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
April 14, 2013
Thank you Curbed Miami for giving us the scoop on Matt Damon and his Miami Beach home being for sale. I have to admit that I don’t have many crushes on actors, but there’s something about Matt Damon – he won me over with his “Good Will Hunting” performance and I would probably be star struck if I saw him (GASP). So enough about Matt and let’s talk real estate.
This North Bay Road home boasts almost 13,000 sf of living space with 7 bedrooms and 9.5 bathrooms. It has 170′ of open bay water frontage and sits on a 43,690 sf lot. It was built in 1935 and obviously remodeled (DUH) and although it has a nice charming 30′s feel to it, it also feels modern.
It is modestly priced at $20 Million and could have Chris Bosh as a neighbor close by …and not to mention “Matt Damon appeal.”
Here are some exterior shots:
The marketing description reads (let me know if you need translating):
Your own private retreat in the heart of Miami Beach awaits you on prestigious upper N Bay Rd. Situated on a rare double lot w/170′ of water frontage, Maravilla boasts breathtaking, unobstructed views of Biscayne Bay & beyond. The pool house w/full summer kitchen allows for easy entertaining & a rooftop terrace provides panoramic views of the entire property. The 2-stry main house features a theatre rm, wine cellar, custom ofc, oversized living rm overlooking the water, gourmet kitchen. 2BR/2BA guest hse.
And finally, the interior:
If you are interested in this house or any other Miami Beach home, please email us at email@example.com. No curious onlookers please, just real buyers…and don’t get offended if we ask for proof.
**property information courtesy of South East Florida Multiple Listing Service**
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?
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.
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!
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.
As a Miami Beach home seller, the advantages are endless. I will ask that you acquire 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.
February 28, 2013
One Ocean is the latest and greatest development in the South of Fifth area of South Beach that everyone is talking about. It’s another Jorge Perez/Related Group development but this time no stone has been left unturned. What I mean by this is that this project has all the bells and whistles – from amazing architecture, interior design, amenities and landscape architecture. What it’s missing it’s the fact that it is not an ocean front property, but close enough. It’s being compared to Ocean House because of its boutique quality, scale and exclusivity ….but you do have to cross the street to get to the beach.
The architect for One Ocean is award-winning Enrique Norten, from Mexico City, and his firm, TEN Arquitectos. The landscape architect is Enzo Enea, one of the leading landscape architectural firms in Switzerland and widely known for challenging private projects. Interior Design by Yabu Pushelberg known for high-end hospitality work. And lastly, featured artists like Cuban born Jose Bedia, Michele Oka Doner, and Eugenio & Lautaro Cuttica from Buenos Aires.
The concept of One Ocean is “The Opportunity to own a masterpiece unlike any other.”
There are only 50 residences at One Ocean, with ocean views and private beach club amongst other things. 46 of these will be exclusive residences and 4 ocean villas featuring unique architectural design by Enrique Norten. There is very little inventory left including:
- PH 702 with east and west views – 3 bedrooms / 3.5 bathrooms with 2125 sf of living space + 255 sf terrace + 1,724 sf roof top with spa priced at $5,106,000.
- 307 – 5 bedrooms / 5.5 bathrooms – east, north and west views with 3,206 sf of living space + 624 sf wrap around terrace priced at $4.95 Million.
- 308 - 5 bedrooms / 5.5 bathrooms – east, north and west views with 3,206 sf of living space + 624 sf wrap around terrace priced at $5.062 Million.
- 207 – 4 bedrooms plus den / 4.5 bathrooms – east, south and west views with 3120 sf of living space + 2,532 sf wrap around terrace priced at $4.95 Million.
- 208 – 4 bedrooms plus den / 4.5 bathrooms – east, north and west views with 2,826 sf of living space + 1,792 sf wrap around terrace priced at $4,648,900.
The Payment structure is as follows:
- 20% at contract
- 20% at ground breaking (Fall 2013)
- 10% at top off (Fall 2014)
- 50% at closing (End of 2015)
Ocean One Amenities
- Forty-six exclusive residences and four ocean villas featuring unique architectural design by Enrique Norte
- Professionally curated contemporary art collection throughout common areas
- Striking ocean views of the Atlantic Ocean, Biscayne Bay, Fisher Island, South Pointe Park and city skyline
- Park and outdoor areas with ornamental features by artist Jose Bedia
- Zen garden, park & pool deck designed by Enzo Enea
- Infinity Edge pool
- Covered outside private clubhouse complete with food service
- Selected residences and penthouses with private rooftop terraces, spas and two-car garages
- State of the art fitness facilities with views of courtyard garden
- Integrated high-speed Internet throughout common areas
- Floor-to-ceiling energy-efficient windows
- Individual unit access high-speed elevators
- Grand porte-cochere entrance
- Assigned covered parking with 24-hour valet
Ocean One Services
- 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, worldwide private and elite concierge service accessible directly from resident’s iPads ®
- Exclusive preferential access to dining, cultural events and travel
- Poolside dining from exclusive neighborhood restaurants
- Dedicated beach club with resort and beachside entrances, custom lounge daybeds, cabanas, umbrellas and elite amenities including oceanfront dining
- Fitness concierge managing spa appointments and treatments, personal training sessions and classes
- Chauffeured car service
- Personal shopping and delivery
- Salon & barber
- Pre-approved housekeeping staff
- Laundry and dry cleaning
- VIP Access to hotel services, area restaurants and club privileges
- Catering services and event planning for functions
- Supervised childcare
- Personal security
- Pet walking and sitting
- Business center
- Messenger service
- Technical support services
- Car wash and detail services
Remember our team is ready to help you with your One Ocean Condo Purchase or sale and of course surrounding condos as well. Call us for details, brochure and/or floor plans 305.758.2323 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Condition 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.
Type 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.
- - 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.
Davits 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.
Protection 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.
Location 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.
- - just keep in mind that property insurance costs will be higher for waterfront homes, especially open bay properties.
February 15, 2013
If you haven’t noticed, Miami has gotten bombarded by investors from every corner of the world. For locals buying Miami investment properties this is a huge disadvantage because the competition is fierce. But this only means that you must have the right team on your side.
So here you are, Mr. investor from somewhere in our small world; you hear such great things about Miami and don’t even know where to begin. You have cash sitting in a bank account but are not sure whether to pull the trigger. The good news is that if so many people are running to Miami, it can’t be all that bad, no?
The numbers in your own city are not adding up and buying a property far from you can be scary – unless, of course, you have a team working for you who can manage and help you with every detail of the transaction. We’re talking not just buying the property, which is the easiest part, but having all the resources necessary to buy, remodel and manage the property as an absentee owner.
What’s exciting for us is the diversity of clients we are currently helping. From the multi-million hotel buyer, to the investor who flips single-family homes and even the multi-family investor who depends on rental income to make a living. Let me remind you that I am an architect by trade, so seeing construction defects as well as architectural potential is second nature to me and is a home-run for our clients. Let me also remind you that my husband and business partner, Enrique Garcia, can break down financials and give you real cap rates because of his accounting background. We also have a list of resources for our clients including zoning attorneys, contacts within city building departments, contractors and managers to help with the purchase decision.
In addition to the local resources, we also have real estate connections all over the United States and abroad which we are happy to collaborate with. We don’t usually use Miamism.com as a billboard for our services, but want you to give us a call if you’ve been thinking about investing in Miami. We go out of our way to make sure our real estate clients make sound investments that lead to happy pocket books.
PS – we also run a profitable commercial property management company since the early 90′s.
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 my 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.
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 proportions, Historic 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.
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…..it’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*
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.
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
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.
- 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 )
There are three monetary requirements which dictate whether or not a transaction qualifies as a 1031 Exchange:
- Sales Price
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*