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Are You An Unmarried Couple Thinking About Buying A Home?

I’ve worked with unmarried couples that decided to purchase and settle before marrying; and I’ve worked with couples that will not be marrying – not in the State of Florida, anyway. 

The Miami Herald published a great article last week on this topic. If you are thinking about buying a home with a significant other you should read it!  There are 6 tips that are invaluable:

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1) SWAP FINANCIAL HISTORY

Know about each other’s student loans, credit card debt, retirement accounts, etc.

 

 

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2)  AGREE ON WHAT YOU CAN AFFORD

Determine what each person can (and cannot) contribute.

 

 

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3)  SIGN A CONTRACT

And this is not referring to a Sales Contract! Enlist an attorney and draw up a contract before you buy a property outlining contributing amounts, equity amounts, rights of survivorship, and the unthinkable: what if the relationship dissolves.

 

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4) UNDERSTAND OWNERSHIP OPTIONS

Joint Tenants vs. Tenants in Common

 

 

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5)  REVIEW TAX IMPLICATIONS

 

 

 

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6)  RESET WEDDING EXPECTATIONS

The author suggests there might not be enough money left over for a wedding after purchasing a home.  Hey, wait till you have kids!

 

 

To learn more about real estate in South Miami, Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, Pinecrest and Palmetto Bay, contact Val Byrne at val@valbyrnerealtor.com or by phone at 305-323-6231. Val Byrne – Working For You!

 

MIAMI TODAY INTERVIEWS EWM’S NANCY BATCHELOR AND ME!

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Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, and Ponce/Davis Corridor
Homes for Sale vs Sold vs Pended in 2013
$1,000,000 and Over

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Pinecrest Homes for Sale vs Sold vs Pended in 2013
$1,000,000 and Over

Miami Today ended 2013 real estate news with a bang last weekThe December 31st issue recaps a very successful year for Dade County in the luxury real estate market (sales prices of $1,000,000 and up).

Read the article for details but in summary nearly 1 in every 5 single family homes closed in Dade County sold for $1,000,000 or more.  In the condo market about 1 of every 8 properties sold for $1,000,000 or more.  Bringing this reality a little closer to home let’s look at the $1,000,000+ single family home stats in Coral Gables (including the Ponce/Davis corridor), Coconut Grove, and Pinecrest, where I specialize in luxury properties. The graphs represent properties which have sold, are pending a closing, or are for sale on the MLS system.

Another fun fact: real estate agents at EWM Realty International sold a property for $1,000,000 or more about every 17 hours in 2013!  It was an exciting year in real estate and all indications are that the momentum will continue 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!

 

‘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

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!

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!

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!

 

South Miami Neighbors Oppose ‘McMansions’

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The proposed land for development.

I saw the article, South Miami Neighbors Oppose ‘McMansions’,  in the Miami Herald over the weekend, and as I predicted in my June 25th “The Return of McMansions” blog, the McMansion wars have begun.  Miami has seen a very healthy increase in property values in the last year and in some areas, like South Miami, the values have exceeded the 14% appreciation noted in the Miami Herald last week.

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BUILT IN 2011 BY CARLOS TOSCA.

In ‘happier times’ like these developers and home owners re-enter the market, and they’re building bigger homes for ‘Modern Family’ Miami style: lots of kids, a nanny (or two), in-laws, and returning adult children.  Change isn’t always easy (or welcome) but it is part of the evolution process in real estate. I hope the developer and neighboring residents that are opposing the development find an amicable resolution – it sounds like efforts are being made on both sides.  Carlos Tosca, the developer, builds very nice, affordable homes.  I have seen many of them!

I have sold over 100 properties in South Miami and some of them were not-so-welcome, newly constructed homes (I dislike the word “McMansion”). When the dust settled, the landscaping matured, and the houses became ‘homes’ to wonderful families, they were enjoyed by all.

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BUILT IN 2006. SOLD BY VAL BYRNE 2007 & 2011.

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BUILT IN 2005. SOLD BY VAL BYRNE IN 2013.

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!

 

To Be Or Not To Be…In South Miami Or High Pines?

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There is a mad influx of Buyers wanting to purchase homes east of US1 and north of Kendall Drive in the South Miami and High Pines neighborhoods.  I’m often asked, “What’s the difference”?

I sell a lot of real estate in South Miami and High Pines and consider each to be prime “pedestrian communities”, and by that I mean kids play in the streets; and evening walks for dinner and ice cream are common place.

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Built in 1960’s. Renovated in 2010.

Geographically they are near mirror images of each other – South Miami lies on the west side of Red Road (SW 57th Avenue), and High Pines on the east side.  Public school districts are different: east of 58th Avenue generally belongs to the Coral Gables schools and west of 58th Avenue will attend the South Miami schools. South Miami is an incorporated City with its own government center and police; High Pines is part of Unincorporated Dade County.

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Original “Ranch-Style” built in 1961.

Physically the profile of houses in each area is similar  – “ranch style” original houses were built in or near the 1950’s and were generally 1,600 – 2,200ish adjusted square feet.  Many houses have since had considerable renovations and additions.  Both South Miami and High Pines have seen a renaissance of new construction in the last 12 years with Mediterranean, Florida Vernacular, and tropical styles adding to the landscape. Each neighborhood has a handful of popular gated communities: i.e. Pine Manor and Oak Lane in High Pines; Parkside Village and Orr’s Pond in South Miami.

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“Key West-style” built in 2006.

Home prices are not significantly different, especially in these times of low inventory.  Some recent sales in High Pines have climbed above the mid $300/sf mark; South Miami has reached the mid $300/sf but decent homes are still available the high $200/sf range.  In my 20+ years selling properties in both communities High Pines has often been about $25/sf higher than South Miami, but the gap has closed significantly in the last year.

I live in South Miami – I love my home, my neighbors, and my neighborhood BUT the truth is, if I picked my house up and move it over to High Pines, I would feel the same.

 

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 Aren’t Their Any Homes For Sale in South Miami?

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City of South Miami “Months of Inventory” in the Last 12 Months
$500,000 – $800,000

I have lived in South Miami over 20 years and sold nearly 100 properties during that time, and I’ve never seen so few properties for sale. We are having the driest dry spell I can remember. Seasoned realtors find 6-9 months of inventory on hand to be a healthy balance, serving the needs of both Buyers and Sellers. In May, 2013 there was only 1 month of inventory on hand!  In the past year the average has been 3.75 months!

This past weekend I got a call from someone wanting to move into the Dante Fascell Park area. They’ll buy or rent – whichever becomes available first, but want to be within walking distance to Epiphany School before the end of the year, and prefer South Miami over High Pines (west of Red Road vs. east of Red Road) because they have friends in that area (who I have sold houses to).

UntitledI specialize in South Miami real estate because I live in and love the community, and can usually place Buyers quickly. This charming family of 4 would like 4 bedrooms but will take 3, would love a pool but will consider building one, would be okay with 2,000-2,500ish square feet but would like the space to add on later, and can spend $500,000 to $800,000. Sounds flexible and easy right?

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The one available home over 2,000 square feet.
5880 SW 87th Street

Mrs. Buyer is ready to take half day off work and get started, but she doesn’t need that much time because there is only ONE house to see that meets her criteria: a sweet canal-front property on 87th Street behind Dante Fascell Park. That is all that’s on the market right now! This dry spell of homes for sale is driving our prices up, setting the stage for multi-offers, and quite frankly getting a little crazy. Will rising interest rates propel Sellers to get their wares on the market while Buyers are still eager? I hope so – let’s wait and see.

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!