St. Petersburg Real Estate and Community News

Dec. 28, 2020

November 2020 Real Estate Market Statistics

Click the links below to view or download November's Real Estate Statistics!


Pinellas County November Stats

Pasco County November Stats

Hillsborough County November Stats

Dec. 2, 2020

October 2020 Real-Estate Market Statistics

Click the links below to view or download October's Real Estate Statistics!


Pinellas County October Stats

Pasco County October Stats

Hillsborough County October Stats


Posted in Real Estate News
Nov. 20, 2020

It Pays to Sell with a Real Estate Agent

Presented By: The TJM Home Team

Some Highlights

  • Today, it’s more important than ever to have an expert you trust to guide you as you sell your house.
  • From your safety throughout the process to the complexity of negotiating the deal, you need a professional on your side.
  • Before you decide to take on the challenge of selling your house on your own, let’s connect to discuss your options.
Nov. 19, 2020

Will Mortgage Rates Remain Low Next Year?

Presented By: The TJM Home Team

Will Mortgage Rates Remain Low Next Year? | MyKCM

In 2020, buyers got a big boost in the housing market as mortgage rates dropped throughout the year. According to Freddie Mac, rates hit all-time lows 12 times this year, dipping below 3% for the first time ever while making buying a home more and more attractive as the year progressed (See graph below):Will Mortgage Rates Remain Low Next Year? | MyKCMWhen you continually hear how rates are hitting record lows, you may be wondering: Are they going to keep falling? Should I wait until they get even lower?

The Challenge with Waiting

The challenge with waiting is that you can easily miss this optimal window of time and then end up paying more in the long run. Last week, mortgage rates ticked up slightly. Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac, explains:

Mortgage rates jumped this week as a result of positive news about a COVID-19 vaccine. Despite this rise, mortgage rates remain about a percentage point below a year ago.”

While rates are still lower today than they were one year ago, as the economy continues to get stronger and the pandemic is resolved, there’s a very good chance interest rates will rise again. Several top institutions in the real estate industry are projecting an increase in mortgage rates over the next four quarters (See chart below):Will Mortgage Rates Remain Low Next Year? | MyKCMIf you’re planning to wait until next year or later, Mike Fratantoni, Chief Economist at the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), forecasts mortgage rates will begin to steadily rise:Will Mortgage Rates Remain Low Next Year? | MyKCMAs a buyer, you need to decide if waiting makes financial sense for you.

Bottom Line

If you’re planning to buy a home and want to take advantage of today’s low rates, now is the time to do so. Don’t assume they’re going to stay this low forever.


Nov. 18, 2020

Difference Between FHA/VA and Conventional Appraisals

Presented By: Beau McGlasson

Agents and borrowers alike often find the appraisal process confusing and opaque – it’s why we consistently field questions on what appraisers look for when inspecting a property and how agents can best prepare. Not only can appraisers’ opinions on value make or break a deal, but they also play a crucial role in determining if the property in question meets all health and safety standards required for a clean appraisal (also referred to as the Minimum Property Standards, or MPS).

Though an appraisal does not replace a full home inspection, Underwriters and Investors rely on the appraiser’s report to determine if the property meets the MPS – this is true of conventional, FHA, and VA appraisals.

FHA and VA appraisals do, however, have slightly different health and safety checks that are required during the home inspection. B/c these different checks can be difficult to parse out online, we created a list below of the common health and safety checks required of all 3 types of appraisals, and the specific checks required for only FHA and VA.


• Test for a properly working and strapped heater
• Validate every bedroom has 2 points of egress
• Ensure oven hood is present in any full kitchen
• Verify that there are properly placed CO and Smoke detectors
• Identify any exposed wiring or missing electric box cover plates
• Address any water damage issues
• Verify adequate heat source (does not need to be permanent)
• Check for evidence of termite damage
• Check for signs of foundation damage
• Verify no other obvious health and safety issues present (broken glass, broken doors/walls, animal droppings, etc.)


• Identify any chipping, peeling or cracked lead-based paint – interior and exterior
• Verify the property has proper drainage
• Test for permanent working heat-source
• Test for adequate water pressure (both hot and cold) and ensure no water leaks
• Test for a working oven hood/fan (carbon monoxide danger)
• Ensure major appliances/garage door opener work
• If garage is attached, ensure the door from house to garage is self-closing
• Verify roofs have at least a 3-year remaining life
• Complete a head and shoulder inspection of attic and crawl space


• Clear Section 1 Pest Inspection
• Certain heating systems, like solar, require a more standard “backup” system


Posted in For Buyers
Nov. 18, 2020

Chances of Another Foreclosure Crisis? “About Zero Percent.”

Presented By: The TJM Home Team

Chances of Another Foreclosure Crisis? “About Zero Percent.” | MyKCM

There seems to be some concern that the 2020 economic downturn will lead to another foreclosure crisis like the one we experienced after the housing crash a little over a decade ago. However, there’s one major difference this time: a robust forbearance program.

During the housing crash of 2006-2008, many felt homeowners should be forced to pay their mortgages despite the economic hardships they were experiencing. There was no empathy for the challenges those households were facing. In a 2009 Wall Street Journal article titled Is Walking Away From Your Mortgage Immoral?, John Courson, Chief Executive of the Mortgage Bankers Association, was asked to comment on those not paying their mortgage. He famously said:

“What about the message they will send to their family and their kids?”

Courson suggested that people unable to pay their mortgage were bad parents.

What resulted from that lack of empathy? Foreclosures mounted.

This time is different. There was an immediate understanding that homeowners were faced with a challenge not of their own making. The government quickly jumped in with a mortgage forbearance program that relieved the financial burden placed on many households. The program allowed many borrowers to suspend their monthly mortgage payments until their economic condition improved. It was the right thing to do.

What happens when forbearance programs expire?

Some analysts are concerned many homeowners will not be able to make up the back payments once their forbearance plans expire. They’re concerned the situation will lead to an onslaught of foreclosures.

The banks and the government learned from the challenges the country experienced during the housing crash. They don’t want a surge of foreclosures again. For that reason, they’ve put in place alternative ways homeowners can pay back the money owed over an extended period of time.

Another major difference is that, unlike 2006-2008, today’s homeowners are sitting on a record amount of equity. That equity will enable them to sell their houses and walk away with cash instead of going through foreclosure.

Bottom Line

The differences mentioned above will be the reason we’ll avert a surge of foreclosures. As Ivy Zelman, a highly respected thought leader for housing and CEO of Zelman & Associates, said:

“The likelihood of us having a foreclosure crisis again is about zero percent.”

Nov. 8, 2020

Empowered Sellers Requesting the Oddest Contingencies

Presented By: The TJM Home Team

Traditions don’t have to die. One seller wants a porch skeleton to stay, and he wants its clothes changed frequently. Another seller demands that buyers keep his cat.

NEW YORK – Some home sellers request odd contingencies – from maintaining the wardrobe of a plastic skeleton at the front door to caring for family pets – before they’ll accept an offer.

Contingencies typically involve financing or repair issues discovered during the home inspection, but The Wall Street Journal reports that sellers, who have the upper hand in the current market, feel emboldened.

“I’m selling a house right now that is being sold with the cat,” says Eli Karon, a real estate professional with Karon Properties in Santa Cruz, Calif. The cat has lived in the home for three years, and the owners don’t want to relocate him. A cat isn’t apparently a deal breaker. The property attracted six offers and is currently under contract.

In Philadelphia, a homeowner hung a fake skeleton outside her front door and kept it there year-round. She made the sale of her home contingent on keeping the tradition alive. And since the current homeowner swaps out the skeleton’s clothes frequently, a buyer must agree to continue to do so too. As it turned out, the owner got her wish: A buyer agreed to continue dressing the skeleton in order for the sale to move forward.

In Chicago, real estate pro Jamie Lemmons sold a home in which the retired owners requested the ability to continue visiting the backyard to pay their respects to their late golden retriever, Buffy, who was buried there. In the contract, the real estate lawyer added an addendum saying the sellers could visit the yard Sundays between noon and 2 p.m.

Real estate agents have come to realize they may face offbeat requests in emotionally charged transactions.

“So long as it isn’t harming anyone, I don’t see why not,” Sabina Dinescu, a real estate professional with Douglas Elliman in Pinecrest, Fla. She sold a house last year for a widow who made the sale contingent on the new buyer keeping her husband’s ashes in a partitioned area behind the master bedroom’s closet. The buyer agreed.

Source: “In Tight Housing Market, Sales Come with Surprising Conditions, Including Skeletons,” The Wall Street Journal (Oct. 23, 2020)

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Posted in For Buyers, For Sellers
Nov. 7, 2020

Know Your Contract Days: Calendar vs. Business

Presented By: The TJM Home Team

Presented By: The TJM Home Team

Nov. 7, 2020

Retire Without Rent

Presented By: The TJM Home Team

Nov. 6, 2020

Making a Home for the Brave Possible

Presented By: The TJM Home Team

Making a Home for the Brave Possible [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights

  • VA Home Loans provide unique opportunities for Veterans, active-duty personnel, and their families in recognition of their service to our Nation.
  • For eligible individuals, options associated with VA Loans can help make the dream of homeownership a reality.
  • If you or someone you know may benefit from a VA Loan, let’s connect to answer your questions today.