Enjoying Nature at Weeki Wachee Springs

Weeki Wachee Springs recently did a free admission special. I went, but got there too late to catch any of the shows. I got to get on the boat ride and take the cruise around the river. That was a nice time as I got to see a bald eagle and some and some other wildlife. However, the boat kept me far enough away that it was tough to get any pictures. I did however, get some great shots wandering around the park. There were a bunch of peacocks roaming around the park. Here are some of the shots I managed to get.

Weeki Wachee Springs

This one was on the tree next to a set of bleachers that were going unused at the time. I actually saw one on the bleachers and got a shot of him. However, that one had his back to me at the time. Several people went up and took pictures of this one, and he just sat there and looked ahead, as though completely indifferent to the people converging on him.

Weeki Wachee Springs 4

This was my favorite picture from the afternoon. This one was just sitting alongside one of the walkways heading back toward the boat ride. He was literally less than two feet from the the paved path. People are walking right by and he just sits and watches everything as though he was keeping tabs on everyone. It was truly amazing seeing him just sit there that close to all these people, on ground level, and not be scared in the least. The other one was up in a tree, so at least he was above most of the people. He was also off the path a good bit. This one was right up against the path. It is really something to be able to get that close to these birds and see them completely unfazed by the experience.

Weeki Wachee Springs 3

Here is that same bird from another angle. It almost looks like he is taking a nap.

Weeki Wachee Springs 2

Here are the females sitting on the fence next to the gift shop. In one of the highest traffic areas in the park, these birds were just sitting there. They were slightly off to the side, but the people walking by were still able to get fairly close. I was only a few feet away when I took this picture. Thankfully, I have a good zoom on my camera.

This was a great time. If you have the opportunity to go to the park and see these things for yourself, you should do so.

Want to Know What Castle’s Loft Is Worth?

Bankrate’s website has an interesting article article about what some homes featured in popular TV shows would cost in “real life.” The piece covers TV homes from all parts of the country, from the Pasadena apartment of Sheldon Cooper on Big Bang Theory to the suburban Miami home of Madeline Westen on Burn Notice. It gives you a pretty entertaining look at real estate prices in different cities across the country. It is certainly worth a read if you get the opportunity. If you would like to chime in and discuss the piece, check out our Facebook page and get the ball rolling there.

Of course, to check out what homes here in Hernando County cost, contact us and we can help you find the home you want. We have an entire team dedicated to ensuring our clients, buyers and sellers, are satisfied and get what they were hoping for. Give us a call and see for yourself.

Combating Uncertainty

AOL Real Estate has an article that states that Americans are experiencing growing uncertainty about homeownership. The article states a number of reasons for this trepidation. Here we will address some of those reasons and offer suggestions about how to alleviate them.


The primary reason for the uncertainty many Americans face that leaves them unprepared to buy a home is the complexity of the home-buying process. This is precisely what we are here for. If you are looking to purchase a home in Hernando or Pasco Counties, contact Bonnie Barbieri today and we will help you through every step of the process. If you are looking elsewhere, contact a Realtor who can assist you with the process.


Another primary reason for trepidation about a home purchase is that they feel that they cannot afford to buy in a neighborhood they want to live in. For this we recommend doing more research about neighborhoods. Sometimes, you may find a great place to live somewhere you did not expect. For example, many people overlook a community like ours. Homes in Hernando County are quite affordable for even smaller budgets. We have highlighted this on our site before. There are many things that make our community special as well, as evidenced here.

Down Payments

Many people are concerned about not having enough for a down payment. We have covered options for getting mortgages with lower down payments here. There are a number of programs through which you can apply for mortgages with low down payments. Some are offering anywhere from 3.5 to 5 percent down for a mortgage. Researching options will give you a better picture of what is available. Again, you can also contact a Realtor who can help you determine your options going in.


Another key reason people are uncertain about being ready for homeownership is their credit score. We discussed how to monitor your credit score previously. There are also plenty of guides out there on ways to work on improving your score. This can be a serious impediment, but it is one with a fix. It may take time, but it is well worth achieving. Doing so will not only help your chances of getting a good mortgage, but it helps many other aspects of life as well.


Making sure you stay on top of your credit score and checking with a Realtor for help with the homebuying process will make getting the home you want easier.

Mortgages With a Low Credit Score

Yahoo Homes published an article giving tips on what to do if you are turned down for a mortgage because your credit score is too low. In order to find out your credit score, we have provided a guide for that here. The Yahoo article covers several methods to help you get a mortgage if you have less than stellar credit. Here are a few of their tips.

First, they recommend putting more money down. Putting a larger down payment on a house can lower the necessary credit score to qualify for a loan in some instances. This is especially helpful when applying with credit unions or small banks as they frequently work with customers more than larger banks. This may not be an option for some people, but if you can save up some, it does help significantly. Coming up with a significant down payment may be too much for some people, but there options even there.

Getting a loan through the Federal Housing Administration can sometimes be possible with less money down, even with a subpar credit score. There are also loans specific to veterans and even programs to help get loans for other professions such as teachers.

There are a number of programs out there that will help you obtain a mortgage. If you do the research, there are options available for many potential buyers.


SOLD! 5039 Willow Oak Ln.

Square Ft: 2397
Year Built: 3756

Details: MOTIVATED SELLER – ALL REASONABLE OFFERS WILL BE LOOKED AT. 3/3/3 POOL home in Lake In The Woods community. This is a 24/7 manned gated community. Newer roof, newer a/c, new diamond brite on pool, 6 panel doors, large kitchen with newer appliances, island and lots of cabinets. Loft for office or exercise area. Stone wood burning f/p. Private backyard. Updated bathrooms. This is the best deal in Lake in the Woods. If you ever wanted to live in an upscale community – now is your chance. No flood insurance needed. This house is high and dry!

Outside Features Door-Sliding Glass , Entry-Ground Level , Gutters/Downspouts , Landscaped , Window-Single Hung
Inside Features Blinds , Ceiling-Cathedral , Fireplace-Wood , Open Floor Plan , Walk-in Closet(s) , Window Treatment(s
Heating Central Electric
Cooling Central Electric
Construction Concrete Block and Stucco Frame
Basement none
Garage 3 Car Attached
Fireplace Wood Burning
Utilities Available
Directions From US 19-West on Lake in the Woods Drive. Through entrance at guard gate. Right on River Birch to Lake in the Woods Drive turn Right, left on Willow

Don’t Want Wall Street as Your Landlord? Buy a Home


Wall Street investors may end up being your landlord if you rent a home. Corporate investors are snatching up properties and even renting former foreclosures. These companies are even selling bundled rental contracts as securities. Sound familiar? They did the same thing with mortgages a few years ago.

Whatever your stance on the banking industry, what is not good for anyone renting is the fact that a corporate landlord is far less likely to work with tenants than many current landlords. People may end up dealing with a call center overseas just to get a leaky sink fixed. This sounds like it will be a major hassle for quite a lot of people.

Want to avoid these headaches? Buy a home. Be your own landlord. The Spring Hill and Brooksville area has plenty of affordable homes and mortgage rates are still reasonable. I posted recently about the increasing availability of low down payment mortgages. There are plenty of reasons to buy in this market. Freeing yourself from the shackles of a corporate rental home is another great reason to make the jump.

This is still a recent phenomenon and it is not happening everywhere yet, but these practices are spreading. If you are not in one of these investor-owned properties now, it may only be a matter of time. If an investor comes with a decent offer, plenty of landlords would consider it. Then, you could end up dealing with these headaches without having a say in the matter.

If you are looking to get out of the rental market and step up to home ownership, give Bonnie Barbieri a call at: 352-263-3599

If you want to buy, you need a Realtor like Bonnie. Available homes are limited in this market. Getting a quality Realtor can help you secure the home you want through knowledge of the market, negotiation experience, and attention to detail with all of the paperwork that comes with a home sale. Having someone on your side is never a bad thing.

Best Places to Eat in Spring Hill by Fred Moutran


I love to eat. Anyone who knows me knows that. There are many places to go to get a bite to eat around Spring Hill, Florida. Whether you are looking for Barbecue or Bagels, there is someplace for just about everyone in this town. Obviously, this is just my opinion and your mileage may vary and all that, but here are the places I personally consider the best places to eat in Spring Hill.



New York Gourmet Bagels at the corner of Spring Hill Drive and Mariner Blvd. is the place to go for bagels. One bagel here can be enough food to last half a day. For a reasonable price, you can get a great sandwich for breakfast or lunch that will keep you going for quite a while.

Cuban Food


The La Cucina Food Truck in front of Winn Dixie on the corner of Spring Hill Drive and Mariner Blvd.  They make a Cuban Sandwich with large portions of pork. It is juicy and really full of flavor. The Cuban Sandwich is only the beginning. They have a beef and rice dish that has some perfectly seasoned beef.



I know some people frown upon the big chain restaurants, but it is hard to argue with their all you can eat menu. With several sauce choices and multiple types of meat, there are lots of options to eat until you are stuffed.

Italian Food


Mario’s Pizza on U.S. 19 (aka Commercial Way) has several great Italian dishes. I personally consider their baked ziti my favorite. They also have a really good chicken parmesan. I know it isn’t Italian food, but their wings are also really good. This is seriously one of my favorite places to go in town.

Chinese Food


Buffet City on State Road 50 (Cortez Blvd) is the biggest Chinese buffet in town. They have all of the standards you would come to expect from such a buffet along with a stir fry station, sushi and frozen yogurt for dessert. I could eat enough to stuff myself all day long just with the stir fry station. To be able to pick from all of those different options and have it cooked fresh right there is great.



I know I praised Mario’s wings not too long ago, but Rookies Sports Bar really has the best wings overall in town. They have several flavors and all of them are delicious. They also have a tasty buffalo chicken strip sandwich. They also go beyond many of the other entries on this list by having plenty of special events on a regular basis. From karaoke nights, to airing UFC events, to  in-house wrestling events, these guys always seem to have something going on.



Coming from New Jersey, I have always been fond of a good local sub shop. That is why is weird to me at first when people told me that a supermarket had the best subs in town when I first came to town. Amazingly, it was an accurate assessment. There is no place else in town that I have found that makes a better deli sub than Publix.



Philly’s Best lives up to its name. For cheesesteaks, this is the place to go. They use some of the best bread around. They pile the steak on it heavily. Their fries are excellent. They have a great atmosphere. What else is there to say? They’re just good.



No, I don’t know why the link goes to the Australian version of Yelp. I also do not know why they haven’t updated the name. However, despite those oddities, Imagez is the place for burgers. They had a “love it or hate it” reputation when it was under the name Felony’s, but they have their act together now and make a great burger with some nice garlic-seasoned steak fries. If you wrote them off because of their previous issues, it is really time to give them another shot.



Outback Steakhouse may be about as good, but it is also more expensive and frequently more crowded. Texas Roadhouse on State Road 50 (Cortez Blvd) has just about everything the other steakhouses in town have. They’re just as good if not better, and they run some weekly specials that are great deals. I love a good steak. This is the place to get it.



Nearly every Friday I try to make it out for one of the all-you-can-eat fish fry specials. Many have tried to run these specials, but few succeed. Papa’s Place is currently the best of the pack. They have nice, large portions of fish. They fry them right without rushing it like many places can end up doing. They use a well-seasoned breading to fry it in. I haven’t had the opportunity to try much else on their menu, but if the fish is any indication, I’m sure it will impress.

Ice Cream/Frozen Yogurt/Italian Ice



I couldn’t pick just one here. Sweet Frog and Rita’s both offer quite different experiences and both are amazing. Rita’s has some of the most unique flavors of Italian ice around. If you want Italian Ice or a true custard, Rita’s is the place to be.

Sweet Frog has such a variety of frozen yogurt and toppings that the possibilities are nearly endless. The only limits to what you can put together here are the limits of your imagination. It can be easy to spoil your dinner or eat until you stuff yourself here, so pacing yourself is a good idea.


These are the places I frequently like to eat. Whatever you are in the mood for, Spring Hill, has something to satisfy your craving. Give some of these places a try and you might be pleasantly surprised.

One of the Most Affordable Places to Live

CNN Money recently ran an article about the 25 most affordable places to live. In it, several of the markets listed are in Florida, and the markets from the Sunshine State that were listed include one in the Tampa Bay Area. They list Temple Terrace as one of the most affordable places to live in the country.

If you want an even better deal, head north. Hernando County has a more affordable median home price than Hillsborough County, where Temple Terrace is located. Buying a home here puts you near all of the beaches and attractions without the congestion and higher prices common in the counties to the south.

It is also an area with great expansion potential. More companies are beginning to set up shop here than in Pasco or Citrus. There are properties prime for investment and commercial expansion. An investor who could satisfy an untapped market here could do well.

In the current housing market, value is one of the most important factors in the home-buying process. This region is one of the best values available right now. If you are looking to buy and get in on the ground floor of an emerging market, this is the place to be. Living in Florida can be like being on vacation every day. You owe it to yourself to check it out.

Celebrating 40 Years of Re/Max

2013 marks the 40th year that Re/Max agents have been making the American Dream come true. For all that time Re/Max agents have been serving communities across this great nation, helping people make their dreams of home ownership a reality. Join us in celebrating this milestone. If you are one of the millions of people we have assisted over the years, thank you for choosing us. If you have not had the opportunity to work with a Re/Max agent, there no better time than the present. Give us a call and see what we can do for you.

Tips to Prepare Your Home For Sale From Re/Max

The Re/Max YouTube channel has a number of great tips for buyers and sellers. This one in particular covers mistakes to avoid when preparing your home as you get ready to sell. We have also written about numerous mistakes to avoid as well. Avoid these mistakes and you can put your home in position to sell for the best price possible. Check back here for more tips and helpful information.