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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 May, 2007

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Florida Tax Reform…Senate Convenes on June 12…Write To Them!

Filed under: Florida Real Estate, Property Taxes in Florida

The Florida Legislature, House and Senate,  reconvenes on June 12, for an 11 day session,  to, once again, tackle the issue of property tax reform.  If you live in the State of Florida and believe the current property tax program needs reform, you should contact your representatives today. 

Some State Senators will respond to emails, and others, will not.  Faye Culp, in the South Tampa district, only responds to letters, so please write a letter, if you are in her district.  She has told me, personally, that she deletes her emails.

Once again, here is my favorite plan, suggested by Marco Rubio, Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, as outlined in one of my previous articles. 

Here is the latest information from the Florida House of Representatives.  Contact your local Representative here with a zip code or a name, or district number.

Here are some of the links, and contact information, to get your voice heard on this Property Tax Reform issue. 

If you don’t know who your State Senator is, you can find that information here. Or, if you would like to search by the State Map, click here.

Here are the members of the Joint Select Committee on Property Tax Relief and Reform and the contact information for them.

Florida Needs Property Tax Reform NOW…write your Senator and Representative today.  The special session is just 2 weeks away!

As always, I welcome YOUR opinion…What do you Think the legislature will do?


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When is That Contest Over and WHAT is it, Again??

Filed under: Project Blogger

I am currently in a National Real Estate Blog Contest, called Project Blogger. I get a lot of questions, every day, about the Contest, and it has been months since I first wrote about it, so let me bring you up-to-date on all of the details.Pj

What is the Contest?

It is a national competition sponsored by Inman News and Active Rain, the on-line real estate community. It is a contest to select the best apprentice bloggersomeone new to the real estate blogging industry. There are 12 contestants who were chosen by a coach , an experienced blogger in the real estate industry. The apprentice and coach are teams in the contest, which started April 9 and continues until July 15th.

The winner will be announced at Inmans Bloggers Connect conference in San Francisco on August 1.

How Did You Get Involved?

I was selected by my coach, and blog designer, Jim Cronin, of The Real Estate Tomato to participate with him. I think he sensed my “competitive” nature!

How Do You Think of Things to Blog About?

The current issues with the market, property taxes, current events in real estate and life in Tampa, and around the world, give me plenty of ideas. When a man was encroaching on me in the airplane, it gave me the idea for an article on encroachments. Everyday life gives me plenty to talk about! Having my car towed led to the story about the bad neighbor on Howard Avenue. I am sure something interesting will happen this week for me to “blog” about. It really helps to keep my friends and family on their toes, as they may find themselves to be a subject on “The Sizzle”. I like to have a good balance of Important Issues in Real Estate, along with some interesting articles about life in Tampa, and other areas around the world. About 15% of my readership each week comes from foreign countries.

How do You Find the Time to Write So Much?

Its not as difficult as it appears. When I am checking on market statistics, I simply turn it into a blog article. Or, if someone calls me for advice on a subject, or asks an interesting question, that is just “food” for a new article. I write most of my articles in advance, in the off hours. When I have an idea, I start an article and finish it later. I currently have about 20 articles started . If something happens with respect to property taxes, or any other topic that is timely for my readership, then I will write about it as soon as it happens. The new Real estate contract is a good example. That was a major story that needed to be written ASAP. All my articles for this week are “ready to go”!

How Does the Contest Work?

My blog articles are judged, on a weekly basis, by various judges from the blogging community. In addition, the readers can vote for their favorite contestant each week. The judges voting counts for 85% and the Readership vote counts for 15%, each week. At the end of the contest, the apprentice with the most accumulated votes will win.
The judges are supposed to use the following criteria:

a. Degree of innovation in approach
b. Consistency
c. Quality of postings
d. The Apprentice’s community involvement
e. Traffic or reach of apprentice’s blog(s)
f. Documentation of experience and participation in ActiveRain’s Project Blogger’s group
g. Cost effectiveness of campaign
h. Improvement/progress of the apprentice
h. Business viability of approach
Are You Winning?

I am winning the readership vote and am currently in second place overall. That changes from week to week as the judging comes in for that week. It is fairly complicated and was somewhat disorganized at the beginning. We are still waiting on the judges vote for week 3 and we are in week 8!

What is the Prize?

ActiveRain will be donating $5,000 to the winning team’s charities of choice.
The blogging coach and apprentice will each be allowed to direct $2,500 of the $5,000. I have already decided to donate my winnings to KW Cares. That is the fundraising arm of Keller Williams. Our office supports many local causes and I serve on that committee.

Who is Competing?
The Competitors (and their coaches):

Jackie Colson-Miller & Jim CroninTampa, FL
Michael & Barbara Daly & Joe Ferrara & Rudy Bacharty The Hamptons, NY
Kelly Kilpatrick & Joel Burslem Rancho Santa Margarita, CA
Ines Hegedus-Garcia & Paul Chaney, Miami, FL
Tisza Major-Posner & Drew Meyers, Claremont, CA
London Whitted & Pat Kitano California
Kevin Tomlinson & Ardell DellaLoggia, Miami Beach, FL
Vali Wimberly & Teresa Boardman, St. Paul, MN
Julie Ferenzi & Jeff Turner, Plainfield, IL
Theresa Lussier & Greg Swann, Dayton, OH
Madison Hildebrand & Dustin Luther, Malibu, CA
Mary Pope-Handy & Francess Flynn Thorsen.Los Gatos, CA

THE BIG QUESTION?? Are You Going to Win??

I am VERY competitive…What do YOU Think?? Of course, I am visualizing that trophy!

Thank you for your interest, and continued support during this contest. Keep Reading and Voting!


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International Relocation Requires Some Planning…Especially for Your Pet

Filed under: International Real Estate, Pet Friendly Tampa, Real Estate News, Relocation, Services, Tampa Real Estate

This is the first article in my new Pet Friendly series. Most of my clients have pets, so providing information unique to pet owners, both in Tampa, and those who are relocating, will be the focus.

Moving is stressful for anyone, but it can be especially stressful for pets, who are very tuned in to any change in routine. My pets are upset the moment they see my suitcase come out of the closet! Kit_tensDuring my recent trip to Europe, my dog stopped eating after several days, so they moved her into a “suite” and fed her hot dogs and cottage cheese for the duration of her stay in the kennel. Nice life! Needless to say, she is still shunning her “dry” food, in lieu of something tastier. But, with any pet, any small change in routine can wreak havoc on his health and his psyche.

Pet owners who are used to car travel with pets may find planning for a cross-county trip, or an overseas trip, is far more complicated and needs to be planned well in advance. My little Yorkie is not a good traveler, so she needs an empty stomach and a dose of Dramamine. Do some research about pet travel on many of the online sites. While most pet owners are familiar with their pets needs with respect to car travel, having to put your pet on an airplane can get very complicated, especially for an International relocation.

Each country has very specific requirements for vaccinations, micro-chipping, medical records and some have lengthy quarantine requirements of up to several months. For instance, emigration to Australia from the U.S. requires a 30 day quarantine and certain breeds are not allowed. If your pet is used to being sedated for travel, you need to discuss this with your vet and the pet shipper, since most shippers prohibit sedation during the flight. The time to organize the relocation for your pet is the moment you know you are moving. Many Airlines will not ship pets during certain months of the year, due to tempuratures in the storage compartment.Ab_bey

With ever-changing airline regulations and pet immigration rules which vary from country to country, the best way to relocate Fifi is through an accredited Pet Shipper. In Tampa, the local animal transporter is Air Animal Pet Movers, founded by Dr. Wolff. They have been shipping pets for over 30 years! To find a Pet Shipper in your area, or one that operates out of a specific airport, you can search the IPATA website for a Travel Agent near you! Treat your pet, the same way you would treat the sale of your home.Don’t be a FSBO…hire an expert…”Fifi” will thank you!


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Jackie Colson-Miller is Awarded the Prestigious CIPS Designation

Filed under: International Real Estate

JACKIE COLSON-MILLER,  Keller Williams Realty South Tampa has been awarded the prestigious Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) designation and joins a worldwide referral network of elite global GiuCips logo_black whitereal estate practitioners with expertise in working with international clients as well as immigrants.  The CIPS Designation is awarded by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), which represents over 1,300,000 REALTORS® in the United States.

It is a designation awarded to less than 1% of all Real Estate Professionals.   Jackie Colson-Miller will be formally recognized at NAR’s Annual Convention in Las Vegas on  November 14, 2007. Members of the CIPS Network are crucial players in today’s global real estate market.  The CIPS designation recognizes members who have achieved the necessary training and experience to work successfully with international clients and properties.  To earn the CIPS designation, REALTORS® complete rigorous coursework devoted to learning cultural differences and international business practices.  

Ms. Colson-Miller recently completed her education in Vienna, Austria.  Designees must also prove achievement in international real estate transactions, as well as many components involving foreign languages and international living.  Ms. Colson-Miller joins a distinguished society of over 1500 real estate professionals throughout the world who have earned the CIPS designation. “This is a highly prestigious award in our industry,” said Jim Harris, CIPS, NAR International Operations Committee Chair.  “Jackie Colson-Miller is  now established as an expert in international real estate.” For information about purchasing Real Estate in a foreign country, International Relocation, or Foreign Investment in the United States, please contact Jackie with your specific needs.      

**Thank you to the many clients, foreign and domestic,  who have helped me to achieve the CIPS designation, as well as the many other achievements  in my career. I absolutely love my chosen field, and the many clients that I have had the privilege to work with in the past 13 years.  I am so fortunate to have the continued referrals from all of you, and I hope to continue to provide you with the best possible Real Estate counseling for many years to come!**


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Great Weekend Getaways

Filed under: Fun and Frolic

This is my my new “Fun and Frolic” series on The Real Estate Sizzle…

With the Memorial Day Holiday and Summer Vacations on the horizon, it’s the perfect time to introduce my new series about the lighter side of life…Enjoy my travels and share some of your own!

Great Weekend Getaways…Part 1

South Beach, Miami

WandeDel_anor through the lobby of the Delano South Beach Hotel on a Friday Night and gaze at the hordes of beautiful people nibbling on sushi at the Blue Sea, or sipping Dom Perignon on one of the poolside beds. The atmosphere is surreal, like a scene from the movie “Eyes Wide Shut”. The city was abuzz this year, as the Super Bowl came to town and celebrity studded parties covered every inch of SoBe.

My college roommates joined me in Miami recently and I gave them the “local tour”. It was our 25th college reunion this year, so we decided to have a little “girlfriend getaway” to celebrate. As they flew in from the frozen Northeast and Midwest, I picked them up in Ft. Lauderdale and we cruised down to Miami for a weekend filled with plenty of fun and frolic!

Lincoln Road is a mecca for shopping and dining, many of which have that Latin flair. Enjoy Mojitos at Yucca (in the photo below) and breakfast at the News Cafe. Grillfish, on Collins Avenue, is a great spot for dinner. They consistently serve some of the best seafood in town. You must try their mussels! Without a doubt, South Beach is the perfect place for a long weekend.

We had a great time and are already planning our next adventure! I sent each of them a copy of 50 Best Girlfriend Getaways to get started and have already received the first list of favorite spots from one of them, so Id better get moving with a list of my own. They are regular readers of The Real Estate Sizzle , so I expect some comments from them at any moment! Already on the list are Nashville, Savannah and Santa Fe…more food for the Sizzle.

As always, I love getting comments and feedback on The Real Estate Sizzle! Remember, the best comment or question each week wins a prize, so scroll to the bottom and leave something in the “comment” section!blogsobe.JPG

If you missed my inaugural “Fun and Frolic”…my personal favorite…you can find it here..

Have a Happy and Safe Holiday Weekend! See you next week!


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Best Question Winner This Week

Filed under: Ask Jackie A Question, Best Question Winner

The best question winner this week is Jane S. for her thought-provoking comments on the Property Tax reform situation, AND her willingness to remove her “party” hat for the discussions! She wins lunch with Ms. Sizzle!

YOU could be the winner next week…ask some great questions!!


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The Latest Proposals for Property Tax Reform in Florida

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

Florida lawmakers seem determined to make some changes in the Property Tax System before the taxpayers revolt! Here are the latest proposals as outlined in the Tampa Tribune today.

I would really like some FEEDBACK about which proposal you think is most likely to get through the Legislature. I consider this a Non-Partisan issue, so take off your party hat and tell me what you think in the comment space below the article.

Personally, I still like Mario Rubios proposal, but there are counties with lower priced housing that would pay little tax under that proposal, so tying the exemption to the Median Price within a county has some merit. I think a tiered percentage plan, vs. a flat homestead amount will have the greatest success and acceptance.

What do YOU think?

An Excerpt from the Tampa Tribune, May 22, 2007

On Monday, legislative economists and lawyers walked lawmakers through three methods of raising that exemption, and a House leader quickly diagrammed and presented a fourth strategy. They are:


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10 Changes to the Florida Real Estate Contract and How They Will Affect You (Part 2)

Filed under: Buyers, Florida Contract, Florida Real Estate, Real Estate News, Relocation, Sellers

If you missed Part 1, or would like a copy of the FAR-9 contract, find it here.

These are the rest of the changes most likely to impact you, along with the paragraph of the FAR-9 contract, in which the change was made.

4. The Effective Date of the Contract is now calculated as the date the last party signs, initials and delivers the final offer or counteroffer.(11a) I have been sending and requesting, email verification of acceptance, along with written communication, so there is no question about the effective date of the contract.

5. A Force Majeure clause was added(11c), which relieves the parties from performance of the obligations under the contract, while the Force Majeure, or Act of God(Terrorism, Hurricane, Tornado, etc.) is in place and extends all time periods (not to exceed 30 days) for the time the force or act of God is in place.

6. A pro-ration clause for property taxes was added. (5d)Taxes are to be computed on the prior years millage at an assessment agreed upon by all parties prior to closing date. If parties are unable to agree, it allows for the County Property Appraiser and a private appraiser to determine what the tax assessment should be. This provision shall survive closing. This is important. Property taxes are paid in arrears, with the current years bill sent out on November 1. Any closings prior to that time have previously used the prior year as a tax bill estimate to be used in the pro-ration at closing. This provides for a more equitable division of the likely taxes for the year in which the property is transferred.

7. A Coastal Construction Control Line Disclosure was added.(7g) Seller must provide a survey or affidavit to verify the Lines location on the property. Buyer may waive this right. This would apply to coastal properties, where the property may be subject to erosion and governmental regulations concerning coastal properties.

8. Doors and Windows must be structurally sound and watertight. Missing or torn screens must be repaired or replaced. 8(a)This has major implications for older homes that have some inoperable windows and missing screens. Agents need to be aware of this when Sellers complete the Sellers Disclosure Statement.

9. Sellers must now transfer a full-treatment warranty only for the type of wood-destroying organism found. 8(a)(b) This clarifies which treatment is necessary and does not require treatment for ALL wood-destroying organisms.

10. Closing costs for the Seller and Buyer are itemized in the contract. 5.(a)(b) This clarifies which party is responsible for which closing costs.

There are a number of other changes incorporated into the contract, but I have highlighted the major changes most likely to impact your next Real Estate Transaction, and my opinion about how these changes will affect a transaction. For advice concerning any contract, please consult an attorney.

**If you enjoy reading “The Real Estate Sizzle” and would like to subscribe to it, please click here**


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10 Changes to the Florida Real Estate Contract and How They Will Affect You! (Part 1)

Filed under: Buyers, Florida Contract, Florida Real Estate, Real Estate News, Sellers

The Latest Version of the Florida Association of Realtors Real Estate Contract (FAR-9) went into effect on May 1, 2007. There are some sweeping changes that every Buyer and Seller in the State of Florida should be aware of before entering into a contract. For a copy of the contract, to follow along with the changes as I discuss them, click here.

The most significant changes to the contract deal with improvements to the property (additions, fences, pools, etc.) and whether, or not, those improvements were properly permitted and the final inspections for the permits completed. It is very important to note that these improvements may have been done PRIOR to this sellers ownership of the property, but the current owner is held responsible for insuring that all improvements to the property were properly permitted. The time to start the investigative process regarding the improvements and permits associated with your property is NOW. It may be unlikely that a complication involving an improvement done without a permit, or an unclosed permit, could be resolved before closing. A contract may fall-through simply because an owner failed to start the investigative process in a timely manner. The changes and the Paragraph() in the contract that the changes are applied to are outlined below.

1. Seller to Provide Buyer with Written documentation that all open permits have been closed out and that Seller has obtained required permits for improvements to the property. (8) You can check on any permits issued for any property in the City of Tampa at this site . This clause pre-dates the current ownership of the property.

2. A 1.5% of the purchase price allowance has been added for the costs incurred by the Seller to close out open permits and remedy any violation of governmental entity, including obtaining permits, up to 5 days before closing. Final inspections to be done no later than 5 days before closing. If the cost exceeds the Permit Limit, either party can pay the excess, failing which, either party can cancel the contract.(5a)

3. If final inspections cannot be be performed, due to delays by a governmental entity, the Closing Date shall be extended for up to 10 days to complete such inspections,failing which, either party may cancel the contract and Buyers deposit shall be refunded.(8)(a)(4) Pay significant attention to this clause. The contract could be cancelled because a government entity cannot schedule your inspection within a certain time period. Sellers should start the investigative process regarding permits LONG before they have a contract on their property. I am going to add an addendum to my listing paperwork, which will require Sellers to initiate the process within 3 days of signing the listing agreement. Real Estate agents will need to impress upon their clients how important this is.

This will have a significant impact on any transaction in which any party to the contract has another property closing on the same closing date! If one closing does not take place on the required closing date, it may put a Buyers escrow deposit at risk in a separate transaction. A domino effect .

For more information about what requires a permit, see the City of Tampa Residential Review Guide.

The information contained herein is my opinion of the implications of the changes in the FAR-9 contract. For legal advice concerning the FAR-9 contract, please consult an attorney.

Please scroll down to leave a comment or ask a question in the space below….

**If you enjoy reading “The Real Estate Sizzle” and would like to subscribe to it, please click here**

Watch for Part 2 10 Changes to the FAR contract


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South Tampa Housing Market Update…Don’t Kill the Messenger

Filed under: Buyers, Florida Real Estate, Sellers, South Tampa, Tampa Real Estate Market

The South Tampa Real Estate market is showing signs of recovery, but there is still plenty of inventory out there! Sellers are frustrated! It helps to compare this year vs. last year to see the change from a Sellers Market to a Buyers Market. This is very similar to the Real Estate market of the early 1990sI worked that market and it was not unusual for a home to be on the market for over a year!

Here are the statistics for sales in South Tampa for 2006 vs. 2007

Residential Sales 2006 2007 +/ %

January 146 132 – 10.6

February 175 117 – 33.1

March 239 139 – 41.8

April 167 132 – 21.0

Total Sales 727 520 – 28%

Average Monthly Sales 182 130 – 28%

Current Inventory In South Tampa 1607 Residential Properties

Average number of sales per month 130 Residential Sales

Average number of months on the market in 2007 12.3

SupplyThe Simple Law of Supply and Demand is illustrated here. If the number of buyers in the market remains the same, the average home in South Tampa can be on the market for 12 months in 2007. What can you do to shorten your market time?

1. Price your home 10% below the competition. Buyers are looking for the best-priced home in a neighborhood. Think Stein-Mart vs. Neiman Marcus.

2. Internet marketing is essential. Over 80% of all buyers are looking for homes on the internet, not in the newspaper! Multiple photos and good descriptions of the property are very important, especially for out-of-town buyers. Read the description on your listing and see if it is geared toward an out-of-town buyer. Sign Calls are also critical. Be sure your agents direct number is on your sign.

3. Reassess your pricing every 4 6 weeks. Look at the recent sales and work with your agent to continually reevaluate your pricing in the market.

4. If you get an offer, try to work with it. The last contract that I negotiated took more than a week! In a buyers market, sellers need to be patient and try to be as reasonable about price and terms as possible. The longer a home is on the market, the lower the sales price will ultimately be. If you would like any additional information about the Tampa market, please contact me here.

Graph courtesy of flickr


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