Real Estate

Preparing for Your Home’s Photoshoot

Once we’ve decided to list your home for sale and agreed upon the price I will begin to prepare your advertising campaign.  The most important part of ads are the photos which is why I choose to have a professional photographer take them.  (A pro is going to do a much better job them me with my Iphone!)

We want a clean presentation where buyers can envision their own belongings in the house.  Here are some things you can do to ensure the best photos possible-

  • Remove the cars from the driveway.  Park in the garage or down the street, not in front of the house
  • Clear kitchen counter tops of extra clutter.  Store the toaster, pot of spoons, small appliances, etc.
  • Store extra food items in the pantry or garage, not on the fridge or counter
  • Remove and store any excess outdoor equipment (such as hoses)
  • Keep rooms free of clutter on table tops and floor
  • Clear bathroom counter tops of extra clutter too.  Store soap, shampoo, cream rinse, razors,etc.
  • Make sure bathroom display towels are clean and neat
  • Pay special attention to items on the wall.  Remove personal photographs.  Take down anything that might be considered controversial such as political items, risque photos or art, etc.
  • Store pet beds, crates, toys, food dishes etc.
  • Put away all personal items such as handbags, wallets, jewelry, prescription medications, etc.

The idea is to help your home look it’s best and be most appealing to the greatest number of potential buyers.  I will use the photo’s taken in all internet advertising, social media ads, flyers, postcards and more.  Let’s work together to make your house shine!

Kelly Harden, Realtor

CENTURY 21 Shaw Realty Group


Real Estate

Helpful Do’s and Don’ts Everyone Needs to Know When Buying a Home



Once we’ve found the perfect home for you somewhere in the Greater Tampa Bay area, with an easy commute to your job and your favorite hang outs, we’ll put an offer in and hopefully go to contract.  I always hand this list of Do’s and Don’ts to my buyers to avoid any problems they might accidentally cause before we get to the closing table.


  • Let your loan officer know if you have had any employment changes recently such as raises, promotions, transfers, etc.
  • Provide any paperwork your loan officer requests regarding the sale of your current home. This could include your sales contract, closing statements and employer relocation program information if applicable
  • Make sure you provide all requested financial documents such as pay stubs, bank statements and other important paperwork
  • Let your loan officer know if you are planning to receive gift funds for closing. Only certain gift funds are allowable.  Advances from credit cards for down payments or closing costs are not allowable
  • Remember a new credit report can be pulled just before closing


  • Open any new credit cards or cosign with someone else. This will have an effect on your loan qualifying amount
  • Make any major purchases at any time prior to closing on your home. This could include buying a new car, furniture, appliances, etc.  Purchases such as these could significantly impact you qualifying for a loan
  • Open or close any accounts or move money from one account to another without checking with your loan officer
  • Change jobs before closing without speaking to a loan officer
  • Make additional deposits to your bank account without speaking to your loan officer first. There may be documentation required showing the source of these funds
Real Estate

Moving to Tampa Bay with Kids


You’ve decided give up the cold weather and shoveling snow to become a Floridan and move to the Tampa Bay area.   Or maybe you already are living here and simply want to move across town because you’ve outgrown your current home.  What can you do to make the move a little less stressful on your kids?

Tell them about the move early in the process.  You don’t want them to accidentally overhear your conversations about the move.  It’s best if the news comes directly from you.  Be upbeat and positive and expect some negative emotions to come up.  Listen to them and let them know their feelings are valid.

Get them involved in the process.  No matter what their age, kids want to feel important and that their opinions matter.  Once you’ve selected the new home ask them for feedback.  If possible allow them to select which room they can call their own or what color to paint their bedroom walls.  Give them the chance to take ownership of their new space.

Let them explore the new neighborhood online (if they are old enough).  Where will their new school be?  Is their a playground nearby?  Where will they play sports or take dance lessons?  Where is the nearest pizza place or McDonald’s?   How close is the beach and the theme parks?

Schedule a visit to the new area if possible.  Let them see in person all of the wonderful reasons you have decided to move there.  Show them all the things they researched online.

The hardest part will be saying good bye to friends.  Show them ways they can stay in contact with their old friends, such as phone calls, Facetime and emails.  Encourage them to make new friends as well.

I hope these tips help take some of the stress out of your next move.

Kelly Harden, Realtor

CENTURY 21 Shaw Realty Group





Introduction to My Babies


I’d like to introduce you to my two fur babies.  Dolly, a  rescue Dalmation/Terrier mix and Suki my Shi-Tzu.

Dolly is older and loses her balance some days, her hearing is hit or miss and sometimes her hip doesn’t want her to move as quickly as she used to.  Every day when I come home she is sleeping either on my bed or hers.  If she is snoring, which she does quite loudly, I know life is good.  If she isn’t snoring I stare at her chest to be sure she is still breathing.  I dread the day when she is not, although sometimes I think she will outlive all of us.  One of her favorite treats is baby carrots.  I used to toss them in the air to her and she would jump up and catch them with her mouth.  I can’t do that any longer because she now misses every time.  I give them to her after I’ve finished working out.  It has gotten to the point where I cannot use the home gym in peace, she is underfoot impatiently waiting for me to finish so she can have her treat.

Suki is ten now, I can hardly believe it.  It seems like yesterday Buddy and I drove to Brandon to pick her up from the breeder.  She was 8 weeks old and most of her body fit in the palm of my hand.  I was so worried about dropping her or stepping on her.  She is the imp of the family, always looking to get into some kind of mischief, like the time she chewed on a pen in my daughters room and turned herself blue.  She thinks the world revolves around her and we are put on this Earth to adore her.  Everyone who comes to visit is here to see her not any one else!  And when you leave for the day she is crushed, how dare you!  She will sit in the laundry room staring at the door waiting for you to return and adore her again.

Kelly Harden

CENTURY 21 Shaw Real Estate Group





Fun, Neighborhood Businesses

Do You Know Where the Streets of Tampa Get Their Names?

As I was driving down Bearss Avenue today I thought of a conversation I had with a co-worker about 15 years ago.  She told me I was saying the name wrong, that almost everyone did.  It’s not pronounced Bears like the animal but Bearss which sounds like Pierce.  The road is named after the founder of Lake Magdalene United Methodist Church (which was actually called the United Brethren Church when founded back in 1894).  The family had a major impact on the social and economic development of north Tampa and was honored by naming the road after him.  (I bet it helped that his family donated part of the land for the road)

What about Dale Mabry, was there actually a person Dale Mabry Highway is named after?  Yes there was!  Dale Mabry was a Florida native who became a WWI naval aviator. He died while test piloting an airship in Norfolk Virginia in a crash that was known as the greatest disaster in American aeronautics at the time.

Bruce B. Downs Boulevard sounds like it was named after a person, but who was Bruce B. Downs?  He worked for FDOT as the head of traffic operations and designed traffic layouts, signals, signage and flow for 14 counties.  He then became Hillsborough County’s Director of Public Works and Safety.  A newspaper article was written about him in 1983 stating his job was one of the most stressful in the county at the time.  He died of a massive heart attack the very afternoon the article was published at the age of 53.  In 1986 3oth Street was renamed after him.  The road wasn’t very busy back in 1983 but has become a busy main road in New Tampa today.

Here is a similar video I made about the streets of Tampa if you’re interested Was Dale Mabry a real person?

The next time you are driving down one of these Tampa streets you will know where it’s name came from.  There are so many other street names to investigate, but that will have to wait for another day!

Kelly Harden, Realtor®

Mihara & Associates, Inc.





Real Estate

Selling Your Home Faster and for More Money

When selling your home there is a direct correlation between how a home looks to how it performs in the marketplace.  Homes in Tampa Bay are currently selling about 15% faster and for about 11% more than they did a year ago.  How can you take advantage of that when selling your own home?

Look at your house from a potential Buyer’s point of view.  Is the house visually appealing?  Can the Buyers imagine their family living in the home?  Or is there a lot of work required to make the home move in ready?

Nothing can replace a home’s first impression

  • Trim the shrubs and bushes
  • Replace the mulch
  • Clean the front door and repaint if necessary
  • Add colorful seasonal flowers
  • Keep the yard maintained
  • Check the gutters and roof
  • Clean and declutter the front porch
  • Make sure the fence is in good repair

Is the interior clean, well maintained and clutter free?

  • Remove extra items from counters, walls and bookcases. Extra clutter minimizes the space
  • Pack up extra clothes and things taking up room in the closets. Buyers love storage space, don’t make it look like you hardly have any
  • Clean carpets, remove and store area rugs
  • Replace broken or cracked tiles
  • Repainting the walls will make the house feel fresh and updated. Be sure to select a neutral color
  • Remove personalized items
  • Make sure all light bulbs are working.  You don’t want to give the impression the house is not maintained
  • Clean the windows! Let the natural light come in and make the house look bright and cheery
  • Store the pet toys and extra pet bedding. Sad to say not everyone is an animal lover
  • Check your house for odors

Simple changes are always best.  Some larger projects will not have a good return on investment to warrant the expense before selling.

Call me for a private consultation to see how I can help you sell your home

Kelly  (813)244-9688

CENTURY 21 Shaw Real Estate Group

Real Estate

Should You Have a Realtor Represent You When Buying New Construction?

Buying a new construction home is exciting!  You are going to be involved in the building of your new home from the ground up.  You have the ability to select the finishes, the location of the lot and even the exterior elevation.  Should you have a Realtor represent you?  Absolutely.

  • The agent on site is a wonderful person, but they don’t represent you, they represent the builder.  They have a fiduciary duty to the builder.  Your Buyer’s Agent has a fiduciary duty to you.  They will be your advocate and look out for your best interests.
  • It doesn’t cost you anything.  The commission the Realtor earns will be paid by the builder not you.
  • Your Realtor will offer objective insight on pricing and resale value.
  • They will help you understand the sales contract and your contractual obligations.
  • They will be by your side every step of the way, from the inspections to closing and any problems that might come up in between.

If you have decided to shop for a new construction home take the time to contract with a trusted Realtor first.  Once you’ve selected the Realtor be sure to give their card to the builder’s agent to secure your representation.

As always if you have questions or I can help in any way please let me know!

Kelly Harden, Realtor

Mihara & Associates, Inc.



Volunteering in Your Community

I decided to start volunteering.  I’ve done it in the past, I’ve been a  Girl Scout leader while my daughter was growing up, a classroom volunteer, field trip volunteer and more.  But this is the first time since before my children were born that I’ve volunteered for an organization that didn’t benefit my children.

I researched various places online, checked with local groups who might need help and finally selected what I wanted to do.  I’m delivering food for Pasco county Meals on Wheels program.  Today was my first day, and I liked it!  I drove my husbands truck because there were three large coolers to hold the food and we weren’t sure they would fit in my car.  It turns out they will so I will take my car next time.  I had trouble finding one of the houses  because it wasn’t on my GPS but finally managed to figure it out (what did we do before GPS?).   I had trouble making a U-turn at one of the homes because I was driving the Silver Beast and the road was very narrow, but after an eight point turn I made it!   My last stop thought I wasn’t coming because I was a few minutes later than the last driver, but she was glad I showed up.  All in all not too bad of a day for Day 1.

I encourage everyone to volunteer when you can, it’s good for others and it’s good for you too!

Can’t wait until next week!

Kelly Harden, Realtor

CENTURY 21 Shaw Real Estate Group

Real Estate

July Market Performance

The market I work cannot be easily described.  I live is south Pasco County, my office is in North Hillsborough County and most of my business is divided between the two.  When you read the stats my board publishes they are for Hillsborough County only or Greater Tampa Bay which includes Pasco, Pinellas and Hernando Counties.  I can’t seem to find stats for my market, yet I am not the only one in this market.  So what is a good REALTOR to do?  Run her own numbers of course!

2016                                                        2015

Average Sale Price                    $233,160                                              $202,054

Average List Price                     $240,039                                             $228,091

Average Days on Market                  71                                                            84

Approximate months of inventory   3.3                                                     4.5

So as you can see asking prices and selling prices are going up, homes are selling in less time and there are less homes on the market.  How does this effect you?  Your home is gaining in value.  If you would like more information about your home or your individual neighborhood give me a call.

Kelly Harden

CENTURY 21 Shaw Real Estate Group





Coffee in the Afternoon

I’m addicted to coffee in the afternoon.  I have my regular cup in the morning first thing, but there is something about an afternoon cup I just love.

I wasn’t always this way.  In fact about 5 years ago I eliminated my afternoon cup altogether.  I was so proud of myself at the time.  But she kept calling to me…my coffee cup.  Now I cannot live without her.

Growing up a I would frequently find my Nana sitting in the kitchen talking on the phone with her friend and enjoying a good cup of coffee.  My mom and I often grab a cup when we are out shopping together.  I have even passed my love on to my daughter, we frequently will go out for Starbucks in the afternoon with no other destination in mind.

I often have my cup at the office, or my house if I am working from home that day.  But my favorite place is the neighborhood Starbucks.  I’ll let you know next time I’m headed up there.  I’d love to have you stop by and have a cup of coffee with me.  We can catch up on our lives and enjoy our time together.