Shannon Nealey | Clearwater Real Estate, Largo Real Estate, Seminole Real Estate


If you've conducted an in-depth search for your dream house but still have yet to find your ideal residence, there is no need to worry. In fact, you can revisit your homebuying strategy and revise it as needed. This will allow you to restart your house search and increase the likelihood that you'll discover your dream home sooner rather than later.

Ultimately, there are many reasons to revisit your homebuying strategy, and these include:

1. You can consider why you're searching for a house.

There are many reasons why an individual may choose to buy a home. By revisiting your homebuying strategy, you can think about why you want to purchase a house and proceed accordingly.

For example, if your initial goal was to buy a home near the top schools in a particular city or town, you may want to refocus your house search to achieve the optimal results. Or, if you now find that you'd prefer to own a house in a big city instead of a small town, you can update your house search.

2. You can evaluate your home must-haves and wants.

After attending open house events and home showings, your homebuying criteria may have changed. As such, now may be a good time to revisit your homebuying strategy so you can update these criteria.

Think about things you've liked and disliked as you've viewed various available houses. You can use your open house and home showing experiences to revamp your home must-haves and wants, and as a result, reenter the housing market with a fresh perspective.

3. You can review where you want to live.

As you've searched for homes, you may have found that houses in certain cities and towns are more appealing than other residences. Thus, you can revise your homebuying strategy to focus on residences in your preferred cities and towns. This will help you accelerate your house search and ensure you can find a home in a city or town where you want to live.

Of course, conducting a home search on your own often can be difficult. But if you hire a real estate agent, you can receive plenty of support throughout the homebuying journey.

A real estate agent understands exactly what it takes to find a great residence in any city or town. He or she can help you revamp your homebuying strategy and streamline your house search.

In addition, a real estate agent will set up home showings, keep you up to date about new houses that become available and help you navigate the homebuying cycle. Once you find your dream house, a real estate agent will make it easy to submit a competitive offer to purchase this residence. And if you ever have concerns or questions about purchasing a home, a real estate agent is ready to respond to them.

Revisit your homebuying strategy today, and you could move one step closer to finding and purchasing your ideal residence.


That time is coming if it is not already here. The kids are gone, and it is just the two of you—or, maybe there’s only one of you—and you feel like you’re rattling around the house like a couple of beans in a can. You’re tired of cleaning rooms that you never use. You’ve stopped visiting the basement, and you pretend that it isn’t even there. But you have no idea what things you should consider in purchasing that next “smaller” house. All you’ve ever planned for is that perfect house for the family, so … here are some things to consider.

If you’re still young physically, it’s hard to imagine not being able to do the things you have always done. Unfortunately, time does take its toll. 

Steps and doors...

Consider that you might want to find a single-story place with a master bedroom and maybe one guest room. That would seem simple enough, but unfortunately, not all single-level homes are created equal. The number one challenge as people get older is managing stairs. When you put “no step” in the equation, all the sudden you start to see how many steps are in many single-level homes. For example, there may be steps up to the front door, steps from the garage into the house, single steps from the dining room to the living room, a step into the bathroom, etc. Now you begin to wonder if the architect had “steps” on the brain. 

When buying your family home, you may not have even thought about doors, but there is the possibility of one day needing to use a walker or being in a wheelchair. Now, those standard doorways are a problem. Medical needs might limit you to exiting only through the front door—the only 36-inch door in the house. Oh yes, and there might be steps to get out that way as well. 

Fixed income...

The second challenge that happens as people get older, besides health challenges, is having a limited budget. In most cases, it’s fixed to your retirement income. So, it’s not just about the house payments. Even if you pay cash for your home, you still have gas, electric, and water bills. Take time understanding what those bills currently are, and determine if those will fit your budget. Then, decide if there's your room in your budget for them to up because you know that nothing goes down in cost. 

Time and effort...

Another consideration is lot size. You may really love to work outside in the garden or to have a garden that looks beautiful—even if someone else does the gardening. That is all well and good, but you should consider that there may come a time that it is too big or too costly to maintain. Do you want to move again because you cannot afford to keep up the yard or pay for all the water needed to keep it green? If you live in areas of the country that have lots of snow or ice in the winter, how much of the front walkways can you keep clean so you can come and go? If it is a large front yard with a long driveway and long sidewalks it may be more than you can handle.

These challenges are only a few of the things to consider when downsizing. Let your real estate professional know your needs now … and in the future.


Whether you’re shopping for your first house or your next house, finding a listing you love is exciting. You browse the pictures, check out the property facts, share the link to your significant other, and maybe even schedule a showing.

With the exciting prospect of owning a new home that has all or many of the features you’re looking for, it can be easy to forget about certain details that matter. Most of us look for similar things in a house--close proximity to work, enough bedrooms, an upgraded kitchen, and so on.

In this article, we’re going to give you a list of things to investigate about the house you’re looking at to get a better idea of whether or not it’s the perfect match for you and your family.

1. Re-read the listing

If you’re like me and get lost in the photos of a home and forget to make note of the details, be sure to go back and check out the listing a second time. It will likely give you important details of the house that you overlooked on your initial visit.

Look for things like the year the house was built, information of the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system, and the total acreage of the lot and square footage of the home. These things are hard to accurately represent in the listing’s pictures, but will likely be important to your decision of whether or not you should view the home.

2. Do your online research

The number of things you can learn about a home and neighborhood on the internet is astounding. We suggest that before you go to visit a home, you spend 10-20 minutes on Google researching the following topics:

  • School district ratings. If you have or plan to have school-aged children, you’ll want to know what your options are for your child’s education. It’s often a good idea to check out the local schools’ websites to see what

  • Commute times. With Google Maps and similar sites, you can plan out what your new commute will be and see how long it will take. You might find different routes that will save you time or avoid traffic (we could all use those extra few minutes in bed every morning). Google Maps isn’t always accurate when it comes to morning traffic estimates, but it’s a good place to start.

  • Amenities. Having moved into a neighborhood that has no grocery stores within a 20-minute drive, trust me--you’ll want to know what’s in the area. Use Google Maps to find stores, gas, schools, parks and trails, hospitals, and other things you’ll want close by.

  • Street view. While we’re on Google, use street view to take a remote look around the neighborhood. You’ll be able to see how the infrastructure looks--if the neighborhood is taken care of and if there are sidewalks that offer a safe place to walk or jog.

  • Crime ratings. Don’t get too caught up in this section. Crimes happen everywhere, but this is a good way to see if the area you’re moving to is a safe place

3. Don’t be afraid to ask questions

If, after all of your online research, you decide you want to go view a home, don’t be shy when you arrive. It’s understandable that you wouldn’t want to be a burden in someone else’s home. But remember--if you’re considering living there someday you’ll want to know as much as possible before making an offer.

Test the plumbing, ask about average utilities, and don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to neighbors and ask them questions about the community. The more you know, the better. Happy sleuthing!


The process of buying a home is anything but cut and dry. There will undoubtedly be some twists and turns along the way. First, you need to be pre-approved for a mortgage. Then, you’ll need to find a home that fits both your needs and your budget. Finally, you’ll put in an offer on a place and hope for the best throughout the rest of the process.


There are plenty of things that you can do as a buyer to make buying a home both easier and more streamlined. Below, you’ll find some of the best tips that are specifically for those seeking to buy a home. 


Give Them An Offer They Can’t Refuse


When there is a low quantity of homes and a high number of buyers, competition can get fierce. When the market is like this, you’re not guaranteed to get a property that you put an offer on. It may take making several offers on homes in order for you to finally get the keys to your dream house. 


You never want your offer to be too low. A low offer could be insulting to sellers and instead of being countered, could just be outright refused. Make an offer too high and you still have a problem. A high offer may be accepted, however, it’s not going to be approved by your mortgage company for you to borrow that much for the purchase. If an offer is accepted and a home appraises for less, you may be left with thousands of dollars that you need to pay on the spot in order to secure the home. 


The best way to present an attractive offer is to work with an expert realtor who can do the appropriate research and let you know what a good offer on the home would be.           


Know Your Contingencies


After an offer on a home has been accepted, you need to get to work on the contingencies that you’re going to want on the home. Your realtor will also be a huge advocate in this area. Contingencies will include things like the right to do a home inspection, the appraisal contingency, and the contingency that you’ll only be able to move forward with buying the home if you have appropriate financing. These protect you as a buyer so that if something falls through, you’ll be able to back out of the deal without a penalty.


Don’t Go Credit Happy


Once your offer is accepted and your financing is in place, don’t head out to buy tons of new furniture and appliances for your new home. Your credit matters until you get the keys to the house. Opening new credit cards or adding significant debt can affect your credit score negatively, possibly putting a damper on your home purchase. Hold off on making purchases until after you move into the house.    



What's the first thing that comes to mind when you think about living in Florida? Everyone has a different perception of the Sunshine State, but there are a few common themes which are often bandied about when the topic of living, visiting, or vacationing in Florida comes up.

Florida's many golf courses -- 1,042, at last count -- is one of the reasons people are attracted to the area. It has more golf courses than any other state, with top destinations located in Naples, The Villages, Fort Myers, Sarasota, Orlando, West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Jacksonville, Delray Beach, Bradenton, Bonita Springs, Vero Beach, and other cities around the state. If you like the idea of playing golf year round, you can't beat Florida for access to sunny weather and a wide selection of scenic golf courses -- some of which were designed by golf legends like Jack Nicklaus.

Living in Florida also affords you access to many other attractions -- not the least of which is the 600 miles or so of sandy beaches. Pretty much wherever you go in the state, you're just a short drive from the Atlantic Ocean. Some people are fortunate enough to live within walking distance. If you're thinking of buying a house in Florida (and your finances allow it), a beachfront property will provide you with unmatched luxury, beach access, and beautiful ocean vistas you can enjoy from your windows and front porch.

In addition to the availability of renowned Florida attractions, such as Walt Disney World, SeaWorld Orlando, Daytona International Speedway, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, and NASA Kennedy Space Center, there's an abundance of other things to see, do, and experience. Whether you're vacationing in Florida or making it your permanent home, the opportunities for recreation and entertainment are almost unlimited.

Staying active as a Florida resident can run the gamut from bicycling, hiking, and rollerblading to swimming, boating, and fishing. If you don't own your own watercraft, there are plenty of boat tours, rentals, and sightseeing excursions offered in coastal areas -- many of which are reasonably priced.

A few words of advice: If Florida is your destination for either a year-round or seasonal home, it is absolutely essential to do some thorough research, weigh your options carefully, and choose a location based on your interests, budget, and climate preferences. If you plan to travel a lot or entertain out-of-state visitors, it would also be to your benefit to be near one of the major airports in the state.

Fortunately, there are about 20 primary, commercial service airports from which to choose. Many of Florida's major cities offer airport service, including Daytona Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Gainesville, Jacksonville, Key West, Melbourne, Miami, Orlando/Sanford, Panama City Beach, Pensacola, Punta Gorda, Sarasota/Bradenton, St. Augustine, St. Petersburg/ Clearwater, Tallahassee, Tampa, Valparaiso, and West Palm Beach.

If living in Florida is on your "bucket list," one of the most valuable resources in your property search will be a knowledgeable real estate agent who can help you match your lifestyle goals and budget with desirable neighborhoods and homes in your preferred area.