In keeping with Earth Day…The Green Thumb Festival-St Petersburg’s Arbor Day Celebration

April 25-26th 9-4pm, Walter Fuller Park, 7891 26thAve N,

plant care, garden gadgets, water conservation, garden clubs, flower show, educational programs, FREE mulch & much more!

Garden Tour @ Sunken Gardens Friday, April 24th, 2014
Every Friday enjoy a tour of the iconic gardens. 10-11am. FREE with admission ($8 adults, $4 for children). Sunken Gardens 1825 4th Street North.

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Monet to Matisse: On The French Coast @ Museum Of Fine Arts    Monet to Matisse close-up
In honor of its 50th Anniversary celebrations, the Museum of Fine Arts is organizing Monet to Matisse—On the French Coast. From public and private collections in North America and Europe, it explores and compares for the first time ever Impressionist and Modernist visions of the Atlantic and Mediterranean Coasts of France. February 7-May 31. Adults $17, Seniors and Military with ID $15, College Students $10, Child (7-18) $10, Child (6 and under) FREE. Open Mon-Sat, 10am-5pm; Sunday 12-5pm; Open until 8pm on Thursdays with $5 after 5pm. Museum Of Fine Arts 255 Beach Drive Northeast.

African American Life & Family @ Museum Of Fine Arts
In the late 1880s, both black and white photographers recorded images of black Americans seeking new lives, new identities, new prospects, and new jobs (often in major cities) after the end of slavery…. changing the visual representation of black America. January 17-May 3. Adults $17, Military with ID $15, College Students $10, Child (7-18) $10, Child (6 and under) FREE. Open Mon-Sat, 10am-5pm. Museum Of Fine Arts 255 Beach Dr NE.

XLVII Regata del Sol al Sol: International Race to Mexico Friday, April 24th, 2015
Race start is from the St. Petersburg Marina, Demens Landing and the Pier Approach. Open ocean sailing regatta held each year starting in St. Pete and finishing in Isla Mujeres, Mexico. 
Start of race TBD. St. Pete Yacht Club, 11 Central Avenue.

Rays banners at Tropicana Rays Evan at bat Rays Evan Rays Mickey

Tampa Bay Rays vs Toronto Blue Jays Friday, April 24th, 2015 7:10pm, also Saturday at 7:10pm and Sunday at 1:10pm
The Rays take on the Blue Jays. Purchase  online or at the stadium
. Tropicana Field 1 Tropicana Drive, St Pete

Harvey @ freeFall Theatre
The Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, Harvey. Elwood, who spends his days in the company of his best friend Harvey, a six-foot three-and-one-half-inch tall white rabbit that only he sees.  April 11-May 3. Play begins at 8pm on Saturday, 2pm on Sunday and 7pm on Thursdays and 8pm on Fridays. for ticket information. freeFall Theatre, 6099 Central Avenue.

Fun with Ferraro and Friends @ Enigma St. Pete Friday, May 24
This event is a unique blend of glamour, camp, comedy, burlesque, show girl and shock drag! The event is hosted by the talented Daphne Ferraro. Shows at 9:30pm and 11pm. No cover plus drink specials. Enigma St. Pete, 1110 Central Avenue.
Museum Of Fine Arts Retro Beach Bash (April 24)
The Contemporaries focus on supporting contemporary artists and exhibitions throughout the Tampa Bay area.The Beach Bash takes place the night of the Collectors Choice Gala, as the Collectors Circle celebrates their 20th Anniversary. Los Angeles-based band SWIMM will take the stage. Comprised primarily of Chris Hess and Adam Winn, they write, record, and play live with several friends. Blending elements of dance music, rock n’ roll and shoegaze with psychedelia. Event begins at 8pm on Friday, April 24. Tickets are $100. All ticket holders will receive a 1-year membership to the MFA. Museum of Fine Arts, 255 Beach Drive NE, St Pete

Saturday Morning Market April 25th
 The largest farmer’s market in Florida for a variety of fresh and organic produce, gourmet baked goods, prepared foods, plants and flowers, arts and crafts or a variety of handcrafted items. The Market is held each Saturday from October 5 through May 30, 2015. FREE to attend. Al Lang Stadium parking lot on the corner of 1st Ave S and 1st Street South.

Rowdies vs Jacksonville Official Pre-Game Party @ Rowdies Den
Join Ralph’s Mob at Rowdies Den before THE Tampa Bay Rowdies take on Jacksonville Armada FC. Eat, drink, #RowdiesFace painting. Begins at 4pm. Open to the public! Rowdies Den, 200 1st Avenue South.

Tampa Bay Rowdies vs Jacksonville Armada FC
 Come cheer them on to their first home victory against the Jacksonville Armada this Saturday. Game begins at 7:30pm Al Lang Stadium, 230 1st Street South.

Kill The Keg @ Sly Bar
Each weekend a different keg is up for emptying. Begins at 8pm. $12. Sly Bar, 2061 Central Avenue.

The Mahaffey 50th Anniversary Kickoff Event

The public is invited to a kickoff celebration for The Mahaffey Theater’s 50th Anniversary Week. Guests, including St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman and U.S. Representative David Jolly, and several Pinellas County school bands. Anniversary week shows include The Price is Right – Live on April 26, Alanis Morissette on April 28, Zeppelin USA on April 29, Jerry Seinfeld (three performances April 30 and May 1) and the Florida Orchestra with Holst’s “The Planets” on May 2.Takes place at the outdoor plaza between the Mahaffey and the Dali, 400 1st Street South. check their website for more info

On Earth Day, give a gift to the planet by planting a tree. With this simple act, you celebrate the earth by increasing its leafy canopy. One acre of forest absorbs 6 tons of carbon dioxide and returns 4 tons of oxygen to about 18 people for a year. Not bad, eh?  Okay, so you can’t plant a tree in the ground because you live in an apartment or a  condo or you have 2 red thumbs. Well, then buy a potted tree to put on your balcony or in your courtyard. Every little leaf helps. Me? Why I’m planting yet another lemon tree today-in a very large pot to keep the size of the tree in check & easier for me to maintain.

In the meantime, try these quizzes:                                   royalty-free-earth-clipart-illustration-1104663

And visit these sites:

This article has some great advice for buying a home in today’s market, especially the part referring to moving quickly and making a reasonable offer.

Marko Rubel, Real Estate Investor, Founder,

In many cities and neighborhoods around the country, it’s a seller’s market. The National Association of REALTORS officially declared there was a housing supply shortage and homes are starting to sell fast and for high prices. While it’s great to be a seller in this market, it is tough to be a buyer. However, it doesn’t mean there isn’t a great house out there for you to purchase; it just means your buying strategies must change to reflect the current market.

If you are looking to buy a home, be it your forever home or an investment property, don’t let a seller’s market scare you. This isn’t the first seller’s market, and it certainly won’t be the last. A number of my students have asked, “Marko Rubel, should I just wait out the market until I have the upper hand?”

While this largely depends on the individual’s situation, a seller’s market doesn’t mean you have to wait. If you are in the market for a home now, you can certainly proceed, but be aware of the key elements of smart home buying tactics in a seller’s market:

Check Your Credit in Advance
Before you even start looking for a home, check your credit. Even 12 months isn’t too early to start getting your finances in order before buying a house. By checking your credit early, you can ensure that there aren’t any mistakes that are lowering your score. It takes time to correct issues such as these, so don’t delay.

Get Pre-approved
Along with checking your credit, get preapproved by a lender before looking at houses. Not only will this confirm what you are able to spend on a home, it also eliminates a huge step in the process. Furthermore, being preapproved is attractive to sellers because they know you are prepared and serious about buying.

Stay Within or Under Your Budget
In a seller’s market, gone are the days of making a lower bid on a home and scoring a deal. Not only will prices be higher, but in many areas there are multiple offers on homes. By looking at homes at or above your budget, you may have to still offer more to get the home. Don’t waste time and energy on making an offer only to realize you don’t have the funds to outbid another buyer.

Look For Potential
While this is more common with first time home buyers, don’t assume you can find your perfect dream home within your budget. This is especially the case in a seller’s market. This doesn’t mean you have to settle for a home you’ll never love; but it does mean you may have to use your imagination and overlook the small problems, such as stained carpet, old wallpaper, and loose door knobs. Focus on finding a good neighborhood and a home that has a solid foundation.

Be Ready to Move Quickly
In a seller’s market, homes sell quickly and, in particularly competitive neighborhoods, homes can sell within the first few days of being listed. If you see a home you would seriously consider buying, talk with your realtor about making an offer. Don’t dwell and think about a house only to find out someone beat you to the punch.

Make a Competitive Offer
A seller’s market is not the time to make lowball offers. Before you submit an offer, get an idea of what neighboring homes sold for recently. Your realtor should be able to give you an estimate of what the home is truly worth. From there, make a competitive offer. If you bid too low, a seller may not even come back with a counter offer; they could just say “no.” In this competitive market, there is a good chance you will have to be at or above listing price, so keep this in mind when making an offer.

If you are ready to buy a home, don’t let a seller’s market scare you away. It’s still possible to find a great home, but you do need to be ready to face a few challenges. However, by being prepared and having a strategy ahead of time, you can confidently navigate the market!

This is a great article to read if you are thinking about purchasing a second home, an investment property or a retirement home in another country.


House with an ocean view in the Dominican Republic

iStock Photo

David McKeegan, co-founder of Greenback Expat Tax Services, weighs in on the issues U.S. expats should consider when buying and selling foreign property.

Whether American expats are looking to buy overseas property as an investment, vacation home, rental or residence, taxes should always be top of mind.  Regardless of the potential return on investment, beauty, or the property’s fit into your expat lifestyle dream, consider these tax do’s & don’ts to ensure your purchase is one you don’t regret.

Do consider setting up a Limited Liability Company (LLC) to purchase the property
As a U.S. expat, if you are purchasing a foreign property primarily for investment purposes (either in your expat country or elsewhere outside of the U.S.), doing so as an individual may be the easiest but not the most advantageous decision. While tax time will be less complex (simply reporting rental income/expenses on your 1040), individual ownership offers you no liability protection. For LLCs with only one owner, the LLC is considered a “disregarded entity” for tax purposes, and all of the activity will be reported on the individual’s personal U.S. tax return.  This eliminates the burden of filing separate business tax returns and avoids the increased accounting fees associated with a business tax return.

Don’t ignore foreign-exchange rates
When you purchase a foreign property, you will likely transfer a large sum of money into your foreign bank account for the initial down payment.  Before you do, find out the foreign-exchange rates and fees associated with the transfer and even seek a professional broker who can ensure you obtain the most beneficial exchange rate possible—this could save you thousands of dollars when you buy and can impact your profit when you sell.

Remember that the U.S. may tax you on any resulting gains when you sell your property. The exchange rate gain from paying off a mortgage is calculated by converting the amount of the loan to USD using the exchange rate at the time the loan was originated and the exchange rate at the time the loan was paid off. The resulting gain is taxable as ordinary income using your marginal U.S. tax rate. If you have held the property for more than a year, however, you’ll be taxed at the long-term capital gains rate of 0%, 10% or 20%, depending on your marginal U.S. tax bracket.

Do deduct your mortgage interest and points from your U.S. Federal Tax Return filing
Mortgage interest and points are deductible on your U.S. expat tax return, even though the property is in a foreign country.  But the deduction can only be taken against income that has not been excluded by the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion. So if you exclude all your foreign income, you’ll need to have U.S.-sourced income or non-excluded foreign income to use this deduction.

Don’t forget to reduce gains taxes with the Foreign Tax Credit
The gain on your foreign property sale may be taxed by the country in which the property is located, as well as the U.S. For U.S. tax purposes, this gain is considered foreign-sourced income, so you may be able to use the Foreign Tax Credit to reduce your resulting U.S. tax liability. However, the gain isn’t considered foreign earned income, so it cannot be excluded using the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion.

Do try to keep the home for 2-5 years
As a U.S. expat living the life of a digital nomad or bouncing around for your career, planning to live in a residence for 2 or more years may not be possible. But regardless, try not to sell for at least two years.  The reason is that when you live in the home for 2-5 years, you will be eligible to exclude a gain of up to $250,000 (or $500,000 for those filing married jointly) from U.S. taxation. If not, the full gain will be taxed at the applicable capital gains rates.


David McKeegan is Co-Founder of Greenback Expat Tax Services, which specializes in the expert preparation of U.S. federal tax returns for Americans living abroad.

Email us at Follow us @WSJexpat. Join our Facebook group.

Please join us for the 4th Annual Global Real Estate Symposium! Register NOW before it’s too late.

Thursday, April 16, 2015 8:00am – 4:30pm
The Pinellas International Council presents the 4th Annual Global Symposium. Engage with fellow REALTORS® and learn from our expert speakers working with the global market. Plus register & attend the afternoon session for CE credits.
2015 Global Real Estate Symposium Flyer

Door prizes will be raffled off! You must be present to win, but won’t want to miss out!

1. Susan Inez-Poskus, International CPA with Roberge Poskus International
“International Tax Items for Non-Residents – Changes and Concerns”

2. Joe Schneider, Manager of Global Business Development & Outreach at NAR
“The Impact of Globalization on Your Local Market: Working Profitably with Foreign Buyers”

3. Paula Smith, CCIM, Broker Associate | Robert Barber, CCIM, Residential and Commercial Specialist (both with Coastal Properties Group International)
Commercial Outlook 2015″

“Marketing to International Clients”
taught by Pablo Wong, Senior VP for Market Development for Fidelity National Financial
NOTE: This class will run from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. If you just want to attend the class you may, but you still need to register.

8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.: Sign-in, networking, continental breakfast
9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.: Symposium
3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.: Networking, appetizers and drinks
There will be a lunch break and lunch will be provided for you! All other food and drink is included in the registration fee, and is provided by our Affiliate Business Partners. Please visit them during the networking periods!

Contact: Jan Dean
Phone: 727-216-3004

Location Details
Pinellas REALTOR Organization
4590 Ulmerton Road
Clearwater FL 33762

Year over year, closed sales saw a jump of 25% in February. We’re just getting into the busy buying season, and things are looking up. For the last 4 years, January was a slow start but every year February restarts the busy Florida home buying season of March, April & May. Year over year, closed sales and cash sales saw a jump of 25% and 19% respectively. This is great for us and the economy. Also closed short sale transactions are down 22% from last year.

S & P Case-Shiller Home Price Indices named the Tampa Bay area one of the top 10 home markets in the country!! Tampa Bay continues to be a hot market, with Pinellas County leading the way. Pinellas County includes St Petersburg, St Pete Beach, Clearwater Beach, Treasure Island,  Madeira Beach, Pass-A-Grille & more. I’m sure, we all will be watching the Federal Reserve to see when and how much the interest rates will go up. Pinellas County continues to lead the region in employment as well. Keeping my fingers crossed for a fantastic season & a great year.

Feb 2015 stats

I am so excited, as I am every year, that the Grand Prix of St Petersburg starts today!! It runs on a 1.8 mile, 14 turn waterfront circuit right on the streets through downtown St Petersburg. How cool is that? How many cities in the world can claim that? The sound of the cars zooming around the tracks echoes the buildings and then drifts across the water where I can hear them from my house.

The 3 days of championship racing includes Verizon IndyCar Series, Madza Road to Indy, Pirelli World Challenge Championships and Robby Gordon’ SPEED Energy Stadium Super Trucks. The Verizon IndyCar Series Race has 110 laps for a distance of 198 miles as it goes around Pioneer Park, the Duke Energy Center for the Arts, The Dali Museum, onto the Albert Whitted Airport all of which overlook the Tampa Bay and the St Pete Harbor and Marina. This is the 5th year in a row that this race is the season-opening race for the Verizon IndyCar Series season.

The race brings some of the big names in car racing to St Pete including Will Power (who won last year & 2010), Marco Andretti, Helio Castroneve (who won in 2006, 2007, & 2012), Scott Dixon, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Tony Kanaan, Takuma Sato, Juan Pablo Montoya, Simona de Silvestro and more. The IndyCars can reach speeds up to 102 miles per hour. The event is owned and operated by Green Savoree Racing Promotions.

The crew of 250 construction workers started converting our city streets into the track about a month ago and will it take about 3 weeks to tear it down. They use 18,000 feet of steel-reinforced concrete block, 44,000 feet of chain-link fence and over 12,000 tires. My parents live in a condo building (Bayfront Tower) that is literally in the middle of the track-difficult for them to get in & out of the building but what an awesome view from the top of it!

On March 17, 2012, the city of St Petersburg dedicated a roadway to honor race car driver and city resident Dan Wheaton. Unfortunately, Dan lost his life in a racing accident at the end of 2011 in Las Vegas. Dan was the first winner of the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg.

Today the practices of the USF 2000,ProMazda, Indy Lights and Pirelli World Challenge GTS & GT and the Super Trucks start at 8 am and continue through 6:30pm. Saturday is primarily the qualifying races, autograph sessions and a few races. Sunday is the Grand Final. Please check the official website for exact times & details.

#EmbraceThe Race

This is so cool that I just had to share again!! Music crosses all boundaries. We need more of this in the world. Irish version of the “Cups” song! Amhrán na gCupán

Beannachtam na Feile Padraig – Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

“One of the most effective ways to learn about oneself is by taking seriously the cultures of others.

It forces you to pay attention to those details of life which differentiate them from you”.

 – Edward T. Hall, The Silent Language

High and Low Context Cultures- Developing Cultural Fluency.

The Pinellas Realtor Organization and the Pinellas International Council will hold a session entitled “Using Feng Shui (Inexpensively) to Sell a Home Faster”, this Thursday, March 19, 2015 from 9:00am – 12:00pm US/Eastern Time Zone.

The practice ofFengShui changes both the outside and inside of a home and gives it a very different feeling. ManyFengShui problems affect a person’s subconscious adversely and therefore raises “red flags” and the buyer has no idea why. During this course you learn:* How the subconscious works when viewing a property
* How good Feng Shui gives the right “vibes” so a sale is not short-circuited
* The 8 Most Impressionable Moments’ when a house is shown and how to pass each of these “tests” or moments
* Problem areas in homes that will stop interest in a buyer and how a simple and inexpensive substitute will erase the concern

Steve Kodad is a certified Feng Shui Professional (CFSP) and a longtime member of the prestigious International Feng Shui Guild. Steve is the owner of a unique home evaluation company called The Feng Shui Cure, and creator of The Feng Shui School for Real Estate. A former multi-million dollar producing agent of 20 years in the Carolinas, Steve was a co-owner of a 30-agent real estate company in Charlotte, NC. He is the author of 2 books on these techniques, and is finishing up his 3rd.  He has been interviewed on TV, radio, and with many news publications.  Steve has been involved over the last decade in teaching thousands of real estate agents, home stagers, and homeowners in the use of Feng Shui.

8:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.: Sign in/networking (light breakfast will be served)
9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.: Presentation

PRO Members ($15), Non-PRO Members ($20)
Please Contact: Jan Dean
Phone: 727-216-3004

Pinellas REALTOR Organization
4590 Ulmerton Road
Clearwater, Florida 33762

Annalisa Weller, Realtor®, Certified International Property Specialist

(727) 804-6566

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  • SavvySchool Basic Training: Find & Save your SavvyCard for Agents™ Mobile App April 20, 2015
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