5 Advantages of 55 Plus Communites

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While many people, as they get older, might be apprehensive about the idea of living in a 55+ community, there are plenty of reasons why it is a good idea to consider it. There are many advantages to buying a home in a 55+ community that many people would not otherwise have access to. Here are a few of these advantages.

Amenities: Many 55+ communities have pools, clubhouses, and several other perks. These amenities are available to residents of the community and are a great source of enjoyment for many who live in these communities.

Community: There is a strong push toward building a sense of community in a 55+ community. Through the aforementioned amenities, many residents of these communities really get to know their neighbors. The communities frequently encourage residents to attend events and functions within the development.

Convenience: Many 55+ communities include several conveniences in the cost of the homeowner’s association fees. Lawn service, maintenance, and other conveniences are sometimes included for the cost of those fees. This saves the homeowners a great deal of time and energy which can then be saved for enjoying their time.

Peace and quiet: Because of the restrictions on who is allowed to live in these communities, the atmosphere in a 55+ community is generally pretty tranquil. Loud parties and noisy mischief are essentially nonexistent. It is easy to have a nice, peaceful afternoon outside without feeling hassled. It is a great environment to enjoy one’s self.

Freedom: With all of the aforementioned perks, the recurring theme that runs through most of these is a sense of freedom. The design of these communities is built around giving yourself the ability to enjoy life on your own terms, without being bogged down with the hassles that come with many traditional homes.

For information about homes available in 55+ communities in Hernando County, call Bonnie Barbieri at 352-263-3599 or go to http://bonniebarbieriteam.com or email SOLD@bonniebarbieri.com

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Tampa: Fifth Most Affordable City

Downtown Tampa, FL

Downtown Tampa, FL (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to an article from Business Insider which outlines the minimum salary one would need to buy a home in twenty-five major cities, Tampa is the fifth most affordable major metropolitan area in the country.The only cities more affordable are Cleveland and Cincinnati, Ohio, St. Louis, Missouri, and Atlanta, Georgia. The amount needed in income to afford an average home is $24,651. In the most affordable city, Cleveland, Ohio, one could buy an average home $19,435. The most expensive city, San Francisco, California, would require an annual salary of $115,510 to buy an average home.

This puts Tampa, Florida real estate over $12,000 under the median for the list, which would be Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at $36,836. Given how much the upper end of the list is skewed, the difference between Tampa and the average would likely be a good bit greater than $12,000. What this means for people looking to buy in the Tampa Bay area, is that you can get a home that is far more affordable than in other cities, with the added advantage of all the benefits of the Florida lifestyle, which we have covered rather extensively here.

As we have covered before, the further you get from the major metropolitan areas, the more affordable housing becomes while still keeping the attractions and other advantages of the cities within driving distance. In the case of Tampa, the best direction to head is north. Going into Hernando or Pasco counties and buying real estate there is much more affordable than even the already decently-priced Tampa metropolitan area. This could mean getting a better home for your money than you could have buying in the larger cities.

In order to get more information about the Tampa Bay area, specifically about the Hernando or Pasco County real estate markets, go to http://bonniebarbieriteam.com or email us at: SOLD@bonniebarbieri.com

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5 Reasons to Hire a Realtor

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There are many skills necessary to buy or sell a home for the best deal possible. With the rise of sites like Zillow and Trulia, many people have come to believe that they can do this all themselves. In some rare cases, this may be an accurate assessment. The truth is that, for most people, this “do it yourself” attitude can lead to them losing thousands of dollars worth of value in their real estate transaction. For buyers, this means they will have paid too much. For sellers, this means leaving money on the table and getting less than they should have for their homes. The only way to ensure you get the best deal possible is to hire a Realtor. Realtors are trained to bring skills to a transaction that others may not possess. Here are a few of those skills.

Negotiation: A Realtor knows how to negotiate a deal. This is what they do for a living. They can advise you on how to structure offers and how to counter unsatisfactory ones. Most people are not very experienced in the art of negotiation. Bringing this skill to the table provides an advantage.

Knowledge: Many people do not know all of the ins and outs of a real estate transaction. Inspections, homeowners’ associations, contracts, these are all things which most people have little experience dealing with in their everyday lives. An experienced Realtor will have plenty of experience dealing with all of these issues and will have acquired a great deal of knowledge on how to respond to any problems that arise from them.

Marketing: Anybody can slap a “For Sale By Owner” sign on their front lawn and put an ad up on Craigslist. The problem is those methods only attract a small portion of potential buyers and limits the seller’s ability to get the best deal possible. A Realtor will cast a much wider net, marketing a listing to the largest pool of potential buyers they can. This maximizes the chances for better offers, giving sellers more chances to get what they want out of a sale.

Convenience: For buyers, sifting through mountains of listings on Zillow can be exhausting. Even with the most well-refined search, looking through listings to find the right one can be a daunting experience. Realtors help you weed through the places that are not going to work for you and help you find the right one quicker.

Attention to Detail: There is a lot of legal speak that goes into a real estate transaction. Between contracts, inspections, and all of the other complicated parts of the process, it is easy for a novice to make a costly error when doing things themselves. Realtors are trained specifically to deal with all of the paperwork and negotiation that goes into these deals. They are trained to ensure that everything is handled properly, saving you time, money, and potential headaches. They take the complication out of the equation.

These are just five of the reasons why a Realtor is an essential part of any real estate deal. If you want to hire a Realtor in Spring Hill, Florida, contact Bonnie Barbieri @ 352-263-3599, or go to http://bonniebarbieriteam.com or email SOLD@bonniebarbieri.com today.

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Photo by Andrea Westmoreland

Wrestling Mayhem in Florida

This video is one of the matches from the first LoganMania charity wrestling event at Rookies Sports Bar in Spring Hill, Florida. Spring Hill, as part of the Tampa Bay area, has been connected with the wrestling industry for a long time. As we mentioned previously, many professional wrestlers live or have lived in the area, including Hulk Hogan and John Cena. A number of major events have taken place in or near the area over the years, including WrestleMania 24 in Orlando.

Rookies Sports Bar has a history of hosting events such as this, in addition to concerts and other such attractions. The video was from last August at the original Rookies on Anderson Snow Rd. while they since did another LoganMania event the day of WrestleMania 30.

Wrestling events are frequent attractions in the area, up to and including WWE developmental league NXT, which frequently hosts shows in Hernando County. The great thing about this is the ability to watch the future stars of WWE before you get to see them on TV on Monday Night Raw or Fridays on Smackdown. It is one of the unique advantages of living in Florida.

If you want to live in a place where your entertainment options are extensive, the Tampa Bay area is one of the best places in the country to be. In addition to wrestling, we have baseball (including Spring Training), football (including the Arena Football League’s most dominant team), hockey, tons of concert venues, places to enjoy nature, and much, much more. With so much to offer, you can see why the area is a top tourist attraction. However, if you could see these attractions all year round, why not? Living here gives you access to all of it.

If you want more information about the Spring Hill, Hernando County, or Tampa Bay areas, check out our guide to the area on http://bonniebarbieriteam.com

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How a Slow Recovery Impacts Florida

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The slowing rate of recovery in home values is leaving millions of homeowners stuck underwater longer than they ever believed they would be. Millions of homeowners have already recovered to the point where they are no longer underwater thanks to the rising home values of the past two years. The number of people whose homes are still underwater is far from the peak it was a few years ago, but it is still a staggering figure.

Underwater homes, homes whose mortgage is significantly higher than the home’s value, are a pressing problem facing the American economy. A large number of these homes are facing foreclosure or will be at some point. This puts a significant burden on the economy. These homes can be a burden on the housing market when the banks own them. However, when homeowners relieve themselves of the burden of being underwater with their mortgages, they tend to put more money into the economy.

The current number of underwater homes comes in at over three million less than at the peak of this trend. However, that still leaves over nine million homes that are still underwater. That is still a very large swath of homes that are still in trouble. Florida in particular has been hit hard, as the second highest rate of underwater homes in the country belong to the state. Florida has thirty-one percent of homes “seriously” underwater, while Nevada is the only state worse off at 34 percent. The next state behind Florida is Illinois at 30 percent.

The lower end of the Tampa Bay Area is one of the hardest hit areas within the state. Lakeland has 36 percent of its homes underwater. This is a disturbing trend that those looking to get into the market will need to keep an eye on. If more these homes start getting foreclosed on and there is another glut of homes being held by the banks, it could have a negative impact on the values of other homes, which could drive some homeowners back underwater.

We at the Bonnie Barbieri Team keep an eye on these trends to keep you informed on what you need to know to make informed decisions in your real estate transactions.

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How Russia Could Lower Your Mortgage Interest Rate

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One of the biggest stories in the news of late has been the showdown between Russia and the Ukraine. As the international political community braces itself for disaster, the investment community is looking at how this conflict will make them money. For the average citizen, one unexpected consequence of this conflict is lower mortgage interest rates. An article on The Motley Fool gives a breakdown of how this works, but we will try to put it into a more digestible, easy to understand language.

Stocks are risky business. The markets can be influenced by any number of things due to the growing international focus of business. As this happens, conflicts like the one in Ukraine can make stock prices jump around a good bit. Investors do not like this kind of instability. They want safe investments. They tend to take their money out of stocks and put it into bonds and securities when things get iffy.

Mortgages are sold as securities to investors. You may remember this from the 2008 financial crisis. As the price of these securities goes up, mortgage interest rates will drop because the risk is lower for investors. If investors put money into the securities market, mortgage rates will drop.

This would, of course, be the result of increased Russian aggression which would likely be a humanitarian disaster. These trends are definitely not something to be celebrated. However, if you have an opportunity to take advantage of the trend while it occurs, you could save yourself a lot of money. It would certainly be something worth looking into if the conditions were right, even if you feel bad about it afterward.

We here at the Bonnie Barbieri Team are always looking for more ways to help you get more home for your money. Check back with us or subscribe on our homepage in order to get more helpful tips and advice.

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BookCaps Book Summaries

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In a previous article we looked at a source of free textbooks. In today’s article, we look at an inexpensive digital equivalent to CliffsNotes. This alternative product, known as BookCaps, has numerous editions available through Google’s Play Bookstore. These books are inexpensive summaries and explanations of popular books, both fiction and nonfiction.

The options available range from popular novels such as the Hunger Games and Enders Game series to classics such as The Lord of the Rings and the works of Shakespeare. The have educational entries such as essential French language courses, as well as summaries of several key selection from The Bible.

Most of these selections cost just over three dollars. Some are closer to five, and ones covering entire series of books can run over eight dollars. Compared to some similar options, this cost is fairly reasonable. CliffsNotes study guides can run far more than what these cost.

The company that produces these does not encourage you to buy these in place of reading the original material. In the case of fiction, this is especially true. However, in the case of some of the educational material, it is possible to use these as a replacement in a pinch. If the price tag of the original book is an issue, these can be a low cost alternative in some cases. Check the previews for both books to make that determination for yourself.

BookCaps provides simple summaries and explanations of all sorts of books. The variety available here gives options for nearly anyone. Spanning several major genres and time periods, these summaries cover both academically viable material and allow one to keep up with the latest pop-culture phenomenon.

If you like a simpler and easier way to catch up on essential reading, this is one of the better ways to do so available. Keep checking back here at http://bonniebarbieriteam.com for more helpful information such as this.

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Susie’s Grill Review by Fred Moutran

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Susie’s Grill has a long standing reputation in Spring Hill. The current location is new, the name is slightly different, but everyone knows the restaurant’s reputation for quality. The place has moved a few times over the years, the aesthetics and business plans may have changed over time, but the one constant is how good the food is.

The current location is on Mariner Blvd., right across from Seven Hills. The new place is larger, brighter, and now has numerous high-definition television sets spread across the dining area. The menu has changed a little bit. The emphasis on Italian cuisine entrees for the dinner crowd has been cut back in favor of a more diverse palate. Some of the Italian food is still there, and it is still quite good. They added more sandwich options, and family restaurant options to the menu to round things out.

Some of the specials that were popular under the previous location’s menu have been discontinued, such as the Friday fish fry. Many of the standard menu options are slightly higher priced. It is not as bad as many chain restaurants, but still a little high. However, with a larger building and service staff, this is understandable. The food is still high quality. Many places move location, raise prices, but let the menu suffer as the service staff is overwhelmed. Susie’s Grill manages to avoid these issues and maintain a high level of service and high quality food with a larger building.

I have tried several different items on their menu, including one of their Thanksgiving specials. I have yet to be disappointed. This is rare for me, as I can be rather specific with my requests at restaurants and many cannot get it right. This is one place that is an exception. I have never had a problem with my food in several trips there. That is a high compliment coming from me.

If you want to have a good casual dining experience without paying top dollar for it, Susie’s Grill provides some of the best food in town without having to pay big name prices. It is one of the best family dining experiences in the area, and if you are spending any time here, it is certainly worth checking out. For information on other restaurants in the area, check out our Hernando County guide at http://bonniebarbieriteam.com

Photo by lizasperling

FHA Back to Work Program

Downtown Tampa, FL

Downtown Tampa, FL (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has a new program that can allow people who have been hit by foreclosures, short sales, and the like an opportunity for another chance at homeownership. Normally, one would have to wait 36 months after an event such as that to qualify for an FHA loan. Under the new program, called the FHA Back to Work program, a person may be eligible for a second chance after as soon as 12 months. By cutting the penalty period by two-thirds, this program gives many a much stronger opportunity to get back on their feet.

The catch here is that it is hard to qualify. Loan modifications, adjustable rate spikes, even divorce fail to qualify you for this program. The primary qualification is proving a loss of income that lead to previous financial problems and an ability to prove that there has been a recovery and rebuilding of credit. This is where things get tricky, because the documentation required appears to be rather extensive.

To prove loss of income requires verification of employment, pay stubs and tax returns/W2 forms. There is a credit score requirement of at least 640 in order to prove that one is stable financially. Also, proving that bills are being paid on time and a record of responsibility is present is required.

If a foreclosure, short sale, etc. has occurred more than 36 months ago, the old rules would apply. This makes things easier, as the required documentation is less stringent. There is less  paperwork necessary, and that makes things easier for most potential buyers.

If you are looking for more information about this program or want to buy or sell a home in the northern Tampa Bay area, contact Bonnie Barbieri at: SOLD@bonniebarbieri.com or visit http://bonniebarbieriteam.com

Source: http://realestate.aol.com/blog/2014/04/09/fha-back-to-work-program-explained/

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Tampa Nightlife in Spring Hill by Fred Moutran

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In the search for things to do in Hernando County, I have frequented a number of bars in the area. Two stand out in that they provide the type of atmosphere typically reserved for the big nightclubs in Tampa and Ybor City. The bars I am referring to are Aqua and Karma.

Aqua is the place to go for excitement in the area. The music is lively and current, the pool tables are always in use, and there is a lot of effort put into ensuring that nightclub experience. They are the place to go to dance on a Friday or Saturday night. DJ Mark, who provides the music and now even video accompaniment for the jams, does a great job keeping things bouncing well into the night. During the week, they have karaoke on Wednesdays that draws a pretty good crowd. The food is quite good with their sushi being one the unique specialties that you simply will not find elsewhere. The owners and staff are a great bunch and always make you feel welcome.

Karma has the college bar feel without the college. They boast one of the more unique food menus in the area, with great wing recipes, pizza bagels and other items that other bars in the area have yet to replicate. They go out of their way to keep the crowd engaged, with frequent toasts and numerous promotions to get and keep people’s attention. There are few places in town that consistently draw the crowds that Karma can, so the place is almost always high energy.

There is really no need to drive all the way out to Tampa to experience quality bars and nightclubs. This may have been the case in the past, but with places like these and others following suit, there is little need for people to drive over an hour away to Tampa to have a good time on a Friday or Saturday night. We have that option right here in Spring Hill now, and there is plenty of fun to be had.

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Photo by curran.kelleher