A Major League Soccer Expansion is within reach

The Rowdies have one of the most simple, inexpensive stadium plans among the expansion hopefuls. They already have refurbished seats, the video board, locker rooms and more at Al Lang Stadium, which sits on the downtown St. Petersburg waterfront. Now Bill Edwards is committed to putting $80 million (plus cost overruns) into expanding the stadium from around 7,200 seats to 18,000. He told SI.com that he intends to ask for no public money and that the city will be on the hook only for some infrastructure upgrades such as sewage.
Al Lang is next to the Mahaffey Theater, the venue that relies on support from The Bill Edwards Foundation for the Arts, and the Salvador Dalí museum and is a few blocks from St. Petersburg’s downtown dining and nightlife district on and around Central Ave.
St. Pete/Tampa is an unpredictable, eclectic sports town(s). The population is there, support wavers at times, but success is rewarded. It’s also an event town(s). Four Super Bowls, three Final Fours (one men’s, two women’s), two Frozen Fours and Monday’s College Football Playoff final, among others, have been staged in Tampa or St. Pete.         We are in competition with 12 other cities (Sacramento, Atlanta, St. Louis, Nashville, San Antonio, Raleigh, Cincinnati, Charlotte, Indianapolis, Phoenix, San Diego and Detroit).
The size of the market and Edwards’ stadium plan are huge plusses. MLS wants ratings and a population base, and the fact that the Rowdies would play in a downtown, waterfront venue that will cost half as much as many other grounds is unique and extremely appealing. (Information taken from article on SI.com)

Let’s go Rowdies!

It is Grand Prix time

Every year in the spring downtown gets transformed into a racing paradise. The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is a Verizon IndyCar Series race held in St. Petersburg, Florida. The race has been the season opener since 2009, with the exception of 2010, when it was the second race of the season (but the first on U.S. soil). This year’s date is 10 March through 12 March.
The race takes place on a temporary course, utilizing downtown streets, and two runways of Albert Whitted Airport.
Owners of downtown apartments are hosting Grand Prix parties to watch the spectacle right from their balconies. Restaurants are brimming with excitement and the sexy noise of race cars fills the air for many miles during this highly sought after event.
Drivers – start your engines. See you downtown!

We are growing

Dear Customer and Fellow Agent,

it is with great pleasure that we welcome the two newest team members to our company. Tahane brings to us the versatility of her culture and the ability to converse fluently in Spanish, Portuguese and Arabic. Eric brings to us the youthful adaptability in technical matters and fluency in German.
Our growth is also spreading in our ability to offer property management on a completely different level. We have affiliated ourselves with a professional property management company that will cover the back-end of management (i.e. accounting and escrow management) whilst leaving us with that part that we do best – serving our customers.
We are looking forward to meeting you as a new customer and to continue doing business with you as a repeat customer.

Most sincerely,

Your Team at Global Lifestyle

The official end of summer

Dear Visitors,

in the US the “official summer” doesn’t ends on Labor Day weekend. Two days ago was Labor Day, which symbolizes that summer is over. In Florida, however, it seems that nobody took that message to the appropriate “weather makers”. The temperatures are blazing hot. The typical summer thunderstorms are still in full force. The children are back in school and the stores are starting to display Halloween decorations. The beaches are currently a wonderful assortment of languages from all over the world. Soon it will be Snowbird season, where you will find mostly people from up north and Canada, swimming in water that the locals, by than find too cold. Ah, Florida, a lovely place to live, vacation, do business – or all of the above. Please, contact us if we can help you find a suitable place for you, whether it may be a home, a vacation home or a commercial facility. We enjoy working all year round – not only Memorial Day to Labor Day.


Your Team at Global Lifestyle

Drivers, start your engines

Dear Visitor,

Last weekend marked the 10th Anniversary of the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. The city was brimming with race teams, fast cars, sponsors and fans. It was, in the Mayor’s words, the “fastest spring break party on the streets of St. Petersburg”. We had the honor of hosting the first of the IndyCar races of the season this year. The down town race track is situated in beautiful surroundings, brings plenty of excitement, and allows for great entertainment during and after the races. Throughout the weekend visitors were able to enjoy the beaches, the multitude of restaurants, our many art galleries and the general flair of a city that has been named one of the premier Grand Prix cities of the world.
At Global Lifestyle we were proud to say that we participated in the fun by giving of our time, and volunteering all three days of the event.
Race fans, we will see you again next year,


Your team at Global Lifestyle

25% of Consumers Have Errors on their Credit Report

Dear Buyer,

Banks are a lot stricter with their qualifying criteria for loan approvals.  Low credit scores keep some potential home buyers without the necessary purchasing power to fulfill their dream of home ownership. Often times credit issues could be resolved rather quickly if the consumer was more aware of the current status of their credit.

Consumers need to be extra vigilant about checking for any errors on their credit reports, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

One in four Americans report they’ve found an error on their credit report, according to a study conducted by the FTC, which analyzed 1,001 consumers’ credit reports from the three major agencies, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Researchers helped the consumers spot potential errors on their reports.

Five percent of the consumers found such large errors on their report that they could have gotten stuck paying more for mortgages or other financial products, if they hadn’t taken steps to correct it before applying, according to the study.

Twenty percent of the credit reports studied that were found to have errors in it were ultimately corrected after the consumer took steps to dispute it, which resulted in about 10 percent of consumers receiving a higher credit score, according to the study.

Consumers are entitled to receive a free copy of their credit report each year from the three reporting agencies.

Life is a lot less expensive with a higher credit score. Stay on top of your credit, check your report frequently, and maintain your credit worthiness along with the assurance that you will detect abuse of your credit or identity theft early.

Yours truly,

The team at Global Lifestyle 

Source: “Study: 1 In 4 Consumers Had Error In Credit Report,” The Associated Press (Feb. 11, 2013)

Changes in the Market

Dear Buyer,

earlier this month CNN Money reported that McMansions are back and noted a rise in consumer spending on luxury items such as SUVs. In early May, TIME magazine stated: ” Wealthy Americans don’t really think that good times are here again for the economy. But they’re going on shopping sprees anyway…”. First statistics supports the fact that wealthier consumers are ready to spend. Closed sales in the $600,000 to $1,000,000 price range are up 92.3% for town homes/condos and 92.6% for single family residences.

Active inventory for town homes/condos is down 10.8% and for single family residences is down 15.3% from last June. We remain in a seller’s market with inventory below 5.5 months for single family residences and town homes/condos. The lack of inventory continues to frustrate potential home buyers seeking the American Dream of home ownership. Many potential buyers are losing out to wealthier cash buyers and investment organizations.
Median sales price for town homes/condos are up 11.2% and median sales price for single family residences is up 18.7% from last year June.
The number of short sales is down by over 30%, which may be partially attributed to the fact that fewer people are so far “under water” that they can’t see a way out. With prices increasing their home loans may soon be in balance with market value again.
The market is very active, a lot of the “good deals” are no longer, seller concessions are not freely offered any more, and buyers have to be patient yet decisive in their search.
Please, call a member of our dedicated brokerage to help you find your dream. We work hard for you and go above and beyond for our customers.


Your Global Lifestyle Team

Home buying

Dear Buyer,

inventory is going down and buyers are having a much harder time finding a home they can buy. Many houses are selling for more than asking price.
Home buyers are saying they’re willing to pay more for a residential property due to concerns over low inventory. In the second quarter of 2013, 41 percent of buyers said they’re willing to offer more, up from 34 percent in the first quarter, according to a survey of more than 1,300 home buyers in 22 major markets. The number of buyers who say they’re concerned about rising home prices has more than doubled in the past year, according to the survey. Seventy-nine percent of home buyers say they believe prices will increase in the next 12 months—with 23 percent of that group saying by “a lot.”

“Home buyers are accepting the reality of a seller’s market and expressing a willingness to pay more,” according to the brokerage’s survey.
Source: Redfin

The days of offering 60 or 70% of asking price are definitely over. Not even cash in hand changes the fact that sellers are firming up on their negotiations.

If you are serious about a house, you will need to make a serious offer.
We will gladly help you in your pursuit of the right house at the right price.


your Global Lifestyle team


Five things buyers need to know

Dear Buyer,

here are five very important things to know when it comes to buying real estate in today’s market.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, they say. What they don’t say is that prevention is also less painful, less costly and more efficient, especially when it comes to preventing the deal-destroying misconceptions and decision traps that plague hot market home buyers.

Often, the only ‘cures’ for these house hunt ailments involve letting the market educate your buyer client, as it does when they lose one or more “dream homes” before they are able to fully absorb and align their strategies to your advice. This cure not only costs them properties, it can cost them money if home values are increasing in your market. Plus, it certainly costs you hours and hours of your most precious business asset: your time.

So let’s circle back to prevention. There are five critical categories of preventive messages you can – and should – deliver to your buyer clients before you even kick off their house hunts. Here they are:

1. How to fill in the blank.
Buyers come to the house hunting process full of questions, wonder, and often even some level of disbelief in their ability to actually become home owners. The process itself seems overwhelming and full of uncertainty, even in the calmest of markets. And the more the market heats up, the more difficult it seems like buying a home can be, logistically speaking.

Buyers crave to understand just how all these pieces of the puzzle will fall into place, in terms of the basic logistics of going from house hunter to home owner. To that end, you should brief them on the basic flow of a transaction, from mortgage pre-approval to close, including things like contingencies, inspections, underwriting and the actual closing and funding ritual.

But they also have questions they might not be able to articulate in the realm of how they can make a smart decision and be successful in a competitive seller’s market. Buyers often come into the transaction with a great deal of unstated internal panic on issues like:

– How they’ll decide how much to offer for a home?
– How they’ll ever be able to compete without throwing too much money on the bargaining table?
– How will they know if a property is a lemon?

If you, as their agent, get out ahead of these questions and proactively provide them with a primer on the steps of the house hunt, today’s market dynamics, and all the tricks, insider secrets and experience-based systems you will offer to help them get to closing, you will save them (and yourself) a great deal of angst. You’ll also avoid having to constantly respond and react to the advice they’ve been given by some relative, friend or random newspaper article they read – and you’ll gain trust and credibility points, all in one fell swoop.

2. What to Expect.
You’ve done many a deal. And surely you’ve spotted patterns around the things that occur in a transaction that catch buyers by surprise, cause them shock or even dismay them to the point that the deal is threatened or derailed. These are the sorts of things you can and should take the time to address and deactivate before you put a buyer in the car.

One rule of thumb is, as you walk through your flowchart or briefing about the steps of the house hunt, to point out all the moments in time where the buyer will be required to (a) come up with cash (e.g., earnest money deposit, inspections, removal of contingencies, prior to funding and close) and/or (b) show up in person during the business day (e.g., inspections, closing, etc.). Mentioning these before the house hunt even starts up in earnest empowers your buyer to plan for these things, and be poised to transfer cash or take a half-day off work more easily when the actual day comes.

Prevention-minded agents also take care to address and manage buyers’ expectations around the market dynamics they will undoubtedly face. If multiple offers are common, let them know that up front. If most buyers have to make offers on 3, 5 or 10 homes before they are successful, telling your buyers that before they begin viewing homes reduces the sting of losing a home. It also builds your credibility and minimizes their resistance to your aggressive offer-price recommendations if and when they do lose a home after making what they thought was a good offer.

3. Mindset Management.
Buyers look to us to help them understand the various angles and smart ways they should be thinking about and approaching the multiple tough decisions they will have to make between the time we first meet them and close of escrow. We also hold a unique level of insight into the decision traps and flawed thinking we’ve seen other buyers apply to their real estate decision-making; sharing common pitfalls with incoming buyers in advance can help them avoid errors that often cost buyers properties, time and money.

4. Freak-out prevention.
A freak-out predicted is a freak-out avoided, in my experience. At least a small segment of your pre-house hunt briefing should be dedicated to helping your buyers understand that it is completely normal for a smart buyer to panic at various points of the transaction. In fact, it might even be slightly abnormal or concerning for a buyer not to have any trepidation, nervousness or anxiety as they move through such a major purchase!

People who are generally calm can sometimes misinterpret fear or anxiety as a sign that they shouldn’t proceed with the transaction or that something is gravely wrong with the deal. Letting buyers know up front that these emotions are completely normal and even a good signal that they understand the gravitas of the commitment they are making can deactivate the derailing power of the freak-out.

I go so far as to tell buyers the precise points in the transaction when they can expect to feel super-jitters, like the moment before they sign the offer, the night they get into contract, the moment they lock in their loan and the day they remove contingencies, to name a few. Then, I share with them any checks and balances I have built into the system to help them make sure their rights, wants and needs are covered before they make these increasing levels of investment and commitment. This solves for and eliminates many a freak-out before it ever rears its ugly head.

5. Data.
As a rule, we brokers and agents are very comfortable using data with sellers during a listing interview, and even with buyers who have found a house and need to understand the comps in the process of deciding how much to offer. I submit that it is just as essential, just as powerful, to back yourself up with data during your pre-house hunt briefings.

Don’t just tell buyers that homes are flying off the market, so that they must make an offer quickly on a home they love – tell them that, and then give them the average number of days homes in their target areas are actually on the market before they go pending. Don’t just tell them that most homes in your area are selling for over asking; given them a list price-to-sale price ratio to render this information more concrete and help them truly wrap their heads around it.

Then, make the data applicable by showing and telling them how you can help them use this data to power a successful house hunt. For example, if the list price-to-sale price ratio is running at 110% and your buyer is looking at homes in the $300,000 range, tell them: “that means that the average home listed at $300,000 is actually selling for $330,000. So, I suggest we actually start searching for homes listed as low as $250,000 so you can make a successful offer without going over your $300,000 limit.”

Your buyer might follow your advice – or they might keep asking to see homes listed at $300,000. But in either event, you deliver on the promise of having an experienced, professional real estate pro in the buyer’s corner when you serve up the market data that should matter to them, and help them understand how to use it to level-up their approach and minimize the common frictions of the house hunt.



Your Global Lifestyle Team



Tara-Nicholle Nelson

Choose your colors wisely

Dear Homeowner,

Emerald may be this year’s color of the year and hot hue, but which colors should you avoid?

Color research tells us some colors to avoid. Colors that can be considered, as some researchers note, “eye irritants” and can even cause headaches or mess with your vision.

According to color research, the worst offending color:

Yellow as a “pure bright lemon.”

“More light is reflected by bright colors, resulting in excessive stimulation of the eyes,” researchers note. “Yellow is an eye irritant. Babies cry more in yellow rooms, husbands and wives fight more in yellow kitchens, and opera singers throw more tantrums in yellow dressing rooms.”

That said, yellow is the first color the human eye tends to notice so in small doses it may be effective. It can help you draw attention to an item when used as an accent color. Also, using yellow in softer tints or in small quantities may not be such a turn-off.

A recent article at Homesessive.com (“Paint Color Trends to Avoid”) pinpointed trendy color combos that may have once been a turn-on that are now becoming a turn-off in home interiors. San Francisco color expert Kelly Berg recently weighed in at Homesessive.com about some trendy color combinations to avoid, such as:

“Greige”: The gray and beige combo in a space to create a monochromatic effect. Instead, Berg recommends pulling in some accent colors, likegrassy greens, to make the space more warm and inviting. She also recommends mixing in reflective surfaces, such as glass and metal, to lighten up the room since gray tends to absorb more light than other hues.
Chocolate brown and blue: This trendy color combo of a chocolate brown and Tiffany’s blue may be growing tiresome in home interiors. Berg recommends freshening up the look by adding a third color to the mix, such as hot pink, coral, or metallics in silver or gold.
Red, Gold and Green: This go-to rustic color pattern also may be beginning to grow stale in interiors. Berg recommends avoiding using all three colors in equal portions when you have a tri-color scheme in a home. She also recommends keeping the saturation levels of the color similar, but not exactly the same to liven up the look.
The all white kitchen: A kitchen all in white can look fresh and clean, but the look may be getting overdone and growing dull. Liven it up by pulling in some color from an adjacent space or pull a color from the dishes, Berg says. For example, if the home owner has blue dishes, you might try using deep indigo as an accent color.
Have you found any color combos that are big turn-offs in a space? Weigh in on what you think works–and doesn’t–with color!

Best regards,

Your Global Lifestyle Team



Credit for this article goes to
Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR(R) Magazine