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Tammy Waugh

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Don't Be Fooled By These Home Buying Myths!

by Tammy Waugh

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 fooled 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!

Buying Your First Home in 10 Easy Steps!

by Tammy Waugh

Home Buying might not be as easy as 1-2-3, but add 7 more steps and you are there! If you are in the market for your first Tampa area home, knowing the steps you need to take between starting the search and moving in can help eliminate some of the stress from the process. Here is our easy 10 step guide to buying your first home.


1. Make a list of what you want and need in your home. Needs are those non-negotiable amenities/features that have to be included in your home. Wants are those that would be nice to have but if you need to, you can live without. Prioritizing these items will help you narrow your search. This is also the best time to work out your budget. Having a full understanding of what you can afford will help you set a comfortable range for yourself as well as search parameters.


2. The internet is a wonderful tool to help you get an initial idea of what is available on the market. Start to Search Listings  online.


3. Now that you have a good understanding of what you are looking for in your new home, it is time to hire a Top Realtor  to work with. Sure you can go it alone, but we guarantee that you will be grateful you worked with a realtor when it is all said and done. We can help narrow your search to just those homes that best fit your needs and budget. We understand the Tampa housing market and have many years experience with negotiating real estate deals. Working with us will help allieviate your stress during the process as we always keep your best interests as our top priority.


4. Ask your realtor for recommendations for lending agents. The lending agent will help you find a mortgage option that fits your financial situation. Now is the perfect time to get pre-approved for your loan. Pre-approval shows sellers that you are serious about buying and helps keep you focused searching for homes that you can afford.


5. Hit the road with your realtor and visit as many open houses and showings as possible. A description and photos online can only show you so much. You need to place yourself within the property to truly know whether it will fit your needs.


6. You found the perfect home! Now you can make an offer. Work closely with your realtor during this step. They can help you draft an offer that will be appealing and appropriate for the seller of the home.


7. Real estate offers almost always come back with a counter offer. Do not dismay. This is part of the process. Since you have your budget worked out ahead of time, you have a clear understanding of how high you are willing and can go with the price. This step involves the negotiation skills that your realtor processes. We will have make sure you pay a price that is best for you and ensures you can call this house your home.


8. The home might appear perfect and move in ready but you never know if there are any unseen issues that could cost you a fortune in the future. You should always have a home inspection completed when buying a house. This will help you discover any problems before the deal gets finalizes, allowing you to determine whether or not it makes more sense to walk away or stay the course. Go along for the home inspection so you can ask questions as they arise.


9. After the home inspection, your lending agent will complete an home appraisal to determine the actual worth of the home. If the home is valued for close to your offer, you are one step closer to calling it yours!


10. You have reached the home stretch...literally! It is now time to close the deal. Sign that paperwork, grab your keys, and move on in to your beautiful new home!


Celebrate Dad in Tampa!

by Tammy Waugh

This weekend is the perfect time to celebrate the most important man in your life....DAD! That's right! Father's Day weekend is here! Treat dad to a Father's Day celebration he will never forget by taking advantage of all of the cool, fun things taking place around the Tampa area! Check out these fantastic holiday events to show dad how much you appreciate him!


Father's Day at Empower Adventures

Dates: Saturday, June 16th & Sunday, June 17th

Times: 9:30 am - 4:30 pm

Location: Empower Adventures (423 Lafayette Boulevard, Oldsmar)

Cost: $69 per adult & $64 per child

Enjoy a high flying adventure with dad above the Mobbly Bayou Wilderness Preserve. This 2.5 hour guided tour features 11 adventures, including numerous exciting zip lines. For the holiday weekend, Dads will get a Leap of Faith added on to their adventure and all family members can enjoy the same for half price ($10 addition)!


Father's Day Weekend at the Florida Aquarium

Dates: Saturday, June 16th & Sunday, June 17th

Times: 9:30 am - 5:00 pm

Location: The Florida Aquarium (701 Channelside Drive, Tampa)

Cost: $28.95 per adult & $23.95 per child (ages 3-11)

Treat dad to a day at the aquarium as he enjoys FREE admission with the purchase of any full price paid ticket. Explore the many exhibits, including a special one on the important role male seahorses play as fathers.


The Great Father’s Day Race  

Date: Sunday, June 17th

Time: 8:00 am - 11:00 am

Location: Al Lopez Park (4810 North Himes Avenue, Tampa)

Cost: $38 per person (in advance) | $43 per person (day of race)

Get active this Father's Day with this fun 5K run/walk for the whole family. Allparticipants will receive free race pictures, a dry-fit T-shirt, and goodie bag.


Father's Day Brunch & Dinner Cruises

Date: Sunday, June 17th

Times: 10:30 am - 1:00 pm (Early Brunch) | 2:00 pm - 4:30 pm (Late Brunch) | 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm (Dinner)

Location: Yacht StarShip Cruises & Events (603 Channelside Drive, Tampa)

Cost: $49.95 per adult & $29.95 per child (Brunch) | $59.95 per adult & $39.95 per child (Dinner)

Take a relaxing cruise in the bay as you dine on a delicious meal prepared by the yacht's executive chef. There will be DJ entertainment throughout the cruise. Dads can enjoy 3 premium level drinks for FREE during their meal.


The Sper Group wishes all the fathers throughout the Tampa area a very Happy Father's Day!

Home Maintenance Projects for the Summer!

by Tammy Waugh

Summer is right around the corner. It is the perfect time to take care of some of those home maintenance tasks you have been putting off. Here are our top home maintenance projects to complete this season for your Tampa area home!

1. Make your home look its very best from the outside by removing any dirt and grime that has been building up. Give it a good power wash. Then check for any areas that could use a paint touchup and handle as necessary.

2. Be able to admire your beautiful outdoor landscaping from inside your home by cleaning off your windows. Give the exterior of the windows a thorough scrub and do not forget about all of the window screens as well.

3. Keep your family healthy and your home's systems running properly by cleaning and/or replacing filters on your home's air conditioner unit and furnace.

4. Clean your dishwasher, garbage disposal, and washing machine in order to eliminate odors and remove dirt buildup.

5. Make sure the hoses on all the aforementioned appliances, as well as toilets and dehumdifiers, are devoid of any wear and tear, cracks, and leaks and replace ones where these issues exist.

6. Wash floors and wipe off all baseboards around the house, which often get overlooked but accumulate dust and dirt throughout the year.

7. Reverse the rotation of your ceiling fans to counter-clockwise. This pushes air back down which creates a breeze throughout the home.

8. If your home has an attic and/or basement area, inspect for pests, mold and mildew, and water leaks. These are issues that you should have handled by a professional as soon as possible.

9. Check the walkways, patio, and driveway for cracks and fix as necessary. Pull weeds that might be growing through and around the concrete. Give these areas a good pressure washing to remove dirt.

 

 

For more helpful home owners tips, check out our website at http://www.thespergroup.com/.


 

Reap the Benefits of Staging Your Tampa Home to Sell!

by Tammy Waugh

You've decided to sell your Tampa area home. Congrats! As you prepare to list your home on the market, staging the property is an important step. Staging your home reaps many benefits for home sellers. Studies have found that staged homes are sold faster and for a higher dollar value! Get a great return on your investment by taking the time to stage your home! Still not convinced? Check out these stats from the National Association of REALTORS® to discover the benefits of staging your home!

Benefits of Staging Your Home

Buyers’ Agent Perspective

  • 49% of buyers’ agents said staging had a positive effect on most buyer’s view of the home
  • 77% of buyers’ agents said buyers had an easier time visualizing the home as their own due to staging
  • 40% of buyers were willing to walk through a home that they saw online with staging
  • The most important rooms to stage were the living room, master bedroom, and kitchen
  • ⅓ of buyer’s agents said staged homes had an offered dollar value increase of 1% to 5%

Sellers’ Agent Perspective

  • 38% of sellers’ agents stage all homes prior to listing
  • The most common rooms staged were the living room, kitchen, master bedroom, and dining room
  • 25% of sellers paid for the costs of staging before listing
  • 29% of sellers’ agents saw an increase of 1% to 5% of the dollar value offered by buyers
  • 21% of sellers' agents said dollar value of the home increased between 6% and 10% through staging
  • 39% of sellers’ agents cited staged homes moved faster off the market

5 Key Tips for Staging Your Home

1. Color | Choose light, neutral colors to paint your home. Create a clean, bright space that makes it easier for buyers to visualize themselves in the home and to make the rooms look larger.  Warm colors can also create a soothing, relaxing feeling.

2. Cleaning and Repairs | Do a deep cleaning of your home to make it fresh and inviting. Make sure to complete any home maintenance projects that you have been meaning to complete.

3. Declutter and Depersonalize | It is very important that buyers can visualize their own families in your home. Remove personalized items that can be distracting during showings. Also, declutter and remove unnecessary objects to create clean, open spaces.

4. Make it Homey |  Add flowers and candles to create an emotional connection for buyers and create a cozy atmosphere.

5. Furniture Placement | Only keep necessary furniture in order to showcase the size of the living spaces. Place furniture in places that highlight the architectural features of your home.


For more Home Selling Tips, check out our website at http://www.thespergroup.com/.

Data Credit: National Association of REALTORS®

How to Host A Successful Open House!

by Tammy Waugh

Enjoy Selling success this summer by hosting a successful open house for your Tampa! Buyers will be offering you top dollar for your home if they are presented with an all star experience when they see your home for the first time in person. Follow this tips to host a successful open house for your Tampa area home!

1. Create a great, welcoming first impression from the moment they walk up to your front door. Add a welcoming door mat and beautiful potted plants to show how much you care about your home.

2. Showcase how much counter space your bathrooms and kitchen have by clearing off the clutter. Hide personal hygiene items in bathroom drawers and remove non-essential kitchen appliances.

3. Allow buyers to see themselves living in the home by putting your personal photos and items away before the open house.

4. Set the dining room table with beautiful place settings to showcase how your home functions for your family and your guests.

5. Be the ultimate host by offering a small snack or refreshing beverage to the buyers. Put some fragrant flowers throughout the home.

6. Do not stick around for the entire open house. Allow buyers the time to walk through the home with only the realtor. This will give them more opportunity to freely ask questions and explore the house without feeling awkward.

Get ready for your own open house or any other part of the selling process by working with the The Sper Group! Give us a call today or visit our website at http://www.thespergroup.com/.

Safety Tips for Summer Fun in Your Tampa Pool!

by Tammy Waugh

The summers in Tampa can be hot, hot, hot! Having a POOL in your backyard can help keep your family cool and is a great gathering place for family and friends. Although pools are fun, they can also be dangerous. It is every home owners' responsibility to maintain theirs and keep it safe for themselves, their guests, and their neighbors. Follow these simple safety tips to keep this backyard oasis a place of fun all summer long!


1. Place A Barrier

An adult should always be present when anyone is using your pool, but obviously you cannot be home 24/7. Putting a barrier around the pool can make sure that no one can access the pool without a responsible adult around. Click HERE for the pool fence laws in the Tampa area to make sure that yours meets all of the required standards. Along with a fence, a pool cover can help keep everyone safe when the pool is not in use.

2. Install An Alarm

Consider getting a pool alarm. These devices emit a loud noise to notify you if something enters the pool area. Some can also be placed within the pool and detect water displacement.

3. Keep Your Pool Up to Code

Make sure that your pool is up to all required health and safety codes by hiring an accredited pool inspector. Look for inspectors through the National Swimming Pool Foundation or the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals.

4. Securely Store Chemicals

Pool chemicals are dangerous. Make sure that they are always securely stored in a well-ventilated, locked area. They should be kept away from AC units as well as other toxic chemicals. Be sure to label each chemical bottle with the date you purchased it and toss them when they are over a year old.

5. Use Chemicals Cautiously

Just as they should be stored safely, pool chemicals also need to be used safely. Always use gloves and safety goggles when you use them.

6. Store Toys

Have a place to store pool toys when the pool isn't in use. This will remove tripping hazards and keep kids from being tempted from jumping in the pool when you aren't around.

7. Keep Safety Equipment Close By

Your pool away should have a traditional ring buoy or crook rescue hook in case of an emergency. It is also a good idea to have child size life jackets on hand for those little ones or any kids that are not strong swimmers.

 

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

Create the Ultimate Backyard Oasis!

by Tammy Waugh

Create the ultimate backyard oasis for your family!  Outdoor living space expands the useable space of your home while also increasing the appeal of your home to potential buyers (should you want to sell). Spend this summer outside at your Tampa home by updating your backyard with these easy tips!

 

1. Extend Your Living Space Have your patio be a natural extension of your home's interior living space. Create the perfect seating area with a layout that is easily moveable, depending on your needs. If you have limited space, decide whether you would like to utilize it for relaxing and lounging or dining and entertaining.

2. Dress It Up  Make the patio/deck one of your favorite places to be. Add fragrant, bright flowers by creating a container garden throughout the space. Add accent pillows and other design elements.

3. Find Shade That Florida sun can be intense! Make sure you have a some sort of shade available for you and your guests, whether on the patio or some where in your yard. Consider adding a pergola or plant leafy trees around these areas.

4. Keep it Bright  Make sure the space is useable anytime day or night by adding functional lighting. Although functionaity is key, use creative, fun fixtures within the space for added design interest.

5. Nature Lover Celebrate the fact that this space is outside in the beautiful Florida environment. Enhance your landscape and compliment your home with flowers, shrubs, and trees.

6. Up Your Game Consider adding a pool, hot tub, or spa to your backyard. Whether you want the perfect spot to relax or an added bonus when you entertain, these elements will be a welcome addition to your home.


For more Home Improvement Tips, visit our Website or follow us on Facebook!


Tips for Hosting Your Memorial Day Weekend Party!

by Tammy Waugh

The long holiday weekend is almost here. Memorial Day Weekend has become the unofficial kickoff to the summer season and is the perfect time to gather friends and family together for a little celebration. Host the ultimate Memorial Day party at your Tampa home this weekend! Follow these simple tips to make your holiday party one that your guests will surely love!


 

1. Create a party menu that is filled with deliciously exciting yet easy to prepare food items.

2. Stock up on all the supplies and tools that you need for food and drinks, as well as any yard games that you want to set up.

3. Make a festive environment by creating beautiful red, white and blue floral arrangements for your tables.

4. Get a beverage tub filled with ice and stock it with your favorite drinks. Come up with a festive specialty drink that celebrates the holiday.

5. Hang some decorative outdoor lights to create the atmosphere.

6. Create a music playlist filled with your favorite patriotic themed tunes.

7. Fill your yard with red, white, and blue decor.

8. If you have a fire pit, provide roasting sticks and marshmallows so your guests can enjoy the ultimate outdoor treat.

9. Provide your guests with sparklers to end the evening.


 

While you enjoy the festive fun this weekend, it is important that we always remember the real reason for the holiday. We should spend some time this weekend (and beyond) honoring the brave men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom as well as those still actively serving in our military.  


The Sper Group wishes everyone in the greater Tampa area a very happy & safe MEMORIAL DAY and extends a sincere THANK YOU to all of our nations current and retired military personnel!

8 Important Chores for Your New Home!

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 73

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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