Miami Condo Developers Changing Focus

by Isaac Benmergui, Esq on July 21, 2017

condo developersSouth Florida condo developers had hoped 2017 would be different. After a lagging 2016 that brought political uncertainty here at home, a strong dollar, and political upheaval in Latin America, developers hoped for a turnaround in the first quarter of this year, but it didn’t happen.

Instead, the slowdown continued this year. Now, projects are being cancelled, launch dates are being delayed, and timelines are being extended. So now, top developers are shifting their focus from luxury condos to multifamily and commercial space at more reasonable price points.

Immediately following the recession, many developers simply upped their price points to make back money lost on volume of sales by increasing sales prices. That resulted in a large amount of inventory at prices of $500k and up, and even more inventory shortages at price points closer to the average sales price. Rents also soared as potential homebuyers settled in to wait out these rising prices.

Related Group began feeling the pinch of the slowdown after an April 2016 kick off at Auberge Residences & Spa Miami. At the launch party, the building was only 20 percent reserved. By second quarter 2016 that fell to 15 percent. Construction completion was delayed to 2018, and then finally by December, buyers got their deposits back and Related cancelled the project.

Now, many major development groups are focusing on apartment towers and multifamily developments: Verzasca Group, Property Markets Group, Terra Group have all shifted resources from planned condo developments to multifamily projects. Melo Group and Related Group are focusing solely on multifamily.

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’s the Difference Between Encroachment and Easement?

by Isaac Benmergui, Esq on July 20, 2017

encroachmentEncroachments and easements are similar in that they both involve another party using your land. The difference between the two is permission.

An encroachment is when someone is using your land without your permission. It might be that there’s a fence over the property line, the corner of a shed or garden, or a deck. Often this happens when the property lines are assumed and not marked before building something. It can also happen when a larger property with existing structures is divided up at a later time.

The most common and easiest way to deal with an encroachment is to have the structure moved immediately. If you don’t, you could permanently lose that part of your property under a rule called adverse possession. Adverse possession states that if someone uses a property openly for long enough, they gain a legal right to it.

Encroachments of fences and gardens are dealt with easily enough, but what about permanent structures, like large retaining walls, or structures with foundations? If an encroachment cannot be moved, you can grant an easement.

An easement is permission to use a portion of someone else’s property while acknowledging it does not belong to you. The owner of the property still has to pay taxes on the easement, provide upkeep, and maintain it since it still belongs to them. Easements stay in place during the sale of a piece of land unless they are taken out. If left in, the new owners must abide by the rules.

Encroachments generally are not passed on in a sale. The sale of a piece of land is the ideal time to deal with an encroachment since many buyers will be wary of purchasing property with this problem.

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 Goes into Quality Real Estate Photography?

by Isaac Benmergui, Esq on July 19, 2017

real estate photographyNinety percent of buyers start their home search online. That’s basically everyone. The photos you put online aren’t a starting point, they are the deciding factor for many buyers. A great home can be made to look cramped and cluttered without great photography, and less-than-great homes can pull in the showings with the right photography.

So what makes great real estate photography, and why isn’t this something you should attempt with your phone? Well, while all agents agree that photography makes a different, not all agents think you need to hire a professional. However, the results speak for themselves: a Redfin study found that homes marketed with professional photos sell three weeks faster and are also more likely to sell at or above list price.

For properties with land, views, or other special features, some agents take things a step further and hire a drone photographer to clearly delineate waterfront property or acreage boundaries.

If you don’t take advantage of professional photography services, photo editing is your friend. Specialized editing services can green the grass, smooth out driveway stains, and even insert beautiful sunsets.

Of course, all the photography expertise in the world can’t make up for bad staging. Homeowners should do much of the legwork before the photographer ever arrives by de-cluttering, taking down personal photos and items, and packing away about one-third of your items, especially in closets. Even if you can’t afford professional staging, these simple steps can help your home sell faster.

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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Landlords and Real Estate Agents Move to Ban AirBnB

by Isaac Benmergui, Esq on July 18, 2017

AirBnBSouth Florida beach towns aren’t the only places fed up with short-term sublets like AirBnB. Some Melbourne, Australia, real estate agents are helping landlords keep short-term renters off their properties.

In Melbourne, the main problem with subletting is that it’s not the homeowners doing it. Landlords are renting their properties out to tenants, who are then using AirBnB to make money off the property while they are away. It’s causing concern for neighbors, homeowners, and property managers.

In response, many real estate agents are inserting clauses in leases that prohibit using the property as a short-term rental. The clause does allow short-term subletting with the property owner’s consent. Real estate agents say that aside from the liability issues, short-term rentals result in increased wear and tear on a property.

In Florida, AirBnB problems mainly stem from parking woes and noise complaints to all-night parties in beach areas. Since a 2012 Florida statute prohibits municipalities from making sublets illegal, they have fought back by regulating the problems that sublets cause in the communities. Many beach communities have also begun taxing the service.

The mayor of Miami Beach ranted on Facebook that AirBnB and other short-term rental sites bring down property value and artificially lower vacancy rates, making housing more expensive. Neither of those claims have been substantiated, according to Politifact.

For now, AirBnB remains a real problem for landlords, both at home and overseas.

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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Ontario May Ban Real Estate Agents from Dual Agency

by Isaac Benmergui, Esq on July 17, 2017

dual agencyThe city of Ontario, Canada, may begin banning a common real estate practice: dual agency.

Dual agency is when a real estate agent represents more than one party to a sale. The problem here is how an agent or a brokerage can purport to fairly represent parties with opposing goals. Arguably, the homeowner wants the most money for their home, and the buyer wants to pay the least they can.

In Florida, dual agency is a legal arrangement. This ability to represent both parties is the reason many agents still hold open houses, even though they account for less than 2 percent of homebuyers. Agents know this, but if they can find the buyer at the open house, then they can also claim the entire 6 percent commission for themselves rather than splitting it with another agency.

The proposal to end dual agency, or “double ending,” as they refer to it in Canada, is one of many rules in the New Fair Housing Plan that the Ontario Ministry of Consumer and Government Services is proposing amid rampant real estate agent misconduct in Ontario’s red-hot housing market.

A CBC News hidden-camera sting of 10 Ontario real estate agents revealed that six of the agents were willing to bend the rules by sharing confidential price information and give that buyer an advantage over outside offers. The agents that were caught on camera insisted they had done nothing wrong and were simply trying to compete with other agents who do the same thing on a regular basis.

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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