MiamiRealEstateKing

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15 Ways to Prep Your Multi-Family Building Exterior for the Spring Market

In international buyers, Investing, Investor, miami, Miami-Dade County, Multi-Family Real Estate, real estate, Sellers on April 6, 2013 at 8:46 am

Spring is the season for rain, sun, flowers and humidity buildup. It is also the season buyers and sellers traditionally come out of hibernation. It is a time when folks turn to spring cleaning, regardless of whether they are selling their property or not.

However, if you are in fact, looking to sell, you will definitely want to pay close attention and properly prepare. This article will hopefully, help you get started and get you to a fast closing that nets you the most money in your pocket, ready to enjoy, retire other debt or reinvest.

As I flip channels and sometimes watch a particular product they may be selling, particularly jewelry, I notice that ‘shine’ is critical. I also notice the effect I feel when I walk up to a car dealership that keeps its cars sparkling clean versus when I walk up to a car that seems poorly maintained.

Similarly, I notice what I feel when I approach a property. As I walk through it, I notice the big and little things that say WOW. The question is, what follows that “wow”? Is it, wow this is great or is it, wow this needs a lot of work!

As rents climb or stabilize, buyers are watching for opportunities. Your job as a seller is now to convey the message to the buyer that your property has been well taken care of and that it will provide a handsome return and that it is therefore, worth their investment.

The tips below will cost little money and could go a long way to convey the right perception that attracts buyers to make an offer. Even if you are a distressed seller, the more appealing your property looks, the higher the perceived value and the more money you could net.

With this in mind, here’s how to get the exterior of your building shipshape so it tell buyers, “yes, this is a good investment”:

1. Clean the glass covers of all light fixtures and make sure to remove all bugs. Also, replace any broken or missing glass covers. Make sure they all match. If not, replace them all to match and improve the look of the fixtures.

2. Replace missing or burnt bulbs. Consider replacing every bulb with bright white energy efficient bulbs. They brighten up the common areas making it more appealing and saves energy while helping deter crime.

3. Clean or replace mailboxes. Busted mailboxes often convey a sense of neglect.

4. Clean or paint all doors and frames and replace or polish their hardware so they all match throughout.

5. Make sure the building address number and each unit number are clearly visible and neat.  You may also want to consider replacing them for a clean look.

6. Make sure all stairs, hallways and stair guardrails are clean and/or painted as needed.

7. Wash all windows and seal them right to avoid water leaks while improving energy efficiency. See that tenants cooperate by keeping old tape used during a prior hurricane watch or warning and even odd window coverings, off windows.

8. Make sure to pressure clean parking areas and that they are swept clean. If necessary, cover driveway and parking areas with a fresh coat of tar. Check that all parking stoppers are painted and if appropriate, labeled.

9. Rake the lawn and ensure all green areas are trimmed.  Use fresh mulch or stones accordingly to cover patches, driveways and other areas. Plant fresh flowers or plants if possible. These are often inexpensive and greatly ‘green-up’ common areas.

10. Clean all debris from gutters and drain spouts and repair or replace them as needed.

11. If there is a community barbeque, be sure to clean it thoroughly and wash down the lid if there is one.  Replace a worn cover if needed.

12. If there is a community swimming pool, make sure it sparkles. Treat or repair any surrounding pool ground area that isn’t perfect.

13. If there is patio or pool-area furniture, make sure it is clean. Remove or replace any broken pieces.

14. Check your roof and make sure to repair or replace any missing or damaged shingles or tiles. Make sure to apply a sealant to flat roofs. Even if it does not seem necessary, this is a small expense compared to what a poor roof inspection result may represent.

15. Paint. Although this could be the costlier of the cosmetic preparations, I can’t say enough about this, especially if the building has not been painted for 3+ years. When it comes to selling, remember, ‘sparkle’ is key and nothing sparkles more than a fresh coat of neutral color paint. Make sure it is properly done and that cosmetic cracks are patched prior to application.

Now, go ahead and comment on any of the above or add your own to the list.

As a buyer, what items do you look for when you walk through the exterior of a building you are considering?

Also, as a buyer, HOW is your offer price affected by either a positive or negative impression you experience while walking the exterior of a property? How much more or less would you offer be as a result of your experience?

The State of Miami Real Estate – October 2011 Statistics

In real estate on November 9, 2011 at 11:55 pm

Well…the October numbers are finally in. This time, I’d like to not only share the sales data but also pricing trend throughout Miami-Dade county and in Miami Beach.

Based on the newest statistics, Miami-Dade’s October Closed Sales are decisively down and Pending Sales are just a nudge up from Sept. Pretty much, a continuation of recent trends.

Similarly, Average Sold Prices were also down once again between September and October, while the disparity between Asking Prices of properties For Sale and the Average Price properties are Actually selling for continues to widen.

Sales of all property types in Miami Beach in general, did not do much better between September and October, 2011 that the rest of the county did. In fact, prices were, well…they were actually quite wild, probably due mostly to the sale of properties valued between $500k and just under $3M, which is quite hot and helping distort these averages.

It is worth noting therefore, the marked improvement in sales from a year ago in Miami Beach as compared to the rest of the county. Obviously, the beach continues to be “the beach” and buyers (mostly foreign buyers), continue to pursue beach bargains over anything else. Actually, it seems as though if a property is not being sold in Miami Beach, it’s being remodeled. There’s just a lot of activity throughout the beach.

As a matter of fact, take a look at the beach condo market numbers below. Sales between Sept. and Oct. were not terribly bad and were actually solid as compared to Oct./2010. Beach Condo prices also dropped much less than the overall drop of prices for all beach properties in the same period. In fact, condo prices in Miami Beach were 20% better than the price of all properties sold throughout the beach between Sept. and Oct., down just over 7% for condo sales as compared to the over 27% or so overall price drop for all beach sales.

In general, we can continue to see the market fluctuations and deterioration, mostly due to the continued uncertainty on the market, changes in the strength of the dollar vis a vis other currencies, the political turmoil in other countries which is still helping drive sales in the USA and the still weak employment and economic environment we’re in.

July home sales in Miami – a reflection of the economy at large

In Buyers, Condo rules, FIU, Fl, Florida Legislature, government, HAMP, Home Warranty, HomePath, Investing, Lease Agreements, Leasing, lenders, Loan Originator, scams, SIOR, Treasury on September 3, 2011 at 9:52 am

Some say our economy will not recover until this or that is changed. Some feel housing must recover in order for everything else to recover. Others blame the low dollar, the amount of money that is printed, Europe, earthquakes and climate change.

I still feel that the key to a recovery is JOBS. Without jobs, folks’ confidence and ability to spend and qualify to buy homes, will remain low – hec…non-existent.

With unemployment stubbornly high above 9% (well over 18% according to experts if one includes the under-employed and all those who just…quit looking), it is no wonder housing can’t seem to recover.

In spite of Miami’s ability to appeal to the affluence of non-residents and investors (and THANK GOD for that), Miami’s home resale market looms.

One great aspect is that Miami’s available real estate inventory for sale has been rapidly dropping from a high of 24,368 units in Sept., 2010 to our July, 2011 low of 15,578 units available for sale. A 63.9% drop in inventory, 4.3% lower than June, 2011’s inventory of 16,272 units, 35% lower than the 23,976 units in July, 2010 and almost 32% lower than at the end of the same quarter in 2010. The drop of New listings has also helped inventory levels continue to drop.

By all accounts, less inventory is great. This generally means that buyers have less inventory to choose from and that prices should begin to pick up. Supply and demand. Yet, low supply continues to be coupled to low demand as reflected by the meek Pending sales number between June and July, 2011 (2.2% lower) and the much weaker Sold (Closed) units which dropped 21% between June and July, 2011.

Thankfully, Pending Sales (an indicator of future closed sales), had been quite strong in July, 2011 as compared to July, 2010 (up 19.4%) and as reflected by the Pending Sales number between the end of Q1-2011 as compared to Q1-2010 (up 21.1%).

Will these numbers improve? Again – I say, not until JOBS recover.

Comparing sectors of our market, sales in properties valued at different price ranges appear to be mimicking the market at large, including market segments under $500,000 and between $500,000 and just under $2M as shown in the two charts below

Under $500,000

Between $500,000 to just under $2M

Between $2M and just under $5M, we begin to see some changes, though Pending Sales – the so important forward looking indicator of future closed sales has completely stalled.

Above, are the numbers for properties valued at between $2M and $5M

However, by the time we get to homes valued at $5M and above, the difference is stark.

Above, properties in our highest market segment – above $5M

As you can see, properties valued at $5M and above are among the only market segment displaying improvement on all accounts. Between June and July, 2011, between July, 2011 and July, 2010 and between Q1-2011 and Q1-2010. Most impressive are the improvements between July, 2010 and July, 2011. I mean, 10 properties Sold and 12 under contract may not seem like much until you are reminded that these are at least $5,000,000 a pop and financing…well…this is not their bag.

So, the $5M and above market segment is where most affluent buyers are doing their bidding. After all this is Miami!

Myth #1: There are No Cash Buyers; Myth #2: There is No Lending

In real estate on February 16, 2011 at 12:01 pm

I hear this from many buyers and non-believers. Unfortunately for them, there are cash buyers out there – and plenty, but there are also lenders lending.

According to the MLS (Multiple Listing Service), 2,076 residential units (single family homes, condos, townhomes and villas), closed in January, 2011. Of these, 582 were non-distressed properties, 433 were short sales (pre-foreclosures) and 1052 were REO (foreclosed).

Among all properties sold (2,076), 1370 properties sold for cash. Among these, 306 were non-distressed, 791 were REO properties and 267 were short sales.

The remaining 706 units closed in January, 2011, closed with some form of financing. The most common non-cash purchasing methods used by buyers these days were conventional financing and FHA, signaling that, contrary to popular belief, lending is NOT frozen – but buyer and property must both qualify.

In real estate on January 29, 2011 at 3:19 pm

Renters: When you find a property you want to rent, verify that it is not in foreclosure before making any deposits or signing a lease.

New Federal Law To Protect Renters: Protecting Tenants in Foreclosure Act

The Protecting Tenants in Foreclosure Act was signed into national law on May 20, 2009, providing measures to help renters in foreclosed properties:

  • All tenants will have a minimum 90-day notice before eviction due to foreclosure.
  • A new owner who takes over a residential rental property through foreclosure must honor existing leases until the end of lease term unless the new owner will occupy the property themselves. If so, the tenant must have 90-day notice to move before the new owner can take possession and move in.
  • These new provisions also cover Section 8 (HCVP) tenants.

Exceptions and conditions apply. For more information, download a sample letter for a non-Section 8 landlord and an explanation for tenants about this new legislation.

Find more documents and important information on the website of the National Low Income Housing Coalition at www.nlihc.org Opens new browser window or by phone at 202.662.1530.

Be cautious when renting. Always research properties thoroughly, and never provide a security deposit or any money without ensuring that the property you are about to rent is legitimate and not in foreclosure or other threatened status.

Source: Miami-Dade County Housing Central

HOW TO SELECT A PROPERTY AND WIN…

In real estate on November 15, 2010 at 8:15 pm

With so many properties to choose from, it is often overwhelming for buyers to choose, causing them to do nothing. This is a shame because, in several key markets, prices have already bottomed and, even though there will continue to be plenty of foreclosures, the bottom price will begin to slowly rise over time.

By the time they decide that it is time to make a choice, the bottom would likely have passed.

As a matter of fact, experts agree that the recession as defined, was over in June of 2009 – that’s 18 months ago (from this writing)! This means that, buyers would likely find out months after the fact, that they also missed the bottom.

When evaluating what property to choose, you may need to consider (among other factors):

  • Is the main use for the property to rent or a primary residence?
  • If you want an investment/rental property, even if you found yourself living in the property temporarily, would the property have to fit your long-term needs or the basic comforts of a tenant?
  • Do you prefer it to be rental-ready or move-in ready or are repairs needed, OK? (a higher purchase price on a rent or move-in ready property may be better than a lower purchase price on a property needing work you can’t do – considering that the work to be done, may also take twice as long or more, as first estimated)
  • Lower maintenance fees for higher net or lower monthly costs (rental nets of $2-400/mo are easier to find than $7-800/mo – what is your rock-bottom net required? What is your maximum payment if additional expenses caused your payments to go up unexpectedly?)
  • If a condo, what is the building’s overall condition and re-certification status (open permits or violations can affect your investment for months or years to come)
  • If a house, similar consideration for all the major systems are required (roof, electrical, plumbing, pool, etc).
  • Tenant in place vs. vacant. Obviously, an existing tenant gets you collecting rent immediately. However, if you plan to use the property as your residence, it can interfere with your move-in date if the tenant is on a lease you must honor.
  • Facilities such as laundry on premises, balcony, pool, gym, pets and/or parking, view and proximity to bus, beaches and other factors that may improve desirability (and rentability)

So, how to choose?  Borrowing from a sports analogy…here’s a good trick:

1.      Make a list of all your wants and would-love-to-have in a row and without pre-conceptions.

2.      Then, create a matrix (like a sports team elimination matrix), to help you discern between your must-haves from your would-love-to-have. Simply, begin to prioritize.

3.      Choose your top 3 must-haves and your top 3 would-love-to-have.

Recognize that, units offering it all, including every would-love-to-have feature, will be more difficult to find at a lower price range.

4.      As you choose, consider: what’s more important…rent-ready or price? Price or net? Then, keep comparing all your choices against each other, until you find your absolute 3, must-haves and your top-3, would-love-to-have.

5.      Consider those units offering your top 3 must-haves plus the most would-love-to-have, first.

Units having all 3 must haves and your top 3 would-love-to-have, will become your top-picks and offers should be written on those. You may end up with 2 or 3 of these.

Your professional Realtor© (remember, only real estate agents who are members of the National Association of Realtors© and who adhere to their strict Code of Ethics can be called Realtor©), can then look at your top-three choices further to find similar sales in the building or immediate area and  help you consider other details that will help you make your final decision and offer price for each. You should then make an offer to your top choice, first.

Remember that:

1.      Short sales (pre-foreclosures for sale by distressed sellers), may take several weeks or even several months to reply and know if your offer is even accepted. The lender may flat-out reject the offer or counter. You can then adjust and present another counter accordingly or withdraw. Lenders behind short sales may allow up to 60 days to close (depending on a number of factors), and you can close sooner if ready.

2.      REO (foreclosed, Real Estate Owned), properties typically reply within a few days. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac REO’s require that the first 15 days be reserved for owner-occupied offers only. After the 15th day, you can participate and submit yours. REO properties may elicit multiple offers stifling our chances that way, while Short Sales may allow to only submit our offer while others would remain as backups. REO sellers may typically allow up to 45 days to close, although we can, close when ready.

3.      Non-distressed, motivated owners (not a short sale or REO), occasionally surface with a good opportunity to avoid the above, allowing us to make a clean offer and once accepted by the seller, immediately proceed to the closing process (inspections, etc), and close fairly quickly (often within 15-20 days).

If you find one of these that meet your criteria, you improve your chances of closing before year-end and qualify for my year-end promotional offer (close a transaction with me on or before 12/31/2010 and I will credit you 20% of my commission at closing), and win!   🙂

Hope this helps your decision process further and you are as always, welcomed to ask any questions, at any time.

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