Tampa Bay News: Home Values rising, Zillow Reports, how appreciation impacts financing / re-financing



There are many Tampa Bay area homes for sale. Click here to perform a full home search, or if you're thinking of selling your home, click here to learn about our “Your Home Sold Guaranteed in 29 Days” program or for a free property valuation so you know what your home can sell for in today’s market. You may also call me at (813) 359-8990 for a FREE home buying or selling consultation to answer any of your real estate questions.

Listen as Andrew Duncan, Tampa Bay's #1 Realtor with guests Arnie and David Diaz from Waterstone Mortgage Corporation talk about how home values in Tampa are rising. They also discuss the Zillow reports and how this appreciation could impact financing or refinancing on The Duncan Duo Real Estate Show on 970 WFLA.

Zillow came into town recently and reported that in the last year, Tampa had a 8.4% appreciation rate. Some areas have a higher appreciation rate that is why it is important to get a professional realtor like Andrew Duncan to go look at your home to make sure you know how much your home is worth.

The home evaluation is not only useful if you want to sell your home. It could also be very helpful if you're thinking about refinancing. Most loans go off on the value of the house. You may have a mortgage insurance on the house which they can take off for you by refinancing. You may have money built up on the house you can use for things like home renovation or adding on to the house.

Arnie advises for consumers to analyze where you're at as far as your appreciation is concerned. Then you can decide how to take advantage of it - if it's the right time to sell or maybe refinance or is it better to wait.


Arnie is a home owner himself and has a property he rents out. He shares that because the rates are going up, his tenant was concerned that he was going to sell the house. The tenant was even willing to up his rent just so that he doesn't have to move. He points out that this news about the rates is good if you are a home owner but bad if you're a tenant.

David adds to the conversation that they are seeing a lot of people who have FHA loans are refinancing out of their current loans. FHA offers low down payment but the have seemingly high mortgage rates. It used to be low in 2009 but after that year it went up. In fact, they have raised their rates 5 times in the past 5 years.

For more Tampa Bay Real Estate news and advice, tune in to The Duncan Duo Real Estate Show on 970 WFLA - Tampa Bay every Sundays at 10 am.

Do You Know the Answers to Our Christmas Trivia?



There are many Tampa Bay area homes for sale. Click here to perform a full home search, or if you're thinking of selling your home, click here to learn about our “Your Home Sold Guaranteed in 29 Days” program endorsed by Barbara Corcoran, Glenn Beck, Jack Harris Dave McKay and Ron Diaz and get a free property evaluation so you know what your home can sell for this holiday season. You may also call me at (813) 359-8990 for a FREE home buying or selling consultation to answer any of your real estate questions.

We want to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who came out to our event on December 7th, where we had free Santa photos, pies, and much, much more.

We raised thousands of dollars for three awesome charities - Metropolitan Ministries, Hands Across the Bay, and the Special Operations Warrior Foundation - that truly need the help this time of year. By the end of the year, we'll present checks to these charities and announce how much money we were able to raise for them.

Since we love spreading the holiday joy, we are putting on a Holiday Trivia Contest! We're going to ask three holiday-themed questions, and the first person who answers them correctly will win a $50 giftcard to their restaurant of choice! To submit your answers, simply post them in the YouTube comments or our other social channels!

Here are the three questions:

  1. Which English author wrote the book, A Christmas Carol?
  2. In the song "Jingle Bells," how many horses pulled the sleigh?
  3. Who played the Grinch in the 2000 film How the Grinch Stole Christmas?

Post your answers right here on the blog or on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube for your chance to win a special holiday gift from our team.

Good luck!

Holiday Decorations - What to Look for & Avoid when Buying or Selling a Home During the Holidays in Tampa Bay



There are many Tampa Bay area homes for sale. Click here to perform a full home search, or if you're thinking of selling your home, click here to learn about our “Your Home Sold Guaranteed in 29 Days” program or for a free property valuation so you know what your home can sell for in today’s market. You may also call me at (813) 359-8990 for a FREE home buying or selling consultation to answer any of your real estate questions.

Andrew Duncan, Tampa Bay's #1 Realtor  has Randy Noon from Buyer Inspection Group, David and Arnie Diaz from Waterstone Mortgage Corporation as guests on The Duncan Duo Real Estate Show on 970 WFLA to talk about Holiday Decorations, what consumers need to avoid & look for when buying or selling a home during the holidays.

It's that time of the year again to take out your beautiful holiday decorations. However, if you are considering to buy or sell a home during the holidays, here are some things consumers need to look out for and need to avoid when decorating for the holidays.

Sellers need to be cautious when decorating for the holidays. They need to be aware of the mistakes they could make, the damage they could do to their home and how they can risk their home sale and home inspection. Putting in too much decorations could cause some problems during inspection like preventing the buyers/inspectors to go up to the roof. Using nails, staples and the like could also cause damage to the roof, the fascia boards or other parts of the house. The additional traffic on the roof could cause damage or more wear and tear especially if you don't know how to do it properly.

Here are some statistics shared by Randy about holiday related accidents - Emergency rooms treat about 12500 people every year for injuries from falls, cuts, shocks related to holiday lights, decorations and Christmas trees. The Consumer Product Safety Commission also warns consumers about candles because about 11600 fires each year, 150 deaths, $173M property loss are caused by candles.

One of the things Randy pointed out is the holiday lights that people use. A lot of these lights brought in from other countries that are not UL listed. Buying these types of holiday lights could be dangerous since you are not assured of the quality so make sure you are using UL listed lights.

Speaking from a Mortgage perspective, some of the things that have been damaged at one point because of the above mentioned could cause mortgage challenges, appraisal issues, inspections and alike.

David and Andrew talk again about the Escrow Hold back program offered by Waterstone Mortgage Corporation which would allow a lot of inspection condition issues that normally could cause a home sale not to happen unless the buyer is willing to fix it or cure it. And David adds that it allows the consumer to have it fixed after the closing with a net proceeds. Not all banks offer this type of program so if you want to know more about this awesome program, click here.

In addition to the above mentioned things to be cautious about when putting up holiday decorations are the extension cords. Randy suggests that if you plan to put in a lot of holiday lights, make sure you plan ahead and get an electrician to install additional outlets instead of running extension cords back to back. You can add ground fault circuits (GFCI) where you can have all your lights plugged in.

Andrew warns about putting up too much decoration because again it could cause issues with inspections. There will be parts of the house that the inspectors will not be able to get to which could raise a red flag and make the buyers think you're hiding something.

We hope these tips could help our consumers with the sale or purchase of their home and keep their home safe during the holidays.

For more Tampa Bay Real Estate news and advice, tune in to The Duncan Duo Real Estate Show on 970 WFLA - Tampa Bay every Sundays at 10 am.

*The Duncan Duo and RE/MAX Dynamic has moved. As of 10/11/2014, our new address is 6320 S Dale Mabry Hwy, Tampa, FL 33611

Tampa Bay's #1 Realtor talks about Home Inspection issues that can disqualify a home and Waterstone Mortgage’s Escrow Hold Back program



There are many Tampa Bay area homes for sale. Click here to perform a full home search, or if you're thinking of selling your home, click here to learn about our “Your Home Sold Guaranteed in 29 Days” program or for a free property valuation so you know what your home can sell for in today’s market. You may also call me at (813) 359-8990 for a FREE home buying or selling consultation to answer any of your real estate questions.

Andrew Duncan, Tampa Bay's #1 Realtor  has Randy Noon from Buyer Inspection Group, David and Arnie Diaz from Waterstone Mortgage Corporation as guests on The Duncan Duo Real Estate Show on 970 WFLA to talk about home Inspection issues that can disqualify a home from getting financed and touches on Waterstone Mortgage’s Escrow Hold Back program

What are some maintenance tips people need to pay attention to so it doesn't turn into a home inspection issue and doesn't cause the home to not qualify for a mortgage?

Randy from Buyer Inspection Group says that one of the main things to look at is the roof. Sellers need to pay attention to cleaning the gutters especially in the fall. Poor maintenance could lead to back ups, leaks, etc.

The Roof is one of the biggest structures that mortgage lenders look at. Waterstone Mortgage has a new program which "cures" the challenge. David Diaz explains that they will see what types of health and safety issues are there and those need to be corrected before closing. One of the common scenarios is when the bank (REO properties) doesn't want to do the repairs, or the seller doesn't want to do the repairs because they're not sure you're going to close, and you don't want to do the repairs because you don't own the property yet. Randy agrees and adds that for homes more than 30 years old, the lender would require a 4-point inspection which usually covers the roof, AC, electrical and plumbing. This of course will cause everything to come out. And if you don't qualify, you can't close without Home Owner's insurance.

Other issues that could lead to disqualification for a mortgage would be broken windows, green or unfilled pools, chipping paint (lead based paint issues for older homes constructed before 1978) according to Arnie.

David touches on one of their great programs at Waterstone Mortgage, the Escrow Holdback program. He explains that there would be times that buyers don't want to buy the home in the condition it's in. What they can do is take up 10% of the value of the sales price or if they can work with the seller, bump up the price a bit.

For more Tampa Bay Real Estate news and advice, tune in to The Duncan Duo Real Estate Show on 970 WFLA - Tampa Bay every Sundays at 10 am.

*The Duncan Duo and RE/MAX Dynamic has moved. As of 10/11/2014, our new address is 6320 S Dale Mabry Hwy, Tampa, FL 33611

The Duncan Duo Weekly Podcast 12-14-2014


How Holiday Shopping can kill your real estate closing and disqualify you from a Tampa mortgage



There are many Tampa Bay area homes for sale. Click here to perform a full home search, or if you're thinking of selling your home, click here to learn about our “Your Home Sold Guaranteed in 29 Days” program or for a free property valuation so you know what your home can sell for in today’s market. You may also call me at (813) 359-8990 for a FREE home buying or selling consultation to answer any of your real estate questions.

Andrew Duncan, Tampa Bay's #1 Realtor  has David and Arnie Diaz from Waterstone Mortgage Corporation as guests on The Duncan Duo Real Estate Show on 970 WFLA to talk about how Holiday Shopping can kill your real estate closing and disqualify you from a Tampa mortgage as well as some of the advantages and challenges that a consumer faces when closing towards the end of the year.

This was just after Thanksgiving and Andrew starts off by saying it's that time of the year again where all of the retailers make their profit and where all of America goes into debt.

In the lending process now, with all the regulations and all the fraud that has gone on in the past, lenders now do a loan quality analysis done 10 days before closing. even if you're already pre-approved and you think you're all ready to go, and they see your debts have tremendously gone up then it may affect your ratios and may not let you qualify though you may already have been approved.

This is something that a lot of people may forget about. There are a lot of check and balances throughout the mortgage process not only to make sure you qualify initially but also qualify towards the end.

Another example is  employment verification. It also happens when let's say someone is self employed or  earns on commission and maybe this is the time of year they don't earn as well and they see a bad pay stub come through because they didn't make as much commission or didn't make as much during the holidays or their sales aren't as high.

One of the big things in the lending business is the declining income. You could still qualify but if your income is going down vs last year, it's definitely a red flag.

Holidays and the fourth quarter in general present unique scenarios for people qualifying for mortgages. Another thing is being conscious about the year end closing for the Homestead exemption which could lead you to have lower taxes for the life of the property will be lower.

A downside of closing towards the end of the year is a lot of the title companies and mortgage lenders that are corporate companies have people who get paid time off take vacations this time of year so it sometimes could be a bit more challenging to close. This is why it is important to get all your documents to the lender as quickly as possible and if you are able to close earlier in the month, the better.

This is why it is important to have a good realtor who coordinates everything from the seller, to the lender, to the power company, etc. in order to have a successful closing. This is where Andrew's team has an advantage over other Real Estate companies. They have one of the most unique set up in the business. Their agents have staff members a lot of RE companies don't have. They have a transaction manager who does nothing but manage all those steps to support the RE agents so they could do their jobs well and to have a smoother process.

As discussed in previous shows, Andrew highlights that even though it is nearly the end of the year, it's still a good time to sell because Tampa Bay doesn't have the same seasonal fluctuation other RE markets have. In fact, their team is on fire. He shares how they had 4 new listings just before the holiday. So if you're thinking about buying or selling now, call (813) 359-8990 for a FREE home buying or selling consultation to answer any of your real estate questions.

For more Tampa Bay Real Estate news and advice, tune in to The Duncan Duo Real Estate Show on 970 WFLA - Tampa Bay every Sundays at 10 am.

*The Duncan Duo and RE/MAX Dynamic has moved. As of 10/11/2014, our new address is 6320 S Dale Mabry Hwy, Tampa, FL 33611

Tampa Mortgage News with Waterstone Mortgage David Diaz – Why the VA Loan goes unnoticed by Veterans



There are many Tampa Bay area homes for sale. Click here to perform a full home search, or if you're thinking of selling your home, click here to learn about our “Your Home Sold Guaranteed in 29 Days” program or for a free property valuation so you know what your home can sell for in today’s market. You may also call me at (813) 359-8990 for a FREE home buying or selling consultation to answer any of your real estate questions.

Andrew Duncan, Tampa Bay's #1 Realtor  talks about the Tampa Mortgage News – Why the VA Loan goes unnoticed and why it is great for Veterans - with guest, David Diaz from Waterstone Mortgage on The Duncan Duo Real Estate Show on 970 WFLA.

They has been a lot of talk on the show about the military and how close the new office is to the base, and that Andrew, himself, has military background in his family. He says that he saw an article where it says a lot of veterans do not know about the VA loan. They either don't pay attention or forget they have the access.

David finds the news shocking that they don't know about the VA loan but stresses that they need to know. They need to know what they are eligible for and the incentives like the no money down loan, 100% financing, they can finance their closing cost to name a few.

From a credit perspective, the VA loan is pretty light in terms of conditions. It's a less stringent underwriting credit qualification process.

David explains that though there are varying regulations in each loan type, getting a VA loan is not more difficult than getting any other type of loan because it basically goes through the same channels and they usually look for almost the same things.

Some people think that you need to have an amazing credit and income to qualify but in reality, getting a VA loan is less stringent on credit.

People sometimes forget that it is not only for people in active duty. It's for anybody who has an eligibility certificate - someone who has served in the military. One might have used it in the past but if the person has sold the property, he can use the VA loan again. There are even instances that a person can have 2 VA loans depending what the price points are. A perfect example of this is Andrew's younger brother who needed to relocate and because of the parameters and the numbers, he was granted 2 vA loans.

People need to understand that as long as you have served or are currently serving in the military, and as long as you have not done anything to lose your eligibility (i.e. having a VA foreclosure) you can qualify for a VA loan.

For more Tampa Bay Real Estate news and advice, tune in to The Duncan Duo Real Estate Show on 970 WFLA - Tampa Bay every Sundays at 10 am.

*The Duncan Duo and RE/MAX Dynamic has moved. As of 10/11/2014, our new address is 6320 S Dale Mabry Hwy, Tampa, FL 33611

Come Celebrate with Us!



There are many Tampa Bay area homes for sale. Click here to perform a full home search, or if you're thinking of selling your home, click here to learn about our “Your Home Sold Guaranteed in 29 Days” program endorsed by Barbara Corcoran, Glenn Beck, Jack Harris Dave McKay and Ron Diaz and get a free property evaluation so you know what your home can sell for this holiday season. You may also call me at (813) 359-8990 for a FREE home buying or selling consultation to answer any of your real estate questions.

We're excited to invite you to our community holiday event THIS Sunday at our office at RE/MAX Dynamic 6320 South Dale Mabry Highway. Santa will be here taking photos with kids for free! Additionally, there will be a free holiday photo booth and dunk tank! Several local TV and radio celebrities will be dunked for charities such as Special Operations Warrior Project, Metropolitan Ministries, and Hands Across the Bay!

We ask that you join us in celebrating the holiday season and help us raise money for three great local charities. If you are a past client of ours, we will also be giving you a free pie! So come on down this Sunday! We hope to see you there!

Tampa Real Estate Market One of the Most Unique in the World - No bad time to buy or sell



There are many Tampa Bay area homes for sale. Click here to perform a full home search, or if you're thinking of selling your home, click here to learn about our “Your Home Sold Guaranteed in 29 Days” program or for a free property valuation so you know what your home can sell for in today’s market. You may also call me at (813) 359-8990 for a FREE home buying or selling consultation to answer any of your real estate questions.

Andrew Duncan, Tampa Bay's #1 Realtor  has Robert Johnson, head of his listing team, as guest to talk about how unique the Tampa Bay Real Estate market is on The Duncan Duo Real Estate Show on 970 WFLA.

Tampa Real Estate Market has one of the most unique markets in the world w/ little seasonality impact with snowbirds. It's never a bad time to buy or sell. They do not have as much seasonality as some of the other markets because when they lose the families that want to buy during the summer, they pick up the population increase from the people coming in for the Holidays - the snowbirds and relocation people.

There's really not a bad time to sell a property in Tampa Bay because the demand and supply for properties is year round.

Robert agrees and adds that though some sellers might not think this would be a good time to sell, it actually is. Buyers want to get in before the holidays then right after the holidays, the snowbirds are down and it gets busy again. Then summer comes around and there are families looking to buy again. The Tampa Bay market is so different from any other market.

Unlike other states like Detroit, Indianapolis, Georgia and New York, they don't get the increase in population Florida gets from the seasonal fluctuation and from the International audience coming from Europe. They in fact, get a decrease in population because people are coming down to Florida or to the South. It might be a strange time for everyone else but it's a very busy time of the year for the Duncan Duo.

Some people have the conceived notion that this is not a good time to sell and some opt to wait until Spring to sell their home. Andrew stresses that it is false for Tampa Bay. Though there are instances that it makes sense to wait but an example he sites is when a seller has a condo by the beach to sell but wants to wait until Spring, that would be the biggest mistake he can make because since it's a vacation property which is in fact a target for the Northerners.

December is usually the 2nd best month in the year in closing for The Duncan Duo team. Robert says it usually slows down around the holiday week but that's it.

Also, since a lot of sellers decide not to put their home on the market, the supply and demand curve suddenly turns in the favor of the seller. Though it could be an inconvenience to put your home on the market during the holidays, with all the decorations up and the showings needed to be done, on purely a statistical business perspective, selling your home during the holidays can many times be a great decision.

Andrew highlights that though it's a case to case basis and there are times that it makes sense to wait before putting your home on the market, often times consumers have a preconceived notion that the market is slower and less buyers but in reality, the market is slower because less people are putting their homes on the market because they don't want to deal with the inconvenience. In reality, the saturation rates are comparable to what they are in June when more homes are on the markets so more homes sell.

If there are buyers looking during the holidays, they are probably very motivated. They probably really want something done by the end of the year and they understand the tax benefits
of closing by the end of the year in the Homestead exemption.

For more Tampa Bay Real Estate news and advice, tune in to The Duncan Duo Real Estate Show on 970 WFLA - Tampa Bay every Sundays at 10 am.

*The Duncan Duo and RE/MAX Dynamic has moved. As of 10/11/2014, our new address is 6320 S Dale Mabry Hwy, Tampa, FL 33611

The Duncan Duo Weekly Podcast 11-30-2014