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Thread: Looking to purchase a modest single family home

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    Default Looking to purchase a modest single family home

    I’m looking to purchase a modest single family home or possibly condo in the Miami area this fall. I’ve just about driven myself crazy researching everything from crime rates to sub-local rainfall amounts! But sifting through the phenomenal quantity of info hasn’t been productive, even on sites like this, and people’s biases get away (like, those who are obsessed w/ SoBe or wouldn’t consider living in a neighborhood w/o sushi bars, etc.), and the conflicting opinions on where to live are confusing. It’s much easier to get good quality info. in person, and I’d like to sit down w/ someone for maybe a half hour or so at a café when I’m in town on the 14th or 15th (Thurs. and Fri.) of June. I’ll be glad to pay for a (reasonable) lunch or a couple of drinks.

    Must simply be a long-time resident who is very familiar w/ Miami-Dade areas/neighborhoods. I’m mainly interested in quality of life matters like safety/crime, noise, traffic, and typical things the locals would know but others couldn’t (like, are they planning to build a big-ass jail next year or is there an unbelievable mosquito problem, etc.)—don’t really care about where the cheapest bars are or best barbecue joints and stuff like that. If interested, please respond to (w/o the spaces--I just found out this PITA forum won't let me post email address till I've posted at least 5 times) z e e b o p s c a n d a n a @ g m a i l . c o m or just post yours here and let me know how long you’ve lived in Miami, and I might be in touch. Thanks

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    Gus
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    Default Re: Looking to purchase a modest single family home

    Hi zeebop,

    Welcome to Miami Beach 411. Thanks for posting your question here.

    I agree, when moving to a new city there is a lot of information to sift through, but I haven't seen anyone here obsessing to others that they move to South Beach, although this part of the city is the most beautiful and fun area to live, while also costing about the same, as less desirable areas. For many people, South Beach/Miami Beach just happens to be the best option. However, f you're looking to buy a single family home, I suggest you look in the South Miami area, east of South Dixie Highway. In particular, Pinecrest and Palmetto Bay

    We also frown on posting email address, but we'll let yours slide.

    If you want to meet a knowledgeable local face-to-face, I suggest contacting a few real estate agents. Right now, we're a little spooked meeting new people. I'm sure you're a nice person, but you got to be careful on the Internet these days.

    Not to mention, our expertise at Miami Beach 411 is travel, tours, nightlife, neighborhoods, true crime stories, and where to find the best empanadas, and sushi bars. =) Just kidding. The sushi in Miami is not very good, but I did find a new place in South Miami called Miyako (9533 South Dixie Highway)

    We'd like to help you, though. Can you tell us where you're moving from and how much is your budget?

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    Default Re: Looking to purchase a modest single family home

    Gus

    Thanks for your helpful reply. Sure, I was being kind of facetious w/ my examples, trying to highlight that folks have such different interests, it's hard to pick up on that in writing sometimes. Some love the stuck up gated communities w/ overbearing HOAs that make sure everyone's grass stays under 2 inches high and has the same mailbox. Some love the condos/large closets on Miami Beach and thrive on bass pumping all night and the smell of booze and its by products. I guess I'm somewhere in b/w. Till now, I'd only really looked at Coc. Grove, Cor. Gables, and Hialeah (and condos in Miami Beach, esp. Normandy isles area b/c it's more affordable), but, like I wrote, it's hard to decipher good info.--like why virtually the same place would be $125K in one place and $350K 2 blocks away. Throw in foreclosure listings and it gets even more nebulous.

    I'll look into those S. Miami places. Fortunately, there are indications that the recent (and too sudden) surge in Miami real estate will be short lived-another speculative bubble bidding up prices even though salary and unemployment make housing still barely affordable for most. For those of us looking to get a long-term place- not to turn a quick profit, i'm hoping and expecting that around this fall/winter, prices will be down a bit again and I could get a decent typical 3/2 house or nice condo (at least 800sq. ft.) somewhere for around $150K. My main concern is the safety/crime of the area, and Id like a fairly quiet area (that isn't too uptight). Oh-and not on the outskirts where your neighbor is Buddy Lee who likes to take his airboat out to hunt gators in the glades at midnight and a reticulated python would have my chihuahua for a snack. Thanks for any candid help.

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    Gus
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    Default Re: Looking to purchase a modest single family home

    Awesome reply, zeebop! It's obvious that you got your finger on the pulse of Miami, better than many other people moving here. Sorry I can't be more helpful with specifics, but based on the little I know, Normandy Isles, North Beach and South Beach will fit your requirements and budget.

    Like you, I've read that housing prices are started to increase, but I'm still skeptical that is really taking place. It's in the real estate industry's best interest to spread this type of misinformation. When you combine the nation's financial crisis, with the amount of over development that took place in Miami, supply is going to outweigh demand for quite awhile, in my opinion.

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    rk
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    Default Re: Looking to purchase a modest single family home

    zeebop, you may find this map helpful. It shows Miami neighborhoods color coded by "quality". You can zoom and pan:

    http://tinyurl.com/2btpcf2

    While I understand your enthusiasm to meet someone and get your questions answered right away, may I suggest a different approach will work better - try to take it slow and get information in smaller pieces over time and not make hasty decisions. If you're not familiar with Miami, spend a year or two reading, learning and talking about it. Ask specific questions here and in other forums. No one person can have all answers, but everyone has some insight.

    To answer some of the questions you have asked:

    The reason two condos may be priced so differently within a short distance is due to the great variation in quality of buildings. This is more true in Miami/Miami Beach than in most US cities. Not unusual to find a very poor quality building on the same block as a very good one. If buying a condo, it's like entering into a business partnership with the other owners, so you really have to be careful. Also something I know about Miami condos (or hotels) is this: don't be misled by the shiny exterior and lobby.

    Re. prices, I can't say what the trend will be in the future, but for sure prices are well above 2009 levels. But even saying that, there is a lot of variation, so some areas may be up 40%, and others may be up 5%, or not at all. And within an area each building may be different.

    Re. quality/safety of neighborhoods, I hope the map I linked above will help. It is not my map, but was created after much discussion by CrisP and other members at the city-data forum (which I recommend you join), and I find it pretty accurate.

    Please go ahead and post specific questions as you have them, and also use the search feature at the top-right corner of this page, and you may find the question was already answered.
    Gus likes this.

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    Default Re: Looking to purchase a modest single family home

    I've seen houses in that price category out here in Country Walk, basically South-West Kendall. I know that many people don't consider this Miami, but it definitely is a good option if you're looking for nice houses that are affordable and in a quiet area which I personally consider prettier than the typical sprawling Palmetto Bay and Pinecrest areas. Country Walk is, well, walkable and bicycleable -- my wife does not drive so this is where we went.


    Hoppie

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    Senior Member Marc Middleton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking to purchase a modest single family home

    Hasn't even moved yet and already sounds like a Scorned Miami Resident! :-)


    "My main concern is the safety/crime of the area, and Id like a fairly quiet area (that isn't too uptight)." -- So you chose Miami as the city that should fulfill all that?

    Our drivers are horrible, Car insurance is 3x that of normal places (orlando, Sarasota, St. Augustine), we have real crime (Google: MS13 or Zombies), Wind/HOA insurance is outrageous, a Majority Non-English Speaking Population...and not to mention the Miami Dolphins!

    What you are looking for is in North Palm Beach or Possibly certain areas of Ft. Lauderdale. (I'm a Miami Beach Resident of 2 Years, North Palm Resident of 2 Years, Orlando 23+ Years)

    That small house in Normandy will cost more than a nicer house in N. Palm and have higher insurance costs, not to mention the difference in Crime Factor.


    And this is coming from a Miami Beach Realtor! I should be trying to sell you a home rather than tell you not to come.

    Miami is for: Boaters ; Beach Lovers ; Beautiful People Lovers ; Multi-Cultural ; Financial Whizzes who don't want to live in NYC ; etc.

    Its not a place for people to say "hey, lets buy a home and a raise a family in Miami"..... unless you get a $80Million Contract from the Marlins and want to buy a Mansion on the water in Coral Gables and send your kids to Private School. But that doesn't sound very modest!

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    Default Re: Looking to purchase a modest single family home

    Thanks. I'd checked out that link recently and thought it was cool (though totally at odds w/ what I'd found on Hialeah, which is dark red/high crime). I lost some confidence in it thouhg when noticed it has been over 3 years since updating and all by 1 person.

    Anyone care to agree/disagree w/ any of the color designations? Esp. for Hialeah, N. Bay/Norm. Isles (light green--IOW, not as nice as the rest of M. Beach) and Pinecrest and Palmetto Bay (dark green=wonderful). Thanks for the good info so far.

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    Default Re: Looking to purchase a modest single family home

    I'm not a realtor, but I have looked at the prices when I was moving here last year (and prices have gone up now)... I have serious doubt that you can get a decent typical 3/2 house or nice condo (at least 800sq. ft.) somewhere for around $150K in a nice safe neighborhood (or at least in my definition of what decent house or nice condo means and what a nice safe neighborhood means) ... at least not in Coral Gables, and nice areas in Coconut Grove.

    Prices can differ a lot between a couple of blocks cos of the housing quality and the income-level of the people living in them. For example, at the border between South Miami and Coral Gables, which is just across the street, you can see a huge difference between the quality of the houses, the cars parked in the garage, the "feel" of the place (i.e. safety) and the demographics of the people living in them.

    It's best that you contact a real estate agent who can provide you with the needed info. You can also check out Realtor.com and have a feel of the prices in the zipcodes that you are interested in.

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    Senior Member Doug's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking to purchase a modest single family home

    It seems crazy that in the economical slump we're in right now that real estate prices are soaring so much. You would think there would be only so many wealthy people to go around who could afford the exorbitant prices.

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    Default Re: Looking to purchase a modest single family home

    You have to come down here and drive through each area to get a feel of the neighborhood and see whether it's good for you.
    Hialeah isn't exactly a dangerous area, except for maybe a car getting broken into (which also happens in South Beach), but it's a working class area, public schools are at the C-D level. Anyone who has a sense of class mobility leaves Hialeah.

    If you have kids, consider schools in the area. Schools in Aventura, Pinecrest, Palmetto Bay, Coral Gables and parts of Kendall are decent.

    In reference to buildings, RK is right. You have a bldg that is falling apart, a few blocks from a luxury one. This true in North Bay Village and North Beach.

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    Default Re: Looking to purchase a modest single family home

    Well, it may not be what local gov. and media publicizes, but it seems pretty clear that rising prices are b/c of the many rich humps (which aren’t going away) but also the recent boom of international investors w/ temporarily strong currencies (or, more accurately, currencies they expect to decline against the dollar in the future) who won’t be in long and the return of the good ol’ flippers, who won’t either. W/o major improvements in the 2 fundamentals of median income and medium-or-high-wage employment, the recent upswing can’t last long. Would love for someone to disabuse me of this assessment, if they think I’m FoS.

    I really appreciate the info here. A truth I’ve learned about real estate (and why I and no doubt others appreciate the candor on this forum) is that real estate agents will NEVER ever give you the full story about the negatives of any property or the market as a whole. That’s why they’re all now saying it’s hot! Better get in quick! I’d like to know how many times an agent told someone in the 6 years of a collapsing market “you know, we probably have a long way till the bottom still-just be patient” or “it’s likely to keep going down for at least a few months or so” or “don’t feel rushed; there are plenty of good deals and will no doubt be more.” Not once, guaranteed. It’s always “we’ve probably already hit bottom, prices are starting to go up and lots of people are starting to buy again” “it’s heating up again, so you need to get in quickly” blah, blah. But I ramble.

    Anyone know of any neighborhoods in Coral Gables or Coc. Grove that are comparatively affordable, safe, but not too strict and uptight? W/ no children plans or likelihood for my wife and me, that helps in that we’re not having to worry about schools or things being “faaamily friendly” or obsess over safety. Also, the 1300-1800 sq. ft. size would be plenty.

    Also, can we reply to a particular post, instead of to all?

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    Gus
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    Default Re: Looking to purchase a modest single family home

    Quote Originally Posted by zeebop View Post
    Also, can we reply to a particular post, instead of to all?
    Yes, here's how - below the post you wish to quote, click the "Reply with Quote" link, and delete any of the text you don't want to address. Just make sure you don't remove the beginning, or ending "[QUOTE]" code.

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