Luxury Miami Real Estate

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550 South Dixie Highway

Coral Gables, FL 33146

Cell: 305-798-8685

Office: 305-960-5330

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Archive for the 'Pinecrest Realtor' Category

Hurricane Dorian

Hi everyone! I am sure you are keeping an eye on Hurricane Dorian. A hurricane watch is in effect for the Bahamas and we are waiting to see what the next advisory states for us in South Florida. According to the Hurricane Center it should be making landfall in Florida between Monday and Tuesday and we might experience rain and wind late Sunday. Below are some tips when getting ready:

  • I’d certainly recommend filling up your gas tanks as one of your very first tasks in this process, as gas stations tend to become a mad house the closer the storm gets. Most stations don’t get restocked quickly with gas after the storm passes.
  • Get flashlights ready, especially make sure you have extra batteries, and refill propane tanks if you have gas powered grills or generators.
  • Stock canned foods, soft drinks, and water (if it’s still in stores). *Hot tip, you might be able to still order water on Amazon. That way, you can avoid the craziness of the store water aisles. Also, if you have a gas stove, you can boil water from any tap source in your household after the power goes out, and you will be totally fine to consume it.
  • Put shutters, window and door protection in place if instructed by local officials. Also, in contrary to some narratives, it is not a good idea to trim branches or limbs from your trees. These could get picked up like twigs in a storm of this strength and thrown directly at your property by the wind.
  • Locate the turnoff valves for electricity, water, and gas.
  • Bring in your patio furniture, and any other outdoor items that could be picked up by the wind.
  • Take out cash, just in case. Credit card transaction systems may be out after the storm.
  • Here’s a good one – go and buy an extra refillable battery charger or two for your iPhone. It will definitely be worth the expenditure when it could be your only communication with the outside world. Charge them now, before the power possibly goes out.
  • Refill all necessary prescriptions!
  • I’d definitely recommend collecting not only your property insurance paperwork, but also your medical insurance information as well. It could also help to take an inventory of especially valuable or important personal property for future insurance claims.
  • Please don’t forget about your furry friends! Ensure they have enough food and also take into consideration that they will need water as well.

With specific respect to my clients, you can always reach out to us with any other questions you may have on this topic. If given the word, we can take down signs, can advise you on the most sensible time to put up hurricane shutters, and much more. Stay safe everybody!

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, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices EWM Realty.

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Why Florida’s Bill 447 Relates to You

On July 1 of this year, House Bill 447 came into effect, which modified Section 125.56 of the Florida Statutes. But what does this mean with relations to you, my current and potential future clients? Bill 447’s passing means that local governments are now able to close an open or expired permit six years after its issuance, as long as there are no safety hazards. Say goodbye to old Hurricane Andrew-era permits!

This will allow buyers and sellers to resolve open and expired permit issues much faster, and minimize delays to closing. Local governments can also now, under this bill, provide written notice to an owner as well as the contractor listed on their permit when a building permit is about to expire. Far too often, we see instances where the contractor or property owner has simply forgotten to schedule an inspection, or file the necessary paperwork to get a permit closed out. Or even more frustrating, we’ve seen occasions where a seller bought the property with the expired permit, and did not realize it. Another amazing pro to this bill is the fact that property owners can no longer be penalized for neglecting an open or expired permit.

Ideally, all of the facets of this measure are intended to incentivize property owners to clean up any permit issues without fear of fines or penalties for the delays. This thereby benefits all sellers that may have inherited an open or expired permit at the time of closing.

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, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices EWM Realty.

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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.

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An Ultra Chaotic Weekend?

Photo from ultramusicfestival.com
The Ultra Music Festival is back in town. This year, instead of being held at Bayfront Park, it will be on Virginia Key. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Miami, Virginia Key is an island connected to the mainland by one causeway, so there is really only one way in and one way out as far as driving. Ultra attracted 165,000 festival goers in 2017 alone, so getting people to and from the event is going to be one heck of a challenge!

Now that they have relocated, the only way for attendees to get to the festival is via its own transportation, which is either a bus or a water taxi. There are three bus hubs and two water taxi stations set up downtown, and the event’s organizers are strongly urging festival goers to use public transportation to get to those locations so as to lessen traffic. In years past I have always seen attendees on the Metrorail, so the use of public transport should not be a problem. If you are wondering how I know that I’ve seen attendees, it is because they are very often wearing neon tutus and body paint: it is quite a spectacle!

I have never been to Ultra myself, the laid-back Tortuga Music Festival is more my speed, but I know that it generates a good amount of money for Miami, so I have no objection to it. If I lived on Key Biscayne and felt like I was trapped on my island for the weekend I might be singing a different tune, though. Have you been to Ultra? What do you think of the new venue?

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.

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Tax Refugees and Private Schools in Miami

Photo from visitflorida.com
A friend recently sent me an article from BusinessInsider.com that took a look at the so-called “tax refugees” that are moving to Miami for our tax breaks. The ramification that the article discussed was the uptick in applications for our city’s elite private schools. Palmer Trinity, Miami Country Day School, and Ransom Everglades, where my kids go to school, are all mentioned in the piece. Palmer Trinity and Miami Country Day have seen a major increase in applicants coming from New York, New Jersey, and Chicago. Ransom says that its waiting lists are always full, so they have not noticed whether that is due to the increasing number of families moving to Miami from high-tax areas.

Another thing that the article mentioned is that South Florida is getting a new private school called Avenues, which is set to open in 2022. The Miami outpost of this elite school will be the fourth campus, joining others in New York City, Sao Paolo, Brazil, and Shenzhen, China. Get this: their tuition is currently over $56,000 annually. And I thought that Ransom was expensive!

If you would like to read the full article, click here. It is a different perspective on the tax refugees that we have been hearing about lately.

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.

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What is a Home’s Square Footage?

Photo from www.homedit.com
A home’s square footage can be confusing because it is broken down into three different numbers: the living area, the adjusted area, and the total area. The living area is the actual air conditioned inside area of a house and is the smallest number of the three. Adjusted square footage is larger because it takes into account spaces that are utilized but not necessarily air conditioned, so it adds half of the size of the garage and one third of the size of covered patios to the living area. Total area is the largest of the numbers because it includes the full amount of all covered square footage. Take a look at the architect’s measurement below of 12440 Moss Ranch Road for more clarification.

The spaces shaded by tight dots labeled “conditioned space” in the key are the actual living area, which measures 5,546 square feet. The square area on the bottom right of the larger portion of the sketch that says 541 is the garage, and if you look at the key, the number on the right shows its adjustment to 271 square feet. The remaining spaces that are covered in diagonal stripes are the covered porches and balconies. Their area totals 1980 square feet, one third of which is counted towards the adjusted square footage, bringing that to 659. When you total these numbers you will see that the adjusted square footage of this fabulous home is 6,476.

When a realtor gives you the square footage of a house, chances are that he or she is referring to the adjusted square footage because that takes into account the measurements of all of the areas that are actually used, while not giving full credit to the un-air conditioned areas. However, because most houses have three sets of numbers floating around, the issue can often become confused. For example, the Miami MLS displays all three numbers, Realtor.com utilizes the actual square footage, while Zillow.com tends to show the adjusted, meaning that there is no consistency when a buyer starts their search online. EWM Realty International is actually working to change that and make real estate websites uniform, but in the meantime just give me a call and I can help you understand the facts!

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.

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“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.

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The Effect of Interest Rates

Interest rates are always something that we keep an eye on in the real estate business, for obvious reasons. Lately they have been fairly stable, but there is always talk of rates going up. If you take a peek at the chart above, you will see that even a small increase in rates can have a major impact on your buying power.

Lately in Miami we have had a lot of inventory on the market and prices that are coming down slightly, making this a great time to buy. With some 30 year fixed mortgage rates that are even lower than the baseline 4.5% noted in the chart, your dollar will go further today than it will when rates inevitably increase. Let’s go house hunting!

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.

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PinecrestWaterVote.com

Photo from Pinecrest-FL.gov
As I drove back to my office from my beautiful Rock Lake listing in Pinecrest, 12861 SW 68 Avenue, I spotted a huge sign on the corner of Ludlam and Kendall. It said something about PinecrestWaterVote.com, but I did not have a chance to read the rest of it. I looked it up when I had a chance, and here is what it’s all about.

If you do not know, there are many houses in Pinecrest that exclusively utilize well water, not city water, because the infrastructure to bring county water to these 742 homes was never put in place. What I learned by visiting PinecrestWaterVote.com is that there is a special ballot being mailed out to Pinecrest residents so that they can vote on whether they will shoulder a special ad valorem tax to pay for the necessary Miami-Dade County Water and Sewer lines. Ballots go out on March 6th and voters have until March 26th to return them.

No one wants to pay more taxes, and these have a millage rate of 0.23, meaning that home owners would pay an additional $0.23 per $1,000 of their home’s assessed value annually to pay for this every year for 20 years. The site claims that the median assessed value of a Pinecrest home is $687,200, and a payment on a house with that value would be $158 per year for 20 years. That does not seem like a huge amount in the grand scheme of things, but every penny does count, so I am sure that there will be some heated debates about this topic!

If the vote passes, then residents who are not currently connected to water mains will be required to connect within 10 years of the project’s completion or within 90 days of the sale of their home. Connection is estimated to cost “approximately $2,500 to $5,000 (but may be more depending on the site conditions) for a plumber and Miami-Dade County Water and Sewer Department water meter and impact fee, plus a Village permit fee of $151,” according to the website.

So you know, water mains that are already in place were built in two phases and were paid for with grant money, so this is not a “double dip” situation where residents have been taxed for this infrastructure and are now being taxed again.

What do you think about the proposed ad valorem tax? You do not have to tell me how you are voting, but I would love to hear Pinecrest residents’ opinions on this matter.

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.

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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.

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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.

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