Miami real estate news and information

Archive for the 'MORTGAGE & FINANCING' Category

Renting vs Buying

If you’re in the market for a new home, you should know the differences in renting vs buying. Here is a chart, presented by Steve Harney, showing the cost of renting vs buying, historically and now. You’ll notice that the percentage of income needed to afford a median home is LESS than what you need for median rent!

Buying a home can be a lot of money up front… you’ll need a down payment – the lump sum due at closing, usually a percentage of the purchase price. It’s usually 20% down, but some lenders will do as low as 3.5%. You’ll have monthly mortgage payments, which include principal and interest payments, taxes and homeowner’s insurance. During the buying process, you will have inspections done and the lender will order an appraisal. There are closing fees such as state and local taxes, loan origination fees and recording fees, among others. Usually these closing costs run 2%-4% of the purchase price.

When you buy a home, you build equity(ownership) over time. You get tax breaks-like Homestead Exemption and some Federal Tax Exemptions. Besides the financial benefit of buying, you may also improve the home to your liking. You will need to be ready to maintain the home, or call services to help maintain, as you have no landlord to ask for help.

20161014-rent-vs-buy-kcm-768x994Renting ends up being less money up front…you usually need first month’s rent, and 2 months security deposit or 1 months security and last month’s rent. If it’s a condo, there is almost always an association which runs credit and background checks as well as an application fee. If it’s a home, the landlord will usually request credit and background check as well, but there is no association fee. You will incur the cost of movers each time your lease comes to an end, many times you will be paying utilities such as electric and sometimes the water bill.

If you’re renting, you’re paying the mortgage for your landlord but if you own your home, the money you spend every month goes towards paying off your mortgage and owning the home! If you’re paying for it, the mortgage might as well be your own.

Renting is great if you’re going to be in that area temporarily, or if you’re moving to a new city and aren’t exactly sure of where you want to settle down. It’s a great way to get a feel for a neighborhood and everything that goes with it. In rentals, the landlord is usually responsible for maintenance and repairs, and that’s a comfort to many people.

It all comes down to what’s best for you… do you have enough to cover the upfront costs of purchasing a home? Are you ready to be fully responsible for maintaining a home? Are you ready to move to a specific area and settle in or do you want to explore your options and test out living in an area before buying? These are some of the questions you need to answer in order to decide if buying or renting is for you.

Whether it’s renting or buying, the Restivo Hechtman Team is here to help. We can help you run some numbers, explore neighborhoods, lend an ear and ultimately find you the perfect home. Contact us today to get started.

To receive my blog posts directly to your inbox, click here to subscribe.

Appraisals NO LONGER Derailing Real Estate Transactions for 2 Reasons

Why are appraisals no longer derailing real estate transactions?   In South Florida there seem to be two reasons:

1)  Appraisals are coming in higher now than they have been in the past few years.

2)  Even when appraisals come in below contract price,  buyers seem to be braced and ready to scrounge up (or dig deep into their pockets) to fill in the gap  … because if they don’t,  someone else can … and will.

The real estate market is heating up  quickly here in Miami.  Properties are going under contract  within days or weeks of being listed – and many of them are closing very close to list price … if not higher!

Looking to buy/sell/or relocate?  We would love to help you!   Vicki Restivo and Alexandra Hechtman …   EWM REALTORS   305 793-1365 [email protected].    Call any time!


To receive my blog posts directly to your inbox, click here to subscribe.

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,  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]

To receive my blog posts directly to your inbox, click here to subscribe.

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 . 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].



To receive my blog posts directly to your inbox, click here to subscribe.

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 … … 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 »

To receive my blog posts directly to your inbox, click here to subscribe.

What’s the RIGHT Price to list and sell your House?

Whether you are buying or selling property,  knowing what’s it’s worth, helps.

Value is determined …

1) From an entirely emotional standpoint … (That would be the buyer who “falls in love and can’t live without”).

2) From an analytical standpoint …  (That comes from comparing it with recent relevant sales).

Properties that sold (and closed)  during the past 3-6 months… properties that are similar in size, year-built , with similar amenities and comparable lot sizes … properties within your (relatively!)  immediate neighborhood … those are the sales you’ll want to pull and compare.

You’ll want to price it (and market it!) with  3 objectives in mind:   Read the rest of this entry »

To receive my blog posts directly to your inbox, click here to subscribe.

Investor Visas

Foreign nationals wanting to buy property in the United States can do so.  Knowing which Visa to apply for (immigrant or non-immigrant) and deciding whether to invest as an individual or under an LLC or corporation are decisions that an attorney should advise you on.  The options for visas include: 

Immigrant vs. Non-Immigrant Visas

Business Visas
L-1A: Intra-company Transferee

Branch or Affiliation with US Corporation

Foreign Entity remains active

Accompanying relatives, spousal work permit

Investor Visas
E2:     Treaty Investor – Citizen of a Treaty Country
Accompanying relatives, spousal work permit


EB5:   Investor – Immigrant Visa
($1,000,000/$500,000 & 10 employees)

H-1B:  Professional Skilled Worker Visa

There are several ways to purchase property in the United States: Sole Proprietor/Corporation /LLC.   As real estate professionals, Alexandra and I would be happy to work with you, and recommend top local real estate attorneys who can advise you as to the benefits of each of your options.  Contact the Restivo Team at EWM Realtors, International  :  Vicki and Alexandra Restivo  [email protected]  305 793-1365   … or connect with us here.

To receive my blog posts directly to your inbox, click here to subscribe.

Reverse Mortgages Can Be Used to Buy a Home

You may be able to Use a Reverse Mortgage to Buy a Home

The benefit to you is that  (rather than you paying a monthly mortgage to your lender)  a Reverse Mortgage pays you to stay in your house … A reverse mortgage allows you to receive cash payments which from the equity in your home.

The requirements for a Reverse Mortgage are:

*    Homeowner must be 62 or older

*    No credit score requirement to qualify

The benefits of a Reverse Mortgage are: Read the rest of this entry »

To receive my blog posts directly to your inbox, click here to subscribe.