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The Simms Team – your Florida real estate connection

Simms Team

Sharon Simms, daughter Tami Simms-Powel, son Rob Johnson, and long-time “adopted” daughter Amy Grashel welcome you to the St. Petersburg area and invite you to discuss your real estate needs with us – whether it’s a property here in the Tampa Bay area or a home anywhere else in the world. Our ALVA International, Inc.  office is located in downtown St Pete, at 238 Beach Drive NE, right across from the Museum of Fine Arts, Straub Park, and the marina. Whether it’s an urban lifestyle in downtown St Pete or a waterfront home on Snell Isle, a condo on one of our white sand beaches or a brand new home 30 minutes away, one of us will be able to help you. It all starts with a conversation …

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More planned construction for 4th Avenue N in downtown St Petersburg

Buildings to be cleared for Regents Lane.

The “Before” of Regents Lane

Regents Lane is the latest condo project planned for Fourth Avenue North. It’s been a busy block from Beach Drive to 1st Street N.  This appears to be on the same land as the previously announced O.N.E project (not to be confused with the ONE project).

Between Beach Drive and 1st Street North, Rowland Place, a 17 unit condo developer by JMC, was completed and began closings in March. Bliss, with 29 units, is under construction. Three units remain available at Bliss, from $846,900 to $2,915,900.  The former P. Buckley Moss museum is being transformed into a single family residence.

Between 1st Street North and 2nd Street North, Frank Menna and Steve Gianfilippo announced The Brownstones, a row of five 4,000 sq ft homes with space for professional offices below and with roof decks. Preconstruction prices are expected to be between $1.3 million and $1.8 million.

Newly announced by NJR Property Investments on that same block is Regents Lane at 141 Fourth Avenue N. These townhomes will be 2,335 sq ft in four stories. Each will have a 2 car garage, 3 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, a private elevator and a rooftop deck. Prices are expected to range from $848,500 to $928,000. Older buildings now on the property will be torn down to make room for Regents Lane.

You can contact The Simms Team at Coastal Properties Group International, Christie’s International for representation in purchasing a preconstruction or existing property.

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Time to convert apartments to condos in downtown St Pete?

Construction progress on 330 Third

330 Third

Soon after the end of the pile driving, we find that American Land Ventures has hired a real estate company to arrange the sale of 330 Third, their planned 358 unit apartment building, as a possible condo conversion.  The building, south of the downtown Publix and north of The Madison, is scheduled to be completed in 2016, with units ranging from studios to 3 bedroom units.  Some of the units in this 17 story building will have water views. Learn more in a recent article on 330 Third by Susan Taylor Martin.

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Kahwa Coffee opens new location at Bob Lee’s

Kahwa Coffee at Bob Lee's Tire

Kahwa opens at Bob Lee’s

Kahwa has just opened its fourth retail coffee shop in St Pete (and has four in Tampa) at Bob Lee’s Tire on 4th Street.  I like getting gas at Bob Lee’s because it’s full service. They used to just give ladies full service, but changed some time ago so they give everyone full service.  I like not having to pump my own gas, especially when it’s cold or rainy, and it’s nice to have my windshield washed and my tires checked. For some years they’ve had some sort of food operation there, but I think they’ve picked a winner by bringing in Kahwa.  After having my usual morning coffee at Kahwa North, I drove to Bob Lee’s to fill up with gas, and there was Sarah Perrier, one of the Kahwa owners, holding her familiar yellow and brown cup of Kahwa coffee and letting everyone know that they can have a free cup of coffee today (and yesterday and tomorrow). I went in for mine and discovered a unique blend of Kahwa coffee shop with vintage gas station.

Congratulations, Rafael and Sarah!  You’ve been a fabulous addition to St Pete and surrounds, so it’s good to see you expanding successfully.

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Return of the Simms blog

Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer

Sorry for the long hiatus between blog posts, but fighting breast cancer took precedence over the last year plus. Somehow there wasn’t enough energy left for writing blog posts.  The good news is – surgery and chemo are behind me, and I’m now a breast cancer survivor. I kept working throughout the time, but Tami, Rob and Amy really filled in so our real estate business didn’t miss a beat.

Please contact us if we can help with your real estate needs, or help you make the most of your new home in St Pete and beyond.

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Significant property on Sydney Harbour Australia

Elaine is an exceptional property on Sydney Harbour in Australia

Significant offering in Sydney Australia


Elaine is  a unique waterfront property offering in Sydney, Australia and will likely be the largest holding to be sold into private hands on Sydney Harbour.  The grand Victorian mansion was built in 1863 and the property has both stables and a tennis court. A private gate leads to the secluded Seven Shillings Beach. Elaine has been in the family for four generations and  is a rare opportunity to own a historically significant property.

Why would you care about a property in Australia? Many international buyers have multiple homes, located around the globe. Christie’s makes it easy for you to buy and sell around the world.

For more information on this property, visit Elaine‘s property website and contact Ken Jacobs, exclusive affiliate for Christie’s, or visit his website.



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Why does Florida have so many cash sales?

Conversation over coffee this morning included the question, “Why does Florida have so many cash sales?” He said Florida is leading the country in the percentage of real estate sales for cash.

I think it’s a combination of factors:

  • Florida has the largest percentage of international buyers and they usually pay cash for their properties.
  • Many buyers have sold a larger home up north and are paying cash here and investing the remainder.
  • Florida has been popular with large and small investors buying properties to rent – and they usually pay cash.
  • Some buyers who might otherwise have taken out a small mortgage are choosing to pay cash because then they aren’t required to purchase flood insurance.

According to recent statistics from Realty Trac, 42% of national real estate sales were for cash. In Florida, 63% of real estate transactions were cash.

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Still a sellers’ market for downtown St Pete condos

Compared to a year ago, we started 2014 with 55 downtown St Pete condos on the market, more than twice the number from a year before. However, downtown condos were selling at the rate of 24 per month during 2013 so that’s still only a 2.3 month supply of condos. A six month supply is considered a balanced market, so it’s still a seller’s market.







.1-2 Mil. 

.2+ Mil.




















Downtown St Pete condos are listed from $60,000 to $2,499,000. As the table shows condos are available in a wide range of prices. For more information on any of the condos available, please call The Simms Team at (727) 898-2582  (or email them at info@SimmsTeam.com). For representation in buying or selling a condo, contact The Simms Team with Coastal Properties Group, affiliate for Christie’s International Real Estate.

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Flood Insurance in St Petersburg and Pinellas County Florida

Saint Petersburg waterfront

St Petersburg waterfront


Many clients have been asking for an update on flood insurance here in St Petersburg and Pinellas County. Here’s what we know:

In Washington:  on Monday the US Senate voted 86-13 TO BEGIN DEBATE on delaying flood insurance rate increases for 4 years. Both the White House and House Speaker John Boehner have expressed opposition.

In St Petersburg: in one waterfront neighborhood, Broadwater, there were 3 waterfront home sales between October 1st, when the flood insurance rate increases began, and the end of 2013.  All three were cash, which means the buyers had the option of not buying flood insurance and “self-insuring”. The one waterfront sale this year in Broadwater, which we successfully marketed, closed with a conventional loan, which meant flood insurance was required. The premium for that house, built in 1973, was $914.00 (not through Citizens) – which was less than the Seller had been paying. We obtained a new quote on a Broadwater waterfront home built in 1981 and it was less than $1,000.

Call The Simms Team at (727) 898-2582 if you’d like more information on flood insurance (or email them at info@SimmsTeam.com  For representation in buying or selling a home, contact The Simms Team with Coastal Properties Group, affiliate for Christie’s International Real Estate.

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New Christie’s Affiliation for The Simms Team in St Petersburg, Florida

Coastal Propertyies Group

Christie’s St Petersburg


On January 1st, The Simms Team merged with Coastal Properties Group, the exclusive affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate in Tampa Bay.  We’ve enjoyed our five years owning ALVA International, a boutique real estate company in downtown St Petersburg, but realize that the real estate market is changing and we need to change with it. We’ll continue to operate as The Simms Team, as we have for many years, and will now have the additional resources of Coastal and Christie’s International to offer our clients.  We’ll offer the same personal service but with more tools and reach. Christie’s – yes, the same as the auction house – has provided integrity, expertise and exemplary service since  1766. Alex and Laren Jansen opened Coastal Properties Group on Clearwater Beach in July 2012 and have been making waves in north Pinellas county ever since. St Petersburg is Coastal’s sixth office, with a seventh soon to open on Treasure Island.

Come in and see our redecorated office at 238 Beach Drive NE in downtown St Pete. Join us for a cup of coffee and we can talk about everything that’s happening in real estate. We’re living in exciting and interesting times. photo 1

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Should we put our St Pete home on the market before the holidays?

Photo of a home for sale in St Petersburg that sold during the holidays

Homes do sell during the holidays


We often get the question, “Should we put our home on the market before the holidays?” or less frequently, “Should we take our home off the market for the holidays?”  Yes, and no.

Generally, although there may be less buyers looking between Thanksgiving and Christmas, those who are looking are generally more serious.  Also, people visiting relatives or taking a holiday vacation in the St Petersburg area may want to buy while they’re here.  Many sellers wait until the first week in January to put their house on the market, so there will be more competition if you wait.

A home is particularly appealing during the holidays – homes have aromas of cookies and baked goodies, of fresh evergreens, perhaps flowers and fruit. Go ahead and decorate, just don’t overdo it.  Think simple, think highlights and accents. For me, there are also memories of glogg and cardamom seeds.

If your home is listed and you have planned events that won’t be convenient for showings, tell your real estate agent so that they can schedule showing requests around your activities. If you’re going out of town,  be sure to leave a phone number or email contact so your agent can reach you with any offers that come in.

Want to get your home on the market now? Call The Simms Team at 727-898-2582 for a consultation.



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