Elton John, Shawn Mendes & More Coming To Brandon Area


BRANDON, FL — Ever wanted to see Elton John or Shawn Mendes live in action? How about Florida Georgia Line, Dan and Shay & Morgan Wallen or Hugh Jackman? These are just a few of the big-ticket events headed for venues in the Brandon area in the near future. See our weekly roundup of listings below for all the exciting details, dates and ticket prices.

Want to check out more great events in your area? Click here to find local tickets. (Pro tip: Enter the promo code "PatchTickets10" at checkout to get 10 percent off!)


When: Saturday, Jun 22, 2019 | 7:00 pmWhere: Florida State Fairgrounds Expo Hall, Tampa, FLPrice: $270 and up


When: Monday, Nov 4, 2019 | 8:00 pmWhere: Amalie Arena, Tampa, FLPrice: $521 and up


When: Saturday, Jul 27, 2019 | 7:30 pmWhere: Amalie Arena, Tampa, FLPrice: $40 and up


When: Monday, Jul 22, 2019 | 7:30 pmWhere: Amalie Arena, Tampa, FLPrice: $45 and up


When: Friday, Aug 30, 2019 | 7:00 pmWhere: MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre At The Florida State Fairgrounds, Tampa, FLPrice: $64 and up


When: Friday, Jul 5, 2019 | 7:00 pmWhere: Amalie Arena, Tampa, FLPrice: $56 and up


When: Friday, Jun 28, 2019 | 7:10 pmWhere: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, FLPrice: $15 and up


When: Friday, Aug 2, 2019 | 7:00 pmWhere: MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre At The Florida State Fairgrounds, Tampa, FLPrice: $59 and up


When: Saturday, Jul 6, 2019 | 10:00 amWhere: Jenkins Arena – RP Funding Center, Lakeland, FLPrice: $25 and up


When: Friday, Aug 16, 2019 | 7:30 pmWhere: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FLPrice: $38 and up


When: Friday, Nov 15, 2019 | 8:00 pmWhere: Mahaffey Theater At The Progress Energy Center, St. Petersburg, FLPrice: $74 and up


When: Thursday, Dec 19, 2019 | 7:30 pmWhere: Carol Morsani Hall – The Straz Center, Tampa, FLPrice: $122 and up


When: Saturday, Jun 29, 2019 | 7:30 pmWhere: Al Lang Stadium, St. Petersburg, FLPrice: $16 and up

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After car crash, Flagler senior Brandon Schwartz gets diploma in hospital graduation

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There was no band playing “Pomp and Circumstance.” The valedictorian didn’t speak. The graduate didn’t walk into the Ocean Center to cheering crowds.

But as 18-year-old Brandon Schwartz sat in a wheelchair Friday at Halifax Health Medical Center, wearing a cap and gown and holding his belated diploma, he said the same thing all high school graduates say:

“I did it!”

Later, he amended his statement.

“I barely did it. Barely.”

Schwartz wasn’t able to walk at his graduation ceremony at Flagler Palm Coast High School on May 30 because three weeks earlier he was in a major car crash. By the time of graduation, he was still on a ventilator, recovering from substantial injuries.

Schwartz was delivering pizzas for Hungry Howie’s around 7 p.m. on May 11 when, according to a report from the Florida Highway Patrol, he failed to stop at a stop sign and another driver T-boned his car in the intersection of County Road 302 and County Road 305.

The other driver was not injured, but Schwartz was airlifted to Halifax Health and taken into surgery for his injuries. His spleen was removed. Doctors had to repair his pancreas, liver, abdominal wall and ventricular vein. Fluid was drained from his heart. His ribs were broken in 10 places.

His mom, Patricia, said she had to wait for three hours without any information. She didn’t know if her son arrived at the hospital alive or dead. It was the night before Mother’s Day.

Now, almost a month later, he’s expected to make a full recovery. He’s learning to walk again. And he got his diploma, if a few days later than the rest of his class.

“It’s a miracle,” his dad Marc Schwartz said, thanking the hospital staff, first responders and God. “Brandon owes his life to these people and that’s a debt we can never repay. We’re so grateful.”

Brandon Schwartz lives in Ormond Beach, but attended FPC to play on the lacrosse team. Just days before the accident, he attended prom with his girlfriend, Kayla Tennant, wearing a tuxedo to match her blue dress. He planned to join the Air Force after graduation.

He doesn’t remember much about the accident, but his father said he’s going to remember his graduation ceremony.

FPC Principal Robert Wallace went to the hospital to present Schwartz with his diploma on the same day he announced plans to retire from his position at the end of this month.

“Well Brandon, we were very disappointed you couldn’t make the graduation ceremony,” Wallace said. To which Brandon replied, “Me too.”

People laughed, but it wasn’t much of a joke. By the time Brandon really woke up after his accident, graduation — the chance to say goodbye to the last four years of his life, be with his friends and celebrate the future — had passed.

“It sucks,” he said, and tears welled in his eyes. “I wanted to be there so bad.”

But in the inpatient rehabilitation center at Halifax Health in Daytona Beach, surrounded by friends, family and the medical staff helping him heal, he had a new perspective.

“I’m glad to be alive.”

He said he still plans to join the Air Force, but first he’ll go home from the hospital, to sleep and to recover.

He said he only had one thing to say about everything he’s been through: “Just drive safe.”

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Brandon Maxwell, Rick Owens take top CFDA fashion awards

NEW YORK (AP) — Designers Brandon Maxwell and Rick Owens have taken top honors at the annual Council of Fashion Designers of America awards.

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A slew of fashion luminaries and celebrities were on hand at the Brooklyn Museum Monday evening for the glittery ceremony, which is fashion’s answer to the Oscars. TV host and comedian Hasan Minhaj and actress Jessica Williams were among the top presenters, handing out the womenswear award to Maxwell and the menswear award to Owens.

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Maxwell was best known as a stylist for Lady Gaga until becoming a known designer in his own right. He recently oversaw the pop superstar’s Met Gala look that involved her shedding outfits on the red carpet to reveal multiple looks.

Perhaps the evening’s most high-profile honor, the Fashion Icon award, went to pop star Jennifer Lopez, honored for her style and her multifaceted career. And this year’s Board of Directors’ Tribute went, for the first time, to a doll: none other than Barbie was honored as "an icon and champion of female empowerment."

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Sonnen Brings Homebuilder Strategy to Illinois With Passive Home Project

Sonnen will outfit each house with a 20-kilowatt-hour ecoLinx battery system.

The U.S. regulatory landscape hasn’t allowed a direct replica of that business model, so sonnen’s local branch prioritized partnerships with homebuilders to put batteries in each unit of a neighborhood development.

The company first partnered with Mandalay Homes to outfit a 2,900-home development in Arizona. Then came Pearl Homes, which wants to put sonnen systems in a 148-home community in coastal Florida, followed by an even larger rental project.

Why sonnen picked Illinois

Illinois makes for an unexpected followup, because it has seen minimal residential storage activity to date. Its 108 megawatts of installed solar capacity puts the state 36th in the nation for that resource, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association, although the group expects precipitous growth in the next five years.

On top of that, electric rates in utility ComEd’s territory, where Wildwood will be, do not encourage storage adoption.

"ComEd’s residential rates are cheap and they don’t have time-of-use rates," said energy storage analyst Brett Simon of Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables. "However, as we well know, emotion has driven a fair amount of residential storage deployment in the U.S."

Time-of-use rates can encourage storage adoption because they charge more for peak power and less for midday power; that creates a price signal to store midday solar generation for use in the evening. ComEd does offer an unusual hourly pricing rate pegged to the wholesale markets; it’s unclear how that would impact home battery economics.

Even without those price signals, Weiss said he wants to design the homes so that they add value to the grid rather than stressing it. Simply dumping each house’s 6-kilowatt generation capacity onto the grid at noon could one day contribute to a "duck curve" effect, if Illinois follows through on plans for a massive renewables scale-up.

Instead, he wants his customers to be able to store their production with the ecoLinx batteries and use it when the system is more strained by demand.

"Being able to reduce peak power demand is really cool," Weiss said. "We want to do the right thing ecologically and from a sustainability standpoint."

Banking on future grid value and backup power

The combined energy storage capacity of the homes will surpass half a megawatt, which could be a nontrivial amount for local grid balancing during peak events. That said, sonnen did not announce any formal agreement with ComEd to put that capacity to work for grid services.

This mirrors the earlier sonnen homebuilder projects, where the company decided to move ahead with construction in the absence of a utility contract, banking on there being future value in the portfolio of dispatchable batteries. If the homebuilder can sign up customers looking for a self-sustaining lifestyle, then future utility revenue will just be an added bonus.

Clean backup power for the all-electric homes will also attract customers in Illinois, Weiss said. The Midwest climate will throw snowstorms, ice storms, high winds and hail at the houses, which lack a gas hookup to feed a generator. But the battery will be ready to step in.

The ecoLinx model is the top-shelf version of sonnen’s product suite, because it can interact with high-end home automation systems and respond automatically to incoming storms that might knock out power to the grid. Weiss said he liked that the product has the flexibility to let homeowners choose whichever home automation platform they prefer.

Sonnen’s higher price point presents a challenge in a market with cheaper options such as the Tesla Powerwall and the LG Chem Resu. That dynamic is visible in data from California’s Self-Generation Incentive Program, which subsidizes small-scale storage. Of the home batteries installed with that incentive last year, Tesla and LG Chem split the pool almost fifty-fifty, with sonnen picking up 1 percent, according to WoodMac’s Energy Storage Monitor.

Partnering with specialized homebuilders lets sonnen wrap the price of its systems into the overall home purchase. This symbiosis also enables homebuilders to pitch environmentally conscious customers on self-sufficient clean energy, which needn’t meet the standard of strictly economic return on investment.

Perhaps most importantly for sonnen, it means that winning over one counterparty can unlock hundreds or thousands of unit sales, a far more efficient approach than selling customer by customer.

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Brandon’s McKenzie Dennis Named FOI Athlete Of The Week

Florida Orthopaedic Institute has named McKenzie Dennis from Brandon High School as the Athlete of the Week. (FOI)

TAMPA, FL — Florida Orthopaedic Institute has named McKenzie Dennis from Brandon High School as the Athlete of the Week for the week ending May 10.

Dennis, a senior leader for the Brandon cheerleading squad, was nominated by head coach Michella Burney for her selfless attitude and dedication to her team.

"McKenzie is a head cheer captain," Burney said. "She has led her team for two consecutive years. She is very talented. This shows not only in cheer but academically as well as she holds a 3.8 GPA. She loves to serve her community and the others around her."

Always seeking new accomplishments, Dennis sets many goals for herself and does everything in her power to achieve them.

"During the cheer season, my goals included making it to states, gaining new tumbling skills and being a motivational captain," Dennis said. "Now that flag football has started, I want to win states while staying positive and in shape throughout the long season."


As an already established gymnast and an avid thrill seeker, Dennis says that she loves getting others to be the best that they can be.

"What motivated me to get started was my background in gymnastics," Dennis said. "I wanted to be involved in high school. I love being active and encouraging people to be better, so being captain of the cheerleading team for two years in a row helped me with doing so. I started cheer my freshman year and then started flag football as a senior to try new things."

Dennis wants other athletes to know that times may get tough and situations might seem uncertain. However, one must keep believing in themselves and never give up.

"One thing I learned when I ended my last cheer season early due to injury was that you can’t take a practice or moment for granted," Dennis said. "You never know when it could be taken away.

Another thing I learned was that just because I was on the sideline for the last couple competitions, the team still looked up to me as if I was on the mat with them. Being encouraging on the mat is just as important as when you’re off the mat. Stick it out. Do what you have to do. Be supportive through it all."

Florida Orthopaedic Institute’s Athlete of the Week campaign is designed to focus on student-athletes, recognizing them for their hard work and dedication both on and off the field. The Athlete of the Week award can be earned by displaying one of the following characteristics:
Team Player: Athletes who are nominated for excellence in team play are chosen by a coach who feels the athlete does his or her best to put direction into action, makes a significant contribution to the team and continuously works to improve his or her skills, attitude and training.
Leadership: Athletes who earn the award in recognition of excellent leadership must exemplify strong relationship building skills, show excellent initiative and serve as role models for his or her peers.
To view past winners, follow this link.

Founded in 1989, Florida Orthopaedic Institute is Florida’s largest orthopedic group and provides expertise and treatment of orthopedic-related injuries and conditions, including adult reconstruction and arthritis, chiropractic services, foot and ankle, general orthopedics, hand and wrist, interventional spine, musculoskeletal oncology, orthopedic trauma, physical medicine and rehabilitation, physical and occupational therapy, sports medicine, shoulder and elbow, spine and chiropractic services, among others.

The organization treats patients throughout its surgery centers in North Tampa and Citrus Park, two orthopaedic urgent care centers in South Tampa and Brandon, and nine office locations in Bloomingdale, Brandon, Citrus Park, North Tampa, Northdale, Palm Harbor, South Tampa, Sun City Center and Wesley Chapel. For more information, click here.

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Black Man Kicked Out Of Brandon Starbucks After Using Restroom

Lorne Green says he was racially profiled at the Regency Square Starbucks. (Google Earth)

BRANDON, FL — A black customer plans to file a lawsuit against the Starbucks in Regency Square, 2350 W. Brandon Blvd., Brandon, after he said he was racially profiled and harassed by employees when he used the restroom and then cited for trespassing by Hillsborough County Sheriff’s deputies.

Lorne Green, 44, said he went into the coffee shop April 22 to meet with a client. He went into the restroom before placing an order and said he heard a female employee say, "A big black man is going to the bathroom."

Once inside, Green heard someone knocking on the door.

This incident comes almost one year after two black men were forced out of a Starbucks in Philadelphia. Starbucks responded by closing down all of their stores for one day last May to conduct racial bias sensitivity training. by @TrevorPettiford— Spectrum Bay News 9 (@BN9) May 8, 2019

Green, with Jasmine Rand, a civil rights attorney who represented the family of Trayvon Martin, by his side, told his story at a May 8 press conference.

"This incessant knocking starts," said Rand. "Knocking on the door, over and over again. ‘Do you need fire rescue? Do you need fire rescue?’ And it became very clear that asking him if he needed fire rescue was not actually about helping Mr. Lorne. Simply, all my client did was use the bathroom while black."


Green said he became nervous, so he called Starbucks’ corporate offices and talked to a representative while still in the restroom.

Green and his attorney played an excerpt from his 22-minute call with the corporate office during the press conference.

Starbucks representative: "Ah, so you feel like this is racially motivated?"

Green: "It is, very! I walked in, she immediately, not even five minutes, she goes, ‘A black male went inside’ and called the police on me before I even got in the bathroom. I didn’t know what was on the other side of that door cause no one identified who they were and it felt like a crowd of people, and I was thinking, ‘Do you really want to open this door right now?’"

When Green finally left the restroom, he said he was confronted by an "angry and hostile white female employee," who called the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office after Green admittedly confronted the woman and used foul language.

When deputies arrived, they issued Green a trespass citation and asked him to leave the coffee shop.

Green, a public insurance adjuster, said he often meets clients at Starbucks, and always makes purchases at the coffee shop during those meetings.

"I have never experienced anything like to this degree. This is extreme," said Green.

Starbucks issued the following statement about the incident:

We have zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind and take this type of accusation very seriously. We are conducting an investigation to understand what happened and will take appropriate action.

Following a lawsuit filed against a Philadelphia Starbucks in April 2018 in which Starbucks employees were accused of racial profiling in a similar incident regarding use of the shops restroom, Starbucks publicly announced a new policy that states anyone is free to use its restrooms even without a purchase. The company also closed its more than 8,000 coffee shops across the country on May 29, 2018, to conduct racial bias training.

Green said he plans to file a lawsuit against Starbucks. In the meantime, he demanded that the female employee be fired and that the trespass citation against him be dismissed. Patch has contacted Rand but there is no word yet on whether his demands have been met.

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Lockridge is Healthy and Contributing with RiverDogs

Brandon Lockridge doesn’t take anything for granted when playing the game he loves. “I just try to play every single game like it’s my last game, so I’m going to try to bust it, play 100 percent,” Lockridge said.

The outfielder is in his second year in the New York Yankees organization, currently playing with the Charleston RiverDogs of the Single-A Charleston RiverDogs.

Lockridge grew up in Pensacola, FL and played baseball at Pensacola Catholic High School. At first, there weren’t a lot of opportunities coming his way to play Division 1 NCAA baseball. “I had some small schools that recruited me out of high school. You could say I was a late bloomer coming out of high school. I didn’t grow until later so the big schools were already checked out,” Lockridge said.

Division 1 schools did eventually come calling, including one close to home. “I had an offer from the University of New Orleans, the University of North Florida, Troy, which was kind of my bigger schools. A bunch of junior colleges. I wanted to stay kind of close to home, and Troy was only two and a half hours away, so I decided to go.”

While at Troy, Lockridge not only proved he belonged but excelled. He ended up breaking Troy’s single-season record for triples, with seven, on his way to becoming the school’s all-time leader in that category with 14. Lockridge established that record in just three seasons. He also earned the ABCA/Rawlings Gold Glove Award for his junior season when he only committed one error while registering 164 putouts for a .994 fielding percentage. This came after playing his first two seasons in the infield.

Despite those impressive numbers, Lockridge isn’t resting on his laurels. “I’m working every single day. I played my first two years in the infield in college and having only one year in the outfield behind me; I think there’s a way to get better every single day in some aspect of my game: first step, routes, route efficiency. We have a bunch of great coaches here with the Yankees that helped me with that side of it,” Lockridge said.

Lockridge finished his junior season at Troy with the expectation of being drafted. “There were teams calling kind of throughout day two. I got a call a few picks before the Yankees pick and it was like, ‘Hey, we have an offer on the table, will you take it?’ and I said, ‘of course.’ I haven’t looked back since then,” Lockridge said.

The Yankees selected Lockridge in the fifth round of the 2018 MLB June Amateur Draft, and even though he still had a year of eligibility at Troy, he decided to make the jump to professional baseball. “I knew I had a chance to be drafted, so it wasn’t a surprise to me at the moment when it happened. I just felt like it’d be a better opportunity to just get my career started and that’s kind of how I did it,” he said of his decision to sign with the Yankees.

One of the tools that Lockridge showcases defensively in his game is speed. He looks to also take more advantage of that on the offensive side of his game. “I try to showcase my speed every chance I get whether it’s running the bases or in the outfield. Hit a ground ball in the infield; I’m going to try and beat it out every time, that’s how I play.” So far in 2019, he has stolen five bases in six attempts. “I’ve been working on (stealing bases) in instructional league and spring training. I need to utilize that part of my game more this year.”

Lockridge stands 6’1” with 185 lbs on his frame. He’s lean and quick, and he keeps that in mind when at the plate. “Utilize my speed. Not doing too much. At this point in my game, I’m a gap to gap kind of guy. Staying within myself and keeping a middle of the field approach every time. That kind of what plays for me,” Lockridge said of his approach.

Lockridge also talked about having a familiarity to help him transition from his first professional season to his second. “It’s a huge difference maker. When I first got here in the summer, I didn’t know anybody, didn’t know the coaches. You feel a little more nervous, on edge when you don’t know anybody, but now after playing the summer on two different teams, instructional league, strength camp, spring training, I mean I know everybody now. You feel like everyone believes in you and it’s a great family atmosphere.” Lockridge is reunited with Staten Island teammates Kyle Gray, and Eric Wagaman, among others. “They’re great teammates, and great guys and I like surrounding myself with those kinds of people.”

A thumb injury shortened Lockridge’s first season, but he worked his way back, and the thumb is fully healed. “It was a freak accident that happened. Trainers and everyone were super helpful with me. They sent me to the best doctor, surgeon and I got it taken care of so I could be back for instructional league, and I’ve been great ever since,” Lockridge said. “It was very frustrating. Obviously, you want to be on the field every chance you can get but it came at the end of the season so doing the rehab after that and staying around and being in Tampa rehabbing by myself while my teammates are playing, it sucked. It’s pretty tough on that side of it. But I came back, and everyone was super encouraging, and here I am now, so I’m thankful.”

Lockridge prepared himself for the challenge of a 140 game season. “There are some times where you feel like you need to work harder physically and rather than just getting the quantity you need, less reps, more quality rather than just taking swings with no purpose in mind.”

He rested up his legs and participated in Yankees Strength Camp during the offseason. “At the end of the season, I was pretty worn down last season between college and my first professional season, and I had lost some weight. Put a little bit of weight back on. I needed some time for my legs to recover. Had a great time and went to strength camp with the Yankees for three weeks. Came in and worked out locally in Pensacola.”

Lockridge has invested himself entirely in the Yankee philosophy. “Respect the game, and good things happen. That’s kind of what the Yankees want us doing. I try to showcase my speed every chance I get whether it’s running the bases or in the outfield. Hit a ground ball in the infield; I’m going to try and beat it out every time, that’s how I play.”

[RiverDogs Preview] Speed and Arms will Lead Charleston in 2019
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Undrafted David Metzgar Still Playing Game He Loves

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Sunday Real Estate: Mansion With Hair Salon, Home Theaters, More

This Florida mansion comes with its own hair salon. (Via

LAKELAND, FL — This week’s Sunday Real Estate takes you to Parkland, Sarasota, Bradenton and Lakeland. We visit a mansion that comes with its own very own hair salon and others that boast amazing views along with high-end home theaters.

You can find all of these homes and other great properties on

PARKLAND, FL — If you enjoy getting your hair done but hate leaving home, we have just the property for you. "Touch up and trim your own hair or give your friends a stylish up-do from your… Read more

SARASOTA, FL — This $7.1 million mansion offers breathtaking views, private beach access and a private dock with enough room for two boat lifts. Bury your toes in your own private beach, fish… Read more

BRADENTON, FL — This Bradenton estate will set you back $1.7 million. Surrounded by live oaks and and protected wetlands. The home boasts an elegant driveway that evokes a sense of grandeur. … Read more

LAKELAND, FL — This $1.6 million Lakeland home boasts lake and sunset views. "Prepare to be enchanted. This uber luxurious Grasslands home, built in 2008 is ideally situated at the beginning… Read more

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5 Brandon Area Foreclosures To Check Out


BRANDON, FL — Do you feel like reasonably priced houses are pretty difficult to find in your community? No harm in checking out the foreclosed properties on the market. You could very well find your dream home in the rough!

Here’s a list of five new foreclosures on the market near you — many of them surprisingly affordable for their size and location.

Below, you’ll find an address, photo, price and size for each property on our list — including one with 3 beds and 1 bath for $110,000, and another with 4 beds and 3 baths for $188,500.

Want more information on one of the listings? Just click on any address to learn more. Enjoy!


Price: $188,500
Size: 2,243 sq. ft., 4 beds, and 3 baths

Price: $280,000
Size: 2,297 sq. ft, 4 beds, and 4 baths

Price: $110,000
Size: 891 sq. ft., 3 beds, and 1 bath

Price: $155,000
Size: 1,475 sq. ft., 3 beds, and 2 baths

Price: $190,000
Size: 2,118 sq. ft., 4 beds, and 3 baths

Hungry for more options? Keep scrolling for more listings. Or there’s always a full list of local foreclosures in our real-estate section for the Brandon area.

Photos courtesy of

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Brandon: 5 Latest Homes To Hit The Market


BRANDON, FL — On the hunt for a new house nearby, but getting tired of looking through the same old real-estate listings every time you search online? With our weekly list of new properties in your area, you can be sure you’re not missing anything.

Below, you’ll find the five latest homes to hit the market in the Brandon area — including one with 2 beds and 2 baths for $107,000, and another with 4 beds and 3 baths for $335,000.

Looking for more photos and information? Just click on any address to learn more. Happy house hunting!

Price: $279,900
Size: 2,625 sq. ft., 5 beds, and 3 baths

Price: $138,900
Size: 1,398 sq. ft, 2 beds, and 3 baths

Price: $335,000
Size: 2,948 sq. ft., 4 beds, and 3 baths

Price: $107,000
Size: 811 sq. ft., 2 beds, and 2 baths

Price: $310,000
Size: 2,137 sq. ft., 3 beds, and 3 baths

Hungry for more? Keep scrolling for more listings. Or you’ll always find a complete list of nearby homes in our real-estate section for the Brandon area.

Photos courtesy of

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