As a festival that brings nearly 200,000 people to St. Pete every year, St. Pete Pride‘s commitment to No Straws St. Pete means a great deal. It’s just the latest in a number of impressive commitments to the movement which is growing, not only in St. Pete, but across Tampa Bay.

https://ilovetheburg.com/st-pete-pride-commits-to-no-straws-movement/

“How can we call ourselves St. Pete Pride without having pride in St. Pete,?” said St. Pete Pride board member, J. Aller. “For us as a board, it just made sense to align ourselves and the event with ‘No Straws St. Pete.’ We love our beautiful waterfront city and have a responsibility to help keep it pristine for years to come. Each beverage and food vendor was asked and strongly persuaded to refrain from freely giving straws to parade and festival goers. If a vendor agrees, they will be given a plaque to display their participation.”

The news comes on the heels of recent commitments by the newly opened Lucky’s Market as well as all three Hooters locations in St. Pete and follows the support of other major events including Run Fest St. Pete. While we’ve aimed to keep tabs on all of our partners, we’re learning new ones daily that have simply committed to the idea of making straws available only on request.

At a recent committee hearing at City Hall, councilwoman Wheeler-Bowman cited the movement’s impact on businesses saying she didn’t get a straw with her drink at a recent trip to Joey Brooklyn’s Pizza.

Pete Boland, owner of The Galley, commended the movement’s impact on the consumer saying guests are specifically requesting “no straw please” with their drinks.

As we have said all long, our partners are capable of educating the public simply by making the commitment. With thousands of people descending upon St. Pete for Pride, the impact of their commitment will be felt immediately.

That’s great news for our planet and the Burg, indeed.

https://ilovetheburg.com/st-pete-pride-commits-to-no-straws-movement/

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Thank you to Carlos Fuentes, all of the attendees, the Pinellas Realtor Affiliates and Pinellas Realtor Organization for a great CIPS Americas course yesterday! The course was packed with a tremendous amount of useful information for anyone planning to conduct Real Estate business in Canada, Mexico, Central and South America. Carlos not only teaches the class but also adds so much personal experience. Historical and cultural influences, regional relationship, and investment opportunities were covered along with a special focus on Mexico.

Source: Some countries trying to slow Chinese investors

CIPS Americas June 15, 2018 Carlos Fuentes

 

The Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) course on the Americas offers you practical information on working with Caribbean, North, Central and South American investors.  Historical and cultural influences, regional relationship, and investment opportunities are covered along with a special focus on Mexico.

SCHEDULE:
8:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.: Sign-in, networking, and breakfast
8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.: Course, Light breakfast and lunch will be provided.

Seating is limited and registration is required. You MUST register in advance. Earn 7 hours of CE credit while gaining invaluable knowledge.

***This course is one of the courses required to earn the prestigious Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) designation. The CIPS Network comprises 2,500 real estate professionals from 50 countries and is the specialty membership group for global business practitioners of the National Association of Realtors®. The CIPS® designation prepares Realtors® to service the growing international market in their local community by focusing on culture, exchange rates, investment trends, and legal issues. Click here for more information about CIPS and the requirements to earn this prestigious designation.

Our second is event is our monthly International Marketing Session. Seating is limited so you MUST register in advance. Thank you.

Cloudy view between Blind Pass & Devils Elbow, St Pete Beach, Florida. Love the view & the names!

Tampa area’s first-ever Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) Global Real Estate Symposium on July 10, 2018 at the Hilton Garden Inn Tampa Suncoast Pkwy in Lutz!

Anyone who has an interest in investment real estate, particularly learning the current appetites of international buyers, is encouraged to attend.  Participants will learn why those “in the know” expect international buying activity to continue to increase and these attendees will become versed on how to overcome unique challenges when working with international investors.

We have a great line up of speakers you won’t want to miss! Through the end of today, the rate for attendees, is $45 for the all day event, including food. It goes up to $65 after that.

Feel free to send this link to anyone who may want to attend: https://www.flccim.com/events/west-coast-district-global-commercial-real-estate-symposium

Nice to come home & be greeted in the driveway by these lovely beauties. Two weeks of daily rain & sunshine has doubled the size of my hibiscus 🌺. After a super busy-long day, the sight of all of these flowers made me smile. I needed to stop & appreciate the bright colors on a such gray day. 😎

7 things you have to know before you visit Belize

A natural attraction (Picture: Getty)  article by Ellie Hattersley   https://metro.co.uk/2018

 

Beautiful Belize, a small country in the northern part of South America, sure packs a punch. Despite its relatively diminutive size, it manages to fit in some of the world’s best beaches, the second biggest coral reef in the world, a unique natural phenomenon, and some seriously impressive ancient ruins. 8 things to know before you go to the Czech Republic And honestly, it’s worth going just to spend some time sprawled upon the sands of Caye Caulker, perhaps its most famous island. Here are seven things you should know before you go to Belize.

  1. It’s the only Central American country with English as an official language. Due to its history as a British colony, the majority of people in Belize speak English, alongside Spanish and Creole. Belize became independent in 1981 and changed its name from British Honduras in 1973.
  2. The capital is, surprisingly, not Belize City. Though Belize City was the capital of the country but after the hugely destructive hurricane Hattie hit in 1961, plans were conceived to move the capital inland. The newer capital is called Belmopan. However, Belize City is still the country’s cultural and commercial capital, and also hosts the country’s only major airport.
  3. It’s got a whole bunch of Mayan ruins Mayan ruins. 7 things you have to know before you visit Belizeat Cerros (Picture: Getty) More than 900, in fact. They are spread out across the country, and many can be reached easily from Belize City.
  4. The second biggest coral reef in the world lies off its coast. After the Great Barrier Reef, Belize’s barrier reef is the largest in the world. It stretches more than 180 miles along Belize’s Caribbean coast, and supports wildlife as wide ranging as West Indian manatees and American crocodiles. It has plenty of fish, too.
  5. And the most bewildering natural attraction in the Great Blue Hole. 7 things you have to know before you visit Belize (Picture: Getty) The Great Blue Hole is the biggest sea sinkhole in the world, at a depth of 407ft. It’s a diver’s dream, with crystal clear visibility, and even snorkelers can spot nurse sharks and reef sharks patrolling its outer rim.
  6. It has more than 450 small islands, called cayes. 7 things you have to know before you visit Belize Caye Caulker. (Picture: Getty)
  7. Cayes are low-lying, sand-based islands, located at the surface of a coral reef. Caye Caulker is probably the most famous of these, but they are all pretty paradisiacal.
  8. Belize has the lowest population density in Central America. With only 382,000 people, and just 37 people per square mile, it’s little wonder that Belize’s population density is the lowest in Central America. But, of course, the population numbers are considerably boosted by the tourist crowds.

 

Read more: https://metro.co.uk/2018/05/01/7-things-you-have-to-know-before-you-visit-belize-7488826/?ito=cbshare   Ellie Hattersley

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MetroUK | Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MetroUK/

 

Mortgage questions abound when you’re a first-time home buyer. Compounding the challenge is the embarrassment over interrupting the conversation with a would-be lender or seller to ask, “‘Scuse me, what is a credit score? How much money do I need as a down payment?” Everyone knows this stuff, right?

  www.realtor.com/advice/finance/your-mortgage-questions-answered

No, they don’t all know—so you should ask these questions. Or, at the very least, study up a bit so you know the basics. To help get you up to speed, here’s a crash course on the most common mortgage questions and answers you need to know. Take five to read on, and wonder no more.

1. What do you need to get a mortgage?

Before loaning you money, lenders want to see proof that you’ve proven reliable paying off past debts, so you’ll need to start establishing credit.

“There are ways to verify your past payments on utility bills, cellphone, and rent,” notes Michael E. Matthews, senior vice president of PrimeLending. “Get a credit card, pay it back carefully. Your car and college loans—those things help you establish credit and help you get a mortgage.”

2. If you have bad credit, how do you improve it?

Matthews talks to a lot of borrowers who come to him with this mortgage question. They think they have bad credit but are doing better than they think.

His first tip: Check your credit report.

It’s free to download one copy each year, and you may be pleasantly surprised by what you find. And if the news is bad, there’s still hope.

“If you’ve got bad credit, a lot of times there’s aged activity on there—an old collection, a medical bill, something you didn’t know about,” Matthews says. And these “errors” can often be fixed, boosting your credit score fairly quickly.

If you do have a bunch of bad marks and late payments, however, start paying on time and your score will gradually improve. Here are some ways to raise your credit score.

3. What’s the difference between a mortgage pre-approval and a pre-qualification?

“Pre-qualification is not going to hold the same weight as a pre-approval,” says Matthews. “You can go online and get somebody to print you out a pre-qual letter. And you’ll find that if you’re negotiating with an agent and they’re looking at a pre-qual letter, it’s probably not worth much to them.”

A pre-approval letter—involving lenders fully checking your finances in a verifiable way—takes more time and effort, which is exactly why it carries much more weight. If you’re serious about buying a home, get pre-approved to show you mean business. Here’s more on the difference between mortgage pre-approval vs. pre-qualification.

4. How much down payment do you need for a mortgage?

The gold standard down payment for a mortgage is 20%—so if the home’s price is $200,000, you’d ideally have to pony up $40,000 of your own money to get the loan.

If you don’t have that much, all is not lost. You can put down less, but that means you’ll have to pay PMI, or private mortgage insurance. It’s an extra fee of about $50 to $100 a month that lenders will require to mitigate the risk that you might default on your loan due to your lack of funds.

“There’s risk there that literally has to be accounted for, and that ends up being insurance that adds to your mortgage payment,” says economist Jonathan Smoke. “When you put less down, the trade-off is you actually have to spend more on a monthly basis.”

That said, there are some exceptions that allow a buyer to avoid PMI even with a small down payment. Buyers who are in the military, veterans, and family members of veterans may be able to avoid PMI with a Veterans Affairs loan. And once your equity in your home rises above 20%, you can stop paying PMI.

5. What kind of down payment assistance is available?

If you’re looking for help with a down payment, Smoke says, the “bank of Mom and Dad” may be a smart start—if your parents have the means to pitch in. Gifted money can help many people qualify for a loan, he says, although you absolutely must tell your lender that the money was a gift—fibbing on this front will raise red flags.

If private assistance isn’t an option, or isn’t enough, never fear—there are over 2,000 down payment assistance programs across the country that can help, as long as you meet eligibility requirements in terms of income and credit.

Check with your real estate agent or lender, as they may be able to tell you about programs in your area that will help you become a homeowner.

6. What types of home loans are available?

Loan types vary widely, but Barbara A. Carrollo-Loeffler, director of consumer and residential lending at Provident Bank in Jersey City, NJ, says loans typically fall into two camps. The first includes loans with an adjustable rate, meaning the interest rate could change after a period of time. The second includes loans that are “fixed” or “term,” meaning the rate will stay the same for the length of the borrowing period. Generally term or fixed-rate loans are more common and considered the safer option, but it all depends on your circumstances, including how long you plan to stay in the home.

Here’s more info on the pros and cons of various types of home loans, and which one is right for you.

For more smart financial news and advice, head over to MarketWatch.

Jeanne Sager has strung words together for the New York Times, Vice, and more. She writes and photographs people from her home in upstate New York.

Annalisa Weller, Realtor®, Certified International Property Specialist

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