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

Ranked No. 14 Company Wide!

EWM announced the Chairman’s Club Members this past week – 84 Sales Associates in the company earned gross sales in the top 2% nationally – I was the 14th highest grossing Associate in the company (and in a small class of Associates ranked in the top 1/2 of 1% nationally)!

If you ask each of the 40 what they attribute their success to some of the answers would be the same,
almost generic in a sense: knowledge, hard work, persistence. Definitely can’t get to the top without
that. But, if you dig a little deeper, you will find a group of ‘out of the box’ thinkers who not only
know ‘the market’ and how to market, we inherently know our neighborhoods, our schools, origins and
the nuances that go with them; we have some understanding of construction and renovation, are keenly
aware of styles and trends, and have good dollars and sense about value – present, past, and future.

We also know that we couldn’t climb to the top without loyal and trusting clients. I thank all of the
Buyers and Sellers in South Miami, Brickell, Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, Pinecrest, & Palmetto Bay who
contributed to a successful 2012 for me – it is an honor to work for you and with you.

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!

Recently Sold By Valaree Byrne in Cutler Cay! 19066 SW 76 Avenue

List Price: $399,000

On Friday I will joyfully be seated at a closing for a property purchased by good friends/clients who are moving to a wonderful home in Cutler Cay.

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These are the most tenacious Buyers I have known – and I told them many times their persistence would pay off (even when I doubted it myself). They sold their home in South Miami two years ago so they could find a more accommodating house for an elder parent that would soon be living with them, and for two young-adult children who they still enjoy having live at home.

Everyone had their own agenda – grandma needed to be on a ground level with separate quarters, children are too old to share a bath, dogs need a yard, and working Buyers didn’t have the time or energy to invest in a large renovation – mind you these were times where short sales and foreclosures dominated the market, and many of these homes were in poor condition. In two years we looked at more than 50 houses (did hundreds of ‘drive bys’), made offers on many, waited on end to hear about short sale approvals, kept looking, had MANY discouraging days, but alas we found the perfect home and the stars lined up.exteriorfront_500exteriorback_500

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tenacity and perseverance is what it takes purchase in today’s market – inventory is so low, demand is so high, prices are rising, multi-offers are often the norm. It can be a real roller coaster but most important is that you stay in the game, move swiftly, and you must have an experienced, knowledgeable realtor. At the speed properties are moving you need to see new listings within hours of them going on the market, have all the information and technology needed to make an intelligent offer quickly (should that be the case), and follow-thru methodically and carefully without mistakes that can delay or even cancel a closing. I specialize in South Miami, High Pines, Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, Pinecrest, and Palmetto Bay, and would be delighted to be that realtor for you.

 

To learn more about Cutler Bay or any other community – including South Miami, 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!

Just Listed by Valaree Byrne in Palmetto Bay! 15585 Old Cutler Road

path-to-paradise-p512133Call this ‘Classic Americana’ – a style appealing to home buyers in just about every location. It’s a
Norman Rockwell-esque dream house – rambling yard to play in with a sparkling pool waiting, wide
sprawling house with lots of rooms, front porch to swing on, even the quintessential white picket fence.

no-caption-p512562Tucked away under a canopy of trees, set far back from historical Old Cutler Road and it’s near endless bike path lies this fantastic, 5 bedroom, 3 bath home built in 1972 and graciously updated. Impact glass, Saturnia and hardwood floors, new appliances, and brand new, magazine worthy pool & spa are just some of the recent additions & renovations in this 3,313 adj. sq. ft. residence.

Located in family-oriented Village of Palmetto Bay within walking distance to parks and the finest public and private schools Dade County has to offer, minutes from Black Point Marina, The Falls Shopping Center, and the city’s best restaurants.

Property Details:

            • 5 Bedroom/3 Baths
            • Brand New Swimming Pool (15×37) and Spa
            • 3,313 Adjusted Square Feet
            • 30,056 Square Foot Lot
            •  List Price $785,000

To learn more about Palmetto Bay or any other community – including Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, Pinecrest and South Miami, 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!

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

Just Sold by Valaree Byrne in Schenley Park! 5810 SW 32nd Street

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List Price: $365,000

www.5810SW32.com

Yesterday we closed on this sweet home in Schenley Park – a wonderful little community on the edge of the Cities of South Miami and Coral Gables, just east of Miami Children’s Hospital. It closed at a record price per square foot, but that was not the best part of the transaction. This was a ‘feel good’ sale. Seller was a charming older woman who raised 6 children in this 3 bedroom/1bath gem. Bought it in 1952 from the developer (the Title Policy was half page long!), and given choice of fireplace or second bath they chose fireplace! 60 years of wonderful memories in Schenley Park, and Lois was admittedly sad to leave. Prior to closing hour the Buyer came for the traditional walk-thru, and before we walked out the door Rafael told me the reason he purchased the house (at the price that he did) was because he felt the good karma and love in that house. Said he saw it the moment he walked in the door. So did I.

If you would like to know more about Schenley Park or the South Miami area please call me anytime. It will be worth the conversation!

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

THE GAME OF THE SEASON!

 

I went to the Heat game Friday night – and will forever call it THE game of the season.  Not because they beat the Pistons by 22 points – I was texting and on the phone much of the time that was going on –  but because of two other great events that happened during that game.  As part of the Heat’s 25th Anniversary celebration they interviewed past Heat players Eddie House and Brian Grant at center court. Well, this South Miami Realtor is not an avid sports person (my boys play basketball so I watch basketball) but 10 years ago I was an avid Brian Grant fan.  Can’t tell you why, but I loved watching that guy play – he was a big, strong, really handsome Warrior.  One time I unknowingly sat behind him at a movie and had to move because I couldn’t see the screen his shoulders were so broad. Anyway, I learned Friday night that Handsome Warrior has Parkinson ’s disease. I spent a good portion of the rest of the game googling the situation, and in true Warrior style Brain Grant has stepped in front of this devil and is on the forefront of fundraising and spreading awareness and comfort to others with Parkinson ’s disease. Check out the Brian Grant Foundation at www.briangrant.org.

LBJMDtop12613Second great event was of course watching average Joe spectator Michael Drysch enter and win one of those half-time shooting contests that no one ever wins. I quote the announcer speaking to Drysch: “The only thing standing between you and $75,000 is a basket”.  He was not in shape to launch the ball gracefully with 2 hands, so he wound his body like he was in a shot put competition and then single handedly threw the ball from half court with hardly any aim,  and the damn thing went in! In a nano second Lebron James dove on him and they were rolling on the floor. You couldn’t tell who was more excited, Lebron or the luckiest guy.

 

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!

Just Listed by Valaree Byrne in South Miami! 6051 SW 85th Street

6051 SW 85th St-3I just listed a fabulous home in South Miami.  This beautifully tropical Florida Vernacular residence was built in 2005, and 50 years from today will be a timeless, classic style ever suited for South Florida living. Architect’s greatest achievement was designing a wonderfully warm, spacious interior (with upstairs and downstairs family rooms) with near seamless passages to gracious outdoor living.

6051 SW 85th St-9A divine master suite and 3 children’s bedrooms are located upstairs and designed around a generously-sized family room with balconies overlooking front and backyard gardens. Guest suite, staff quarters, and a private office complement a dreamy downstairs floorplan with a wonderfully wide formal foyer, fantastic magazine quality formal living room with elegant tray ceilings, and fabulous “cook’s kitchen” with dual-sided snack court, counter space galore, and an enormous family room that opens onto a lovely covered terrace elevated from swimming pool and gardens.

6051 SW 85th St-2Out front a wide veranda overlooks lush, mature foliage, and a neighborhood that captivates you – children play outside, dusk finds streets filled with conversation, and Halloweens look a lot like Mardi Gras. It’s a fantastic location walking distance to the eclectic boutiques and restaurants of Sunset Drive, a stroll away to Dante Fascell and Fuchs Parks, and within close proximity to the finest schools Dade County has to offer.

The City of South Miami is located at the corridors of Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, Pinecrest, and the Dadeland areas, near the University of Miami and express routes to downtown Miami and Brickell Avenue.

Property Details:

            • Built in 2005
            • 6 Bedroom/5.5 Baths
            • 4,929 Adjusted Square Feet
            • 11, 520 Square Foot Lot
            •  List Price $1,519,000

 

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!