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2009 (2)
2008 (9)
2007 (6)
Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Understanding an REO

With today’s considerably lower Miami Beach real estate prices, the large inventory of foreclosures and bank owned property the question becomes more of what kind of property is worth investing in than anything else.  For purposes of this article, we’ll focus on bank owned properties, also known as REO (real estate owned) property.

A home becomes real estate owned if it doesn’t find a buyer during a property auction.  Since banks aren’t necessarily designed to function as Miami Beach real estate property-owners, they’re usually very eager to get rid of them which can result in considerable discounts.  However since an REO is not the same thing as a foreclosure, lenders can still earn a profit from them so don’t expect as deep of a discount.

A perk of buying a Miami Beach real estate REO is that there’s much less of a risk of dealing with liens, taxes and other unforeseen costs that come with a foreclosure since lenders will take usually deal with them before the sale is closed.  However an REO can still be in bad condition like a foreclosure so it remains important to get a home inspection or check the home out yourself, lenders are not at all obligated to make any repairs on the property but they will allow you to back out if something is seriously wrong.

 
Posted at 10:24:21 AM

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Examining the Interior of a Home

If you’ve been browsing through Miami Beach real estate on the internet, you’ve more than likely come across numerous resources thoroughly explaining how important it is that you carefully consider where the home is located, the values of neighboring homes, etc.  If you’ve done your homework, perhaps it’s time to narrow down your assessment to the home you may soon be living in by giving the interior a meticulous examination.

Perhaps you’d like to start off with the electrical wiring.  Depending on your familiarity, you may wish to leave this to a professional or have it done as part of the home inspection report, should you request one.  Always check this part out regardless of whether the home was built ten years ago or five years ago.

The plumbing is a little easier.  Leakage can often be discovered just by taking a look behind sinks since that’s the spot where mold has the best conditions for accumulating.  A leaky sink could be an indicator of bad pipes and thus plumbing, something you likely want to bring to the appropriate person’s attention before signing off on the dotted line on your Miami Beach real estate purchase.

Not all homes come with an addict but if there is one, you may wish to make it your first stop.  If you want to examine the roof, the attic is the best spot to do so.  If there’s wood that shows wear and tear, this could lead to leakage later on.

 
Posted at 11:00:29 AM

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Compiling Comparable Sales

With the advances in technology and the widespread availability of the World Wide Web, there is more real estate information available than ever.  Realtors have a number of resources available to help them with their seller and buyer assistance efforts and among these, it’s important to have a good idea of average sales prices in any given neighborhood, officially known as comparable sales and often referred to simply as comps.

Depending on the state where the realtor is doing business, obtaining information on comps can be done by simply heading over to the local courthouse and browsing through public records or reading newspaper listings to get a glimpse of recent sales figures.  However this method means that such services need to actually be provided in order to make use of them.

The most readily available resource is the internet since there are many websites available which can be used for finding comparable sales information while removing the need to do a lot of unnecessary and possibly fruitless legwork.  Keep in mind though that there is no guarantee as to how current this information may be.  A similar approach is to subscribe to service companies which can mail or offer this information via other means besides the internet.  Even so, the same problems of encountering outdated information are still there.

The MLS can be extremely useful and if the person using it is already a licensed realtor then they have access to a wealth of information on multiple listings which is more often than not kept up to date.

At the end of the day however, perhaps the best way to have the sharpest knowledge on comps is to take the self research approach and focus on a certain neighborhood and staying abreast of sales.

 
Posted at 4:43:12 PM

Friday, October 31, 2008

Existing Home Sales Rose Nationally Last Month

While the economy seems bleak with the stock market fluctuating daily and a steady amount of major companies going bankrupt or merging, the real estate market seems to be headed down a different path. Month-after-month the real estate market has slight improvements. Experts think the worst declines in the real estate market have already past while the economy still has a while before it stabilizes.

Recent reports from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) show an increase in existing home sales. Home sales were up 5.5 percent with a total of 5.18 million units sold across the country in the month of September which was higher than the previous month by 1.4 percent. Lead economist for the NAR Lawrence Yun suggests this is part of “a sales turnaround which began in California several months ago…” and “is broadening now to Colarado, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri and Rhode Island”. 

The cause of this influx of real estate business, according to NAR President Richard F. Gaylord is “low home prices and low interest rates”. The nearly thirty percent discounts in home prices in major cities and rural areas have attracted buyers back to the real estate market in certain areas of the country. Richard F. Gaylord is optimistic about recent gains and thinks the real estate market is on its way to recovery.

Lawrence Yun, while also optimistic about the recovery of the real estate market, warns of “market disruptions” on the road to real estate market recovery. The credit markets have a significant impact on the real estate market and as they experience tough times it may have averse effects on the real estate market. But that aside, the NAR is predicting that the worst for the real estate market is over and that it will recover sooner than the economy itself.

 
Posted at 10:53:28 AM

Friday, September 05, 2008

Environmental Awareness

Global warming, damaging fuel emissions, they’re all more of a concern on people’s minds these days as they become more and more aware of their long term effects on the environment and how important it is to try and incorporate “green practices” into your daily lifestyle whether that means doubling up your recycling efforts or reducing the amount of time you spend sitting idly in traffic.

In real estate, many developers have taken into account how they too can make homes “greener” and many have made use of natural resources to create environmentally friendly condo buildings like Ten Museum Park which uses its glass design to allow tons of natural sunlight to come into the building, thus reducing the need to flip on artificial lights, at least during the day.

The Ten Museum Park condo is only a small part of a bigger picture.  Its home, downtown Miami is recognized not only by its sweeping business and condo skyscrapers, but also the numerous and elaborate light displays that bring the city to new life during the evening.  Obviously all this visual eye candy, while certainly nice to look at does not do the environment any favors.  Thus, to reinforce the message of how important it is to turn off nonessential lights whenever possible, Ten Museum Park and all those other high rises in downtown Miami’s will turn off their own unimportant lights on March 29 in a global effort to encourage environmental awareness.

Regardless of whether you live in a Miami single family home or a luxury condo, the efforts required by you to help out the environment even a little are that simple: turn off lights when you leave a room, drop a plastic water bottle or soda can into a recycling receptacle instead of the trash.  It may seem useless but it’s always good to know you’re doing your part in making the world you share with everyone else that much more pleasant.
hat require little to no repairs.  Don’t get caught up in the fierce competition without having a limit of how far you’re willing to bid, always remember the winning bid is only a component of the other fees that follow.  As you learn the ropes, you’ll eventually get a feel for how real estate auctions work and who knows, if you become good at it, they may become your preferred method of buying Florida real estate.
 

 
Posted at 2:50:44 PM

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

International Florida Real Estate Assistance

To some degree the foreclosure situation has transitioned from how to prevent foreclosures to how to get rid of the hundreds of foreclosure properties already available on the market.  South Florida homes are among the highest in foreclosure filings, contributing to an already overcrowded housing glut.  The answer to appeasing the situation may lie beyond the U.S. borders.

Strategic Real Estate Advisors is an asset management firm situated in London that plans to raise $1 billion dollars in order to purchase luxury property like Miami Beach oceanfront condos currently owned and being sold by the banks through the Florida Prime Residential Opportunity Fund.

It’s interesting to note that not only is Strategic Real Estate Advisors located outside of the United States, the majority of the funds which will go towards the purchase of all these luxury properties will be coming from well to do investors and funds located throughout Europe and the Middle East.  Recent reports have consistently pointed towards international investors and buyers as integral towards maintaining interest in Florida property investments and sales.

Critics may see Strategic Real Estate Advisors’ initiative as ineffective since they won’t be making a profit.  The firm actually plans to buy and then hold onto these properties for next six years or so, a move that may cost considerable funds as the market fluctuates but which should bring considerable profit by the time it decides to sell them off as a residential property investment or something else entirely.

Within a seven year timeframe home values and the real estate market in general will certainly be in much better shape and buying activity will likely have increased so in a sense Strategic Real Estate Advisors are providing a worthwhile short and long term solution.  Is this just another flash in the pan or is it a viable strategy?

 
Posted at 12:30:39 PM

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Homes Are Selling Again

Amidst the doom and gloom of housing market reports comes a recent report suggesting the real estate market is showing strong signs of life. In these tumultuous times it's easy for people to think that the economy is headed for recession or even a crash. Despite current market reports that suggest we are beginning to see slow signs of recovery there are still those who would rather build a bunker under their homes to prepare for an apocalypse then invest in real estate.

The last half dozen months have not seen much progress in the way of homes sold. The highest percentage of drop in home sales occurred during that period leading many to believe that the market would eventually begin to recover—and it did. In April homes sales increased slightly, which wasn't enough to ease all tensions in the housing market but enough to show that the market is on the right track to recovery. 

Property value also rose slightly across the nation showing encouraging signs of the real estate market's enduring strength. Though the median home value is comparably low to just four years ago the fact that property value is stabilizing across the country is a sign that things will return to normalcy sooner than later. When property values experience steady rise it will be more practical for people to sell homes and to convince investors to buy homes. 

So, how should one react to recent reports of trends reversing in real estate? Real estate transactions rising are a sign that demand for property is still alive. Prices are almost at a low enough level that many people sitting on the fence on whether or not to invest will soon become active. As sales increase, so will home values and soon real estate investments will become stable enough to return to business as usual.

 
Posted at 10:09:56 AM

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Updated: Tuesday, November 21, 2017


Disruption and Accelerated Change In Real Estate

In this time of celebrated disruption and accelerated change, the context for everything, including home buying and selling, is facing disruption and change, globally and locally.

Corporations and governments are struggling to anticipate impact and benefits from disruptive technology while they try to manage change on many fronts at once. How successful they are in your area and in the industries that employ you and your neighbors will determine how sustainable your community, life>

The question that demands an answer is, "Whats that got to do with me and my real estate - my present and future home?"

The recent Toronto Global Forum mdash; the 11th organized by the International Economic Forum of the Americas mdash; hosted representatives from 54 countries, including 130 expert speakers and more than 2700 participants. Many were high-profile leaders from governments, academia, public and private sectors, and civil society. The Forum focused on major issues >Redefining Globalization in reaction to significant political and economic volatility around the world.

Redefining globalization involves transformation of the concept to "promote an atmosphere of shared prosperity," according to opening remarks by Louis Audet, President and CEO of Cogeco. Many Forum speakers provided insight into leaders responsibility to ensure the economy works globally and benefits all.

"If you do not think technology is affecting your business, youre dead," said Mark Wiseman, Senior Managing Director at BlackRock Inc., during a panel discussion titled Global Economic Outlook: The Search for Growth. "[Technology] is affecting business around the world."

Wiseman illustrated his point by >

"The value in the bicycle is not in the bikes or in the value in environmental pressure off mass transit," explained Wiseman. "The value is in data as owners know where every [bicycle] is ridden and by whom. Investors and marketers are willing to pay a lot for that data. Owners are not in the bicycle business, but in the data business."

The Forum, a meeting of ingenious, globally-focused minds, proved that if we are not receptive as individuals, little or no progress will be made as this new industrial revolution rolls over us all.

Speaker and participant discussions at The Forum revealed 5 challenges mdash; problems and opportunities mdash; for corporations and governments facing technology-induced transformational change that can be mirrored in our lives:

1. Redefining Context Jim Barber, President of UPS International, explained that UPS now has 450,000 employees and automation has not hit their sector yet. "If we rest for more than a minute, we would be dead."

To illustrate the disruptive effect of technology, another speaker used the example of the 40,000 elevator operators in New York City who were displaced by push-button automation in 1915. Then, he posed a key question, "As corporation and political leaders, how will we treat those who will be left behind?"

  • How prepared are you for Automated Intelligence AI and machine intelligence changes in your industry and workplace?
  • How sustainable is your income?
  • How could you use your real estate as a financial partner if your income were disrupted?

2. Redefining Risk Originally, the benefits of globalization "took for granted the world would come closer together." The key risk for the economy was Wall Street as was evident from the financial collapse of 2008. Now, Brexit and similar geopolitical events represent risk. Many still perceive risk in an archaic way, but risk is now arising "from behavior and geopolitical reaction." The world always faced disruption, but only in one sector at a time, like the textile revolution. Now, there is disruption in every sector at once. Unprecedented disruptions are changing the way we work, live, play, dreamhellip;.

Which risks would threaten real estate ownership, either present or future, for you?

3. Redefining Change "Change is 10X faster than in the Industrial Revolution, 300X the scale, and 3000X the impact of the industrial revolution," reported Patricia Meredith, Fellow at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto. "These trends are gaining magnitude and impact to create monumental change. Combine this with climate change...and this is a truly complex and uncertain environment."

One suggestion for harnessing technology lies in being courageous, innovative, and curious.

If this unprecedented change is forcing corporations and governments to make decisions in spite of significant uncertainty, dont be surprised that individuals will share the same fate.

  • What decisions might this change force on you?
  • What role or roles could your real estate play in solutions and opportunities for sustaining your chosen life>

4. Redefining Corporate Thinking Corporate thinking is notoriously short-term while that of consumers and other investors can be the opposite. Wiseman shared a corporate decision-making study which reported that "55 of CEOs would forgo a project if it meant they would miss their quarterly stock value by 1 cent."

The cost to society of corporate short-term thinking is estimated at a trillion dollars. A shift to long-term thinking would have significant impact.

"The issue is systemic... Short term behavior caused the economic collapse, but in the decade since, thinking is more short-term," said Wiseman who explained that the neglected long-term thinking includes issues regarding the environment and the future of displaced employees.

Are you a short-term thinker when it comes to real estate? Real estate buyers who concentrate on the fleeting-glory of decor over the long-term benefits of location and quality of construction are short-term thinkers.

5. Redefining Paradigms During the "Navigating a World of Disruption" panel, Jonathan Crane, Chief Commercial Officer of Ipsoft, attributed the escalated, expansive growth of mega companies like Google and Amazon to the fact that they "did not do paradigm shifts, but paradigm leaps"

Cranes perspective on AI is that it will remove drudgery and monotony from the workplace, but not jobs. Work and careers will be transformed, expanded, or elevated. Disagreeing with the stated figure of "47 of jobs being at risk to technology," Crane stressed that transformation will hit 100 of jobs.

  • If your job were transformed by technology would you still be qualified to receive that income?
  • Real estate location has long been valued based on its proximity to "the best schools." That trend continues, but now "best" means forward-thinking, technology-based education that creates valued talent. When you buy real estate mdash; even if you dont have school-aged children mdash; do you seek out property near the best schools to take advantage of their market-value boost?

Holly Benson, Managing Partner, Infosys Consulting Inc. discussed the tendency to "rush to automation and deal with people later." She shared two insights that ring true in even the most intense vortex of change:

  • "Never attribute to malice what can be attributed, in the full sense of the word, to ignorance."
  • "Never assume that people automatically know what to do just because they have a title."

Ongoing Resources:

  • In future columns, well continue to explore technology, disruption, and much more to discover what this all has to do with you and your real estate - present and future.
  • Check out the 2016 Global Forum: "Explore New Markets At a Global Forum"

> Full Story

2017 NAR Profile Can Help Agents Find Buyers And Sellers

We have noted that The 2017 National Association of REALTORSreg; Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers contains valuable information for sellers and their agents as to how buyers find the homes that they ultimately buy. The profile also contains valuable and interesting information as to how both buyers and sellers find the agents that they ultimately use. 87 of buyers used an agent in purchasing their home. That number has increased steadily since 2001 when the figure was 69. 7 of buyers purchased directly from a builder, and 6 bought directly from an owner. Of the 87, how did they find their agent?

Not a lot of "agent shopping" takes place among buyers. 70 interviewed only one agent, 17 interviewed two. So how do you get to be on the interview list? Referrals are far and away the dominant factor. 42 of buyers chose to work with an agent who was referred to them by a friend, neighbor, or >This might seem like discouraging news for new agents. "What chance do I have of connecting with a buyer if I havent already built a referral base and a list of past clients?" Here, a new agent wants to remember that "friends, neighbors, or > Moreover, there are, just as there always have been, other ways of coming into contact with buyers who may choose to work with you. Some ways work better than others.

6 of buyers found the agent they used as a result of an open house. Another 9 found their agent through a web site. Interestingly, only 2 found the agent that they worked with as a result of walking into or calling an office and meeting the agent who was on duty at the time. In general, "floor time" is not very productive.

Agents who do want to get connected with buyers can prepare themselves so that a contact is more likely to lead to a >Sellers are just as likely as buyers to work with an agent. 90 of sellers had their home listed on MLS. But sellers, too, dont do much "agent shopping." Similar to buyers, 74 interviewed only one agent; just 15 interviewed two. Again, referrals and past business >Other seller contact sources drop into single digits. Interestingly, compared to buyers at 9, only 5 of sellers found their agent through a web site. Again, there are venues that agents who lack a referral or past client list might want to think about. Open houses account for 4 of the contacts that eventuate into a working >Would-be listing agents would do well to note that the most important factor -- 34 -- in choosing a sellers agent was reputation. Sure, its nice to have a track record of sales activity, but there are other aspects to reputation as well. 18 of sellers said that honesty and trustworthiness were the most important factors in considering an agent. Things like attitude and integrity are also components of ones reputation. Agents who want to build a business should pay attention to such things. Word gets around.

Also See: 2017 Homebuyer Survey Contains Valuable Information For Agents And Sellers
> Full Story

DIY Solutions To Your Flooring Problems

True story. The wood in our living room is scratched and worn, the dark tile in the kitchen imparts a sort of cave-like feel, and theres unfinished concrete in several of the bedrooms thanks to foundation repair that was done shortly after we bought the house. We could have had the four burly men that peeled away the 10-year-old carpet to jackhammer into the floor lay it back down, but, instead, we took that opportunity to rid ourselves of the it and thanked the guys for sparing us the cost of a dumpster. The idea was to get new floors in soon after, and, well, three years laterhellip;here we are. Still considering our options.

Add to that picture a couple of bathrooms that were tiled in 2004 when textured beige-y brown tiles were popular they were, right?, and we are facing multiple rooms that need new floors. The entire first floor needs new floors, if were being honest.

And while we have examined many, many really, it seems like hundreds of options over the last couple of years, nothing has stuck well enough to actually get to it. Part of the issue is that we dont want to hand over the installation to someone else. While that would probably be the most practical option, its not the most economical, and we tend to like to do things by ourselves. You, too? Then come with us on this journey to find the best DIY solution to our and your flooring dilemmas.


southernhospitalityblog.com

Painted wood

Frankly, anything that starts with "Sand surface" is an immediate turnoff. If they ever made a National Lampoons Renovation Vacation movie, there would undoubtedly be a scene where Chevy Chases Rusty Griswold lost control of the electric sander and major havoc ensued. Thats pretty much what we envision happening around here if a big, hulking sander is involved. That notwithstanding, painted wood floors do look pretty cool.


sherwin-williams.com

SF Gate has a good tutorial for painting heavily trafficked wood floors that involves really good preparation so if youre a step-skipper, maybe not for you and high-quality primer, but, honestly, were skeptical about smooth floors that look like the above.

But, were loving the rustic beachy-ness of this look. Our shabby floors are already part of the way there, and if the dogs scratch the surface, it just adds more texture, right?


desmetoxbow.com

Painted tile

We first saw blogger Remington Avenues tutorial for painted floors in 2015, which should tell you how long weve been tossing around ideas for our floors. She crafted a stunning painted tile floor using chalk paint and a stencil that created a trendy Moroccan cement tile look.

Stencils have become more readily available and in greater variety since then, and her new tutorial is even more interesting because she used luster epoxy paint, like you would use to paint a garage floor. That spells greater durability, and since multiple children and multiple dogs live in this house, finishes that cant endure kid feet and dog paws are a NO GO.


remingtonavenue.com

Should we do it? This would be a jackpot for that cave-like kitchen floor and beige-y brown bathroom tile floors that look just like her "before" floors, ironically.

Floating floor

First, lets get This Old Houses take: "Its hard to imagine a house being cozy without the warmth of wood flooring. The quickest way to get new wood underfoot is to install a floating floor. Unlike traditional solid-wood strips, a floating floor isnt nailed down. Instead, the planks are either glued or snapped together. The planks go down fast, over virtually any material - concrete, plywood, sheet vinyl, even ceramic tile. They have a complete tutorial here.

Now, our thoughts: The advantage to using a floating floor is that its definitely DIY-friendly in comparison to numerous other options because it requires no demolition other than removing baseboards - something we wouldnt have to do if we were painting the existing surfaces, BTW. We would have to put down plywood on the concrete surfaces to make everything flush, but thats not a big deal. The continuity that would be created by laying down one surface throughout the first floor of the house would be a dream given how broken up it currently is. The downside: its a pricier solution than paint, and the price, not surprisingly, goes up with the quality. Whether you are looking at using luxury vinyl planks, laminate, or engineered wood, its an investment.

Carpet tiles

We just havent been able to get rid of the idea of a soft, cushy carpeted surface in the bedrooms, but were not about to try to put in wall-to-wall carpet on our own. "I wouldnt recommend any homeowner try to install their own wall-to-wall carpeting," said Popular Mechanics. "First, just getting the carpeting into the room is a huge job. Second, precisely cutting it to size takes experience - one wrong cut can ruin the entire piece."

The potential answer: carpet tiles. Oh, we know. We say "carpet tiles," you say "ugly office building," right? Fortunately, carpet tiles have come a long way in terms of design. The carpet tiles below from Flor and these that are are our favorite newer >

The best part: theyre super easy to install. "One 3-inch-diameter dot is placed at each corner of a carpet square, with the sticky side up," they said. "The next square is set in place tight against the first square, and then its pressed down onto the adhesive dots. In the end, the result is a floating floor of carpet squares all stuck together at the corners by adhesive dots."

Actually, this may be the best part: Remember those previously mentioned kids and dogs? They make stains. Lots of stains. If one area of your wall-to-wall carpet gets stained beyond repair, youre out of luck. If the same thing happens to a carpet tile, you rip it up and set another one down. Tempting. Very tempting.


Pinterest.com

> Full Story



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