Real Estate Information Archive


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Truth or Fiction? Real Estate Myths

by Craig & Linda Nowicke

Whether you are buying or selling a home for the first time or you are a seasoned veteran of buying/selling real estate, chances are you think you have the knowledge needed to navigate the process based on what you have read or heard from friends and family. Unfortunately there are a plethora of myths circulating about buying and selling a home that have become prevalent, but just aren’t true.  The pitfall of believing everything you hear or read is that real estate myths can hurt you where it counts…in the wallet.  Here are eight common ones that can cause home buyers/sellers to make unnecessary mistakes:


  • Set your home price higher than what you expect to get. Setting your asking price too high, may actually net you a lower price. That’s because many shoppers and their real estate agents will not look at houses that are priced above market value. While it’s true that you can lower your price if you have not gotten offers in the first few weeks, “Buyers are highly suspicious of houses that have sat on the market for more than three weeks,” says Nela Richardson, chief economist for the brokerage Redfin.


  • You can get a better deal as a buyer if you don’t use a real estate agent.

This is a false assumption. When a house is listed with an agent, the total sales commission is already built into the price.  If the buyer doesn’t use and agent, that just means the selling agent will get the entire commission.


  • You can save money selling your home yourself.

While it is possible to successfully sell your home on your own, there is a great deal of work that goes into it. You must know how to get the home listed online, market it to prospective buyers, negotiate the contract and deal with any issues that arise during the inspection or loan application phases.  In addition, buyers will expect a significant discount, so what you might save on real estate commission may not be as much as you thought it would be.


  • The market will only go up.

Over the years, homebuyers and sellers have experienced a time of increasing home values, then a sharp decline due to the economy and then an upturn where values increase again.  But many people believe the market only goes up.  You need to be aware that prices can fall dramatically.


  • You should renovate your kitchen and bathroom before you sell.

If your kitchen and bathroom are in working order, an extensive remodel could be a mistake. Potential buyers might not like what you’ve done with the place, but they don’t want to change something that has just been renovated.  Ask your Realtor what updates they recommend to ensure that you do not over improve.


  • You’ll earn back what you spend on renovations.

Repairing things like your heating system, air conditioner or roof may help your home to sell faster, but you probably will not recoup dollar for dollar what you spend. Check out Remodeling Magazine’s 2017 cost-vs-value report.


  • All the properties listed in the multiple listing service show up online.

Your agent must choose to let the listings show up online. Most do, but it’s a good idea to verify that yours will.


  • Open houses sell properties.

Homes rarely sell to buyers who have visited them during open houses.  Agents like to have open houses because it helps them to find additional potential customers.  If you and your agent opt not to have an open house, it probably won’t hurt your chances of selling.  On the other hand, having a broker’s open house for other agents might be worthwhile.


If you are thinking about buying or selling a house, the professionals at Tampa Realty Now can assist you in the process and keep you avoid the pitfalls of real estate myths.  Give them a call today at 813-728-3880!

The Perks of Downsizing

by Craig & Linda Nowicke

Have you recently become an empty nester with a home spacious enough for a large family?  Maybe it’s time to consider downsizing.  There are numerous perks to downsizing to a smaller home:

  • Saving Money. You will not only save on your monthly mortgage payment in a smaller home, you will also save money on frivolous living.  One of the advantages of downsizing your home is that you can stop wasting money on furniture, and home décor that are used to fill space rather than to fulfill a function.  Filling a smaller space will allow you to prioritize what items are important and necessary for you.
  • Less Stress.  After working hard all week to pay the bills, it’s no fun to have to spend your weekend doing chores.  A smaller home equals fewer chores and less upkeep. This will free up time for leisure activities for enjoyment and relaxation.
  • Save energy. If you live in a large home, you know that energy costs can be expensive.  Smaller homes will not only save you money on heating, cooling and water costs, it will also allow you to reduce your carbon footprint.
  • Free time for travel.  With additional disposable income and less upkeep needed, a smaller home will afford you the time and cash for travel and adventure.  Weekend getaways or even long trips are less of a hassle now that you don’t have to worry about being house-poor.
  • A new beginning. Downsizing can be the beginning of a new chapter in your life.  If being an empty nester has you feeling down, a lifestyle change might be just what you need to start focusing on how you want to spend your time, money and energy. 

If you are thinking about downsizing, the professionals at Tampa Realty Now can help you get your current home on the market and sold.  We can also help you find your new home.  Now is a great time for new beginnings, so call today! (813) 413-4343

Tampa Luxury Home Housing Report - December 2017

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)


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.

‘Tis the Season…Tax Season!

by Craig & Linda Nowicke

The hustle and bustle of the holidays are over and a new season has begun…tax season.  Now is the time to start preparing to complete your 2017 tax return.  Here is a list of things you can do this month to make tax time a little less stressful:

  • Contribute to retirement accounts.  If you haven’t funded your retirement account for 2017 yet, now is the time to do it.  For a traditional or ROTH IRA the deadline to do so is April 17, 2018. But if you want to start compounding tax free interest as quickly as possible, make those contributions now!
  • Make a last-minute estimated tax payment.  If you didn’t pay the IRS enough money throughout the year, you may have a hefty tax bill coming your way.  You might owe some interest and penalties as well.  If you make an estimated payment by January 15, you can avoid a penalty for the fourth quarter and save money.  Try not to pay too much though.  It’s better to owe a little money than to get a refund.  The IRS doesn’t pay you any interest on money they are borrowing from you.
  • Organize your records.  Yes!  Do it now!  Good organization may not change the amount of money you must pay, but it will certainly make the process of filing your taxes easier.  Prepare a tax checklist to get all your ducks in a row.  Have a tax folder or binder in which you keep all documents and receipts.  Taking the time to get organized now will save you time and energy when it is time to file your taxes.
  • Find the right tax forms.  You can view and download tax forms on the Internal Revenue Service web site or you can have them mailed to you.  The IRS can also provide you with a private web site that lists state government sites where you can pick up state forms and publications. 
  • Itemize your tax deductions. While it may be easier to take the standard deduction, you may save money if you itemize.  Especially if you are self-employed, own a home, or live in a high tax area.  It is worth the time and effort when you see how much money you can save.  This list of the Top 500 Itemized Deductions will come in handy for that!
  • Decide if you need help.  Avoid the panic of last minute calls to accountants by preparing in January.  You will have plenty of time to determine if you are going to need help completing your taxes and won’t be scrambling for assistance as the deadline looms.

Here’s How to Tell…That You’re Ready to Sell

by Craig & Linda Nowicke

If you are thinking about selling your house, here are the signs to look for to figure out if you are ready to put your house on the market:

  1. Positive Equity. Home ownership is an investment and positive equity is an important factor in determining if you should sell your house.  While breaking even on a house is ok, but the goal is to make money on your home.  With home prices on the rise, you might be surprised to discover how much equity you have.  If your house is worth more than you owe on it, you could make a nice profit which you can put toward a new home.  Figuring out how much equity you have is one of the first steps you should take before deciding to sell your home.  Ideally you want to have enough equity to pay off your current mortgage with enough left over to put a 20% down payment on a new home.
  2. No Debt. If you are debt free you are in a good position to buy.  Even better if you have cash in the bank.  Now is a good time to take a hard look at your finances.  If you have paid off all your nonmortgage debt and have three to six months of expenses in your emergency fund, that is a great sign that you are ready to move forward with your home search.
  3. Lifestyle. Take time to consider if you can afford a house that fits your lifestyle better than your current home.  Maybe you need more space to accommodate your growing family.  Or perhaps your kids have grown up and moved out and it’s time to downsize.  If you are an empty nester, you can reap the benefit of selling while rates are low. Imagine the freedom you will feel when you sell your large home, pay cash for a smaller one and then invest the profit you make for your retirement. Just remember to make sure your mortgage fits your budget.
  4. Moving Expenses. Having enough cash to pay for your move is another sign that you are ready to buy a new home.  Don’t get so excited at the prospect of moving that you forget to consider the cost of doing so.  You will likely need to do some work on your current place to get it ready to sell which will cost a little, or a lot, depending on what needs to be done.  Then there is the expense of the actual move. Whether you are hiring professional movers or simply renting a moving van, there will be costs involved. It will serve you well to save in advance for these expenses.
  5. Emotional Readiness. Even with all your finances in order, you need to be sure that you are emotionally ready to sell before putting that “For Sale” sign in your yard.  Selling a house can be stressful, so you need to be prepared.  Are you ready to put the work in to keep the house “show ready”?  Can you handle potential buyers walking through your home?  And is moving on from a place where you have created precious family memories something you are ready to do?  If the answers to those questions are yes, then you just might be ready to sell!

If the time is right for you to put your house on the market, contact Craig & Linda Nowicke at Tampa Realty Now and let them assist you today!

How to Negotiate for the Best Deal

by Craig & Linda Nowicke

It seems that negotiation has become a lost art in the world of real estate, and that’s unfortunate because the truth of the matter is, if you don’t ask…you don’t get. While sellers want the highest price and buyers want the best deal, they must meet somewhere in the middle for the deal to close. Negotiation is a vital part of selling or buying a home because it is the largest asset people own and there is a lot of money at stake. Here are some guidelines for what sellers and buyers might ask for in real estate negotiations:


Negotiating the best price means different things for sellers and buyers.  The seller wants the highest price and the buyer wants to pay as little as possible.  For a successful transaction, they must compromise and come up with a price that is acceptable to both.

Closing Costs

Prepaid closing costs are paid by buyers for their mortgage.  These are funds that the mortgage lender holds in escrow for expenses like taxes and insurance.  A buyer may ask a seller to cover some or all their closing costs either with a flat dollar amount or up to a percentage of what’s an allowable contribution for a lender.  If a buyer asks the seller to do this, they are likely going to pay a higher asking price.

Closing Date

Sometimes sellers want to get out of a home quickly because they need the capital from that house they are selling to put toward a new real estate purchase.  The closing date will also affect they buyer’s monthly cash-flow because when a buyer closes on a house, they skip the next month’s mortgage payment, therefore they may want to negotiate to close at the beginning of a month.

Financing Contingencies

When there is a financing contingency in place for a real estate transaction, it can tie up a seller’s property for a required 30 to 60 days.  For this reason, many buyers prefer buyers coming to the table with cash offers. If you are competing with cash buyers, you may want to figure out if you can drop the financial contingency, which will shorten the closing time line. You can do this by getting pre-approved for a home loan prior to making an offer.  Mortgage preapproval shows that your finances are in order and you can afford the home.

Home Warranty

As a buyer, you can request a home warranty. As a seller, you can offer one.  This home protection plan covers things like appliances and systems such as the hot water heater or air conditioning, in the event they repair or replacement.


The moving process is stressful and labor intensive.  Sometimes a seller will need extra time to get into their new home.  When this happens, buyers can offer a lease-back for a reasonable period of time to persuade the seller to accept their offer over others. 

Home Repairs

With a home that needs a lot of updating there comes ample opportunity for negotiation. Buyers need to consider the cost of bringing the home up to current standards and use the estimate of that cost to request a lower asking price.  The seller, on the other hand, can specify that the house is being sold “as is” and not offer any repairs. 

Appraisal Contingency

A seller can push for a buyer to waive the appraisal contingency,  however, if for some reason the appraisal falls short of the expected amount, they need to be prepared for the amount of cash they might have to pay should the bank only be willing to lend them money based on the appraised value.


Personal property such as patio furniture, window treatments and chandeliers is all up for grabs.  The buyer can ask for these things to be included in the contract.  Sellers need to determine what they are willing to leave behind.  And any exclusions need to be specifically listed in the contract as well.


Depending on the market, sellers don’t always leave every appliance for the buyer.  They may include the dishwasher, stove and built in microwave in the contract but not the refrigerator, washer and dryer.  Sometimes they don’t want to give everything away up front so that they can use these as items for negotiation.


When sellers waive inspection, they often find themselves with "buyer’s remorse", but they can try to shorten the time frame for inspection, from 15 days to 7 days.  However, today’s lending practices and the TILA RESPA  Integrated Disclosure (TRID) make this hard to do.

Condo/Co-op Assessments

These are fees that are used to maintain common areas in a community. If there is an open assessment, it can become a negotiation between the buyer and seller as to who will pay for it.

The Unexpected Costs of Selling a Home

by Craig & Linda Nowicke

You’re putting your house on the market and the idea is to MAKE money, not spend it.  But there are costs involved when selling a home that you might not anticipate.  Don’t let yourself be blindsided by these unexpected expenses:

  1. Utilities: You will need to keep your utilities running until closing.  Not only does it allow the Realtor to show that the home is fully operational, it also helps prevent other possible issues. For example, during hot, summer months having the A/C on will help to keep the home fresh and mold-free.  And of course, you want the utilities on for the buyer’s final walk through.  Your Realtor can help you decide when it is the right day to have the utilities turned off.

  2. Renovations and Repairs: Before putting your home on the market, you need to budget for any renovations and/or repairs that will need to be done.  Walls looking drab?  They will need a fresh coat of paint.  Stains on the carpet? You’ll want to give it a good steam cleaning.  There may be a lot of little things that need to be done, or there might be one or two major projects.  Either way, you’ll want to be prepared for the costs involved. Before getting started, do your homework and find out which home improvements get the best return on investment.

  3. Seller Credits to Buyer: If you don’t want to deal with repairs or renovations, it is possible to extend a seller credit to the buyer to compensate for the cost of fixing up the house. These credits are a loan option that allows buyers to finance their closing costs and, as a result, purchase the home with less cash down. But be aware that lenders cap the credit amount that a seller can extend to a buyer at 3% to 6% of the total mortgage.

  4. Staging Costs: When your house is on the market, you want it to get as much exposure to potential buyers as possible.  Great pictures and/or videos and descriptions of your home online are one of the most efficient ways to reach potential buyers. You may need to hire a professional home stager.  Costs to do this can range from a couple of hundred dollars to $5,000 or more, depending on what you request. At Tampa Realty; Craig does all our custom photography and videos! Take a look!

  5. Agent Commissions: Realtors are paid on commission.  They usually get 6 percent of the home’s sale price.  Generally, commission is split between the seller’s agent and the buyer’s agent.  The home seller typically pays the commission fee, and therefore should take that into consideration when determining the asking price.

  6. Moving Costs: Make sure you include moving expenses in your budget when selling your house.  Hopefully you will get your asking price and make a nice profit on your home sale, but you should be prepared to cover your moving costs even if the house sells for less than you hope.


Take all home sale costs into consideration. Be sure to visit our Fit-To-Sell series to learn more about getting top dollar for your home.

Modern or Contemporary? How to Tell the Difference

by Craig & Linda Nowicke

So, you think you like modern décor, or is it contemporary?  You may think the two styles are synonymous, but they are quite different.  If you are decorating your home, or if you’ve hired a decorator to do it for you, terminology matters!  It’s important to know the correct words to describe the look you are going for!  Here is how to tell the difference between modern and contemporary home décor styles.

Modern design was developed in the early to mid-twentieth century.  Highly influenced by Scandinavian and German Bauhaus design, it created a distinct style focused on simple form and function.  Then mid-century modern was developed in the 50s and 60s, but for most interior designers, the word “modern” covers both styles.  Modern spaces tend to follow specific style formats that emphasize balance and lean toward natural and warm neutral colors for decorating.

Contemporary design doesn’t refer to any specific time period. It is dynamic, changing to reflect current popular trends.  It borrows from other styles including modernism, minimalism and art deco. There are many variations in contemporary interior design and color palettes of brown, taupe, cream and white are featured, with splashes of color sometimes found on a single wall, rug or piece of art.

While the main differences between modern and contemporary are significant, there are similarities as well, which is why people often confuse them.  They both embrace simple, clutter free spaces with smooth, clean lines.  Furniture in both styles feature exposed legs, and reflective surfaces such as exposed metals and glass are popular in both. Neither utilizes ornate designs or dramatic elements.

Hopefully this has cleared up some confusion, but if you like elements of both styles, don’t despair.  Mix it up and have fun with it, because at the end of the day, the only style that matters is YOUR style!

Tampa Luxury Home Housing Report - October 2017

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)


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.

Selling a Home During the Holiday Season: Tips for Success

by Craig & Linda Nowicke

It seems the holiday season starts earlier and earlier each year.  The day after Halloween, Christmas music is playing on the radio, peppermint mochas are on coffee menus and pumpkin patches are being replaced with Christmas tree lots. With so much going on, it might seem like the worst possible time to have your house on the market.  But don’t despair…selling a house during the holidays is not an impossible dream.  In fact, it can be a great time to show your house at its very best! Follow these tips to help you successfully sell your house this holiday season:

  • Feel free to decorate, but don’t go overboard.  You want your home to look its best while still enjoying your personal touch.  Avoid large decorations that can be overwhelming or distracting.  Remember that potential buyers want be able to envision your home as their own.
  • Make your home feel inviting. Play soft, classical music and offer homemade holiday treats. If potential buyers are comfortable, they will spend a lengthier amount of time in your home and will have more time to appreciate all its best features.
  • There will be motivated buyers this time of year. If people are house hunting during the holidays, they probably have a good reason for doing so. For example, they may be relocating for a job or investing for a tax deduction.  If they are on a deadline, they will be highly driven to find a home quickly.  It may be worth it to do the extra work involved in showing your home during the holiday season.
  • Price your home to sell.  A home that is reasonably priced for the market will make buyers feel merry and bright.  Many real estate agents advise sellers to initially price their home to sell rather than making small price reductions over time.
  • Provide photos that show your home year round.  Yards and landscaping can go dormant during the winter months.  Make sure that potential buyers see the beauty of your home during other times of year when the grass is greener and trees and flowers are in bloom.
  • Create a video tour for the web. You might get less foot traffic during the holidays due to the busyness of the season.  By posting a video tour, you may attract house hunters who don’t have time to physically go to your home.

If you are planning to put your house on the market this holiday season, let the professional Realtors at  Tampa Realty Now assist you.  Give them a call at 813-413-4343 today!

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Contact Information

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: 813-961-6016

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