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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!

 

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!

 

 

 

 

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.

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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!

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!

 

Do We Want To Redefine “Post-Andrew Roof”?

 

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Yes, I think it is time to re-visit the post Hurricane Andrew roof that we Realtors loved to hear about for so long. No matter where your property is located (or your prospective property) – the surrounding areas of Coconut Grove, Coral Gables, South Miami, Pinecrest, Palmetto Bay, Cutler Bay and of course further south where the ‘epicenter’ of that wrecking ball of a storm swept through nearly 21 years ago – if a roof was replaced in the 1992-1993 era,  we Realtors refer to it as “Post Andrew” and for many years that brought a big smile and sigh of relief – that roof was good!  Well that roof, whether it is displaying signs of age or not, is now in its “golden years” and acquiring windstorm insurance is tricky! Buyers: be smart – get some facts from your insurance provider (your Realtor can refer you to one) before the end of your inspection period.  Coverage and rates will vary and can be age dependent. Sellers: the next 4 or so years are going to be challenging ones if you have a Post Andrew roof – if you can find it in your pockets to replace roof or provide some credit for a new one, it will be money well spent.

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!

Home Inspections: The Devil’s Workshop?

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I have been with Buyers and Sellers at three different property inspections this month (Coral Gables, South Miami, Palmetto Bay), and although I would consider myself well “seasoned” at this stage of home buying, I often come through the process bewildered and scratching my head. Grand total for these first 11 days in March, not including the laundry list of items that will keep a handy man in business, we have come across a roof that need needs replacing, lots of leaks, termites (can’t get away from them in Florida!), leaking shower pans, damaged floors, faulty windows, and the list goes on and on.

A licensed home inspector will check the areas of plumbing, roof, appliances, air conditioning,electrical, doors and windows; they will give an opinion on structural soundness and pool functionality too. A Buyer may also want to have a mold inspection and have the septic tank/drain field checked (unless sewer system is used), and some will even have home checked for radon and lead-based paint.

The most important things to remember are not to lose focus of the ‘BIG PICTURE’, take time to step into the other parties shoes and EMPATHIZE, and then be the most RATIONAL person you can be in making decisions! It is also extremely important to read (not skim) the PROPERTY DISCLOSURE (and be accurate in completing a Property Disclosure), and know some facts before you negotiate your price! If a Seller tells you the roof was replaced after Hurricane Andrew and is fine, then know that probably that non-leaking roof is about 23 years old! Don’t be surprised if the inspector tells you a new roof may be in order in the not-so-distant future (and know what your insurer will require)!

These homes have a lot of moving parts – there is no such thing as a perfect inspection report. Look equally at the strengths and weaknesses, the cures that are necessary (and unnecessary), and try and work it out! That’s what brought Buyer and Seller together in the first place!

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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!

 

It’s Tax Time! Did You Know…

 

Tax Time

Did you know merely owning a home could mean you qualify for tax breaks?

1. On a mortgage of up to $1 million, you can deduct the interest that you pay at settlement if you itemize your deductions on Schedule A (Form 1040). 

2. Did you pay points in order to obtain your home mortgage? These fees can be deducted as long as they are associated with the purchase of a home. If you refinanced your home, these points are still deductible. 

3. As long as they are based on the assessed value of the real property, you can deduct your state and local property taxes. 

4. If you sold a home in the past year, you may be able to reduce your income tax by the amount of your selling costs. These costs can include things such as repairs, title insurance, advertising expenses and broker’s fees. 

5.If you use a portion of your home exclusively for the purpose of an office for your small business, you may be able to claim a deduction on your taxes for costs related to insurance, repairs and depreciation. (Only claim this deduction if the space within your home is used exclusively and regularly as either your principal place of business or a place where you meet and deal with customers or patients.)

6. You may be able to deduct the premiums paid for private mortgage insurance for your principle residence and for a non-rental second home. 

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7. If you’ve taken out a loan to make improvements on your home, you may be able to deduct the interest on this loan. 

8. If you take out a construction loan to build a home, you may qualify to deduct the interest. The IRS only allows a deduction for mortgage interest if the loan relates to a “qualified” home, which means it must either be your principle residence or a vacation home that you will use for personal purposes. 

 

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!

 

What’s New in Real Estate Vocab?

Great article last week in Fox News! If you have a home for sale, or are going to be listing your home for sale you want to read this! In the meantime let me summarize and highlight for you what, for the most part, we have also been seeing in South Florida Real Estate.

Whether selling cars, clothes, stocks, or homes, marketing trends and styles appear, disappear,and sometimes reappear dressed differently! So much of our marketing materials are written – brochures, flyers, ads, blogs, internet remarks, signs, etc. How do we keep it fresh?

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Buzz words, thoughts, and trends for 2013….

What’s Hot:

Open Floor Plan
Downstairs Master
Walkability (This South Miami/High Pines realtor prefers to call it “Urban”.)
Solar
Energy Efficient
Low HOA fee
Light & Bright
Sunny
Caesarstone
Toto (Fox describes Toto as the “Subzero of toilets”.)
Turn Key (In my opinon, a timeless term.)
Move-In Ready
Income Property
Open House (Nothing new for this Miami realtor.)

What’s Not:

Fixer Investor Special
Hurry, Won’t Last (Whoever researched and wrote the article has not spent enough time in South Miami/High Pines, Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, Pinecrest – or anywhere in Miami for that matter! There is no other way to describe it.)
Gourmet Kitchen
Luxury Bath
Rare (This word has always bothered me.)
Charming (A great word for a front porch.)
Classic (I completely disagree. There are most definitely classic, timeless styles.)

 

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!

Coconut Grove’s Changing Condominium Skyline


I was showing out-of-town Buyers condominiums in Coconut Grove this past weekend.  They were “wowed” by the options on South Bayshore Drive, home to some of the greatest views in all of Miami. Of course the buzz this year is all about Terra Group’s sparkling Grove at Grand Bay  –  two glass towers on the cutting edge of architecture.  Ironically they will be replacing the Grand Bay Hotel, the half-pyramid shaped 5-Star hotel which was cutting edge in 1983 (does anyone remember Regine’s?).

Grove at Grand Bay

In the months to come adding to the buzz will be the upcoming (yet unnamed) condominium project which will stand on the Coconut Grove Bank property – no doubt it to will be spectacular.  But you know what? There are a lot of other golden opportunities overlooking our lovely Sailboat Bay!


Yacht Harbor and Grove Towers were the first ‘on the edge’ communities and still offer fantastic residences with wide Bay views; The Mutiny has short term renting and leasing opportunities not offered elsewhere ‘along the boulevard’; Grove Hill Towers is 20-years young and is as elegant and desirable as the day it was completed; The Ritz Carlton lives up to its world-class name – in beauty and amenities; and mouths are still dropped over Ugo Columbo’s uber nautical Grovenor House – there is nothing like it.

 

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!