Tampa: The Holy Grail of Wholesale Real Estate Investing

Ybor City

According to a recent report from WalletHub, the city of Tampa ranks #10, out of 169 other cities in the United States, for wholesale real estate investing. Tampa Bay has undergone some astonishing changes in the past couple of years. In January of 2010, Tampa’s unemployment rate was at an appalling 11.7%. In 2011, Tampa’s GDP per capita, which is a measure of the worth of all goods and services produced, minus the value of goods and services used up in production, was at $38,863. In September of 2013, the median sale price of all properties was $177,500. On the contrary, in 2018: The unemployment rate, as of June, is 3.8%, the projected GDP per capita is $42,047, and the median sale price of all properties is remaining at $239,000. Home values have risen 15.3% in the past year and are anticipated to increase another 7.9%. Older neighborhoods such as Seminole Heights, and properties downtown, especially near Channel Side, are being revitalized and invested in. Since the Tampa Bay Rays announced the potential construction of a brand new ballpark in the Ybor City area, investors have been scrambling to snag properties in the 33605 area code. With all projections pointing upwards, the time to flip is yesterday.

Flipping homes may seem like a simple endeavor, you purchase an old, outdated property, make a few renovations, sell it, and make an enormous profit. Unfortunately, wholesale real estate investing is not as easy as depicted on popular TV shows such as Property Brothers, and in fact, requires more time and money than most people realize. If one is looking to do some flipping in Tampa, there are a few important points to remember. Most professional flippers will stress the importance of expedience. You want to buy and sell a property as fast as possible due to the property maintenance costs, mortgage, and potential property holding costs which may reduce final profits margins. Another major aspect is financing. If you are financing the property renovation and must borrow money, you will have to pay interest which is not 100% tax deductible. It is essential that you find a mortgage lender who offers low-interest rates. You can pay for everything with cash, but you will still be subject to the capital gains tax. When flipping a home, you must understand the amount of time involved. You must invest the time in buying, renovating, ensuring the property is up to code and selling the property.

If you are seeking to flip a home on top of your normal occupational work, you may find it extremely difficult or impossible to accumulate the time required. Inexperienced flippers also find themselves lacking the skills and knowledge demanded in flipping a property. If you have to pay out of pocket for the professional renovation and resale of a property, you will find your profit margins to be extremely slim. In summation, wholesale real-estate investing should not be taken on unless you have done all the necessary research and due diligence. With that being said, the profit potential in Tampa has never been higher. Three years ago a 3 bedroom, one bathroom bungalow in a Ybor neighborhood sold for $25,000 in a foreclosure sale, and today the property will most likely close at $164,900. Like all investments, there are risks involved, but right now, Tampa is a risk worth taking.

Investors and Probate Real Estate

Why do investors target probate homes?

  • Properties in probate are perfect for investors, because they’re possibly in need of serious updates and repairs, and the Personal Representative doesn’t have the time or money to spend making it ready to sell on the retail market, making it lucrative for real estate investors to buy these homes below the market value.
  • A Personal Representative cannot sell estate property without either an order permitting the sale or an order determining homestead status of real property. 

•   Real Estate Investors – probate leads represent the very best residential real estate-related lead source available today. Within 4-6 months of the probate filing, 40% of the properties found will be sold.

  • Realtors will find that many of the residential properties in probate will be listed within the first year after the filing.
  • Wide Range Of Properties – Commercial, Acreage, Duplexes, Condominiums, Apartment buildings, Strip malls, Office buildings, Ranchland, Farms. These are not rundown foreclosures, bankruptcies, or condemned properties that are complex deals and need costly repairs. These can be beautiful homes with no mortgage or debt attached, making them some of the cleanest and easiest of all real estate to buy low and sell high quickly.


The Florida Probate Process and Property

What is probate?

Probate is the legal procedure in which the probate court assumes jurisdiction over the assets of someone who has died. The court supervises the payment of debts, taxes, and probate fees, then supervises the distribution of the remainder to the person(s) named in a will, or to the heirs if there is no will.

Florida probate law varies depending on the type of property. It is important to get guidance from an experienced Florida Real Estate Probate and Homestead Property Attorney. 

A Florida probate can include:

  • Proving to the Florida probate court that the deceased person’s will is valid.
  • Identifying and preparing an inventory of the deceased person’s property.
  • Determining the value of the deceased person’s property.
  • Paying all debts and any taxes due.
  • Distributing the remaining property as the will or the law directs.
  • Attorney and court fees which are typically paid from estate assets.

PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVES are under no obligation to use the same law firm that wrote the will. Nearly all probate procedures in Florida involve paperwork drafted and filed by probate lawyers. Unlike some other states, Florida law generally does not allow “do-it-yourself” probate except in some cases involving very small bank accounts, refund checks, or similar assets.

Types of Probate Administration in Florida:

  • Formal Probate Administration – The Normal Probate Process

This is Florida’s traditional form of probate administration. It requires APPROXIMATELY 12 months to complete.  It is usually used for complicated issues such as challenges to the Will, disputes between beneficiaries or heirs, or supervision of the Personal Representative. 

The following is an over-simplified description:

The process starts with a petition for administration and the appointment of one or more personal representatives (executors). After that, a Notice to Creditors is published in a local newspaper, and creditors generally have three months in which to file their claims.

Once the period of time for creditor claims has passed, the personal representative can pay the debts (in a certain order) and distribute the remaining estate. Once all debts are paid and the remainder of the estate has been distributed, a petition for discharge is filed, and the Florida estate is closed upon entry of an order of discharge.

While this may sound simple, probate is a fairly complex system of required and optional tasks by the personal representative, the attorney and sometimes a tax consultant (often a CPA). Of course, the simpler the assets and the deceased’s plan of distribution, the simpler the Florida probate will be. 

  • Summary Probate Process for Small Estates

The state also provides a “short form” of probate for certain smaller or older estates, which is quicker and cheaper than the “formal administration” used for most Florida probate administrations.

Summary probate administration is available for estates with “non-exempt” property of less than $75,000 and the decedent has no outstanding unpaid debts, or in cases where the decedent passed more than 2 years ago. The value of “homestead” real property is not counted in totaling the value of the estate, nor is any other proposed exempt property.  Summary administration can also be used in any size estate if the deceased has been dead FOR more than two years. Summary administration does not work in certain cases, such as those with minor or missing heirs, or where the assets or debts of the deceased are unknown.


If the deceased’s real estate is considered their “homestead,” the state of Florida applies certain unique rules to the transfer of the property. The homestead property exemption was created to protect families from being displaced from their home; however, there are many special rules to this probate property law.

Features That Bump Up and Sell Your House Faster

Home features that boost the selling price and number of days on the market.

Features that bump up & sell your house faster

In a study done by Zillow, Home Features that Sell, 4.6 million home sales across the country were analyzed in 2017 and 2018 for sales price and number of days listed on Zillow.  The analysis stated that the for-sale listings mentioning certain home features sold for more and were on the market less time than those homes that did not list these certain features.

     What are these features you ask?  Well having luxurious items such as a steam oven or shower, heated floors, or a wine cellar can boost your home sales price up to 34 percent more.  The Director of Economic Research at Zillow, Skylar Olsen, notes that “If you have these features, flaunt them.”

     These types of luxurious features that are mentioned in property listings are appealing to first-home buyers and sell for more than expected. This type of trend seems to reflect the type of lifestyle that a millennial homeowner or a young family are trying to live by or achieve, according to Zillow.

     Another luxurious home feature that bumped up pricing on a home and was included on the listing was an outdoor kitchen. A home with this feature sold for 24.5 percent more than a listing of a home that did not.  Outdoor dining goes well with this feature, a pergola. When mentioned in a listing, the home sold 11 days faster and for 7.2 percent more money. Other items that gave homes a boost in prices and less days on the market are waterfall countertops, open shelving, exposed brick, and subway tile.

     Zillow does point out that they are not “saying you should build or add these things to your home just to help it sell. However, listings that mention these features do sell for more—sometimes a lot more.”

Added features that raise the selling price of your home.
Luxurious features that can boost the sale of your home.