Show Our Troops We Care

June 30, 2010

A donation buys international calling cards that the USO gives to deployed members of the U.S. armed services – the item most requested by our men and women serving overseas.

USO Calling Card

Show our American troops we care – donate today!

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Dunedin Realtor

June 25, 2010

0304-0705-1101-5131_tnI’m a Realtor in Dunedin, Florida and I can help you buy or sell Dunedin real estate. Call Chris at 727-804-5319 if you need a free market analysis of your Dunedin property or if you are considering purchasing a Dunedin home, condo, villa or town home. Whatever your needs…I can help!

With almost 30 years in the Tampa Bay area of Florida I know this market exceptionally well. There is no obligation for calling me and asking questions about current market conditions, home values or anything else related to buying or selling in Pinellas, Pasco or Hillsborough counties.

I look forward to hearing from you and helping you purchase or sell your next home!

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May shows continued strong pace for existing-home sales

June 23, 2010

WASHINGTON – June 22, 2010 – Existing-home sales remained at elevated levels in May on buyer response to the tax credit, characterized by stabilizing home prices and historically low mortgage interest rates, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Gains in the West and South were offset by a decline in the Northeast; the Midwest was steady.

Existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.66 million units in May, down 2.2 percent from an upwardly revised surge of 5.79 million units in April. May closings are 19.2 percent above the 4.75 million-unit level in May 2009; April sales were revised to show an 8.0 percent monthly gain.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said he expects one more month of elevated home sales. “We are witnessing the ongoing effects of the homebuyer tax credit, which we’ll also see in June real estate closings,” he said. “However, approximately 180,000 homebuyers who signed a contract in good faith to receive the tax credit may not be able to finalize by the end of June due to delays in the mortgage process, particularly for short sales. Read more

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Florida’s existing home and condo sales rise in May, 2010

June 22, 2010

ORLANDO, FL., June 22, 2010 – Sales of existing homes in Florida rose 18 percent in May, marking 21 months that sales activity has increased in the year-to-year comparison, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®.

A total of 16,745 single-family existing homes sold statewide last month compared to 14,172 homes sold in May 2009, according to Florida Realtors. The statewide existing-home median price of $140,400 in May was slightly higher – by $300 – than April’s statewide existing-home median price of $140,100. It marks the third month in a row that the statewide existing-home median price has increased over the previous month’s median.

Across the state, a variety of housing opportunities continues to be available at attractive prices while mortgage interest rates remain historically low, said 2010 Florida Realtors President Wendell Davis, a broker with Watson Realty Corp. in Jacksonville.

“Favorable conditions like this spark buyers’ interest,” Davis said. “However, like the rest of the world, Floridians are deeply concerned about the long-term ramifications of the April 20th explosion of BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig, which killed 11 people and triggered the oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.” Read more

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East Lake Real Estate

June 19, 2010

0304-0607-0904-2553_tnAre you looking for a Realtor to help you buy or sell real estate in East Lake, Florida?

Consider calling Chris O’Connor with Charles Rutenberg Realty for all of your home buying and selling needs in the Tampa Bay area. With close to 30 years of calling Tampa Bay my home I can comfortably say that I know this market inside and out.

And East Lake, FL is one of my preferred markets!

Whether you’re looking for a luxury waterfront condo or a small 2-bedroom starter home…I’d love to help you find your next home or investment property.

Are you thinking about selling your home? You’re going to need a Realtor with experience, knowledge, ethics, discipline and a track record of successfully listing and selling real estate in both traditional sales and short sales. Please consider calling Chris today at 727-804-5319 to discuss your East Lake real estate needs.

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Top 10 Most Expensive Tampa Bay Listings

June 17, 2010

The following 10 listings are the most expensive homes currently on the market in the Tampa Bay area of Florida as of June 17, 2010. They range in price from a high of $17,500,000 to $9,995,000. All are breathtaking.

#1: 706 Guisando De Avila, Tampa, FL 33613 – $17.5 Million

706 Guisando De Avila, Tampa, FL 33613

Read more

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Lake Jovita Golf and Country Club

June 16, 2010

Lake Jovita -

Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club

12900 Lake Jovita Boulevard
Dade City, Florida 33525
(352) 588-2233

Lake Jovita Golf Course -

Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club -

Read more

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Charles Rutenberg Realty Silver Plan vs. Gold Plan

June 15, 2010 - Charles Rutenberg RealtyIf you’re considering switching to Charles Rutenberg Realty you’re going to need to pick either the Silver Plan or the Gold Plan. I’ll show you the math here so the decision is simple.

In a nutshell the Silver Plan is ideal for Realtors working part-time or doing low volume. If you tend to have more than one closing per month the Gold Plan might make more financial sense.

If you have questions about Charles Rutenberg Realty please call me at 727-804-5319.

Charles Rutenberg Realty Silver Plan

  • $35 per month dues
  • $250 Transaction fee on each closing
  • $40 Errors and Omissions Insurance Premium per closing

Charles Rutenberg Realty Gold Plan

  • $75 per month dues
  • $250 Transaction fee on 1st closing of each month
  • $0 Transaction fee on additional closing each month
  • $40 Errors and Omissions Insurance Premium per closing

Now for some quick math to show you why you should switch to Charles Rutenberg Realty. I’ll use the Silver Plan for this example.


Contract Sales Price: $500,000
Commission: 3% or $15,000

I’m going to compare the Charles Rutenberg Silver Plan to the RE/MAX plan I was on before I made the prudent decision to change to CRR. Please sit down as the math doesn’t lie and can actually cause a healthy Realtor to faint….

RE/MAX common plan

$15,000 gross commission – 15% broker fee ($2,250) = $12,750 – $350 monthly fee – 1/12th of annual RE/MAX International fee ($30) = $12,370 net commission check

Charles Rutenberg Realty Silver Plan

$15,000 gross commission – $250 transaction fee = $14,750 – $40 E&O Insurance Premium = $14,710 – $35 monthly dues = $14,675 net commission


By switching to Charles Rutenberg Realty you would earn $2,305 more commission on this example transaction. What could you do with an extra $2,305?

Annual Savings

Now look at the savings on an annual basis. To keep things simple let us suppose you close 1 $500,000 transaction per month and no other transactions.

$2,305 x 12 = $27,660 savings by switching to Charles Rutenberg Realty. This isn’t rocket science. The math is simple. And you can play around with the figures and see how your savings can be even more significant.

Imagine closing on the largest transaction of your real estate career. It’s a waterfront home that sells for $4.6 Million.

$4,600,000 x 3% = $138,000 gross commission – 15% = $20,700 washed down the drain. With Charles Rutenberg you wouldn’t be paying the $20,700. You’d still pay only $250 per transaction + $40 E&O insurance. There are no catches, games, bait and switch, etc….

Make the smartest decision of your life. I’m not a manager or broker with Charles Rutenberg Realty. This blog post was not requested by CRR. It is simply my way of offering quality information about the best real estate brokerage in the Tampa Bay area of Florida.

Call Chris today at 727-804-5319 if you have questions about Charles Rutenberg Realty.

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JUST SOLD! – Temple Terrace

June 14, 2010

2245 Granger Dr.
Clearwater, FL 33765


3 bed, 1 full bath, $98,800

Check out the photos! This house is in MOVE-IN condition and shows like a model! TONS of upgrades ranging from Pergo flooring, 18 inch ceramic tile, to a huge upgraded kitchen with Corian counters and maple cabinets. All appliances are included. Flat-top range, over-sized refrigerator, microwave, washer and dryer. Neutral colors throughout. Updated lighting fixtures, plumbing hardware and ceiling fans. Vaulted ceilings. Seller believes laundry room could easily be converted into a 2nd bathroom. Large private fenced backyard – well manicured with lush landscaping and patio area with pavers. Ideal location close to shopping, dining, entertainment and the beaches. No flood insurance required. This house is SUPER CLEAN and should be at the top of your list. Possible short sale requiring bank approval.

Read more

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What documents are needed in a short sale?

June 13, 2010

What is a short sale?

A short sale is a sales transaction in which the seller’s mortgage lender agrees to accept a payoff of less than the balance due on the loan.

Unfortunately, there is nothing “short” about short sales so be prepared for a lengthy process far more complicated and frustrating than a traditional sale. But in the end a short sale can save your credit from the long-lasting blemish of a foreclosure.

What documentation will I need to provide to my Realtor and lender?

Authorization Letter
An authorization letter giving your lender permission to speak with your Realtor about your loan(s).

2 most recent months of bank statements
You can use your online bank statements. Just print out the last 2 months.

2 most recent months of paycheck stubs
Be sure to use the 2 most recent paychecks or you’ll delay the process.

Last 2 years W-2s
Employers provide this to employees and to the IRS every year.

Last 2 years tax returns
If you missed filing write a note to the lender explaining this fact.

A hardship letter
A letter describing your financial troubles and inability to handle the mortgage payment.

There are many additional forms and documents that your lender may require, but just about every lender requires these above items. It makes sense to start locating these documents immediately when you believe you’re going to be attempting a short sale.

Your Realtor will need to provide an executed sales contract (both buyer and seller have signed), a comparative market analysis justifying the contract price, a signed listing agreement and a HUD-1 settlement statement.

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