Many homeowners are waiting for the slump in the housing market to hit bottom and want some kind of positive sign before buying their next home.
If you are one of those buyers, you don't have to keep waiting, says Mario Polo, broker and owner of The Mall House, a real estate company specializing in new and existing home sales.
Polo admits he can't pinpoint the date the Tampa Bay area will emerge from the slump but says the trend is toward settling and that will benefit buyers.
To that end, Polo has created two loan programs for Mall House customers.
"If a buyer has good credit and good income, they can purchase a home for $1 down or choose to have their principal and interest paid for six months," Polo says. "This is a realistic and viable program that is not in any way tied into subprime loans.
"People have been putting off buying their next homes, delaying their plans for moving up or downsizing," he says. "Now they're starting to hear about even better prices, unbelievable buying incentives and now they want to go for it and we have these two mortgage programs in place to service those buyers."
The Mall House is literally in the mall and is the "fun and ideal way to start a search for a new home," Polo says.
"Just as you can shop for anything new in a mall, you also can visit The Mall House and shop for a new home," he says. "We're in constant contact with the area builders, so we know about all inventory homes, slashed prices, credit repair programs, any and all incentives, along with the newest communities and neighborhoods being started."
Polo and his wife Marie, both Tampa natives and veterans of the local real estate market, started The Mall House in 1999. The Mall House recently expanded to a full-service real estate company, letting agents assist buyers whose purchase hinges on the sale of their current home.
The idea is to offer a unique way of specializing in new home sales, he says.
The agents "market for the builders, but represent the buyer and their service is at no cost to the customer. The builder or the seller pays the fee.
"We're an all-in-one solution for finding a new home or a resale in the Tampa Bay area," Polo says.
Polo says there are many advantages to The Mall House concept. For one, it's convenient. By having access at one location to all the Tampa Bay area builders, it saves drive time, gas, hassles and the frustration of walking through numerous models. Most importantly, buyers have representation every step of the way, right up to the closing table.
"We are able to focus on the best available home in whatever price range of the search," he says. "It can be overwhelming to a buyer to attempt to look at the dozens, if not hundreds, of homes on the market that meet their criteria. We help narrow their search with just one visit and many times our agents negotiate a more lucrative package for their buyers."
Also through its Web site, many of the builders' models can be viewed on virtual tours, Polo says.
In addition, the stores are open the same hours as the mall, allowing for after-work shopping.
"If you want to just come in and browse, you can," Polo says. "There is no pressure."
For information, visit www.themallhouse.com or call (813) 926-5191 or 1-888-403-5191 for the Westfield Citrus Park location or (813) 684-2136 or 1-888-388-6255 for the Westfield Brandon location.