South Florida Real Estate
Congratulations! You have finally made the decision to take the step and buy real estate. Whether this is your first purchase or 15th, for your primary residence, vacation home, or investment real estate, there are steps you need to go through to ensure the process is a smooth one.
- The first step is to get pre-approved by a lender for a loan. This can be directly from a bank you do business with or through a mortgage broker. This is the most important step to take. Once you are pre-approved, you will know how much house or building you can afford or better yet, how much of a house or building you feel comfortable with. The lender or mortgage broker will give you an idea of what your monthly costs will be and will give you a Good Faith Estimate of closing costs to let you know how much money you will need to bring to the closing table to finalize your purchase.
- Know what you are looking for. Once you are pre-approved, decide what your ideal neighborhood, home, or investment property would be. Are schools important or is it more important that you be close to work? Determine what the “must haves” are. These are the specifics of the property or neighborhood that you are not willing to give up but would be willing to sacrifice a “nice, but not necessary” for. This could be an extra bedroom, pool, specific school district, waterfront criteria etc. Knowing what you are looking for both in a neighborhood and home or investment property is extremely important as it will help keep you focused. Once you narrow down your wants, you will realize you don’t have to look at everything on the market, only those specific properties that meet your criteria.
- Work with a Realtor! I know that sounds like something I would say since I am one but, whether you work with me or another Realtor, a knowledgeable Realtor really will be able to make the process easier. This is my career and I specialize in getting the information you need all in one place. Even if you are a master websurfer, I can help you by giving a one-stop shop for answers, resources and information you will need to make your buying decision. I will even create your own website for you so you can surf the MLS instead of having to go to every real estate site on the web.
You know what they say about real estate, location, location, location, and boy does 1542 Drexel Avenue #205 have it. Location: 2 blocks from Lincoln Road. Location: 1 block from Espanola. Location: 3 blocks to the Ocean. In the heart of Miami Beach, yet on a quiet, low traffic street, this fully furnished unit is the perfect Miami Beach Pied-A-Terre. Rarely available one bedroom. The last one bedroom for sale in this boutique building was in 2011!
If you are looking for an investment property instead of a weekend get-a-way, the last fully furnished unit that rented in this building was a studio that rented for $1500 per month! Listed for sale, fully furnished (minus the art work) for $170,000.
Several recent articles have highlighted the issue of preservation vs private property rights. I want to clarify that I am for historic preservation of relevant buildings but I think if it is done retroactively, it infringes on private property rights.
Both the Miami Herald building, sold to Genting Malaysia, and a Robert Browning Parker home in Gables Estates, currently listed for sale by Helen Nicastri of Coldwell Banker, have come before preservation boards with different outcomes.
A home in north Gables on Minorca and another in Miami Beach on Star Island are further examples of preservation boards trying to designate properties as historic when new owners purchased the property and applied for demolition permits.
If a property is designated as historic, it cannot be torn down and there are restrictions on the amount and type of renovations that can be done. You can check with local preservation boards to see if the property you are purchasing is on their list prior to purchasing, but if it is not on the list should a local board be able to designate it when you apply for permits to demolish or refurbish? To protect your investment, if you are planning to purchase a property built in the 1920′s-1960′s (Old Spanish, Art Deco and MiMo architectural styles) and want to renovate or demolish it, contact the local historic preservation board during your due diligence/inspection period.
Another spectacular week for real estate in Miami. We had 29 residential sales this week in my EWM office. Many properties are going under contract within a couple of days of being listed. If you are buying, be ready to move as soon as a property is listed. If you are selling, price realistically. Six of the sales we had went for list price and six went above asking.
San Francisco is famous for its Old Victorian’s, Coral Gables is known for its Old Spanish, and Miami Beach for its Art Deco. No matter where you live or travel, architectural styles play an important role in the fabric of a community. Some other popular styles in Florida in the last 100 years include:
Which style is the most prevalent in your community? Is there a style you would pay a premium for?
FHA loans are the largest source of low-down payment mortgages. A buyer with less than stellar credit can purchase a property with as little as 3.5% down. Starting April 1st, the FHA will institute it’s third increase since 2011 when it raises it’s premiums by 1/10 of a percent, or 10 basis points.
Then, on June 3, FHa loans will be harder to qualify for whenthe debt to income ratio is is increased to 43% for individuals with a credit score of 620 or less. In addition, a minimum of 5% down will be required on loans over $625,000 and borrowers will no longer be able to eliminate the PMI insurance when the balance reaches 78% of the loan value. Instead, an FHA borrower will pay PMI over the entire life of the loan. A recent analysis of the upcoming changes was conducted by Steven R. Maizes, with Mortgage Capital Partners Inc. in Los Angeles. He concluded that an FHA applicant with a 720 FICO score and 3.5% down payment would pay $144.66 more per month on a $250,000 fixed rate 30 year mortgage than if he took out a conventional mortgage with 5% down and paid PMI.
If you are a buyer with a lower credit store and a low down payment, you may want to jump into the market before April 1. And this isn’t an April Fools joke.
This question has been asked forever and most answers are it depends on how long you plan on living in a home and what your lifestyle is like. If you plan on living in a home for more than 3 years – 5 years, experts say that it is probably more economical to buy. Given the recent decline of property values, especially for those purchased during the most recent boom, I was surprised to see that the Costco January Debate: Is renting a home better than buying? resulted in only 26% of respondents saying it is better to rent. 74% believed buying was better.
With rental rates in Miami on a steep incline over the last two years, I would have to agree. Especially if you are planning on making Miami your home for a while.
Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, Lakeland, Tampa, Jacsonville, Orlando and Miami are among the top cities in the nation to buy foreclosures, according to RealtyTrac. That being said, foreclosures have not been overwhelming the Miami real estate market and the demand for these properties far outstrips the current supply. If you are a buyer, do not be fooled into thinking there are a ton of foreclosures available for purchase.
Phil says Spring is right around the corner because he did not see his shadow. In Miami’s real estate market it has been Spring for a while. Traditionally, Spring is the busiest season with sales peaking in April and May. Our local market has been extremely busy since last year. As a result, inventories are low and sellers are usually receiving offers as soon as their properties are listed. If you are thinking of selling your home this Spring. Now is a great time to list!
I went to The Runner’s High in Pinecrest today to buy a new pair of running shoes. While I was listening to the salespeople talk to different customers about shoes specific to their needs, I thought that buying a pair of running shoes is similar to buying a home, though obviously on a much different scale.
1. There is a running shoe for every runner. Whether you over-pronate, have high arches, flat feet, run on trails, “barefoot”, or in marathons, there is a shoe for you. Same thing with a home. Whether you are a city person, country person, prefer single family, townhouse or condo, there is home that fits your needs.
2. Not every shoe is a good fit for every runner. Same with a home. For some homeowners 1500 square feet seems like a lot of space and others can be tight in 10,000 square feet.
3. How you run will determine which shoe is best for you, how you live should determine your neighborhood and type of home.
4. Change is good! Depending on how far and often you run, you should change your shoes every six months. On average, homeowners move every 5-7 years.
Single Family home sales increased 21% in 2012. Those listed between $300,000 to under $1 million increased 50%. Home sales for those over $1 million increased 64%.
Condo sales increased by 6%. Condos between $300,000 to under $1 million increased 45% and those listed over $1 million increased 62%
With that amount of activity, low inventory and cash still flooding our market, many buyers are frustrated. If you are one of them, there are several things you can do to have your offer considered on a new listing.
1) The most important item to have clear is the financial aspect of your purchase. If you are a cash buyer, make sure you have proof of funds ready to accompany an offer. If you are going for financing, have your pre-approval letter from your mortgage company with as few contingencies as possible.
2) Have your real estate agent put you on a system where you are being notified the instant a property that meets your criteria hits the market.
3) Make the time to go see the property the first day. There are a lot of buyers who are making offers the first day because they have been familiarizing themselves with the market and know that if the property is priced right, it will sell.