Real Estate TipsTampa Area Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

May 13, 2020

Pasco County Parks changing for the future

Great news for Pasco County residents!  While our parks were closed, nice improvements were made.  Pasco County is fast becoming a highly desirable place to live thanks to beautiful wide-open spaces, a growing job market and excellent housing choices.  Take a look at this video message to learn more about some of nature's finest spots in Pasco County.  Interested in exploring the house options?
Experience the Team Z difference!

Pasco County Parks changing for the future

View Pasco County Homes and Real Estate

To View the entire Article click here!

May 12, 2020

Cypress Preserve

Cypress Preserve in Land O Lakes Florida

Take a look at this wonderful community in Land O Lakes Florida.

View Just Listed Homes for Sale in Cypress Preserve

March 31, 2020

Realtors Deemed Essential Service

Homeland Security Deems Real Estate an Essential Service

An advisory opinion helps “officials as they work to protect their communities, while ensuring … public health and safety, as well as economic and national security.”

WASHINGTON – Officials say new federal guidance should signal to state and local officials the need to allow construction and real estate activity to continue during coronavirus-related work stoppages.

The guidance includes a 15-page list of essential services, and “residential and commercial real estate services, including settlement services,” are listed on page 13. It also includes real estate support services, such as government offices that conduct title searches and notary and recording services that support mortgage loans and the real estate industry. READ MORE

Feb. 28, 2020

Can I Get Closing Cost Help from a Seller?

What Percentage Rate?Your agent needs to know what loan would work best for you and how you can utilize the sellers contribution to your closing costs. Different loans have different guidelines on how much a seller can contribute to a buyers closing costs.


In the case of a USDA loan a buyer can get as much as 6% of the sales price in sellers contributions that can be used toward closing costs, prepaid expenses, discount points, and other closing costs. You could potentially get into a home with paying nothing out of pocket


On a VA loan the seller may contribute up to 4% of the sale price, plus reasonable and customary loan costs. Because he VA loan contribution can include additional reasonable and customary loan costs the actual amount is calculated a bit differently and it would be best to talk to your lender on how much of a contribution you could actually get


 While an FHA loan requires a 3.5% down payment to the loan, a buyer can get as much as 6% of the sales price in sellers contributions that can be used toward closing costs, prepaid expenses, discount points, and other closing costs.FHA Loans


The conventional loan has more of a sliding scale used for seller contributions. If you are putting less than 10% down on the home the maximum seller contribution is 3%. A buyer putting 10 to 25% down can receive as much as a 6% seller contribution, while a buyer putting down 25% or more may get as much as 9%.


So what do you do if you are getting $9,000 in closing costs but you actual closing costs are only $6,500? If you don't use it you LOSE it! You as the buyer don't get to pocket that money, it would go back to the seller's bottom line. What can you do to use that money? Talk to your lender, see how much it would cost to pay down your mortgage rate, or perhaps pay the funding fee for a USDA, VA or FHA loan? Each program is different on how that extra contribution can be applied so talk to your agent and lender!

Feb. 27, 2020

The Top home loans for 2020

Finding the best loan

Finding the best loan for you doesn't have to be a difficult process, especially if you know your score, how much you have to put down and how much you have for closing costs.  FHA, VA, USDA, Conventional? This is sooooo confusing! But here is some information that you may find useful!


An FHA is a loan that is backed by the federal government. It affords mortgages for lower credit scores as low as 500 (however down payments will be higher, as much as 10%).  A credit score of 580 can afford you the opportunity of putting as little as 3.5% down. The downside as the borrower is you pay mortgage insurance (an upfront premium of 1.75% of the loan amount and an annual premium of between .45

% to 1.05% annually, which protects the lender on default. Terms on the FHA loan can be 15 or 30 years at a fixed rate. This loan is best if you can't qualify for a conventional loan due to credit OR if you don't have a lot of cash saved to put down on the home.


Equal Opportunity LendersA VA Loan is a loan made to veterans of the military who can acquire a certificate of eligibility, which can be acquired online at or through your chosen lender. The VA loan is made by private lenders that are partially backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs. The VA loan allows for 100% financing of the loan amount and is more flexible with its more lenient credit and income restrictions. Having your Realtor understand the VA process is critical to getting you the best possible outcome for the VA loan. You could potentially get into a home with ZERO out of pocket, to include closing costs!


 The USDA loan is a 100% no money down mortgage made available that is backed through the US Department

of Agriculture. It is geographically restricted as it offers loans in more rural areas. The loan is only offered as a fixed rate product. Although the USDA loan does require an upfront mortgage insurance premium




Conventional is a mortgage loan for scores starting at 620 with down payments as low as 3%. Primary Mortgage Insurance (PMI) can be 

.05% to 1% of the loan amount per year. Terms on the Conventional  loan can be 10, 15, 20 or 30 years at either a variable or a fixed rate. If you have cash on hand for down payment and closing costs than the conventional mortgage could be the best loan for you.  Lenders of conventional loans are not as restricted as government backed loans, although the government has special rules for over site, lenders can set their own guidelines.

Tampa Mortgage Lenders | Home Loans

Seattle home sellers guide
Szabina Kiss
Ocean Blue Mortgage
NMLS# 1209397

Loan Consultant
14562 Vista Ln
Largo, Florida 33774
Office: (727) 859-3702

Apply Now with Szabina Kiss at Ocean Blue Mortgage
Chaz Johnson
Chaz Johnson
Loan Depot
NMLS# 208399

Loan Consultant
3903 Northdale Blvd. Suite 140W
Tampa, FL 33624
Office: (813) 523-4904
Cell: 813 391 1070
Apply with Chaz Johnson at Loan Depot

Shop Lenders

How Much Can I Afford?

Don't be afraid to shop a few lenders to see who may give you the best deal. In these days of technology it is easy to gain access about your credit score before you even need to apply.  Banks like Wells Fargo offer free credit score programs where you can see your score through your account.


Make sure you have an idea of how your credit shapes up. Things may have happened in the past to cause you to be late on payments for your car or credit card and they will negatively affect your score. More commonly unpaid medical bills may appear from past medical bills that you may or may not even be aware of. Getting these things cleaned up prior to you applying for a mortgage would be to your advantage.


Based on your score you can search the internet for rates, however any rate you see will be subject to a review of an and all documents necessary for your loan.  Therefore it can change. Some of my clients have used the inline lending companies, however I have found that the more local lenders understand the market in Tampa Bay and more importantly know the Florida home buying process.


You can ask your Realtor for a few lenders they may have used for transactions. You may find the transactions may run a bit smoother that way!


Remember ask questions and always read any fine print on any lending documents so there are no surprises!


Mark Zabilowicz
Mark and Jeanmarie Zabilowicz
Tampa Bay Premier Realty
SL# 3144719
Team Z Realtor / Partner
5314 Van Dyke Rd
Lutz, Florida 33558
Direct: (813) 694-4110
5 Star Raing
Best Of Zillow


Posted in buying a home, Mortgage
Feb. 19, 2020

Best Places to Live in Florida New Port Richey

So you have decided to visit the wonderful Tampa suburb of New Port Richey, one of the best places to live in Florida. Now that you are here, you are looking for things to do. Well, you stumbled upon the right article!

Just Listed Homes in New Port Richey

New Port Richey is known for its low cost of living, condensed population, and its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico coast. But it also has a large volume of parks within the city’s limits, which is a very nice feature. Let’s take a closer look at a handful of them.

Here are 4 parks you need to visit while in New Port Richey:

Sims Park and Orange Lake Park

Donated to the city by George R. Sims in 1924, Sims Park is the crown jewel of New Port Richey. There is a splash pad that is open from 9 a.m. until a half hour before sunset every day. Other amenities include a boat dock, amphitheater, riverfront walk, kayak/canoe Launch, a playground, and 5 pavilions (2 of which have grills). The park is also pet friendly. 

New Port Richey Blue Heron

It is located at 6341 Bank Street and was rated by Tripadvisor as the No. 1 thing to do in New Port Richey.

Riverfront Homes in New Port Richey

Cotee River Park

Cotee River Park is yet another must-see destination in New Port Richey. Located at 8625 Riverview Drive, this park gives you a great view of the Pithlachascotee River, commonly referred to as “Cotee River.” Here is how the park is described:t

“One can walk or bike along the Cotee River from downtown New Port Richey all the way to the city limits. You’ll find plenty of benches and shaded picnic structures along the way to stop and enjoy the boats and manatees going by.”

Frances Avenue Park

Located at 5580 Frances Avenue, Frances Avenue Park is at the beginning of the Florida Canoe Trail. It offers a kayak/canoe launch, a playground, picnic areas, and more. There are also multiple open grassy areas. Here is how the park is described:

“This park is a nice tranquil location that seems more rural than it actually is. With wide open grassy areas, a ADA accessible playground, covered picnic areas, and river access, it’s a great place for relaxing, hosting a family reunion, or your next community barbecue!”

James E. Grey Preserve

This little find is located at 6938 Plathe Road. Sure it has all the prerequisites (picnic tables, grills, playground, canoe/kayak launch, etc), but it is so much more than that. Here is what else it has to offer:

“A hidden treasure of 80 acres of natural wilderness just minutes from downtown New Port Richey where a quiet rural boardwalk follows the winding path of the River. The Preserve is part of the Great Florida Birding trail.”

3 Great Bars In New Port Richey

New Port Richey, Florida is known for its vast array of parks and open areas, low cost of living, and proximity to the Gulf of Mexico. But there is more to the city than just those three pillars. What happens if you come to town and get a little bit thirsty? Don’t fret — New Port Richey has you covered and so do we.

There are plenty of local bars to choose from, but we will help you narrow it down. Here are three of the best bars in New Port Richey that you need to visit tonight:
New Port Richey Bars

Homes for sale within walking distance to downtown New Port Richey

Sand Bar

Your first stop on your New Port Richey bar hop should be right here at Sand Bar. It doesn’t matter how early you get here, either. Their full bar is available starting at 7 a.m. everyday. Yes, 7 a.m.!

Sand Bar is open 365 days a year and has a twice-daily happy hour. On the food side, they are known for their fish and chips (“Fingers and Toes”) and their wings. They have 16 beers on tap as well as an assortment of bottled/canned beers and liquor. 

The bar also features ping pong tables, karaoke, more than 40 TVs (including three 80-inch TVs), and table-side speakers. 

Sand Bar has been in business for 30 years and has a 5-star rating on Yelp. If you can only make it to one bar in town, this is it! It is located at 4780 US 19. 


If you are looking for something a little more upscale, Sip is the place for you. It is a wine and craft beer bar and restaurant located at 6231 Grand Boulevard. 

Sip has a massive selection of red, white, and specialty wines. They also have plenty of beer and cider options as well as coffee and tea! If you are looking for food, their small plate options are both dainty and filling. To use one word to describe this place: Quality.

Here’s how Sip came to be:

“The concept for “Sip” was born of several personal passions. A love of wine and beer, and the natural processes by which they come to us… The enjoyment of any activity which causes us to slow down and savor each other in our favorite surroundings, and… An affinity for interior design which results in a unique space that just ‘makes people feel good!’”

Pete’s Grand Central

This is one of the newest bars in town. New Port Richey’s only classic arcade, antiques, and beer & wine bar opened in July of 2018. Located at 5732 Main Street, Pete’s Grand Central features a litany of arcade games and is a great place to catch local musicians on stage. 

They have six beers on tap, 16 bottled beers available, a trio of wines, and their happy hour extends into Saturday. This is a great date night location or just a place to soak up some nostalgia over drinks.

4 New Port Richey Shops You Must Go To

New Port Richey is truly a great place to purchase a home and settle down. Whether you are a retiree or just starting out, the low cost of living and closeness to the beach are two huge perks of the area. If you focus on the former, that means there is more money for shopping!

New Port Richey is a hot destination for home buyers for plenty of reasons, but the shopping (particularly downtown) is certainly one of them. So how do you know where to go in town? Let’s take a look at three New Port Richey shops you just have to visit:

Junque From the Trunque

You can find a little bit of whatever you need at Junque From the Trunque. They sell everything from antiques to vintage collectables to modern trinkets. Crystal bowls, music boxes, toys, coke collectables, vintage purses, and more are all available here.

Junque From the Trunque is located at 5104 Trouble Creek Road and has a 5-star rating on Yelp. Here’s what you can expect when you walk through the shop doors:

“Junque from the Trunque is a little shop of big treasures! We carry anything and everything from Vintage to Antique to Modern. We love to repurpose & upcycle to create new useful items. We carry lots of the tools for you to make & create your own project.”

The White Heron Tea and Gifts

The best tea in town! Hands down. There is no debate. The White Heron Tea and Gifts is a must-visit for any tea enthusiast. There are tea etiquette and tea after dark events, plus you can make reservations for tea seatings. Those seatings happen on Tuesday through Saturday at the specific times of 12 p.m., 2 p.m., and 4 p.m. Each seating is 90 minutes in length.

The White Heron Tea and Gifts is located at 6228 Grand Boulevard. Here’s what owner Kelly M. Hackman had to say about why she started her business:

“The dream of owning a business in historic downtown New Port Richey is one that I have had for so many years that I can’t even remember how long it has been… It seems so surreal and exciting to me to be able to bring my passion to life for everyone to enjoy.”

Antique Center On Main Street 

Described as “one of the most successful Antique Dealers in Pasco County,” Antique Center On Main Street is a great place to get your items appraised or cosigned. It is also a great place purchase a unique goods. They buy and sell everything from antiques, jewelry, collectibles, art, and more. It’s located on 5811 Main Street.

Antique Center On Main Street has a 4.5-star rating on Yelp. Here’s what one reviewer had to say:

“Beautiful antique shop! Everything from antique to vintage, and new. Something for everything. They are always running sales. The owner is very knowledgeable and extremely friendly! His employees are great also. Stop in the next time you are downtown.”

That is only some of what New Port Richey has to offer. Come to the city, shop ‘til you drop, grab a cold one and enjoy the everything the city has to offer.

Take a look at New Port Richey Homes For Sale

Feb. 19, 2020

Avoid Common Buying Mistakes

Avoid Common Buying Mistakes

Don't get caught up making bad real estate decisionsShopping for a new home is an emotional experience. It’s also time consuming and  comes with a myriad of details. Some buyers, however, caught up in the excitement of buying a new home tend to overlook some items. Their home purchase turns into an expensive process. These errors generally fall into three areas:

  • Paying too much
  • Losing a dream home to another buyer
  • Buying the wrong home

When you have a systematic plan before you shop, you’ll be sure to avoid these costly errors. Here are some tips on making the most of your home purchase:

Bidding without sufficient information
What price do you offer a seller? Is the seller’s asking price too high? Is it a deal? Without research on the market and comparable homes, you could lose thousands of dollars. Before you make that offer, be sure you have researched the market. A professional realtor, can offer an unbiased opinion on the value of a home, based on market conditions, condition of the home and neighborhood. Without knowledge of the market, your offer could be too much. Or worse, you could miss out on a great buying opportunity.

Buying a mis-matched home
What do you need and want in a home? Sounds simple. Yet, clearly identifying your needs and bringing an objective view to home shopping, leaves you in a better position. Sometimes, home buyers buy a home that is too large or too small. Perhaps they didn’t consider the drive to work, the distance to school, or the many repair jobs waiting for completion. Plan ahead. Use your needs list as a guideline for every home you view.

Unclear title
Before you sign any document, be sure the property you are considering is free of all encumbrances. As part of their services, a realtor can supply you with a copy of the title to ensure there are no liens, debts, undisclosed owners, leases or easements.

Outdated survey
Before the purchase is completed, an updated survey is essential. This report will indicate boundaries and structural changes (additions to the house, a new swimming pool, neighbor’s new fence which is extending a boundary line, etc.).

Unexpected repairs
For $300 - $500 a professional inspector will conduct a thorough inspection of the home. This way, you’ll have an idea of the cost of future repairs. Make the final contract subject to a favourable report.

Shopping without pre-approval
It only takes a few days to get financing pre-approval. When you are shopping for a home, this gives you more power. A seller is more likely to consider an offer from a serious buyer.

Remember additional cost
Besides the funds for the purchase of a home, you’ll need funds for items such as loan fees, insurance, legal fees, surveys, inspections, etc.


Rushing the closing
Before you sign, ensure that all documentation clearly reflects your understanding and conditions of the transaction. Has anything been forgotten? Don’t rush. You could lose money, financing or even the sale.

Feb. 10, 2020

Get Pre-Approved for your Mortgage

One of the most common mistakes buyers can make is not getting themselves pre-approved by a lender. Imagine spending weeks looking at homes worth $250,000 only to to find out, when push comes to shove, your debt to income ratio will only support a home up to $200,000.

How Much can I afford?
How Much can I afford?

You might not think that is a big deal, but in many markets there is a tremendous difference in homes just $50k apart. It could force you to look in areas you were not prepared to look in. The price difference could change the number of bedrooms, lose you the upgraded kitchen, in a nutshell it changes your expectations for the worst and you walk away deflated and beaten by the market.

Getting the pre-approval can help you set your expectations and allow you to focus in on the homes and communities you can afford!
Click here to get your pre-approval from Ocean Blue Mortgage!

Posted in Buying Tips
Feb. 10, 2020

Curious About Local Real Estate?

Receive the Latest Local Market Stats

Home Buying MistakesCurious about local real estate? So are we! Every month we review trends in our real estate market and consider the number of homes on the market in each price tier, the amount of time particular homes have been listed for sale, specific neighborhood trends, the median price and square footage of each home sold and so much more. We’d love to invite you to do the same!

Get Local Market Reports Sent Directly to You

You can sign up here to receive your own market report, delivered as often as you like! It contains current information on pending, active and just sold properties so you can see actual homes in your neighborhood. You can review your area on a larger scale, as well, by refining your search to include properties across the city or county. As you notice price and size trends, please contact us for clarification or to have any questions answered.

We can definitely fill you in on details that are not listed on the report and help you determine the best home for you. If you are wondering if now is the time to sell, please try out our INSTANT home value tool. You’ll get an estimate on the value of your property in today’s market. Either way, we hope to hear from you soon as you get to know our neighborhoods and local real estate market better.