Tampa Bay Real Estate and Community News

March 3, 2019

Selling Your Home in 2019



As a realtor serving the St Petersburg area, I can tell you that some changes have occurred over the past year.  Just this time last year homes were lasting only days on the market.  Homeowner's could not believe how fast their homes were selling and at premium prices.  As a result we saw low inventories and buyers had no choice to make offers fast before their dream home went off the market.  Fast forward to today and we see the same inventories but pricing and demand has softened.  What does this mean?  Well some experts would say we are moving toward a buyers’ market and sellers have lost their advantage.  They blame this on recent rising interest rates and taxes that have priced some buyers out of the market. 

However, I see it a different way, yes interest rates and taxes all play a part in home affordability but I think the real reason the market has softened is that most homes were overpriced to begin with and buyers coupled with rising property taxes and interest rates just can’t afford area asking prices or are now being very selective in the home they choose.  FYI, it's not all doom and gloom for home owners.  Zillow just recently reported that they forecast home prices in the St. Petersburg area to increase by 5.2% this year.  

So what is a prospective St Petersburg area seller to do?  Well you should definitely ask your realtor for advice.  If your home has been on market for longer than three months then there might be a few things at play...1. It’s overpriced 2. Needs work 3. Doesn’t show well 4. The area is undesirable to some buyers.

Right now buyers are looking to check all the boxes.  The problem however is that inventories are still low, so their options are slim.  As a seller, you need to help them check those boxes.  Start here to improve your chances of selling your home for the most money.  After all, it's your home and you have invested a lot of money into it, you should get a return on your investment.

1. Get professional pictures taken: this is a minimal cost and your realtor should foot the bill.

2. Get your home in order, meaning...clean it! Or pay to have a one-time cleaning completed.

3. Complete minor home repairs such as broken doors, leaky faucets, replace worn window blinds...etc.  Trust me, when a potential buyer enters you home, they immediately start assessing it.  This means the cash register starts ringing every time they see something THEY need to fix or replace.  The more move-in ready your home is the better your chances of receiving asking price or more!

4. Curb appeal! Paint or pressure wash your home and fix up the front entrance by painting your door and adding new mulch or landscaping. These are fairly cheap fixes that only require elbow grease and a paint brush.  Do it!

5. Be realistic! If your home is apples to apples to the home down the street that sold for 30k less....then you need to look in the mirror.  Do you want to sell your home? If so, find out why the home sold for less and make adjustments to your own home to fall in line or highlight why your home is worth so much more.

6. Finally, ask your realtor what they are doing to market your home.  Just saying it’s on the MLS is not enough.  Are they door knocking your neighborhood, are they holding open houses, are they advertising on Facebook and Instagram? Higher end homes should be marketed on every social media channel including search sites like Google and Bing.  Does you realtor have social marketing experience?

There you have it, my short list for improving your homes marketability.  Even though the market has softened a bit, it is definitely still a seller’s market. Give me a call for a FREE consultation. 

Happy Selling!

Kim Hernandez

Realtor – Luxury & Beach Realty


Posted in Selling Your Home
Oct. 13, 2018


NEW TO MARKET! 3 Bedroom, 2 Bath, BEAUTIFUL BLOCK HOME WITH A HUGE BACKYARD! Open floor plan for the kitchen, dining room and living room area. The open floor plan has plenty of space for entertaining guests, friends and relatives. The kitchen forms the heart of the home featuring beautiful wood cabinetry, kitchen Island/Breakfast bar, built in wine rack, closet pantry, dining room and matching appliances. The large master bedroom is complete with two separate closets and a full bathroom. The gorgeous backyard has a concrete patio, porch swing, fire pit and is completely fenced! Bring your pets! The garage is currently enclosed with AC/Heat giving you extra square footage or simply re-open the garage. What a beautiful view! Roof 2008, HVAC 2018! Close to parks, dining, shopping and more!

Posted in Open Houses
March 8, 2018

Choosing a Neighborhood

Purchasing a new home is a major life changing decision. It often means moving to a new town or even a new state. We suggest taking time to research and explore what surrounding neighborhoods have to offer. You may often find a home online that you fall in love with just to find out that the surrounding neighborhood is not what you expected. In this article we provide tips on how to help you locate a neighborhood that’s a good fit for you and your family.

Perform Location Research. What location do you prefer? #1 utilize Google and Google Maps. Use Google to research neighborhood associations. For example: The Council of Neighborhood Associations is a great resource for Pinellas County which is located in the Tampa Bay area. CONA is one of many neighborhood pages out there. Google Maps allows you to view the surrounding area of the home of interest. 

Research Schools. If you have children, school systems play a huge part in your decision to purchase. We suggest researching school zoning, reviews, private schools and etc. Examples include Pinellas County Zoning, Pinellas County School System and Hillsborough County.

Decide what’s important about a neighborhood. Do you want to live close to stores, parks, lakes or beaches? Do you want to live within walking distance to beaches or downtown? Are you interested in a quiet area? Different neighborhoods offer their own historic charm, culture and conveniences. Living close to the beach or downtown can potentially mean heavier traffic. Think about your commute to work. Although you may love living close to the beach it doesn’t necessarily mean you will love the extra 30-45 minutes of traffic to get to work. Make a list of must haves, needs and wants and then you can narrow down the list with pros and cons.

Does the community have an HOA (Home Owner Association) or CDD (Community Development District) fee? Find out if a community has an HOA or CDD fee. What are the fees? What’s included? Select neighborhoods have a mandatory HOA, volunteer HOA fee or none. CDD fees are generally for newer communities. You definitely do not want any surprises after putting in an offer on a new home. A great agent will ensure you are informed of any and all fees before submitting an offer.

Understand Flood Zones. Make sure you are well informed when it comes to flood zones and flood insurance. What are the costs? Does the home of interest reside in a flood zone? We encourage you to visit the county of your choice. Examples include: Pinellas County Flood Information and Hillsborough County Flood Information

We hope the information provided above is useful and guides you in the right direction. The Tampa Bay area is a fantastic place to live! We hope to see you soon! If you would like assistance feel free to contact us via website, text, email or direct line at 727-251-3487. 


Posted in Buying a Home
Feb. 22, 2018

Preparing Your Home to Sell

So, you’re ready to sell your St Petersburg home. It’s time to figure out what stays and what goes. This article provides suggestions and ideas to help improve your home’s appearance. Fact: Houses showing better tend to sell much faster. Take curb appeal for instance, curb appeal definitely leaves a potential buyer wanting more. Hey, your neighbors probably voted your home for best yard!

Let’s start with inside the home:

  • A clean home is key! Make sure all rooms have been cleaned from top to bottom. If you need assistance, consider calling a local professional cleaning service.
  • Clean carpets. If they are stained, consider replacing.
  • Remove clutter to make your home look tidy. Example: If you’re not using the toaster or mixer tuck it away.
  • Paint interior walls neutral colors. This helps make rooms look larger and pleases a majority of potential buyers.
  • Replace damaged wood, door handles, light fixtures and broken glass in windows.
  • Repair or replace leaking faucets and showerheads.
  • Clean and air out any foul odors such as smoke and pet odors. Foul odors will scare away a HUGE number of potential buyers.
  • Tuck away the family photos. Let the buyer imagine their family in the home.
  • Polish chrome and brass fixtures so they’re always shining.
  • Clean all lightbulbs and light fixtures to brighten the home. Again, this step will help make the home look larger.
  • Wash all windows inside and outside.
  • If you have a fireplace, highlight it in your decorating.
  • Items you don’t use, want or need any more consider donating it to a local charity.

Outside the home:

  • Curb appeal is extremely helpful.
  • Replace dull mulch and add bright flowers to the landscape.
  • Do you have a fireplace? Inspect and clean the chimney (inside and out).
  • Make sure plants and shrubs look neat and healthy. Be sure to trim any tree limbs that may be encroaching on the roof or other parts of the home. Potential buyers may ask for tree trimming when submitting an offer.
  • Make sure the Address Numbers are placed in a clearly visible spot.
  • Clean gutters.
  • Repair broken steps and sidewalks to avoid any trip hazards.
  • Keep the lawn maintained at all times.
  • Remove clutter from breezeway, porches and patios.
  • The front door should look great and be in working condition. Apply a fresh coat of paint, fix a wobbly door handle, replace broken glass…
  • Replace or repair damaged fencing. Be sure you can enter and exit the door successfully.
  • If you are moving to a neighborhood where lawn maintenance is covered, consider selling your lawn care items on Nextdoor, Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist or simply donate them to a local charity.
  • Be sure to have foundation cracks inspected.

The above list should keep you busy as you begin preparing for the sale of your home. If you would like assistance feel free to contact us via website, text, email or direct line at 727-251-3487.


Posted in Selling Your Home
Oct. 9, 2017


Mobile house hunting at your fingertips! The KW app is designed for on the go home buyers. It is FREE and EASY to use. The app allows you to see what is on the market in REAL TIME. It locates the closest property to your current location. It allows you to see what's in the area, pricing, pictures and much much more. If you see a property that you or a friend/family member may be interested in simply select the SHARE button at the bottom of the screen and the app allows you to share on FaceBook, Twitter, email to a friend, text a friend or simply send the property to our team.


Download the Mobile App Now: http://app.kw.com/KW2MXPLVM/ 


Posted in Buying a Home
July 2, 2017


  • Initial Interview: We will gather all pertinent information to assist us in understanding your home wants and needs. This can be performed via phone, email or meet in person.
  • Pre-Approval: The MOST IMPORTANT step in the home buying process is finding out if you are eligible to receive a loan. If you are not able to receive a loan at this time, mortgage brokers will provide you steps on how to resolve any obstacles you may run into. We can provide you with a list of recommended mortgage brokers/lenders. We recommend having a pre-approval letter before we visit properties. This is REQUIRED before placing a bid or an offer on a home or sellers will not take you seriously.
  • Previewing Properties: Once we obtain your preapproval letter we will set you up with your very own FREE web portal to view newly listed properties daily. The web portal allows you to see all properties as they hit the market within the MLS. Save your favorites. This website saves your FIRST search so make sure to review the instructions you receive via email after sign-up.
  • Showings: If you see something you love within your portal or on any other website, let us know and we will schedule a showing. We like to schedule more than one house at a time so gather a list. Note: Scheduling appointments to visit your selected properties takes time. Allow up to 24 hours on some properties, as they may be owner occupied. Once we find the property that you meets your needs and fits your criteria, we can then submit an offer. Houses do not sit if they are priced right! Be ready to submit an offer ASAP!
  • Offer: After writing and submitting the offer, we will negotiate on your behalf. An earnest money deposit is required within 2-3 business days once the seller accepts the offer. The deposit will be placed in an escrow account with an escrow agent or title company.
  • Inspection: We will provide you with the names of inspectors for the necessary mechanical, structural and pest inspections. We can assist you in making the arrangements if you require assistance.
  • Mortgage: Your lender will take care of ordering the appraisal (which is why it is a good idea to work with a local lender in FL), credit/underwriting, survey, etc. We have a great list of lenders. Do not hesitate to request our list.
  • Title: The title company will conduct title search, binder and a policy will be ordered. We will request the title commitment on your behalf, as per the contract.
  • Insurance: Our lenders can provide you with the names of local insurers so you can purchase the necessary insurance for your new home. Your lender will require the name of your insurance agent, phone number and email address as well as proof of insurance before closing.
  • Settlement: You will receive a HUD-1 Statement 24 hours prior to closing, to review the settlement costs. After we conduct a final walk through of the property, an agent will attend the closing with you.
Posted in Buying a Home
May 20, 2017


You are INVITED to join us this Sunday May 21st for an Open House located at 5524 Pine Circle NE in St Petersburg. The Edgemoor Estates community.

Hours: 1pm - 3pm

JUST LISTED: 2 Bedrooms 1 Full Bath Block Home!

This lovely home is situated in an established St. Petersburg neighborhood, EDGEMOOR ESTATES, offering a peaceful quiet setting.

The living room combined with the great room has plenty of space for entertaining guests, friends and relatives.

The kitchen forms the heart of the home featuring beautiful wood cabinetry, ceramic tile countertops and newer appliances. There is a BONUS room by the kitchen that can be used as a formal dining room, family room, home office or etc.

The bedrooms offer plenty of space. Updated bathroom.

The enclosed laundry room offers enough space for storage. Beautiful fenced in backyard. Parking Space for RV or Boat!

Close to parks, dining, shopping and more! Examples include: Puryear Park, Northeast Mini Park, Mangrove Bay & Cypress Links Golf.  Call today to schedule a showing!

Learn more about the Edgemoor Estates Neighborhood > Edgemoor Neighborhood Association

Direct Listing: 5524 Pine Circle NE



Posted in Open Houses
May 20, 2017

13706 Forest Lake Dr, Largo, FL 33771

You’re INVITED to join us THIS Sunday, May 21th, for an Open House located in Forest Lakes Townhomes, a well-established neighborhood. 

Hours: 1pm - 3pm

Address: 13706 FOREST LAKE DR, LARGO, FL 33771

NEW TO MARKET: This 2 bedroom 1.5 bath is a gorgeous townhome located in the Forest Lakes Townhome community. 

The downstairs features an open floor plan with high ceilings, a half bathroom, and is flooded with natural light. 

The furnished kitchen offers beautiful cabinetry with a breakfast bar area for seating. (click link below for more pictures)

The master bedroom is complete with a walk in closet, direct access to the bathroom and is very spacious.

The second bedroom also has a walk-in closet and is very spacious.

This GORGEOUS home is conveniently located to EVERYTHING.

++ Brand New carpet. New appliances. The latest required AC system air handler and compressor were installed within the last 3 years.

+++Things to do in Largo: https://tinyurl.com/kn263x


Posted in Open Houses
May 19, 2017

The Old Southeast, St Petersburg, Fl

Wanting that perfect home in a beautiful and historic district but don't have the money to spend 500k and up in the Old Northeast? An area that some are turning to as an alternative is the Old Southeast....that's right, the old Northeast has a sister and she lives just south of downtown. This small quiet historic neighborhood has all the bells and whistles that the Old Northeast has but without the hefty price tag. Homes in this area are selling at an average of 200k to 300k less than homes located in the Old Northeast and bargains on smaller 2 bedroom bungalows can be found for 150k to 200k. But these homes are not lasting long.

A recent search of the MLS showed only 9 properties for sale with many of them pending with an active contract. Nearly all had been on the market less than 30 days. Clearly this type of data leads us to believe that this area is hot right now and people who are in the know are picking up these properties as quickly as they can. Creating a seller's market where those who want to sell can get out quickly.

The Old Southeast has all the charm that her bigger sister up north has, cobbled stone streets, cute historic bungalows, proximity to the water and a short car ride or bike ride to downtown St. Pete,which as you know is getting a lot of buzz lately and is continuing to get noticed in major media publications. Check out this Thrillist article. There is also a nearby marina for those who are boating enthusiast.

We had a chat with Julia who is a realtor with Keller Williams and an experienced home flipper..says "the old Southeast is a hidden gem. If you can get in now and sit on your property for 5 years, you will make a killing when you want to sell."

A recent drive through the neighborhood...showed all the signs of a thriving community. People jogging, walking their dogs, friends gathering and sharing a glass of wine on their sprawling front porches and overall just enjoying their beautiful community. New construction is everywhere as well with handsome Key West style homes popping up all over.

The Old Southeast is an area to consider if you are looking for that historic charming bungalow but don't really have the Old Northeast money. Oh and guess what?? This area is not in a flood zone! I know, hard to believe but just think. No flood insurance and no worries of your dream home coming under flood when the next Florida monsoon decides to strike.

If you would like to learn more about the area or would like to list or buy, then please contact me.


Kim Hernandez is a licensed real estate agent serving the Tampa Bay area and specializing in the St Pete real estate market.

Posted in Community News
May 19, 2017

Dealing with Financing

As the events of the last few years in the real estate industry show, people forget about the tremendous financial responsibility of purchasing a home at their peril. Here are a few tips for dealing with the dollar signs so that you can take down that “for sale” sign on your new home.

Get pre-approved. Sub-primes may be history, but you’ll probably still be shown homes you can’t actually afford. By getting pre-approved as a buyer, you can save yourself the grief of looking at houses you can't afford. You can also put yourself in a better position to make a serious offer when you do find the right house. Unlike pre-qualification, which is based on a cursory review of your finances, pre-approval from a lender is based on your actual income, debt and credit history. By doing a thorough analysis of your actual spending power, you’ll be less likely to get in over your head.

Choose your mortgage carefully. Used to be the emphasis when it came to mortgages was on paying them off as soon as possible. Today, the debt the average person will accumulate due to credit cards, student loans, etc. means it’s better to opt for the 30-year mortgage instead of the 15-year. This way, you have a lower monthly payment, with the option of paying an additional principal when money is good. Additionally, when picking a mortgage, you usually have the option of paying additional points (a portion of the interest that you pay at closing) in exchange for a lower interest rate. If you plan to stay in the house for a long time—and given the current real estate market, you should—taking the points will save you money.

Do your homework before bidding. Before you make an offer on a home, do some research on the sales trends of similar homes in the neighborhood with sites like Zillow. Consider especially sales of similar homes in the last three months. For instance, if homes have recently sold for 5 percent less than the asking price, your opening bid should probably be about 8 to 10 percent lower than what the seller is asking.

Posted in Buying a Home