Get ready to buy a home in 2021

5 things that will get you ready to buy a home in 2021

Whether you have been renting for a while and are ready to buy your first home or are planning to sell your house in 2021, there are a few things that will help you get ready. 

  • Start decluttering. Don’t wait until the last minute to get rid of all the things you don’t need. If you start decluttering a few months ahead, moving will be much easier. Plus, you can make some extra bucks selling unwanted things on Ebay or Facebook marketplace. Set yourself a weekly goal. For example, the first week starts with the kitchen. Declutter two or three drawers per day. Then the laundry, the bathrooms and leave the big rooms for last. It’s amazing how great a decluttered space feels.
  • Interview Real Estate Agents. I will gladly take you through the steps of buying a home in Tampa, Florida. You must feel comfortable asking questions to the agent you choose. The real estate agent will guide you through the process of purchasing your property. Contact me.
  • Save up cash. Even if you plan on financing your new home, it’s important to have cash for the closing costs and downpayment. I suggest saving for at least a 20% downpayment. That way you will save money on PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance).
  • Meet with the lender. I suggest that you do this after meeting with your real estate agent unless you are familiar with the process of buying a home and already have a Mortgage Broker that you trust.
  • Get your credit score up. If you plan on financing your new home, the higher your credit score (740+), the better chances you have to get a lower interest rate and to get approved for a loan. This doesn’t mean that you should open or close credit cards! Talk to a financial adviser or a lender to find out ways of improving your credit score before you make a move.
Real Estate vocabulary Terms

Real Estate vocabulary terms for first time home buyers

By Mariel Calderon

I don’t expect you to become an expert in Real Estate, that is my job, but as a home buyer, you’re getting ready to make a big purchase and the better informed you are, the better decisions you will be able to make. During the purchase of a house, you will be dealing with lenders, real estate agents, home inspectors, appraisers, title companies and more. There is a good chance that at some point you don’t understand the language they use. Use this guide and if you have questions, shoot me an email at I will gladly help you answer your questions or help you find an answer.

Mortgage Points

Mortgage points are fees a buyer pays a mortgage lender to trim the interest rate on the loan. This is sometimes called “buying down the rate.” Each point the borrower buys costs 1 percent of the mortgage amount. So, one point on a $300,000 mortgage would cost $3,000.

Prequalification vs Preapproval.

This is the most important part before you start your home buying journey. It’s important that you are honest in letting your lender know your debts, payment and income during a prequalification process. That way you have an accurate idea of what is your buying power.

  • Prequalification – (they don’t look at your credit) When you prequalify for a home loan, you’re getting an estimate of what you might be able to borrow, based on information you provide about your finances, as well as a credit check. Prequalification is also an opportunity to learn about different mortgage options and work with your lender to identify the right fit for your needs and goals.
  • Pre Approval – (deeper investigation, they look at your credit) Pre Approval is as close as you can get to confirming your creditworthiness without having a purchase contract in place. You will complete a mortgage application and the lender will verify the information you provide. They’ll also perform a credit check. If you’re pre approved, you’ll receive a preapproval letter, which is an offer (but not a commitment) to lend you a specific amount, good for 90 days.

Home inspection

A home inspection is an objective visual examination of the physical structure and systems of a house, from the roof to the foundation. On average, a single-family home inspection usually takes 2-4 hours to complete, though this is heavily dependent on the size and condition of the home. After the inspection process, the inspector will send the client an inspection report (often within 24-48 hours) that covers their findings, complete with pictures, analysis and recommendations.

Why do homebuyers need a home inspection?
Buying a home could be the largest single investment the homebuyer will ever make. To minimize unpleasant surprises and unexpected difficulties, homebuyers should strive to learn as much as they can about the house before they buy it. A home inspection may identify the need for major repairs or builder oversights, as well as the need for maintenance to keep it in good shape. Through the home inspection process, homebuyers will have a better understanding about their prospective house, which will allow them to make decisions with confidence. If a homeowner is planning to sell their home, a home inspection can give them the opportunity to make repairs that will put the house in better selling condition.

An appraisal is an opinion of value used for real-estate-related financial transactions. Appraisals are required by a state licensed or certified appraiser for most transactions above $250,000. An appraiser’s report will typically include the type of property inspection, approaches to value required, and any lender-specific requirements…

An appraisal is an important part of the home buying process because it assures the lender the property has adequate collateral to make the loan. NAR closely monitors federal legislative and regulatory issues related to appraisals. NAR has long advocated for an independent appraisal process and enhanced education requirements that allow appraisers to produce the most credible appraisal reports possible.     

Home Warranty

Definition by:

When you own a house you never know when things are going to break. A home warranty is an annual service contract that covers the cost to repair or replace parts of home appliances and systems that break down over time.

First time home buyer in Tampa

7 Steps to buying your first home in Tampa

Are you moving to Tampa or have been renting for a while and are ready to buy your first home? My job as a Real Estate Agent is to guide you through the process and to make this roller coaster of emotions as smooth as possible for you. Buying a property is probably the biggest investment most people make in their lives and you want to make sure that you make every right decision by following these steps.

7 Steps to buying your first home in Tampa

  1. Partner with a Real Estate Agent. But how? Well, I’m here to assist during the process. A Realtor should have good communication skills and lots of patience. You should be able to ask questions even you think you should know the answers.
  2. Determine financing. Whether you are paying cash for your new home or need financing, this must be determined before you start shopping around. If you plan to buy cash, your realtor will need proof of funds in order to present an offer. If you need financing, your realtor will need a preapproval letter in order to place an offer for a home you liked.
  3. Find your new home. Compare home and neighborhood averages, then narrow down the neighborhoods you want to live in, schedule home tours and plan an itinerary with your agent. 
  4. Make your offer and negotiate the terms. Once you find your dream home, your Realtor will help you place the offer. Time is of the essence when presenting an offer.You have to be ready to shop for home insurance options, prepare for downpayment, earnest money, choose a target closing date, sign the offer and deliver the escrow check! Of course, your Real Estate agent will be there to guide you during the process and help you present that offer in a timely manner.
  5. Under contract. So your offer has been accepted! Only two more steps to moving into your dream home. It’s time to secure a home loan, if needed, schedule home inspection and negotiate repairs, order appraisal, conduct a title search, schedule closing date and certify funds for closing.
  6. Before you close. Transfer funds for closing, reserve a moving company and set a moving date, confirm that all contingencies are resolved and schedule the final property walk-through. 
  7. On closing day. Connect with your lender to wire down payment funds. You’ll need to cover the cost of closing and the down payment. Bring a printed confirmation of your wire transfer. DON’T transfer any funds unless you spoke directly with your lender in order to avoid frauds. Sign closing disclosure, promissory note, and all other documentation. Title transfer, Deed delivery, Save your paperwork in your pre-designated spot Get your keys – congrats, it’s all yours! 
5 signs will help you determine if you are ready to buy your dream home

5 signs that will help you determine if you are ready to buy your home

By Mariel Calderon

As a real estate agent in Tampa Florida, I love to see people achieve their goals of buying their first home or moving to a greater space. There are so many reasons I could give you on why you should buy a home in 2020, like low interest rates, why pay a rent for a property that is not yours, or just go with “everyone should buy a home”. Buying a home is probably the biggest investment anyone will make in their lives and it should be well planned. The economy or the current market situation shouldn’t determine whether you should or shouldn’t buy a property, and I say this from my personal experience. 

Are you ready to buy a home in Tampa? 

These 5 signs will help you determine if you are ready to buy your dream home

  1. You have a stable income. If you have been working at the same place with a stable income for the past two years, you might be ready to buy a home.
  2. No debt and an emergency fund. This I learned the hard way. We know where we are now, we don’t know where we will be tomorrow. Being out of debt and having an emergency fund of 3 – 6 months will help you protect what will most probably be your largest asset. If you lose your job for any reason, having an emergency fund will enable you to keep paying your mortgage instead of going into crisis mode and ending up in foreclosure or a short sale. I recommend Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover. It’s a life changer!
  3. You know what you can afford. When you get that itch of buying a house, download my app and under tools click on Affordability Calculator. Make sure that you shop for properties that are worth less than what you can afford. You want to make sure that you can pay the mortgage and still have a life. 
  4. Have a New Home Budget. 20% deposit, 3 – 5% for closing costs, moving expenses and extra for furniture. Even if you have furniture, there will be things you will want to get for that new place. If you have the money, then you might be ready to buy a home! You can have it all without getting into debt if you plan beforehand. I’m a spreadsheet geek, so every time I’m planning for a big event I create one. In this case I would create a New Home Budget. In the first column I would write down every single expense I could think of, for example: downpayment and closing costs, furniture by rooms, moving expense, paint, any construction expense, etc. Then on the first row I would write down each month I have before moving. Each month you are going to start allocating money to each of the rows until you reach your goal. Download the spreadsheet sample here. The numbers used are just examples. Go ahead and change them.
  5. You are all on the same page! If you live alone, then you don’t need to count on anyone to make a big decision but, if you are married or are buying a home with someone else, make sure that you both have a nice talk about your future plans. Maybe you see yourself living in an apartment with a low maintenance lifestyle and your partner wants a backyard with a vegetable garden. To start searching, download my app:

I love helping others go through the planning process that will lead them to a successful purchase of a home. Email me at

school zones in Tampa, Hernando, Pasco, Pinellas and Polk

School zones in Tampa, Hernando, Pasco, Pinellas and Polk

“I’m looking for a house zoned for a specific school.” Real Estate agents get this request all the time. Well, although there are many real estate agents looking to close a deal, honesty should always come first. The truth is school zones constantly change and you might buy a home in an area you like, zoned for a specific school but rezoning might cause this to change and chances are, that next year your child might end up in a different school. 

As a mom of two kids I know how important education is. Here is what I practice in my personal life in order to have peace of mind that my kids are well taken care of.

  • Have a plan B when it comes to choosing a school zone. Find out what charter or magnet schools you have around. 
  • Set a budget for private school in case zoning changes. Saving money is always positive. If you don’t use it for school you might use it for your child’s first car or even for college!

To find out school zones in Tampa, Hernando, Pasco, Pinellas and Polk visit the following links.

By: Mariel Calderon, Real Estate Agent for Keller Williams Tampa Properties. Contact

Beaches in Tampa

Weather in Tampa

What is the perfect weather for you? If you are one of those people that thrive in a warm climate, then Tampa Weather is the right place for you. Even though it may seem that the weather in Tampa is the same all year long, Tampa does have climate change throughout the year, although not as harsh as other places. 

I first moved here at the beginning of November and my kids being able to enjoy the pool in nice sunny weather, really helped them get over the move pretty quick. From December to March, Tampa weather can be from 50 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit approximately, which for us was great. Summer in Tampa is pretty humid but it’s the perfect weather to enjoy the beach. I need to mention that summers are pretty rainy but it usually rains for a few hours in the afternoon and then the sun is back again. Good news is, that sunset is after 8:00 pm during the summer so, if you like to practice outdoors sports or bike you will be able to enjoy the nicest trails even after you get out of work.

Looking for a place to live in the great Tampa Weather? Contact me at 787-960-3239.