Tampa Home Searcher Broker Notes Tampa Real Estate Blog

Everything you'll need to know about buying a home or selling a home in Tampa, Florida and Tampa Florida real estate.

If you have been thinking about buying a home in Tampa, Florida, or you'd like to sell a home in Tampa Bay, check out our blog posts below where we discuss important topics about Tampa, FL real estate.  This site is owned by Phil Bernie, Broker Associate and Real Estate Agent with Dalton Wade where Phil posts about real estate education, buying, selling, negotiations and negotiation strategies, nightlife, local Tampa news and information about the area. 

Read through the articles and reach out to Phil if you've got any questions.

July 14, 2021

From the Trenches: The Current State of Tampa Bay Real Estate

Tampa Bay Area Real Estate - It's Tough Out There!

Tampa Bay Real Estate Current Market Conditions From the Trenches

Ok, so you are checking out our site at TampaHomeSearcher.com and finding some homes you love.  The next day you hop back on to the site and the home you favorited is UNDER CONTRACT!

The Tampa Bay, St. Pete, Clearwater real estate market is on fire!!

The market, as of this writing, is tough for both buyers and sellers.  In short, as a buyer you can expect to pay well above asking price in most cases, should consider a mostly cash deal if you can afford to and remove most of the contingencies that protect your interest.  That's what is winning competing offers these days.  Of course there are always exceptions to the norm but for the most part, every decent home that gets listed in our Tampa, St. Pete, Clearwater market gets under contract within a day or two with multiple competing offers, many of them cash with all contingencies removed.  Some are under contract within hours.

Here's a real world current example of what real estate is like in Tampa, Clearwater and St. Pete.

I found a home for a client that was first listed and live on the MLS on Wednesday at 8 PM.  I found the home around 9 PM, sent it to my client and she wanted to make an offer on it, site unseen.  I wrote up the offer and submitted it to the list agent by 10 pm. - THIS IS 10 PM ON A WEDNESDAY!  By 8:30 AM that very next morning (just hours after it was listed and during the middle of the night) I checked in with the listing agent and she told me she's already received 6 offers and one was all cash over asking price.  Huh???  Wait, what??  SIX offers came in between the hours of 10 PM and 8:30 AM that day!

A second real world current Tampa real estate market example.

Client is a strong buyer but needs to buy via FHA financing for the lower down payment.  We submitted 18 offers in a row, all significantly above asking price and most were made site unseen.  We were beaten out by higher offers guess how many times?  18.  Yep.  Every.  Single.  One.  We managed to finally secure a new construction home she didn't have to over-pay for but she does have to wait several months for it to be built.  In the end, she found her dream home and it all worked out for the best but man it is tough out there.

Tampa Bay home sellers are even scared.

Many sellers have become worried that if they sell now, it may be tough for them to secure a new home - and that is true in part.  It is all going to depend on their strategy and what they need to replace their current home as well as how much they'll make on the sale of their current home.  In most cases, sellers are receiving top dollar for the sale of their homes and homes have appreciated so much recently that sellers have a lot of options.

The NY relocation thing.  How you doin'?

We are seeing a HUGE influx of folks from up North selling their very expensive but humble homes for lots of money then coming down to the Tampa Bay area, cash rich, to buy a new home for pennies on the dollar compared to what real estate costs there.  We've got a FLOOD of people from New York, Maryland, Washing DC area, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Chicago and California flocking to our beautiful area.  We welcome everyone here but the added demand is pushing up prices and adding to our inventory shortage.  There's just not a lot of homes for sale out there.  We're seeing a lot of cash offers coming in and we're seeing a lot of cash-rich investors from out of state making site-unseen offers on homes in cash, above asking price and with no contingencies.

Can you fill the appraisal gap?

In addition to having to pay a premium to even be considered for a home in most cases, the toughest pill to swallow for most Tampa Bay, Clearwater and St. Pete area home buyers is what's called the appraisal gap or appraisal contingency.  In most contracts with a loan, the lender will only lend based on what the home is worth.  The lender will have an appraisal done to establish value to which they use as a basis to lend you money.  In today's market we are seeing such high offers and then the appraisal comes in low and that becomes a problem.  It's easiest to describe by example.

You see a home you love and want to make an offer.  The home is listed at $385,000.  You offer $415,000.  You've been approved by a lender for the $415k and have your 20% down plus closing costs.  The house appraises at $380,000.  Now the lender will only lend based on the appraised value, $380,000.  Normally, the appraisal contingency in your contract protects you from making too high of an offer (The home appraises at offer price of $415,000 or you can walk away unscathed if it appraises for less).  However, due to the nature of this market, most sellers EXPECT buyers to completely cover the gap between offer price and appraised price or most won't even consider your offer.  What that means for you is that you will have to pay $415,000 but the lender will only lend on $380,000.  Guess who needs another $35,000 CASH on top of their down payment and closing costs?  Yep.  You.  A "strong offer" in today's market includes covering any appraisal gaps - the difference between your offer price and what the home appraised for.  It makes for a tough situation when every home has 5 or 6 offers with appraisal gap covered but you don't have the extra cash to put out like that.  It makes your offer significantly sub-par to other offers the seller will likely receive.

It's more important than ever to have a Tampa real estate expert on your side, fighting for your interest who knows what they're doing.

The situations described above are indeed common these days but that doesn't mean there aren't alternatives or that you need to be left out of the home buying process.  Just know that regardless of how you anticipate paying for your home, winning an offer will be tough and it will take some time.  You'll need to be patient and strategic.  As a licensed broker in the trenches every day, I see it and deal with it and work my way through it successfully with my clients.  My team and I are problem solvers and we help you successfully navigate this tough seller's market.  Reach out to me today by clicking the contact button above.


Phil Bernie is a Florida licensed real estate broker with Dalton Wade.  He can be reached through his websites, TampaHomeSearcher.com, TampaLuxuryHomeSearcher.com and ListMyTampaHome.com.

June 14, 2020


Getting Ready To Sell Your Home In Tampa Bay Area and Preparing For Your Real Estate Photo Shoot?

Here Is What You Need To Do To Prepare For Your Professional Real Estate Photographer

Professional real estate photographer.  How to prepare for your home photos when selling checklist.


As a real estate agent/Broker Associate, we use professional photographers to shoot the homes we list.  We feel we owe it to our clients to have the right people for the job and since your home photos will be your main front-facing, first impression to buyers both online and in person, we use trusted professional real estate photographers to shoot photos and videos of our clients' homes.

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April 13, 2020


Thinking About Selling For Sale By Owner (FSBO)?  Did you know we can help?

Tampa For Sale By Owner Tips

Are you interested in selling your home through a Tampa Real Estate Agent but the high cost of commissions are keeping you from moving forward with your plans? Don’t you worry, I’ve got you covered! 

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March 31, 2020


A Guide To The Process of Buying Tampa Bay Area Real Estate Using a Tampa Real Estate Agent

How To Use a Tampa Bay Real Estate Agent To Buy a Home in Tampa bayHow do I buy a home?

In this post, I'd like to give you real world information about how to buy a home in the Tampa Bay area using a real estate agent and how the process goes.

Tampa, Florida real estate moves FAST!

If you love a home you find and aren’t financially prepared to buy, it will likely be gone the next time you return to make an offer.  It is important you get preapproved for a mortgage before you go out physically looking for a home.  Sellers in the area usually require a preapproval letter from a mortgage lender or they will not even consider your offer should you find a home you want to buy.  

Here’s the order in which you should your Tampa area home buying process typically follows:

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March 31, 2020

Tampa Bay Area Counties

Tampa Bay Area Counties, Neighborhoods and Subdivisions

Tampa Bay Area Counties

If you are considering buying or selling a Tampa Bay area home, it helps to become familiar with the different neighborhoods, subdivisions and areas in and around Tampa, FL.

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Feb. 5, 2020


What credit score do I need to buy a home?

We get A LOT of people through our TampaHomeSearcher.com web site and unfortunately, many visitors who want to buy a home just aren't ready.  I usually tell potential clients who are still 6 months to 1 year away from buying to follow these steps as they prepare to purchase a new home or move out of a rental and into their first home.

640 - It's the magic number!  MONITOR YOUR CREDIT!

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Feb. 1, 2020

Tampa Home Searcher | Rules of Engagement

Tampa Home Searcher Rules of Engagement

I wanted to create a post to make my intentions clear and to convey our purpose and the way we go about things here.  

We process a lot of "leads" each month.  Our website is very popular because it is very user friendly and a fun site to search for homes.  A "lead" (a person who visits our site and registers) is NEVER a name and number to us - to me!  There's a journey that is about to begin for nearly everyone who visits TampaHomeSearcher.com and it is my responsibility and obligation as a licensed Florida Real Estate Broker to educate, protect and advise my clients and potential clients using the expertise I've gained through education and experience.  I typically extend that to include anyone - anyone at all, who needs my help.  I strongly believe expertise is meant to be shared.  I just happen to know real estate very well but it could be any expertise.  It's meant to be shared.

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Jan. 19, 2020

Tampa Bay Area Counties, Neighborhoods and Subdivisions

Tampa Bay Area Counties, Neighborhoods and Subdivisions

If you are considering buying or selling a Tampa Bay area home, it helps to become familiar with the different neighborhoods, subdivisions and areas in and around Tampa, FL.

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Jan. 19, 2020

Tampa Real Estate - Tampa FL Homes For Sale | Tampa Home Searcher

Tampa Real Estate - Tampa FL Homes For Sale | Tampa Home Searcher

Tampa Real Estate - Tampa FL Homes For Sale | Tampa Home Searcher

Tampa Home Searcher makes searching Tampa homes for sale very easy.  We've got the most up to date MLS listings where you can search specific to your needs in a very user friendly format.  Search for single family homes in Tampa, Tampa condos for sale, townhomes, mobile homes, investment homes and more.

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Sept. 7, 2018


Costs to sell your home in Tampa using a real estate agent

The big question that has some homeowners cringe when they think about selling their home.  How much will it cost me to sell my home in the Tampa Bay area?

The Short Answer:  92% of Sold Price Less Mortgage Owed

On average, you will receive about 92% of the price the house sold for, including commissions, prorated taxes, stamp taxes on deed and other fees, LESS whatever you owe on your mortgage.

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