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You don’t want to miss this. Today, Sept 21st, 2019 is FREE Museum Day in St. Pete!! 
The following museums are offering free or discounted admissions. Please check with the museums for hours & discounts.

Museum of Fine Arts, 255 Beach Drive Northeast
Imagine Museum, 1901 Central Avenue
Florida CraftArt, 501 Central Avenue
The James Museum, 150 Central Avenue
Florida Holocaust Museum, 55 5th Street South
The Dali Museum, 1 Dali Boulevard (Free admission for Pinellas County residents with ID only)

In many places, spring got a late start this year. So it’s no surprise if you’re just now getting outside to look around at what Mother Nature left behind and decide on what you need to do to tune up your home for summer.
Here are a dozen to-dos to make certain that your home is in top shape – healthy, attractive, and performing well.
1. First impressions. Take a hard look at the impression your front entrance makes, especially if your house is on the market. Look at places like Pinterest and HGTV for ideas on how to make a better first impression. Some examples include adding a pop of color by repainting your front door, changing door hardware, adding lights, installing window boxes, and ensuring that your steps and railings are sturdy and look fresh. Learn about the value of doing outdoor upgrades and the projects that bring the greatest joy and ROI.
2. Winter damage. Do an exterior walk-around and check for winter damage. For example, be certain gutters aren’t clogged with leaves and debris. Inspect your foundation for cracks and openings that could allow bugs and vermin to get inside. Check decks and porches for loose boards, rot, and unstable railings.
3. Clean air. Tune up your air conditioner to keep it working at ideal capacity and save energy.
4. Leaks. Check your faucets, toilet flapper, and valves and fix any leaks. According to the EPA, a leaky faucet that drips at the rate of one drip per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons per year – the equivalent to 180 showers. Also, turn your shut-off valves on and off to be sure they don’t get frozen in place.
5. Keep cool air inside. Check your weather-stripping to be sure it’s not dried out or falling down. Though it’s thought of as a winter project, weather-stripping also helps you keep cool air in and hot air out during the summer.
6. Purge chemicals. Hunt through your garage, basement, and cabinets and round up all the toxic chemicals, paint strippers, weed killers, toxic cleaning products, and so forth. Find a local recycler.
7. Lawn alternatives. Letting go of the lawn eliminates the need for maintenance and mowing, which buys you more leisure time. By replacing a chemical hungry lawn with native plants, you can save water (and money spent on your water bill) and eliminate pesticides and fertilizers, which is better for your family’s health and the environment. Learn more here.
8. Plant trees. Strategically placed trees on your lot can provide shade that reduces your energy costs by up to 25%, according to U.S. Department of Energy’s computer modeling. Learn to pick, plan, and maintain trees here.
9. Compost. Build a compost center and to reduce your garbage output and create a free source of rich nutrients for your garden.
10. Harvest water. Reduce your water bill by installing a rain barrel to capture rainwater that can be used for watering plants and flowers. Buy rain barrels or take a DIY approach.
11.  Mold. Maintain your house in a way that prevents mold growth. According to the University of Georgia, mold sources include:
Plumbing pipe and fixture leaks
Roof leaks
Flooding
High humidity levels from:
        o clothes dryer that is not properly vented
        o non-working exhaust fans in kitchen and bathrooms
        o a large number of indoor houseplants
        o unvented kerosene or gas heaters
        o water collection in crawl spaces or basements
12.  Leave your shoes at the door. Look closely at the sidewalks you walk on. Do you want to track dust, pesticides, cigarette ash, and dog waste into your house and on the floors where pets and kids play? See the University of Arizona study to learn about the gross, unhealthy things that come inside on the bottoms of your shoes.
Article written by Elyse Umlauf-Garneau

Want to learn about Brazil, real estate market & our Brazilian Inbound Trade Mission? Then you definitely want to attend this Pinellas International Council’s February 20th, 2019 International Marketing Session with Corina Lessa Silva! From 3-4:30pm at the Pinellas Realtor Organization, Clearwater, Florida.

It’s FREE but we need you to register. Thanks.

https://pinellasrealtor.org/education-and-events-calendar/

feb 20, 2019 inter'l marketing corina brazil

cfc_kspl

A few weeks ago, after attending a Pinellas International Council event, I stopped in at the Train Station. I have loved this building since moving to St Pete 11 years ago and am so happy that it is being used for such great things.

I absolutely love this quote from Keep St Pete Lit’s website, “Do you read? Do you write? Do you live in or around St. Petersburg? Well then, welcome to Keep St. Pete Lit, where we celebrate and promote the area’s literary community. Whether you’re a writer, a reader or just love the arts, we want you to help us Keep St. Pete Lit. Read and Write on, my friend!” I come from a family of writers, avid book readers, former book reps and bookstore managers. My biggest moving expense is always books & records!

Keep St. Pete Lit wants to instill a love of reading, writing and storytelling in all  generations in the Sunshine City but now has special programs for the younger generations. Keep St. Pete wants to help children find their creative gifts with a new week-long summer camp.

The organizers behind the camp want to ensure that this opportunity is open to all children and families interested. So Keep St. Pete Lit is offering two Creative Writing Summer Camp tuition-free for low income families at the Morean Center for Clay.

They’re accepting 15 students each week ages 9-12. To help cover the cost of teacher’s salaries, supplies and rent, KSPL launched an online fundraising campaign. So far, they’ve raised $745 of a total $3,000 goal. A $100 donation sponsors one child.

The first camp runs from July 17-21, the second runs from July 24-28 at the Morean Center for Clay (420 22nd Street South). The creative writing workshop sessions begin at 9:30am and end at 12:30pm each day. To learn more visit  http://keepstpetelit.org/

The National Education Association (NEA) describes National Teacher Day as “a day for honoring teachers and recognizing the lasting contributions they make to our lives”.

  • The dream begins, most of the time, with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you on to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called truth. – Dan Rather
  • There is an old saying that the course of civilization is a race between catastrophe and education.  In a democracy such as ours, we must make sure that education wins the race. – John F. Kennedy

The NEA gives a history of National Teacher Day: The origins of Teacher Day are murky. Around 1944, Arkansas teacher Mattye Whyte Woodridge began corresponding with political and education leaders about the need for a national day to honor teachers. Woodbridge wrote to Eleanor Roosevelt, who in 1953 persuaded the 81st Congress to proclaim a National Teacher Day. NEA along with its Kansas and Indiana state affiliates and the Dodge City, Kansas local NEA branch lobbied Congress to create a national day celebrating teachers. Congress declared 7 March 1980 as National Teacher Day for that year only. The NEA and its affiliates continued to observe Teacher Day on the first Tuesday in March until 1985, when the National PTA established Teacher Appreciation Week in the first full week of May. The NEA Representative Assembly then voted to make the Tuesday of that week National Teacher Day. Massachusetts sets the first Sunday of June as its own Teachers’ Day.

Teachers

Today, Thursday, April 27th, 2017 is the 24th anniversary of Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.
Over 40 million parents and kids will go to work together, giving boys and girls real-world career education to help them plan their future.
Here’s to celebrating our youth and their bright futures!

From their website:

Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work® is a program with new goals, and new activities. Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work® is designed for both girls and boys between the ages of 8 -18, and focuses on expanding future opportunities for all our children, in both their work and family lives.

This is the first time that most girls and boys will be asked to talk about how they envision their future home and work lives. For some participants it will be easier to start these conversations in a group comprised of their own gender. For this reason, we recommend separating the girls and boys for the first few activities. After girls and boys have a chance to articulate their ideas, it will be easier to come together and share them.

 

Count On Me

Are you a REALTOR who deals with international real estate and want to build “global” business skills? Then you need to attend this class!

Please join us on Thursday, February 2nd from 8:30 to noon.

You will learn from two international real estate experts on these subjects:

1. Opportunities for International Networking and Marketing Properties – Tami Simms, Coastal Property Group
* Understanding the importance of international buyers
* Resources for networking with international agents
* Where to market internationally
* How to market properties effectively to international buyers

2. Working with International Buyers and Sellers with a focus on the Asian market – Jiayin Liao, Bailey Glasser Law Firm
* Learn how to help Asians realize their dreams of a cross-border lifestyle
* Learn how to keep up with the latest information on both sides of the border and work together to determine the best course of action
* Become familiar with cross-border issues whether they are related to language, culture, law or just plain common sense.

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, text

house outline on tablet

Every real estate agent wants a well-informed home buyer who’s prepared to take on the responsibility of home ownership. Of course, not everyone is enlightened about the homebuying process when they seek your services. One way to get your clients ready for the transaction is to refer them to homebuyer education courses before they launch their search.

A Sample of Homebuyer Education Programs

HUD provides a comprehensive list of its approved resources, including homebuyer education courses and one-on-one counseling. Here are a few of those programs, which are available online and can be completed at the buyer’s leisure.

Framework
Cost: $75
Time to completion: About four hours
Includes nine education modules with a quiz at the end. Coupons are available, which agents can provide as a gift to clients. After completing the course, users download and save a Certificate of Completion. For buyers who purchase a home through Fannie Mae’s HomePath REO program, the cost of the course will be reimbursed. Fannie Mae also offers closing cost incentives to first-time buyers in the HomePath program who complete the Framework course.

MGIC Homebuyer Education
Cost: Free
Time to completion: About an hour
This program is suitable for buyers who are just beginning to learn about the homebuying process and who do not yet have a lender. It’s approachable and user-friendly, and the course can be taken by a “stealth” user without registering. Users can also register and take a quiz at the end, which will satisfy requirements for Freddie Mac Home Possible programs.

eHome America
Cost: $99
Time to completion: Eight hours, taken online at your own pace
This is one of several financial courses offered through the HUD-approved “Home Purchase” program. It covers topics such as determining if now is the right time to buy, shopping for a home, and getting approved for a home loan.

CreditSmart Steps to Homeownership
Cost: Free
Time to completion: About two hours
This program focuses on good credit: how you can improve your credit score, why it’s necessary to do so, and how it leads to home ownership. Users receive a certificate, which can be used for Freddie Mac Home Possible programs.

United Guaranty’s Home Ownership Course
Cost: Free
Time to completion: Two to three-and-a-half hours
Satisfies the homeownership education requirement for Freddie Mac’s Home Possible affordable home program. After you complete the course and assessment, your lender (if applicable) will be notified by email.

These courses, many of which are now being offered online by lenders and nonprofit community organizations, are useful for all clients — those entering the market for the first time or even making a second or third home purchase. Many real estate professionals try to act as full-service providers able to solve any problem or answer any question, notes Joe Weisbord, director of credit and housing access at Fannie Mae, whose HomeReady program requires prospective buyers to take a HUD-approved homeowner course in order to qualify for a loan. But “people don’t like to admit what they don’t know,” he says, and your clients may not always come to you if they’re embarrassed about their lack of knowledge.

By linking them to a course providing “independent, unbiased information that helps them understand choices they’re going to make,” you’re helping meet your clients’ needs while building trust.

For nervous first-time buyers, those with poor credit, or others who need extra attention while learning the homebuying process, pointing them to a course can also be a great way to solidify the client-agent relationship. Homebuyer courses aim to demystify credit-score requirements, budgeting, shopping for a mortgage, home inspections, insurance, and maintenance, among other items. This takes the pressure off you, and you can spend your time honing in on the type of properties your clients are interested in. You’ll be ready to go once they are, and “it’s less likely that unknown circumstances will arise that will lead to the sale falling apart,” Weisbord says.

But homebuyer courses — many of which are free, but costs can fall along a range of up to $100 — can also convince a prospective buyer that they’re not ready to purchase. That’s still good for the agent in the long run, Lane says. “I’m not afraid of losing [a client]. If someone wants to rush and make a bad decision, I don’t want to be a part of that. It’s important in our business to take our clients through a rigorous fact-finding mission.”

The in-depth programs position buyers who may struggle with the lending process to successfully purchase once they’ve built up their savings or repaired their credit. That could help them secure a more competitive mortgage rate and lead to a bigger home sale later on. “Today’s sale might be critical, but the way to build a real estate career is through a chain of referrals,” says Anne McCulloch, senior vice president for credit and housing access at Fannie Mae. “People who don’t succeed are not the best referrals.”

For certain lending programs, including Freddie Mac’s Home Possible Mortgages, completing a HUD-approved homebuyer education course is mandatory. A newly revised course called Framework, a joint enterprise of the Housing Partnership Networkand the Minnesota Homeownership Center that is available to consumers nationwide, draws on research of best practices in online learning, says Framework president Danielle Samalin. “We’ve learned that content tied to emotional information is more readily retained,” she says, adding that Framework employs motion-graphic videos and homebuyer stories, among other content. “Most people complete it within a day of signing up.”

Other lenders are offering education resources with incentives. In May, Wells Fargo debuted a new program called yourFirstMorgage, which includes a 1/8 percent reduction on mortgage rates for buyers with down payments of less than 10 percent if they complete a homebuyer education course.

For Lane, referring clients to these courses is a way to make her value proposition as a real estate professional stronger. “Every time you provide something for a client, you build that bond,” she says. “It’s a way to separate yourself from the herd, a long-term relationship-building opportunity.”

BY BETH FRANKEN   http://realtormag.realtor.org/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2016/10/help-clients-get-smarter-about-ownership

The Tall Ship Lynx, a modern interpretation of an 1812 American privateer, is scheduled to sail into St. Pete on Wednesday morning where it has found a permanent winter home.

The 110-foot ship is expected to come under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge with full sails sometime around 10 a.m. It will then head into the Vinoy Basin/North Yacht Basin, do a four-gun salute and make her way to Harborage Marina where she will berth until the seasonal dock is finalized right next to the ferry. They plan is to begin opening the boat up to the public for tours, sailing trips, and corporate events this weekend.

Lynx – America’s Privateer Trailer HD    https://youtu.be/LNWdRGAAjfM

The idea of offering the Lynx a permanent berth first came up during then-Mayor Bill Foster’s administration. But the idea never seemed to gel until recently, said Greg Holden, chair of the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce. More recently, with the support of Council member Ed Montanari, Mayor Rick Kriseman, local businesses and others, the dream looks as if it might become reality.

“This is one of those five-year, overnight successes,” Holden said.

It’s an “amazing” opportunity for the city, he said. Having a tall ship in port is a draw for businesses and tourists. It’s also an attraction to help more people get out onto the water and to learn a bit of history.

The Lynx, he said, would harken back to the days of the Bounty, which was a reconstruction of the 1787 Royal Navy sailing ship HMS Bounty. The Bounty summered in New England and wintered in St. Pete, operating out of the Pier.

“There’s been an overwhelming amount of support” for having the Lynx use St. Petersburg as a permanent winter home, said Don Peacock, executive director of the Lynx Education Foundation. “We’re looking at this as a long-term program.”

The Lynx was built as a hands-on educational tool to teach American history. When she was in St. Petersburg last winter, Peacock said the crew worked with recreational centers in south St. Petersburg and with Admiral Farragut Academy. Kids from both sailed on the ship for a day while they learned how to sail her the way she was sailed in 1812 when the original Lynx went to sea.

“It’s all done by hand,” Peacock said.

Peacock said the Lynx would like to expand its outreach to more schools and recreational centers this year.

The Lynx and its educational programs are run by a non-partisan, nonprofit organization. The funding comes from donations and from the fees that corporations and members of the public pay to go on sails or to rent the Lynx for events.

The Lynx is an interpretation of an 1812 vessel of the same name that was one of the first privateers to take to the seas after the start of the War of 1812. A privateer was used to prey on British merchant vessels. Although the Lynx was designed like a privateer, she was outfitted for trade so she could help keep supply lines open for the Americans during the war. She was captured about a year into the war and saw service as a Royal Navy vessel called the Mosquidobit. In the late 1990s, the modern Lynx was built to the plans of the original.

http://tallshiplynx.com/history/     and Anne Lindberg at  http://saintpetersblog.com/tall-ship-lynx-dock-st-pete-permanently/

 

There is a clear connection between the quality of schools and the value of the homes near them. Families want to raise their children near good schools.

school-grade-postcard-front_web

Pinellas Realtor Organization
Neighborhood Advocates Initiative
School Grades (Campaign #9 / 10.2016)

Sometimes though, it can be difficult to differentiate which schools are considered “good schools.” One resource available to you is the annual report released by the state of Florida. This report grades all public schools on performance, and the state has made the results public at http://schoolgrades.fldoe.org.

The state releases this important data annually, but usually after the school year starts. It may be too late this year to make any changes for your family, but there is always an opportunity to get involved, or move to a new school next year.

Remember, a key factor for the success of our schools is volunteer involvement. Every school has opportunities for parents, and non-parents, to contribute. Kids need mentors and coaches, someone to help make them a healthy meal or put a band-aid on a cut. In the end, community involvement in our schools makes them better, and in turn, keep our neighborhoods and home values strong.
Here are some highlights from this year’s report:
Grades are for 2015-2016: Each school grade consists of data compiled from that school year. Historic performance data is not considered, so past success does not influence current grades. To be fair, an “A” rating is very difficult to achieve. Only three school systems in the state attained that status this year.

What if your school’s grade is a “D” or “F?”: That’s not good, but don’t lose hope! State and local governments use the data to guide policy and steer resources to the places of most need. And to date, this policy has seen success. This year 58% of last year’s “D” and “F” schools improved at least one letter grade. While this is not a complete turnaround, they are now on the path to being great schools.

Pinellas County: Three of the five schools spotlighted in the Tampa Bay Times “Failure Factories” series improved. They still have a way to go to be on par with the county’s overall status a “B” county, but things are getting better. Pinellas County received an overall rating of “B” for school year 2014-2015.

Pasco County: Unfortunately, Pasco County schools on the whole underperformed compared to 2014-2015 going from a “B” district to a “C” rated district. Several schools did see some improvement, but overall, not a banner year for Pasco County Schools.

Hillsborough County: Like Pasco County, Hillsborough County saw some regression going from an overall “A” rating to a “B.” While still a strong school system, any step backwards is unfortunate and requires attention.

It is important to understand how our schools can impact neighborhoods and our real estate. Know that I work to stay informed about issues that affect property rights and values and will keep you informed as well.

You can find out more at schoolgrades.fldoe.org.

If you ever have questions, you can email me at AnnalisaWeller1@gmail.com or call me at 727-804-6566.

© 2016 Pinellas Realtor Organization

Annalisa Weller, Realtor®, Certified International Property Specialist

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  • PRO/CPAR hosts Annual Meeting honors and recognizes members September 13, 2019
    The Annual Business Meeting & Installation was held on September 13, 2019. Go here to view photos of the event. We thank the following PRO/CPAR members for their unwavering commitment to our profession by investing in the REALTORS Political Action Committee. Double Hall of Fame ($50,000+ in their lifetime) Nancy Riley Hall of Fame ($25,000+ […]
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  • September is REALTOR® Safety Month September 4, 2019
    September is REALTOR® Safety Month. As you know, protecting yourself goes beyond vigilance in the field. You also need to be aware of the opportunities to improve your safety at the office and in the digital world. NAR has worked hard to provide resources and tips on the topic of safety. A few quick links […]
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  • Former member Dolores Wilson passed away July 2, 2019
    Dolores Wilson, age 77, of Pinellas Park, passed away on June 29, 2019 surrounded by family in her home. She was born to parents Kenneth and Mary Vigotty, and grew up in Long Island, New York with her two brothers, Michael and Kevin. She relocated to Pinellas County in 1974 with her husband, John Wilson, […]
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  • Association health plans – members opinions wanted June 12, 2019
    How do you feel about PRO/CPAR being able to offer association health insurance as part of your benefits package with us? Will you give us 3 minutes and take a survey about your current health insurance situation and your interest in PRO/CPAR offering you an association plan? If you take the survey, you’ll be entered […]
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  • 2019 Florida Legislature adjourns: Remote notaries, open permits & environment among victories May 6, 2019
    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — May 4, 2019 — 2:16 pm — Your world got a little bit easier thanks to new legislation that brings modern technology and common sense to transactions. The Florida Legislature, which ended its 60-day legislative session minutes ago, passed two bills many Florida Realtors’ members had requested. One allows the use of […]
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