home buying season

Get Ready for the Home Buying Season

Few markets are as hot as the Tampa real estate market! If you are thinking of making some home purchases this season, then it’s time to get ready for the home buying season. First, we will determine how and when to know it’s time to buy. Then we’ll give you some great tips on how to make those purchases. Whether you are an investor, flipper, or simply looking for a new home – this is for you.

Is it time to buy?

They say Spring blooms “For Sale” signs! So you might notice them popping up all over Tampa. First, let us determine the buying and selling seasons. From late January to early March many homeowners are selling during these months. Parents don’t want to interrupt their children’s school schedule so they want to move early in the year. Other’s sell early in the year for tax purposes. This time period has excellent selections for homes for purchase. Between March through the summer months, many people are moving. The homeowners that have just sold their home are now on the market to purchase a home. Everyone else is on summer vacation. As a result homes tend to take a little longer to sell during the summer months which makes this a bargain shopper’s market. If you’re not in a rush and are looking for a good deal, this is your best season.

We won’t go into too much detail for the Fall and Winter season. These are definitely the slower months for the housing market. There is very little activity, for both buying and selling, the closer you get to the holiday season. Families are too busy buying gifts and traveling to focus on moving. Don’t plan to buy or sell a home during these months unless you are prepared for a longer wait time to complete the process.

Getting ready to buy a home

If you’re on the spectrum of purchasing then there are a few steps you can take to prepare. The more prepared you are, the more likely the chance you will be able to make the purchase faster.

  1. Check your credit
  2. Start saving
  3. Start looking at neighborhoods
  4. Attend a seminar or take classes on buying a home if this is your first purchase
  5. Determine your budget
  6. Visit open houses
  7. Interview realtors


Don’t underestimate your credit

Your credit score is important, but that’s only on piece of the credit pie. You need to know your credit score and determine your debt-to-income ratio. You can also pull your credit reports so you can see if there is anything you need to clean up before you apply for a mortgage. You also want to give yourself the opportunity to dispute any errors on your credit reports. You will need some time to work through these, so the sooner you start the better.

You may also want to consider researching and participating in loan programs. These programs can be very helpful with down payment assistance. You also need to be familiar with the various loan programs available so you can choose the right one for your needs. Research rates and know what current rates are being offered so you be prepared upon approval.

We are always looking for ways to help our customers so feel free to call us with questions! If we don’t know the answer, we can at least point you in the right direction to find the right answer. You should always consider a pre-listing inspection before putting your home on the market for sale. Also, don’t ever make a purchase without having the home inspected first. Call us now to schedule your inspection!


home updates

The 5 Best Home Updates

You’re looking around your home and wondering, “What should I update?”. Better yet – what do you need to update? Maybe it feels like everything or maybe it feels like nothing, either way we’ve got a simple guide of the some of the best home updates. These are especially effective if your goal is to increase your home’s value. Whether you plan to put your home into this current seller’s market or potentially sell your home down the road, these updates will only be beneficial.

Minor Bathroom Remodel

Not every remodel has to be a complete gut and replace. In fact, very minor but effective touches can make all the difference in the world! Update your fixtures such as the hardware. A new toilet seat can go a very long way. If you want to do something a little bigger, add a window. Bathrooms with windows are significantly more appealing to buyers. Re-caulking your bathtub is also an easy DIY project that can put a finishing touch on an old bathroom.


If you watch Flip or Flop on HGTV you will notice how they always talk about the importance of good landscaping. Women, it’s like putting on lipstick. It’s a finishing touch but one that is most noticeable. Men, it’s like getting the right TV stand or mount. It’s just necessary to support an already valuable piece of property. Landscaping has a 100% return at resale every single time.

New Paint

Oh what a fresh coat of paint will do! Do not use the pain to hide any major repairs, such a water leaks. They will be discovered during inspection anyways and trying to make it look like a cover-up will only reflect poorly on you. However, a fresh coat of paint can make any room feel updated almost instantly. Consider painting the exterior of the home as well to increase the curb-appeal.

Replacement Windows

If eyes are the windows to the soul then the same goes for your home. Windows do so much for a house! Sunlight, especially in Tampa bay where we have plenty of sunlight, can make your home look bigger and feel more inviting. The warmth of the sunlight adds a warmth to the home. So make sure the next time you leave your home so your agent can do a showing, open up all the shades. Updating your windows can be expensive but the investment will yield a return during resale.

Updating Perception

Selling a home has a lot to do with perception. When a person steps into a house they start imaging what it would look like for them if they lived there. This is very hard to do if the house is already filled with what it looks like while you live there. In other words, you need to de-clutter and organize. Pack some of your belongings away and clear some of the space around the home.

Don’t forget you also have the option to do a pre-listing inspection. Our pre-listing inspections will inform you of any issues about your home before you list it and also shows home-buyers that you are serious about selling. Call us today to schedule one!

new home

New Year, New Home

It’s a new year and the perfect time to give your home a refresh! Maybe it’s even the perfect time to buy a new home. Tampa’s real estate market was on the rise in 2016 and you can expect it to stay that way into 2017 as well. So, what can you expect if you plan to make that big move this year? We’ve got a couple ideas for you, collected from sources all over Tampa Bay!

Perfect for first-time buyers

First time home buyers may have felt the suffering over the last five years as the real estate market has slowly and steadily made it’s way back. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), first time home buyers made up approximately 40% of the market. For three straight years, they have only contributed to 32%. In 2016 we saw that number rise to 35% and expect an even bigger increase in 2017.

Patience is the new dream home

The NAR recent data reports that the current supply of existing homes for sale is insufficient to meet the demand, and new construction is not keeping up. This means you will be touring and potentially competing with the same people interested in purchasing the same home.

Demand rise, prices rise

As with all things economic, if demand is increasing then so will the prices. Which also means it is a seller’s market! If you need to sell your home to considering moving into a new one then this might be the perfect time for you! It is possible you can list your home for the price you’re hoping to sell it for.

Start planning now! We’re not even one full month into 2017 yet and you might already be behind. Start the planning process if you’re thinking about buying, selling, or both. Expect the process to take a few months and always start with hiring a real estate agent to help. Of course, don’t forget we offer pre-listing home inspections as well as discounts on home inspections if it is your first time hiring us! Contact us or schedule a home inspection right here on our website.

Tampa home inspector

Should your home inspector be licensed?

Recently Utah passed a law that does not require home inspectors to be licensed. Apparently just about anyone can inspect what is potentially the largest investment of your life…right? So why would you need to hire a home inspector that’s licensed if the state doesn’t require it?

Lucky for us Florida does require their home inspectors to be licensed, and it’s a good thing. In fact, Divinity Inspection Services carries over 16 certificates. That’s how much we believe certificates are important! When a home inspector inspects a home they create a report based on their expertise. This report will determine whether you, the buyer, is making a good investment. The report not only helps you to make a decision about buying the house, but it also serves to educate the buyer on the house they want to invest in. That’s a big responsibility.

At Divinity, we take that responsibility very seriously. That’s why we stand by our reports. Each one of our inspectors go through the same vigorous training to ensure a consistent quality in our service. We even keep your inspection report on our records for a year just in case you need it. When you are considering hiring a home inspector, make sure you’re asking all the right questions, including proof of their certification. You can find our right here on our website.


Don’t be anxious about your home inspection

For many home buyers, especially first-time home buyers, a home inspection can seem like a threat. A home inspection is a threat to your dream home, your family’s future, your visions, and even your finances. Based on this perspective, it would be impossible for a buyer not to feel anxious about getting a home inspection. However, change this perspective, and a buyer would find there is no need to feel threatened or anxious, but instead excited!

Educate Yourself

If a home inspection has the common misconception of creating “threat level death-con” then educate yourself on what a home inspection will provide. A home inspection shouldn’t be seen as a threat, but rather an opportunity to learn about your home in more detail. Many times a home inspection will save the buyer from unforeseen future expenses, educate the buyers on how to maintain their home, and inform the buyer of any immediate concerns. These are all good things!

Stop freaking out

Low-grade anxiousness is a good thing; it means you are serious about the house you’re feeling anxious about. There is nothing wrong with a little nervousness when making such a big financial and emotional decision. That being said, high-level anxiety can cause problems for any normally-calm home buyer – igniting fight or flight instincts, creating panic, or freezing up completely. These reactions pose a much bigger threat to the decision-making process.

You’re the boss

Many buyers feel like they are at the mercy of the seller, the real estate agent, the mortgage lender, etc. But the truth is that is an illusion, the buyer is 100% in control. The buyer may not have control over every step of the home buying process but they have control in every step. There are many steps a buyer can take to control this process and at the end of the day it’s the buyers’ decision as to what home they choose to buy.

At Divinity Inspection Service we do everything we can to make the home inspection process easy. We take the time to walk you through every detail of your home, our report, and educate the buyer as much as we can. Call now to schedule your home inspection!