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Tammy Waugh

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Consider The Schools When You Buy!

by Tammy Waugh

 When you set out on your search for your dream home in the Tampa Metropolitan Area, there are many things to consider. Architectural style, size, design features and amenities, outdoor spaces, and more. If you have kids, at the top of those considerations should be local schools. There are several reasons why it is important to focus your search on homes near top ranked schools. First and foremost, you will be ensuring that your child receives the best education possible, setting them up for future success. The other major reasons sets you up for future success as well! Homes located near top ranked schools have a higher value in the market! The whole family truly benefits by living in a great school district.

Find your dream home in one of these top achieving local school districts:

Hillsborough County Public Schools | Homes for Sale

Pasco County Schools | Homes for Sale  

Pinellas County Schools | Homes for Sale

 

After you have selected which school district you would like to reside, then your work begins. Do some research to find out which schools within the district are the best of the best. There are many helpful resources you can use, including independent websites such as GreatSchools.org, Niche.com, and U.S. News & World Report. Each of these sites offers data and unbiased rankings about individual schools and districts. You should also look at the school websites to learn about any recognitions and/or awards they might have received. Once you have done your homes, visit the school to see if it is truly the best fit for your child. This will allow you to see firsthand if the facilities, staff, academic and extracurricular offerings, and more meet your standards.

Have you found the perfect school for your child? Let The Sper Group help you find your dream home located nearby! Give us a call today at (813) 760-2002 or visit our website at http://www.thespergroup.com/.

Getting Ready for Guests this Thanksgiving!

by Tammy Waugh

Thanksgiving is right around the corner! Now is the perfect time to get your Tampa area home ready for your holiday house guests! Although this can seem like added stress, there are simple steps you can take to prepare the rooms in your home and keep everyone comfortable for the big feast!


 

Throughout the House: Declutter the common areas and guest rooms of your house. Clear off all counter and table tops of unnecessary items. Store the clutter out of the way. Add nighlights to hallways, bathrooms, and bedrooms so guests can easily navigate their way in the dark.

Foyer: Remove your items from this area and create spaces for guests to store theirs. Add a welcome mat to protect your floor from dirt. Make it easy for guests to remove their shoes by adding a seat to your entryway.

Kitchen: Make sure your kitchen is cleared of any unnecessary appliances or items so you can cook with ease on Thanksgiving. Create space by moving the coffee machine into a different common room for your guests to use. Add additional seating in the kitchen so you can enjoy the company of your guests as you prepare the feast.

Bathrooms: Stock up on toilet paper, towels, and toiletries for your guests. Make sure that all of these items can be easily found by placing them on open shelves or in baskets. Avoid falls in the tub by adding a bathmat.

Bedrooms: Allow your guests to control the temperature while they sleep by adding a ceiling fan to your guest bedroom. Make sure they have a good supply of blankets and pillows. If guests have to sleep in public areas, consider using a folding screen that can be easily stored so guests can enjoy some privacy.

 

Wishing a very Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in Tampa!

 

What to Know When You Close!

by Tammy Waugh

Your offer was accepted on your dream home! Get those hands ready for signing lots of paperwork and completing those final steps necessary for the keys to be handed over to you! Here are the 5 Steps to Closing to help you get through this last part of the home buying process.


1. Make Sure Contingencies Are Met

It is likely that your purchase agreement includes some contingencies, such as home inspection, appraisal, and/or financing. Make sure that any contingencies are met so you know whether or not to finalize the deal.


2. Clear The Title

You get legal ownership of the home through the title. Your mortgage lender will check to see if anyone else has claims to the home and whether there are liens on it. Be sure to buy title insurance to protect you against any legal claims.


3. Get Final Mortgage Approval

Now that you are about to close, your home loan has to go through the underwriting process. During this step, the underwriter will make sure that you were honest with your financials and verify that no changes have occurred to your credit score. Avoid any issues during underwriting by not making large purchases while you are in the process of buying a home.


4. Check Your Closing Disclosure

Review the closing disclosure against the loan estimate you received at the very beginning of your home buying process. Make sure that there are no discrepencies with the mortgage payments, interest rates, loan terms, and additional fees. Ask for explanations if you see any changes.


5. Walk-Through One Last Time

Within 24 hours of closing, do a final walk-through of the home. This allows you to verify that the previous owner has moved out and that the home is still in the same condition it was when you made your offer.

 

For more helpful home buying tips, follow us on Facebook and check out our Website!

Head To The Polls on Election Day!

by Tammy Waugh

It's time to do your civic duty! Election Day, November 6th, is here! As a citizen of the United States, you have the right and privelege to have your voice heard by voting. Regardless of your political affiliation, this election is important for you to have a say in your local, state, and national political appointees. The polling places throughout the Tampa area will be open tomorrow 7:00 am until 7:00 pm. Find all the important information you need for Election Day by clicking on the links below.


Hillsborough County


Don’t live in Hillsborough County? Find your local election information here:


We look forward to seeing everyone in the greater Tampa area at the polls! Happy Election Day!


Find The Perfect Home For Your Little Ones!

by Tammy Waugh

Buying a new home in Tampa? Have children? Here are some important (and often overlooked) factors that you should consider when you find a home to buy.


1. Where are the bedrooms?

Beyond the number of bedrooms in the house, you should consider where the bedrooms are located in proximity to each other. If it is a multi-story home, decide whether you would prefer the privacy offered by having a master bedroom on the first floor or would prefer all bedrooms on the same floor so you are closer to your children at night.

 

2. Is it an open floor plan?

When your children are younger, it is important that parents can easily keep an eye on them while still having the opportunity to be productive around the house. This is where an open floor plan comes in handy. When the family room, kitchen, and dining area are open, it is easy to see your children play while you continue your chores.

 

3. Can you easily see the backyard?

Just as you want to be able to see your children easily within the house, you should be able to see them from indoors while they play outside. Make sure there are some easy sightlines to the backyard so you can keep a watchful eye when needed.

 

4. Are there items that could burn you when touched?

Kids are curious and like to put there hands on things. Consider hot spots within the home and how easy they are to child proof. If it is an older home, check where the radiators are and if they are likely to burn your child.

 

5. Is the lot flat?

A flat yard is a better option for home buyers with children as it allows them to easily play without the added risk if the lot is located on a steep hill.

 

6. Are there sidewalks?

Even if you do not move onto a busy street, traffic can still be a hazard for your children. Having sidewalks in the neighborhood will keep them safer as they play and walk through it.

 

7. Are there amenities in walking distance?

Enjoy the convenience of walking with the whole family to a nearby park, restaurant, store, school, or other amenity.


8. Who are the neighbors?

Scope out who the neighbors are so you know there aren't any suspicious people you should be wary of.


If you are interested in Buying your dream Tampa home with a, check out our current Homes for Sale. Give The Sper Group a call today or visit our website at http://www.thespergroup.com/.

Getting The Facts on Contingencies

by Tammy Waugh

Once you make an offer on a home and the seller accepts its, you think its a done deal. But, wait! The house is appraised for less than you offered and now you cannot get a mortgage from the bank. You've already signed the contract and paid a deposit. Does this mean that you are out of luck? No Need to Fear! This is where appraisal contingencies come into play!

 

Appraisal contingencies are a set of conditions that must be met within a set amount of time for a legally binding real estate contact to come into effect. There are 3 main contingencies that you will see within a real estate contract.

 

1. Appraisal Contingency

This contingency helps the buyer secure a mortgage by stating that the home must be appraised at the sale price or higher in order for the deal to go through. Your bank will send a licensed appraiser to find the market value of the home. This is calculated based on the condition of the home, its location, and comparable properties in the area. Whenever the house is appraised for less than the offer, the bank will only cover the amount the house is appraised for, leaving you short. At this point both the buyer and seller can walk away from the deal. If neither of you want to, you can ask your bank to complete a second appraisal to reassess the value of the home. If the second appraisal comes back with a higher value, you might be able to get the loan amount you needed.


2. Finance Contingency

Although similar to the appraisal contingency, the finance contingency depends strictly on the bank granting the loan. A bank can agree to a loan that meets the finance contingency, even if the home is appraised at less than your offer. If you cannot make up the difference in the home price you offered and what the bank provides, you can exit the contract. You can help avoid finding a house that you will not get an approved loan for by knowing what you can afford from the outset. Use this Mortgage Calculator to help!

 

3. Inspection Contingency

This contingency requires that the home pass an inspection. This is one contingency that you definitely never want to opt out of!

 

 

For more Home Buying Tips, check out our Website and follow us on Facebook.   


Become An Open House Pro!

by Tammy Waugh

Open houses are an important part of the home buying process. Get the most out of every open house you go to by asking thoughtful questions. Talking to the listing agent can help you gather even more information than you will by just walking around the home. Find out if the home is truly the perfect home for you by asking these questions during the open house. As you ask these questions, remember to always be polite and friendly. You are making a first impression with someone that you could be entering into negotiations with shortly!

 

What is the ideal timeline for the seller?

This information can help you greatly if you decide to put in an offer. Knowing when the seller is looking to close can help you strengthen your offer by proposing a date that works for them. If the seller is looking to move quickly, you might be able to offer below listing price.

 

How long has the home been on the market?

Asking this question allows you to garner more information than you can from the online listing. The listing agent can provide more of a context to why a home has potentially sat on the market for longer than is expected.

 

Has there been price changes?

Again, context can help you know why the price has gone up or down and make an informed decision as to whether or not the home makes sense to put in an offer.

 

Has there been any offers?

You won't be able to find out what those offers are but knowing if there are any can help you determine how quickly you need to make an offer.

 

Is the price negotiable?

You won't always get an answer to this question but some sellers do inform their listing agents that they should let interested buyers know that they are willing to negotiate.

 

What are average utility costs?

It is important to know what your monthly housing costs will be and this includes utilities. Find out the average costs throughout the year in order to determine whether the house fits within your budget still.

 

What issues are there?

Try to find out about recent repairs or renovations, particularly to big ticket items. This will help you glean if there will be a lot of work that you will need to complete or if it is truly move in ready.



For more helpful home buying tips, follow us on Facebook and check out our Website!


Don't Get Tricked This October When Buying!

by Tammy Waugh

It might be trick or treating time but getting tricked while trying to buy a new home is definitely no treat! Knowing all the facts can help you throughout the home buying process. Unfortunately, there is quite a bit of misinformation out there when it comes to buying a home. If you are in the market for a Tampa area home, don't be tricked by these 9 home buying myths.

Myth #1 The Search is First

Your first step in the home buying process should not be searching for a home. Instead, start with your financing. Get your credit in order and get pre-approval on a mortgage. Once your finances are in order, then it makes sense to begin the home search since your budget has been worked out.

 

Myth #2 Go With the 30-year Mortgage

A 30-year mortgages is not necessarily your best finance option. Although monthly payments are lower, you borrow the same amount of money for both a 15-year and 30-year mortgage which means you end up paying more on a 30-year due to interest accumulating for a longer period of time. We are not saying you shouldn't choose a 30-year as it might be your best option. We just want you to weigh all your options first. Check out our Finance Information for more help.

 

Myth #3 Down Payment Equals 20%

Paying 20% on a down mortgage can help you avoid paying for Private Mortgage Insurance but your lender may approve you for a loan with a 5 to 10% down payment if you are willing to pay for PMI. Just know that there are options out there for you.

 

Myth #4 Down Payment is Only Additional Cost

Make sure you include all potential costs when figuring out your budget. This not only includes the down payment but also credit reports, inspections, closing costs, insurance, and more.

 

Myth #5 You Are Out of Luck With Bad Credit

Bad credit can make the home buying process a bit more difficult but it doesn't mean you can't buy a home. There are financing options out there that you may qualify for, such as FHA loans. Do your research to find out if there are any viable options for you.

 

Myth #6 A Home Inspection Isn't Necessary

ALWAYS get a home inspection done. It will save you time and money and help you avoid buying a home that is a bad investment.

 

Myth #7 You Must Offer Asking Price

You do not want to miss out on your dream home so we understand the urge to always offer asking price. But, it is possible to get the home at a lower price if you show you are an attractive buyer. This means having pre-approval, great credit, a full down payment, etc.

 

Myth #8 A Realtor isn't Needed

Although it might seem like an easy process to do on your own, it is always best to work with an Experienced Realtor when you buy a home. We understand the local market and have years of negotiation experience that can help ensure that you can purchase your dream home with the minimal amount of stress on you.

 

Myth #9 Buy A Home Based on Now

When you search for a home, think about your needs now and 10 years from now so that you can continue to grow within the space.



For more helpful Home Buying Tips, check out our Website and follow us on Facebook!

 

Halloween Festivities in Greater Tampa!

by Tammy Waugh

Halloween is almost here! The streets of the greater Tampa area will soon be filled with hundreds of witches, ghosts, superheroes, and princesses! Give your children a Halloween they will never forget by taking them some place new and unique to trick or treat! Here are our top picks for great trick or treating spots throughout the Tampa metropolitan area.


Riverwalk Trick or Treat

Date: Saturday, October 27th

Time: 4:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Location: The Tampa Riverwalk

Collect goodies from 40 different locations along the Riverwalk. Afterwards, stick around for a free screening of Addam’s Family Values in Water Works park.


Halloween Spree

Date: Saturday, October 27th

Time: 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Location: Glazer Children’s Museum

Cost: $5 per person

Enjoy fun Halloween tunes as you trick or treat indoors at the museum. Other fun activities include a costume parade and arts & crafts.

City of Pinellas Park Halloween Treat Trail

Date: Wednesday, October 31st

Time: 6:00 pm

Location: England Brothers Bandshell Park

Explore the Treat Trail to discover endless delicious treats from local businesses and organizations. Enjoy refreshments, children’s activities, and costume contest with prizes.


Halloween in Historic Old Northeast

Date: Wednesday, October 31st

Time: 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Location: St. Petersburg’s Old Northeast Neighborhood

The old brick streets of this gorgeous neighborhood will be blocked off for families to enjoy some of the best trick or treating in the Tampa area. Marvel at 200+ houses decorated for the ghoulish holiday.


Want to spend Halloween evening closer to home? Trick or treating throughout Tampa neighborhoods will occur between 6:00 pm and 9:00 pm. Please follow these Halloween Safety Tips to ensure that everyone can safely enjoy their evening.



The Sper Group wishes everyone a safe and frightfully fun Halloween!

Tips To Get Your Home Move-In Ready!

by Tammy Waugh

You finalized all the paperwork and the keys are in your hand. Congrats on buying your dream home in Tampa! As you prepare to move into your new digs, there are several (often overlooked) chores that you should do. Take care of your new investment and get your home truly "move-in" ready by completing these 8 important tasks for new home owners.


1. Change Your Locks

The truth of the matter is you have no idea who has keys to your new home. Keep your family and your property safe and secure by replacing all locks in the house.


2. Look Out For Leaks

Even with a completed home inspection, you want to make sure that there aren't any underlying issues with the home once you actually move in. Plumbing issues can lead to costly damage so it is best to discover them and fix them as soon as possible. The easiest way to discover a leak (beyond looking and listening to all plumbing fixtures throughout the home) is to check the water meter, avoid using water for two hours, and check the meter again. If the reading has changed, there is a leak in the home and it is a good time to call a plumber to help you find it.


3. Kick Out Unwelcome Pests

No one wants to share their home with pests. Maybe the previous homeowners were unaware of the problem or chose to withhold some information, but either way if you discover pests in your new home take care of the issue immediately. The easiest and quickest way is to hire a professional. They can help ensure that the issue is completely eradicated.


4. Stay Cool

We all know that Florida gets hot, hot, hot! Make sure you and your family stay cool throughout the year by checking the AC system. Familiarize yourself with the system and make sure that air is running properly through the system.


5. Let There Be Light

Each homeowner has their own lighting preferences. What the previous homeowner preferred might not suit your needs. As you settle into your new home, spend some time in each room with the current lighting setup. Decide whether you prefer it brighter or dimmer and make adjustments to the lighting as needed.


6. Don't Blow Your Fuse

Ok, blowing a fuse is inevitable at some point in owning your home. As such, you want to know which fuses control each room. Grab a partner to test the fuses with you and label each accordingly.


7. Know Your Main Water Valve

The weather can become severe in Tampa and you want to be able to turn off the main water valve in cases of emergency. Find out whether it is located inside or outside of the home and make sure that you are able to turn it off.


8. Deep Clean the Floors

No matter how clean your new home might seem, you can really only have true piece of mind when you clean it yourself. Before lounging on those carpeted floors, steam clean it. You can rent a steam cleaner or hire a professional. This will truly give you a fresh start in your new home.



If you are interested in Buying your dream home in the greater Tampa area, check out our current Homes for Sale. Give The Sper Group a call today or visit our website at http://www.thespergroup.com/.

 

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 95

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Contact Information

Photo of Tammy Waugh - The Sper Group Real Estate
Tammy Waugh - The Sper Group
BHHS Florida Properties Group
13131 N. Dale Mabry
Tampa FL 33618
813-760-2002
813-404-1533