Tampa Bay Real Estate Updates and Homeowner Resources

Conservation -Where Do I Begin?

The choice to be more energy efficient may be clear, but the starting point can be more difficult to determine. The Pyramid of Conservation is designed to help you prioritize steps and develop an action plan that’s right for you. By establishing a foundation in energy efficiency and gaining a better understanding about how you use energy, you can more effectively work your way up the pyramid.

FHA Reduces Mortgage Insurance Premiums!

FHA announced a positive change by reducing its single family annual mortgage insurance premium (MIP) for FHA case numbers assigned on or after January 26, 2015. This change applies to loans with terms greater than 15 years. For FHA loans with loan-to-values greater than 95% the annual mortgage insurance premium will decrease from 1.35% of the loan balance to 0.85% and for loan-to-values at or below 95% the premium will decrease from 1.30% to .80%.

Since 2010, FHA has progressively increased their MIP and the National Association of Realtors reports that the percent share of first-time buyers using FHA-backed loans shrank from 56% to 39%. This upcoming reduction in premiums certainly makes FHA more competitive, so I expect to see FHA’s market share rise in 2015.

In addition to greater opportunities for homebuyers, homeowners with current FHA loans may have an opportunity to improve their loan product by applying for an FHA streamline refinance loan. The purpose of the FHA streamline process is to allow homeowners to get into a lower-cost mortgage with reduced paperwork and underwriting requirements. Please note, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development notes that streamline does not mean there are no costs involved in this type of refinance.

An FHA Streamline refinance is a particular type of refinance product. To qualify, your FHA mortgage must meet certain requirements, including:

  • Your FHA mortgage must not be delinquent.
  • Your FHA mortgage must also be currently insured by the FHA.
  • Your FHA Streamline Refinance must lower your payments and monthly principal, as well as meet certain benefit criteria.

If you think that you may qualify for a FHA Streamline Refinance, please call me to determine if you are eligible and if the savings are sufficiently beneficial for you. I applaud this change by FHA which will significantly expand access to mortgage credit for households and lower the cost of home ownership!

Home Builders Pick Top New Home Design Trends

The National Association of Home Builders recently passed out its Best in American Living Awards. The winning projects were recognized for innovative design, so they tend to highlight design trends you’ll see in new homes in coming years.

BALA Chairman Stephen C. Moore, senior partner – marketing with BSB Design Inc. in Des Moines, Iowa saw an overall simplification in the designs with cleaner lines, more natural elements and an emphasis on relaxation.

Here are some of the top trends from the winning projects:

  • White, White, White Kitchens
    Many of the winning kitchens had white cabinets, white counter tops, white back splashes and were finished with, you guessed it, white trim. Industrial textures are being introduced, but they are muted or white.You can incorporate this look into your kitchen without committing to a full remodel by painting your cabinets and retiling the backsplash.
  • Doubled Island Kitchens
    Back-to-back islands and side-by-side islands are showing up in all styles of homes—one island for cooking and preparing food, and the other for serving food and dining. Sometimes the second island takes the place of a more formal dining room table.Not ready to get rid of your dining room table? You could enlarge kitchen countertops where you already have seating.
  • Centered Bathtubs
    Bathrooms are continuing to becoming more spa-like. As a result, large, well-designed tubs are becoming the center of attention. They are being pulled away from the wall and treated like sculptures.If you’ve got the bathroom floor space, this would be a fun update. Be sure to add radiant heat if you replace the floor tile.
  • Indoor-Outdoor Living
    Where weather permits, indoor-outdoor transitional spaces are showing up by utilizing removable walls, screens and foldable walls. In urban homes, using extra space on the roof can give you a great view.Outdoor kitchens are particularly in demand in luxury neighborhoods. Let me know if you need help finding a hardscaping specialist who can transform your yard into a relaxing entertainment space.
  • Natural Elements Mixed With Contemporary Materials
    A softer side of modern design is evolving as contemporary and industrial materials are beginning to mix with natural materials. Wood, steel and glass are a popular combination, allowing the best from both worlds. Modern textures are being combined with old-world or classical elements.If you’d like this look but don’t have the know-how to pull it off, contact me. I can refer you to a professional designer who can help.
  • Increased Quality Of Details
    Across the board, the details, such as how a hand rail meets a stair, are getting better. Light, classic details that are clean and well thought-out are amplified when pulling together major pieces of a simple, clean-lined space.

    When you remodel, pay attention to decorative elements.


  • Get Away Rooms
    Whether it is a room with a view or a game room, creating spaces that allow you to get away from everyday life are becoming popular. These spaces are designed to encourage relaxation, family-time or allow one to practice their hobbies.

    When adding new rooms, or repurposing rooms as kids leave the nest, consider what you like to spend time doing. You’ll get lots of use from the space by setting it up as a place where you can enjoy a hobby or pastime.
  • Wine Rooms And Bars
    Wine is finding its home everywhere and anywhere. Wine displays under the stairs are beautifully filling spaces that could otherwise go to waste. Full rooms dedicated to wine or liquors are no longer just for the avid collector. Wet-bar nooks are adding to the overall encouragement of relaxing and enjoying time at home.You’d be amazed at the wonderful ways today’s wine-room designers can make use of existing space. Adding a dining table near a wine cellar or wine closet creates an instant wine room.

To see ANY home in the Tampa Bay / Beach area, contact Rich Rippetoe!

Your Beach Real Estate Pro!

Coldwell Banker Sun Vista Realty, Inc.


CALL 727-902-1437

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