Real Estate

Purchasing a New Construction Home

blueprint-964630_960_720Are you ready to purchase a home and considering new construction?  It seems like an easy process where you can customize the features and finishes to get your dream home, but there is risk involved when it comes to new construction if you go in blindly.  It’s smart to have a Realtor represent you during the purchase to look out for your best interests, and best of all it doesn’t cost you anything.

The agent at the model center represents the builder, not you  It seems easy enough to pop into a model home and have the agent on site write up a contract for you, but remember they are there to represent the builder and the builders best interests. Your Realtor represents you.

Selecting the right lot in the right neighborhood  In the excitement of the buying process sometimes we tend to overlook important features like lot placement and view.  Your Realtor will help you find the right neighborhood for your lifestyle and the lot location that works best for you.  Selecting the wrong lot can cost you money in the future when you sell.

Upgrades and plan modifications  Your Realtor should help you select the upgrades and modifications that will best suit your lifestyle and help your future resale value.

Negotiations Your agent will negotiate the terms of the contract on your behalf.  They will work to get the maximum amount builder incentives and builder paid closing costs for you.  They will run market analysis on the home to ensure you are not overpaying.

Handling contracts and paperwork  Your Realtor knows contracts and will make sure there are no errors in yours and no unforeseen penalties that could occur.

If you have questions about a new construction home in the Tampa Bay area please reach out to me, I’d be happy to help.

Kelly Harden, Realtor

Mihara & Associates, Inc.




Real Estate

What does your monthly mortgage payment include?


Your monthly mortgage payment is more than just your loan amount.  There are several charges that are grouped together and paid as a single payment monthly.

Your mortgage lender should review all of these fees and payments when you apply for a mortgage.

Here is a general breakdown of what is included in your monthly mortgage payment:

  • Principle:  The portion paying down the original amount of the loan
  • Interest:  The charge in dollars for the use of the money (loan)
  • Taxes:  These vary by county and state.  Your tax assessor determines your property taxes annually and this amount is divided into a monthly figure.  This amount is then held in an escrow account by your lender and paid once a year when the bill is due
  • Home Owners Insurance:  This policy protects you from loss of your home.  Your insurance company typically bills annually, your lender will then divide this amount into monthly payments that are held in an escrow account and paid once a year when the bill is due
  • Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI):  Typically, if you paid less than 20% down payment your lender will charge mortgage insurance.
  • Mortgage Insurance Premium (MIP):  FHA loans will have this insurance due to the borrower using less money toward their down payment

Your lender should review all of this information with you when you apply for a mortgage, but if I can help answer any of your questions please reach out to me.

Kelly Harden, Realtor®

Mihara & Associates, Inc.



Looking to update your kitchen?

Have you considered painting your cabinets to update your kitchen?  I have a client who is thinking about painting her dark wood kitchen cabinets.  She is thinking about white paint on the cabinets and grey on the kitchen island.

Painted cabinets are a hot look right now and it’s less expensive than replacing all of the cabinets.

This article from Houzz gives you step by step instructions if you decide to tackle the job yourself or simply want to learn more about it before hiring a professional to do the work.



Real Estate

Costly mistakes to avoid when selling your home

mistake-1966448_960_720Avoiding these common mistakes when selling your home can save you thousands.

  1.  Not hiring a professional to sell your home.   A professional Realtor® knows the market trends, home prices in your neighborhood, how to negotiate, and how to get you to the closing table.
  2.  Mispricing the home.  A home that is overpriced based upon comparable area sales will linger on the market for a longer period of time with no offers.  Underpricing a home can cost you thousands.
  3. Using poor quality photos.  Buyers search on the internet first; high quality photographs are a must.  Select a Realtor® who uses professional photographs.
  4.  Not disclosing past or current problems.  A home inspection will discover the roof leak you had so be sure to disclose it ahead of time.  You don’t want to have a lawsuit after the sale because you failed to disclose a past problem.
  5. Listing the home for sale before it is ready.  Take the time to repair any damaged items, replace burnt out light bulbs and ensure the lock on the front door works properly.  Skipping small maintenance items can give buyers the impression the home has not been properly cared for.  Larger items that need to be repaired will show up on the home inspection and will either need to be replaced anyway or the buyers could ask for financial compensation to repair it themselves.  It could even cause the buyer to cancel the sale during the inspection period.
  6. Not prepping the interior.  Take the time to declutter each room, closets and cabinets.  Hire a professional stager if the home is empty to help buyers see how the rooms can be used.
  7.   Poor planning.   Do you know what your next step will be after the sale is complete?  What will you do if the house sells quickly or takes longer than expected?

Your agent should be able to help you avoid these costly mistakes when selling your home.  If you are in the Tampa Bay area, I’d be honored to help you sell your home and I have a list of great referral partners who can sell your home if you don’t.

Kelly Harden, Realtor®

Mihara & Associates, Inc.