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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 January, 2008

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The Best Advice For Moving With Pets to Tampa, or Around The World

Filed under: Buyers, Pet Friendly Tampa, Real Estate News, Relocation, Tampa Real Estate

If you are moving to Tampa, or anywhere in the World, taking care of your pet during the move and helping him to get settled into a new home is very important.

Read some of my favorite “Pet Friendly” articles and help your pet to acclimate to a new home!

Condominiums and Pet Rules

The Best Kennel in Tampa

International Relocation with Pets
If you are buying a house in Tampa, or anywhere in the world, or have any questions about relocating…contact me.

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How Much Are Property Taxes in Tampa?…Buying a House in Tampa?…Tampa Real Estate News

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

If you are buying a home in Tampa, or just starting to look at the prices of Tampa Real Estate, a common question involves the cost of property taxes. Properties are reassessed when they are sold, so the existing tax bill on the property you might buy has NO relevance to the taxes you will pay in the future. The new tax bill will be based on the purchase price, not the existing tax bill.

Since Florida has no state income tax, property taxes tend to be higher than some areas in the U.S. , so when you think about your total tax bill, you need to consider the lack of State Income Taxes in Florida.

In Hillsborough County, in which Tampa is the largest city, there is an easy way to estimate your tax bill. The property appraisers office has an online tax estimator, which can help you understand the local property taxes.

If the community you are considering has a CDD fee, that will be an additional fee on your tax bill.

Today, January 29th, 2008, Floridians will vote on a referendum to make the assessed value of your home “portable”. I have written many articles on why this is a bad plan and creates further inequity among all property owners in the tax system. Here is a little-known fact: If the referendum does not pass with a 60% vote, the property tax issue will go to the Florida Tax and Budget Reform Commission for a BETTER plan and the legislature will take up the issue AGAIN. This is not publicized, but true. I will vote NO…you’ve heard all of that in my previous articles:

Vote No on Amendment 1

Another Plan for Tax Reform

For any questions about property taxes in Tampa, or help finding the perfect home in Tampa, please contact me!

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Gasparilla PirateFest This Weekend!…Tampa Real Estate News and More…

Filed under: Fun and Frolic, South Tampa


You won’t likely be buying a house in South Tampa this Saturday, as Bayshore Boulevard and Downtown Tampa are closed to traffic, for the annual Gasparilla Piratefest…a Tampa tradition since 1904, and most of the streets close to the parade route are jammed with crowds.  

The Pirates invade the city by flotilla, where the mayor happily hands over the keys! The parade route begins on Bayshore Boulevard and heads into downtown.  Hundreds of thousands of parade-goers will clamor for the “best” beads, thrown by the many Pirates, and other Krewes.  It’s a day-long party…so get there early, and watch for the “no parking” signs.

I live close to the parade route, so I’ll be taking a  break myself, and hosting a little Gasparilla Party on my porch!

Enjoy the day…

I can help with your move to any Tampa neighborhood, including: South Tampa, Davis Islands, Beach Park, Sunset Park, Hyde Park, Culbreath Isles, Palma Ceia, Westchase, Waterchase, Odessa, Cheval, Avila, Brandon, Riverview, FishHawk, New Tampa, Tampa Palms, Hunter’s Green, Arbor Greene, Apollo Beach, South Shore, MiraBay, Golf Communities, Waterfront Homes, Luxury Homes in Tampa, Condos in Tampa and International Real Estate…contact me




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The “Seller’s Disclosure”…a Critical Piece in the Florida Real Estate Contract…Tampa Real Estate News

Filed under: Disclosure, First-Time Homebuyers, Tampa Real Estate

This week, I have had two separate instances that involved Failure to Disclose issues that surfaced after a closing took place, so its the perfect topic today to educate anyone buying a home in Tampa, selling a home in Tampa or anyone contemplating a home purchase in the State of Florida.

The Florida Real Estate contract requires the seller to disclose any facts which materially affect the property . There is a lengthy form regarding all issues related to the property that a seller fills out , when a home is listed, known as the Sellers Disclosure . Since the contract states that the seller warrants that everything about the property is in working condition , filling out the sellers disclosure Tampahomefaucetproperly is a critical issue. It also requires all utilities to be on for the home inspection. Many sellers live with things their home that dont really work anymore, or they havent used them since they owned the property. For instance, a home may have a fireplace that hasnt been used by the current owner. Or, there may be a security system that has never been used. All of these things should be disclosed on the Seller’s Disclosure , along with the Mold Addendum. A savvy listing agent will review the Sellers answers on the disclosure, to ensure the questions have been answered properly. The seller can say I have never used the fireplace and it is not a warranted item. , or Two zones in the sprinkler system are not currently operating . Simple. Full disclosure.

Too often, sellers either forget about a non-working item, or they hope that the issue may not be discovered by a home inspector, or their listing agent does not quiz them thoroughly about any non-working items. Bad Idea. Throughout the listing period, the disclosure may need to be “updated” with new information about any thing that may have changed, i.e. a new roof, new A/C, flooding, etc.

The two issues I encountered recently are worth discussing because they are VERY different examples of a sellers Failure to Disclose .

Case #1: A spa heater was found to be non-functioning during a home inspection. The spa was apparentlygas heated . The sellers disclosure indicated there were no issues with the pool, or spa. It also indicated that the sellers had occupied the home, which is VERY important. If a seller had NOT occupied the home, they would not necessarily have knowledge of any non-working items. In this case, they had purchased it 3 years prior, but it was now vacant. Repair of the spa heater was listed on the items which needed repair, along with a number of other items. The listing agent sent an email stating that all repairs had been completed. The Contractor who made the repairs provided an invoice which stated the breaker needed to be on for the spa heater to operate and the spa blower is operating normally. A VA appraiser had checked the repairs and there was also a written invoice of verification of repairs. The repairs were triple-checked .

Once the buyers moved into the home, it was discovered: 1: the spa heater was still not working, 2: there was NO GAS TANK (it had been removed after the previous owners cancelled their service) 3: without gas at the time of the home inspection, the spa heater could NEVER have been tested, nor could it be operable. The Sellers failed to disclose 1. there was no gas service for the spa 2. there were any issues with the spa AND they are guilty of Breach of Contract by failing to provide gas for the home inspection. None of these things were readily observable to the buyers, or the home inspector, but they were all facts which materially affect the property. The home had a general home inspection, radon inspection and mold inspection! Buyers are expecting to be reimbursed by the Seller for the spa heater repair and the installation of a new underground tank. All of this could have been avoided if the Seller had simply stated the lack of a gas tank and the unknown condition of the spa, since they had apparently never used it and should have stated that is was not a warranted item. Oh, these sellers also failed to disclose they had a mitigation fan due to the presence of radon. The radon inspector is the one who alerted us to THAT little tidbit, when the radon levels were slightly elevated, and the radon company had a record of a previous installation of a fan at that address. I always recommend a radon inspection in the Eastern part of the county, due to phosphate in the soil, but over 80% of homes in the area go uninspected. Why? Uninformed agents and buyers.

Case #2: First time homebuyers purchase a home without representation, through the listing agent. The home had apparently had an addition done without permits. The buyers never received, nor did they sign, a sellers disclosure. They have now incurred substantial costs related to obtaining the proper permits, since the latest version of the Florida contract(not the one THEY signed) requires seller verification that all work was done with permits, and they have passed the final inspection. I was contacted by them through the Real Estate Sizzle, to get some advice, so I referred them to the listing broker, as well as a Real Estate Attorney.

Hopefully, a good paper trail and the obvious “failure to disclose” in each case ,will result in a positive outcome for the buyers, but an accurately filled-out “Seller’s Disclosure” could have avoided a lot of hassles for all parties…AND… …HONESTY IS ALWAYS THE BEST POLICY.

Selling a Home in Tampa? When in doubtOVERDISCLOSE! Buying a Home in Tampa? Read the Sellers Disclosure thoroughly and get written verification of any, and all, repairs. And, never buy a home, especially a “For Sale By Owner”, in Tampa, or anywhere, without the help of an EXPERIENCED agent who can properly advise YOU through every step of the homebuying process. Need help with your Real Estate needs in Tampa? Contact me today!

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Vote “NO” on Amendment 1…It’s Not Good Enough!…Tampa Real Estate News!

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



Amendment 1 is increasingly losing the battle, as more Floridians understand that it DOES NOT fix the inequities in the Property Tax System in Floridait actually creates more inequityLets send a strong message to our legislators and vote NOsend them back to Tallahassee for a REAL solution to ensure a better tax plan in Florida. Give property owners a CURE for the tax inequity, dont offer up a dab of ointment and a band-aid, instead. Don’t believe what you hear, or read, from the media…MANY Real Estate agents are NOT voting for this plan. While it might prompt a few more people to sell their homes, it does not fix the tax inequities between long-time homeowners and new buyers, who pay vastly different tax bills for the same assessed value. It is discrimination. Imagine if race were involved. Whites paid less taxes than blacks. Or, if men paid higher taxes than women. How is that different from longtime homeowners paying less taxes than new homeowners AND allowing them to take their “tax break (portability)” to the NEXT house??? The picketers would be storming into Tallahassee!

The “Save Our Homes” amendment was intended to prevent older Floridians from being taxed out of their homes as values rose and they were on fixed incomes. When values rose at 5-7% per year, the 3% cap seemed reasonable. Annual increases of over 20% created such disparity between new and old homeowners, it resulted in the discriminatory tax system that exists today. The system is terribly broken, but this amendment is not the solution. Vote “NO”…and watch Florida Speaker of the House, Marco Rubio. He has remained steadfast in his attempts to get us on the right track and persevere for a better plan…for a better Florida.

Want to read more of my thoughts on Florida Property Tax Reform?

Why I am Voting No

More Opposition to the Property Tax Proposal

Another Push for More Tax Reform by Marco Rubio

Florida Property Tax issues on The Real Estate Sizzle get Statewide attention

Tuesday, January 29th is a BIG day for Florida. Make an informed decision when you cast your ballotfor Amendment 1 AND in the Presidential Primary.

I definitely have a strong opinion about the presidential candidates, but for today, lets concentrate on the Property Tax MESS and send our ELECTED officials back to work to cure the illness, not simply to treat the symptoms!


Here’s another plan in the making…You can sign the petition for a Fair Tax Plan at Fair Property Tax for All.



I can help with your move to any Tampa neighborhood, including: South Tampa, Davis Islands, Beach Park, Sunset Park, Hyde Park, Culbreath Isles, Palma Ceia, Westchase, Waterchase, Odessa, Cheval, Avila, Brandon, Riverview, FishHawk, New Tampa, Tampa Palms, Hunters Green, Arbor Greene, Apollo Beach, South Shore, MiraBay, Golf Communities, Waterfront Homes, Beach Condos, Sunset Beach, Penthouses, Luxury Homes in Tampa, Condos in Tampa and International Real Estatecontact me!


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Moving to Florida? “Florida For Boomers” is For You! …Tampa Real Estate News and More

Filed under: Florida Real Estate, Relocation


Anyone moving to Tampa, Clearwater, Miami, or anywhere in Florida, will enjoy Ryan Erismans book, Florida For Boomers !

This comprehensive, easy-to-read guide is perfect for New and Old Florida residents alike. I have never seen such well-written, Florida Boomers_webfact-filled guide about living in Florida in any one place before. Ryan has taken the everything you need to know approach and turned it into a fun to read book, chock full of information about life in Florida.

From choosing the right type of home, to Homeowners Associations and deed restrictions to the intricate details of the Florida Real Estate contract, this book is a must-read for every home buyer in Florida. Insurance, property taxes, swimming pool constructionall things foreign to a northern buyer are explained in great detail.

Ryan includes plenty of links to other things in Florida health care, fishing, festivalsyou name it, its here. Readers can get all the updates online, too…the password is in the book! You can get it easily on Amazon.

If you know of a great book related to Real Estateanywhere in the worldthat I should share with my readers, let me know!

Dreaming of moving to Paris one day? Youll enjoy one of my previous articles on THAT subject!

I can help with your move to any Tampa neighborhood, including: South Tampa, Davis Islands, Beach Park, Sunset Park, Hyde Park, Culbreath Isles, Palma Ceia, Westchase, Waterchase, Odessa, Cheval, Avila, Brandon, Riverview, FishHawk, New Tampa, Tampa Palms, Hunters Green, Arbor Greene, Apollo Beach, South Shore, MiraBay, Golf Communities, Waterfront Homes, Luxury Homes in Tampa, Condos in Tampa and International Real Estatecontact me!


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What’s Happening in The Tampa Real Estate Market Right Now? …Tampa Real Estate News

Filed under: Real Estate News


How do you get accurate information about the Tampa Real Estate Market? Not from the national mediaNot from the local media..FROM A LOCAL REAL ESTATE AGENT!

Heres whats going on in the Tampa Real Estate market todayJanuary 2008.

1. Buyers are buying! Since the beginning of the year, more buyers are out looking at homes in Tampa now, than in the fourth quarter of 2007 and sales volume is up over last month. Why? Prices are the lowest in years! Interest rates are low. It is THE time to buy.

2. Everything about the local market in Tampa is neighborhood specific . You cannot look at statistics for the entire Tampa real estate market as a whole, and apply them to all neighborhoods. Some areas have over 4 years of inventory, while others have several months. Only an agent has access to all of those specifics. Know the statistics for the neighborhood you are looking for BEFORE you buy.

3. Sellers are understanding the reality of this market. Good News. If someone wants to really sell their home, it must be priced in line with recent sales.

The Tampa market is already on the upswing, so dont wait for the prices to start to rise!

Ready to look for the perfect home in Tampa? You can start your search right here, or just send me an email, and tell me what you are looking for: [email protected]

I can help with your move to any Tampa neighborhood, including: South Tampa, Davis Islands, Beach Park, Sunset Park, Hyde Park, Culbreath Isles, Palma Ceia, Westchase, Waterchase, Odessa, Cheval, Avila, Brandon, Riverview, FishHawk, New Tampa, Tampa Palms, Hunters Green, Arbor Greene, Apollo Beach, South Shore, MiraBay, Golf Communities, Waterfront Homes, Luxury Homes in Tampa, Condos in Tampa and International Real Estatecontact me!

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Parking Problems in Your Tampa Neighborhood? …Tampa Real Estate News…

Filed under: Historic Tampa, Services

South Tampa is filled with charming, brick streets and old, historic homes. Sometimes, navigating those narrow streets can be a problem, if drivers are not courteous about making sure they only park on ONE side of the street, to allow vehicles to get through. Trying to get through some streets on Gasparilla Parade Day can be quite an ordeal!

The City of Tampa allows residents to place a 5 Minute Parking sign on their property, to alleviate the problem of irresponsible parking .

The cost of the sign is the responsibility of the homeowner and there are specific restrictions about placement and usage. You can Download the signage requirements here.

Ready to move to one of the charming, historic neighborhoods in Tampa? Contact me today!

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Florida Property Tax Reform…I am Voting “NO”…Must Read…How Will You Vote?…Tampa Real Estate News

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

The Vote on The Florida Property Tax…Amendment 1…is just days away. The Governor, The Media, The Florida Association of Realtors and many other groups are trying to appease homeowners with a “band-aid” fix to the Florida Property Tax issue. Local Governments are using the “scare tactic” that we will lose our basic services. I am a longtime-homeowner and a Real Estate agent. I am TIRED of the media failing to give Floridians ALL of the facts, so I have spent many months researching this issue and explaining why I am opposed to it. I want REAL tax reform, not a band-aid that perpetuates the problem. This article is VERY long…please take the time to read it and VOTE at the end.

I will continue to bring you the latest information and, of course, my opinion on Tax Reform in Florida. Please take the time to VOTE at the bottom of my comments…I am committed to make a difference in this inequitable system.

For MONTHS, I have been discussing the ongoing saga of the Property Tax Reform Issue. In my opinion, the latest plan is the WORST yet.

Let’s start with the reason we are in this situation in the first place….The “Save Our Homes” amendment…what was intended to keep longtime Florida homeowners from being taxed out of their homes has become a nightmare. The annual 3% cap on assessed property values required by the amendment has kept many property owners “trapped” in their homes, because moving to a smaller home could still raise their tax bill. Neighboring homeowners pay drastically different property tax bills, based on the time they purchased. Recent homebuyers pay the lion’s share of the taxes in the state, because of the rise in market values over the past several years. Let’s use the correct term for this inequity…DISCRIMINATION. Long-time homeowners are treated differently, and taxed differently, than new homeowners. Let’s call it “age discrimination” of the worst kind. The bizarre twist in all of it, is that long-time homeowners really feel “entitled” to “steal” from the recent homebuyers.

If you bought a car in the year 2000, would you expect to still pay “year 2000” prices for gas? Do you expect Verizon to charge you “year 2000” prices for your phone service, while your new neighbor subsidizes your phone bill with “year 2008” rates? It is absolutely ludicrous that this tax system was ever introduced, or allowed to continue.

I’m not sure how anyone could claim that properties with the same market value should not be assessed at the same rate, but therein lies the problem created by the “Save Our Homes” amendment. To further compound the problem, now the latest plan includes “portablility”…the ability to take your “Save Our Homes” capped assessment with you to the next house…That is a great way to perpetuate the problem…but it sounds great to the voters who don’t understand the long-term implications. The “old” homeowners get to take their savings with them to a new home and the “new” homeowners continue to subsidize them.

** Again…discrimination…long-time homeowners get all the tax breaks at the expense of new homeowners.** The solution: a much-lowered millage rate AND the elimination of the discriminatory practices in the tax system. Or, “consumption-based” taxes tied to a new sales tax. Low-income residents, young, or old, would benefit. Taxes would be fair and equitable.

The average homeowner will get a $240 tax break with this plan. What they will also get, is the END to any further property tax reform. If this amendment is passed, the deal will be done and the discrimination will continue.


I would like each of you to think about what happened to the “windfall” of taxes created by the increased property taxes of the past few years. Think about why the local governments are vehemently opposed to cutting property taxes. Think about whether we have had an increase in services, better roads, etc. The answer is NO. From 2001 to the present, our population grew less than 15%, while our tax revenues grew by over 60%, some reports put that number at over 90%. Where did all that revenue go? Answer: Into the benefits packages and increased wages of government workers…well beyond the annual cost of living increase. The local governments took the windfall and SPENT, and SPENT AND SPENT! Now, they are whining about Budget cuts and claiming your services will be cut. They aren’t offering to take their benefits packages back to the pre-windfall levels, though. They are just whining. And the media isn’t telling the real story about where our tax dollars were spent. Why? The lobbyists…they lobby for the cigarette industry, for the tourism industry, for the counties, for the alcohol industry…Who lobbies for the Property Owners? NO ONE. We have to lobby for ourselves.

We should expect our government officials to exercise fiscal responsibility. They need to follow the example of what a CEO in a private company would do: CUT BACK…eliminate benefits, freeze wages, get government workers to understand they are not “entitled” to anything that the tax revenues cannot provide. How many employees would choose to leave for a career in private industry where they would be subject to the “real world” of budgets. Not many. Services would not be cut, but the government would learn to operate more efficiently. We need to review our leaders fiscal responsibility before every election!

I AM in favor of meaningful Property Tax Reform…one that benefits all property owners. I AM in favor of spreading the tax burden across all Floridians, and all of those who visit this State and enjoy it’s benefits without sharing in it’s burden. I just returned from a week in Las Vegas, where I attended two Real Estate conferences. I was “floored” by the high taxes on everything related to the hotel and restaurant industries. Florida, and the lure of Disney and the beaches, is not dissimilar, but our taxes related to tourism are far less. I AM in favor of more consumption taxes: hotels, alcohol, cigarettes, sales taxes. I AM in favor of little or No Property Tax, with an increase in consumption taxes. Non-homestead property owners should pay property taxes, but at significantly lowered rates. With an increase in sales taxes (which are tax deductible on your Federal Tax return) those who buy more services and goods, would pay more in taxes. More disposable income would create more spending and more tax revenue. Home ownership would be affordable, not a financial burden. The elderly would not be taxed out of their homes.

That, in a nutshell…is my solution. I am Voting “NO” on January 29th, because this plan is not the long-term solution for a better Florida. What do you think? Leave me a comment and vote in the poll below!
<a href=”” >surveys</a> – <a href=”” >Take Our Poll</a>

Here is the latest proposal from Florida Speaker of the House, Marco Rubio…what do you think? It’s MUCH better than the plan that is up for a vote…

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Moving to Tampa? Need A Doctor? Tampa Real Estate News, and More!

Filed under: Relocation, Services, Tampa

Whenever I have clients moving to Tampa, one of the things I share with them are all of the people, and places, who are critical to my life: Doctors, dentists, child care, painters, bakeries, frame shopsyou name it. My clients know they can call me for anything from traffic violations to special assignments to a schoolI know where to go for just about anything. And, I really enjoy being that source of information for them. Tampa is a big city, so many of my clients are in far-flung neighborhoods in the suburbs, and I dont get to see them very often, but being their source of information for everything keeps us connected!

This week, I have been operating at half-staff ill with a bug that is Tampasickvery persistent. Tough for someone who is really NEVER sick. I survive on very little sleep and have energy to spare. Ive been sneaking into my office, posted a note on my door, Sickenter at your own risk full disclosure. Since my business is so internet-based, email has allowed me to keep on top of things, but Ive had to reschedule appointments and finally admit that I needed some medical attention. Arrgh!

So, I will share, for the world, my favorite place to get great medical care in South Tampa. Dr. Gisele Riscile has a walk-in clinic at 3201 S. Dale Mabry, Tampa, 33629 813.831.6000. I have seen her for years! Why? She listens. She wants you to get well. She thinks outside the box. She uses a computer system to keep track of your previous ailments, medications and issues. And, she is a mother. She calls to see if you are feeling better. Over the years, I suppose I have gravitated to female physicians with children. Why? They understand working mothers have no time in their lives to be sick. They never say, its stress . They care. They know that if I say that I am sickI am REALLY sick.

Today, I look like that old Microsoft commercial( the power of marketing), sitting at my computer in my pajamas and fluffy slippers, but I am starting to feel better (two shots later), so Ill be back in the office tomorrow and am busy rescheduling my day. Thanks to my virtual life, Ill hardly miss a beat!

So, If you need help buying a house in Tampa, or finding help with anything, I can help youjust contact me!

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