What Makes Your Home Desirable

The real estate market in Florida is tough, and it’s actually a bit volatile. Depending on the side of the deal you’re on – buying or selling – there’s a good chance you’re either in a great position or a rather undesirable position. There are a number of factors that seem to influence public sentiment, such as severe weather events and the strength of the country’s economy for example. It’s still nearly impossible to predict what will happen though.

That said, I’ve seen enough houses bought and sold in the Tampa Bay area to know that regardless of the market conditions there are just some things in common with homes that fly off the market as opposed to those that sit with “for sale” signs in their front yard for seemingly an eternity. Let’s dig into some of the features that are common amongst the desirable homes in the Tampa Bay area.

Great Views

This is a no-brainer. Properties with a gorgeous view of the bay and access to a fantastic patch of beach are almost always swept up quickly by prospective buyers, regardless of market conditions. Sure you may get a better deal when the market is hot, but you’ll always be able to offload a piece of property with a beautiful view. These properties are few and far between, so if you have your hands on one make sure you know what it’s worth.

Proximity To The Essentials

As human beings we love convenience, there’s simply no question. If one grocery store is five minutes away and the other grocery store is seven minutes away, it’s incredibly probable that we’ll end up at the closer one nine times out of ten, even if it’s a bit more expensive. We all lead busy lifestyles, even if what keeps us “busy” is getting back to relaxing. Of course, what is going to be important to a prospective buyer will vary, but things like grocery stores, liquor stores, restaurants, and beaches are relatively safe bets. Walking distance and accessibility is the icing on the cake here, and the more you can have in a single property the more desirable it’s going to be when it hits the market.

Attached Garage

Almost nobody would prefer to park their car out in the elements as opposed to having it in a conveniently located garage that is attached to your home. Surprisingly, there are a lot of homes in the area that are not built with attached garages. If you have an attached garage it’s certainly going to be a plus. Just make sure that it’s equipped with a high quality garage door opener, as the salty air from the Bay tends to have a field day with lower quality components. Check out BGDOR’s buying guide to see if your garage door openers are up to snuff.

Well Designed Kitchen

As working people we spend a very small time in our house in reality. Most of this is in our bedrooms during the eight hours of sleep we get at night. Otherwise it’s in the kitchen, where you’re either making food on a daily basis or eating in a dining room that is auxiliary to the kitchen. A well designed kitchen will be desirable in just about any home, and that’s no different here in the Tampa Bay area.

Pride of Ownership

It’s amazing how many homeowners let their homes get out of date and neglect small projects that would otherwise keep it in the best of shape. It’s nothing against them, I understand. Many of these upgrades are not absolute necessities. However, as homes age and take on the appearance of aging, it goes without saying that they’ll start to look outdated. If you’re able to stay on top of projects as they arise you can maintain an appearance that your home is brand new, even if it was built a decade or decades in the past. Buyers don’t want projects. They want to move in and enjoy their home. If you’re expecting to get top dollar for your home, you’re going to have to give the buyers what they want.

The New City of Breweries

The craft beer revolution is changing the way that people across the country – and the world for that matter – think about beer. You may not have realized it, but the Tampa Bay area is home to quite a few craft breweries that are making an impression on connoisseurs everywhere. If you’re fortunate enough to live in the area, or if you’re just visiting and you want to see what the area has to offer, you can make a good day of visiting one of several of these breweries.

Some tips before you head out for the day, in case you haven’t thought of them. First and foremost, it’s best to set up a ride if you can. You don’t want to spend your day at a brewery and then drive home. Of course you can not drink beer while you’re there, but that tends to take the fun out of it. Next, you’ll want to think about food. Many of these breweries offer food on site, but some only have minor snacks. Many will allow you to bring your own food into the brewery though.

With all that in mind, let’s take a quick look at some of the most excellent breweries in the Tampa Bay Area.

Cigar City Brewing Company

Cigar City Brewing Company is one of the breweries at the forefront of the scene. They make some excellent beers, most notably their Jai Alai india pale ale. Their tap room is open all days of the week with a wide range of hours. They are located in the Lincoln Gardens region and they are quick hop off of Route 92. Other notable beers are their Maduro brown ale and their Invasion tropical pale ale.

Coppertail Brewing Company

Founded in 2014, Coppertail Brewing Company has quickly become one of the big names in the area. They have a wide array of offerings, with over 20 beers on tap in their tap room, which is open seven days a week. If you’re interested in a brewery tour you can schedule one on a daily basis – though getting there early is highly recommended as the tour windows are short and they can fill up quickly. The owners have had a long history on the craft brewing scene, and they seem to have a darn good handle on what they’re doing.

Tampa Bay Brewing Company

Tampa Bay Brewing Company is one of the few breweries in the area that have been around for quite some time. They were founded in 1995 and they are often credited with giving life to the Tampa Bay area’s craft brew scene that has since come forth to the lime light. Their Reef Monkey American Pale Ale and Old Elephant Foot IPA are well loved by fans, but they also have collaborated with renowned breweries in the area and across the country for some especially delicious recipes. Make sure to check out their merchandise if you decide to stop by the brewery.

Hidden Springs Ale Works

Another great option right in the heart of Tampa is Hidden Springs Ale Works. Much of their beer is brewed right there in the brewery, and the prices at the tap room aren’t all that steep. They are a bit of a hidden gem in the area. There is plenty of seating so it’s a great place to meet up with friends. They are relatively new to the game, having opened their doors in 2015, and I’m excited to see what’s more to come from them.

Angry Chair Brewing

Last but most certainly not least is Angry Chair Brewing, located conveniently on North Florida Ave. It’s a bit of a smaller tap room, but it’s great for grabbing a beer with coworkers after a long day. Parking can be scarce so keep that in mind, and once again if you can get a ride it’s not a bad idea. Check out their Hop Oddity IPA, which is one of their followers favorites. Surprisingly, pets are allowed so feel free to bring along your dog. If you have something crazy like a gator, I’d check with them before bringing it through the doors.

There you have it, five of my favorite breweries in the Tampa Bay Area. With proper planning you could even check them all out in one bar crawl (seriously, DON’T drive. This is why we have Uber.), but they also stand well on their own. Next time you’re in the mood for a beer make sure to check one of these breweries out. Cheers!

How To Make The Most of a Great View

One of the awesome things about living in a coastal region like Terra Ceia Bay or anywhere on the coast of Tampa Bay for that matter is that you can buy a piece of property with an absolutely breathtaking view. Even better, while it’s not dirt cheap, the real estate prices in Florida can be quite affordable when considered to similar homes and properties in other parts of the country.

In Terra Ceia Bay, you have a great chance of getting a view of the bay or the Gulf, and you may even luck out and have a view of the beach as well. How do you make the most of this view then? The answer is simple – design your home to make the absolute best of it.

Here are some tips that I’ve gathered from visiting many beautiful homes in this lovely region of Florida:

If You Can Have A Balcony You Should Have A Balcony

One of the most jaw-dropping ways to enjoy a beautiful view is to have a balcony that looks out over it. A balcony is best placed in a location that has the most coverage of the view as you sweep your eyes from left to right (or vice versa) across the horizon. You’ll want to carefully consider the railings and the design of the balcony as well. If improperly designed they can block your precious view. Along that note, you want to make sure that the rails of the balcony are visually pleasing and go with the overall feel of the view. A balcony that doesn’t look great is only going to detract from the beauty that nature has bestowed upon us.

Just a few other quick notes about balconies – you should have room for a few chairs at the very least. Standing room only is fine of course, but you’ll have much more room for enjoyment if you can bring out a few chairs. Better yet, a table and chair set so you can enjoy meals as the sun goes down for the evening.

Consider Your Dining Areas

This leads me to my next point – carefully consider where you place your dining areas and how they are laid out. It’s best if you can take advantage of your amazing vantage point while you are enjoying any of your meals at home. Think of how amazing it would be to have breakfast every morning while looking out towards the bay. Another great use would be having guests over for dinner and them being absolutely “wowed” by your view.

This is still something you should implement even if you’ve already achieved an outdoor dining area on your patio as previously discussed. The benefit of having a similar dining room inside is that it protects you from the elements – whether that is the cold, the rain, the wind, or insects.

Your Master Bedroom Is Paramount

This one is probably the most selfish use of your view, but when it comes to your own personal enjoyment of your property it’s probably the most important. If you’ve ever woken up to a magnificent room in your bedroom – whether you’re blessed with this at home or you’ve only experienced it while traveling – you’ll know why.

To make the most of your view it’s important to have as much window area open to the view as possible. The best bet is to get sliding doors if it will work structurally give the design of your bedroom. The great thing about a master bedroom overlooking a view is that you won’t have to worry about neighbors looking back in. All that will be there to stare back at you is the beauty of nature.

Local Hotspots: Great Places To Eat in Tampa

Who doesn’t love a nice meal out at a restaurant every once in a while? It’s nice to have your selection of food and drink and no obligation to prepare the meal or clean up afterwards. If you choose the right place the food might even be better than anything you can cook up in your own home kitchen.

Some places even have a nice view, making them a great place to go on a nice warm evening when you can sit outside and enjoy the scenery. Whether you’re in the mood for a night on the town, a romantic evening with someone special, or just a good time with friends and family, you’ll be able to find something on this list that’s right up your alley. Here are some of my favorite places to eat in the Tampa Bay area:

Ocean Prime

First on my list is Ocean Prime in the Carver City area. This is one of the most highly rated spots to dine in Tampa. You can get fantastic seafood as well as plenty of options for the landlubbers out there. It’s definitely a bit on the pricier side as far as dining goes, but if you can swing it it’s well worth the quality and sophistication that they have to offer in their dishes. The ambience also brings a lot to the table. It has a modern and upscale feel that compliments the extravagant food nicely. This is a great choice for special occasions.

Happy Fish

If you’re looking for something a little more casual and affordable, then Happy Fish is another great option. Located a stone’s throw from the Hillsborough river, Happy Fish serves up Peruvian style cuisine in a laid-back and welcoming atmosphere. It’s a great option when you’re craving something a little different than the standard American fare. Don’t miss the picarones with lucuma ice cream for an interesting and deliciously satisfying desert.

Datz Tampa

An establishment loved by the younger generation, Datz Tampa is what people these days are commonly referring to as a “gastropub”. On the menu you’ll see appetizers like Fusion Fries (loaded with truffle oil), Nom-Noms, and Monkey Bread. The burgers are far from ordinary with all sorts of options that will make your mouth water. Tending to the younger generation of craft drink lovers, they have an extensive list of craft beers and specialty cocktails sure to get the juices flowing.

On Swann

A similar alternative to Datz Tampa for when the line gets a bit too long is On Swann, located right in downtown Tampa. They specialize in American cuisine and take pride in their seasonal menu, much of which is sourced locally. This is a casual dining spot with lots of creative food and drinks that certainly won’t disappoint for your next meal out.

Eddie V’s Prime Seafood

Last on the list is Eddie V’s prime seafood. If you’ve done a bit of traveling then you’ll know that this establishment is a chain, but that doesn’t take away from the quality of the experience that they provide. If you’re looking for somewhere to get top-notch seafood or steak, along with live music for an enjoyable and entertaining evening, then Eddie V’s is definitely worth checking out.

What To Consider When Buying A Waterfront Condominium

Buying a home can be an exciting time. Buying waterfront property can be an even more exciting event. It can also be a very difficult investment. Buying waterfront property can bring lots of uncertainty. There are numerous things to consider with a waterfront purchase many of which are not things to think about during a normal home purchase. Professionals who know the ins and out of these purchases have created a list of tips to help when buying properties around water. 

Get the Proper Insurance

Flood and hurricane insurance is usually sold separate from normal homeowners insurance. It is crucial to do your homework and make sure you have adequate insurance for these events. Insurance brokers may not always be able to determine if your home was destroyed by wind or water. If you lack one of those insurance policies, it’s likely you won’t be reimbursed during these events. If you are buying a waterfront condominium it is crucial that you find out what kind of coverage you have. 

Find a real estate agent who’s a waterfront specialist.

The average real estate agent won’t have knowledge of waterfront properties in your area. Its important to find an agent who understands this type of property and can guide you as to what to look for when making your purchase. What may appear to be a good deal may be the result of many bad things you do not know to be on the lookout for. 

Make sure the structure can withstand the weather.

Waterfront homes take more damage from the elements than the average home. It is important to take extra measures to protect these homes. Most experts recommend investing in storm shutters and stainless-steel locks to avoid corrosion from salt air. Adding these protective measure will help to ensure your waterfront investment will last last a longtime. 

Search for Underwater Investors

Nearly every beach community has investors and buyers who are in upside down situations. When looking for a good deal it is important to make sure to check the title and loan status of the home in question. This can be done through the county assessor’s office. This is often a great way to find a deal on a waterfront property. A seller is unlikely to accept an offer too far below what he paid originally, but there is always the possibility of finding a good deal. 

Find out what you can do with the property.

Changes to a waterfront property can be a great thing. Weather it’s adding a deck or making other changes to the property it is important to start to process of change early. Government agencies have strict guidelines and are often challenging to deal with. You don’t want to invest thousands or even millions of dollars in a property without knowing if you can really do what you want to do with it. Furthermore it is important to find out activities are allowed on the body of water where you lived. Some areas have restrictions on things like jet skis and speedboats. 

Purchasing waterfront property can be an exciting yet challenging event. If you follow these tips you can rest assured that your purchase will be a successful one.