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First Aston Martin condo breaks ground in Miami

Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Aston Martin Residences, the first condo project branded by the luxury car maker, has broken ground in Miami.

The 66-story building at the mouth of the Miami River will have 391 units. It’s backed by G and G Business Development, headed by CEO German Coto. His family has large real estate and agricultural holdings in Argentina and they are self-funding the project.

The Coto family made headlines in 2014 when it acquired the 1.25-acre site at 300 Biscayne Boulevard Way for $125 million. Coto said they didn’t know the concept of the project back then, but they knew it was the perfect location to build a large, high-end building. Aston Martin would be the perfect partner to convey the type of luxury he wanted to deliver, Coto said.

Alicia Cervera, head of the project’s brokerage Cervera Real Estate, said the project is 30 percent pre-sold with over $160 million in sales volume. Buyers pledged 50 percent deposits that will be made during the construction process. Given that Aston Martin Residences didn’t fully start sales until March, she said that’s great progress.

Most condo developers in South Florida don’t break ground until they reach 50 to 60 percent pre-sales, but the Coto family is not like most developers.

“With or without sales, we were going to build this,” Coto said. “We have the capital to move forward.”

Coto said the family is self-funding the project and hasn’t asked for a bank loan, although it might in the future. It’s very important to him that he meet the timeline of breaking ground in October 2017 - one year after announcing the partnership with Aston Martin - and complete the building in 2021.

Aston Martin VP and Chief Marketing Officer Simon Sproule said the Coto family came to the company’s factory in the United Kingdom two years ago with the proposal to do the brand’s first condo project.

“The test was would it be genuinely Aston Martin,” Sproule said. “The same people who design our cars are involved in the design of the residences and common areas.”

The furniture and fixtures in the building’s common areas, such as the lobby, spa and gym, are the same materials used in Aston Martin vehicles, he said. That includes carbon fiber, leather from a special stock of cattle and wood. Much like when a driver buys an Aston Martin car, buyers of this condo can customize their residences with accessories designed specially by Aston Martin, Sproule said.

In addition, the buyer of the penthouse would receive an Aston Martin Vulcan valued at $2.3 million and about 40 buyers of larger units would receive custom-made Aston Martin DVIIs.

“The relationship will continue after the handover of the building,” Sproule said. “They are buying into the world of Aston Martin."

The condos are priced from $700,000 for a studio to $50 million for a penthouse. With sizes from 700 to 19,000 square feet, condos in Aston Martin Residences are among the most expensive on a price-per-square foot basis in downtown Miami.

While she was initially concerned about selling a building with among the highest prices in the market, Cervera said buyers have responded very well because they recognize the value and exclusivity of the Aston Martin brand. All of the building’s amenities, from the lobby to the gym to the infiniti pool on the 55th floor, will carry the Aston Martin shield, she said.

Other amenities will include a spinning studio, a boxing gym, a virtual golf room, an art gallery, two movie theaters, a salon and a barber shop.

“It’s a very select group of people who understand the quality of what Aston Martin makes,” Cervera said.

The biggest markets for buyers have been Brazil and Mexico, Cervera said. Most of them are fans of luxury cars, she added.

Architect Luis Revuelta said he designed Aston Martin Residences with large wrap-around balconies to give residences extra living space. He positioned the building to take advantage of the views of the Miami River and Biscayne Bay.

Coastal Construction is the general contractor and Desimone Consulting Engineers did the site engineering, which included designing 12-foot-in-diameter structural columns to support the building.

By Brian Bandell – Senior Reporter, South Florida Business Journal


8 Seductive Shades for Your Living Room

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The shade you choose to paint your living room walls really comes down to the atmosphere you're hoping to create. Whether you want a bright, cheerful space, a tranquil haven or a moody and intimate chill-out zone, these gorgeous rooms offer some inspiration.

Embrace gray. Gray is such a popular shade, and this room illustrates why we continue to love it - it's chic and relaxing at the same time. Gray also looks great with most other hues, so it's a versatile choice for a living room. Here, the soft gray walls help the jewel tones of the pink and yellow pillows stand out, and they also emphasize the crisp white of the wooden shutters and window frames.

Be bold. If you love brights and their energizing qualities, there are ways to embrace them without overwhelming a space. Here, for instance, the bright coral is tempered by the neighboring pale pink wall and the wall of white storage. The designers also made the look work by opting for mainly black and white accessories, then adding just a few complementary zingy colors via the artwork and pillows.

Add a wall of sunshine. Another way to nail the bold look is with the tried-and-true fireplace-wall tactic. In this room, sunshine yellow brings the feel-good factor. Although the yellow makes a huge impact, the adjacent white walls keep things light and airy.

Stick to neutrals. This inviting space has been given a warm glow with a combination of plywood cabinetry and off-white walls. The room is quite open with glass on either side, but the warm caramel tones throughout the space help it feel snug and inviting.

Accents of black and gray work well in the modern space, as they help balance out the pale brown hues.

Get the moody blues. Dark blue walls are a great choice for a living room, as they make a space feel more intimate and also form a dramatic backdrop for artwork and furniture. The room here is open and vast, but the deep blue walls create a snug atmosphere. The sleek lines and light colors of the furniture stand out beautifully in front of such a contrasting shade. Want to up the cozy factor? Consider painting the ceiling the same color.

Paint it black. Black walls in a living room might seem like a bizarre idea, but this space shows how it can work. Here, the far wall is a matte charcoal, and the cabinetry behind the sofa is an even darker shade. The colors work because they're teamed with natural brick and wood, as well as soft red patterned fabrics, all of which add layers of texture and warmth to the matte.

Keep calm with green. For a super tranquil living room, consider painting the walls a soft pale green. The walls here give the space a soothing feel and seem to merge with the view of the backyard. The pink tones of the pillows and armchair add to the relaxing atmosphere, as does the choice of plush velvet upholstery.

Think pink. It's a tricky one to get right, but if you choose the right shade, a pink living room can be chic and sophisticated and not at all sweet or girlie. The key is to go for a very pale tone that almost works as a neutral. Here, the soft pink wall is a lovely backdrop to a palette of grays and corals. The colors combine for a cool, contemporary look.



The most scenic train routes in the U.S.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

The most scenic train routes in the U.S.

Keep the romance of riding the rails alive

Although train travel is often cheaper than flying, it’s certainly a leisurely and scenic way of getting from point A to point to point B—if you have the luxury of time, of course. Below are eight majestic train routes across the United States—some on impressively refurbished vintage cars—that keep the romance of riding the rails alive.

Whether journeying through the Pacific Northwest, or Pennsylvania’s Amish country, or through the Grand Canyon, these heritage train rides are sure to take your breath away. You’ll get a kick out of some of these names, too. Hop on board: The country’s waiting for you.

The 22-mile round-trip excursion travels along the original line built to haul timber to the mill in Cass, West Virginia, and takes about four and a half hours. Old logging flat cars have been refurbished to take passengers to Bald Knob, the third highest point in the state, and offers stunning views into two states as well as the valley below.

Amtrak Cascades: Eugene, Oregon, to Vancouver, British Columbia

Amtrak Cascades, named after the Cascade mountain range along which the corridor runs, connects 18 cities from Eugene, Oregon, to Vancouver, Canada—a distance of 467 miles—in three legs. These include four daily round trips between Portland and Seattle, two daily round trips between Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia, and two daily round trips between Eugene, Oregon, and Portland. A lovely way to wend your way through the Pacific Northwest.

Grand Canyon Railway: Williams to Grand Canyon, Arizona

Departing from Williams, Arizona, 30 miles west of west of Flagstaff, the Grand Canyon Railway travels nearly due north through the Colorado Plateau to the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. The 65-mile journey takes an ambling two hours and 15 minutes—which happens to be 45 minutes faster than its maiden voyage in 1901.

Enjoy stunning views of Ponderosa pines, prairies, and Pinion pine forests, while keeping your eyes open for appearances by mountain lions, elks, California condors and bald eagles in a fleet of vintage passenger cars including Pullmans, Budd coaches, and observation dome cars.

California Zephyr: Chicago to Emeryville, California

The second longest route after the Texas Eagle, the 2,438-mile journey on the California Zephyr runs between Chicago and Emeryville, California, and takes about two and half days. The journey takes you through some of the country’s most beautiful vistas including the plains of Nebraska, Rocky Mountains, Sierra Nevadas, Salt Lake City, and the Truckee River.

Great Smoky Mountains Railroad: Bryson City to Nantahala Gorge, North Carolina

With 53 scenic miles of track, two tunnels, and 25 bridges in Western North Carolina, the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad offers two trips departing from Bryson City: The 44-mile Nantahala Gorge Excursion, which travels along the Tennessee and Nantahala River and takes about four and a half hours, and the 32-mile Tuckasegee River Excursion, which takes about four.

Strasburg Rail Road: Strasburg to Paradise, Pennsylvania

Chartered in 1832, the Strasburg Rail Road in Pennsylvania is the country’s oldest operating railroad, with President Abraham Lincoln taking his inaugural ride on February 22, 1861. The 45-minute round-trip journey travels four and half miles both ways through the Amish countryside in Lancaster County using authentic steam-powered locomotives and passenger cars.

Coast Starlight: Los Angeles, California, to Seattle, Washington

Considered one of the most spectacular train routes in the United States, Amtrak’s Coast Starlight connects the West Coast’s most important cities between Los Angeles and Seattle and makes 28 stops. The daily service covers approximately 1,377 miles for a total journey time of 35 hours, passing through the snow-covered mountains of the Cascade Range and Mount Shasta, Sacramento, the San Francisco Bay Area, Santa Barbara, and the Pacific Ocean shoreline.

Sunset Limited: New Orleans, Louisiana, to Los Angeles, California

Connecting New Orleans and Los Angeles (and making 20 stops including San Antonio, Tucson, and Phoenix), the Sunset Limited train has operated since 1894 and is the oldest named train in the country. The 1,995-mile excursion takes about 48 hours and makes its way through the Bayou Country, southwestern deserts—with views of the Mexican border—and the mountains of California.

Empire Builder: Chicago, Illinois, to Seattle, Washington

If you’ve ever wished to recreate at least part of Lewis and Clark’s expedition across what is now the western United States, hop on board the Empire Builder in Chicago and make your way to either Seattle (2,206 miles) or Portland (2,257) by way of Minneapolis, St. Paul, North Dakota’s Gassman Coulee Trestle bridge, Missouri, Big Sky Country, and Glacier National Park.

Alaska Railroad’s Coastal Classic: Anchorage – Girdwood – Seward

Alask Railroad’s Coastal Classic train is a popular—and not to mention spectacular—way to take in the glaciers and waterfalls between Anchorage and Seward. Operating seasonally between May and September, the 114-mile escapade takes a little over four hours, during which time passengers travel along Turnagain Arm and through the Kenai Peninsula, stopping in Seward’s Resurrection Bay before turning back to Anchorage.

Napa Valley Wine Train: Downtown Napa to St. Helena, California

What could be better than an ambling train ride through majestic scenery, you ask? One with wine, of course. More specifically, the Napa Valley Wine Train, which takes oenophiles and the casual sipper alike on a 36-mile, three-hour round-trip excursion from Northern California’s Napa to St. Helena, passing through Oak Knoll, Yountville, Oakville, and Rutherford. Not only will passengers stop at famous wineries along the way, they’ll be treated to a gourmet meal as well. And not to mention plenty of wine.

Source: Curbed


Hurricane Irma aftermath

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Irma Updates: A Bruised Southeast Shows Signs of Resilience

The Southeastern United States hardly emerged unscathed from Hurricane Irma.

Millions remained without power Tuesday night, and residents who had evacuated were still fighting their way home, contending with fuel shortages, sweltering heat and unreliable telecommunications. Many beaches were off limits for swimmers, officials said, as workers tested for pollutants. Children remained out of school in several of the nation’s largest districts, stretching from the Atlanta region south to Tampa and Miami.

Some cities, like Jacksonville, Fla. had experienced higher floodwaters than expected. And at least 56 people have died as a result of Hurricane Irma, including at least 13 in Florida, according to The Associated Press.

Yet the region was, undoubtedly, proving its resilience after Irma, which devastated the Caribbean and slammed into the Florida Keys, continued to lose strength over land. Tap water was drinkable. Trash was beginning to get picked up. Public transit was slowly coming back online. At airports, flights were taking off.

Mayor Carlos Gimenez of Miami-Dade County said that on an aerial tour, “I didn’t see any significant structural damage out there.” In South Carolina, officials said their state, too, had been spared the major infrastructure damage they had feared.

Many residents said the trauma of the past few days would not deter them from living in an often idyllic region. Politicians extolled neighbors who had banded together to help one another, and said states and cities were learning to deal with more frequent weather extremes. And the White House announced President Trump would visit Florida on Thursday.

Here’s more on the storm:

• Almost 4.4 million Florida homes and businesses remained without power Tuesday night, according to state officials.

• South Carolina officials said that while infrastructure damage had been much less severe than expected, there was the potential for minor flooding in Charleston and Hilton Head on Tuesday and throughout the week.

• President Emmanuel Macron of France arrived in the Caribbean on Tuesday to assess the damage to French territories battered by Hurricane Irma last week.

• About 94,000 people remain in Florida shelters, according to state officials. Here’s a roundup on the status of many local curfews.

• The authorities are assessing the full extent of the damage and have hesitated to estimate the cost of a cleanup. Check out our most powerful photographs.

• Sign up for the Morning Briefing for hurricane news and a daily look at what you need to know to begin your day.

‘We’ve got a lot of work to do,’ Florida’s governor said

Governor Scott said Tuesday that 30,000 people were working to resolve one of the state’s most urgent issues: turning the power back on.

The utility company Florida Power and Light said most customers on the east coast of the state would see their power restored by Sunday night, while those on the west coast might have to wait until Sept. 22.

The state had shifted to recovery and rebuilding efforts on Tuesday, Mr. Scott said, and the authorities were also working to get water and food to those who needed it and to restore access to fuel.

Repairs were needed on the electricity grid and sewage systems there, and bridges were being inspected for safety, he added.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do, but everybody’s going to come together,” Mr. Scott said. “We’re going to get this state rebuilt.”

A SWAT vehicle was used to rescue a stroke victim in Miami

Mayor Tomás Regalado of Miami shared an account of an extraordinary rescue.

As the storm hit the city, 911 operators received a call requesting help for a woman who had had a stroke in the Flagami neighborhood, on the city’s west side, Mr. Regalado said at a news conference on Tuesday. But with winds exceeding 45 miles per hour, the emergency response teams were prohibited from going out.

“A decision was made by fire and police to use an armored car of the SWAT team to pick up the firefighters at the station; pick up the lady at the house, in the middle of the storm; and take the lady to the hospital,” Mr. Regalado said. “So SWAT was used to save the life of a City of Miami resident.”

“I think it’s important that one life mattered,” he added, saying that such a rescue had never been executed before.

The Miami region was shifting toward recovery, with some trash pickups and flights out of Miami International Airport resuming and public transit expected to come back online throughout the week.

Local tap water was safe to drink, Mayor Carlos Gimenez of Miami-Dade County said. But with temperatures in the mid-80s and little air conditioning to speak of, Mr. Gimenez warned residents against the temptation of ocean swimming, saying it would take several more days to assess the safety of local waters.

Residents explain why they rode out the storm in the Keys

Adalberto Fernandez, a retired mechanic who lives in Long Key, stayed through the storm, saying that he figured his house was good and sturdy. Water did start seeping into his property, but the damage was not as bad as it could have been.

“Nothing happened,” Mr. Fernandez, 67, insisted.

“I’m only going to die once,” he said. “If I don’t stay, who is going to turn on the generators and plug in the refrigerator? I would have come back and found everything lost.”

Barbara Roman, 41, who lives near Marathon, said she did not leave because after 25 years in the Keys, she had grown tired of false alarms.

“I have been here for three storms, and its threats, threats, threats,” she said. Then, thinking it over, she added, “I stayed because I was being hard-headed.”

The contents of her mobile home were ruined, and she will probably have to move north for work, because she makes a living cleaning vacation rentals — a business that will probably dry up.

She had a chance to shower at a neighbor’s boathouse, but was shaken up about the ordeal. “I regret not leaving,” she said.

France’s president visits storm-hit islands in the Caribbean

St. Martin and St. Barthélemy, known for idyllic beaches that have long been a draw for tourists, were left devastated after Irma tore across the islands. Roofs were torn from homes, and power and water were knocked out on both islands. At least a dozen were killed as a result of the storm, according to The Associated Press.

During a news briefing at the airport in Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe, President Macron promised government support to rebuild the devastated islands, which he planned to visit later in the day.

“I am here with three government ministers to express firstly the solidarity of the international community following what happened after Hurricane Irma and to say that all of France stands side by side with those who lost everything, some even lost their loved ones,” Mr. Macron said. French relief operations are being coordinated from Pointe-à-Pitre, which was spared the widespread destruction seen on other Caribbean islands.

At least 1,900 members of the security forces have been deployed to St. Martin, where the rule of law disintegrated after the storm, as stranded residents struggled with food and water shortages.



6 maneras de hacer dinero extra sin dejar tu trabajo

Thursday, September 07, 2017

¿Quieres emprender, pero todavía no tienes los fondos para hacerlo? Esto te va a interesar.

¿Las deudas bancarias están afectando tu salud? American Psychological Association lanzó una encuesta demostrando cómo el "estrés del dinero" impacta al bienestar de las personas. Y no, no pienses que sólo hablo de aquellos que no tienen tanto dinero, también se demostró que a los ricos les sucede.

Puedes empezar a eliminar algo de ese estrés financiero ganando un income extra sin tener que dejar a un lado tu trabajo de tiempo completo. Steve Chou de MyWifeQuitHerJob empezó un par de negocios mientras seguía dedicándole tiempo su trabajo de diario.

Si buscas dinero o simplemente quieres encontrar la mejor manera de invertir puedes empezar haciendo lo siguiente.

1. Empieza un negocio de servicio

Arrancar un servicio puede ser posible sin la necesidad de una gran presencia en línea. La manera más fácil de empezar es diciéndole a la gente lo que ofreces y pedirle que te ayuden a darte a conocer.

Noah Kagan de Appsumo lo supo hacer excelente. Decidió averiguar si podía ganar 1,000 dólares en 24 horas empezando desde cero. Terminó fundando un exitoso negocio de suscripción que le dio a uno de sus estudiantes para que lo llevara a cabo.

Puedes robar su concepto con un negocio de catering o escribiendo freelance.

2. Invierte en bienes raíces
Volverte el "rey de las propiedades" no siempre es práctico cuando se tiene un trabajo de tiempo completo. Pero nada es imposibe y puedes buscar comprar una pequeña casa en otro estado y usarla de vacaciones mientras no la rentas.

El precio es relativamente "barato" aún contratando a alguien que gestione tus rentas mientras tú no estás.

Las bienes raíces comerciales pueden ser una buena manera de invertir y ganar dinero de manera pasiva. Empieza invirtiendo con poco.

3. Lanza tus recursos en línea

Comparte tu expertise lanzando un ebook o con un curso que pueda ayudar a los demás. Mi ebook 100 Days of Growth terminó generando más de lo que ganaba en mi trabajo de tiempo completo. Sí tuve que hacer un gran esfuerzo al momento de escribirlo, pero una vez terminado, no tenía que estar tras de él para que se vendiera.

Si escribir no es lo tuyo intenta con un curso en línea. Yo no me detuve con los libros, seguí con un bootcamp de marketing digital a través de para ayudar a mis clientes a adquirir estas habilidades en tan sólo 10 semanas.

4. Aprovecha la gran influencia de Amazon
Crear tu propia tienda en línea es admirable, pero llevarlo a cabo requiere de muchas cosas, tales como manufactureros, encontrar tu mercado, darle seguimiento a tus posibles compradores (incluyendo quejas) entre otras.

En lugar de eso puedes vender y desarrollar un producto en Amazon sin tener que preocuparte por eso. Incluso, algunos vendedores envían sus productos directamente a Amazon sin siquiera haberlos tocado antes.

5. Sé anfitrión
Puedes hacer dinero "hosteando" eventos. Escoge un tema y organízalo. Se trata de conseguir patrocinadores para que no tengas que poner mucho de tu dinero.

6. Haz que te paguen por lo que sabes hacer
Saca provecho de tus ratos libres y vuélvete un maestro (literalmente) de lo que te gusta hacer. Por ejemplo, a mí me encanta skydiving y puedo obtener la certificación para llevarlo a cabo.

Así que ya sabes. Sal al mundo exterior y usa tu imaginación para generar ingresos extra.

Fuente: Sujan Patel - VIP CONTRIBUTOR @ Entrepreneur Magazine


Miami, a Top Ranking City

Thursday, August 24, 2017

One of the top ranked cities in the world, Miami is a global hub for business, art, luxury and nightlife. Miami's growing startup/technology scene and all-year sunny weather make it the "Happiest City to Work" in the United States, according to Career Bliss. Miami is also de second-hottest destination for millennials or those born after 1980, according to Miami attracts all those who want to live, work and plain our vibrant and innovative communities. Miami's evolution from a tourist destination to a top global city is complete and visible and the numbers prove it.

6.2 billion Amount of international home sales in South Florida in 2016

1,000 multination companies in Miami - and no state income tax. Home to 55 foreign consulates, 30 bi-national chambers of commerce and 18 foreign trade offices.

4th healthiest city in America

#1 Miami is the top market for international buyers and is expected to outperform other U.S. markets long into the future.

#1 Most international city in the United States

#1 Miami is "America's Cleanest city" according to Forbes

#3rd Most fun city in America

100 number languages spoken in Miami

84 Miles of Atlantic Ocean coastline in Miami

15.5 Million. The record number of travelers who visited Greater Miami in 2015. Of the 1 million additional visitors in 2015 vs. 2014, about 500,000 traveled to Miami for the first time.

24 collèges & universities in Miami-Dade County

#2nd-Fastest Growing Economy among large U.S. cities.

5.1 Million. the record number of cruise ship passengers who traveled through Port Miami in 2016. On the cargo side, the port handled 8.9m Million tons of cargo ( up 1 million tons since 2012)

15 miles of world famous beaches.

67 square miles of inland waterways in Miami

75 degrees average temperature in Miami (Fahrenheit)

75.6 Walk Score. Miami is the 5th- most walkable city in the U.S., according to

# 4 Largest school district in U.S.. 392 schools in the Miami-Dade Public Schools



Tuesday, August 15, 2017

FOR RENT $3,500 Mo.

Beautiful waterfront view, private elevator that open direct to your unit, 32x32 white porcelain floors and high impact windows.

Amenities include: Beach club w/cabanas, swimming pool & children play area, exercise room, two tennis courts, volleyball & basketball courts, and New York restaurant. Vacant unit. Easy to show.


- Miami’s premier members only beach club
on Biscayne Bay
- Fifty one story high rise with 399 luxury
- Residences ranging from 1 bedroom / 1 bath
to 3 bedroom / 3 baths plus den and two
story penthouses
- Oversized terraces with sweeping views of
Biscayne Bay, Miami Beach, and
downtown skyline
- Gorgeous lobby and spectacular Beach Club level
designed by world-renowned interior designer
Thom Filicia, Inc.
- Spacious lobby lounge with unique indoor and
outdoor atmosphere
- Fitness center overlooking Beach Club and bay
- Art wall exhibiting work by talented local artists
- Residential spa with sauna, steam room, blow-dry
bar, and massage treatment rooms
- Business center with audio video connectivity
- Private high speed elevators
- Daytime concierge services

Beach Club Level
- Bayfront Lshaped pool with limitless water views
- Elevated manmade beach above public Bay Walk
- Chaise lounges and day beds
- Changing areas
- Residents and members only cabanas

Exclusive 6th Floor Amenity Level
- Indoor and outdoor great rooms
- Summer kitchen and lounge seating areas
- Residents only pool and hot tub with panoramic
- Two tennis courts
- Basketball half court
- Residence dog park


What does ‘value’ really mean in real estate?

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

As a busy Miami real estate agent, one of the biggest challenges I face is helping customers make sense of the different “values” in the residential marketplace.

For example, I recently received this email from a client who has bought and sold many properties: “I am really confused about the value thought process. It seems like sellers can ask whatever they want — but isn’t the actual value dependent on what the buyer is willing to pay?”

A good question, one I will attempt to explain here. It is important to have a clear sense of these values, regardless of which side of the table you sit: Sellers should understand the logic behind pricing their homes, and buyers should have a solid foundation for their offers.


The essential concepts to understand are the following:

▪ The seller (usually in consultation with their agent) decides the Listing Price.

▪ The buyer (also with their agent) determines the Purchase Price — when their offer is accepted.

▪ The amount of a recent closed sales determines the Appraised Value…

▪ …which then becomes a Closed Sale Comparable, or “comp.”

What a property sells for basically boils down to what the comps (similar square footage, rooms and baths, lot size, and location) in the area have sold for, together with the buyer’s opinion of condition, layout, updates, and overall property curb appeal.


Seems simple, right? Not so fast: There are factors in the marketplace which can complicate matters considerably. For example, a buyer might feel influenced by active sales in a particular area, and base their offer accordingly… but those numbers are only indicators of future values and may increase or decrease for arbitrary reasons.

Also, let’s say you are a seller with a large home but one that lacks updating, has a bad layout, and/or unappealing finishes. Your home may very well appraise merely due to its size, but you should be prepared for it to sell under its appraised value.

The same logic holds true for a home that may not appraise based on comps, but has been renovated with the latest finishes, a new roof, and/or impact windows and doors. In this case, chances are someone will be willing to pay a premium for these upgrades and it will sell over its appraised value.

Again: “Closed sales” are used to determine appraised values, and the prices of listed homes merely indicate where prices are headed in a particular area.


Here are two situations which help illustrate the points above.

My team recently sold a home in West Kendall for $15,000 above its appraised value. It had been on the market (as a FSBO, or “for sale by owner” listing) for about 60 days and had not received any serious or substantial offers. When we first met with the seller, we suggested a higher asking price because of the home’s many positive attributes: It had been totally remodeled, was situated on a nice lot (slightly larger than others in the area) with great curb appeal, an inviting pool and a brand-new roof. The seller was a bit nervous about this strategy, but we were confident that the right buyer would come along.

Sure enough, within 30 days we had an offer for more than the seller had originally expected — but we still had the appraisal hurdle to overcome. Of course, when the appraisal came in, it was at a number below the offer and the buyer became hesitant.

But this is where forethought and preparation come into play. We immediately showed the buyer the pros and cons of similar sold properties in the area, and then compared those to the listed home, clearly demonstrating to them the costs required to update a different home to this one’s condition. Once we confirmed the true value inherent in their offer, it was a done deal.

Another example shows the opposite side of the value equation:

With a different listing, in South Miami, the seller ordered an appraisal and was adamant about listing the home not a penny below that number. As we say in real estate, the home had “good bones” but desperately needed to be updated. It also had a 15-year-old roof and sat adjacent to a very busy street. Mitigating factors like these were not taken into consideration by our customer, and needless to say, the home proved challenging to sell.

Whether you are a buyer or a seller, success in real estate takes knowledge of the market, strategic analyses of properties, and a clear understanding of the different aforementioned “values.” (Achieving this success may appear easy with so much technology at your disposal, but don’t take that illusion at face value. Hire an agent to help you!)

By: BY MORY MACHADO @ Miami Herald


11 Things You Need to Know About Real Estate Negotiations

Monday, July 24, 2017

While sellers want the highest price and buyers want the best deal, the two have to meet somewhere in the middle for the deal to close. Negotiating for a home is important since this is the largest asset most people own and there’s potentially a lot of cash at stake.

“The premise or foundation for negotiation is looking at the data and the black and white of it all; then it becomes this dance of personalities -- the two agents and the parties of buyers and sellers,” observes Allison Turk, realtor associate at EWM, based in Miami Beach.

“At the end of the day, everybody has a goal to close a transaction," Turk says. "Sellers want to sell, and buyers want to buy, but sometimes, it gets a little muddy in between.”

One party always has the upper hand, however. In a buyer’s market, those looking for a property can walk away if they don’t like the terms, since they have many homes to choose from. In a seller’s market, with bidding wars and multiple offers, the homeowner can be as picky about the myriad terms of the sale as his or her agent allows.

“In any market, a truly motivated seller is less inclined to engage in lengthy negotiations -- they just want to get the deal done,” says Mazen Fawaz, CEO of OpenHouse, in Santa Monica, Calif.

For those new to the real estate dance: The negotiations start once the seller receives a written offer. Since everything is negotiable, agents for the buyer and seller go back and forth in writing, whether that communication is via email or signed forms.

The objective is agreement on the deal’s terms, which include price, time lines, contingencies and items that may convey with the property. “There’s a constant negotiation until you actually close the deal,” says Turk.

Here are guidelines for what sellers and buyers might ask:

1. Price
“Buyers and sellers try to negotiate the best price possible for them, but that means different things,” says Cara Ameer, broker associate and Realtor at Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty, in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. “The seller wants the highest price and the buyer wants the least amount to pay -- usually, it ends up somewhere in the middle.”

Buyers don’t want to overpay or price themselves out of a resale in the future, while sellers want to make sure the deal makes sense for their financial plan.

2. Closing costs
Buyers have to pay prepaid closing costs for their mortgage, which is money that the mortgage lender holds in escrow, for items like taxes and insurance. “A buyer may ask a seller to pay a flat dollar amount toward their closing costs, or up to a percentage for what’s an allowable contribution for a lender. Sometimes this can be up to 3 percent [of what's] included in the mortgage,” says Ameer.

“If [a buyer] asks the seller to make a concession on [his or her] behalf, they’re likely going to have to pay a higher asking price.”

3. Closing date
Sellers can negotiate for speed when they need to get their capital out of the home fast; and closing dates will affect buyers' monthly cash flow once they own the home. “Keep in mind, when a buyer closes on the house, they skip the next month’s mortgage payment,” says Ameer. “Maybe they want to close at the beginning of a month so they skip the next month.”

4. Financing contingencies
“A lot of transactions end up being cash, so sellers don’t tie up their property for 30 or 60 days, which is what’s required when there’s a financing contingency in place,” says Turk.

Buyers competing with all cash offers need to figure out if they can drop the financing contingency, which will shorten their closing time line. Buyers can do this by having their mortgage fully approved prior to making an offer. That preapproval shows that their finances are in order and they can afford the property.

5. Home warranty
A buyer can ask for a home warranty, or a seller can offer one. This protection plan covers the home’s appliances and systems, like the air-conditioning and hot water heater, in the event these things break or need repair.

Related: Gen Z Has Grand Ambitions for Homeownership

6. Leaseback
The process of moving into a new home can be highly stressful and labor intensive. “If a seller needs a little extra time to get into their new home, [buyers can] offer a zero-cost rent-back for 30 to 90 days to entice the seller to accept the offer over others,” says Fawaz.

“Peace of mind is a valuable negotiating tactic.”

7. Home repairs
“Buyers also have a ton of room to negotiate when a home needs a lot of updating,” says Fawaz. When a home is out-of-date with appliances that don’t work, popcorn ceilings or cracked pool foundations, for example, a buyer can ask for a lower price because of the cost to bring the home back to today’s standards.

Sellers can also specify that their house is being sold “as is” and that they won’t make any repairs.

8. Appraisal contingency
“If the buyer’s getting a mortgage, [the seller] could push for the buyer to waive the appraisal contingency,” says Ameer. “But then they have to make good on the amount of cash to close, if for some reason the appraisal falls short and the bank will lend them [only] so much money based on an appraised value.”

9. Furniture
Personal property, like patio furniture, chandeliers, window treatments and cabinets, is also up for grabs. “If the buyer wants all the furniture, it becomes very much of a tradeoff and compromise between what everybody wants,” says Turk.

Whatever’s excluded needs to be stated when the contract is finalized.

9. Appliances
The stove, dishwasher, microwave and any built-in appliances may come with the property, but not the washer, dryer and refrigerator. “In different markets, people don’t always convey every appliance -- they don’t want to give it all away,” says Ameer. “They want to see how the negotiation goes.”

10. Inspection
While waiving an inspection often comes with "buyer’s remorse," buyers can try to shorten the time frame for an inspection, from 10 days to five. Today’s lending processes and the TILA RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) make this hard to do, though.

11. Condo/co-op assessments
These are used to maintain the building’s common areas, like the roof or aesthetic improvements, and sellers typically need to settle if there’s an open assessment. “That becomes a negotiation between the seller and the buyer,” says Turk.

Source: Andrea Murad @Entrepeneur magazine


Florida Homebuying and Closing Process

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Florida Homebuying and Closing Process

Florida's homebuying process is similar to other states where a buyer's attorney, escrow agent, or representative from a title company is used to consummate the transaction and prepare all the closing documents.
In Florida, buyer and seller often consummate the transaction at the same closing (or 'settlement') table.
Florida has its own environmental features that influence which inspections get performed, such as termite inspections (and termite bond contracts are common ways to protect a buyer's investment in Florida and other southern states).
Step by Step
Part 1: Disclosures, inspections, and title
These are the initial tasks once a buyer is in contract, and are most often done in parallel to Part 2: The mortgage process:

An offer is accepted by the seller and a contract is signed.
Concurrently, a deposit, or earnest money, is paid to an escrow agent, the buyer's attorney, or broker (never to the seller directly).
The signed contract is sent to a closing attorney or title company to begin preparation of all work related to transferring and changing the title to the new owners.
The buyer reviews and signs off on any disclosures. These disclosures vary based on property type, but often include things like known flaws with the property, prior improvements or repairs, and potential environmental hazards. A form called a Seller’s Real Property Disclosure Statement (see an example form used in Florida here) is one version of this disclosure form generally provided by the seller on or before the day the contract is signed (various areas in Florida have their own versions of this form). Sellers may see making these disclosures as beneficial to themselves, and believe that buyers will build these pre-disclosed facts into the contract price (and thus sellers may be reluctant to provide any credits for these defects).
The buyer elects to perform inspections on the property as agreed upon in the contract. These inspections must be completed by a certain date, which is called the inspection contingency date as indicated in the "Inspection Periods" section of most Florida home buying contracts. The types of inspections vary by property type and situation (and locale), but in Florida, a home inspector generally inspects the home first, and other inspections and tests can be ordered if revealed to be necessary by the initial inspection. A termite inspection is also often performed in Florida as well as other areas of the southern US, and a drywall inspection may be performed as well.
Beyond a termite inspection, some properties may be covered by a termite bond contract with an extermination company to protect the asset from termite damage on an ongoing basis.
Beyond the drywall inspection, a seller must provide and both buyer and seller must sign a DefectiveDrywall Disclosure that certifies that the seller has no knowledge of any defective drywall at the time of sale.
Based on the outcome of inspections, buyers may elect to ask the seller for repair work, closing cost credits, or a reduction in the sale price due to flaws that were uncovered. Sellers have three options: agree to all of the buyers's requests, offer a modified solution back to the buyer, or decline to make any amends. In response, the buyer can continue to negotiate, accept the seller's position, or as long as they're within the due diligence period, end the transaction and recoup their earnest money without penalty.
The buyer may also negotiate for a home warranty that covers major appliances from failure for a time period after the sale, typically a year.
Part 2: The mortgage process
For those borrowing to purchase their home, the mortgage process is usually the most stressful and opaque part of the transaction. It's best to start as early as possible and be ready to produce lots of documentation. The following is the general process in Florida:

A buyer submits a loan application to their lender, either directly or through a mortgage broker. See a sample Uniform Residential Loan Application used in Florida.
Within 3 days, the lender sends a "Good Faith Estimate," or GFE, to the buyer that is a breakdown of estimated closing costs. The final costs are likely to deviate from this estimate. See a sample GFE at
Before the buyer is ready to write an offer, a pre-approval with a lender should be acquired. The buyer sends a series of personal financial disclosures to their lender. These vary by situation, but the most commonly requested documents are:
Several months of statements for each bank account a borrower holds (including any investment accounts)
Several months of statements for any outstanding loans, lines of credit, or other liabilities. This can also include documentation of rent payments.
Up to two years of tax returns, released to the lender via an authorization submitted by the buyer using IRS form 4506-T.
Recent pay stubs and contact information for each borrower's employer. The number of pay stubs varies by situation.
Any other disclosures that are material to a borrower's financial situation. This includes but is not limited to marriage licenses, divorce settlements, child support, liens, bankruptcies, or judgments. If there's something that affects how much money you have on hand that isn't shown by simply looking at your salary, be prepared to document it.
Explanation of any credit inquiries
Substantiation of any large deposits or cash gifts that aren't regular income. In some cases, a large cash gift may look similar to a personal loan by a friend or family member, and lenders will require gift letters from those that gave you the cash gift, stating that the gift was not a loan. They may also ask for itemized deposit slips. The exact amount that triggers this requirement varies by situation (for instance, a $1,000 cash gift may be material to a single borrower that makes $35,000/yr but may not be material to a borrower that makes $350,000/yr), so it's good practice to ask your lender if you suspect you might have a material cash gift or large deposit - so you aren't surprised by this at the last minute.
Repeated and updated documentation of any of the above. Keep in mind: to a lender, anything can happen to a borrower's personal financial situation and credit during the escrow process. Thus, you may be asked more than once for the same type of document so that your lender has the most recent pay stubs, rent receipts, bank statements, or other disclosures that may change over time. Any material changes in these documents -or any element of your personal financial situation- may require the lender to reassess your eligability for the loan for which you've applied.
The lender renders an approval decision, and if approved, issues a loan commitment letter, stating its willingness to fund the mortgage provided certain conditions are met. These conditions usually include appraisal (so the lender can confirm that the property you're buying isn't worth far less than you're paying) but will also generally include any material change in your situation -or the property- as initially disclosed to your lender.
The loan contingency is removed by the buyer before the expiration of the loan commitment period (also referred to as the loan contingency date) as defined in the contract, by sending a copy of their loan commitment or approval. If the buyer/borrower is unable to get this approval before the expiration of the loan commitment period, they have to send the seller written notice during this period to be able to get out of the deal without losing their earnest money/deposit.
An appraisal is ordered by the lender or mortgage broker via a central directory of appraisers (often called an Appraisal Management Company or AMC). Choosing a specific appraiser is not possible, but a mortgage broker can reject an appraiser and ask for a new one. If the appraisal comes in lower than the purchase price, the buyer has until the appraisal contingency date to request a reduction in price from the seller. The seller then has a set period of time to accept or reject the buyer's request. If the seller rejects the request, or that time lapses, the buyer can walk away from the contract without penalty.
Homeowners' insurance is purchased (or substantiated, if the property being purchased includes homeowners' insurance as part of association fees or similar arrangements), and proof of homeowners' insurance is submitted to the lender.
Tip: As this process can be long, arduous, seemingly arbitrary, and is often critical to your homebuying transaction, try to prepare these documents (or at least figure out how to prepare them) in advance. Also, do not make any changes to your employment or credit until your transaction is complete (not just until you get a loan commitment letter). This means not switching employers even if it results in a higher income, as counterintuitive as that may sound. It also means not leasing or financing a car, opening a new credit card account, or anything else that can affect your credit report.
Part 3: The closing itself
The closing process itself takes place at one table (either at the office of an attorney or title company), where buyers sign all documents related to their loan and the transaction itself. After all documents are signed and payments exchanged, buyers generally take possession of the keys unless a separate agreement has been reached to allow the seller to stay in the property for a period after closing. The detailed steps that make up closing are:

As part of the prepartion for closing, the attorney or title company performs a title search (if they haven't already) to determine if there are any liens or assessments on the title. Provided the title is deemed 'clear,' the closing proceeds as planned and the attorney or title company issues a title commitment. All paperwork for changing the title / deed and title insurance is prepared, and a final closing date is confirmed with all parties.
A final cash figure for what a buyer needs to bring to the closing in the form of a cashier's check is calculated. This is based not only on a mortgage's closing costs but factors like property taxes and utilities paid in to date by the seller.
A final walkthrough will often be performed the day of or before closing to verify the property is in the same condition it was when the process began.
At the closing, or settlement, table, the buyer (and seller) sign all closing documents, including the HUD-1 (see a sample HUD-1 here), and the final loan documents.
The buyer pays the remaining funds in their downpayment to an attorney or a representative of the title company (who is present at closing) via cashier's check.
The representative from the title company or your attorney will then record the transaction and deed with the appropriate municipality.
The buyer receives the keys and, unless indicated differently in the contract, officially takes possession of the property.

Source: amitree


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