Thursday, May 26, 2016

Buyer Beware!
Working directly with a listing agent is not always the best practice. Many Buyers feel that there is no difference between the do it yourself or buyer representation by a selling agent approach to shopping for a new home. Certainly this is perfectly legal and although I don’t recommend it, it is an acceptable practice by many.  Today Buyers have many option when shopping for real estate, to mention a few, the internet, scanning neighborhoods by driving up and down streets, third party website like Zillow and Trulia, and the most recommendable, working with a professional who can properly inform the Buyer about market conditions and tailor a shopping experience and Buyer’s needs. Most importantly, this service is mostly free except for the occasional minor additional fee/commission charged by a Brokerage at closing (my Brokerage charges $390 only if there is a closing). According to general real estate practices the commission is charged to the Seller (not the Buyer). This commission rate is based on the listing agreement made with the listing Broker and the Seller at the time the property is listed. This commission is paid out whether the Buyer works directly with the listing agent or is working a Selling agent.

Working with a Selling agent has many advantages. Unlike a listing agent, a selling agent or often referred to as the Buyer’s agent will be at your side when viewing property, collecting information and comparing property value with one another. This process is vital when making reasonable offer. A Buyer’s agent must have current market information and a comprehensive understanding of the area the property is in. A Buyer’s agent is able to research market sale information, with unique tools and technology only available to Realtors ©. He or she must gather pertinent data on each of the properties on your shortlist. Only then, will the agent be able to, collectively with the Buyer, determine the accurate value of the choice home and make the offer. This is critical in today’s market in which Buyers compete with multiple offers for the same home. A Buyer may only get one chance to make the right offer. The offer must be competitive or the Buyer risks losing the property to another Buyer. A Buyer’s agent with good negotiation skills and knowledge of the immediate area the property is in, is critical to the Buyer making his or her best and most competitive offer for the desired home.  

After the offer is accepted, the Buyer’s agent will continue to be at your side throughout the daunting process of the contract stage, fielding often critical decisions and tasks necessary for a successful closing. Decisions such as financing, inspections and finding the right real estate attorney are just a few areas a qualified and experienced agent can help he Buyer with.       

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Fla. real estate taxes predicted to be a windfall

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Jan. 6, 2015 – State economists are forecasting another uptick this year in Florida's real estate tax collections – now a central part of the debate over new, voter-approved conservation efforts.
Documentary tax receipts are expected to hit $2.3 billion in the 2015-16 budget year, an increase of about $200 million over this year's collections.
But the flow of what is known as doc stamps into the state budget has been a roller-coaster over the past decade – peaking at about $4 billion during the red-hot housing market of 2006 only to plunge to $1.5 billion three years later.
At their peak, taxes from real estate transactions fueled huge budget surpluses. One state analyst likened them at the time to the "golden goose" in fairy tales, but conceded that analogy fell short...

Read more at Click on the link;

Monday, September 22, 2014

Miami Home Prices...UP!

The Miami real estate market is the strongest it has been in several years. Although home prices have risen, they are considerably low when compared to the boom years. Low inventory and low interest rate continues to put upward pressure on home prices. This trend will likely continue through the rest of the year and beginning of 2015.

Although, new condo inventory is up prices are rising as well, furthermore indicating that the Miami real estate market is getting stronger. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Appraisal Woes!

The Miami real estate market continues to be very HOT, particularly for home Sellers. Inventory is at an all-time low. This condition is driving prices higher, but in many cases appraisers don't agree and properties are not appraising for the sale price preventing the sale from closing.
This is not quite how this is supposed to work. Yes, lenders have the right to establish a fair market value for the property they will hold as collateral, however, market value should be set by supply and demand and the value Buyers' are willing to pay and can afford, not just on a four month sales trend.
The lack of properties appraising or lack of financing for certain properties may be the reason why more Buyers are choosing to pay cash and bypassing the lender all together. Note; developers in South Florida have been quite successful selling out hundreds of units to cash Buyers.
Markets change all the time. Home prices are recovering from a down market, but prices are not at the level they need to be to strike a natural balance between supply and demand. Unfortunately, as long as appraisal values continue to idle on the conservative side, Sellers, having to sell, will have to price their homes according to what the appraisers believes home values should be and not what the Buyer may be willing to pay.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Miami's newest and trendiest areas...


Move over Sobe...Wynwood has become the place for the local art scene. Chic restaurants, boutiques, street art and galleries line the streets. To the North of Wynwood lies Midtown, a new urban development featuring shopping and dinning on lower floors of several condominium projects. East of Biscayne Boulevard along Biscayne Bay is Edgewater and conglomerate of luxury high-rises most with spectacular water views. A bit farther to the North you come to the Miami Design District where you will find interior design showrooms, major designer boutiques like Prada, Cristian Louboutin, Cartier, Rolex and many more. Some of Miami's finest restaurants may be found here as well.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Perfect Storm is Coming to Miami

Miami has experience many booms and busts. During the late 70's and early 80's Miami's economy thrived. Many would attribute it to foreign investment from Central and South America. Political instability in these regions resulted in many buyers coming to South Florida to buy real estate in the hope for appreciation and security. With the discovery of oil in this region, many found new wealth and came to South Florida to spend it. This, however, was only part of the reason for our local boom. Drugs played a huge part in our then booming economy. Miami had become a major player in the Nation's drug trafficking industry. A great deal of money was being pumped into our economy and the banking institution set their sights on Miami. National and international banks opened local branches, thus creating the financial district we know today as Brickell. During this period hundreds of millions of dollars in cash made their way into local, national and international banks. Alongside the banking boom, many developers set their sights on the Brickell area and many high-rises were built to meet the high demand for luxury real estate in the area.

In the late 80’s through the mid 90’s Miami saw another economic boom. This time, it started in Miami Beach. Miami Beach became the new hotspot and major changes were took place. Dozens of new hotels, condominiums and businesses were constructed dramatically changing the landscape of a city which had been decaying for decades. Many world class nightclubs and restaurants led way to a high energy and trendy life style which had not been seen since the 50’s and 60’s.

This new excitement lured many locals and visitors to the Beach prompting many to buy real estate, further fueling economic growth. This growth spilled across Biscayne Bay into Brickell and Downtown Miami.  During this period, new construction was evident everywhere and in the next few years the population of the Brickell and downtown areas more than doubled. In the early 2000’s further demand for real estate in these areas pushed development north into the Edgewater, Midtown, Wynwood and the Design District.

This lasted for several more years until the balloon burst and the bottom fell out of both the mortgage and real estate markets. Lack of jobs and a majority of homeowners under water resulted in thousands of foreclosures. This was not just in Miami; it was happening all around the Nation and ultimately affecting other countries which had historically seen Miami as a place to invest. As a result of the worldwide economy, many developers which depended on international buyers to purchase condos in their building went bust due to the lack of sales ultimately leading to an overabundance of property for sale.

By 2011, things began to change. Foreclosed properties were being snatched up by investors causing a decline in the number of properties available for sale. Our local real estate market had begun to see signs of a recovery. Today, some say that the market is in full swing is about to experience another boom. This may be true; however, South Florida needs more than just a strong foreign infusion of investment. Although, tourism and foreign investment is an integral part of our economy, South Florida must improve its infrastructure if it is going to compete worldwide.

In order to meet these challenges, South Florida will be doing just that. In the next two years, the city of Miami will receive 10’s of Billions of dollar in capital infusion to improve infrastructure. This major overhaul has already begun at the Miami International Airport and Port of Miami.  Once completed, the Miami International Airport will play a major role in the local growth by efficiently accommodating tourist and business travelers arriving and departing to and from Miami. Already one of the busiest airports in the Nation, the Miami International Airport will increase capacity and serve as a key hub for major airline and a central hub for trains and public transportation as well. The Port of Miami is currently building an underwater tunnel which will accommodate increasing commercial traffic to and from the port.  The deep water channel into the port will be dredged and taller crane have been installed making way for larger cargo ships being facilitated passage to Miami due to the expansion of the Panama Canal.

The improved infrastructure does not stop with MIA and the port, expansion and new construction of highways and new roads, new convention centers and public venues for the arts are just a few of the many other projects being funded by this money. Moneys coming from Federal, State and private sources will energize this new mega boom. Many large private developments are underway in many areas of the magic city.  Resort World Miami, will begin construction on the old Miami Herald site this year with an estimated cost of around 3 billion dollars. Citi Centre, a multi-use development is being built on one of the last available parcels in the Miami Brickell area. It will span 4 blocks and cost over 1 billion dollars. And, One Brickell, a  Related Group project will encompass more than 4 million square feet, including 2 million sellable square feet, at an investment of over 1 billion, this according to the Miami Herald.

So yes, Miami is again poised for a boom, this time a ‘perfect storm’ of the best kind. What this means is jobs and prosperity for people and businesses of Miami. This will no doubt be an exciting time for Miami; a new evolution has begun and it will not stop here.

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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Bimini Bay Explosion!

Just returned from Bimini Bay where I spent a mini vacation with friends.  It had been over four years since my last trip to the island and immediately upon arrival I noticed the growth and transformation which had occurred during that time.  All the development that was in the works then is now completed. You may have heard the chatter online regarding the numerous problems facing the resort, however, I must say there were none while I was there. Everything was in its place and working beautifully. We arrived and docked without any delay. Customs agents were friendly and quickly set us on our way.


One new addition since my last visit is the casino. It is now completed and operating at full steam. Although small, it is very nice and guest seemed to be enjoying themselves the times I was there. As is at all the amenities throughout the resort, the staff was accommodating and friendly. One of the things that impressed me the most is how well management has kept up and improved the general areas of the resort grounds. Everything was clean and well-manicured.


The casino is not the only change which has come about since Genting established the Resort World Bimini.  Resort World now offers a daily two hour cruise to the island from Miami to Bimini. According to the brochure, the cruise includes 2 free meals plus world-class gaming (for more information go to


Future plans for the island include world-class golf, hotel and luxury single family home featuring beach, pool and private docks. This is under development now and I am told the first homes will be delivered by the beginning of next year.