Before You Hire A Real Estate Agent, Ask These Questions

Selling or buying a home can be a daunting task for many.  Luckily, real estate professionals have been through the process many times and can help you navigate each step.  Below is a list of questions that you should ask any agent you are considering hiring.

Are you a full time real estate agent?

Agents who work part-time often aren’t available at certain times.  Confirm that your agent’s working hours align with times you would be available to view prospective homes and that they are dedicating enough time to their real estate business.  A part-time agent could be a good thing, as they often have fewer clients, meaning more attention to you despite only working part-time.  But, if their other job is a 9-5, they could be unavailable to deal with issues that arise when they need to be.

How many homes have you sold in my neighborhood?

Every neighborhood is different, and often the agent your friend referred you to can be very familiar with one neighborhood but not at all with one you may be interested in.  Make sure the agent you choose has done some business in the areas that interest you, or at the least that they are very familiar with the area – just because they haven’t done a deal there yet does not mean they do not have local knowledge!

How many sellers and/or buyers are you representing now?

Some believe a busier agent is a sign of a better agent, while others think that an agent with less clients may give you better attention.  I personally believe there is a “sweet spot” in the middle somewhere.  Be sure to determine the activity level of your agent, and then decide for yourself which you prefer.

Are your fees negotiable?

By law, agent fees are negotiable.  That does not mean, however, that the agent is required to accept a rate lower than their personal standard.  As a buyer, the seller pays the agent, making their service free to you!  As a seller, your agent may give a reduced rate if they were to find the buyer themselves or if you plan to purchase your next home through them after selling.  Just ask!  And, beware of agents who offer discounted rates just to get business!

What price do you believe my house will sell for, in what amount of time, and why?

An agent should not only be able to provide what they believe your house will sell for but also how long they anticipate it would take based on current market conditions.  Most importantly, they should be able to tell you why and have market data to prove it.  The agent should provide you with comparables, or “comps”, to demonstrate exactly how they arrived at their price opinion.  I say “opinion”, because it’s rare that every house in a market is identical, and so pricing a home is not a science; it’s an art!

How long have you been in real estate and what education have you received?  

Ask your agent how long they have been in the business, how long they have lived in the area, and where they received their real estate training. An agent’s time in the business isn’t necessarily a direct reflection of whether they are a good agent or not, but it can help you make that determination.  Other considerations may include that they have lived in a particular community for a long period of time, potentially giving them more insight than a 20-year veteran agent that is new to the area.

Is your license currently active?  Have you ever had any consumer complaints?
In Florida, you can obtain this information on your own by going to  If an agent’s license is not active, it is illegal for them to conduct any real estate business for compensation.

Do you recommend home staging or rearranging of my current furniture?

Agents differ in opinion on the value of home staging.  Ask your agent their thoughts.  It may be that they simply think that removing clutter and rearranging your current furniture would be more than enough to aid in the sale.  Homes that are filled with clutter, tons of personal items or photos, or mis-matched furniture will hurt the buyer’s ability to picture themselves and their furniture in the home.   In my opinion, vacant homes that are staged sell must faster and for more money.

When can I expect to hear from you?

An agent should give you regular updates, even if there isn’t’ any major news to share.  They should also set expectations of their availability.  Some consumers have the idea that agents work 24/7 (which is sometimes the case!), and are upset when their agent doesn’t return a call on a Sunday or Monday.  Discuss with your agent what hours that they keep so that you don’t have to be concerned that you didn’t hear back from them on what you didn’t know what their day off.

May I see the documents I will have to sign?

It’s generally my policy to share blank contracts with my buyers and sellers at our first meeting.  I encourage them to read through everything so that when it comes time to execute a contract, they have already read the “fine print” and don’t hold things up.  Also, feel free to ask your agent any questions about the contract after you have read through it to make sure you fully understand what your responsibilities are in a sale.

How much can I expect to pay in closing costs?

This is a big one, as many consumers don’t realize the costs of selling their home.  I recommend that you ask your agent to provide a Preliminary HUD, which would show you what amount would be yours to keep after all costs are paid.

Walk me through a typical deal, step by step?

Whether buying or selling, it’s wise to know the process before you get started,  especially to be aware of could go wrong.  Every deal is different, and sometimes “surprises” pop up.  Your Realtor should be able to give you a pretty straight forward, step by step, summary of the selling or buying process, but also give some examples of unexpected situations that could arise so that you aren’t completely caught off guard.

Want to ask an agent these questions (or more)?  Contact Pineywoods Realty today at (813) 225-1890!

New Docks and Kayak Launch Open at Water Works Park & Ulele

ulele boat docks


The boat docks that were part of the original plans and budget for the new Water Works Park, just north of Downtown Tampa on the Hillsborough River, opened up on July 1st.  There are three slips for boaters who want to come and enjoy either the park or dinner at Ulele by sea rather than by land, and there is a kayak launch just to the north for the those looking to put in at a great spot to start a river paddle.

In addition to these new docs at Water Works/Ulele, there are currently also public docks around Downtown at Curtis Hixon Park, The Tampa Bay History Museum, and the Convention Center/Sail Pavilion.  Also, Downtown St. Petersburg has plans to expand its public docks at the base of the Pier in the near future to accommodate the rising interest of boaters wanting to explore the downtown shops and restaurants.

Tampa Bay events in May and June 2015

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The summer is approaching and there are tons of opportunities to get out in Tampa Bay and enjoy yourself! Pineywoods Realty has composed a list of the events some of our agents are looking forward to over the next 6 weeks. Whether you’re looking for a family friendly atmosphere, or a late night party, there is something for everyone!

Saturday May 23rd, 2015 ­ ?Tampa Bay Margarita Festival

I was actually lucky enough to play with my band at the first ever Margarita Festival in 2013.
It was a great event that year that has only gotten better with age. This year ticket prices range from $14 ­ $125, and include lots of great entertainment from some of Tampa’s greatest local bands. The Black Honkeys, who are a Pineywoods Realty favorite, as well as Phase5, the local band who had the great opportunity of performing with Paul McCartney last month at a private event, are just two of the seven acts performing. The show will be headlined by 90s sensation Smash Mouth.

Of course, you can’t have a Margarita Festival without Margaritas! Cabo Wabo, Hornitos, and Sauza are just a few of the tequila producers who will be serving up their signature versions of the classic cocktail. Upgrade to Grand Marnier VIP tickets and receive unlimited margaritas!

See more at


Saturday May 23rd ­ Sunday May 24th, 2015 ­ ?Sunset Music Festival

Tampa’s largest EDM festival is back at Raymond James Stadium for another wild weekend of dance music, costumes, and good times. Parking starts at $20/day, and tickets start at $169 for the weekend. The event is open to 18+ guests, and cash bars will be available for those 21+. There will be assorted food and beverage available throughout the site.

This is definitely an event for those looking for a party that is more on the wild side! Loud dance music with heavy bass mixed by some of the top DJs in the world, fun and creative costumes that leave little to the imagination, and a super exciting atmosphere filled with every color neon you can imagine!

More information at: ?


Friday June 5th, 2015 ­ ?“First Friday”
There are a few places that host “First Friday” events throughout Tampa Bay.

Downtown St. Pete? ­ “On the first Friday of every month, the heart of downtown becomes St. Pete’s biggest block party. First Friday St. Pete is a showcase for the great bands, great drinks, and great food that make us Florida’s most exciting city.” ­

This month’s headlining entertainment is the post­americana newgrass quartet Boxcar Hollow, an awarding winning local band who can regularly be seen in Downtown St. Pete. I’ve actually had the pleasure of playing with all of the members of Boxcar Hollow at one point or another, and can vouch that they are an incredible group of musicians as well as really fun people.

I found a great list of venues to enjoy after the street party at:­10­party­venues­first­friday­tampa­bay/

University of Tampa ?­ “?Meet us at the Minarets for our next First Friday event on June 6th. The Museum will be open with free admission from 5 – 7pm. Visitors are encouraged to explore the nation’s only Victorian railroad resort museum, enjoy live music on the veranda, and share a treat with friends at our tastings table. This event will occur on the first Friday of each month through November. Experience the magic of the Museum at dusk!” ­?­friday/4297/

The Minarets at UT are very cool site to see up close. If you haven’t taken a walk by the UT waterfront, or through the former Florida Hotel building and museum, I suggest that you make an effort to attend this event. Consider wrapping your evening up with dinner at one of the great restaurants on nearby Davis Islands!

June 26th -­ 28th, 2015 ­ ?St. Pete Pride Parade and Festival Parade

“?What you need to know?:
The LGBT Pride Parade will be held Saturday, June 27, 2015 in St Pete. The Saturday night

Block Party begins at 5pm, with the Parade kicking off at Sunset.

About the LGBT Pride Parade

The LGBT Pride Parade, held within the Historic Kenwood Neighborhood and Grand Central District, features more than 150 organizations and businesses supporting and celebrating the Tampa Bay LGBT community. The Parade draws more than 200,000 people in total, making it

the large LGBT Pride Parade in Florida and largest overall in St Petersburg. The Saturday Block Party begins at 5:00 p.m., held between 22nd Street and 27th Street along Central Avenue, featuring DJs, food and beverages. The Parade will roll off at Sunset.” ­?

Street Festival
“?What you need to know

The St Pete Pride Festival will be held Sunday, June 28, 2015 in St Pete beginning at 11am and ending at 6pm.

About the St Pete Pride Festival

Expected to draw more than 50,000 of our friends, the St Pete Pride Street Festival returns to Central Avenue in the Grand Central District larger, livelier and bolder than ever! The St Pete Pride Street Festival will again be the largest community event of the season as festival goers come together to make history while enjoying a day of live performances and entertainment, community booths, art and fantastic food in paradise.

After last year’s overwhelming demand, the Festival length has been extended by an entire city block, and the St Pete Pride Street Festival will be more diverse and shop­stopping than ever. Over 350 exhibitors will line both sides of Central Avenue for six city blocks in a rainbow celebration of food and beverage vendors, artists, small businesses, corporations, professional sports teams, community outreach groups, non­profit organizations and Pride themed merchandisers.” ­?

These are just a few of the many events going on in tampa that Pineywoods Realty enjoys and supports. Below is a list of websites where you can find in more detail a broad list of events throughout Tampa Bay.

Thanks for reading,
Ryan Chamblee ­ Pineywoods Realty­events/?gclid=CLvwyKSBzMUCFUUSHwodRZYA0Q­to­do/events/­tampa­bay/­events.aspx