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2014 Miami Realtors – Board Leaders

February 17, 2014

Miami Realtors - BOARD LEADERS - YPN CouncilWhat a great surprise to find in Sunday’s Miami Herald – Congratulating 2014 Miami Leaders from Miami Association of REALTORS (the largest Realtor Association in the nation!).  Proud to serve with such esteemed colleagues in the YPN Leadership Board.  (yours truly in lower left corner)

Miami Beach Waterfront Homes Sold in 2013

January 8, 2014

Miami Beach real estate is being watched closely by the rest of the country because it keeps beating records and many think it’s another real estate bubble.  But the numbers may surprise a lot of you because the waterfront luxury market has remained strong but has not appreciated at a fast speed from last year as many hoped.  I can even venture to say that the growth and appreciation in the Miami Beach waterfront real estate market was conservative in 2013.

There are currently 153 Miami Beach waterfront homes for sale right now ranging from a $549,000 North Beach home, to the previously JLo owned $40 Million North Bay Road home.

Although Miami Beach homes remain extremely desirable by locals as well as foreigners, the stable numbers may be a relief for many that remain skeptical.  The median listing price for a Miami Beach waterfront home is currently $5.5 Million.  Out of the 120 waterfront homes sold in 2013, the median sold price was $2.185 Million (compared to $2.8 Million in 2012).  Because real estate is local in nature and I don’t like giving you generalized figures for all of Miami Beach that may ultimately mean nothing to you, let’s look at the Miami Beach real estate market by island.

Star Island Home Sales

1 Star Island waterfront homes sold – located at 43 Star Island Dr – selling at $1,486 per square foot at $16.5 Million.  This Star Island estate has a main house with over 11,000 sq.ft. of living space, and 2 separate guesthouses on a 48,266 sq.ft. lot with over 200′ of water frontage and docking.

43 Star Island Dr - Star Island Home by miamism

Palm Island Home Sales

8 Palm Island homes sold on the water –  highest sale at $10,625,000 for newer construction home located at 130 Palm Ave. with 7,940 sq.ft. of living space, 6 bedrooms / 8 bathrooms and 1 half bath, sitting on a 30,000 sq. ft. lot with 100 feet of water frontage.  The average price per square foot for Palm Island homes coming in at $1,004 which is slightly lower than 2012′s average of $1,211.

Check out this beauty that sold for $7,431,750 in June of 2013- formerly home to Al Capone and totally renovated. The home sits on a 30,000 sq.ft. lot with 100′ of water frontage, over 6,000 sq.ft. of living space and separate cabana. It had been originally listed for $9.95 Million in 2012 and is now back on the market for $8.9 Million after selling for $1,218/sq.ft.

93 Palm Av - Al Capone's Home by Miamism

Hibiscus Island Home Sales

2 Hibiscus Island homes sold on the water –one for $8 Million (pictured below), located at 432 S Hibiscus, with bay and downtown Miami views and the other one for $3.2 Million at 151 N Hibiscus Dr.  Bringing the average price per square foot for Hibiscus Island in 2013 to $967, compared to $1,099 in 2012.

432 S Hibiscus Dr - Miami Beach Homes by miamism

Venetian Islands Home Sales

There were 13 Venetian Island waterfront homes sold – prices ranging between $2.775 and $14 Million, with an average price per sf of $965 compared to 2012′s average of $804.  The highest sale was for Villa Fendi at 1 E Dilido Dr, super contemporary new construction, with media room that doubles as own private nightclub. The home was originally listed for $14.9 Million in October of 2011.

Villa Fendi - 1 E Dilido Dr - Venetian Island homes by miamism

Sunset Islands Home Sales

There were 12 Sunset Island homes sold on the water – prices ranging between $2.9 million and $15.45 Million.  The average price per sq.ft. coming in at $1,029 compared to $976 in 2012.

The highest sale was for the home located at 2555 Lake Av (Sunset Island II), that was marketed as having been owned by “William Pawley, whose son was engaged to legendary Elizabeth Taylor.  The famous couple spent many romantic times at the property, enjoying countless hours by the pool, under the brilliant sun, and later, under the soft Miami moonlight” << gotta love Miami celebrity homes!  The home was renovated – with 7 bedrooms, 9 bathrooms and 1 half bath, over 9000 sq.ft. of living space, 35,100 sq.f.t lot and 150′ of water frontage.

2555 lake av - Sunset Island Homes by Miamism

North Bay Road Home Sales

There were 5 North Bay Rd waterfront homes sold this year.  Their prices ranging between $30 to $3.25 Million and averaging $976 per sq.ft. compared to $964 in 2013.  The highest sale was for A-Rod’s Miami Beach home, an ultra modern estate with almost 20,000 sq.ft. of living space, 275′ of open bay frontage, complete with interior batting – located at 4358 N Bay Rd and selling for $30 Million.

ARod sells miami beach home - reported by

This is also where Matt Damon’s Miami Beach home is and is currently for sale for $18,999,000.

La Gorce Island Home Sales

There were 2 waterfront La Gorce Island homes sold. One for $30 Million and the other for $13.75 Million and averaging $1,658 per sq.ft. compared to $908 in 2013 < talk about a HUGE jump!  The highest sale was Castello del Sole, an Italianate estate with 349′ of open bay water frontage, almost 17,000 sq.ft. of living space, 3 docks, lighted tennis court, tiki bar, Versace furniture, double kitchen, rotunda ceiling, library, theater, safe room, 5-car garage and 70,913 sq.ft. lot – nothing humble about this magnificent property.

42 La Gorce Cr - Miami Beach Luxury Homes

Allison Island Home Sales

There were 2 Allison Island homes sold on the water in 2013.  Their prices ranging from $8.6 Million to $3.22 Million with an average price per square foot of $664, compared to $685 in 2013.  The highest sale was for the new construction (from 2011) located at 6633 Allison Rd which was the highest sale in 2012, selling then for $8,325,000 and again in December of 2013 for $8,600,000.  That’s a nice profit for holding the house for 12 months.

6633 Allison Rd - Miami Beach Luxury Homes

North Bay Island Home Sales

There were no waterfront homes sold in N. Bay Island


Normandy Island Home Sales

There were 16 waterfront homes sold in Normandy Island. They ranged in price between $740,000 and $3.02 Million for the mid-century modern (featured in our Mia-Mod Homes series), bay front home located at 1001 N Shore Dr – with 5,000 sq.ft. of living space, 5 bedrooms, over 16,000 SF of land and 95 feet of water frontage.  The average price per sq.ft. in Normandy Island coming in at $444, compared to $346 in 2012.

1001 N Shore Dr - Miami Beach Homes for Sale via miamism

Biscayne Point Home Sales

22 Biscayne Point waterfront homes sold in 2013 ranging between $550,000 for a short-sale , to $3,425,000  for the home located at 1651 Cleveland Rd.  This completely remodeled 2-story home has 4,647 sq.ft. of living space, 11,250 sq.ft. lot, has 6 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms with new dock and boat lift and 75′ of open bay water frontage.  The average price per sq.ft. in Biscayne Point increasing to $450, compared to $393 in 2012.

1651 Cleveland Rd - Miami Beach Homes sold in 2013

Stillwater Island Home Sales

5 Stillwater Island waterfront homes sold ranging between $750,000 for a fixer-upper, to $1,517,500 for the home at 1151 Stillwater Dr– with 1,816 sq.ft. of living space, 3 bedrooms, 7,500 sf lot and 50 feet of water frontage.  The average price per square feet for Stillwater decreasing to $523, compared to $590 in 2012.

Pinetree Drive Home Sales

There were 8 Pinetree waterfront homes sold ranging between $1.5 Million for a short sale at 6165 Pinetree Dr., to $10.2 Million.  The highest sale of $10,200,000 was for the remodeled mediterranean mansion built in 1929 with over 14,000 sq.ft. of living space, a 67,000 sq.ft. lot, over 200 feet of water frontage – 2 docks, 3,200 sq.ft. master suite, separate guest house, billiards room, and tennis court.  The average price per sq.ft. in Pinetree coming in at $714, compared to $660 in 2012.

4549 Pinetree Dr - Miami Beach Luxury homes sold in 2013

Miami Beach’s waterfront housing market showed really fast recovery in 2012 but as numbers show, that recovery has remained stable. There were some record-breaking sales that may have skewed the numbers in the past, but it does feel good to reach stability and get away from crazy price increases.  What makes our market different that any other is how desirability of a property can change due to:

  • location even if in very close proximity from another property
  • history of the home – from a picturesque past to celebrity ownership
  • how the house sits on a property related to how the sun rises and sets
  • architectural design and involvement of top name designers
  • water frontage description and views

We also need to keep in mind that 61% of all sales in Miami were CASH as reported in the International Real Estate Congress held by The Miami Board of Realtors this past November.  Cash deals lead to fluctuation in sale prices because these are not bound by appraisals of comparable sales by financial institutions, but buyers still do their numbers and do not just throw money at sellers blindly.  We are seeing properties listed way above market prices with sellers hoping to become another record sale, but just keep in mind that these are no longer the norm, as evidenced by sales in 2013.

Take a look at this graph and see how different islands compare.  The big surprise is how La Gorce Island surpassed Star Island by price per square foot.  The other change is how there is not much disparity between Palm, Hibiscus, The Venetians, Sunset Islands and North Bay Road.  If you are interested in seeing last year’s graph, click HERE.

Miami Beach waterfront homes sold in 2013 by square foot - by miamism

So what will 2014 bring us?  We can always expect some record sales, but we see more of a normalized market that does appreciate conservatively.  Lack of housing inventory will drive prices up in some desirable areas, so be ready to open your wallets in certain scenarios.  And we also expect some unique properties being erected and sold for unexpected prices because we are Miami after all.

We remind you that we specialize in luxury properties in Miami Beach and welcome the opportunity to represent you in your next real estate transaction.  We keep all of our client communications and inquiries confidential.

Billy Joel sells Miami Beach home

June 14, 2013

Where are all of our Miami Celebrities going? Hopefully to new and better things…..locally.  We told you back in May of 2012 that Billy Joel listed his Miami Beach home for $14,750,000.  Well….the scoop by The World Property Channel is that he has sold it for $14 Million to fashion mogul Diego Della Valle (Reportedly worth $1.55 billion, Mr. Valle is the owner of Tod’s shoes and a majority shareholder in Saks Fifth Avenue, according to Forbes magazine.)

Billy Joel's Miami Beach Home by

The Piano Man singer bought the 8,881-square-foot Mediterranean-style mansion for $13.5 million in 2006, according to the Real Estalker. He will most likely lose money after all fees are paid.

As we told you back in May of last year:

The house has 8,881 sf of living space, with 7 bedrooms, 8 bathrooms and 1 half bath.  It sits on a 30,330m sf lot and has a private dock , amazing pool area and views to die for.

Tax records show that the home was purchased in February of 2006 for $13.5 Million.  The selling description reads:

Elegant 7 bedroom 8.5 bath Mediterranean waterfront estate is situated on prestigious La Gorce Island.  this 8,881 sq ft home boasts expansive open areas with breathtaking views of the bay.  Luxurious bar with wine cellar, gourmet chefs kitchen, formal living and dining room, office and sumptuous master suite all of which showcase the finest details and finishes.  Perfect home for entertaining with outdoor summer kitchen.  Over 150 feet of water frontage.

Here are some photos:
Billy Joel selling Miami Beach Home -

Billy Joel's Miami Beach Home by

Billy Joel's Miami Beach Home by

Congrats Mr. Della Valle and welcome to the neighborhood!!

Remember we are here to help you sell or buy your dream Miami Beach home or condo!  With architectural expertise and specializing in luxury real estate, historic homes and architecturally significant properties!

Your perfect Miami Beach Realtor

May 3, 2013

If you are thinking of selling your house, what’s the ideal Realtor for you?

  • Is it the one that will tell you what you want to hear?
  • Is it the one that will list your house at the highest price?
  • Is it the one that works for the biggest brokerage?

If you are like most people, you will talk to a couple of Realtors to get an idea of pricing and see how the market is doing.  You may have an idea of what your house is worth and hope your number is close to reality.  You may even have a grasp of reality but know your house is superior and NEED to sell for more than the market dictates.  Even if you don’t know it, you establish a selling strategy before you even interview a Realtor – you set goals in your head of what you want to happen and have pre-conceived ideas on how to achieve those goals.

When the time comes to interview different Realtors, you will end up hiring the one that comes closer to your predetermined plan.  This may be a good thing if your plan comes close to reality and what’s happening in your local real estate market – but what if you are really off?

So let me ask you a question from a Realtor’s perspective.  Wouldn’t it be easy for me, as a Miami and Miami Beach Realtor, to tell you what you want to hear in order to get the listing?  It would look great in my long register of listings, even if the house doesn’t sell – it’s a numbers game, so the more listings I have, the better the chance I have of selling and making money.

Why can’t you realize that overpricing your house will not benefit you!!

Many agents out there will list it at whatever price you want – it’s simple (and one of the reasons the Real Estate Industry has such a bad reputation).  Here’s another scenario: you may think, let’s list high now and we’ll see if the market responds and then we will lower the price. …but you wait, and wait and wait.  You don’t lower the price and then blame the agent for not doing their job.

I just want you to be realistic here.  Please think strategy before you even list your home.  Please take a deep look into your pre-conceived ideas of what is to happen, and hire a Realtor because they will get the job done right.  Take a look at their reputation, at their ability to market the property not only locally but nationally and abroad.  Take a look at how they will make your property stand out from other listings,  how they will communicate and how available they are.

Then make an educated and rational decision of who’s the best man for the job.  And if you decide not to hire the best one for the job, at least know why you did it.

I’ll leave you with a great article written by a colleague in Tucson:  The Effect of Great Marketing – And Good Pricing

The intent here was to make you think – Please know that our team will always tell it like it is – no fluff, just plain truth.  Keep in mind that if you are looking for fluff, we may not be the perfect Miami Beach Realtor for you.

*original article from July 2010

Another Miami Real Estate Crash

March 28, 2013

There are so many differing opinions on the current Miami Real Estate market conditions.   Some are rushing to buy into one of the country’s hottest real estate markets, others feel the comeback is too good to be true.

So which one is it? Who do you believe and what does your gut tell you?

Miami Skyline by

The truth is that fast growth is always scary, especially right after one of the most horrible real estate crashes in history. But there are some facts that can’t be ignored and that has to do with Foreign Nationals trusting and buying into our market.  South Americans are rushing to buy in Miami because let’s face it, many see a brighter future here and the return on their investment is secure.

Secondly, Miami is a vacation destination that as Richard Florida, founder of The Creative Class Group, mentions, is “different” than other second-home destinations.

Miami is not just a resort destination, but a global economic spike. The flip side of globalization has been the transformation of a small number of global cities — London, New York, and Hong Kong, for example — into locational hubs for what Chrystia Freeland has dubbed “the global super-elite.” Miami fills an intriguing niche in the global economy, which combines elements of a global economic and financial center and an international resort and second-home destination, with all the growth and unevenness that comes with it.

Miami has become a “go-to” destination with arts and culture (ART BASEL leading that effort), with renowned architects changing our city’s skyline (Herzog and De Meuron, Zaha Hadid,Frank Gehry), not to forget a hub for celebrities, and all of that topped with perfect weather,gorgeous beaches and global connectivity which makes it easy to travel in and out of.

Of course as real estate professionals, we want to make you believe that there is no bubble and there will not be another crash, but not even the most in-tune economists can predict that.  The question remains whether or not foreign national investments will be enough to keep our hot market afloat and whether or not the diversity in economic backgrounds will ever start converging in our magnificent city.

I was glad to hear that our colleague, Peter Zalewski agrees with us:

It is impossible to argue decisively for or against the hypothesis of no more real estate boom-and-bust cycles for South Florida given that data necessary to prove or disprove the hypothesis will not be available for several decades.

As your Miami Beach REALTORS we will always make you scrutinize your own personal real estate goals and will give you direct, honest and realistic information.  Just because the highest condo sale of $34 Million was just recorded in Miami Beach may not at all be relevant to your own objectives.

Architecture and Miami Beach Real Estate – How do These 2 Work Together

March 23, 2013

Time to bring an old article back to life from April 2007 – The concept of combining my architecture expertise with our Miami Real Estate Business keeps separating us from our competition.  Make no mistake though, architecture consulting is exclusive  to our real estate clients…continue reading my thoughts from almost 6 years ago!

architectural rendering

I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Miami, and hence all the Hurricane stuff you see me with.  I worked with a couple of big firms both locally and abroad and then started my own architecture firm doing additions and remodelings in Miami Shores and Miami Beach as well as other neighboring cities.  I did several projects, including the design of the Brockway Memorial Library addition in Miami Shores, and always helped friends visualize the potential of homes before buying them.

That’s when the vision of our business was born.  If so many of our own friends had benefited from my architectural consulting services prior to purchasing a home, wouldn’t it be ideal if I had a Real Estate License and offer those same services to potential customers? (the answer was a really LOUD YES!!!)

As a Miami Beach home buyer, when working with me, you will gain from having free architectural consulting at your fingertips.  Finding the “perfect home” is no easy task, properties will need some work and some changes most of the time.  Whether it is to open a kitchen out to a family room or to “formalize” a dining room, or to add a master suite to a property,   as our customer you will benefit from me sitting down with you to help identify your needs. I usually sketch out numerous schematics and will come up with a conceptual plan.  Having worked in the field and built additions, I will be able to estimate the cost of construction and will then lead you to an architect or design professional that can finalize the plans.

I can also assist you, as our real estate buyers, with other design consulting aspects like materials and color selection as well as furniture arrangement.  My enthusiasm is endless when it comes to design.

As a Miami Beach home seller, the advantages are endless.  I will ask that you acqarchitectural pen and ink sketchuire floor plans of your properties (most cities will have floor plans and are easy to order); I will have those floor plans ready to show any prospective buyers.  I will also help you identify any weaknesses in the current design of your property and will accentuate all the positive features.

I will help you stage your property with a very detailed list of suggestions that is customized to you and your particular property.  I will even help you hire the right construction professionals to prepare your home for showings (like floor refinishers, carpenters, painters, etc.).  A lot of our customers are absentee owners and we take care of the coordination of these jobs for them.

Having a passion for architecture and for helping people visualize the potential of a property is what makes my job so much fun.  Our customers will tell you how I light up when I see a good space (they will also tell you what my reaction is when I visit “butchered homes”), how I will go out of my way to make their dream a reality within their financial parameters.  I am an architect by profession, but a Realtor by trade, the combination of these is what we offer to our customers in unmatched service.

7 things to consider when buying a Miami Beach Waterfront Home

February 20, 2013

If you are buying a Miami Beach waterfront home, you are likely to have a boat or will be considering a boat in the near future. We are constantly asked a number of questions regarding waterfront purchases and Rick and I decided to write a list of 7 important factors to consider when buying a waterfront home in Miami.

Miami Beach Waterfront Home

Miami Beach Waterfront homeCondition of Sea wall –

    It is important for anyone buying a waterfront property to get a seawall inspection by a structural engineer or a seawall specialist.  Inspections should include not only the actual seawall but also settling cracks within the main house, patios and pool as well as dock areas.  Because most canal systems in Miami and Miami Beach are artificially made or made with landfills, the integrity of the seawall could ultimately determine the integrity of the structure of the home.  Doing a visual inspection of seawalls of adjacent properties is also recommended in order to avoid future settling.

Miami Beach Luxury HomeType of waterfront property

    – If you look at an aerial view of Miami and Miami Beach, you will notice that there are numerous types of waterfront properties:  lakes, rivers, canals with direct ocean access, canals with fixed bridges, canals with no ocean access, non-navigable canals, and bayfront homes, to name a few.  Depending on the type of boat you have, you will need to consider fixed bridges (clearance heights), depth of canals, and proximity to bay and or ocean access.  There are several waterfront communities in Miami and Miami Beach that have direct ocean access but you have to navigate at idle speed for miles which can mean being on your boat for a couple of hours before you can really do some boating.

Miami Beach waterfront real estateBoat Dock

    – it is important to inspect not only the condition of an existing dock, but also if the type of dock can accommodate your boat. There are a lot of canals in Miami with natural coral sea walls and no docks – you may not want to dock your boat next to natural coral.  If there is no dock on the property, it may be a good idea to contact DERM (Department of Environmental Resources Management) about what kind of dock they will allow in a particular canal.  DERM may even send an inspector out to the property in order to make recommendations.

Miami Beach Real EstateDavits and/or Boat Lift

    – depending on the size of the boat, most boat owners will not keep the vessel inside the water and use davits and/or boat lifts to raise the boat out of the water while not in use. Whichever your choice, make sure to inspect existing davits or make sure the existing seawall can accommodate a boat lift of your choice.

Miami Beach Luxury HomeProtection from the elements

Bayfront homes are obviously the most desired type of waterfront property but can also leave your property very exposed to the elements (weather and hurricanes).  Canal front properties are said to protect not only your house, but boats as well in case of increment weather.  This doesn’t mean that you should not purchase a bayfront home, it means you should consider location when purchasing.

Miami Beach Luxury Real EstateLocation of home within a canal

    – because of the intricate design of canals in Miami and Miami Beach, some canals may be comparable to dead-end streets.  These canals, depending on currents and wind may accumulate debris and garbage that can become a nuisance.  If a property is located at the end of a dead-end canal, make sure you ask about accumulation of debris throughout the year.

Miami Beach Luxury HomeInsurance Costs

      – just keep in mind that property insurance costs will be higher for waterfront homes, especially open bay properties.

Using the right Window for your Miami Beach Home

February 1, 2013

We are reviving an old article about historic windows since we have received so many questions about windows this week. I wrote this back in October 2007 – remember to look in the category section of the blog under “historic homes” or “architecture” for informative articles that may help you with restoration of historic homes or even remodeling of your existing one. We always appreciate your feedback!  And remember we are here to serve all of your Miami real estate needs – especially if you are buying or selling historic homes! It’s our passion and you’ll know why from the minute I step into a historic property.

You are going to think I am crazy for writing an article about the correct use of windows.  But you need to know that windows are myvitruvian_man.jpg pet peeve.  Windows are a key element in a building’s architecture, and the incorrect use of a window can ruin a building’s facade. When doing the Miami Beach Real Estate thing I am always shocked at what I see.

I drive around every day looking at Miami Architecture shaking my head.  You see Spanish Mediterranean homes with Colonial windows, Colonial homes with casement windows, or Mid-century modern homes with single-hung windows.  This drives me absolutely crazy, so instead of complaining, I’ll try to explain some basics.

Vitruvius, known as the first Roman architect to have written on his field, always talked about architecture as an imitation of nature, and ultimately defined the Vitruvian Man (drawn by Leonardo da Vinci).  The Vitruvian Man, represents perfect human proportions and fundamental geometric patterns of the cosmic order.  I will not go into detail about the human proportions but will only tell you that the first windows were vertical in nature made to represent the human body, or better yet, were designed according to human proportions.

I have sketched a common window to show what proportions are about – notice the vertical nature of the window.  Different styles of architecture call for different window proportions.  And although I’m not going into detail about what type of window is appropriate for what type of architecture, my purpose is to help you “see” and discern the different proportions.


You have no idea how good it feels when friends and loved ones start noticing things that they really never paid attention to.  It’s great that Rick can go into a house now, with his “accountant eye” and say, “too bad they replaced the windows with the wrong type”.  It’s a big YESSSssss in my book.

Here are 3 sketches of the same house with different types of windows – please excuse my primitive pen and inks, but I think it helps to make a point.

The house is a small scaled Mediterranean Revival typical of the 1920′s in South Florida.  One of the three window types is correct for the style.


Sketch “A” shows the house with a horizontal awning window,

Sketch “B” shows the house with a vertical casement window,

Sketch “C” shows the house with a colonial window.

The differences may be a bit subtle for the untrained eye, but the correct use for a Mediterranean Revival home is the casement window.  If we want to go into detail, the proportion of the window lights and the placement of the muntins is also very important.  But I would much rather see a plain casement without muntins, than the other 2 applications.

So what’s the purpose of this blog and how does it apply to you?  Start looking at windows, notice differences, that way when you are ready to replace a window in your home, you will know which type to use.  Please don’t ask window companies, most of them will not care what you use and which window type is appropriate; when in doubt, ask a professional.  There are plenty of architects that do consulting and would be glad to answer questions.  There are also historic boards throughout that may be able to help you.

If you have a question about windows, let me know……I’ll try my best to answer.

What makes a Miami Beach historic house special

January 28, 2013

If you have visited a Miami Beach historic house with me you know how I light up.  The architect in me wants to jump out and point out every single historic detail, no matter how minute.  I can’t begin to tell you how many calls and e-mails we get from people wanting to know more about historic houses, or people thanking me for writing about window proportionsHistoric Cuban Tile or Cuban Tile flooring.  (There’s even a Historic Homes category on the menu bar on the blog).

The fact is that Miami historic real estate is my specialty – many times I point out features that listing agents are clueless about and later thank me.

Miami Shores Historic Home Rendering

But I’m not writing this post to pat myself on the back or to tell you “If you are buying a historic home in Miami, call me!!” (although it would be that easy).  The purpose of this post is to help you be critical about the reasons you may be captivated by historic homes.

I see it all in this business – the person that walks into a gorgeous Miami Beach Mediterranean Revival Home and appreciates every nook and cranny, and those that get disgusted by the “old feel” and want to replace everything in site with modern features.  When showing a historic home, it is obvious who appreciates the home and who doesn’t.

So what is it you like about historic homes?  Is it the charm and character?  Is it the warm materials (textured stucco, hardwood floors, mill-work) Or is it just the look and feel of these properties?  Are you aware that Historic Properties are known to hold their value much better than other properties and have a particular public who recognize the value and are willing to pay for it?  Whether Mediterranean Revival, Art Deco, Tudor …..or whatever…….historic homes sell for more – I’m not making this up, the numbers prove it.

This doesn’t mean that these homes may sell quicker (although many times they do), it means that they sell for more than the average home.  There are certain neighborhoods in Miami that have historic homes:  Miami Shores, Miami Beach, Coral Gables, Miami Springs and Historic Morningside are the most known….but there are also hidden pockets with beautiful gems all around Miami……even where you least expect it.

Owning one of these old homes is not all fun and games either – with old homes comes a lot of work and sometimes problems.  From structural deflection (sagging beams), to old plumbing, to termite damage.  It’s time to think of the reasons why you may be attracted to these old homes, and if you are not interested in working with the “buying an old home package” while paying a premium, then it may be a good idea to skip these altogether.

Please note that I’m not a purist either – I believe in reaching a happy medium between restoration and modernization…’s doable, as long as you always respect proportions and materials.  Ultimately, you will be the one living in the house…..just think of resale value and don’t go butchering and altering the historical integrity without taking into consideration the consequences, which could include resale value.

Have a historic problem or an anecdote you want to share about a historic house?  Add it to the comments so everyone can pitch in.

*originally published on October 8th, 2008*

Miami 1031 Exchange in plain English

January 23, 2013

We have recently received calls and e-mails from our Miami investor clients, asking about 1031 exchanges. So I decided to explain it in a brief and hopefully understandable way.  We always recommend that you contact and attorney and/or CPA, and we’re here to help you with the Miami properties when you are ready.

Miami 1031 Exchange

What is an IRC 1031 Tax Deferred Exchange?

A 1031 Exchange, is a transaction which specifies if an asset (usually some form of real estate such as land or a building) is sold and the proceeds of the sale are the reinvested in an asset of a similar kind, therefore no capital gain or loss is recognized, allowing the deferment of capital gains taxes that would otherwise have been due on the first sale. The actual law is Title 26, section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code.

In plain English, this means that a 1031 Exchange is a rollover of equity of like properties, rather than an avoidance of tax.

There are 3 important parts that are important for a smooth and successful 1031 Exchange:

1. Time Requirements

2. Identification Rules

3. Monetary Requirements

Time Requirements

There are two time requirements: identification period and exchange period which total 180 days.

  • Identification Period

– 45 day period to identify specific properties as potential replacements.

– 45 day clock starts when the relinquished property is settled. (the day the first property closes)

– Three rules for declaring potential replacement properties (See Identification Rules)

  • Exchange Period

– Begins on the date the taxpayer transfers (closes) the sale of the relinquished property and ends at midnight of the 180th day.

– There are no extensions for the 45th or the 180th day and there are no extensions for Saturdays, Sundays, or Holidays.
**UPDATED** Exchanger may need to file an extension on their tax return if the replacement property is not closed in time to file yearly taxes.

Identification Rules

  • Three Property Rule – The exchanger may identify three (3) properties of any value
  • 200% Rule – The exchanger may identify any number of properties if the total fair market value of what is identified does not exceed 200% of the sale price of the relinquished property; or (i.e. relinquished property sold for $200,000 – identified properties cannot be more than $400,000)
  • 95% Rule – If the exchanger identifies more properties than are permitted under the two rules above, the exchanger must acquire 95% of what was identified. (Be care careful with this one ;) )

Monetary Requirements

There are three monetary requirements which dictate whether or not a transaction qualifies as a 1031 Exchange:

  • Sales Price
  • Debt
  • Equity

All three of these amounts for the relinquished property must be equal to or greater than these amounts for the replacement property. If not, some amount of capital gains taxes and /or depreciation taxes will apply.

There are many other things to consider when doing a 1031 exchange. Every transaction is different so be sure to consult your attorney and/or CPA to see if a 1031 exchange is right for you.

*edit from June 2008 article*

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