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Marc Knight's Blog

By Marc Knight | Managing Broker in Miami, FL
  • Essential Condo Selling Tips

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Miami Beach  |  August 2, 2010 4:31 PM  |  20,725 views  |  No comments
    Are you willing and ready to leave downtown Miami Beach and head towards a more serene neighborhood? If all the pomp and grandeur that brought you to the city is no longer appealing, perhaps it's time for you to move to the suburbs. However, this would mean putting your prized condo up for sale.

    You need to consider some important factors when selling your condo. Make a thorough assessment of the market condition. The value of your condo is influenced by the prevailing market trends. You may have to seek the advice if a Miami Beach condo realtor to determine the price of your property before bringing it out on the market. You have to remember that the value of condos could rise or fall depending on the current market status. If there is a great demand and condos are selling like pancakes, then you can command a higher price. On the other hand, if the local market is quite shaky, then you can expect a substantial decrease in value. As a rule, sell your condo when the market status is stable.

    Another crucial factor that you have to take into account is the location of your unit. The value of a condo largely depends on its location. For instance, if your unit is situated in the Art Deco District or in an area where the most popular beaches of Miami are located, then its value would be higher compared to those in other areas of the city. It would help if you can come up with a list of all the city conveniences you love such as your favorite restaurants, shops and boutiques that are within walking distance, night time entertainment options, as well as relation to transportation services.

    There are buyers who are seeking condos that are newly renovated. The value of your unit will likewise increase if you’ve done the necessary repairs. Many condo sellers have their units repaired or renovated to make it more appealing to potential buyers. Finally, if there is stiff competition in your area, prices are likely to drop. Therefore, if you don’t scout the competition and your asking price is too high, then it’s quite likely that your Miami Beach condo will be left unsold in the market. This is to your detriment because the longer your condo stays in the market, it tends to depreciate in value.

    As for the finer details, here is a quick rundown of what you ought to do: make a good first impression to captivate a potential buyer's interest. Use whatever you can to create an instant wow factor. De-clutter your unit because an open, inviting space will be more appreciated than a messy, bogged down one. If you're living on a vacant suite, staging is something to consider. Think of hiring a design and staging consultant. Finally, you can offer snacks and other offerings or you may step it up a notch and come up with something like a catered open house!
  • Things to Check Before You Buy a Miami Condo

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Miami  |  July 13, 2010 7:42 AM  |  7,272 views  |  No comments
    Investing in a condo is always a good option, especially when you are already set to buy a property but doesn’t need a huge home. A Miami condo offers you the luxury of comfortable living and you endow yourself the status of being a home owner. That said, here are a few things to consider before you sign on the dotted line.

    Monthly Condo Fees. This actually varies from condo to condo and is usually the difference between being able to afford the place or having to search somewhere else in Miami. In general, the fees are likely to go toward the maintenance of amenities, paying for landscaping, security, and other variables such as litigation. For budgeting and financing purposes, you should determine the monthly fee and exactly what you would be getting for it.

    Condo Rules and Regulations. Miami condos are essentially small communities and there are certain rules to follow. Carefully read all of them and assess whether they are amenable and would suit your lifestyle. Otherwise, move on and look elsewhere. Always consult your lawyer as it is his/her responsibility to review all governing documents, including the master deed, articles of incorporation, declaration, and by-laws.

    Condo Management. Try to determine whether there is a professional management company or the condo is self-managed. While a professional management company may sound like added cost, it can actually add value to a Miami condo because of more effective management and upkeep of common areas.

    Assessments. Find out if there are any contemplated or pending special assessments. Note that when Miami condos undergo assessment, there is a possibility that all unit owners may have to pay for necessary repairs or capital improvements. Sometimes this could run in the thousands of dollars, and some owners tend to sell after assessments. As you search for Miami condos, ask whether you are purchasing a special assessment along with your unit or inquire about recent assessments to the property to gauge if you can afford it.

    Pending Legal Disputes. You should be aware of any legal actions between developers and owners, or with the association. This can mean trouble and an indication of poor management. Note that any legal disputes mean lawyer’s fees which are payable out of the condo budget and could eventually lead to a special assessment. 

    Looking for Miami condos can be an exciting experience and you can expect some fireworks along the way. However, surprises aren't always pleasant, so make sure you are fully knowledgeable about the condo unit you intend to buy before signing any contracts.  Conducting an online search can prove to be handy - read through blogs, reviews or join forums to arm yourself with as much information as possible.
  • Tips and Tricks to Investing in Miami Condos

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Miami  |  July 6, 2010 10:19 PM  |  7,240 views  |  No comments
    With all indicators pointing that the real estate market is on the rebound, a lot of people are choosing properties in Miami as their top investment option. Well, you can’t blame them as there are some great properties in the market that are up for grabs.  If you take a closer look at the condition of the real estate market in Miami, you’re likely to end up investing too! However, some have the notion that investing in a metropolis like Miami means emptying their pockets. Nothing can be farther from the truth.

    There are several ways on how you can invest without breaking the bank. There are a few important tips and tricks that you can use for making investments in this great city. Miami Beach condos are among the highly sought after properties because of their contemporary appeal and the modern amenities they provide to residents and owners. Again, you don’t have to dole out all of your hard earned cash just to get one. The key is to conduct a meticulous search online. If you know how to search and where to search, you’ll discover hundreds of options and it’s quite likely that you will run into something that perfectly meets your specifications.

    There is a plethora of websites that you can visit to search the ideal Miami condo for you and the one that fits your budget. Most of the websites provide complete descriptions and important information about available Miami Beach condos. There are also photos and virtual tours that can give you an idea of how the condo looks like. You will also be able to compare several condo units and boost your chances of getting the best deal. A word of caution though, not all the details published in the websites are accurate. Therefore, it is still a wise move to personally visit the property and check out if it is a potential goldmine or a financial nightmare.

    After visiting the property, consider its location. It would be great if you can get a condo unit that is near shopping malls, convenience stores, churches, police and fire stations, as well as other establishments that can make you feel safe and comfortable. If you do find one, you can convert the condo into a rental property and it’s guaranteed that there will be no vacancy. Finally, for investors who may not know how to make a search or simply don’t have time, then hiring a real estate agent is the best thing to do. These professionals are always updated about Miami condos that are for sale.  Just give them your specifications so they can hunt down the property that can provide the best bang for your buck!  
  • How to Find the Perfect Miami Condo

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Miami Beach  |  June 22, 2010 7:05 PM  |  15,217 views  |  1 comment
    If you are in the market to buy a Miami Beach Condo you need to find the perfect home to fit your needs. The location is perfect, the climate is good all year round and it seems to be attracting more investors and tourists every year. You can buy to rent or to transform it into your new home; either way it is a good investment to make, even for first time home buyers.

    With the help of a seasoned real estate agent you will many Miami Condos for sale. Unless you find an unbeatable deal, it is always a good idea to look at a few options before deciding which property to buy. Experienced investors and real estate agents will know exactly what to look for and will have sufficient knowledge to guide you in the right direction. The price is naturally one of the most important factors; but there are other aspects to consider as well, like the type of home that you are interested in buying. This will also make a difference in the property value and it will greatly influence your budget, mortgage plan, maintenance costs, etc. The decision will greatly depend on your needs and if you are planning to stay there yourself. Many people prefer condos; they will use it during holidays as the perfect getaway and then rent it out for the rest of the year.

    Amongst the types of homes available are detached single family homes, co-operatives, condominiums and planned units. Amongst these, condos are by far the most popular; offering the buyer exclusive ownership of that unit and other amenities tied with the purchase. You will also obtain shared ownership on portions of this property, along with your neighbours. These areas can include parking areas, hallways, pools, gyms and laundry areas. As an owner of a Miami Beach Condo you will also be responsible for paying the Homeowner’s Association and these fees will include payments on water, gas, insurance and maintenance.

    The real estate market might have been risky for many buyers during the last couple of years but according to experts there is nothing to worry about when it comes to Miami real estate. Many investors argue that condos will be in demand because of Florida’s shift to a more urban lifestyle. This is good news for buyers; you property’s value will increase, making it a solid investment for you. The market is also likely to increase from 2010 so if you are looking to buy and hold on to a property for a few years you might receive a good return on your initial investment.

    There is no argue, property in Miami is always popular amongst investors, agents and tourists. Whichever way you look at it, buying a Miami Beach Condo is a good investment. The climate is perfect, the location is ideal and the area naturally attracts a lot of tourists; meaning that you will be able to enjoy your new home all year round.
  • Avoid Financial Boo-Boos When Buying a Miami Condo

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Miami  |  June 15, 2010 11:22 AM  |  7,259 views  |  No comments
    The current state of the real estate market has made it possible for a lot of first-time home buyers and investors to afford buying a Miami condo. However, before you take the plunge and ink the contract, make sure that you are armed with all the information you need to avoid running into any financial boo-boos.

    Experts generally recommend going for a down payment even if you can purchase your desired Miami condo with cold cash. Also, it is not advisable to avail of one hundred percent financing as this would not benefit you in any way from a financial perspective. Even if you have an overflowing bank account, you can find other more important uses for your hard earned money. Consider this, in case market prices drop for any reason, you have to shell out more cash in order to make up for the difference between your mortgage and your selling price along with other fees. In this instance, going for a down payment will prove to be more advantageous in the long run.

    Miami foreclosures or short sales always entail certain amount of risks. If you’ve made up your mind to buy a distressed Miami condo, it’s always best to verify liens and check for debts. This is a relatively simple step and if the property is ‘clean’, then you spare yourself from a lot of headaches.

    In Miami and for the rest of Florida, most of the properties that have taken the brunt of the foreclosure pique typically subject investors and homebuyers to intense scrutiny. Some would require proof of financial capability such as minimum level of salary or the capacity to make a down payment. Simply put, when you’re eyeing a unit, especially prime properties such as Miami beach condos, better prepare yourself from prying eyes of the homeowners association. In the same manner, you have to be extra careful and look into the reputation and status of the association. Make sure that you conduct your own investigation and look into the association’s minutes over the past couple of years. More importantly, determine whether it has incurred any substantial amount of debt. An increase in annual debt is a telltale sign that you better think twice and consider another unit.

    You should read the contract very carefully before closing any deal. Make sure you are furnished with a copy of the bylaws of the association. Sit down and take time out to read the Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs). Everything should be crystal clear and in case any doubt comes to mind, you can always consult a credible agent or a lawyer. Finally, make sure that the rules set forth by the association suit your lifestyle and that you can abide by them. If everything goes well, then congratulations and welcome to Miami!
  • Why Hire a Miami Real Estate Agent

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Miami  |  June 7, 2010 4:42 PM  |  7,253 views  |  No comments
    With virtually all the needed information readily available in the Internet, some people end up asking themselves, “Why should I hire a real estate agent?’. This is pretty common among new home buyers. In fact, even those with previous experience in terms of buying and selling Miami real estate property find themselves confused about the real significance of hiring the service of a realtor. To shed light into the matter, below are the primary reasons why you should hire a Miami real estate agent:
      
    Valuable Experience. Agents who have been around for quite some time know the ins and outs of the business. They have the knowledge and expertise needed to handle all matters pertaining to marketing, financing, negotiation, etc. They are also well aware of the market conditions, loan options, comparable pricing and paperwork requirements. You therefore spare yourself from all the headaches of trying to learn all there is to know about buying or selling a real estate property. The key is to find the right agent.

    Knowledge of the Area. Professional real estate agents have in-depth knowledge about the area and they know the prime locations of Miami condos, townhouses, apartments, luxury villas, etc. They also know where and how to get the latest news and developments in specific areas. They can immediately provide you the facts about comparable sales in the market and guide you as to where you can obtain additional details regarding demographics, crime rates, employment opportunities, hospitals, schools, among others.

    Crucial Information on Latest Market Conditions. Agents are updated when it comes to the latest buzz and trends in the Miami real estate market. This is of utmost importance as the facts generally control the buying and selling process. They are abreast with the current, average and median sales costs, average price per square foot of comparable properties, average number of days on the market, ratios of list-to-sold values, etc. Since real estate agents are familiar with local market conditions, it just makes sense to seek their service.

    Price Assistance. A good real estate agent knows the price range of various properties and at various locations within the area, from a modest single-family residence to the luxurious Miami beach condos. A real estate agent will guide you toward making the right decision. Selling agents ask prospective homebuyers to consider all pertinent information handed to them and then decide on what they believe is a fair price. Accordingly, depending on the prevailing trend of supply and demand along with other conditions, the agent will devise a negotiation plan for both parties.

    Protection. Transactions involving real estate are highly regulated and highly document intensive. A good Miami real estate agent knows the whole shebang when it comes to the existing laws, disclosures and documentation required to facilitate and complete the transaction to the satisfaction of all parties involved - the buyer, the seller as well as the law.
  • A Closer Look in the Miami Foreclosure Market

    Posted Under: Foreclosure in Miami  |  May 31, 2010 6:01 PM  |  12,203 views  |  No comments
    Over the past couple of years, the economic attention has shifted to the real estate market. Miami is one of the big cities to take a huge chunk from this revitalized industry. There are two sides to the story here, one is the astounding number of properties available for interested investors and home buyers. The other is the fact that people in the real estate market were quick to pounce on the opportunity and started asking too much. Naturally, people will avoid making real estate purchases. Luckily, the foreclosure market in Miami started to turn for the better.

    With the foreclosure boom in Miami, a lot of enterprising individuals started putting up their businesses. The idea is quite simple, purchase a foreclosed property particularly those which are sought after by investors and foreign buyers such as Miami beach condos while the market prices are low. Then two options are available: if the property happens to be in good condition, it can easily be sold at regular market rates. But if the property needs a little facelift, then a few renovations here and there can do the job so the property can be sold at its refurbished state at a new market price. Both are highly profitable to say the least.

    Some people may be wondering what is in for them from the Miami foreclosure boom if they are not keen on venturing on the real estate business. Well, let me tell you frankly that buying a foreclosed property is not only good for business but for pleasure as well. Yup, you read that right. Consider this, Miami is arguably the hub of some of the most sought after residential estates in the U.S. Miami condos are selling like hotcakes these days. So in case you have long been hoping to acquire your dream residence early at a price that fits your budget, now is the perfect time to do so. You’ll surely find what you want because as of the moment, there is a wide selection of foreclosed properties virtually in all areas.

    There are different classifications of Miami foreclosures. Some are government owned while a great majority are bank owned. Just to give you an idea, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation recently issued some whopping figures. It reported that the cumulative value of Florida foreclosures that have been repossessed by banks rose by almost eight percent in the first quarter of this year to $1.77 billion. What’s more, banks not only in Miami but across the state of Florida, are struggling to manage these ‘assets’ so most of them are compelled to list them as cheap properties for sale. Banks regularly publish lists of their foreclosed properties on their official websites or in the classified ads of local newspapers.

    If you are interested to make a purchase, better act fast because the number of foreclosure listings is gradually beginning to decline as market hunters are purchasing more and more properties. The remaining slots of available properties are made up of apartments, condos and high-priced residences. This is indicative that things are looking good because prices will drop and this will certainly have an impact on the prices of other available properties. In general, the foreclosure market of Miami, including others parts of Florida, is significantly brighter when compared to the rest of the country.
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