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Tammy Waugh

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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/.

 

"Swim" On Over to Shark Con this Weekend!

by Tammy Waugh

The can't miss event this weekend in Tampa is Shark Con!! Help promote ocean conservation efforts and celebrate all the creatures living under the beautiful blue ocean waters at this spectacular annual event. Shark Con will be taking place on Saturday, July 14th, and Sunday, July 15th, (10:00 am to 5:00 pm daily) at the Florida State Fairgrounds (4800 US Hwy 301 North, Tampa).

 

There is something for every ocean lover to enjoy! Check out 100+ booths filled as well as informative exhibits and fun activities by The Florida Aquarium, Mote Aquarium, Clearwater Marine Aquarium, Busch Gardens, Zoo Tampa, and other event partners. Touch sharks and other marine animals in the touch tanks. Get silly in the ocean and pirate bounce houses, down the shark slide, and on the bucking shark ride. Try scuba diving in the GO Dive Now Pool. Watch scientists dissect a shark. There is also an incredible line up of speakers throughout the weekend. Click HERE for the complete schedule. BUT, be sure not to miss Shark Con's headlining event on Sunday at 12:45 pm - a Jaws Panel Q&A with Richard Dreyfuss, Jeffrey Kramer, Carl Gottlieb, and Susan Backlinie! All speakers will be available for photos and autographs. Don't be afraid to go in the water this weekend and head on over to Shark Con for all of the fun!

Ticket Information

Single Day Passes

  • $14.95 per adult

  • $4.95 per child (ages 13 & under)

Two Day Passes

  • $19.95 per adult

  • $7.50 per child (ages 13 & under)

Purchase tickets in advance HERE!

**Proceeds benefit shark and coral rehabilitation programs at The Florida Aquarium and OCEARCH Shark Expedition Research.**


The Sper Group wishes everyone an amazing time at the Shark Con!!

 

 

Image Credit: Shark Con


What Buyers Should Know About Appraisal 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.   


With the celebrations of the 4th of July upon us, it's important to protect your pets from the stress of Fireworks Displays that will fill the nighttime sky.  Pets are under stress from loud auditory sounds throughout their daily lives;  police cars, ambulances, firetrucks, construction and more.  However, firework displays are far greater in volume than the 120-decibel pain threshold for pets...fireworks are in the 170-decibel range! 

Below are some tips to help alleviate the stress and keep your pets safe:

1. DO NOT TAKE YOUR PET TO THE FIREWORKS DISPLAY!!

2. Keep them in a quieter, interior room to help shield from the noise.

3. Turn on the Television or Radio to add some everyday background noise that can interfere with the loud noises outside.

4. If at all possible, have a family member stay with your pets during this time.  Especially if you have a new pet!

5. Make sure the room you put them in does not have an easy escape route.  The number of pets that try to escape their situation during fireworks increases substantially on the 4th.

6. Check to be sure that your pet has identification tags or is chipped, in case they do escape the home.

7. If you've chosen to have fireworks at your own home, make sure you've cleaned up the debris as it will be toxic for pets...especially when being chewed on.

8. When returning from a fireworks display, try to be calm upon entering your home and keeping loud everyday home noises to a minimum.  

Wishing you all a happy & safe Independence Day!

Who Needs to Know About Your Change of Address

by Tammy Waugh

You just closed on your home and have a new address in Tampa! You will obviously let your friends and family know about your change of address but who else needs to know? Here is a list of the important organizations, providers, services, and more that you should inform of your change of address to avoid any unnecessary stress after you move into your new home.

Post Office: This one is rarely forgotten when people move, but hey, we are all about making your life easier so click HERE to submit your official change of address.

Utilities: Don't live in the dark and avoid paying for utilities at your old residence by changing your address with all of the utilities (i.e. electric, gas, cable, internet).

Cell Phone Carrier: It is required that your cell phone carrier is provided with your new address as they tax your bill based on your primary residence.

Employer: Make sure to talk to your Human Resources department at work so they can update the payroll system and any other important documentation with your new address.

Financial Institutions: Avoid having important financial information sent to the one address by informing your bank, credit card providers, and other financial institutions of your move.

Insurance Providers: Keep your auto, health, dental, homeowners, and life insurance policies current by changing your address on all of your policies.

Health Providers: Avoid falling behind on any medical bills by letting your doctor, dentist, and other health providers know about your change of address.

DMV: You are required to inform the DMV of your address change within 30 days in the state of Florida. Click HERE for all the helpful relocation information you will need.

IRS: Make sure that you are ready to receive your tax refund next spring by updating your address information now. Learn how you can do this through the IRS by clicking HERE.

Social Security Administration: Keep your benefits current (if applicable) and protect your personal information by letting the SSA know of your address change. Click HERE to submit the change online. If you receive aid from any other government programs, make sure you inform them as well.

Voter Registration: Voting is your civic duty and you want to be able to vote in any upcoming elections. Update your address so your vote is counted.

If you’re a registered voter, an address change is required if you want your vote counted in upcoming elections. In some states, when you update your address with the DMV, your address on your voter registration will automatically update, but contact the office of your registrar of voters to confirm.

Shopping Websites: Make sure all your future packages get delivered to your new home by updating your address now on all your online shopping accounts.

Newspapers & Magazine Subscriptions: Don't miss a single issue by changing your address for any subscriptions you may have.

 

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

Celebrate Independence Day in Tampa!

by Tammy Waugh

Mark your calendars for the best Fourth of July celebrations that Tampa has to offer. Our nation's Independence Day is next week Wednesday and you do not want to miss out on any of the fun! Celebrate this great country of ours at the best holiday festivities that our beautiful city has to offer!


Tampa Red, White & Blue Fest

Time: 2:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Location: Cotanchobee Fort Brook Park (601 Old Water Street)

Enjoy an afternoon of festive fun at this favorite annual event. Dine on delicious food from your favorite local food vendors. Enter you and your pet in the patriotic costume contest. Swing by the "American Art Zone" to find beautiful arts and crafts for sale. Play fun carnival games. Meet celebrity magician Rashaun Hammond. Dance to live music by Ari & the Alibis, F&R Music Project, and other great performers. Win spectacular prizes during the raffle and giveaways. And, SO MUCH MORE! The best part....this event is FREE!


Downtown Tampa Independence Day Fireworks Celebration

Time: 9:00 pm

Location: Tampa Convention Center (333 South Franklin Street)

Finish your day of celebrations with the most spectacular fireworks display of the year. The fireworks will be held in the harbor in front of the Convention Center and are visible all along Tampa's beautiful Riverwalk.

 


The Sper Group wishes everyone in the greater Tampa area a very Happy & Safe Independence Day!


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/.


 

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 78

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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