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,

May 18, 2020

More Cash Buyers in Florida Than Anywhere

More Cash Buyers in Florida Than Anywhere

MSN recently did an article where homebuyers are paying AND all five cities listed were in Florida. "Nearly 38% of homes and condos purchased nationwide in the second quarter were all cash transactions." This is slightly lower than the previous quarters three year high of 42% of transaction and it was also higher than the year before. This data is provided by Realty Trac 24/7 Wall Street. Cities included Cape Coral and Fort Myers, St. Petersburg and of course, the Miami – Fort Lauderdale and Pompano Beach area.

More than 64% of home sales in the Miami metro area were paid for in cash during the second quarter of this year, more than in any other metro area in the nation. The percentage of cash sales was exactly 64.1% with a median list price of $225,000. This in addition to the local real estate market has also attracted interest from institutional investors who made up more than 8% of sales in the second quarter. This includes wealthy Latin American buyers who provided a boost to Miami real estate sales.

Why?More Cash buyers in FLorida than anywhere

The reason for a lot of this is that stricter lending standards combined with low inventory gives the advantage to investors in cash buyers. The average sales price of an all-cash purchase in the first quarter was $207,000. Many of these cash buyers are also baby boomers who have recently paid off their homes and now want to downsize. Retirees can tap into their retirement accounts and pay cash for a second home, especially in places like Florida.

Other cash buyers may be looking to "flip" properties by borrowing money from family or friends and then repaying the loan with the proceeds from the sale. According to an article in USA Today, "the high percentage of all-cash buyers indicates the housing market recovery is for real and buyer confidence is restored." Many buyers are willing to put their own money on the line to buy properties instead of financing which can create a false sense of nonchalance or being able to walk away if things don't work out right. Buying homes with your own cash means you are fully responsible for the success of that property and feel confident about their housing market recovery.

Pretty much the only downsides is that these all-cash buyers might be winning out over some first-time homebuyers who can afford to purchase a property with. Cash offers are much more appealing to sellers especially banks and first-time homebuyers that need a mortgage may get squeezed out of the market. Banks have already tightened lending requirements and many young people are finding themselves with too much debt to incur a mortgage.

However, the overall sense of the housing market is a positive one and because there are people putting their own money on the line it helps the housing market as a whole recover much quicker with a more positive outcomes for investors, first-time home buyers in cash buyers alike.

 

For more information on buying a home in the Miami area with all cash or if you're struggling to find the right home after applying for a mortgage please give me a call. We have tactics and strategies that work with both sides of the equation and can help you get the home you're looking for.

May 12, 2020

5 Tips for Creating the Perfect 'Bar' Set Up In Your Home

Did you know that within the last 90 days there has been an 80% increase in the Google search for "at-home bars"? We are all doing things a little differently these days and whether it's virtual tours for real estate, electronic signings, or finishing up some of those home projects, we're finding new ways to do old things. I read an article recently about home improvement projects and how people are taking older dressers and armoires and turning them into in-home bars and coffee bars and I thought this would be a great addition because if a buyer sees this in your home or during a virtual tour, it might be that one thing that stands out among the rest allowing you the offer you really need. But, whether you are selling or not, here are five great tips for creating the perfect bar set up in your own home.

#1. Turn any wasted space into a functional space.Bar set up

That empty wall that you've been trying to find either the perfect piece of furniture for or closet that you don't use may be ideal for that perfect in-home bar. You could add some floating shelves, a cabinet that you find on a marketplace or that someone is getting rid of, or create a small countertop and console table adding a nice workspace for an at-home bar set up.

#2. Show off your wine collection.

If your fantastic wine collection has been gathering dust in a cabinet, cellar, or just somewhere that's hidden, maybe it's time to show it off. You can choose a glass-fronted wine cooler, a wine storage refrigerator, or there are almost endless styles and shelves for wine that does not need to be refrigerated that you can find online or even just repurpose or reclaim an old piece of furniture.

#3. Use reclaimed wood.

Reclaimed wood is a big draw right now and whether you creating a shiplap wall, building a cabinet or wine bar, or simply taking an old, antique wardrobe and converting it into a beautiful coffee bar, reclaiming wood is the ideal restoration and recycling idea.

#4. Stock up on bar essentials.

Make a list of everything you want in your bar whether it's a wine bar or coffee bar. You can stick to buying all the cores and fancy tools for mixing, wine glasses for both champagnes, sparkling, whites, and reds, or create a unique wall of mugs with a fancy espresso machine, syrups, and a milk frother.

#5. Make sure everything you need is located at the bar.

This may mean installing a small refrigerator or wine fridge at your bar if you're planning on serving cold cocktails or cold wine. You might also consider a small fridge for milk, creamers, and other items perfect for the perfect latte or mocha. Maybe you'll need an icemaker, a wine dispensing machine that you can load bottles into and simply push a button to disperse the wine at the perfect temperature. Perhaps a small corny keg with spout ideal for the guy's weekend. 

Whatever you decide to do, there are hundreds of ideas out there. Check out this Pinterest Page for Home Bar Set Ups and if you're concerned that you might do something buyers will hate in the future, feel free to give me a call. I can tell you what Miami home buyers are really looking for. 

Posted in Miami Real Estate
May 4, 2020

What Do Luxury Home Buyers Really Want?

Luxury homeowners and buyers place a high value on real estate, naturally, so it's important to know how to appeal to buyers and how sellers can up their game when listing their Miami property

75%of luxury homebuyers believe homeownership is a sounder investment than the stock market. Why wouldn't you want to maximize that investment with exactly what the buyer is looking for?

Here's what luxury Miami home buyers are really looking for.What Do Luxury Home Buyers Really Want?

• They want more than one home: Fifty-three percent of those surveyed said they prefer owning multiple “lifestyle” homes to support their lifestyle activities, such as skiing or attending the theatre. Fifty-eight percent said they already own multiple homes.

• They’re willing to sacrifice square footage for amenities: Sixty-percent of luxury homebuyers said they would rather have as many upgrades as they can afford in their home rather than greater square footage. Ninety-four percent would be willing to give up 1,000 square feet of living space to get the amenities they most desire, such as living in a better neighborhood, living in a house with “character,” more land, access to dining and entertainment and a shorter commute.

• They want a high-tech home: Sixty-six percent expressed a stronger desire for having a “smart” home than a “green” home. Eighty-seven percent said they wouldn’t consider purchasing a home that wasn’t tech-friendly.

• They value their outdoor space: Luxury homebuyers also placed a high value on outdoor amenities as must-have essentials in a home. For example, they expressed a big interest in having a garden oasis, outdoor fireplace or fire pit, and a separate guesthouse outside the main home.

• They turn to a real estate agent for guidance and greater insights: 65% of luxury homebuyers looks for their real estate agent to provide them insight into the neighborhood lifestyle. 64% want advance notice of new listings, 55% want advice on housing trends, and 53% support at a personal level throughout the buying process.

[Source]

Ready to buy or sell luxury real estate in Miami? Give me a call. This is what I do.

May 1, 2020

How to Protect Your Vehicle During COVID-19

How to Protect Your Vehicle During COVID-19

If you're like a lot of us, you're not using your vehicle very often, which definitely saves on gas but before you realize it, it could be several days before you've even turned over the engine. Many people's cars will be parked in the driveway for at least a month or more and that could lead to some problems. Even though gasoline demand is down and cost is down, we do want to make sure our vehicles work when we need them to. We want to make sure that your vehicle is protected so here are some tips to keep in mind to protect your vehicle while it sits unused during the stay at home order.

Battery boost.

Start your vehicle about every couple of days to keep the battery at the full state and prevent any deterioration. Simply let the engine run for a few minutes but make sure that your garage door is open or that you do this in an open area.

Tire pressure.

Added 10 psi of pressure to each tire to prevent flat spots from forming on the tires. These flat spots can occur when the area of the tire touching the ground becomes rigid due to sitting in one place for too long.

Windshield wiper care.

Prop up the arms of the windshield wipers so that the blades are off of the glass. Just don't forget to put them down again when you do drive.

No parking brake.

Don't use the parking brake when storing the vehicle. The brake could become frozen if left for a long period of time and this could cause brake pads to rust to the rotors or brake shoes become distorted. With automatic transmissions, you can simply place the car in park. If it's manual, put it in first or reverse gear and use wheel chokes to help hold the vehicle in place.

Sun protection.

If the car is parked outside and exposed to the sun, consider a sunshade. This will prevent the UV rays from deteriorating the dashboard, steering wheel, and anything the sun could touch inside the vehicle.

Stay safe out there. I know that we do have to go places for groceries and necessities from time to time, but if you are planning on staying at home, many people are doing a lot of shopping online. If you're looking to buy or sell property, real estate is still essential and people are still out there. We have implemented safe and effective ways to buy and sell real estate during these strange times so don't hesitate to contact my office for more information and details on how to buy and sell safely.

Related: Don't let the virus prevent you from selling your home

April 22, 2020

Miami Real Estate - All Online

Miami Real Estate - All OnlineThe face of real estate is changing rapidly and many real estate agents are adapting to it, which is great. Buyers have been looking online for homes for the past 20 years and nearly 90% of home buyers start their search online first. We're already halfway there and with so many changes to the real estate market, the process, and digital technology, we can do just about everything online. Many lenders are moving everything online including virtual notary signings, meaning that not only can we offer a notary Republic to come to your home and sign in the privacy and comfort and safety of your own place, but we can also offer options for face time, Zoom meetings, or other digital face-to-face options that are secure, private, and legal.

Over the years, the mortgage business has become digitized and real estate agents, buyers, and sellers can sign a lot of contracts digitally these days. Most loan officers still like to meet clients in person but we are communicating more by phone, text, email, or videoconference. Most lenders work around their client's schedules anyway so working from home is not as big of an inconvenience.

The mortgage industry is not necessarily dependent upon face-to-face transactions as with the onset of Rocket Mortgage, and making applying and getting a mortgage as easy as clicking a button on your smartphone or computer. Most applications are electronically submitted and reviewed at the mortgage office or with the underwriter. The review prepares the loan application to be submitted to an online and automated underwriting system. A response from the underwriter is then provided listing all items needed for final approval. Most of these documents can be gathered and electronically transferred from borrower to lender.

More: 17 Things Buyers and Sellers Should Be Doing Right Now

Even mortgage officers get their rates online and order all third-party services online. Whether it's credit reporting, appraisals, or inspections, lenders, homebuyers, and agents can all communicate electronically these days.

The bottom line, I don't want you to be fearful about buying or selling a house or even refinancing your current mortgage right now. There are so many real estate agents and lenders that are putting safety measures in place and adapting to the changes implementing new strategies, online and electronic documents, and signings, and many buyers are taking full advantage of the low-interest rates right now.

Related: Don't Let the Virus Scare You From Selling Your Home

Even sellers can virtually show their home and I work with all of my sellers to come up with the best strategy for marketing and showing the property. Whether you're buying, selling, or starting the process of a new mortgage in Miami, give me a call. I'd be happy to discuss your concerns, the direction you want to go, and how we can meet your needs. Miami Real Estate All Online

Related: When Will This Chaotic Mortgage Market Settle Down?

Posted in Miami Real Estate
April 13, 2020

10 Things Home Inspectors Wish You Knew

10 Things  Home Inspectors Wish  You Knew

Getting a home inspection is a crucial part of the home buying process and is not something that should ever be skipped. This is a huge investment and you should know as much about the property as possible whether it's a condominium, Villa, townhouse, or single-family home. Inspectors see a lot and have the most interesting stories to tell but there are some things they wish you as the homebuyer would know. Here are 10 things home inspectors wish you knew about the home inspection process and the home you're buying.

#1. If you know your water heater is connected properly.

There should be a drain line connected to the TPR valve on your water heater. If it overheats, this valve will open and drain the water otherwise the water heater could blow up but surprisingly, many homeowners don't realize this and inspectors have run across a lot of water heaters installed improperly. The drain tube should be visible within 6 inches of the floor.

#2. Too much water near the foundation.

Six-foot downspout extensions are recommended to move water away from the foundation of your house. It doesn't matter whether you have a slab, crawlspace, or basement. Water too close to the foundation it can cause rotting, erosion, mildew, mold, and pests.

#3. Anti-tip brackets should be used on your range.

Anti-tip brackets are crucial to prevent your range from tipping over if weight is put on the door. If you can open the oven door, put a little weight in the entire range moves, it doesn't have these installed. These brackets have been required from appliance manufacturers since 1991 but most people don't use them.

#4. High drain loop to the dishwasher.

Dishwashers, with the drain loop to up at the side of the dishwasher but the installation requires this high loop underneath the sink. The drain tube should go above the bottom of the sink and down into the drain or garbage disposal. If this is installed improperly, it can clog the tube and cause bad odors and improper draining.

#5. Cover electrical wires and switch boxes.

Any electrical wiring that's not a factory-installed cord less than 7 feet long should either be inside a wall or encased in a conduit. Outlets and switch boxes should also be covered and if not, it can reflect negatively on an inspection report. [Source]

#6. Check your own stair handrails

If you have more than four steps both indoors and outdoors, is required to have a handrail. If your stairs don't have this, the home may not pass inspection.

#7. Clogged dryer vents.

Whether you are having your home inspected or not, you should always clean out your dryer vents. Clogged dryer vents are responsible for about 7000 fires every year. Check the vent for obstructions, tears, and make sure it's up to code.

#8. Properly stored wood.

This is one of those things a lot of homeowners don't even think about but if you have a fireplace or wood-burning stove, the wood must be stored a minimum of 3 feet from the side of the house. Firewood can attract wood-destroying pests and be a fire hazard if it's too close to the house.

#9. Check for leaks ahead of time.

This could mean water leaks and air leaks. If you have air leaking from somewhere in the house this could mean you have a draft and this can lead to problems in energy efficiency later on. Also check for leaks under bathroom sinks, on any water-using appliance, and on outside faucets.

#10. Home inspectors are not appraisers and cannot offer advice on buying the home.

Home inspectors are typically not alarmists. They have no investment in the property so they are there to give an unbiased report of the condition of the home and property. However, they cannot appraise the home, negotiate the price, or offer advice on whether buying the home is a good deal or not. They are simply there to give their expert opinion on the condition and integrity of the property.

Additional:

10 Easy Ways to Rejuvenate Your Home

7 Characteristics of Move-In Ready Homes

Can You Back Out of a Real Estate Deal?

How NOT to Stage a Home

Don't Let the Virus Keep You From Selling Your Home

Posted in Miami Real Estate
March 27, 2020

What Happens When Your Condo Neighbor Tests Positive?

It's no secret that news of the coronavirus and COVID-19 is all we seem to hear about lately but what happens when you live in a condominium, been asked to shelter at home, and your neighbor tests positive? It can be a little unnerving but a recent article in the Miami Herald discusses what you should do and what Miami is doing about it if your neighbor in a condo building or complex does test positive for coronavirus.What Happens When Your Condo Neighbor Tests Positive?

For instance, at the Brickell Bay Club, all of the common amenities have been closed including the swimming pool, tennis courts, and barbecue meeting areas, specifically because one occupant of the condo building has tested positive. It can be difficult to shelter in place or stay home, especially since you are paying homeowner association dues for all these great amenities, but we just can't take that risk. The fitness center and children's play area were also shut down.

The condo management team has urged everyone to stay inside and practice social distancing for at least 14 days. This means quarantine for a lot of people, probably over 100,000 people according to experts since Miami has more high-rise condominiums than any other place along the Florida coastline.

Because land values have risen, more local residents have moved into high-rise apartments and condominiums and almost 1/3 of the total dwellings in the Miami-Dade area have 20 or more units. This is tough though because the Centers for Disease Control have not issued specific guidelines for condo owners, buildings, and apartments even though they have done so for colleges, universities, and retirement centers.

This is uncharted territory and building owners and management teams are given carte blanche to close any amenity they choose, especially if they feel there's a health risk and condo owners should do the same not relying on everyone else telling them what to do but their own conscious, not just keeping themselves safe and healthy, but considering the health and safety of others. Many folks over 50 years old live in these complexes and can create a higher risk environment.

Nobody wants to get sick, even if a person would necessarily die because of this virus, nobody wants to get sick so is staying away from common areas, keeping hands washed, and doing our part in sheltering in place is really the best option for keeping everyone healthy.

More: What if You Need to Sell Your Condo During the Virus?

What if condo associations and managers are not able to force residents to self quarantine?

"Residents that tested positive for COVID-19 should self-quarantine. If they don't self quarantine, the condo association should inform authorities." This is according to Alessandra Stivelman, a partner at the Hollywood base law firm Eisinger Law. [Source]

The Brickell Bay Club has handled the situation responsibly placing hand sanitizers around the building and restricted access to the front desk. Deliveries are not allowed inside the building.

If we all do our part not only protecting ourselves but others, we will get through this together.

March 12, 2020

Don't Let Virus Scares Keep You From Selling Your Home

The coronavirus. It's literally everywhere. I can't scroll through any social media without seeing just about every or every other post saying something about it. So, let's talk about it some more… It becomes an issue when people stop their normal routines and we have seen a lot of that in places across the country in the world. But, people still need to buy and sell real estate. People need to move, downsize, upgrade or relocate and we can't just sit in a bubble waiting for this to go away. So what are homeowners supposed to do if they need to sell her house?Don't Let Virus Scares Keep You From Selling Your Home

A lot of people I've talked to are nervous to have open houses or even list their property for fear of strangers coming in and out of their homes. But, we shouldn't be so fearful that we stop enjoying our lives completely. There are some things that we can do to prevent sickness and disease from attaching itself to us or our family. If you're considering putting your home on the market or your home is already on the market, here are some things that you can do to ease your concerns.

Leave the house whenever there's a showing.

You'll always want to leave the house whenever you have buyers and their agents browse your home. This prevents any contamination from the air and airborne bacteria. If you're not around a sick person, chances are you're not going to get sick unless they leave germs places, which is another point. However, if someone coughs in the air, those particles are viable within about a 6-foot radius of that person but if there's nothing for them to attach onto they simply fall to the floor and died.

Disinfect everything after a showing.

As soon as you come back home from a showing start with the front door and sterilize the doorknob, handrails, anywhere someone would touch with their fingers including countertops, banisters, railings, doorknobs, drawers, cupboards, pantries, tables, chairs, just about anywhere someone may have touched. I know that that sounds like a lot but it will ease your mind. Don't forget about the bathrooms because buyers that are touring your home may need to use the restroom from time to time so don't neglect the restroom, and, that's just a good place to disinfect all the time anyway.

Be aware of your own symptoms.

If you're starting to feel shortness of breath, a fever, or a cough, contact your local clinics and ask about the current protocol. Things change on a daily basis and they may or may not want you to come in. So, before rushing down to your walk-in clinic potentially eating around other sick people or giving someone the sickness, coal first.

Be aware but don't worry too much.

We can't let this rule our lives but with a little bit of extra care, extra handwashing, and extra disinfectant, we can keep viruses and just about any sickness as far away from us as possible, even when we have strangers coming in and out of her home.

More for Sellers:

The Importance of Cleaning Closets Before Listing Your Home

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

Posted in Selling
March 8, 2020

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.

More: 3 Mistakes Homebuyers Usually Make

Posted in Real Estate
Feb. 20, 2020

Labor Shortage is the Top Concern for Home Builders

Labor Shortage is the Top Concern for Home Builders

The shortage of labor seems to be one of the top concerns in new construction markets all over the country and specifically in Miami and Miami Beach. According to a recent survey from the National Association of Home Builders, four out of five builders or about 85% expect to face serious challenges regarding the cost and availability of labor throughout 2020. While this isn't new, it is slightly down from 2019 where the availability was that 87%.

Building material prices and the cost and availability of lots and parcels were the second problems that many homebuilders expect to face in 2020. But this is new either. This is been a growing concern becoming more and more worrisome over the last 3 to 4 years. In 2011 just 13% of builders complained about labor shortage whereas a few years prior it was up in the 80s as well. Of course, with the housing recession in 2007 and 2008, many contractors went out of business and buildings just stopped construction altogether, not necessarily due to shortage but due to buyers.

Today, we are scrambling to keep up with the demand. Building material prices was not as important as it was in 2015 to 2018. Just 33% of builders cited building material prices of an issue but that jumped to 42% in 2015 and 87% in 2018. Additional fees, inspection costs, and the impact on the housing came in at the bottom of the top five lists. It really is the cost and availability of labor that's causing the most concern. Other concerns that are higher in 2020 than they were in 2019 include gridlock or uncertainty in the legislative departments, difficulty obtaining zoning permits, state and local regulations, negative media reports making buyers cautious, and the development or availability of lots. The only thing that is down in 2020 is inaccurate appraisals. This concern is just 40% in 2020 and it was 41% in 2019.

However, there are still buildings being constructed, new properties going up, and custom homes being developed and because of this housing shortage, home values have continued to rise and because interest rates remain low it's still a good time for buyers to jump on the real estate bandwagon.

More Resources:

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Posted in Miami Real Estate