Without Real Estate 5

4 Reasons To Focus on Curb Appeal

When attempting to sell your home, curb appeal can be a major determinant for whether your home receives the attention it deserves. While your home may feature an impressive property with a beautiful interior, potential buyers will be less likely to notice this if you home has poor curb appeal. Given the importance of this one characteristic, here are four reasons to focus on curb appeal when attempting to sell your home without a real estate agent.

1. It is the first thing potential buyers see
No matter what prior knowledge a potential buyer has of your home, the image of your home from the curb will be the first deciding factor on whether or not they want to walk in the door. Whether the potential buyers are viewing this image in person or looking at a photograph posted to a home selling service, this image will become their mental representation of your home throughout the buying process. Poor curb appeal will quickly convince buyers that the other features of your home are simply not worth their time.

2. You want your home to stand out
It is no surprise that the housing market has drastically recovered since its crash in 2008. Given this recovery, there are more people than ever attempting to sell their home. With a market saturated with thousands of homes, it is important that you do everything possible to make your home stand out. Since the image from the curb will be the deciding factor on whether buyers will continue with the buying process, it is important to focus on curb appeal at all times. Poor curb appeal will cause potential buyers to quickly move on to other homes, even if these homes have less property size or interior features.

3. It is easy to improve
While curb appeal is a very important aspect of selling your home, it is also the easiest to improve. When viewing your home from the curb, pay special attention to anything which seems to take away from the image of your home. Aspects which reduce curb appeal could be as simple as dead grass, hanging gutters, broken windows, or chipped paint on the garage door. With a small budget and a dedicated weekend, you can likely make drastic improvements to these items that are taking away from your overall curb appeal.

4. It can reveal other features of your home
As stated before, curb appeal will determine whether you are able to attract buyers deeper into the buying process for your home. In addition, it can be used as a practical tool for revealing many of the impressive features of your home which go beyond the curb. For example, if your home features a large backyard with a swimming pool, you may feel inclined to leave your side gate open or use a screen which allows buyers to see parts of this pool from the curb. Or if your home has a large garage which can be used to store cars and operate as an independent workspace, you would probably consider making this visible for buyers viewing your home from the curb.

Stress is one of the largest concerns when selling a home. Staging, managing finances and documents, and simultaneously juggling the rest of your life can be completely draining. However, one thing is certain about selling your home: it’s a lot easier when you have a solid real estate agent to handle it. Remember, No-One Works Harder to Sell your Home more than Joe! Contact Joe today by calling 813-908-7293 or visit

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Stage Your Home Appropriately

Staging plays a huge role in how quickly your house attracts offers from potential buyers. Most sellers are aware that they should keep their homes tidy and organized and remove excess and personal décor from the homes, but what else can you do to appropriately stage your home? Below are some of our favorite tips for staging based on current trends and tried methods.

Keep your bathroom clean and updated.
There are two major turnoffs for buyers when it comes to the bathroom: dirty and incredibly outdated. Make sure the walls and surfaces in your bathrooms are free of dirt, mold, and other residue, as these could be the first (or only) thing visitors notice about the room. Shower doors can be particularly tricky to clean, but you should always try at least a few different cleaning products before deciding to replace them.

Once your bathrooms are thoroughly cleaned, consider updating any features of your bathroom that might be outdated. One thing that can quickly elevate the appearance of the bathroom is to remove wallpaper and paint the walls a neutral color. You can also replace an old sink with a pedestal sink, a trend that is currently very popular with buyers. You can also mask old, outdated bathroom tiles with paint if you aren’t up to replacing them.

Spruce up the bedroom.
Ensure that the bedroom appeals to both sexes. This will help buyers of all types envision themselves calling one of your bedrooms their own. Be sure that your bedroom is overly crowded with furniture, personal photos, or too many decorations, as these can distract buyers from the features of the room itself.

Use your kitchen to create offers.
Updated kitchens bring in big offers from buyers, even when other areas of the house are lacking. You should keep your floors clean and repair any damaged tiles or have your wood floors refinished. You can also revive old cabinets with fresh stain and new hardware. When it comes to countertops, save yourself money by doing your research before replacing them—granite is a big hit with current buyers!

New appliances are a huge selling point. If you can afford to replace outdated kitchen appliances, do so. Consider making the switch to stainless steel, which is another popular design trend right now, to aid with selling your home.

Play around with that old fireplace.
Older fireplaces tend to attract the wrong kind of attention. But, by making a few minor changes, your fireplace can become a hot commodity. If the fireplace sticks out because of its position or color, consider painting the bricks the same neutral color as the wall. This is a trend in newer, modern homes, and will be a hit with buyers! Replacing the screen and staining the mantle will take the entire room to the next level.

Highlight built-in storage spaces.
Have a unique corner cabinet or sturdy built-in shelves? Use those to your advantage by keeping them on display during showings. Buyers love built-in storage, especially bookshelves.

Lighten up.
Natural light, open views, and an easy flow are all qualities buyers yearn for in a home. You might have lovely window treatments, but on nice days, open the curtains and let the sunshine in. Natural light can do a lot to open up a home and give it an airy, open feel all buyers want. You can also consider removing unnecessary furniture, partitions, or even doors to open up your home even more.

The importance of staging in getting your home off the market cannot be over exaggerated. If buyers cannot picture themselves living in your home or doesn’t want to put the time and money into updating it, they probably won’t put an offer in. Try to make the changes you’d want to see if you were considering purchasing your home in the current year, with potential buyers in mind.

Stress is one of the largest concerns when selling a home. Staging, managing finances and documents, and simultaneously juggling the rest of your life can be completely draining. However, one thing is certain about selling your home: it’s a lot easier when you have a solid real estate agent to handle it. Remember, No-One Works Harder to Sell your Home more than Joe! Contact Joe today by calling 813-908-7293 or visit

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4 Tips for Making Sure Your Price is Fair

Selling your home can be a very costly and time-consuming process. For this reason, we look to get the largest amount of money possible when we bring our homes to the open market. While it is clearly a good idea to earn a large sum for your home, some people become so attached to their homes that they set unrealistic asking prices. These price expectations can keep your home on the market for long periods of time without revealing any potential buyers. In order to keep this from happening to you, follow these four tips for making sure your price is fair.

1. Assess Your Home’s Property

One of the most important aspects of a home’s price is its surrounding property. While you may have a home which is worth a considerable amount of money, a small surrounding property will not allow you to sell your home for nearly as much as you might think. In addition, environmental hazards can create a situation where your home’s value is significantly reduced. Make sure to perform an honest assessment of your home’s property when attempting to set a fair asking price.

2. Assess Your Home’s Features

Although you might have a rather large home, buyers in today’s market are looking for very specific features when looking to spend large amounts of money. These features might include a garage, patio, extra bathrooms, an in-law suite, and countless other amenities. When attempting to create a fair asking price, make sure you perform a full inventory of your home’s special features. If you find that your home is lacking a few things which would drastically increase its value, you might want to make these additions before bringing your home to the market.

3. Make Comparisons to Other Homes

Thanks to online services like Zillow and Trulia, making comparisons between your home and similar homes in the area is easier than ever before. When attempting to find a fair price for your home, look at what similar homes in the area are selling for. If you find that your asking price is much higher than other homes in the area, you will have a very difficult time finding a potential buyer. In addition to price, look at the property and specific features of other homes listed on these online services. They may give you great ideas for making any last minute additions to your home.

4. Make Sure You’re Not Factoring In “Sentimental Value”

If you have lived in your home for a very long time, it can be hard to find a reasonable asking price. Often times, many sellers tend to add sentimental value to their homes which does not exist in the eyes of potential buyers. Make sure that you are as honest as possible with yourself regarding the current market price and conditions of your home. If you need outside help to make this appraisal, do not hesitate to ask. Sentimental value will only lengthen the time you spend trying to find an appropriate buyer for your home.

Stress is one of the largest concerns when selling a home. Staging, managing finances and documents, and simultaneously juggling the rest of your life can be completely draining. However, one thing is certain about selling your home: it’s a lot easier when you have a solid real estate agent to handle it. Remember, No-One Works Harder to Sell your Home more than Joe! Contact Joe today by calling 813-908-7293 or visit

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Get Your Home Appraised and Inspected

Home appraisals and inspections can benefit the seller in a number of ways, such as saving time and money and, ultimately, leading to a smoother closing process. If you are selling your home in the future, consider arranging for an appraisal and inspection before selling, or even listing your home on the market.

What does the process look like?
Home inspections can help you build credibility and give buyers a point of contact if they should have any questions about the condition of certain features of your home. A reputable inspection team will look at:
• Heating and air conditioning systems
• Plumbing and electrical systems
• Roof and attic
• Walls, ceilings, and floors
• Windows and doors
• Foundation
• Basements
• Structural components
• Infestations, specifically termites

During the home appraisal process, a licensed appraiser will walk through the home to compile a report about the condition of the home, the quality of its construction, and any other unique features. The appraiser will estimate the value of the house and note information about its size, number of rooms, and any additions or extra features.

Inspection and appraisals are two different processes performed by two separate people or teams. Each is important in its own right and can help you get your home off the market faster, and for a higher price.

Strong Selling Point
If your home has already been both appraised and inspected when you list it, you are saving potential buyers both time and money. Not only will the buyer not have to arrange or pay for these services, but they will also learn a lot about the home. Buyers generally don’t like surprises, and the added bonus of saving time and money on their end, can help your home stand out from others on the market.

Because pre-appraised and inspected homes are so appealing to buyers, following through with these services before listing your home often leads to more offers, and offers at higher price points. Once you’ve had your home inspected and appraised, be sure to advertise that.

When word spreads that your home is in good condition (and you have the paperwork to prove it), the buyers will come rolling in. Additionally, because buyers will be able to trust that they are getting exactly what you have advertised, they will be more inclined to make better quality offers, which means more money for you.

Easier Closing Process
Time often goes wasted in the selling process. No matter how hard you and your real estate agent work to present your home to new buyers and convince them it’s the best choice, if they later find out about issues with the home, they probably won’t want to complete the sale. Listing a home that has been pre-inspected, repaired, and appraised can take some of that worry out of the process. Not only will you be able to portray your home in a great light, you will also be able to prove that it is in good condition, is worth a certain amount, and is exactly what you have described. This tends to create a smoother closing process, as buyers are more trusting when they can make an informed decision.

Stress is one of the largest concerns when selling a home. Staging, managing finances and documents, and simultaneously juggling the rest of your life can be completely draining. However, one thing is certain about selling your home: it’s a lot easier when you have a solid real estate agent to handle it. Remember, No-One Works Harder to Sell your Home more than Joe! Contact Joe today by calling 813-908-7293 or visit

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5 Reasons to Take Advantage of Online Listing

Online listing has quickly become the most popular and efficient means of presenting your home to the potential buyer market. Services like Zillow and Trulia have streamlined the selling process and made it possible to sell your home without the need for a real estate agent. Listed below are 5 Reasons to take advantage of online listing services.

1. It’s Free

Preparing your home for the market can be a costly process. There is no need to make this method more expensive by doing business with a real estate firm. By listing your home with online services such as Zillow or Trulia, you will be able to enjoy basic advertising features for free. While Trulia allows users to spend money for graduated levels of advertising, their basic package will give your home plenty of online attention without costing you a dime.

2. It’s Popular

In the present day, a number of industries have seen consumers switch to self-servicing mobile applications instead of dealing with complex business firms. This is especially true in real estate. With the help of services like Yelp and Trulia, more people than ever are searching for homes on these apps instead of contacting their local real estate agent. For this reason, it is likely that your home will actually receive more buyer attention from online listings rather than paying a real estate agent for their outdated services.

3. It Leaves You in Charge of the Buying Process

Dealing with real estate agencies when attempting to sell your home can be a very complicated process. These agencies tend to spend large amounts of time finding “the right buyer” and organizing events which allow people to freely walk through your home, even if they have no real interest in buying it. Online listing will allow you to be completely in charge of the buying process, from the first step to the last. You may find that selling your home is a rather quick process, and does not require nearly as much time as a potential real estate agent might be telling you.

4. You Can Instantly Make Changes to Your Advertisement

If you are making improvements to your home in order to increase its value or marketability, you might find it necessary to make critical changes to your listing. While this process can be somewhat complicated with real estate agencies, online listings allow you to make changes immediately. In turn, this allows you to give potential buyers a more realistic idea of your home’s true features and value.

5. You Can Make Instant Comparisons

When attempting to sell your home, you will likely set your asking price according to what other homes in the area are selling for. Online listing allows you to instantly make comparisons between your home and those also listed on your selected online service. This will give you the best idea as to what the appropriate asking price for your home should be. In addition, other homes may give you quick ideas for make any last minute improvements. These improvements will improve the marketability of your home while making a quick boost to its overall property value.

Stress is one of the largest concerns when selling a home. Staging, managing finances and documents, and simultaneously juggling the rest of your life can be completely draining. However, one thing is certain about selling your home: it’s a lot easier when you have a solid real estate agent to handle it. Remember, No-One Works Harder to Sell your Home more than Joe! Contact Joe today by calling 813-908-7293 or visit


Tampa Housing Market Forecast 2017

Handling the real estate market is very similar to managing stocks; buy low, sell high, and always make intelligent investments that will earn you the most money over the long term. Unlike the stock market, however, real estate requires much more involvement than simply checking performance on your computer, and the results are, unfortunately, not instantaneous.

Selling a home elicits a significant amount of effort; finding an agent, listing and staging your home for buyers, and even finding a location to live while your home is on the market all serve as inconveniences that can add to the stress that selling a house already causes.

To better cope with the strain this causes, an experienced real estate agent is a powerful asset to have when looking to sell your home.

Markets all across the country are still recovering from the market decline that occurred in 2006 and needed government intervention to prevent a collapse of the industry. However, performance today is far better than it used to be, resulting in a greater amount of housing market activity.

In order to know when is the best time to sell your home, it is vital to understand how the market in your area is currently performing. Aspects such as total market inventory, neighborhood quality, and interest rates are only a few of the many factors that influence when you should attempt to sell your home, and how efficiently you can expect it to sell.

Knowledge about market trends is also essential before you rush and attempt to list your home on the local market, as you need to know exactly what you are getting yourself into. The local housing market’s performance over recent months and years is indicative of what you can expect while attempting to sell your home.

Of course, it isn’t enough for you to know all that you can about the market; your agent should be just as informed, as well, so they can sell your home as quickly as possible for the most amount of money.

National trends that may affect the market

Rise in interest rates
The Fed has been talking about a slow but steady rise in interest rates for all of 2016. However, there was only one rate increase. However, it is still a possibility that rates will increase by ½% in the next few months. As rates rise, if all other factors remain the same, current home prices will fall.

Mortgage qualification and availability
It has been very hard for first time buyers to qualify for loans, and it appears that trend will continue in 2017. However, if interest rates rise, lenders will be forced to ease up on their guidelines to keep business flowing.
First time buyers have represented the lowest percentage of home sales this year than ever before. If this trend continues, this will cause a falloff in the market, as there will be no move up buyers.

Lack of available inventory
2016 had many markets with a very low inventory of homes available for sale. The trend for that has eased up somewhat recently, but this may be due to the seasonality of home sales versus more homes on the market.

New home construction
Builders have started more homes this year than in many previous years, although we are not quite back to the peak building years of 2004-2006.
Developers and builders have cited excessive regulation as one issue they feel has hindered new construction. The time it takes to get a permit approved for a new home or development is at an all time high, as are costs to obtain the approvals.

Local trends in Northwest Tampa
Prices increased by 19% in the last 3 years, and about 6.6% in 2016

However, this was not the same for all areas of the market.

Prices have increased because, like the national trend, there is a lack of inventory available. New construction is just now catching up with demand, but is still several years off the peak for this.

There is a lot of new construction on lots and parcels that have been sitting around undeveloped since the downturn in 2006. For example, there are new home developments off Wilcox road and Lakeshore, and another new development off Dale Mabry and Van Dyke.

The lower the price, the stronger the demand
This may seem simple at first, but in most publications the appreciation is mentioned as if it affects every price range equally.

For example: homes for sale for under $200K in Northwest Tampa have been selling at a rate of 75/month in the last 90 days. There are currently 90 homes on the market in this price range. If no other homes come on the market, the available inventory will be sold in 1.2 months. Of course, more homes will be put up for sale, but this really places upward price pressure for new homebuyers.

By contrast, in this same area of Northwest Tampa, there were an average of 20 homes sold per month above $600,000, and 181 currently on the market. If no other homes come on the market, the available inventory will be sold in 9 months. Obviously, more homes will come on the market, meaning less upward price pressure.

At above $1 million, there were 4 homes sold per month with 67 active listings. This will take over 16 months to sell off the existing inventory of homes.

The closer to town, the better the appreciation
This should continue into 2017. Original Carrollwood and Carrollwood Village are both notable locations in this respect. The people who I have seen purchase here have moved locally from other parts of the area and want to be closer. South Tampa prices have gotten so high, that these areas have become a good alternative.

The newest homes also seem to have the most appreciation. Many homes built since 2010 are conveniently located near downtown and Westshore. South of Bearss/Ehrlich, there are only 12 resale homes built in 2010 or later.

Planned communities have held up very well. Westchase, which has a shopping and dining district, community parks and pools, and a golf course, has done very well and will continue to do so.

Great school districts have made a lot of difference
Villarosa, which is right next to Steinbrenner High School, Martinez Middle School, and McKitrick Elementary averaged a little over 5 sales per month, and has only 10 active listings on the market. This is a 2-month level of inventory, meaning that if sales stayed the same and no new homes were listed it would only take 2 months for all the current homes to be sold.

Fewer foreclosures and short sales
In the area, there were only 21 short sales sold per month in the last 90 days, and 61 bank-owned in this same time period. At the moment, there are only 50 short sales and foreclosed homes for sale in the area.
This contrasts the 656 short sale and bank-owned homes sold in 2015, which had an average of 54 per month.

Low interest rates have been the driving force in this market.
Interest rates this past year have been around 3.5% for a 30-year fixed rate loan. As long as they stay at this level, affordability will keep driving prices upward.
However, if rates were to rise abruptly, the impact might affect sale prices. At current rates, a family with reasonable debt can afford a $300,000 home if they earn $75,000 per year. At the current 3.5% interest, the payment on this home is $1,347 per month. If rates increased to 4.5%, that payment becomes $1,520 a month, which is a 13% increase. The family now needs to earn almost $85,000 per year.

The market has stayed fairly steady for the last several years.
There is talk of a real estate bubble. However, population growth in this area has been good, income levels have been rising, and real estate inflation, while significant, has not been exorbitant in Northwest Tampa.
All of this looks to forecast a good and recovering market from the decade-long downturn that has been a damper in recent years.

Northwest Tampa has proven to be a prime location to buy and sell real estate due to the expansion of neighborhoods through new construction, low interest rates, and an overall increase in market performance.

With a unique market like the northwest Tampa area, it’s best to hire a professional who understands the location’s extensive history and can efficiently capitalize on selling points that appeal to buyers. Doing so can not only make your life easier by assisting with the home selling process, but may also earn you more money, as well.

Fortunately for those who are looking to buy or sell a home in the region, Joe Lewkowicz is equipped with the knowledge and expertise to connect eager buyers with those intending to sell their homes in the area.

Joe Lewkowicz has over 40+ years of experience in the real estate industry, specifically the Northwest Tampa market. This establishes him as a powerful primary source for information about local market performance, future market projections, and the many factors that influence both.

To stay up-to-date with the latest local real estate trends, tune in and subscribe to Joe Lewkowicz TV.


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Working With a Real Estate Agent Isn’t Free

Real estate is an industry that most of us are only involved in a few times during our lifetimes. Yet, many people talk about real estate and real estate agents as if they are experts. With so many myths circulating about the industry, it can be difficult to realistically prepare yourself for working with a real estate agent.

Cost is one aspect that tends to take people by surprise in their first experience working with a real estate agent. If you are thinking about or have already decided to sell your home and/or buy a new one, remember that working with a real estate agent does cost money.

Types of Fees you Might Encounter:
Listing agent fees are the most common type of agreement between sellers and their agents. Paying this fee grants your agent exclusive marketing rights to your home. This fee is generally reflected in the listing price of the home, and will go to the listing broker or will be split between the listing broker and the broker who brings in the buyer.

Commission is a portion of the sale price that will go to the real estate agents after a property is sold. This sum, typically between one and six percent of the sale price, is usually split between the buying and selling agents and is determined by the homeowner and selling agent at the time of listing. The percentage can be negotiated up until the homeowner signs a listing agreement with their selling agent. The seller traditionally pays commission, but the two parties can negotiate a buyer-seller split or a deal in which the buyer shoulders the burden of commission (this is the least common scenario).

Generally speaking, the more you pay in commission, the more you will get from a realtor. Agents getting paid higher commissions will do more in the way of showcasing a home, helping with staging, and advertising, than those receiving low or flat rate commissions.

In addition to listing fees and commission, you will also encounter fees for escrow costs, title insurance costs and any title insurance counsel you seek, and miscellaneous costs for things like repairs, home inspection issues, and short-term rent (if there is any overlap in the buying and selling processes).

How do Real Estate Commissions Work?
Only a real estate broker can pay commission or sign a listing agreement with a seller. So, all real estate agents must work with a broker, through whom all fees paid to the agent will pass.

The amount of commission the agent receives from the broker varies depending on a number of factors. Experience is one factor that plays into the amount of commission a real estate agent gets from the broker. In some cases, new agents may receive as little as 30% of the total transaction commission. Performance is another key factor in determining how much of the commission the agent actually gets to keep. Top-performing agents may get the entire commission and owe the broker just a small desk fee.

Whatever percentage of the commission kept by the broker is generally used to cover miscellaneous costs like advertising, sign rentals, and office space.

When all is said and done, it is important that you not only ensure you have budgeted properly for your new home itself, but that you have also set money aside for any fees owed to your real estate agent and the other fees you will undoubtedly encounter in the transaction process.

Stress is one of the largest concerns when selling a home. Staging, managing finances and documents, and simultaneously juggling the rest of your life can be completely draining. However, one thing is certain about selling your home: it’s a lot easier when you have a solid real estate agent to handle it. Remember, No-One Works Harder to Sell your Home more than Joe! Contact Joe today by calling 813-908-7293 or visit

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5 Signs Your Real Estate Agent Wants to Work with You

Selling your home can be a stressful situation with plenty of emotional moments. This situation becomes that much more difficult when you have a real estate agent who does not seem to work with clients like you. In addition, you may have a real estate agent who makes it apparent that they have no real interest in working with you from the beginning. Do not waste your time with these types of real estate agents. Below are five ways to tell if your real estate agent wants to work with you.

1. Pay Attention to Their Attitude
Real estate agents are trained to be professional and courteous with clients at all times. If your real estate agent presents an attitude which seems nonchalant, uninterested, or otherwise disrespectful, this is a clear sign that they have no real interest in working with you. This will make the process of selling your home in a timely manner extremely difficult.

2. Note Their Other Properties
Since real estate agents earn their money based upon commission, many have an ideal property location or value they are looking to achieve. If it becomes obvious that your real estate agent has other clients with properties much more expensive than yours, this is often a sign that you will not receive the best service possible from them. In this case, it is wise to find a real estate agent who typically deals in your neighborhood or with properties in a similar price range.

3. Note Their Other Clients
Some real estate agents only prefer to work with older or younger individuals, depending on their personal level of experience. Since everyone has a different personality, real estate agents tend to find a group with whom they have the most success. If you are an older individual with a real estate agent who typically deals with younger people, you might not receive the same level of patience or professionalism from the agent as their ideal client would.

4. Track Their Level of Activity
Real estate agents who are truly interested in working with you to sell your home will be very active in arranging potential buyers and open houses. If your real estate agent allows weeks to pass by without offering so much as one potential buyer, then it is clear that this agent has other priorities or is not interested in working with you. Since you are looking to sell your house for the best price in the shortest time possible, a real estate agent with a low level of activity will bring you more headaches than results.

5. Ask Questions
If you suspect that your assigned real estate agent does not want to work with you, start by asking them questions about their work and activity level. If they have failed to find a potential buyer, be very upfront but respectful in asking them why. If the real estate agent truly wants to help you sell your home, they will be very apologetic and promise their best work in the near future. Uninterested real estate agents will simply brush you off or offer the services of one of their colleagues instead.

Stress is one of the largest concerns when selling a home. Staging, managing finances and documents, and simultaneously juggling the rest of your life can be completely draining. However, one thing is certain about selling your home: it’s a lot easier when you have a solid real estate agent to handle it. Remember, No-One Works Harder to Sell your Home more than Joe! Contact Joe today by calling 813-908-7293 or visit

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Work with an Experienced Real Estate Agent

Entering into a real estate transaction is a huge decision. With all the ups and downs that come with buying or selling a property, it is extremely helpful to find a qualified, experienced, and knowledgeable real estate agent to guide you through the process.

While a lot goes into finding an agent perfectly suited to your lifestyle and situation, one major question persists: How long has the agent been in business? The answer to this question can be the deciding factor in either moving forward with an agent or looking elsewhere for real estate guidance.

For starters, an agent with less than five years of experience is one that, like you, will be using your transaction as a learning experience. These newer agents tend to make more mistakes and lack the confidence that you’ll find in a veteran agent; but, with their fresh industry perspectives, these agents also offer unique solutions and ideas. For many clients, though, the risks of working with a fairly new agent aren’t worth the potential benefits.

After the five-year mark, agents develop a greater knowledge of the markets they work in and the processes they must follow in order to successfully close a transaction. After five years, agents don’t necessarily have “niche” markets, but they have focused on certain types of property and usually certain regions—these are the areas in which they feel most comfortable working in.

Agents who have more than 10 years of experience in the real estate industry can generally answer just about any question you have pertaining to their specialty area. There are several benefits to working with an agent who has a decade or more experience under their belt, including their ability to:
• Offer solutions based on previous transactions
• Anticipate problems before they occur
• Cash in on reputations and relationships with other agents
• Bring strong negotiating tactics to the table
• Provide contacts for reputable lenders, title companies, inspectors, appraisers, general contractors, pest inspectors, etc.
• Understand the complexities of changing markets
• Share tested statistics and market data
• Guide clients to smooth closings

How can you find out how much experience an agent has?
Experienced agents generally include this information on their websites and promotional materials, as they understand the importance clients place on experience. But, if you can’t find a ballpark figure on any of an agent’s platforms, simply ask them how long they’ve been in the real estate business. You can double-check any self-reported information by contacting your state’s licensing authority.

In Florida, you can search an agent by name here to verify their license type and the date they obtained the license.

Why does it matter?
Experience doesn’t always equate to more successful closings. However, more often than not, it does. The real estate business tends to attract a lot of professionals who are experiencing difficulties in their own fields or those looking to try their hand at a new professional experience; but, real estate is not for everyone. The longer an agent has been in the business and the more times they’ve ruined their license, the more success they’ve found in the industry. If they weren’t excelling in the industry, they wouldn’t commit ten years of more of their life to it.

New agents need clients to gain experience, but working with a real estate agent with less than five years of experience can add unnecessary stress and complications to your real estate transaction.

Stress is one of the largest concerns when selling a home. Staging, managing finances and documents, and simultaneously juggling the rest of your life can be completely draining. However, one thing is certain about selling your home: it’s a lot easier when you have a solid real estate agent to handle it. Remember, No-One Works Harder to Sell your Home more than Joe! Contact Joe today by calling 813-908-7293 or visit


March 2017 Northwest Tampa Market Report

With a new month comes changes in the real estate market. Northwest Tampa area expert realtor Joe Lewkowicz analyzes the state of the market, focusing on home supply, with price point and zip code specific analyses in his latest blog.

The total Northwest market median price increased by 5.8% in the last year, going up from $257,000 to $271,900. Sales increased slightly from 497 homes sold to 506 homes sold. This report does not include new construction or foreclosed homes in in order to keep the data consistent.

Months of inventory is a term real estate economists use to determine the strength or weakness of a market. Generally a six-month supply of inventory is considered a balanced market. Four months or less of inventory is becoming a seller’s market and prices tend to rise in this type of market. An eight-month supply of inventory starts to become a buyer’s market, where homes either stay on the market for an extended period or drop in price.

There is only a one-month supply of homes in the under $200,000 price range, a 1.81-month supply from $200,000-$300,000, a 3.17-month supply in the $300,000-$400,000 price range, and a 4.11-month supply in the $400,000-$500,000 price range. These would all be considered seller’s markets, with the lowest price very strong.

At $500,000-$700,000 the market softens some to a 8.11-month supply. At the $700,000-$1 million price range, the month’s supply is 12.64, and at above $1 million there are 20.6 months of available homes for sale. There were no sales closed above $1.6 million in the last 90 days.

The strongest zip code by months of inventory was 33624 with a 1.18-month supply of homes. The coolest market is zip code 33559 with a 6.5-month supply. However, with this low of a supply of homes, every zip code is seeing prices continue on an upward trend.

The market for resale homes built after 2010 is very tight, with only 28 active homes for sale in the entire market area.

Overall the Northwest Tampa market is moving up in price with inventories remaining tight.

sold last 3 months active months of inventory
Total Market 506 538 3.19
Less $200k 144 48 1.00
200-300 154 93 1.81
300-400 108 114 3.17
400-500 54 74 4.11
500-700 37 100 8.11
700-1000 14 59 12.64
$1,mil+ 9 62 20.67

For any questions pertaining to the current state of the market or on buying or selling in the Northwest Tampa area, contact real estate agent Joe Lewkowicz today. Remember, no-one works harder to sell your home!