Coral Gables

Coral GablesIncorporated in 1925, Coral Gables or “The Gables” is one of Miami’s oldest planned communities. Famous for its Mediterranean-styled architecture, Coral Gables is home to 42,871 residents (according to the 2004 Census estimate). Referred to by many as the “City Beautiful,” it is an appropriate nickname for the city of Coral Gables.  The Gables has an abundance of historical landmarks, elegant residential areas, shopping districts, and it is home to the University of Miami campus.

Another attractive feature that supports Coral Gables’ regarded title is its vast amount of immaculate landscaping and the city’s charming tree canopy. In fact, more than 50,000 trees shade the city’s 13.3 square miles and line the city’s bike paths and walking trails, its 22 parks and 33 public tennis courts, as well as two public golf courses. Coral Gables is also home to 36 miles of pristine waterways and contains multiple boating facilities to take full advantage of its abundance of water.

Famous for its grand Miracle Mile, Coral Gables replicates a European Old World style setting with its outdoor cafes and international specialty boutiques. The downtown Coral Gables area provides residents, business people and visitors with an impressive shopping and dining experience amongst its 140 upscale dining establishments and shops in the midst of a beautiful tropical setting, including the Village of Merrick Park.

Coral Gables Food Wine Spirits Festival

Gables-Food-Wine-SpiritFor all you fans of the Coral Gables Food Wine & Spirits Festival, it’s that time of year again!  The popular food & drink festival is returning in November.  Information below:

  • What – Coral Gables Food, Wine & Spirits Festival
  • When – November 11 & 12, 2016
  • Where – Alhambra Circle, Coral Gables
  • How – get full info here

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Coral Gables’ Carnaval on the Mile

carnaval on the MileThe city of Coral Gables is hosting it’s 9th annual “jazztronomical arts festival” this weekend. If you’ve never experienced it, you’re missing out!

The Carnaval on the Mile is well regarded as a fun time for all and a premiere showcase of Latin Jazz. The event takes place on the famed Miracle Mile in Coral Gables the first weekend in March. Miracle Mile is the mile from LeJeune Road to Douglas Road on what would otherwise be Coral Way. It’s a mile long walk of exclusive shops, restaurants, cafes, the Miracle Mile Theater and more.

Fun on the MileThere’s plenty for the family to do starting Friday, March 6th and the activities continue on Saturday and Sunday. Art displays, sculptures, crafts, lots of food and drinks and lots of live performances all weekend long.

The event is free as are all the performances.

Wear comfy shoes and get ready to shake el eskeleto!


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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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Home Buyer Activity Increases in Miami

HouseI have to apologize to my 7 (he he) loyal readers for not writing in ten days. This blog truly is kept up by me and not a ghost writer. Yes, believe it or not there are real estate bloggers out there who aren’t really writing their own stuff. Gasp!

Anyway, I am not here to trash those agents who would go against the nature of blogging and hire their writing out. Nor am I here to claim that blog purists insist “you’re not a blogger unless you’re doing your own blogging.” Whatever.

Read the rest of this entry »

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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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