Miami real estate news and information

Archive for the 'GOOD DEALS & WHAT’S SELLING' Category

Allure of the MIAMI townhouse!

couch couple

For a variety of reasons, villas and townhouses are a plausible answer to ‘what’s next?’ Whether you want to lock-up and take-off for a well-deserved romp around the globe… or  eliminate  entirely the hassle of maintaining a large home ( and grounds!)…  a townhouse can offer  freedom, without catapulting you into  quarters of claustrophobically minimal dimensions.  If you want  independence and elbow room …  and a condo is just too confining…the answer COULD BE  a townhouse.   

In both Coral Gables & South Miami there are several in the works – some in the development stages (having already broken ground, or about to)…   others ready for occupancy.  They run the whole gamut, with some available for under $500,000.  

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Our Listings Are Selling…Time To Make Your Move!


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Best Selling Water View Condos on Brickell – The Plaza on Brickell

You asked about  condo opportunities available now on Brickell?  After my blog on The Best Selling Condos on Brickell I received a slew of inquiries regarding pricing/availability of two-bedroom units in The Plaza on Brickell.  For better or worse,  inventory throughout Miami’s  myriad of condo buildings changes  literally by the minute.  That said, as of this writing,  there are still 7  (in my opinion stunning!) water view The_Plaza_on_Brickelltwo-bedrooms available in The Plaza, ranging in price from $409,900 to $629,900 (and ranging in size from 1054 – 1400 square feet).  Every single unit above the the 41st floor is what’s called a  “Sky Residence”,  with upgrades beyond what you’ll find from the 41st floor, down.     Half of the currently available 2 bedroom waterfront units fall into the “Sky Residence” category ( with high ceilings!) and a number of them have views  that are quite dramatic.  Currently the developer is entertaining discounts in the range of 6% -10%  (depending on whether you are financing/or paying cash).  The Plaza is Fannie Mae approved, which means you can get lender financing.  Looking for a waterfront condo on Brickell?  This may be the time to buy!  If you are interested in buying or selling property in Miami, please give me a call at (305) 793-1365 or send me a note here.  Receive my blog posts directly to your inbox.   Stay current with all the Miami real estate information …  subscribe here.

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A BETTER DEAL than the Foreclosure down the street!

By NOT looking for a foreclosure property, buyers can find a REAL GEM !

A better deal than the foreclosure down the street?   14793 SW 155th Place in Miami, Florida actually sold for $20,000 less than the foreclosure down the street … (the identical model, mirror image) . 

For everyone out there who is scrounging for a foreclosure “deal” … keep at least ONE eye peeled for those      willing sellers, with immaculate, under-priced gems.  There    are  a lot of them to be  found in Miami right now.    Between the foreclosure down the street and the willing seller who bought ‘right’ and is selling ‘right’ which makes for the “better deal”?   In part, it depends on who’s realistic… what that original purchase price  was … what their current mortgage is… and what the condition of the property is.

14793 SW 155th Place in Miami: New open kitchen, move-in condition (and despite a hiccup or two)  a happy seller…  In this case, it meant that our buyer ultimately benefited in more ways than one:   a bevvy of housewarming gifts from the seller (microwave, vacuum cleaner, paint and tile samples,champagne in the fridge, and an early closing … plus the house was delivered sparkling clean and with a smile… not to mention a $20,000 lower purchase price from the mirror-image model down the street!).

When you’re ready to move, and are looking for a well-priced property,  call us!  Miami has real gems! Restivo Team at EWM Realtors 305 793-1365  ([email protected])

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Miami Real Estate| E Lake Community – 9200 SW 140 St. Miami

Want to live somewhere really fun?  Boat,  fish, swim?  You might want to take a peak at  E-Lake.  The 76 acre Miami lakefront community is home to  a handful of residents who rarely relinquish their claim to the lakefrontJennings-built homes originally sold for $15K – $20K in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Today the lots themselves sell for more than a million! We have one listed now… at 9200 SW 140 St …  the least expensive piece of property on E Lake… updated and beautiful!

E Lake Aerial !

Wave runners, sailboats, ski boats, rafts, wake boarders… private sandy beaches… and a water  quality (which is tested monthly) that has been (for over 30 years  now) exceptional!  From your dock you can see fish. From your beach front chickee hut you’ll enjoy breathtaking sunsets.  E-Lake affords  an active-lifestyle for the sports-oriented.  It also offers laid-back peace and quiet for those wanting resort-style tranquilityin the privacy of their own backyard.  Curl up in a hammock with your favorite book.  Enjoy a leisurely bar-b-que down by the waterfront.  Take a boat ride at sunset over to visit with friends.  Enjoy  the privacy … or the sense of community.  At E Lake you can certainly have both.  Living on the lake affords an outdoor, active lifestyle unique to this particular area of Miami… and it offers a retreat where you can savor every minute of your spare time.

Everyone has a backyard that butts up on the lake.  Many of the residents have boats.  Because of the sense of community, rules are few and far between, but there’s a sense of caring and respect that’s refreshing. Residents have a voluntary annual contribution of $150 toward testing and treating the water and a desire to maintain not only the lake and but the quality of life.  There is no homeowner’s association.  What there is, is a common thread… a lifestyle that revolves around the outdoors, and an enjoyment of life and living… and a glimpse back, to a time when being a “good neighbor” .. and where pride and respect mattered. 


What’s the history of E Lake?   In the early 1920’s Henry Flagler  bought the land around E Lake  as a rock quarry… for the coral rock, limestone (also known as oolite)   needed to build his railroad.   The rock was crushed to form  the bed of the tracks, and  used in making the cement for necessary bridges and other structures. Flagler’s railroad was to go from Miami all the way down to Key West.  Because of the aquifer and Miami’s unique water table, the quarry began to fill with water. In spite of concerted efforts, the digging apparatus couldn’t contend with the infiltration of water… eventually causing excavation to cease.  By the 1940’s  a fresh water lake filled in the rock quarry, and  when seen from above, the lake looks like  the letter “E”.  The largest of the fingers is to the north, with the depth ranging  from 35 ft on the east  to  over 60 ft on the west side.   E-Lake Community extends between SW 136th Street  and SW 144th Street (on the north and south), and from SW 92 Avenue over to SW 97 Avenue (on the east and west).

9200 SW 140 St - E Lake - Miami

Not surprisingly, the rock quarry site which is now the  historic Venetian Pool in Coral Gables similarly filled with water,  due to Miami’s natural underground springs. The Venetian Pool ( a few miles to the north of E-Lake)  became an elegant  public swimming hole for local Gables residents. Not much of a surprise to see other construction in and around Miami having to deal with that Miami aquifer even today!

By the 1960’s two developers began building homes on the land immediately surrounding E-Lake.   F & R  Builders and Jennings were the two prominent builders and many of their homes are still right where they built them.  Jennings homes are known for the scalloped edges in the closets, and their solid construction… enabling Jennings homes  throughout South Florida to withstand hurricanes in the days when  shutters or impact windows were the name of the game. Today,  many of the original Jennings homes on E-Lake have been added to, enlarged or remodeled.  Nevertheless,those homes that originally sold for $15,000.00-$20,ooo.00  occupy lots  today that themselves are valued at over a million dollars.   Real estate has long been a wise investment!  There are certainly market ups and downs, but in the long run, real estate (especially water front property) often appreciates nicely.   Homes are not often available on E-Lake.   If you have an interest in E-Lake, contact The Restivo Team at EWM Realtors  (305) 793-1365.    The Restivo Team just listed 9200 SW 140 St on E Lake for sale, and the beautifully updated  4 bedroom lakefront Jennings-built home is for sale at $1,195,000.00.

E-Lake Community … a lifestyle worth exploring!

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PORTABILITY allows you to Transfer HOMESTEAD ASSESSMENTS to your NEW HOME in Miami!

luggage_clip_artWhen you buy a new home anywhere in Miami, you CAN transfer your HOMESTEAD ASSESSMENT DIFFERENCE to that new property.  Perhaps you’ve heard it referred to as “PORTABILITY”.

Property owners in Florida can transfer  up to $500,000.00 of their previously HOMESTEADED PROPERTY ASSESSMENT DIFFERENCE to a new  HOMESTEADED property as long as they do so within two years of the date  of sale (of that former house).

If your new home is MORE expensive than the one you’re selling  (and the MARKET VALUE  is more) your entire homestead assessment can be transferred (up to the $500,000.00 limit).

If your new home has a LOWER market value than the house you’re selling,  your “PORTABILITY” amount will be proportional to that difference. Here’s the government link to stay current on Portability updates.

Portability covers all of Florida,  so if you are moving to Miami-Dade from another county, you can certainly transfer your Homestead Assessment Difference from that county to Miami-Dade (subject to that other county’s determination as to  transferable eligibility values).

In the case of multiple owners or multiple transfer recipients,  portability cannot be ‘split’.  Homestead Assessment Difference is transferable from one residence  to another, only… and both homes must be homesteaded properties.

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Investment Visa for Foreign Buyers: GREEN CARD for Internationl Investors

Interested in an INVESTMENT TOOL  that would give you a United States GREEN CARD?                           

While less widely-known, and certainly more complex than the straightforward house and condo purchase  (through an LLC  set up by a real estate attorney… or  a purchase made directly in the buyer’s name)         THE INVESTMENT VISA  is an option for some… offering the investor  a GREEN card! klsgfx_BigPlane

In working with international investors purchasing investment property and vacation homes in Florida  (and more specifically in and around Miami)   I thought it might be helpful to share some information on the subject:

A program devised to attract foreign capital into the United States…  and commonly referred to as the  ” INVESTMENT VISA” or the “EB-5“…   is an investment tool devised to create  jobs and offer employment  opportunities for  American workers.  The INVESTMENT VISA  program has been in place for well over a decade, and has specific requirements.  It offers certain benefits to the investor… one of which is a GREEN CARD

An immigration attorney would be able to provide you with specific requirements (which are precise and quite stringent)  along with  lists outlining  the  ‘regional center projects’  in which an investment would qualify the foreign buyer for the GREEN CARD The “INVESTMENT VISA”  (more officially known as an “EB-5”)  requires an investment of anywhere between $500,000.00 to $1,000,000.00  into a United States ‘regional center project’.  Depending upon the area within the United States, these projects range from ski resorts  to urban infrastructure development…. etc.  Funds  for the investment must be lawfully obtained and must be fully documented.

Because of the specific legal nature of the investment,  the expertise of an immigration attorney and/or real estate attorney would be needed.  In the May issue of Realtor Magazine’s  H.Ronald Klasko  (Klasko,Rulon,Stock & Seltzer LLP)  goes into more detail, offering a link to information on the investment visa through   

If you’d  like to buy real estate in South Florida, whether through the investment visa program, or as a vacation home or investment property, Alexandra and Vicki Restivo will be happy to provide you  with additional contact information for immigration and real estate attorneys in the Miami area.

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Great Deal in Miami-Short Sale in Neo Vertika!

NeovertikaA charming 1 bedroom / 1 bathroom condo is available for sale! Asking $130,000 in the stunning Brickell area, this unit features 7th floor views of the Miami River. Double balcony off Living Room / Kitchen / Bedroom. Loft-like. Washer and Dryer in the unit. Upgraded. Brickell nightlife and restaurants at your footsteps. One of the lowest prices in the building…Do not miss out on this fantastic opportunity!

Click here to see a brochure and contact Vicki or Alexandra with any questions!

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As prices on Miami condos have dropped  (Miami Condo Buildings slashing prices as much as 50% ),  Miami is seeing a notable rise in the number of  condo sales!  The real estate market  in Miami appears to have turned!  MiamiSkyline 














The  New York Times  reports on July 29,2009,  “Despite a vast oversupply of new condos in downtown Miami, sales have been brisk lately… The reason?  Prices have been cut in half…”   Miami Condo Sales are  UP says New York Times writer Terry Pristin … and what she is reporting, we too are seeing first hand:  “Square Feet: As Prices Plummet, Condo Sales in Miami Perk Up”.

Condo sales are indeed up, and multiple offers on Miami real estate  are a refreshing change from what Miami has seen over the past few years!  Miami has witnessed an obvious oversupply of newly built  condos, in recent years.   Literally within the past 1/2 decade,  more than  23,000 new condo units have  sprung up, dramatically altering the skyline of downtown Miami and  Brickell.  That glut of over-development remains, at least in part, with close to 10,000 condos remaining on the market  (unsold!) at  the start of summer, 2009. 

That being said,  the feared “bulk purchases of condo units by investors” has yet to impact Miami as many thought it might.  Bulk purchases of condo units at wholesale prices have been rather “building specific”.  Although investors did swoop in from around the globe,  attempting to negotiate bulk purchases with condo developers on Miami Beach, in Brickell, Downtown Miami and Downtown Dadeland,  relatively few of those bulk negotiations were successful.   Contrary to the forecasted “hundreds” of buildings thought by many to be at risk  for bulk buy-outs, the numbers  actually succumbing to those bulk buy outs have been rather more conservative .  I’m estimating  perhaps thirty to forty buildings succumbed to discounted wholesale pricing bulk buy-outs. 

The vast majority of all condo sales are  actually selling at current market retail pricing….  Yes, current market pricing is definitely lower than condo pricing  per square foot, even a year ago.   As a result, Miami condos are moving and selling… priced at “current market prices” , and buyers still sitting on the fence may be waiting too long!  Price per square foot in  Brickell/Downtown  is now settling at slightly above $200 a square foot on  brand new construction high-rises,  providing some really good deals for buyers.  No doubt, there are  still numbers of buildings and individual units  selling for WELL over that…  particularly  the well-established older buildings …  for example  the Bristol and the Santa Maria, to name just two.  

Buyers are  literally lining up at the doors these days to own new condos in  new buildings says Vicki Restivo, Realtor with Esslinger Wooten Maxwell Realtors in Miami:  “While  it’s  by no means the “buying frenzy”  Miami saw during the pre-construction phase  of the condo growth spurt of several years back (where lines  literally went down the block and around the corner for pre-sales at 500 Brickell and The Plaza on Brickell) …   buyers  who dillydally  are missing out on contracts as other ready and willing buyers move-in and grab up contracts.   I’ve seen it first hand on several occasions.  Earlier this summer I was working with  international buyers looking for  waterview property on Brickell.   Fully aware of the  market and the value,  and going in with eyes WIDE open, those buyers were primed and ready…  and didn’t hesitate when we found the ‘right’  condo.  We submitted our offer within minutes of  having seen  a handful of units on Brickell, after selecting THE  one that worked best for them.   Another  (slower) prospective buyer and realtor saw the same unit that same morning… but they went for a quick bite  to ponder their options while we  sat down and immediately drew up an offer.   In the time-frame of a mere  hour we’d secured the condo.  ( The other realtor and his group returned after lunch to buy it, but we’d  already negotiated  it out and sealed the deal.)  That story is by no means an isolated one.  Three other times that same week (that I’m personally aware of)  one  buyer procured a condo literally  minutes ahead of another contract being presented.  Condo sales are definitely “perking up” (to use Terry Pristin’s observation !)”.

There  is unquestionabley a glut of oversupply of new condos in  Brickell and in downtown Miami.  Some  buildings are tough to get financing in, and therefore require buyers who are not reliant upon financing . Criteria  for financing hinges upon 1) the number of units sold versus unsold, 2) the number of owner occupied units (primary residences  and  second or vacation homes) versus rental units owned by investors and leased or rented out to tenants, 3)the number of owners  30 days or more  in arrears on their association fees, and 4) the number of short sales and foreclosures in the building.  

A handful of new condo buildings already have Fannie Mae approval, allowing buyers to procure lender financing.  Sales are up,  and  notably so.  Prices dropped at 500 Brickell by 30% this past spring.   One bedrooms in 500 Brickell (which, by the way, is Fannie Mae approved) can be had for as little as $200,000.00 … (or slightly less, if  having a high floor with a view isn’t a “must” for you!).   Although price per square foot is often referred to, there is a definite correlation between price and the FLOOR the unit is  on (as generally ‘height’ corresponds to ‘view’!)  Two bedrooms are selling  as low as the mid $200’s  (upward)  in some buildings… depending upon location and view.   The Plaza on Brickell has some very competitive pricing and offerings.  One tower at the Plaza on Brickell is already Fannie Mae approved, and the other  tower is expected to be so, literally any day now. 

Prices don’t seem to me to be dropping any further… at least not this week.   Condo-pricing is buyer-friendly right now, and  units are moving off the shelves at a consistent clip.  Buyers (for the most part) no longer seem to be on the fence.  They are poised and  quick to make their move as the market seems to be showing signs of recovery…. hence, condo sales are up.  According to  real estate professional Ron Shuffield, President of EWM Realtors (owned by Warren Buffet) , condo sales in newly constructed buildings  increased by over 50%  since the spring of 2009.

The NEW YORK TIMES article published  July 29,2009  by journalist Terry Pristin gives valuable insight into Miami’s current condo market.  For a link to that article , click here.  Having a pulse on the Real Estate Market gives you insight and ammunition!  Your thoughts and insights are welcomed on MiamiRealEstateCafe’s Blog.  Feel free to comment and/or ask questions.  If you,  or someone you know,  are looking to buy real estate in Miami,  Alexandra and Vicki Restivo at EWM Realtors are never too busy for any of your referrals!

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New Home Sales Spiked 11% in June: South Florida Housing Market Hits Bottom?


money treeThe buzz  IN THE NEWS  over the past couple of days:  

South Florida MAY have already seen the BOTTOM of the REAL ESTATE MARKET! 

 The  Real Estate market may now, finally,  be headed upward… At the very least it appears that we are somehow stopping the bleeding!  

Good news nationally!  The US economy may be on it’s way toward a modest recovery.  Housing signals point our way out of the recession. Great news for Miami!  

With new housing sales spiking 11% nationally in June … (the biggest gain since 2000)…  that also marks the largest margin in  9 years!  The National Association of Realtors (NAR)  reports that price declines are slowing,  and that existing home sales rose  by  3.6%   in June. reports that the June new housing  sales jump may fuel the way out of this recession.  

The glut of overdevelopment has unquestionably  been concentrated in Florida, California, Las Vegas.   Has the housing market  indeed just  ‘bottomed out’?  If so, we will  likely start to see sellers and builders less willing to make concessions.   The  housing market  traditionally drives the economy (and  until recently…  it has been driving it down).  News that we may have already touched bottom is indeed welcome!  Encouraging not only for Florida and California, but globally!   The housing market plopped  us into this recession.  Spiking sales of new homes in June may have  just marked the turning point… and …may have already begun pulling us out of the recession!

Fact is… the only REAL way we will know  WHEN we’ve hit  bottom, is with the benefit of hindsight… and only after the tide has turned.   Perhaps it has!

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