Giving Back

Last month we talked about Thanksgiving and we hope you all had a wonderful celebration.  This entire season is a good time to think about those things that are important.  For us of course, it’s our loved ones, our friends, our clients and business associates, but it’s also our community. And that community extends far beyond those that we know and love.

We work hard to support our entire community, especially those in need. Over the years we’ve supported the Glazer Children’s Museum, Junior Achievement, JCC & Federation, Tampa Bay Job Links and more, and will continue to do so. It’s at the core of all we do. We hope that if you are able, you will do the same. Here are some wonderful ways to get started.  

  • Contact a local school. Many schools are in need of volunteers or donations. You may be able to work with a student one-on-one or come in and help in a classroom.
  • Find a local shelter. There are usually many volunteer opportunities as well as donations needed.
  • Contact local agencies like United Way, Tampa Jewish Family Services, or Metropolitan Ministries to learn more about their needs. They typically have a variety of ways you can help.

Tampa Holiday Events

We are lucky here in Tampa! We have a beautiful city and winter weather that just can’t be beat!  Some may find it hard to get in the holiday spirit when the temperatures still hit the 80s, but there are many fun activities happening around town that are sure to get you in the mood!  Here are some of our top picks, including ice skating, menorah lighting, light tours and parties!

  • Ice Skating at Curtis Hixon Park – This is so much fun for kids and adults alike! Skates are available to rent and there’s a small cafe with treats like hot chocolate. This year also features a winter village at the park.
  • Grand Hanukkah Celebration – Head out to the Shops at Wiregrass for the annual menorah lighting, along with face painting, latkes, donuts and more.
  • Wonderland of Lights – Set at the Hillsborough Fairground, this month long event includes light displays, horse drawn carriages, food, crafts and more. 
  • Vodka Latke – The area’s biggest event for young Jewish singles and couples. You don’t want to miss this party at the beautiful Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg.
  • Noon Year’s Eve – Lowry Park Zoo counts down the New Year at noon so the little ones can celebrate! The event also includes games and live entertainment.

For details on these events and more go to http://www.tampabay.com/things-to-do/holiday/index.page.

 

What Makes Real Estate a Good Investment?

Last month we heard that Tampa was ranked one of the best places in the nation to invest in real estate (2nd in the nation, actually) and we agree. If you’re looking for new investment opportunities, real estate makes a lot of sense. And we have several terrific opportunities – check out our page of listings to see these. So, what makes real estate a good investment? Here are just a few reasons:

  1. Investing in real estate means that you have an asset that will appreciate, and you’ll also have rental income coming in regularly.
  2. Real estate is a stable investment, especially during times of market upheaval.
  3. It is also a tangible asset. You’ll be able to see and touch your investment vs the intangibles of stock and bond investments.

Contact us if you’d like to learn more about real estate investment opportunities. Our experts in real estate and real estate law can help you make the best investment.

Why Use a Realtor?

The Internet makes things easier, right? Yes, in many cases that is true, but what about for buying or selling a house? It may seem like it would be easy to go through the process for your home, using the resources you have at your fingertips. However, most experts agree that using a Realtor is the best way to go about buying or selling your home. Why?

  1. Expertise – Most Realtors have been in the local market for years and know it better than anyone. They can help find the right neighborhood and the best deal for you and your family.
  2. Pricing – A Realtor has the expertise to know how much you should put your house on the market for, what offers you should take, when and what to counter offer, and what to offer on a purchase. That on its own is well worth using a Realtor.
  3. Contracts – Let’s face it, there is a lot of paperwork involved with buying or selling a home. Realtors can help you understand all the paperwork and make sure everything is sealed up tight. At 360 we have Realtors who are also real estate lawyers, and know these contracts backward and forward.
  4. Upgrades – If you’re selling your home there’s a good chance that you’ll need to make a few updates before you list. A good Realtor can help you determine what needs to be done and where you can save. At 360 we have local experts that we’ve worked with and trusted for years who can help with necessary renovations.
  5. Ethics – Realtors stand by a strict code of ethics that ensure that you’ll be dealt with honestly and that they will put your interests before their own. Without representation you don’t always know who you’re dealing with throughout the process.

Growing Tampa

Tampa has seen something of a renaissance lately.  Do you agree?  The Riverwalk is a fantastic addition to our waterfront community, neighborhoods like Tampa Heights and Seminole Heights are seeing a major renewal effort, and new restaurants, retail spaces and outlet stores are booming.  Here is a look at a few projects underway that we are excited to see.

Armature Works – This highly anticipated mixed-use commercial facility will bring an eclectic mix of restaurants, shopping, work space and event space to Tampa.  Located in Tampa Heights, this historical site was first constructed and occupied by Tampa Electric Co. This new space will be one more piece of the vibrant riverfront that has become a Tampa destination. 

Hyde Park Village – If you’ve lived in Tampa long enough you’ve probably seen several different iterations of Hyde Park Village.  Stores and restaurants have come and gone, but what has remained consistent is the amount of community support this walkable, shoppable, neighborhood has always garnered.  There’s a lot of construction happening right now, but that hasn’t stopped new restaurants from opening, like the historic Goody Goody and many new retail stores too. 

Hall on Franklin – Another exciting project happening in Tampa Heights is the Hall on Franklin. Also housed in an updated historic Tampa building, this spot will have a mix of dining options, a coffee bar, cocktail lounge and more.  This will be a great way to try a variety of restaurants, or spend the evening having a progressive dinner at the various options.

How Do You Know When to Buy a House?

Knowing when to buy a home may be more important that knowing what to buy. As the saying goes, “timing is everything,” and this could not be more true with knowing when it’s right for you to buy a new house. Here are three tips that will help you make the right decision.

Come to an agreement with your partner – If you’re buying with a spouse or partner, you want to make sure you’re both on the same page. Be certain you both want to move. Then, spend some time talking and agreeing on how much you can spend, neighborhoods and what kind of home you want.

Understand your financials – Make sure your financials are in order. Look at your budget, your savings, and how much you have to put down. But don’t stop there. Make sure you have enough money in your budget to pay for unexpected home expenditures, which will come up. You should also make sure you include moving costs in that plan.

Make a Plan – Now that you understand your financials, put a plan in place that you can follow throughout the buying process. First, find a realtor. Searching homes online is not the same as having a professional that can guide you through every step of the process. Get preapproved for a mortgage. Your realtor can assist you with this process. Lastly, start saving for those incidentals that inevitably come up throughout the home ownership process.

Tampa Bay Staycation Ideas

No vacation plans for the rest of the summer? How about a few days of staycation? Tampa Bay is the perfect place for a staycation because there are so many things to do within a short distance.  Here are our top 5 staycation ideas:

  1. Tampa Bay Riverwalk – You can spend an entire day on the Riverwalk without getting bored.  Bring bikes, scooters or just walk and spend the day meandering down the almost three-mile path on the Hillsborough River.  Stops along the way may include gelato at the café at the Tampa Museum of Art, playtime at the playground at Curtis Hixon Park, and drinks and dinner at Ulele.
  2. Busch Gardens – You can easily spend an entire day at the Busch Gardens Tampa Bay Theme Park.  With a full zoo attraction, kiddie attractions and massive roller coasters, there is something for the entire family.
  3. Tampa Theatre – Head downtown to take in a movie at the Tampa Theatre. This Tampa icon shows special run movies, including a summer classics series, plus is a beautifully restored historic venue.
  4. Beaches – No staycation would be complete without a day at the beach. Tampa Bay is surrounded by tons of options within an hours’ drive.  Check out St. Pete Beach, Clearwater Beach, Pass-a-Grille and more for white sand and beautiful sunsets.
  5. Downtown St. Pete – St. Petersburg has grown into a hub of beautiful art museums and galleries, fantastic restaurants and beautiful walks along the Bay.  Walk along Beach Drive and stop along the way at the Chihuly Arts Center and the Museum of Fine Arts.  Grab a bite to eat at the delicious Moon Under the Water and then venture a little further (but still within walking distance) to see the esteemed Dali museum. End the night with a live show at Jannus Live.

Consider the School District During Your Home Search

We know you’ve heard us say this before, but it’s important and it’s summertime, so we think it’s worth a reminder.  When you’re looking to buy a new house, make sure you check out the school district. Even if you don’t have children and are not planning to have children, it’s still a wise investment to pick a home in a good school district.  It will increase the value of your house and will be important for re-sell if you eventually decide to sell your home.

In Hillsborough County, schools are rated on a scale of A through F. You can search individual school scores by going to http://schoolgrades.fldoe.org/default.asp. You can also find information about all the schools at the Hillsborough County School Board website http://www.sdhc.k12.fl.us/.

If you can’t find your dream home in the school district of your choice, there are other options. Tampa Bay is filled with wonderful options such as magnet and charter schools, which are part of the public school system; and private schools.

Do your research and look at all your options, and you’ll find the best home for you and your family.

The Best of Tampa Bay This Summer

There are tons of options for this summer in and around Tampa Bay.  Here are a few great ideas and resources: