Pinellas County Middle Schools

April 18, 2009

schoolhouseThe following is an alphabetical listing of all Pinellas County Middle Schools:

  • Azalea Middle School
  • Bay Point Middle School
  • Carwise Middle School
  • Clearwater Intermediate
  • Coachman Fundamental Middle School
  • Dunedin Highland Middle School
  • John Hopkins Middle School
  • Kennedy Middle School
  • Largo Middle School
  • Lealman Intermediate
  • Madeira Beach Middle School]
  • Meadowlawn Middle School
  • Morgan Fitzgerald Middle School
  • Oak Grove Middle School
  • Osceola Middle School
  • Palm Harbor Middle School
  • Pinellas Park Middle School
  • Safety Harbor Middle School
  • Seminole Middle School
  • Southside Fundamental Middle School
  • Tarpon Springs Middle School
  • Thurgood Marshall Fundamental
  • Tyrone Middle School

If you notice an error in this Pinellas County Middle Schools list please notify me! Thank you.

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Pinellas County High Schools

April 18, 2009

The following are all of the High Schools in the Pinellas County School District:

  • Bayside High School
  • Boca Ciega High School
  • Clearwater High School
  • Countryside High School
  • Dixie M. Hollins High School
  • Dunedin Academy
  • Dunedin High School
  • East Lake High School
  • Gibbs High School
  • Lakewood High School
  • Largo High School
  • Northeast High School
  • Norwood Secondary School
  • Osceola High School
  • Palm Harbor University High School
  • Pinellas Park High School
  • PTEC/Clearwater Team High School
  • PTEC/St Petersburg Team
  • Seminole High School
  • St Petersburg Collegiate High School
  • St. Petersburg High School
  • St. Petersburg Secondary PTEC
  • Tarpon Springs High School

If you notice errors in this Pinellas County High Schools list please notify me! Thank you.

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The Great Depression Ahead: How to Prosper in the Crash Following the Greatest Boom in History by Harry S. Dent

April 13, 2009

the-great-depressionBook Description
The first and last economic depression that you will experience in your lifetime is just ahead. The year 2009 will be the beginning of the next long-term winter season and the initial end of prosperity in almost every market, ushering in a downturn like most of us have not experienced before. Are you aware that we have seen long-term peaks in our stock market and economy very close to every 40 years due to generational spending trends: as in 1929, 1968, and next around 2009? Are you aware that oil and commodity prices have peaked nearly every 30 years, as in 1920, 1951, 1980 — and next likely around late 2009 to mid-2010? The three massive bubbles that have been booming for the last few decades — stocks, real estate, and commodities — have all reached their peak and are deflating simultaneously.

Bestselling author and renowned economic forecaster Harry S. Dent, Jr., has observed these trends for decades. As he first demonstrated in his bestselling The Great Boom Ahead, he has developed analytical techniques that allow him to predict the impact they will have. The Great Depression Ahead explains “The Perfect Storm” as peak oil prices collide with peaking generational spending trends by 2010, leading to a more severe downtrend for the global economy and individual investors alike.

He predicts the following:

• The economy appears to recover from the subprime crisis and minor recession by mid-2009 — “the calm before the real storm.”

• Stock prices start to crash again between mid- and late 2009 into late 2010, and likely finally bottom around mid-2012 — between Dow 3,800 and 7,200.

• The economy enters a deeper depression between mid-2010 and early 2011, likely extending off and on into late 2012 or mid-2013.

• Asian markets may bottom by late 2010, along with health care, and be the first great buy opportunities in stocks.

• Gold and precious metals will appear to be a hedge at first, but will ultimately collapse as well after mid- to late 2010.

• A first major stock rally, likely between mid-2012 and mid-2017, will be followed by a final setdback around late 2019/early 2020.

• The next broad-based global bull market will be from 2020-2023 into 2035-2036.

Conventional investment wisdom will no longer apply, and investors on every level — from billion-dollar firms to the individual trader — must drastically reevaluate their policies in order to survive. But despite the dire news and dark predictions, there are real opportunities to come from the greatest fire sale on financial assets since the early 1930s. Dent outlines the critical issues that will face our government and other major institutions, offering long- and short-term tactics for weathering the storm. He offers recommendations that will allow families, businesses, investors, and individuals to manage their assets correctly and come out on top. With the right knowledge and preparation, you can take advantage of new wealth opportunities rather than get caught in a downward spiral. Your life is about to change for reasons outside of your control. You can’t change the direction of the winds, but you can reset your sails!

From Booklist
Dent, author and consultant, predicts the economy is moving toward a major depression, with the deflation of bubbles in stocks, real estate, and commodities between mid- to late 2009 and mid- to late 2012, and it could last for a decade or more. Rather than offering only a gloomy outlook, Dent presents a road map for the difficult times ahead, suggesting cash and money-market investments initially and then highest quality U.S. Treasury, municipal, and corporate bonds and that same quality of bonds in stable Asian and European economies. When assets eventually fall in value, there will be unprecedented buying opportunities for those who are “lean and mean.” Theories and forecasts abound in the financial turmoil facing the U.S. and global markets in late 2008, and everyone may not agree with Dent. However, he makes a compelling case for his predictions and this is an excellent book to challenge a broad range of library patrons.

About the Author
Harry S. Dent, Jr., is President of the H. S. Dent Foundation, whose mission is “Helping People Understand Change.” In his first book, The Great Boom Ahead, published in 1992, he stood virtually alone in forecasting the unanticipated boom of the 1990s. He has since authored two bestselling books, The Roaring 2000s and The Roaring 2000s Investor. A Harvard MBA, Fortune 100 consultant, new venture founder and investor, and noted speaker, Dent offers a refreshingly positive view of the future with practical applications at all levels.

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Real People. Real Lives. Real Estate.

April 12, 2009

There’s a good reason I picked this slogan for my new real estate web site. Not only is it a catchy and memorable combination of letters, words and punctuation marks, but it’s also a clear message to my past, present and future clients about my personal philosophy with regards to real estate and life in general.

People come first. And in my slogan you can see that I’m placing “Real People” right out front where they belong. This is not just a clever marketing ploy. It’s how I live my life. Anyone that knows me on a personal level knows that I practice what I preach. People do indeed come first and I will always treat buyers, sellers, Realtors, and ALL people as if they matter and deserve respect, honesty and professionalism. My philosophy is that if I put people first the paychecks and business success will follow.

“Real Lives” has a special meaning to me. Not only do I put people first but I take into consideration that every person has a story, history, family, fears and dreams. My goal is to get to know a little about the real lives of the real people I assist. Not all buyers and sellers are the same. My mission is to break through the traditional barriers that exist between a client and a salesperson so that I can genuinely understand how I can satisfy their needs.

The first step is to be a good listener. Don’t you find it frustrating to be trying to express yourself to someone and they talk right over you or finish your sentences? Listening is more than an acquired or learned skill. It shows respect for the person doing the talking.

The third part of my slogan is “Real Estate,” and while I love selling real estate, and being a Realtor, it remains in 3rd place for a good reason. I could never and would never stick with this profession if I didn’t place the real lives of the real people I help first. The fact is real estate is an extremely stressful and challenging career. It is a never-ending saga of learning more and more about contracts, laws, economics, market trends and conditions, and so much more. But most importantly being a Realtor is about being a people person. My job is to listen to people and what they express as their wants and needs and then to set a strategy for meeting and exceeding their expectations. And I truly do love it.

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The Top 10 Real Estate Books

April 11, 2009

top-10Whether you’re a real estate investor, home owner or buyer looking to understand the complexities of this challenging real estate market there is a book just for you. The following list is the Top 10 Real Estate Books being sold right now on You’ll also find this list permanently situated in my right sidebar.

For home buyers I highly recommend “Home Buying for Dummies” and for my fellow Realtors you can’t do better than Gary Keller’s “The Millionaire Real Estate Agent.” Here’s to your education and financial prosperity!

1. The Great Depression Ahead: How to Prosper in the Crash Following the Greatest Boom in History, By Harry S. Dent

2. Home Buying For Dummies, 3rd edition, By Eric Tyson and Ray Brown

3. SHIFT: How Top Real Estate Agents Tackle Tough Times, By Gary Keller, Dave Jenks and Jay Papasan

4. Rich Dad’s Advisors®: The ABC’s of Real Estate Investing: The Secrets of Finding Hidden Profits Most Investors Miss, By Ken McElroy

5. Every Landlord’s Tax Deduction Guide, By Stephen Fishman

6. The Pre-Foreclosure Property Investor’s Kit: How to Make Money Buying Distressed Real Estate — Before the Public Auction, By Thomas Lucier

7. The Subprime Solution: How Today’s Global Financial Crisis Happened, and What to Do about It, By Robert J. Shiller

8. The Millionaire Real Estate Agent: It’s Not About the Money…It’s About Being the Best You Can Be!, By Gary Keller, Dave Jenks, and Jay Papasan

9. Financial Shock: A 360º Look at the Subprime Mortgage Implosion, and How to Avoid the Next Financial Crisis, By Mark Zandi

10. The Great Depression Ahead: How to Prosper in the Crash That Follows the Greatest Boom in History, (Audio Book) By Harry S. Dent

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Question: How long does it take to do a flat fee listing?

April 9, 2009

hourglassRecently I’ve received many great questions through email about Flat Fee Listings that I’ll start answering here in this section. This is a question emailed to me from Cindy K. in Palm Harbor, FL. She’d like to know how long it takes to list her home in the MLS as a flat fee listing.

Here is what is entailed in a Flat Fee Listing. We’ll set up a convenient day and time to meet at your home. I’ll bring all of the paperwork, already filled out, which really amounts to a listing agreement, some addendums, and a seller disclosure. I’ll bring my wide-angle digital camera and a notepad to take notes about your property. You’ll then give me a brief tour of your home pointing out what you think are the strong selling points, such as improvements and remodeling. If there are roof leaks or problems that could materially effect the value of your home, now would be a good time to point these out too. A tour or preview of your home takes about 10 minutes.

We then will sit down and sign the listing paperwork. Set aside 20 minutes for this part of the meeting. So we’re at 30 minutes total so far. If you have questions or comments we could spend significantly longer.

After we have the paperwork completed I’ll need to take some quality digital photos of your home. This will take about 15 minutes. Having great photos is absolutely essential. You might notice that the majority of listings in MLS show only 1 or a few photos. This is a huge mistake and it gives potential buyers the impression the seller is hiding something. And sometimes they are.

Usually, I’ll snap 100 to 150 photos and keep them in a file on my computer. MLS only allows 10 total photos to be displayed, but having up to 150 available allows me to pick the 10 most flattering images. Also, the Charles Rutenberg Realty web site allows up to 20 photos and I like to use all 20 slots if possible. They say a picture is worth $1,000 words…. And believe it or not I’ve sold many homes to buyers that never actually saw the home prior to closing. They relied upon my digital photos sent via email. This is another great reason to have a huge library of photos. Your home will be advertised on my home page too.

At this point we’ve spent 45 minutes together. We’re done with this stage. You’ll give me a check for the Flat Fee Listing, made out to “Charles Rutenberg Realty, Inc.” I’ll now leave and head back to the office to spend a few hours creating your listing. Before I leave I’ll give you a “Seller’s Real Property Disclosure” to fill out, on your own time, and possibly some other addendums to protect you from the possibility of litigious buyers. You can take a few days to fill these addendums out. When they’re done I will scan them and add them to your MLS listing so that buyer’s agents can download and print them for their buyers.

The next day or soon thereafter we’ll meet again for 5 minutes. I’ll put a lockbox on your door after you provide a spare key for the lockbox. I’ll give you a sign-in book for agents to sign when they show your home. The sign-in book will include a stack of listing flyers that you can use however you see fit. I suggest leaving a dozen in the sign-in book so you always have some available. You’ll hopefully have completed the Seller’s Real Property Disclsoure and I’ll take that away with me. If you haven’t – no problem. I’ll get it whenever you’re done.

When your check clears your listing will go live in the MLS. Immediately, with no delay, your home will be available to 1000’s of Realtors and their networks of buyers. You’ll want to make sure your home is ready to be shown at all times. The entire listing process takes about 2 hours out of your life, but will prove to be the smartest marketing decision you could make.

I hope this answers your question.

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7% of Homeowners and 40% of Subprime Homeowners 30 Days Behind on Mortgage

April 9, 2009

helpTampa Bay Realtors will tell you that their cell phones are starting to ring again. And no I’m not talking about bill collectors calling. These calls are from buyers hungry for deals. Buyers of all shapes and sizes are starting to peek out from under their rocks and from behind their trees, which is actually quite frightening if you aren’t expecting it.

But all this activity doesn’t seem to be enough to hold back the tide of financial ruin that is sweeping across our nation. Equifax just released these statistics:

Dann Adams, president of U.S. Information Systems for Equifax Inc, reported that 7 percent of homeowners with mortgages were at least 30 days late on their loans in February, an increase of more than 50 percent from a year earlier.

He also said 39.8 percent of subprime borrowers were at least 30 days behind on their home mortgage loans, up 23.7 percent from last year.

“I’m trying to find optimism in these numbers, but I’m pretty hard pressed to do that,” Adams said, despite a recent burst of relatively positive news that has fueled hope that the U.S. housing market has turned a corner. Reuters

Pretty depressing isn’t it? On a positive note…..actually, I can’t think of anything positive about this right now, but I’ll get back with you when I can.

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The Ultimate Title Search

April 8, 2009

magnifying-glassThe following was sent to me via email by a licensed title agent and I think it’s hilarious. But before I get to the funny stuff I should probably define “title search.” Not everyone reading this knows the term or definition and as a result might not get the humor.

According to Wikipedia a title search is is a process that is performed primarily to determine the answer to three questions:

  1. Does the seller have a saleable interest in the property?
  2. What kind of restrictions or allowances pertain to the use of the land (real covenants, easements, or other servitudes)?
  3. Do any liens exist on the property which need to be paid off at closing (mortgages, back taxes, mechanic’s liens, or other assessments)?

For the purpose of this post the above definition should suffice. Now on to the funny part…

The post office department at Washington, making a careful investigation of the titles to proposed post office sites in Louisiana, received proof of title as far back as 1803, but not satisfied, wrote for evidence as to prior titles… the attorney’s reply read as follows:

I note your comment upon the fact that the record of title sent you as applying to lands under consideration dates only from the year 1803, and your request for an extension of the record prior to that date.

Please be advised that the Government of the United States acquired the Territory of Louisiana, including the tract to which your inquiry applies, by purchase from the Government of France in the year 1803.

The Government of France acquired title by conquest from the Government of Spain, the Government of Spain acquired title by discovery of one Christopher Columbus, traveler and explorer, resident of Genoa, Italy, who had done so by agreement concerning the acquisition of title to any lands discovered, traveled, and explored under the sponsorship and patronage of her Majesty, the Queen of Spain.

The Queen of Spain had verified her arrangement and received sanction of her title by consent of the Pope, a resident of Rome, Italy, and ex-officio representative and vice-regent of one Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ was the son and Heir-apparent of God… God created Louisiana.

I trust this complies with your request

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Home Buying For Dummies. 3rd Edition by Eric Tyson and Ray Brown

April 7, 2009

home-buying-for-dummiesBook Description
Though fun and exciting, buying a home can also be complicated and confusing—and most people learn the hard way that a wrong move can cost dearly. In order to find the perfect home at the best price, you must have skill, foresight, and a little guidance from experienced professionals.

Home Buying for Dummies, Third Edition provides just that! Packed with invaluable advice in an objective, down-to-earth style that will have you sitting in your dream home in no time, this friendly guide contains everything you need to know to play the home buying game. It has the tools you need to:

  • Improve your credit score and select a mortgage
  • Choose a time and place to buy
  • Determine the price you want to pay
  • Assemble an all-star real estate team
  • Make use of the wonderful world of the Internet
  • Negotiate your best deal
  • Inspect and protect your home
  • Handle and become responsible for the title
  • Cope with buyer’s remorse

Featured in this guide are tips and tricks on things you should do after you seal the deal, as well as things you ought to know about real estate investing. Also included is advice on how to sell your house, as well as a sample real estate purchase contract and a good inspection report. Don’t get chewed up by the real estate market—Home Buying for Dummies, Third Edition will lead you to the home you want!

About the Author
Ray Brown, a real estate professional for more than 30 years, hosts a real estate radio show in San Francisco.

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Pine Ridge at Lake Tarpon Listings

April 7, 2009

pine-ridge-map2A client emailed me today asking about Pine Ridge at Lake Tarpon in Tarpon Springs, Florida. They’re considering buying a condo or villa in this very desirable condominium community and they wanted some information to help them determine whether or not this community would work for their budget and lifestyle needs. So I’m going to share some information here as Pine Ridge is one of my favorite subdivisions in Tarpon Springs.

As of April 7, 2009 here are the stats for Pine Ridge at Lake Tarpon:

  • 39 total condos listed
  • 6 of 39 are “Pending”
  • 33 of 39 are “Active” (available)
  • List prices range from $39,000 to $149,000
  • Average days on market for Active listings  is 164
  • Average days on market for Pending listings is 35
  • Average list price per square foot for Active listings is $91
  • Average list price per square foot for Pending listings is $77

These figures are misleading without some professional interpretation. What someone is asking for their property isn’t nearly as important as what past comparable properties sold for recently. But for simplicities sake it is fair to say that you can buy an 1100 square foot condo in average condition for $50,000 – $70,000 in Pine Ridge at Lake Tarpon. Every listing is different and other factors come into play, such as whether or not the listing is a fair market listing, a short sale listing, or a bank-owned (REO) listing.  A competent Realtor is essential in this crazy market and you would be nuts to try to purchase a short sale or bank-owned property without professional help.

For those interested in Pine Ridge at Lake Tarpon be advised that they have a strict maximum pet weight of 25lbs. If your dog weighs 30lbs don’t think you’ll slide by their RADAR. I talked to the condo association of Deer Hollow (Phase II of Pine Ridge at Lake Tarpon) and they proudly informed me that if they suspect an owner’s dog is over the 25lb limit they’ll require that owner to bring his or her dog to their vet to have one or two of the dogs legs amputated to lower the dogs total weight. Ok, that was a sick joke. But they’ll make you bring your dog to their vet to be weighed.  So don’t test them.

As I just said it is more important to examine the actual sales prices and not concentrate on what people are wishing and hoping and dreaming to get for their homes.

In the past 30 days there have been 3 total sales in Pine Ridge at Lake Tarpon:

  1. Sale 1 was listed at $52,900 and sold for $50,500 with 29 days on market. This was a 2 bed, 2 bath, 1,060 square foot condo.
  2. Sale 2 was listed for $69,900 and sold for $66,000 with 130 days on market.  This was a 2/2 with 1,085 square feet.
  3. Sale 3 was listed at $79,900 and sold for $72,100 with 58 days on market. This was the largest floorplan with 3 beds, 2 baths and 1,465 square feet.

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