Home > Blogs > Janie Coffey's Blog

Janie Coffey's Blog

By Janie Coffey | Agent in Coral Gables, FL
  • How is square footage for single family homes calculated in Miami-Dade?

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Miami-dade County, Home Buying in Miami-dade County, Home Selling in Miami-dade County  |  July 7, 2011 9:13 AM  |  2,400 views  |  No comments

    Properties are evaluated in many ways by using square footage. Part of the property tax calculation is based on square footage, appraisals are often based on square footage and market data and statistics quote square footage prices… Yet square footage can be a slippery thing to an understanding of, especially as there are several ways square footage is calculated. A little information might help clear up a few questions or misunderstandings.

    There are several numbers most seen relating to single family homes….

    • Total Square Feet includes the full square footage of covered buildings including garages, covered patios, out buildings, etc.
    • Adjusted Square Feet a combination of living square feet (ie the home) which is calculate at 100% plus a percentage for the non-living areas (ie enclosed garage at 50%, covered parking at 33%, etc).  For example, if a home had 2,000 living sq. ft. and another 400 sq. ft for a garage (2,400 total sq. ft), the garage will likely only be calculated at 50%, or 200 sq. ft, making the Adjusted Sq. Ft. 2,200 sq. ft.
    Square Footage in Miami

    Example of a home with a covered parking area (33% calculated)

    When a listing agent enters a home into the MLS, they most likely use the Miami-Dade County Property Tax records website to gather the information.  The numbers are populated directly from the tax assessors website and the number that is pulled from the ADJUSTED Sq. Ft. on the tax assessors page is used in the “Sq. Ft. Living Area” in the MLS.  This is also the number used when real estate agents or the board of Realtors report $/sq. ft. data.

    These are calculated from outside dimensions, not from interior dimensions.

    These are most likely from construction which was both permitted and properly closed out.  There can be square footage on the Dade-County property records that was not permitted, but it is less of the norm.  The tax assessor rarely goes out and measures buildings like they do in other parts of the country, they rely on building permits for the most part.

    Warning: If you see “home is bigger than tax records” this is not a good thing.  This indicates an illegal or un-permitted addition, which is going to cause a home buyer some big issues, including possibly not being able to obtain a loan on the property.  If you see this on a house you are interested in, investigate before making an offer.

    Sometimes the owner believes the square footage varies from the tax records and then the listing agent will note “square footage per owner”, this is again something that should be further investigated.

    Exact Square Footage can be much more of a fuzzy thing than most people expect, so having an understanding of how things are calculated helps make sense of the various numbers.

    Key Take-Aways:

    • The square footage on the MLS is in high probability not a number the listing agent or seller come up with but the adjusted square footage number from the Dade County property appraiser’s website.
    • This adjusted square footage will include a portion of the non-living areas, such as garages, covered patios, barns, out buildings, etc.
    • Anytime a number varies from the Dade County tax records, be wary and investigate.

    Blog image courtesy of WhosWho on flickr

  • If I'm a "cash buyer" can I get a huge discount off of list price?

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Coral Gables, Home Selling in Coral Gables, Financing in Coral Gables  |  June 19, 2011 3:22 PM  |  2,069 views  |  No comments

    “I’m a cash buyer, I’d like to make a low ball offer”

    We hear this quite often in the Miami real estate market.  Cash buyers are great, don’t get me wrong, but there is a misconception that because they are cash, they can make extremely low offers.  They often believe they are one of the only buyer’s with cash and that puts them in a superior position.  It does, to some extent, but here are the facts:

    • 2/3 of ALL current buyers in Miami Dade are CASH
    • 1/3 of ALL current buyers in Coral Gables are CASH
    • In Coral Gables, Cash buyers received only a 2% better price (in relation to list price) than conventional buyers

    Closed Home Sales In Coral Gables 2011 to date:

    • 202 Total Sales
    • 69 Cash Sales with an average sales price of $904,991
    • 119 Conventional Sales with an average sales price of $855,405
    • 10 FHA Sales with an average sales price of $471,000
    • 4 “Other” Terms Sales with an average sales price of $1,121,000

    How does buying cash affect my sales price?

    Buying cash does give you some advantages, often a buyer will pick your offer over an equal or possibly slightly higher offer, if you are cash (especially if you waive an appraisal).  And, due to LOW appraisals and tough lending, cash might be the only way to go.  YES, we love our cash buyers, but the mystical giant discounts for cash buyers just don’t exist.  As you can see above, FHA buyers in Coral Gables actually ended up with a lower Sale to List Price Ratio.

    If you would like to read more about Cash Buyers in Coral Gables and Miami-Dade, here are a few more blog posts:

  • Has the bottom passed in the Coral Gables real estate market?

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Coral Gables, Home Selling in Coral Gables  |  June 16, 2011 9:19 AM  |  1,907 views  |  No comments

    The activity in the Coral Gables real estate market has picked up dramatically in the past few months. Buyers are sensing that the bottom is near, or more likely has passed.  So do the agents.  Yet sensing or feeling don’t tell the whole story, but the data can certainly show the trend.  Let’s take a look at the leading indicators…

    A market economy is based on supply and demand.

    Let’s take a look at supply first.  In real estate, supply is most often indicated by months of inventory, which is calculated by dividing the number of homes being bought, by the number on the market (absorption) to see how many months of current inventory are on the market.  A high number of homes indicates a buyer’s market (many homes to choose from) and a low inventory indicates a seller’s market (supply is low compared to demand.)

    Over the past year, the Real Estate Inventory in Coral Gables has decreased by 60%!

    Coral Gables Real Estate Supply and DemandA Buyer’s Market exists when the inventory is over six months. A  Seller’s Market exists when the inventory is less than four months.  Right now, we have just over six months of inventory, still a buyer’s market, but just barely.  Based on this data, the time to buy is NOW before we fully shift to a seller’s market.

    Pending  homes sales are contributing to this decreased inventory of Coral Gables single family homes

    Coral Gables Real Estate MarketPending sales are up 78% in Coral Gables!

    Final Test:  As inventory decreases, prices will normally begin to inch up based on supply and demand.  Let’s see if that is the case in the Coral Gables real estate market.

    the Coral Gables Real Estate Market

    Yes, prices are on the rise!  If you have been waiting on the fence to buy, these three sets of data show a clear picture that the turning point in the Coral Gables Real Estate market was the Fall of 2010.  Since then, inventory has had a steady decrease, pending home sales and median home price a steady increase.  The market is still great, but changing rapidly.

    It’s time to get off the fence and begin to look in earnest for your new Coral Gables home!

  • Who is more likely to sell a Coral Gables home? Listing or Buyer's Agent?

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Coral Gables, Home Selling in Coral Gables  |  June 15, 2011 5:43 AM  |  1,908 views  |  No comments

    This is a very interesting question and sellers might be surprised to find out that the overwhelming amount of homes in Coral Gables are sold via a listing agent but in conjunction with a cooperating agent (one working with the buyers). Sellers hire a listing agent to find a buyer and often think the agent has a bunch of perfect buyers for their home in their back pocket.  This is rarely the case for owner occupant homes which are so specific to tastes, needs and wants.  If we were talking about investor buyers, the numbers are much different as they are buying a commodity, not a home.  The reality is the majority of homes, 85% in fact, sold in Coral Gables 2011 to date, were in partnership with a cooperating broker.

    Coral Gables Listing Agent Data

    The listing agent’s job is to sell the property and they will do everything at their disposal to do that. A good Coral Gables listing agent knows these numbers and not only markets to reach buyers directly, but markets to reach other agents they know work with buyers in Coral Gables.

    Some of the things a Coral Gables Listing Agent does to market to buyer’s agents include:

    • Holding Broker’s Open Houses on Wednesdays
    • Advertising directly through email marketing
    • Calling their data base of active Coral Gables buyer’s agents
    • Networking with Coral Gables agents in person and via social media
    • Keeping and grooming a database of Coral Gables Realtors

    While it does happen that a listing agent may find a buyer directly through internet marketing, their own data base and other marketing efforts, they embrace working with cooperating agents as well.  Additionally, it cold be that the internet and direct marketing an agent does for a listing does, in fact, reach the perfect buyers, but if they are already working with a buyer’s agent who will still be the one to make the appointment.

    Make sure to hire a listing agent for your Coral Gables home who knows this information and who works diligently to find you a buyer, whatever the avenue is, both with, and without a buyer’s agent.

  • A low inventory of homes in Coral Gables boost sales, makes buyers hustle

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Coral Gables, Home Buying in Coral Gables, Home Selling in Coral Gables  |  April 11, 2011 3:43 PM  |  2,221 views  |  No comments

    Gables by the Sea for sale

    Gables by the Sea – Offered at $1,350,000 – Sold in 10 Days

    If you are in the Coral Gables real estate market as either a buyer or seller, you will have noticed a distint trend as of late. For the well priced homes (not under priced, but market priced), the demand is high. We are experiencing multiple, high offers, often cash and it comes to a shock to both buyers and sellers. The low inventory we have now helps to explain this shift in the market.

    When inventory is high, we have a buyer’s market (they have many options to choose from and can be picky). When inventory is low, it is a seller’s market and the buyers compete with each other to win bids. A stable market is somewhere between 4 and 6 months of inventory. In our gloomiest days, we had up to a four year supply of homes in Coral Gables. We now have approximately an 8 month supply, down over 75% from two years ago and even more from 2008.

    This does not mean ALL sellers are in the driver seat, it is still a buyer’s market, but it does mean that sellers who put their home on the market to sell, and position it correctly in both appearance and price, will be very happy with the results. Buyer’s are facing a wake up call when they find that they are not in control as much as they were as little as six months ago and are shocked when their low ball offers are not accepted, or even countered.
    Coral Gables Real Estate Market

    If you’d like to learn more about the Coral Gables market, give me a call, 786-252-4970, it’s my favorite topic!

  • Why the path to selling your home for top $ is counterintuitive

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Coral Gables, Home Selling in Coral Gables  |  April 8, 2011 6:37 AM  |  2,098 views  |  No comments

    how to sell your MIami Luxury Home for top dollarA lifetime dear friend of mine just sent me a message on Facebook

    I am going to list my house soon, but I am not in a hurry to sell and want to get a lot of $ for it. Advice?

    Yes, WAIT!  Do not list until you are ready to sell!

    Right now in Coral Gables, we have 418 single family homes for sale.  In the past 30 days, 34 of them sold.  This means only one in every twelve homes are selling.  You want to be positioned properly to be one of the twelve.  The longer the house sits on the market, the more “stale” it becomes.  (Stale =  Buyers start to smell blood, think you aren’t serious about selling or wonder what is wrong with the home.)

    I’ve pulled that data to see what homes in Coral Gables are selling for (list to sell ratio) and how quickly.

    IF they were one of the one in twelve that did sell, they sold after approximately 114 days on the market and for 91% of list price.

    • If they sold in the first 30 days, they sold for 95% of list price
    • If they sold in the first 30-60 days, they sold for 92% of list price **
    • If they sold in the first 60-90 days, they sold for 87% of list price **
    • and if they sold over 90 days, they sold for 86% of list price, after an average of 245 days on the market **

    (** the % ratio of “list to sold” is not based on original list price, but on most recent list price, so when you take the 9% higher discount (86% discount if sold over 90 days vs 95% if sold under 30 days) PLUS the price reductions likely to have been taken to finally sell, you see pricing it right in the first place brings the top dollar).

    Positioning it right from the start brings the ready willing and able buyers already in the market.  This encourages multiple offers.  This makes your listing the belle of the ball.  You don’t want to be the eleven out of twelve sitting on the sidelines waiting to be asked to dance, you want to be the Belle!

    Don’t list your home until you are really ready to sell and then list it properly.  Prepare it to sell so it looks like a show piece.  Don’t push the house into the Market before the house (and you) are ready or the buyers are going to be taking a whack at you left and right.  Have the buyers court you, not whack you!

    You only have one chance to make a first impression

    With so many homes on the market (remember, in a month, only one in twelve are selling in Coral Gables) and new ones hitting the market every day, you only have ONE chance to lure them in for a viewing.

    If you are thinking of selling your home and want to know how to get top dollar, give me a call, I’d love to discuss it with you! 786-252-4970, Janie Coffey, Estate Agent

    More Reading:

  • Why Google is So Important in Selling your Home

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Coral Gables  |  March 28, 2011 7:06 AM  |  1,844 views  |  No comments

    the Search: "Open House in Coral Gables"

    the Results: TheCoralGablesStory.com is #3 and #4 on Google Page 1, just past Trulia (positions #1 and #2)

    Above: Zillow.com, Realtor.com, Homefinder.com, Movoto.com, EWM.com and Weichert.com

    Don't you want someone listing your home who knows how to hit the top of Google when people search for your home?  Interested? Read more about other Google Searches and why it's important in the 1st Edition.

    Open Houses in Coral GablesDon't delay, pick up the phone (786-252-4970) talk to the Coral Gables Specialist:

« Read older posts
Copyright © 2014 Trulia, Inc. All rights reserved.   |  
Have a question? Visit our Help Center to find the answer