10 Things To prepare your home for the 2016 Hurricane Season


While living in the sunshine state has many advantages, we do have to contend with mother nature and the challenges she sometimes brings.  We have just entered the start of hurricane season, which officially runs from June 1st to November 30th.  During this time, our states on the eastern seaboard have an elevated chance of being affected by a Hurricane or Tropical Storm due to warmer waters and other weather conditions.  While this timeframe is officially the Hurricane season, there is still a chance that a Hurricane or Tropical Depression can form outside of this timeframe.

For Florida, the El Nino effect helped reduce Hurricane activity over the past few years, due to the fact that El Nino creates additional wind shear over the Atlantic, which in turn helps reduce tropical storm formation.  Unfortunately, it looks like El Nino conditions are weakening this year, and will turn to more La Nina like conditions, which include warmer waters and less wind shear –  recipes for increased Tropical storm conditions.  With the transition to La Nina, and the fact that Florida has not had a Hurricane make landfall in quite some time, experts believe we may have increased Hurricane activity this 2016 season.  While there is nothing can do to prevent a Hurricane in your area, there are things you can do to be prepared!  Below we have a list of things you can do to help prepare yourself this 2016 Hurricane season.

  1. Check your Insurance:  Double check your policy to make sure you’re covered and up to date.  Keep a copy of your policy with phone numbers and account numbers in a separate file, that way if the power is out and you lose access to your cloud storage, you’ll still have access to your information.
  2. Create a box or folder of all your important documents.  In the event you need to evacuate quickly, you will want to make sure you have all of your very important documents easily accessible to take with you.
  3. Trim bushes and cut down hazardous trees that might be in danger of falling over during a major storm.
  4. If you have hurricane shutters, learn how to put them on your house or hire somebody that you can work with in helping you prepare this is the event of a Hurricane.
  5. Clean your yard of debris that might fly away in the chance of a high wind storm to help prevent with things falling on a car or a neighbor’s property.
  6. Inspect your roof and gutters to make sure it’s cleared of leaves and debris.  Leaves can tend to build up in certain areas and can hold water leading to future leaks.
  7. Make sure you have a reserve supply of drinking water and canned foods in the event you lose power for a prolonged period of time.  Also having extra gas is especially beneficial in the event of an evacuation.
  8. In the event of a power outage, having a hand crank radio or battery powered radio is a great tool to ensure you stay up to date with how the storm is progressing, and to be notified if your area is undergoing an evacuation.
  9. Educate yourself on your evacuation route and utilize any resources your local government may provide.  For residents in Tampa, you can find information about what to do in a hurricane at the City of Tampa website.
  10. Traveling to another country during Hurricane season?  If so, you will want to check out this informative page from the State Department on what you should do if you were to experience a Hurricane while visiting another country. 

For additional information on how to prepare for Hurricane season, the National hurricane center has more info at their website.


A Staged House Is Magic for Buyers


Guest Blog Post by Cardinal Designs, a Tampa home staging and design firm:

Buyers use the Internet ALL the time to search for properties and 9 times out of 10, they choose the best looking photos to decide which houses they want to see or which ones they aren’t interested in. A staged home gets the potential buyer excited and starts the “emotional experience” of buying a house. In some of the most extreme cases I have actually seen buyers put contracts on homes strictly based on photos…and of course the home was staged. The fact is that only 20% of the population can even visualize what and how furniture could be placed in a home. Staging takes all of the guesswork out of buying a home.


A good stager will create “moments” or vignettes for the potential buyer…as seen in this picture of a kid’s teepee in a room…as to suggest that this would be a great kid’s room.

Staging not only helps the buyer but the seller as well! The Tampa real estate market is very hot right now so often my staging clients get anywhere from 97% of list price all the way up to 110% of the list price. I have had one client whose last 2 houses have gotten well over $10,000 above asking price! The time on the market is cut way down as well.




Every house has flaws and staging helps to direct a buyers eye elsewhere…which is why it is considered magic and in this market why wouldn’t you want to pull out every trick in the book as a seller? No ones wants to give away their house nor do buyers want to not feel excited about buying a new home. My business alone has grown immensely over the past 2 years because buyers, sellers, and realtors really see the magic in it!




Pineywoods Realty agents have been using Cardinal Designs for their staging their clients properties. We can be reached at 813-446-8360 for any of your staging needs. We do redesigns, vacant stagings, and can even help pick out paint colors! Our goal is the same as yours! Sell the house fast and for the most amount of money! Cardinalhomedesigns.com is our website.

Preparing to Sell Your Home

At some point during home ownership, you will need to prepare your home for listing on the market.   Not all sellers are able to pull off a full renovation of their home to get top dollar, but there are so many other small things you can do to improve curb appeal and attract a wide range of buyers. Below you will find some great ideas to help you sell your home in a quicker time frame and get top dollar for your property!


Curb Appeal:

overgrown house

One of the first impressions a potential buyer will get is the moment the pull up to your home. Is your yard over grown? Is your landscaping blocking the view of your home? Are there tree limbs sitting on your roof? These are just a few potential things that could give a buyer a bad first impression.

When preparing to list your home take the time to trim back any over grown landscaping, keep your yard mowed, make sure your roof is free of any debris, and maybe even lay some fresh mulch in your flower beds for that clean and fresh look without major costs. Pressure washing the home as well as the driveway is another easy and inexpensive way to freshen up your home and make it more inviting for potential buyers.




Start by making sure to remove any clutter throughout the home, as this will make it appear much larger and more inviting. It also helps to remove any large pieces of furniture that may be bulky and too large for the room they are in. The goal is to leave enough furniture and belongings so potential buyers can get an idea of how things look and fit in each room, without over crowding and make the space small and uninviting.

Its also a good idea to remove personal photos as well as any potentially offensive artwork, which helps “neutralize” the space enabling the potential buyers to envision it as their own with their personal touches.

You will want to make sure to organize and clean out any storage spaces or closets. Closets are very important to buyers, so you want them to be able to get a feel for the space and how their belonging will work within them.




Another one of the most important things to do when preparing to sell is to clean your home! Take the time to really deep clean your home to include; inside/outside windows, floors, baseboards, bathrooms, kitchen, closets, etc.   Make sure to dust all blinds and ceiling fans as well! There is a great deal of value in making sure your property is very clean, as potential buyers will feel that the home has been well taken care of. Ensuring your property smells good is also very important. If you have pets, you may consider deodorizing your home and lighting candles for the showings. Some real estate agents also bake cookies during open houses; who doesn’t like the smell of fresh baked cookies?



ugly paint

While some buyers can look past eclectic paint choices, this is also a very important aspect of selling your home that should not be overlooked. If the budget allows, repainting your home with neutral colors prior to listing is a great idea, and will really open up the potential buyer pool. At the very minimum, you should patch any holes that may be present and touch up any scuffmarks or scratches on the walls. Fresh paint also does a great job of minimizing the odors that may penetrate walls over time do to smoking or pets.

Home Inspection:

Another often over looked thing you can do prior to listing the home would be to have your own independent home inspection. Having a home inspection will help bring to light any hidden issues that may be present at the property that you are unaware of. Knowing about these issues prior to listing your property will help you decide if you want to fix the issues, or sell the home as is. Its much better to know about them ahead of time, instead of finding out once you already have a buyer and potentially losing the contract due to the issues.


While there is so much more that can be done to prepare your property for listing, these main areas are the most easy and cost effective things you can do to instantly improve the appeal of your home. Of course every home is different, and some homes may need major repairs or may need to be sold as is in a cash deal. Choosing the right real estate agent to help you navigate the process is one of the most important decisions you can make when selling your home.

If you would like more information about selling your home quickly and getting top dollar, contact Pineywoods Realty at 888.502.3210 or email is at info@pineywoodsrealty.com.  Our team has a wide range of industry knowledge and a successful track record of helping clients buy and sell Real Estate across the Tampa Bay area.


New home construction increasing in Seminole Heights



Over the last few years Seminole Heights has seen a revitalization in the area fueled by real estate investors rehabbing old bungalow homes and property managers looking to purchase rental properties.  The area has also been reinventing itself as a destination for foodies with restaurants such as Fodder & Shine and The Olde Heights Bistro.  Local farmer markets and craft breweries add to the young and vibrant community.

While the Seminole heights area has gained popularity, an influx in new construction homes have begun to pop-up in the Seminole Heights market. With 5 newly built homes being sold in the last six months, 7 new construction homes pending sale, and 12 newly built homes currently on the market it’s clear that new construction is becoming a large part of the area’s market.  The price ranges of homes sold have been between $280,000-$395,000 or between $172-$209 per sq ft.

If you are looking to purchase a new home in Seminole Heights please  Pineywoods Realty to schedule a showing today!  We can be reached at 813.225.1890, or visit us at www.pineywoodsrealtyfl.com.

August 1st Settlement form changes


As many in the Real Estate industry know, there are some big changes coming to the loan and settlement forms. We recently had a lunch and learn at the Pineywoods Realty office with a guest speaker from First American Title. The training session covered the basics of the new process, an overview of the new closing statement/estimates, as well as some benefits and challenges we may encounter once these new regulations are put in place.

Below we will run through an overview of the presentation, highlighting some of the important changes and what to expect once this new process has been implemented.


Basics of the Integrated Mortgage Disclosures Rule :

What – Changes to the Loan and Settlement Disclosure forms and processes are coming.

When – The changes will be effective for transactions where a loan application is taken by a lender on or after August 1, 2015.

Why – Because the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 mandates the combination of the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) loan disclosures with the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) Good Faith Estimate and HUD-1 Settlement Statement disclosures.

How – The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), an entity created by the Dodd Frank Act, issued a new TILA final regulation that, among other things, created two new forms (each with many variations) and new 3 business day delivery requirements.




Loan Estimate  – 3 business days after application:

loan estimate calendar

3 Business Day Delivery Requirement – The creditor must deliver or place the Loan Estimate in the mail no later than the 3rd “business day” after the creditor has received the loan application

Business Day – For purposes of the Loan Estimate “business day” is defined as a day on which the creditor’s offices are open to the public for carrying on substantially all of its business functions.

Application – “Application” is defined as submission of a consumer’s financial information for the purposes of obtaining an extension of credit. For purposes of the Loan Estimate an “application” consists of the submission of: 1) name; 2) income; 3) social security number; 4) property address; 5) estimate of the value of the property; and 6) mortgage loan amount sought.

Mailing – When the Loan Estimate is mailed, receipt is presumed 3 business days after it is mailed.

Delivery Methods – Some of the ways the Loan Estimate may be delivered are by: regular mail, e- mail, overnight delivery service and personal delivery. If the Loan Estimate is actually received earlier than the 3 day presumed receipt (i.e. if an e-mail was received and opened by the consumer the same day it was sent), the 3 business day presumed receipt date would be shortened. However, there are specific requirements that must be met in these situations.

Changed Circumstances – A revised Loan Estimate may be sent when certain “changed circumstances” occur.




Closing Disclosure – 3 business days before consummation:

closing calender

3 Business Day Review Period – The consumer must receive the Closing Disclosure 3 “business days” before “consummation.”

Business Day – For purposes of the Closing Disclosure “business day” is defined as every day except Sundays and Federal legal holidays.

Consummation – “Consummation” is defined as the time that a consumer becomes contractually obligated on a credit transaction. State law governs when this is.

Mailing – When the Closing Disclosure is mailed, receipt is presumed 3 business days after the Closing Disclosure is mailed.

Delivery Methods – some of the ways the Closing Disclosure may be delivered are by: regular mail, e-mail, overnight delivery service and personal delivery. If the Closing Disclosure is actually received earlier than the 3 day presumed receipt (i.e. if an e-mail was received and opened by the consumer the same day it was sent), the 3 business day review period may begin to run at the time of the earlier receipt. However, there are specific requirements that must be met in these situations.



Who will issue the forms?

Enforcement – The CFPB can levy substantial penalties so Lenders will be very cautious:

Impact on Real Estate Professionals




Along with these new changes in timeframes, comes a new closing statement! Below are screenshots of a sample closing statement for a fixed loan. This closing statement will not be used for commercial closings (still use HUD-1 form).


page1  page3 page4 page5

The new process will apply to any loan application that is made on or after August 1st 2015. While these changes are sure to take a little getting used to, overall they are positive changes. These changes will help smooth out the closing process, and help alleviate a lot of issues that come about with rushing last minute closings. The new settlement forms are easy to navigate, and should be much easier to explain to clients on both selling and buying side of the transaction.

If you missed the lunch and learn and would like to learn more about the changes coming August 1st, contact us for more info!




*Info sourced from First American Title company

New Restaurant : Olde Heights Bistro

Seminole Heights’ newest restaurant the Olde Heights Bistro is a New American Restaurant that is bringing Sushi to the neighborhood! The Bistro is currently open in the evening and plans to have beer and wine pairing events later this year. They also offer lunch with it’s Buffalo Chicken Hoagie quickly becoming one of the local favorites as well as for our agents over at Pineywoods Realty. The Bistro is part of one of the fastest developing neighborhoods of Southeast Seminole Heights with many other businesses planning to open soon nearby ­ such as 7th Sun Brewery.

The Olde Heights Bistro also features an outdoor patio area for you to enjoy your craft beer. We look forward to seeing what this new restaurant has to offer in the coming months!

Click below to see the full menu of the Olde Heights Bistro:


Large new Ybor Apartment complex in the works

The largest residential development project since The Quarter may soon be underway.  The Framework Group LLC has filed documents seeking approval of a 234 apartment complex on what is currently city owned land; city council has already agreed to the sale of the land to Framework.

Development throughout the area has grown steadily, but a project like this could inject hundreds of residents into the area at once, moving it closer to the more urbanized type of area that many young residents are looking for.

From renderings the building appears to be a 4 story complex with courtyard, and its location on 12th Avenue would make it easy walking distance to the HCC Ybor Campus as well as the shops, restaurants, and entertainment of 7th and 8th Avenues.

St. Petersburg Condo Project: The Salvador

Salvador Condo project

The Salvador is a new luxury condo inspired by Salvador Dali. The building will be 13 floors tall with 72 units. It’ll feature a heated saltwater pool, concierge, spa, and fire pit. The Salvador will be located at 2nd Street and 5th Avenue South. Its address will be on Dali Boulevard.

The building will include one- and two-bedroom residences ranging from 964 to 1810 square feet, as well as two penthouses of more than 2,500 square feet.

salvador 3

The developer expects to break ground mid-February, if certain benchmarks are met. One of the benchmarks needed is a 35% pre-sale. Pre-Construction prices for The Salvador start at $365,000.


salvador 2

Contact a Pineywoods agent today to see the different floor plans offered.