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Clearwater Beach Real Estate Blog

Tom Smith Team


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 27

Great family fun! St. Pete Rocks

by Tom Smith Team

There's a fun "secret" game happening all around us every day. You feel lucky when you find one and excited to hide one. Kids and adults alike are taking part in a fun game and it all started on Facebook @StPeteRocks.

The possibilities are endless for painted rocks and places to hide and find them. A good friend of mine mentioned the rocks on Facebook, then a few days later I happened to be the "lucky one" who found 2 rocks at a local kids store in Seminole. I was with my 4 year old son who I told about this "secret" game and he was thrilled. A child is naturally drawn to collecting rocks and what a fun thing to do together and spend time outside. 

Different terms are used by the "rock" community...

"I've been rocked at Walmart"
"Going to rock out and hide my rocks at ......... Park"
"Thank you for rocking St Pete"
"Keep on rocking"

The Facebook page has now reached over 16,000 members. It's become quite the attraction for all ages. Rocks have been reported throughout Pinellas County, not just St Pete. People have posted pictures of rocks found at hardware stores, Walmart, Publix, parks, restaurants and more.

How to play:
1. Either find rocks or paint your own. Some are painting poems, kids movie characters, mermaids, abstract art and more. Some are funny, beautiful, unique and touching.

2. When you find these special rocks, you can keep them or re-hide them now or later.

3. When you find rocks, take a picture and post where you found it on the St Pete Rocks Facebook page.

4. When you paint your own and go to hide them, you can give the place you are hiding them or just a clue by taking a picture of the location (on a tree, park bench, etc) so people have to find them.

Keep on rocking! Check it out and Join on Facebook

What's Shakin on the Beaches - February 2017

by Tom Smith Team

If you ever had any doubt on whether Clearwater/St. Pete Beach area was the right spot for you to call home or just own a vacation home well just look at some of the activities, you can do year-round and then picture you or your family having all that fun!  The Clearwater chamber of commerce lets you choose from over 40 fun filled adventures.  Would you want to ride in a Pirate Ship, Parasail, charter a fishing boat for some Grouper or Tarpon, take a sunset cruise on a 70-foot power boat?  If your answer is yes to any one of these click here

Or maybe you would like to attend some of the year-round events happening in February that are some of my favorites.

Sea-Blues Festival
Dates: 2017-02-17 to 2017-02-19
Coachman Park, Clearwater, FL

Presented in Coachman Park, this yearly festival has become one of Clearwater’s most beloved signature events, and appeals to thousands of visitors during February each year. 

More information on

The annual Florida State Fair is a salute to the state's best in the agriculture and equestrian industry including an abundance of shows, music, rides, food and shopping for 12 consecutive days.

From Thursday, February 09, 2017 - 10:00am
To Monday, February 20, 2017 - 12:00pm


Blast Friday returns to the Cleveland Street District in Downtown Clearwater for its 7th season.

Friday, Feb. 24 – John Waite. Singer/songwriter John Waite got his start as the lead singer of The Baby’s whose hits include “Isn’t It Time?” and “Every Time I Think of You.” After five albums with The Baby’s, Waite released his first solo album, “Ignition,” which boasted the hit rock single “Change,” which was soon followed with a No. 1 and what is undeniably one of the all-time greatest pop/rock ballads, “Missing You.” The song topped the international charts and today remains a radio staple around the globe.

This event is managed by Ruth Eckerd Hall. For more info on VIP tickets visit

That’s what's shakin!

In this resort style residence, year-round outdoor living is created with the tranquil salt water pool, covered patios and unique western view featuring stunning sunsets. A boater’s dream with an option to dock at a 30’ covered boat slip with 10K lb lift or a second slip for larger vessels. The seawall has a pavered sidewalk for fishing and relaxing.

The great room has clean architectural lines, high-impact windows, skylights & soaring ceilings that capture you & melt your cares into the shimmering water beyond. The master suite enjoys complete privacy on a separate wing of the home with an award-winning bath featuring glass tile floors, natural lighting, separate vanities, expansive custom walk in closet & premier finishes. Entertaining on a grand scale is accomplished with finesse, whether it’s a family celebration in the waterfront dining room or large gatherings that begin in the great room & unfold throughout the home. The gourmet kitchen is masterfully finished with natural quartzite counters, high-end appliances, induction cooktop, warming drawer, Sub-Zero refrigerator & a casual breakfast bar.

A true retreat for those seeking seclusion and luxury island living. Call today!


Construction Loans for Tear Down and Rebuild New

by Kristin Vincelli

What’s Shakin on The Beaches - Construction Loans for Tear Down and Rebuild New

While there is a shortage of land available on the beaches, there are plenty of old homes that could be torn down and rebuilt new.  Take a drive up and down the waterways or coast and you will see construction sites like these popping up all over the place.  We believe this trend will continue to grow and gain momentum especially for buyers who are buying vacation homes.  Buyers who can wait 9-12 months for a brand new dream home on the water have some pretty appealing options when it comes to financing.  5/3 Bank for example has a program that will finance your new construction home and lot altogether in one loan and with one closing.  These loans can be for primary residence and second home financing with loan amounts up to 2 million. 

Loan limits are flexible.  Up to 90% on primary and second homes if loan amount is under $424,000.  For jumbo loans the maximum is 80% loan to value for primary and 75% for second homes.

What happens if you own the home/land already?  The bank will let you use the equity in the lot as part of the down payment required.  You could have enough equity in the property to satisfy any or all of the down payment requirement.  If that’s the case you would just need to give the builder a deposit if they require it.

How does it work?

Step 1 You find a home in a great location 

Step 2 You work with the builder to come up with a cost to build

Step 3 The bank approves you for the cost of the land and the cost to build

Step 4 The bank closes in 60 days and the tear down construction process begins.  The bank disperses the draws to the builder during the construction phase until complete.

Step 5 The home is completed 9-12 months from now and you move into your brand new home, no additional closing needed!

The ONE TIME CLOSE with banks like 5/3 allows you to lock in today's rates and you don’t have to re-qualify when the home is done saving you time, money and the hassle of having two separate closings and worrying about what rates will be in 9 or 12 months.  Are you ready to walk into a brand new home? If you want that new home smell and feel and can wait a few months this may be for you. Call today for more information.

That’s whats shakin!


New Year's Eve 2017 Clearwater Beach, FL


Welcome to Light It Up Clearwater!  Clearwater Beach's Annual Fireworks Celebration.

Come join us on New Year's Eve, grab a bite to eat, relax with your toes in the sand, watch one of our world famous sunsets and then ring in the New Year with Fireworks at midnight, compliments of the Beach Chamber of Commerce and our wonderful sponsors.

Don't expect much bubbly to flow on the sugary beaches of Clearwater Beach. On New Year's Eve, like most other nights, locals and visitors alike stroll over to Pier 60 on the Gulf of Mexico shoreline to admire the sunset, listen to live music, shop for crafts and watch fire-throwers perform daring feats. The free nightly Sunsets at Pier 60 Festival takes place from 4 to 8 p.m., after which most families head over to Frenchy's Original. In the past 45 years, the Quebec, Canada, expat known as "Frenchy" has opened five very popular seafood cafes. Kids love the beer-battered grouper, garlic fries sprinkled with crabmeat and key lime pie; a special menu will be available on New Year's Eve. If the gang is still awake afterward, lay your blanket out on the beach to wait for Light It Up Clearwater, the annual fireworks spectacle amplified by reflections from the calm Gulf waters.

For more information, please visit

Beach Views and Bonus Room

by Tom Smith Team


Make this your beach house…where your time can be filled with relaxing sunsets, cool drinks & sand between your toes. Stunning ocean view, vibrant summer sunsets & year round sunrises are accented by sugary white sands, sparkling aquamarine water. This unique 2 bed/2bath floor plan features a large picture window in the living/dining area enhancing the beach and water views. All areas have been updated including the extra den/office with bookcases & desk. Summer afternoons and twinkling night lights can be enjoyed from the extra-large balcony which is easily accessed from the living area and both bedrooms. The newer kitchen has a large open bar for ease in entertaining & enjoyment in addition eat-in area. South Beach IV is excellently maintained with on site management, a large pool area with Tiki Hut cabana for entertaining and smaller tiki’s for individual enjoyment. This exclusive Sand Key location has quick access to the Tampa airport and area dining, cultural events, shopping with convenience to St. Petersburg and other central Florida attractions. Start enjoying the beach lifestyle today. Visit the Virtual Tour

Five Headache-Free Holiday Hosting Tips

by Tom Smith Team

There's a reason the holidays are called the most wonderful time of the year. It's an opportunity to reconnect with loved ones over delicious food and shared traditions. But playing hostess can sometimes feel more like a burden rather than a blessing. This year, keep your holiday gathering fun, not frantic, with these headache-free holiday hosting tips.

Put time on your side.
Start your dinner prep as soon as possible to make room for any last-minute surprises, like forgetting an ingredient or unexpected guests. Developing a checklist and assigning manageable to-do's each day will help prevent you from feeling overwhelmed. For example, once the invitations have been extended, plan the menu, and gather recipes and a grocery list. Take inventory of your cooking supplies, serving dishes and tableware. While cleaning the house, identify what decorations are needed.

Know when to buy, when to DIY and when to ask for help.
From appetizers to desserts, determine what on the menu can be homemade, made ahead of time or store-bought and how guests can contribute. Figure out what is actually feasible for your meal―it's OK if you can't make everything from scratch. If you've never made homemade pie, there is no reason to put your culinary skills to the test the night before. If budget allows, buy prepared dishes or desserts from the market and place on festive platters. Find do-ahead recipes that can be stored in the fridge until they are ready to be served. By prioritizing your menu and asking for help, it will alleviate unnecessary stress and allow you to enjoy the event.

Use disposable tableware.
Instead of standing over the sink cleaning, spend the extra time celebrating with family and friends. Try using eco-friendly products, such as Chinet® plates and bowls that are made from recycled material and biodegradable in home composting―leaving you to only feel guilty about that second helping of green bean casserole.

Set the scene the night before.
Focus on setting the table, deciding where to put the drinks, and gathering extra seating and decorating the night before. That way the day of the party, you just have to worry about putting out the food and drinks. While last minute rearranging is bound to happen, conquering the planned details ahead of time will help keep you sane.

Deck the dinner table with a napkin fold.
For a sophisticated, yet deceptively easy place setting idea, consider using a perfectly coordinated line of disposable tableware and add a napkin fold as a pretty and practical accent. Although some napkin folds can be intricate, try a unique design such as a poinsettia that can be made in a matter of minutes. Include complementary greenery or pine cones for a festive touch.

For more holiday entertaining tips, décor ideas and recipes, visit

Consultants unveil plan for transformed Clearwater waterfront

by Tracey McManus

CLEARWATER — A downtown waterfront transformed into a greener space with a garden, marsh pond and picnic areas. Trails for biking or strolling with views of the Intracoastal Waterway. A gathering space surrounded by cafes, retail and a splash pad to replace the Harborview Center eyesore currently taking up prime space in the heart of downtown.

That's the vision a team of consultants have designed to revitalize Clearwater's struggling downtown after more than six months of meetings and study. They unveiled the plan publicly at a work session Tuesday, but City Council members were reluctant to give their final verdicts until they hear from residents at two more workshops this week.

Mayor George Cretekos did say the draft plan is a solid framework for what the city has been trying for decades to achieve.

"This has been a struggle for us over the last several years, but I think once we can get a buy-in from the community, once we can get people living in the downtown area … I think everything else will fall into place," Cretekos said.

The revitalization plan, labeled Imagine Clearwater, is the latest in a series of attempts over the past two decades to bring the city's retail, restaurant and event space on par with those of St. Petersburg and Tampa. HR & A Advisors partner Cary Hirschstein said that with the national trend toward urban core revitalizations, the timing and public buy-in could make this proposal different from the rest.

"In the past, the plans have been about a vision but less about how it's going to get accomplished in the economics and the politics," Hirschstein said. "What we're trying to offer is not just a plan but a larger strategy that sort of lays out groundwork for a lot of different actions both public and private."

When asked if the Church of Scientology's significant property ownership downtown posed any challenges to development, Hirschstein said: "It's our sincere hope the plan we're presenting is something everybody can embrace."

The first phase of Imagine Clearwater calls for removal of much of the surface parking along the waterfront to create a greener, more walkable space.

Coachman Park, which hosts concerts throughout the year, would be transformed into more of a "natural strolling garden" with a playground, said Sasaki Associates urban designer Martin Zogran.

Large activities would be moved adjacent to Coachman Park to a new area called "The Green," which would also have a picnic grove and a promenade for events like the Pierce Street Market.

A cove under the Memorial Causeway would have a marsh garden and link paths for biking and walking to the slope of the bluff and the Cleveland Street district.

A central feature of the plan is to put a water pad and pavilion in the space where the city-owned Harborview Center now sits. This gateway linking downtown to the bluff and waterfront should be surrounded by cafes, restaurants and retail, even a hotel or housing, consultants said.

The Main Library would accommodate more public uses, like a cafe and rooftop event space. And following the city's plan to relocate City Hall, which now sits on a prime water-view lot on Osceola Avenue, consultants recommend the city lure rental or condo housing.

"A lot of the future of what you wish to do with your downtown is dictated by the use of these sites," Hirschstein said. "The desire of the community to see more activity downtown, to have more restaurants and more vital business, is really dependent on having more people living downtown."

The city could seek proposals for developers to build on city-owned land, but encouraging vibrant uses of space the city does not control, in underutilized parcels along Osceola and north of Cleveland Street, will be more challenging.

For privately owned areas, the consultants recommend building incentives and advertising the plan to raise excitement in the business community.

City Council member Doreen Caudell said working with businesses and investors will be essential in bringing this plan to life.

"You're not going to be able to get what you're looking at even close to being a product without having a public/private partnership," she said.

Cretekos said that once a final plan is approved in December, the city will look at financing options.

Although the consultants did not provide a cost estimate, Hirschstein said more details about financing will be included in the final plan.

The final proposal will also include suggested locations to accommodate aerial transit infrastructure. Consultants were provided with data on a gondola cable car pitched this year by St. Petersburg developer Darryl LeClair and a magnetic levitation system proposed by Tom Nocera, a local advocate for SkyTran.

In the meantime, City Council members said they want the final proposal to include input from the community. Some waterfront redevelopment will require a referendum because of city charter restrictions, but Vice Mayor Bill Jonson said that just reinforces the importance of public buy-in.

"Everybody needs to start wrapping their arms around it,'' Caudell said. "It's time."

Contact Tracey McManus at or (727) 445-4151. Follow @TroMcManus.

Luxury Resort Lifestyle

by Tom Smith Team

Breathtaking, 20th-floor views of vivid turquoise waters, the glistening white shores with natural sea oats & brilliant blue sunny skies are the ideal backdrop for this fabulously enhanced open floor plan. Ceramic & wood tile floors, custom crown molding and baseboards plus tropical ceiling fans enrich the ambiance of this recently painted split bedroom design. Large balcony adds to the relaxing lifestyle with sounds of the surf & the sparkling night lights over Intracoastal. The well-equipped kitchen with stainless appliances and custom tray ceiling lights has an open breakfast bar & dining area with a view of the Intracoastal. Other upgrades include new maximum capacity washer & dryer. Ultimar on Sand Key is a true jewel, a wonderful place to go to the beach, fish, enjoy world class amenities or just gaze at the enchanting blues waters. Tropical plantings enrich the luxury of three swimming pools & tennis courts, outdoor lounging areas, putting green, basketball, croquet & a fully equipped gym with steam shower & sauna. Our spacious party room allows you to host intimate gatherings & is complete with a wet bar, catering kitchen, piano & two full-sized pool tables for your entertainment. Under-building private garage, onsite Manager & 24-hr guard service add to convenience and security. Many golf courses, fine dining & endless shopping venues are nearby. For year-round luxury resort style seaside living or escaping the cold, this might be your best move!

2 Bedroom - 2 Bath - 1,377sf - SEE VIRTUAL TOUR with INTERACTIVE FLOOR PLAN

Stunning open water views on Island Estates


Do you enjoy a quiet evening at home relaxing by the water and watching the sunset? Do you prefer an open water view instead of a narrow canal? Then this is the house for you! Welcome to Island Estates, the most sought after community on Clearwater Beach. Tucked away near the cul-de-sac of Harbor Island, with mature oak trees, underground utilities, this home sits high at 10.5 feet elevation. The deep water trex dock and waterfront pool with heated spa will help you unwind. The master suite faces the water and has double walk-in closets, double sinks and slider to patio and pool area. The open, transitional floor plan is perfect for extended family and friends. Will this be a second home? Want added protection from winds? Every window has hurricane shutters or covering, with a 2nd set of shutters on the patio for your outdoor furniture. Additional features: 2016 SPA HEATER, 2016 REFRIGERATOR, 2016 WATER HEATER, 2015 NEST ECO-FRIENDLY AC CONTROL, 2013 AC Unit, 2009 TILE ROOF, Central Vacuum, and Water Softener. ISLAND ESTATES is a self-contained community minutes to beaches and the Gulf of Mexico. Walk to Publix, Salon, Post Office, Dentist, Clearwater Marine Aquarium, and Restaurants. Come experience the Island Life today!

4 Bedrooms - 3 Baths - 2,666sf - VIEW VIRTUAL TOUR with INTERACTIVE FLOOR PLAN

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 27