Friday, March 11, 2011

Buying vs Renting: Which is right for you?

At our meeting today, the agents and brokers sat down to discuss the benefits and drawbacks of renting vs buying.  Both seem like smart and viable decisions in today’s economy and market conditions.  Many of us are struggling with the decision and I don’t know about you, but when I am having a hard time making a decision, I always make a list to sort out my thoughts.  Here is what we came up with for the benefits of either choice:

The Pro’s of Buying:
  • Right now homes are at the best prices they’ve been in years, you get a great value for the price, and there is a tremendous amount of inventory so you have a lot to choose from.
  • Buying a home is a long-term investment that has the potential to be an extremely valuable asset in just a few years.
  • Interest rates are historically low right now.
  • The tax deductions from having a mortgage will really pay off
  • Pride of Ownership:  There is something very comforting and reassuring about knowing that you own your very own home, property, and land, and you can do whatever you want with it. 
  • There is a lot of stability that comes with buying a home.  For one thing, you won’t have a landlord to deal with whenever you want to make an upgrade, paint a wall, etc.  You can make your own home improvements and answer to yourself.
 The Pros of Renting:
  • No maintenance or upkeep – the apartment complex or landlord takes care of everything for you.
  • No HOA Fees, CDD Assessments, Property Taxes, Homeowner’s Insurance
  • No down payment – gives you the opportunity to save
  • If you have poor credit, renting give you time to correct your credit before trying to buy
  • You have the opportunity to try out different communities, without long-term commitments
  • Sometimes you can pay less (although this could be said for buying, too)
  • Renting is a good option if you are waiting for the market to stabilize
  • You won't have to deal with short sales
  • There is no long-term commitment with renting.  Lease terms are generally 12 months long and shorter leases are readily available as well.

So, as you can see, both are excellent options depending on your lifestyle, financial situation, and a number of other factors.  Keep these lists in mind when you are shopping for a rental property or a home to buy, and keep Real Living Casa Fina Realty in mind when you need some help finding the right home for you!  We specialize in home sales as well as rentals and can help you find the perfect home for you.  Call us today!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Real Living Rolls Out New Technology Platform for Brokers and Agents and Launches an All New for Consumers

Bold New Web Strategy is Unlike Any Other Real Estate Franchisor's: Drive Consumers to Brokers and Agents 'First and Fast,' Executives Say

Oak Brook, Ill. and Columbus, Ohio (Jan. 25, 2011) - Real Living, one of the nation's most innovative national real estate franchisers, today announced that it has launched a bold new technology initiative, Web strategy and online platform for brokers and agents. Central to the strategy, Real Living also announced it has launched an all new national site,,that now gives home buyers and sellers more search options while also providing the latest in mapping technology and rich community information for greater context and a better overall search experience.

As part of its Web strategy, all of the features found in the national site extend across the entire platform to power local websites that are provided to all Real Living brokers and agents.

Some of these features include: powerful and flexible listing search options, nationwide community and housing market data, social media integration, interactive marketing tools, and more.  The company will be providing ongoing enhancements to its platform, with major new releases occurring quarterly.

 "We didn't just launch a new website: Real Living has taken a totally different approach to our Web strategy," said Real Living President Harley E. Rouda, Jr.  "At the national level, our site's goal is to attract consumers, then seamlessly drive them to local broker or agent sites as quickly as possible, or first and fast, as we like to say," Rouda added. 

 "As simple and straightforward as this sounds, historically national real estate companies have been more concerned about keeping consumers on their national sites as long as possible," Rouda added.  "Through our new technology initiative, Real Living today is taking a bold and exciting step to change that way of thinking by directing home buyers and sellers to our brokers and agents sites that are filled with local listings and content."

For Consumers
Unlike many real estate sites that emphasize technical features at the expense of customer usability, Real Living's online presence serves buyers and sellers with a refreshing mix of innovation and practicality, offering:
  • A listing search developed for the way people really think about real estate.  Real Living makes it easier than ever for buyers to find the homes they want with traditional feature and price search options complemented by intuitive map search options, as well as searches by neighborhood, school area, address and street names. Keyword searches of listing descriptions, niche search pages for property types and new search options emerging based upon user behavior, have also been integrated. 
  • Rich and deep information on local communities across the nation, with details on area home values, property appreciation, the local economy, environment, quality of life, schools and more, compared to city, county and national figures.  Home buyers and sellers will find this key information available on every listing's page, as well as open for general search and community comparison, to give them real context for each home they are considering. 
  • More options than ever to openly share listings and content on social networks with friends and family, and to privately share listings, house ratings and commentary with their Real Living sales professional through their own account.
  • Access to listings and more via mobile technology that matches and optimizes the information to display to the smart phone in use.
For Brokers and Agents
Real Living's Internet strategy is to provide a customizable platform for brokers and agents that is continuously being updated while providing consumers with a more consistent online experience since brokers and agents are now using the same platform.  Features and benefits of the new platform include:
  • A focus on driving consumers, at every opportunity, directly from the national site to a local broker or agent site where they have the opportunity to work with a local real estate professional.
  • Each broker and agent is provided a robust website that leverages the same features of the national site, with a local focus.
  • A Lead Management Platform that undergoes regular analysis, evolution and improvement. Features include lead notification via cell phone or e-mail, flexible lead-routing options, detailed lead-activity reports for agents and brokers, and enhanced integration with lead incubation and marketing systems.
  • Comprehensive E-Marketing - from an automated monthly electronic newsletter with more than 50 pre-built targeted marketing campaigns, to animated home tours, flyers postcards, professional printing and fulfillment.  Additionally, the site enables real estate professionals to post and share information on social media sites.
  • Real Living Business Center - integrates its public website with the company's intranet site to enable brokers and agents to manage leads, develop and maintain their websites, store online files, provide easy access to marketing materials and e-marketing systems.
Real Living's new technology platform and were developed in conjunction with LPS Real Estate Group (, one of the foremost developers of real estate technology and tools for brokers, agents and consumers.

"We are very pleased with our new technology platform, which is the first of its kind  in the real estate industry," said Matt Kaufman, director of Internet marketing for Real Living.  "We've worked closely with LPS over the past several months to deliver a robust platform that will continue to grow and evolve, while bringing incredible amounts of community data and mapping technology down to the broker and agent level."

About Real Living
Real Living is a full-service real estate brokerage franchise company with a comprehensive and integrated suite of resources and services for franchisees and their sales professionals, as well as the consumers who work with them. The Real Living brand and its innovative concepts were recognized as one of the best by Entrepreneur magazine; won the Inman Innovator Award, and was named "The Most Promising New National Brand" by the Swanepoel TRENDS Report. Real Living is an affiliate of Brookfield Residential Property Services, a leading global provider of real estate and relocation services, technology, and knowledge.  In 2010, Real Living maintained an industry-leading customer satisfaction rating of 96 percent based upon research by an independent research firm. For more information, visit

If you would like to take advantage of these exciting new advances in technology, please contact us so that we can put our new resources to work for you!   Real Estate is changing every day as technology advances.  We are committed to changing with it and staying ahead of the curve.  Feel free to check out our new website at and contact us for more information.  

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snow in 49 States!

And the winner is... Florida! The National Weather Service says Florida is the only state without snow this morning. There is snow in 49 states. Yes, there's even some snow on high peaks in Hawaii. Weather experts say snow falls all winter in Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea, Hawaii.

While this news may have many people dreaming of a warm Florida vacation, it may be hard to get there. There are many delays at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport today as connecting flights are cancelled or postponed due to winter weather conditions. According to CNN, 32 states have winter storm advisories issued.

Will the nation enjoy a taste of weather that Buffalo is so accustomed to? Stay tuned. Social networking sites like Facebook are loaded with pictures of snow in backyards of former Western New York residents who thought they moved elsewhere to escape it.


Read more: 49 of 50 states have snow! | Business First


Come join us in our snow-free state! For more information about about buying, selling, or renting a home, please contact us immediately.

Friday, December 17, 2010

And Finally.... the Number One Reason to Buy a Home in New Tampa or Wesley Chapel is.....

Now is the time to buy!

It’s a buyer’s market right now with prices dropping to meet the demands of the current economic climate. The real estate market is constantly changing; however, homes are retaining a lot of their values. Buying a home now and making improvements on it could prove to be a worthy investment in a couple of years. Why waste money every month in rent payments when you could invest in a home and build equity? Whether it is an investment property or a primary residence, New Tampa and Wesley Chapel are some of the hottest areas of Tampa in which to purchase properties. Casa Fina Realty agents are experts in these areas and can help you make an informed investment in your future.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Reason #2 to Buy a Home in New Tampa or Wesley Chapel

Luxurious Communities with an Abundance of Premier Amenities

A “Luxury Community” is generally defined by the price, size, type, and builder. For instance, in New Tampa, luxury homes are in the price range of around $500,000+. The average size is around 3,500+ square feet, they also have larger lots (average lot size in the suburbs would be ½ acre+ and 2-3 acres+ in rural areas), 3 car+ garages, and tiled roofs. These communities also come with superior amenities such as recreation centers, tennis courts, gyms, pools, walking trails, playgrounds, etc. Some of the Luxury Communities in New Tampa, Wesley Chapel, and South Tampa include:

New Tampa:

Tampa Palms: The Reserve, Whitehall, Kensington, Stonington, and Windsor

Hunter’s Green: Heritage Oaks

Wesley Chapel:


South Tampa:

Davis Island

Bayshore Blvd

Culbreath Isles

Historic Hyde Park

If you are looking for a home in a luxury community, feel free to contact us. Our agents have vast knowledge of these communities. We can help you find the perfect luxury home in one of these upscale suburbs of Tampa.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Reason #3 to Buy a Home in New Tampa or Wesley Chapel

Great Dining Options

New Tampa and Wesley Chapel have some of the best restaurants in Tampa, with an abundance of variety and options for every taste and budget. Some of the local “hot spots” and our favorite places to eat are:

Ciccio's Lodge -

Cantina Laredo -

Pagelli’s -

Wasabi -

Sushi Tsu -

Prime Bar -

Grill Smith -

Acropolis Greek Taverna -

Mr. Dunderbaks -

Lee Roy Selmans -

Liang’s Bistro -

Cobb Cinebistro - an upscale dine-in Movie Theater that won the 2010 Best of the Taste of South Florida.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Reason # 4 to Buy a Home in New Tampa or Wesley Chapel

Fantastic Places to Shop

New Tampa and Wesley Chapel have several brand new and convenient places to shop. Some of our favorites include:

The Shops at Wiregrass is a brand new outdoor mall that opened in 2009. It offers 83 shops and restaurants, and tons of events including weekly children’s activities, wine tastings, festivals, and special holiday events. During the holiday season (Nov. 20-Dec 31), they have symphony of lights shows nightly from 6-9pm. These shows feature 250,000 lights that dance to the music of Trans Siberian Orchestra.

28211 Paseo Drive, Suite 100 • Wesley Chapel, FL 33543

The Grove Shopping Plaza is a massive shopping, restaurant and entertainment complex sitting at the corner of Interstate-75 and State Road-54. Includes national retailers and restaurants like Bed Bath & Beyond, Ross, Michael's, Dick's Sporting Goods, Best Buy, Ulta, PetsMart, T.J. Maxx, Babies/Toys 'R' Us, Dollar Tree, Fuddruckers, UNO, Ritz Camera, Cobb Theater 16, as well as small shops, galleries and restaurants.

6105 Wesley Chapel Blvd, Wesley Chapel, FL 33544