Fun, Real Estate

Keep your kitchen from becoming dated

Nothing dates a home as quickly as a kitchen.  It’s also the most expensive room in the house to update.

What can you do to keep your kitchen looking stylish longer?

  1.  Use plenty of white.  White has been a fan favorite in the kitchen for years.  A white kitchen reflects light better than other colors helping the kitchen to always look bright and even feel larger than it really is.
  2. Install Shaker style cabinetry.  Shaker cabinets have plain, simple, clean lines lending a timeless look to the kitchen.
  3. Keep the backsplash simple.  Subway tiles are a good classic choice, but anything simple without too much pattern should do the job.
  4. Use Carrera marble countertops.  This classic surface never goes out of style.
  5. Install hardwood flooring.  Over 80% of buyers list hardwood floors as very important to them when looking for their new home.


Following these tips will help you have a beautiful kitchen that will keep its resale value for years to come.

Kelly Harden, Realtor®

Mihara & Associates, Inc.


Real Estate

What happens during a closing in Florida?


Are you buying or selling a home in the Tampa Bay area and are curious about what happens on closing day?

Typically the actual closing itself takes place at a title agency selected by the seller. The buyer may select the title company of  his choice if he prefers and it is entered into the contract.

Occasionally you will have a remote closing where a notary will bring the paperwork to the buyer or seller.  You can also have a “mail-away” closing where the documents are sent via overnight mail to be signed with a notary if one of the parties does not live locally.

Before Closing

Three days before closing the lender and title company will tell the buyer exactly how much money they need to cover their down payment, closing costs and expenses.  The title company will require the money be wired to them in advance, often the day before or the morning of closing.  This information will only come from the title company and it is extremely important to verify by phone or in person the wiring instructions with the title agency.

Sellers will also notify the title company in advance where to send the proceeds of the sale.  It is extremely important to speak to the title company directly to avoid being the victim of wire fraud.

Day of Closing

Buyers should conduct a “final walk through” of the property they are purchasing either the morning of or the day before closing.  Be sure to verify any requested seller repairs have been completed, all of the sellers things have been removed and the home is in the same condition it was when you went under contract.

Buyers, be prepared to sign a lot of paperwork today!  If you are getting a mortgage you will usually sign those documents first.  Then the title agent will send copies of these to your lender so the lender will release the funds to the title company.  You will also sign another set of paperwork to take ownership of the home.

Once the funding from the bank has been completed and all of the paperwork signed you are handed the keys and are officially a homeowner!  Congratulations!!

Sellers may sign their paperwork the day before or later in the day after the buyers have signed all of their papers.  I have even attended closings where the buyers and sellers are in the same room and sign all of the documents together, although that is not common.

After the buyers and sellers have signed all of the documents and the lender has wired the money to the title agency the proceeds will be wired to the seller.  This is often the next business day.

As a buyer or seller there are two things you must be sure to do

  1. Bring your photo ID to your appointment.  The title agent will need to verify your identity
  2. Confirm any wiring instructions with the title agency in person or by phone before sending any funds.  Wiring information should only come from the title company

Your closing may be slightly different from the typical closing that is outlined here.  Your real estate agent and title agent should keep you informed of what the next steps are during your transaction.

This video may be more fun to watch

Kelly Harden, Realtor®

Mihara & Associates, Inc


Real Estate

How to prepare for your home inspection

49090672_2184850881575790_1489716858385858560_nOnce your home has gone under contract, the buyer will hire a licensed home inspector to view the home and inspect it for any health and safety items that need to be repaired before closing.  They will also look at the general condition of the home and provide a detailed report for the buyer.

As a seller, what can you do to prepare for the home inspection to ensure a smooth transaction?

If the home is unoccupied, be sure the utilities are on and the pilot lights are lit.

Verify the following items work properly

  • Electrical light sockets, light fixtures and ceiling fans work
  • Safety- Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors operate
  • Water- faucets and toilets run properly with no leaks
  • Entrances- Doors and windows open and close and the hardware works

Clean the stove top and oven so they will not smoke and set off the smoke detectors during the inspection.  The inspector should turn on all of the appliances included in the sale to ensure they are working properly.

Clear obstructions and debris around air conditioner, water heater and attic access so the inspector can get to all of these items.

Leave keys for any outbuildings.

Make sure the location of the septic tank and well are noted if applicable.

Gather any documentation for repairs that have been made or renovations done to the property.  The inspector may need these items and the appraiser might too.

Plan to be away from the house for at least three hours.  Take the pets with you or be sure they are crated during the inspection.

If you are concerned about what items may come up during a home inspection or would like to be fully prepared when your home is listed for sale you can hire your own inspector to conduct a pre-listing inspection.  A pre-listing inspection gives ou the opportunity to fix any items needed before going under contract.

Click here if you would prefer to view this blog in video format?

Mihara & Associates, Inc

Kelly Harden, Realtor®