I was on the phone with a friend the other day and we were both talking about how grateful we are that we live in Miami/South Florida. Our main reasons were for the cultural diversity, the environment, the vibrancy of the city and people, and the ease with which you can travel anywhere in the world.
Traveling is one of my favorite pastimes, but I always love coming home. If you don’t love where you live and work, now is the time to consider a move. I invite you to come to Miami and see why so many people and companies are relocating to South Florida.
You can’t open a newspaper these days without reading about another company that is either relocating or expanding in South Florida. From hedge funds and private equity firms to tech companies, Florida’s business friendly environment is luring people to move here. The Miami-Dade housing market has surged, with total home sales up 16.2% year-over-year in October. Miami single-family luxury home sales transactions over $1,000,000 increased a whopping 122.1% year-over-year in October.
What does this increase in the housing market mean to commercial real estate? Although the virus has had an effect on hotels, restaurants, offices, and other businesses, which in turn bodes poorly for the real estate these businesses occupy, the number of people relocating here will eventually translate into increased demand for commercial real estate. I currently have investors looking for second generation restaurant space, which, amazingly enough, is not as easy to find as news headlines suggest.
Mark Twain wrote: “There are two types of speakers: Those who get nervous and those who are liars”.
I used to be petrified of public speaking. I almost turned down a remarkable leadership opportunity because of that silly fear. As soon as I was asked if I would be the Commercial President for MIAMI Realtors, I could feel my stomach clench because I knew I would have to speak in public. A LOT! I told Brian Sharpe, the Commercial President who had asked me and who is a super suave public speaker, that I would think about it and get back to him. As soon as I hung up the phone, my head started going nuts and I pictured how anxious I was going to be every time I had to get up and speak. I could feel my heart beat faster just thinking about it. I was being irrational, of course, but that is the point. Most fear is irrational.
My public speaking up to that point had been presentations in class or in front of work groups or small audiences. I had benefitted from being around a lot of brilliant public speakers, who always seemed calm, cool, collected and interesting when speaking to large groups. I decided I would not let this fear keep me from a wonderful, much larger learning opportunity so I called Brian back and accepted the nomination of Commercial President.
Over the next year, while I was President-elect, I watched Brian and the other leaders who spoke so well. I prepared presentations I would have to give well in advance and gave them lots of thought, rehearsing what I would talk about during my morning runs. Teresa King Kinney, the CEO of MIAMI Realtors and a leader maker, also assisted by making every President and President-elect give impromptu speeches, often. After the first time, when I was caught off guard, I learned quickly that I always had to be prepared to speak in public and I am no longer afraid. Preparation is key to addressing so many fears, right?
According to economist Ted C. Jones, US retail sales and the demand for goods resulted in the freight rates for 20 foot containers from Shanghai to the US to increase approximately 125% in the past 12 months.
Another economist, Elliott Eisenberg PhD, also states that retail sales are terrific and that though we are buying goods online and curbside during the pandemic, it shows that consumer consumption has recovered.
What does that mean for commercial real estate in general and retail space specifically? I think there is a lot of pent up demand for going out, mingling with people, touching, feeling and trying on what people want to buy. With all of the people moving to South Florida, I think retail is going to rebound and will do so quickly. The products and services may change, but people still want an experience when they shop. At least I do!
Although not for the faint of heart, entrepreneurship offers many rewards and I think South Florida is the place to start a company or investing in real estate, which is entrepreneurial, than in South Florida.
So, now that you know about 832 Granada Groves Ct., let me introduce you to 401 A Street in Saint Augustine Beach. This is the experience where I identified my fear, labeled it completely irrational, found the help I needed to get through it, and purchased this investment property. As you will see, the jump from Granada Groves to A Street was long. I hope you don’t take as long as I did. I am here to tell you if you do, you will miss out on a ton of great opportunities.
So, after Granada Groves Ct., my husband and I stopped actively looking for investment properties. We weren’t ready, the market was too hot, we couldn’t afford it, all of the excuses. Whatever. We finally got back into the discussion in 2014 and decided we would combine our investment property with a second home idea, so we started looking in St. Augustine Beach.
After we lost several properties in a competitive market, a friend of ours told us that she had biked by one that they were getting ready to put the sign on. I called the listing agent, asked her to FaceTime me so I could walk through the house, and we put an offer on it, $1,000 over asking, not subject to financing, sight unseen. Wait, what? Was I setting my self up to scare myself out of another deal? Absolutely not. We knew the market well, had run the numbers, had a pre-approval, had a good size deposit, reserves etc. I knew exactly where the house was, it was newer construction so less maintenance and we were feeling good. Our offer was accepted, I drove up for the inspections, had the “this feels right feeling”.
The house was only a couple of years old, so it sailed through inspections, my friend already had friends who wanted to rent it, things were moving along. Right before the end of the inspection period, the what if’s creeped in and I started to lose sleep. My husband tried telling me everything was fine, we were prepared, it was going to work out, he was rational. Still, I am the one who does the family finances, so I told myself if it didn’t work out, it would all be my fault that we were bankrupt and homeless (see a theme here?). Anyway, we made it through the inspection period, but now my fear kicked in full steam, wild-horse stampede mode. What if it doesn’t appraise? We won’t get the mortgage (not true)! We will have to pay all cash thereby draining all of our savings (also not true)! Those of you who know me, know that I am fiscally conservative, I am a Questioner (read The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin), I research and prepare. Yet I, almost always calm, cool and collected, was losing sleep over a purchase the felt right. I was barely functional due to lack of sleep. I backed into someone’s really nice car and that is what made me get a grip. After exchanging insurance cards with a really nice and understanding gentleman, I picked up the phone, called a great friend and relative who I knew could help me. The conversation went like this: Me “Hi. I need to ask you a question and your answer has to be ‘Yes'”. Him “Okay. What is the question?” Me “The question doesn’t matter, your answer just has to be ‘Yes'”. Him TOTAL SILENCE, but I could hear him thinking, “She’s lost her mind. How am I going to say yes when I don’t know the question” so Me “Do you trust me” Him “yes” Me “Would I ever ask you to do something that was illegal, unethical, or that would hurt you, your family or anyone” Him “No” Me “So if I ask you a question can your answer be yes” This time he didn’t even hesitate “Yes”. Me “Thank you. Good-bye”. I didn’t even ask him the question. I just knew that he had my back. I went home, slept soundly, and we closed on the house, which appraised OVER our offer.
According to economist Elliot Eisenberg, PhD, “Of the 9.9 million economy wide jobs lost, 2.1 million or 21.2% are in restaurants.”
I am hoping that the jump in air travel to Florida reported on Squawk Box today helps our local restaurants during this holiday season. The temporary zoning changes allowing more outdoor dining options should be a big help.
Built as a result of Henry Flagler’s Railroad, Cauley Square is a charming collection of small businesses. Connected by meandering walkways under a lush tree canopy, it is far from the rowdy place it was in the early 1900’s.
Saved from demolition at two different times by women investors, Mary Anne Ballard in the 1970’s and Frances Varela in 2001, the historic cottages, 10-acre grounds, and fountains, have been beautifully restored. Come spend the day visiting restaurants such as the Tea Room, pictured above, and charming shops that are located throughout the property. It offers such a nice change of pace to the hustle and bustle of everyday life in Miami.
A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I had a socially distance dinner with our neighbors on their back patio. Dinner was delicious and when I raved about the meat, they raved about Wild Fork Foods, which had recently opened their Pinecrest location.
I had heard about Wild Fork before, from a foodie friend of mine who also happens to be a great cook. He had told me about their salmon and said he was so impressed by the quality. Now that I had heard about it from two reliable sources, I was ready to go visit a place I had been curious about, since I had seen its storefront in Coral Gables, across from the University of Miami.
Their Pinecrest space is approximately 5,000 square feet, typical of their store size, full of freezers and nicely displayed food options, from plain ingredients up to fully cooked. They have a variety of meat, including some specialty meats, such as alligator, yak and elk. They also have frozen sauces, side dishes, veggies, fruit and desserts. Based on their pricing, strategic locations, quality, and the fact that the pandemic has made people change their shopping habits to go out less frequently and order groceries on-line, I think Wild Fork is going to see success in the Florida market and will continue to expand. If you own a retail center, you may want to consider them as a tenant.
Since tomorrow is Halloween, I decided to start a new series on Fridays. The purpose of Fearless Friday is to share my thoughts, experiences, conversations and readings on fear, how it has held me back, and how I learned, and continue to learn, to address the fears. I am amazed at our human ability to self sabotage and a lot of the reason we do so is due to fear.
Dictionary.com defines fear as “a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined“. Wow! My imagination has lead me to pass up on great ideas and business opportunities. Luckily, during one real estate purchase I almost sabotaged, after having done so on several before, I realized it was fear, I found a way to address it, and went through with the purchase, which I am grateful for every day. I will share the whole experience with you next week. It is the one that opened up my eyes and has allowed me to identify and address my fears. So, unlike the fearful sign “Beware, Go Back” I prefer Be Aware and Go Forward.
In The Shark And The Goldfish, Jon Gordon states, “Fear and faith have one thing in common – they both believe in a future that hasn’t happened yet”. For a faith over fear story and how it relates to real estate, you can read, “Snakes, Skunks and Real Estate” See you next Fearless Friday. In the meantime, stay fearless.