Looking to 2017 in Miami Development

by Isaac Benmergui, Esq on February 23, 2017

Looking to 2017 in Miami DevelopmentA recent panel hosting top real estate producers in the Miami market gave us a glimpse of what they are expecting to see in 2017. Here’s your cheat sheet.

First, Alex Zylberglait, Marcus & Millichap’s senior vice president for investment sales, says he expects to see foreign investors who became familiar with the Miami market on the residential side venture into the commercial side. And because the fundamental market in Miami is strong, they see commercial development here as a solid investment. In particular, foreign investors are looking into long-lease, single-tenant properties like CVS and Walgreens.

Cervera Lamadrid, managing partner for Cervera Real Estate, predicts that the strength of the dollar will continue to negatively impact condo sales, but it won’t be as bad as previously thought since Latin American currencies held strong after the election. Lamadrid concedes it won’t be a runaway season for condo sales but says areas where condos are strong will see more varied kinds of development.

Rodrigo Azpúrua, CEO of Riviera Point Development Group, is most concerned about the EB-5 visa program that was extended through April 2017, after a December 9 vote that would have reformed the visa program to include higher spending thresholds and more of an eye on compliance.

Aaron Kurlansky, principal of FM Capital, says he’s seeing investors leaving higher-priced markets for the good values in Miami. “We are seeing a lot of guys exiting properties in New York to double down and plant roots here. These people are longer term investors who want to manage their wealth. They are seeing that they can own 200 units here for the same price of 100 units there.”

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 and Civil Litigation 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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What is an Assessment?

by Isaac Benmergui, Esq on February 22, 2017

 What is an Assessment? If you’re considering a property that is under a homeowner’s association or condo owners association, you may be expecting that you’ll have to pay monthly or quarterly HOA or COA dues. But what you may not know is that HOAs and COAs can also hit you with other fees, called special assessments.

What are special assessments, and what happens if you don’t pay them?

Basically, special assessments are a planning failure on the association’s part. Either they didn’t collect enough money from homeowners during the year to pay for expenses, homeowner’s didn’t pay up and there’s no incentive to do so, or a catastrophic damage occurred needing repair that isn’t covered by insurance and there’s not enough reserves to take care of it.

In any of these situations, your HOA can impose additional fees called special assessments. These assessments are money collected to pay for something that the HOA doesn’t have the money to cover.

If you don’t pay your share of HOA dues or special assessments, most HOAs can place a lien on your property. Once a lien in on your property, they can foreclose on your home following the procedures in your HOA’s CC&Rs and according to state law. If you don’t know what your HOAs bylaws are or need to look them up, the HOA must allow you to look at records and allow you to take photos or scans of them to take with you at no charge. Most HOAs do not post anything related to bylaws, financial records or meeting minutes online.

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 and Civil Litigation 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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What is a Proof of Funds Letter?

by Isaac Benmergui, Esq on February 21, 2017

 What is a Proof of Funds Letter? If you’re a buyer in today’s Miami housing market, you may have seen or heard of sellers requiring a proof funds letter for your offer. What is a proof funds letter, and why do sellers want one?

A proof of funds letter is simply a letter from your bank stating that you have the amount required, in cash, for both closing costs and your down payment. While this practice is more common with cash buyers, sellers are now even requiring them from financed buyers, along with a preapproval letter from their lender.

A valid proof of funds letter should include the date, account holder’s name, and balance of funds on deposit. The buyer will also need to provide an original bank statement, online banking statement, open credit line, money market balance, or certified financial statement.

Even if your seller is not requiring a proof of funds for an offer, submitting one is another way to set your offer apart. It proves that you are a serious buyer and dispels any doubt as to the fact that you can come through on closing day.

If you are making an offer on a home that already requires proof of funds, you can further set your offer apart by also including a love letter, which is a short letter to the buyer explaining why you love the home and it’s a good fit for you. You can also have your real estate professional call the listing agent and find out what their preferred contingencies are, and include them in your offer, along with their preferred closing date. These individualized touches will enable your offer to go through faster and with no revisions, which could give you an edge over other buyers.

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 and Civil Litigation 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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Selling in a Sellers’ Market

by Isaac Benmergui, Esq on February 20, 2017

Selling in a Sellers' MarketOne of the first markets to recover from the housing crash, Miami has long been a sellers’ market due to it’s affordability, ease of access for foreign buyers, location and climate. Although the luxury market has stabilized recently, the market for homes priced under $300k is still underserved by the current housing supply.

Part of the reason this market is undersupplied is because in the wake of the housing crisis, builders began to focus on high-end homes in order to make up for a drop in the number of home sales. Space for new housing developments has also been an issue has Miami has expanded to the point where redevelopment is often the only way to produce new housing.

If you’re ready to sell your home, you’d think a sellers’ market is the perfect place to be, but there are still plenty of ways to get burned. A hot market, a seller’s market, is defined as a market in which most homes sell in less than two months. This can cause a few problems for sellers.

When homes sell this fast, you need a plan for where you are going to live. Unless you are moving to another market, you’re going to have to turn around and buy another home in Miami, where buying is competitive and it could be a while before a deal goes through. One option is to include a leaseback contingency, requiring your buyers to rent your home back to you after the sale for a predetermined amount of time. Whatever you decide, make sure you have a plan for housing before you put your home on the market.

Another problem that can come up is a low appraisal. No matter what people offer for your home, what really matters is how much the bank is willing to pay for it. A low appraisal means the bank will require the buyer to come up with the cash for the difference between asking price and the appraisal value. If they can’t, you either have renegotiate the price or try a second appraisal.

Bad offers can be plentiful in a frenzied market. You may find that some buyers don’t have the money for closing costs, or can’t put up the down payment. Avoid this problem by requiring preapproval and a proof of funds letter with all offers.

Lastly, don’t expect offers over asking just because you’re in a sellers’ market. If you get asking price, take it. If you start turning down reasonable offers, your home will sit too long, and then you’ll end up having to take less than you could have.

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 and Civil Litigation 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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Brickell City Centre Offers Free Parking and Uber Stops

by Isaac Benmergui, Esq on February 17, 2017

 Brickell City Centre Offers Free Parking and Uber StopsIn an effort to streamline traffic and reduce congestion in Brickell, the $1.05 billion-dollar Brickell City Centre has announced a limited-time free parking arrangement and five new designated pick up and drop-off points in partnership with Uber.

Beginning this week, visitors can park free for up to two hours at the Brickell City Centre underground garage. Parking was initially free, but recently switched to a $3-an-hour charge. The free parking offer is temporary, but City Centre management has not said how long it will last.

A partnership with Uber was also announced, establishing five pick-up and drop-off zones around the complex in an attempt to streamline traffic and reduce congestion around the building. The points include Reach Condos, Rise Condos, EAST, Miami Hotel, 2 Brickell City Centre, 3 Brickell City Centre, and in front of Saks Fifth Avenue.

Downtown traffic has long been a problem in Brickell, where the pace of development has been exponential, with hundreds of condos adding residents and density to the area without providing any parking solutions.

Another problem in Brickell is outdated traffic technology, such as traffic lights that respond to congestion instead of cycling independently. There have also been complaints of illegal openings of the Brickell Bridge to water traffic on the Miami River.

Brickell City Centre did bring with it the renovation of the MetroMover and the addition of a stop at City Centre. The Metromover is an electric people-mover system that connects Brickell to the Metrorail and Metrobus systems.

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 and Civil Litigation 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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