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Tammy Waugh

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Homeowners with pups know that they become an integral part of your family. You want your home to be just as comfortable, safe, and fun for them as it is for everyone else living there. Here are some incredible home improvements to make your Tampa house the most pet-friendly (and human-friendly) on the block!

Keep all supplies together!

Find stylish ways to organize your pets toys, snacks, leashes, and other supplies that fit within the decor of your home. There are so many DIY projects or furniture options that you can utilize to easily and fashionably store everything for your pooch.

Use an elevated feeding station!

Keep your floor tidier by utilizing an elevated station that houses the food and water bowls. It looks for streamline and provides the perfect spot for your dog to dine.

Give them a special spot!

Just like all the humans have their own room to retreat to when needed, your furry friend should also have an area that is all his own. Locate a spot within the home that offers a peaceful, quiet retreat and place a comfy dog bed there so your pup can relax when needed.

Create a cleaning area!

Stop going to the groomer and avoid wet floors in your bathroom by setting up a washing station for your dog. Add built-in stairs so the pup can easily get in and out of the tub.

Free access in and out!

Let your pooch free access in and out of your home by adding an Automatic Doggy Door. Simply place a transmitter on your dog’s collar and they can come and go as they please.

Unlimited view!

Your home should have a fenced in backyard so your dog can roam safely and securely during play. But you also want your dog to see more of the world. Install a Pet Peek in the fence at your dog’s height so they can still see what is beyond their domain.

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

Ask These Questions During the Open House!

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!


 

Make your Tampa home look like one of the most expensive homes on the market to earn top dollar when you sell! Add elegant touches to you home to make it look more expensive. This will help set your home apart from the competition and drive your final offer up! Follow these 7 tips to help make your home look more expensive in order to sell!

 

1. Declutter. Allow buyers to visualize themselves in your home by removing all unnecessary and personal items from the home. Keep spaces clean and cleared. Find the best architectural features of your home and find ways to highlight them with furniture or tasteful decor.

2. Paint. Paint the walls a neutral color that will appeal to all buyers. Add some elegance by selecting a color with a slight sheen to it!

3. Window Treatments. Allow ample natural light throughout the home. Select drapes or blinds that are solid colors.

4. Crown Molding. Crown molding is a simple addition to any room in your home that instantly makes buyers think of elegance.

5. Kitchen Appliances. Update your kitchen appliances to those found in more expensive listings, such as appliances in stainless steel or with brightly colored finishes.

6. Fixtures. Get rid of outdated hardward, plumbing, and lighting fixtures throughout your home and replace with sleek, modern designs.

8. Garage Door. If your home has a garage door, consider investing in a new one that adds an elegant touch to the exterior of your house. This weill help make a great first impression upon your buyers arrival and gives a high return on investment once you sell.

Interested in Selling your Tampa area home? Give the Sper Group a call today or visit our website at http://www.thespergroup.com/!

Reference: inman

It's Time to Head Back to School in Tampa!

by Tammy Waugh

The first school bell of the year is about to ring throughout the Greater Tampa Area!! It is time for students to head back to school! Have those backpacks packed with all the necessary supplies and get ready to catch the school bus on the first day. Here are the first day of school dates for all local public school districts as well as helpful guides to set you up for success this upcoming school year!



Hillsborough County Public Schools | 901 East Kennedy Boulevard, Tampa

First Day of School: Friday, August 10th

*Watch Superintendent Eakins’ Back to School Message HERE!*

2018 - 2019 District Calendar

Back to School Guide


 

Pasco County Schools | 7227 Land O’ Lakes Boulevard, Land O’ Lakes

First Day of School: Monday, August 13th

2018 - 2019 District Calendar

Back to School Guide


 

Pinellas County Schools | 301 4th Street Southwest, Largo

First Day of School: Monday, August 13th

2018 - 2019 District Calendar

Back to School Guide


The Sper Group hopes all Tampa students have a successful and fun 2018-2019 school year!!!


Tips to Build a Great Credit Score

by Tammy Waugh

If you’re looking to purchase a home, having good credit gives you many more options.  For many people, however, building your score can be difficult if they don’t have past credit or if they’ve experienced a financial hardship that brought their credit score down.  If you find yourself in either category, there’s no need to get upset.  What you need to do is focus on the areas which help you build your credit score back to the top.

If you’ve never had any credit to your name, here’s what to focus on to build:

  1. Apply for a secured credit card.  This is to help you establish credit, without putting down a deposit.  This won’t be used for the long-term, just to get you started.
  2. Apply for a credit builder loan- This is exactly what it sounds like.  A way to build your credit with a manageable loan amount.
  3. Do you have someone who could co-sign a loan?  If so, you can opt for this option to build credit, but normally at a lower interest rate.
  4. Make sure the rent you pay is being reported to the credit bureaus. RentalKharma and RentTrack are just a couple of platforms who will do this.

If your credit has taken a hit in recent months or years, working to rebuild it is critical.  Building good credit takes at least 6 months of an on-time payment history. Building good credit habits will help you get back on track.

  1. Make 100% of your payments on time.  This includes; rent, credit cards, utilities, school loans and medical bills.
  2. Keep your credit utilization low.  Meaning not more than 30% of the credit offered should be used.
  3. Keep your accounts open for as long as possible. Unless one of your unused accounts has an annual, all accounts should be kept open and active to count toward your length of credit, payment history and utilization.
  4. Make sure not to open too many accounts as this will initially lower your credit score and shorten the average time open of all accounts.
  5. Check your credit reports frequently for errors. Also, check your credit score on a monthly basis to see your progress.  Websites like www.creditkarma.com and www.nerdwallet.com, offer free credit score checking without causing a ‘hard hit’ to your credit.

For more helpful information for home buying, check out our website and facebook page regularly.

You’ve decided to purchase a home and are now pre-qualified for your mortgage so you're starting to view homes. What happens if you find a home in a great location with the perfect layout and amenities for your family but you are appalled at the decorating in the home?  Some decorating should definitely be ignored and here's why:

  1. Home Staging is done to highlight the best that a home has to offer. But you need to remember that it’s the homeowners and designers choices to utilize the pieces they’ve chosen.  Your ideas for a room might be totally different, so look past the design choices.
  2. Carpeting!  Too many people enter a home tour and get turned off immediately at the sign of carpet in the home.  This is short-sighted as many older homes have hardwoods under the carpet.  Even if this doesn’t hold true for the home you’re viewing, remember that this is an easy update to do in any room.
  3. Wallpaper.  This decorating gem has made a comeback over the past couple years, and in many cases, when done right, can really accentuate a room.  However, if the wallpaper isn’t your cup of tea, don’t sweat it!  A good steam and elbow grease will have this off in no time; giving you a blank canvas to create the atmosphere you’re looking for.
  4. Wild and bold paint colors.  You may be the person who likes their walls and doors more on the neutral side so you can decorate with pops of color elsewhere, but remember, there are plenty of artistic individuals who like to use these colors on the walls, staircases, ceilings and more.  Instead of opting out of the house for those reasons, look at it as an opportunity to create the room of YOUR dreams with just a little paint.
  5. Sink and hardware in the bath or kitchen. You walk into a home with your heart set on the new brass/black faucets and bowl sinks, but you find stainless steel and basins of yesteryear.  Again, this isn’t a big problem.  Swapping out faucet hardware and even upgrading your basins can be done very cost-effectively.
  6. Kitchen cabinet colors.  Kitchen cabinet colors are a big focal point in interior decorating this year, however, not everyone is thrilled with the possibilities!  If you're the type of person who really loves white or light gray kitchens and you've walked into see bright green cabinets but the rest of the kitchen is exactly what you're looking for, don't fret!   There are plenty of interior decorating services that can spray and paint your existing cabinets to the color you desire; without totally remodeling the entire kitchen.
  7. Landscape. Curb appeal is critical whether you’re buying or selling a home, but again, each person has their own tastes as to what looks terrific.  If you’re seeing a yard that has lots of crazy bushes or too much maintenance, look at it as an opportunity to create your own backyard oasis.  Simply axing a home because the yard and garden aren’t to your liking can cost you a great home.

Better to concentrate on the home’s more important aspects;  How is the roof?  Electrical? HVAC? Foundation?  These are the non-negotiable parts of the home that need to be in great working order, or can cost you dearly.  Cosmetics are just the choice of the homeowner and can be tailored to your own likes and needs.

Need some help with what to upgrade or improve before you list your home?  Contact Tammy!

Which Schools made the list of Top Tampa Schools?

by Tammy Waugh

Did you know that home buyers rank area schools at the top of their list of priorities?  They top the list of home and neighborhood amenities...and with good reason.  If you have a family, not only do you want your children to attend the best schools, top rated schools also boost home values!

With a new school year starting soon, we wanted to share with you the Top Rated Tampa Schools as reviewed by niche.com.

Tampa Palms Elementary School- Featuring a solid A rating for academics, teachers, and diversity, this Hillsborough County School offers students a 14:1 student-teacher ratio!  A total of 917 students attend Tampa Palms Elementary from grades PK-5.  Search all homes for sale in Tampa Palms Elementary School neighborhoods.

McFarlane Park Magnet School- Another great Tampa area elementary school with a solid A rating for academics, teachers, and diversity.  This school has 369 students in grades K-5 with a student-teacher ratio of 15:1!  Search all homes for sale in McFarlane Park Magnet School.

Terrace Community Middle School- Featuring an A rating for academics, teachers, and diversity, This Hillsborough County School offers a student-teacher ratio of 15:1 for their 660 students in grades 6-8.  This is the #1 rated public charter school in the Tampa area. Search all homes for sale in the Terrace Community Middle School area.

Williams Middle Magnet School- Once again, another middle magnet school boasting an A rating across the board. With 868 students in grades 6-8, Williams Middle Magnet School has a student-teacher ratio of 18:1.  Search all homes for sale in the Williams Middle Magnet School area.

Plant High School- Plant received an overall rating of A+ from niche.com!  Offering their 2,389 students an excellent academic, arts, sports and diverse curriculum.  Their student-teacher ratio is 20:1 in their 9-12 grades.  Search all homes for sale in the Plant High School area.

Do you have more questions about the Tampa area schools?  Contact Tammy directly.  She'll help you find the perfect home for you and your family within the school district of your choice.  

Like and follow us on our Facebook page to learn even more information about the Tampa area.

Although this may be a simple question, nearly 3 of every 10 mortgage holders do not have the answer!  With interest rates rising, it’s important to evaluate now.

Interest Rates are continuing to climb, so lock in!

Interest rates will continue to rise, so this could be your last chance to lock in a low rate for years to come. The average 30-year fixed rate is now 4.70%, up from 4.13% one year ago. This is a $119 increase monthly from the 4.13% rate and a $1,428 increase annually!

Do you have an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM)? If so, you need to contact your lender immediately and lock in your interest rates.

Have you considered a refinance?

Did you know that when you refinance you actually pay-off your initial mortgage and get a new one?  That means you are starting from the beginning and can get a new rate and new terms.  You can also get a 'cash-out' refinance where you are getting cash for equity in your home or you could pay money in and get a lower mortgage.  Here are some examples of individuals who opt for the 'refinancing option:  They currently have an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM), the current interest rate is higher than the standard 30, 15 or 10-year rate.  Should you refinance?  Here are things you need to consider;  how much do you owe? What is the appraised value of your home? Do you have a good credit score?  Debt to income ratio at this time?  

Who takes the cash-out option in refinancing?  When individuals opt for the cash-out option they are using the money for a very specific purpose.  Here are a few examples; pay-off high-interest credit cards, higher rate consumer debt overall, sending a child to college.

What costs would you incur if you were to refinance your Tampa Bay home?  It's important to note that refinancing fees vary by state and lender, so it's important to work with a mortgage lender directly in determining your actual costs.  For example purposes only, here are possible items that could incur additional costs with a home refinance:

 

  • Application Fee
  • Loan Origination Fee
  • Points on the Loan
  • Appraisal Fee
  • Title/Insurance Search
  • Homeowners Insurance
  • Home Inspection
  • Surveys
  • Attorney costs

It may be possible to roll some or all of these items into your new mortgage. Check with your mortgage agent for pros and cons of doing this.

 

Have more questions on home buying or refinancing?  Contact us at 813-760-2002 today.

 

Dine Out During Tampa Bay Taco Week!

by Tammy Waugh

Explore the delicious side of Tampa during the Tampa Bay Taco Week!!! This city offers endless tasty delights but few are done better than the taco! Check out your favorite restaurant or discover a new local spot during this foodie celebration, being held Tuesday, July 17th, through Friday, July 27th. Participating restaurants will offer amazing taco specials (including $2 tacos, 50% off tacos, special pricing, and more) throughout the greater Tampa area! Do not miss this great event! Your taste buds will surely thank you!

 

Participating Restaurants

American Social Bar & Kitchen | 601 South Harbour Island Boulevard #107, Tampa

Besito Mexican Restaurant | 205 Westshore Plaza, Tampa

Chicken and Taco Loco | 408 East Brandon Boulevard, Brandon

Datz | 2616 South MacDill Avenue, Tampa

District Tavern | 116 North 12th Street, Tampa

Fuzzy's Taco Shop | 5621 East Fowler Avenue #’s 201-207, Tampa

GameTime | 1600 East 8th Avenue, Tampa

Islands Cantina | 233 East Davis Boulevard, Tampa

Marina Cantina | 25 Causeway Boulevard, Clearwater Beach

Park & Rec | 100 4th Street South, St. Petersburg

Platt Street Borough Bar & Eatery | 1809 West Platt Street, Tampa

Taquitos Mexican | 9617 Bay Pines Boulevard, St. Petersburg

The Avenue | 330 1st Avenue South, St. Petersburg

And, MORE!

 

Be sure to enter the Photo Contest! Take a photo of your tacos at a participating restaurant. Post the photo on Instagram and add your location. Tag @cltampabay and use hashtag #CLTacoWeek. Once you do this, you will be automatically entered to win $250 to use through CL Deals! Earn additional enteries for every restaurant you tag throughout Taco Week!

 

Taco Week is the lead up event to the summertime favorite Margarita Wars!! Mark your calendars for this event being held on Friday, JULY 27th, (7:00 pm to 10:00 pm) at Tpepin's Hospitality Centre (4121 North 50th Street, Tampa)!

 

The Sper Group wishes everyone a delicious time during Tampa Bay Taco Week!!



Image Credit: Creative Loafing Tampa

 

Have Kids? Factors to Consider When Buying A Home!

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/.

 

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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