Southwest Dade

Foreclosure Deal Townhome in South Dade

Have you been looking for a great deal on a foreclosure property in the Miami vicinity? Have I got a deal for you. Although this home was built two years ago, it’s like new as it was never lived in. It was purchased by an investor and he never lived in it or rented it. He was trying to flip it but fell behind on his payments and got foreclosed on.

This great townhome is just blocks from the SW 112th Avenue exit on the Florida Turnpike in South Dade. The area has several brand new communities as well as some new schools to accommodate the growth. It is just minutes from Southland Mall, Target, Publix and many other shopping facilities and restaurants on U.S. 1.

This foreclosed property has 4 bedrooms, 3 full baths, living room dining room and kitchen. One of the bedrooms and baths are downstairs for extra convenience. There is a fenced yard big enough for Fido and a brick-pavered driveway big enough for 2 cars. It is listed at the great price of $104,900. Unbelievable price for a 4-bedroom home! This same property sold for $262,900 when it was built back in 2006.

Call today before it’s gone! 786.581.1517 Click here to see more details on this great property.

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Miami Bank Owned Properties On The Rise

As you can probably tell by my absence, I have continued to be busy both in the Redland and Miami in general. I prefer to use the word swamped. Something about being so close to the Everglades. =)

The last time I posted was 3 weeks ago. I know, I know, posting twice a month to a real estate blog is not really doing anyone any favors. I am working on being more consistent, but the bottom line is, if it’s a choice between working or posting to my blog, the work wins (although the truth is, if it were left to whim, the blog would win, but a girl’s got to set some priorities, right?).

So what’s been keeping me so busy? I’ve still got my Sellers and Buyers (yes they are capitalized on contracts and on my blog) and now I am running full steam ahead with bank owned property listings. Bank owned properties (or REO’s which stands for Real Estate Owned – a term used by banks to refer to their housing inventory) are homes which the bank has foreclosed on and now find themselves in the unsavory spot of having to do something with…namely get rid of them and not lose their shirts in the process.

In Miami and throughout the nation, many, many adjustable mortgage loans have been “adjusting” and in the process folks are finding themselves in mortgages they can no longer afford. They default on the loan and the bank starts the foreclosure proceeding. If the homeowner can’t keep up (or chooses not to) keep up with the payments they will be foreclosed on. By the time banks foreclose on properties most homeowners have vacated the home. But sometimes they haven’t (or have unsuspecting tenants in there) and then eviction proceedings start. Once the property is empty, the bank can concentrate on getting it sold.

We’ve been seeing lots of corporate and bank owned real estate listings on the MLS since last year but lately the volume is growing by leaps and bounds.

Something else we’ve been noticing is that the banks are pricing aggressively. Simply put, they price it cheap so it will sell NOW. Many factors are involved in the pricing of properties for a regular sale. It’s not any different for foreclosed properties. With the banks knowing that there are other banks out there pricing low to sell, they have no choice but to do the same. And please don’t think that this is happening only in blighted areas, or areas with a huge inventory of new construction bought by investors who haven’t been able to flip them. The very same thing is happening in luxury markets and established neighborhoods such as Coral Gables, Pinecrest, Palmetto Bay and others. It’s happening to varying degrees in just about every neighborhood.

So what does this mean to you? Well, that depends. If you are a Seller, it means you better be very motivated to sell. This is no time to be “testing the waters” to see if your custom home will sell at that price you have set in your head. It won’t. Speak to a knowledgeable real estate agent and get the truth about your competition. If there are bank owned homes in the area and you really don’t need to sell your home now, don’t put it on the market. You will only be competing with banks who have no emotional attachment to a property. Their only goal is to sell it, and most times, sell it in 30 days or less. The best way to do that is for them to price it below other similar homes. And they do.

And if you are a home Buyer, oh lucky you! Have I got great news for you. This is one of the best times to be a Buyer in Miami. Corporate and Bank owned homes can be found in just about every price range of homes you have been looking at, whether a small condo for the college kid to the executive with a growing family looking for an estate home in Palmetto Bay. The deals are out there. What sort of deals? Well, let me tell you about only 3 of the ones I’ve seen in the last month that made my heart go pitter-patter:

**The first one that made me flip was a 3/2 house in the Redland sitting on just over a true acre (which is 43,560 SF, not the acre wannabe known as a Builder’s Acre which only has 30,000 SF) with a 30? x 40? greenhouse with full workings inside, as well as a separate 20? x 30? poured concrete pad that was about 12 inches thick (did you know concrete price is determined by the thickness they pour? Twelve inches is about 3 times more than the cheapest out there), sprinklers throughout the acre, fully fenced and the piece-de-resistance that made me go ga-ga… a 30? x 40? half-grotto/half-paradise gardens which had been carved into the limestone beneath. I could see that whoever had carved this out had done so lovingly and with a definite goal in mind: to create something of beauty that would offer tranquility and the ability to get away from the rush of the everyday right in their own backyard. Steps had been carved in the stone leading to lower levels. Paths were carved which took you around the resulting project. Planters carved out of rock were filled with palms, still healthy yet waiting for someone to come and enjoy them again. There was a carved bench where I could picture sitting and enjoying the Koi which were surely planned for the lowest level carved out of the rock. One of the people I showed this home to suggested filling this “hole” in with dirt and I secretly cringed inside. It was blasphemy to me. Someone had spent a considerable amount of time, effort and probably money creating this. I could see the vision. All this was offered at a price of $250,000. An acre in the Redland without a home on it, presently sells for anywhere from $180,000 to $220,000, depending on the location. this home is located more in the higher range. So you were basically getting the home and everything else for about 30 grand. It sold in 12 days. Yes, even in this market.

**I saw a 2/2 townhome in Homestead which had originally sold for $205,000 two years ago on the market for $105,000. Most regular sellers are trying to get $160K for theirs thinking that taking a hit for $45,000 is a big deal (and it is) and along comes a bank and puts one on the market so far below theirs that they are forced to just wait ’til the bank-owned one sells and hope that another one doesn’t pop up. Good luck.

**Yesterday I saw a gorgeous estate home in Palmetto Bay sitting on a lot of over 15,000 SF. The home itself has over 3400 SF of living space, 4 bedrooms, 3 baths, a desirable hidden 2-car garage, a swimming pool and hurricane shutters. The inside is a bit dated with original dark wood kitchen that would more than likely be renovated by new owners, but right now is usable. The home is listed in the low $400’s in a neighborhood where other homes are listed between $600,000 – $899,000. Momma didn’t raise no fool. I know a bargain when I see one. This home is a steal, even with the small repairs it needs.

I could go on and on, but I need to take my Buyer to South Beach to look at some condos (hi Emily!) If you need help with finding foreclosures in Miami, the Redland, Palmetto Bay, Homestead or just Dade county in general, please contact me. I see them all the time and am happy to keep an eye out for you. =)

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Short Sales In Miami-Dade County

short salesIf I had to take a guess as to what percentage of Miami-Dade County MLS listings are short sales and bank-owned properties I would guess 30% overall.* I think the percentage may be even higher in Homestead. There are communities in Homestead where 60 or 70% of the listings are distressed properties.

What do you, as a buyer, have to keep in mind when buying a short sale in Miami? First of all, you need time. If you’re in a rush and want to close in 30 days on a property, short sales are not for you. It can take a bank 3-4 weeks just to let you know that they have not accepted your offer and you may submit a higher one if you please, thank-you-very-much.

Another thing to keep in mind is that banks will often have the listing agents ask for “highest and best offers” from all prospective buyers whenever there are multiple offers on a property. So if you make an offer on a short sale, you may just have your agent call you and let you know that the bank wants your “highest and best offer.” No, the bank is not playing games with you to try and get more money from you. Yes, they want as much money as they can get for the property. So why don’t they just counter offer? It’s very simple…if the bank has 3 offers on the table they cannot counter-offer to all 3 because if all 3 prospective buyers were to accept the counter offer the bank would now be legally bound to sell one property to three different parties. They avoid this by just asking for everyone’s “highest and best offer.” Look deep within your heart (or your financial statement) and give your highest and best offer to begin with. I’ve seen buyers lose out on great properties over $2,000. Shame.

Keep in mind that even if you offer the listed price, you may not have your offer approved by the bank. Why is this? Because often banks will not set an “approved price” on a short sale. They will simply say to the distressed homeowner “in order for us to consider a short sale you have to bring us a contract.” Yes, this seems like a total waste of time and it can be for the poor buyer who presents the very first offer the bank has looked at. If the property is listed at $160,000 and a buyer offers the full amount only to have the bank get back to them a month later and say, “sorry, we won’t sell for less than $185,000,” I wouldn’t blame a buyer for thinking “well, why the heck didn’t you just set that price to begin with and list it as such?”

So how can you get around this? Have a knowledgeable agent on your side. Real estate agents working for buyers are usually paid by the seller, so a buyer has nothing to lose and everything to gain by using one. An agent worth her salt will inquire as to whether a list price has been approved by the bank (rare but it happens on occasion). If a list price has not been approved, she can pull comparables and come up with a number she thinks the bank may be willing to accept. There is no set formula for this. It has to do with inventory in the area, sales prices, list prices, how quickly the inventory is moving, how long the property has been listed and the list price history and more. The amount that is owed to the bank may or may not come into play but an agent can usually look up the mortgage amount and take this into consideration as well.

Another thing to keep in mind is that many agents do not want to work with short sales. The extra time involved puts a damper on things, yes, but this isn’t the reason they shy away from them. They sometimes stay away from short sales because they have no guarantee that they will even be paid for their efforts. You see, the same way that a bank has to approve the sales price, they also have to approve the commission paid to the real estate agents. Most banks know full well that there will more than likely be two real estate offices involved and have calculated the agent’s commission into the bottom line. But this isn’t always the case. I have heard of cases where agents who worked hard to bring a qualified buyer had to share a very tiny commission with the listing agent. So ask your agent up front if they are willing to work with short sales.

Remembering that the stronger your offer, the better your chances are of getting it approved, will serve you well. An offer is strong based on many factors, not just the sales price: the amount of your good-faith-deposit; the amount you are looking to finance; are you pre-approved?; how soon you are willing to close; the repair limit on your offer, if any; inspection periods; if you’re asking for seller concessions, etc. Again, an experienced and knowledgeable agent can help you structure the strongest offer possible.

Some short sales may require different contracts be used. This isn’t always the case. It’s actually the exception, not the rule. Whereas after a bank has actually acquired a property by means of a foreclosure and the sale is no longer a short sale but an REO sale (Real Estate Owned) chances are that they will require the use of certain contracts and addenda. Why does this matter? If the use of particular documents are required, your agent may not be familiar with them. I always suggest that a real estate attorney be used, but when unfamiliar documents are required, even more so.

A final word of caution, just because a property is being short-sold, doesn’t mean that the price is a bargain. Remember that the bank is short selling simply because the market value has gone down. So if they are owed $250,000 but a property is now worth only $200,000 paying a bank $200,000 is no better bargain than paying a regular seller $200,000 for a similar property. In fact, dealing with a regular seller may be best because the lender’s approval isn’t required in the mix. Having said that, I have to state that I have seen some incredible bargains on short sale homes, particularly in the Homestead area. So again, ask your agent to “pull the numbers” for you and help you determine if a list price is a good deal or not.

If you have any questions regarding short sale homes available in Miami-Dade county, please feel free to get in touch with me.

*this is only a guess on my part, based on my daily use of the MLS and the high number of distressed properties I see listed. I have not done a tally of distressed properties in the local MLS.

Spoken by Maggie Dokic | Discussion: 1 Comment »

Keeping Kids Safe In Miami

Keep Kids SafeThe “Be A Street Smart Family Event” will be taking place at the Miami Metro Zoo on March 1st between 10:00AM – 2:00PM.

The program is sponsored by Ana Rivas Logan of School Board District 7 and is geared to teach children how to be street and school smart as well as internet smart.

Some of the things you can find at the event:

  • Fingerprinting
  • Basic Self Defense Classes
  • Stranger Danger
  • Safety Classes for Parents
  • Anti-Bullying Classes
  • Internet Safety Classes
  • Abuse Prevention Classes

Keeping our children safe is a top priority. Stop by on March 1st and get a helping hand. The event is free but does not include admission to the zoo. Make it a fun day at the zoo and take advantage of this child safety event.

Miami Metro Zoo SW 152 St & 124 Ave. 305-251-0400

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Florida Property Tax Reform – Vote NO To Amendment One

Vote No To Amendment One

I have been meaning to write a post regarding Amendment One and the confusion that is attached to the Florida property tax reform issues. This is not that post. This is a reprint of an email reply I sent to a friend and colleague when she asked for my support of Amendment One. I figured I had already written it and included so many great links, why not copy it and post it here? I am still planning the post but this issue is too important to wait a couple more days until I have the time. Here’s the email reply to my friend as to why I will vote NO to Amendment One on January 29th:

I am voting NO on this. There is much confusion on what this amendment represents and this is not our only chance for tax reform this year. This is direct from the Sun-Sentinel property tax blog (link below) : if it does not pass, other options are already in the works.

The Florida Taxation and Budget Reform Commission is currently meeting to decide whether it wants to put any amendments on the November 2008 general election ballot.

One proposal being considered by the commission would eliminate most school property taxes (which comprise about 40 percent of the average property tax bill) and replace the lost revenue by expanding the state sales tax to services and goods that are now exempt, such as accounting and legal services.

There is also a citizen petition drive led by Cut Property Taxes Now, Inc., which is collecting voter signatures to get an amendment on the November 2008 ballot that would cap property taxes at 1.35 percent of value.

Lastly, the Legislature convenes on Tuesday, March 4, in its regular 60-day session. At that time, lawmakers could consider putting another amendment on the November ballot.

As for local government overspending, the Legislature last summer met in special session to pass legislation mandating that most cities and counties roll back their spending between 3 percent and 9 percent. Those reductions should have been reflected on the property tax bill you received last fall unless local government officials voted to override the mandate.

—Linda Kleindienst, Tallahassee Bureau Chief

Now this is me again =)

If amendment 1 passes it would likely represent an average of $240/yr savings on our taxes. In the last 6 years taxes have pretty much tripled (ie $1900 is now $5700) and all they can come up with is a $240 cut?

I would suggest the following links for anyone who wants to learn more about whats going on: I am signing this petition. It has NOTHNG to do with Amendment 1. (according to Tax Watch, the amendment amounts to a tax cut, not true tax reform, which is sorely needed) IF YOU READ NO OTHER LINK, PLEASE READ THIS ONE. A special report from Florida Tax Watch. According to their thorough analysis œAmendment 1 on property taxes is likely to do more harm than good. Read it and find out why. ask questions, get answers -very eye opening as to why we should vote NO. Free, Non-Partisan source for constitutional amendment information

Ill get off my soapbox now.

This is a really important issue to every one of us and it actually hurts to think that I belong to 3 4 associations that are supporting this amendment which can hurt us in the long run.

VOTE NO ON 1/29!!!

Disclaimer – I am posting this as the opinion of Maggie Dokic, not of EWM Realtors. EWM Realtors has not expressed endorsement of my opinion. Just clearing that up for anyone who may be reading. =)

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Very Last Day To Register To Vote

Uncle Sam Wants You To VoteIf you’d like to vote in the upcoming Presidential Preference Primary election on January 29th and you are not registered to vote, today is the last day you can register.

You’ll have to do it in person.

Fill out the voter registration form and take it with proper ID to your local driver’s license office, a voter registration agency, an armed forces recruitment office, the Division of Elections, or the office of any Supervisor of Elections.

Do your part!

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These articles are not intended to give legal or tax advice, and you should consult your attorney or financial advisor for additional information.

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