Uncategorized

Irma is coming to visit

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My parents moved our family to Florida when I was a kid in the mid 1970’s. My mother and I were not happy here and wanted to move back home to New Jersey.
Slowly I made new friends and began to see the beauty of Florida and fell in love with her.  The warm weather, sunshine, pools and beaches were irresistible.
We originally moved to New Port Richey, I graduated from Tarpon Springs High School and so far have lived in 8 places from Brooksville to Naples.  Florida is my home.
I grew up here, got married here, raised my three children here along with countless pets and my grandson was born here.
 
Hurricanes and storms have threatened us off and on throughout the years but I have been very fortunate and never been through anything too devastating until Irma decided to pay a visit.
We have secured our home, put all of the lawn furniture and loose items in the garage and will hunker down in our home as many of our friends and neighbors will.
I hope and pray Irma is kind to all of us but know in my heart she will be cruel to some.
Please be safe and remember family, friends and our pets are what is important, things can be replaced.

Kelly Harden, Realtor®

Mihara & Associates, Inc.

813-244-9688

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Real Estate

Selecting the perfect floor plan for your lifestyle

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Are you shopping for your next home?  Your lifestyle will determine if the home’s floor plan will work for you.

Do you entertain frequently?  You should search for a home with a bathroom on the main floor near the living room so guests do not have to go upstairs or through several rooms to find the bathroom.

Do you enjoy cooking?  A large kitchen with plenty of counter space and a good oven is must then.  If you prefer to cook with gas you will need to be sure the new home has access.

Do you enjoy entertaining outdoors?  Make sure there is an easy main entrance to the lanai or deck.  You don’t want the sliding glass door in the master bedroom to be the only way your guests can access the back yard (yes, I’ve seen that before!).

Do you want a big screen TV to watch the game on?  You will need a large wall to anchor it on as well as a large room for plenty of seating if you plan on hosting weekend football viewing parties.

Are you a pack rat?  Make sure there are plenty of closets, kitchen and bathroom cabinets and other storage solutions to hold your holiday decorations, family keepsakes and more.

Do you have large pieces of furniture you want to keep?  Check the dimensions of the rooms and walls to be sure your dining table or big leather sectional will fit.

These are some of the questions you should ask yourself when you begin your home search.

Kelly Harden, Realtor®

Mihara & Associates, Inc.

813-244-9688

 

 

Fun, Neighborhood Businesses, Real Estate

Hurricane Prep for Your Pets

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If a hurricane or tropical storm came your way do you have a plan for your pets?

Most of us like to believe “it will never happen to me” but what if does.  How would you protect your best friend?

Red Cross shelters typically do not accept dogs so if you live in an evacuation zone decide now where you would go.

Before the storm arrives be sure your pet is micro chipped and wears a collar with your identification in case you get separated.

You should also put together an emergency kit for each pet.  A backpack or duffel bag works great.  Start with these items-

  • Copies of their shot records, license, and pet records in a clear plastic bag
  • If your pet takes medication add an extra supply to her emergency kit
  • A blanket or towel for drying off or sleeping on
  • Enough pet food, treats and water for at least 7 days
  • Can opener for wet food along with extra leash, food bowls, toys, brush and plastic potty bags

Please take the time now to prepare your pet’s emergency kit.  If a storm does come you will be glad you did.

Kelly Harden, Realtor®

Mihara & Associates, Inc.

813-244-9699

 

Real Estate

Is investing in Real Estate right for you?

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Have you ever thought about investing in Real Estate?  Real Estate is a great investment and makes sense for the right investor.

A few days ago I received a phone call from a young woman I sold a home to earlier this year.  She and her fiance are interested in buying their first rental house and she was looking for some guidance.  This is some of the advise I gave her-

  1. Are you ready to become a landlord?  Are you going to search for and screen your tenants and be available by phone at 2:00 am when the air conditioner goes out (because it’s always the middle of the hottest night in August when that happens!  LOL).  Or would you prefer to hire a management company to handle all of that for you?
  2. How are your finances?  If you need a mortgage to purchase the property your lender will ask for a higher down payment (at least 20%) and your interest rate will be higher than for your primary residence.  Lenders are taking a bigger risk on homes that are not your primary residence.
  3. Select the right home.  How much work does the property need before it’s ready to rent?  Can you tackle the job yourself or do you need to hire help?  Is it located in an area tenants want to be such as near shopping and schools with good interstate access?
  4. Understand your expenses.  You will have to pay the mortgage, property taxes, insurance and maintenance on the home.  There may be other expenses depending upon the home, such as HOA fees and management fees if you elect to hire someone to take care of the property for you.
  5. Determine your potential profit.  After all of your expenses have been paid and a small amount set aside in cash reserves to cover replacement of that air conditioner along with vacant times between tenants,  how much will be left for your profit?  Aim for at least a 6% and closer to 10%.
  6. What is your budget?  After carefully considering all of the above points, how much are you willing to invest in your rental home?

We met again a couple of days after our initial consultation, reviewed the numbers and are scheduled to look at our first property early next week.

Kelly Harden, Realtor®

Mihara & Associates, Inc.

813-244-9688

 

 

Fun

Back to School 2017

This time of year means preparing for Back to School for many families.  We are preparing a little differently at our house this year.

On Friday Buddy and I drove to Tallahassee to help Brent move out of his apartment.  After three years of living with three roommates he has decided he is ready to be on his own for his final year of college.  This means moving out of his existing apartment before the end of July and moving into his new apartment just before school starts around August 28th.

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Where is he going to live in the meantime?  Back home with Mom and Dad of course!  Yes, Brent and all of his things are stuffed into his room and any free space we have in the living room.

But wait, there is more! Erin has decided she is ready to live on her own.  She found an adorable place closer to her teaching job that will cut at least 20 minutes off her drive time to work each day.  She moves out next Friday, just in time to get settled before school starts for her.

During the wait she has purchased a few things for her new home.  They are now stuffed into the living room and dining room along with boxes of stuff that was stored in the garage, under her bed, her closet, etc.

All this coming and going means I currently have 2 extra dining tables and an extra sofa along with tons of boxes of kitchen and bath items stuffed into every free space of my house!!!  And I love it!

We won’t be entertaining in the living and dining room anytime soon, but my youngest two are both home for what may be their last time together and I am one happy mom!

Kelly Harden, Realtor®

Results that get you packing!

Mihara & Associates, Inc.

813-244-9688

Real Estate

Staging Your Home to Sell

Staging a home as part of the listing process is helping to sell homes faster and for more money.

According to NAR’s 2017 Profile of Home Staging, 50% of staged homes sold for one to ten percent more compared to similar homes on the market.

Staging your home makes it easier for buyers to visualize living in the home with their own belongings.  Often simple things will make a big impact.

The survey showed the most common home improvement projects recommended were de-cluttering the home (93%), deep cleaning of the entire home (89%), cleaning the carpet (81%) and removing pets during showings (80%).

It shouldn’t be a surprise that staged Living Rooms have the largest impact followed by Master Bedrooms and Kitchens.   Those are the areas where homeowners spend most of their time.2017-profile-of-home-staging-infographic-07-06-2017-1300w-2269h

Staging is an important step I encourage all of my sellers to do before we put your home on the market.  I’ll be happy to provide any information you need or connect you with an outstanding professional.

Kelly Harden, Realtor®

Results that get you packing!

Mihara & Associates, Inc.

813-244-9688

 

 

Fun, Neighborhood Businesses

My time at B Creative Painting Studio

I recently had the pleasure of visiting B Creative Painting Studio in Wesley Chapel with a wonderful group of ladies.  My book club was reached it’s seventh anniversary and we went there to celebrate.

It was my first time at this studio, in fact I haven’t been to anything like it since my children were small, but when you go with 17 other ladies you know you are going to have fun!

It’s quite easy to do actually.  First you select the item you want to paint from over 400 items (for some reason this is the hardest part for me because I want to paint everything!).  Once you’ve selected your project choose the colors you want to use and then start painting!  There are no rules, you’re only limited by your imagination!

When you are finished painting your creation stays behind for a couple of days to be fired.  Then staff does their magic and your creation has been turned into a work of art!  Once it’s completed you’ll receive a text message telling you your masterpiece is ready for pick up.

We had such a good time and have been sharing our creations on Facebook with each other.  We painted pet dishes, ornaments, candy dishes, vases and more!  No two pieces used the same color combinations and all of them look beautiful!

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Here is my candy dish.  It’s a leaf dish…OK, it’s supposed to be a feather but I used my artistic expression and turned it into a banana leaf.  Hey, it works for me!

If you are ready to use your artistic expression you can find B Creative Painting Studio at The Grove at Wesley Chapel.  Here is a link to their website if you would like more information http://bcreativepaintingstudio.com/

I hope you go and have fun!

Kelly Harden, Realtor®, GRI

Results that get you packing!

Mihara & Associates, Inc.

813-244-9688

 

Real Estate

6 Reasons your home isn’t selling

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When you have your home listed for sale but it’s not selling there are often simple reasons why and things you can do to help your home sell.

  1. Your home is overpriced.  An overpriced listing will sit on the market longer than a home that is priced well.   No one wants to overpay for their home.  Buyers will compare your home to recently closed similar homes in the market and place their offer accordingly.   Reducing the price will make you more competitive in the market.

 

  1. Your home is not in excellent condition. Take the time to ensure all the maintenance items on the home are complete.  Simple things like burnt out light bulbs will effect the way buyers perceive your house.  Make sure your home is sparkling clean before every showing.  You may even want to pay and have it professionally cleaned.   Take the time to make sure your home always looks it’s best.

 

  1. There a lot of similar homes for sale near you.  Homes sell slower when there is a larger inventory.  Your agent will be able to advise you what the average selling time is in your neighborhood.

 

  1. Your photos are poor quality. Buyers view homes online first and then decide which ones to visit in person.  Be sure to use the maximum number of high quality professional photos allowed in your listing.

 

  1. The description of your home is weak. Does the description of your home tell the facts and only the facts or does it elicit emotions and create a story of the lifestyle the buyer will have when living there?  Most people will not take the time to read a boring home description, make sure yours keeps the reader interested.

 

  1. Your home is too personalized. Buyers want to envision living in the home with their belongings.  Take the time to edit furnishings and visual clutter.  You may even want to consult a professional home stager to help showcase your home.

Following these tips should help your home sell.

Kelly Harden, Realtor®

Results that get you packing!

Mihara & Associates, Inc.

813-244-9688

Real Estate

Will a simple remodel help me sell my home for more money?

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People ask me all the time what home improvement projects should they tackle before listing their home for sale.  They are hoping to make last minute improvements that will give them a net increase in the sales price of their home.  Unfortunately, there are few home improvement projects you can do that will net more money when you sell.

Most projects will only earn you a return of about 65% of what it costs to make the improvement.  The numbers will vary slightly based upon the type of project.  Each year a “Cost vs. Value Report” is published for Tampa detailing the information.

Some projects will yield a higher return such as adding attic insulation (a 155% return) and replacing a garage door (a 100.7% return) but most projects will not pay for themselves when you sell.  I would always suggest checking the report before investing in any project unless you are remodeling for your own enjoyment.

When you are ready to sell I would suggest you ensure all routine maintenance projects have been completed and have a thorough professional cleaning of your home- yes I am sure you are super clean, but potential buyers will see things you never even thought about.  This will help your home look it’s best and show buyers the home is well cared for.

If you have any questions or would like more information about the Cost vs. Value Report I can be reached by phone or text, 813-244-9688.

Kelly Harden, Realtor®

Mihara & Associates, Inc.

813-244-9688

Uncategorized

How are you celebrating the Fourth of July in Tampa Bay?

fireworks-459174_960_720.jpgJuly 4th means pool parties, BBQ’s and fireworks!  How are you celebrating our nation’s birthday this year?

We are having a family BBQ at our house followed by neighborhood fireworks.  We used to have a crazy pyromaniac neighbor who threw an awesome Fourth of July party every year for his business associates.  He had the best private fireworks show I have ever seen!  Sadly, he moved away and the new neighbor is very nice but not into pyrotechnics.

We were spoiled and haven’t had to leave the neighborhood for several years now!  I’ve heard Bexely is having an outdoor concert and fireworks show afterwards so with any luck we will be able to see the fireworks from our house.  If not it’s just a short walk there.

If you like to go out and see fireworks I suggest you try one of these locations- Channelside, Busch Gardens, Gulfport, the city of Largo, Sparklebration at the Pasco County Fairgrounds, Wesley Chapel and more!  Here is a link to an article in the Tampa Business Journal with more details  http://www.bizjournals.com/tampabay/news/2017/06/26/heres-where-to-see-fireworks-around-tampa-bay-this.html

If you are in the mood for fireworks after a game of baseball (it’s America’s favorite past time after all!) you have three opportunities.  You can go see the Clearwater Threshers play in Clearwater, the Dunedin Blue Jays in Dunedin, or the Tampa Yankees at Steinbrenner Field.  All of those locations are scheduled to have a fireworks show after their games end.

However you wind up celebrating, I hope you have a lot of fun and most important stay safe!

Kelly Harden, Realtor®

Mihara & Associates, Inc.

(813)244-9688