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

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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






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®, GRI

Century 21 Affiliated, Tampa Bay



Final Week of the 2017 Tampa Bay Parade of Homes

It’s here, the final week of the 2017 Parade of Homes put on by the Tampa Bay Builders Association.  This is your chance to see 92 models from 39 builders at their absolute best.  Model homes have extended hours, you don’t even need an appointment.  You can check out which model home won what award and pick your favorites.

This is my favorite outdoor space (and it’s an award winner too).  I’d like to use it as inspiration for my own backyard, another fun reason to go!

If you are thinking of moving a new construction home is always a great idea.  The home is brand new, no one has lived in it before.  If you start the process early you can choose your finishes and maybe even customize part of the house.  Newly built homes are usually more energy efficient and offer the latest in technology.

Many of the homes are in awesome communities with fabulous perks such as community pools, playgrounds, dog parks, walking or bike trails and more!

Kelly Harden  Realtor®, GRI

Century 21 Affiliated Avila


ps- When you find a home you love and want to buy don’t forget to bring your Realtor®, our job is to look out for your best interests!


Almost 4 Acres of Beautiful Land for Sale In Dover, FL


I recently listed a beautiful piece of property in Dover, Florida for sale.  It’s almost four acres of undeveloped land with gorgeous oak trees, shrubs and other trees located north of Brandon Blvd and south of  Dr. M.L.K. Blvd.  It’s close to everything while still allowing plenty of privacy.

If you are looking for a place to build your dream home this might be it!  With almost four acres of land there is plenty of room for you and all of your toys!

The property is listed for $175,000.  If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about the land please give me a call, 813-244-9688.

Kelly Harden, Realtor®, GRI

Century 21 Affiliated, Avila


How do I prepare my Tampa Bay home for sale in 2017?

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Have you made the decision it’s time to sell the house?  How can you prepare your home to sell quickly and for the most money?

De-clutter your home.  Consider renting a storage facility or borrowing your friend’s garage while your home is listed for sale.  You will want to remove any personal items and excess knick-knacks that can make the home appear smaller than it actually is.  Closet floors should be clear, shelves should not be packed, cabinets and pantries should have some room on the shelves.

Clean the house thoroughly and when you’re done clean it some more.  Look at your home objectively as if you were a prospective buyer, they are going to notice all of those little things you don’t.

Repair the little things.  Simple things such as torn screens, missing door stoppers and tiny holes in the walls from pictures can give the home an appearance of not being well maintained.

Refresh the paint if it’s been a while since you’ve painted.  Repaint any bold colors a soft neutral color which will give a better first impression of the house and will appeal to a broader range of buyers.

Consult a staging expert.  Staging is a crucial step in selling your home.  It allows you to engage buyers by highlighting the best aspects of your house and allows them to envision living in the setting you create.  Staging is more than removing clutter and cleaning and involves rearranging or removing furniture, adding accents and optimizing the flow of the house.

Kelly Harden, Realtor®, GRI

Century 21 Affiliated, Tampa Bay


Ballantrae and Land O’Lakes Market Report March 2017


Here is a look at the market conditions in the Ballantrae Community of Land O’ Lakes Florida.   We are currently in a strong sellers market with just a few months supply of homes for sale.  If you are thinking about selling, now is a great time to do so!

  • 2 Town Homes for Sale
  • 9 Single Family Homes for Sale
  • 15 Homes Under Contract
  • 14 Homes Sold in the Past 90 Days, 25 Homes Sold in the Past 6 Months

Of the homes that were sold in the past 90 days, it took an average time period of 69 days for them to sell for an average of 96.7% of their original list price.

For comparison, here is a current snapshot of the entire Land O’ Lakes area:

  • 9 Town Homes for Sale
  • 311 Single Family Homes for Sale
  • 227 Homes Under Contract
  • 304 Homes Sold in the Past 90 Days, 634 Homes Sold in the Past 6 Months

Of the Land O’ Lakes homes that sold in the past 90 days, they sold in an average of 53 days for an average of 95.9% of their original list price.

If you have further questions about the Ballantrae or Land O’ Lakes market or would like to know what your home is worth today give me a call!

Kelly Harden, Realtor®, GRI

Century 21 Affiliated, Tampa Bay





How to choose the right home for you

Congratulations, you’ve decided the time is right to buy your first home!   Here are some helpful tips to help you select the right home for your needs.

Before you begin your home search your Realtor® is going to have you speak to a lender to get pre-approved.  Do not feel as though you must purchase a home that costs the maximum amount you have been approved for.  You will still want some money in the bank for savings when you move in.  Plus there may be additional purchases of furniture, lawn care equipment, new paint, etc…

We are in a very hot market right now and you may be anxious to find a place to call your own.  Don’t make the mistake of buying the first house you see because you feel rushed.  Educate yourself before you begin your search.  What part of town do you want to be in, how big of a house do you want, what is available in the price range you can afford?  Take the time to make sure it is the right property for you so you don’t make an expensive mistake.

At the same time, the market is hot right now and properties are selling fast.  If you find the home you love make an offer right away, don’t delay.  A favorite saying I tell my buyers is”the home you fall in love with today and want to put an offer on tomorrow is the same house someone else saw yesterday and wants to put an offer on today.”  When you find the right home for you don’t dilly dally, in this market you could lose the home to another buyer.

Finally, make sure you work with a Realtor® you are comfortable with.  They are your agent in the transaction and they represent you and your best interests.  They should be experienced with the current market, knowledgeable about the area and be able to answer your questions (or advise you who can).

Kelly Harden, Realtor®

Century 21 Affiliated, Tampa Bay