Real Estate

Holiday Season Brings Sold Signs


Fall is here and the holiday season will soon be upon us.  You might be thinking the best opportunity to sell your home is over and you should wait until next spring to list your home for sale.  Nothing could be further from the truth!

The holiday season may not be as crazy with the amount of buyers in the market, but buyers who search now tend to be much more serious about making a purchase and are ready to move today.

With the right agent along with the right pricing for your home you might actually prefer selling your home around the holidays.


Buyers are Serious– Let’s be honest, if buyers are looking for homes during the busy holiday season they are serious and ready to purchase.  If a buyer is investing the time to look now they are more likely to be interested in actually purchasing your home instead of touring it.

Less Competition–  Selling around the holidays isn’t something that many families can accomplish due to busy personal schedules.  More homes are listed during the spring and summer months which means a lot of competition.  Selling around the holidays means more attention to your property which increases the chance of a sale.

There may actually be less during the sales process as well since you are preparing your home to be shown to serious buyers who are ready to purchase.

Kelly Harden, REALTOR®

Mihara & Associates, Inc.


Design, Real Estate

6 Tips for Perfect Painting


Painting the walls of your new home is a great first step in personalizing your new space.  Or perhaps you are preparing your current home to sell, painting is a terrific way to update and freshen up the space.

Here are a few tips that will help ensure you paint correctly the first time.

Choose the right color.   There are many shades and tones of each color and they can appear different once they are applied to the walls.  Colors will have either a warm or cool base so each shade of a color will appear different once on the wall.  Plus the wall color will be effected by other colors and finishes in the room.  It’s best to paint a large swatch on the wall of each color you like if you are unsure.

Select the correct finish.  A flat finish can look dull on the wall, while a matte has a softness and is easy to touch up.  That makes a matte finish terrific for high traffic areas such as hall ways and busy rooms.  A semi-gloss finish is shinier than the others but that makes it more durable and easier to clean, perfect for kitchens and baths.

Notice the amount of light in the room.  Does the room get a lot of natural light?  Or are there lots of lamps, overhead lighting or other lights?  The type and amount of light will effect how the colors will look on the wall once applied.  Paint will look darker in rooms with less light and the wrong shade can look harsh in a room flooded with natural light.

Don’t ignore the ceiling.  The ceiling is the fifth wall of the room and can make a great statement if painted the right color.  Unfortunately it can make a bad statement and look dirty if it is not freshly painted like the rest of the room.  If you are lucky enough to have a tray ceiling you can really get creative with your painting.

Choosing the wrong accent wall.  If you decide to paint a wall an accent color, understand the contrast color will draw attention to the wall.  Be sure you select the wall you want everyone to notice and the color compliments the design of the room.

Be cautious with trendy paint colors and designs.  If you are unsure the newest designer color or pattern will look terrific on your new walls consult a professional designer for assistance.

Have fun with your painting and remember mistakes shouldn’t be too expensive and can always be corrected with a new gallon of paint.

Kelly Harden, Realtor®

Mihara & Associates, Inc.



Real Estate

Selecting the perfect floor plan for your lifestyle


Are you shopping for your next home?  Your lifestyle will determine if the home’s floor plan will work for you.

Do you entertain frequently?  You should search for a home with a bathroom on the main floor near the living room so guests do not have to go upstairs or through several rooms to find the bathroom.

Do you enjoy cooking?  A large kitchen with plenty of counter space and a good oven is must then.  If you prefer to cook with gas you will need to be sure the new home has access.

Do you enjoy entertaining outdoors?  Make sure there is an easy main entrance to the lanai or deck.  You don’t want the sliding glass door in the master bedroom to be the only way your guests can access the back yard (yes, I’ve seen that before!).

Do you want a big screen TV to watch the game on?  You will need a large wall to anchor it on as well as a large room for plenty of seating if you plan on hosting weekend football viewing parties.

Are you a pack rat?  Make sure there are plenty of closets, kitchen and bathroom cabinets and other storage solutions to hold your holiday decorations, family keepsakes and more.

Do you have large pieces of furniture you want to keep?  Check the dimensions of the rooms and walls to be sure your dining table or big leather sectional will fit.

These are some of the questions you should ask yourself when you begin your home search.

Kelly Harden, Realtor®

Mihara & Associates, Inc.




Fun, Neighborhood Businesses, Real Estate

Hurricane Prep for Your Pets


If a hurricane or tropical storm came your way do you have a plan for your pets?

Most of us like to believe “it will never happen to me” but what if does.  How would you protect your best friend?

Red Cross shelters typically do not accept dogs so if you live in an evacuation zone decide now where you would go.

Before the storm arrives be sure your pet is micro chipped and wears a collar with your identification in case you get separated.

You should also put together an emergency kit for each pet.  A backpack or duffel bag works great.  Start with these items-

  • Copies of their shot records, license, and pet records in a clear plastic bag
  • If your pet takes medication add an extra supply to her emergency kit
  • A blanket or towel for drying off or sleeping on
  • Enough pet food, treats and water for at least 7 days
  • Can opener for wet food along with extra leash, food bowls, toys, brush and plastic potty bags

Please take the time now to prepare your pet’s emergency kit.  If a storm does come you will be glad you did.

Kelly Harden, Realtor®

Mihara & Associates, Inc.



Real Estate

Is investing in Real Estate right for you?


Have you ever thought about investing in Real Estate?  Real Estate is a great investment and makes sense for the right investor.

A few days ago I received a phone call from a young woman I sold a home to earlier this year.  She and her fiance are interested in buying their first rental house and she was looking for some guidance.  This is some of the advise I gave her-

  1. Are you ready to become a landlord?  Are you going to search for and screen your tenants and be available by phone at 2:00 am when the air conditioner goes out (because it’s always the middle of the hottest night in August when that happens!  LOL).  Or would you prefer to hire a management company to handle all of that for you?
  2. How are your finances?  If you need a mortgage to purchase the property your lender will ask for a higher down payment (at least 20%) and your interest rate will be higher than for your primary residence.  Lenders are taking a bigger risk on homes that are not your primary residence.
  3. Select the right home.  How much work does the property need before it’s ready to rent?  Can you tackle the job yourself or do you need to hire help?  Is it located in an area tenants want to be such as near shopping and schools with good interstate access?
  4. Understand your expenses.  You will have to pay the mortgage, property taxes, insurance and maintenance on the home.  There may be other expenses depending upon the home, such as HOA fees and management fees if you elect to hire someone to take care of the property for you.
  5. Determine your potential profit.  After all of your expenses have been paid and a small amount set aside in cash reserves to cover replacement of that air conditioner along with vacant times between tenants,  how much will be left for your profit?  Aim for at least a 6% and closer to 10%.
  6. What is your budget?  After carefully considering all of the above points, how much are you willing to invest in your rental home?

We met again a couple of days after our initial consultation, reviewed the numbers and are scheduled to look at our first property early next week.

Kelly Harden, Realtor®

Mihara & Associates, Inc.




Real Estate

Staging Your Home to Sell

Staging a home as part of the listing process is helping to sell homes faster and for more money.

According to NAR’s 2017 Profile of Home Staging, 50% of staged homes sold for one to ten percent more compared to similar homes on the market.

Staging your home makes it easier for buyers to visualize living in the home with their own belongings.  Often simple things will make a big impact.

The survey showed the most common home improvement projects recommended were de-cluttering the home (93%), deep cleaning of the entire home (89%), cleaning the carpet (81%) and removing pets during showings (80%).

It shouldn’t be a surprise that staged Living Rooms have the largest impact followed by Master Bedrooms and Kitchens.   Those are the areas where homeowners spend most of their time.2017-profile-of-home-staging-infographic-07-06-2017-1300w-2269h

Staging is an important step I encourage all of my sellers to do before we put your home on the market.  I’ll be happy to provide any information you need or connect you with an outstanding professional.

Kelly Harden, Realtor®

Results that get you packing!

Mihara & Associates, Inc.




Real Estate

6 Reasons your home isn’t selling


When you have your home listed for sale but it’s not selling there are often simple reasons why and things you can do to help your home sell.

  1. Your home is overpriced.  An overpriced listing will sit on the market longer than a home that is priced well.   No one wants to overpay for their home.  Buyers will compare your home to recently closed similar homes in the market and place their offer accordingly.   Reducing the price will make you more competitive in the market.


  1. Your home is not in excellent condition. Take the time to ensure all the maintenance items on the home are complete.  Simple things like burnt out light bulbs will effect the way buyers perceive your house.  Make sure your home is sparkling clean before every showing.  You may even want to pay and have it professionally cleaned.   Take the time to make sure your home always looks it’s best.


  1. There a lot of similar homes for sale near you.  Homes sell slower when there is a larger inventory.  Your agent will be able to advise you what the average selling time is in your neighborhood.


  1. Your photos are poor quality. Buyers view homes online first and then decide which ones to visit in person.  Be sure to use the maximum number of high quality professional photos allowed in your listing.


  1. The description of your home is weak. Does the description of your home tell the facts and only the facts or does it elicit emotions and create a story of the lifestyle the buyer will have when living there?  Most people will not take the time to read a boring home description, make sure yours keeps the reader interested.


  1. Your home is too personalized. Buyers want to envision living in the home with their belongings.  Take the time to edit furnishings and visual clutter.  You may even want to consult a professional home stager to help showcase your home.

Following these tips should help your home sell.

Kelly Harden, Realtor®

Results that get you packing!

Mihara & Associates, Inc.


Real Estate

Will a simple remodel help me sell my home for more money?


People ask me all the time what home improvement projects should they tackle before listing their home for sale.  They are hoping to make last minute improvements that will give them a net increase in the sales price of their home.  Unfortunately, there are few home improvement projects you can do that will net more money when you sell.

Most projects will only earn you a return of about 65% of what it costs to make the improvement.  The numbers will vary slightly based upon the type of project.  Each year a “Cost vs. Value Report” is published for Tampa detailing the information.

Some projects will yield a higher return such as adding attic insulation (a 155% return) and replacing a garage door (a 100.7% return) but most projects will not pay for themselves when you sell.  I would always suggest checking the report before investing in any project unless you are remodeling for your own enjoyment.

When you are ready to sell I would suggest you ensure all routine maintenance projects have been completed and have a thorough professional cleaning of your home- yes I am sure you are super clean, but potential buyers will see things you never even thought about.  This will help your home look it’s best and show buyers the home is well cared for.

If you have any questions or would like more information about the Cost vs. Value Report I can be reached by phone or text, 813-244-9688.

Kelly Harden, Realtor®

Mihara & Associates, Inc.


Real Estate

Why do I need a Home Inspector when purchasing a house?

Image result for ashi home inspector

One of the most important things you will need to do when purchasing a home is schedule your home inspection.  Depending upon the contract you are using, you have about 10 days to have the home inspected and request the sellers to make any repairs.

A home inspector performs a visual inspection of the systems and items in the home. It’s best to use an ASHI certified inspector who has been rigorously tested, educated, experienced and follows the ASHI code of ethics.

Depending upon the size of the house and any additional items requiring inspection (such as a pool) the inspection will take a about two hours.  The inspector looks at the structural parts of the home like the foundation and roof as well the heating and cooling systems, electrical, and plumbing.  In addition they will also inspect walls, floors, doors, ceilings, attics and more.

It’s best if you arrive at when the inspection is almost complete.  The inspector will go over his report with you in person and show you his findings.  You should also receive a detailed written report after the inspection is complete.  The inspector should be very thorough and the report will probably contain a few cosmetic items that can be repaired after you move in. If there are any serious structural concerns you can usually negotiate with the sellers for the repairs or if there are too many you may be able to cancel your contract, check with your attorney or agent for guidance.

The Home Inspector will be able to advise you on the condition of the home you are buying and suggest any future repairs.

Kelly Harden, Realtor

Mihara & Associates






Real Estate

Why does my Realtor® want to meet me before showing me houses?

As a Buyer, when you first start working with a Realtor® they are going to request a sit down meeting with you.  This meeting could take place at their office or even a coffee shop.  Why do we do this before jumping in and showing you prospective houses?

It gives us a chance to get to know you better.  I have a series of questions I ask all of my buyers that helps me understand the type of house you are looking for, where you want the house to be, features you would like the house to have and what’s most important to you.  These interview type questions help save time in the long run by helping me understand you better.

A sit down meeting also give you a chance to interview the agent.  Ask questions, anything you want.  You need to feel comfortable working with me and confident I have your best interests at heart.

If you’ve never bought a home before, or if you did but it was years ago, you may not be aware of everything involved.  During our first meeting I will explain the process to you, what steps are involved, and what your responsibilities are as well as mine.

If you have not gotten pre-approved for a mortgage your agent will refer you to a couple of great lenders they trust and have worked with in the past.  In today’s strong sellers market you will need to send a pre-approval letter from the lender to the seller along with your offer.

Last, but certainly not least is safety.  It’s never wise to meet someone you don’t know in a vacant home.  Your agent may also ask for a copy of your drivers license, that’s standard procedure in many offices today.

When you take the time to meet with a Realtor® at the beginning of your home search you have the opportunity to ensure they are the right person for you.

Kelly Harden, Realtor®

Mihara & Associates, Inc.