Top 10 Outdoor Remodel Features, but Pools Should Rank Higher in Tampa Bay

untitledThe NAR just released the results of their 2016 Remodeling Impact Report: Outdoor Features and it’s clear as a nation we love our outdoor spaces.  Adding outdoor features to your home increases your enjoyment factor and also helps when you decide to resell your property.

I find it interesting adding a new pool ranks number 10 on the list.  Obviously the reporting results are base on national appeal since any homeowner in Florida will tell you how important a having pool is.  I’ve worked with several buyers relocating from out of state and they all have requested a home with a pool.  It’s pretty much expected in Tampa Bay.  Plus all those new Floridians are visited by friends and family still living up north and having a pool makes the visit so much more enjoyable.

Curb appeal is another significant factor in many of these remodeling projects such as upgrading the landscaping and replacing the sod in the lawn.  Curb appeal increases your home’s first impression to buyers but it also adds to your enjoyment of your home.  Think about how happy you will feel when you pull into your driveway and the flowers are blooming.

The back yard features are on the list as well such as a new deck, an outdoor fireplace and outdoor fire pit.  I must admit the idea of having a fire pit in the back yard is definitely appealing.  S’more’s almost anytime you want…mmm, I think I may have found my next project!

Kelly Harden, REALTOR®

CENTURY 21 Shaw Realty


Tampa Bay Area Homes Available to Lease with the Right to Purchase

Are you one of the many people who would like to purchase a home of your own but are worried about a life event in the not too distant past has hurt your chances?  Have you recently relocated and are unsure which neighborhood to live in?  Or is the idea of home ownership intriguing to you but you are not quite sure you are ready?  With a little help from and investment company I work with I can help you find a home of your own in the Tampa Bay area.

With this program you get to choose your own home!  These are the same homes available right now for sale in your neighborhood.  You start out leasing the home and when YOU are ready YOU decide when it is time to purchase.  Purchases can be made anytime within the first five years of renting.

Not every home qualifies, only the best will do.  Qualifying homes have to be in top rated school districts, priced between $100,000 and $550,000, and be just about move in ready.  There are hundreds available to choose from in the Tampa Bay area right now.

The requirements for future homeowners are- have a total household income of $50,000 or more, 525 FICO credit score, stable employment, no pending bankruptcy and an acceptable criminal history.

Give me a call today to discuss how we can make this fantastic program work for you!

Kelly Harden, REALTOR®

CENTURY 21 Shaw Realty



Wednesday is Erin’s Birth Day

I remember the day my daughter was born, and the day she came home from the hospital 28 days later.  Erin developed a deadly infection a few hours after birth and we almost lost her.  It was pretty bad.  Thankfully the nurse on duty that afternoon noticed something was wrong with her coloring and called the doctor.  The doctor knew all about Beta Strep and had seen first hand how deadly it could be.  He ordered antibiotics and headed right on over.

About midnight the ambulance to All Children’s Hospital arrived.  They wheeled her into my room in an incubator so I could see her off and say goodbye.  I knew she was sick, but I had no idea how bad.  She had signs of the infection in her blood, urine and spinal fluid, meaning she had spinal meningitis at the tender age of 9 hours old.

It was touch and go the first few days, but then she pulled through.  I learned a lot about being a parent, and how quickly life can change on you.

This was 27 years ago and they didn’t test regularly for Beta Strep back then.  Doctors started regularly testing shortly afterward.  No parent should have to go through what we did.  It is very easy to treat during delivery if you are aware of it.

You never know when you are going to need a hospital, but it is great to know there are some good ones in Tampa Bay.  I will forever be grateful for the care Erin received at All Children’s Hospital years ago.  They have changed over the years of course and are now known as Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, but will be close to my heart forever.

Kelly Harden, REALTOR®

CENTURY 21 Shaw Realty


Are Garages for Parking Cars?


Years ago (way too many years) when Buddy and I bought our first house we were so excited to have a beautiful new home all our own.  I was thrilled it had a garage where I could park my car.

However, when we first moved in there were boxes and stuff in the garage.  Then as the kids grew the garage was filled with kid things.  And Buddy loves to store his “man” things in the garage (don’t ask me what those are, I have no clue!).  Needless to say there was never any room for any vehicles due to all the stuff!

After about 15 years we sold that house and moved to our current home.  We bought those fancy garage cabinets, put bike racks on the walls, and the kids were older so there were no more giant plastic things to store.  I thought, GREAT! we can not only fit my car in the garage, but Buddy’s too!

The garage had other ideas.  It may be a two car garage, but there is still an awful lot of stuff in it.  And then Buddy tried to pull his giant Ford F-150 inside, but it is a Crew Cab version and too long to fit!

The good news for me is the garage is all mine!  Poor hubby still parks in the driveway, but after all of these years I think he’s grown used to it.

Maybe after all of these years it is time to upgrade to a larger garage.  Or a smaller pick up truck!

What about you, do you park in your garage?  I’d love to hear from you!

Oh, and if you need a new garage to park your car in, I can help you with that!

Kelly Harden, REALTOR®

CENTURY 21 Shaw Realty



Me time at Element 54 Salon


Everyone enjoys a little “me” time, right?  Yesterday it was time for mine.  My hair was in desperate need of professional attention.  The ends were getting scraggly, the gray was coming through my roots and to top it off, a friend of mine told me “your hair looks really bad today”, gee thanks, I love you too!  Good thing she’s a friend! (and she is)

I went to see Alex at Element 54 Salon in Lutz.  I have been going there since November of last year for haircuts and this is the second time I’ve had it colored there.  Alex is great!  She always gives me a great haircut, but the color she does is amazing!  All the grays are gone and there are dimensions in my color.  The best part is it almost looks the same as my natural color which is very difficult to do with reds.

But the absolute best thing about the salon is their sinks!!!   Up until now I have never left a salon without a bruise on the back of my head from the lip on the sink where they wash your hair.  I’ve had salon’s try to soften the lip of the sink with a plastic/rubber piece that fits over the edge where your head rests but it never helped.  Element 54 sinks are flat and they have an angled headrest, meaning this princess doesn’t leave with a major headache and bruise that lasts for days.  I’m in love with the sink!

Element 54 Salon is located on the south side of SR 54, between US 41 and Collier Parkway.  It has a clean, fresh look when you walk in, not overbearing like some places.  The staff is always friendly and courteous never pushy at all.  They offer other services as well, but I haven’t tried them yet.  If you are looking for a new salon I suggest you give them a call!  21776 State Road 54 | Lutz, FL 33549

Kelly Harden, REALTOR®

CENTURY 21 Shaw Realty



Time to retire a good friend

It’s time to retire Bonnie, she has been a good friend of the family but her time has come.  She has been with us since March of 2009 but she has been with our family since Valentine’s Day 2001.

Bonnie is my grandmother’s 2001 Pontiac Bonneville.  My grandfather bought her as a Valentine’s Day gift for my grandmother.  Grandma drove her proudly to the grocery store, church and the library until one day Grandma decided to stop driving.  Then Grandpa was in the hospital and Grandma wanted to visit him.  She decided right then and there it was time to start driving again.  After he died she continued to drive for a while and then decided it was time to stop.

Bonnie stayed in Grandma’s garage for a while, only going for an outing when my mother or I would take Grandma shopping.  Shortly afterward Bonnie came to stay with us.

My husband drove Bonnie for a few months at first and when my youngest son learned to drive she became his.  Bonnie took him everywhere.  When Brent went off to college Bonnie stayed behind and became my daughter Erin’s car.  When Erin went to college she took Bonnie with her.  She continued to drive Bonnie until last Sunday.

Bonnie is getting old, she has a few “wrinkles” and “age spots”.  She doesn’t run as smoothly as she did when she was young.  But she helped my children learn to drive, she kept them safe.  She is one of the last visible reminders of my grandmother.  But it is time to let her go, her work is done.

Goodbye Bonnie, you have been good to us and I will miss you

Kelly Harden, REALTOR®

CENTURY 21 Shaw Realty


What does a REALTOR® do when listing your home for sale?


Have you seen those TV shows with Real Estate agents?  Many people think an agent shows three homes, compares their features, smiles, fills out the sales contract and maybe goes to the closing.  There is so much more involved to a home sale than that!  The Orlando Realtor Association has an list of 230 individual activities an agent does when selling your home. I’d like to offer you a glimpse of what I do when selling your home.

Our first encounter often starts out with a phone call.  I’ll ask lots of questions to understand what your goal is and get some information on your home.  Next I will want to stop by for a short visit of about 15 minutes to see the house in person, take a few photos of anything special or unusual (strictly for my benefit) and review the neighborhood.  I will send you an pre-listing email asking more questions about your move, explaining how I work and a brief outline of how I typically market homes for sale, each marketing plan is personalized for the home I’m selling.  I thoroughly research your home and prepare a Comparable Market Analysis based on homes that sold recently in your immediate area and how quickly they sold.

Our next meeting I will go over everything with you and answer all of your questions.   I want to be sure you thoroughly understand the marketing strategy, forecast the next steps and explain what goes on behind the scenes.

Once the Marketing Agreement is signed the work really begins!  I schedule a professional photographer to take pictures of your home, I have found professional photos show best online which is where most buyers begin their home search (over 44% of buyers found the home they purchased from the internet last year).  I measure every room and take detailed notes for the MLS description and information, order a sign for the front yard, send email blasts to Tampa Bay area top agents, my database, my investor base, make a personal walk through video to use in online advertising, and so much more advertising work!

I may bring the potential buyer, or another agent may. In my next blog I will explain what I do when working with the buyer of your home!

Kelly Harden, REALTOR®

CENTURY 21 Shaw Realty