Miami real estate news and information

Archive for the 'BUYER’S ADVICE' Category

Inventory is Down … The tide is turning in Miami

Miami is spiraling downward …  with available inventory continuing to diminish.

Investors, international buyers, second home buyers, and people relocating to Miami for job opportunities have purchased the bulk of the excess inventory, making homes and condos considerably scarcer throughout much of South Florida.

The specific buyers who are most affected by Miami’s recent drop in inventory are the ones looking  in the mid price range.

The sellers who are listing and selling now seem to be quite serious about doing so.

There are fewer ‘tire-kickers’… fewer buyers “just looking”  …  The buyers who are out there are well-informed and eager to pounce on the opportunities.

If you are looking to buy or ready to move,  there are a number of good investment options in South Florida …   suburban neighborhoods with top schools … charming beach communities … trendy hot spots such as Brickell, Wynnwood, Midtown… well-established neighborhoods with single family homes … artsy, bohemian communities …

See more on Miami’s neighborhoods and what Miami has to offer on our website and blog

Feel free to call any time … 305 793-1365  The Restivo Team at EWM   … Vicki and Alexandra  [email protected]  We’d love to help you find your next home!

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Referring Buyers to Top Real Estate Agent in Southern California

Giving up Miami, Florida  … contemplating relocating  somewhere on the West Coast  (“Pacific Ocean”  …  “Southern California” …  beach front community) …   clients of ours  flew across country  for a look/see  …  to house hunt (over a holiday weekend).

They met up with a real estate agent we recommended and referred them to … (spur of the moment – Thanksgiving weekend).

The Realtor knew La Jolla, Laguna, San Diego, Newport, Carlsbad and the coastal areas they thought might be of interest to them … From what we knew of her, and everything we knew about these buyers, the combination seemed to be (at least in theory) a ‘good fit’.

Two great buyers … One fabulous real estate agent.

They hit the pavement running  (on very last minute notice from us …  over a holiday weekend).  The Realtor understood what our buyers were looking for in a home, and she found it for them … and put it under contract.

In a perfect world, it all would have been nicely wrapped up with their first house (which was in La Jolla, a town I adore – having vacationed there as a youngster).   But being an older home … near the water …  inspections uncovered some concerns.  The contract fell through … They were back at square one .


After quickly previewing a handful of other listings, they put an offer in on a BEAUTIFUL home in Carlsbad.   No glitches this time around.   We are so pleased!  CONGRATS on your spectacular new home … and carefree California lifestyle!   We miss you already … but know you’re happy!

Watching from the sidelines can be fun …  As a mother/daughter real estate team in Miami Florida  – Vicki Restivo & Alexandra Restivo (Hechtman) –  we SO appreciate the connections we have with top real estate professionals across the country (& internationally),  associated with various real estate companies,  who do a phenomenal job with relocation referrals.

Finding a real estate agent by asking for a referral recommendation  is a good way to go.   If you (or someone you know and care about!) is thinking of relocating elsewhere, we would be pleased to refer you to someone fabulous.  Call us … The Restivo Team …  [email protected]  305 793-1365…. or send us a note here .


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Apply For Your Miami Dade Homestead Exemption …  Online

If you bought property in 2012, you have up through March 1, 2013 to apply for your Homestead Exemption. The benefits of applying for Homestead Exemption are:

1) It will cap (limit) property tax increases on your property in subsequent years, and

2)  It will reduce your assessed value of your property by $50,000.00 – giving you a tax savings .

Miami-Dade Homeowners can now complete the application process for Florida’s Homestead
Exemption as well as for the Homestead Assessment Difference (also know as “Portability”) entirely online (rather than in person).

The Homestead Exemption (HEX) provides you with a $50,000 reduction in the assessed value of your primary residence, reducing your annual property taxes AND capping off any subsequent annual tax increases. When applying, you can make your exemption  automatically renewable for subsequent years… so you won’t have to repeat the process.

Portability  means that you can transfer all or part of your Homestead Exemption Savings from one property to another (when you sell your primary residence and purchase another).

As a homeowner, you can now complete and submit your homestead application online   directly with the Property Appraiser’s Office.

 Applications for 2013 property tax exemptions are due by March 1,  2013

 For more information, contact the Property Appraiser’s Office at (305) 375-4789 or (305) 607-6905

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Good things to come in 2013

Most real estate experts are predicting an improving recovery for the majority of markets across the Country. The one part that’s harder to forecast is the homeowners who want to sell but have been holding off because the value of their home is less than what they hope or they are underwater. The question is whether or not they will put their home on the market as the prices begin to recover.

Economists are predicting a 3.1 % price appreciation for this year as well as a seller’s market (fueled by more buyers entering the market and homeowners waiting to sell until prices rise even higher). Interest rates are expected to remain low for some time in 2013, also helping the market recover because it allows buyers with modest budgets to still have a shot at homes even if prices on those homes rise.

If you’re in the market for a new home and/or would like to sell your house, the Restivo Team is ready to help. Give us a call and let’s get started today. 2013 is going to be a great year for buyers and sellers, so don’t miss out!



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Recap of 2012 Housing Market

With the new year ahead of us, we can now look back at 2012 and note that it was a great year for buyers. Data from last year shows that it was a favorable year for buyers who were able to obtain a mortgage, according to the National Association of Realtors. Towards the end of 2012, many buyers thought that the value of homes had hit bottom, many thought the low interest rates would soon rise and therefore decided it was the time to buy a home. There was a rise in the number of buyers and a fall in the amount of homes available for sale which led to a price increase and some biding wars in many markets.

NAR’s Chief Economist predicts that “2013 likely will be the third best on record in terms of household buying power.” That’s good news for those buyers who didn’t act in 2012. Interest rates are still relatively low but prices are rising and inventory has dropped, so buyers should start their search and find the home they’ve been yearning for. If you are a buyer and would like to buy, give us a call. We are ready to guide you and help you find the perfect home!

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Why Appraisals are coming in OVER or UNDER Contract Price

Written by contributing author, Philip Spool, ASA                              … part of a 4 part series…

“Why Appraisals and Contract Prices Don’t Mesh ..  Current Appraisal Dilemma“:
“Those appraisers that are still in business are very concerned about either being sued by the lender of a loan that went into default or concerned
that the lender, buyer or seller would file a complaint with the Division of Real Estate citing that the appraisal was not supported for the high loan that was made, even though the lender was willing to give 100% loans, NINJA loans (no income, no job, no assets), or for any other reason.

Lenders required the appraisers to have errors and omissions (E & O) insurance and this was the easy way for the lender to recoup money lost in a default, by suing the appraiser for an unsupported high value. Ironically, virtually none of the mortgage brokers were sued.

A complaint against the mortgage broker had to be filed with the Division of Financial Services and not the Division of Real Estate.  Besides, mortgage brokers did not have E & O insurance.

The appraiser is now very concerned with the possibility of a loan going into default.  In addition, the new Dodds Frank bill passed by congress last year makes it mandatory for lenders and AMCs to turn in an appraiser to the state regulatory agency, in Florida it is the Florida Real Estate Appraisal Board,  if they believe the appraiser prepared a faulty appraisal report, for whatever reason.

In 2009 and 2010, there were approximately 2,000 complaints filed against appraisers.  In 2011, there were approximately 1,000 complaints filed.  It is unknown how many appraisers were sued during this time period as statistics are not kept on lawsuits and most settle before they go to trial.”

Phil  Spool has been appraising in Miami-Dade County since 1973, is a state-certified general appraiser, is vice president of the Greater Miami Chapter of the American Society of Appraisers and has published numerous articles in Working RE Magazine, a national appraisal journal, and . He can be reached at [email protected]   The Restivo Team at EWM Realtors, Vicki and Alexandra, can be reached at 305 793-1365  and 305 632-0164 and [email protected].



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Why It’s Not Unusual to Buy a House for More than the Bank Appraiser Values It

Several recent appraisal catastrophies almost derailed a handful of home sales for our buyers and sellers. Keeping those transactions on track took effort and creativity.

Appraisal issues are way too common!  Wondering why?

Phil Spool, an appraiser who writes for appraisal magazines, has contributed a series of articles about the current appraisal climate for our website … … that we will post this week.

1st in a 4 part series on Appraisal Woes …. By Contributing Author,  Philip G. Spool, ASA

“For many years appraisers were complaining that mortgage brokers were interfering with their conclusion of value, pushing the appraiser to come up with a higher value.

On May 1, 2009, appraisers got their wish with the creation of the Home Valuation Code of Conduct (HVCC) requiring all lending institutions to go through an intermediary in ordering appraisals.

This meant that mortgage brokers were no longer allowed to order the appraisal and banks had to either have someone within the bank not associated with the lending department to order the appraisals or to go through the intermediary.

Most banks decided it was easier to go through an intermediary and thus appraisal management companies, commonly referred to as an AMC, to order the appraisal and submit it to the lender.  Ironically, what the appraiser believed would be total appraisal independence turned into a nightmare for them.”  Read the rest of this entry »

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Congrats to you both …. Enjoy your very first home!


Buying a first home is a HUGE milestone  … and it was such fun to be part of YOUR first home-buying experience!    WHAT A BEAUTIFUL new home you have …  I’m thinking about all the memories you’re going to have in that new house ….   and I loved seeing your posts on Facebook today about it

I’m realizing just how fast you found your dream home, and closed on it, and moved in.    You found it in literally just a week, and not even one month later, it’s  yours.  That was really fast!   Congratulations on surviving (so graciously!)  the roller-coaster experience of buying your first home …  You got through all the  ups and downs, and never missed a beat (and …  never stopped smiling!).


You breezed right through those negotiations, pushed away whatever  fleeting twinges of buyers remorse you may have had (or  maybe you never really never had any!  Most buyers have a moment or two of second-guessing… but it’s entirely possible that you skipped that step entirely.).   Read the rest of this entry »

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Now is the Time to Sell !

South Florida has fewer homes and condos for sale now than at any point since 2008.

Take advantage of the market.  This is the time to sell.   Buyers are looking for property … property that’s non existant.

South Florida Real Estate bottomed out already.   Prices have been on the rise … and are increasing.  Good news for home sellers .

Fortunately too for home buyers,  there is still plenty of room for equity growth …  low interest rates …  good mortgage terms… and power in cash negotiations!

Considering buying or selling you home or condo?  We can help you make the most of this market!  Call us today –   305 793-1365  Vicki Restivo / Alexandra Restivo 305 632-0164  EWM Realtors

Your link to the Miami Real Estate Cafe Blog .

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What’s that house worth? Who decides the price?

I’m grinning right now because price is such a heated subject.

I took a listing last week, and priced it above what the owners ‘guessed’ it would go for … because I knew it would.

Price is NOT just a matter of a square foot equivalent of what sold recently or what’s listed up the street.  There are intangibles like esthetics, curb appeal, amenities, updates and upkeep … along with the school districts… and…. the neighbors.

I’ve been  amused by the variety of reactions from the people who have viewed it …  having shown the house five times in just the first few days of listing it.

Prospect #1 felt it was overpriced by a good 10-12%. Read the rest of this entry »

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