Home Tech Makes the Most of Small Spaces

by Isaac Benmergui, Esq on August 17, 2017

home techWith micro units growing in popularity and several projects planned all over Miami, you might be wondering, how do you live in such a small space? Some developments will make the most of communal facilities, like gyms, theaters, and kitchens. But even if they do, 349 square feet still isn’t much space. Here’s how to make it work for you.

  • Modular furniture. Furniture that breaks down into smaller pieces for different configurations can be really helpful in small spaces. Furniture with hidden storage is a help, too. Many beds offer storage drawers or baskets that can double as a dresser, and there are even side tables that hide a kennel if you’re sharing your small space with an animal.
  • Smart bulbs. How can smart light bulbs help? Well, light makes any room feel larger, and tech makes this convenient by allowing you to turn lights on and off from your phone. Some smart bulbs also have Bluetooth speakers, allowing you to take one more thing off your countertop.
  • Replace your TV with a projector. For most people, the entertainment center takes up the most room in your living space, and also dictates the focal point. You may not have this luxury in a smaller space. Short –throw projectors are the perfect solution, allowing your laptop to replace your DVD player and cable box, and a tiny, portable box to replace that huge flat-screen TV. It’s portable, tiny, and you can move it anywhere you want to use it, and put it away when you’re not.
  • Smart hub. A smart hub like Amazon’s Alexa or Google Home can help save space by serving as your radio, alarm clock, and information hub in one tiny package. Plus, control all your smart appliances from one tiny unit that you can put anywhere.

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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Micro Units Hit North Miami

by Isaac Benmergui, Esq on August 16, 2017

micro unitsA new development of micro units will break ground in North Miami if it’s approved by the city council. The issue at hand is if the city will alter the requirements for the minimum square footage allowed from 750 square feet to 550.

The move comes as developers say there’s more of a need for studio and affordable single-living units since more people are staying single today. If the change is approved, the new, smaller units will only be allowed in a handful of special districts, and only 20 percent of the units will be micro-sized.

West Palm Beach has already given the go-ahead to developers to start on a micro-unit project containing units sized from just 300 to 549 square feet. Another development in Biscayne Bay already has apartments as small as 450 square feet.

Micro units are the latest attempt to keep some housing affordable for renters in a city where it’s not unusual to spend 40 to 50 percent of your income on housing. Those who can’t afford to do so are relegated to long commutes or roommate arrangements long past the age when it’s normal to have a roommate.

Micro units come in a variety of forms. Some resemble hotel rooms complete with tiny kitchens, others maximize space by making use of communal spaces like kitchens and gyms. For developers, the benefits are obvious: higher occupancy in the same amount of space means more rent money: $2.61 per square foot on average, which is 81 percent higher than larger units.

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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Why Should I Pay a Real Estate Agent when Zillow is Free?

by Isaac Benmergui, Esq on August 15, 2017

ZillowIf you’re about to list or buy a home, you may be considering all your options in this tech-driven real estate market. After all, Miami is a hot market where homes practically sell overnight. So why should you pay a real estate agent?

First, you need to understand how Zillow makes money. Zillow may be free to you, the individual homeowner, but for property managers, real estate agents, and mortgage companies, it’s not. Real estate agents pay for exposure, which is why clicking that ad next to the home you want to view may get you no closer to seeing it.

Second, for sellers, having a real estate agent or real estate attorney means only pursuing qualified leads, which is probably the most important thing they can do for you. Knowing what to ask the buyers’ agent, getting meaningful feedback, and knowing when buyers are serious mean that you get your home sold for the best price as soon as possible.

For home buyers, a real estate professional is a local expert who already knows the lay of the land and has connections for every service you will need during the process, from lenders to inspectors, insurance, repairs, and moving services. They can also negotiate with the listing agent and make your offer stand out, helping you get the most home for your money. In a hot market like Miami where hours count toward getting the home you want, relationships matter.

Technology may be able to replace many things in modern life, but real estate professionals are a crucial mix of relationships, local knowledge and specialized skills that may never be able to be replaced by a website with a search function.

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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June Housing Starts Up Higher than Expected

by Isaac Benmergui, Esq on August 14, 2017

June housing startsHousing starts were up higher than expected nationwide in June. They jumped 8.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted rate of 1.22 million units. That’s the highest level since February. Originally analysts predicted 1.16 million units to begin construction.

The housing market has been rebounding since late last fall, but the progress has been stymied by a lack of housing supply. The main problems have been a lack of building space, lumber prices, and labor shortages.

Single-family homebuilding accounts for the bulk of building permits, which surged 6.3 percent in June. But multi-family housing also increased 13 percent after five straight months of decline. Building permits rose 7.4 percent overall last month.

Nationwide, builders are paying less attention to multi-family projects, but they are on the rise in Miami-Dade, where many high-dollar luxury condo projects have been converted to apartments and multi-family rentals by developers. A strong dollar and political upheaval have kept away foreign buyers that would typically purchase luxury condos.

Locally, the news wasn’t as good. Housing starts were down all over Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties, although they rose in Broward. They were up 52 percent from last year, to 441 homes from January to March 2017. Miami-Dade starts were down 8 percent to 705 in the same period. Palm Beach starts fell 21 percent from last year. Lack of land for building is a big factor in Miami-Dade.

Building completions were up 5.2 percent to their highest level since November 2016.

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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Are More Real Estate Sales Falling Through?

by Isaac Benmergui, Esq on August 11, 2017

real estate salesAlthough the U.S. housing market has come a long way since the recession, a greater number of real estate transactions are failing than in recent years. According to online listing service Trulia, the number of failed transactions in major metro areas doubled between 2015 and 2016, going from 2.1 percent to 3.9 percent.

What’s behind the failures, and what does it say about the housing market?

One major cause of failed real estate transactions is more first-time homebuyers hitting the market. For a long time, Millennials held off on home buying, preferring to rent and stay flexible in terms of where they could move and live. But now, those individuals are jumping in, and they have less experience and fewer resources. In fact, starter home sales are more likely to fail, and do so at an average rate of 6.3 percent.

Another cause of failed transactions is price inflation. In markets with high demand and low inventory, competition among buyers can result in higher prices than the home may appraise for. Experienced buyers will be ready for this situation and come with extra cash to make up the difference between asking price and loan amount, but it may take new homebuyers by surprise and sink the deal.

So how can you avoid problems when it comes time to buy a home? If you’re a first-time homebuyer, research, research, research, and get an experienced real estate agent who knows the market well or a real estate attorney to help you avoid pitfalls. Avoid bidding wars if you can, and consider a low appraisal a red flag unless the market is super competitive.

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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