This post below has some great information on how to choose an inspector when purchasing your next home. I would also add to schedule your home inspections as soon as possible after your offer is accepted. You want to allow enough time for repairs to be completed before closing. If there is too much wrong with the house, you will want to move on quickly to find the right house for you.

So you made an offer, it was accepted, and now your next task is to have the home inspected prior to closing. More often than not, your agent may have made your offer contingent on a clean home inspection.

This contingency allows you to renegotiate the price paid for the home, ask the sellers to cover repairs, or even, in some cases, walk away. Your agent can advise you on the best course of action once the report is filed.

How to Choose an Inspector

Your agent will most likely have a short list of inspectors that they have worked with in the past that they can recommend to you. Realtor.com suggests that you consider the following 5 areas when choosing the right home inspector for you:

  1. Qualifications – find out what’s included in your inspection & if the age or location of your home may warrant specific certifications or specialties.
  2. Sample Reports – ask for a sample inspection report so you can review how thoroughly they will be inspecting your dream home. The more detailed the report, the better in most cases.
  3. References – do your homework – ask for phone numbers and names of past clients that you can call to ask about their experience.
  4. Memberships – Not all inspectors belong to a national or state association of home inspectors, and membership in one of these groups should not be the only way to evaluate your choice. Membership in one of these organizations often means that there is continued training and education provided.
  5. Errors & Omission Insurance – Find out what the liability of the inspector or inspection company is once the inspection is over. The inspector is only human after all, and it is possible that they might miss something they should have seen.

Ask your inspector if it’s ok for you to tag along during the inspection, that way they can point out anything that should be addressed or fixed.

Don’t be surprised to see your inspector climbing on the roof, crawling around in the attic, and on the floors. The job of the inspector is to protect your investment and find any issues with the home, including but not limited to: the roof, plumbing, electrical components, appliances, heating & air conditioning systems, ventilation, windows, the fireplace & chimney, the foundation and so much more!

Bottom Line

They say ‘ignorance is bliss,’ but not when investing your hard-earned money in a home of your own. Work with a professional you can trust to give you the most information possible about your new home so that you can make the most educated decision about your purchase.

http://www.keepingcurrentmatters.com/2017/01/29/what-to-expect-from-your-home-inspection/

 

Displaying

Please come join us this evening for networking, eating, drinking & visiting the Museum of Fine Arts at a reduced price. Held on the steps of the museum-right across the street from our Coastal Properties Group-Christie’s International Real Estate office on Beach Drive in downtown St Petersburg. Last month, a great time was had by all.

porch-party-flyer-feb-2017-final-1

 

WASHINGTON – Feb. 15, 2017 – Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen told Congress on Tuesday that an interest rate hike in March remains on the table, pushing back against market expectations that the Fed will stand pat.

http://www.floridarealtors.org/NewsAndEvents/

“Precisely when we take an action – March, May or June – I can’t tell you,” Yellen told the Senate Banking Committee. “I would say every meeting is live.”

Fed fund futures say there’s just an 18 percent chance of a rate increase in March vs. about 50 percent in June. The Fed raised its benchmark rate by a quarter percentage point in December to a range of 0.5 percent to 0.75 percent. That was its first hike in a year.

In December, Fed policymakers forecast three rate increases in 2017, up from its estimate of two bumps in September, citing an improving economy and labor market.

San Francisco Fed President John Williams recently suggested a March increase is a possibility. And Chicago Fed Chief Charles Evans, typically a “dove” who prefers to keep rates low to spur growth, said he officially predicted two rate hikes but could be comfortable with three moves.

Yellen also reiterated that Fed policymakers continue to expect gradual rate increases amid a moderately expanding economy and inflation that should slowly rise to the Fed’s annual 2 percent target.

Fed policymakers generally have not factored President Trump’s fiscal stimulus proposals into their economic growth and rate forecasts. Trump has proposed up to $1 trillion to upgrade the nation’s crumbling roads, bridges and waterways, higher defense spending and big tax cuts.

“It looks like (the Fed’s policymaking committee) believes they’re unlikely to happen or thinks they’re not particularly pro-growth,” Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., told Yellen. “The rest of the world has a different view.”

“Most of my colleagues decided they would not speculate on what economic policy changes would be put into effect and what their effect would be,” Yellen responded. She added: “While it is not my intention to opine on specific tax or spending proposals, I would point to the importance of improving the pace of longer-run economic growth and raising American living standards with policies aimed at improving productivity,” Yellen added.

Yellen said investments in research and development and job training would be effective in bolstering weak labor productivity to juice long-term economic growth, though she said infrastructure investment also could help.

She also said she hopes that Trump’s proposed stimulus will not run up the federal debt. “I would also hope that fiscal policy changes will be consistent with putting U.S. fiscal accounts on a sustainable trajectory,” Yellen told the Senate banking committee. Higher debt is likely to push up long-term rates, increasing borrowing costs for consumers and businesses.

Separately, lawmakers pressed Yellen on when the Fed plans to reduce its roughly $4 trillion balance sheet. During and after the Great Recession and financial crisis, the Fed purchased more than $3 trillion in mortgage-backed securities and Treasury bonds to push down mortgage rates and long-term interest rates broadly.

Some Fed policymakers recently have said the central bank should begin to unwind those purchases now that it has started raising its benchmark short-term rate. Although Fed officials don’t plan to sell the assets because that might abruptly drive up long-term rates, they’ve said they eventually will stop reinvesting the funds from the securities as they mature, allowing the balance sheet to gradually shrink.

http://www.floridarealtors.org/NewsAndEvents  Copyright © 2017, USATODAY.com, USA TODAY, Paul Davidson

On Valentine’s Day,

You’ve given roses, flowers, balloons, candy & jewelry. Why not not give your sweetheart a diamond of a house for Valentine’s Day?

This 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom Shore Acres home in St Petersburg is all remodeled and ready for you to move in. I’ll even add a big red bow! Happy Valentine’s Day!!

https://www.trulia.com/property/3223754998-1766-Maryland-Ave-NE-Saint-Petersburg-FL-33703

NEW YORK – Feb. 8, 2017 – Women, on average, earn less than their male counterparts, but single females buy homes at more than twice the rate of men.

http://www.floridarealtors.org/NewsAndEvents/article.cfm?p=1&id=348220

In 2016, single women accounted for 17 percent of homebuyers in the last year compared to just 7 percent of single men, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). The housing gender gap has existed for a while, but it continues to widen for a variety of reasons, according to Jessica Lautz, NAR’s managing director of survey research and communications.

For one, single women are more likely to be parenting on their own than single men; as such, they may be more likely to seek stable housing for their children. In 2011, there were 8.6 million single-mother households and only 2.6 million single-father households, according to the Pew Research Center.

“If you have children, it’s definitely going to play a role in where you’re thinking of living and how,” Lautz says. “And a mortgage can provide financial security. I think women, even with lower incomes, want a place where they can have roots and really own a place. The psychological desire to do that is great.”

And, despite cultural assumptions about women’s desire for marriage, single women without kids are more likely to be drawn to “singledom” lifestyles than men are, says Bella DePaulo, author of “Singled Out” and a professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

“Some research suggests that single women are especially unlikely to be lonely – again, contrary to our stereotypes,” DePaulo told Bloomberg. “Buying a home is a way of living your single life fully, rather than seeing your single years as just marking time until you find ‘the one.'”

The wage gap may still play a part in the house hunt, however. Single women tend to buy their first homes at an older age than men – 34 years old compared with 31, according to NAR research. They also tend to buy in a lower average price at a median $173,000 compared to $190,600.

http://www.floridarealtors.org/NewsAndEvents/article.cfm?p=1&id=348220

Source: “Why Single Women Are Buying Homes at Twice the Rate of Single Men,” Bloomberg (Jan. 31, 2017)

© Copyright 2017 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688

The Lantern Festival is celebrated on the 15th day of the first Chinese lunar month, and traditionally ends the Chinese New Year period. In 2017 it falls on February 11.

from  http://www.chinahighlights.com/festivals/lantern-festival.htm

Lantern Festival Facts

  • Popular Chinese name: 元宵节 Yuánxiāojié /ywen-sshyaoww jyeah/ ‘first night festival’
  • Alternative Chinese name: 上元节 Shàngyuánjié /shung-ywen-jyeah/ ‘first first festival’
  • Date: Lunar calendar month 1 day 15 (February 11, 2017)
  • Importance: ends China’s most important festival, the Spring Festival
  • Celebrations: enjoying lanterns, lantern riddles, eating tangyuan a.k.a. yuanxiao (ball dumplings in soup), lion dances, dragon dances, etc.
  • History: about 2,000 years
  • Greeting: Happy Lantern Festival! 元宵节快乐!Yuánxiāojié kuàilè! /ywen-sshyaoww-jyeah kwhy-luh/

Lantern Festival Dates from 2017 to 2019

The Lantern Festival is on the 15th day of the first Chinese lunar month (always between February 5 and March 7).

Year Lantern Festival
2017 February 11
2018 March 2
2019 February 19

The Lantern Festival is Very Important

lanternslanterns

The Lantern Festival is the last day (traditionally) of China’s most important festival, Spring Festival (春节 Chūnjié /chwn-jyeah/ a.k.a. the Chinese New Year festival). After the Lantern Festival, Chinese New Year taboos are no longer in effect, and all New Year decorations are taken down.

The Lantern Festival is also the first full moon night in the Chinese calendar, marking the return of spring and symbolizing the reunion of family. However, most people cannot celebrate it with their families, because there is no public holiday for this festival.

When Did the Lantern Festival Begin?

The Lantern Festival can be traced back to 2,000 years ago.

In the beginning of the Eastern Han Dynasty (25–220), Emperor Hanmingdi was an advocate of Buddhism. He heard that some monks lit lanterns in the temples to show respect to Buddha on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month. Therefore, he ordered that all the temples, households, and royal palaces should light lanterns on that evening.

This Buddhist custom gradually became a grand festival among the people.

How Do Chinese Celebrate the Lantern Festival?

0colorful lanterns

According to China’s various folk customs, people get together on the night of the Lantern Festival to celebrate with different activities.

As China is a vast country with a long history and diverse cultures, Lantern Festival customs and activities vary regionally, including lighting and enjoying (floating, fixed, held, and flying) lanterns, appreciating the bright full moon, setting off fireworks, guessing riddles written on lanterns, eating tangyuan, lion dances, dragon dances, and walking on stilts.

The most important and prevalent customs are enjoying lanterns, guessing lantern riddles, eating tangyuan, and lion dances.

Lighting and Watching Lanterns

LanternsPeople are watching lanterns in a lantern display.

Lighting and appreciating lanterns is the main activity of the festival. When the festival comes, lanterns of various shapes and sizes (traditional globes, fish, dragons, goats! — in 2015, up to stories high!) are seen everywhere including households, shopping malls, parks, and streets, attracting numerous viewers. Children may hold small lanterns while walking the streets.

The lanterns’ artwork vividly demonstrates traditional Chinese images, such as fruits, flowers, birds, animals, people, and buildings.

In the Taiwanese dialect, the Chinese word for lantern (灯 dēng) is pronounced similarly to (丁 dīng), which means ‘a new-born baby boy’. Therefore lighting lanterns means illuminating the future and giving birth.

Lighting lanterns is a way for people to pray that they will have smooth futures and express their best wishes for their families. Women who want to be pregnant would walk under a hanging lantern praying for a child.

Read more about Chinese lanterns.

Guessing Lantern Riddles

Guessing Lantern RiddlesPeople are guessing lantern riddles in the Lantern Festival.

Guessing (solving) lantern riddles, starting in the Song Dynasty (960–1279), is one of the most important and popular activities of the Lantern Festival. Lantern owners write riddles on paper notes and pasted them upon the colorful lanterns. People crowd round to guess the riddles.

If someone thinks they have the right answer, they can pull the riddle off and go to the lantern owner to check their answer. If the answer is right, there is usually a small gift as a prize.

As riddle guessing is interesting and informative, it has become popular among all social strata.

Lion Dances

The lion dance is one of the most outstanding traditional folk dances in China. It can be dated back to the Three Kingdoms Period (220–280).

the Lantern FestivalFour people are performing Lion Dances.

Ancient people regarded the lion as a symbol of bravery and strength, and thought that it could drive away evil and protect people and their livestock. Therefore, lion dances are performed at important events, especially the Lantern Festival, to ward off evil and pray for good fortune and safety.

The lion dance requires two highly-trained performers in a lion suit. One acts as the head and forelegs, and the other the back and rear legs. Under the guidance of a choreographer, the “lion” dances to the beat of a drum, gong, and cymbals. Sometimes they jump, roll, and do difficult acts such as walking on stilts.

In one lion dance, the “lion” moves from place to place looking for some green vegetables, in which red envelopes with money inside are hidden. The acting is very amusing and spectators enjoy it very much.

Nowadays, the lion dance has spread to many other countries with overseas Chinese, and it is quite popular in countries like Malaysia and Singapore. In many Chinese communities of Europe and America, Chinese people use lion dances or dragon dances to celebrate every Spring Festival and other important events.

Read more on Chinese New Year Lion Dances.

Eating Tangyuan (Yuanxiao)

TangyuanEating Tangyuan is a very important custom of the Lantern Festival.

Eating tangyuan is an important custom of the Lantern Festival. Tangyuan (汤圆 tāngyuán /tung-ywen/ ‘soup round’) are also called yuanxiao when eaten for the Lantern Festival, after the festival.

These ball-shaped dumplings made of glutinous rice flour, with different fillings are stuffed inside, usually sweet, such as white sugar, brown sugar, sesame seeds, peanuts, walnuts, rose petals, bean paste, and jujube paste, or any combination of two or three ingredients. Yuanxiao can be boiled, fried, or steamed, and are customarily served in fermented rice soup, called tianjiu (甜酒 tián jiǔ /tyen-jyoh/ ‘sweet liquor’).

As tangyuan is pronounced similarly to tuanyuan (团圆 /twan-ywen/ ‘group round’), which means the whole family gathering together happily, Chinese people believe that the round shape of the balls and their bowls symbolize wholeness and togetherness. Therefore, eating tangyuan on the Lantern Festival is a way for Chinese people to express their best wishes for their family and their future lives.

It is believed that the custom of eating tangyuan originated during the Song Dynasty, and became popular during the Ming (1368–1644) and Qing (1644–1911) periods.

See more on Chinese Desserts.

Where Is Best to See Lanterns in China?

Lantern FestivalA snake-shape lantern in Lantern Festival.

During the Lantern Festival many lantern fairs are held in China, offering tourists the chances to experience Lantern Festival celebrations in public places. Here we recommend four top places for you to appreciate spectacular and colorful lanterns and performances.

  • Qinhuai International Lantern Festival (the biggest in China!) is from January  28 to February 14, 2017, at Confucius Temple, Qinhuai Scenic Zone, Nanjing.
  • Beijing Yanqing Lantern Festival Flower Exhibition is from the middle of January to the end of February, 2017, in Yanqing County, Beijing.
  • Xiamen Lantern Festival is estimated from January 30 to February 14, 2017, at Yuanboyuan Garden, Xiamen City.
  • Shanghai Datuan Peach Garden Lantern Festival is from February to March, 2017, at Datuan Peach Garden, 888 Caichuan, Datuan Town, Pudong New District, Shanghai (adults: 40 yuan, students and children under 1.3m: 20 yuan, over 60s: 32 yuan).

from http://www.chinahighlights.com/festivals/lantern-festival.htm

Grateful Dead-Themed Pub & Lounge has opened in St Petersburg, Florida. Grateful Fed is on the ground floor of Urban Style Flats at 300 10th Street South. For late night, the restaurant will be one of the first St Pete places to offer homemade food until 4am, but will deliver food until 5am. What? Now that could be really good. I know some pub-crawlers, students, swing shift employees & service workers from pubs, restaurants & bars who will definitely like that!

The idea for this is Sean Ford, former executive chef at Tryst. He saw the possible need for late night comfort and healthy food in the city’s downtown area. Serving burgers and wings but also some healthier things like red quinoa/grilled vegetable burrito with alfalfa sprouts, heirloom tomato and avocado. I notice that there is a Grateful Fed in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada too. I wonder if they are connected.

“The restaurant scene has expanded in St Pete, but not for late night workers or those wanting healthy delivery,” said Ford in a press release. “It’s nearly impossible to eat healthy after hours and no one delivers commissary.”

Grateful Fed also has a small store stocked with some snacks, toiletries and the like. The store will deliver until 5am. A full liquor bar will serve some signature cocktails and craft beers.

The Sunshine City bringing eclectic small business downtown. Go St Pete!!

Current hours:
Monday through Thursday: 4pm-4am
Saturday through Sunday: 12pm-4am
Delivery available until 5am Monday through Thursday, Saturday and Sunday

To learn more about the concept follow Grateful Fed on Facebook.

Willkommen – Please join us for our February 15th International Marketing session at PRO. Norma Brenne Henning, Honorary Consul of the Federal Republic of Germany is our speaker. It is FREE but YOU MUST REGISTER on PRO website. Vielen Dank.

Tibetan monks with horns Florida CraftArt st petersburg

Sacred Art Tour of Tibetan Monks 2017

From January 31-February 5th, Florida CraftArt welcomes eight exiled Tibetan Buddhist Monks from the Drepung Gomang Monastery in India who will create a Sacred World Peace Sand Mandala that was designed by the Dalai Lama and depicts all religions in harmony.

World Peace Sand Mandala

Saturday, February 4, 2017 10:00am
Creation of Mandala
Sunday, February 5, 2017 12:00pm
Finalization of Mandala
Sunday, February 5, 2017 1:00pm
Dissolution Ceremony

During the closing ceremony on Sunday, February 5 at 1 p.m., the monks will dismantle the mandala, sweeping up the colored sand to symbolize the impermanence of all phenomena. It is meant to be a teaching to show that everything that exists has a beginning, a middle and an end. Then monks will then lead a procession to Tampa Bay where they will deposit the sand and perform a Buddhist blessing.

Joe Turner’s Come and Gone – Saturday & Sunday 3pm

American Stage Theatre Company at Raymond James Theatre-163 Third St. N, St. Petersburg

August Wilson’s Century Cycle, owners of a boarding house play host to a makeshift family of people with connections to slavery. Some stay days, some longer. Through Feb. 26. $39-$49.

The Golden Ticket – Saturday

Coliseum-535 Fourth Ave. N, St. Petersburg

The 86th annual All Children’s Hospital Charity Ball features dinner, dancing and an auction. Benefits Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. Starts at 6 or 6:30 p.m. $250.

Frida Kahlo at The Dali     through April 17th, 2017  http://thedali.org/   downtown waterfront of St Pete

This exhibits gives us some insight into the extraordinary career and life of the great 20th century Mexican artist. More than 60 Kahlo pieces are on display, including 15 paintings, seven drawings and numerous personal photographs from the celebrated female artist. The outdoor portion of the exhibition includes a special collection of flowers and plants representative of those in Kahlo’s own garden at Casa Azul. I have been lucky enough to visit her beloved Casa Azul in the Coyoacán district of Mexico City with a dear friend. I was in cielo (or heaven)!

 

Annalisa Weller, Realtor®, Certified International Property Specialist

(727) 804-6566
AnnalisaWeller1@gmail.com

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 278 other followers

List of Categories

Monthly archive of my posts

RSS PROView-Pinellas Realtor Organization

  • FREC changes license renewal requirements to include ethics February 6, 2017
    The 14-hour requirement to renew a Fla. real estate license hasn’t increased, but a 3-hour Ethics and Business Practices course is mandatory after Oct. 1, 2017. Florida real estate licensees must complete the Ethics and Business Practices course in order to renew their real estate license. Under the continuing education 14-hour requirement, three of the […] […]
    PROView
  • ‘Welcome’ to all our new members who joined us in January February 1, 2017
    The Pinellas REALTOR® Organization would like to welcome all of our new REALTORS® that joined us in January! We are happy to have you as a part of our organization and wish you much success in your careers. American Heritage Realty Inc Mathew J. Eberius Amerivest Realty Roy Jackson Archwater Realty Justin P. Coriale BHHS […]
    PROView
  • Emeritus status – application period now open January 23, 2017
    Any REALTOR® who has held membership in a REALTOR® association for a cumulative period of 40 years in one or more Associations of REALTORS® and has at least one year of service* at the National, State, or Local Association level is eligible for Emeritus status. Upon approval by the Board of Directors of the National Association […]
    PROView
  • Get involved with CRED – Community Real Estate Development Program January 20, 2017
    Gain the tools needed to carry out successful affordable housing and community-based real estate development projects with Community Real Estate Development (CRED). Realtors will develop connections to local community real estate development resources, learn the requirements of financing neighborhood development projects, and utilize practical application of […]
    PROView
  • PROFarm – Have You Planted Your Seeds for Success Yet? January 16, 2017
            PROFarm Info Session Thursday, February 23 10:00 – 11:30 am PRO (Auditorium C) Make plans to join us for our PROFarm Info Session on Thursday, February 23 from 10:00 – 11:30 am at PRO (Auditorium C). We’ll show you the topics we’ve used for past cards and show you hands-on examples […]
    PROView

Visit Me at Active Rain