Upgraded to 2.5.1

Today I upgraded my blog to WP 2.5.1. It was almost painless. Following the instructions better would have probably made it pain free. The instructions tell you to delete certain files and not overwrite them which I ignored. Once I was done with the ftp, I could not log into wp. So, I went back and read which files and directories to delete and did that along with a new ftp session. Now that I am posting my first post though, I see other problems. 🙂

Still working …..
~problem with the editing functions. they are not there!

Making progress…
~ftp’d over the directory wp-includes/js and it works. I have no idea why this directory wasn’t there because I ftp’d the entire wp-includes directory earlier.

Oh well, all is well at least I think. I’ll be back tomorrow looking at this some more.

Many thanks to this poster:


and Adam Warner for sending me there.

Get Your Home SOLD

Home for saleAlmost seems to good to be true, doesn’t it? Today more and more people are getting down about their homes not selling. What can you do to help? Here’s a few tips that are essential in a tough market and great ideas in any market.

1. Buyers have tons of choices. The condition of the home is now one of the most critical factors. Make it great.

2. Stay informed on the market conditions and statistics. What’s sold, what’s on the market, who is your competition.

3. Call your real estate agent weekly, better yet ask him to call you and brainstorm new ideas.

4. If the activity on your home is non-existant, be the #1 home for sale among your competition for price. Drop the price so that you are 5% lower than like homes in your area.

5. Be a cooperative seller. Take all advice and consider all suggestions from your real estate agent.

6. If a buyer views your home and you get positive feedback, write an offer to the potential buyer giving them a fair price. It might trigger a negotation.

7. Do some networking between your friends, neighbors, and work associates. Let everyone know that your home is for sale.

8. Make the home an easy-show. This means a lock box on the front door and an enthusiastic YES when the phone rings that someone wants to see your home. Then leave the house well before they are scheduled to arrive.

9. Keep the home tidy 24×7. You never know when you will get a call that someone wants to drop by.

10. Rid the home of offensive odors like pet smells and cigarettes. Those are the two biggest turn offs to fussy buyers.

“Tag”, I’m It Too

Donna and BobHi everyone, this is Donna posting, Bob’s wife. Ryan Ward, my favorite Atlanta Realtor tagged me from his blog so my it’s my turn to tag him and then tag 7 other people. But before I do that I need to tell you 7 things about myself. Not sure anyone really cares about me, it’s usually “All About Bob”, but here goes anyhow:

1. I grew up in Buffalo, NY and absolutely hated the cold weather. Moved to Florida when I was 21 and still love it after all these years.

2. I went to college (for the first time) at the ripe old age of 38. Graduated with a 4.0 from the University of South Florida in Management Information Services. I’m not “smart” really, just work very hard.

3. Bob’s a lucky guy to have me. Just look at how many websites he has. 🙂

4. I’m lucky to have Bob too. I was a single parent with 2 young kids (one in diapers) when we met. I wouldn’t have married me!

5. We work a lot but in our free time we like to take the boat out, fish, play with our new puppy (he’s my baby), and spend time with friends and family.

6. I go to “Boot Camp for Women” everyday (M-F) and have been doing this for 4 months. I can run a mile in 8 minutes and my skinny legs have some definition now.

7. My dream is to someday build our vacation home on our lakefront lot in Tennessee. There’s really nothing else that I want ~ except for good health to all of those I love.

Well, there’s 7 things about me. Now I am calling out to 7 of my REW friends so that they can tag me back and tell us all 7 things about themselves. There’s Joe Lane, Annie Maloney, Eric Bramlett, Wayne Long, Judy Orr, Eric Blackwell, and Jennifer Mackay.

Saving Paper :: Big Ways and Small Ways

Save Paper NowI found two new ways to save paper today. One has to do with phone books and the other has to do with airline ticket jackets. First and more importantly, who uses paper phone books anymore? Not too many people actually look up a number anymore – there are many electronic ways to get telephone numbers today. So, be sure to recycle your old phone books – don’t just toss them in the garbage! You can go to one of the many dropoff locations if you don’t have recycling in your neighborhood. Or, better yet – call Verizon and ask them to take you off their phone book delivery list at 1-800-888-8448. If you haven’t used a telephone book in over a year, chances are you aren’t going to in the future.

Next, Delta Air Lines is the first airline to stop the use of paper ticket jackets when people check in at the airport. The vast majority of people use electronic ticketing anyway so it’s not that big of a deal, but a small paper saving nonetheless and one that’s sure to catch on to other airlines.

It’s kind of funny but we still get requests from customers who want us to send them a real estate book. There hasn’t been real estate books in years. Every Tampa Bay MLS listing is online we always tell them. Yet there’s still people who don’t believe us. A very small segment of people, mostly older, will ask us to send them listings by mail. We are always happy to accomodate this type of person. After all, not everyone is comfortable online and as Real Estate agents we need to be sensitive to this. But, we always have someone patient available to help any customer learn how to search for properties on our website. So, if this is you, don’t hesitate to ask!

Another funny real estate story. One of our “hopefully” future customers is tired of looking at the photos of our listing in Chateaux Des Lacs on our website. So, they asked their Realtor to ask us to PRINT out the photos for them so that they can look at them from their lounge chair. What’s a listing agent to do? Of course, I said. PRINT PRINT PRINT. Unfortunatley, sometimes we just can’t save paper, but often times we can.

Any other new ideas on saving paper? Let me know in the form of a comment below.

Win a Free Blog ~ Hosting Too!

Sounds to good to be true but I believe him. Ashley Morgan with UpstartBlogger is really going to give away a free blog. Not just any blog but a 5 character domain name blog. Go find out how, that’s what I did. And, good luck!

Feb 2008 Sales Figures Show Positive Signs

For the first 8 weeks of the year the number of “new” listings put on the market declined. That’s great news. Getting the inventory down will help sales increase. Early in the year there were almost 2000 fewer single family home listings put on the market than the year before for the same time period. Plus, homes under contract for this period are up 22% from Jan 2008. That’s even better news.

Condos appear to have stabilizied as well. For the first 2 months in 2008, they are showing a 17% increase in sales. Considering the glut of inventory for condos, this is something we are all waiting for.

What buyers would be interested in hearing is that the Tampa Bay Area Housing Affordability Index has shot up dramatically for March of 2008 – due mostly to the decline in sales prices already this year. So, that makes home buying more and more attractive to those looking for a good deal.

Below is a list of the some of the hot areas for February 2008 Real Estate Sales – all are within 90-97% of the asking price!

St. Petersburg (north) – 85 houses and 41 condos
Seminole – 47 houses and 33 condos
Dunedin – 35 houses and 25 condos
Palm Harbor – 30 houses and 26 condos

While this is probably not to be taken as a market rebound, it’s darn good news in a continually challenging real estate market. We are hearing this more and more and it’s really true — NOW IS A GREAT TIME TO BUY!

Call us for more info at 1-888-423-5775. Search for Tampa Bay Homes, you are going to like what you see.

Headline: “Triple Punch of Bad News”

James Thorner, we are sick of negative articles about the real estate market. I think your article in the St. Petersburg Times on April 30 is just a little too dramatic. We all know that Tampa Bay area home prices are back to 2005 prices. That’s nothing new. And, except for the people who bought houses in the later part of 2005 and early 2006, it’s really not so bad as you try to make it sound. Home prices have risen steadily over the past 10 years in the Tampa Bay area. What more we could ask for? Your article says “sales prices are about 89 percent higher than they were at the start of 2000” – that in itself is a very good thing. The whole country has suffered a downturn in housing prices and the economy and we, in the Tampa Bay area, are in fact better off than many other places around the United States. We have so much going for ourselves here and now, due to the pricing decrease in home prices, we are only that much more desireable to people up north who want to move here.

Toward the later part of 2005, when home prices were at their peak many of my friends and colleges were leaving the Tampa Bay area because they felt they could no longer afford homes, taxes, and insurance. And, many people thought they had missed the boat on Florida relocation. I, for one, am glad that is no longer the case. Our area is a great place to live and home prices have become affordable once again. So come on down ya’ all – we will take good care of you!

Tampa is “Little Vegas” Now

hard rock casinoVegas style slot machines arrived on the scene at the popular Seminole Hard Rock Casino and the crowds have followed. But visitors are wondering if they pay as well as the previous bingo type machines Hard Rock offered previously.

Regardless, Casino president John Fontana is predicting a huge impact on the new slot machines appeal to customers. By the fall of this year, Hard Rock will have added more table games including blackjack, Pai Gow poker and baccarat.

Many people are signing up for the Players Club in Tampa because the rules for its loyalty program has been expanded to offer bigger discounts to bigger spenders. As it looks right now, the 250 room Hard Rock Hotel is being booked by Players Club members who are taking advantage of deep discounts and free night stays.

Is this a good thing for our city? I would welcome your comments. Not being much of a gambler myself, I can think of better ways to spend my time. There are many other things to do in Tampa.

Wall Springs Park In Palm Harbor is Growing!

Wall Springs ParkPinellas County Commissioners have gotten the go ahead to purchase 4.4 acres of Palm Harbor land and add it to the expansion of Wall Springs Park. There are a total of 12 parcels of five homes that will be demolished and turned into new parkland. The owners of the property have been approached by developers in the past and have turned them down. Dave Brinson says, “We always felt that once the county bought the spring, it made sense for us to make it part of the park system and not develop it.” “There are some of the most beautiful, gorgeous oaks anywhere in the county back there,” he said.

The county is negotiating still to buy an additional few more acres in the same area to add to the park.

Officials are counting on half of the money to purchase the property will come from a Florida Communities Trust grant but if that doesn’t work out then they will use “Penny for Pinellas Funds”.

Situated right off the Pinellas Trail, near Alt. 19, Wall Springs Park has been opened since 1989 with 84 acres. Once the county is finished with all the land acquisitions, the park will be 215 acres. Palm Harbor’s historic natural spring park is a popular favorite with Palm Harbor residents. Read more about Wall Springs Park on our website.