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Florida real estate: What you can buy for $100,000

The end of the federal tax credit for home buyers doesn't mean the end of bargains in the housing market.

People are finding creative ways to get a lot of house for a little money, Tampa Bay real estate agents say. Some buyers ask the seller to pay closing costs; others are purchasing houses — through short sales or foreclosures — for less than the seller owes on the house.

Most of all, they are taking advantage of low prices. Houses that once sold for $200,000 or $300,000 are selling for half that all over the bay area, agents say.

Ron Buzzetto, with RE/MAX Premier Group in Wesley Chapel, has a listing at 2316 Roanoke Springs Drive in Ruskin. The three-bedroom, two-bath, 2,082-square-foot house was built in 2006 and features a lake view. Upgrades include a stone-accented exterior, granite countertops in the kitchen and a separate shower and tub in the master bath.

The sellers bought the house for $330,000, Buzzetto said. He has it listed at $100,000.

A few years ago, $100,000 wouldn't buy much, so we took a look around the bay area to see what's out there.

"It depends on the condition," Buzzetto said. "Condition still matters."

We found that for about $100,000, buyers can get a house with a pool or a completely renovated interior. They can get ample square footage or yard size. But more than anything, if they are willing to do some research or have some patience — short sales can take months to close — they can land a real bargain.

"A lot of people are looking at the $150,000 and under price range," said Sue Ellis, a Prudential Tropical agent in Clearwater.

"If you cross into Pasco, you get much more house for your money. People pay more to be in the middle of Pinellas where most of the jobs are."

Buyers have taken note, according to Linda White, a Century 21 agent in Zephyrhills. "Houses in east Pasco are selling briskly," she said. "We even get multiple offers on the best bargains."

Andrew Duncan, a Keller Williams agent in Tampa, said low interest rates and low prices are helping the market rebound. "I think that across the board, over the past few months, it's picking up."

Intrigued? Keep in mind that it pays to do some research before you head out.

"The new rule of thumb is to look at the tax records and you'll find the fair market value," said Anne Hensel, an agent with South Beaches Real Estate in Madeira Beach. "Things are selling for the price that is on the tax records — even though that (valuation) used to represent a fraction of the selling price."

But don't spend too much time in front of the computer thinking about how much to offer.

"If you're going to buy, this is the time to do it," said Elizabeth Foran, a Kemp Real Estate agent in Holiday.

"It's amazing. If you've been in the area for a while, you can't believe what houses are selling for. Prices are low."

Patti Ewald is a freelance writer based in Gulfport. She can be reached at pattiewald@gulfcoastwriter.com.

1

2403 Vermont Ave. E,

Bradenton, Manatee County

Price: $99,900

The scoop: This home has three bedrooms, two baths and 1,551 square feet. The property also has a screened, in-ground pool with balcony/sun deck, fruit trees and a covered patio.

2

2316 Roanoke Springs Drive, Ruskin, Hillsborough County

Price: $100,000

The scoop: A short sale, this home with lake view has three bedrooms, an office, a combination living and dining room, and a family room that overlooks the kitchen. The kitchen, which has a breakfast bar, has granite countertops, tile floor and maple cabinets. The master bedroom has a walk-in closet, garden tub, dual sinks and separate shower. It also features a covered lanai.

3

8320 Riverboat Drive, Tampa,

Hillsborough County

Price: $98,800

The scoop: It may seem like a short sale, but it's not. This two-bedroom, two-bath home with 1,519 square feet near Harney Road has been well-maintained. The house has vaulted ceilings and many rooms with ceramic tile. There is a Florida room, and the master bedroom has three closets and a bath. The yard is large with mature landscaping.

4

607 Painted Leaf Drive,

Brooksville, Hernando County

Price: $100,000

The scoop: Built in 2006, this 1,824-square-foot home has three bedrooms, two baths and a two-car garage, plus an 18- by 17-foot family room. It is in a community with pool and clubhouse near the Suncoast Parkway. It is offered as a short sale.

5

5175 Hamlet Circle, Spring Hill,

Hernando County

Price: $100,000

The scoop: This three-bedroom, two-bath home has a great room with cathedral ceilings and stone fireplace and also features a full wet bar. There is marble tile in the kitchen and foyer areas and a screened-in pool.

6

8727 Roble Way, Port Richey,

Pasco County

Price: $99,900

The scoop: This 1,600-square-foot home has three bedrooms, two baths, a game room and one-car garage. The kitchen features dark wood cabinets, granite countertops and a large breakfast bar. The landscaping has been well-maintained and it has a new roof.

7

4717 White Bay Circle,

Wesley Chapel, Pasco County

Price: $94,900

The scoop: This home has three bedrooms and 2 1/2 baths in 1,829 square feet. The large master bedroom suite includes a walk-in closet and dual sinks. Sliding doors lead out to a covered deck. The community has a playground, pool and basketball court.

8

2400 Feather Sound Drive, Clearwater, Pinellas County

Price: $99,900

The scoop: This is a top-floor two-bedroom, two-bath condo located in the Audubon at Feather Sound, a golf course community. Offered as a short sale, the unit overlooks the course with views of water and the fairway and greens. The price includes a covered parking spot.

9

4452 Great Lakes Drive,

Clearwater, Pinellas County

Price: $100,000

The scoop: This is a two-bedroom, two-bath house with one-car garage in a 55-plus community east of 49th Street N. Offered as a short sale, it features an open floor plan, a screened garden/aviary room and a bonus room. Outside, there's tropical landscaping and a koi pond.

10

6730 Date Palm Ave. S,

St. Petersburg, Pinellas County

Price: $99,900

The scoop: This home is small — one bedroom, one bath with office — but it's in highly desirable South Pasadena. The kitchen-living room combination features new hardwood floors, new cabinets and appliances. The house has a fenced-in back yard with a large patio and is close to Stetson University College of Law.

Florida real estate: What you can buy for $100,000 06/11/10 [Last modified: Friday, June 11, 2010 8:01am]

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