4 Upgrades that can help you lower your homeowner’s insurance cost

reduce your insurance premium

Homeowners’ insurance premiums continue to rise each year. Here are some simple ways to not only lower your insurance premium, but they can also increase your property value.

  1. Do you have a bad roof that’s been leaking, has rotting wood, and is as old as you are? Did you know that insurers offer discounts for roof upgrades? Talk to your insurance agent and see what discounts are available with a new roof.
  2. Storm-Safe Windows and Doors can increase the value of your home, but it can also help you reduce your insurance premiums. Talk with your insurance agent to see what discounts are available to you.
  3. Install a Home Security System. This is an upgrade that’s relatively cheap and can reduce your insurance premium. Talk to your insurance agent.
  4. A Water shutoff device is another easy device that you can install which can help reduce your insurance premium. This device will alert you of moisture or leaks in places that shouldn’t have water. Talk with your insurance agent to see what discounts are available.

These are just a few of the things that can help you lower your insurance premiums. Don’t forget to contact your insurance agent when you get these upgrades to update your policy.

Why is the Appraisal so critical to your real estate transaction?

Arona McGinley Realtor in Tampa florida

Did you know that the appraisal can make or break your real estate sale? The appraiser works for the bank, not the seller or the buyer.

In real estate transactions, we have 3 significant players – the buyer, the seller, and the lender. The Appraiser is the eyes of the lender in the field. An Appraiser plays a vital role in every real estate transaction.

For example, we have a real estate transaction of a sale price of $300,000. The buyer is putting 10% down which is $30,000. He is getting a loan in the amount of $270,000. Everyone so far thinks this home is worth $300,000, obviously, the buyer thinks this because he made an offer for the sale price of $300,000.

The lender now sends the Appraiser out to the home to get an appraisal of what the home is worth. Here is where it can become pretty tricky. When the appraiser goes out here are a few things that can happen:

  1. The appraiser determines that the value of the home is higher than the sales price, maybe its $305,000 instead of $300,000. This is great news because we can go ahead with our transaction.
  2. The appraiser, appraisers the value of the home at $300,000 which is the sales price. Excellent! We move ahead with the transaction.
  3. The appraiser values that home lower than the sales price for example $290,000. This becomes a problem for all parties involved. A couple of things can happen here which is not so great for the parties involved.
  • The Lender can still lend the buyer the money to purchase the home but only for $290,000, not the $300,000 sale price.
  • The seller can either eat the $10,000 and sell the home for $290,000 instead of $300,000. This can sometimes happen, where the seller comes down to the new appraisal price.
  • The buyer can buy the home at $300,000 but would have to bring additional money to the table. You can see this happening in a seller’s market. The loan is now $290,000 with a down payment of $29,0000, the loan amount would be $261,000. The buyer has to bring an extra $10,000 to purchase the home at $300,000.
  • The last thing that can happen is that the whole transaction blows up because neither party is willing to negotiate.

You can see how the Appraiser is vital to a real estate transaction. It does not matter what the buyer or the seller thinks the home is worth. It matters what the Appraiser thinks…that’s what counts!

Leave It To The Professionals


Many of us may buy and sell a home maybe once or twice in our lifetime. This is one of the biggest investments that we will make so why leave it to chance. I know many of the DIYs are thinking I can do this job, this is a piece of cake. I can put my listing online and I can get a bunch of great offers. This is a common way of thinking for the average homeowner.

Don’t Make This Mistake

A homeowner may not know the value of their home. They either, undervalue it which they can potentially lose more than what they would have spent on hiring a Realtor who would have priced it correctly. On the flip side, we have the FSBOs that think their home is worth a lot more than it actually is.

Homes that are over-priced tend to sit on the market and get stale over time. Most people would not even call because they think that something is wrong with the home if it’s been on the market that long without a sale. It really isn’t an advantage, having your home sitting on Zillow for over 90 days. Don’t make the mistake of doing this.

Realtors know that homeowners are honest and hardworking people. We want to do our best to sell your home and get you as much as we can in the shortest period of time. We are there to be the buffer, to negotiate for you and your family, to do all the dirty work so you can get the benefit of a stress-free transaction. We strive to make your life remain as normal as possible during this whole process of selling your home.

Keep in mind

Your home will sell for what it is appraised at. It does not matter if you think your home is worth $20,000 more. It’s what the appraiser thinks it’s worth. Get a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA). Some Realtors will do this for free for you, so ask for one.

Tip: If you know you don’t like

  • answering the phone, and talking to strangers
  • is not available to show your home during the day or evenings
  • cannot do open houses
  • hate to negotiate with people
  • already busy with family life (school, sports, work, kids)
  • not computer savvy
  • can’t take good photos

Don’t attempt to sell your own home. You are better off using a Realtor to help you sell your home. Call me if you are selling your home in the Tampa, Seminole, Largo, Clearwater, Pinellas Park, Tarpon Spring, Palm Harbor areas. I am an agent in Pinellas County Florida and can answer any questions you may have about selling your home.

Call/Text: 727-422-9340 Email: arona.mcginley@gmail.com


Create a luxurious outdoor space like a pro

Patio spaces in florida

It’s time for you to get out the patio furniture, barbecue grill and spruce up the plants and flowers. Need some help creating as oasis in your back yard? Grilling season is here and there is color all around you, from blooming flowers and trees to vibrant colored rugs and pillows for your new outdoor patio.

To get your patio ready for entertaining we got to get a little money, lots of elbow grease and some of your time.

Patio Furniture

If you already have perfectly good patio furniture you may just need to replace the cushions or brighten it up with some colorful accent pillows, I have found some great deals at Biglots, Lowes, and Wayfair. If your furniture is a little worn out you can either paint it which is an inexpensive project, especially if it’s made out of wicker, metal or wood. These are great for restoration and can look brand new once they are repainted.

Remember to clean and sandpaper to get rid of dirt on furniture before attempting to paint. You can also look on CraigsList.org for some second hand furniture if you need to replace yours, but don’t want to spend a lot of money. If you want to go all out and splurge then go for it. There so many to choose from.

Rugs , Cushions & Pillows

This is my favorite because I think this is what really gives you the look you’re going for. Here you really want to think about what kind of style you’re going for and add in the pillows to give that pop of color . If you have an old rug just power wash it and clean it up, if not go to either Ikea, Walmart or Biglots for rugs at great prices.

I know sometimes the first things to go are the cushions for the patio furniture and I have found them the cheapest at Walmart and Biglots and at super low prices in all colors, and prints.

Don’t break the bank when it comes to purchasing these because they can add up. Choose wisely and be cost conscious.


If you don’t have a patio roof then you will be looking to invest in some shade to escape that Florida sun. I had found some shade sails and cute umbrellas with stands at Sams Club at reasonable prices. These are not too expensive and can also add some color to your patio. If you want to spend more you can invest in retractable awnings at HomeDepot.

Plants and Planters

Flowers and plants can add up very quickly and cost alot. Think about what colors you are going for and don’t go overboard with different colors and varieties. Choose a color scheme and pick a few flowering plants and some plants just to add some greenery. The more planters you add the more work you will have to keep them looking good and keeping them watered. Check out Lowes and Home Depot for great plants and flowers.

Keep them manageable and choose different heights to display them.

Lights, Camera, Action

Add some ambiance to your patio by adding some lighting. There is so much to choose from and they come in all prices. Check out Biglots, for great lighting options at low prices.

Now that you’ve created this fabulous outdoor patio, invite your friends and family to enjoy a lazy brunch or a hot Florida day and even some al fresco dining.

Why you should move to Florida

moving to tampabay florida

Well, Let’s see! Florida is always warm, it’s got the most amazing beaches and is filled with fun things to do every day. You wake up each morning in Florida and you feel energized and ready for a perfect day. Of course Florida has its pros and cons, but we’ve got the sunshine all year round and that’s a win, win in my book.

For me Florida is the perfect place to live. Keep in mind there is no state income tax! It’s pretty affordable to live in Florida and if you’re looking for different types of food and people, then you’re in luck, because Florida is very cosmopolitan. You can never be bored in Florida. It literally costs you nothing to jump in your car and drive to the beach to look at our amazing sunset.

So some of the bad stuff would include, it being very humid, Florida can get really hot in those summer months. We do have to deal with hurricanes and bugs. Some solutions …If you’re hot then hang out in a great restaurant with air condition that is over looking the beach. Wear a hat and sunscreen when you’re outdoors. Sweating is great for getting rid of toxins in your body. Use bug spray to keep away the bugs. Hurricanes can be destructive but every state has it’s good and bad. Florida has mostly the good stuff. Get hurricane rated windows and doors and pack up and leave if you know a hurricane is coming.

If you are thinking of moving to Florida, or you just want to be here for a couple of months out of the year, this is the best time to purchase a home in Florida. Spring is a great time to start looking for a home. Think of using a Realtor when purchasing a home. Realtors have access to there largest database of available home on the market. There is no cost to you to hire a Buyers Agent.

You may think renting can be an option for you if you plan on moving to Florida. Think again! It maybe cheaper for you to buy. Yes, that’s what I said! Instead of paying your landlords mortgage why not take the money you’re going to pay renting and pay your own mortgage. Your home can be an investment and you can get tax deductions for your mortgage interest, get equity in your home. You have the freedom to have your pets in your own home versus having to ask permission if renting. Your home can be sold if you want to move and you can make a profit from owning your own home. Start looking for home now in Pinellas County Florida.

Bottom line, I love that it’s beautiful all year round in Florida. The people are great, the schools are great and the lifestyle is what you can only dream of living, but if you move to Florida, then it can be your reality.

Staging Your Home To Sell

benefits of staging your home

When selling your home you need to show buyers a house that they can’t wait to live in. A well-staged home can have a big impact on whether the buyer makes and offer or not. This gives the buyer a memorable first impression of your home.

Here are some reasons why you should think about staging your home if you are planning on selling it.


You want buyers to visualize themselves living in your home, raising their family and entertaining their friends. Once they can visualize that, they can then make a connection with your house. Then they carry that image with them to every other home they visit. You have a higher chance of getting an offer.

The Wow Factor

When your home is staged, it means that it is not personalized. The home owner have gotten rid of their clutter and personal photos etc. The home now looks dynamic and professional. The furniture and accessories are placed strategically to enhance the space. Basically your home now looks like a million bucks.

A Great First Impression

To get the best possible price on your home you need to make their first impression an memorable one. Once that buyer steps into your home it needs to smell good, look good and just blow them away. When they leave your home they should have formed a good opinion about your home. This can make a big impact of getting an offer or not.

Higher Price, Faster Closings

A properly staged home can give you a substantial increase in pricing in a challenging market. You are more likely to sell your home faster if it’s staged versus if it’s not staged.

Whether you have a professional staging your home or you are doing it yourself, keep in mind that most buyers want to visualize themselves living in a home. Go with a neutral palette and a design that will appeal to a broad range of buyers. Make sure your home is bright, clean and not loaded with too much furniture and personal stuff. When a buyer walks through the home it should be a pleasant experience for the buyer and free of distractions.


Arona McGinley -Realtor®