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Harriet's Blog

By Harriet Martin | Broker in Miami, FL
  • Universal Travel Safety Tips! Be "Street Smart"!

    Posted Under: Crime & Safety in Miami  |  August 23, 2013 6:13 AM  |  667 views  |  No comments

    Travel Safety Tips


    9 Universal Travel Safety Tips:

    Keep your family out of trouble when traveling all year round.

    Be alert and aware of your surroundings at all times and of the crowd around you. Try to blend in. Do not bring attention to yourself. Walk quickly and proudly so you show your confidence.

    Be discreet and not too flashy with jewelry, gadgets, smartphones, cash or expensive clothing. Do not become a target.

    Save important documents on your computer. Keep copies of your passport, driver's license, travel itinerary and any other important docs. Email or provide copies of your passport and itinerary to your family in case you may need in an emergency.

    Know basic customs, geography and language. Know how to say basic greetings like hello, please, where is and thank you in the local language. Familiarize yourself with the area. Avoid secluded areas - especially at night.

    Know your transportation. Familiarize yourself with local registered taxis. If using public transport, prepare in advance -know where you are going and what to do without asking or panicking.

    Trust your gut. If something doesn't feel right in a specific area, leave immediately.

    Get out. Know what fire and emergency exit signs look like and where they are located.

    In case of emergency. Always carry a list of names and phone #'s of your friends and family so others may help call family members for you. Familiarize yourself with emergency phone numbers of the closest pharmacies, clinics, hospitals and even the closest U.S. Embassy.

    Take it slow and easy and your travels will always be safe and wonderful.

    The Harriet Martin Team


  • Interest rates are MOVING buyers to BUY now

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Miami, Home Selling in Miami, Investment Properties in Miami  |  July 1, 2013 11:30 AM  |  1,066 views  |  No comments

    July 1,2013 Interest rates MOVE buyers to BUY

    NAR's chief economist Lawrence Yun said the recent rising interest rates may be creating a fence-jumping effect. "Even with limited choices, it appears some of the rise in contract signings could be from buyers wanting to take advantage of current affordability conditions before mortgage interest rates move higher," he said. "This implies a continuation of double-digit price increases from a year earlier, with a strong push from pent-up demand."

    Yun said he expected the national median existing-home price to rise more than 10 percent to nearly $195,000 by year end. This would be the strongest increase since 2005 when the median increased 12.4 percent.

    Existing-home sales are projected to increase 8.5 to 9.0 percent, reaching about 5.07 million in 2013, the highest in seven years; it would be slightly above the 5.03 million total recorded in 2007.


    Posted Under: Home Buying in Miami-dade County, Home Selling in Miami-dade County, Rentals in Miami-dade County  |  April 8, 2013 6:50 PM  |  1,269 views  |  No comments

    Higher Interest Rates to Help Housing

    Wednesday, April 3, 2013 — Mortgage interest rates have been rising on signs that the U.S. economy is improving. Last week, the 30-year fixed rate reached the highest level in more than six months, climbing to an average of 3.63%, compared with 3.52% the previous week and 3.92% a year earlier. The current rate is the highest it’s been since the week of Aug. 23 when the 30-year fixed rate averaged 3.63%, according to Freddie Mac.

    With economic prospects improving, rates could rise even higher this year. This increase could mathematically make buying a home more expensive, but it’s unlikely to stall the housing recovery. To the contrary, higher rates could actually support it.

    For the past few years, mortgage rates have sunk to new lows as the Federal Reserve continues to buy up hundreds of billions of dollars worth of bonds. The policy is meant to get everyone from investors to consumers to borrow and spend more. While it has driven many homeowners to refinance existing home loans, it hasn’t spurred nearly as many mortgages for home purchases. In 2012, refinances made up 71% of all mortgage originations, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association, a group that tracks mortgage rates and home loan trends.

    MORE: Former London Whale boss: I was misled

    Home sales last year rebounded more than most ever thought. Even if mortgage rates edged higher, the recovery could last for a few reasons.

    For one, those who’ve been eyeing to buy a home may finally pull the trigger once they realize that borrowing is still cheap and it would be wise to lock in today’s mortgage rate rather than wait and see where rates could fall tomorrow or months from now, says Andrea Heuson, finance professor at the University of Miami. “It could bring serious purchases back to the market.”

    To be sure, the Great Recession has proven that mortgage rates have almost no influence over home prices. And so the sustainability of the housing recovery will depend more on factors such as jobs growth than the cost of taking out a home loan.

    If anything, slightly higher rates could reflect that slightly more risky borrowers are being offered credit following years of tighter lending standards. And this could be a good thing, says Barney Hartman-Glaser, real estate finance professor at Duke University.

    “Although important, rising interest rates alone are not enough to slow down the housing recovery,” says Hartman-Glaser, adding that “my sense is that underwriting standards are getting easier to satisfy, and so we would expect rates to rise as slightly more risky borrowers are brought into the fold.”

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    However borrowers interpret higher rates, the increase ultimately reflects an improving economy. Which, in turn, is something that would support the housing recovery rather than stall it. Investors have increasingly turned to riskier investments since the start of the year. The stock market has reached new highs, making bonds look less attractive and therefore pushing mortgage rates higher.

    Heuson adds the rise in mortgage rates coincides with growing demand for loans across U.S. businesses – a marked turnaround from the dark days of the financial crisis and subsequent economic recession. At the end of January, commercial and industrial loans stood at more than $1.5 trillion, up more than 12.5% from a year earlier. What’s more, the current level is more than 75% above the low point of $870 billion in mid 2004, according to Federal Reserve statistics.

    “From that perspective, the recent increase … bodes well for the future of the U.S. economy,” Heuson says, adding that when businesses borrow more, that will typically boost the economy in all kinds of ways, from spurring jobs growth to raising consumer confidence.

    And last but not least, it could encourage more home sales.

    To view the original article, click here: http://finance.fortune.cnn.com/2013/03/18/interest-rates-housing/


  • Smells? clutter? medications? Really do cause problems in home sale

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Miami, For Rent in Miami, Property Q&A in Miami  |  March 3, 2013 10:39 AM  |  1,362 views  |  No comments
    Did you smell THAT? How to make your sale FASTER

    Don't spend time baking chocolate chip cookies and lighting fragranced candles.

    Fragrances may affect cognitive functions in the same areas of the brain that are responsible for decision-making.

    Make smells subtle. Buyers then may like, but don't actually concentrate on what they're smelling.

    Apply this around your home. If you have lots of personal pictures displayed, this will distract potential buyers.

    Another "no-no" is to have many medications out or even in your prescription cabinet. Buyers open closets and cabinets. They are thinking of putting their own "stuff" where your stuff is. If they stumble upon unusual or private items, this becomes a distraction.

    The best policy is to show your home as if you don't live in it. Consult with experts who can give you a few pointers on move -in model homes - spacious and free of clutter.

    Begin packing your private belongings, Tone down the scent--ESPECIALLY OF PETS. Find a way to clear the clutter. It means a faster sale of your home for MORE money.

    Fortune International Realty
    The Harriet Martin Team
    Harriet, Sandy, Maritza, Humberto, Michelle, Blanca & Vania
    Over 30 years in in real estate
    English 305-528-5558 Spanish 305-650-2700
    *We sell or rent every 2 days * Over $500 million sold
    Miami * Miami Beach * Ft. Lauderdale
    www.HarrietMartin.com & www.MLHSSouthFlorida.com
    305-256-2560 or call/text at 305-528-5558

  • Mortgage rates remain low - March 2013 update

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Miami, Financing in Miami, Property Q&A in Miami  |  March 2, 2013 5:40 PM  |  1,364 views  |  1 comment

    According to Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist, Freddie Mac:"Mortgage rates eased somewhat as the consumer price index in February held steady for the second month in a row. House price indicators, however, showed gains in 2012. The S&P/Case-Shiller® national home price index rose 7.3 percent last year, reflecting the largest four-quarter growth since the third quarter of 2006. This, in part, was a driving force that pushed up the number of existing and new home sales in February to the highest levels since July 2007 and July 2008, respectively."

    The Harriet Martin Team
    Harriet, Sandy, Maritza, Humberto, Van, Michelle, Blanca & Vania
    Fortune International Realty
    Over 30 years in in real estate
    English 305-528-5558 Spanish 305-650-2700
    *We sell or rent every 2 days * Over $500 million sold
    Miami * Miami Beach * Ft. Lauderdale
    www.HarrietMartin.com & www.MLHSSouthFlorida.com
    305-256-2560 or call/text at 305-528-5558


    Posted Under: Market Conditions, Home Buying, Home Selling  |  January 3, 2013 8:29 AM  |  1,340 views  |  No comments



    Rest easy if you are trying to short sell your home! Now you will not

    face a massive tax bill if you complete the sale in 2013.


    For those of you who are still upside down in your homes with your

    mortgage balance higher than the value of your home,

    You may still take advantage of the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Act

    that has just been extended for 1 more year.



    as a short sale to take advantage

    of the taxable income waiver that expires AT THE END OF 2013.


    Basically, as owners of a primary residence home that is sold in a short sale you are STILL eligible for a waiver of paying taxes on the deficiency (difference of actual balance and short payoff)


    To learn more, here is the IRS link which will soon be updated and a current Sun Sentinel article:






    Call us. Don’t delay! Take advantage while you still have time.

    We are here to help. We understand that everyone has different circumstances.  You can share with us in complete confidence. We will work with your mortgage company and take all the stress off of you.


    The Harriet Martin Team  

    30 years of Sales * Rentals * Management

    Sandy, Humberto, Maritza, Michelle, Vania & Blanca

    305-385-1203 *  305-528-5558

    Fortune International Realty



    We sell or rent every 2 days

    MLHS South Florida Inc

    Rental Property Management & Maintenance

    Kendall Park Commercial Center

    12183 SW 132 Ct  Miami, Florida 33186

    305-528-5558 * 305-256-2560



    Read Harriet's Updates

    Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get.
    Dale Carnegie


  • Rent Your Property

    Posted Under: Rental Basics in Miami, Property Q&A in Miami, Rentals in Miami  |  December 29, 2012 4:17 PM  |  1,420 views  |  2 comments

    I want to rent my property. What do I do?



    Finding the best tenants in the shortest amount of time!
    Miami, Miami Beach, Ft. Lauderdale to Palm Beach
    List your rental home with us for quick results!

    #1 I have a property to rent! What do I do?
    We make it easy for you. We will view the property and do the Miami Rental Market Analysis research. We will offer rental suggestions to prepare your property to rent, and help you determine the best Miami rental asking price. Harriet Martin & Associates will list your Miami property for rent on the MLS system available to all real estate agents. But unlike most Realtors… our rental marketing doesn’t stop there! Our superior promotion bars none. Immediately we begin our Internet marketing to 15 of the top real estate websites plus print advertising, direct mailings and more. Price is important! Priced properly, and with our extensive marketing system, we find Miami tenants quickly. Listen to us! We know the Miami real estate market!

    #2 How do I prepare the property for rent?
    We can guide you through the most strategic needed. We will "walk through" your home and make suggestions such as painting, carpet cleaning or replacement and general overall cleaning. Curb appeal is important. Check your mailbox, front door and landscaping to update if necessary. Renting property is a business. Every penny counts! We can guide you in making good business decisions… we know what it takes to find the best tenants!

    #3 Who pays for your services?
    The Landlord pays commission once the property is rented. Our services are free to the tenants, so naturally, we have tenants on waiting lists. We know your concerns and work quickly to find a tenant so your property does not remain vacant. Time is money!

    #4 What do you do when a potential tenant makes an offer?
    We will run a credit check on the tenants (at their expense) and ask them to supply references of work history, rental history, prior Landlord information and personal references. We will verify the information BEFORE presentation to you. This way we do not waste time and know the circumstances of the tenants to discuss with you.

    #5 Who prepares the lease?
    We can prepare the lease using our real estate lease contract, the owner may prepare their own lease, or we use our extensive management lease which is only available to our management clients. We can show these leases to you to review. You can be sure we will include all disclosures and documentation that is required by the State of Florida for all rentals.

    #6 What deposits do you collect with the lease?
    We collect 1 month’s rent pus 2 months of security deposit for greater protection for the Landlord. Our lease terms are for one year or longer. Short-term leases are possible under certain circumstances.

    #7 How does property management work?
    Once your property is rented, our Miami property Management department will set up an account for you. You will receive statements noting rents collected and any repair costs needed. Miami Property Management takes the worry from you. They work with the Landlord and Tenant to give good quality service. We want your tenants to renew and remain long term, ensuring the best return on your investment!

    #8 What happens between tenancies?
    Generally you should expect to do normal cosmetic updating such as painting, carpet cleaning or replacement and any overall cleaning & repairs. Our property management tenants are responsible for general cleaning & carpet cleaning before move-out. We will help with anything needed & supply photographs of the condition of your home.

    #9 May I see Landlord and Tenant References?
    Yes, there are several testimonials on our web site. Please see what they have to say in their own words. We are a pinnacle quality service award winning office with FORTUNE INTERNATIONAL REALTY. Our reputation of 50 years team experience is proven. You can count on us to make your transaction as easy as possible. We will take you through the process step by step.

    #10 What do I do if I want to buy or sell property?
    That's where Harriet Martin & Associates' expertise is invaluable. We know the tax implications of selling your Miami investment property and can guide you with our extensive knowledge regarding your new purchase. You can buy Miami property easily through us. Maybe you would like to purchase another of our management properties that is already rented anywhere from Miami to Ft. Lauderdale. Less stress for you! We sell and buy many properties for landlords during the term they are with us. We have an extensive list of investors just like you who want to purchase with a tenant in place. Our proven results speak for themselves. Once you are a client of ours - you will remain our client for life.

    Go with a Proven Leader! More than 25 years experience in Miami Rentals and Miami Property Management! International exposure in South America, Eruope and USA. Your satisfaction is guaranteed! We rent & sell in Miami, Miami Beach, Ft. Lauderdale & Palm Beach. Multi Lingual team of experts! We sell or rent every 2 days! Over $400 Million Sold. Miami 1031 Exchange specialists to help you exchange investments & avoid capital gains tax. Our skills will show you a better way to rent or sell your property.

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