Miami real estate news and information

Archive for the 'LUXURY & WATERFRONT PROPERTY' Category

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:  MiamiRealEstateCafe.com !  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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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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BEST SELLING CONDOS on Brickell? Miami Real Estate Condo Opportunities! The Plaza on Brickell

A few condo buildings on Brickell seem to intrigue buyers more than others.   International buyers gravitate toward a handful  that epitomize the ‘dream’ of living IN MIAMI,  and  South Florida’s sunny, easygoing  lifestyle.  One that  appeals BIG TIME to foreign buyers is THE PLAZA ON BRICKELL .  The Plaza is actually two towers: 951 Brickell Avenue  and 950 Brickell Bay Drive. (The two towers are also somewhat confusingly referred to  as #851 and #901,  from  recent pre-construction days, before  the US Postal Service changed the “original” street addresses.  You’ll  occasionally  find  listings on  Realtor.com, or through the MLS, or other websites – condos listed currently for sale or for lease –  referencing  those old street numbers. ) 

p2Brickell (literally overnight) became Miami’s  “in”  place to own a condo …  in large part due to the addition of Mary Brickell Village , which added charm and infrastructure to the area, and made Brickell come alive!   Read more about Mary Brickell Village here.

The PLAZA ON BRICKELL  has breathtaking night views (waterfront  mixed with city-lights),  spacious balconies and  sleek design.  There are (as of this date) still a handful of one-bedroom units with  striking views (water, city and pool) priced between $276,000.00 and $355,000.00 including a lovely 847 square foot unit on the 43rd floor.  Realize that you are looking at an additional 6%-12% percent below the current prices I’ve quoted above.  The developer is selling out the last of the units, and making for some interesting buyer opportunities  at below the  original preconstruction pricing.   Give us a call if you’re interested in buying one of the units in The Plaza… Contact us by email at [email protected] … or respond via our blog here at MiamiRealEstateCafe.com.

The two  “Plaza” towers are veritable   “eye-candy” … especially for  foreign buyers …  a ‘sweet deal’.   I’m intrigued  though that  less than 20%  of the building was purchased (thus far) as income property (to be rented out) …   Buyers seem to be purchasing condos in The Plaza on Brickell as their primary residence,  or alternatively as a second home/vacation property. 

Of the 560 units in  Tower #851:   389 have closed so far, and 32 others are under contract.  There are 139 units left to be sold, as of now.    

Of the 440 condos in Tower #901,   392 have closed and 12 more are currently under contract, leaving 36 available for purchase.  

Statistics for  owner occupied units/vacation homes/ and investment property in The Plaza On Brickell are worth noting:  58% are owner occupied, and 23% are vacation or second homes, and 19%  were acquired  by investors for rental purposes.  Fannie Mae approval is expected  within the next two to three weeks.   You are invited to contact us for updates.

Please add your thoughts or insights regarding Brickell, it’s infrastructure, condo purchases or opportunities.   Your input to the MiamiRealEstateCafe Blog is MORE than  welcome!

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Miami Real Estate Up In Flames: Miami Beach MANSION on fire!

M1277467_101_49For Sale ! 

MIAMI BEACH  MANSION… 

UP IN FLAMES! 

Firefighters have been battling a fire in Miami Beach since 8:30 this morning. Fire has literally engulfed this Miami Beach mansion, located on

4462 North Bay Road

 

… reducing it to rubble.    

 

                                               

Listed for SALE at $6,900,000.00 (a HUGE price drop from it’s $11,750,000.00 asking price of last summer) … the property will be worth land value now .  M1277467_301_13  Built in 1925, and in need of renovation/restoration, the property was literally a castle.  The waterfront mansion was a 10 bedroom 7.5 bath paradise, with dock ,  stunning water views, city views, indoor and outdoor pools, home theater, and a separate gym.

With the Miami Real Estate Market taking such a hit over the past couple of years, questions as to the cause of the fire loomed high this morning.  Story is being covered in depth by CNN, and by  Jim Berry  on CBS4.

 

mansionfire

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How to find a SOLID CONDO INVESTMENT on Brickell (Casa a Miami)

BUYERS ( …  and … REALTORS)   WANT TO KNOW:   “Which condos in  Miami’s Brickell area  are SOLID ? ”    …     “Where can we buy ?”    …    “Where SHOULD we buy ?”     …      “What do you recommend ?”   

cimg0077The short answer is:  “Depends on the buyer”.   Yes, of course there is  a longer answer too.   Finding a solid investment requires staying on top of the changing inventory and being very, very diligent.  New construction is popping up left and right… the Miami skyline changing minute by minute.  Financial stability of any given building, and desirability of a particular building or area can morph, given time, and given the ever-changing mix of buyers/renters. 

Lenders have  strict criteria which can seriously impact one’s ability to obtain a mortgage.   Miami Condos are at times “ousted”  from lender’s lists of “qualified buildings”…  based on percentages of unsold units,  investor-owned units,  owners in arrears on  condo association fees,  short sales or foreclosures in specific buildings themselves.  With the newspapers and news channels  brimming with stories about the South Florida condo ‘glut’… where do you turn for direction? Which buildings do you look at ,and which do you consider?  And Why?

There ARE solid condos scattered all across South Florida, and some exquisitely beautiful opportunities in the Brickell area.  On Brickell, I’ve been impressed with what I’ve seen of  the 43 floor creation designed by Architectonica: The 500 Brickell Condo building  located between 5th and 6th Streets, with it’s breathtaking  floor-to-ceiling views of the bay. And 500 Brickell is Fannie Mae approved!  The photo above is taken from the 34th floor of 500 Brickell, which we just sold to international buyers purchasing  a second home in Miami.  

Of the  633 units in  500 Brickell’s two towers (East and West):   591  sold  … and 42 are currently available for sale.  Of those 591 units sold, 252 have actually closed.   63% are owner occupied (373 units) …  and 18%   (or 107 units)  were bought as vacation or second homes.  Only 19%  (or 112 units)  were purchased for investment purposes (and rented/leased out).

Those bits of information are helpful in knowing whether a bank will or will not provide  financing… and whether you, as a buyer,  will need cash to close.

Important to know, in any condo building,  is the percentage of occupants  in arrears on their association payments.  Those percentages can seriously impact whether a new buyer can obtain financing, and  may predict even how the building will or will not  be maintained (peering off  into the future)… and ultimately whether possible assessments are on the horizon.   Without a crystal ball in hand, facts and figures go a long way in paving the road  and helping buyers with their selection process.  

Have any questions about 500 Brickell?  Contact us anytime.  You may work 8am-6pm, but we are available after you’ve left the office, and you can always contact us through our website.  You’re always welcome to explore current listings or glean information on Miami’s eclectic and charming neighborhoods at www.MiamiRealEstateCafe.comCare to know about other intriguing opportunities in the Brickell area?  We’d love to hear from you.  Please leave your comments regarding Brickell… opportunities you’d like to share… insights, thoughts, and questions.

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Best Place to Live in South Florida: City of Doral ranked among TOP 2 in the USA by CNNMoney.Com and Forbes.com

The BEST 100 cities  in America?  Two of them are in South Florida!

Tauted for it’s combination of  lifestyle and business opportunity Doral is ranked among the top two South Florida municipalities by CNN Money.com.  Business opportunity, coupled with “quality of life”,   art, culture, top educational venues, and WORLD CLASS GOLF,  put the City of Doral on the map  (along with Fort Lauderdale) as one of  THE TOP 100 CITIES IN THE UNITED STATES IN WHICH TO LIVE, WORK AND PLAY .

doralisle-clubhouse

Forbes.com named the City of Doral  Doral as one of the two best places to reside in the United States out of their 25 top choices for 2009!  Patents, venture capital funding, sole proprietorships, and start up companies (per capita) …  were among the criteria used by  Forbes.com  in ranking their top 25 cities to live “well”  in.  Incorporated 6 years ago,  and transformed  literally overnight  from cow pastures and open expanses of  green spaces into a beckoning destination with a population of just over 35,000 Doral ranks #2  as the BEST PLACE TO LIVE WELL…by FORBES.COM.

Having become a veritable small business hot-spot, in a heartbeat, Doral is home to multitudes of  businesses catering to the Latin American Market.  With one of the highest per capita concentrations of small businesses, and home to logistics, aerospace, and telecommunications industries,  the City of Doral is headquarters for several major corporate entities as well.  Pepsi-Cola is a strong  South Florida economic influencer,  and Brightstar (specializing in telecommunications and wireless communications products)….  is one of the largest Hispanic-owned companies in the United States.

doral-waterfallResort-style communities  abound in Doral, offering  world class golf and amenities,  and options of single family homes, or townhomes and condos.

Doral Isles offers acres of community recreational facilities :  lagoon pools with cascading waterfalls, soccer fields, baseball, basketball, kayaking, sandy beaches, docks, full-service fitness centers, open air cafes and outdoor dining. Here is a beautiful two story, 3 bedroom, 3 bath townhome for sale in the community. Considering living in Doral?   Call us!

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Miami Homes For Sale: “WOOLBRIGHT DREAM GREEN REALITY AWARD” Smathers Four Fillies Farm:GREEN LIVING FINALIST!

cimg0865Located in the heart of the Village of Pinecrest, this South Florida model of environmental Green Living feels something akin to living in a National Park!  Beyond bucolic, Smathers Four Fillies Farm is a rare community offering a unique concept, and an even rarer opportunity to live in a sustainably eco-friendly environment!   The link to an article in e-Veritas is below:

Smathers Four Fillies Farm  is among the three finalists for this year’s Urban Land Institute’s top awards recognizing sustainable developments and GREEN living Lowering home operating costs by $1,000.00 a year,   Four Fillies far and away exceeds Florida Energy Efficiency Code standards… by  20 to 30 percent… and offers a unique quality of life. cimg08911

ULI’s  GREEN AWARD recognizes projects that offer sustainable values,  have  minimal environmental impact,  improve quality of life, comfort, and health… and incorporate regenerative site development strategies, energy and water conservation, use of sustainable or renewable materials, and improved  air quality.

As one the “Florida Green Building Coalition” (FGBC) certified developments, Four Fillies includes abundant  healthy insulation, special air filtration, energy star appliances,  and continuous water conservation (through landscaping choices and choices of appliances and fixtures).  Impact glass aids in energy conservation,  facilitates hurricane preparation and adds an intrinsic safety feature. Paints have low levels of volatile organic compounds. Interior wall studs are steel. The homes are termite and mold-resistant.

Dual concentric horseshoes consisting of  30 homes on a portion of 32 acres of lush tropical foliage, were created in and around existing plant life, mature trees, and tropical foliage… minimizing impact on the natural fauna,  hammocks and spectacular surrounding grounds maintained and protected by Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens.

The  32 acre property, donated to the UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI  16 years ago, was a gift from long-time philanthropist and UM trustee Frank Smathers.  31 homes will grace the grounds including a residence that will be home to the President of the University of Miami.  21 acres will remain pristine … (apart from the natural hammocks, which are stunningly wild and utterly beautiful!) and preserve the history of the original Smathers stables, as seen here to the right. cimg07171

 A brilliant concept, with ingenious architectural finess and design, Four Fillies offers residents a unique opportunity to live and be a part of this eco-friendly community built by Breakstone, under the wing of MAMCO ‘s (Miami Asset Management Company)  Michael Katz and Patrick Burbank…  with  environmentally friendly urban design concepts from Donna Shalala , and backing and support from Evelyn Greer.

Only a handful of homes remain available in Four Fillies for purchase. Deed restrictions apply, as the property is affiliated with the University of Miami. Professors (adjunct, part-time, volunteer), deans, in addition to medical, research and recruits qualify under the deed restricted status.  Pricing ranges from $1.1  to $1.4  (11411 Smathers Circle and 11414 Smathers Circle) , and the gated communityis located is between Red Road and Old Cutler: with the entrance to Four Fillies on 11511 Red Road, Pinecrest, Florida.  For further information, call Vicki Restivo at 305 793 1365 or Alexandra Restivo at 305 632 0164.

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Pinecrest Homes for Sale: OPEN HOUSE – Four Fillies Farm – Be Part of the UNIVERSITY of MIAMI COMMUNITY

cimg0868A  private 32 acre University of Miami gated community will be open to the public this Sunday, May 17th,   from 2:30pm  until 5:00pm.  Nestled on grounds maintained by Fairchild Botanic Tropical Gardens  in the heart of Pinecrest, you are surrounded by natural hammocks, mango trees in full bloom, walking trails, and lush open spaces… in FOUR FILLIES 

 These 30  newly built homes (by Breakstone) offer phenomenal GREEN FEATURES to maximize quality of life, and minimize maintenance and costs.  Most are SOLD OUT. 

The community itself is deed restricted to approved University of Miami Faculty ( full-time, adjunct, medical research, and recruits), and it does offer a guaranteed buy-back program. cimg08731

If you are affiliated with the University of Miami,  the SAM PROGRAM applies to a number of the  homes  in Four Fillies.  If you are not affiliated with the University, this might be incentive to do so.  Ever considered  becoming a part-time lecturing professor? 

 There are only a handful of  HOMES FOR SALE within Four Fillies Farm.

 Come by the OPEN  HOUSE on SUNDAY MAY 17th from 2:30pm to 5:00pm.  It’s an opportunity to preview two special  Four Fillies homes, the grounds, pool area, tennis court, and get a sense of the community. 

OPEN THIS SUNDAY, May 17, 2009   are:

11414 Smathers Circle (a two story/5 bedroom for $1,400,000)   and 11411 Smathers Circle  (one-story /3 bedroom for $1,100,000). 

Please feel free to drop by! Entrance to the University of Miami’s Four Fillies property is on Red Road (SW 57th Avenue) at SW 111th Street (just south of Pinecrest Gardens). The community is situated between Red Road and Old Cutler Road.

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Miami Homes For Sale – Open House: 14810 SW 97 Ave, Miami Florida

dsc_0296Come preview this OPEN HOUSE, and feel as though you are living in paradise.  This lovely, fully updated, four bedroom home  in the Falls Area will be open for viewing this  Sunday, May 17th  (NOON – 2PM).  14810 SW 97th Avenue has all the bells and whistles, and is set amid tranquil surroundings,  on a cul-de-sac… you have a  heated pool with a waterfall, a sprawling, lush green tree-canopied backyard that feels like your own private park… with beautiful landscaping and outdoor lighting…a huge covered patio for entertaining, complete with a built-in bar, and sturdy treehouse.  Inside are a beautiful kitchen with natural light from the skylight, ample sized bedrooms,  closets galore, solid hardwood floors,  travertine, and spa-like baths. Listed for $572,000,  you may  fall head over heels.  Ready to move? Please come and take a look !

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Earth Week: 12 Best Tips to Green Your Home for Less

green_grass3Is your home eco-friendly and energy efficient, or are those hard-earned dollars of yours  going down the drain? 

In honor of Earth Day and Earth Week,  here are a handful of ways to  “Green Your Home For Less”:

Here are the 12  Top Eco-friendly Homeowner Tips to Green Your Home and Save Money:

 

 

#     Top Ranked            Eco-friendly Savings Solutions                                                                                                                 

1.     Window/Door           Impact glass/double-panes                                                                                                                                      

2.     Water Usage             Low flow toilet/showerhead                                                                                                           

3.    Water Efficient           Tankless water heater                                                                                                                         

4.   Appliances                    Energy Star Rated:Washer/Dryer/Dishwasher /Oven/Refrigerator                          

5.   Insulation                     Sprayed/Rolled/Radiant Barrier (attic,exterior walls)                                                   

6.   Pool                                Operate Pool pump  4-6 hrs                                                                                                              

7.  Electricity                      Energy efficient bulbs                                                                                                                      

8.  Heating/Cooling          High Efficiency A.C. Unit/frequent filter changes                                                              

9. Electric Usage                Reduce high energy culprits: Oven& Iron                                                                                

10.Renovations                  Incorporate recycled materials                                                                                                      

11: Shade                              Plant trees and  Install Awnings                                                                                                      

12: Back to Basics              Air dry dishes & clothes

Four Fillies Sign

Venetian

The author’s personal favorites, both green certified  and energy star rated Miami properties, are The Venetian Coral Gables Townhomes and Smather’s Four Fillies Farm in Pinecrest.

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