Driverless cars??


Self-driving cars are expected to be the wave of the future.  According to a recent Florida Realtor® news article, currently there are about 7,000 self-driving cars on the roads today and within 20 years we should have 4.5 million.  Yes, that’s million with an “M”.

If this prediction comes true it could impact where you live in the future.  People used to judge their commute between home and office by how many miles away they were.  Now more and more people are asking how many minutes away from home is their office located.  If the number of self-driving cars predicted to hit the roads in the future is accurate, will people buy houses further from their work because their commute time no longer will be wasted time?

We will no longer have to sit behind the wheel and use our commuting time for focused driving.

Commute time could be spent eating, preparing for a meeting, reading, texting, shaving, applying make-up, napping and more.

Driverless cars could eliminate speeding tickets, drunk driving, eating while driving and all types of distracted driving.

You wouldn’t have to worry about taking the keys away from Grandma as she ages, she’ll no longer have to drive herself go anywhere.

It’s a very interesting concept and could change the way we live our lives.  Do you think we will see 4.5 million self-driving cars on the road within the next 20 years?  And if so, how do you see self-driving cars impacting your life?

Kelly Harden, Realtor®

Mihara & Associates, Inc.


Real Estate

I want to buy a home, how do I begin?


When you are ready to purchase your next home, whether it is your 1st home or your 5th the beginning is the same.

First, we will schedule a time to talk face to face.  I’ll have a series of questions to ask so that I can understand your goals so we can find the perfect home for you.

Examples include questions such as-

  • Do you want a house, a townhome, or condo?
  • Where would you like to be located?
  • How soon do you want to make your move?
  • Where do you live now?  Do you have to sell your current home or do you rent?
  • How large of a home would you like?
  • What must you have in your new home?
  • What would you like to have but can live without?
  •  Will you be applying for a mortgage?

These are just a few of the questions I’ll ask.  This meeting also give you the opportunity to ask me any questions you have.

Typically, our initial meeting lasts between 30-60 minutes.

Next, if you will be applying for a mortgage you will speak to a lender to get pre-approved for the loan.

I know what you are thinking- “Why do I need to get pre-approved before I find a home I like” 

We want to know what your price range is.  The lender is going to tell you how much home you can afford and what the monthly payments are expected to be.  You may qualify for an expensive home but want to buy something a little less expensive because the payment will be better on your budget.  We want to shop in your comfort zone.

Plus, when we find the perfect home we will need to act fast.  We’ll write up your offer and send your pre-approval letter to the sellers.  This shows them you are serious about your purchase and can move forward.  In today’s market sellers require either a pre-approval letter or proof of funds before they go under contract.  I would hate for you to miss out on the home of your choice because you were not prepared and someone else was.

Once we’ve outlined your criteria and you’ve gotten pre-approved the fun part begins- we start shopping!!!  I’ll send homes to you directly from the MLS that meet your criteria and you’ll probably search online too (everybody does, lol).  Once we find a few that you like we’ll start visiting them in person.

I’ll tell you more about what happens once we find your dream house in future blogs.  You can always reach out to me with any specific questions you may have or when you are ready for us to begin your home search.

Kelly Harden, Realtor®

Mihara & Associates, Inc.






Real Estate

Closing Expenses during a typical Florida Real Estate Closing

contract-2779509_960_720Typically the same expenses arise during Real Estate transactions.  Like anything, these expenses can be negotiated but typically this is who pays each fee during a residential transaction.

Sellers Expenses

  • Title Search– The title company researches public records to ensure the title is free of any liens or claims and the seller is the property owner
  • Closing Fee– A fee cover administrative costs
  • Owners Title Insurance Policy- Insures the new owner will have a clear title
  • Real Estate Sales Commission- Fees paid to buyer’s agent and seller’s agent for real estate services rendered
  • Payoff of Existing Mortgages
  • Home Warranty (if offered by seller to buyer)
  • Home Owners Estoppel Fees– HOA payoff statement
  • Home Owners Association Dues– Any amount the seller may owe prorated for the seller’s time of ownership
  • Property Taxes- Amount of taxes the seller is responsible for, prorated to closing day
  • Doc Stamps- Charges by local government to record transfer of property for public record

Buyer Expenses

  • Lender Title Policy- The buyer’s lender requires this policy to protect their investment
  • Endorsement Charges– Most lenders require this additional insurance coverage as a condition of the loan
  • Survey
  • Termite Inspection 
  • Home Inspection
  • Home Insurance and Flood Insurance– when applicable
  • Recording Fees– Charges by local government to record the transfer of property and make it public record
  • Doc Stamps– Taxes on the mortgage
  • Intangible Tax- Taxes on the mortgage

Keep in mind these are typical fees, each transaction may have different fees or a different party may pay for them.  Your sales contract and title company will have the most acurate information for you during your transaction.

Kelly Harden, Realtor®

Mihara & Associates, Inc


Real Estate

Preparing your home for sale


Everyone wants to sell their home quickly and get the highest price possible.  Taking the time to prepare your home before listing it for sale can help make that happen.

Picture your home in the eyes of the buyer.  Really take the time to look at everything up close and personal.  We tend to overlook the little things when we see them everyday.

Start from the outside of your home.  Does the landscaping need to be refreshed?  When was the last time the trees and shrubs were trimmed?  Are there dead or dying plants that need to be removed or replaced?  Do you need to add a little color with seasonal plants?  Replace the mulch, paint the mailbox and powerwash the walkway if needed.

Now walk to the front door.  Is the entryway clean and inviting?

Once inside it’s time to de-clutter every room.  The general rule of thumb is anything larger than a football should be packed up.  Remove any personal photographs.  The idea is the buyers should be able to envision living in the home with their belongings and photos.

Be ruthless when de-cluttering, especially in the closets and cabinets.  You want to highlight as much storage as your home has.  Don’t worry about having to pack up the holiday dishes and things you only use once a year.  You are planning on moving, you are going to have to pack them up eventually so why not take care of that now.

Thoroughly deep clean your home, scrubbing all the corners, cleaning the vents and all those areas you never even think about.   You want to make sure it shines!

Repair any minor items that have been on your “honey do” list that you keep putting off.  Refresh the paint where needed.

Details matter.  Believe it or not, your home is about to enter a beauty contest with all the other homes for sale in the area and we want your home to win the crown (or get sold!).

Kelly Harden, Realtor®

Mihara & Associates, Inc.





Real Estate

Tips for before you move in to your new home

Moving into your new home is an exciting time, but there are a few things you should take care of beforehand.movers-24403_960_720

  • Utilities– Turn the utilities on in your name starting on the day you take possession of the home.  Your realtor should provide a list of service providers for you but if not you can search online.
  • Extra cleaning– The former owner should have left the home “broom swept” clean but many new homeowners want to do a more thorough cleaning before moving in.  It’s smart to pay extra attention to door handles and light switches too.  You may also want to spray for pest control.
  • Safety– Be sure to have all the locks on the exterior doors re-keyed right away.  You should also change the code on your garage door opener and check to see if you can change the gate code as well.  The batteries in your smoke detectors should be changes as well, you don’t know when they were changed last.  Your safety is the top priority and you don’t know who may have had access to your home previously.
  • Change of Address-  Be sure to notify every one of your new address.  This list should include your bank, your driver’s license, voter registration, insurance companies, doctor and dentist offices, and your employer.
  • Owner’s Manuals-  Your appliances all have owner’s manuals that the previous homeowner should have left behind for you.  If there is anything missing you can search online for the information and download it to your desktop.  Then should you need the information in the future it is right there at your fingertips.

I hope these tips help you think of things you may not have considered and help to make your move as smooth as can be.

Kelly Harden, Realtor®

Mihara & Associates, Inc.