of U.S.... read more

Grand Opening | New Casa Bahia Waterfront Condos on Tampa Bay

Casa Bahia Condos | The Only New Construction Waterfront Condos in Tampa by WCI Communities. The grand opening of the new Casa Bahia Model at Westshore Yacht Club on beautiful Tampa Bay took place last week and it was a spectacular unveiling of the new condos.  This was the first time that future homeowners actually  saw what their unit would look like completed, as 24 units had already been pre-sold prior to construction. What surprised me the most is how large the rooms felt and open the floor plan was.  The views are outstanding, even from the 2nd floor.  The master bedroom, kitchen, family room and an expansive balcony that wraps around the back and side of the unit all have nice views.  Each condo has nearly 3,000 sq ft living space and additional 704 sq ft of lanai space! Having only seen Casa Bahia under construction and in drywall stage, it really made a big difference to see a unit fully completed and furnished.  I invite you to come and take a look at the only brand new waterfront condos for sale on Tampa Bay. Experience the Westshore Yacht Club’s many amenities and tour the community. This slideshow requires JavaScript. Currently there are 11 units for sale ranging in price from 710K to 875K, depending on the floor. The model condo pictured here is located on the 2nd floor, which is really the 1st floor of the building, as the parking garage is underneath.  There are only 4 floors total in each building. Please contact me here if you would like a private tour or more information of Westshore... read more

South Tampa Waterfront Homes For Sale | Starting at 1 Million

South Tampa Waterfront Communities You May Not Know About! Mariner Estates | South Tampa, FL If you are looking for South Tampa waterfront homes for sale and are having a hard time finding one, there are a few neighborhoods you may not have heard of that I wanted to share with you.  This home is located in a tucked away community called Mariner Estates. You’d probably never even know Mariner Estates is there. If you are heading Eastbound, coming over the Howard Frankland Bridge from St. Petersburg,  (also called Howard Frankenstein Bridge by the locals), you can see Mariner Estates from the bridge, but It is tucked away and hard to find by car. What I like best about Mariner Estates is there is only one way in and out. The road winds behind Microsoft Corporation, off of Hoover Blvd, and dead ends on beautiful Tampa Bay. The location can’t be beat. It has easy access to Interstate I-275, the Westshore Business District, Downtown Tampa and only 25 minutes to Downtown St. Petersburg. Hands down, this is the most convenient location to live in all of Tampa. The Mariner canal is popular for fishing enthusiasts because of the small island you see at the tip and the many mangroves which provide a nice spot to catch snook, mullet and snapper. This first and most northern canal, South of Kennedy Blvd, is the least expensive in all of South Tampa and located in the top rated Plant High School District. It has a very close proximity to the Tampa International Airport and at certain times of the day, you will most likely hear... read more

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