Category Archives: Education

Bombax Tree at St Pete’s MFA

Bombax Tree at St Pete's MFA

Bombax Tree at St Pete’s MFA


Bombax Tree at St Pete’s MFA



If you’ve been in Downtown St Pete during the beginning of Spring, you’ve noticed the tall, climb-y tree next to the Museum of Fine Arts bursting with red blooms. But what kind of tree is that, anyway? We have some trivia for you so the next time someone say “That tree by MFA” you’ll be able to drop some knowledge on them.




The Bombax tree, sometimes called the red cotton tree (because the inside of the fruit has fibers that resemble cotton), is an Asian tropical plant that can grow anywhere from 65 to almost 200 feet tall in tropical areas. The tree loses all of its leaves in the winter time and just before new leaves grow in the spring, it blooms vibrant red five-petal flowers. In Southeastern China, these flowers are often dried and used for tea and the dry cores of the flowers are sometimes used in northern Thai cuisine.

Hurricane Safety Tips



Hurricane Safety Tips



While Tampa Bay hasn’t had a storm hit in 2017, we are still very vulnerable to hurricanes and tropical storms. These hurricane safety tips will help you stay prepared and keep your mind at ease.


Don't Wait




Prepare now, and relax.


We cannot stress this enough: Don’t wait until a storm is imminent to start preparing. We’ve all seen photos of empty shelves at grocery stores right before a large storm hits, and you don’t want to be that family driving all over town to find the supplies you need to secure your house. Or, even worse, be stuck without food and water for days on end.



Stock up on supplies




Make sure your safety kit is stocked and ready to go each year (you can add this to your Spring Cleaning list, which we’ve already prepared for you here!).


Things you want to include:


First aid kit (you can buy these at any drug store)
Any necessary


medication for you and your family (and pets!)


Battery powered radio
Extra batteries (for any devices that are battery powered)


Portable cell phone chargers


Non-perishable foods and water (the State of Florida website suggests 3 days worth)


Entertainment such as books, crosswords, board games, etc.
Cooler, ice and/or ice packs


Manual can opener
Personal hygiene items (deodorant, baby wipes, extra water for bathing, etc)



Know your evacuation route



Plan for a possible evacuation, especially if your home is located in a flood zone. If the state calls for an evacuation of your area, you don’t want to be scrambling to find the most efficient way to get out or not give yourself enough time to do so. Plan ahead, find your route here and have a back-up plan just in case. Keep your gas tank full and pack your hurricane kit in your trunk with any documents you may been in a water proof container.


Do you have a place to stay (with family or friends)? Make arrangements with hotels as soon as you can to ensure they are not already booked. If you have pets, call ahead to hotels and shelters and see if they allow pets. Click here for a map of local evacuation routes, lists of public shelters, and other resources from the City of St Pete.




Secure your home




Before you evacuate, or if an evacuation isn’t mandatory, you’ll want to make sure your home is safe and secure well before a storm approaches. Make sure windows are covered with storm shutters or secure them with wood covering. Take a note of any tree limbs that are hanging over or around your home. Trim any limbs that may cause damage to your home or surrounding homes or may cause your driveway to be obstructed.


Take any lawn/patio furniture, potted plants, decorations, children’s toys, etc. and being them inside to avoid the wind sending them into surrounding buildings/vehicles. Secure driveways and walk ways with sandbags if necessary.



For more information on hurricane safety, please visit the links below.


State of Florida Essential Guide to Hurricane Preparedness

St Pete Hurricane Center

National Weather Service Hurricane Safety Tips and Resources

Bring The Noise: The St Pete Pier Is Coming

Construction begins on the new St Pete Pier.

Construction begins on the new St Pete Pier.


The New St Pete Pier


The ceremonial ground breaking on the St Pete Pier has come and gone and now comes the tough, not-so-pretty part: noise pollution. Remember when the One building started? It was (and is) an ear full of ground pounding, crane engine running, and metal clanking throughout the east side of downtown. We can expect more of the same starting next week as construction starts on the new St Pete Pier.


What does this mean for you?


ABC Action News reported that over 400 piles are going to be drilled by the crew through January to support the weight starting in September. But test piling will start on July 17th, which will be bringing the noise to Beach Drive and Old Northeast. According to, construction should end in late 2018 and the official ribbon cutting in “early 2019”. That’s a lot of noise.


The pier looks to be an amazing build, though. There will be multiple gardens, play areas, music venues and room for shops restaurants. It sure looks pretty, at and a cool $14 million estimated cost it ought to be. Will the end result be worth it? Sure looks that way from the renderings. It will be interesting to see how the noise affects businesses nearby that have outdoor space. In the mean time, there are events like Pier Beer Summer Series. This even will connect the booming brewery scene and education on the pier and it’s progress.


For more information on the project and to keep updated with time lines and events, check out and sign up for their newsletter.

Dos and Don’ts of Getting a Mortgage

Dos and Don’ts of Getting a Mortgage


You want to buy a home. Now what? Here are some simple dos and don’ts of getting a mortgage that can help you throughout the home buying process. For more home buying tips you can check out our guide here. And when you’re ready to splash into the wonderful world of home ownership, use our custom home search to help you find it easily. Want more information on mortgages? Contact Adam Karol or John Fenech at Sunbelt Lending.


Dos and Don'ts of Getting a Mortgage

Tips for Buyers: Components of a Credit Score

Components of a Credit Score

Components of a Credit Score



Components of a Credit Score


The components of a credit score can be tricky to understand, especially as it relates to large purchases, like your dream home. Our friends at Sunbelt Lending have some tips on what lenders will looks for. Not all things are created equal in the world of credit scores.


You want to buy a home. Okay, now what? If you’ve read up on our Tip for Buyers you know that the first thing you need to do is get your finances in order. Knowing your credit score is a great first step. The info graphic below will give you a better idea of how to understand what your score means, and how to correct any issues your lender may see when assessing your home loan.


Components of a Credit Score


Have more questions about your credit score or home loans? Contact Adam Karol or John Fenech, they will be happy to help.