Miami real estate news and information

Archive for the 'BUYER’S ADVICE' Category

5 BIGGEST MISTAKES TO AVOID…first-time home-buyers

If you’re contemplating buying your first place, try to stay within your comfort zone and not get swept away.  As local real estate experts in South Florida, we want our buyers to have access to the right information so as to make better decisions. 

1) Don’t Guess …. Determine what you can afford:

Figure out your financial comfort zone,  before  you really start looking for a place to buy.    Start by jotting down the basics:  your  income,  savings,  any portfolio investments …  account numbers,  income tax returns …  along with a list of contact names and numbers  for any banks/loans/investments . 

Make a list of  expenses …  Include groceries, gas, car payments, insurance premiums,  loans you are in the process of paying off (including credit card balances).    Those will help give you a better idea as to what you can afford  …

You will have additional expenses as a homeowner –  above and beyond what you have now, as a tenant or living rent-free .   Insurance, property taxes and your monthly mortgage  … along with maintenance,  upkeep, painting,  landscaping, yard work, pool service, household repairs (including appliances, air conditioning, and roof) all  fall on the homeowner.

2) Get pre-approved … Make  sure you are properly qualified for a mortgage: 

Talk with a  loan officer and get  pre-qualfied for a loan.  You’ll want what’s known as a pre-approval letter though  (or better still DU  approval  – “direct underwriting approval”)- before you fall love with a house or make an offer.  And by the way,  Read the rest of this entry »

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How to File for 2012 Homestead Exemption in Broward County


Now is the time to apply for your 2012 Homestead Exemption! You must apply between January 1st and March 1st.  This will mean substantial savings on your real estate taxes if you purchased a home in Broward County anytime in 2011. If you do not apply by March 1st 2012, you will lose your eligibility for this year.


APPLY IN PERSON at: Read the rest of this entry »

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Homestead Exemption 2011 and 2012 – How to File for Homestead Exemption in Miami-Dade

TO ALL NEW HOMEOWNERS:  Time to apply for 2012 Homestead Exemption … now!

To be eligible, you must have bought a house in 2011… and … you must file your application for Homestead Exemption between January 1st and March 1st of 2012 .

This will mean substantial savings on your real estate taxes. If you do not apply by March 1ST , you will lose your eligibility for the year 2012.


 To qualify for the Homestead Exemption, the applicant must at minimum meet the following criteria as of January 1st :

* Be a U.S. citizen or legal resident.

* Own the property (i.e., have legal or equitable title).

*Occupy the property as his/her permanent residence (to the exclusion of all others)

* Only those qualified persons listed on the exemption application will receive the exemption benefits. If the property is held jointly by husband and wife, either party may apply in person for the homestead exemption. Read the rest of this entry »

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It’s STILL Time to Buy a Home

The average 30-year mortgage rate is tied with the lowest rate on record- 3.94%, a record set in October. This means it’s a great time to refinance your current home or to purchase a new one. Rates in 2011 have been under 5% all year, with the exception of two weeks this year and many people across the Nation have already taken advantage of these historically low rates.

Contact the Restivo Team if you are in the market for a new home. We would love to help you take advantage of the great opportunities that are available to you.

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Is Everyone Renting in Miami ?

With so many people looking to rent or lease now,  the opportunity is ripe for investors.  

Over 50% of all residential real estate purchases in South Florida are cash transactions…   And, by buying in cash, and not paying  a mortgage, you may well be looking at a  higher return on investment (ROI) … 

 The Miami real estate market has been getting stronger … especially for income producing property… (Consult with a knowledgeable accountant or Real Estate Attorney though … as to the benefits of buying in cash vs carrying a mortgage) 

And, given recent real estate trends,  aim toward a  long term return on investment … ( not short).  

That said though, short term investments have been gaining in popularity   …  We’ve seen a rise in the number of  investors  this past year  not only  “covering their costs”   but  making a profit …   Many of them had no  mortgage … true … but because of a diminshed supply of  prime rental units in South Florida, there has been an upswing in rental pricing.  

The strategy for investing is normally to Read the rest of this entry »

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South Florida Lures a Diversity of People … Would You Buy … Sight Unseen?

I moved to Miami from New York City over two decades ago.   Homes weren’t listed or available on the Internet back then.  You had to physically go to see each one … in person.   I think I visited about a hundred before narrowing it down, and buying.

We just rented out a beachfront condo to clients who were referred to us :  Two  young executives … a couple…  relocating from Texas … to Miami.   They’re driving across country …  arriving a day before starting their new jobs.  They haven’t seen their condo (other than online) … and they won’t … until they get here.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Price is the Same … But the Cost is Less

More and more research is coming out showing that it makes great financial sense to purchase a home today .

Whether it be rent vs. buy ratios, income-to-price ratios or income-to-mortgage payment ratios, purchasing a home right now is a bargain compared to historic norms. 

There is a distinct difference between COST of a home today compared to pre-peak prices.  Link here to the entire article, as it appears in the KCM Blog.

The most recent S&P Case Shiller price index indicates that  residential real estate values have returned to 2003 1Q PRICEs.   Then factor in mortgage rates,  and the case for buying a home today becomes even more compelling.

Whether you’re looking to buy, sell, or lease – it’s important to rely on a knowledgeable, local,  real estate expert.  

The Restivo Team at EWM Realtors International looks forward to working with you and making your next move a really good move.  Our direct lines are  305 793-1365 for Vicki  or 305 632-0164  for Alexandra  and  you can reach us here or by email at [email protected] as well…  for real estate in South Florida …  as well as referal assistance internationally.  



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One of the reasons you subscribe to and read  our real estate blog  is for information… insight  … and opportunities like this one ( a  STEAL!):

7900 SW 132 Street in Pinecrest Florida just came on the market, listed for $475,000.  

It beats any other listing I’ve come across in recent months … for value… price… It’s an absolute  gem of an opportunity.   It’s a three bedroom home, updated BEAUTIFULLY  by owners who had absolutely no intention of leaving or moving … but who  now happen to find themselves  relocating unexpectedly.   The house has everything:  New aluminum roof, exquisite kitchen, hardwood floors,  new windows … charming street … curb appeal… one car garage … light, bright and welcoming … and beautifully maintained…. and a price tag that makes it a steal!

I have no doubt but that it will go very fast.  It is listed by Carrie Foote through  Lowell International Realty…. and I would love to show it to you …  if you want an incredible move-in ready home  (at an unheard of price!).  Feel free to contact Vicki or Alexandra Restivo on either of our direct numbers 305 793-1365  or 305 632-0164 …   The Restivo Team at EWM Realtors will be  more than happy to arrange to show it to you.  At this price. this home will get scooped up at warp speed.  I have NO doubts about that, whatsoever.   It’s fabulous!

Vicki Restivo, Realtor … Our Real Estate Website and Blog:    Direct line:  305 793-1365  EWM Realtors   … [email protected]   ….   Emails went out last night to all  our buyers whose criteria would indicate that this house might be the RIGHT one …  Please let us know your specific criteria for a home, and we will  update you  as well … with new listings as they come on the market.

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Florida Ranks #1 in USA for Foreign Investors

Foreign investors account for  increasing numbers of residential home sales in many parts of the United States… and Florida tops the list. 

The four top locations  in the U.S. chosen by foreign  buyers are  Texas, Florida, California and Arizona .   Property sales in those states account for nearly 58% of all residential home sales (to non-residents) between 2009 and 2010 according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).   

 Florida ranks #1 …  in the United States…   with  31% of all  residential home purchases in the U.S.  by foreign investors / buyers.

If you are considering buying, selling, investing or relocating –  we would love to chat with you.   Please call, text or email the Restivo Team  305 793-1365…   [email protected].    Alexandra and Vicki specialize in residential sales here in South Florida and can also provide you with recommendations of real estate agents elsewhere, internationally or elsewhere in the U.S.  – if you are looking to buy or sell other than in South Florida.   As local real estate experts, we look forward to making your next move the best one.   Vicki and Alexandra Restivo 

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Advice for Home Sellers: Two opportunities to grab a buyer!

How does a BUYER choose  YOUR PROPERTY?  How do they decide YOURS  is  right   for them?

It can happen in the  blink of an eye… in literally seconds …  

Your first opportunity to make a sale is online … with your photos and marketing…. so make the photos captivating .  Keep them scrolling through your listing rather clicking to another property.

Your second opportunity is  the when your potential BUYER  sees or actually enters the property.

IF your place has anything in the way of a view:   Whether it’s those online photos, or that fist impact as the buyer initially steps foot inside   …  capitalize on the view … DON’T HAVE THEM WALK INTO A BLOCKED VIEW!   

Choose photos that will entice  buyers  to linger on online (on YOUR listings) for long enough to ‘get interested’.   (Blurry shots and dark or miniscule photos  deter buyers – and  buyer’s agents!)

I showed a slew of  luxury ocean-front condos on Miami Beach to buyers this past weekend.  And  the #1 resounding mistake  I noted were just how many were ‘caves’ … with blinds that were closed tight … and lights that were off … and shutters that were sealed tight.   

If your prime selling point is the view, keeping the drapes closed or the windows shuttered is a mistake!  If there’s a water view, that’s worth showing off!   Most people looking for waterfront property want to see the view  …   Read the rest of this entry »

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