South Tampa Real Estate Blog

Jan. 27, 2020

Beware of the 1-1.5% Listing Bait & Switch Gimmick

Every heard the statement, "If it looks to good to be true, it probably is"?  It's widely known in the Real Estate industry that what real estate sales professionals lack in skill, and marketing ability, they give up in commission.

Are you familiar with the "Bait and Switch"? It's basically goes like this:  You are offered a product or service to get you in the door, and then the salesperson pulls the old switch-a-roo on you and offers you something totally different.

That's unfortunately what is happening with the discount brokers offering 1-1.5% real estate commissions when listing your home. What they fail to make you aware of before you set an appointment is that you still have to pay, in all probability, the buyer's agent additionally between 2-3% for a total of 4-4.5% commission. The real estate sales associate acts like you would be aware of that and is basically playing on statistics. The stats show that somewhere near 70% of sellers list with the first person that comes to their home, and the real estate industry knows this. Once they are in the door, they believe they can schmooze there way past the other side of the commission.

The question to ask yourself is do you want someone having to use a gimmick to get in the door to be in charge of marketing and negotiating one of your most valuable assets? I would think you would want to head more toward quality of service and the ability to market your home to the masses over receiving a slightly less commission rate. The focus should be on the net amount of money the seller walks away with after closing, and that is mostly accomplished by the full service agents that do much more than the typical salesperson utilizing the 3 P's System. Put a sign in the yard, Put in on MLS, and Pray that it sells. With a discount broker, this is typically all you get, and today's real estate needs a whole lot more. In fact, you should save your money and just pay one of the services to list on MLS for $250-$500, instead of paying 5-10 times that amount or more to get an agent that doesn't do much more if anything.

Here are Things to Research when Considering a Realtor and whether the "Discount" is actually going to cost you money

1. Reviews:  In today's review-based economy, you can learn a lot about the level of service and care from reading about not only a company's reviews, but look into the actual agent or team themselves to see what reviews they have on Google, Facebook, Zillow, etc. Be sure and look for actual client reviews and not just the sales associates filling up the pipes to pad the image.

2. Organic and Pay-Per-Click 1st page positioning on Google:  Google is still the dominant search engine by far and you want to make sure the agent you select has their website front and center for all the relevant search terms for your home, i.e. South Tampa Homes, South Tampa Real Estate, MacDill AFB Homes, MacDill AFB Real Estate, etc. Being page 1 on these terms or the relevant terms for your home is a critical place to be to have your home featured in today's day and age.

3. Specific Ad Campaign Results:  Is the Sales Associate/Realtor able to show you specific ads on properties they ran, and how many times it was seen, clicked, and how many leads produced? Telling is not selling and the proof is in the pudding when you can see how the actual ads performed. Sales associates just telling you, "Yeah, we advertise on Facebook" is just not cutting it anymore. Customers want to see the results you have had with your ads to see what type of skill level you or your marketing company has.

4. Professional Photos:  Do they have exceptional photos, virtual tours, etc or do they get away with hiring the cheapest photographer they can that does just enough to call them professional. A picture is worth a thousand words and it's critical to exceptional photos.

5. Facebook and Instagram presence and followers along with current website visitors:  How many followers do they have on Facebook and Instagram? This makes big difference when you know how properly market to them. Is the Sales Associate/Realtor able to bring you a list of how many active buyers and sellers are currently on their website searching homes? This is a critical measure of the opportunity they will have to market your property to their own list of buyers and possibly save you some money by reducing the overall commission.

6. Sponsorship with any Marketing Organizations: Does the sales associate or Realtor partner with any of the local social presences with a huge following? In the Tampa Bay area, there are several of these including Tampa Bay is Awesome and That's So Tampa. The Preferred Realtors that partner with these organizations have the ability to share your property with all of their followers to get maximum exposure for your listing.

7. Involvement in the Community and Community Service: Are they part of a local Chamber of Commerce, Rotary or any of the civic organizations locally that do so much for our local community? Are they involved with any military groups or organizations that help support MacDill Air Force Base or the military in general?

The question you want to ask yourself is, Do you want an agent that has to use a gimmick to get in the door, or would you do better choosing the agent known for superior service, marketing and putting the most money in a seller's pocket when selling. Your up-front discount may end up costing you a ton of money in what you actually walk away with when selling, so choose wisely.

I'm Buster Levin with the Selling South Tampa Team and the Homes and Living Group, and I would love the opportunity to show you how we maximize exposure for your listing through our exclusive marketing channels that result in netting our sellers the most money in their pocket when selling. You can always reach me on my cell at 813-294-1420 or email me at Thank you very much!

April 9, 2019

Selling South Tampa 10th Annual Tax Time BBQ

Join the Selling South Tampa Team and the South Tampa Chamber for our 10th Annual Tax Time BBQ This is a complimentary event with great food, awesome beer, and networking in a relaxed and casual setting to celebrate the end of Tax Season! Guests are welcome so bring as many as you like.

South Tampa BBQ

We look forward to seeing everyone that can make it and we are extremely thankful for our sponsors above. They all give great customer service and would love the opportunity to earn your business.

Facebook Event Link:



March 21, 2019

14th Annual Taste of South Tampa

Taste of South Tampa 2019

Click here to purchase tickets!
(Chamber members will need the discount code for member pricing!)

Exibitor & Restaurant Booths are sold out.


14th Annual Taste of South Tampa
Sunday, March 24, 2019 | 1:00-4:00pm

Tampa Garden Club
Follow us on Facebook | Twitter for live updates! 

The General Admission ticket price is all inclusive and includes:
Unlimited food and beverage samples, beer garden, live entertainment, 
give-aways from sponsors, opportunity to win prizes and more!

VIP Tickets include:
Access to indoor & air conditioned space, swag bag, additional food and beverage options, and more!

A portion of the proceeds to benefit 

Follow us on Facebook | Twitter for live updates! 


 2019 Participating Resturants as of 3/7/19
81Bay Brewing Company
American Social
Blue Ice Vodka
Boca Kitchen Bar and Market
Brio Italian Mediterranean
Bulla Gastrobar
California Tacos To Go
Carrabba's Italian Grill
Catering By The Family
Centre Club
Chef Ami Tampa Bay
Chicken Salad Chick
Clean Eatz
Flames Indian Cuisine
Jeremiah's Italian Ice
Kahwa Coffee Roasters
La Segunda Bakery and Cafe
Little Donut House
Little Greek Westshore
Livy O's
M&R Catering
MacDintons Irish Pub and Restaurant
Metro Diner
Moonbay Gourmet
New York New York Pizza
Nothing Bundt Cakes
On the Go Gourmet
Outback Steakhouse
Shula Burger
Tampa Bay Margarita Festival
The Corners Pizza
Yard of Ale SoHo
Zoe's Kitchen
VIP - Bonefish Grill
VIP - Chef Inspired Popcorn Company
VIP - Elevage
VIP - GrillSmith
VIP - Ichicoro
VIP - Oggi Italian
VIP - Outback and Carrabba's Express
VIP - PRP Wine International
VIP - Roys Restaurants
VIP - Silly Monkey Cookie Company
VIP - 
South Tampa Wine Bar
VIP - Watervue Grille

Frequently Asked Questions:

Are there ID or minimum age requirements to enter the event?
If you are under 18 years old, you must be accompanied by an adult 21 years or older. 

What are my transportation/parking options for getting to and from the event?
Limited parking is available at the Tampa Garden Club. Additional parking has been secured off of Ysabella Ave. Signs will be posted. We also recommend biking, taxis, ride sharing, or other alternative methods of transportation when possible due to the volume of attendees. Complimentary bike racks will be available on site!

What's the refund policy?
No refunds once your tickets have been purchased.

Do I have to bring my printed ticket to the event?

Is it ok if the name on my ticket or registration doesn't match the person who attends?
Yes. Please make sure you have the correct amount of tickets per persons attending. 
NOTE: General Admission for children under 10 is FREE. No one will be permitted to the VIP area without a VIP ticket. A full-price VIP ticket must be purchased for children wishing to access the VIP area. 

Unfortunately, pets are not permitted at this event. 

Rain or shine?
This event is a rain or shine event!
Dec. 5, 2018

Big changes at Innisbrook Resort in preparation for 50th anniversary

Innisbrook, a Salamander Resort, has re-opened its popular South Course after a six-month renovation of the putting surfaces on all 18 greens. The South Course – one of four championship layouts at the Tampa Bay area resort – officially celebrated this milestone recently with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on the first tee.


At the ceremony, Innisbrook’s Managing Director Mike Williams said: “We couldn’t be more excited to stand here today, knowing we now offer four courses with the same top-tier putting experience that is preferred by the amazing players we watch all season long on the PGA TOUR. Last year we completed this same renovation on the North Course with great success. Now, with the completion of the South Course greens, golfers will enjoy a consistent putting surface on all 72 holes of golf at the resort. These improvements further underscore the investment and commitment to excellence we have from Owner Sheila Johnson and Salamander Hotels & Resorts.”


From left to right: Dan Paasch, Congressman Bilirakis’ District Aide; Skip Alford - Palm Harbor Chamber of Commerce President; Innisbrook Director of Golf Bobby Barnes; Innisbrook Managing Director Mike Williams; Tarpon Springs Mayor Chris Alahouzos; Commissioner Susan Kikta; Commissioner Rea Sieber; Tarpon Springs Economic Dev Mgr. Karen Lemmons

The renovation began in early summer and care was taken to honor the original design of Course Architect Larry Packard. The work has resulted in a firmer, more consistent playing surface, thanks to the no-till method of turf replacement used. The greens were planted with TifEagle Bermuda Grass – the same exceptional putting surface the PGA TOUR professionals rave about annually during the Valspar Championship on Innisbrook’s famed Copperhead Course.


Innisbrook Resort is also in the process of completing an extensive room remodeling project that includes all guest rooms and suites, and which is expected to finish in early 2019.


To check out the Latest South Tampa Homes for Sale, click here

Posted in South Tampa
Dec. 4, 2018

Tampa-to-Orlando high-speed service is a go!

According to a report by the Miami Herald, Brightline is one step closer to connecting Tampa and Orlando, because the state gave the light rail operator approval to negotiate for land to begin construction on the much-anticipated Tampa-to-Orlando service. The operator has three months to come to an agreement with the Central Florida Expressway to build the track along I-4. The official station location in Tampa has not yet been determined.


The high-speed train service promises to make things more convenient for both Tampa and Orlando residents. It would make it easier and safer for Tampa folk to experience all that’s going on in Orlando – including tourist attractions like Disney World and Universal – and to visit cultural hubs like the Milk District. Similarly, Orlando residents will be able to come down and experience Sparkman Wharf, the Florida Aquarium and the Tampa Museum of Art.


In addition, the service should help expand tourism. But that’s not all – the Miami Herald reports that the 88-mile route, with potential stops in Lakeland and Polk, before hitting Celebration and downtown Orlando, could provide 1,600 permanent jobs, and 16,500 temporary jobs during its construction.


Since the Virgin Group is investing in the service, once it’s live it won’t be known as Brightline, but will be rebranded as Virgin Trains USA.


You can learn more about the service by visiting its website.


To check out the Latest South Tampa Homes for Sale, click here

Posted in South Tampa
Dec. 3, 2018

Looking for a luxury condo in Downtown Tampa?

Riverwalk Place – arguably Tampa’s showiest new residential development – had its grand opening last month. Developers Feldman Equities, LLC and Two Roads Development said it was a truly memorable occasion. Architect Shamim Ahmadzadegan, of Gensler, and celebrity interior designer Thom Filicia – from the original “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” – shared their design inspirations. Mayor Bob Buckhorn discussed the importance of Riverwalk Place to Downtown Tampa’s bright future, saying: “The future Riverwalk Place will change the skyline of Tampa and connect new restaurant, retail and residential options to our beautiful Tampa Riverwalk.”

Living in luxury at what is soon to be the tallest building on the west coast of Florida won’t come cheap – starting prices begin in the $600,000s for smaller “live/work” units and go up to $1.75 million for the largest non-penthouse floor plan.

For those seeking more “private urban living”, there’s Elevé 61. This recently approved condo tower will hold just 61 residences, with two three-bedroom units on each floor and no shared walls between the two. Developers at Mercury Advisors have announced that every residence will have floor-to-ceiling glass for views around downtown and Ybor City. Residents will be able to make use of indoor-outdoor fitness and social spaces. Elevé 61 will be one of the tallest residential buildings in Tampa. One of its biggest selling points is its proximity to the Water Street Tampa development and Sparkman Wharf – the revamped Channelside Bay Plaza. Sales prices are expected to start in the $800,000s and construction is set to begin in early 2019.

To check out the Latest South Tampa Homes for Sale, click here

Posted in South Tampa
Nov. 22, 2018

Coming soon to Rattlesnake Point – Salt Shack on the Bay

Salt Shack on the Bay – a boat-up restaurant that will serve fresh seafood and tropical cocktails – is under construction on Tampa's Rattlesnake Point, just south of the Gandy Bridge.

The group behind Salt Shack – Screamin’ Willy’s LLC – is under the same management as Viper Ventures, which owns 31 acres on Rattlesnake Point overlooking Old Tampa Bay. Two years ago, Port Tampa Bay approved a lease with Screamin' Willy's, which allows a waterfront restaurant to build a walkway and a floating dock with 12 boat slips.

According to the restaurateurs: “Salt Shack is a rare combination of spectacular bay views, gulf to table food, and casual waterfront bar scene. The rustic-refined beach getaway will feature an island-inspired menu, offering seasonal cuisine, fresh-caught fish and tropical cocktails. Accessible by land or sea, guests will able to dock up or drive up.”

Salt Shack is the most recent of various developments and investments in that area of the Gandy waterfront. Rattlesnake Point is just south of Westshore Marina District, where hundreds of millions of dollars of multifamily units are under construction, with condo towers and retail to break ground in the coming months.

The restaurant is set to open in early 2019.


To check out the Latest South Tampa Homes for Sale, click here

Posted in South Tampa
Nov. 21, 2018

Selling South Tampa Annual Holiday Social at Watervue on Harbour Island

Watervue Grille Harbour Island Tampa

Selling South Tampa/South Tampa is Awesome Holiday Social at Watervue

Watervue Grille Harbour Island

700 Harbour Post Drive
Tampa, FL  33602
Link to Website Here
Date/Time Information:
Wednesday, December 5th, 2018
5:30-7:30PM  Facebook Event:
Sponsored By
South Tampa is Awesome Sponsors
Contact Information:
Buster Levin 813-294-1420
No Entry Fee.
Please bring a toy for a child in need.
Nov. 9, 2018

Bye-bye congestion, hello efficient transportation

With the majority of Hillsborough County voters having given the transport referendum the green light, thereby making the decision to invest in the county's transportation, congested roads and bridges, potholes and lack of funding for transportation projects should now become things of the past.


To help fund the region's transportation projects, Hillsborough County will now have an extra one-penny sales tax.


Jeff Vinik - Tampa Bay Lightning owner and a partner in Water Street developer, Strategic Property Partners - has been heavily invested in the referendum. "This is far more important to Hillsborough County than Water Street. Our citizens decided to sacrifice and tax themselves because they understand the importance of infrastructure. It's incredibly satisfying to know our citizens decided to invest in our county," said Vinik.


To check out a list of South Tampa homes for sale, click here


Posted in South Tampa
Nov. 9, 2018

Progress on Tampa Bay's biggest construction projects

Last month, the construction projects currently transforming the Tampa Bay area made a lot of progress! Ranging from Virage Bayshore - a luxury condo tower on Bayshore Boulevard - to apartments in downtown Tampa, to a boutique hotel in Ybor City - the region's biggest new developments are certainly taking shape.


Here are the details on some of these developments:

Altis Grand Central

Where: Across Grand Central Avenue from Oxford Exchange


Site: 2.5 acres bound by Grand Central Avenue to the north and Cleveland Street to the south, Cedar Avenue to the east and Magnolia Street to the west

Project: 314 residential units and 9,750 square feet of retail space

Developer: Altman Cos. of Boca Raton

Manor Riverwalk

Where: 202 S. Parker St.

Site: 4.4-acre former Tampa Tribune property

Project: 400 apartments and 10,000-square-foot restaurant

Developer: Related Group of Miami

Channel Club

Where: 1105 E. Twiggs St.

Site: Between Grand Central at Kennedy and Bell Channelside

Project: 21-story, 323-apartment tower and Publix Super Markets Inc. store

Developer: Mercury Advisors of Tampa

The Cove at Rocky Point

Where: 4050 Dana Shores Drive

Site: Former A La Carte property

Project: 16 single-family homes beginning at $1.25 million; 40 townhouses in the $500,000s

Developer: Taylor Morrison

Virage Bayshore

Where: 3401 Bayshore Blvd.

Site: Former Colonnade Restaurant

Project: 24-story, 71-unit condo tower with units beginning at $1 million

Developer: Ascentia Development Group and Batson-Cook Development Co.

To check out a list of South Tampa homes for sale, click here



Posted in South Tampa