Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 11-20 of 36

What months of the year do homes sell the quickest for Condo's and Single Family?

Since 2016 the months March through August appear to give sellers the most optimal time.  An absorption rate estimates the rate at which active listings are selling in a given market.  It is calculated by dividing the number of closed sales by the number of active listings. 

A low absorption rate means that homes are selling slowly (suggesting a buyers market) while a high absorption rate means homes are selling quickly (suggesting a sellers market). 

Now is a great time to list your home.  Clearwater Beach was just voted the #1 beach in the country.  Home values are at peak levels and if history repeats itself we are entering a sellers market.  

Call Tom or Kristin with the Coastal Properties and the Tom Smith Team to set up a listing appointment.

Kristin Vincelli 727-686-1596

Tom Smith 727-776-3375

Tom Smith Team over 40 years experience and over $100,000,000 sold!

New 2018 Tax Law Impact on Real Estate Owners

by Tom Smith Team

Congress has approved sweeping tax cuts and tax reform that have not been tackled by the federal government in over 30 years (since the Tax Reform Act of 1986.). The new tax law, formally referred to as “The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” will go into effect on January 1, 2018.

Primary Residence Homeowners

As a result of doubling the standard deduction to $12,000 for single filers and $24,000 for married filing jointly, according to Moody’s Analytics, as many as 38 million Americans who would otherwise itemize may instead choose the higher standard deduction under the new tax plan.

Any home mortgage interest debt incurred before December 15, 2017, will continue to be eligible for the home mortgage interest deduction up to $1,000,000. Any home mortgage interest debt incurred after this date will be limited to no more than $750.000 qualifying for the home mortgage interest deduction. Beginning in 2018, the deduction for interest paid on a home equity line of credit (“HELOC”) will no longer be eligible for the home mortgage interest deduction. However, the new tax law preserves the deduction of mortgage debt using to acquire a second home.

State and local taxes (referred to collectively as “SALT”) can be deducted but will no longer be unlimited as under current tax law. The 2018 tax law will allow homeowners to deduct property taxes and either income or sales taxes with a combined limit on these deductions being limited to no more than $10,000.

Both the House and Senate tax bills had originally proposed increasing the length of time a homeowner would need to live in primary residence (from five out of eight years versus the current requirement to live in a primary residence two out of five years to qualify for the Section 121 tax exclusion.) This proposed change did not become a part of the 2018 tax law. Homeowners owners will continue to only need to live in their primary residence twenty-four (24) months in a sixty (60) month time period to be eligible for tax exclusion up to $250,000 if filing single and up to $500,000 if married filing jointly. Property owners will still have the ability to convert a residence into a rental property or convert a rental property into a residence and qualify for tax exclusion benefits under both the primary residence Section 121 rules and also potentially qualify for tax deferral on the rental property under Section 1031.

Investment Property Owners

Investment property owners will continue to be able to defer capital gain taxes using 1031 tax-deferred exchanges which have been in the tax code since 1921. No new restrictions on 1031 exchanges of real property were made in the new tax law. However, the new tax law repeals 1031 exchanges for all other types of property that are not real property. This means 1031 exchanges of personal property, collectibles, aircraft, franchise rights, rental cars, trucks, heavy equipment and machinery, etc. will no longer be permitted beginning in 2018.

Some investors and private equity firms will not have to reclassify “carried interest” compensation from the lower-taxed capital gains tax rate to the higher ordinary income tax rates. However, to qualify for the lower capital gain tax rate on “carried interest” investors will now have to hold these assets for three (3) years instead of the former one (1) year holding period.

Investment property owners can continue to deduct net interest expense but investment property owners must elect out of the new interest disallowance tax rules. The new interest limit is effective in 2018 and applies to existing debt. The interest limit, and the real estate election, applies at the entity level.

The new tax law continues the current depreciation rules for real estate. However, property owners opting to use the real estate exception to the interest limit must depreciate real property under slightly longer recovery periods of 40 years for a nonresidential property, 30 years for a residential rental property, and 20 years for qualified interior improvements.  Longer depreciation schedules can have a negative impact on the return on investment (“ROI”) and property owners will need to take into account these longer depreciation schedules if they elect to use the new real estate exception to the interest limit.

The tax law creates a new tax deduction of twenty (20) percent for pass-through businesses. For taxpayers with incomes above certain thresholds, the 20 percent deduction is limited to the greater of: 50% of the W-2 wages paid by the business or 25% of the W-2 wages paid by the business, plus 2.5% of the unadjusted basis, immediately after acquisition, of depreciable property (which includes structures, but not land). Estates and trusts are eligible for the pass-through benefit. The 20% pass-through deduction begins to phase-out beginning at $315,000 for married couples filing jointly.

The new tax law restricts taxpayers from deducting losses incurred in an active trade or business from wage income or portfolio income and this will apply to existing investment and becomes effective in 2018.

State and local taxes paid in respect to carrying on a trade or business, or in an activity related to the production of income, continue to remain deductible. Accordingly, a rental property owner can deduct property taxes associated with a business asset, such as any type of rental property.

The new tax law retains the 20% tax credit for the rehabilitation of historically certified structures, but taxpayers must claim the credit over a five (5) year time period.

This article is only intended to provide a brief overview of some of the tax law changes that will affect any taxpayer who owns real estate and is not intended to provide an in-depth overview of all the new tax law provisions. Every taxpayer should review their specific situation with their own tax advisor.

Clearwater Beach State of The Market Single Family and Condo

by Tom Smith Team

January 2019 Clearwater Beach and Belleair market single family homes from $400,000 to 1,700,000.  The data indicates the single-family market is still strong.  The average sale price in 2018 for our market was $734,731 compared to $715,364 in 2017.    The absorption rate for December was 13%.  There were 87 active listings in December and 95 in January.  There were 11 closed sales and 11 new listings in December.  There has been a total of 29 closings in this range since October and 54 new listings.  Months of inventory decreased from 20 in November to 9 in December.  The average median sale price for December was $690,000 down 9% from the 12-month average.  

The condo market is still strong based on the recent data.  Property values in our market are increasing but at a slower pace.  Our data here is for the Clearwater Beach and Belleair market condominiums from $400,000 to 1,000,000.  The median sale price for December was $645,000.  The average sale price for the last 12 months is $594,000.  The average sale price for 2017 was $546,999.  The absorption rate for December was 17%.  There are 104 active listings to date.  There were 17 closed sales and 22 new listings in December.  Months of inventory was 6 for December down from 8 in November.  In 2018 there were 216 closings in this range compare to 194 in 2017.

The economy in Florida is healthy with optimism remaining at a high level.  Historically the next few months, March through August, have the highest absorption rates.  If that trend continues, we could see an increase in closings.

With our best,

Tom Smith Team
Over $100 Million Sold!

5 Tips to Help Sell Your Home Fast

by Tom Smith Team

The busiest time of year for real estate is right around the corner, so thousands of Americans are getting ready to put their homes on the market. If you plan on selling, here are five ways to make sure your home sells fast and the closing goes as smoothly as possible.

Be realistic on the price
The absolute worst thing you can do when trying to sell your house is pricing it way too high. Many sellers list their home for an ambitious price, figuring they can always reduce it later.  However, bear in mind that by doing so, you'll turn off a lot of prospective buyers before they even take a close look at your home. For example, let's say your house has a realistic market value of $260,000, so you price it for $305,000 to see what you can get. Well, the people who are searching in the $250,000-$275,000 price range (your target market) aren't even going to look. And, most people who do look at your listing will expect to see a lot more "house" for the listing price.  Studies have shown that homes that sell quickly tend to sell for more than their original listing price, meaning they were priced aggressively and appropriately right from the start. In contrast, homes that sit on the market for four months or more sell for an average of 11.5% below the original asking price.

The first two to three weeks after listing are the most crucial time, so if you want to sell fast, it's important to go after your target buyers by pricing your home realistically right from the start. In the above example, a $275,000 listing price would be a better starting point. Or, better yet, defer to the Tom Smith Team of real estate agents, who can perform a thorough analysis of your local market and recommend a good listing price.

De-clutter and de-personalize
When trying to sell your house, clutter can be your worst enemy, especially if your home is on the small side (or "cozy" in real estate language). A major goal when showing your house is to allow buyers to picture themselves living there. If your rooms are full of random stuff, it may look like home to you, but prospective buyers might have trouble picturing where all of their stuff is going to fit.  No decluttering advice would be complete without a call to streamline your closets.  If your closet is crowded, I’m going to think my stuff won’t fit.  Wow buyers by showing them how much space there is for stuff—not how much stuff there is in the space. 

Make your house look good... virtually
The majority of homebuyers today do at least some of their house-hunting online. According to a joint study by Google and the National Association of Realtors, 90% of homebuyers searched online during their buying process. So, it's important to give them something worth looking at.  Your listing photos should only be taken after you've completed the de-cluttering step I mentioned earlier. And even then, don't just snap some pictures with your phone and upload them. Many real estate agents are skilled at taking good listing photos, and there are professional photographers in every major market that specialize in taking good listing photos. This could end up being well worth the investment, especially if the home you're trying to sell is at the higher end of your market, or if there is an abundance of comparable homes on the market in your area.

Think Like a Buyer
Set the table, re-arrange the furniture and cleaning your home for home showings is common sense. But many folks underestimate just how important these steps are.  This isn’t your run-of-the-mill weekend tidy-up. Think of it as spring cleaning on steroids. You’ve got to think about what buyers look for and get down to the nitty-gritty so that even the smallest details shine. Don’t forget to get your windows squeaky-clean.  There needs to be as much light coming in as possible.

Bring the Outside In
Make your house feel like home by taking advantage of what’s in full bloom right outside your door.  Fresh flowers warm up a room and send the message that this is a really nice space to be in.  If plucking decorations from your yard isn’t an option, stop by your local grocery store and pick out a fresh bouquet that’s already been prearranged. If you run short on vases, display your finds in an antique pitcher or Mason jar for a touch of vintage charm.  And flowers don’t have to be the only star of the show. If you grow your own fruits and veggies, entice buyers with a bowl of fresh produce on the kitchen counter.

According to some experts, potential buyers make up their minds about whether or not your house is worth a closer look before they even walk through the front door. Making the effort to do all of these things will make sure those 15 minutes are as positive as possible.

Contact Kristin Vincelli for assistance with these or any other real estate questions.
Tom Smith Team
Over $100 Million Sold!

Six Must-Know Kitchen and Bathroom Design Trends

by Tom Smith Team

From Decorating to Staging

by Tom Smith Team

Once you've decided to put your home on the market, you're looking to sell quickly for the best possible price. One tactic that can help sell your home faster is staging. At first, staging may seem like a real estate term that doesn't actually mean anything. Isn't staging just decorating? Well, not exactly…


Homes and Condos for Sale on Clearwater Beach

Appeal to the masses

Your home is likely decorated to your tastes. It could be colorful and eclectic, or rugged and industrial. But when you're staging your home, rather than appealing to a specific decorating sense, you want to furnish your home in a way that appeals to everyone-and more importantly, doesn't turn anyone off who just isn't into your personal style.

Tone down the personal flourishes

Buyers want to be able to see themselves in a home and imagine how they'd make it their own. Unfortunately, that means less of your own style as you're preparing for your move. Cut down on family photos, bold artwork, and unusual furniture. Do some major decluttering so the buyer can see all the space and storage opportunities. It may be sad to start removing the items that make your house a home, but it's an important part of the process.

Mass appeal doesn't mean “boring"

Your staged home can still be colorful, just stay away from extremes. If you paint, stick to whites, grays, or neutrals. Add flourishes of color with window treatments or accent furniture, but try to choose items that will appeal to both genders.

Call a pro

There are likely several staging companies in your area. If you need a recommendation, reach out to your trusted real estate professional.

What Affects Property Values?

by Tom Smith Team

Current Clearwater Beach Home Values/Trends Homes and Condos for Sale on Clearwater Beach What's your home worth?

​​Some the features that increase property values are obvious-like a remodeled bathroom, a modern kitchen, or a sought-after neighborhood. But here are a few features and circumstances you have not have realized can affect property values.

  • The neighbors: Not every neighborhood or community has an HOA that can keep the neighbors from going overboard with decorations or neglecting to care for their home. Homes adjacent to crazy neighbors can potentially be undervalued.
  • Trendy groceries and coffee: Recent statistics suggest that if your home is a short walk from popular grocery stores like Whole Foods or coffee chains like Starbucks, it can actually appreciate faster than the national average.
  • Mature trees: A big beautiful tree in the front yard is enviable, and it's not something that can be easily added to any home. Homes with mature trees tend to get a little boost in value.
  • Parking: This isn't too much of an issue if you live in the suburbs or in a rural area, but residents in dense cities can have real problems with parking, and homeowners might need to rent a spot just to guarantee a place to park each night. That's why having guaranteed parking in urban areas will raise property values.
  • The front entrance: First impressions matter to buyers-many will cross a home off their list within 10 seconds of stepping through the front door. An appealing front door, a friendly entryway, and a functioning doorbell are all necessities for getting top dollar.

5 Money-Saving Green Updates

by Tom Smith Team

Going green is great for the environment, but that's not the only benefit. When you make green upgrades in your home, it can also lead to some major savings. In addition, some are tax deductible.

  1. Solar panels: The upfront cost is big, but the long-term savings are huge. Solar panels will cost several thousand dollars to install, but ongoing maintenance costs are very low, and a typical system could save you hundreds of dollars per year. You can even sell your surplus electricity.
  2. Solar Water Heater: can be a cost-effective way to generate hot water for your home. They can be used in any climate, and the fuel they use -- sunshine -- is free.
  3. Insulation: There's a good chance your insulation isn't very efficient, especially in older homes. Look into installing floor, cavity, wall, and loft insulation to reduce your heating bills.
  4. Rain barrels: Rain barrels are extremely inexpensive, and provide gallons of free water to use when you wash your car or water your garden.
  5. Geothermal system: OK, so the price tag is scary at first. A geothermal system uses the earth's temperature to heat and cool your home, but can cost $30,000 to install. But tax credits allow you to get a lot of that money back, and the energy savings average about $1,900 per year. If you plan to be in your home for a decade or two, it's a great investment.

Top 10 Reasons to Live on Clearwater Beach

by Tom Smith Team

I feel very lucky to have been raised in such a beautiful place! I grew up in paradise and have actually never seen real snow, imagine that! I think it's safe to say I have quite a few reasons why this is a great place to live, but here are my top 10 reasons to live on Clearwater Beach:

  1. Weather: Imagine a winter with low temps barely below 40 at night! And when it does get "cold" it's only for a few nights and then we are back to the warmer temps that Florida is known for, mid 60s and 70s.
  2. Location: We are half way to Naples from Georgia, middle of the state which makes a driving commute easy if you're heading south to Miami or Key West or North to Tallahassee. Pinellas County
  3. Attractions: We are less than an hour away from 2 International airports, Tampa International and St. Pete Clearwater Airport, and adventure parks like Busch Gardens, Adventure Island (water park) and Lowry Park Zoo. Less than 2 hours away from Orlando with many adventure parks, most well known is Disney World, Sea World, Aquatica, Dolphin Cove, Universal Orlando and Universal City Walk.
  4. Sports galore! We are home to the Tampa Bay Lightning, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Clearwater Phillies, Dunedin Blue Jays, Tampa Bay Rays, Rowdie's soccer and Tampa Yankees.
  5. Shopping: The closest mall is 20 minutes away, Westfield Countryside with a new Cobb movie theater with action packed D-Box seats and 3D movies, and fantastic restaurants like BJ's Brewhouse, Bar Louie, PF Changs, Grimaldi Gourmet Pizza, and Red Robin. Almost forgot, there is an ice skating rink inside open all year!
  6. Sea breeze: "You don't know what you have till it's gone." Wow, what a difference the ever constant sea breeze makes during the summer and the winter. It keeps us cool during the summer and warm during the winter because of the gulf waters.
  7. Boating: Clearwater Beach and Island Estates are the BEST location for boaters because we have the highest bridges in the area until you go all the way south to St Pete Beach. Both the Clearwater Memorial Causeway and the Sand Key Causeway are over 70' high. No draw bridges to wait for, keep on cruising. There are many small islands to go explore.
  8. Active communities: Every morning you will see the sidewalks and causeways bustling with people out for a bide ride, walk or jog. Trust me the challenge of going up the tall Clearwater Memorial Causeway attracts tourists and locals alike. The hike is well worth the reward, the view from the top is spectacular. There is a viewing area with a bench for your enjoyment.
  9. Beaches: The main reason people chose to live here, the beaches! These are the most unique beaches in Florida and Clearwater has won its share of awards - Best Beach Town 2013 by USA Today and Best Beach in the nation 2 years in a row by Tripadvisor. The sands are sugary white and like powder in your toes.
  10. Sunset Festivals: Every night Pier 60 transforms into entertainment central with street performers, dancers, magic shows and crafters with booths set up along the pier. You might even get to see Bumble Bee from transformers or Spider Man. Family-friendly movies play on the weekends, click here for the schedule and more information.


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!


Displaying blog entries 11-20 of 36

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Contact Information

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Tom Smith Team
Coastal Properties Group International
423 Mandalay Ave., #102
Clearwater Beach FL 33767
(727) 776-3375