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  • Miami, FL 33137
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Choosing the right Miami Beach REALTOR to sell you home

December 19, 2012

Choosing the right agent to sell your home – whether you are selling a Miami Beach home or any other type of real estate takes a bit of research – here are some tips that will help you make a sound decision.

I have a close family member outside of Miami that is in the process of choosing a Realtor to list their home for sale.  As I keep repeating here on Miamism, real estate is local and it is very difficult for me to try to figure out the intricacies of real estate markets across the nation, but obviously I’m doing my homework to help her make a good decision and passing the information along to help you with this decision as well.  These suggestions should apply to any market, especially Miami Beach Real Estate.

My relative’s first inclination is to hire the biggest real estate brokerage in her area.  She had hired them 2 years ago and they were not successful selling the home even after several price reductions.  According to her, they have the most listings and handle most of the sales, so it would make sense to use them.  She also mentioned that agents within that company only show their own listings, so not listing with them would be a disadvantage.  The real estate team she is thinking of hiring has about 60 listings, they advertise in a certain way with traditional print ads and do not deviate because they are the biggest and that’s what people are used to.

I was listening attentively and all kinds of red flags started going off

choosing a Miami Beach Realtor

Why hire the biggest real estate brokerage?

Remember that it is a particular agent’s service that you will be relying on, not necessarily the brokerage.  With all the changes in real estate in the past 2 years, it is no longer about hiring the big dog brokerages anymore.  It is about hiring agents that provide service, that areInternet proficient and that will expose your listing to the broadest audience possible.  Rick and I left a big brokerage because they were limiting the way we exposed our listings and setting boundaries for us that were directly impacting our clients and our ability to market effectively.

Realtors are independent contractors

When you are interviewing, we recommend that you interview a few agents and Google themto see how they are exposing their listings and what individual services they offer.  If you Google an agent and they don’t come up, I would seriously doubt their marketing expertise – if over 80% of buyers are starting on-line, shouldn’t that agent at least know how to market themselves?  (the only excuse for not being “Googable” would be having a common name like John Smith or Rick Garcia, and even then, I would hope they are smart enough to have a brand or something to help identify them amongst thousands of others).

Reassess reasons you are reusing an agent and be objective

If you hired an agent previously and were not happy with their service – make sure you go back and review why the relationship did not work and why you think your property did not sell.  The agent may not be at fault and that’s why it’s important to be objective – was it because they were not available to show the property, was your home overpriced – was it the condition of your property?  Was it something out of yours and their control?  Sometimes it may feel like it is easier to go with a service you know, rather than go through the work of interviewing and seeing what options are out there.

Accessibility and Service

If you hire an agent with 60 listings – don’t be afraid to ask how they will handle YOUR home.  Do they answer their phone, do they have someone else handling your listing?  Will you be another number instead of getting personal service -is their business based on mass sales and quantity over quality.  How do they communicate and how often, do they give feedback after every showing – Will you benefit from working with an agent that has less listings that may provide better service.

They show their own listings only

The comment about agents only showing their own company’s listings is disturbing to say the least.  If a Realtor is working with a buyer, it is their responsibility to show that buyer all listings that fit their criteria, not just the ones that will get them more money in their pocket.   I would consider that to be unethical and would rethink using agents that resort to those types of tactics, since it is evident that they have their best interest at hand, not yours.

Advertising and Internet Exposure

Advertising and Internet exposure should be your biggest concern:   make sure you identify “basic” real estate services as opposed to “above and beyond marketing”, “exclusive services” and “out-of-the-box” thinking.

  • Basic services include:   Multiple Listing Service, property sign, property brochures, just listed cards, property photos,   (all agents should provide these basic services)
  • What successful agents across the country are doing (in addition to basic services):  single listing blogs, email flyers, syndication throughout the web to over 50 listing sites, professional photography, virtual shows, property videos, seller’s video interviews, staging – in addition to constant communication, revisiting of property pricing and feedback from showings and recommendations throughout the duration of the listing.


This is not a time to negotiate real estate commissions – on the contrary, many sellers are offering more commission to cooperating brokers to make it enticing for them to show your listing.   Selling a home today takes a lot more work than a few years ago, the commission will guarantee your agent puts 100% of themselves into the sale.  Obviously this is controversial and your commission structures may be negotiable according to services being offered.

Transaction Management

Ask about transaction management – who handles the details once the property is under contract (a large percentage of sales fall through because of poor transaction management) – do they qualify buyers so you don’t waste your time?  Do they stay on top of the process….escrow letters, inspection deadlines, second deposits and constant communication with title agencies, attorneys and all parties involved?

Open Houses

Open houses in most of the country are not successful selling tools.  We use them here to get more buyer clients – less than 4% of our listings sell because of an open house – it is ok for you to decide whether or not to do open houses.  We do find however that Broker’s Open Houses are very helpful.  Team Miamism hosts catered Broker’s Open Houses and we invite agents throughout to come preview the house – with the amount of inventory, it has become very difficult to know every home on the market, this helps put your listing in front of Realtors that would not otherwise consider your home for their clients.

For Sale By Owner

Of course I’m going to push for you to hire a professional with experience to handle the sale of your property.  Although many “For Sale By Owner” are successful, studies prove that these homes sell for less than the average price.  In addition, it’s important for you to disconnect from showing the property – the biggest turn off for buyers today is a seller pushing their own home and blabbing throughout the showing process.

. . .

So there you have some suggestions to help with your thought process when selecting a REALTOR to sell your home.  The process is not easy and is very personal – but make sure you are objective and consider important factors.  When all else fails, call us and ask our opinion, we know agents from across the country that provide excellent service and we would not hesitate to recommend.  If you feel we missed something, please add it to the comments, especially if you have been through the selling process recently.

**original article published in May of 2009**

Choosing your Miami Beach Realtor

December 4, 2012

You are interviewing Miami Beach REALTORS and have no idea who to hire because they all have something that impresses you, good track record, good communication skills, good client testimonials, good Internet presence… how can you make up your mind?

The key is to be able to identify how they market themselves as opposed to how they market properties.  At first this may seem like easy task, but once you start thinking about it you realize that most REALTORS spend more money branding themselves that promoting their properties.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s only wrong when they want to sell you their branding efforts as property marketing.

In addition to identifying the type of marketing an agent does, it’s good to know where marketing efforts need to be more aggressive and where buyers will ultimately find your home.  The National Association of Realtors (NAR) just published a 2010 profile of home buyers and sellers which includes this graph that details where buyers found the home they purchased from 2001 through 2010.

Interestingly enough, in 2010, 75% of buyers bound their home with the help of another REALTOR or on-line! (and the Internet is half of that number).  Which just means that yard signs, open houses, newspaper and magazine ads and brochures are a minuscule part of the equation!  Seriously??  But those property brochures are so pretty!!  And what have we been telling you?  The brochures are part of an agent’s branding efforts, it gets them more listings….not necessarily sell homes.

Brand Marketing vs. Product Marketing

A good REALTOR will use both types of marketing not only to attract more clients but to ultimately sell real estate.  Furthermore, Brand and Product will often be combined because in real estate, you really can’t separate one from the other.  A good example of this will be direct mailers with “just listed” information – the property will be shown and described and the agent brand will be emphasized – but do you see these in the list above? Yet one overly used home selling pitch is that “neighbors will tell friends and family about the home, which is the best type of word-of-mouth marketing” << can you say “MEANINGLESS SCRIPT”?

Tracey Drake from gives us a great analogy to differentiate the two:

  • Ford telling consumers that “Quality is Job 1″ – this is Brand Marketing
  • Selling that consumer a Ford Mustang – this is Product Marketing

So what am I telling you here?  In a customer service driven society, how can we not know when we are buying something for the brand, not necessarily the quality?  How can we not realize that the pretty magazine ad will not sell our home?  or the ingenious TV ad or the catchy yard sign?

So sit down with your Miami Beach Realtor and ask how they are using The Internet to reach the end buyer, what will they do differently to make your home stand out from the thousands of properties on the web and how is their business relationship with other Realtors since ultimately it will be their competition who will bring your home’s buyer.

For additional marketing insights, read Seth Godin’s What do you know? – a great list that manages to separate egos from achievers with some of my favorite points:

  • Anticipated, personal and relevant advertising always does better than unsolicited junk.
  • You can’t fool all the people, not even most of the time. And people, once unfooled, talk about the experience.
  • Traditional ways of interrupting consumers (TV ads, trade show booths, junk mail) are losing their cost-effectiveness. At the same time, new ways of spreading ideas (blogs, permission-based RSS information, consumer fan clubs) are quickly proving how well they work.
  • Good marketers tell a story.
  • Living and breathing an authentic story is the best way to survive in an conversation-rich world.
  • In the googleworld, the best in the world wins more often, and wins more.
*originally published Feb 12, 2011

Misleading Dade County Property Tax Bills

November 29, 2012

We wanted to bring something to your attention about property tax bills issued by Miami-Dade County on November 1, 2012.  This may not necessarily apply to you, but please double check your bill to avoid surprises next year.   The tax consultants we have been using for years call this bill “confusing at best, and at worst misleading.”

If you have ever filed a petition with the Value Adjustment Board (VAB) to get a reduction in your property taxes, this will be pertinent to you.  With commercial properties we manage, we hire tax consultants on an annual basis to file petitions with the VAB.   If they achieve a reduction in taxes, property owners get a reimbursement from Dade County usually a year later.  This year, Miami-Dade Tax Collector threw a monkey wrench in the equation – I wonder if they did it to see who was paying attention.  Check out a sample bill bellow (property and owner information omitted for obvious reasons.)

Bills are sent out on November 1, 2012 and if you pay before the due date of April 1, 2013, you get a discount.  As you can see above, the discount for paying before November 30th, 2012 is considerable and most people choose to pay that amount in order to take advantage of the savings.  Here’s where it gets interesting.  If you happen to have filed a VAB petition before the bills went out, the discounted amounts are  not based on the full amount of the tax owed.

Our tax consultants explain:

The Tax Collector has shown the amount due for discounted payments as a portion of the total tax, i.e., they show 75% of the ad valorem tax and 100% of the non-ad valorem tax, with discounts.  These are the minimal payments required to avoid dismissal of your Value Adjustment Board appeal, as established by a change in the law more than a year ago.

Fortunately, the correct tax bill can still be viewed on line  We urge our clients to pay the full tax.  If we successfully challenge your assessment, you will receive a refund, plus interest accrued after April 1, 2013.

Finally, if you make a partial payment and your assessment is reduced by less than 25%, you will eventually receive an additional tax bill plus interest.

Our clients are burdened by a County which runs one year late on Board hearings and a Tax Collector who then sits on refunds for nearly six more months.  This is yet another example of government operating without a grip on reality.  They could have conferred with us or checked with other Counties prior to changing their bill.  It seems like we must constantly clean up their mess.

So the real amount owed by the example above is $32,301.36.  The discounts are as follows:

  • 4% if paid in November – $31,009.31
  • 3% if paid in December – $31,332.32
  • 2% if paid in January – $31,665.33
  • 1% if paid in February – $31,978.35

Just remember that if you choose to pay 75% of the payment as the bill is printed, you may end up paying interest next year for the confusion.  It makes you wonder if the county is relying on this additional interest money.   Check your bill twice and know exactly what you’re paying!

What’s on My Desk by Haute Living

November 10, 2012

The Haute Living Real Estate Network, one of the many places where we market ourselves and our properties, recently asked me to tell them about my desk and things/tools I use that I can’t live without.  They actually posted the article today and wanted to share it here since it’s a different take from the usual boring real estate marketing stuff we usually see.

Tools of the Trade: What’s on, Expert Realtor, Ines Hegedus-Garcia’s Desk?

I’m the founder of the nationally recognized real estate brand known as Miamism.  We are a team of real estate agents working with Majestic Properties with offices in Miami’s Design District and South Beach.  I am one of the first real estate bloggers and have taken technology to the next level and can be found on every social media platform – all to benefit our clients and the way we market and sell properties.  With a degree in architecture, creativity is always at the top of everything I do and my desk has the tools I need to achieve just that.

I have all of the obligatory Apple products:  27? iMac, iPad, time capsule, magic trackpad and iPhone – Apple products are not just pretty, they simply help maximize my production in every way imaginable.  My iPhone is surgically attached to my hand, hence doesn’t appear in the picture.

A Wood desktop is a must have for me – natural wood surface keeps me centered.  I cannot work on glass or stone surface tops.  No matter what kind of technology surrounds me, wood brings it all together to harmonize my work space.

Architecture and art books – inspiration is key, books of my favorite architects and artists are always close by and my collection is constantly growing. From Tadao Ando to Richard Neutra and from Diego Rivera to Edward Hopper…they are all constant reminders

Round pencil and sketch pad – always handy to take notes, doodle and help solidify my ideas.  Also keep Sharpies and Prismacolors nearby, just because I can’t live without them.

Aeron Chair – not only is it a permanent fixture in the Museum of Modern Arts, but it’s a must for me because it’s beautiful and so comfortable!

Fresh flowers/plants – color is an important part of my life and seeing the beauty of a single flower and its simplicity reminds me to stay humble.

October 2012 Miami Real Estate Search Porn by

October 20, 2012

Miami Real Estate search results are in from for September 2012.  Remember these are generalized numbers for all of Miami-Dade County!!  Take this information with a grain of salt and if you are not a “do-it-yourself” type of person, work with a Miami REALTOR that knows the area you are interested in buying or selling.  Real estate is über local, especially now with all the craziness in the Miami Real Estate market because it is HOT! HOT! HOT!

As per, Miami was the #22 most searched market in the country in September 2012.

  •  Median list prices for homes in Miami, FL hit $279,000 in September 2012, a 11.60% increase from one year ago this month, and 1.45% increase from August 2012.  The national median list price in September 2012 was $191,500, a 0.78% increase compared to September 2011.
  • Active for sale inventory of homes in Miami, FL in September 2012 leveled out at 10,779, a -20.89% decrease compared to September 2011. National inventory counts for September 2012 were 1,803,347, a -17.77% decrease as compared to a year ago.
  • The median age of inventory in Miami, FL in September was 74 days, a 1.37% increase compared to August 2012.  Nationally, the median age of inventory was 95 days, a 4.40% increase compared to August.

In addition, the top most searched real estate markets in Florida in September 2012, and the national searched rank included:

#7 Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL
#10 Orlando, FL
#16 West Palm Beach-Boca Raton, FL
#18 Fort Lauderdale, FL
#22 Miami, FL
#41 Sarasota-Bradenton, FL
#43 Jacksonville, FL
#44 Fort Myers-Cape Coral, FL
#56 Melbourne-Titusville-Palm Bay, FL
#58 Fort Pierce-Port St. Lucie, FL
#71 Daytona Beach, FL
#72 Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL
#77 Naples, FL

So how does arrive at these numbers?

Each month, surveys up to 250 Metro Service Areas (MSA) throughout the nation and monitors real estate trends including consumer search behavior, median list prices on for sale homes, active inventory counts and median age of inventory. The information is released to local markets to help consumers and real estate professionals as they work together to successfully navigate their local market.

Thanks to for providing these stats for us on a regular basis.

Miami Beach Mod Homes – Todd Glaser Edition

October 16, 2012

If you are a Todd Michael Glaser fan, do we have a treat for you!  We are talking 4 unbelievable contemporary homes in prime areas of Miami Beach.  Your choice of Star Island, Pine Tree Drive, Sunset Islands or Venetian Islands – in the Todd Glaser, top-of-the-line finishes and style he has acquired an unblemished reputation for.

So who in the world is Todd M. Glaser?  He is a developer and builder that has acquired an incredible reputation for building contemporary Miami Beach homes. Todd started off as an engineer for a fire sprinkler company which taught him the ins and outs of construction. He then bought homes to renovate and flip and that’s when his reputation began for quality construction  and management. He later started building million dollar homes which sold in record time.  He has remodeled and built homes for celebrities and don’t forget about the recently sold $47 Million Indian Creek home which broke all kinds of Miami Beach real estate records.

If you are looking for contemporary homes in Miami Beach, here are 4 amazing choices depending on your price range.  And it goes unsaid that we would love to walk you through these projects and represent you in the purchase.

Miami Beach Mod Home at 30 Star Island Drive

Listed for $32,000,000

Here we have a 16,000 square foot home (1,600 square meters) with 11 bedrooms, 11 bathrooms and 4 half-baths.  It has 100 feet of water frontage, sits on a 40,000 sf lot, and is yet to be built.  Yes the house will be magnificent, but for “Star Island” standards, it sits on a very narrow lot.  The lot is 100′ x 400′ in depth which is huge for Miami Beach, but not really for Star Island.  If you look at the above aerial view of the island, most homes are built on lots double the size.  This is my only major criticism of the project.

The marketing description reads:

Brand new Todd Michael Glaser masterpiece to be built on exclusive Star Island.  Reminiscent of Richard Neutra modernist design built to today’s highest standards.  From the sculpted hillside driveway to the floating entryway over a flowing pond, this house will scream Wow!  Features include soaring ceilings, elevator, theater, a library with wet bar, gourmet modern kitchen with dumb-waiter to master suite.  Master is 1,800 square feet with separate private second floor, pool and garden, separate gym, spa and rooftop deck.

Because it is yet to be built, I’m sure any buyer would have a choice of finishes prior to construction.

Miami Beach Mod Home at 4647 Pine Tree Drive

Listed for $14,000,000

This will be an 8 bedroom 8.5 bathroom home with over 11,000 square feet of living space (1,100 square meters).  It sits on a 43,900 sf lot with 90 feet of water frontage.  Unlike Star Island, Pine Tree Drive has plenty of homes built on 100′ lots, so this one will fit right in.  What I love about it is the location.  I’m not a huge fan of those Pine Tree homes that have high-rises across the water way.  Instead, this one is across Indian Beach Park just North of The Eden Roc….so that fish-tank sensation, where you get the feeling that everyone and their mother is staring down your back yard, is eliminated!!  This property is also yet to be built, so flexibility in finish choices is still possible.

The marketing description reads:

Incredible new modern masterpiece by developer Todd Glaser.  Over 11,000 square feet of luxury interiors with soaring ceilings, loads of glass, two swimming pools and spa, elevator, guest house, palatial master suite and roof top entertainment area all situated on over an acre on prestigious Pine Tree Drive.  Dockage for up to 90′ boat.

Miami Beach Mod Home at 2305 Lake Avenue

Listed for $13.9 Million

This home will be built on the Southeast side of Sunset 3 on a pie shaped lot.  Pie shaped lots are extremely difficult to design because their approach is very narrow.  Although I would love to look at the renderings more in-depth to see the facade of the house, I have no doubts that the approach is “out of the box” just based on the top right image above.  This is an 8 bedroom home with 9 bathrooms and 3 half-baths.  It has over 8,500 square feet of living space and faces Sunset Lake.

Most people say that the most desirable homes face due West and have direct bay views, but true boaters like the inside location of this property because their vessels are more protected from increment weather.  Either way, there are no fixed bridges from this property to the open sea from its 160 feet of water frontage.

The property description reads:

Incredible modern showplace being built by developer Todd Glaser on oversized pie shaped lot facing East on Sunset Lake.  Home will have over 8,700 square feet of living space with soaring ceilings, finest finishes and rooftop entertainment deck to see all of South Beach.  Lot has 160′ on the water to accommodate large boats.  Two swimming pools, 2 reflecting ponds, 2-car garage, covered BBQ area and guest cottage all add to the value.

Miami Mod Home at 861 N Venetian Drive

Listed for $9,500,000

Here we have the most modest of the 4 homes with over 6,400 square feet of living space and sitting on a 15,000 square foot lot. It has 5 bedrooms, 7.5 baths with 100′ of open bay frontage.  Out of all the lots, this is the one that makes the most sense with dimensions of 100′ x 150′.   The location is Biscayne Island which is the western most island of The Venetians and technically located in Miami and not Miami Beach.

The selling description is as follows:

Incredible new modern masterpiece by Todd Michael Glaser on extra large Venetian Island wide bay front lot.  100 feet on wide bay with direct North exposure minutes from downtown and South Beach.  5 bedrooms, 7.5 baths, soaring ceilings, loads of glass, gourmet kitchen, the finest finishes throughout.  Completion in Summer of 2013.

So there you have them – 4 Miami Mod Homes by known developer Todd Glaser in Star Island for $32 Million, Pine Tree Drive for $14 Million, Sunset Island III for $13.9 Million or Venetian Islands for $9.5 Million.  One thing is for sure, you can count on timely construction the utmost attention to detail.  We have seen people acquire reputations, but Mr. Glaser’s is well deserved.  Call us to schedule an appointment to check out floor plans and details.

9 Things to Ask your Miami Beach Realtor

September 26, 2012

question markWhen choosing a Miami Beach Realtor, you do research, you ask around and you look at real estate sales and movement in your area – but do you know what to ask a Miami Realtor once they are in front of you? Here are some basic questions you should ask to help you make an informed decision when choosing a Realtor.

1. Are they in Real Estate Full Time?

This is huge since a lot in the industry have had to take second jobs to supplement their income. You want to make sure that the professional you choose can handle and is focused in handling your real estate needs at a moment’s notice.

2. Do they know sign language?

Communication is key between parties and that’s the number one objection we hear from our customers about the real estate industry. Ask how your Realtor will communicate with you during the process – regular e-mails, phone calls, smoke signals, snail-mail, telex (I’m dating myself here).

3. How will they promote, push and plug your property?

The word “marketing” can be very broad. Make sure the agent details their marketing plan with specifics – Social Media, Print advertising, Internet and Traditional methods. Placing a property in the MLS and putting a sign in front of a property is not enough in today’s market.

4. Who will do the honors?

Ask who will show your property – will they have an assistant available or will they use the legendary lock-box? If this is important to you, make sure you ask. I would also make sure to ask who will have the keys to your property and how will access be granted if they are not the ones showing the property.

5. Do they answer their phone?

I know this seems trivial, but you would be surprised how few agents answer their phone and actually return messages in a prompt manner.

6. Do they have paparazzi qualities?

This is the number one complaint from buyers today – when looking for properties they skip the ones without photos or the ones with bad or few photos. Make sure you ask your agent how quickly they will photograph the property and include those photos in all marketing and who will take the photos. (there’s an inside joke in the industry about agents who photograph toilets). Sometimes a creative eye that discriminates a particular property feature will attract traffic to the listing. And professional photography is a MUST!!

7. Can they dance?

Once your property is under contract – how do they manage the transaction? Are they experienced in dealing with all the problems and objections of today’s real estate market. Many contracts that fall through due to poor transaction management.

8. Do they sleep around?

Will they look out for your best interest or theirs? This is a difficult question to ask and you need to be able to discriminate against true and honest answers.

9. What’s their annoyance factor?

It is customary for agents to keep in touch with you so you remember them and refer them business. It’s never a bad idea to ask how they plan to do this. This is very personal since you may not mind drip campaigns for the rest of your life made up of postcards and recipes, phone calls and inquiries. But this is also a great way to learn about the agent’s business practice.

**one of my faves – originally written on January 24th, 2009**

Preparing for a Hurricane

August 29, 2012

For those of us who have lived in Miami for years, the idea of an approaching hurricane can be exhausting.  I think people fall in one of a few categories:

  • The overachiever or HURRICATIONIST:  ready with hurricane prevention everything before the season even starts.  They have extra batteries and water, special radio allocated for hurricane related news, numbered shutters, extra gasoline, tests generator every 3 months all year-long …. you get the idea.
  • The hurricane alarmist – the one that calls everyone and their mother at the sign of the first red spot on the Atlantic Ocean to make sure they are ready.  They will usually start making everyone go get supplies and start putting shutters up when the media first mentions the word “storm.”
  • The hurricane pragmatic – we love hurricane pragmatics.  They are sensible and realistic.  They get supplies without alarm, they offer their help to neighbors and seem to have a third sense about the reality of a hurricane approaching or not.
  • The hurricane questioner – this is the person that keeps asking, should we prepare? should we secure things? what if Publix is packed?  What if there’s a line at the gas station?
  • The hurricane opportunist – this is the one that decides to take a vacation at every mention of a hurricane approaching.  Why make your life miserable by worrying?  Just leave and avoid the mess.
  • The hurricane wishy-washy – you know who you are – you put up partial shutters, fill up only one car with gas, buy a couple of gallons of water and keep telling yourself that it will not come your way. (It has worked for you for years, why change now?)
  • The hurricane second handed – this is the person who has a loved one that will make all of the hurricane decisions.  They will not even watch the news and leave the worrying to someone else.  They will help if asked, but will not contribute any opinion to the cause.
  • The hurricane last minuter – the one that makes the world go on anxiety medication because they decide to secure the property when hurricane winds have already started.

If I missed a category, please let me know, we can at least find humor in the hurricane preparation process that we go through on a regular basis.

Get this week’s local market conditions

Hurricane Recommendations

On a serious note, Miami-Dade gives these recommendations:

Hurricanes are severe tropical storms that form in the southern Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and in the eastern Pacific Ocean. Scientists can now predict hurricanes, but people who live in coastal communities should plan what they will do if they are told to evacuate.

Prepare for Hurricanes

  • Get a kit of emergency supplies and prepare a portable kit in case you have to evacuate.
  • Familiarize yourself with the terms that are used to identify a hurricane.
  • A hurricane watch means a hurricane is possible in your area. Be prepared to evacuate.  Monitor local radio and television news outlets or listen to NOAA Weather Radio for the latest developments.
  • A hurricane warning is when a hurricane is expected in your area. If local authorities advise you to evacuate, leave immediately.
  • Prepare to secure your property
  • Cover all of your home’s windows with pre-cut ply wood or hurricane shutters to protect your windows from high winds.
  • Plan to bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down.
  • Keep all trees and shrubs well-trimmed.
  • If you have a car, fill the gas tank in case you have to evacuate.

Plan to Evacuate

  • Plan how you will leave and where you will go if you are advised to evacuate.
  • If you do not have a car, plan alternate means of evacuating.
  • Plan places where your family will meet, both within and outside of your immediate neighborhood.
  • Identify several places you could go in an emergency, a friend’s home in another town, a motel or public shelter.
  • If you have a car, keep a full tank of gas in it at all times in case you need to evacuate.
  • Become familiar with alternate routes and other means of transportation out of your area.
  • Take your emergency supply kit .
  • Lock the door behind you.
  • Take your pets with you, but understand that only service animals may be permitted in public shelters. Plan how you will care for your pets in an emergency.
  • If you are not able to evacuate, stay indoors away from all windows. Take shelter in an interior room with no windows if possible. Be aware that there may be a sudden lull in the storm as the eye of the hurricane moves over. Stay in your shelter until local authorities say it is safe.

Stay Informed

  • Local authorities may not immediately be able to provide information on what is happening and what you should do. However, you should listen to NOAA Weather Radio, watch TV, listen to the radio or check the internet often for official news and instructions as they become available.
  • Stay out of flood waters, if possible. The water may be contaminated or electrically charged. However, should you find yourself trapped in your vehicle in rising water get out immediately and seek higher ground.
  • Be alert for tornadoes and flooding.  If you see a funnel cloud or if local authorities issue a tornado warning take shelter underground, if possible or in an interior room away from windows. If waters are rising quickly or local authorities issue a floor of flash flood warning, seek higher ground.
  • Stay away from downed power lines to avoid the risk of electric shock or electrocution.
  • Do not return to your home until local authorities say it is safe. Even after the hurricane and after flood waters recede, roads may be weakened and could collapse. Buildings may be unstable, and drinking water may be contaminated. Use common sense and exercise caution.

Related Links

Get this week’s local market conditions

Hurricane Guide

And to view and print hurricane guide offered by Miami-Dade County – please click HERE.

Staging is useless – why you should never stage your Miami Beach home before you sell

August 1, 2012

A few years ago the word “staging” became a trend in the Miami Real Estate Market as well as elsewhere around the country. Realtors went out and got staging designations and people with decorating skills created staging businesses. Known local Interior Designers even found a niche within the Miami Real Estate Industry. Everyone talked about the importance of staging your home for it to sell quicker and for more money.

staging for miami real estate

It seems that the industry liked the concept of staging but not all home sellers were convinced. Many of our clients even told us that staging was a waste of time and they would possibly consider it once the house was listed but only after they prepared their home by:

  • decluttering and packing away collections and personal items
  • repaired leaky faucets
  • changing all light bulbs
  • painting and cleaning
  • planting new flowers at entrance of the home
  • making sure the house smelled clean and fresh for every showing

With all that work, who had time to stage??

Well…..the news is that all of what they were doing was part of staging! The mere act of preparing your home for sale is exactly that. Craig Schiller, a dear friend and stager extraordinaire (I know he is getting tired of the title, but its true), wrote an excellent article about why Realtors are not ‘getting it’. In ‘You Can Stage It! Even if THEY Still Dont Get It‘, he writes:

So don’t let the words ‘staging’ or ‘Stager” trip you up. While these words are relatively new, what we advise has been given as advice in real estate sales for year. All that has really changed is that there is an entire INDUSTRY now committed to understanding the intricacies of how a home can be best merchandised and marketed as a product so that it entices them to buy.

So here’s the complete and total truth – in this slow market, you as a seller must go out of your way to make your house stand out from the rest. The mere act of placing your home for sale with a sign in front and in the MLS will not sell your house. The act of ‘marketing a real estate property’ involves many factors and there IS an entire industry committed to helping you sell your home.

Rick and I have several listings in Miami right now that don’t show well and we can see from the first moment people walk in, that an opportunity is being missed. Don’t be stubborn, use the tools we give you, increase your chances of selling well and quickly. Staging, together with all the tools we provide, could mean the difference of selling your house now or not at all.

In the words of Craig, Stage It Forward! (now how do we get him to expand his business to Miami?)

I wrote this back in April of 2008 and although the market has changed and recuperated in many parts of Miami, this still applies.  Please check which homes sell quickly and at top dollar – the answer is an unequivokal:  Miami and Miami Beach homes that are staged!!  It’s not a question of whether or not you should, it’s a question of whether or not you can afford to lose money because you don’t.  Bottom line is that you will sell your home for more and in a shorter amount of time….and let’s not even talk about what staging does to the marketing photos.

Why Didn’t My Miami Beach Home Sell?

May 19, 2012

We are being approached with this question constantly – Why didn’t my Miami Beach home sell? The answer comes in 3 parts and as many times as you may have seen and read these answers, you have to be objective and answer the questions honestly.

Why isn't my Miami home sellingThe answers are: Pricing, Condition and Marketing

Plain and simple…..ok, maybe not that simple but I’ll explain each in detail

My Miami Beach home did not sell because of price

You will instinctly think that your house is better than all the others on the market. You will think that your house will sell quicker and will attract more buyers – It’s natural, you love your house and think others will love it just as much…..but this may not always be the case.

To be able to price your house appropriately you will need to know the current real estate market, know the inventory and the condition of other similar homes, you will need to be objective and be able to disconnect from all the emotional factors that define your “home”. This will implicate being able to recognize what upgrades are marketable and have value to a buyer as well as what factors can be detrimental to a sale.

Hiring a Miami Beach Realtor that is proficient in your area is key to pricing your home. We also see a lot of sellers that want to “test” the market by pricing a little higher than recommended (this is ultimately your call, but you may find yourself either selling for a lot less in the long run, or chasing the market down). Also read:

Team Miamism recognizes certain triggers which mean a price reduction is warranted – if we see no showings in a week and we receive no offers in 3 weeks, it’s time to rethink that pricing strategy.

If you are brave, also read this article (warning: not for the weak)

My Miami Beach home did not sell because of its condition

Time to put on your objective glasses here Miami Beach real estate sellers! your house is not the prettiest, that gold-leaf bar in the middle of your living room is hideous! and you should have hired a decorator instead of experimenting with your discerning design expertise!

The condition of your home is something that you CAN control. You see those HGTV shows all the time and see how an easy fix can do the trick. There are plenty of professionals that can help and won’t cost a fortune and that may mean selling your house quickly and for more money!

Team Miamism sells a lot of estate homes that need work and are full of old furniture and outdated finishes. Sometimes it’s as easy as emptying the house, painting a couple of walls, removing old rugs and buyers will see a different house.

I have written so many things about this very thing, so I will not bore you will the same information over and over again – you can read these articles:

My Miami Beach home did not sell because of marketing

Make sure you hire a competent Miami Beach Realtor that knows the area, that is multi-faceted when it comes to marketing, includes print ads, Internet marketing and thinks outside the box when it comes to selling your home.

Yes glossy brochures are nice, but what else? If almost 90% of buyers are starting their search on-line, how sure are you that your property will be in their face EVERY SINGLE TIME!! Easier said than done though, finding a great Realtor may not be easy, but here is some help:

Internet marketing is changing every day, make sure your Realtor of choice is active in Internet Social Networks and goes out of their way to include your listing in different web portals (not just the common ones like and Trulia…..but European and South American Portals, different on-line publications and social networks where real estate buyers go to find homes).

**originally published July 14, 2008**

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Enrique Garcia & Ines Hegedus-Garcia
35 NE 40th Street
Design District
Miami, FL 33137
P: 305.758.2323
F: 305.758.2324
E: info [at] miamism [dot] com

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