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.


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 www.myfloridalicense.com.  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!

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.

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.

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:


Tampa Bay events in May and June 2015

Screen Shot 2015-05-20 at 9.29.52 AM

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 http://www.tampamargaritafest.com


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: ?http://smftampa.com


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.” ­firstfridaystpete.com

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: http://www.tampatraveler.com/top­10­party­venues­first­friday­tampa­bay/

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!” ­?http://www.visittampabay.com/events/details/first­friday/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.” ­?http://www.stpetepride.com/2015LGBTPrideParade

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.” ­?http://www.stpetepride.com/2015PrideFestival

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 Realty

http://www.visittampabay.com/tampa­events/?gclid=CLvwyKSBzMUCFUUSHwodRZYA0Q http://www.tampabay.com/things­to­do/events/


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.