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  1. #1
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    Default Purchasing a property in Miami

    Hi Guys,

    After another great break in Miami, it has confimred that Miami is the place for us to spend the colder UK winter months.

    So we are thinking of looking in to buying a place there, that we can rent out when we are not there and then use as our home when we are there, becoming (winter birds), i think that the term that applies.

    We love SoBe, for its night life. beach etc, but need to look in to areas to live in and more importantly, areas that would suit renters; close to amenities, SoBe etc, as well as being safe residential areas.

    For our personal needs, as we are a gay couple, we would need to make sure that is a "gay friendly" area as I have read a few comments on here recently that suggest that SoBe is losing its "safe" feeling as far as being "gay friendly" is concerned.

    Any advise woudl be appreciated, we would of course live up a trip back to look at properties once we have an idea of the areas we should be look at, also need ot get a grip on legals.

    BTW, trip to Key West was a huge sucess, even managed to get some snorkelling done, thanks MB411.

    Thanks

    Kamal

    ps. Can anyone recommend a good realtor?
    Last edited by triock2003; 11-28-2010 at 01:32 PM. Reason: update post

  2. #2
    rk
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    Hi Kamal, Can you provide a bit more information, such as, what price range are you looking at? Does it have to be in SoBe? How much time would you spend there during the winter? etc.

    You can get some idea of cost by searching a site like realtor.com. The zip code for south beach is 33139. Please keep in mind that many buildings do not qualify for mortgage loans, most have rental restrictions, and hoa fees can add to the cost. Some buildings are well-run, others can be in bad shape, hard to tell this from the glossy pictures and description.

  3. #3
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    Hey RK,

    Price would be around 50,000 or there abouts, 1 or 2 bed. Area wise i guess as close to SoBe as possible as we would use it to rent out as well.

    We would probably use it for ourselves from Nov - April I guess, this would depend on how long immigration allow us to stay for each stay.

    Will check out realtor.com, been looking at remax realtor site just to get an idea, thanks for the zip code. Will probably buy cash so mortgage will not be required, Would check out the buildings that we like before commiting to anything, Would love to book an inspection visit anyway, any excuse to get back to SoBe. lol.

    Kamal

  4. #4
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    Exclamation Re: Purchasing a property in Miami

    Quote Originally Posted by triock2003 View Post
    Hi Guys,

    After another great break in Miami, it has confimred that Miami is the place for us to spend the colder UK winter months.

    ................. we would need to make sure that is a "gay friendly" area

    ps. Can anyone recommend a good realtor?

    As far as an agent is concerned, I can only say wonderful things about mine, Bob Lash at Carson Realty Group (getcarson.com 305-531-9277). He is thorough, patient and well tuned into the market scene. I recommend him without reservations!

    Another agent is miamism.com. The person who runs that site often posts here and seems very nice and professional.

    As far as gay friendly is concerned, I am not in that community, but as an outsider, I would expect all of miami beach is gay friendly just like I hope it would be for all groups. I think you have read about tragic, unforgivable, isolated events. Anyone who studies miami beach history knows that the influx of gay people in the '80's was key in the re-development of the area. There is a large and vibrant gay/lesbian community here. The growth of the community is not as fast as it was in the 80's, but that seems to be more economic rather than social. Though not perfect, as no place is, I think miami beach is tolerant of all, without restrictions. So I really feel that should NOT be an issue.
    Last edited by fredgarvin; 11-29-2010 at 04:10 PM.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Purchasing a property in Miami

    I just wanted to second the very favorable things that Fred Garvin said about Bob Lash. Based on an earlier post where Fred wrote about his positive experience, I contacted Bob to help me purchase an apartment. I cannot say enough about how wonderful Bob was. He was thorough, knowledgeable, and most importantly, at all times I felt he was looking out for my best interests to assist me in finding something I really wanted, rather than just trying to make a sale. There were times I really felt like I was his only client and he was going above and beyond to look out for me. With his help I made an offer which was accepted on an amazing 1-br that exactly fit my preferences. Definitely big thumbs up for him and thank you to Fred for recommending him on this board.

    Also Fred I guess you meant to say you recommend him *without* reservation?

  6. #6
    Travel Advisor fredgarvin's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Re: Purchasing a property in Miami

    Quote Originally Posted by Overlord View Post
    I just wanted to second the very favorable things that Fred Garvin said about Bob Lash. Based on an earlier post where Fred wrote about his positive experience, I contacted Bob to help me purchase an apartment. I cannot say enough about how wonderful Bob was. He was thorough, knowledgeable, and most importantly, at all times I felt he was looking out for my best interests to assist me in finding something I really wanted, rather than just trying to make a sale. There were times I really felt like I was his only client and he was going above and beyond to look out for me. With his help I made an offer which was accepted on an amazing 1-br that exactly fit my preferences. Definitely big thumbs up for him and thank you to Fred for recommending him on this board.

    Also Fred I guess you meant to say you recommend him *without* reservation?

    Thanks Overloard!

    Made correction!

    I'm glad he worked out well for you!

    He simply is one of the most thorough, caring, knowledgeable, people in the field that I know!

    A true gem!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Purchasing a property in Miami

    No prob! Thanks again for referring him and I couldn't agree more!

  8. #8
    rk
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    Hmm... That's about $85,000 approx. 2 beds would be very tough, but a small 1-bed or a studio might be possible. I would search for properties listed upto about $120,000, in some cases you can bargain down by around 30% if the market is slow, as it is these days. You'll probably have to compromise on one or more of the following: location, view, quality of building/neighborhood, size, parking, amenities, age of bldg, etc.

    If you've been searching then you know that currently there are about 110 south beach properties listed for sale at $120k or below, and about 60 at $100k or below. While that seems like a lot, you'll get a lot of poor quality buildings in that group. South Beach can have very high-end buildings mixed in with very low-quality buildings in the same block, and the only way to know is to visit the particular unit and do other homework.

    Buying a condo can have pitfalls. You're basically entering into a business relationship with a group of other owners about whom you know very little. It is essential to learn as much as possible about the history and finances of the HOA. The Miami area in particular has a larger than average number of shady real estate players. If in doubt get a good real-estate attorney.

    You can sometimes get good deals via Short Sales and REO's.

    Taxes and insurances premiums can be very high.

    Spend a lot of time thinking and studying, and very little time buying. Be very patient, but don't be paralyzed into inaction if the opportunity arises. Good homework and preparedness are the key.

    Your plan of spending the winter months here will make it difficult to rent, as summer is low season. Many buildings have restrictions on rentals and rental periods, be sure to read the condo rules very carefully. Use the MLS data as a rough guide only, there are many mistakes there.

    These are all general and random tips. If you have questions about a particular listing feel free to post back. People here seem very familiar with buildings and streets.

    Here are a few links you may find useful:

    http://gisims2.miamidade.gov/myhome/propmap.asp (County Assesor's office, you can find a lot here, including ownership, sales and tax history)

    http://www.condoreports.com/reports/...lding_list.php (Condoreports.com, unluckily not as useful now since they made some content members only)

    http://www.miamicitydiggs.com/45-tip...i-beach-condo/ (45 tips for buying a condo, very useful, but the author, being a realtor, forgot to mention the most important tip about dealing with realtors - "Trust, but verify". That site also has a ton of other useful tips buried in there).

    http://www2.miami-dadeclerk.com/Public-Records/ (County records search - very useful for checking current and past litigation and property records, the search feature is finicky but extremely worthwhile getting it right).

    http://www.miamicondoinvestments.com/ (Geared more towards downtown/brickell, butthere is valuable information on that site, esp in some of the comments and discussions)

  9. #9
    rk
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    Default

    Sorry, I notice you said 50k pounds, not 55k as I thought. That translates to more like $78,000. Still, the same general principles apply.

  10. #10
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    Also, in addition to learning the amount of HOA fees, take a look at how they use it throughout the year. I'm sure some goes to hurricane insurance and property taxes. If you want a well maintained building make sure they spend a decent amount on landscaping, repairs to common areas, cleaning the common areas, and most importantly a professional exterminator!!

    The property manager and condo board president have total control over the state of the building. My old building (perfect at first) went downhill because the the property manager, as nice as she is, "forgot" to call the exterminator during the summer! You just don't do that in Miami. So he came in mid June, nothing in July or August, and then when I called her he came in early Sept for August. Also, they began to allow anyone to rent in the building..a stripper who was previously thrown out was allowed back in and caused a fire one day, and there was also a Coast Guard guy who's apartment was completely disgusting, dirty dishes and filled with fleas and his barking dog. He was a bad tenant who also caused security problems by opening windows in the lobby and unlocking doors. He's finally gone, but this is a taste of what you have to deal with in small buildings.

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