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Check your credit report for free 3 times a year – Here is how it’s done!

Everybody seems to know consumers are entitled to a free credit report from each of the leading credit report offices once a year, yet hardly anybody acts on it! In a roomful of people, when asked who checks their credit on a regular basis, only a handful of people are actually doing it, and know how to!

Today, after I realized my own husband didn’t know, I wanted to share the information on how to monitor your credit for free, and yes, I am a Realtor, I am not trying to sell a monthly subscription to a credit monitoring service – I am posting this because I believe every single person should be empowered to catch false information on their credit as soon as possible, and not when they are applying for a mortgage or a car loan, and are denied based on an inaccurate report!

Unpleasant Surprise – photo courtesy of

Here is how it’s done:

Go to This is the way to start your free search, don’t go directly to the Experian, Equifax or Transunion websites, it is actually much harder to figure out, if at all possible, how to get a free report.

Enter you information, and select ONE of the 3 credit reporting offices: Experian, Equifax or Transunion. You can review all your current mortgages, credit cards, any financing you have going on, as well as your payment history on these accounts. If you see false information, like that you have been late when you have not, you can be pro-active and dispute that.

You might also see NEW, FRAUDULENT credit cards or debt that might have been opened in your name. Yes, criminals do that! – They pretend to be you, start a new credit card, have the statement sent to the address of a vacant home, and spend the full credit limit before anybody catches on! The sooner you act, the smaller the potential damage to your credit.

Visit every 4 months, and check one credit report only each time, normally the reports from the 3 offices mostly say the same thing. If you are a husband and wife or have joined credit cards or debt with any partner, check one of your reports every other month, to get an even tighter coverage on your credit monitoring!

This is truly a free service, please act on it, click on this link right now, check and protect your credit!

If you are thinking about buying any kind of real estate in the Central/South Pinellas area, please give me a call. I will be your partner and problem solver the entire way from looking for the perfect property, to closing on your new home!

Call me today for all your real estate needs! 727-480-4155

Tanja Cisliek |Realtor  

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How to enjoy your fresh flowers longer

Fresh flowers that got droopy.

I am a Realtor and love my job, but I am also a wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, and a savvy person who likes to get the biggest bang for my buck!!So here a page about things I do and like, things that have nothing to do with buying and selling real estate, but with being a savvy person and doing some neat stuff. – Enjoy!

Today’s Problem: These fresh flowers got droopy before they ever even opened up!

Project Expense: ZERO (well, for me, not counting the $$ the person invested who gave the flowers)

Time Effort: 3 min.

I cut the blossoms close to the head, wanted to get a few more days of enjoyment out of the arrangement. Filled a crystal bowl with water, put some glass stones (or river stones) in the bottom, and stuck a couple of the green leaves in there, too.


Floating fresh flowers – for a few more days of enjoyment!

Overwhelmed? Rent now and buy later!

Moving to Florida is still many people’s dream, and most people who move to the Sunshine State live here happily ever after and will tell you “The only regret we have is that we didn’t do this sooner!”

But as people are trying to tackle the practical side of re-locating, they soon realize it’s a rather big undertaking. Often a major move like that is triggered by a big, significant event in people’s lives: job change, retirement, change in marital status, getting away from the cold, downsizing, there are a million reasons to move.

In order to move, the old residence has to be sold, so you put it on the market. It doesn’t sell immediately, and you keep thinking about this upcoming move. You would like to organize your future now, but can’t buy a new home in Florida because you need your equity for your down payment. You spend hours looking at properties on the internet, but can’t make a move on anything because you can not and do not want to carry the risk of owning 2 homes.

Maybe the husband is already working in Florida, and the rest of the family is still up North, trying to sell the house, but missing their head of household dearly. Then, FINALLY, the big day, the old home is under contract. All good to go now, right? – Not quite!

Now the stress of having to find that perfect new home in Florida you have been dreaming about really begins! A condo? A house? A smaller condo on the water, or house within driving distance to the water? The tranquil setting of the Gulf of Mexico, or the vibrant, energetic Downtown St. Petersburg Area?? Pretty soon you are pulling your hair out, and feel pressured into all kinds of decision-making within a very short period of time.

Overwhelmed? Call me. Rent Now – Buy Later!

I have started helping clients with rentals about 3 or 4 years ago, and have been happily doing it ever since. I have seen several clients enjoy the benefits of renting a temporary home, instead of trying to simultaneously selling and buying real estate.

You can rent furnished or unfurnished. For a few months or a year. Try condo living without buying one, try a 55+ community to see if you like it. Renting gives you the precious opportunity of test driving your new lifestyle, without buying the property yet!

If you are looking to move to Florida and would like to take the uncertainty out of it, call me. I will help you to rent a nice condo or house in the St. Petersburg area now, and you can later take your time and decide on one of the biggest investments most people have – your new home. I am a full-service Realtor, I can help you rent now, and buy later. I will help you find the perfect property, I will be your partner and problem solver the entire way from renting your temporary home to closing on your new forever-home in Florida!

Call me today for all your real estate needs! 727-480-4155

Tanja Cisliek |Realtor  

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Westwind Waterfront Condos Treasure Island – Grand Opening!

March 8, 2012 1 comment

It is not very often these days that I am able to announce something exciting like this, South Beaches Real Estate Professionals proudly presents:

Westwinds Condos Treasure IslandGrand Opening at the Westwinds Waterfront Condos in Treasure Island on Thursday, March 8th – March 11th!

12:00-7:00 PM, Catered by Bayou Catering

View newly renovated, freshly appointed Bayfront condos,

choose from many models and sizes, prices from the  $120,000.-‘s!

The Westwinds in Treasure Island Florida is a condo complex right on the east side of Gulf Blvd and across the street from the beautiful Treasure Island beaches. March 8th 36 completely remodeled units go on sale. The owners can have 2 pets up to 50 pounds each, and the condos can be rented on a daily basis. On site rental management is available if you need it. The Westwinds condo complex is right on the Bay, has a gorgeous outdoor area with a heated pool, sun deck, BBQ area and 3 docks.

10265 Gulf Blvd, Treasure Island, FL 33706 

 Call me for details!!


Tanja Cisliek |Realtor  

Call me today for all your real estatet needs! 727-480-4155

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How much is this property worth? – From the Seller’s point of view.

March 5, 2012 1 comment

This age-old question Sellers are asking is never easy to answer!

Each property has its own unique situation and features, but there are some main factors that will affect the value of any property:

  • Property Condition: A well-maintained, CLEAN, safe (no exposed wires, trip hazards, etc), and livable property with working appliances will get a higher price than a total fixer-upper. Beautifully upgraded houses or condos often get a premium price, but not always. Staging helps many tired or bland looking properties to shine!
  • Location, Location, Location! Some locations are better than others. Even within the same subdivision of homes, or the same condo complex, not all condos or homes are the same. Talk to a Real Estate Professional like me that knows your subdivision. For Florida, the most significant preference I observe for condos is that seasonal residents like to soak up the sun while in Florida, so “sunny side is best” for them. Buyers for single family homes don’t seem to feel as strongly about the sun.
  • Waterview? Boat Slip? Water access? This feature is really covered under “location”, but if your property has a water view, boat slip or water access, the value is naturally higher than the same property without these features. But not all water is the same, how deep the waterway is, if there are bridges to go under, if deeded boat slips or putting in a dock are allowed, are all factors affecting your property value.
  • Pets: Pets are often a problem in condos or even townhomes. If your complex is “pet friendly” per the deed restrictions, a higher price might be attainable. Works though only if your specific Buyer is a pet owner and lover!
  • Gated: Comparable units in gated versus non-gated communities normally get a higher price.
  • Deed Restrictions: Age-restricted communities typically sell for less than non-age restricted properties. Age restrictions limit the pool of potential Buyers, so a smaller number of people are competing to buy your property.
  • Seller’s Situation: It is still true, there are some desperate Sellers out there, and some great deals can be picked up right now! Contact me to get started on finding your perfect property TODAY!

Harbourside Condos in South Pasadena, FL are a very practical example (and a favorite community of mine!), how sales prices can vary greatly even within the same subdivision or complex, and even the same floor plan!!

In all of 2011, 16  condos with the “Biscayne” floor plan of 1,145 sq ft were sold in Harbourside. The HIGHEST sold price was $279,000.-, my partner Denise Hobbs and I were the listing agents on this sale. The LOWEST sales price was $190,000.-. WHAT A CRAZY DIFFERENCE!!

If you have any questions or would like to talk about specific factors affecting the value of your property, please call me at 727-480-4155 or contact me!

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Tanja Cisliek|Realtor     cell 727-480-4155      fax 727-498-5656                                 South Beaches Real Estate Professionals Inc.

What happened to all the properties for sale?

March 2, 2012 2 comments

As I am typing this text in March of 2012, my thoughts go back to 2007 and 08 where at any given moment there were over 30 units for sale in one of my favorite condo communities. Considering there are over 800 condos there, this number always was pleasantly low, even when the market was very slow.

Today, I ran a search, and there are 17 condos listed in the MLS for sale (source: MyFloridaRegionalMLS). I don’t have hard facts to back this up, because there is no way to go back and search the MLS by “how many condos were listed for sale at any given point in time”, but I think this is a record low in a long, long, long time. Like several years long.

I have Buyers that I am working with, that just can’t seem to find that perfect condo for sale that they are looking for. It’s either not in their preferred building, too high up, not high enough, not the floor plan they like best, needs to be updated, updated but not quite their taste, just not the perfect one for them.  For a long time now it has been more like “Which one of these fabulous choices do I like best?”. – But it seems that the times of a huge selection of properties to choose from is over!

Maybe one day we’ll all look back at the winter of 2012 and realize, that this was when prices started to climb up again? I have again no hard facts to back my feeling up with, but if the laws of economics still work, then it seems like the demand is higher than the supply, and that is indeed the factor that will lead to price increases. Some of the reports in the news are supporting my feelings, but I am not sure yet about this new and changing real estate market. It will be interesting to re-visit the SOLD prices at the end of 2012 versus the prior years!

If you have similar of different thoughts on this topic, I would love to hear from you and discuss this further! You can reach me at 727-480-4155 or via

If you are thinking about buying or selling real estate in our area, call me today!

Tanja Cisliek | Realtor   cell 727-480-4155

Why can’t I move in tomorrow?

February 27, 2012 Leave a comment

It happened again, and it will probably happen again in the future: I showed a condo to a client, he really likes the amenities and condo, and he wants to move-in this coming Monday. But I have to tell him he can’t. He is upset, because the condo is vacant. “It’s vacant, I got the money, I want to move in!”  – But you can’t yet, you need to be approved by the Association!!

There are millions of condo associations out there, and lots of townhome or single family communities with deed restrictions, and every one of them is a little different. But many of them have one rule in common: No move-in without new owner or new tenant approval!

This is a very common procedure for condos, but the tighter the deed restrictions are, the more likely it is even for townhome and single family subdivisions to have that rule.

Be it a Condo Association or a Home Owner’s Association, each entity would have its own New Owner/New Tenant application form, but the procedure is mostly the same. A complete application package normally has to be submitted to the appropriate Owner’s Association Board, often via the Property Management Company. The complete application package typically consists of:

– The Application Form, completed and signed by all applicable parties (typically Seller and Buyer/Owner and Tenant)

– Copy of the executed (signed) lease or purchase contract

Application fee if applicable

The documentation is reviewed, verified, and approval notice is given to the Seller/Owner and/or other interested parties like Title Companies or Property Management Companies.

Why is this approval so important to the Association?

They would like to know whom to contact in case of emergency. Whom can they call if there seems to be a safety issue or problem at the condo, like water dripping from the ceiling in the condo under you? Is the unit occupied or vacant, what if maintenance on the common area like the walkways requires access to the unit? The application form is where the Association is learning the new Owner/Tenants’s name, phone numbers, etc.

The application process ensures that the deed restrictions at the property are being followed. The copy of the lease ensures for example that the minimum rental periods are being met.

One very important point is that Sellers can’t sell without being current on their association dues, and typically Owner’s aren’t able to get approval for a new Tenant if they aren’t in good standing with the Association. And that keeps the complex financially healthy and stable. Accordingly, if a property has mandatory association fees, it is very likely to require a new resident approval before move-in!

For people new to this process, it just seems to be extra work for new Owners and Tenants. But the fact that a condo or a house are not a hotel, and that you can not simply check-in like at the Holiday Inn, is the very thing that keeps neighborhoods nice, and their resale value up!

Just plan accordingly, and enjoy living in your beautiful new home after you are approved!

Tanja Cisliek |Realtor  cell 727-480-4155  Call me today if you are thinking about buying or selling real estate, I am here to help!

Seller Tips | What to do with all the extra furniture?!

February 10, 2012 2 comments

I so often get asked, “What should I do with all that extra furniture I have?“, and my answer normally is “NOTHING until I get there and we talk about it!!“.

There is no black and white answer to this question, it all depends. One of the problems with completely empty properties is that people like to look at things. If they view an empty property and there are no “things” to look at, they will look at every little flaw that there is – the nail in the wall, the spot on the carpet, the crack in the tile. Often a property that is furnished looks in better condition and more appealing than unfurnished. However, if the furniture is not in good condition, very outdated or not appealing either, then it turns into a turn-off, too.

Here my rule-of-thumb:

If the furniture is “extra” because it’s in bad shape, outdated, or simply ugly, donate it or toss it if too poor of condition to be donated.

If the furniture is “extra” because it is not needed any more, and is attractive enough that a furniture consignment store would be willing to take it, leave it in the property. Ask your real estate agent for help with positioning and how to use it to showcase your property best. I might even suggest a professional staging company come in and stage your property for sale. In that case, you might save some $$ if the staging company can use the existing furniture and fill in the blanks in between instead of starting new.

In today’s real estate market, properties need all the help they can get. Why not let your extra furniture help you sell it?

Tanja Cisliek | Realtor  cell 727-480-4155  fax 727-498-5656                 South Beaches Real Estate Professionals Inc.