Stephanie LeFew
Coldwell Banker Realty

Stephanie's Real Estate Blog & Tips 


When selling a home, de-cluttering is so important, but do you store or sell? 

I always encourage my customers preparing for a move to cut back on their possessions to improve a home's staging. If a house is listed with the clutter remaining in the home, the potential buyers automatically think there isn't enough room, not enough storage in the home. Closets should be neat and tidy - with a clear floor, not piled up suitcases, etc.

So where do you put your items - your sports equipment, your suitcases, holiday decorations, extra furniture...those items that are difficult to part with? Self-storage is a popular solution for many homeowner space problems. Do you rent a storage space, or a pod, or sell your items? That's a very individual decision.

Here's our experience when we were about to build our home in Wesley Chapel. Before we got moving on the home, we found some really nice windows at a terrific price, some nice faucets that were on clearance at Home Depot. We decided to put them in a storage unit with a lot of other items we didn't have room for at our townhouse that we lived in at the time. We paid for that storage unit for a year and a half. I just called on pricing and a 5X10 non-air conditioned unit (about the size of a walk in closet) in Wesley Chapel is costs $75 a month for a rental. Suddenly those cheap windows really weren't that cheap at all.

The money put into self-storage has little return beyond hiding a problem. If a homeowner could instead return that money to a household budget it may give them more flexibility as they shop for a new home.

Please let me know if there are any questions that you may have about your home search.

Hearing from you would make my day. Have a wonderful day, Steph 813-624-3332


What is the Benefit of Selling Your House with a Home Warranty?

If you list your home for sale with Coldwell Banker, you can pay for a home warranty to cover you during the time that the home is listed for sale. Also, you can offer to pay for the new home owner once the sale is completed. It gives those looking at your home a feeling of security -- For one year, the home is covered, a lot less concern about unexpected repair costs in the head of the buyer. Click here to view the details of the home warranty with American Home Shield

Feel free to call me to discuss the home purchase process. I'm here to assist you in each step of the process and will assist you to assist you in the details that must be handled to ensure that you have a home buying experience.

Call my cell phone 813-624-3332. Also my email  


"What happens if the property I'm buying doesn't appraise?"

Once the price and terms are negotiated and you're under contract for the purchase of your new home, one of the next steps is your mortgage person will order an appraisal to determine that the home is worth at least the contract sales price. We Realtors breath a lot easier once the appraisal comes back, as appraisals are so subjective. 

If the appraisal comes in lower than the contract price, your lender will inform you, the buyer, that the value came in less that the sales price. The lender cannot loan you more than what the appraiser says that it's worth. Here are three very real options -
1 - The seller could lower the sales price to the amount of the appraisal;
2 - The buyer and seller can meet somewhere in the middle and the buyer could bring more money to the title company on the day of closing, or
3 - The buyer and seller can cancel the contract.

The seller may just take their property off the market in hopes that values will increase and they try it again later.

If the buyer is an FHA buyer, the appraisal "sticks" to the house for up to 6 months.

Right now is usually a busy time in real estate. If the sellers aren’t reasonable they might just miss this summer season to sell their house.

It's a really great idea to use a Realtor for your home search and negotiating a contract. A Realtor is a professional that will take your purchase seriously and be there for you each step of the way.

That's what I do as a Realtor in the Tampa Bay area. I'm there for you during your home search, contract negotiations at your direction, writing the offer, being there for your mortgage person, the home inspection, the final walk thru, attending your closing, and handing you the keys when everything is complete at the title company.  If you drive by a home and you have a question about the home, even if its a For Sale By Owner, please send the info so that I can get all of your questions answered.  I'm here for you.

I'll be there for you -- if you're a first time home buyer, moving up to a larger home, down sizing, if you're relocating to the Tampa area for a job transfer or transfer to MacDill AFB, if you're moving to Tampa for a retirement or vacation home, if you're an investor. I am experienced in all areas.

Would love to hear from you. My cell phone is 813-624-3332.


Home Inspection -- Always a Smart Decision

Under the inspection repair and maintenance section of your home purchase contract, a seller has some limited responsibilities to the buyer to warrant certain items and/or systems in the home. While your agent may be representing you as a buyer, they are in no way qualified to determine the condition on these items and/or systems.

For that reason, I strongly recommend to all of my customers buying property to employ the services of a professional Licensed Home Inspector to make these determinations.

Also, I recommend your considering the purchase of a home warranty. 

The following are some of the home inspectors in our area. You may refer to the local Yellow Pages and internet for more.

  • Jimmy at Class Act Home Inspections - 813-770-8459
  • The HomeTeam - 813-632-0550
  • Premier Certified Inspections - 727-520-3657
  • AmeriSpec – Rich Kemper – 672-4250

Feel free to call me to discuss the home purchase process. I'm here to assist you in each step of the process and will assist you to assist you in the details that must be handled to ensure that you have a home selling & home buying experience.

Contact Stephanie LeFew, Tampa Bay Realtor, 813-624-3332 cell. Also my email 

Looking forward to hearing to hearing from you and earning your business.  

Stephanie LeFew has no business affiliation with any home inspection company mentioned on this website. The information provided on this website is for informational purposes only. Thank you.