The greatest questions in times when there is uncertainty are “What should I expect today”, “What will tomorrow bring” and “What should I do”. You can rely on Smith & Associations to continue to serve the community as the skilled and trusted real estate advisors we have been and will remain. With that in mind, I offer you the following insights into the local effect of these unprecedented events.
Tampa Bay had a record-setting first quarter in real estate, which was the case broadly across many of the markets in the US. We are still seeing much of that success in current closings and inventory yet available. Of course we are seeing some market reaction as buyers and sellers adjust expectations and alter goals. Some choosing to wait and see, while others have made swift decisions. Each individual’s situation is unique and must be evaluated in total to find the correct path.
As many states, including Florida, have adopted new stay at home protocols, we have begun to see the effects of these actions upon the market as professionals and consumers adapt to sales and showings that can be done safely with buyers that have a need to purchase at this time. In our market, real estate activities have been labeled essential, as long as these actions conform to the current guidelines of size limits and social distancing. Together with your Smith Associate will be the best judge of the practices that are right for each situation.
Smith is adjusting strategies to accommodate for consumers limited movement through virtual showings, promoting with a more digital focus, fantastic photos and an elevated degree of electronic communication. Additionally, the closing process is being altered and advanced with safety and convenience in mind. Our administrators continue the 10-day pre-closing prep check to assure all is in order to progress smoothly onto successful completion of transactions.
Naturally, the market will slow in some price ranges and days on market will likely extend to some degree. However, buyers that have been waiting for the “right” home are venturing out for safe showings and buying homes. Of course some are testing values to see if sellers have felt any impact financially hoping to create some opportunity in price negotiation. It is early to tell, but as weeks extend to months, perhaps the trends will show some opportunity in certain ranges for properties not in top condition. Now is the time to get the home in great order so when you do come to market, the best presentation is offered.
If the home was on market prior and things have gone silent, it may not necessarily be isolated to what would be the typical considerations; price or condition, rather, the market may simply be in a pause until folks feel safe. After a period of readjustment occurs and stability returns in employment and our economy, routine behavior will reestablish and Tampa Bay will continue to be one of the best places to choose to live and enjoy life.
We at Smith & Associates, look forward to when buyers and sellers can become more fluid in their movement, but for now we have virtual, digital, and electronic solutions in action to service and support the needs of our consumers right now to accomplish the task of reaching the current goal. As time passes and we begin to see market changes, we will communicate further insights on values and trends with our team to deliver to the communities they serve as trusted real estate advisors.
May you and your family remain safe and secure and at any time we are glad to provide you with market information to assist in your decision-making process. We will continue to be your real estate resource and trusted friends in Tampa Bay.
President / CEO
With governments instituting tighter shelter in place restrictions and businesses shifting to the work-at-home model during the COVID-19 crisis, we want you to know that we are working closely with all our partners to be able to meet your real estate needs as efficiently as possible.
While our current situation is unique, we know that securing a low-interest rate is an important step in making an informed decision before purchasing a new home, and our team can guide you with personalized mortgage solutions. Our Mortgage lender, VanDyk Mortgage, is still generating individualized loan programs and has updated us on the market situation answering frequently asked questions regarding lending in Tampa Bay:
What is going on with appraisals?
While some appraisers are rejecting assignments, the majority are moving forward. Fannie Mae is accepting drive-by or desktop appraisal when we are unable to obtain a traditional appraisal. Many companies are working with skeleton crews during these difficult times so please allow for additional time to close as the appraisal process may take longer.
What happens if I lose my job before closing?
You need to be employed at the time of closing IF the income from the borrower who lost their job is needed to qualify for the loan. Without the income, the loan will not close or fund. If the income from the recently unemployed borrower is NOT needed for the loan, then the loan will close as planned.
Are you still able to verify employment?
All lenders will do a re-verification of employment at a minimum of 10 days prior to closing. With the current situation, we may not be able to use traditional methods to verify employment and will rely on alternative methods. These alternative verifications will be accepted and we do not expect any delays in the process if employment has remained.
What happens if I am on temporary leave?
If there is a leave of absence with one of the borrowers, and the borrower intends to return to work prior to the first payment due date, we may use their income to qualify. Many employees have been furloughed depending on their industry. Some of these situations, we can work with and still move forward with securing a loan.
Interest rates are low and real estate transactions are happening every day. You may have more questions and need more guidance during this unique time, but we are here to help. While COVID-19 has effected our markets globally, we have been in business for fifty years and have seen our share of market ups and downs. As always, it is our commitment to provide a seamless home buying or selling experience and we are able to do that while keeping our community’s safety a priority. Connect with a Smith agent today, click here.
Please watch as CEO of Smith & Associates Real Estate, Bob Glaser, discusses the Real Estate Market as it relates to COVID-19.
Smith & Associates Real Estate has been an integral part of the Tampa Bay community for over 50 years. We have provided strategic real estate services through market booms and busts and will continue to provide you with relevant real-time real estate market information.
We are experiencing an unprecedented event in modern history, a global pandemic, COVID-19. While we cannot predict exactly how the virus will spread or the markets will respond, we can promise that our agents with years of experience, will continue their timeless commitment to provide timely facts and analysis on our local market. Because we are in constant communications with our global partners we expect that the United States and Florida will soon be subjected to much more restrictive social distancing regulations.
However, now is definitely not the time to panic. The real estate market is far less emotional than the financial markets. Everyone needs someplace to live, and Florida is still an extremely attractive place to live, work and play.
Many people who are considering buying now may be swayed by other benefits of homeownership: control and certainty. Real estate offers people stable monthly payments and a home that makes them feel safe, comfortable, and happy. Further, inventory is still tight in Tampa Bay and historically low-interest rates mean a buyer can secure best value. People will continue to invest money into tangible assets. Throughout the next few weeks, we will continue to provide timely real estate updates.
We understand the safety of our agents and clients is a top priority. Technology allows us to take a virtual tour of a listing and provide online concierge service with a real estate expert. To assist sellers and buyers, we have secured the best virtual experiences on our listings and providing individual showings on request. Our agents will remain available, providing online and video consultations, live streaming property tours, and sharing updates on social media. We continue to monitor and adhere to the guidelines set forth by our local, state and national governments, as well as leading real estate industry associations.
It has been an honor to live and work in Tampa Bay for my entire adult life. I know how strong, supportive, and resilient we are as a community. I am as confident in Tampa Bay’s real estate market as it was two weeks ago before we fully understood the seriousness of COVID-19.
While events that bring us together have shut down, all 285 of our agents are just a phone call away and are equipped to offer sound advice and assurances.
President / CEO
The Boutique Firm Recorded $1.5 Billion in Sales Predict a Bullish Real Estate Market for Tampa Bay in 2020
Tampa Bay’s largest independently-owned real estate brokerage firm, Smith & Associates Real Estate, celebrates another record-breaking sales year with $1.5 billion in sales volume, an increase of 22% from the previous year. The company has been serving Tampa Bay’s real estate market for over fifty years and recognized associate accomplishments with a party at the Armature Works in Downtown Tampa. With their Developer Services team representing ten projects in Tampa Bay that have completion dates set between 2020 and 2023, Smith feels confident that the Tampa Bay real estate market will be on fire in 2020.
Established in 1969, Smith & Associates Real Estate has grown to be one of the most influential companies in the Bay, with revenues exceeding $1.5 billion in 2019. The firm represents high-profile residential and commercial developments. It is the exclusive listing agent for almost all of Tampa Bay’s high-profile towers, including The Edition, Riverwalk Place, Hyde Park House, Elevé 61, The Sanctuary, Saltaire, and Altura. Smith & Associates Real Estate is the number one luxury brokerage firm of $1M + residences in both Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties.
President and CEO, Bob Glaser, says his company’s focus on investing in employees, giving back to the community, and fostering strategic partnerships will continue to inform the company’s growth strategy. “As Tampa Bay has grown, so have we. We’ve had tremendous success and are bringing over 2 billion dollars of inventory to the local market in the upcoming years, representing developments in downtown Tampa and St. Pete. Yet, we anticipate that marketplace demand will outpace available inventory.”
According to the real estate website Zillow, Tampa home values went up 3.9% in 2019 and Zillow forecasts they will rise an additional 4% in 2020. Tampa also ranks 4th among the nation’s The most popular investment markets, according to Realtor.com® .
While the Smith team celebrated their record-breaking year and the associates with exceptional sales, the organization also presented their most coveted honor, The Mary Smith Conover Citizen Award, which honors the spry 93-year-old founder of Smith & Associates Real Estate. The award is a nod towards the company’s founder and keeps the philanthropic intention at the forefront for every associate. This year’s winner was Becky Slocum clocked nearly 1,800 volunteer hours with The American Red Cross and is a member of the Disaster Action Team, working on-call shifts throughout the night from 6 PM – 6 AM.
Becky Slocum (Award Recipient), Bob Glaser (President and CEO), and Mary Smith Conover (Founder) at Kickoff Celebration at Armature Works
City of St. Petersburg Buys Science Center
The Science Center of Pinellas sold for $3.15 million to the City of St. Petersburg. The sale was recorded as the second highest commercial sale in the 33710 zip code in the last five years. Located at 7701 22nd Avenue North, the City of St. Petersburg has plans to extend its water treatment plant on the property.
CareerSource Pinellas’ Board of Directors approved Smith & Associates Real Estate’s provider bid paving the way for them to sell The Science Center on the competitive market.
“It was a pleasure to provide real estate services to CareerSource Pinellas and The City of St. Petersburg. The St. Petersburg real estate market is strong and I was confident that we would sell this beautiful commercial property in a timely manner,” said Angela D. Grannan, Smith & Associates agent representing the sale.
Formally owned by CareerSource Pinellas, the Science Center of Pinellas was used for job training, STEM field trips, and helping people find jobs in the trade industry. CareerSource continues to offer skills training and seminars at their other locations throughout Pinellas County.
Angela D. Grannan (left) at closing.
Click here to learn more about Smith & Associates Real Estate’s Commercial Division.