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Study: Amendment 2 failure would spark $700M tax increase

by Craig & Linda Nowicke

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – May 16, 2018 – Florida TaxWatch released a study on Tuesday projecting that property taxes could increase by more than $700 million on non-homestead properties like businesses, apartments and second homes should Florida fail to extend a property tax yearly rate cap.

According to TaxWatch, the increase would happen if voters reject a proposed constitutional amendment that they'll consider on the November ballot.

Known as Amendment 2, the proposed amendment would extend a current 10 percent cap on annual increases in assessed values of non-homestead properties – a cap that voters approved in 2008.

TaxWatch Vice President Kurt Wenner said many Floridians aren't aware how much taxes could go up if the cap is lifted.

"If Amendment 2 fails to pass, it doesn't mean that the cap is just no longer going to be in effect going forward," Wenner said during a media event at the Florida Press Center. "It means that all of this property will suddenly be assessed at full value. This can be quite a big sticker shock when some people get their tax bills."

Wenner said he expects that these potential tax increases would be passed along to renters and business customers, making the issue important whether someone owns property or not.

Supporters of the amendment say it's currently polling at just under 60 percent, which is the threshold for amendments to pass.

The Florida Legislature decided in 2017 to put Amendment 2 on this year's ballot. Senator Tom Lee, a Thonotosassa Republican who sponsored the proposal, estimated at the time that failure to extend the cap would effectively lead to a $688 million tax increase.

In all, Florida's November ballot will include 13 proposed constitutional amendments.

© 2018 Florida Realtors®

First-Time Homebuyer Assistance

by Craig & Linda Nowicke

Have you been hesitant to purchase your first home because you are worried about having enough cash for a down payment or that you won’t qualify for a loan?  Don’t despair!  There is help out there for you.  Owning a home is a sound financial investment and there is no reason to keep paying a landlord’s mortgage when you could be paying your own and building equity for your future.

The Florida Homebuyer Loan Program offers 30-year fixed rate FIRST mortgage loans to first-time homebuyers through participating lenders and lending institutions throughout Florida. If you are eligible, you may also qualify for one of Florida Housing’s second mortgage or grant programs to help with your down payment and closing costs.

Florida also offers a Mortgage Credit Certificate Program.  This offers qualifying first time homebuyers a nonrefundable federal income tax credit that can be used with a lender’s first mortgage.  This reduces the borrower’s federal income taxes and as such, creates additional income for the borrower to use in making mortgage payments or other household expenses. The requirements for this program include being a first-time homebuyer, the purchase price of the residence and the total household income.

The Florida Housing Finance Corporation offers First-Time Homebuyer Education (HBE). You can also take a course through the Tampa Housing Authority. Taking one of these classes is a great first step toward understanding all you need to know before you start your home search.  The class teaches things such as:

-          Shopping for a home

-          Understanding credit

-          Money management

-          Obtaining a mortgage

The first-time homebuyer program uses income and purchase price limits to determine eligibility.  Potential buyers must complete a home buyer education course and qualify for a mortgage loan and have a qualifying FICO score,

The real estate professionals at Tampa Realty Now can explain these programs to you and answer any questions that you have.  Contact them and start your home search today!  Call Linda or Craig Nowicke at 813-728-3880 or 813-675-5030

Moving with Kids - How Important is the School District?

by Craig & Linda Nowicke

When choosing a new home, there are usually several items on the buyer’s list of priorities, but when kids are involved, school systems often top that list.  People are generally willing to pay more and sacrifice other desires to make sure they are in the best school district for their children.  Private schools may be a feasible alternative for some, but that is not the case for many. Even if buyers don’t have children (or plan to have them), they may want to buy where the schools have the best reputation because it will have a positive effect on resale value down the road. However, it’s important to remember that a poorly ranked school district does not automatically mean that the overall quality of local education in an area is poor.  You must do your research. The website Niche is an excellent resource for information on schools in the Tampa area.  Consider the age of the schools, their physical condition, the student-to-teacher ratios and standardized test scores. Understanding how the school system works in Florida will be helpful in your search as well.  According to Florida School Choice, there are many options available to residents including Charter Schools, Magnet Schools, Career Academies, Virtual Schools, Controlled Open Enrollment, Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate Programs, Dual Enrollment and ABC School Programs.  In addition, there are scholarship programs for private schools and resources for people who choose home education.

Finding a home in the Best School Districts  is something the real estate professionals at Tampa Realty Now can help you do.  Contact Craig & Linda Nowicke at 813-728-3880 or 813-675-5030 and begin your search today!

Tampa Luxury Home Housing Report - March 2018

by Craig & Linda Nowicke

The charts below show the 7-day and 90-day rolling averages for list pricedays on market, and inventory for the metro area's luxury market (e.g. top 10 zips with median prices above $500k)

ILHM-TAMPA VS NATIONAL

The charts below compare the ilhm-tampa luxury market with the ILHM National Luxury Market Index and show 90-day rolling averages for Median List Price and Days on Market.

The chart below shows the Altos Market Action Index for the metro area's luxury market and the National Index.

Statistics provided by the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing.

Courtesy of Tampa FL Realtor Linda Nowicke.

Now is a Great Time to Move Up!

by Craig & Linda Nowicke

We hear a lot about people downsizing and simplifying, but if you are looking for a larger home, now is a great time to sell your smaller home and move up to something that better suits your wants and needs.  Perhaps you have a growing family and need more space, or an additional income-earner has joined your household or maybe you have enough equity in your current home that you can now afford your dream home. Whatever the reason, movin’ on up is an exciting prospect!

Ok, now let’s contain that excitement a bit and think about what it means to purchase a more expensive house.  First, just because you can afford something on paper, doesn’t mean you should commit all your resources to the most expensive property on your radar.  It would behoove you to take a thorough look at your current budget and then play with the numbers a bit to determine how much more you’re willing to spend each month on a higher mortgage payment.  A dream house is wonderful, but being house-poor is not.  Think about your lifestyle and don’t make the mistake of getting into a financial bind that doesn’t allow you to do the activities you enjoy.

When financing your new home, you have a couple of options.  If you haven’t sold your current home yet, you can choose a Home Equity Loan to make the down payment on the new home.  A home equity loan allows you to borrow against your current home’s equity and is usually less expensive than other loans. 

Before you put your house on the market and commit to purchasing a new one, educate yourself about the prices of houses in the areas where you will be selling and buying. Whether it’s a buyer’s market or a seller’s market, an experienced professional Realtor will be able to assist you in navigating the process. The goal is to sell high and buy low, and in today’s market that is an achievable dream!  Call Craig & Linda Nowicke of Tampa Realty Now at 813-675-5030 or 813-728-3880 and let them help you find your dream home today!

Bidding War Prep 101

by Craig & Linda Nowicke

It is a Seller's Market in real estate, and now that spring has arrived, the competition for homes is likely to get even more fierce.  If you are looking to purchase a home right now, chances are you may find yourself in a bidding war.  Be prepared! 

Here are six ways to come out on top in a bidding war:

  1. Get your finances in order and get as much cash as you can.  It is never too soon to get pre-approved for a loan. In fact, the sooner the better.  Sellers will have lots of options and will be leery of those who do not have loans set in stone.  If possible, bring cash to the table.  Sellers will fear appraisals coming in low and loans falling through, so be prepared to cover the difference with cash.
  2. Don’t hesitate!  Be the first to make an offer, and make it a good one.  An insulting offer will put you at the bottom of the seller’s list, so it is not a good time to low ball.  Come in at or slightly below asking price so that they know you are serious about purchasing their home.
  3. Offer an Escalation Clause. This is the amount of money the buyer agrees to increase the offer if there are other bids. If you offer the asking price of $400,000 on a house, but it might sell for $450,000, put in an escalation clause stating that you are willing to go as high as $460,000.  But know your limit.  Don’t offer more than you can handle.  Also, make sure the clause states that the seller can only take the winning bid up to a level just above the competing offers.  For example, if an offer comes in for $430,000, your bid would be upped to $431,000.
  4. Get a pre-inspection.  It will cost you a few hundred dollars, but it can help you in a super-tight market.  If you can make a bid that is not contingent upon inspection, sellers will look favorably on your offer versus the same offer from someone who has a contingency in their contract.
  5. Show the love!  If you have found the perfect house and really love it, don’t be afraid to let the sellers know, either directly or through your Realtor.  You can write a letter, send pictures of your family or even make a video describing why you love the house so much.  Be specific in your praise.  Sellers may appreciation the connection you feel with the house and choose you over other bidders.
  6. Think with your head, not your heart. Be smart! Purchasing a home is an emotional thing for sure, but emotions can get in the way of making wise decisions.   Make sure you have done thorough research of the market: look at the most recent comparable sales, compare prices from a year ago, visit local school, have coffee at the closest café and speak to potential neighbors.  Look at listings nearby.  Whatever you do, don’t overpay because you get caught up in the heat of the competition.  While the house may seem perfect for you, it is not the only house that will be perfect for you. So, keep a level head and make intelligent decisions.

You don’t have to face a bidding war alone. The experienced professionals at Tampa Realty Now can help you through the process of finding and purchasing the house of your dreams!  Call them today at 813-728-3880 or 813-675-5030.

Tampa Luxury Home Housing Report - February 2018

by Craig & Linda Nowicke

The charts below show the 7-day and 90-day rolling averages for list pricedays on market, and inventory for the metro area's luxury market (e.g. top 10 zips with median prices above $500k)

ILHM-TAMPA VS NATIONAL

The charts below compare the ilhm-tampa luxury market with the ILHM National Luxury Market Index and show 90-day rolling averages for Median List Price and Days on Market.

The chart below shows the Altos Market Action Index for the metro area's luxury market and the National Index.

Statistics provided by the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing.

Courtesy of Tampa FL Realtor Linda Nowicke.

House Hunting? These Are the Top Ten Things You Should Look For

by Craig & Linda Nowicke

House hunting can be overwhelming sometimes, especially when beginning the search for your first home.  Chances are you might get caught up in the process and important details might slip by you. While the number of rooms, condition of the kitchen, and size of the yard are important, there are other things to consider before you make an offer.  This list of things to look for can help you get your search off to the right start.

 1.          Location, Location, Location!

They say that the 3 most important things to look for when buying a home are location, location and location.  While a home might not be perfect, loving your neighborhood and neighbors can make all the difference in living with imperfection.  And face it…you can change almost anything about your house, but you can’t change its location or the people living nearby.  When you go house hunting, make sure to consider the home’s proximity to your work, the appeal of the neighborhood, where in the neighborhood the home is situated, ease of access, noise from neighbors, traffic, pets and access to parks, shopping, School Districts and public transportation.

 2.          Home Placement

Beyond location, look at how the home is situated. Do neighbors' windows look directly into the home? Is the yard suitable for kids, pets, gardening, or other uses? Is there safe access to the home? These are all important questions to ask yourself when determining if it is the right property for you.

 3.          Check Out the Neighborhood

While it’s important for your house to meet your expectations, it’s equally important that the neighborhood meets them too. Take a drive around the development you are interested in on week days and weekends, during the day and in the evening.  Are the homes in good repair? Are yards kept clean and tidy?  Is the neighborhood safe enough for people to walk, run or bike?  Are there children playing outdoors?

 4.           Consider a Home’s Curb Appeal

You want a home that is going to reflect your lifestyle. Do you live a    casual, laid-back life? Then you probably won’t want a formal home.  A simple, contemporary home might better suit you.  Pay close attention to exterior features.  Think about maintenance. Do you like working in the yard?  If not, you might not want a house with extensive landscaping.  Is the roof in good condition?  Attention to detail will help you choose the home with the best curb appeal for you.

 5.           Size and Floor Plan

You may be thinking about buying your dream home. But is your dream home practical?  Do you need 4 bedrooms and 4 baths when you live alone? A spacious home may provide the extra room you've always wanted for a home office or a theater room, but you'll pay higher heating bills and have higher taxes. Additionally, it will take more furniture to furnish and money to decorate. Think about how the new home space will be used and whether it will fit your lifestyle now and in the future.

 6.            Bedrooms and Bathrooms

Decide how many bedrooms and bathrooms you will need and only    look at homes that meet that criteria.  You don’t want to fall in love with what is otherwise a perfect house if it doesn’t provide the space needed for your family.  It’s smart to consider counting an extra bedroom in that number so that you have extra space for a home office or guest room. If you think you might add on to the home later, make sure you consult an architect who can advise you on space planning and Hillsborough County.

 7.             The Kitchen

For many people, the kitchen is the heart of the home. Don’t settle for a home with a kitchen that doesn’t work for you.  Yes, you can remodel later, but at great expense.  If it’s an easy fix like replacing cabinets or countertops, get a price quote before committing the house so that you will know if it is within your budget to take that on.

 8.              Closets and Storage

Older homes often have small closets and lack storage space.  As you’re looking at a home ask yourself where you will store your belongings.  Tiny closets don’t have to be a deal breaker.  There are ways to maximize storage without renovations. Newer homes tend to have lots of storage and you may sacrifice living space while having more closet space than you need.

 9.              Windows and Lighting

While looking at a home keep in mind your preferences regarding light and privacy.  Do you want a lot of windows to provider bright, sunny rooms?  Pay attention to the locations of electrical outlets and fixtures to make sure they will meet your lighting needs.

 10.           Finishing Touches

Even a simple home can look spectacular with the right moldings, hardware, and a fireplace.  If elements like these are important to you, look for them while house hunting. 

You may not find everything you want in one house, but keep this list handy and you are more likely to find the home that best suits your needs and desires.  The professionals at Tampa Realty Now are ready and waiting to show you the house of your dreams! Contact them today at 813-413-4343. Happy House Hunting!      

Tampa Realty Now: How Clients Love Thee…Let Us Count the Ways!

by Craig & Linda Nowicke

Valentine’s Day is this week and there is no better time to count the many ways that Craig and Linda Nowicke of Tampa Realty Now are loved by their clients!

  1. “She [Linda] went over all details with me including other houses selling in the neighborhood. She was very knowledgeable about the neighborhood and the surrounding area. She was upfront about the price of similar properties. She is incredible in marketing and staging to get the most value in your home." Kathy C.

  2. Linda and her team should be your " go to" real estate company when buying or selling a home. Very knowledgeable and professional. Responds to issues in a timely manner. Carrie B.

  3. We met Craig and Linda Nowicke when we were looking to buy a new house, they were the realtor of the seller. We were so impressed with her service, her demeanor and her professionalism that we asked her to sell our then current home, too. After the success of those transactions, we had Linda sell a rental property recently as well. Bringing our repeat business to Linda was an easy choice, the only choice, and we will do it again! Mike W.

  4. Linda, Craig did a really nice job videoing our house. Please thank him profusely. How do we give the drone a tip?! That medium is truly unsurpassed to show the golf course proximity & view. He [Craig] definitely has a photographer's eye and a perfect voice for the work. I saw one out of place tv tray! We are gratefully enjoying a welcome slower pace and short to do lists. Thank you for representing our home so professionally. We have not seen a golf course view as nice or any home as fully remodeled, we're spoiled! Hope we all make some family happy here. Jerry & Maribeth M.

  5. Linda was such a pleasure to work with! She sold our house in 72 hours with two offers! She was very invested in our needs and took the time to help us find the perfect home for our growing family. Linda's knowledge and expertise was amazing and she guided us every step of the way. We would recommend Linda to anyone that is looking for a realtor! Sabrina S.

  6. When selling my Florida home, I reached out to Linda because she was knowledgeable of the market in my area and has a proven track record in the development I lived in. Not only did Linda secure my asking price she was able to work with the buyers to assist them with securing financing. Although selling a house can be stressful, Linda's expertise was invaluable, mainly because I live in Pennsylvania and relied on her to make certain the home was in sellable condition throughout the entire for sale process. I highly recommend Linda and Craig to assist everyone looking to buy or sell a home within their market reach. Robert B.

  7. There is no one better than Linda. Her expertise in the field allows her to develop her own predictions of market trends versus relying solely on typical trend tools. This paid off for us when we sold our home as we made a larger profit than we thought we would. Our home sold in 24 hours and the marketing Linda used as well as her staging advice and pricing strategy made that happen. Thank you, Linda!  Michael T.

  8. Linda is a consummate professional who brought years of expertise and knowledge to our buying experience. She always had our best interests at heart in all of her dealings with us and made sound recommendations when we needed them. A buyer would be hard-pressed to find an agent of Linda's caliber anywhere. Highly recommended!! Dara C.

  9. I had the pleasure of closing on my townhome with my agent Linda Nowicke, PA. I have been completely satisfied with Linda's performance, experience, engagement and marketing plan that resulted in a quick sale. Linda's most important quality was her understanding of my needs and expectations. Linda is an expert in her field! I will reach out to her when it's time to sell again and will refer her to anyone as I am confident she will outperform any real estate agent. Ian O.

  10. Linda, this is long overdue but I wanted to take a moment to thank you for all of your outstanding services during our home search and relocation process. Your assistance in helping us understand the local market and make a good housing choice is very much appreciated. In addition, you went above and beyond what any realtor has ever done for us before in helping us address some of the other details related to closing our home.  For example, being at the home to help resolve some of the inspection items on our behalf, when we could not be present was extraordinarily helpful. We have completed eight moves in our past and, without a doubt, can say that you have been the most customer focused realtor we have ever worked with. Again, many thanks for all your terrific assistance. Larry & Carol A.

It is clear that providing professional real estate services for their clients is a labor of love for Craig and Linda Nowicke. If you are looking to buy or sell a home in the Tampa area, call them today at 813-728-3880!

YOUR HOME SEARCH STARTS HERE                   FIND OUT WHAT YOUR HOME IS WORTH  

Tampa Luxury Home Housing Report - January 2018

by Craig & Linda Nowicke

The charts below show the 7-day and 90-day rolling averages for list pricedays on market, and inventory for the metro area's luxury market (e.g. top 10 zips with median prices above $500k)

ILHM-TAMPA VS NATIONAL

The charts below compare the ilhm-tampa luxury market with the ILHM National Luxury Market Index and show 90-day rolling averages for Median List Price and Days on Market.

The chart below shows the Altos Market Action Index for the metro area's luxury market and the National Index.

Statistics provided by the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing.

Courtesy of Tampa FL Realtor Linda Nowicke.

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Photo of Linda and Craig Nowicke Real Estate
Linda and Craig Nowicke
RE/MAX ACR Elite Group
14823 N. Dale Mabry
Tampa FL 33618
Linda: 813-728-3880
Craig: 813-675-5030
Fax: 813-413-4343

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