So, you need to rent a house or condo?

Moving, whether across town or across state lines, is a big event. Granted, renting a house for a year is a finite event that does not involve the transfer of ownership that a purchase involves,still it is your home! Plus, the rent is an expense, one that yields no tangible benefit once the lease is complete.  Due to the infrequency of many in renting a house, here are some tips.

First, evaluate what your true needs are in terms of bedrooms, living space and style. If you are only renting for a year for relocation or home renovation, consider putting some of the furniture in storage. Second, calculate your rental expense budget. So, how do you figure out what you can afford for monthly rent? Landlords will use different calculations for affordability, such as income that is twice or even three times monthly rent. Other financial considerations are the security deposit, application fees, and pet fees, and first months rent up front. Landlords use a variety of measures that could include criminal background check, employment check, credit score and rental history,  and may adjust what you need up front based on the results.  So, know what you can afford using both measures: the monthly income and the up front move in money. As for how much house can you get for your allocated amount? The real estate market, including rentals, is all about location, location, location, with a variety of influences affecting values. As for rental rates in an area, most owners will only charge what they can get with no more than a month’s vacancy for cash flow purposes. So, the rental market is very fluid.

Got your checklist of what you are looking for? Here are a few of the main details: if you have pets, see what the owner will accept, whether by weight, breed or type. Also, if the house is in an area with a home owners association, find out if you need to apply to them as well. Find out the move-in date: when will the house be ready. With the fast pace of the rental market, owners will often advertise their house weeks before it is actually ready for new tenants. For searches, there are a variety of sources including the local property management web sites, 3rd party sites, and the multiple listing service.

Do you need an agent? Maybe, or maybe not. Generally, agents don’t make a lot of money helping tenants, so getting an agent to help with a broad search will be hard to accomplish. If you are relocating, or if you haven’t tried to rent before, finding a trusted agent will be worth the effort. To help entice the agent to spend time on you, offer to pay them (their broker, actually) if they find a place that doesn’t offer a commission: or if you are buying in a year, offer them your future business. Other sources include brokers with for rent listings in areas you like: ask questions on what they will show you.

Once you have found a house to rent, there will be an application and fees and a few details to talk about. Before you fill out the application, feel free to ask about who takes care of the grounds maintenance and find out if the rate is negotiable.  Once approved, verify the who to call if something breaks, and ensure you know where to send your rent. Finally, a move in date is established, and the utilities companies plus your family, friends and others can find out your new address!



Great Investment for developer, fix and hold in Seffner, FL

202 East Old Hillsborough Ave., Seffner, FL, 33584

From the street view of 202 E Old Hillsborough Ave, Seffner, FL

This is one of my listings, and it has a house, a barn and 3 acres MOL. The house is about 1566 square feet and needs some minor repair work. The inside has a lot of character, with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathroom, lots of knotty pine for wall covering and vaulted ceilings. There is an unfinished addition to the back of the house: the addition’s exterior walls are not complete so repair or replacement of that section would be necessary. The barn roof and some windows need work, but the barn is rather large. There is a post and rail fence, with a horse workout area near the road frontage. The fence is near the property borders and would need extensive repair or replacing. A survey is not available for the actual property lines. The current zoning for the land allows for 4 single family residences per acre, but setbacks, private road and drainage would provide enough land for 5-7 houses. There are some oak trees on the land, plus some first growth pines. There is 198 feet of frontage on Old Hillsborough, and the depth is 660 feet. The house has well water (250 feet deep well) with a second well available for the barn. There is s septic field: city utilities are available for future hook up through the back of the property where there is a small subdivision.

Just behind the house is a large barn, currently used to store a boat and trailer

From the back of the house, view of the barn leading toward the clearing

Large clearing behind the barn, with the fence line beyond the trees
Cleared section ready for horses or for development.

Home Owner’s guide to service providers in the Tampa Bay area

As an active real estate agent in the Tampa Bay area, I receive a lot of requests for information on plumbers, yard care specialists, general repair specialists, general contractors, movers, painters, and even window washers! As a long time home owner in South Tampa, I have established good relationships with some of the folks who offer services to homeowners, and as a real estate agent I have plentiful resources in a few other areas. Naturally, if you are someone who provides service related to houses, or related to real estate, read through to the last few paragraphs.

Listed in my website are folks who have helped my clients or me with their house or the transaction related to their house. On the website, click on the tab “about the area” and “service providers”. There is an alphabetized listing of categories with as much information about the service provider as I know. Some of the vendors listed do not cross the bridge to other counties.

My brokerage has a fairly comprehensive list that includes anything a real estate agent or home owner/buyer might need in the way of home related services. The agents in my office or their clients have used most, if not all the vendors on the list. Feel free to send me an e-mail, or comment on this post, requesting information.

Within my Listingbook website under the services tab, there are three categories. The first category provides a very robust list of vendors for home services. I really like this list as it covers a broad spectrum of categories and compiles many real estate agent’s choices. Drawbacks to the list: being on the list is based on the networking capability of the vendor, and not all the service providers are known to me. Read through the third tab titled “consumer information” for tips and questions to ask of those that you contemplate hiring. If you are curious about why I have few “preferred” providers, feel free to read the section below, or maybe you are a service provider interested in expanding your network.

If you are a service provider for real estate, either to agents or homeowners, feel free to get in touch with me. I recognize each relationship is important, and positive relationships lead to business growth. Some of the web sites, such as Zillow or Listingbook, allow for referral placement. Those sites do require that we have an e-mail correspondence and invitation process, and this may allow those organizations to  ask your company for paid subscriptions and placement. Feel free to discuss this further with me if this sounds good. If you don’t know me and want to  discuss your products/services that could help homeowners, I’d like to meet with you. Once I have seen examples of your work and attention to client service, then I will consider your information for my website and for submission to my office’s list of service providers.

Thank you for your time in reading this: if you are a home owner, or a service provider in the Tampa, Clearwater, Seminole, Hillsborough county or Pinellas county area, or are seeking home ownership in this area, subscribe to or follow my blog. I provide detailed and helpful tips to all things real estate, including local analysis on select areas.

The Who, Why and Where of this blog


All About Real Estate with a local focus of the Tampa Bay Area

Welcome to the world of real estate, and thank you for taking a look! I focus my efforts on helping people figure out their real estate goals and needs and how to carry out them. So, if you are thinking of buying or selling a house or condo, or if you are simply curious then you are in the right place. I love to help folks that are navigating a property search or trying to get their home or investment property ready for sale. I do tend to write about questions or situations I have encountered “in the field”. I am in the process of organizing my archive, and my current thought is to label it by buyer, seller, vendors, and neighborhood. I will include resources and their benefits including websites and contact information so folks can get to the information that they need. I do tend to get detailed, and will try to give an overview in the first couple of paragraphs of a post. Naturally, feel free to comment or contact me if there is clarity needed on a post.

Following this site will give you information on buying or selling a home, condo or investment property in the Tampa Bay, FL area. Each situation is different, so if something resonates still ask a professional at some point. By the way, I am not an attorney, nor am I a CPA so don’t think of anything you read as legal advice or tax advice; see the appropriate specialist for those areas. I will be reporting on market trends in the area, and will occasionally post on a specific neighborhood where I have some business.  I am interactive and respect the contact information of those who contact me, so if you want me to cover an area or topic without having me contact you directly, feel free to let me know.

My experience is with both buyers and sellers, and I am knowledgeable on short sales and foreclosures. I do offer service to clients after the sale is complete, in fact a recent client commented on that service: “You’re awesome Robert.  Thanks for being the person you are.” (real estate client comment, September 2012).

I am a Floridian, born in Sarasota, raised in Seminole and residing in South Tampa. I have worked in many areas of the Tampa Bay, and will communicate my familiarity with any area to clients. Naturally, in real estate, agents are “on” all the time. I do things to balance work with family such as turn off the phone and computer for a couple of hours so I can have time with my wife and daughter whether it is to have a family meal, visit with my wife or help with homework.

Follow my blog with the link on the side! Check out my websites, explore, have fun looking around. Feeling lost in your quest for answers? Contact me directly!