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Oh Dear, It’s Election Time in South Miami Again!

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Commissioner Bob Welsh

Our ever-colorful, passionate, and ‘fit’ Commissioner Bob Welsh (aka Bicycle Bob) was peddling around my South Miami neighborhood (behind Dante Fascell Park) on Saturday delivering  a plug for re-election of Commissioner Walter Harris, an unofficial dog park survey, and more  minutia about ex-Police Chief Orlando Martinez (ousted in August, 2013).

As we get closer to election time in South Miami I will comment more on the Peyton Place elections in the City of Pleasant Living  (it gets sooo ‘up close and personal’ amongst these candidates).  In a nutshell current Mayor Philip Stoddard will be running for re-election against Mayoral Candidate Valerie Ann Newman; Commissioner Walter Harris is hoping to be re-elected, and will be running against Rodney Williams and Horace Feliu.  Stay tuned as we approach Municipal Elections on February 11th.

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Mayoral Candidate Valerie Ann Newman

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Mayor Philip Stoddard

The good news delivered by Bicycle Bob is there is a dog park on the radar!  Our City is so dog friendly; it would be delightful to have a doggy park.  My dogs LOVE going to Kennedy Park in Coconut Grove to play with other pets.  I will vote YES, YES, YES to a pet playground in the proposed site over near the South Miami Elk’s Lodge, along the canal.  It would be a wonderful addition to the neighborhood.

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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 [email protected] 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 [email protected] 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 [email protected] 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 [email protected] 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 [email protected] or by phone at 305-323-6231. Val Byrne – Working For You! – See more at: http://miamirealestateworks.com/category/south-miami/#sthash.1TkyzSjU.dpuf

Don’t Forget To Vote Tomorrow! The “Grove Bay” Proposal Is On The Ballot!

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 [email protected] or by phone at 305-323-6231. Val Byrne – Working For You!

Just Sold by Valaree Byrne in Coconut Grove! Yacht Harbour Unit 15C/D

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List Price: $1,300,000

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The view from S. Bayshore Drive in Coconut Grove, looking out over Biscayne Bay and “Sailboat Bay”,  is priceless. The value is so high you cannot give it a dollar figure! Whether seen from Yacht Harbour, The Mutiny, The Grovenor House, Grove Towers, Grove Hill Tower, or the spectacular and forthcoming Grove at Grand Bay towers, it is inspirational, it is therapeutic, it is spiritual, and it is priceless.  Congratulations to some very special Buyers!

To learn more about real estate in 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 [email protected] or by phone at 305-323-6231. Val Byrne – Working For You!

Ghosts, Goblins, and Happy Street!

   Untitled2Tomorrow is Halloween and my favorite day of the year! I have been watching ‘trick or treaters’ parade up and down my street in beautiful South Miami for over 20 years (you’ll recall from an earlier blog that I referred to my South Miami home as being located on “Happy Street”).

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I can only compare this scene to a child’s Mardi Gras with lots of parents in tow.  I am not sure who has more fun, the big people or the little people!  At just about every door you can grab some candy, a beer, and a slice of pizza.  It’s a wonderful life back here behind Dante Fascell Park in the Happy Street neighborhood.  One of my greatest decisions was buying a home in charming South Miami, the fact that we landed on Happy Street was pure luck!

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 [email protected] 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 [email protected] or by phone at 305-323-6231. Val Byrne – Working For You!