Securing Construction Loans in a Tight Lending Market

by Isaac Benmergui, Esq on May 27, 2016

 Securing Construction Loans in a Tight Lending MarketIn Miami in particular, the commercial lending market is tightening up as lenders fear the condo bubble will burst and they’ll be left driving the crane. In preparation, lending standards are tightening, leaving developers wondering if they’ll have to crowd source or otherwise creatively fund their next project, as some South Florida real estate developers have already done.

So what can you do to appear as attractive as possible to lenders amidst a shrinking pool of capital?

First, relationships matter. As capital shrinks, lenders will reserve more of their funds for existing clients. It’s important to have relationships with banks—or to work with a firm that does—already so that you don’t have to prove yourself and your resume while a project languishes for lack of funding.

Second, it’s more important than ever to have everything in order to the point that you address any concerns before they even come up. If you think you’ll need additional documentation for one aspect of your project? Cover it. Back up your back ups. Banks that do have extra capacity of lending are going to be bombarded with requests, so make sure your proposal is impeccable.

Finally, make sure you’re submitting to a lender that is a good match for your project. With time and financing so limited, lenders are going to be making some tough decisions. Don’t make it easy by sending your proposal to a lender that may have extra capital but is not familiar with your market or business.

Call Miami Real Estate Lawyer Isaac Benmergui at 305.397.8547 and set up a no charge, no obligation consultation to discuss your case. We have over a decade of experience handling Real Estate, Civil Litigation, and Personal Injury cases throughout Miami and South Florida, and will use our expertise to help your case to the best of our abilities.

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Five Tips for a Quick Sale

by Isaac Benmergui, Esq on May 26, 2016

Five Tips for a Quick SaleIt’s that time of year—prime home-selling season.

While buyers are out in force, so are smart sellers. But you can set your home apart and appeal to buyers with these five great tips for a quick home sale.

  1. Get cleaning. Don’t have time for a deep clean? Hire a maid service to do a deep clean for you. Deep cleans include cleaning baseboards, dusting blinds and ceiling fans, cleaning, windows, light fixtures, and other areas that you may miss during routine cleans. A deep clean is the difference between “Hmm,” and “Wow!” for a buyer.
  2. Get packing. You’re planning to move anyway, so get packing now. By boxing up non-essential items, you’ll also de-clutter your home, making closets seem larger and rooms bigger. Putting away knick-knacks and personal items also helps a buyer imagine the space as theirs, not just yours.
  3. Get painting. A fresh coat of paint imparts that new-home smell, but can also make the whole space feel new. Choose fresh, neutral colors that will go with any style or taste.
  4. Get updating. The smallest things make the biggest difference—if your home is older, don’t worry about the big upgrades, go for small fixes like modern, new light fixtures and faucets that will give your home a newer feel without the expense of a full remodel.
  5. Get gardening. Curb appeal is a huge factor in home sales. It’s the first impression and the last look. Your front yard is also the place where the least amount of money and effort can go the farthest. Keep your lawn trimmed, hedges neat, plant some fresh flowers and lay down new mulch. Sweep sidewalks and porches, and touch up your front door with a fresh coat of paint and a new light fixture.

Call Miami Real Estate Lawyer Isaac Benmergui at 305.397.8547 and set up a no charge, no obligation consultation to discuss your case. We have over a decade of experience handling Real Estate, Civil Litigation, and Personal Injury cases throughout Miami and South Florida, and will use our expertise to help your case to the best of our abilities.

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 Panama Papers Reveal Mexican Congressman Who Spent Millions on Miami Luxury CondosAn official of Mexico’s teachers’ union and his relatives paid cash for 14 luxury condos valued at more than $8.2 million, according to a new report that’s coming to light after the investigation and analysis of the Panama Papers.

Bernardo Quezada Salas, as well as his wife and several close relatives, paid cash for 11 condos as 1395 Brickell Avenue, which was 10 percent of the building’s units. They also bought property at the Setai and Jade Beach. The family members began purchasing the properties with cash using shell companies from 2004 to 2008.

Besides serving as a congressman in Mexico, Salas has held positions with the National Education Workers’ Union, the largest and most corrupt union in Latin America, and has been tied to the daughter of the union’s president, who was arrested in 2013 for embezzlement and organized crime.

According to the Miami Herald, the congressman’s salary would not have been enough to afford one condo, much less 14.

Salas was not mentioned in the Panama Papers or the subsequent analysis of the more than 11.5 million documents detailing shell companies set up for the world’s rich and famous by the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.

However, revelations such as those represented in the Panama Papers are precisely what led to the enactment of a geographic targeting order affecting Miami-Dade County by the Federal Government. The order requires title insurance companies to identify purchasers or members of purchasing entities for all-cash purchases over $1 million.

Call Miami Real Estate Lawyer Isaac Benmergui at 305.397.8547 and set up a no charge, no obligation consultation to discuss your case. We have over a decade of experience handling Real Estate, Civil Litigation, and Personal Injury cases throughout Miami and South Florida, and will use our expertise to help your case to the best of our abilities.

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Miami Moves Up in Apartment Rental Cost Rankings

by Isaac Benmergui, Esq on May 24, 2016

Miami Moves Up in Apartment Rental Cost RankingsMiami is now among the top ten metropolitan areas in the country for its rising rent prices. In the latest numbers released by rental platform Zumper, Miami surpassed Chicago as the eighth most costly place in the United States to rent an apartment. San Francisco topped the list at $3,590 for a one-bedroom apartment.

According for Zumper’s March numbers, the average renter in Miami paid $1,900 for a one-bedroom apartment. Two bedroom units cost $2,640 per month on average. That’s an 8.6 percent gain over last year.

Nearby areas are on the rise, too. Average rental rates in both Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach passed $1,000 for the first time, with Broward County at more than $1,200 a month.

The rise in rates is attributed to rising demand for rentals in the face of a tight housing market, as well as a shortage of affordable rentals. But there is good news: about 1,100 to 1,400 units will hit the market in Miami before the end of the year, helping to slow prices.

There’s also an additional 10,000 units in the pipeline, most of which are luxury properties that will drive prices even higher. But these new properties will put downward pressure on older properties—defined as properties 10 to 25 years old–and also make tenants more valuable as new options open up and landlords struggle to retain current residents.

The year should end with about a 5 percent gain in prices for Broward and Palm Beach Counties, but only because consumers will reach “the height of what they can afford,” according to a report by Cushman & Wakefield.

Call Miami Real Estate Lawyer Isaac Benmergui at 305.397.8547 and set up a no charge, no obligation consultation to discuss your case. We have over a decade of experience handling Real Estate, Civil Litigation, and Personal Injury cases throughout Miami and South Florida, and will use our expertise to help your case to the best of our abilities.

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Affording a Home when You Have Student Loans

by Isaac Benmergui, Esq on May 23, 2016

Affording a Home when You Have Student LoansBefore the housing market crashed, if you had taken out a home loan, you would have noted the bank’s interest in two main things: your credit score, and your savings. Today, the loan landscape is much different. Your credit score, income, and debt-to-income ratio all help determine your credit worthiness.

When you have student loans, it can affect your ability to qualify for a home loan in several ways. But, it doesn’t have to. First, let’s look at the problems student loan debt can create when trying to qualify for a mortgage, then let’s look at how to solve them.

Problem: Credit score. If you had problems paying your student loans when they first came due, it could have hurt your credit score.

Solution: Banks like to see your last late payment a year or more in the past. Pay your payments on time, even if you only pay the minimum. Pay your other bills on time too, since they account for 35 percent of your credit score. If any student loan debt has gone to collections, get it settled. As soon as it’s settled, it comes off your credit report—even medical bills.

Problem: Down payment. If you are paying on student loans, you may not have had enough savings to satisfy a loan with a larger down payment requirement.

Solution: Many types of loans require little to no down payment. FHA loans require as little as 3 percent. Some military loans require no down payment. Find out what you qualify for, and see if there’s a program that can meet your needs.

Problem: High debt-to-income ratio. Having student loan debt can quickly place your dent-to-income ratio higher than a bank will allow, especially if you also have a car payment or credit-card debt. Banks generally will not look at anyone with a debt-to-income ration over 41 percent.

Solution: Consider consolidating loans, switching to a graduated payment plan, or lengthening the term of your loan. All of these steps will lower your monthly payment, hence lowering your debt to income ratio.

Miami Real Estate Lawyer Isaac Benmergui at 305.397.8547 and set up a no charge, no obligation consultation to discuss your case. We have over a decade of experience handling Real Estate, Civil Litigation, and Personal Injury cases throughout Miami and South Florida, and will use our expertise to help your case to the best of our abilities.

 

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