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,

Dec. 9, 2019

Home Renovations Not Worth the Money

Home Renovations Not Worth the Money

Whether you're looking to improve your home and enjoy it for years to come or you're getting it ready to sell, you don't want to make costly mistakes with remodels and renovations. Here are the 10 most costly renovation mistakes to avoid.

#1. Changing your mind after the work has begun.

Changes in the middle of a job can be one of the most costly mistakes homeowners can make. Make your mind up on the design elements ahead of time.

#2. Being Unprepared for changes.

Be prepared for unexpected changes. Larger renovation projects will have more issues than smaller, but be prepared for changes to delivery dates, budgets, and surprise issues that may pop up once you start the renovation project.

#3. Not using a professional.

There are some things that you probably can do yourself even if you're not quite so handy but don't do any DIY projects when a professional is clearly needed. You can find out how to do almost anything on YouTube but that doesn't mean you should.

#4. Interview your contractors.

Going cheap or with the cash-only contractor might save you a buck or two but it may not be worth it if they do shoddy work or cut corners.

#5. Replacing when repairing was adequate.

You may not need to replace everything if things just need to be repaired. Nonworking toilets, rain gutters, shower tiles and hardware can usually be repaired rather than completely replaced unless you're going with a completely different look.

#6. Getting overwhelmed with a fixer-upper.

Fixer-uppers can be more trouble than they are worth. You might have thought you got a good deal but if you have to put tens of thousands of dollars into the property to make it livable, it may not have been worth it. If you are thinking about purchasing an older home, bring a contractor or inspector to closely look over the homes major components such as electrical, plumbing, and the structure. Take their advice otherwise, you could be in a world of hurt.

#7. Not getting the proper permits.

When it comes to major additions and renovations you'll probably need permits so that you and your contractor adheres to building codes. You don't want to be fined later on or realize you can't sell the house because you did something without a permit.

#8. Trying to do everything at once.

It might be nice to live in a torn-up house once and then be all done, but it can be expensive and it might not be realistic. If you prefer not to move out of your house for an extended period of time, complete the renovations one by one.

#9. Going to high-tech.

Millennial's and a lot of home buyers these days like high-tech homes that incorporate programmable thermostats, security systems, and cameras but, going to crazy with app-enabled lights might not be the best idea. Technology gets outdated quickly and it might not be worth it putting in hundreds or even thousands of dollars into something that will be replaced within a couple of years.

#10. Not thinking long term.

You want to boost the resell value of your home but you don't want to completely think about resale and get items or materials that you don't love. Find a good balance between projects and materials that will be good for the resell value and ones that you'll love as long as you live in the home.

 

Get your free cost analysis on your home today

 

Posted in Selling
Dec. 4, 2019

Investments and Changes to the Miami Real Estate Market

Investments and Changes to the Miami Real Estate Market

According to the Miami Herald, the Miami Association of Realtors will host "Financing Programs to Close More Contracts this Year". A class on Tuesday from 10:00 AM until 12:00 PM at 20803 Biscayne Blvd. The class will go over financing programs, no income and no asset loans and down payment assistance programs, as well as strategies to close real estate deals faster. Loan advisor Eddie Fernandez will lead the discussion. Members of the National Association Of Realtors are required to pay $15 when they reserve their spot in advance or $20 on sites. Nonmembers are also welcome for a ticket price of $30-$50 on-site.

The New York-based real estate firm Carmo Companies will be hosting the Latin America US Real Estate meeting at 2201 Collins Ave. in South Beach from 10:00 AM until 8:00 PM on Wednesday. This conference is designed to bring together institutional and private wealth investors actively investing in Latin America and the United States. The discussion will surround investment opportunities, the performance of real estate-related asset classes across the region and certain allocations. Speakers will include the Virgin Hotels Chief Development Officer Alii Hope and the tickets will cost $2000. This is the same company that founded the Virgin Group.

The Miami real estate market has actually cooled off in the last six months. Where leaning more toward a buyers market, with a home value index of about $338,000 on average. Home prices have only increased .8% over the past year and several economists will predict that will actually fall to -0.3% over the next year. What is this mean for investors? It's a great time to consider jumping in because as the ebb and flow of real estate go, chances are within the next five years it will definitely increase.

For more information on the Miami real estate market feel free to browse my website, check out the blog for more information or start your search for all Miami real estate here

Posted in Miami Real Estate
Nov. 22, 2019

What if I Cant Fix a 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. Whatever the reason for being unable to fix up your home it is still possible to sell it.What if I Cant Fix a Fixer Upper Before Selling?

 

Sell the home on the traditional market.

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 homes and need to sell their homes 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.

MORE:

Posted in Selling
Nov. 4, 2019

Haunted House Over a Home Next to a Freeway?

So which would you prefer: a haunted house or house next to a busy freeway? Surprisingly, most Americans when asked this question preferred a potentially haunted house rather than one next to a busy road. According to a recent survey by a prominent real estate company that surveyed over 1000 Americans, the majority would pay more for a haunted home than one next to a busy freeway. Even deciding factors like living near a cemetery didn't matter nearly as much as the peace and quiet. Of course, it's almost ironic as living next to a cemetery would be much quieter than next to a busy road, but what about the house is really haunted?Haunted House Over a Home Next to a Freeway?

"Respondents with paranormal experiences were 13 times more likely to pay more for a home if it's haunted than those without." Nearly half of those who said that they would pay more are willing to pay up to 50% more. That might lead to a lot of competition for a house that might be considered "haunted". Did you know that there are even online communities for those that are buying and selling homes that are supposedly haunted? One house Hunter even said that they wanted a home with three bedrooms but with ghosts that aren't horribly invasive.

Many real estate agents are finding people looking for these types of homes specifically as they add to the home's charm and tell a story. In some places across the country, Miami being one of them, our home prices are often scary enough but it still doesn't stop competition from those really looking for this type of property rather than one next to a busy freeway or under power lines.

The study also showed a difference in demographics. 24% of millennial's were willing to buy a haunted house where only 2% to baby boomers were willing to do so. This could be because haunted homes are typically less expensive, but with the competition, that may not be the case anymore. Interestingly enough, Missouri looks like it's going to be one of the biggest fights as one-third of Missourians were willing to buy a home where someone was murdered or died of natural causes, while half or more likely to buy a home near a cemetery. I'm thinking one would be a lot quieter than the other, for sure.

  • Florida law does require certain disclosures on their seller's disclosure form including a statement that says "seller knows of no fax materially affecting the value of real property which are not readily observable and which have not been disclosed to the buyer." This means that a seller should disclose any and all facts or conditions that may have a substantial impact on the value but, Florida has no such requirement. You are not obligated to reveal whether or not you think the home is haunted. After all, it could be a matter of opinion. Florida law also states that the seller has no obligation to disclose homicides, suicides, or deaths that occurred on the property.

So how is a buyer supposed to find one of these homes?

Honestly, one of the best ways is to throw it out there. A good buyers agent will track down the best home regardless of whether or not it's easily found online or if the information is readily disclosed.

Of course, not many of us like to live next to a busy freeway but, there are those that are specifically looking for a home with just a bit of paranormal activity.

 

Want a Paranormal Home?

 

Maybe a NON-Haunted One? 

Posted in Miami Real Estate
Oct. 30, 2019

What's the Difference Between Pre-Approval and Pre-Qualification?

The terms pre-approval and pre-qualification might be interchangeable but to a lender there quite different. You might think your pre-qualified to maintain a monthly housing payment when in fact you're not really pre-approved through a lender. Let me try to explain.What's the Difference Between Pre-Approval and Pre-Qualification?

Pre-qualification is simply some basic numbers either over the phone or on a pre-qualification calculator you have found online. You put it how much you make or you tell the person over the phone how much you make on an annual basis and approximately how much debt you have. Couple this with the interest rate and any property tax and insurance should give you a monthly mortgage payment that will fit your budget. However, this is quite different from an actual pre-approval. Pre-approval means a lender or mortgage advisor will run your credit, go through all your debts, income, assets, and liabilities to determine how big of a risk you are by taking on a mortgage payment. Lenders don't want to loan money on borrowers they feel are high risk. For instance, if you have over 50% of your income going towards debt, they are hesitant about you incurring any more debt. If you make $60,000 a year and half of your income is going towards two new loans, medical bills, and credit cards, taking on a mortgage may not be the best financial decision for you now. If you make $250,000 a year and you have less than 20% of your income going toward debts, you are a much lower risk applicant and therefore can afford a higher-priced home.

Before you buy a house, lenders and buyers need to know how you'll pay for it. Did you know that nearly 90% of homebuyers finance the purchase of a home loan? So, lenders need to know how you can afford to make your mortgage payment and this means getting information from your bank, credit union, employer, pay stubs, creditors and the like to find out exactly how much you owe every month and how much you can afford in a monthly mortgage payment.

Simple pre-qualification means that you are conditionally approved to buy a home up to a certain price based on basic information. Pre-approval means we've done the research and we know for sure that if nothing changes between the time you make an offer and the time the transaction closes we can 99% guarantee that you can afford this home. Of course, this is in a 100% guarantee. Things can change throughout the transaction so if you lose your job, make any large purchases, rack up extra-debt, or make major financial changes, it can really affect your chances of getting the home loan, pre-approval, and the home itself.

Pre-qualification typically doesn't require the documentation and proof of funds needed as pre-approval does. Pre-qualification is really the first step to find out how much home you think you can afford. Pre-approval proves this assumption. The differences between pre-approval and pre-qualification are really a matter of reporting financial information versus providing documentation for it. And in this case, once you are pre-approved, your lender will issue a letter of pre-approval. This comes in very handy when making an offer on a home. You can show sellers that you are serious about buying because you've done your financial homework, not just filled out a few boxes on an online calculator.

 

Is it okay to shop around for a home loan?

Of course! Just like your shopping for the right home, shopping for the right mortgage can mean the difference of several thousands of dollars. You want to make sure you get the right loan, terms, and service that you need whether it's a conventional loan with a 20% down payment or a USDA loan with zero down and very low closing costs. You have to find what works for you and tell lenders that you are shopping around because they're more likely to offer competitive rates.

 

Have more questions? Get pre-approved today with one of our trusted lenders throughout the Miami area

 

Contact Me Today

 

MORE FINANCIAL TIPS TO HELP GET YOU STARTED:

Posted in Miami Real Estate
Oct. 14, 2019

How Clean Should You Leave a Home When You Move Out?

How Clean Should You Leave a Home When You Move Out?

When you sell and close your home and it is finally time to pull all of your life’s belongings out and move on, there is an unspoken expectation of how clean the house should be left. Many a home seller asks the question: how clean should it be left/how clean is clean enough/how clean is socially/morally/etiquette-ly acceptable?

Most real estate home purchase contracts will include a clause that states the home must at least be what is called broom clean. Generally, this means that the seller needs to leave all walls and the ceilings bare along with sweeping up after everything is removed from the home. Even this terminology is vague and leaves very much room for interpretation. Some states, California for example, leave out the expected condition of the home at turnover except to say it needs to be in the same physical condition as when the offer was made and accepted and all belongings and debris should be removed at move out.

The best way to determine what is best for the particular sell of your home, is to consult the actual purchase contract. Look for anything that would state the extent of expected cleanliness the home should be left in. If you are unsure if your purchase contract says anything about cleaning at move out it is a good idea to ask your real estate agent.

What do you do if there is nothing stated about expected cleaning?

If the wording is very vague or there just doesn’t seem to be anything at all in the purchase contract about expected cleaning of the home it is a great time to ask yourself, “What would I expect or hope for if I was the buyer?”

The best rule of thumb is to simply leave the home in the condition you would hope to receive it in yourself. How would you like to be greeted when you walked in the door to your brand new home? What would you expect to walk into when you first open the front door? Just because the deal on the home purchase has already gone through does not mean you won’t burn a bridge that could have been useful In the future if you leave the home in poor condition.

Tip: Moving is long and tiring work, especially if you have a large home full of belongings or a large family to move. You will want to start right away on the packing process as soon as the purchase is made so that you can then move on to the cleaning process and ultimately the enjoying your next home process. After packing and moving all of your things out of the home you will be pretty tired so hiring a professional to come in and clean after all of your things are out is a great way to take care of the cleaning if you can afford to.

 

More Tips and Tricks

5 Security Tips to Protect Your Home and Family

Amazing Cleaning Routines for Night Owls and Early Birds

Selling a House During a Divorce

Benefits of Selling a Home in the Fall

4 Most Common Questions for Home Sellers

Posted in Selling
Oct. 9, 2019

Things to Know When Buying Florida Waterfront Property

There are numerous waterfront homes throughout the Miami and Miami Beach area. If you're planning on buying one of these homes is important to be aware that the home inspection is slightly different than a non-waterfront home. Here are some things to look for and surprises you might find in a waterfront home inspection.

Things to Know when Buying Florida Waterfront Property

Pests.

You'll want to make sure that there are no termites or other pests including ones that could be common to water-front homes that have destroyed any part of the foundation or the woodwork of the property. A home inspector will be able to verify this but may recommend an additional pest inspection. Carpenter bees can also be an issue on any holes in the siding or in the foundation. You'll want to make sure that those are sealed and that any nests are destroyed.

Related: Information on Lakefront Properties

Land survey. 

Does the land extend to the water's edge? You'll want to verify the boundary of your land to determine what you actually own if you own any part into the water, and any requirements for seawall or construction on the beach or close to the water.

Speak to the neighbors.

The best way to understand your waterfront property and any issues it may have in the future is to speak with existing neighbors. Ask about whether, erosion, saltwater issues, pests or construction issues may be of concern. Also, speak to neighbors that have been in the neighborhood for several years if not decades if possible.

Control

Double checked any local ordinances that may restrict the use of the waterfront. If you're unfamiliar with how mortgage, dockage or boating traffic works, contact the city and check the ordinances on requirements for Miami Florida water-front property.

Read more: Dockage and Boat Traffic in Miami

Insurance

Waterfront property may require different insurance so double-check with your homeowner's insurance so that your property is covered. Waterfront homeowners in Florida must by three distinct policies including a wind policy, a flood policy, and a general hazard policy, typically not alter the same insurer.

Boatlifts, Docks, and Seawalls

A seawall is also common in Florida waterfront homes. They can be made of vinyl, aluminum, concrete or steel. These are an important part of your property as they can be a successful way to control coastal and water erosion. They need to be constructed well and out of particular materials that can withstand the force of ongoing waves and water but they also need to be maintained on a regular basis.

Many of these waterfront homes will feature a boat dock and depending on the size of the boat it can accompany, they can be just a few feet to 20 or 30 feet. This provides a safe and easily accessible place to park your boat and allow access for swimmers, jet skiers, and other water activities. You want to clean your boat dock with a three to one blend of olive oil and white vinegar for stains and mineral salts. For oil stained areas you can scrub a paste of baking soda and water and rinse it off. You want to inspect your boat dock at the start and end of every season for the sound structure. Replace any splintered or rotted wood and check the nuts and bolts and other metal fasteners for their integrity.

 

SEARCH WATERFRONT PROPERTIES NOW

 

Miami Beach and Miami waterfront homes may also offer a boat lift. To ensure longevity you want to grease all the inserts on the lift and the gear plate, check the cables for wear spots and replace them every 2 to 3 years and you'll want to spray the lift down all your washing the boat because of the saltwater. Make sure to get the proper weight distribution on the left and ask the previous homeowner for any care tips if this is your first time owning a boat lift.

Understand the HOA

Homeowner's associations for waterfront properties may be different than in a typical association. Talk with the management about any changes, requirements or details you'll need to know about owning waterfront property in a particular subdivision.

Related: Checklist for home pre-inspections

 

Waterfront homes don't have to be difficult but with a little bit of research, you can feel more comfortable owning and maintaining your waterfront home. For more information feel free to give me a call at any time or browse all waterfront properties here on my website throughout Miami and Miami Beach Florida.

More Good Info on Waterfront

4 Things to Know About Buying a Beach Home

What Buyers Look For in Oceanfront Property

5 Things to Know About Buying a Condo

What to Know About Buying a Home After 50

4 Ways a Home Inspection Could Go

Oct. 2, 2019

5 Security Tips to Protecting Your Home and Family

5 Security Tips to Protecting Your Home and Family

We are always looking for ways to make our home and family safer, and while we can certainly invest in security systems, there are some simple things we can do in our home everyday to make it a bit more security.

#1. Keep your valuables locked up.

The odds that your home will be burglarized are pretty low but how easy is it to find your valuables if you do get burglarized? Keeping jewelry and valuables in a convenient spot will also be convenient for criminals so consider a commercial container, home safe, or a hiding place it only you know about. Also, take pictures of all of your valuables for insurance purposes just in case.

#2. Get a professional alarm system.

Most high and luxury homes and condominiums in Miami have security systems but they're not for the Uber rich. Anyone can own a pretty inexpensive alarm system these days whether it's entering a simple security code on your entrance and exit to the home or a full-on video monitoring system with cameras inside and outside.

#3. Add outside lighting.

Don't make it convenient for burglars and criminals to access your home. Keep bushes trimmed away from first-floor windows to prevent any hiding spots and add lighting in darker areas around your home. Motion sensors are great for this and just a little bit of a deterrent will definitely keep burglars at bay.

#4. Make sure all of your locks actually work.

Check your locks at least once a year to make sure they work correctly on all doors and windows.

#5. Make sure you know who has keys to your home.

Anytime you buy a new house you should have the keys remade with a new lock. You never know who the previous owners have given the keys to. Also, verify that you trust everyone that has a key to your home. There could be service providers who come weekly or friends and family but make a list and consider changing codes and keys every couple of years.

More great advice for homeowners in the Miami area:

Pros and Cons to a One-Story and Two-Story Home

Selecting a Home in Miami with a Hidden Room

5 Things You Must Do Before Moving In

What Amenities Should I Be Paying More For in a Condo Building?

Posted in Miami Real Estate
Sept. 24, 2019

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

How to Sell in a Hot Miami Real Estate Market

Selling might not seem like an issue in a hot real estate market, especially a seller's market, but if you're planning on buying as well as selling, it might be hard to compete against cutthroat buyers. There are ways to compete but it can be stressful when you need to sell and buy at the same time. Having the right real estate agent that understands the micro markets of the communities and neighborhoods around Miami and Miami Beach, as well as unique selling strategies, can really help bridge the gap between when you're home sells and when you purchase the new one.Miami real estate market

A seller's market is a real estate market in which sellers are more likely to sell their home for close to their asking price and at a faster rate than if it were a buyers market. A buyers market is where there are plenty of homes to go around and not enough buyers.

Read More:  4 Most Common Questions from Home Sellers

Miami is certainly hitting a hot seller's market these days but if you're planning on buying in the same area as you are selling, meaning you're not moving out of state or several counties away, you'll want to start planning early. Seek professional advice early on and meet with your real estate agent and lender if necessary far in advance to plan the strategy for selling and buying at the same time.

There are a couple of different options when it comes to buying and selling. You can buy first and then sell your home or you can sell first and then buy secondly.

If you're planning on buying first and then selling understand that you'll likely need to prove to your lender that you have enough money to make not only the down payment but to pay closing costs and cover any mortgage payments for two homes should your existing home not sell in time. This can be extremely stressful but it also can mean that you find the home of your dreams first before even listing.

The second option is to sell first and then buy a home, which is primarily the most common way of doing things. Homeowners list their home and once they receive an offer that looks decent then they start looking for homes to buy. The tricky part is closing around the same time. If you communicate with your buyers and the sellers that you're trying to coordinate things around the same time it might be easier to get the job done.

There is a third option in which you can include a rent back clause in your sales agreement, in which the buyer allows you to rent your home back for a given amount of time after closing so that you can find a new place. This is a little tricky and if the homeowners really want to move into the new property, you may find yourself literally without a home.

It really comes down to planning. If you do your research ahead of time, have a great real estate agent understands the market and how to negotiate for a fast sale and a quick closing on your new property, plan ahead with financing and communicate with your lender your needs, you can make this transition as smooth as possible.

 

For more information on getting your home listed and sold were finding the right home or perhaps both please give me a call at any time.

Find out what your Miami area home or condo is worth today

Great Advice for Sellers:

8 Unique Ways to Market Your Home

Is a Bidding War on Real Estate a Good Thing for the Seller?

10 Simple Ways to Make Buying a House More Affordable

How to Sell in a Buyer's Market

Inexpensive Upgrades That Look Like You Spent A Lot

 

 

Sept. 17, 2019

8 Unique Ways to Market Your Home

The market is fluctuating in a lot of places around the United States and some are doing better than others. If your home is been on the market for some time it may be time to get creative. There are a lot of different ways to market your home and some are pretty on Orthodox but if you're stuck, try these eight unique ways to market your home.

#1. Consider skipping the MLS.8 Unique Ways to Market Your Home

I know that's like the worst violation ever but hear me out: keeping your home off of the MLS for a few weeks gives your agent the chance to entice buyers with an early peak of the property. You can test the price first before putting it on the market for everyone else

#2. Make a killer video.

Virtual tours are becoming a must for many homes on the market but it requires more than just a compilation of photos strung together. Consider hiring a real estate photographer that also does drone videos. Add music to it, and feature the best rooms and the views from the condo or the property.

#3. Consider and above and beyond the open house.

Open houses definitely have their place but have come and gone over the years. Incorporating a theme to fit the home could attract more people that have been on the fence in the past. A brokers open on a luxury home could easily become a $15,000 event but if you're selling for $3 million, that's chump change.

#4. Use a weekend to pack showing appointments.

An open house is a good way to kick off a properties first few days on the market but by setting up appointments ahead of time and then filling all of those appointments with scheduled showings, buyers can see one another coming and going which gives them a sense of urgency.

#5. invite the neighbors.

Sure, you're going to have neighbors and looky loos checking out the property during an open house but you can also host a neighborhood event. Sometimes people see a home and like it better than the one there and even though they're not even trying to sell their home. Many deals come from neighbors who decide to put in an offer or pass the word on to their friends or relatives.

#6. Next the level staging.

Staging has definitely brought in more offers and higher prices but take your staging to the next level and you might even get a higher price. Bringing in designers and high-end furniture dealers who rent pieces could be a great way to stage a luxury home. Changing the perception of a property can definitely renew the life of an older listing.

#7. Maximize your motivation.

It's tough to show your motivation because then buyers think they have an upper hand in negotiations but motivation can be used to the seller's advantage by pairing it with a higher price at the top of the homes value range. Telling buyers that the seller is motivated could get them to put in an offer, especially if the property could easily fetch a higher price with more time.

#8. Find a buyer that doesn't know they're looking.

The right buyer may not even be looking for homes yet but that doesn't mean you can't go after them. Consider reaching out to firms that are being relocated to the Miami area or wherever your home is instead of waiting for them to reach out for new properties.

Every home is unique and I market it in a specific way to appeal to the right demographic and the right buyer.

Find out what your Miami area home or condo is worth today.

More Advice for Sellers

Posted in Selling