January 2017 Item of Value – Tips for Navigating the Real Estate Transaction

As we enter 2017, many of us will look to buy or sell a home this year.  If you or someone you know may be looking, in this month’s Item of Value you will find great tips on how to navigate through a real estate transaction.  From the best times of day to visit a home, to conducting research and managing your expectations, this information will help you better understand the process.

January 2017 Item of Value Web

Home Warranty do you need one?

In Florida and most states when you submit an offer to purchase a home, you can request that the owner provide a Home Warranty. A home warranty is a service contract that covers the repair or replacement of many of the most frequently occurring breakdowns of home system components and appliances. The cost will vary based on the size of the home, whether it has a pool, septic, well and there are other added protection services that the warranty can cover.  To see the complete story just click here.

Home Warranty

Home Warranty do you need one?

Contract which one to use? There is a Big Difference

Found the house you are ready to make your new home. Now comes the time to the offer together. Which way will you submit your offer? In Florida there are two ways to submit your offer. We will explain some of the differences between each Contract so you may be able to make the decision for yourself. To see the complete article please click here


Purchase Contract

Contract which one to use?

Making an offer on a home

Making an offer on a home

Making an offer on a home

You have done your searching online, looked at homes that met your criteria for your new home. Found the home that you want to purchase and now it’s time for making an offer. So far so good agreed? We have to dispel a few things for you here.

In our experience with working with several hundred buyers over the years. We have found a few things out that are similar in most cases. A REALTOR® in the local market where you are has all the information needed to assist you in making an offer that is fair for you and the seller.

What Nick and Cindy Davis do for their buyers when they are getting ready to make an offer on the home that are going to purchase is:

We do a comprehensive analysis of all the homes that are similar within the same community to see what the median sales price in that specific community has been over the last 180 days. This way we can determine what homes should be selling for. What homes are selling for in another community or part of town is really irrelevant. Real Estate is very specific to the area that the home is located. Also comparing an Apple to Apple is so much better than comparing an Apple to an Orange. We will dial in our search to look at 10-15% plus or minus the square footage of your house with the comparables. We will look for details that are as close as possible. For example if the house you are buying does not have a pool, then we will not include pool homes in our search.  We will then go over all this information with our client so they can make a decision on what offer they will make on their new home.

Normally when all this is done and our client is in agreement things go smoothly and their offer is accepted and then we start the home buying process. We would like to share with you some things that we have encountered throughout or real estate career that have caused our clients to not get the home that were making an offer on. Now, this may sound negative, and we want to ensure you we are not trying to be at all.

If you have a relative in another state giving advice on what offer to make.  Here in the Tampa, FL area, this is probably not a good idea. As we explained prices are specific to location and not even close that we could compare what homes are selling for in another state like Los Angeles California for example. So to use statistics from somewhere else other than where you are buying really cannot even be considered. 

Making an offer below market value as a starting point. If a home is priced over market value then we will be able to show that in our analysis. But if the home is priced right and the seller knows that because they listened to their REALTOR® and we looked at the sales and the prices are in alignment. This is not a good idea. Also since we have such a low inventory of homes in the Tampa, FL area. There is a strong possibility that the seller will receive more than one offer when a home comes on the market. Nowhere is it written that a seller has to request for highest and best offers if they receive more than one offer for their home. So it is possible that if they receive an offer that is better than your offer that they just accept the other.

Asking for Seller to pay 100% of your closing costs. What we are referring to is that in a scenario where a home is priced at $200,000 normally a lender will allow up to 6% of the purchase price towards the buyer’s closing costs and pre-paid items, so this can be up to $12,000. So even if the offer was at $200,000 the offer to the owner is $188,000. Just asking for 100% or all buyer closing costs not a wise strategy. It is not uncommon to ask for some assistance if it is needed. A suggestion would be if you do not need the assistance in closing costs and a home is overpriced. It would actually be better to offer market value for the home and pay your own closing costs. Because ultimately you would be financing the portion of your closing costs that the seller is paying. Because you would still be getting a mortgage for the full amount. And then paying interest on that money for the entire time you live in the house. Now if you do need some assistance and the home is priced right at $200,000 we would recommend an offer of $200,000 with 3% of purchase price towards buyer’s closing costs and pre-paid items. This way you are making a $194,000 or 97% of market value offer, which is a much stronger offer and will increase your chances on having the seller accept your offer.

Reducing the price based on things you want to change.  This is typically a hard thing to explain so we will do our best. If the home is painted a color you do like, that is not a reason to reduce the offer amount. You want wood flooring in the bedrooms, these are actually part of home ownership and normally will not be something a seller will even consider. Now a good example of something you have to change or repair because it is not functioning as it is intended would be the Air Conditioner is not working. Something like this is something that if the seller does nothing to get it working will affect all future offers. Hopefully this made sense.

In summary, it still is a good time to be a home buyer in the Tampa, FL area. There are a significantly lower amount of distressed properties on the market now. Nick & Cindy Davis are ready to assist you in purchasing your new home. We will ensure that you do not over-pay for your new. You can always reach us at 813-300-7116 or email us at NickandCindyDavis@TampaHomesSold.com or fill out this contact form and we will reach out to you so we can get started. We look forward to meeting you soon. 

5 Myths about pricing a house to sell

5 Myths about pricing a house to sell

Nick & Cindy Davis would like to discuss pricing you home in today’s market. There are some myths out there about the price of home and what a “Seller’s Market” really means.

The Buyers in today’s market are seeking maximum value in a property.

Their decision is based on a few things such as Market Condition, Location, Size, Amenities and overall Condition of the house.

By knowing these and pricing your home correctly you will be maximizing your chances of selling your home quickly for the best price and most favorable terms.

So let’s get into the 5 Myths about pricing a house to sell.

  1. I put $25,000 worth of upgrades into my house when I purchased it and therefore I should get $25,000 more for my home today. Sorry we wish it was this way, but upgrades you purchased 3, 5, 7 years ago do not hold dollar for dollar when it comes time to sell your house. They will compliment your sales price, provided that they still are the ones everyone is looking for today.
  2. My next door neighbor said he sold his for $. As a REALTOR® Cindy and I will look at all comparable sales in your neighborhood and sometimes, neighbors like to over embellish just a little with what the sales price actually was.
  3. New homes in the community across the street are selling for $. When we do our analysis for your house. We will compare similar homes to yours. We will start off in your neighborhood and typically look at homes that are 10-15% smaller and larger than yours, we will only look at pool homes if your house has a pool. We try get as close as possible to homes similar to yours. Now if there are not any sales in your neighborhood, then we will normally go outside of your neighborhood to find other homes. But using new construction prices to let’s say a home that is 5 to 10 years old is not a good practice and could cost you more money in the long run.
  4. I want to start $25,000 over what you suggest as a list price. Timing is extremely important in the real estate market. A property attracts the most activity from the real estate community and potential buyers when it is first listed. It has the greatest opportunity to sell when it is new on the market. So if you are $25,000 over what homes are selling for chances are when buyers come and look at your home they are used to seeing larger homes with more upgrades for that price.
  5. I have plenty of time to sell. What we would ask is then why put your home on the market today, why not wait? Every month your home is on the market it costs you money. So let’s say like in #4 you place your home $25,000 over where it should be priced. And your Mortgage Payment and carrying costs (electric, water, etc) comes to $2,500 a month. If your home is on the market for 90 days and that is not unrealistic if you are that much overpriced. It cost you $7,500 for those 90 days. And the $25,000 can be spent real quickly.

In closing we would like to share something that happened to us in November 2015. We listed a home for a past clients Mother and Father in Law. W suggested that based on market conditions and the condition of the home that we list the home at $150,000. Comparables showed home sales $145,000 to $152,500. The home went Active in MLS. 

On day 3 we received First Offer, Day 4 2 more offers came in and day 5 a 4th offer was received. We suggested to owner that we request Highest and Best Offer. We did and the home was sold for $157,400 by a cash investor with 0 days for inspection contingency and closing took place 14 days later.  To see some other examples of how Nick & Cindy Davis assist you in selling your house. Just click here

We are ready to sell your home. By Pricing your House to Sell, not go into MLS and then just sit on the market. Please feel free to contact us at 813-300-7116 or you can always email us at:



Six Home Maintenance and Repair Do It Yourself Jobs


If you are like Nick you are saying it’s just easier to pay someone to take care of this because I have no idea on what I am doing. Well this can become very costly, really quick. It can be intimidating and seem to complex, but over the years we have learned so much in doing some things ourselves that wound up saving us in the long run.

Simple Home Maintenance Tips


Water leaking toilets tank will not only cost you money every month in the utility bill, but it can cause damage to your bathroom floor and wear out the internal parts of your toilet. A simple trick is to add red colored food dye in the water tank of your toilet. Check back in an hour or so and see what color the water in the tank is. If it is pink, you have a leak.  To replace flapper; turn off water valve, which is normally right behind toilet. Remove the lid and flush the toilet to empty the tank out. Use a towel or sponge to mop out any excess water left in the tank. Remove the flush chain from the lever and then slide the old flapper off the overflow tube. Slide new flapper in place, reconnect the chain and then turn water back on.

Washing Machine and Dryer

Regularly checking your washing machine water supply for leaks is so important. One of the top reasons for insurance claims is for water damage caused by supply lines that are leaking. You should inspect the lines at least once a year and replace them at a minimum of every three years if they are plastic. When checking you notice the metal ends are discolored or rusty, replace them immediately.

You should also check to ensure that the drain lines are tightened properly. A pair of pliers or crescent wrench. You should not be able to tighten any further if the line is properly tightened.

With regards to the dryer, it is important to always make sure you regularly clean your lint screen in order to prevent fires. This will also increase the life of the heating element. You can also remove any fabric softener residue by washing the screen in warm water and dish detergent every week or two.

Air Conditioning

Air Conditioners are normally one the most overlooked appliances when it comes to regular maintenance. And one of the mostly costly when it comes to getting them repaired.

You will want to regularly check the condensation line where the water comes out of the house and make sure that you can see water freely flowing from the line. This will ensure that the line is not clogged. If this is not occurring you can attach a Shop VAC to the line and turn it on for 3-5 minutes and attach it to the drain line. You will hear if anything comes out and then remove the Shop VAC and you should notice that the water is flowing freely again.

Air Filters

Change the Air Filter in your central air and heat often, especially during the peak usage months. Usually 30 days in longest you want to go between changing the filters.  Nick puts it on the calendar with the sizes we have in our house, so if he is out he always has the sizes available.

We use the cheap fiberglass filters; which are actually preferred as opposed the HEPA filters for the following reasons: 1. it is more cost effective to use the cheaper ones. 2. The fiberglass filters actually allow for more air flow into the climate controlled unit which will reduce the amount of energy used to effectively cool or heat your home.


Door Seals are the main thing that you should keep an eye on. By doing this you will reduce the amount of energy it takes to keep your food cool or frozen. This will also keep you refrigerator working more efficiently and prevent premature wear on internal parts.

Easy test for your door seal. Use a dollar bill and close the door on the bill. Then attempt to pull it out with the door closed. If you cannot easily pull the bill out, then your seal is in good shape. If the bill slides out easily, it is time to replace the seals. This is something you can purchase at any local hardware store. Recommendation before heading out the door, take a picture of the tag which has make, and model number of your refrigerator so you show the sales person. This will prevent you from making multiple trips.

If you have a refrigerator with coils along the back, it is recommended that you periodically vacuum the coils to remove dirt and dust build up. The coils contain the coolant that the refrigerator uses to keep the inside temperature cold. If they are dirty, they will not work the way they are supposed to and your refrigerator may stop keeping your food cold.

Hopefully we have given you some very simple DIY tips that even a novice person can accomplish. It really is all about routine maintenance. Which could wind up saving you big money in the long run.  Especially if you are considering selling your house. Remember a buyer will do a home inspection and lack or routine maintenance can add up real quick. Please check back regularly as we are always updating our site with good to know information.  Feel free to email us any comments or questions to NickandCindyDavis@TampaHomesSold.com

11 Tips Before You Leave for the Holidays

11 Tips Before You Leave for the Holidays

Leaving your home during the holidays? Follow these tips to keep it safe and save a few bucks on bills while you’re gone.

  1. Put mail on hold
    An overstuffed mailbox or a pile of newspapers at the bottom of your driveway can be an invitation to thieves. Not only is it a sign that no one’s home, identity thieves can find all sorts of goodies while sorting through unattended mail. Go to usps.com to have the US Postal Service hold your mail, and also check on your options for holding newspaper delivery.
  2. Put lights on a timer
    It makes it appear that someone is home. If you can, switch your exterior lights to the “motion-activated” setting.
  3. Check batteries
    Make sure the batteries are fresh in your smoke alarms and that they function.
  4. Remove valuables
    Hiding your jewelry is always an option, but when you’re gone for several days, thieves have more time to hunt through the house. If you can, place jewelry and important documents in a safety deposit box or home safe.
  5. Grab your spare key
    Bring inside any keys that are hidden outside. You can give one to a neighbor along with your contact information where you'll be, just in case there's an emergency.
  6. Unplug
    Your electronics will still suck energy while you’re gone. Unplug the biggies, like your TV and computer.
  7. Don't advertise your trip online
    At least until you return, when it’s safe to make your Facebook friends jealous with photos from your holiday beach vacation. Don’t post the dates when you’re leaving your house vacant.
  8. Switch your water heater to “vacation” mode
    It won’t turn off completely, but it will still save energy.
  9. Lower your thermostat
    Keep it warm enough to prevent the pipes – and the goldfish – from freezing. Your energy company can recommend a temperature that’s appropriate for your climate.
  10. Deodorize the sink
    To avoid returning to a kitchen disposal that belches up the stench of your pre-vacation dinner, run it with a half-cup of vinegar, or lemon peels and ice cubes, before you leave. To keep things smelling fresh, it’s also a good idea to throw out any food that will go bad while you’re gone and make sure to take out any trash.
  11. Bleach the bowl
    Dump half a cup of chlorine bleach into your toilet bowl to prevent mineral stains from developing.

Searching for a home you’ll hate to leave alone? Nick & Cindy Davis can help you in your search.

A 5-Point Action Plan for Your New Place

A 5-Point Action Plan for Your New Place

A 5-Point Action Plan for Your New Place


After waiting weeks for the keys to your new home, you probably want to treat yourself to something nice.

Here are some quick home improvements you'll likely be happy with:

1. Practical problems first.
Prioritize easy repairs and upgrades that affect your day-to-day living, such as leaky faucets, dirty or worn fixtures, poor paint choices, holes that need patching or flooring that needs updating.

2. Head-to-toe detail.
Detailing isn't just for your vehicle. Your new home deserves deep cleaning, too. Take advantage of it being completely empty, and hire someone to clean every inch. 

3. Consider the view.
The right window treatments improve a home’s ambiance, comfort and privacy. They can even save you money in the long run. Drapes, curtains, blinds and shutters block unwanted light, let in the right amount of sunshine and keep your home warm or cool when drawn or shut.

4. Bright ideas.
Proper lighting also affects your comfort. After you arrange furniture, pay close attention for a few weeks and note which areas are too dark and which get too much light. From there, you can decide whether new overhead lightning, lamps or bulbs will do the trick.

5. The right appliances.
Major appliances – refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, dryers and stoves – impact your daily life, your home's appearance and your utility bills. Purchasing the right appliances now can set you up for savings and efficiency for years to come.

Just starting the home buying process? Contact Nick & Cindy Davis who will help you find the right place.

A 5-Point Action Plan for Your New Place, getting settled, Action Plan, moving into new place

Books About Moving to Read to Your Kids

Books About Moving to Read to Your Kids

Books About Moving to Read to Your Kids

Moving to a new home, a new neighborhood and a new school can be tough for kids. Luckily, a variety of children’s books are out there to help parents explain things, add some fun and hopefully alleviate fears.

Here are a few classics – and you can post your favorite children's book titles about moving in the comments section below:

1. “Alexander, Who's Not (Do You Hear Me? I Mean It!) Going to Move” by Judith Viorst
Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 1995
Poor Alexander. First, the kid had a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Now, his family is moving! Just like your kids, Alexander has to say goodbye to some special places and people, but with the help of his parents he learns to make the most of the situation.

2. “The Berenstain Bears’ Moving Day” by Stan and Jan Berenstain
Random House Books for Young Readers, 1981
Little Brother Bear’s pretty worried about moving, and more than a little scared. Kids can relate to his apprehension, and hopefully his positive change of view as moving day gets closer.

3. “A House for Hermit Crab” by Eric Carle
Aladdin Paperbacks, 1987
A little hermit crab has outgrown his shell and needs to find a bigger one – and new friends to help decorate it. This book will reassure kids that it will be easy to make new friends in their new town.

4. “Tigger’s Moving Day” by Kathleen W. Zoehfeld
Disney, 1999
Tigger needs a place with more bouncing room! His friends aren’t as close to his new house, but they still come and visit. A story to help kids understand they’ll still be able to hold on to old connections.

5. “Goodbye House” by Frank Asch
Moonbear Books, 1989
This book is a terrific way to talk about moving with preschoolers. After the moving van is packed, a little bear returns to say farewell to his old house, saying goodbye to everything, except, of course, the memories.

Other favorites include: “Big Dan’s Moving Van,” by Leslie McGuire, “Neville,” by Norton Juster, “The Moving House” by Mark Siegel, “I’m Not Moving, Mama” by Nancy White Carlstrom, and “The Leaving Morning,” by Angela Johnston.

Looking to a move to a neighborhood that’s great for kids (and parents)? Nick & Cindy Davis have a team ready to assist you with. Meet the Team


6 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying a Vacation Home

6 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying a Vacation Home

6 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying a Vacation Home


Have you and your family fallen in love with a vacation spot and you're wondering whether it makes sense to buy there? Here are some key questions to ask yourself (And keep in mind that a great real estate agent can always help you talk through them!).

  1. Do you really, really love the location?
    It's a good idea to visit the area during the low season. Do you still enjoy it when the ski slopes are green, or when those ocean breezes are too chilly for lounging on the sand?
  2. How often can you get there?
    Calculate how many times a year you'll be able to use the home. Carefully consider the commute as well as your career and family commitments to determine how much time you realistically can spend there relative to the costs of owning and maintaining the property.
  3. Have you talked to the locals?
    Spend some quality time at the local coffee shop or microbrewery and chat with people who live in the area year-round. Ask them what they like, and don't like, about living there – and about any cultural trends they've noticed.
  4. Could you rent your place if you had to?
    Renting out the home when you're not there brings with it a host of other considerations. Does the HOA allow rentals? Would potential renters be interested in the property's amenities, such as a fireplace in a ski town or an inviting deck or patio in a beach community?
  5. What about the taxes?
    Taxes for a second home can be more complicated than those for your primary residence. Talk to a tax pro and learn more about the tax implications for your specific situation, including taxes on rental income if you plan to rent out the place for part of the year.
  6. What's the tab when you're not there?
    Calculate the true, year-round cost of owning the home, including utilities and property management when the home isn't occupied.

Looking for more guidance on vacation properties? Let Nick & Cindy Davis assist you.

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