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‘It Takes a Village’ to Successfully Buy or Sell a Home

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It takes more than a willing Buyer and Seller to close a real estate transaction, especially in today’s market where low inventory can produce stress and hasty decisions. It ‘takes a village’ of professionals who can work together harmoniously for the same goal.

I’ve been very fortunate this year to have worked with not only great Buyers and Sellers, but some of the kindest, most wonderfully experienced realtors, home inspectors, permit processors, title companies, and real estate attorneys working in Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, Pinecrest, South Miami, Palmetto Bay, and the surrounding corridors. 

Thank you for a fantastic year, and best wishes to all of you in 2014. 

To learn more about South Miami, Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, Pinecrest and Palmetto Bay, contact Val Byrne with EWM Realty International or www.MiamiRealEstateWorks.com at email at val@valbyrnerealtor.com or by phone at 305-323-6231. Val Byrne – Working For You

Art Week Shines in Miami! (and finally, so did the sun!)

 

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There are so many art venues to see this week; it will be impossible to see everything I want to see.  I have a ‘bucket list’, and little by little I’m making my way through it.  Yesterday, I went to Art Miami (Christie’s International is a sponsor), Context, and Spectrum Miami.  It was a WOW day: wow the gallery displays were amazing, and wow my feet were killing me.  Have you ever seen the Modern Family show where Gloria (Sofia Vergara) painfully walks through Disneyland in high heels and Jay buys her some plush mini-mouse slippers?  Rule number 1 at Art Week Miami: flat shoes.

ARTBASELI dread the traffic but this weekend I’m headed to Miami Beach to enjoy Art Basel, AQUA, NADA (New Art Dealers Alliance – an incredible non-profit!), and the Brazil Art Fair.  The Perez Art Museum is No. 1 on my list, but now it’s part of our Miami culture so I may avoid the crowd and see it MANY TIMES in my future.  I look forward to getting back to routine, the holidays, real estate (I specialize in South Miami, Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, Pinecrest, & Palmetto Bay), and family life!

Here are a few glimpses of yesterday (I love animal sculptures. PS,  the bottom right picture is not a sculpture, it’s my sleeping dog, Oz):

To learn more about South Miami, Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, Pinecrest and Palmetto Bay, contact Val Byrne with EWM Realty International or www.MiamiRealEstateWorks.com at email at val@valbyrnerealtor.com or by phone at 305-323-6231. Val Byrne – Working For You!

 

 

Why You Should Determine Your Insurance Rates During the Inspection Period!

Citizens_Insurance_logo_(640x480)_20100706101331_320_240I have seen some jubilant Buyers turn ashen-white when they learn what their insurance premiums are going to be.  In many of those instances the “insurance bomb” is dropped just a few days before closing – when there is no turning back.  This past week I have been working with Buyers whose insurance premium could possibly exceed their property taxes; luckily we are in our ‘inspection period’ and have alternatives!

When Seller or Seller’s realtor tells you they are paying a palatable “X” amount for homeowner’s insurance please take it with a grain of salt!  Your insurance rate has many factors that may not have been considered when your prospective home was last purchased!11

Flood maps have changed, for instance, residences in flood zones beginning with “A” (AE, AH, etc.) are subject to MUCH higher rates beginning October 1st, 2013 (unless Florida State WrightFloodLogolegislature changes that).  Regarding wind-storm insurance ask for your wind-storm insurance quotes based on complete Dade County-approved hurricane protection, and incomplete protection if your prospective home does not have completely “approved” protection. Compare the difference! All of your  property’s openings (windows, skylights, doors, and garage doors) must be protected with County approved materials in order to get the MOST discounted rate (the lowest rate).

Do your homework during the inspection period so you can plan accordingly. Perhaps you can negotiate price (with your Seller or your insurance carrier!), perhaps you can allocate money to make the necessary hurricane protection changes so you receive your best insurance discount a.s.a.p.; no doubt you will make better decisions. 

 To learn more about South Miami, Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, Pinecrest and Palmetto Bay, contact Val Byrne with EWM Realty International or www.MiamiRealEstateWorks.com at email at val@valbyrnerealtor.com or by phone at 305-323-6231. Val Byrne – Working For You

Join Me At Living Alfresco’s Grand Opening Party This Thursday!

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Betsy Fantis has moved her enchanting outdoor showroom to the former Gardner’s Market space in the heart of South Miami & High Pines.  The ever talented and effervescentlogo “Bets” will celebrate the Grand Opening of Living Alfresco on Thursday, starting at 5pm, and would love you to come! Finally, a storefront suited to South Florida outdoor living (and how convenient that it’s at the crossroads of South Miami, Coral Gables, Coconut Grove and Pinecrest)!

You’ll find everything refreshing from patio furnishings to garden stools to outdoor artistry; in styles befitting the classic, the whimsical, and the elegant.  Betsy will custom design an outdoor paradise for your home, or invigorate your own design with magical splashes of color and wares – either way she will exceed your expectations!

Thinking About Remodeling? Houzz This!

houzz-logoWith the tremendous upswing in the housing market and decline in inventory Buyers are purchasing properties that need more renovating than they were prepared for!  I’ve sold several homes in South Miami, Pinecrest, and Coconut Grove recently and my Buyers have the heebee geebees about updating bathrooms, remodeling kitchens, and adding swimming pools.

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I’m updating a bathroom in my South Miami home right now, and it is overwhelming and ginormously time consuming. Do you know how many different tiles are out there?  And there are as many stores selling them as there are exits on the Palmetto Expressway.  Last week I re-directed myself to the Design District but found myself completely distracted (and hungry).

Enter HOUZZ (houzz.com), perhaps the greatest design and decorating tool on the internet (and extremely easy to navigate).  Volumes and volumes of stunning pictures of every room and space imaginable are a click away;  with virtually every design element found in that space at your fingertips; and a ‘go to’ on where to buy it.

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Houzz is turning heads in the real estate community too.  I have it downloaded on my iPad so when I am showing a home or condo to Buyers who need help visualizing the home’s or a room’s potential, or just need new landscape and garden ideas, I whip out “the magic wand”.  I love it.

To learn more about South Miami or any other community – including Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, Pinecrest and Palmetto Bay, contact Val Byrne with EWM Realty International on www.MiamiRealEstateWorks.com or email at val@valbyrnerealtor.com or by phone at 305-323-6231. Val Byrne – Working For You! – See more at: http://miamirealestateworks.com/category/south-miami/#sthash.1TkyzSjU.dpuf

Just Listed by Val Byrne in Ponce-Davis Area! 7830 SW 48th Court

7830 SW 48 Ct 014This elegant and understated home in Ponce/Davis Estates is ideal for the Buyer who wants a more affordable, low maintenance residence in a multi-million dollar neighborhood.  It’s a wonderful home  for large family or for empty nesters.  Quality appointments include impact-resistant glass, an elevator, stone floors, crown molding, and a 2-car garage. Striking curb appeal on a very quiet, no-traffic street, a park-like setting with waterfall, pergola, and Chicago brick courtyard, and a phenomenal location make this a “10”.

                                        Property Details:

            • 4 Bedroom/4 Baths
            • 3,982 Adjusted Square Feet
            • 6,322 Square Foot Lot

To learn more about real estate in the Ponce-Davis Road corridors or any other community – including Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, South Miami, Pinecrest and Palmetto Bay, contact Val Byrne with EWM Realty International on www.MiamiRealEstateWorks.com or email at val@valbyrnerealtor.com or by phone at 305-323-6231. Val Byrne – Working For You!

Will You Vote For The “Grove Bay” Proposal On November 5th?

Harbour-Restaurant-2In a nutshell, the “Grove Bay” Proposal (aka The Harbour in Historical Coconut Grove) will sweep away the Chart House, Scotty’s Landing, and the Coconut Grove Exhibition Center.  In that vast space will be a Shula’s Steakhouse, an unnamed Peruvian restaurant, and an unnamed “open air” restaurant.  The developers (Grove Bay Investment Group) will consolidate the outdoor boat facilities, renovate the existing indoor boat storage (the original Pan Am hangars), and add a marine store. They will also create a 17-acre public park, and a 3-story parking garage with ground floor retail shops. And PS, the developers are spending $18mil in private money.Descriptive-Plan

I’m torn! As it stands today that entire stretch of land along South Bayshore Drive (with its unsightly structures) completely blocks our view of beautiful Biscayne Bay. The food at Scotty’s Landing is barely edible, the staff pretty edgy, and to get there you have to walk through boat oil and tar; the Charthouse is as passé as its salad bar.

Three new restaurants sounds great to me (I love Shula’s in South Miami), and I think a 17-acre “centerpiece” park is absolutely wonderful. I can almost be convinced that the 3-story city parking garage is okay – if it is indeed narrow and far back from the waterfront as proposed (and the developers are contributing $5mil for that). Now, in order for it to be far back from the waterfront it would have to be closer South Bayshore Drive, right? And the parking garage plans include 40,000 square feet of ground floor retail shops, so now we have retail stores along one South Florida’s most picturesque streets? The retail stores are the wrench for me – not sure I can vote for that.Harbour-Restaurant

To learn more about Coconut Grove or any other community – including Coral Gables, South Miami, Pinecrest and Palmetto Bay, contact Val Byrne with EWM Realty International on www.MiamiRealEstateWorks.com or email at val@valbyrnerealtor.com or by phone at 305-323-6231. Val Byrne – Working For You!

Do You Know The 6 Real Estate Pitfalls?

 Fox News had an article last week that every Seller or soon-to-be Seller should read.  Adam Verwymeren lists 6 pitfalls which will hinder a sale, and I ditto them!!!

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South Miami – Sales Price vs. List Price
($400,000-$1.249,000)

1.  The Price Isn’t Right

We are not seeing a lot of over-priced properties in South Miami/High Pines, the Ponce Estates corridor, Coconut Grove, Coral Gables, Pinecrest, and Palmetto Bay, in fact, in many cases Sales Prices and List Prices are nearly the same (with Sale Price often exceeding List Price). You can bet a nickel though that for every long-standing “For Sale” sign there is an over-priced property.

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Coral Gables – Sales Price vs. List Price
($500,000-$1,249,000)

2. The Ghost of Past DIY Jobs

Save complicated jobs for the professionals, and pull permits if you need too!! If you must Do It Yourself, read up beforehand!  Also, You Tube has a video on how to do just about anything!

3. Sticking Around For A Showing

Or worse, sticking around for an Open House. If you have chosen the ‘right’ real estate agent, they will KNOW YOUR HOME and HOW TO SELL IT,

4. Picking The Wrong Agent

Your real estate agent should know Your Market, Your Neighborhood, Your House, and how to Sell it! 

5. Overdoing It

I am not 100% in agreement with the Fox thoughts and comments on this one. Every Buyer likes updates and renovations, but yes, it is expensive and not always rewarding for a Seller.  A well-versed realtor will help Seller decide which ‘projects’ will yield a $$$ return, and the best way to spearhead them.

6. Putting On The Finishing Touches

Curb Appeal, Curb Appeal, Curb Appeal.  I can’t stress enough how important those first impressions are.  Fresh paint, clear (and clean) driveways and walkways, lushly manicured landscapes, clean windows, and a nice front door that will welcome all.

To learn more about South Miami or any other community – including Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, Pinecrest and Palmetto Bay, contact Val Byrne with EWM Realty International on www.MiamiRealEstateWorks.com or email at val@valbyrnerealtor.com or by phone at 305-323-6231. Val Byrne – Working For You!

Why “Selling” Miami Is So Easy

CoralGablesCityHall2 I gave a 5-hour “community tour” last week to a physician who is considering a position in Miami. ‘Community tour’ is a relative term with me because you pretty much see the town through my eyes, and I am biased – I love Miami.

From an airport area hotel we went to downtown Coral Gables: We talked about the many amazing restaurants, the Farmer’s Market and saw some of the fantastic residential condo buildings; he thought the coral rock homes George Merrick built on Coral Way were beautiful. On our Venetian_pool1‘drive by’ visits to some of the Gables elementary schools we passed by Venetian Pool (which except for the freezing cold water is a magnificent venue), the Biltmore Hotel , and the Coral Gables Youth Center.  We drove along the world class Biltmore and Riviera golf courses, and beautiful Santa Maria Street (a must for trick or treaters, and new home to Shane Battier!).

image018My new doctor friend “clicked” with Coral Gables: he could see his family thriving there. We meandered over to Sunset Drive via Granada Boulevard (perhaps the most beautiful street in Coral Gables) and into High Pines and South Miami where “small town” meets urban life.  The doctor was wowed by the Epiphany Church, and as we drove south he recognized that the Pinecrest neighborhood was different from Coral Gables and South Miami:  quieter streets, large estates, more suburban.  mathesonLoved the smoothie at Wayside Fruit Market, and thought the proximity within Pinecrest to excellent schools was intriguing.  He could see his family thriving in South Miami or Pinecrest.

 We weren’t going to have time to explore the Brickell area or Key Biscayne so I showed him the panorama from Matheson Hammock.  One sweeping view of Biscayne Bay, the waterfront properties of Coral Gables and Coconut Grove, downtown Miami and Key Biscayne is pretty convincing if one is entertaining the idea of a move to Miami, especially grounded with the natural beauty of that Park.

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Coconut Grove was the last stop on the tour. The sun was shining and so was that bohemian beat you find on Main Highway; same for the camaraderie at Commodore Plaza and CocoWalk.  He was so impressed with the tree canopy and diversity of schools along Main Highway, and the huge bayside parks. Although this family would settle down in a single family home, he found the splash of condos along  South Bayshore Drive pretty enticing. As I expected, the doctor felt very at home in Coconut Grove, and will include it in the options should his family relocate to Miami.

There are many factors involved in relocating, but first and foremost is liking the prospective city and seeing a comfortable ‘fit’. “Selling Miami” is the easiest part of my job because all the “tools” are here. Miami is a beautiful, diverse, casual, well-educated city that has a kaleidoscope of venues and the friendliest people from all over the world!

To learn more about South Miami or any other community – including Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, Pinecrest and Palmetto Bay, contact Val Byrne with EWM Realty International on www.MiamiRealEstateWorks.com or email at val@valbyrnerealtor.com or by phone at 305-323-6231. Val Byrne – Working For You!

 

Supermoon at Matheson Hammock!

977601_555305581182593_712435461_oI went to Matheson Hammock Sunday night to see ‘Supermoon’  2013 and found myself at a spontaneous full moon party in the parking lot.  The kiteboarders were surfing, the Red Fish Grill patrons were coming and going, and boaters were still floating in the Bay awaiting the biggest moon of the year.

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I am drawn to that Park like a magnet. My earliest childhood memories are picnicking at Matheson; as adolescents we launched our boats there; I taught my children to swim in the pond, and they learned to walk in the sand.

I’ve sold over $25 million of real estate in the last year or so in the neighboring communities of Gables Estates, Hammock Oaks, and newly gated Hammock Lakes – and my favorite place to bring Buyers for a quick snack? The gas pump station at the Matheson Hammock Marina – the little store has the coldest drinks town.
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To learn more about Coral Gables or any other community – including South Miami, Coconut Grove, Pinecrest and Palmetto Bay, contact Val Byrne with EWM Realty International on www.MiamiRealEstateWorks.com or email at val@valbyrnerealtor.com or by phone at 305-323-6231. Val Byrne – Working For You!