Real Estate

Real Estate’s positive impact on Florida’s economy

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You’ve probably heard by now that buying and selling real estate is a great way to build individual wealth, but did you know buying and selling Real Estate also heavily impacts Florida’s economy?

A recent analysis by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), determined money generated by real estate sales in Florida make up 21.9% of the gross state product.  Yes, almost 1/4 of Florida’s economy in 2018 was the result of real estate transactions.

On average, each home sale generated $77,858 in total economic impact.  Where did this money come from?

  • $21,483 in income from real estate activities (commissions, fees, moving expenses)
  • $4,243 in expenses related to home purchases (new furniture, remodeling expenses)
  • $12,348 in monies earned in other sectors of the economy related to the home sale and recirculated into the economy
  • $39,783 in new home construction because one new home is constructed for every 6 existing homes sold

All of this means the real estate industry accounted for $227.3 billion or 21.9% of Florida’s gross state product in 2018 which is pretty awesome!

Kelly Harden, Realtor®

Mihara & Associates, Inc.

813-244-9688

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Real Estate

What should you look for when touring a potential new home?

pexels-photo-1663263Is it time to shop for a new home?  What should you look for when you are walking through a prospective property?

  1. Does the floor plan work for your needs?  Examples include location of bedrooms, a home office, ample storage, etc.
  2. What condition is the flooring in?  Check for stains, tears or other damage indicating the flooring will need to be replaced.
  3. Look for evidence of past water leaks.  Check ceilings, windows and under sinks for stains or wet spots indicating possible water damage.
  4. Perform a visual check on the air conditioner, water heater, water softener, etc. for condition or age.  Your home inspector will be able provide more information on condition of these as well.
  5. Check out the appliances that will be included in the sale.
  6. Walk around the exterior of the home.  Check for cracks or damage to the stucco, brick or windows.

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement when searching for a new home.  Take the time to look closely at the house to be sure it is the right one for you!

Kelly Harden, Realtor®

Mihara & Associates, Inc.

813-244-9688

Fun

Ways to help control mosquitos in Tampa

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Mosquito bites are annoying, itchy, red and swollen but they can also be a major health concern for you and your pet.

The good news is there are some things you can do to help control the mosquito population in Tampa Bay.

Mosquitos are most active in the warm summer months with breeding season lasting from July to September.  The males feed on plant nectar but females need blood in order to reproduce, which makes you and your pet look very appealing.

Orkin pest control recommends doing the following to help control mosquitos around your home.

  1. Remove items that can collect standing water.  Mosquitos only need 1″ of water to breed.
  2. Keep your gutters clean to avoid rainwater buildup.  Check for rain puddles on the roof, leaky pipes and even air conditioner drip lines.
  3. Change water frequently (at least once a week) in bird baths, potted plants, fountains, wading pools, or any containers that hold standing water.
  4. Keep swimming pools treated and functioning properly.
  5. Trim shrubs.  Adult mosquitos rest in dark protected areas with high humidity.
  6. Eliminate points of entry in your home.  Inspect doors, windows and a/c units for drafts and openings.  Make sure your weather-stripping around doors and calk around windows is in good condition.
  7. Check window and door screens to make sure they are secure and free of holes or tears.
  8. Keep doors closed.

I hope these tips help control the mosquito population around your home this summer!

Kelly Harden, Realtor

Mihara & Associates, Inc.

813-244-9688

 

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How to place your best offer on the house you love

DSC_0227It’s time to make an offer on the house you just love.  What can you do to help your offer stand out?

  1. Talk to your agent about your offer price.  She will check comparable sales in the neighborhood and help you determine how much to offer.  Your agent will guide you, but ultimately the decision on price is yours.
  2. Find out what is important to the sellers. Your agent should reach out to the seller’s agent to find out what their preferences are.  Would they like a quick closing because they are moving to start a new job?  Maybe they prefer a shorter inspection period or a larger initial deposit.  Ask about their needs and tailor your offer to meet them as much as you can.
  3. Be prepared for a counter offer from the sellers. Are you able to increase your price if necessary?
  4. Make sure you understand the HOA restrictions in the community before making an offer. Can you paint the home the color you want?  Will your Pit Bull be welcome?  Make sure the community will meet your needs.
  5. Review the contract with your agent to understand what you are signing. The contract is a legal document and will have obligations that must be adhered to.  Make sure you understand what those are along with any contingencies in the contract.
  6. Determine your down payment and initial expenses. Besides your initial escrow deposit, you will need cash on hand to pay for inspections and appraisal fees.
  7. Carefully review the Sellers Disclosures and all information about the home.  If you want something you see at the home do not assume it comes with the sale of the property.  Make sure your agent includes these extra items such as the washer and dryer, storage shed, unattached kitchen island, etc., into the contract to be sure they stay behind.
  8. Carefully select your closing date, typically 30 to 45 days from the date the contract goes into effect is pretty standard. You want to provide enough time for the lender to approve the loan, the title agency to complete their title search and the seller to move out completely.

Following these guidelines along with advice from your Realtor® will help your offer get accepted by the sellers.

Kelly Harden, Realtor®

Mihara & Associates, Inc.

813-244-9688

Real Estate

Tips for buying a vacation home

photo-1528032138382-38989aca5388Florida is the ideal place to buy a vacation home, we have the warm weather, beautiful beaches and awesome theme parks.

Here are a few things to think about if you want to buy a vacation home in Florida.

  1. How will you use the home?  Will it just be for family and friends or would you like to rent the home?
  2. Is the house in a good location?  Is the property located close to the activities you want to participate in?
  3. Are you allowed to rent it out?  Be sure to check with the local laws to understand their leasing restrictions.
  4. What are the costs involved?  You want to budget for the mortgage, taxes, insurance and association fees.  And don’t forget to allow for repairs and replacing items as they wear.  If you are going to rent the home you also need to allow for the cost of a property manager.
  5. Test out the location before you buy.  Once you’ve decided on a possible location you should rent a place in the area for a short stay to see if it meets your needs.
  6. Seek out guidance from professionals.  Talk to your accountant for guidance on taxes.  Work with a local experienced Realtor who knows the community.

Buying a vacation home can be a great investment, just make sure to do your homework first!

Kelly Harden, Realtor®

Mihara & Associates, Inc.

813-244-9688

Real Estate

What happens during the final walk through?

eye-female-funny-glass-41558What is a final walk through in Real Estate and do you need one?

Typically the day of closing or the day before you and your Real Estate Agent will walk through the home one final time.  This walk through serves as a quick final inspection which gives you a chance to be sure the home is in good condition before closing.

What should you be looking for?

  1. All of the sellers personal property has been removed.  Anything left behind after closing becomes yours, whether you want it or not.
  2. Any items listed in the contract to stay, such as appliances, the shed, etc. are still on the property
  3. All repairs agreed during the inspection period have been completed and the work is satisfactory
  4. The home is in the same condition as it was when you went under contract.  There is no new damage to the property and everything works as it did when you went under contract.

What should you do if there is a problem?

  1. Talk to your Real Estate Agent.  Sometimes a simple phone call to the sellers agent will resolve the issue.
  2. The closing can be delayed to give the seller time to resolve the issue.
  3. Sometimes you can “hold back” money from the sale in an escrow account until the issue is resolved.
  4. If the issue is severe and a resolution cannot be agreed upon you may be able to cancel the sale, although you will probably lose your deposit.

Hopefully your final walk through will be problem free and you will have many years of enjoyment in your new home!

Kelly Harden, Realtor®

Mihara & Associates, Inc.

813-244-9688

 

Design

5 Trends for your home exterior in 2019

I am always curious to see what home trends are on the rise.  Luckily Houzz helps me out by creating these wonderful lists of all the things you want or need to know.

This year, mixed materials, farmhouse inspiration and inviting front porches are very in.  Which of these trends do you like?

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Pricing your home to sell

realtor-3261160_960_720When it’s time to sell your home you want to price it right so it will sell fast.  How do you decide what the list price will be?

Your Real Estate agent will guide and advise you on current market conditions and suggest a starting price range.  How do you decide on a list price that will get your home sold?

  1.  Compare the prices of similar homes to yours that have sold recently.  This seems easy enough, but too many home sellers price their homes by comparing homes that are currently for sale instead of what has sold recently.  The reason this is flawed logic is because if the current listings were priced right they would be under contract.  They are lingering because they are priced wrong.  If you want your house to sell, price it based on recent sales.
  2. Don’t over value your upgrades.  People have a tendency to overvalue upgrades they have made to their home.  Sure you paid a pretty penny to upgrade the kitchen and replace the flooring in the house, but the buyers are comparing your upgrades to other homes with similar features.  You rarely get a return equal to the cost of an upgrade when selling your house.
  3. Don’t base the sales price of your house on how much money to you need to net after the sale.  Sometimes sellers make the mistake of pricing their home based on the amount of money they need to purchase their next home, not the actual market value of the home itself.  Buyers are going to place an offer on your house based upon what the market value of the property, which is also how an appraiser will value the house as well.
  4. Don’t rely on the automated value found online (such as the “Zestimate”).  These pricing tools are not accurate, they even tell you that on their website.  They use a computer to calculate the price based upon all area sales, not comparable properties.
  5. If your home has been on the market for a little while and has not sold it is time to re-evaluate your pricing- the market is telling you something.  Have you had a lot of showings and no offers?  Or maybe you’ve hardly had any showings?  What is the market telling you?

Following these tips will help get your home sold!

Kelly Harden, Realtor®

Mihara & Associates, Inc

813-244-9688

Real Estate

Saving for your first home

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Homeownership is the American Dream.  But if you’ve never owned a home before saving up for one can be a little daunting.

Here are a few ideas to get you started.

  • Set a goal and a deadline.  Studies show people perform better with a written goal and a deadline.  Be as specific as possible!
  • Pay off credit card debt, auto loans and any personal loans.  This will make it easier to be approved for a mortgage.  It will also help you get a better interest rate, saving you money over the life of the loan.
  • Create a separate savings account for your down payment.  This will keep you from spending the money and should generate excitement as your account grows.
  • Talk to a good lender.  Your lender will help you figure out what monthly payment you can afford realistically AND how much money you will need for a down payment.  For example, did you know you could get a mortgage for as little as 3.5% down payment?
  • Look for creative ways to save money faster.  Are you getting a tax refund?  Put it in your savings.  Did you get a raise?  Put the extra money in your savings.  Can you get a side job?

Owning a home is great way to build wealth over the course of your lifetime.  A new study from Urban Institute found the younger you are when you buy your first home the wealthier you will be at age 60.

Would you prefer to watch this information via YouTube? Click here

Kelly Harden, Realtor®

Mihara & Associates, Inc.

813-244-9688

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Buying a home with your pet in mind

27331637_1734695936591289_3326165997058110495_nMany of my clients make decisions on where and how to live based upon their pet’s needs.

I have a client buying a new home so her dog will be happier.  Currently they live in a townhouse with a very tiny, almost non-existent yard.  Her large breed dog misses the yard and swimming pool they had before.

Another buyer refused to look at homes without a fence because her dog likes to run the fence line.

Our pets are our family and many of today’s buyers place a high priority on their pet’s happiness when buying a new home.

Important pet requirements include a large back yard, fully fenced with a good walking neighborhood.  Bonus points are awarded to homes near dog parks or pet friendly walking trails.

Flooring choices are important too.  Carpet can trap pet dander and odors.

When shopping for a home with your pet in mind we also need to condsider potential HOA restrictions on types and breeds of pets as well as number of pets allowed per household.

I should also tell you that if I were buying a new home any of my housing decisions would also be strongly influenced by my two pups as well!

Kelly Harden, Realtor®

Mihara & Associates, Inc.

813-244-9688