Sjea, Home Buyer in 60102

Possibly looking for a new realtor for 1st time homebuyers?

Asked by Sjea, 60102 Tue Feb 23, 2010

My name is Eric and my fiance and I are looking to purchase a home in Tampa soon. We are kind of working with a realtor right now but response times are taking way to long and we have just started working with him. We are using him because my parents worked with him but just feel that he is way to busy. So we are giving him until the weekend and if nothing we would like to look for our own realtor.

A bit more about us:

-We will be relocating from the Chicago area to the Tampa area
-We are 1st time homebuyers which means we would like to try and have a contract in buy April 30th to qualify for the tax credit
-We already have a pre-approval letter
-We have a child that will be starting kindergarten and have done lots of research on towns in The Tampa Bay area
-We are "PICKY" people (I know most 1st time buyers are)

Running out of room but if you think you would be up for the task let me know and hopefully we can continue on.


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Katrina Made…, Agent, Lutz, FL
Tue Feb 23, 2010
Hi Eric
This can be a tricky thing when you say you are already working with another Realtor. Especially if you have a buyer agent agreement. Most good Realtors like me are busy most of the time with clients or files they have in process right now. For me appointments and planning EVERYTHING is key. The one thing you have to be concerned with is this; Is being a Realtor a FULL TIME career for your agent, or are they just dabbling in it part time. When response times lack, that typically means 2 things, they have another "Job" and are acting as a Realtor part time, or they are lacking systems to keep things in order.

My team and I work with many people, like you that are wanting to get in before the tax credit deadline, are Relocating from a different state to Tampa Bay, and have a tall order on what they want.

When my clients know what they want, that's the easy part, its the ones that aren't sure that makes it bit, more challenging. So if what you are seeking is "out there" chances are we'll find it. what areas of Tampa Bay do you have in mind? what specifically are you seeking?
Here is my direct contact info, if you think we might be a good match let me know.

Katrina Madewell 813 777-1196 and If you would like a free relocation guide (no strings attached) just email me and I am happy to send you one out.

Here are what a few of my past clients have had to say:

Search for Tampa homes online at

Befriend me on facebook! (Katrina Jasper Madewell)…

PS I will be out of the office most of the day with another client, but I will respond back if you have questions. Have a good day Eric.
0 votes
Mark LeMenag…, Agent, Lake Nona Orlando, FL
Tue Feb 23, 2010
Narrowed it down? You are kidding right? I don't see any mention of budget or financing. Until you have those set the rest is just a pleasant dream.

By the way, we take offense at your comments about our education system. Florida has made more improvement than any other state in the US in the past 10 years. I'm a transplanted Chicagoan, originally from Kankakee. The kids here get just as good an education as we did.
1 vote
Dan Chase, Home Buyer, Texas City, TX
Thu Mar 11, 2010
pick me pick me!!! if you look at any agents from trulia look at each ones profile. Look at their Q&A contributions and blogs. Decide if they are someone you might like or not. Also, ask about their experience and number of houses sold and ask for references and proof pf what they say.
0 votes
Alma Kee, Agent, Tampa, FL
Thu Mar 11, 2010
Hi Eric,

A lot will depend on your price range. What is it?

You can get a spectacularly large home with a pool all the way out in Wesley Chapel or Land O Lakes but it may be difficult to get a 45 minute commute to Tampa Int'l. Also you may see less price appreciation once the market turns around because there is such a large supply of homes. Also the neighborhood may be a bit challenged for a few years until the foreclosures are all weeded out. You may also see a high percentage of renters in those neighborhoods that don't take care of the exterior of their homes well.

At this point in time, I'm seeing multiple offers on properties that are not short sales because of the imminent deadline for FTHB so you may not have the luxury of being too "picky". If you are able to forego the $8k free money you may be better off waiting until after April 30th. Who knows...congress may extend the deadline, they may require it to be paid back, however.

The hands down absolute best elementary and middle school in Hillsborough County is.... well you'll have to email me to get that info! lol... I can also set you up on and you can see real time updated listings with more details, i.e. how many days on the market, pending sales, sold properties. So send me your email.

I work as a team with another Realtor so you can be assured of prompt attention and first class service.

Hope this helps.

Alma Rose Kee, P.A.
Charles Rutenberg Realty, Inc.
Web Reference:
0 votes
Cynthia Skip…, , Tampa, FL
Wed Feb 24, 2010
Just arrived back from Downers grove in Chi-town, The people are soooo nice . It's official... Lou Malnati's is better then Uno's , my option. As to your situation and the whole nine yards, maybe if your Realtor reads these notes, he will shape up. Did you set your expectations, wants and needs with him in the beginning? If you did, have a chat and tell him were he stands with you performance wise. Hopefully the agent will give you the service you deserve. If you agree to disagree, cut him loose and call someone on this page who is interested in your business. I'm sure someone will help you. Happy house hunting.
Web Reference:
0 votes
Katrina Made…, Agent, Lutz, FL
Tue Feb 23, 2010
Hello Eric,
one more thing, this site has a lot of great info on schools and how the city is rated as a whole. Your areas with better schools (Elementary, Middle and High Schools) are mostly in Pasco county (with some other Tampa areas as an exception), but Lutz, Land O Lakes, Odessa are all great choices.…

These areas have lots of room for nearby community expansion shops etc. Recent new and planned malls, dining, entertainments etc. i was born and raised in Tampa, so there arent many areas I dont know. Plant City, Pasadena, Palm Harbor, Largo and other ares of Pinellas county are not my expertise, and I would just refer you to another great agent in that area, that works like me. Pinellas county (in general) is a wild card when it comes to their school system... very strange, nothing like Tampa Bay (Hillsborough Pasco Counties).

I know the Brandon Valrico Riverview area well, north to about Wesley Chapel and west to Odessa, are the normal areas I know well.

I am glad that my answer had information that provided you with value. You can check out my youtube channel for client testimonials and property tours I have to done for other clients, like you.

Have a super day :)

All my best,
Katrina Madewell
0 votes
Sjea, Home Buyer, 60102
Tue Feb 23, 2010
Thank you all for the quick responses. To answer regarding agent agreement: no we have not signed anything or agreed to anything. We have only spoken once since Jan 28 if that tells you something. No I do not believe this is his full time job. If we have no response within the next few days we will definately be sorting out through some of the responses we have received.

With the houses being so unique in Florida compared to Chicago and all the bang for the buck you can get we have many options. For locations we have narrowed down to:

Tampa Palms
Land O Lakes
Plant City??
Palm Harbor
Wesley Chapel

Reason why we have chosen these is we have done lots of research in towns that have really good schools as it seems the education system is way below average in Florida and we want the best for our daughter (Only starting kindergarten but we dont plan on moving anytime soon). Also I travel throughout the U.S. for work so want to keep within a 45 min drive to Tampa airport. We dont like living the "City" life and prefer more suburbia living or slightly more country with an occasional cow or two.

As for in a home, we do know that most communties have pools in them but would be nice to have a pool and enjoy from the comfort of our home. We feel that maybe if we get a house without a pool though we will never get it put in. We want to keep the home newer (within 0-10 years) and at least 200sq feet with 3+ bedroom, 2+bath and preferably a 3 car garage but not a dealbreaker.

But I can over all of this with whoever I choose. Just thought I would put this in since someone had asked what we are looking for.

0 votes
Yael Hatfield, Agent, Tampa, FL
Tue Feb 23, 2010
Hello Eric,

How are you? I know that the position you are in with finding a new realtor is hard, especially when your parents have worked with the same person in the past and had success. You haev to do what is best for you and your fiance!

You guys must be excited about moving to Florida from Chicago! After I graduated from Lake Forest College in IL (an hour North of Chicago) I moved to Florida and am still loving the idea of not shoveling snow. I am sure you will soon be able to relate! I remember waking up in the morning and shoveling a path from my front door to the car and then chizzling ice off the door to start it. While the car was running I would shovel the car out and shave the ice off the windshield, run back into the house, get read for work and then realize I got plowed back in! I know you have experienced this at some point!

Should things not work out with the Realtor you are currently using, I would like to assist you with purchasing your first home here in the Tampa Bay Area. Tampa has seen its lowest prices in years and it is the perfect time to buy, especially being a first time home buyer! You can view my website to be able to access the MLS for free! You can also save searches and be able to generate automatic emails with new listings in the area based on your criteria. I also have a website with a questioniare to better help me understand what you are looking for. This website is and make sure to put my name on the bottom of the page.

Please do not hesitate to call me or email me. I look forward to making your transition to your new home as smooth as possible!

Yael Hatfield
Exit Bayshore Realty
727 771 5474
0 votes
greg, , Boston, MA
Tue Feb 23, 2010

Business not personal... Find a Realtor who is responsive to you--the client!
0 votes
Mary Diaz, Agent, Tampa, FL
Tue Feb 23, 2010
Hi Sjea,
I have worked with a lot of first time home buyers and understand your frustations. A very important element is for you and your fiance to feel comfortable and trust your realtor. The relationship should be one of mutual respect and understanding. Wish you good luck in your search.

0 votes
Tony Collings, , 33764
Tue Feb 23, 2010
Hello Eric,
My name is Tony Collings....I am a Realtor and State Certified Real Estate Appraiser.
I enjoy working with first time homebuyers. I do not want any one paying more than a property is worth.
Please call me at 813-997-4000 or email at

Tony Collings
Charles Rutenberg Realty, Inc. Realtor
Encore Appraisals, Inc Appraiser
0 votes
Darla Schroe…, Agent, Madeira Beach, FL
Tue Feb 23, 2010
Hi Eric. If you and your fiance are interested in Pinellas County property, I am here to help. I have worked with a lot of first time home buyers and can meet your 04-30 goal to be under contract for tax credit purposes. I also represent the County on the selling side of their Neighborhood Stabilization Program which is specifically for first time home buyers and/or veterans. Please feel free to call me any time on my cell phone 727-541-3743.

Darla Schroeder, Realtor, GRI, e-PRO
Certified International Property Specialist Candidate
Transnational Referral Certification (TRC)
Century 21 Real Estate Champions
4350 Duhme Road
Madeira Beach, FL 33708
Cell (727) 541-3743

Search the MLS like I do at
0 votes
Gita Bantwal, Agent, Jamison, PA
Tue Feb 23, 2010
Make sure you interview 3 agents this time . Read about them,their blog,their web sites and most important find out how long they take to respond to your calls .
Web Reference:
0 votes
Quang Tran, , Tampa, FL
Tue Feb 23, 2010
I would be able to help you if things don't work out with the other realtor. Please contact me at or 813-495-2911.

Quang Tran
Exit Bayshore Realty
0 votes
Julie Noyas, , Tampa, FL
Tue Feb 23, 2010
Hi Eric,

Are you currently in, or subject to, an exclusive buyer/tenant agreement with your current Realtor® and his associated brokerage?

0 votes
Bill Szydlow…, Agent, Tampa, FL
Tue Feb 23, 2010

As former Chicagoans, we know what it takes to work with first time homebuyers. Most of our clients are not from the area and we would be glad to give you the names and numbers of our last sales so that you can get a better idea about what we do for our customers. My wife and I are a team, so you will always have someone to talk or work with. Also, we work weekends, evenings, holidays, etc., basically 24/7/365, so our customers are taken care of. We are extremely familiar with the area and would like the opportunity to sit and talk with you about your needs and how we plan to help you.

Bill Szydlowski
The Szydlowski Team
Future Home Realty
Web Reference:
0 votes
Sherry Steve…, Agent, Valrico, FL
Tue Feb 23, 2010
How is this for a quick answer? Please call me on my cell phone. 813-431-2506
Sherry Stevens
Styles & Styles Co. Realtors
0 votes
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