Wire Fraud Alert Targeting Real Estate


Recently there have been increased reports across the nation of a theft scheme that involves hackers stealing email addresses and sending fraudulent wiring instructions to homebuyers and tenants. REALTORS®, lawyers, title agents and buyers could be affected. The criminal scheme has many variations and this notice is not intended to describe each situation. As an actual or prospective buyer or tenant, we want to alert you to the situation so that you can minimize the risk that you could be a victim.

We strongly recommend that before you wire any funds to any party (including your own lawyer, real estate broker or title agent whom you know to be involved in your transaction) that you personally call them to verify the wire instructions (you should confirm the ABA routing number or SWIFT code and the credit account number). You should call them at a number that you have obtained on your own (e.g., the sales contract, their website, etc.) and should not use the phone number that is contained in any email – even if the email appears to be from someone you know. A common aspect of the scheme involves the criminal hacking the sender’s email (unbeknownst to them) and sending you an email that looks like other legitimate emails you have received from that party. The email contains the criminal’s wire instructions and may contain the criminal’s phone number and once your funds are wired by your bank to the criminal’s account there may be no way to recover those funds.


This Important Notice is not intended to provide legal advice. You should consult with a lawyer if you have any questions.

1 Billion Views and Counting

How people search for real estate has changed a lot in the last 15 years.  Close to 90% of home buyers find their home online, and close to 50% of buyers are willing to buy a home “site unseen.”

For the same reason Florida is popular destination among US citizens (weather, beaches, boating, entertainment), make it a popular second home for foreign buyers as well.  Out-of-town buyers do not have the luxury of seeing properties first hand, so they make a lot of decisions based on what they see online.  Which is why Sotheby’s International Realty® has created such an inviting online experience.

Thanks in-part to their global brand, marketing partnerships (google, Wall Street Journal, NY Times…), and rich professional photos and videography, sothebysrealty.com had over 1 billion views last year.

A home’s first “showing” is online.  Wouldn’t you want to show it to as many people as possible? Which website would you want your luxury home showcased on?

SimilarWeb.com Web Visits Comparison Feb. 2014 - Jan. 2015

Why Price per Square Feet Can Be Misleading For Buyers and Sellers

Price per Square foot, often isn’t a bad place to start when comparing home prices, but all too often I see Buyers and Sellers put too much emphasis on it.

Here are some typical factors that can change the value of a home based on comparable homes with the same sq/ft.:

  1. Location, location, location – School districts, lot location, proximity to a busy street, and proximity to things like water and beaches can change the value of a house.  In an area like South Tampa, location can have a tremendous impact on the value of a home.
  2. Pool/deck/landscaping – Pools typically add value to a home here in Tampa (note: it will not add value to the extent of the cost of building a pool…i.e. a $50,000 dollar pool may add $20,000 in value).  Any exterior improvements that add value will increase Price/sqft. Consequently any improvements that need to be made to the exterior can decrease Price/sqft.
  3. Lot Size – If you have two identical homes, but one is on a bigger lot than the other, usually the home with the bigger lot will be more desirable, and therefore will be sold at a higher Price/sqft.
  4. Interior Improvements – Keep in mind that interior improvements are usually done with the current owner’s tastes and preferences, this will change the Price/sqft the least compared to the previous ones, as not everyone likes the same design and popular styles change over time, but it can still change it.

Vinik Unveils Plans For Channelside

Water Street Tampa

A billion dollars appears to be the going rate for the ability to put your fingerprint on what is turning into a masterpiece of a city.  Yesterday, Jeff Vinik unveiled his current plans for Channelside.  It includes over one billion dollars in development.

In a city that isn’t short of famous, wealthy people, Vinik is the rock star in the Tampa community!  If you say the name “Vinik,” it has the same connotation as one named celebrities and athletes like Pele, Jordan, Cher, Prince, or Jeter.  Ever since purchasing the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2010, Vinik has formed close ties with the City of Tampa.  He has purchased land,  partnered with educational institutions, befriended the Mayor and the community of Tampa.  While a lot of sports owners talk about how much they love their city, Vinik is letting his money do the talking. Sure if it’s successful he will be a benefactor, but I could make a pretty good argument that Tampa will be the biggest of benefactors.

In summary, Vinik’s Plan includes:

  • Updated Channelside Bay Plaza – still to be determined if it will be completely torn down or major renovations, but action is slated to start early in 2015
  • Hotel
  • USF Buildings
  • Parking Garages
  • Retail space
  • park space – buffer zones

It’s easy to see the goal, bring more jobs, more high paying jobs specifically, and more people to the area, and in turn allow those people to spend their money on activities close by and give them the option to live close by in a more developed, urban environment. Live, Work, Play and leave your car at home.

I’m excited to see what the skyline will look like in 5 years!  If I had one concern, from a Real Estate perspective, is traffic.  I have faith that people much more knowledgeable than myself, will address any concerns or issues.

The future for Tampa Bay looks very bright!  So bright, that this is just one reason now might be a good time to purchase a condo downtown. 😉



***Update September 2016

Plans were unveiled for the Channelside Mall.  The plans call for the current structure to be demolished.  It will be done in three phases.

The first phase will be to build a park along the waterfront roughly where the current park lot is located.  The park will feature outdoor retail.

The second phase would be to demolish the current structure.

The third and possibly fourth phase would be residential towers.


View Channelside Condos For Sale

***Update June 2017

A name for the development project has been chosen, and it will be called Water Street Tampa.

The Top Lies That Make A REALTOR®'s Job Tougher

Of course, I have the most fantastic clients.  Being a full-time Realtor, everyday and every deal is different. Some would say it’s one of the perks of the job as there is no such thing as a boring day.  As is the case, with most service industries, often you will hear, “we are not in the sales business”, but rather in the “people business.”

People lying to us, is something we have to deal with on a regular basis, and it can get a little frustrating when it’s not the way you operate your own Business.

In honor of being in the “people business”, here is a list of some of the top lies we are told too many times, and can make doing our best job a little more challenging.  But if I didn’t like a challenge, I wouldn’t be in South Tampa real estate, right?

  1. “I’m ready to Buy something if I like it, but I’m not pre-approved.”
  2. “I don’t have to Sell. I’m only going to Sell if I get the price I want.”
  3. “We are going to write an offer.”
  4. “I have perfect credit.”
  5. “I’m going to get pre-approved soon.”
  6. “We are interviewing other Realtors.”
  7. “That’s our best and final offer.”
  8. “That’s the lowest I’m willing to sell for.”
  9. “There is a lot of interest in this property.”
  10. “We will not pay list price.”

Any others, my Real Estate colleagues?

Hyde Park Village Phone Booth

Hyde Park Village phone booth

Hyde Park Village phone booth
Do you know the history behind the red phone booth in Hyde Park Village?

The area where Old Hyde Park Village is today was originally called Cork Ave. Dakota Ave., Cork Ave., and Inman Ave. all intersected near where the British pay phone sits today. The only portion left of Cork Ave. today is called Snow Ave.

Newest Hyde Park Listings

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See also: Historic Hyde Park


Property Disclosures

Yes – you must disclose.
When the time comes to sell your home, you will be asked to fill out a disclosure statement that will list “material facts” about problems you are aware of regarding the condition and history of your home. Both federal and state laws govern what must be disclosed during a property sale and as the homeowner you must be the person to complete these disclosure forms. By law your real estate agent cannot complete these forms for you.

Sometimes, homeowners are told varying policies regarding disclosures. The general rule of thumb is that you must disclose anything that would: lower the perceived value of the property, affect the buyer’s decision to purchase, change the price and/or terms the buyer offers.

Common disclosures include information about any natural
hazards, fire hazards, pollution problems or zoning changes that
affect you property. If you feel like you don’t properly understand
the disclosure requirements, you should consult a real estate
attorney who knows the local disclosure laws.

As you fill out these forms just remember, you should strive to answer all of the questions to the best of your ability. Don’t sweat the small stuff, but make sure you disclose everything that you’d want disclosed to you if you were the buyer. If you don’t know the answer to a question (such as exact age of the roof if you’re not the original owner or the like), answer “Do Not Know.” But not having precise facts about defects you know exist does not permit you to answer “Do Not Know” to every question. This will always raise a red flag.

5 Biggest Negotiation Blunders

Tampa, FL —According to the 2011 National Association of Realtors® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, the second most popular reason buyers use a real estate agent is to help with the negotiation process. However, buyers can negatively impact the process making mistakes which lead to them losing their dream house. Don’t make these negotiation blunders:

  1. Not entering with a negotiating strategy: Before submitting an offer, try to remember that the seller has already decided how much money they want from the sale of their property. “Knowing how to negotiate effectively is the key to getting the best deal,” says Shane Vanderson, Accredited Buyer’s Representative “Without a plan, you might risk losing the house you want.”
  2. Giving up too soon: Buyers might get discouraged when they are competing against multiple offers on a house. However, the biggest mistake a buyer can do is panic and withdraw their offer. You should stay involved for at least one round of negotiations, but also establish your maximum price.
  3. Not providing earnest money: Earnest money is a cash deposit you make when submitting your written offer on a property to show your “good faith.” Sellers are understandably suspicious of offers that are not accompanied by such a deposit.
  4. Having too many contingencies: A contingency is a term or condition that must be met for an offer to become a binding contract. Home buyers with too many contingencies tend to weaken an offer. Some examples of contingencies are securing a job transfer, selling your current home or obtaining specific financing terms.
  5. Weak negotiating position: Sellers usually like to go with a strong bargaining position.Some examples of strong positioning is being pre-approved for a mortgage or having little to no contingencies. “With these factors in your favor, you may be able to negotiate a lower price. On the other hand, in a ‘hot’ seller’s market, if your ‘perfect’ home comes on the market, you may want to offer the list price (or more) to beat our other offers,” says Vanderson, ABR®.

However, an Accredited Buyer’s Representative can counsel you on making an effective offer that will land you the house of your dreams. Vanderson is one of more than 40,000 members of the Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council (REBAC) of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, who have attained the Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®) designation. The Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®) designation is designed for real estate buyer agents who focus on working directly with buyer-clients. Having an ABR® can guide you through structuring your offer and negotiation strategy.

Condo Investments

Many of my clients want to buy a condo with the idea of it being an investment property that they will rent out either immediately or down the road.  Adding a real estate investment is usually a great idea, and the statistics prove it.  With condos there are the usual factors that you would consider with any land or piece of property, but also a couple more things to consider before you make your ultimate decision.

1.  Condo Fees – Most people like the idea of having a condo as an investment because of the low maintenance of the grounds or building.  In order to have that maintenance free lifestyle you must have fees, usually paid monthly, sometimes quarterly or yearly.  Depending on the community they are usually referred to as Homeowner Association dues, Condominium dues, or Maintenance fees.  They can range greatly depending on a few factors, such as the community and size of the unit.  These fees can cut into you’re net rental income.

For example, if there are two properties for sale at the same price.  They both are the same size and both rent for $1500 a month.  Property A has monthly fees of $300 per month, and Property B has fees of $500 per month.  All other factors being the same, Property A would net you $200 more dollars a month.

You also have to factor in what the fees cover.  Every community is different, but some cover very little, and some can cover almost every home expense imaginable.

2) Rent Restrictions / Rules and Regulations – Since the real estate crash in 2007.  Many condo associations have had to rethink their rules and regulations in order to try to be approved under new financing regulations.  Many condo communities impose rental restriction such as time, ie. minimum 1 month/6 month/12 month rentals.  Some have restriction to the total number of units that can be rented out in a community, i.e. only 20%, 25%, 30% of the total units can be rented.  In the last scenario, many times, after a lease has expired the owner moves to a waiting list in order to be able to rent their unit again.  This would not be idea for a typical investor, so it’s always important to READ and understand the bylaws and rules and regulations of a condominium community.

Start your search here: www.shanevanderson.com

Buyers or Sellers Market?

The words…Buyers or Sellers Market get thrown around a good amount, but many clients don’t understand either what it is, or how it can affect their purchasing experience and negotiations.

A Buyers Market is an inventory of roughly 7 months or more.  Meaning if no other homes came on the market, it would take 7 months for the current inventory to expire (if we are being static for simplicity).  Giving buyers more inventory to choose from, and thus, a little more leverage when it comes to negotiating.  Often times in a Buyers Market you will see sellers try to incentivize buyers with things like closing cost credits.

A Sellers Market conversely, is a market where there is less than 5 months of Inventory.  With less inventory to choose from for the buyers, the negotiating leverage switches to the Sellers and there is less to options for buyers.

And a Neutral Market you can think of as anything between 5-7 months of inventory.  Creating a more level playing ground for Buyers and Sellers.

These markets can change based on a number of factors including, price point, location, and type (condo/townhouse/single family).

By the rules of supply and demand…as inventory drops, prices tend to rise. As inventory increases, prices tend to lower.

Contact me today to find out what your currently supply of homes looks like in your Tampa area!