Miami real estate news and information

Archive for the 'IN THE NEWS' Category

MIAMI CARES … A stray bullet, a foreign tourist, and a city that rallies


New Year’s Shooting  –   A six-year-old boy is expected to recover …  Will Miami?  new year 2010

In times of need,  you see what a city is really made of.  Miami has been at center of global focus, and international scrutiny since New Years Eve 2010 …   when a stray, celebratory bullet  fired into the sky hit an Italian child whose family was dining at a restaurant in Miami’s Design District.   

6-year-old Andrea Fregonese, ringing in the New Year with his parents, was hit in the stomach by a falling  bullet that had been shot into the air on New Year’s Eve… and has been hospitalized since.  An unbelievably tragic accident …  like so many that occur every year  around the world …  as a result of guns being fired into the air,  celebrating New Year.    This six- year-old Italian boy is expected to recover…   Will Miami?  Read the rest of this entry »

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TotalBank sues Mas family over Old Spanish Village in Coral Gables Florida

 Old Spanish Village


In real estate, location is everything … The same applies to timing.  In the midst of a major South Florida real estate downturn, and a disasterous economic climate that Miami has been swimming through over the past several years,  I’m not at all convinced that breaking ground and launching one of the biggest projects Coral Gables has seen in awhile was well-timed: Old Spanish Village.  

Ponce Circle Developers (a partnership between Jose R. Mas and Juan C. Mas of the Mas Group, and Raphael Sanchez of the Sanchez Group) obviously disagreed though Read the rest of this entry »

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Miami Real Estate:Home Managers Give Homes a “Lived-In” Look (Higher Offers/Faster Sales!)

With the oversupply of high-end homes in many parts of South Florida (foreclosures and vacant properties) sellers are becoming more creative with  marketing efforts.   Across the country, companies are staging properties for a quicker sale and a higher price… Some rely on “home managers” to give the home a lived-in look.   Home managers are  actually house sitters (of sorts).  They are, for the most part,  executives (who want to get a feel for the area before buying) or people in transition (for one reason or another) who are Read the rest of this entry »

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Selling Your House in Florida? Technology Could Be the Magic Bullet!


REAL ESTATE ROCKET SCIENCEIf you are wanting to sell your house,  technology could be the magic bullet!  Selling property has moved into a new era of technology! 

Take a look  … buyers worldwide can now see your house online,   and by running their cursor over the property photo,   link  directly to pertinent information about the house,   view other comparable homes for sale in the area,   and research everything at the touch of a hand”. 

Esslinger Wooten Maxwell Realtor, Vicki Restivo, says:  “This new technology exposes intimate details of  Florida Homes to  inquiring  eyes across the globe”. 

Take a peak at the cutting edge technology  here and explore the premier homes for sale.  Selling homes boils down to high tech genius. The e-Styled Mailer is another EWM first!  If you are wanting to buy or sell property in Miami,  please give me a call at 305 793-1365 or send me a note here  through   It takes more than a For Sale sign!   We market to sell!


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What is the Value of Your Home and Who Determines It? Market Value, Appraised Value,Replacement Value in a Nutshell

What is the VALUE of your  home and who determines it?appraiser

With facts and figures tossed around liberally (especially here in Miami!): Market Value, Appraised Value, Assessed Value,  List Price, Sales Price, Replacement Value … understanding the value of your home is a tough nut  to crack:

Market Value,  as referred to in the tax role, references what the county believes the fair market value to be. 

Appraised Value is set by an appraiser  (comparing recent sales… normally going back no more than 3 months) …  Appraised value is the benchmark used by a  lender in determining the amount of mortgage the lender will finance.

Assessed Value is the amount determined primarily for tax or legal purposes. The county assesses or appraises your property to determine the taxable value.  You can also have an independent appraisal done, to evaluate and assess your property for contingency tax disputes… to reduce property tax.

List Price is determined through  market analysis of comparable properties in the vicinity  (having sold within the past 3-6 months … currently “pending” sales… and currently-listed “similar” properties  potentially competing for the same buyer-pool).

Sales Price is what the property actually sells for… determined by market conditions and what a specific buyer is willing to pay for that property.

Replacement Value  is a ‘guesstimate’ as to what  it might cost to replace or rebuild the house at some unknown point in the future.  Replacement value is used for  insurance coverage on a property, by estimating the cost to return a property to it’s pre-loss condition.

Replacement value has absolutely NOTHING to do with your purchase price, or the amount of your mortgage, or the assessed property value for tax purposes… It excludes the land value and landscaping from the equasion.   In brief,  replacement value is the  estimated cost of replacing  the house itself  (the structure),  due to a natural disaster…  fire damage, hurricane, flood, or otherwise.  

Factor in to your “replacement value”: Inflation, fluctuation in building costs  and materialslabor costs, market conditions,  which all affect replacement value.   Upgrades and rennovations (new cabinetry, kitchens, baths, additions, shutters or awningshardwood floors, upgraded appliancesnewly replaced windows or doors… or unique features your house has) should be considered … in determining eventual “replacement value”… Replacement value  is what’s used in quoting insurance coverage.   Have real estate questions?   If you do, chances are others will as well.  Alexandra and Vicki Restivo will answer  them, and may even blog about them!  Go ahead… ask!   Your questions are welcomed… and when you’re ready to buy or sell … we’re ready to help! …. READY WHEN YOU ARE!   Vicki Restivo 305-793-1365

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Mosquito Aerial Spraying Alert – Miami Community News Advisory


Source: MiamiRealEstateCafe 

Mosquito aerial spraying at Homestead Air Reserve Base (HARB) and parts of the surrounding area is scheduled to occur during the week of August 31, 2009 through September 4, 2009.  The flights are scheduled to take place from 5:30-8:00 pm Tuesday and Wednesday with Thursday being a back-up day.

Spraying areas will include those parts of the County that are being most affected at that time by increased mosquito activity.  Possible areas to be sprayed include Homestead, Florida City, the Redlands, areas East of US1 and if necessary West Kendall and West Doral.  Once again, areas to be sprayed will be entirely dependent on where mosquito activity has shown a demonstrable increase at the time of surveillance on Monday August 31.
Residents are advised a large aircraft, the C-130 Hercules will be flying as low as 150 feet over the spray areas to train aircrew and spray Dibrom Concentrate. After spraying, about 90 percent of adult mosquitoes should be killed. The reduction in mosquito populations may last up to two weeks depending on the size of the area sprayed and how favorable conditions are for new mosquito hatches.
Beekeepers are asked to keep their bees covered during the spraying operations in their particular area. Anybody with known allergic reactions should stay indoors.
The 311 call center, which accepts mosquito service requests, is open Monday through Friday, 6 am to 10 pm, and Saturday/Sunday from 8am to 8pm.  The call center will be updated with the areas to be sprayed as the information is determined.  Residents may call 311 to find out if their area will be included in the spray mission.

 This information was provided by the Miami-Dade County’s Public Works Department and by the Village of Pinecrest –  through an EWM Realtors Community News Advisory. For additional community updates or for any of your real estate needs,  contact Alexandra and Vicki Restivo EWM Realtors: MiamiRealEstateCafe .

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Receive your Property Tax Notice?

Source: Restivo|MiamiRealEstateCafe  Pleased with your Property Tax Notice?   (If so, skip this entirely!)  If not,  (and you live in Miami) you can  file an appeal to protest your proposed property tax.  property-tax-good-griefGenerally it should be done within about 25 days of when you receive your Truth in Millage notice (mailed to you at the end of August). 

You can also attend budget meetings of the city and county commission.  Voice your opinions!  

Guest contributor, Robert Burr, of  airs his views below.

Or click here for Tom Dixon’s tax assessment appeals process outline:  Read on …


Read the rest of this entry »

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PUNTINO: Miami Restaurants are Bringing In the Business! ITALY LOVES FLORIDA!

The Miami  Restaurant, Puntino Downtown, in the heart of Downtown, caters to a local business crowd during business hours  and serves up traditional Italian fare  in a lively atmosphere until 11pm…. drawing  patrons from as far away as Palm Beach and Pinecrest!  CIMG1520Downtown  Miami seems to be growing by leaps and bounds, with new restaurants opening up and flourishing!  

Jazz  performer Leo Casino spiced up Prosecco Night at PUNTINO last night. 

Reality show participants from Italy, touring the entirety of Florida in a camper (their Florida adventures filmed and taped for TV syndication in ItalyFriendsTour“) were there,  sipping Berlucchi… invited by the Italian Chamber of Commerce.  They were on their last leg of a month long trek. From New Orleans, they had travelled the perimeter of Florida’s two coasts… literally…  from Tallahassee to Key West and up the other side. Not surprisingly, Florida was the location chosen for FriendsTour’s  month-long ‘coast to coast’  scheduled to air on Italian Cable TV’s “SKY” Reality Show. Why Florida? Florida… is the number one state …enticing Italian vacationers and second home buyers to the United States!   

Between the jazz music and the buzz of excitement over the Reality Show “FriendsTour”  I felt  as though I were somewhere between New Orleans and Italy!  Miami is quite the melting pot of diversity and culture!  Oysters, caviar, cheeses, prosciutto , stuffed pizza …  the hors’doervres  and Berlucchi certainly add to the mix.

Puntino Downtown serves both lunch and dinner ( somewhat of a novelty in Downtown Miami). The  lunch menu offers reasonably priced antipasti, insalate, panini, and pizza & pasta ($5-$10 for the most part).  Yes, they deliver!Downtown Miami is on it’s way to becoming a mini New York (with restaurant deliveries  to your doorstep!)   The dinner  menu is more varied but similarly priced …  with a nice array of appetizers, and freshly made specialties, meat, fish, cheese selections, dolci, espresso…. and Italian wines.  CIMG1522Neighborhood feel… nice atmosphere… warm service… Worth trying!  For dining reservations in Miami:  http://www.opentable.comCIMG1521

MiamiRealEstateCafe… your source for  Miami Restaurants, Local Happenings, and of course Real Estate …  everything and anything Real Estate in Miami!  Looking to buy, sell or visit ?  We Sell Miami  – Better, Faster, Smarter!  Vicki Restivo and Alexandra Restivo EWM Realtors … Miami   – Call us at 305-7931365

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Buying a New House in South Florida? Can you GET WINDSTORM Insurance? Need SHUTTERS in South Florida?

What if you want to buy a house with PARTIAL SHUTTERS, or  without  any SHUTTERS WHATSOEVER? Not all homes for sale in Miami come with hurricane shutters!  Actually,  you might be rather surprised at how many homes  have NO  hurricane shutters…  NO impact glass… no protection!.hurricane_fran_nasa

Can you  GET windstorm insurance on a house without shutters? In applying for a mortgage,  your lender will require windstorm insurance…. but the question is CAN YOU GET IT?   The word is out  that Citizens  may REQUIRE   the house you are buying to  have hurricane protection on ALL OPENINGS…  (if  the value of the house is $750,000.00  or more).   Wow!  And if it doesn’t … what then?

Buying a new home in South Florida ?  You’ll probably want  information  … up to date, current  data… about  the latest  windstorm insurance requirements. Don’t rely on here-say!

Buying a house with PARTIAL SHUTTERS, or one completely WITHOUT shutters? There ARE  a couple of  quick fixes.  Here’s one:  Citizens will provide you with windstorm coverage, temporarily, right from the date of purchase, as long as the house is brought into compliance within a specified period of time  (That time is  SHORT … to be blunt… but it can/and will… do the trick in a pinch.)   Citizens will give you just under two months (post-purchase), to bring your shutter situation up to code!. Citizens will cover a property that has no shutteres (or has partial… or  ‘not-to-code’ shutters), provided that the buyer brings the property up to snuff within 5o-some-odd-days from the time of purchase.   EWM Realtors Vicki Restivo and Alexandra Restivo  offer solutions, and make home-buying easy.  Questions?  The Restivo’s have answers!

South Florida’s MAIN carrier  is Citizens. (Yes, there area handful of other windstorm insurers… but, they are few and far between).  A couple those  OTHER carriers, by the way, will insure properties that have no shutters.  They impose a value limit  up to, and not beyond,  a million dollars on the home itself.  If you’re looking to  buy a home  or vacation property in Miami,  rely on a Realtor who knows the ropes:  We’ll walk you through the process… one step at a time:   305 793 1365 Vicki Restivo…   305 632-1064  Alexandra  Restivo . Have the right information at your fingertips.  There are so many ways to save money when purchasing a home … and it’s not JUST on the purchase price or on insurance!   

Windstorm rates in Miami are promulgated.  And for some odd reason,  rates are higher to the west side of the highway…  lower to the east side of the highway.  (By ‘highway’  I am refering to  US 1…   also known as South Dixie Highway).  For the life of me though, I cannot fathom why  rates GO DOWN as you get  nearer to the water, but they do…  and if you can explain that,  I’d love to hear from you!

Throughout Miami,  you’ll see absentee owners  whose homes are barracaded for the season … contrasting with others of us,  slapping together last-minute or “partial -shuttering” …  (as the shelves of Publix are nearly literally being stripped of food).

Miami is a breed in and of itself… a melting pot of ideas … Some of us look forward to our hurricane parties… neighborhood  festivities and comraderie.  Others flee.  (I’ve  done both:  Once forced to evacuate because we were in a floodzone, but every other time, we’ve stayed  to savor  forced  computer -abstinance, no  AC or  electricity…  as we hunker down and relish  pre… and post… hurricane parties … tepid beverages, and barbeques, and spit baths,  pooside!)

Many “Miamians” have  lived in the same home and  same neighborhood for years or decades, with no  hurricane protection (ever!)  and  no damage  (ever!).  Eventually,  a few of those iconic homes actually go up for sale.  You MAY stumble across one … fall in love… and decide to buy!

Yes, you CAN buy a home with NO  hurricane shutters AND  yes, you CAN get insurance on it.  You’ll just have to bring the house into compliance in just under 2 months… if Citizens is the carrier…  or… you can opt to pay  higher premiums…  use an alternate  carrier…  and keep up the ‘tradition’ before you.   There ARE CARRIERS  who will cover a house valued at up to $1,000,000.00  with  NO  shutters …  and  NO obligation to install them…. for  a higher premium.   The Restivo Team at EWM Realtors ( 305) 793-1365 or 632-0164 will give you the resources, and  spell out the options.   There are ALWAYS options.   Call us.  We’ll help.  Together, we’ll find you just the right house …  Contact Us with any questions.  We’ll  respond (and may well blog about it  too… because if you’ve got a question, chance are,  someone else will have one too!).  Buying/ Selling?  Contact me.

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Miami: Truly a Foreign Affair !

Love at first sight?   As Realtors, we work with a myriad of foreign buyers.  Many foreign investors are drawn to Miami, as much for the  location and weather as for the laid-back lifestyle, reputation and romantic allure. kissspaceball2

Our buyers  come from Italy, Germany, Spain, Brazil, England…    looking       for exactly the same thing:         a  home in the tropics … a bit   of Miami …  “Un Posto al Sole!” …  a taste of paradise.  They fall     in love, often,   before they even  set foot   here.  Miami has an aura…  a reputation.  Miami is      truly magic.   Miami          HAS  the stuff that     dreams are made of. spaceballspaceball

Buyers want waterfront    homes, and waterview    condos, at great prices, in perfect condition, and  in very, very specific areas.   Brickell and Miami Beach  and the Venetian Causeway seem to be the front-runners, the hottest destinations for  international buyers,  observe international real estate experts, Vicki and Alexandra Restivo at EWM Realtors, Miami.

“Coming from a world rich in history, the veritable lack of history that Miami offers is  almost magnetic, drawing foreign buyers in,  in droves.  They  embrace  the ‘new’ with a fervor that doesn’t seem to be found elsewhere.  What is it about our  ultra modern highrise condos?   They seem to offer something  that appeals on almost every level imaginable:  Floor to ceiling glass (impact resistant, hurricane glass) with an intrinsic sense of safety…  Concierge for every whim and fancy… Valet Parking… Lunch “on-the-run”  ( the famed American sandwich)… breakfast, wi-fi and a  laptop  (otherwise  known as a stop at Starbucks!) …  and the all important proximity to the beach.  After all, Miami  IS, the epitome of the eternal vacation.  Salt water and yachts… No  mountains …   The sweltering sun and  tropical romance  are intoxicating:  The people watching  and seemingly endless nightlife are addicting.  So… what exactly is it about Miami that makes it such a foreign affair?”

 “Word of mouth”…   A comment between friends.  A secret, a shared story, a dream or two.   A guest coming to visit.  Vicki Restivo  enjoys working with the foreign investors:  “I must say, the foreign buyers’ enthusiasm is catching… isn’t it? Working with international buyers is a whirlwind:  translating not only contracts, but conversations:  for interior decorators, furniture suppliers, marble and tile designers, car dealers, and legal advisors. It puts  a whole new spin on real estate.  Miami is unquestionably a foreign affair…  with Miami being  a “melting pot” in the very best sense of the term!” … and…the Restivos welcome your thoughts and insights on their Blog: !  For international relocations or vacation property acquisitions, contact Vicki  at 305 793 1365 or Alexandra at 305 632-0164… or through [email protected].  Again, your comments are always welcomed!

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