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Archive for the 'GUEST CONTRIBUTORS' Category

Mt. Elbert: A Climb Told In Photographs

 

Tonight I am proud to be a guest of In Ice Axe We Trust, a mountaineering podcast where i’m telling my story of our Mt. Elbert winter attempt in which we faced wolves, freezing temperatures, and snow which resulted in a turn around just 1,000 feet under it’s 14,400 ft summit. As a companion piece to the show (which will air tonight at 8 pm PST and 11 pm EST) which I will post in the morning, I am posting the photographs taken by my climbing partners Manuel Castro and Ivan Flores.
Our tent under the stars. (Photograph by Manuel Castro)

Our tent under the stars. (Photograph by Manuel Castro)
The stars and the milky way from our campsite (Photo by Manuel Castro)

The stars and the milky way from our campsite (Photo by Manuel Castro)
Our gear packed up before heading to Elbert. (Photo by Ivan Flores)

Our gear packed up before heading to Elbert. (Photo by Ivan Flores)
The wolf tracks we found around our campsite. (Photo by Ivan Flores)

The wolf tracks we found around our campsite. (Photo by Ivan Flores)
The wall of snow just above twin lakes as we were leaving. (Photo by Ivan Flores)

The wall of snow just above twin lakes as we were leaving. (Photo by Ivan Flores)
The snowstorm we hit between Leadville and Avon after leaving Elbert. (Photo by Ivan Flores)

The snowstorm we hit between Leadville and Avon after leaving Elbert. (Photo by Ivan Flores)
Mt. Elbert and Mt. Massive seen from the trailhead. (Photo by Michael Restivo)

Mt. Elbert and Mt. Massive seen from the trailhead. (Photo by Michael Restivo)

 

WRITTEN BY GUEST CONTRIBUTOR: Michael Restivo. Check out his blog Mike Off The Map

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Where is America Moving?

Atlas Van Lines has been tracking moving trends across the United States since 1993.  Their 2012 study, which was just released, shows a flurry of  migration activity in California, Texas and Florida…   All three are, and have remained ‘balanced’ over the past decade …  with fairly even inbound and outbound migration patterns.

Washington D.C. showed the highest inbound traffic of any of the Northern States … (and has for much of the past decade).

Rather surprisingly, North Dakota, Alaska, New Mexico are in the same category  as Washington D.C (showing increased inbound migration)  …

The same is true of North Carolina (although, given the number of Floridians scooping up second homes in North Carolina, that’s not a surprise).

This map shows a snapshot of migration patterns across the U.S. and Canada.

New York and New Jersey rank high as far as outbound migration is concerned  … (Wyoming, Nebraska and Ohio … and Canada show high outbound migration as well).

And that continues to benefit South Florida  …  Despite the somewhat transient nature of much of South Florida  (with international corporate relocations coming and going)  Florida entices those looking for a reprieve from the cold,  and looking for more temperate climates… as well as those wanting second homes and investment property.

Thinking about relocating?  We’d love to help make that happen.  Look forward to hearing from you!   The Restivo Team … Vicki and Alexandra … 305 793-1365  EWM Realtors [email protected]

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Appraisal Woes … by Phil Spool

4th in a 4 part series of blog articles submitted by guest contributor, Philip Spool:

“If you are either buying or selling a house and the appraiser comes in lower
than the contract price, consider the appraiser’s restrictions if you are
getting a loan from a bank.

If it is a cash deal, then the appraiser might have been so ingrained to use the restrictive
guidelines by the AMCs they work for that they fail to realize that perhaps
there are sales that can legitimately support the contract price.

If you are a buyer, don’t necessarily think that the appraiser is correct in his/her value.

One has to look at the comparables the appraiser used.  Go by those houses, have your Realtor give
you the MLS sheets on those houses and see for yourself if they are inferior,
superior or comparable.

I always encourage the Realtor to supply a list of comparable sales to the appraiser to
support the purchase price.

In some cases, the Realtor knows there is no support and should state that to the buyer
and seller.”

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 MiamiRealEstateCafe.com,  Working
RE Magazine, a national appraisal journal.  He can be reached at [email protected]

Closing  a real estate transaction once an appraisal threatens to derail the whole thing is a challenge … Sometimes it’s a minor hiccup.  Other times it requires renegotiating the contract or scrambling to be creative and hold all the moving pieces together.    Inevitably though it’s one of those times that both the buyer and the seller count their lucky stars if they have an experienced Realtor on their side.  If you’re looking to buy or sell, contact real estate experts Alexandra and Vicki Restivo at EWM Realtors  305 793-1365  [email protected]

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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 MiamiRealEstateCafe.com . 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 …  MiamiRealEstateCafe.com … 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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UM Presidents House Sells for $9 Million

By Michael Vasquez  The Miami Herald
 
The Gables Estates home that has housed every University of Miami president since 1974 has been sold for $9 million, while the school puts the finishing touches on a new Pinecrest presidential residence.
 
This bayside home on Old Cutler Road has served as the residence of University of Miami presidents for more than 40 years. It sold last month for $9 million.

Courtesy of Esslinger-Wooten-Maxwell Realtors

The waterfront Coral Gables estate that has housed University of Miami presidents for more than a generation — hosting everyone from world leaders to bright-eyed college freshmen — has been sold.

The price: a cool $9 million. The buyer: New Yorker Maria Montalva, who listed a posh Upper East Side Fifth Avenue address on county sales records.
Montalva could not be reached for comment, while UM President Donna Shalala declined comment.

A local real estate blog written by Esslinger-Wooten-Maxwell Realtor Alexandra Restivo described the home, built in 1965, as boasting a “tropical ambiance,” 4.6 acres of lush gardens, and a prestigious Gables Estates address.

“Here’s a chance to own a rare piece of South Florida history,” wrote Restivo, whose firm, EWM, represented both buyer and seller in the transaction. Read the rest of this entry »

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Celebration on the Rocks: Bouldering at Blowing Rocks State Preserve in Jupiter, Florida

Contributed by Michael Restivo, Mike Off The Map and posted on Pocket Ranger and MiamiRealEstateCafe.com

As a rock climber growing up in Florida, the options for climbing on true outdoor faces are limited. Aside from the training we do in the gym, our closest options are the bouldering grounds in Georgia, Alabama, and the Carolinas. So when somebody told me that just two hours north of Miami, in the town of Jupiter, was some great outdoor bouldering, I was initially skeptical. When people think of the beaches here, they think of the South Beach life: endless miles of flat, white sandy shores, with the emphasis on “flat”. What I ended up discovering was some of the most extraordinarily unique beachside bouldering unlike anywhere else.

Blowing Rocks State Preserve in Jupiter, Florida. Read the rest of this entry »

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Deep Into Hell’s Bay: Everglades Canoe Adventure

The rain was pounding.

The gray skies had opened up and the water hadn’t stopped falling for the last four hours. Our canoe weaved through the dense mangrove trails and we were cold and sopping wet. Trying to navigate through the dense weather, my crew and I were searching for the guide poles that led the trail. Sitting in the second row of the canoe, I tried to synchronize my paddling with my friend Carolina, steering and leading from the front. The waters had risen considerably from the night before and the wind was pushing our canoe across making it difficult to keep it on course.

As we pulled out into a clearing of open water, we suddenly saw waves in front of the canoe rise into a torpedo-like shape. The streamlined form glided near the top of the surface, catching us all with a mixture of surprise and reserved fear. Picking up speed, the waves torpedoed mere feet from the bow of our canoe and what we saw caught us with excitement.

For the longest time, I wanted to camp out in the backcountry of the Everglades. These “primitive” campsites, are far from the electricity and amenities that the front country sites offer. When I heard about National Park Week, I got in touch with my friend Veronica who made the arrangements and chose our site.

The backcountry of the Everglades stretches for over 700 square miles. It is a landscape unlike any other, encompassing all of Florida’s southern half with swamps, waterways, and dense mangrove forests. Camping is limit to three types of sites: beaches, land sites, and chickee hut platforms. All sites except one are accessible only by kayak or canoe. We wanted to get deep into the waterways, so we opted for the area known as “Hell’s Bay”. Read the rest of this entry »

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National Park Week

National Park Week is April 21 – 29 …  If you’re looking to get out and explore take a peak at what’s going on in our Breathtakingly Beautiful National Parks…  A Week in the Wild … A Guide to National Park Week … Mike Off The Map .

Arches National Park, Utah

It’s that time of year again! For one week, all 397 National Parks across the United States are absolutely free from April 21-April 29. With free entrance it opens a host of options to hikers, campers, and climbers alike, as well as an opportunity to inspire the next generation to take care of our treasured lands and promote environmental consciousness. Along with the endless possibilities of exploration, the National Park Service is hosting a wide breadth of events from volunteer services, to historical and cultural demonstrations. Here’s what you need to know about National Park Week 2012! Read the rest of this entry »

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Climbing Mountains in Miami

Perhaps you don’t think of climbing  – when you think about  Miami –  but … some people live and breath for the thrill … especially in Miami

This blog is by Michael Restivo, who writes for Mike off the Map (an adventure blog) and for Pocket Ranger (which provides apps for the National Park Service) … and is a guest contributor to Miami Real Estate Cafe (The Restivo Team’s  local … and global … Real Estate Blog):

Climbing 101: Your Guide to Getting Started … This Spring Climbing Season!

Now that we officially hit the first day of spring, it’s time to get back outdoors, get active, and try new experiences! I wrote this article for the excellent Pocket Ranger blog for first time climbers who want a new experience this season.

Rock climbing is a sport of balance, stability, and stamina. It is much more akin to yoga than it is lifting. While physical conditioning aids the climber as they progress, climbing is a sport that is open to all people and body types. Plus, it’s a great alternative to traditional gym workouts because it is dynamic, challenging, and ultimately rewarding. Safety is paramount in climbing and therefore requires constant communication between the climber and his or her partner, as well as a thorough knowledge of the equipment and skills that make for a safe and fun experience.

Beginner climbers should start in a gym environment. Climbing gyms, which are now becoming increasingly popular, offer a supervised introduction to the sport. A climber is given a harness and climbing shoes. The harness, which must be snuggly attached around the waist of the climber, is the point where the climbing rope connects. The climbing shoes, not unlike ballet slippers, must be tight around the feet but not constricting. Climbing shoes allow climbers to flex their feet comfortably while the tough, rubber soles help the climber securely grasp the wall.

Bouldering Overhang

There are three main styles of climbing, each offering their own unique take on the sport: Read the rest of this entry »

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