Friday, October 29, 2010

The light rail option

Who isn't tired of sitting in traffic on Bruce B. Downs and I-75?  It's little wonder why Forbes ranked us dead last out of 60 metro areas for transportation (Forbes Magazine, 2/16/2010).  Light rail (and other improved transportation) is an option on next week's ballot in Hillsborough County. 

"Widening roads to cure traffic congestion is like curing obesity by loosening your belt."---Moving Hillsborough Forward

For additional information: Moving Hillsborough Forward

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Quail Hollow Golf & Country Club in Wesley Chapel to reopen

Back in 2007 there were plans to convert golf course land at the Quail Hollow Golf and Country Club in Wesley Chapel to residential property and build some 600 homes.  The housing market crashed and that plan never materialized and subsequently the golf and country club closed about two years ago. 

After some tough times, the Quail Hollow Golf and Country Club now has some encouraging news.  The golf course and country club are undergoing a major renovation with plans to reopen in two to three months with a full service restaurant.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Red Robin at Wiregrass to open in November

Attention burger eaters!  The new Red Robin restaurant at The Shops at Wiregrass in Wesley Chapel plans to open on November 15, 2010.  Website

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Bay area home sales fall

The volume of home sales in the Tampa Bay fell 16% compared to a year ago and the median sales price for the bay area was $127,400.  This drop in sales occurred before the recent moratorium on foreclosures and the freeze on sales of many bank owned properties, suggesting that the decline in home sales over last year will continue.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Wesley Chapel road construction workshop for the public

Pasco County has announced another road project update for Wesley Chapel.  The public workshop will mostly deal with the widening project of SR 54 from west of I-75 to east of Curley.  Remember, work on this segment of SR 54 is scheduled to continue until January, 2012.
Additional updates will be provided for C.R. 581 (BBD), S.R. 56, and I-75.  The workshop is scheduled for November 4, 2010 at the Atonement Lutheran Church (29617 S.R. 54, Wesley Chapel) from 5:30 to 7:30 PM, with a brief presentation at 6:00 PM.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Summertree Fall Festival in Wesley Chapel on October 23, 2010

The Summertree Fall Festival will be held in Wesley Chapel at the Summertree Plaza (Publix at SR 54 & Eiland Blvd.) on October 23, 2010:

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Curley Rd. in Wesley Chapel to close tomorrow

Due to construction, Curley Rd. in Wesley Chapel will close from SR 54 to Wells Rd. from October 21st to November 5th.  Traffic will be detoured via Boyette and Wells.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Slideshow of new homes for sale in New Tampa and Wesley Chapel

It's been a while since I have created a slide show of the new homes for sale in the New Tampa and Wesley Chapel area, so I took these photos this week.  The new homes in the slideshow are from 11 different New Tampa and Wesley Chapel communities and numerous new home builders. 

You will see some stunning kitchens, family rooms, and decor of model homes from starter homes for first time homebuyers to luxury homes. 

Oh, and sorry about that annoying advertisement that shows up at the bottom of the slideshow. I guess SLIDE needs to make money some way! (You can click on the X in the right corner to remove it, and observe the slideshow.)

Enjoy, and please give me a call if you are in the market for a home.  Also: From The Wall Street Journal: 10 Reasons To Buy A Home Now!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Looking for the Great Pumpkin?

Halloween is almost here and pumpkin patches are now popping up.  I stopped by two in Wesley Chapel this past week:

1.  State Road 54
(West of Eiland Blvd./Morris Bridge Rd.) 
Look for the tent!

2.  County Line Rd. in Meadow Pointe
(Just east of BBD at the First Baptist Church of New Tampa)

If you are aware of other pumpkin patches in the New Tampa and Wesley Chapel area, please feel free to add their locations in the comment section of this blog post.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Dogtoberfest update

Here's an update from the folks in charge of Dogtoberfest to be held this Saturday.

Dogtoberfest is a pet friendly event on October 23, 2010 from 2 to 6 p.m. at the Shops at Wiregrass in Wesley Chapel. The event includes a pet costume contest, over $1000.00 in prizes, live music, pet adoptions, and pet related products. More than 40 pet rescue groups and pet vendors will be attending.

All pets registered* win and will be rewarded! Categories include:

1. Most original costume
2. Owner/Pet look alike
3. Cutest
4. Scariest
5. Most festive
6. Best use of recycled items
7. Best costume transforming pet into a different animal
8. Best celebrity look alike
9. People's Choice award based on the votes from the audience.

* Registration is from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.

Additional information:  Click Here

And here's a slideshow if you need some inspiration for Fido's costume:

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

La Cubanita Cafe coming to New Tampa

Sign announcing La Cubanita Cafe coming to the New Tampa Center (next to McNatt's Cleaners) at 19040 Bruce B. Downs.

Friday, October 08, 2010

ForeclosureGate update

  • Today, Bank of America announced that it was ceasing foreclosures in all 50 states due to "flaws in the process".  Link
  • Fired worker says home foreclosure firm forged documents  Link
  • We could be headed towards a national foreclosure moratorium.... Video Link
  • And last but not least, Jon Stewart provides us with his spin on the mess:  Video link

New signs at the mall

For the wild side...

For the tech side...

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Local October events

Wesley Chapel Fall Festival at the Grove
There are a number of events scheduled for New Tampa and Wesley Chapel in October:
  • October 7, 2010:  The Florida Orchestra at The Center for the Arts at Wesley Chapel:   featuring Respighi's Pines of Rome, along with Beckel's Toccata for Orchestra, Faure's Pelléas et Mélisande Suite, Borodin's Polovtsian Dances and Liszt's Lés Preludes. All Seats are at a special $20.00 premiere concert price.  8:00 PM  Additional info.
  • Today starts the Gatherings Fall Concert Series at The Shops at Wiregrass. (Thursdays from 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM)
  • October 16 & 17 --Arts & Crafts Under The Palms from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM at City Plaza
  • October 16 & 17--Wesley Chapel Fall Festival (formerly called the Wesley Chapel Crafts Show), Wings Contest, Custom Car Show, & live entertainment at The Grove mall in Wesley Chapel.
  • October 23, 2010 Dogtoberfest at The Shops at Wiregrass from 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM
    Fall Concert Series at The Shops at Wiregrass

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

2010 average home prices in New Tampa by community

An analysis of year to date sold prices for single family homes reported sold in our multiple listing system shows the following YTD average home prices by New Tampa neighborhood*:

Much has been reported on the volume of Short Sales and REO/Bank owned home sales and frequently I hear people say the only homes that sell are short sales and foreclosures.  Not true!  Overall the distressed (Short Sales/Pre-foreclosures and REO's) single family home sales (YTD) reported in MLS for the above New Tampa communities is 32%.  Individual communities however showed a very wide range of distressed sales, with one of the above neighborhoods showing no distressed sales (year to date) and another with a whopping 68% of all reported single family home sales as distressed. Ouch!

There are over 300 single family homes for sale in New Tampa ranging from $100,000 to several million dollars.

*Information deemed reliable but not guaranteed 

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Commissioner Hildebrand to address PACA on transportation

Pasco County Commissioner Ann Hildebrand will highlight regional and county transportation issues when she addresses the Oct. 14 meeting of the Pasco Alliance of Community Associations (PACA).

Hildebrand will update the progress of the Tampa Bay Regional Transportation Authority (TBARTA), where she also serves as secretary. Commissioner Hildebrand has been working to ensure TBARTA planning maximizes the benefits that would be provided to Pasco plus six other counties in west central Florida.

The Commissioner also will review the county’s road construction plans that have been approved by the Pasco Board of County Commissioners for the fiscal year that began on Oct. 1. Many of those projects tie into TBARTA’s overall planning to meet regional transportation needs. Commissioner Hildebrand will answer questions after her remarks..

The public is invited to attend. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 14, at the Land O’ Lakes Community Center, located at 5401 Land O’ Lakes Blvd. (US 41), three miles north of SR 54.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Platos Closet announces grand opening

Plato's Closet in Wesley Chapel (The Shoppes at New Tampa across from The Shops at Wiregrass) will have its grand opening on October 6, 2010.  Doors open at 9:00 AM.  Happy shopping!  Store phone:  (813) 994-7770

The foreclosure "robo-signing" controversy grows (Video)

The robo-signing foreclosure mess with major banks worsens on a daily basis.  Here's a video on the growing foreclosure procedure debacle which some are referring to as fraud:

If you have purchased a home that was foreclosed on, you think you now clearly own it, right?  Not necessarily!  From the St. Pete Times yesterday, some additional thoughts on "blighted titles" resulting from sloppy foreclosure procedures by the banks and courts, etc.:

Sunday, October 03, 2010

"Robo-signing" lenders trigger major title insurance company to stop writing policies on foreclosed homes

Old Republic National Title Insurance announced earlier last week that it would no longer write policies on properties foreclosed on by GMAC until issues get resolved over proper documentation of its foreclosures.  On Friday, it added JP Morgan Chase to the list.  BOA would likely be their next candidate.  Expect other title companies to join in on not issuing policies on foreclosures of these lenders too.  Full link from the NYT 

Note:  October 4, 2010--Fidelity National Financial joined the list of title companies not issuing policies on foreclosed properties with these lending institutions.  Surely even more will follow.

If you plan to close on a foreclosed property of one of these three banks in the near future, I suggest you get your real estate agent on the phone pronto!  Your closing may have come to a screeching halt until things get sorted out.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Chili cookoff canceled

Remember the 23rd Annual Steve Otto Chili Cookoff originally scheduled for today at The Shops at Wiregrass?  Well, it's not going to happen.  From Steve Otto's column in the paper yesterday:

"A farewell to chili

Saturday's Steve Otto Chili Contest has been canceled. Like so many things these days it was money that did us in - more precisely, a lack of it. I feel bad, and not because I won't have an opportunity to eat 60 or 70 cups of the stuff.

We have managed to raise thousands of dollars for nearly two dozen nonprofit organizations and charities through the years. For that I want to thank all of you who came out year after year to support the event.

I even will miss the likes of Cowboy Chuck, Margarita Jack, the Red Hot Tomatoes and even the fabulous Sleazettes."

Or just maybe it was all the lovebugs at last year's event that did the contest in.  Hasta luego!

Federal tax relief for Chinese drywall victims

On Thursday the IRS issued a news release on guidelines for its policy regarding homeowners who have suffered property losses due to the effects of certain imported drywall installed in homes between 2001 and 2009.

"Revenue Procedure 2010-36 provides the following relief:

  • Individuals who pay to repair damage to their personal residences or household appliances resulting from corrosive drywall may treat the amount paid as a casualty loss in the year of payment.
  • Taxpayers who have already filed their income tax return for the year of payment generally have three years to file an amended return and claim the deduction.The amount of a loss that may be claimed depends on whether the taxpayer has a pending claim for reimbursement (or intends to pursue reimbursement) of the loss through property insurance, litigation or otherwise.
  • In cases where a taxpayer does not have a pending claim for reimbursement, the taxpayer may claim as a loss all unreimbursed amounts paid during the taxable year to repair damage to the taxpayer’s personal residence and household appliances resulting from corrosive drywall.
  • If a taxpayer does have a pending claim (or intends to pursue reimbursement), a taxpayer may claim a loss for 75 percent of the unreimbursed amount paid during the taxable year to repair damage to the taxpayer’s personal residence and household appliances that resulted from corrosive drywall.
A taxpayer who has been fully reimbursed before filing a return for the year the loss was sustained may not claim a loss. A taxpayer who has a pending claim for reimbursement (or intends to pursue reimbursement) may have income or an additional deduction in subsequent taxable years depending on the actual amount of reimbursement received.

For purposes of this revenue procedure, the term “corrosive drywall” means drywall that is identified as problem drywall under the two step identification method published by the CPSC and the Department of Housing and Urban Development in their interim guidance dated January 28, 2010."


Friday, October 01, 2010

Fall Concert Series at The Shops at Wiregrass starts this month

The Shops at Wiregrass in Wesley Chapel
The Fall Concert Series begins at The Shops at Wiregrass in Wesley Chapel this month.  The music series begins on October 7th and will be held every Thursday through November 4, 2010 from 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM.  Performing in different weeks:  Charlie Vegas, Vodkanauts, Shakes Society, Shaun Hopper, & Jason Young.

And yet another lender places a moratorium on foreclosures

It was just last week that we saw GMAC Mortgage place a moratorium on foreclosures, presumably to ensure that documentation that is filed is in proper order.  Now, JP Morgan Chase announces that it too is placing a moratorium on some foreclosures for similar reasons.  The moratorium by Chase affects 56,000 in 23 states.

Full article from the Washington Post

Note:  Late today (Friday) the AP reports that Bank of America has joined the moratorium on foreclosures.  No reports at this time of how long the moratorium will last.