Need your help



This year is the year of referrals. Most people would immediately read that and think, of course! You want to grow your business! But while that is true, we are doing it with a purpose and with you in mind.

We have made a commitment to helping 100+ families this year either buy or sell a home, or both. WHEN we hit that goal, we have made an even bigger commitment to start a foundation for grandparents or family members raising their grandchildren or younger family members, a cause that is near and dear to our hearts.

Chris Dufala was raised his entire childhood life by his grandmother and grandfather until the age of 12 when his grandmother passed away after a long battle with cancer. We know how difficult it is to step in and become a parent, sometimes again, and long after your own children are already grown. It takes money, but it takes an even a bigger heart.

We know that this is a lofty goal and it will be a lot of hard work. We are blessed to have a leader in Nicole Dufala, who is spearheading this effort.

So here is what we need:
1. ANY referral or introduction to someone that we may be able to help buy and/or sell a home. This can be locally or nationwide.
2. Introductions to folks that you may know who are raising their own grandkids, nieces, nephews or just another family member. There are many people who can use our help and with your help, we can start compiling a list now.

Please know that we will keep all information in confidence.

You can reach Chris or Nicole at:

Chris Dufala: 727-741-9007 or

Nicole Dufala: 727-656-8145 or

Thank you!

Pinellas County Haunted Houses 2014













Hellview Cemetery
Oct. 18, 24-26, 31 & Nov. 1 at 7 p.m.
510 49th Ave. N., St. Petersburg
This local haunted attraction is free to the public. Donations will be collected for the Florida Bat Conservancy, Child’s Play and local non-profit The Kind Mouse. For more information, visit

Pumpkin Palooza
Saturday, Oct. 4 at 11 a.m.
St. Petersburg Woman’s Club, 40 Snell Isle Blvd. NE, St. Petersburg
The 11th annual family fall festival and pumpkin patch includes kids’ games, crafts, inflatables, food, arts and crafts vendors and more. This event is free but there is a cost for pumpkins, food and game tickets.

Radley Haunted House
Thursdays – Sundays, Oct. 9 – Nov. 2 at 7:30 p.m.
3900 19th St. N, St. Petersburg
An elaborate haunted house with a theme. Recommended for ages 13 and older. Admission is $5 per person. The proceeds from the haunted house will benefit the Cancer Research Institute.

Pint Size Pumpkin Patch
Saturday, Oct. 11 at 6 p.m.
Southwest Recreation Complex and Pool, 13120 Vonn Rd., Largo
Children ages 6 and younger can dress in costume and take part in a treat parade. The event also features fall activities, crafts, food and a special visit from a storytelling scarecrow. Tickets are $5 in advance and $8 on the day of.

Haunted Hike through Historic St. Petersburg
Saturday, Oct. 18 at 6:30 p.m.
Departure point is 13th Avenue and 13th Street N, St. Petersburg
The one-mile, one-hour tour will go through Euclid St. Paul’s Neighborhood, which is known as St. Petersburg’s most paranormal neighborhood. Tours leave every 15 minutes. Advance tickets are $6 per person, while children ages 2-12 are $2 and 1 and younger are free. The night of the tour, tickets are $7 per person, with children ages 2-12 are $3 and children 1 and younger are free.

Halloween Spooktacular
Saturday, Oct. 25 at 2 p.m.
Largo Central Park, 101 Central Park Drive, Largo
The annual Spooktacular features an enormous trick-or-treat path, bounce houses, entertainment, music, concessions and games. Dress up in your favorite costume. Admission for children ages 14 and younger for activities other than trick or treating is $5 in advance, $6 without card, $7 day of the event. Parents are free.

Halloween Happening
Saturday, Oct. 25 at 5:30-9:30 p.m.
Highlander Park, 1920 Pinehurst Rd., Dunedin
This family-friendly event features child-focused games and crafts, “Boo in the Zoo,” bounce houses, spooky storytelling and a costume contest. Take a ride on the Haunted Hayride, which has a theme of Alien Armageddon this year. Tickets for Boo in the Zoo are $5. Tickets for the hayride are $5. (Must be 8 years or older to ride.) A $10 wristband includes all game booths, inflatables, crafts, the costume contest and Boo in the Zoo.

4 reasons to not wait to buy your home






Here are four great reasons to consider buying a home today, instead of waiting.

1. Prices Will Continue to Rise

The Home Price Expectation Survey polls a distinguished panel of over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts. Their most recent report projects appreciation in home values over the next five years to be between 30.8% (most optimistic) and 9.4% (most pessimistic).

The bottom in home prices has come and gone. Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting no longer makes sense.

2. Mortgage Interest Rates Are Increasing

Although Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage have softened recently, most experts predict that they will begin to rise later this year. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the National Association of Realtors are in unison; projecting that rates will be up almost a full percentage point by the end of next year.

An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. Your housing expense will be more a year from now if a mortgage is necessary to purchase your next home.

3. Either Way, You are Paying a Mortgage

As a recent paper from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard Universityexplains:

“Households must consume housing whether they own or rent. Not even accounting for more favorable tax treatment of owning, homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord plus a rate of return. That’s yet another reason owning often does—as Americans intuit—end up making more financial sense than renting.”

4. It’s Time to Move On with Your Life

The ‘cost’ of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. It appears that both are on the rise.

But, what if they weren’t? Would you wait?

Look at the actual reason you are buying and decide whether it is worth waiting. Whether you want to have a great place for your children to grow up, you want your family to be safer, or you just want to have control over renovations, maybe it is time to buy.

If the right thing for you and your family is to purchase a home this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings.

5 Reasons to Sell NOW

Time is Money HOME

Time is Money HOME

Many sellers are still hesitant about putting their house up for sale. Where are prices headed? Where are interest rates headed? Can buyers qualify for a mortgage?  These are all valid questions. However, there are several reasons to sell your home sooner rather than later. Here are five of those reasons.

1. Demand is Strong

There is currently a pent-up demand of purchasers as many home buyers pushed off their search this past winter & early spring because of extreme weather. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the number of buyers in the market, which feel off dramatically in December, January and February, has begun to increase again over the last few months. These buyers are ready, willing and able to buy…and are in the market right now!

2. There Is Less Competition Now

Housing supply is still under the historical number of 6 months’ supply. This means that, in many markets, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers in that market. This is good news for home prices. However, additional inventory is about to come to market.

There is a pent-up desire for many homeowners to move as they were unable to sell over the last few years because of a negative equity situation. Homeowners are now seeing a return to positive equity as prices increased over the last eighteen months. Many of these homes will be coming to the market in the near future. Also, new construction of single-family homes is again beginning to increase. A recent study byHarris Poll revealed that 41% of buyers would prefer to buy a new home while only 21% prefer an existing home (38% had no preference).

The choices buyers have will continue to increase over the next few months. Don’t wait until all this other inventory of homes comes to market before you sell.

3. The Process Will Be Quicker

One of the biggest challenges of the 2014 housing market has been the length of time it takes from contract to closing. Banks are requiring more and more paperwork before approving a mortgage. As the market heats up, banks will be inundated with loan inquiries causing closing timelines to lengthen.  Selling now will make the process quicker and simpler.

4. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move-Up

If you are moving up to a larger, more expensive home, consider doing it now. Prices are projected to appreciate by over 19% from now to 2018. If you are moving to a higher priced home, it will wind-up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and mortgage payment) if you wait. You can also lock-in your 30 year housing expense with an interest rate in the low 4’s right now. Rates are projected to be over 5% by this time next year.

5. It’s Time to Move On with Your Life

Look at the reason you decided to sell in the first place and determine whether it is worth waiting. Is money more important than being with family? Is money more important than your health? Is money more important than having the freedom to go on with your life the way you think you should?

Only you know the answers to the questions above. You have the power to take back control of the situation by putting your home on the market and pricing it so it sells. Perhaps, the time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire.

That is what is truly important.

3 reasons to sell your house this Spring

Spring Home

Spring Home

Many sellers are still hesitant about putting their house up for sale. Where are prices headed? Where are interest rates headed? These are all valid questions. However, there are several reasons to sell your home sooner rather than later. Here are three of those reasons.


1. Demand is about to skyrocket

Most people realize that the housing market is hottest from April through June. The most serious buyers are well aware of this and, for that reason, come out in early spring in order to beat the heavy competition. We also have a pent-up demand as many buyers pushed off their home search this winter because of extreme weather. Sellers in markets where seasonal weather is never an issue must realize that buyers relocating to their region will increase dramatically this spring as these purchasers finally decide to escape the freezing temperatures of the winters in the north.

These buyers are ready, willing and able to buy…and are in the market right now!

2. There Is Less Competition – For Now

Housing supply always grows from the spring through the early summer. Also, there has been a growing desire for many homeowners to move as they were unable to sell over the last few years because of a negative equity situation. Homeowners have seen a return to positive equity as prices increased over the last eighteen months. Many of these homes will be coming to the market in the near future.

The choices buyers have will continue to increase over the next few months. Don’t wait until all the other potential sellers in your market put their homes up for sale.

3. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move-Up

If you are moving up to a larger, more expensive home, consider doing it now. Prices are projected to appreciate by approximately 4% this year and 8% by the end of 2015. If you are moving to a higher priced home, it will wind-up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and mortgage payment) if you wait. You can also lock-in your 30 year housing expense with an interest rate at about 4.5% right now. Freddie Mac projects rates to be 5.1% by this time next year and 5.7% by the fourth quarter of 2015.

Moving up to a new home will be less expensive this spring than later this year or next year.


5 Reasons to hire a Real Estate Professional

Real Estate Agent Tampa

Real Estate Agent TampaWhether you are buying or selling a home, you need an experienced Real Estate Professional to lead you toward your ultimate goal. In this world of instant gratification and Internet searches, many sellers think that they can For Sale by Owner or FSBO.

The 5 Reasons You NEED a Real Estate Professional in your corner haven’t changed, but rather have been strengthened in recent months with the Federal Government continuing to taper bond purchases and the impact that decision has had on mortgage rates.

1. What do you do with all this paperwork?

Each state has different regulations regarding the contracts required for a successful sale, and these regulations are constantly changing. A true Real Estate Professional is an expert in their market and can guide you through the stacks of paperwork necessary to make your dream a reality.

2. Ok, so you found your dream house, now what?

According to the Orlando Regional REALTOR Association, there are over 230 possible actions that need to take place during every successful real estate transaction. Don’t you want someone who has been there before, who knows what these actions are to make sure that you acquire your dream?

3. Are you a good negotiator?

So maybe you’re not convinced that you need an agent to sell your home. However, after looking at the list of parties that you need to be prepared to negotiate with, you’ll realize the value in selecting a Real Estate Professional. From the buyer (who wants the best deal possible), to the home inspection companies, to the appraiser, there are at least 11 different people that you will have to be knowledgeable with and answer to, during the process.

4. What is the home you’re buying/selling really worth?

Not only is it important for your home to be priced correctly from the start, to attract the right buyers and shorten the time that it’s on the market, but you also need someone who is not emotionally connected to your home, to give you the truth as to your home’s value.

According to the National Association of REALTORS“the typical FSBO home sold for $184,000 compared to $230,000 among agent-assisted home sales.”

Get the most out of your transaction by hiring a professional.

5. Do you know what’s really going on in the market?

There is so much information out there on the news and the Internet about home sales, prices, mortgage rates; how do you know what’s going on specifically in your area? Who do you turn to, to tell you how to competitively price your home correctly at the beginning of the selling process? How do you know what to offer on your dream home without paying too much, or offending the seller with a low-ball offer?

“When getting help with money, whether it’s insurance, real estate or investments, you should always look for someone with the heart of a teacher, not the heart of a salesman.” – Dave Ramsey

Hiring an agent who has their finger on the pulse of the market will make your buying/selling experience an educated one. You need someone who is going to tell you the truth, not just what they think you want to hear.

Bottom Line:

You wouldn’t hike up Kilimanjaro without a Sherpa, or replace the engine in your car without a trusted mechanic, why would you make one of your most important financial decisions of your life without hiring a Real Estate Professional?

Buy now or cost yourself more

Palm Harbor Homes for sale

Palm Harbor Homes for sale

Last month, the Federal Reserve, in a unanimous vote, decided to further decrease its bond purchasing. The bond purchases were the government’s stimulus package created to keep long term mortgage interest rates artificially low in order to help drive the housing market. Most experts believe that tapering will cause interest rates to increase as we move through the year.

Interest rates have remained relatively stable since the onset of the tapering in December. This is probably because the first round of increases had already been ‘priced into’ the equation last summer when rates skyrocketed by over a full percentage point just on the speculation that tapering would take place later in 2013.

However, as we move forward, most analysts believe rates will start to rise culminating in a rate close to a full percentage point higher than current rates by this time next year. For example, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, The Mortgage Bankers’ Association and the National Association of Realtors have all recently projected rates to be between 5-5.4% at this time next year.

Bottom Line

If you are a first time buyer or a move-up buyer, the cost of the mortgage on your new home will probably increase as we move through the year. If the timing makes sense, buying sooner rather than later may save you a substantial amount of money over the long term in lower mortgage payments.

Five Financial Reasons to Buy

Homes for sale Innisbrook

Homes for sale Innisbrook

If you are on the fence about Homeownership, here are 5 things to consider

1. Housing is the One leveraged Investment

2. You are paying for housing whether you own or rent

3. Owning is “Forced saving”

4. Tax Benefits

5. Owning is a hedge against inflation

5 Reasons to Buy NOW!! Don’t wait until Spring

Clearwater Homes for Sale

Clearwater Homes for SaleBased on prices, mortgage rates and soaring rents, there may have never been a better time in real estate history to purchase a home than right now. Here are five reasons purchasers should consider buying before the spring market arrives:

Supply Is Shrinking

With inventory declining in many regions, finding a home of your dreams may become more difficult going forward. There are buyers in more and more markets surprised that there is no longer a large assortment of houses to choose from. The best homes in the best locations sell first. Don’t miss the opportunity to get that ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ buy.

Price Increases Are on the Horizon

Prices are projected to appreciate by over 25% from now to 2018. First home buyers will probably pay more both in price and interest rate if they wait until the spring. Even if you are a move-up buyer, it will wind-up costing you more in net dollars as the home you will buy will appreciate at approximately the same rate as the house you are in now.

Owning a Home Helps Create Family Wealth

Whether you are rent or you own the home you are living in, you are paying a mortgage. Either you are paying your mortgage or your landlord’s. The Fed, in a recent study, revealed that the net worth of the average homeowner is 30 times greater than that of a renter.

Interest Rates Are Projected to Rise

The Mortgage Bankers Association, the National Association of RealtorsFreddie Macand Fannie Mae have all projected that the 30-year mortgage interest rate will be over 5% by the this time next year. That is an increase of almost one full point over current rates.

Buy Low, Sell High

We would all agree that, when investing, we want to buy at the lowest price possible and hope to sell at the highest price. Housing can create family wealth as long as we follow this simple principle. Today, real estate is selling ‘low’ compared to where it will be next year. It’s time to buy.

Flood Insurance Changes – October 2013

Questions about the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012

You can watch our very own Nicole Dufala on ABC Action News or read below:

1. What is the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012?

Answer: The Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 (BW-12) is a law passed by Congress and signed by the President in 2012 that extends the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for five years, while requiring significant program reform. The law requires changes to all major components of the program, including flood insurance, flood hazard mapping, grants, and the management of floodplains. Many of the changes are designed to make the NFIP more financially stable and ensure that flood insurance rates more accurately reflect the real risk of flooding. The changes will be phased in over time, beginning this year.


2. Why was the Biggert-Waters Reform Act of 2012 Passed?

Answer: Flooding has been, and continues to be, a serious risk in the United States – so serious that most insurance companies have specifically excluded flood damage from homeowners insurance. To address the need, in 1968 the U.S. Congress established the NFIP as a Federal program. It enabled property owners in participating communities to purchase flood insurance if the community adopted floodplain management ordinances and minimum standards for new construction. However, owners of existing homes and businesses did not have to rebuild to the higher standards and many received subsidized rates that did not reflect their true risk.

Over the years, the costs and consequences of flooding have continued to increase. For the NFIP to remain sustainable, its premium structure must reflect the true risks and costs of flooding. This is a primary driver for many of the changes required under the law.


Insurance Cost/Rate Questions


3. What changes to insurance operations are anticipated?

Answer: Many of the proposed changes are designed to increase the fiscal soundness of the NFIP. For example, beginning this year there will be changes addressing rate subsidies and a new Reserve Fund charge will start being assessed. There are also provisions to adjust premium rates to more accurately reflect flood risk.

Other provisions of the law address coverage modifications and claims handling. Studies will be conducted to address issues of affordability, privatization, and reinsurance, among other topics.

4. Will all policyholders see changes in insurance rates as a result of BW-12?


Answers: More than 80 percent of policyholders (representing approximately 4.48 million of the 5.6 million policies in force) do not pay subsidized rates.

About 20 percent of all NFIP policies pay subsidized rates. Only a portion of those policies that are currently paying subsidized premiums will see larger premium increases of 25% annually starting this year, until their premiums are full-risk premiums. Five percent of policyholders – those with subsidized polices for non-primary residences, businesses, and severe repetitive loss properties – will see the 25% annual increases immediately. Subsidies will no longer be offered for polices covering newly purchased properties, lapsed policies, or new polices covering properties for the first time.

The 80% of all NFIP policies that already pay full-risk premiums will not see these large premium increases. Most policyholders will see a new charge on their premiums to cover the Reserve Fund assessment that is mandated by BS-12. Initially, there will be a 5% assessment to all polices except Preferred Risk Policies (PRPs). The Reserve Fund will increase over time and will also be assessed on PRPs at some undetermined future date.

Additional changes to premium rates will occur upon remapping, the provision calling for these premium rate charges will not be implemented until the latter half of 2014.


5. In general, which properties will be most affected by changes in rates?


Answer: Rate changes will have the greatest effect on properties located within a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) that were constructed before a community adopted its first Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) and have not been elevated. For many communities the initial FIRM would have been adopted in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Your local insurance agent will be able to provide you the initial FIRM dates for your community.

Many of these pre-FIRM properties have been receiving subsidized rates. Subsidies are already being purchased out for non-primary residences. Starting this fall, subsidies will be phased out for business; properties of one to four residences that have experienced severe repetitive loss; and properties that have incurred flood-related damages where claims payments exceed the fair market value of the property. Premiums for these properties will increase by 25% per year until they reach the full risk rate.

Subsides are not being phased out for existing policies covering primary residences. However, the subsidy provided to primary residences could still be lost under conditions that apply to all subsidized policies. Subsidies will be immediately phased out for all new and lapsed policies and upon sale of the property. There may also be premium changes for policyholders after their community is remapped. But that provision of the Act is still under review and will implemented in the future.


6. What happens if a policy with subsidized rates is allowed to lapse or the property is sold?


Answer: Starting this fall, for all currently subsidized policies, there will be and immediate increase to the full risk rates for all new and lapsed polices and upon the sale/purchase of a property. Full risk rates will be charged to the next owner of the policy.

7. What does “full risk rate” actually mean?


Answer: Simply put, it means that the premium reflects both the risk assumed by the program (that is, expected average claims payment) and all administrative expenses. In the case of flood insurance, this means the premium takes into account the full range of possible flood losses, including the rare but catastrophic floods as well.


8. How can someone find out what a property’s full risk rate will be?


Answer: Of the many factors that determine the full risk rate of a structure, the single most important is the elevation of the structure in relation to the Base Flood Elevation (BFE). A community’s Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) indicates the area of the community that has a 1% or greater annual chance of flooding. That area is called the Special Flood Hazard Area, or high-risk zone. Put another way, the BFE is the elevation where there is a 1% or greater annual chance of flooding. For a property in the high-risk zone, you need to know the elevation of the structure in relation to the BFE. Generally, the higher the elevation above the BFE, the lower the flood risk. The information is shown on an Elevation Certificate, which is a form completed and signed by licensed engineer or surveyor. So to determine the premium for a property in a high-risk zone, you first need an Elevation Certificate. Then, an insurance agent can calculate the premium based on the amount of coverage desired.


9. What percentage of policies nationwide, and in high-risk zones, actually receive these subsidized rates?


Answer: More than 80 percent of policyholders (representing approximately 4.48 million of the 5.6 million policies in force) do not pay subsidized rates. About 20 percent of all NFIP policies pay subsidized rates. However, only 5 percent of policyholders – those subsidized policies covering non-primary residences, businesses, and severe repetitive loss properties – will see immediate increases to their premiums.


10. When will NFIP Grandfathering be eliminated?


Answer: Currently, the NFIP Grandfather procedure provides eligible property owners the option of using risk data from previous Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) if a policyholder maintained continuous coverage through a period of a FIRM revision or if a building was constructed “in compliance” with the requirements for the zone and BFE reflected on a previous FIRM. A provision of BW-12, however, requires FEMA to use revised flood risk data (zone and BFE) after a map revision. The legislation provides a 5-year mechanism to phase-in the new rates. This provision impacts the NFIP Grandfather procedure and will be implemented in the latter half of 2014. Many of the precise details of this implementation are still under development.


11. Is there option for people who are now in a flood zone, did not have substantial damage, but now the BFE is 10 feet higher than previously and face dramatic rate increases?


Answer: FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) programs provide funds for projects that reduce the risk to individuals and property from natural hazards. These programs enable mitigation measures to be implemented before, during, and after disaster recovery. Local jurisdictions develop projects that

reduce property damage from future disasters and submit grant applications to the State. The States submit applications to FEMA based on State criteria and available funding. The HMA programs include:

  • Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) – The Hazard Mitigation Grant Program provides grants to implement long-term hazard mitigation after a major disaster declaration. The purpose of HMGP is to reduce the loss of life and property due to natural disasters and to enable mitigation measures to be implemented during recovery from a disaster.
  • Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) – The Flood Mitigation Assistance program provides funds on an annual basis so that measures can be taken to reduce or eliminate risk of flood damage to buildings insured under the NFIP.
  •  Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program (PDM) – The Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program provides nationally competitive grants for hazard mitigation plans and projects before a disaster event. States can receive PDM funds regardless of whether or not there has been a disaster declared in that state.


FEMA encourages property and business owners interested in implementing mitigation activities to contact their local community planning, emergency management, or State Hazard Mitigation Officer for more information. Individuals and businesses may not apply directly to the State or FEMA, but eligible local governments may apply on behalf of a private entity. Your community will be working with the State to develop applications for HMA funding and implement the approved mitigation projects. Information about the HMA programs can be found at


Are you still unsure or just need more info? Please don’t hesitate to call us at 727-800-HOME.