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Would You Like To Live On ‘Happy Street’?

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Happy Street in Costa Rica

I was at “Books and Books” last weekend and lucky for me owner Mitch Kaplan was there too (which puts a whole different spin on reading and book buying).  We got into a conversation about some mutual friends and their children, and Mitch said he calls the street the friends live on ‘Happy Street’ and wished he lived on that street.  Hey, THAT’S MY STREET – I live just a couple of doors down from his friends, and it’s the most accurate description of our street I have ever heard!

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Halloween on Happy Street

 That little slice of paradise in South Miami just behind Dante Fascell Park near Epiphany Church is ‘Happy’ and I am not saying that because I specialize in real estate in South Miami, or because I have sold over 100 homes in South Miami.  I say it because it’s true.  The neighbors are friends, real friends, and the kids are inseparable. We have Thanksgiving meals together, back-to-school parties, movie nights and the most incredible Halloweens you could imagine; we watch the Super Bowl and NBA playoffs together, and now we are anxiously watching “Breaking Bad” together.  At the end of any day, good or bad, my greatest pleasure is getting back to ‘Happy Street’.

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!

Will You Please Watch This Video and Ask 2 People To Do The Same?

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Did you know that in buying one additional American-made item in every 20, or so, products you purchase it will result in 1 million jobs for Americans?

MadeMovement_Logo_HeaderImage_905So says Alex Bogusky, advertising genius and former proprietor of Crispin Porter + Bogusky, now of Coca-Cola and “The Real Bears” satire fame, turned full-time consumer advocate.

 Do America the honor and yourself the favor of watching “Made America” on You Tube or http://www.millionjobsproject.us.   While we madly consume back-to-school supplies and Halloween costumes, and soon explode with holiday gift giving: viva la “Made Movement”.

 

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!

 

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!

 

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!

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!

The Return of McMansions

 

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The NYTimes had an interesting article last week called “The Return of McMansions”.   It reminded me of the “McMansion Wars” that occurred in South Miami in boom time. Back in those good ole days The City of South Miami government folks, famous for not wanting change of any kind, put a moratorium on new construction while they thought about and tweaked the codes. Lucky for them the market tanked before the Wars got too heated, but I sense this battle is going to rise again.

I’ve sold over 100 homes in South Miami, and if I had before and after pictures of every property in South Miami which witnessed demolition and then transformation, I think most would agree that “new” was a welcome change (not to mention a sizable tax base for the City). I actually had those pictures many years back when I addressed the moratorium with one of the more stubborn South Miami commissioners and even he couldn’t argue when looking at the facts.

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FUTURE SITE OF NEW CONSTRUCTION.

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FUTURE SITE OF NEW CONSTRUCTION.

 

There are a handful of properties in South Miami which have been purchased in the last year  which I suspect are going to be a cloud of dust very soon. Most of these very old homes are quite small, and unable to accommodate Miami’s “Modern Family”. Many of them have structural, plumbing, and electrical deficiencies which are not insurable or safe in today’s times. All of them lack the hurricane protection required by today’s code. Sometimes you put that all together and it is too costly to remedy!

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

6051 SW 85th Exterior-3 car email

BUILT IN 2005. SOLD BY VAL BYRNE IN 2013.

 

 

If the walls of those sweet old homes could talk they would tell us about many years of good times and good people, gatherings full of love and tradition, and endless stories of “life”. New construction is like new life – the cycle starts all over again and history is made. One thing I know from 20 years in real estate – a house is made of concrete and wood, a home is made of people.

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!

Are Your Patio And Pool Ready For Summer?

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It is unofficially summer! School’s out, HEAT’S up (pun intended!), and don’t those outdoor patios in Frontgate, Grandinroad, Pottery Barn, & Restoration Hardware look divine? I renovated my pool and patio last year and enjoy them SO much more.

 

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I just finished the Lease for a great outdoor furnishings resource in Miami, and they are moving to South Miami/High Pines this summer – wonderfully located midway between Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, South Miami, High Pines, Pinecrest, and Palmetto Bay.

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Living Alfresco, which currently resides at 4754 Southwest 72 Avenue, Miami, FL 33155, will be opening its new doors in the old Gardner’s Market space (a couple of doors down from Kristine Michael and Country French) and you are going to love it!

They transformed my pool & patio last year with a few pieces of much needed furniture, and an amazing splash of color-filled pillows and cushions. You’ll find everything from patio furniture to garden stools to unique planters at Living Alfresco, and proprietor Betsy Fantis will custom design an outdoor paradise that exceeds your expectations and meets your budget! Look for Living Alfresco’s Grand Opening!

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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!

I WANT TO DANCE WITH DWAYNE WADE TOO!

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Dwayne Wade Surprises Miami Senior at Prom

I would also like Nicole Muxo to consider joining my real estate team in about 5 years – with that kind of tenacity and out-of-the-box thinking she will be a super star in real estate. College first, Nicole! It would be a shame for the campus experience to miss out on you! (If she hasn’t written her college essays yet, her prom experience is a ringer).

 

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!

Did You See Me In The Wall Street Journal This Past Week?

I was honored this past week to appear in the Wall Street Journal – of course reporting on the housing market. The outlook in Florida, and Miami in particular, is so bright right now – housing prices are up by double digits in Dade County over the past year. WSJ reports that home prices are rising at the fastest rate in seven years as buyers return to a market where the number of properties for sale is in short supply. My own personal experiences this past quarter reports “short supply” is an UNDERSTATEMENT!

I have several Buyers who consider themselves very lucky to FINALLY have a closing on the horizon. In the next five weeks we are happy to be closing on properties in Coconut Grove, Hammock Lakes (after a year-long search!), Coral Gables, and Palmetto Bay. These Buyers will all attest that patience, tenacity, and complete knowledge of the market as it changed each day were the keys to success. Knowing the moment a property is listed “For Sale” and seeing it the same day is a must.

5001 Hammock Lake Drive, Coral Gables, FL 33156

5001 Hammock Lake Drive, Coral Gables, FL 33156

Advice for Buyers out there: if you are relying on Trulia, Zillow, or another source for reporting new homes on the market for sale you are going to find (you probably already have) that by the time you are notified of a new property on the market, it is often already under contract – that is how fast real estate in Miami is moving!

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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!