Real Estate

Finding the perfect neighborhood for your new home


When you begin the search for your new home you will want to decide what type of neighborhood you want to move into.

Your agent will ask lots of questions to help find your new home.  Some things you will want to consider are-

  1.  Does the neighborhood suit your lifestyle?  Think about what activities you enjoy doing and what you want to have near your new home.  Would you like to live next to a park or trail because you love to bike ride?  Are nearby schools important for your young children?  Do you like the idea of a walking neighborhood that is close to area stores and restaurants?
  2. What amenities are important to you?  Do you want a community with trails, parks and a community pool?  Do you want a clubhouse with a state of the art fitness center?
  3. What type of home do you prefer?  Thing about how you are going to live in the home.  Do you need a large single family home with lots of bedrooms, a big yard and a pool for you and your growing family?  Do you prefer the idea of a townhome with limited yard but lots of great amenities?  Or is a condo with no maintenance more your style?
  4. How long of a commute to work would you prefer?  Do you have to live within 30 minutes of your job or is a longer commute doable?  Perhaps you primarily work from home but need access to the airport for monthly business trips?

All of these questions will help you and your agent determine the best place to search for your new home.

Happy Home Hunting!

Kelly Harden, Realtor®

Mihara & Associates, Inc.




Real Estate

Is my home in a flood zone?


I sell real estate in Florida and buyers often ask about buying a home in a flood zone.

Florida is a pretty flat state surrounded on three sides by the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico with lots of rivers and lakes added in.  You stand a good chance of being near some form of water.

Britton Hill, located in the Florida panhandle, has the highest elevation of anywhere in the state of Florida at 345 feet above sea level.  This is the lowest highest elevation point out of all 50 states.  With a mean elevation for the entire state at 100 feet above sea level chances are your new home could be near a flood zone.

Our MLS has a notation indicating if the home is in a flood zone but I also suggest confirming with FEMA’s website    Simply enter the address of the home and you are provided with a detailed flood map of the area.

Your insurance agent will also give you this information along with rates for flood insurance.  Keep in mind just because your home isn’t in an official flood zone area doesn’t mean you shouldn’t purchase flood insurance, it simply means purchasing the insurance will not be required by your lender.

Typically, your standard homeowner’s policy does not cover rising water such as water from a flood or even a backed up sewer.  Flood insurance gives added protection for such issues.

Many communities have built up the land itself to increase the homes elevation.  If you are very close to the water you may need to build your home on pilings or stilts.

I hope that answers your questions about flood zones, if not please let me know.

Kelly Harden, Realtor®

Mihara & Associates, Inc.




Real Estate

Increasing Your Home’s Curb Appeal

exterior-2046781_960_720We all know first impressions matter.  The first impression your home gives when a potential buyer pulls up outside is known as curb appeal.  You want the first impression to be warm and welcoming.

How can you improve the curb appeal of your home?  Here are a few ideas to help you get started-

Begin by cleaning

  1. Pressure wash the driveway, front entryway and sidewalk
  2. Clean the front windows
  3. Clean the front door

Update your greenery

  1. Remove any fallen leaves
  2. Replace any plants that have died over the winter
  3. Trim the shrubs and trees

Add a pop of color- 

  1. Paint the front door a bright and cheery color
  2. Add colorful plants or flowers either in free standing pots or as part of the shrubbery
  3. Add colorful pillows to the chairs on your front porch


  1. Upgrade the door knob and lock
  2. Replace the porch light with a more contemporary set
  3. Replace old tired house numbers with a shiny new set

I hope I’ve given you some ideas to get started.  Now it’s time for me to plant new shrubs in my own flowerbed.

Kelly Harden, Realtor®

Mihara & Associates, Inc.





Real Estate

How to get your home ready for a showing in record time


Your Realtor® just called, there is a buyer nearby who would like to see your home within the hour.  Will your home be ready to show at the last minute?

Every seller who lives in their home while it’s listed for sale loves the luxury of a 24-hour notice before showings.  But in today’s fast paced real estate world that is not always possible.

Here’s how to get your home show ready in record time-

Start at the back of the house and move toward the door you are going to leave through.

Bedrooms– pick up clutter on the floor, if you don’t have time to put away all of the children’s toys place the items in the hamper and cover with clothes.  Quickly make the bed if you didn’t do so this morning.  Open the window shades and turn on the lights.

Bathrooms– Make sure the toilet is flushed and the lid is down.  Quickly wipe the counter, sink, faucet and mirror.  Empty the trash and close the shower curtain.  Turn on the lights.

Living area– Quickly pick up any clutter.  Boxes on tables tops and baskets on the floor make great places to store television remotes, children’s toys, magazines and more.  Place a folded blanket on top of the basket to cover items quickly stored inside if needed.  Plump and straighten your sofa cushions and throw pillows.  Open the blinds and turn on the lights.

Kitchen– Place any dirty dishes in the dishwasher.  Wipe down all counter tops, stove top, and appliances.  Do a quick sweep if needed.  Turn on the lights.

Final items– Make sure all lights are on and take out the trash as you, the family and your pets leave for the showing.

I hope these tips help you, and remember if you make your bed and straightening up daily, your house can easily be show ready within an hour (or even less).

Kelly Harden, Realtor®

Mihara & Associates, Inc.