The Real Estate Sizzle

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Jackie Colson-Miller

Jackie Colson-Miller, CIPS
Direct - (813)629-5757
Homeward Real Estate
3401 Henderson Blvd
Tampa, FL 33609
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Archive for March, 2007

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Start Your Engines…At The Honda Grand Prix in St. Petersburg

Filed under: Real Estate News, Tampa, Where is Jackie Now?

The place to be this weekend is St. Petersburg, Florida for the Honda Grand Prix! Racing enthusiasts far and wide will be in town for the Indy racing challenge through the streets of Downtown. This popular events showcases not only the talents of Danica Patrick, AJ Foyt IV, Grand_prixAndretti Green Team, and more, but highlights St. Petersburgs vibrant waterfront and downtown area.The race cars will be whizzing past the Yacht Club, where Roger Penske, Andretti Green and others have moored their multi-million dollars yachts just steps from the track.

The best seats? High above the track, along Beach Drive, the residents in the high rise condos will have glorious views of the waterfront and the race! Booming with new construction, an art museum, fabulous shops and restaurants Racing_flagDowntown St. Pete is hot spot to live, work and play.

Who will win the coveted prize? Will Danicas move from Team Rahal to Team Andretti push her over that finish line first? No question about it, its going to be a great race!

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What Should You Disclose in Real Estate ?

Filed under: Buyers, Florida Real Estate, Real Estate News, Tampa

Recently, I had a client withdraw from a contract because a sexual predator lived in the neighborhood. Florida has a website which identifies the name, photo and address of sexual predators living in the state. Though it is not required under Florida law, I provide the website in one of the disclosures that I have buyers sign before they sign a contract.

The listing agent on the contract seemed very annoyed that I had provided the buyer with the FDLE website. As a parent, my role is to Housefor_saleprotect my children. As a Realtor, my role is to protect my clients. Florida is a very consumer-oriented state. The legislation is generally designed to protect the consumer. The number of disclosures continues to grow…mold disclosures, sinkhole disclosures, radon disclosures, flood insurance, energy efficiency, tax reassessments, home owner associations and more. I give my clients more disclosures than are required by law.

Give buyers the information and let them make informed decisions about the purchase of their home. And, if you live in a state that doesn’t identify sexual predators and where they live…I hope you will vote for legislation that changes that. Bill O’Reilly of the “O’Reilly Factor” is doing a great job with that!

How much should you go, above and beyond, the disclosures required by your state? My opinion…disclose everything that you would like disclosed to you, as a buyer.

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What’s So Special About South Tampa??

Filed under: Real Estate News, Relocation, South Tampa, Tampa, Where is Jackie Now?

I have a client moving in from the frozen northeast. She is staying in temporary housing until her home sells and then she will buy a home in Tampa and move the rest of the family here. It’s too soon to look at specific houses, but the right time to have a look at some of the various neighborhoods. Most people who are relocating to town are used to commuting and are willing to live in the suburbs for a larger, newer home.

Beach_Park As a busy, working mother, I quickly determined that she was not interested in a long commute and was used to “in town” living. South Tampa is the peninsula that is south of Downtown Tampa. It is surrounded by water and its proximity to downtown and the airport, along with its charming homes, grandfather oaks and nationally recognized schools makes it a very desirable place to live. It feels like a ‘small town” in the middle of a big city. With some of the priciest real estate in the area, life in South Tampa is about “lifestyle” and convenience, along with excellent schools.

So, on a beautiful Saturday morning, with the temperature about 75 degrees, I picked her up in the convertible and said, Welcome to “South Tampa”, where everything in your life is “five minutes away“. We drove all the South Tampa neighborhoods from Beach Park to Sunset Park to New Suburb Beautiful, Davis Islands and down south to the Interbay area. We drove past Plant High School, rated #71 in in Newsweeks Top 100 High Schools list.

I gave her the tour of all the unique places to shop and eat along the way. Estella’s on Bay to Bay Blvd. is the perfect gift shop and a “must see” for all Vera Bradley addicts.Vintage Vintage Wines is a family-owned wine shop with a personable and knowledgeable staff. Chez Bryce, on Davis Islands has a nice outdoor patio for lunch or dinner. The upscale grocer, Fresh Market, has just moved to town and is busy all day long. Cevice is fabulous and romantic, for tapas into the wee hours.After a drive through historic Hyde Park and Ybor City, Downtown and Channelside, we concluded our day with a waterside lunch. It was the perfect introduction to life in South Tampa.

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Can We Really Eliminate Property Taxes in Florida???

Filed under: Florida Real Estate, Insurance, Property Taxes in Florida, Real Estate News

Hammered with high insurance costs and even higher property taxes, Floridians are fed up! If you are a Floridian and want to petition to eliminate property taxes in the state by a Constitutional Amendmentthis is the link to the petitionNo More Property Taxes in Florida.

The site also includes total tax comparisons for other states in the U.S., along with Facts vs. Myths about the proposal. So, check it out and tell me what you think…..

Comparing only sales taxes doesnt provide a full picture of the tax burden.
Under the proposed Constitutional Amendment, Florida would be the first and only state in the nation to have NO income tax and NO property tax on homestead homes. The chart below compares Florida taxes under the proposed Constitutional Amendment to other states.

State Property Tax Sales Tax Personal Income Tax State Max. Tax Total
Rhode Island Yes 7% 3.75% – 9.9% 16.9% plus property taxes
California Yes 7.25% 1% – 9.3% 16.55% plus property taxes
New Jersey Yes 7% 1.4% – 8.97% 15.97% plus property taxes
Vermont Yes 6% 3.6% – 9.5% 15.5% plus property taxes
Michigan Yes 6% 3% – 9% 15% plus property taxes
Minnesota Yes 6.5% 5.35% – 7.85% 14.35% plus property taxes
South Carolina Yes 6% 2.5% – 7% 13% plus property taxes
Arkansas Yes 6% 1% – 7% 13% plus property taxes
Mississippi Yes 7% 3% – 5% 12% plus property taxes
Indiana Yes 6% 3.4% 9.40% plus property taxes
Florida NONE 8.5% NONE 8.5%


For the Non-Floridians, this is the issue….properties are being reassessed upon sale and investment properties are reassessed every year. A $500,000 home in Hillsborough County would have an approximate tax bill of $10,000 to $12,000 per year. Depending on the location, the Homeowner’s Insurance could be as high as $4000.00 per year. If it is in flood zone “A”, as most of the coastal areas are, you can add another $4000.00 per year. So, Taxes and Insurance on a $500,000 home could be as high as $20,000 per year. That is insane. Time to Revolt!

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Best Question Winner 3-23-07

Filed under: Ask Jackie A Question, Real Estate News

Trophy_smallThis week’s winner is Karen L….for her question about “Rollback” Property Taxes.

Her Prize…Lunch with “Ms. Sizzle”…

Who will be next week’s winner? Start asking some probing questions!

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Ask Jackie A Question

Filed under: Ask Jackie A Question

I enjoy questions and comments about any topics on my blog and will respond to you promptly. Be inquisitive and be creative! The Best Question or Comment each week wins a prize!

It’s easy. Just scroll to the bottom of this page and fill in the form with your inquiry!

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“Sizzle Snack” of The Day…Something to Think About

Filed under: Real Estate News, Sizzle Snacks

We find no real satisfaction, or happiness in life, without obstacles to conquer and goals to achieve.
Maxwell Maltz

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You Think You Want to Live WHERE????

Filed under: Buyers, International Real Estate, Real Estate News, Relocation

Choosing to Live Abroad

More and more, people are choosing to have second homes, retire, or move to another country. Real Estate that is purchased, can always be sold, so no move has to be permanent.

Where in the world would you love to live? Few of us have unlimited resources, so the ideal place to live is generally limited somewhat by what we can afford. Consider your current lifestyle. What are your interests? What languages do you speak? Do you enjoy the countryside or life in a big city? Do you love the tropics or dislike the heat? Do you like a change of seasons? Do you want a condominium or a house?

Can You Really Leave the U.S.?

Once you decide to leave the U.S., you must also consider a country’s political situation. Is the government stable? Is it a safe place to live? Moving_vanWhat is the cost and quality of health care available? What are the tax implications for foreigners? What is the transportation system? Will you need a car? Do you need to be fairly close to family?

Life Without Your SUV

Many things that you take for granted in the US, are very different in foreign countries. If you travel well and adapt to the various customs in foreign countries, then life abroad might be an option for you. Choosing places you would like to visit, or favorite places from your past, is the first step in deciding where you might like to live. But, if you must eat Peanut Butter or drive a Suburban, then you’d best choose a place in the U.S. that you enjoy. Making a wish list of some of your favorite places to visit is a good place to start. I have been so fortunate to live abroad and travel to so many wonderful places. I hope to help many of my clients have some of those same experiences.

Choose a Destination

Have a look at the list below….

Here is a list of the top destinations for living abroad(in no particular order):

Polo_ba Panama Spain Uruguay France

Malta Nicaragua Romania Ecuador

Italy Bulgaria Argentina Belize Chile

Honduras Croatia

An interesting listchoosing only from this list, France and Argentina would be at the top of my list becauseEiffel I love to visit them and I like a moderate climate. The people in Buenos Aires are wonderful. The beef is fabulous and the Recoleta district is tres chic! It is very cosmopolitan…but not as overwhelming as Paris or Rome. It has certainly has some political upheaval in its recent past. can you not love it! From Paris to Provence to sipping Champagne in Epernay, it is a wonderful country to experience. But, I am watching the political and social arena in France very closely. I am not sure how the country can continue to sustain so many people on its’ welfare system. There are pluses and minuses to every place…depending on what you are looking for….Post your top choice and let’s see where the majority of my readers would like to live. Or…suggest another spot as the one place you would like to live someday!

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Filed under: Florida Real Estate, Property Taxes in Florida, Real Estate News, Tampa

I received some interesting comments about my first posting on one of the proposals to cut property taxes in Florida.

Remember, these aren’t MY proposals, just my comments on them. I’m not sure the general public would embrace my tax ideas, (less taxes, less government and less of the population choosing not to work) so I’ll stick to Real Estate and stay out of Politics!


One of the questions I received was about another proposal to “rollback” the millage rate to 2001 and how that Cut_billwould affect properties built after that. I had no clue, but I knew how to get the answer! I emailed Warren Weathers, Senior Property Appraiser in the Hillsborough County Property Appraiser’s Office and promptly received a call from Tim Wilmath. The “rollback” proposal, he explained, isn’t about “rolling back” the millage rate on a specific property. The proposal would require each taxing district to “roll back” their millage rates to a certain year, in this case 2001. Those millage rates would then have an annual CPI(Consumer Price Index) increase added each year, to reach the current year, and a new millage rate. Again, this is just one of many proposals being considered.

Many thanks to Rob Turner, Hillsborough County Property Appraiser for all of your work in Tallahassee trying to resolve this issue for all of us and to your amazing staff who is always willing to pick up the phone, or return an email whenever I have a question!!

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Jackie Colson-Miller “Sizzles” in Project Blogger

Filed under: Project Blogger, Real Estate News, South Tampa, Tampa

Blogger: Jackie Colson-Miller, The Real Estate Sizzle, Tampa, Fl

Blog Coach: Jim Cronin, The Real Estate Tomato

A 13-year veteran in the Real Estate Industry in Tampa, Florida, I was fascinated by the blogging industry and wanted to add a new dimension to my business. I recently contacted Jim Cronin, after much research and many recommendations, regarding starting a blog. As two “far flung” Massachusetts natives, we have collaborated on creating a unique blog in the industry. The result is a site that really “sizzles”, so I hope the Real Estate community and general public will enjoy “tuning in”.

The Real Estate Sizzle covers many issues in Real Estate, from Tampa, Florida to the International Market. Stay tuned for “Where is Jackie Now?”, for vidcasts and Real Estate information from around the world.

The 14 week contest, sponsored by Active Rain and Inman News, begins April 9 and concludes in July, with the winner announced at the end of July at the Bloggers Connect conference in San Francisco.

So, keep tuning in to …it is going to be a BLAST! Post your comments and questions for a chance at a weekly prize….I will be the judge of that!

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