American flag

The election is on November 8th. Most of us can’t wait-there really is more happening in the world than just the USA’s election. In many states the deadline to register is 30 days before the election. Please check your state’s requirement & get out there to vote.  Below is the link for each states requirements & a place to check to see if you are indeed registered.

Let’s vote!! In some countries people risk their lives to vote or travel for days to vote. In the USA, it is your right & it’s easy to vote. So as Nike says, Just DO It!!

Voter Registration Deadlines for the General Election by State

https://www.usa.gov/voter-registration-deadlines

2-6913-14-st-n-st-petersburg

6913 14th St N, St Petersburg, Florida

Buyers on the hunt for the perfect home often overlook common issues that could cost them thousands of dollars and lead to buyer’s remorse.

Taken from “6 Things Home Buyers Forget to Do: Did You Forget Them Too?” realtor.com

Realtors can help clients focus on these four often-forgettable things during their house hunt:

Not counting all the expenses of homeownership
“People focus so much on mortgage payments and closing costs,” says Brendon DeSimone, author of “Next Generation Real Estate. “What they don’t realize, until after the fact, is that there are expenses like oil or propane and landscaping that are built into homeownership.” Homebuyers should ask sellers for a property expense list to get a better gauge of what they’ll be paying each month. Also, financing experts often suggest setting aside 1 percent of the home’s total value annually for repairs and maintenance.

Failing to consider a home’s resale value
Few buyers actually stay in their home for decades. When visiting listings, buyers should talk to their real estate agent about trends in the neighborhood and the likelihood that the home would sell for the same amount in two years, five years or 10 years down the road, says Avery Boyce, a real estate professional with Compass Real Estate in Washington, D.C.

“Buying a home should make financial sense now, but if circumstances make this home no longer the right one within a few years, you don’t want to be in a tricky financial situation while trying to sell,” Boyce says.

Not investigating the neighborhood
DeSimone suggests that homebuyers walk around the neighborhood at different times of the day. Talk with the neighbors too.

Failing to look into the homeowners association
“Never close on a home without doing serious due diligence on the homeowners association,” says DeSimone. Many HOAs can be supportive, but there have been reports of a few cases where homeowners have clashed. Also, find out if there are a lot of delinquent homeowners in the neighborhood because “if there is an upcoming assessment, or there are delinquent homeowners, the HOA and you will have to cough up the money to cover it,” DeSimone says.

Source: “6 Things Home Buyers Forget to Do: Did You Forget Them Too?” realtor.com® (July 2016)

 

Art, music, sports, museums & beaches… there’s so much to do! What are you up to this weekend? Gorgeous sunny day-get out there & enjoy it!!

Arts Alive: Free Museum Day in the Burg
St Petersburg celebrates the arts. Visit 9 museums for free between 10 & 3 today. Participating museums include:
Creative Clay, 1114 Central Avenue
Dr. Carter G Woodson Museum, 2240 9th Avenue South
Florida CraftArt, 501 Central Avenue
Florida Holocaust Museum, 55 5th Street South
Morean Arts Center, 719 Central Avenue
Morean Arts Center for Clay, 420 22nd Street South
Museum of Fine Arts, 255 Beach Drive Northeast
St. Pete Museum of History, 335 2nd Avenue Northeast
The Dali (Pinellas Country residents only), 1 Dali Boulevard

For more information:http://events.stpete.org/events/1894  Park in downtown garages and ride the St. Petersburg Trolley Downtown Looper or Central Ave. Trolley routes to most locations. www.stpetetrolley.com

Central Avenue Solstice – Eight Mile Long Street Festival
The 2nd Annual Central Avenue Solstice is an all-day free celebration along Central Avenue featuring arts, music and more. The event begins on the far east end of Central Avenue and moves west to the Gulf of Mexico as the sun sets. The solstice festival starts in South Straub Park and ends in the West Central Village Sunset park for a free screening of the film Big, presented by St. Petersburg Preservation. The yoga session in South Straub Park from 7-9am. After, restaurants along Central Avenue will feature $5 Sunny Side Up Breakfast specials from 8-11am, and $7 High Noon Lunch specials from 12-2pm, loads of art, four stages of live music, more food, and more drink, along the entire route of Central Avenue. For more information: www.centralavenuesolstice.com

TBBCA Chalk Walk Festival
A celebration of Live Art as 10 talented, commissioned chalk artists bring amazing drawings to life. TBBCA Chalk Walk is a free, family-friendly, accessible community event enjoyed by people of all ages and levels of art appreciation.Presented in partnership with the Tampa Bay Businesses for Culture and the Arts and the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance. Runs from 10am-5pm. South Straub Park, 250 Beach Drive Northeast.

Keep St. Pete Lit Presents: City-Wide Read and Write In at South Straub Park
Keep Saint Petersburg Local, Keep St. Pete Lit, and Saint Petersburg Public Library System present a program of the Read Local St. Pete Initiative with a City-Wide Read and Write-In at South Straub Park. Bring your picnic blankets, favorite books, or notepads. Relax in the grass and allow your imagination to bask in the sunshine and fresh air. They will have a special area for writers with writing prompts to get your imaginations brewing. Runs from noon-5pm. South Straub Park, 250 Bayshore Drive Southeast.

Tampa Bay Rays vs. Boston Red

September 24 – 6:10 pm

September 25 – 1:10 pm

Tropicana Field, One Tropicana Drive, St. Petersburg, FL  www.raysbaseball.com

The Many Faces of Casa Masquerade Benefit

September 24 – The Many Faces of Casa Masquerade

St. Petersburg Yacht Club, 11 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, FL starts at 6:30 pm
A fundraiser benefiting CASA in memory of Stacey J. Plummer, who lost her life to domestic violence on September 24, 2006.
Tickets or sponsorships available. Individual tickets $150 pp, $300 per couple. Ticket includes gourmet dinner, entertainment, one drink ticket per person, free valet parking. www.casa-stpete.org/events
.

Bourbon, Beer and Bluegrass at The Vinoy (Friday and Saturday)
The Vinoy Renaissance Resort & Golf Club, in partnership with Bluegrass bands Wood & Wire, Highway 41 South and Town Mountain present a special “Beer, Bourbon and Bluegrass” event. This special concert series takes place on the weekends of September 23-24, September 30-October 1,October 7-8. This weekend, Wood & Wire will perform live from 6pm to midnight both Friday andSaturday. the dinner and concert series includes five dining stations, a full bar and bourbon and beer flights/tastings. Tickets are $64 each. The Vinoy, 501 5th Avenue Northeast.

At Home With Diversity® is an educational experience designed to present a picture of the changing face of the real estate industry. Since 1998, the At Home With Diversity® program has prepared over 20,000 REALTORS® to work effectively with and within today’s increasingly diverse pool of homebuyers.

Please join us as instructor Phil Riek, the 2016 Florida Realtors Education Individual Achievement Award winner, leads you through this informative class on September 22, 2016 to be held at the Pinellas Realtor Organization building at 4590 Ulmerton Road, Clearwater Florida from 8:30-5pm.


The At Home With Diversity® Course teaches REALTORS® how to:

* Assess and understand attributes of diversity in local markets and their impact on the real estate industry
* Build a business plan and selling strategy to successfully service all client profiles
* Understand basic competencies to earn the confidence of potential buyers and sellers, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, handicaps, familial status, or national origin

Note: As with many NAR certification/designation courses, this certification may have additional requirements. For more information, call NAR Resort at 800-874-6500 ext. 8393 or visit the NAR At Home With Diversity webpage.

PRO Members:
Click here to register

PRO Members – would you like a scholarship to help pay for this course? The REALTOR® Professional Development Scholarship is available for you, courtesy of the Pinellas REALTOR® Foundation and the Affiliate Business Partners of PRO. Click here to learn more and apply.Note: the scholarship does not cover any additional costs associated with obtaining the certification. If you’re interested in the scholarship, REGISTER AND PAY FOR THIS COURSE FIRST, then fill out the application on the webpage linked above. We request that you register and pay for the course first to guarantee your spot since scholarships and seating are limited. If you are awarded, we will issue you a check.

Non-Members:
Click here to register.

Contact: Jan Dean
Email: JDean@tampabayrealtor.com
Phone: 727-216-3004

 

 

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – 2016 – The runaway winner in the primary election was at the end of the ballot, as voters in Florida overwhelmingly approved a tax break to encourage businesses to go solar.

The amendment, which will become part of the Florida Constitution, exempts solar and other renewable energy devices on business and industrial property from property taxes for 20 years. The same tax break already exists for residential property owners.

The amendment also exempts renewable energy devices from Florida’s tangible personal property tax.

Amendment 4, the only ballot question in Tuesday’s primary, won more than 70 percent of the vote, according to early returns by the Florida Division of Elections.

Backers of Amendment 4 were all along the political spectrum, including the pro-environment Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Nature Conservancy and Florida Conservation Voters, and the business-backed Florida Chamber of Commerce, Florida Retail Federation and Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association.

Business groups like tax relief, and environmental groups hope it will now encourage more talk in the conservative state Capitol about climate change and the need to cut dependency on fossil fuels.

“With all of this sunshine, why are we importing so much fossil fuel to power our state?” asked Pete Wilking of A1A Solar in Jacksonville.

“Stop sea levels from rising! Vote Yes on 4!” tweeted an advocacy group, Women4Solar.

The opposition was led by the Rev. Al Sharpton, the TV and radio talk show host and president of the National Action Network (NAN), and Bishop Victor Curry of Miami, NAN’s southeast regional director, who said they opposed “unnecessary and unjust tax breaks for corporations.”

It was one of the most cost-effective referendum campaigns in Florida history, as supporters raised less than $150,000.

Lacking the money for a TV ad campaign, supporters built support networks on Facebook and Twitter (hashtag #Yeson4) to mobilize voters.

Voters said yes to solar, even if they did not always fully understand it.

The vote of the people was just one step, however. The Legislature, which put Amendment 4 on the ballot, must pass a bill in the next session in 2017 carrying out the will of the voters.

At the same time, a much more potent political battle over solar will play out on the Nov. 8 general election ballot.

Known as Amendment 1, the ballot question is an effort by utility companies that would prohibit the sale of solar energy to individual customers and, critics say, would add new regulatory barriers to solar expansion in Florida.

Supporters, calling themselves Consumers for Smart Solar, have raised $19.1 million so far.

Florida Power & Light, Gulf Power, TECO Energy and Duke Energy are among Amendment 1’s biggest backers and environmental groups are working to defeat it.

Utilities prevailed on state lawmakers to put Amendment 4 on the primary ballot to avoid confusing voters about their higher priority, Amendment 1.

Susan Glickman of Southern Alliance for Clean Energy said moving Amendment 4 to a low-turnout primary was a blessing in disguise, as it turned out.

“It’s a little bit easier because it’s a more informed electorate,” Glickman said.

Copyright © 2016 Miami Herald, Steve Bousquet. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. Miami Herald writer Alex Daugherty contributed to this report.

 

lego plastic homes in Bogota-eltiempo-dot-com

A group of Colombians are transforming the serious problem of pollution by using plastic waste—and the Lego building model—as a solution for the thousands of people without houses.

http://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/colombians-building-houses-made-wasted-plastic-shaped-huge-lego-bricks  by Joao Freitas

Joao FreitasThe Bogota-based company, Conceptos Plasticos, seeks to reverse the damage that plastic causes to the planet and use it to benefit those most in need. The initiative was born out of Colombian musician Fernando Llanos’s need to build his own house in a difficult-to-access area in the center of the country.

Subsequently, this idea became architect Oscar Mendez’s graduation thesis. After several years of investigation, Mendez materialized a modular brick made of all types of processed, discarded plastic. The system works like Lego and is adaptable to all types of terrain and any climate.

“It has a social impact because in Latin America the housing shortage is terrible,” says Mendez, the owner of the company. “Forty percent of people living in Africa, Asia and Latin America do not have a house.” He also detailed the environmental and economic importance of using this type of waste to build modular homes.

Photo by Conceptos Plasticos

Photo by Conceptos Plasticos

“In Bogota alone, approximately 750 tons of plastic waste is thrown into the landfill site, of which only 100 are being recycled. We are making 100 homes out of the plastic in Dona Juana (the city’s landfill site), giving value to something that has no market.”

Conceptos Plasticos’s model home is 40 square meters divided into two bedrooms, a bathroom, living room, dining room and kitchen, and can be put together in only five days by four people who need no previous building experience. The houses are assembled without using any type of adhesive. This makes them portable houses that can be disassembled easily in order to transport and reassemble them.

Oscar Mendez, photo by Conceptos Plasticos

Oscar Mendez, photo by Conceptos Plasticos

And, anyone who’s played with Legos knows how no adhesive is required to build a sturdy structure.

When discussing the cost of making the houses, Mendez said they are a lot more economical than a house built from traditional materials. “We don’t charge per square meter built, but by kilogram (of plastic) processed,” said Mendez.

One 40-square meter home costs approximately $130 per square meter built. That’s $5200

Learn more at the company’s website (in Spanish only)

Pinellas Realtor Organization
Neighborhood Advocates Initiative
Q2 Stats (Campaign #8 / 8-2016)

 

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Florida Realtors® recently released the 2016 second quarter (April through June) real estate market statistics for the state. I wanted to share with you an overview of how our area is performing.

The single family homes real estate markets in Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco Counties are still looking very strong after the second quarter of 2016. Higher median sales prices, more closed sales, and faster time to contract are all good news for sellers.

Inventory has shrunk year-over-year for the second quarter. Median Days to Contract is down in the Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco markets, reflecting the short amount of time a home is on the market between being listed and being sold. All of this means fewer homes to choose from and a likelihood of more competition between buyers.

As your local Realtor® and Neighborhood Advocate, I am your resource for data that affects our communities and your property value. Homeownership affordability and accessibility is a cornerstone of the Realtor® advocacy efforts at every level – local, state and national.

Here are some highlights from the Florida Realtors® Quarter 2 2016 Statistics Release for the Single Family Home Market Segment:

  • Closed Sales: Up for Pinellas County, Hillsborough County and Pasco County for Quarter 2 2016 from Quarter 2 2015. This statistic is a good indicator of the overall health of the market, and lots of closed sales mean both sellers and buyers are achieving success.
    • Pinellas County: 4,023 Closed Sales Q2 2016 vs. 3,893 Closed Sales Q2 2015, a3.3% increase
    • Hillsborough County: 5,426 Closed Sales Q2 2016 vs. 5,094 Closed Sales Q2 2015, a 6.5% increase
    • Pasco County: 2,859 Closed Sales Q2 2016 vs. 2,763 Closed Sales Q2 2015, a3.5% increase
  • Median Sale Price: Up for Pinellas County, Hillsborough County and Pasco County for Quarter 2 2016 from Quarter 2 2015. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half the homes sold for less.
    • Pinellas County: $209,950 Median Sale Price Q2 2016 vs. $184,433 Median Sale Price Q2 2015, a 13.8% increase
    • Hillsborough County: $220,990 Median Sale Price Q2 2016 vs. $200,000 Median Sale Price Q2 2015, a 10.5% increase
    • Pasco County: $177,725 Median Sale Price Q2 2016 vs. $156,475 Median Sale Price Q2 2015, a 13.6% increase
  • Inventory (Active Listings): Down for Pinellas County, Hillsborough County and Pasco County for Quarter 2 2016 from Quarter 2 2015. When inventory is low, there are fewer houses on the market and buyers are often competing for homes or have a tougher time finding a home that suits their exact needs. Flexibility and preparationare key to being able to make an offer on a home when you do find what you’re looking for.
    • Pinellas County: 3,916 Active Listings Q2 2016 vs. 4,261 Active Listings Q2 2015, down 8.1%
    • Hillsborough County: 5,266 Active Listings Q2 2016 vs. 5,611 Active Listings Q2 2015, down 6.1%
    • Pasco County: 2,642 Active Listings Q2 2016 vs. 3,141 Active Listings Q2 2015, down 15.9%
  • Median Days to Contract: Down for Pinellas County, Hillsborough County and Pasco County for Quarter 2 2016 from Quarter 2 2015. The midpoint of the number of days it took for a property to receive a sales contract during that time. The faster a home goes to contract, the less time it is on the market for sale. Another good indicator for sellers and a tool for buyers to understand how to thrive in a hot market.
    • Pinellas County: 28 Days Q2 2016 vs. 35 Days Q2 2015, a 20.0% decrease
    • Hillsborough County: 28 Days Q2 2016 vs. 39 Days Q2 2015, a 28.2% decrease
    • Pasco County: 33 Days Q2 2016 vs. 42 Days Q2 2015, a 21.4% decrease

If you would like to discuss the market statistics further, or would like me to keep you informed, I would welcome the opportunity to provide monthly stats for you. Please don’t hesitate to email me at AnnalisaWeller1@gmail.com or call me at 727-804-6566 if I can be of service. Thank you for your time.

© 2016 Pinellas Realtor Organization

 

Florida Realtors has announced its support for Amendment 4, a measure on the Aug. 30 primary ballot that would extend a tax break for solar devices on homes to businesses and industrial facilities.

by Lloyd Dunkelberger  July 2016 http://saintpetersblog.com/florida-realtors-announce-support-amendment-extend-tax-break-solar-devices/

The amendment, sponsored by Sen Jeff Brandes and Rep. Ray Rodrigues in the 2016 session, would exempt solar units from both property taxes and tangible personal property taxes on commercial properties.

“It will encourage Florida’s business community to invest in solar, which will expand the use of clean energy and help reduce our reliance on fossil fuels,” said Matey Veissi, the Realtors president and  co-owner of Veissi & Associates in Miami.

“In turn, increased solar energy will help preserve our natural environment for future generations. As the Sunshine State, Florida should be in the forefront of solar choice for businesses and consumers,” Veissi said.

Dean Asher, a former Realtors president and candidate for Senate District 13, said passage of the amendment could expand employment opportunities in a solar industry that already employs 6,000 workers.

“If Amendment 4 passes, it could increase the number of jobs across the state as more business owners install solar panels at their properties,” he said. “Removing tax penalties and making solar and other renewable energy options more affordable in Florida will spark more interest in using solar energy – and that benefits both residents and business owners across Florida.”

If passed by 60 percent of the votes and then implemented by the Legislature, the tax incentives of the amendment will begin in 2018 and extend for 20 years.

A recent Florida Chamber of Commerce poll showed 64 percent of voters in favor of the measure, with 19 percent opposed and 17 percent undecided.

The Realtors, who have 155,000 members in Florida, join a large contingent of Amendment 4 supporters, including the Florida Retail Federation, the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, the Solar Energy Industry Association, The Nature Conservancy and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.

 

by Lloyd Dunkelberger  July 2016 http://saintpetersblog.com/florida-realtors-announce-support-amendment-extend-tax-break-solar-devices/

 

 

Built-in shelves and a gas fireplace Image: Dream Book Design

Enjoy your home more today — and sell it for the best price tomorrow.

When it comes to home improvement, some dollars stretch more than others. And if you’re on a limited budget, it becomes even more important to spend those dollars wisely.

Here are eight affordable (under $5,000) home improvement projects that’ll help you enjoy your home more today and provide excellent financial return in the future.

1. Add the Finishing Touch of Molding

Decorative molding is a classic touch that’s been around since the ancient Greeks and Romans first installed it to add grandeur to their buildings.  Centuries later, molding is still one of the most dramatic ways to dress up a room. It’s a budget-friendly improvement that trims a room for a finished and expensive look.

Today’s wood moldings come in hundreds of options — from simple to ornate — that you can stain, paint, or leave natural. You can also find moldings in flexible materials, such as foam, that make installation a whole lot easier. Some moldings even include lighting that casts a soft, ambient glow.

Buyers consistently rank both crown molding and chair railing in their list of most desirable decorative features they seek in a home (#3 and #7 respectively), according to the annual National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) survey, “What Home Buyers Really Want.”

And at $1.50 per foot if you DIY it, or $8 per foot if you hire, it’s a no-brainer in terms of personalizing your home while adding value. (Although we don’t recommend DIY unless you’ve got above-par mitering skills.)

A few tips about molding:

Use crown molding to make a room seem bigger and taller. But be careful about proportions. If your ceiling height is 9 feet or less, go with simpler styles to avoid overwhelming the room.

Place a chair railing at one-third the distance of the ceiling height. Chair railing placed incorrectly can make a room seem out of proportion.

Don’t forget entryways, doors, and windows: Bump up the trim around these areas to give rooms a completed and expensive feel.

2. Install Quality Ceiling Fans

If crown molding and chair railing were #3 and #7 on buyers’ decorative wish lists, what was #1?

Ceiling fans.

Over the years, ceiling fans have become quite the crowd pleaser. Once they were just a cheap solution to rising energy costs — ugly, wobbly, noisy eyesores endured because they were cheaper than air conditioning.

Today, ceiling fans have evolved into an essential component of American homes as energy prices continue to rise. And since designs have caught up with the times, they come in a variety of styles and colors to complement any room.  If your ceiling fans are old and outdated, new ones (coupled with a fresh paint job and crown molding) could give your rooms a refreshing update while saving money.

Some tips about ceiling fans:

  • Ceiling fans should hang 7 to 8 feet above the floor. If you’ve got a low ceiling, buy a hugger ceiling fan that’s flush-mounted.
  • Size matters more than the number of fan blades. Go for the biggest Energy Star-rated fan that will fit the space.
  • Choose quality. You’ll get better cooling results, less noise, and good looks at a digestible price point of $200 to $600.

3. Plant Some Trees

Apple tree outside of a house next to a patio Image: M. Williams

Say what? Adding trees doesn’t instantly pop into your head when you think of adding value to your home. But trees are moneymakers that get better with age.

A mature tree could be worth between $1,000 to $10,000, says the Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers. A 16-inch silver maple could be worth $2,562, according to a formula worked out by the Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service.

In urban areas, money really does grow on trees. A recent study of home sales by the Pacific Northwest Research Station of Portland showed that street trees growing in front of or near a house boosted its sale price by an average of $8,870 and shaved two days off its time on the market.

There’s more. Trees also:

  • Save $100 to $250 annually in energy costs
  • Lower stress
  • Prevent erosion from downpours and roof runoff
  • Protect your home from wind, rain, and sun

But don’t just run out and plant trees willy-nilly. Here are some tips:

Follow the sun. Plant shade trees on the south side of the house where the sun beats strongest and longest.

Follow the wind. Plant windbreak trees, which can lower winter energy costs by 30%, on the north and northwest sides of your property.

Don’t plant too close. If you do, branches can scrape roofs and siding, causing expensive damage.

Rule of thumb: Don’t plant trees any closer than the tree’s mature height plus one-fourth of that height. So, for example, if a tree reaches 40 feet, it should be planted at least 50 feet from any other trees.

Related: Good Landscaping Adds HOW MUCH Value to My Home?

4. Install a Patio

Back yard patio in the dusk Image: Suzanne Davis at bebehblog

Patios are a great cost-effective way to increase your home’s living space without actually adding on. Plus you’ll recover 30% to 60% of your investment. A $2,000 patio would return around $900 at resale.

But don’t go crazy and trick out your patio with high-end amenities, like an outdoor kitchen — especially if you’d be the only one on the block with one. When it’s time to sell, you won’t get back much — if any — of your investment on kitchens and other high-end amenities. Instead, keep it simple and functional. (And, really, how often would you use an outdoor kitchen?)

Some wise advice when planning a patio:

  • Check property for slope, sun, and shade patterns.
  • Remember ‘dig alerts’ that utilities provide free of charge.
  • Don’t skimp on patio lighting. It can make all the difference in functionality and beautification.

Related: How to Make Your Hobbit-Sized Patio Feel Like Versailles

5. Pump Up Your Home Security

The peace of mind that comes with installing a home security system is priceless.

In reality, price varies. You can buy and install it yourself for $50 to $300, or a security company can sell and install a system from $0 to $1,500. The “zero” is the hook companies use to lure you into signing a multi-year monitoring contract that ranges from $95 to $480 per year.

If a monitored system suits your needs, you’ll also get a break on your home insurance. Most companies will discount your annual rate 15% to 20% if you have a security service.

Home security systems also make your home more marketable: 50% of homebuyers (in the NAHB survey) say a home security system — particularly security cameras — tops their list of most-wanted technology features.

You can go over the top and install high-tech security gadgets, like smartphone-operated locks and a laser trip wire. Or you can keep it simple with a keypad that communicates with sensors and motion detectors throughout your house.

Tips:

  • If you do decide to go with a monitoring system, choose a company with a 10-year track record to ensure reliability.
  • Don’t rely on any system as your sole means of security. Locking doors and windows is still your best first-line of defense.

6. Do Almost Any Energy-Efficient Upgrade

The value of energy-efficient houses just keeps going up and up. A UCLA study examined the sales prices of 1.6 million California homes from 2007 to 2012 and found that homes with Energy Star, LEED, or GreenPoint certification had, on average, a 9% higher price.

That finding is echoed in NAHB’s report that surveyed homebuyers across the nation: Nine out of 10 potential buyers would select an efficient home with lower utility bills over a less efficient home priced 2% to 3% less.

One energy-saving home improvement project that not only saves energy but gives you tons of enjoyment, too, is converting a wood-burning fireplace into a gas one. If you like to crunch energy numbers, gas fireplaces have energy-efficient ratings as high as 77%, compared with wood-burning fireplaces that convert only 15% of wood’s energy into useful heat.

In fact, 39% of homebuyers say a gas fireplace is an essential or desirable feature of the next home they purchase. So when it comes time to sell your home, more than one-third of potential buyers will be looking for a gas fireplace.

In the meantime, it’ll be paying for itself in reduced heating costs.

Some tips for converting to gas:

  • direct-vent gas insert most closely replicates the wood-burning experience at a cost of about $3,000 to $4,000, installed.
  • If you don’t have an existing fireplace, you can install a direct-vent (vents directly outside so you don’t need a chimney) gas fireplace for about $5,000 (installed and finished).

Related: 5 Quick Energy Fixes to Save Up to $660 a Year

7. Add Some Creative Storage

We don’t have to sell you on the value of storage and built-in organization. Since when have you heard someone complain about too much storage? Never, we bet.

Adding storage is a no-brainer, but it does take a little brainpower to find your home’s hidden storage.

Here are a few ways to think outside of the toy box:

  • Open drywall to create storage cubbies between your wall’s studs.
  • Install platform storage that hangs from your garage ceiling.
  • Even stairs can give you more storage. One clever mom repurposed an old chest of drawers and created storage within a basement staircase.

Related: Storage Hacks from Space-Challenged New Yorkers

8. Light Up the Outdoors

Exterior lighting makes your home shine in the evening, accents features you like most about your house, and helps keep burglars away. A hard-wired lighting fixture can cost $150 to $250 to install. On the plus side, you could get a 50% return on your investment, says Judith Patriski, a Cleveland appraiser and REALTOR®. Installing motion-detecting lights can even lower some homeowners’ insurance premiums. (Check with your agent.)

And with technological advances in solar lighting, it’s easier and more cost-effective than ever to boost your home’s nighttime curb appeal.

Plus, 90% of buyers say outdoor lighting is on their list of desired home features.

Tips:

  • Place accent lights under your favorite trees to show off your landscaping’s top earners.
  • If your lights are hard-wired, put them on a timer so you don’t waste energy running them during the day.
  • Choose a warm white light. It’ll make your home look and feel welcoming.

 

2016-06-26-1466983744-448815-beach1.jpg

While many think that Florida is for snowbirds and vacationing families, St.Petersburg is slowly becoming one of the America’s most popular cities to live and visit.

By      http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/ayngelina-brogan/5-st-petersburg

Once considered God’s Waiting Room with an aging population, the new generation of millenials is sticking around and there’s a flood of young professionals moving to St.Petersburg. With an average of 361 days of sunshine each year, St.Petersburg is nicknamed the Sunshine City. The city is surrounded by water on three sides making it a great vacation for sailing, fishing or relaxing on the beach.

While St.Petersburg charms vacationers to come back year after year, many are choosing it as a permanent home. Here’s why:

2016-06-26-1466983806-5675108-stpetersburggraffiti7.jpg


Vibrant Arts and Culture

There is no shortage of traditional exhibitions to visit with the glass sculptures at the Chihuly Collection, Salvador Dali Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts.

However, art is also found on the street with a thriving street mural scene that sends a signal to visitors that St.Petersburg isn’t like other cities in Florida. The city is so committed to its outdoor artwork that each September local volunteers host the Shine Festival, which celebrates local artists and welcomes outside artists to participate and engage with the community.

No State Tax
Florida is one of several states with no income tax, which attracts entrepreneurs from all over America. With strong growth and healthy employment opportunities, the younger generation is no longer leaving but staying to work, often in tourism.

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Craft Beer
Considered to be one of the best cities in America for craft beer. There’s an established craft beer trail with 27 breweries and proud locals are quick to choose their favorite local brew over a Budweiser.

A progressive city hall changed zoning limitations to allow craft breweries to open. Established breweries like Cycle Brewing are welcoming new entries, choosing community over competition, understanding that St.Petersburg could be recognized as one of the best destinations for craft beer.

LGBT Friendly Community
St.Petersburg actively promotes LGBT tourism and has one of the largest Pride Festivals in Florida. The city has a dedicated LGBT Welcome Centre, with a café for tourists as well as a space for LGBT youth to feel comfortable being themselves.

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Emerging Food Scene
A new generation of restaurants have flourished in St.Petersburg offering up global street food options like Cuban sandwiches, and modern American cuisine. The food in St.Pete is so good it brings visitors from the neighboring beaches back into downtown simply to eat.

By      http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/ayngelina-brogan/5-st-petersburg

Annalisa Weller, Realtor®, Certified International Property Specialist

(727) 804-6566
AnnalisaWeller1@gmail.com

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    The Board of Directors of the Pinellas Realtor® Organization (PRO) today announced its recommendations for Congress, State Legislature, Pinellas County Commission, School Board, Mayor of Dunedin, and local referendum.  A member only candidate screening committee reviewed questionnaires and interviewed candidates.  Based on the public service, respect for pro […]
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  • Off-site education for Realtors September 21, 2016
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  • Realtor.com Chief Economist presents at Annual Meeting September 19, 2016
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  • Pinellas REALTOR® Organization Elects 2017 Board of Directors September 19, 2016
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