Afraid to purchase in Brandon, Riverview, Gibsonton area.....

Asked by Rafael Figueroa, Kissimmee, FL Sun Mar 3, 2013

I am active duty Navy and just recieved orders to Macdill AFB and will be stationed there for the next 4 years. I see that there is a lot of new construction and LOTS of older homes for sale 5-10 year old range. New constructions are going for decent prices and with the things i need/want for my family i'll be in the 200's. Comparable older homes are in the upper 170-190 range with my criteria. Then I have the fear of the whole "chinese drywall" thing in homes older than '08.

I would love to get into a new construction for my family, but similar homes with my criteria that were built from '05 to about 2011 have lost a ton of equity. How do you estimate the market in this area? Holding, Loosing? Gaining?....

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Tracy Hoyt’s answer
Tracy Hoyt, Agent, Valrico, FL
Sun Mar 3, 2013

The market is coming back in leaps and bounds in Valrico and Brandon. I live in the Valrico area and we are retired Army. We have been here for over 6 years and love it. I offer a military program that allows you to receive a refund on your home purchase. It is for both new construction and older homes. I would love to talk with you about the area, commute to MacDill, and the different choices you can make. Please review my profile on Trulia and send me a message or email me directly at I understand the military move, been there, done that. I use that experience to help guide my clients to the right choice for their family.

No pressure, just help.

Tracy Hoyt
Prudential Tropical Realty
1 vote
Dawnett Plag…, Agent, Apollo Beach, FL
Mon Mar 18, 2013
Congratulations for being stationed at Macdill AFB. The Tampa Bay Area is a great place to live.The average sold homesinthe price range between 170 & 250k in the Apollo Beach, Brandon, Riverview, Gibsonton, areas are up 82% from Februaryof 2012compared to February 2013. It has been gaining in the last three months. New construction is also on the up swing, it will depend on the amentites that you are interested in as to which purchase would be your best and most economical.
The issue with "chinese drywall" has dimished due to the fact that if you know that you have chinese drywall you have to disclose it,but I would recommend a home inspection no matter which way you go, so that you don't have any major unexpected problems.
If I could be of any further assistance to you and your family please give me a call.
0 votes
Bill Eckler, Agent, Venice, FL
Sun Mar 17, 2013
As others have said, the market is on the mend. The "Chinese drywall" issue is one that is deminishing since most of the homes containing this troublesome material have been identified leaving the seller with the responsibility of disclosing this information to future buyers.

By being an informed buyer and after closely evaluating your options you should find yourself prepared to make a decision that is best for your family. Begin by previewing properties of interest with your agent, attending open houses, visiting construction sites, and following listings on line in a effort to collect as much information as possible about the current local market.

Only then will you have the clarity you seek.

Good luck,

0 votes
Colin Dilley, Agent, Brandon, FL
Tue Mar 5, 2013
You've done some homework Rafael. You're already a step ahead of most buyers. Local statistics indicate that there has been a consecutive Y/Y growth rate of roughly 8%. This is in terms of both Sale Price and Homes Sold. Some may argue that the growth has been even greater. It's tough to predict what the future may hold, but with more homes sold in 12' than in any year since 07', it's a pretty good indication of things to come.

New Construction/Existing Inventory -- With roughly three months of existing inventory in the Greater Tampa Area and even lower in more rural areas, it's getting increasingly harder for families to find a home that fits the entire families needs. This coupled by strong negotiating tactics and the ever presents of cash-ready investors, it's enough to turn existing home shoppers to build to order owners. That's not to say however there's not an existing home out there for you and your family. You can still find a nice home with great value, but the opportunity to negotiate big wins is getting more difficult in this sellers market. Builders are still offering nice incentives that can bring the overall cost of the home down to existing inventory prices, and many have inventory ready homes, or homes in production that could be move-in ready relatively quickly if time is of the essence.

As a native to The Greater Tampa Bay area I can aide you in finding the right community and home for you and your family. Call me today if you'd like to discuss further the pros and cons of new vs. existing home sales or if there's any questions I can answer for you. Otherwise, best of luck to you and your family on getting settled in Tampa. You're sure to love it!
0 votes
Stephen McRo…, Mortgage Broker Or Lender, Tampa, FL
Mon Mar 4, 2013
I'm from the Tampa Bay area and I can tell you that you should not worry about valued dropping because its GAME ON! Prices are expected to increase as much as 6% or maybe more in 2013!

As far as using your VA loan, it may not be the best option if you can put 5% down. That Muti-Used VA funding fee of over 3% is BRUTAL!

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0 votes
Alma Kee, Agent, Tampa, FL
Sun Mar 3, 2013
Prices are rising rapidly throughout Tampa Bay because we have an influx of ALL CASH large investment firms and individual investors buying up every property they can get their hands on that make sense as a rental.

Just be careful of hefty HOA and Community Development District Taxes because they both can add up to a few thousand extra dollars or even more "extra" out of your pocket, depending on the community.

If you have time to wait to build that may be your best option becuase most properties are getting multiple offers within hours of listing. Even Fannie Mae properties that are restricted to owner-occupant buyers are receiving 10-15 offers within 48 hours. I have two clients that have made offers well above market value on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac properties and are still getting beat out! It's a bit of a frenzy right now.

Builders will pay a Realtor a commission and you will not be able to negotiate a better deal if you chose to go it alone so find a Realtor you are comfortable with working with and make sure she/he goes with you to the builder model center on your first visit. Also it's crucial when buying a new construction home to have a multi-stage home inspection. It will keep the builder on their toes to ensure there are not mistakes made during your construction. I've seen builders use rotted wood on structural components that could cause serious harm to your family! So it would be worth the extra expense to hire an experienced home inspector to verify each stage of the building process.

Thank you for your service to our country and your sacrifices to keep my family safe.

All the best,
Alma Rose Kee, PA
Future Home Realty

PS If you're not yet working with a Realtor, you're welcome to sign up for a free Listingbook account on my website and it will allow you to "search like a Realtor" with the most up-to-date and accurate info.
0 votes
Iris Green R…, Agent, Brandon, FL
Sun Mar 3, 2013
Hi Rafael! I was in the same boat as you several years ago. My husband is active duty and stationed at MacDill and we decided to purchase in the area. I can honestly say that we have not regretted our decision one bit. The Chinese Drywall concerns you have are valid and should be considered, but you shouldn't rule out older homes because of it. As Kathy said, many have already been found and were either remediated or are listed at significantly lower prices. You can always order and inspection to determine whether the home has it or not. New construction may be a better option for several reasons: more energy efficient, semi-customized to suit your lifestyle and the builder will often offer closing cost incentives. Regarding the market - statistics show that our area hit the bottom in January of 2011 and is on its way up. We have seen fairly significant increases over the last year. As an agent specializing in military relocations, I would be happy to assist you in finding your next home! Visit my site at, where you can pull a Market Insider Report for the various zip codes in the Greater Brandon Area or feel free to contact me at 813-312-6676 and we can discuss in depth the needs of you and your family.
0 votes
Debbie Breaw, Agent, Brandon, FL
Sun Mar 3, 2013
Good evening Rafael

The market here overall has been picking up. Couple of reasons for that:

- Normally activity picks up in the spring because buyers and sellers like you have children and usually like to move in the summer time.
- New construction has really picked up again, which is a good sign for the economy. In the Riverview area, you are right about a lot of new construction. That has been the new rapid growth area. I addition, they have started construction on a new mall and hospital in this area.
- Prices are in some ranging creeping up as there are not a lot of new listings--therefore a low supply with a higher demand forces prices up.
- The reason for many of the homes built/sold in 2005-2008 was due to the crazy market at that time where you had a "sellers' market" (low supply, high demand) with prices spiraling rapidly upward. - - This combined with the mortgage scandal then contributed to the large of amount of bankruptcies, foreclosures, short sales, and a drastic decline in demand due to the economy which forced the market to adjust by home prices dropping.

The advantage of new construction is the incorporation of the latest appliances, floorplans, and in many cases more "green" friendly. Also builders sometimes are flexible to make adjustments to meet your personal preferences.

Your concerns about the Chinese drywall are so true. A friend of mine had to move out of his house for about 8 months so that all the drywall could be replaced. A real nightmare for him, but a very cooperative builder who did the right thing.

With children, I think you may want to look at the school rankings to influence your decision of where to buy.

I hope this helps to answer your questions. Please feel free to ask any more. Would you like me to send you anything periodically on new listings, construction? Have you talked with a bank/credit union etc about a mortgage? When are you planning on doing a housing hunting TDY?


Debbie Breaw, GRI CRS
Keller Williams Realty, Brandon
Direct: 813-826-4675 or 813-504-1498
Office: 813-684-9500 x310
0 votes
Kathy Shalos…, Agent, Apollo Beach, FL
Sun Mar 3, 2013
Hi Rafael. The market has been appreciating in our area for the past year. There are still some great values out there and interest rates are historically low. Our inventory of resale homes is very low, so new construction is a great option. While there are some homes with tainted drywall, it didn't affect all construction during the 2004-2008 timeframe and most of those homes have been discovered. Many have been remediated. A realtor can help you navigate the home buying process and educate you about our market. As a buyer, there is no cost to you for my services. I've moved with the military over 20 times and am aware of the needs of military families. I'd love to help you find your new home. You can reach me at 813-857-3196 or to discuss what I can do to help you meet your goals.
0 votes
Thank you for your response, sent an email.
Flag Sun Mar 3, 2013
Frank Popele…, Agent, Brandon, FL
Sun Mar 3, 2013
Hi Rafael, Frank Popeleski in Seffner. I just put in a rather long posting only to see that it did not take. I had not signed in. Brandon, Valrico, Seffner area is nice. I live in Seffner. Getting to MacDill is a bear in the am. I-4 and I-275 are the bottleneck. I always suggest you get with others at the base and see how they handle the traffic. I prefer taking the Crosstown in myself. I would not be to concerned about Chinese Dry Wall, most who have it know it already. Newer constructtion should not be a problem, there are a few nice communtiies going up here now. To Tracy, what is this military program where they can get a refund on the closing of a house? Please advise. Rafael I can be reached at if you have additional questions.
0 votes
The program was created about 5 years ago and it allows for a rebate at closing. It was created to combat the military movers advantage program. We match the rebate penny for penny and we don't lose our clients to big banks. It allows the buyer to pick their own agent and lender, something the other programs do not do. Of course they must pick an agent in our company who participates in the rebate program.
Tracy H
Flag Sun Mar 3, 2013
Lynne & Sha…, Agent, Tampa, FL
Sun Mar 3, 2013
First Thank you for your service. As far as Chinese Drywall the current owner would have to disclose that as part of the property disclosure. I see home prices rising at this time. They are no where near where they were but still rising.
0 votes
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