Dfab, I am not sure where you are living now, but as a resident of Normandy... I can say it's a great place to live. You can walk to one of its parks, great area restaurants or shops and on Saturday's the Farmer's Market. You are also minutes away from South Beach and Aventura. In addition, for the boater's we have Pelican Harbor Marina just down the road.
All Realtors need to be careful how this question is answered because of Fair Housing Laws. If you need to know about the crime in the area I would suggest you visit the neighborhood, talk to neighbors and check out the dade-county site (http://www.miamidade.gov).
As for actual condition of homes - you can see people are spending a lot of money remodeling and some others are not. There are many neighborhoods throughout Miami where this happens and you need to find out about local code enforcement and zoning practices if you care living next to a house where the lawn is not mowed or the house is not painted.