Should You Invest in South Florida Real Estate Right Now?

by Isaac Benmergui, Esq on December 1, 2016

Should You Invest in South Florida Real Estate Right Now? Everyone in South Florida seems to be investing in residential real estate. That can be a good bet, but there are other sectors that may be better for your money depending on where you invest and what you want to invest in.

In South Florida, condo sales have softened due to a glut of condo construction that was dependent on foreign buyers. In Miami-Dade, apartment rentals have the best potential. Even though home prices are on the rise, mortgages have higher risk. Apartments are doing better in Miami-Dade because the economy is more diversified.

As you go further north, opportunity flattens out to retail and service jobs, and you can see why when you look at the makeup of Palm Beach—nearly 20 percent of homes here are second homes,              which can create glut of supply during an economic downturn. In Palm Beach, the best opportunities for investment are restaurants, retail space, and medical office space.

Broward County is the best place for investing in single-family rentals. With huge increases in wages, jobs and single-family home sales, it was recently named the hottest housing market in the country.

All three counties are affected by FinCENs geographic targeting order that requires identity verification for all-cash purchases of $1 million or more, but that doesn’t seem to be stopping growth in this area. In the future, there is speculation that FinCEN will expand the order to include not only cash purchases, but purchases made by wire transfer, too.

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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Microliving: The Advantages of the 1,000-square foot Home

by Isaac Benmergui, Esq on November 30, 2016

 The Advantages of the 1,000-square foot HomeA Miami developer recently announced the production of “microunits” in downtown Miami—apartments that will rent for $1,000 per month, but that are also around 400-square feet of living space, much of it multi-use.

While that kind of living isn’t for everyone, small homes are often overlooked, even as a possibility. When you consider that giving small homes a chance can be your entryway into a neighborhood you never thought you could afford, or the gateway to home ownership itself.

Here are some of the benefits of owning a smaller home:

  1. It’s less expensive. You’ll save on the mortgage, which means you can pay off your home faster, or just enjoy more of you income. There’s a reason people refer to home ownership as being “house poor.” A smaller home means more disposable income. In addition, the smallest house in a desirable area appreciates more than the nicest house in a less desirable area. The neighborhood has a huge impact on home value. If you’re willing to forego extra square footage to live there, some one else will too.
  2. You’ll save on everything home-related. Utilities are less expensive. Taxes are lower. Insurance is less. And if you belong to an HOA or condo association, you’ll also pay less.
  3. It’s easier to clean. First of all, you just can’t have as much stuff, whether it’s clothes, dishes, or the kids’ toys, you’re going to have to streamline. Not only is it very likely that you won’t miss the stuff you give up, you’ll also spend less time taking care of it.
  4. You can be creative with upgrades. A smaller kitchen means you can get fancier with a renovation. You may also elect to hire people to do things you would have DIYed in a larger home to save money. And if you have the lot for it, you may just decide to add the space you’re missing yourself.
  5. It’s cozier. Families living in small spaces report more closeness, doing more together and more interactions. Smaller spaces have more of a communal feeling, while larger homes isolate.

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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The Latest Trend in Home Staging

by Isaac Benmergui, Esq on November 29, 2016

Modern interior of living-roomEmpty homes don’t show well. Not only does an empty room look smaller, but in an empty house, potential home buyers are much more likely to have their eye drawn to every little flaw. Empty homes don’t give the buyer a sense of what could be, which is why home staging is such a popular option for home sellers.

Home staging is superior to showing even with your own items in the home because everything is fresh and new, yet still neutral enough for homebuyers to picture themselves in it. But staging is expensive and full of all the same hassles of moving. Even worse, it’s costly and time-consuming for homeowners: in large markets, it can cost $5,000 or more for three months and take weeks to become show ready.

Enter two new companies on the home-staging front: inFormed Space and Dandy Pack. They both specialize in versions of pop-up furniture. There are basically two grades of pop-up furniture: finished and ready-to-finish. Dandy Pack specializes in the ready-to-finish variety. Finished popup furniture are cleverly designed plastic and corrugated cardboard pieces that look like sleek, modern show pieces. Ready-to-finish pop-up furniture are pieces of corrugated cardboard that create forms over which you can put covers to create the appearance of real furniture. Actual staging times range from a few days to a few hours.

Real estate professionals say there’s really no difference in the results of different kinds of staging as far as the sales price goes. As long as you use a professional stager, you’ll get better results than you will for an empty space.

If you do utilize pop-up furniture, however, make sure there’s a note for the agent showing the home so buyers don’t try to sit on the furniture.

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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The Home Features Buyers Want Most in Every State

by Isaac Benmergui, Esq on November 28, 2016

The Home Features Buyers Want Most in Every StateThe real estate aggregate site Trulia recently put together a list of the amenities buyers want the most, state by state. And the amenity that ranked first for Florida won’t surprise you one bit.

Trulia came up with the most popular amenities by state by searching through for-sale listings from January to September 2016. They then counted up the number of listings with those keywords in those metro areas.

The terms that ranked number one in searches for homes included the words: deck, granite, storage, hardwood floors, and views. Since the search terms were ranked for each state, Trulia researched found that 42 percent of the country—or 22 states—claimed “deck” as the most popular searched amenity. “Granite” came in second, with 29 percent, then “storage” with 11 percent, “hardwood floors” at 10 percent, and “views” at 8 percent.

The top amenities desired by would-be Florida homeowners? Views. “View” ranked number one in searches of New Mexico, Montana, Florida, and Hawaii.

With the exception of views and storage, all the other amenities are within each for most homeowners—and they are features that you can make your money back on. Hardwood floors can earn you your money back plus up to double your investment, and a deck addition can get you up to 120 percent return on investment. Granite is a little trickier. If the rest of the homes in your area has it, it becomes a must-have feature, but it’s easy to go overboard. If you don’t need new countertops, it may not be worth the investment to add them just for the sale. If you want to add some granite just to have the bling in your listing, the bathrooms are a great way to add it at a low cost. Having a kitchen that’s clean and inviting is more important than any one single item.

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 with Those “We Pay Cash for Houses” Signs?

by Isaac Benmergui, Esq on November 25, 2016

What’s with Those “We Pay Cash for Houses” Signs?You may remember seeing tons of signs advertising cash for homes, or that say “We buy homes!” at intersections. They are similar to garage-sale signs, making them appear to belong to one individual, maybe an entrepreneur of sorts? This same individual may also put a flyer on your door or you may get something in the mail indicating interest in your home specifically, or so it seems. This happens more often in a seller’s market.

These kinds of ads are designed to appeal to a particular type of homeowner: a homeowner who thinks they can’t sell, but who is interested in selling. This could be someone who is going through divorce, job loss, a loss of income, a home that needs significant repairs, or homes headed to foreclosure, bankruptcy or probate.

These individuals will promise you no commissions and no fees for selling, which they tout as huge savings over hiring a real estate agent to sell your home. They save you these fees by paying for their own title policies and, in some cases, skipping title insurance.

However, you, the homeowner won’t benefit from these savings. In general, you can figure out what they are willing to offer by having a real estate attorney do a CMA on your property and then take 65 percent of that and subtract any needed repairs.

If you are considering this kind of sale, you may as well list your home conventionally for the price you think the fast-cash places would offer and see if you can get a conventional buyer to take advantage of a deal. If you don’t have time to sell, there are other ways to preserve your equity.

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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