2007 – What’s Hot, What’s Not on the Homefront

If you are building a home, remodeling a home, or just plain trying to sell an existing home, you will find some tips below on what to look for in 2007. “ What’s hot and what’s not” will add resale dollars and enjoyment to your new home, increase your investment payback in a remodel, and maybe even help you sell your home quicker.

What’s Hot:
• Clean, organized garages. People love organization (or they think they do). Offer them multiple cabinets, attic space, cubbies, shelves and a custom painted floor.

• Multiple places in the home for computer space. Gone are the days of the one computer family. Many times mother and father work from home and / or children have their own computers for homework or leisure time.

• Brick pavers on the pool deck. Kool deck finishes only look good when they are brand new. Over time they crack and discolor. Nothing wows a potential buyer like brick pavers and they last forever. Spend the extra money when you have the pool installed.

• Granite countertops or other stone materials. Laminate anything is out, especially on the countertop. Unless it is a back bathroom for the kids, spring for an upgraded countertop.

• Plantation shutters or custom drapery treatments. Ditch the ½” metal window blinds or the curtains you tried to make yourself. Go for sleek window treatments in a neutral shade so if you or someone else changes the room’s colors, they will be timeless.

What’s Not:
• Wallpaper or wall border. Wallpaper is trying its hardest to make a comeback. But, chances are no matter what you pick and fall in love with, the next person buying your home is going to rip it out before they even unpack.

• Dark and obvious accent walls. If you are not a professional designer, stick with one paint color or slight differences in intensity on the walls in your rooms. Same thing goes for faux painting. An unprofessional faux painting technique can actually make some people cringe.

• Carpeting or “wood look” laminate flooring. Hardly anyone wants a fully carpeted home these days. Stick with large ceramic tiles and hardwood flooring in all the family areas of your home. Resist the urge to use the laminate flooring. You’ll never impress a potential buyer with it.

• Inadequate garage space. Never before have we had so much stuff in our lives and everyone in the family has or will have their own car. Don’t settle for a 1 or 2 car garage if you really need a 3 car. It’s not something you can easily add later.

Has Tampa Bay Real Estate Gone to the Dogs?

dogsPeople love their dogs. Dogs love their owners. More and more dog related places and things are showing up all over the place, and [tag]Tampa Bay [/tag]is no stranger to the craze. Pet friendly hotels, restaurants, and stores are around every corner these days. Gone are the days that dogs lived in the back yard or the basement. Most pet owners choose their furniture and flooring around the needs of their dogs. Some even have custom designed beds and personalized food dishes for their dogs. Just about every city in the [tag]Tampa Bay area [/tag]has a Dog Park these days and people want to live near them too. Dog owners are starting to take their dogs to the park as much as they take their children it seems.

Some of the more popular places for dog lovers in Tampa Bay are Dunedin and Davis Island. Dunedin has a Dog Beach, with a separate section where dogs can run free up and down the beach and swim in the gulf. Davis Island’s Dog Park in Tampa is fenced on three sides with the fourth side opening up to the water with views of the sailboats in the marina. There are also many fenced and unfenced dog parks in the Tampa Bay area as well including Clearwater’s Crest Lake Park, Tarpon Springs’ Anderson Park and Crescent Lake Park in St. Petersburg to name a few.

Just when you think you have heard everything dog related, a new real estate twist emerges. [tag]Bay Park Condominiums [/tag]just off Old Coachman Road in Clearwater announces the opening of new “dog friendly” condominium project. They have gated, well-lit dog runs for large and small dogs in each building, landscaped with pet friendly plants and accessories. There is also a concierge service which includes pet sitting, walking and feeding. This is not your ordinary run-of-the-mill condominium either. This is a gated, luxury condo complex with 1, 2, and 3 bedroom units, complete with granite countertops, rich wood cabinetry, and stainless steel appliances. Bay Park also has many amenities such as a heated resort style pool, tennis and volleyball courts, a gorgeous clubhouse, a 24 hour fitness center, and a putting green.

A day at the park is one thing but keeping your four legged friend in mind while shopping for a condominium is probably quite a good idea if you are a dog lover. After all, not everyone is. Why not indulge in something that will enhance your life as well as the life of your dog, while sharing this common trait with your neighbors? All in all, this time the dogs and the owners both have gotten a special treat and [tag]Tampa Bay Real Estate [/tag]has really gone to the dogs!

How Residents of East Lake Woodlands Oldsmar, FL Stay Active

East Lake Woodlands Country ClubHomeowners of East Lake Woodlands have many great ways to stay fit and active close to home. There are scenic walking trails throughout this community that are a safe and beautiful place to walk, bike or jog. And if you want a change of scenery, just outside the gates of this community you will find the Pinellas Trail. This trail extends throughout the county and was designed as a fun, carefree place to run, walk or rollerblade with other residents.

Golf lovers will rejoice when discovering not one, but two challenging golf courses inside this community. The private [tag]East Lake Woodlands [/tag]Country Club has two well maintained 18 hole courses to entice even the most discriminating players. And on a hot day, this club is also a great place to swim laps in the swimming pool or just splash and play. Tennis enthusiasts will enjoy playing a match on one of the 17 lighted courts.
Play with a friend or client and then make a reservation to have lunch inside in the dining room.

If you find it’s too hot to play your favorite sport outdoors, go inside the [tag]ELW [/tag]Country Club and work out at the state of the art fitness center provided. Or if you are not a member of the country club, you can join the YMCA of North Pinellas which is just a short distance on East Lake Road. This facility has a Jr. Olympic swimming pool, strength training fitness center and offers aerobic classes. It has a wonderful family friendly atmosphere and is most affordable.

And don’t let your four legged friends get bored inside. They can enjoy running and playing with other dogs at the dog park inside the John Chesnut Sr. Park. This park has recreation fields, a boat dock and children’s playground so that even the youngest residents can stay fit. There’s so much to do in this area of Pinellas County!

Christmas Lights in the Tampa Bay Area

I went to see this place last night, and it was amazing. If you have kids, it’s a MUST-SEE. If you don’t, it’s still a MUST-SEE. If you don’t celebrate Christmas, it’s still a MUST-SEE. It’s just so cool. The video on this link is only a small sample of what they have. There are actually 2 houses linked together, you only see what they call the “disco-house” on this video. They have a walking trail that goes around the back yard, the whole display probably covers 1-2 acres, with all sorts of gimmicks, gadgets, characters, displays, cars, etc. It really is worth the trip. We spent almost an hour there and never saw the same song/display twice, and there are so many cool things to see throughout the yard.

These guys developed the software to animate/synchronize the lights with music. They’ve been doing it for several years, and their software is used for Christmas displays around the world. Disney is even going to start using their stuff….Check out the video for a sampling, and also there is a link to see the MSNBC interview which shows some of the other “stationary” displays.

It’s located just off Ehrlich Road/Bears Ave, between the Veteran’s Expressway and Dale Mabry Highway. There is a map on the site, but to give you an idea from our building, if you were to take Forest Lakes/Linebaugh heading east, follow to Anderson road, turn left heading north for 5 or 6 miles, turn right on Ehrlich, quick left on Hutchinson, then turn right on Rawls Road and you can’t miss it. It’s only about a 15 minute drive from here.

Also, if you do go, when you’re done, keep heading east on Rawls road another 1/4 mile, turn right/south on Pennington, and about 1/4 mile down, right before the Ehrlich intersection, there are 3 houses on the left that have a pretty amazing light display as well.

Merry Christmas, enjoy the show!

Tampa Bay Christmas Light Show