Dear Friends,

Welcome to our Miami Beach Real Estate Blog. We are always looking for input so if you have any questions or comments we would welcome them.  We strive to get only to give the best to our community.  Look forward to hearing from you soon.   

Take Care,

Jan. 27, 2016

It is Now Cheaper to Buy Than Rent in Miami

Yes, surprisingly enough, Miami. Why is that? Well, rents have gone through the roof so much that a mortgage for similar property is less than rent. I recently came across an article that stated that Miami was one of the 10 biggest cities in the US that it costs less to rent than buy. According to the statistic, the average monthly rent was $1722 while the average monthly mortgage payment was $1013. The Average home price was $249,952 with a break even figure of 4 years. [Source]Is it now cheaper to buy than rent in Miami

Now, that's not to say that some high-rise luxury condominiums are going to be in this average amount. But this takes figures from all different communities surrounding the Miami-Dade area and Miami Beach. I and condominiums are still to be well over $500,000 or more making a mortgage payment of at least $2500. Rent for similar properties may actually be more however. So the average across the board states that for the same or similar type of property would cost less to have a mortgage then rent the property. However, these figures are not taking into account homeowners association fees, closing costs and down payments. Some HOA fees can run hundreds of dollars a month adding quite a chunk to your monthly housing payment.

There are pockets of Miami that are growing faster than others such as the waterfront, downtown, Brickell and Coral Gables. But, these are primarily high-rise apartments and condominiums. Once all is said and done and the new waterfront is designed will the figures be similar? I spoke to a couple just this last week that were on the fence about continuing to rent or buy. Since the market is turned around and prices are increasing and so are interest rates, I urge them to buy at this point. If they plan on hanging onto the condominium for at least 4 to 5 years they can almost assuredly expect an increase in value and appreciation. Currently they were paying about $2000 a month for rent for small single-family house in the Coral Way neighborhood and they were looking for a condominium in Coconut Grove or Coral Gables. They were able to find a very similarly sized home for about $1800, which did not include $300 a month in homeowners association fees. This is only $100 more than they were paying in housing costs previously and they didn't have the responsibilities or maintenance of a single-family house.

There certainly are benefits to buying over renting but the opposite has its benefits as well. The compromise or combination of the two is buying a condominium were all the external and exterior components are taken care of by the homeowners association. Of course, you do of the downside of paying additional for that but many condominium buildings throughout the Miami area have a lot of additional amenities including swimming pools, tennis courts and fitness centers. There are pros and cons to each and you have to decide if you're planning on staying in the home for a while or looking at the low maintenance and low responsibilities of renting.

Regardless of which direction you plan on going give me a call today and we can discuss the numbers, find out what is a good budget for your finances and find out exactly how much you would be paying in a mortgage over renting.

Read More: 10 years of Miami Real Estate Performance

Posted in Miami Real Estate
Jan. 21, 2016

Miami's Best Beach - South Beach Made the List

Yes, Hawaii did make the list of some of the countries best beaches but coming in at number three was our own little South Beach. Located on Miami Beach, obviously the southern side of it, South Beach is full of Art Deco hotels, oversized sidewalks and oceanview cafés. This is the ultimate mecca for the international jet set crew. Whether you're visiting or looking for a home in South Beach, this culture rich community provides a wealth of entertainment, eclectic nightlife and fabulous food. Whether you love art, architecture, or simply the beach, South Beach is known as one of the sexiest areas in America. South Beach Miami

Real Estate

If you're looking to live in this area, there will be many oceanfront properties in South Beach since the majority of buildings are nightclubs, restaurants and boutiques. Most of the residential properties are found between Alton Road and Washington Avenue in there are several single-family homes the primarily condominiums and townhouses. At any given time there are roughly 100 properties for sale typically priced from about $150,000 to over $15 million. The wide range of pricing makes South Beach an excellent option because you can buy a high-end, luxury penthouse condominium in the same neighborhood that you can buy a simple, studio condominium perfect for renting out or having is your second home to enjoy South Beach in all its glory. The median house price is about $300,000 for a condominium and single-family homes start at about $420,000. Most of these condominium buildings have swimming pools, fitness rooms, tennis courts and more.

Search all South Beach Condos for Sale

Best Things to Do in South BeachSouth Beach Condos for Sale

Whether you're just visiting or looking for a second home to vacation, South Beach is packed with events, festivals and a wealth of things to do. Here are just some of the favorites:

Rent a convertible, fancy car and cruise the strip! Rent a lounge chair on the beach and people-watch like crazy! Enjoy pressed juices and Cuban Coladas. Gallery hop in the Wynwood Arts District. Rent a tandem bike and tour the city. Eat Dinner in the Versace Mansion at Gianni's. Go on an Art Deco tour. Browse the orchids at the Fairchild Botanical Gardens. While these are not all in South Beach, there are some fabulous things to do around Miami. 

Miami Beach Schools

Residents of Miami Beach and specifically South Beach utilize the Feinberg/Fisher K-8 center, the Miami Beach Senior high school and South Pointe elementary school. The South Pointe elementary school has a 9 out of 10 by great and is less than a half a mile from South Beach. The area has about a 93 to a 98 walk score as shops, restaurants and markets are all close by and within easy walking distance.

Yes, South Beach not only has one of the best beaches in the country but one of the most eclectic and unique communities in the state. For more information on South Beach homes, real estate and vacation properties please contact my office or browse my website for free.

Jan. 14, 2016

10 Years of Miami Real Estate Shows Great Performance

We're nearly 10 years away from the dreaded housing recession. In that time, Miami has done quite well for itself. We have recovered nicely, however the rate of recovery has varied greatly between sub markets. In places like Key Biscayne remained a dominant force on the real estate market in terms of price per square foot. At the highest, the median price was $600 per square foot. Surprisingly, it's lowest was in 2011 when it dropped to $350 per square foot. In 2015, prices hit their highest in 10 years at $650 per square foot. But this is just one small area of the Miami Dade metro area. Other areas of Miami did not have a significant improvement. Out of the nine areas examined by researchers, only to should significant price improvements over the last decade. These two were Key Biscayne and Midtown. These two areas benefited greatly by price increases and the Midtown area has gone from one of Miami's lowest-priced areas to one of its most expensive.

Miami condo prices

You can see from the above graph that all major areas have a decline in 2010 and 2011 and have gradually increased. Key Biscayne is obviously the highest priced with the median price per square foot starting at $600 in 2006, dropping to around $350 per square foot and then increasing over the last year. Aventura started off with the lowest price at around $320 per square foot and remains the lowest still at around $250 per square foot. Miami Beach condominiums have taken increase in are almost $500 per square foot followed by Brickell and Surfside and Bal Harbour.

For more information on condo prices, where your condo price is currently or to learn more about the Miami market please contact my office at any time.[Image courtesy of Miami Agent Magazine]

Posted in Miami Real Estate
Jan. 7, 2016

5 Tips to Plan for Your Next Miami Home

There's a lot of information out there about how to prepare and plan for buying your first home but what about your next home? There's a lot of people, especially those in their mid-30s and 40s the plan on moving up, selling their older home or their first home and buying something that they may not of been able to afford as their first home in their 20s or early 30s. Most of the time the "next home" will have a better down payment as the sale of their current home could provide them with enough down payment in order to buy a larger home, have lower interest rates and a higher payment for their income. Here are five simple ways to plan for your next home.

#1. Are you moving up or scaling down?Scaling down to a smaller home in Miami

Most of the time those that purchased in their 20s and 30s maybe moving up to a larger home in their 30s and 40s. Your family may have grown by a few children and you just may need more space. Typically, your income has probably increased and you can manage a little bit higher monthly mortgage payment. You want to look for something that has a little bit more square footage, perhaps in a neighborhood that is concerned with high-quality schools, safer neighborhood if you have small children and close proximity to conveniences that are important to you such as markets, restaurants or shops.

If you're scaling down, the kids have most likely left the home, graduated and moved on to start families of their own. The home you purchased in your 30s and 40s is just too big and you're looking for something a little more low maintenance. Condominiums with lower square footage, ease of life and a more manageable payment if you're looking at a fixed income is on the checklist. Find out what you're looking for as opposed to what you currently have and how it might benefit your lifestyle for the next season of life.

#2. Put your credit and finances in order.

Before looking at any homes you want to understand where your credit sits currently. Order a copy of your credit report and history from one of the three major companies; Experian, Trans Union or Equifax. You should be allowed to get one report from each of these companies free, once per year. Correct any errors or mistakes, Pay off any small debts that could be hindering a high credit score and try to increase your credit score before applying for a home loan. Anything over 750 should give you a reasonable interest rate.

Finding the right real estate agentRelated Post: 3 Home Search Tips to Finding Your Perfect Home

#3. Find the right real estate agent.

There are agents that help folks 50 and over find a retirement condominium or active adult community and there are agents that specialize in helping first-time homebuyers. But there are also agents that love helping the move-up buyer. They can help you sell your existing home while at the same time helping you purchase a new home. They can handle the entire transaction and may even offer discounts if you have them do both transactions. Ask for experience, education, qualifications and references. This is not the time to be using your friends, cousins, wife to sell your property just because you happen to know her real estate agent. This is hundreds of thousands of dollars being sold and bought and this is your primary residency; you need the best real estate agent out there for the job.

#4. Understand your current and future budget.

Understand exactly how much you're spending in housing currently and how much you can afford in the future. If you're moving up you may want to consider a larger mortgage payment, homeowners association fees or dues, taxes, insurance on a larger home and any utilities that may cost you more. Going from a 1000 square-foot home to a 3000 ft.² home means you'll be spending a lot more in utilities to keep it cool or warm. All of these fees and costs should be factored into your housing allowance.

Read More: When you Can't Fix Your Fixer Upper

#5. Have a plan for the future.Have a plan for the future

When you move up in a home you're probably planning on staying in this home for quite some time. Consider what your life will look like in five years. Will you need to be close to schools, parks, markets, or are you looking for a quieter lifestyle in a convenient condominium building where you have amenities as in a five-star resort? Don't just consider your lifestyle today, when you purchase the property, but over at least five years. You might also consider resale value when choosing a home. If there are issues that you don't like about the home chances are future buyers won't like them as well.

Related: Use a Back-Up Offer to Buy Your Dream Home Even if it's Already Under Contract

Regardless of whether you're moving up or scaling down setting yourself up for success ahead of time is just smart living. When you're ready to start looking at homes or if you're at the very beginning of considering buying your next home feel free to give me a call at any time. We can run over some of the numbers, what's available, where you might sit in five years and decide the best plan of action for your next move.

Posted in Real Estate
Dec. 4, 2015

Miami is Leading the Country in Real Estate Price Growth

According to a recent article in the Miami agent magazine, Miami leads the nation in real estate and home price growth. Home prices in the Miami housing market rose .9% from August to September, 2015 and 7.7% from September 2014. This is according to a new Case – Schiller home prices by Standard & Poor's. Miami's monthly price growth was one of the strongest in the nation. The home price index covers all nine U.S. Census divisions and generally rose nearly 5% over last year. US home prices are now just 5% below the peak in 2006 however, when you factor in inflation, prices are still down 19% from that housing boom era.Miami is leading the country in price growth

The median list price for all of Miami is $375,000, up 19% over one year ago at $315,000. The median days on the market is at about 84, very similar to last year with just 3% of properties under the distressed or bank owned home category. The average listing price is $452,000 and the median sales price is $250,000, up $20,000 or 8.7% over last year. The average listing price is down 1.9% over last December, 2014. The average price per square foot remains at about $178.

The most active areas of Miami include Model City, Coconut Grove, downtown and Coral Way. In the condominium townhome market the median list price is $379,000, up 22% over last year with the median days on the market at 94. Only 2% of the properties are distressed.

Currently the highest priced real estate property is $47 million for a nine bedroom, 11 bath home on Main Highway with over 16,000 ft.². Lots and lands committed $20 million for the highest priced property. For all of Miami there are approximately 3900 properties for sale including lots, land, condominiums, manufactured homes and single-family properties.

For more information on what your Miami home, condominium property might currently be worth please give me a call today. I would be happy to run some numbers for you an offer tips and suggestions on either pricing or listing your home or if you're in the market for buying a Miami property, offer the secrets to negotiating for your terms and your price.

Posted in Real Estate
Nov. 7, 2015

When You Cant Fix Your Fixer Upper Before Selling

If your home is lacking in the curb appeal department it is still possible to sell it. It may not be possible at this time for you to present your home in its best light and sell the home you want to sell so you will have to sell the home you have. Maybe you do not have the funds to fix up your home or are rushed into moving to your next destination. What ever the reason for being unable to fix up your home it is still possible to sell it.

What are your options for selling an ugly home?

Sell the home on the traditional market.When You Cant Fix Your Fixer Upper Before Selling

You can list your home on the traditional market even if it isn’t in the best condition. What you will need to do is make sure that when you list the home it is clearly stated the home will be sold in as is condition. In most cases selling a home without fixing it up on the traditional market will take longer to sell then if you were to fix the home and have it show ready. You will need to appeal to just the right buyer that is looking for a project home or one they would not mind putting some work and extra money into. It is wise to price your home accordingly to reflect the need for extra care and work on the part of the new homeowner. Usually this means discounting the price of your home from fair market value.

Sell to a cash buyer

This is a great option for those homeowners who cannot fix up their home and need to sell their home quickly. A reputable cash home buyer will be able to give you an all cash offer within a few hours to a few days. With a cash offer you will not have to wait for a buyer’s lender approval. The close of your home will go much more quickly and be completely finished in weeks instead of in months like with a traditional sale. Make sure that you are working with a true cash homebuyer and not a fraudulent cash homebuyer. A respectable cash home buying agency will ask what the financial situation is of the home, ask to see the home, make an offer with proof of funds and no contingencies for repair. When you except the no obligation offer of a cash home buyer you will be able to sell your home without repair in less time than a traditional sale would take.

If you feel you have a Brickell home that may be difficult to sell there are options. Give me a call anytime to discuss. I help homeowners sell their property all over the Miami area and can help you make the best decision for your situation.

Oct. 5, 2015

Upper and Lower Brickell Miami Condos and Lifestyle

Brickell is in urban neighborhood located in downtown Miami and home to over 30,000 residents. The neighborhood sits between the Powell Bridge and the Miami River stretching from Interstate 95 to the bay. It includes the small island of Brickell Key. Brickell condos for sale - Upper and Lower Brickell

There are two main sections to Brickell, the upper and lower areas. There is also a small Sub neighborhood called Westbrook out, west of the Miami retro rail line.  These areas are some of the fastest-growing in Miami and was once considered Millionaires Row in the early 1900s. There were lavish mansions along Brickell Avenue but by the 1970s, these were often replaced by large towers, hotels and office buildings. Brickell is the court to Miami's banking, investment and financial sectors.

Upper Brickell -  This location has a variety of condominiums, high-end apartment buildings and a few single-family homes. The median list price is about $455,000 with a median list price per square foot at $486. Over the last 90 days there have been about 180 property sold.

Lower Brickell -  This features a median list price of around $500,000 with about 44 homes sold over the last 90 days. There are more residential properties in the upper and then the lower end.

The Shoppes at Mary Brickell Village is the main shopping area for this location and features shops, cafés, markets and restaurants. There are beautiful restaurants right along the waterfront on Brickell Bay Drive. Brickell Key is primarily condominium homes with studio apartments starting around $150,000 to large high-end penthouses with stunning Miami Beach abuse of over $1 million. Although there are smaller single-family homes in Brickell, the majority of properties are condominiums.

 Brickell is part of the Miami-Dade County public school system and operates several elementary schools and private schools. There's the Southside elementary, Ada Merritt elementary and the Riverside elementary. There are three private schools and the downtown campus of the Florida international University is also located in Brickell. Miami's main library is located in this neighborhood as well.

Transportation is provided by the Metrobus throughout the area as well as the Miami Metrorail and Metromover. There are 12 office towers and 40 residential towers in Brickell. Brickell is home to seven parks and nature preserves with a variety of sports fields, walking trails, playgrounds and green space.

Very little remains of the original historic Brickell as many large mansions and estates have been replaced by office buildings and high-rise residential towers. However, there is one small section of Brickell that remains a historical landmark. The St. Jude Catholic Church since 1946 and Southside school since 1900 are still standing. 

 If you'd like to know more about Brickell and the condominiums for sale therein please browse the website or contact me at any time for more information on this location or a customized list of properties and condos that mean your search criteria and price.  As an expert in Brickell real estate with over 22 years experience selling in all the buildings on Brickell, I can help you find the right condo or sell your condo for top value.

"Miami skyline northern Brickell 20100206" by Averette - Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Commons -

Oct. 2, 2015

Avoiding Foreclosure Scams in Miami Real Estate

 Foreclosure is a stressful ordeal and for some can leave them feeling hopeless and maybe a little embarrassed. There is nothing to be embarrassed about,foreclosure can happen to anyone due to unavoidable and unexpected life circumstances. Going through the process of foreclosure may keep you awake at night trying to figure out how to deal with the process and come out alright on the other side. When people are in this vulnerable and stressful state it unfortunately brings scammers to the door promising to help you avoid foreclosure waiting to prey on the weak. Foreclosure is avoidable but you need to be carful who you trust to help you. Here are some ways avoid scams.

Be Aware That Scammers are Real and EverywhereAvoiding Foreclosure Scams in Miami

Foreclosure scams come in many different forms and some are hard to recognize unless you know what to watch out for. Scams can come in the form of equity skimming and stripping, refinance offers with too good to be true interest rates, fake counseling agencies with high fees, people masquerading as lenders asking for sensitive information over the phone or internet that end up stealing your identity, or people offering to purchase your home for cash for well over market value.

Related Post: Keys to Selling a Home As-Is - external post

Know the Facts About Foreclosure

It is hard for a scammer to come in and offer you a way out of foreclosure if you already know the facts about the foreclosure process and your rights. Take some time to do your homework and get to know the laws of foreclosure in the state of New York. You have options and rights that protect you as a homeowner. You may want to consider hiring a lawyer to help you easily understand the foreclosure process and your rights and options and ultimately what would be the best route to take for your personal future.

Consider Selling to Avoid Foreclosure

Instead of letting your home become bank property you have the option to sell your home for what you owe on the property to pay back the mortgage or get bank approval for a short sale if your home is worth less than the amount of your mortgage. When selling a home to avoid foreclosure you will need to sell quickly and a cash home buyer is a great option when needing to sell a home quickly. Don’t just trust anyone who says they have a lump of cash and is interested in purchasing your home. Do your homework on any cash buying agency. Ask for referrals and proof of funds to buy your home. 

For more information on selling your home to avoid foreclosure in the Miami or Miami Beach area please contact me anytime! I can help you get to where you need to be quickly and efficiently. 

More on Selling Your Home Quickly:

How to Buy a Sell in a Hot (Miami) Real Estate Market

Selling Miami Real Estate and Understanding Absorption Rate

Are you Selling Your House All Wrong? - External post

Posted in Miami Real Estate
Sept. 21, 2015

Keystone Islands North Miami

Looking for a waterfront home in North Miami? Look no further than Keystone Islands. Nestled between the bay and Highway 1 just south of Little Arch Creek and north of Highway 922 or the Broad Causeway, is a group of homes priced from about $600,000 to over $1.5 million. Every home in Keystone Islands is a waterfront home. Most of these homes offer unobstructed bay views, Mediterranean style architecture and outdoor living spaces. These homes were built over the last 10 to 20 years and there are several homes still being built out.Keystone Islands North Miami

 Keystone Island has a population of about 2500 residents and is less than one square mile. Although this community is not dated, it is typically not through street neighborhood as most traffic will be property owners. Most of the road to dead end with cul-de-sac streets and homes. There are two main entrances from Highway 922 and NE. 18th Ave.

The location is ideal, just 10 to 15 minutes from downtown Miami and right across the street is the 127th St. Shopping Center. LA fitness is on the corner and there are shops and restaurants all just outside this neighborhood. Bal Harbour and the Bell Harbor shops are just across the causeway as is the beach. Several homes border the bay while the rest have their own waterfront inlet throughout Little Arch Creek.

 Most of these luxury, waterfront homes have backyard swimming pools and boat docks. The median real estate prices about $500,000 and the average rental price in Keystone Islands is currently $1400. This is a coastal urban neighborhood and is primarily made up of small to medium-sized single-family homes and residential estates. Some of the neighborhoods are well-established with mature landscaping dating back nearly 50 years.

 Currently there are about 35 properties for sale listed from $400,000 to $5.3 million. The highest priced is a five bedroom and 5.5 bathroom house with over 7500 ft.² of living space. From there, it drops to a four bedroom and five bath home for just under $3 million.

If you're looking for waterfront living, Keystone Islands offers a wide variety of home prices, styles and designs. If you'd like more information about this North Miami community or would like a customized list of homes that meet your search criteria and price throughout Keystone Islands please contact me at any time.


Posted in Real Estate
Sept. 18, 2015

Miami Home Prices Jumped Nearly 10% Over Last Year

A recent statistic shows that the annual appreciation rate for Florida has increased 9.24% from July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015. The statistics are derived from the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Appreciation can vary from year to year. The appreciation by state housing price index is up 2.84% over last year for the state of Florida.Miami Home PRices jumped nearly 10% over last year

The long-term trend of rising home values is continuing. Regardless of whether you are buying or selling, this neutral and balanced market offers great hope for the future of Florida and Miami real estate. Rising home values generally are a sign that the economy is back on track. According to the research done by the Federal Reserve Board, home ownership is one of our country's greatest contributors to personal wealth. Went home values increase, the equity in your home can be a key component to securing financial future.

Growing value of homes may allow homeowners to access cash, eliminate mortgage insurance or refinance. If you're a new home buyer, with the rates still extremely low and home prices on the rise, now may be an excellent time to consider purchasing your first property.

 Currently the median list price for Miami's $362,900. There are about 77 properties on the market, up 2% from one month ago and down 45% from last year. This is an enormous drop as properties continue to become more scarce. If  new construction does not catch up, we may find ourselves with inflated home prices. 3% of the market is distressed and the median days on the market is about 84.

 For the condo market, there are currently 4752 properties on the market with a median list price of $359,000. Days on the market is up 8% at 94.

 The average list price for Miami is $443,929 and the median sales price is $246,800, up 7.9% over last year or around $18,000.

 Miami's most popular neighborhoods continue to be Coral Way, Wynwood, Edgewater, Upper East Side, Flagami and West Little Havanna.  The highest priced home is in the Upper East Side at $896,000.

 To get in on the hottest real estate market in the country give me a call. Want a list of great investment properties? How about a condo in Miami Beach? Maybe a waterfront home in Miami? Let's talk!