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2009 (2)
2008 (9)
2007 (6)
Tuesday, April 7, 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 5, 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 5, 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: Thursday, October 21, 2021


Simple Ways An HOA Can Go Green

While there is continuing debate about global climate change, one >

Homeowner associations often control a variety of systems, processes, equipment, designs and materials. In all HOAs, there are opportunities to improve energy efficiency which often produce economic benefits as well. This is a win-win: doing well by doing good Here are some ways an HOA can go green:

Eco-landscaping.nbsp;

This involves a combination of careful plant and tree selection, turf reduction, chemical fertilizer elimination and water management. The days of broad green spaces are making way for a myriad of options that are more water and earth friendly. Selecting pest resistant and drought tolerant native species saves on maintenance, water and pest control. Fitting sprinkler systems with rain override sensors reduces water. Reducing turf areas reduces mowing and the pollution generated by gas powered equipment.

Donate It.

Many areas have building product and material recycling centers which will accept lumber, doors, windows, cabinets, sinks, carpet and appliances. If you are renovating your clubhouse and have an option to donate used material and equipment instead of dumping, do it. Craigslist.com offers a free way to dispose of building materials.

Offer Recycling.

Some jurisdictions have mandated recycling as part of the trash collection process. When recyclables are separated from trash, the trash load is reduced and trash collection costs less. With less trash, the landfill load is reduced as is the contamination of soil and ground water. Even where recycling is provided, compliance lags due to consumer laziness. The HOA can remind residents of their civic duty and the obvious benefit of lower trash collection costs.

Where government recycling requirements are absent, the HOA can create its own system by establishing a centralized recycling station for glass, metal, paper and recyclable plastics that is serviced by a contractor or committee. While individuals can haul their own recycling, the easier and cheaper it is to do, the greater the compliance. Centralize and economize.

Manage Energy Better.

Take full advantage of power and water saving devices. LED Light Emitting Diode use minuscule amount of energy compared to other forms. Add solar activated exterior light controls so lights burn only when needed. Replace high flow plumbing fixtures with low flow models. Insulate water pipes and heat ducts.nbsp;

Recycled Paint.

This option is becoming more prevalent in metropolitan areas. Leftover latex paint is screened and blended into a popular pallette of colors and resold at a reduced price. For options, Google "[your state] recycled paint".

Go Solar.

Many states offer incentives for adding solar power generation or solar hot water systems. If your buildings have flat roofs or good southern exposure, consult with local solar system providers for options. For HOAs with pools, solar water heating can often pay for itself quickly and significantly lower energy consumption. .

Packaging Reduction.

This is an often overlooked strategy in reducing waste. Packaging can range from none like buying food in bulk to Fort Knox like hard shell plastic wrapped around electronics to reduce theft. Consumers generally have a range of packaging choices in many products. Opting for the one with less packaging is a conscious decision to help green the world.

Make it Fun

The intriguing thing about going green is there are so many ways to pull it off. The HOA can encourage the process by offering prizes for effort and creativity. Those that step up are often willing to help recruit and encourage others. The news media loves to run stories about grass root green efforts. Make your HOA a standout and be seen as green.


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Secured vs. Unsecured Debt: How Lenders See Them

A mortgage is a type of loan to finance real estate. The real estate can be a residential property or it can be a commercial one. The terms mortgage and loan arent necessarily interchangeable. Yes, a mortgage is a loan but a loan isnt necessarily a mortgage. One of the primary differences is whether or not the loan is deemed secured. What does the term secured mean? It means the lender has placed a lien on the item being financed. This collateral reduces the amount of risk to the lender. Should the borrower ever default, the lender issuing the secured note and recover the asset via repossession or foreclosure. Someone for example with an automobile loan who goes a few months without making a payment might soon discover their car is no longer in the drivewaythe lender took it back. Further, if the current value of the asset isnt enough to pay off the existing loan balance, the borrower is still on the hook for the remainder.

This leads us to the terms secured and unsecured debt. An automobile loan is an easy way to understand security. If payments are made on time each month, or at least during that month, the automobile stays in the driveway. That said, most notes have language that allows the lender to charge a late fee if the payment is not received by a certain date. A note might have a payment due date on the 1st of the month but if the payment is not made by the 15th, a late penalty fee will be tacked on.nbsp;

And because the automobile loan is secured, if the payments are not made, the lender will take back the car. When the automobile loan is ultimately paid off, the lender will >

Mortgages are also a secured debt. In the same manner, the lender has a legal interest in the property while the mortgage is still in place. Each month as a mortgage payment is made a portion of the payment goes toward the lender for interest due and a portion goes directly to the outstanding loan balance. A mortgage is indeed a loan, but an automobile loan is not a mortgage. The terms are not interchangeable.

An unsecured loan is one where there is no collateral attached to the note. A common unsecured loan can be debt acquired with a credit card. Someone with a credit card can go out and buy a new suit and make monthly payments on the card. Using this example, if someone can longer make the payments on the card and cant make any financial arrangements with the card issuer, the issuer can send the outstanding balance to a collection department or agency and ultimately charge off the balance altogether. With unsecured debt, the lender wont try and recover the business suit. There is no lien attached. This process works with any type of unsecured debt.


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September Real Estate Roundup

Freddie Macs results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that "Mortgage rates rose across all loan types this week as the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield reached its highest point since June. Many factors led to this increase, including the Federal Reserve communicating that it will taper its support of the capital markets, the broadening of inflation and emerging energy supply shortages which compound other labor and materials shortages. We expect mortgage rates to continue to rise modestly which will likely have an impact on home prices, causing them to moderate slightly after increasing over the last year."

30-year fixed-rate mortgage FRM averaged 3.01 percent with an average 0.7 points for the week ending September 30, 2021, up from last month when it averaged 2.87 percent. A year ago, at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 2.88 percent.

15-year FRM this week averaged 2.28 percent with an average 0.6 points, up from last month when it averaged 2.17 percent. A year ago, at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 2.36 percent.

5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage ARM averaged 2.48 percent this week with an average 0.3 points, up from last month when it averaged 2.42 percent. A year ago, at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.90 percent.


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