Why should I own my home? – A short confessional by a veteran Real Estate agent.

Every year I have a selfish existential crisis: “Am I doing work that is important enough? Do I enjoy it enough? Is this what I was put on earth to do? Am I sacrificing a career in my true calling (music) for a career in real estate? Why do I put myself through the torture of real estate market fluctuations, fickle & unethical clients, agents, banks, almost no days off, etc.?”
Until last week, I didn’t have good answers to these existential “first world” questions.
Enter “Mrs. Portman” (name has been changed for privacy reasons). Mrs. Portman is 90 years old. I met Mrs. Portman while I was out showing properties about 10 years ago. She approached me for help finding another rental property because her landlord at the time was receiving foreclosure notices at the property Mrs. Portman was living in. Mrs. Portman was paying rent to a landlord who was pocketing the money and defaulting on the mortgage. Mrs. Portman was worried that the bank would foreclose on her landlord and kick her out of her rental.
I helped Mrs. Portman find a small “affordable-by-Miami-standards” one bedroom apartment in a rental community near a grocery store and near my parents who I knew would check in on her. She still had enough money to supplement her $700 a month social security income and pay for her rent and utilities. She did not share with me at the time, exactly how much money she had left in savings to live off of.
Mrs. Portman worked as a legal secretary in the best law offices in Miami in the 1950’s – 1980’s and belonged to multiple professional associations and country clubs. She met the Kennedys, Johnny Carson, Barbara Walters and the like. When she divorced, her family home – a 7 bedroom home in Coral Gables, was sold. From that time on, Mrs. Portman rented an apartment. She retired in 1989 with what she thought was enough in savings to supplement her social security income for the rest of her life. She saved 15-20% of her income from each paycheck in the form of savings accounts and CDs. Mrs. Portman decided not to buy a property, but instead, continued to rent. Back in 1989, $700 a month in social security was enough to pay the rent on a nice condo in a good neighborhood, plus utilities. She did not qualify for any help from her spouse’s social security because she had not been married for 9.5 years.
My 2005 Mrs. Portman, still in good health, realized she would outlive her savings. She began trying to apply for senior housing and affordable government housing only to be turned away because she still had some assets (a little bit of cash in the bank). By 2012, two years after I helped her with her request to find a legitimate rental, she told me her situation was getting dire. We began going around to low income housing buildings and trying to apply. She was either told she had too many assets or that the waiting lists were closed/buildings were full. We were given the run-around at every agency we visited. We even drove to one with the correct address on a mailbox in front of an open field. AN OPEN FIELD. Where the government housing agency was supposed to be. We contacted over fifty low income housing sources. It became apparent that no agency would help unless the applicant was on the verge of homelessness or had/was a minor child.
Fast forward to last week (2015), Mrs. Portman had to write her December rent check. This last check wiped out the last of her funds. She had already sold her only valuables (jewelry she wanted to be buried in) and that money also went towards her rent. We, once again, drove from agency to agency, building to building. All of them were full and had a 5-7 year waiting list or closed waiting lists. We visited Social Security, The Housing Authority, The Department of Children and Families… we managed to get help with food, but that would not help with the $400 deficit in housing expense not to mention utilities. Each agency told us that we had to find housing that was within her budget. As a real estate agent in Miami, I can tell you there are NO condos available for under $700 a month. Actually, there was one, and it was in a run-down building in a crime ridden neighborhood. Not a place for a 90 year old lady, or for ANYONE. I then looked in the entire tri-county area. There was ONE other option in an over 55 community in Broward County, but they wouldn’t accept her because she could not prove income of $30,000 a year.
We went to another Housing Authority office to see if they could help. They told us they are only now getting to the waiting lists from 2010 and that the waiting lists are all closed. Section 8 is closed. A waiting list might open next year, but they have to get through the waiting lists from 2010 to 2015 before they even begin considering anyone from a 2016 waiting list. They said “what about a reverse mortgage?” Being a realtor, I know a reverse mortgage is almost never a good idea. In this case a reverse mortgage would have saved the day. Except, a reverse mortgage is NOT an option because Mrs. Portman does not own any real estate.
At the end of my rope, I set up a Go Fund Me fundraiser and have raised enough money to buy us a couple of months to find a housemate living arrangement for Mrs. Portman. The idea is to have her living with another elderly female or two – a la “Golden Girls”.
During our wild goose chase of trying to obtain housing assistance from the government for Mrs. Portman, she broke down in tears in the car. She said to me “I don’t know why I am going through this. I saved all my life. I would rather be dead than end up in my 90’s and in this situation.” Then she paused and said, “I think the reason this is happening to me is so I can be an example to you – so you never, ever end up in a situation like this. Be sure to save even more than I did while you are still working. I never want this to happen to YOU dear, and if I can save you the suffering that I am going through, then I understand why God is allowing me to continue to live.” I cried with her for a while.
And then it dawned on me – this is not just a lesson to me, it is a lesson to anyone and everyone I can reach with Mrs. Portman’s story. Own your home. Do not rent – BUY. Buy and keep your property long term. It will ride out any market fluctuations if you keep it long enough. Mrs. Portman bought her home in the 1950’s for about $7,000. That home today would be worth about $1,000,000. Do you think that would have made a difference in her life today?
Before last week, I helped people who WANTED to buy real estate. I helped people who had already decided they wanted to buy a home. Now, I am on a mission to save people from the fate of Mrs. Portman.  If you are reading this, you might be my friend or you may have googled Miami real estate agents. I don’t care who you are – do what you have to do to BUY your home. Then, do what you have to do to PAY IT OFF. Then, hold on to it, rent it if you have to, so that when you are elderly, you have an option of last resort.
A month ago, I viewed my career as a way to make a living. It has its pros and cons. I viewed it as a somewhat fulfilling career that pays the bills. Now, I realize my career is not only about making a living and is not only about my own personal fulfillment, but about helping others make a LIFE and a FUTURE. I have developed a specialized skill set to help as many people as I can get to old age as homeowners. I must pass on Mrs. Portman’s lesson. Do NOT spend your life savings on rent. Own your home. Whether it is with me or with another agent, owning your home is the best thing you can do for your future. Blessings to you.  If you’d like to donate to help “Mrs. Portman” please click here to access the Go Fund Me account.

Nine at Mary Brickell Village – New Miami Towers Series

Located in the heart of Brickell, above the Publix at Mary Brickell Village, Nine is a 35 story luxury condominium tower. The building features one bedroom to three-bedroom condos and penthouses. Features include:

– Porte-cochere entrance with valet parking

– Secure parking garage for self parking

– Double height marble lobby

– Electronic access for amenity areas

– 24 hour security and concierge

– Complimentary Wi-Fi for all common area

– Enclosed dog run

– Direct private elevator access to Mary Brickell Village, LA fitness, and Publix

– VIP access to the grand Bay Beach club on Key Biscayne

– One acre elevated amenity deck

– Yoga studio

– Fitness center

– Lounge

– Children’s play area

– Zen Garden

– Fire pit

Prices start from $380,000’s for 1/1s

To $700,000’s for premium and penthouse units.

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I specialize in Miami Real Estate , in particular Downtown, Brickell, Midtown, Coconut Grove, Coral Gables, South Beach & surrounding areas. I value technology, communication & your time.

If you would like to meet with me regarding a purchase or sale of Real Estate in Miami, you can contact me on my cell 786-663-4382 or at paula@greatmiamihomes.com.

Greatmiamihomes.com seeks to keep the public informed about Miami real estate market trends , new development projects, neighborhood information and, of course, great homes and condos for sale in Miami!

Brickell Heights – New Miami Towers Series

Brickell Heights is another project by Jorge Perez ie The Related Group. This project is 73% sold as of 3/12/2014*

The project consists of two towers that will be located between Mary Brickell Village and Brickell City Centre. The first level consists of a 30,000 square-foot Equinox gym featuring a giant mural by artist Fabian Burgos.

Prices range from $420,000 to $1,293,900.

– Design by Arquitectonica
– Double height lobby featuring original art installations and designed by David Rockwell
– Rooftop pool with views of Biscayne Bay and Miami skyline
– Eighth floor pool terrace including a lap pool
– Movie theater room
– Two social entertainment rooms
– Kids club
– 24 hr concierge and security
– Self parking and valet parking available

I specialize in Miami Real Estate , in particular Downtown, Brickell, Midtown, Coconut Grove, Coral Gables, South Beach & surrounding areas. I value technology, communication & your time.

If you would like to meet with me regarding a purchase or sale of Real Estate in Miami, you can contact me on my cell 786-663-4382 or at paula@greatmiamihomes.com.

Greatmiamihomes.com seeks to keep the public informed about Miami real estate market trends , new development projects, neighborhood information and, of course, great homes and condos for sale in Miami!

*according to the in-house broker associate for Brickell Heights.

Echo Brickell – New Miami Towers Series

Echo Brickell will be the first of its kind luxury building in the Brickell submarket of Miami. Just south of the Four Seasons Hotel on Brickell, Echo will be one of the tallest most cutting edge buildings to grace our skyline. The wave-like façade of the building ties in perfectly with the futuristic aesthetics of Brickell Citi Centre And other forward thinking architectural “works of art”.  The robotic parking system will make your jaw drop as will the stunning glass enclosed pool deck in the sky!

The address of Echo Brickell condo will be:

1451 Brickell Ave., Miami, FL 33131

Echo Brickell Rendering

Short list of features (there are many more):

-180 luxury condominium residences

-57 stories

– 21 penthouses

– 635 feet tal

– Developer PMG (Property Markets Group)

– Conceptual Design by Carlos Ott

– Interior Design Carlos Ott and Yoo

– Robotic parking

– Architects of Record Cohen, Freedman, Encinosa

– Groundbreaking Spring 2014

– Apple® home technology in all residences

 

UNITS AVAILABLE:

Echo Upper Penthouses: 4 Bedrooms/4.5 Baths + Den + Maid’s Quarters (Carlos Ott Penthouse)

Echo Lower Penthouses : 3 Bedroom / 3.5 Baths + Den + Maid’s Quarters

3 Bedroom/3.5 Baths + Den

3 Bedroom/3.5 Baths

3 Bedrooms/3 Baths

2 Bedrooms/2.5 Baths + Den

2 Bedrooms/2.5 Baths

2 Bedrooms/2 Baths

1 Bedrooms/1.5 Baths

 

I specialize in Miami real estate, in particular Downtown, Brickell, Midtown, Coconut Grove, Coral Gables, South Beach & surrounding areas.  I value technology, communication & your time.  If you would like to meet with me regarding a purchase or sale of Real Estate in Miami, you can contact me on my cell 786-663-4382 or at paula@greatmiamihomes.com.

Greatmiamihomes.com seeks to keep the public informed about Miami real estate market trends, new development projects, neighborhood information and, of course, great homes and condos for sale in Miami!

PAULA BARRERA

A modern agent for the modern client.

786.663.4382

paula@greatmiamihomes.com

 

Fall Market Update by EWM President Ron Shuffield

Our Real Estate market has had a slight increase in inventory (a much needed increase IMHO).

Three of my buyers who were having trouble getting under contract have finally been able to buy and my sellers who sold this summer are glad they did!

I expect a little bit of a slowdown over December/January and a kickstart to 2014 beginning in Feb/March.

Inventory in the high end condo market will increase as 150 new projects are planned in south Florida with about 23,000 condos coming up for sale.

I specialize in Miami Real Estate , in particular Downtown, Brickell, Midtown, Coconut Grove, Coral Gables, South Beach & surrounding areas.  I value technology, communication & your time.  If you would like to meet with me regarding a purchase or sale of Real Estate in Miami, you can contact me on my cell 786-663-4382 or at paula@greatmiamihomes.com.

Greatmiamihomes.com seeks to keep the public informed about Miami real estate market trends , new development projects, neighborhood information and, of course, great homes and condos for sale in Miami!

PAULA BARRERA

A modern agent for the modern client.

786.663.4382

Lo último en préstamos para unidades de condominio en edificios en Miami, Florida

Tengo muchos clientes interesados ​​en condominios en Miami Beach y en las zonas del centro, Midtown y Brickell. Por desgracia, la compra de un condominio en Miami tiene sus retos debido a las restricciones crediticias de los edificios.

Una hermosa vista desde el Icon South Beach cortesía de SEF MLS y listado por Zilbert Properties. Precio: $ 3.750.000

Si usted tiene 25 % o más de inicial para dar por un condominio, entonces usted puede considerar cualquier edificio, ya que los bancos aprobarían un préstamo “sin revisión”. Esto significa que el banco únicamente revisará al comprador y no al  edificio que se decide comprar.

La mayoría de nosotros, sin embargo, no tenemos más de un 25 % de pago de sobra, por lo tanto, tenemos que solicitar un préstamo REVISADO (ya sea una revisión limitada o una revisión completa) – es decir, el prestamista tiene que revisar la situación jurídica y financiera del condominio antes de aprobar el préstamo.

Para comprar un condominio con 5 % o 10 % de inicial (o cualquier porcentaje por debajo de 24,9 %), el comprador debe pagar a la asociación del condominio del edificio del cual la persona está interesado para obtener un “cuestionario de condominio” lleno. Este cuestionario de condominio le informa al prestamista todo lo que necesita saber para poder emitir una aprobación de préstamo.

Es posible que usted tenga un crédito impresionante, buenos ahorros, un buen ingreso, etc. y todavía le sea negado un préstamo debido a los requisitos de revisión del edificio de la entidad crediticia.

Los Cuestionarios de Condominio normalmente hacen preguntas tales como:

– Número de unidades alquiladas (pista: Fannie Mae acaba de cambiar las reglas de éste, y si las compañías de seguros hipotecarios estan de acuerdo, las relaciones de alquiler altas no serán una razón para rechazar su préstamo) Solía ​​ser si más de la mitad del edificio estaba alquilado, el préstamo no era una opción… sin embargo , esto SÓLO cambió hace poco. Ahora, si usted vive en la unidad (si la unidad va a ser OCUPADA POR EL DUEÑO) el número de unidades alquiladas en un edificio no importa. Aunque debe mencionárselo a las compañías de seguros hipotecarios… ¡Vamos a tener que mantener un ojo en esto!

– Alguna persona posee más de una unidad,  en caso afirmativo, describa (pista: si ALGUNA persona o entidad posee más del 10 % de las unidades en el edificio, el mismo no cumplirá con los requisitos de préstamo)

– ¿Cuántas unidades están a 30 días de atraso en el mantenimiento de las cuotas? (pista: no puede ser más del 15 % de las unidades)

– ¿Existen cargos especiales pendientes? (pista: como comprador, es de su mejor interés saber esto antes de comprar, no sé si haría que el banco rechace o simplemente analice aún más los criterios de su calificación – pregúntele a su banco, yo tengo un banco increíble, si necesita uno).

– ¿Está la Asociación de Condominios involucrada en alguna litigación? (pista: si hay alguna litigación relacionada con defectos de construcción, el prestamista puede tener algún problema con la concesión de cualquier préstamo “revisado”)

– ¿Cuánto tiene el edificio en reservas? (pista: por lo general, los prestamistas buscan el 10 % de los fondos recaudados dirigidos a las reservas)

– ¿Qué tipo de seguro tiene el edificio y por cuál cantidad?

generalmente los cuestionarios de condominios tienen alrededor de 35 preguntas, algunas más importantes que otras. Las mencionadas anteriormente son las más importantes y suelen ser la causa de que muchos compradores no puedan comprar con un pago inicial bajo.

Siempre es útil trabajar con un agente de bienes raíces que conozca los edificios y sepa hacer estas preguntas antes de presentar una oferta. Yo contacto a la asociación del condominio cuando visitamos la unidad y trato de obtener las respuestas de las preguntas “importantes” frente a mi cliente, en lugar de hacer que mis clientes gasten $150 en un cuestionario de condominio de todos los edificios que estén interesados. Algunas asociaciones son agradables y te responderán completamente, otras no dirán nada y tendrás que presentar un cuestionario y una cuota.

Me especializo en las bienes raíces de Miami, en particular en Downtwon, Brickell, Coconut Grove, South Beach y otras áreas circundantes. Valoro la tecnología, la comunicación y su tiempo. Si desea ponerse en contacto conmigo acerca de una compra o una venta de un inmueble en Miami, puede comunicarse conmigo al 786-663-4282 o a paula@greatmiamihomes.com.

Greatmiamihomes.com se encarga en mantener al público informado sobre las tendencias del mercado inmobiliario de Miami, el desarrollo de proyectos, información de los vecindarios, y, por supuesto, fabulosas casas y condominios en venta en Miami.

PAULA BARRERA

Una agente moderna para un cliente moderno.

786.663.4382

 

Votantes eligen reurbanizar la zona frente a la bahía en Coconut Grove

Como residente de Coconut Grove, creo que esta noticia resulta interesante para la comunidad. A pesar de que los pesimistas creen que va a convertir a Coconut Grove en un ambiente comercial similar a Bayside con mucho tráfico, creo que la reurbanización del área de 7 acres frente a la bahía destacará la historia de la aviación de Coconut Grove con la restauración de los dos hangares de Pan Am, modernizará la zona a través de una nueva y elegante área de tiendas/comedor, proporcionará opciones de estacionamiento alternativos, atraerá a más residentes y visitantes a los parques/áreas verdes (también dispuesto para su revitalización), y creo que también mejorará el carácter viejo y bohemio de Coconut Grove.

reurbanizacion de la zona de la bahia de Coconut Grove

 

La gente vendrá a comprar en el nuevo distrito y con sólo unos pocos restaurantes en la zona frente a la bahía, caminarán a Cocowalk o probarán los restaurantes que están a lo largo y cerca de la avenida principal, como Lulu’s, Greenstreets , The Sandbar, Le Bouchon , Calamari , Jaguar, y otros más. Esta inversión en la costa de Coconut Grove aumentará el interés en la zona y potenciará a las tiendas y a los restaurantes locales. Con todo lo que ocurre en Miami – la explosión del área del Upper East Side/Edgewater, el nuevo Museo de Ciencia Frost junto con el Museo de Arte Perez en el centro de la ciudad, los planes para la reforma total del centro de convenciones de Miami Beach – Miami está experimentando un renacimiento, y personalmente, creo que es hora de que Coconut Grove pase de ser un diamante en bruto a una valiosa joya pulida, preservando su historia y raíces bohemias.

Haga clic aqui para leer mas sobre el asunto.

Me especializo en las bienes raíces de Miami, en particular en Downtwon, Brickell, Coconut Grove, South Beach y otras áreas circundantes. Valoro la tecnología, la comunicación y su tiempo. Si desea ponerse en contacto conmigo acerca de una compra o una venta de un inmueble en Miami, puede comunicarse conmigo al 786-663-4282 o a paula@greatmiamihomes.com.

Greatmiamihomes.com se encarga en mantener al público informado sobre las tendencias del mercado inmobiliario de Miami, el desarrollo de proyectos, información de los vecindarios, y, por supuesto, fabulosas casas y condominios en venta en Miami.

PAULA BARRERA

Una agente moderna para un cliente moderno.

786.663.4382

 

Current Fannie Mae Approved Condos in Miami and Miami Beach

Currently, there are only FIVE Fannie Mae approved condos in Miami/Miami Beach

What does this mean?  This means you can purchase a condo in these buildings with relatively little hassle from the banks because Fannie Mae has already reviewed and approved the buildings.

For example, if you wanted to purchase a condo in a building not on this list, and if you wanted to buy with 10% down, the bank would scrutinize the legal and financial standing of the condo.

If the building IS on this list, the bank will only scrutinize the buyer’s qualifications and the appraisal report.

Eden House Entire Project/ Miami Beach 3/15/2013 9/15/2014

FL Nine45 Jefferson Condominum Entire Project/ MIAMI BEACH 8/6/2013 5/6/2014

FL NORDICA CONDO Entire Project/ MIAMI 8/13/2013 5/13/2014

FL Ponce Tower Entire Project/ MIAMI 5/17/2013 2/17/2014

FL South Two Seven Lofts Entire Project/ MIAMI 6/4/2012 12/6/2013

That’s all folks!

I specialize in Miami Real Estate , in particular Downtown, Brickell, Midtown, Coconut Grove, Coral Gables, South Beach & surrounding areas.  I value technology, communication & your time.  If you would like to meet with me regarding a purchase or sale of Real Estate in Miami, you can contact me on my cell 786-663-4382 or at paula@greatmiamihomes.com.

Greatmiamihomes.com seeks to keep the public informed about Miami real estate market trends , new development projects, neighborhood information and, of course, great homes and condos for sale in Miami!

PAULA BARRERA

A modern agent for the modern client.

786.663.4382

 

A modern agent for a modern client.