Luxury Miami Real Estate

Hello and Welcome to Miami!

I have designed this website with you in mind, filling it with helpful information. Visit often to search for properties with my user-friendly real estate search solution, get details on schools all over Dade County, spend time reading my blog, or explore to find so much more!

550 South Dixie Highway

Coral Gables, FL 33146

Cell: 305-798-8685

Office: 305-960-5330

Email Me


Archive for the 'Palmetto Bay Realtor' Category

Effective Age Versus Actual Age

If I am looking up a house to start comparables, or just to get more information on it, my search very often starts in the Miami-Dade County tax rolls, even before I go to the MLS. Miamidade.gov is a pretty reliable reference point, offering lot square footage, house square footage, and the age of the property. Well, that is until recently.

Lately when I pull a tax report from the county’s website, rather than give an actual age for a home, it will say “Multiple (See Building Info.),” which is not particularly helpful. I looked into this on another tax program, Imapp, to see if I could get any more information on the age of a particular home and I did find what I was looking for. The house that I was researching, an old Spanish in the Gables, showed on Imapp as having been built in 1924, but it was also noted that the home’s effective age was 1975.

A home’s effective age is measured by how updated it is. Therefore, while this home was built in 1924 it had had enough upgrades to qualify as a house that is 50 years “younger” than it really is. That could mean that it has a newer roof, newer appliances, an addition, functionally obsolescent items removed, etc.

Effective age is something that appraisers consider when valuing a home. According to Core Logic, “When selecting properties that are being used as comparables in an appraisal, the effective age of each property chosen should be given consideration to ensure the comparable homes are similar in effective age. Let’s say there are two 100-year-old homes, one of which is extensively remodeled and added on to, and the other is in its original state, complete with a roll rim kitchen sink and asbestos tile roofing shingles. To compare the two properties without making an adjustment for the difference in effective age would be wrong and could have a significant impact on a home’s appraised value.”

I am not sure when or why Miami-Dade County switched its records so that they do not reflect a home’s true age or effective age, but I am glad that it led me down this short little research rabbit hole. Effective age is an important item to consider when pricing any home.

If you are looking to buy or sell a home anywhere in Miami, please call me at 305-798-8685, or visit my website at: Luxury Miami Real Estate

Luxury Miami Real Estate

My focused dedication as a realtor in my home town of Miami for over 25 years, consistently puts me at the top of my field. Whether you’re looking to buy or sell your home, let me help you from start to finish with my results-proven: professional marketing, excellent property exposure and comprehensive experience.

Consistently in the top 10 company-wide at EWM for the past 15 years, my focus is on Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, Pinecrest and South Miami — specializing in luxury real estate and waterfront properties. Call me today and let’s get started!

Don’t hesitate to reach out to me, Ashley Cusack at {305.798.8685, email and website}. Senior Vice President, EWM Realty International.

Tags: ,

“How’s the Market?” – Insight into Miami’s Real Estate Market

I am often asked about the Miami real estate market, and I am happy to talk about it to anyone who will listen. Today, though, I want you to learn about it from one of Miami’s foremost experts, Ron Shuffield, President of EWM Realty International. He has written a fascinating piece called “Insight,” which analyzes 2018’s market and predicts what is ahead for 2019. Click here to enjoy reading it and let me know if you have any questions.

If you are looking to buy or sell a home anywhere in Miami, please call me at 305-798-8685, or visit my website at: Luxury Miami Real Estate

Luxury Miami Real Estate

My focused dedication as a realtor in my home town of Miami for over 25 years, consistently puts me at the top of my field. Whether you’re looking to buy or sell your home, let me help you from start to finish with my results-proven: professional marketing, excellent property exposure and comprehensive experience.

Consistently in the top 10 company-wide at EWM for the past 15 years, my focus is on Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, Pinecrest and South Miami — specializing in luxury real estate and waterfront properties. Call me today and let’s get started!

Don’t hesitate to reach out to me, Ashley Cusack at {305.798.8685, email and website}. Senior Vice President, EWM Realty International.

Tags: , , , , ,

What a Wonderful Weekend in Miami!

Photo from www.miamiandbeaches.com
President’s Day Weekend is a great time to be in Miami. Between the Miami International Boat Show and the Coconut Grove Arts Festival, there is a ton to do over the holiday weekend! While I have been to the Boat Show several times in the past, I have not visited it at its new Miami Marine Stadium location, which I hear is fabulous – and is much more convenient to me than Miami Beach was.

Having grown up in Coconut Grove the Arts Festival has always been near and dear to my heart. Did you know that it was founded in 1963 by Charlie Cinnamon? What was once a quaint little art gathering is now a massive event that finds approximately 120,000 people looking at and buying art, watching live entertainment, and of course eating and drinking!

This weekend is supposed to be sunny with highs just hitting 80 degrees and lows in the low 70’s. I hate to rub it in to out of towners, but between that forecast and these amazing activities, why are you not in Miami this time of year?

If you are looking to buy or sell a home anywhere in Miami, please call me at 305-798-8685, or visit my website at: Luxury Miami Real Estate

Luxury Miami Real Estate

My focused dedication as a realtor in my home town of Miami for over 25 years, consistently puts me at the top of my field. Whether you’re looking to buy or sell your home, let me help you from start to finish with my results-proven: professional marketing, excellent property exposure and comprehensive experience.

Consistently in the top 10 company-wide at EWM for the past 15 years, my focus is on Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, Pinecrest and South Miami — specializing in luxury real estate and waterfront properties. Call me today and let’s get started!

Don’t hesitate to reach out to me, Ashley Cusack at {305.798.8685, email and website}. Senior Vice President, EWM Realty International.

Tags: , , , ,

More Thoughts on Ygrene

If you live in Florida, then chances are that you have heard about Ygrene loans. In a nutshell, these are home improvement loans that a homeowner can get with no money out of pocket to improve the eco-friendliness of their homes. Once the work has been done by a Ygrene approved contractor, the owner then begins paying for the work as a part of their tax bill – essentially this is a lien. While this is great for the homeowner I have very mixed feelings about the program as a realtor, and I think that some of my sellers who have gone the Ygrene route in the past would not choose to do so again.

I have had a few listings that have been renovated using Ygrene funds. The houses have all looked great and had things like new impact glass and new roofs, so what could be wrong with that? The problem is that the owners are trying to sell these improvements at a premium without having finished paying for them. Each and every time I have had a Ygrene property, the owner has thought that the buyer would simply take over their tax bill payments. However, that would mean that the buyer would be double paying for the work by purchasing the improvements with the home and then paying off the loan over the course of their home ownership. Frankly, buyers are too savvy for that! Even if they are not so savvy, then their banks will likely not allow them to assume the Ygrene payments.

Eventually what happens is the seller has to pay off the loan prior to selling their home, and that can be a big chunk of change that can also include a pre-payment penalty. Whenever this comes up I always wonder if a home equity loan would have been the way to go to make these home improvements. Every situation varies, though, and I suppose that there is not really a good answer to that question. A seller might not have enough equity in their home to get the necessary funds for repairs, or maybe Ygrene sounded like a great plan because they were going to stay in the house for 30 years but they are now getting a divorce.

Ygrene always seems like a great option, but be sure to do all of your research before committing to this type of program because, although it can do wonders for a house, it is not always the perfect program that it is cracked up to be.

If you are looking to buy or sell a home anywhere in Miami, please call me at 305-798-8685, or visit my website at: Luxury Miami Real Estate

Luxury Miami Real Estate

My focused dedication as a realtor in my home town of Miami for over 25 years, consistently puts me at the top of my field. Whether you’re looking to buy or sell your home, let me help you from start to finish with my results-proven: professional marketing, excellent property exposure and comprehensive experience.

Consistently in the top 10 company-wide at EWM for the past 15 years, my focus is on Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, Pinecrest and South Miami — specializing in luxury real estate and waterfront properties. Call me today and let’s get started!

Don’t hesitate to reach out to me, Ashley Cusack at {305.798.8685, email and website}. Senior Vice President, EWM Realty International.

Tags: ,

This Week’s Mortgage Rate Anomaly

Photo from thedailyprogress.com
Time and again I’ve heard that federal interest rates are going to go up, and they have done so recently. That has had many people asking me about mortgage rates, and those have also been climbing of late. For instance, the rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage was at 5.05% in November – an 8-year high. This week, though, a 30-year fixed is back down to 4.75% due to the downturn in the stock market, which has “investors head[ing] to the relative safe-haven of the bond market,” according to Diana Olick of CNBC.com. She continues by saying that “mortgage rates follow loosely the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury,” which explains why rates have been more favorable this week. Read the full article by clicking here.

This week’s downward-trending mortgage rates are great, but I do think that we will see rates increasing overall. As previously mentioned, interest rates are expected to climb, and this will drive mortgage prices higher in the long run. I wish that I had a crystal ball and could tell you how high they might go or how it will impact the real estate market, but as of right now, only time will tell. If you are looking to buy a new home or to refinance your current one, now is the time to act!

If you are looking to buy or sell a home anywhere in Miami, please call me at 305-798-8685, or visit my website at: Luxury Miami Real Estate

Luxury Miami Real Estate

My focused dedication as a realtor in my home town of Miami for over 25 years, consistently puts me at the top of my field. Whether you’re looking to buy or sell your home, let me help you from start to finish with my results-proven: professional marketing, excellent property exposure and comprehensive experience.

Consistently in the top 10 company-wide at EWM for the past 15 years, my focus is on Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, Pinecrest and South Miami — specializing in luxury real estate and waterfront properties. Call me today and let’s get started!

Don’t hesitate to reach out to me, Ashley Cusack at {305.798.8685, email and website}. Senior Vice President, EWM Realty International.

Tags: , , , , ,

New School Year Resolutions

I cannot believe that summer is over and that the school year is underway! Much like we do at the start of every New Year, I think that the new school year is a great time to make resolutions. For this fresh 2018-2019 start, I plan on increasing my social media presence for business. I am going to mix up my workout routine (maybe you’ve seen me at Orange Theory or Yoga House Miami lately – this is an easy resolution for me to follow!). I am going to read my Ransom Everglades Book Club books at a more leisurely pace. I am definitely planning on blogging more! Lastly, I am going to make it a priority to sell more real estate! How are you going to improve yourself this new school year?

Image courtesy of www.utahvalley360.com

If you are looking to buy or sell a home anywhere in Miami, please call me at 305-798-8685, or visit my website at: Luxury Miami Real Estate

Luxury Miami Real Estate

My focused dedication as a realtor in my home town of Miami for over 25 years, consistently puts me at the top of my field. Whether you’re looking to buy or sell your home, let me help you from start to finish with my results-proven: professional marketing, excellent property exposure and comprehensive experience.

Consistently in the top 10 company-wide at EWM for the past 15 years, my focus is on Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, Pinecrest and South Miami — specializing in luxury real estate and waterfront properties. Call me today and let’s get started!

Don’t hesitate to reach out to me, Ashley Cusack at {305.798.8685, email and website}. Senior Vice President, EWM Realty International.

Tags: , , , ,

The Future is Here in Miami

Did you know that Ford is testing self-driving cars in Miami? The company announced that Miami is going to be the first large-scale testing site of its driver-less fleet of cars. Why Miami, you ask? Well, the city has very challenging traffic but other factors like, “its weather, its variety of driving environments — from its densely packed downtown to its more residential exurbs — and the receptiveness of city officials to the new technology,” according to the Miami Herald.

There will be two fleets of self-driving cars hitting our streets, one group will be mapping and perfecting the technology and the other is going to deliver pizzas! Ford has paired up with Domino’s to test that service: I think it will be interesting for my gluten-free pizza to be delivered without the delivery man.

Ford is not giving too many specifics, so we do not really know exactly when the driver-less fleets are going to roll out, nor do we know exactly where the cars will be housed. What we do know is that there will be a human inside of these cars just in case something goes wrong, which I think is a smart idea.

If driver-less cars are going to help with Miami’s traffic, then I am happy for our city to be Ford’s guinea pig. What do you think about this new technology?

If you are looking to buy or sell a home in these extra-hot areas, or anywhere in Miami, please call me at 305-798-8685, or visit my website at: Luxury Miami Real Estate

Luxury Miami Real Estate

My focused dedication as a realtor in my home town of Miami for over 25 years, consistently puts me at the top of my field. Whether you’re looking to buy or sell your home, let me help you from start to finish with my results-proven: professional marketing, excellent property exposure and comprehensive experience.

Consistently in the top 10 company-wide at EWM for the past 15 years, my focus is on Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, Pinecrest and South Miami — specializing in luxury real estate and waterfront properties. Call me today and let’s get started!

Don’t hesitate to reach out to me, Ashley Cusack at {305.798.8685, email and website}. Senior Vice President, EWM Realty International.

Tags: , , , ,

What does the New Tax Bill Mean for Local Real Estate?

Love it or hate it, the new tax bill passed and we are all going to feel its effects. Real estate is going to be impacted just like everything else, but in South Florida it looks like the tax bill will be a good thing! A client shared an article from Local 10 that does a great job of summarizing what the new bill means for realtors, homeowners, renters, and our local economy. Click here to learn more about it.
If you are in the market to either buy or sell a home, I would love to help you! Call me at 305.798.8685, or visit my website at: Luxury Miami Real Estate

Luxury Miami Real Estate

My focused dedication as a realtor in my home town of Miami for over 25 years, consistently puts me at the top of my field. Whether you’re looking to buy or sell your home, let me help you from start to finish with my results-proven: professional marketing, excellent property exposure and comprehensive experience.

Consistently in the top 10 company-wide at EWM for the past 15 years, my focus is on Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, Pinecrest and South Miami — specializing in luxury real estate and waterfront properties. Call me today and let’s get started!

Don’t hesitate to reach out to me, Ashley Cusack at {305.798.8685, email and website}. Senior Vice President, EWM Realty International.

Tags: , , , , ,

It’s Time For Your Homeowners Insurance Annual Checkup

It’s one of those documents most of us stash in a safe or in an out-of-the-way place, the document that you value and simultaneously avoid, your homeowners or renter’s insurance policy. We were all just reminded by Hurricane Irma that it is important to locate your policy and give it a read. The fact is, it’s time for your homeowner’s insurance policy’s annual checkup!

Why? Here are just a few reasons:

  • Type of coverage. Is it ACV or Replacement cost? ACV stands for “actual cash value” which means depreciation is deducted in the event of loss.
  • Liability limits.
  • Accurate inventory. As your possessions come and go, they need to be reflected in the policy. This is where over-insuring is most commonly spotted.
  • Deductible. The amount of deductible in your Miami homeowners or renter’s policy is where you can reap significant savings…if you are willing to absorb more of the expense should a loss occur.
  • Discount. If you have more than one type of insurance policy with the same company or are a long-term customer with few claims, you might qualify.

I know this isn’t the fun topic people want to think or read about, but we, in South Florida, know how important it is!

If you are in the market to either buy or sell a home, I would love to help you! Call me at 305.798.8685, or visit my website at: Luxury Miami Real Estate

Luxury Miami Real Estate

My focused dedication as a realtor in my home town of Miami for over 25 years, consistently puts me at the top of my field. Whether you’re looking to buy or sell your home, let me help you from start to finish with my results-proven: professional marketing, excellent property exposure and comprehensive experience.

Consistently in the top 10 company-wide at EWM for the past 15 years, my focus is on Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, Pinecrest and South Miami — specializing in luxury real estate and waterfront properties. Call me today and let’s get started!

Don’t hesitate to reach out to me, Ashley Cusack at {305.798.8685, email and website}. Senior Vice President, EWM Realty International.

Tags: , , , ,

Miami Neighborhood Map


(Map courtesy of By Comayagua99 at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=23038578)

There are some South Florida neighborhoods that are easily defined. For instance, Coral Gables has city limits that succinctly mark its boundaries. You could argue that “South Gables” and “North Gables” are looser terms, but US1 pretty cleanly divides those areas. There are other neighborhoods, though, that seem to me to have more nebulous boundaries: where does Silver Bluff end and Shenandoah begin? Well, leave it to Wikipedia to bring us this handy map! Check it out and never wonder if you are in Wynwood, Midtown, or the Design District again!
If you are in the market to either buy or sell a home, I would love to help you! Call me at 305.798.8685, or visit my website at: Luxury Miami Real Estate

Luxury Miami Real Estate

My focused dedication as a realtor in my home town of Miami for over 25 years, consistently puts me at the top of my field. Whether you’re looking to buy or sell your home, let me help you from start to finish with my results-proven: professional marketing, excellent property exposure and comprehensive experience.

Consistently in the top 10 company-wide at EWM for the past 15 years, my focus is on Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, Pinecrest and South Miami — specializing in luxury real estate and waterfront properties. Call me today and let’s get started!

Don’t hesitate to reach out to me, Ashley Cusack at {305.798.8685, email and website}. Senior Vice President, EWM Realty International.

Tags: , , , ,

The Nitty Gritty on the Gables Styrofoam Ban

Full disclosure: I eat a lot of Chicken Kitchen. It is a stone’s throw from my office, they deliver very quickly, it is relatively healthy, and I love curry mustard. So yes, I eat it a lot. I’ve noticed that from last week to this one, they have changed the packaging in which they provide their Chop Chop. Because my local Chicken Kitchen is located in Coral Gables, the restaurant has been banned from using Styrofoam containers and is now utilizing plastic ones instead.

The Styrofoam ban in Coral Gables has been a long time coming. The idea was proposed in 2015, with the intention of banning the use of expanded polystyrene for take-out containers, by city vendors, and at events. The bill was passed in February of 2016; however, it hit a snag in July of 2016 when the Florida Retail Federation filed a lawsuit to keep the city from enforcing the ban. You see, the Florida Legislature also passed a bill in February of last year. This bill prevented local municipalities from creating their own Styrofoam bans unless such bans where in force prior to January 1, 2016. Unfortunately, Coral Gables did not have its ban in place in time, so the city attempted to backdate its anti-Styrofoam bill. That brings us back to the Florida Retail Federation – they did not like this backdating, citing it as unfair, so they brought their lawsuit against the Gables. Long story short, the courts upheld the City Beautiful’s expanded polystyrene ban, and now my Chicken Kitchen arrives in recyclable plastic containers! That’s a win for Coral Gables and a win for our landfills!

If you are in the market to either buy or sell a home, I would love to help you! Call me at 305.798.8685, or visit my website at: Luxury Miami Real Estate

Luxury Miami Real Estate

My focused dedication as a realtor in my home town of Miami for over 25 years, consistently puts me at the top of my field. Whether you’re looking to buy or sell your home, let me help you from start to finish with my results-proven: professional marketing, excellent property exposure and comprehensive experience.

Consistently in the top 10 company-wide at EWM for the past 15 years, my focus is on Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, Pinecrest and South Miami — specializing in luxury real estate and waterfront properties. Call me today and let’s get started!

Don’t hesitate to reach out to me, Ashley Cusack at {305.798.8685, email and website}. Senior Vice President, EWM Realty International.

Tags: , , , ,