Home Buying in Tampa>Question Details

Lookingintam…, Home Buyer in Tampa, FL

We are looking to move to Tampa, where my husband would work at MacDill. I have heard Fishhawk is fabulous--any comments? Any other place we should?

Asked by Lookingintampa, Tampa, FL Fri Mar 19, 2010

be looking? We are looking to spend 400K plus or minus, and like everyone else in the world, prize good schools and safety. Thanks!

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My last home had pest control tubes in the walls and my current home does not. I've had a monthly pest control service with both and haven't had bug problems with either and I have 5 kids so there are ALWAYS crumbs and open doors, lol. I think as long as you're reasonably tidy and keep a monthly service you would be fine either way. With the tubes in the walls, the pest control company doesn't have to come inside and if you have little kids you don't have to worry about them touching under a cabinet that was sprayed or things like that, but honestly, my pest control service has only come inside once. They came in for the initial treatment and since then they only come inside if I see bugs or have a problem and it 2 years I've only seen one bug.

As far as the market is concerned......there are still a ton of foreclosures to be worked out, some of them aren't even showing as being in foreclosure but they're months, even years behind on payments. ......but interest rates are really low now which can make a huge difference in a 300k mortgage. It's hard to know when the very bottom will be here, but make sure you take into consideration the expense of moving twice, renting for a year (no tax break), and the potential for interest rates to increase.

Good luck!

Best wishes,
Loree Nichols
Web Reference: http://www.welovetampa.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 21, 2010

I just assisted a military family with purchasing a home in FishHawk and one of the things that swayed them was the commuter bus. If you love the outdoors, FishHawk offers some amazing amenities (miles of walking trails,fitness center, tennis and basketball courts, and an aquatic center). Probably two other factors that wow people are the A rated school and the sense of community - things like concerts in the park during the summer, pumpkin festival in the falls and Christmas get togethers). There are other areas of town that offer great housing, such as South Tampa - you have a closer commute to MacDill but will not get as much house for the money, so it's a trade off.
If you want to search ALL listings in the Multiple Listing Service, you can go to http://www.Tampa.Listingbook.com. This is a great resource for home information as well as pricing trends, days on market, property tax lookup, and loan calculations. It is updated every 30 minutes and will send you a report daily for any listings that match your criteria.
Please let me know if there is any way I can be of service to you.
Debbi Tinker
Keller Williams Realty
(813) 263-0932
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 19, 2010
I think the most important move first is to hire a good buyers' agent. (Free to you) A buyers' agent works for you. Many buyers call off signs obtaining a list of agents and it tends to get confusing - besides those agents work for the seller.

We moved from Baltimore in the late sixties, to Tampa as my father was hired to build the Strike Command at MacDill Field..He had high security clearance. He was also a member of the "Flying Tigers"/ Far East Command-running transport gas for them...in WW2. Your husband might be a kick out of knowing that. Dad took care of Pres. Roosevelts' plane as well. He was the only mechanic allowed to work on his plane.

Fishhawk is a great choice and there are other communities you should look into. Would love to help you find your dream home..

Phyllis Crosby, Realtor/GRI
ReMax Tampa Top Notch Associates
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 25, 2010
Fishhawk will offer a great life style for you and your family. It offers you the newer homes and close to shopping and the prize good schools you are looking for. How many children do you have? What are their ages? Fishhawk will also offer great amenities for the entire family. If you would like me set you on a search, please contact me directly on my cell 813 313-9781 or feel free to email me directly at mdoncall4u@verizon.net
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 23, 2010
I have to agree with my collegues regarding pest control either method works well. As far as the market we are certainly encouraged by the number of buyers out there right now, but are waiting to see what is going to happen with foreclosures in the area. The excerpt below was published a couple of days ago:
Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan points to evidence that a recovery is on its way, including an increase in consumer spending, an improving service sector, and the likelihood that employers will begin hiring soon. "More favorable financial conditions overall keep us optimistic that we are moving forward with the recovery, albeit at a lower trajectory than previously forecast," Duncan said in a statement. Housing will be a big part of that.
Regardless, it is a great time to be a buyer - best of luck to you!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 22, 2010
Thank you for your inquiries. As you can tell by the many responses you've received, there are many qualified agents here to help you. I hope that you will give us a call when you are ready to make the "jump". I do look forward to hearing from you and thank you for the opportunity to have been (and to hopefully be of) service to you and yours. Take care and come enjoy the wonderful "Florida Sunshine!"
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 22, 2010
Thank you all again for your kind and helpful replies. I appreciate these very useful opinions and pieces of information, and look forward to diving into the Tampa market!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 22, 2010
Most people do not have the in wall pesticide. I personally just have them do the outer parameter of my home and spray quarterly. Works just fine. I have 3 kids and 4 dogs, no problems.

The truth behind the market is this, no one REALLY knows where the bottom is, but what we CAN tell you will 100% certainty is this, the market has already leveled off, and the rates are stlll RELALLY low which means rates WILL go up...

Let me know if I can help!
Katrina Madewell
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 22, 2010
Termidor around the perimeter of your home should keep the majority of pests from invading the home and also protect the structure from termites. In the wall tubes are a nice feature but not a requirement.

I think we're seeing a temporary blip in prices of homes because of the $8k and $6,500 tax rebates. To be conservative and to get a very good feel for where you should buy in Tampa, you may want to rent for a year. There are still a substantial number of foreclosure and pre-foreclosure homes looming on the horizon. Also if interest rates should rise significantly it may put downward pressure on prices. Other factors like inflation may actually cause "Real" estate prices to increase, though. And.... should you decide to rent, you will lose the large tax deduction for your mortgage interest so you may owe a lot more income tax.

There is a lot to weigh out. We rented when we first arrived from Honololu in 1995 when my husband (he's a federal employee) was transferred to MacDill. We didn't have any children at that time so it was easy to rent.

If you decide to rent first, you also have to be very careful when renting from an individual owner because so many owners are in pre-foreclosure and you may have to move without much notice!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 20, 2010
Thank you all for your replies, they were very helpful.

I have two more questions--

First, I am learning about the prevalence of insects in Florida. Is it worth stretching to buy a new home in order to get pest-tubing?

Second, what are your thoughts on where the market is? I understand sales are picking up--is that a short-lived bump due to buyers trying to get the tax credit, or are we nearing The Bottom? Thanks again!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 20, 2010
Hi Again,
There are many wonderful communities in the Tampa area, and is very hard to give you just a few at this time. I work and have worked with many military familes moving into the area, and I have encouraged them to around different neighborhoods before deciding on their favorite. To the northwest of the county, you have communities like Westchase, Waterchase, Westwood Lakes, Mandolin Reserve just to mention a few. To the northeast you have the New Tampa area, with subdivisions like Tampa Palms, Hunters Green, Heritage Isle, Arbor Greene, West Meadows etc. Of course you always have South Tampa close to MacDill with one of the best school districts in the county. Familirize yourself with these areas and then you will know what best works for you and your family. If you need any assistance, please let me know. I have been a Tampa resident for the past 25 years and a Realtor for the past 16.

Good luck,

0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 20, 2010
Also... before making an offer on any property in a planned community with CDD taxes, you can actually get full details of the CDD including a "payoff" figure. Westchase and Cheval have CDDs that will soon be cut in half because the municipal bond repayment portion will be satisfied in a couple of years. Cheval is considerably more prestigious than FishHawk and you can find a very nice large pool home under your price range. Also if you will need to move in just a few years I would say you will have a much easier time selling a property in Cheval or Westchase versus FishHawk.

Also there is another community that offers gorgeous homes and is an easy to commute to MacDill. Eastlake Woodlands in Oldsmar. No CDD fees and reasonable HOA fees.

If you're getting the USAA Realtor incentive, I can offer to beat their incentive and also allow you to shop for the lowest cost mortgage because you will not be locked into USAA for the mortgage. http://www.ThirdFederal.com and http://www.AimLoan.com offer very low rates and low "lender related" fees.

For helpful info on how to shop for the best mortgage, you can go here:


Alma Rose Kee, P.A.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 20, 2010
As a Realtor and Fishhawk resident, I would say YES to Fishhawk Ranch, Hillsborough county's first "Green" Community! The CDD can range from 900-1200 per year which is a bargain for the Over 26 miles of walking and biking trails, Pools (including an aquatic center with a 50 foot water slide), lighted tennis courts, multiple community centers, a skateboard park, and private movie theater. . . and much, much more!
In the price range you are requesting you can find a home within one of our gated communities; which would increase your security. We have a park and ride center with an "express" bus to MacDill, although many still choose to drive. There are a few negatives that we can discuss if you are interested.
Welcome to Florida!
Lisa Spencer
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 20, 2010
Depending on what size of a house you are looking for, and what year you want the home to be built (i.e. under 20 years etc), do you want deed restrictions with extra expense of a CDD for the ammenities? You really should narrow down what is most important to you with regards to the military relocation, then have an agent that you like suggest some communities from there. Also if you have never been here it can be helpful to get a tour of tampa or even go see where some of the Tampa HUB - hot spot are.

If schools are important to you, yes the have good schools, but as with most master planned communities, they are all having their challenges now. Lutz and Land O Lakes, in Pasco have some of the better schools in the Tampa Bay area, from elementary on up to High school, real hard to find that "IN" Tampa, unless you are in South Tampa. Which of coarse is real close to the base. you can find a nice home in S Tampa for $400k but it might not be as new as if you were in other areas such as fish hawk, cheval, villa rosa, and other nearby lutz land o lakes communities.

Let me know if you need more info.

Katrina Madewell
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 19, 2010
It would be good for you if you were to narrow down your preferences also. Does your family enjoy the outdoor life or the city life more? Do you mind paying the HOA and CDD fees that some communities charge? Do you want a gated community or would that add to your sense of safety? You can also Google FishHawk and get a better idea of the neighborhood, etc. Good luck to you and your family.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 19, 2010
Another area you may want to consider is Westchase,Waterchase, Westwood Lakes (zip 33626) and The Eagles (33556).

Fishhawk Ranch has very expensive CDD Taxes and HOA fees and is literally out in the middle of nowhere. If going to the beach is a preference you will have over an hour commute. If you enjoy world class shopping at The International Mall, it is also a hike.

It's a beautiful community but not worth the inconvenience and the extra costs in my opinion.

If you're willing to do a reasonable commute adjacent to the Veterans Expressway, you may want to consider Cheval, Villarosa and Stonebrier in Lutz. There are no better elementary or middle schools in all of Tampa. Steinbrenner High is new and not yet rated but is expected to be one of the best high schools. Zip 33558

Hope this helps.

Alma Rose Kee, P.A.
Charles Rutenberg Realty, Inc.
Web Reference: http://www.SoldOnTampa.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 19, 2010

It is like everything, some people love FishHawk and some will not live there. It is a bit far to MacDill because there is no easy way out of the neighborhood. It is a very nice subdivision which had great appeal in the boom days. You have to go there and see for yourself.
Good Luck,

0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 19, 2010
Fishhawk is great. I've worked with several military families that decided on that community. There's a commuter express bus that goes right to the base from Fishhawk and my clients really liked that. Fishhawk has a really beautiful setting too with huge mature shade trees. Many of the newly built communities are missing that. New Tampa is nice, but not the best for commuting to MacDill. Westchase might be an option as well as Cheval in Lutz. Please let me know if you have any questions or if I can help in any way.

Here's a link to the transportation offered for military families http://www.fishhawkranch.com/Military.aspx

And here's a link to homes in the 300-500k range in Fishhawk http://idx.diversesolutions.com/search/3658/24

Best wishes,
Loree Nichols
Charles Rutenberg Realty
Web Reference: http://www.welovetampa.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 19, 2010
Dear Looking,

Fishhawk is nice, but the traffic is pretty bad. I know your husband would leave early, but it is still a distance and the infrastructure out there is still being built. I would recommend a couple of other places which are closer to MacDill. One is namely South Tampa, which is not so much as a gated community like Fishhawk, but is very upscale and close to MacDill. The other community I would recommend is Westchase. The traffic pattern is a little more palatible and it has A+ schools as well as, south tampa.
We would be happy to help you in your search. We have helped alot of MacDill people relocate into Tampa and would be happy to help. As a team, you get more to help you than just one person.

Bill Szydlowski
The Szydlowski Team
Future Home Realty, Inc.
Web Reference: http://www.tampamyhome.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 19, 2010
Good Evening!

I have helped many buyers that are relocating to Macdill. Fishhawk is a very nice master-planned community; however, it might be a little far depending on how long your husband wants to commute. It takes a good 15 min. to even get to the Interstate from those back roads. Mira Bay is a nice master-planned community in Apollo Beach and that is not too far from Macdill. Are you looking for a lot of amenities? There is less traffic coming from the South - Riverview, Gibsonton, Apollo Beach because US 41 and the Crosstown Expressway run right into Macdill - North Tampa, Wesley Chapel, Lutz, etc. tend to hit a lot of rush hour traffic. Please, let me know if I can help you with anything.

Nicole Van Allen
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 19, 2010
Fishhawk is a beautiful community! Macdill is not hard to access from there either. The area around here is growing and has a lot to offer as well as tasteful accomodations. Let me know if I can be of any assistance to you and your family. I truly think that you will like the area and feel like you are at home here. Are you looking for a single family home or a townhome?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 19, 2010
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