8 Adjustments to Village of Pinecrest Results in 9% Decrease in Millage

Village of PinecrestThe Village of Pinecrest reduced its millage from approximately 2.4 mills to 1.95 mills by cutting $1,600,000 from its 2007-2008 budget. This was attained by:

  1. Increasing the admission fee at the Splash and Play at Pinecrest Gardens.
  2. Charging memberships at the future community center.
  3. Increasing rental rates at Village facilities.
  4. Decreasing expenditures on out-of-state travel and staff education.
  5. Not filling vacant positions.
  6. Reduce park hours.
  7. Postponing replacement of vehicles.
  8. Reducing the amount of funds spent on promotional activities.


$50,000 For Schools Remains in Village of Pinecrest Budget

Village of PinecrestAt the first public hearing on the budget for 2007-2008, the Village of Pinecrest City Council voted to reinstate the $50,000 that they allocate in the form of $10,000 to each of the schools withing the Village limits.

In the past, this money has been used for landscaping the front of the schools, increasing or updating technology, and expanding Accelerated Reader (AR) programs.

In voting for reinstating the $50,000, which will come from the Village’s reserves, the Village Council acknowledged the importance of the quality schools in bringing families to Pinecrest and increasing property values.

Kuddos to the Village Council! The next budget hearing will be on September 18 at 7:00 p.m.

Miami Beach

So Much To Do, So Little Time!

No, this blog does not pertain to the hundred and one things we all must do on a daily basis to empty our honey do lists, work lists or any other lists. This has to do with all of the fun things there are to do in South Florida, but many of us never get around to doing. Whether you live in Florida year round, visit us when it gets cold up north, or own a second home or investment property here take advantage of some of the awesome events that go on in our town.

Miami Spice WebsiteCurrently, probably to help with the summer lull and increase business, there is the Miami Spice event. One of my favorite restaurants on the list is the Setai. Not only is the outside “zen” area a wonderful place for pre-clubbing drinks (great Lychee Martini), it is a nice place to wind down and relax. During Miami Spice, which runs through September, you can get a 3- course meal for $35.

The Miami International Wine Fair , which benefits the American Red Cross, starts this weekend and runs through the 10th.

If wining and dining isn’t your thing, you can tour Vizcaya Museum and Gardens; Sundays in September are free! In the evening, you can take in a movie at University of Miami’s Bill Cosford Theatre. Want to take your children to a museum without them rolling their eyes? Check out the Dr. Seuss exhibit at the Miami Children’s

Of course this list isn’t even the tip of the iceberg and does not include the obvious activities, such as going to one of our great beaches, renting a boat, or taking in a Dolphins or Marlins game. Whatever you do, take time to enjoy the variety of activities South Florida has to offer and thank your lucky stars that you live in such a wonderful place!


Local Effects of Property Tax Reform - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more Well, I received my property tax notice last week and surprise! my property tax bills are not going down significantly (neither did my insurance by the way). I can’t complain as I am one of the lucky homesteaded property owners who defied the “average-time -in-a-house-is 5-7 years-rule” and have been in mine for over 16, so my taxes are low compared to many others in my neighborhood.I live in the Village of Pinecrest, which has been an ardent supporter of the public schools within its boundaries since it incorporated in 1996. Due to the tax reform passed last legislative session, Pinecrest has to rollback their millage rate by 9% and, as a result, cut $50,000 out of its budget that used to go to the schools in the form of $10,000 grants. Obviously this isn’t the only cut they made, parks among other items also got hit, but with three students in the public schools here, it is a cut that will directly affect me.How does this relate to real estate? Easy.

  1. Companies need an educated workforce to want to do business in a state.
  2. Employees relocating with their companies want high quality public schools.
  3. Properties in areas with quality public schools are in higher demand than other areas.

So, while we are all clamoring for property tax cuts and super-sized exemptions to make housing more affordable in the state, let’s remember that cuts will have to be made and we may not be happy with the long term results if those cuts are made in the wrong places.

Coral Gables Pinecrest

4 Reasons Buyer’s Aren’t Rejoicing Over High Inventory Levels

All we have been hearing for the past several months is how bad the housing market is. High inventory, high foreclosure rate, slow sales. All of that is true, especially in Florida, California, and Nevada where speculation ran high. In 2006, Business Week did a story on absorption rates and came up with the following cute summary of inventory absorption rates. Business Week Absporption rateIn addition to their four categories, I have added two of my own based on Miami-Dade’s inventory levels: 18+ months “ugly”; over 30 months “downright depressing”. I came up with these catagories after learning that as of July, 2007 there were a total of 38,672 condos and single family homes listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) compared to 1,100 closed sales during that same time period. Based on those numbers, we have a 32.9 month supply of condos and single family homes! Now that is depressing, if you are a seller.So why aren’t buyers rejoicing and buying since interest rates are still low?

  1. Some sellers are still in denial and have not dropped their prices significantly enough to bring buyers off of the fence (basic economics tells you that if supply is high and demand is low, prices need to come down, right?).
  2. Property taxes have not come down enough and are still a huge chunk of a buyer’s monthly housing expense.
  3. Insurance rates are still high.
  4. Since lenders require insurance and tax reserves up front at closing, the amount of money required at closing is significantly higher than it has been.
  5. Who would want to buy when all of the news in the media is negative (okay, that’s a freebie and wasn’t on my original list).

That being said, since real estate is all about location, location, location, individual local markets can be doing better than others or the county’s in general. Coral Gables currently has a 22.4 month inventory based on closed sales which 1925 Old Spanish Granada Blvdrepresents 582 homes for sale vs. 26 sold. 22.4 months isn’t great, but its better than 32.9 months, especially since that inventory is for the entire Coral Gables market. The inventory level for homes between $600,00-$899,000 is 18.5 months.Pinecrest has an 18.1 month inventory with 253 homes on the market in July of 2007 vs 14 sold. Again, still depressing if you are a seller but better than the county as a whole.Whether you are a buyer or a seller, find out what the inventory level is in your local market and price range to help assist you in buying or selling your home.


Looking for Something to Do? Head to Pinecrest!

The Village of Pinecrest has long been know for its excellent schools, but there are a lot of other attributes that makes this community a favorite among long-time residents as well as families relocating to Miami-Dade County.

Once home to the famous Parrot Jungle, Pinecrest has upgraded its parks, including Pinecrest Gardensthe old Parrot Jungle site now known as Pinecrest Gardens.

Admission to the Gardens is free and there are often community events held there such as the Taste of Pinecrest, Chili Cookoff, Art in the Park, and a variety of class offerings.

There is a petting zoo, a splash zone, and tot-lot for the little ones. Adults will enjoy the large shade trees, meandering paths and incredible foliage.

Jennifer Wollmann
[email protected]


6 Ways to Make Your Listing Stand Out in Today’s Market

As you drive around town, you notice all of the colorful “For Sale” signs. You were contemplating a move because you found another house you really like that is in your price range but you are nervous about trying to sell in today’s market.

Here are some tips for making sure your house will be considered by prospective buyers:

  1. Contact a couple of Realtors and find out what they would do market your home.
  2. Make sure your home really sparkles. From the time the prospective buyer pulls up, your home is making an impression on the buyer. You want it to be a good one!
  3. Consider having your home professionally staged. The way you live in your home is not the same as how you market your home.
  4. No matter how great your home looks, if the price is not competitive for your area, you are not going to sell your home. You are dealing with educated buyers who have been bombarded by the news that inventory and foreclosure rates are high and prices are coming down. They are going to be wary of overpaying.
  5. Find out what the last couple of similar homes sold for in your neighborhood and price your home at or below those homes.
  6. No matter how tempting it may be and what you may have heard, avoid the urge to negotiate your Realtors commission. A good Realtor is going to have to do some major marketing to get your home to stand out above the others and attract buyers to it. Why would you want to cut their incentive to spend their money marketing your home?


Coral Gables

Reasons Why Inventory Isn’t As High As It Seems

Yes, the amount of single family homes and condos for sale in Miami-Dade County is high. 38,672 were listed on the MLS as of July 2007. That being said, people are still buying homes and condos and when they start looking, they realize the inventory isn’t as high as it seems. Why?

  1. Because real estate, especially when it is for a primary or secondary residence, is extremely local.
  2. Buyers have specific wants and needs, such as the # of bedrooms and/or bathrooms.
  3. Some of these wants and needs are non-negotiable, such as a school district or distance to work or public transportation.
  4. Buyers have a price limit that they can not go above.


So, how many single family homes are really on the market in Coral Gables for someone looking for a minimum 1500 square foot home under $600,000? 40. While that still may seem like a lot to choose from (and for a Realtor to have to show), that inventory will decrease when I start to remove those that are not in the desired school district or are too far from work or public transportation.

To find out what the inventory in your neighborhood is, click on My Neighborhood Market.