Frost Science Museum is now open and it was worth the wait

Comment

Frost Science Museum is now open and it was worth the wait

Miami has birthed another important cultural significant milestone. The Frost Museum of Science opened on May 8th to the public adding more value to the already sprawling international city named Miami. Please see below for the article published by Miami New Times:

Wandering through the new Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science in downtown Miami is an odyssey. From its yellow-submarine-like elevators, which take guests to varying levels of a 500,000-gallon aquarium, to its 30-foot-long feathered dinosaur, the sights in the open-air space are other-worldly.

So it's no surprise that many locals, as they trek through the three-building science complex today for its grand unveiling to the public, have wide eyes and gaping mouths. The more you explore, the more curious things become. For instance, taking a trip to the museum's fourth floor, a level known as "Vista," not only offers sweeping views of downtown Miami and the bay, but also allows guests to get up close and personal with some of Florida's strangest residents (besides Miamians).

In one massive pool, shark fins cut through the surface of the churning water. Beyond Jurassic Park-style doors, guests walk through a netted aviary, where birds fly overhead to soak up the sun in an enclosure surrounded by mangroves. In another "habitat," juvenile alligators — which will be released into the wild in about a year — blink their hazel eyes as they wade in the water.

Taking the elevators to journey a few leagues deeper, guests come face-to-face with the museum's eye: a 31-foot-wide oculus lens that allows them to peer into the tank holding the bearers of the black-tipped fins they saw on the Vista level.

Visitors weren't the only ones entranced with the glide of multicolored fish overhead. Wandering the exhibits of Frost Science has also been a mesmerizing experience for its employees, who also see the museum come alive with the starry-eyed guests.

"These past few days have been exhilarating, watching the community’s excitement around the museum and hearing laughter fill the building. It is incredibly rewarding and inspiring for all of us at Frost Science," Joseph A. Quiñones, the director of marketing and communications, tells New Times. "The former museum location held a special place in the hearts of so many South Floridians. This new campus is building upon the museum’s storied legacy and will continue to inspire the scientists of tomorrow."

Not only is the museum's new planetarium future-focused, but its showings are out of this world. In the film Asteroid: Mission Extreme, which is narrated by Sigourney Weaver, visitors ascend to the stars — it feels as though you're on a rocket ship journeying through space — while they learn about the various ways humans might mine cosmic debris in the foreseeable future.

Just beside the planetarium is an exhibit dedicated to teaching locals how laser lights are produced. (This is distinct from the laser light shows that will begin June 2 in the planetarium.) In the exhibit, Frost employees work their magic to create mesmerizing laser demonstrations. They illuminate a hazy room via alternating patterns of cherry-red, violet, and cyan beams of light.

In a way, this illumination exemplifies Frost Science's mission: to inspire and connect people of all ages and backgrounds to enjoy science and technology, particularly as a means to better understand our world — and universe, for that matter. The new space is bound to spark conversations about all aspects of science: from astronomy to environmental issues and from constantly advanced robots to the ethics behind scientific endeavors.

Nevertheless, Frost Science is worthy of the buzz surrounding it. As the state's premier destination for all things related to science, it will inspire many locals to reach for the stars. Frankly, it would be a disservice to buy a $28 one-day ticket when for $65 you could snag yearlong access to the museum. Treat. Yo. Self.

Check out my other column posts in the News & Tips Column section!

(Source: Miami New Times)

Comment

Comment

Miami is investing in 300 free Wi-Fi kiosks Miami is getting “smarter”

waypoint.0 (1).jpg

Miami-Dade County approved a partnership with with CIVIQ Smartscapes to “implement the nation’s first fully integrated smart city ecosystem throughout Miami Dade,” per a press release.

The initial phase of the deal will be over the next three months, where CIVIQ will install and maintain up to 300 WayPoints, which are interactive and include free high-speed Wi-Fi, over 1,000 Wi-Fi devices in public transit vehicles, and 51 Wi-Fi devices for transit stations. Free Wi-Fi will also be available on all public transit buses and trains.

“These new devices and services are much more than a new way to access the internet,” said Alice N. Bravo P.E., Miami-Dade Director of Transportation & Public Works. “Greater connectivity in the transit system means increased efficiency, less downtime, and overall better experiences for our passengers.”

Another positive? A zero-net cost to taxpayers.

CIVIQ will fund the $20 million to start the project and will generate revenue off digital ads on the kiosks, with Miami-Dade receiving a revenue share, according to Miami Today, in the form of “3 percent in the first six years, 4 percent the second six, then 5 percent through the 17th year.”

(Source: Miami CURBED)

Comment

Miami is the strongest buyer's market in the country, study says Miami and Miami Beach top the list

Comment

Miami is the strongest buyer's market in the country, study says Miami and Miami Beach top the list

Miami is currently the strongest "buyer's market" in the country, according to a recent market trend report on OpenHouse, and eight of the top 10 cities ranked were located in Florida.

Miami, Miami Beach, and Weston topped the list. For the central Miami area, inventory is swelling and median days on the market increases. A majority of homes took over three months to sell.

Attention real estate buyers and sellers: this week's data is in for markets across the United States, and Florida continues its reign as the place to be for home buyers.  According to OpenHouse latest report, The Miami real estate market leads the way overall with an amazing 85% of homes sold under asking. 

The trend continues across the southern part of the state, with Miami Beach, Weston, and Sarasota close behind. Only two markets outside of Florida made this week's list, with Detroit coming in at number five.
 

Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 3.20.44 PM.png

(Source: Miami Curbed, OpenHouse)

Comment

Terms and Conditions

Please read this agreement carefully before accessing or using this site. By accessing or using the site, you agree to be bound by this agreement. elliot-lee.com, and other entities providing information and services on the site (“Suppliers”), provide the information and services on this site to you, the user, conditional upon your acceptance without modification of the terms, conditions and notices contained herein. Your use of this website constitutes your agreement to all such terms, conditions and notices.

The information and services offered on this website are provided with the understanding that neither elliot-lee.com nor its Suppliers or users are engaged in rendering legal or other professional services or advice. Your use of the site is subject to the additional disclaimers and caveats that may appear throughout the site.

elliot-lee.com and its Suppliers assume no responsibility for any consequence relating directly or indirectly to any action or inaction that you take based on the information, services or other material on this site. While elliot-lee.com strives to keep the information on this site accurate, complete and up-to-date, elliot-lee.com and its Suppliers cannot guarantee, and will not be responsible for any damage or loss related to, the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of the information.

Personal and Limited Commercial Use Limitations

You may access, download and print materials on this site for your personal and commercial use. You may not modify, display, perform, publish, license, create derivative works from, frame in another web page, use on any other website, transfer or sell any information, software, lists of users, databases or other lists, products or services obtained from this site. The foregoing prohibition expressly includes, but is not limited to, the practices of “screen scraping” or “database scraping” to obtain lists of users or other information. If and when requested by elliot-lee.com you agree to provide true, accurate and complete user information and to refrain from impersonating or falsely representing your affiliation with any person or entity. Except with the written permission of elliot-lee.com, you agree to refrain from accessing or attempting to access password protected, secure or non-public areas of this site. Unauthorized individuals attempting to access prohibited areas of this site may be subject to prosecution.

Proprietary Rights

All materials on this site (as well as the organization and layout of the site) are owned and copyrighted by elliot-lee.com or its Suppliers, and all rights are reserved. No reproduction, distribution or transmission of the copyrighted materials at this site is permitted without the written permission of elliot-lee.com and its Suppliers.

No Unlawful or Prohibited Use

As a condition of your use of this website, you warrant to elliot-lee.com and its Suppliers that you will not use this website for any purpose that is unlawful or prohibited by these terms, conditions and notices. If you violate any of these terms, your permission to use the website automatically terminates.

Liability Disclaimer

You use this website at your own risk. If your use of this website or the materials therein results in the need for servicing or replacing property, material, equipment or data, neither elliot-lee.com nor its Suppliers are responsible for those costs. The information, software, products, and services published on this website may include inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. elliot-lee.com and/or its respective Suppliers may make improvements and/or changes to this website at any time without notice.

All information, products, and services are provided “as is” without warranty of any kind. In no event shall elliot-lee.com and/or its Suppliers be liable for any direct, indirect, incidental, special or consequential damages arising out of or in any way connected with the use of this website or with the delay or inability to use this website, or for any information, products and services obtained through this website, or otherwise arising out of the use of this website, whether based on contract, tort, strict liability or otherwise, even if elliot-lee.com or any of its Suppliers has been advised of the possibility of damages. In the event some states/jurisdictions do not allow the exclusion of limitation of liability for consequential or incidental damages, the above limitation may not apply to you.

You agree to indemnify, defend and hold harmless elliot-lee.com and Suppliers from any liability, loss, claim and expense (including attorneys’ reasonable fees) related to your violation of this agreement.

Links To Third-Party Sites

This website may contain hyperlinks to websites operated by parties other than elliot-lee.com or its Suppliers. Such hyperlinks are provided for your reference only. Neither elliot-lee.com nor its Suppliers control such websites, and are not responsible for their contents. elliot-lee.com’s and it Suppliers’ inclusion of hyperlinks to such websites does not imply any endorsement of the material on such websites or any association with their operators, and you access and use such sites, including information, material, products and services therein, solely at your own risk. Furthermore, because elliot-lee.com privacy policy is applicable only when you are on our website, once linked to another website, you must read that site’s privacy policy before disclosing any personal information.

Terminating the Website

elliot-lee.com retains the right at any time to discontinue, modify or temporarily or permanently terminate the website with or without notifying you. If we discontinue, modify or terminate the site in whole or in part, we will not be liable to you or any third party for such discontinuance, modification or termination.

Changes to Site

elliot-lee.com and its Suppliers may make improvements or changes to the information, services, products and other materials on this site, or terminate this site, at any time without notice. elliot-lee.com may modify this agreement at any time, and such modifications shall be effective immediately upon posting of the modified agreement. Accordingly, you agree to review the agreement periodically, and your continued access or use of this site shall be deemed your acceptance of the modified agreement.

Viruses; Destruction of the Website

You agree not to upload, post, e-mail or otherwise send or transmit any material that contains software viruses or any other computer code, files or programs intended to or which does interrupt, destroy or limit the functionality of any computer software or hardware or telecommunications equipment including elliot-lee.com systems. You also agree not to interfere with the servers or networks connected to the site or to disobey any requirements, procedures, policies or regulations of networks connected to the site. Any attempt by a user to deliberately damage the website or to undermine the operation of any aspect or component of the website constitutes a violation of criminal and civil laws.

Communications on the Site

Although elliot-lee.com may from time to time monitor or review discussions, chats, postings, transmissions, bulletin boards and the like which may appear from time to time on the website, elliot-lee.com is under no obligation to do so and assumes no responsibility or liability arising from the content of any such communications nor for any error, defamation, libel, slander, omission, falsehood, obscenity, pornography, profanity, danger or inaccuracy contained in any information within such communications on the website. You are prohibited from posting or transmitting any inaccurate, unlawful, threatening, libelous, defamatory, obscene, scandalous, inflammatory, pornographic or profane material or any material that could constitute or encourage conduct that would be considered a criminal offence, give rise to civil liability, or otherwise violate any law. elliot-lee.com will fully cooperate with any law enforcement authorities or court order requesting or directing elliot-lee.com to disclose the identity of anyone posting any such information or materials.

Trademarks

All of the trademarks, logos and service marks (collectively referred to as the “Trademarks”) displayed on the website are registered or unregistered trademarks of elliot-lee.com or of third parties who have authorized their use by elliot-lee.com. Nothing contained on the website should be construed as granting, by implication, estoppel or otherwise, any license or right to use any Trademark displayed on the website without the written permission of elliot-lee.com or owner of the Trademarks. Your misuse of the Trademarks or any other content displayed on the website, except as provided for in these Terms of Use, is strictly prohibited and may be subject to prosecution.

Miscellaneous

This agreement and the resolution of any dispute related to this agreement or the site shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of Massachusetts and the United States, without giving effect to any principles of conflicts of law. elliot-lee.com’s or Suppliers’ failure to insist upon strict enforcement of any provision of this agreement shall not be construed as a waiver of any provision or right. Any legal action or proceeding between elliot-lee.com and you related to this agreement shall be brought exclusively in a state or federal court of competent jurisdiction in Miami-Dade County, Florida.

Our Fair Housing Pledge

For many, the idea of home ownership is an important part of the American Dream. As ambassadors for the real estate industry, we view it as our responsibility to keep this dream alive by upholding fair housing practices at every opportunity. That’s why members of the NRT family of companies, our salespeople and employees commit to the following:

  • Providing equal professional service to all, without regard to race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin or other protected status of any prospective client, consumer or resident of any community.

  • Keeping informed about fair housing laws and practices, thereby expanding upon our customers' and clients' opportunities.

  • Demonstrating through advertising and the media that everyone is welcome and no one is excluded.

  • Informing our clients and customers about our rights and responsibilities under the fair housing laws.

  • Documenting our efforts to provide equal professional service whenever possible.

  • Respecting the diversity and differences within our customer base, and remaining informed on those differences in order to provide Truly Remarkable Service.

  • Taking a positive approach to fair housing practices and aspiring to follow the letter and spirit of the law.

  • Committing to continue in the development and implementation of fair housing practices in accordance with our leadership role in the real estate profession.

  • Refusing to tolerate non-compliance.

The NRT Fair Housing Pledge is adapted from the Personal Commitment developed by the National Association of Realtors, published in Fair Housing: Shared Neighborhoods, Equal Opportunities, 2004 edition.

The real estate agent interview process

Comment

The real estate agent interview process

10 questions to ask when choosing your realtor

1.      How long have you been in residential sales? Is it your full time job?  Experience is no guarantee of an agent’s skill. However in the profession of real estate like many other jobs, it’s mostly learned on the go. 

2.      How many homes did you sell last year? Asking this question will help you get a better understanding of how much experience the licensee has.

3.      How many days did it take you to sell the average home? How did that compare to the overall market? The REALTOR you interview should have these facts at hand, and should be able to present market statistics from the local MLS to provide a comparison.

4.      How close to the initial asking prices of the homes you sold were the final sales price? This question is an indication of how skilled the REALTOR is at pricing homes and marketing to suitable buyers. This is of course affected by other factors such as a hot or cool real estate market.

5.      What’s your marketing plan? You don’t want someone who’s going to put a For Sale sign in the yard and hope for the best. Look for someone who have aggressive and innovative approaches, and knows how to market your property competitively on the internet. Buyers nowadays want information fast, so your real estate agent should be responsive.

6.      Will you represent me exclusively, or will you represent both buyer and seller in the transaction? While it may be legal to represent both parties in certain states, it is important to understand the practitioner’s obligations. We can assist you by explaining the differences between the agency relationships and the rights of each party, please don’t hesitate to contact Elliot by phone 626.757.4484 or email elliot@elliot-lee.com.

7.      Can you recommend service providers who can help me obtain mortgage, make home repairs, and help with other things I need done? Because real estate agents are immersed in the industry and constantly involved with the market, they are great resources as you look for lenders, home improvement companies, and other home service providers. Practitioners should generally recommend more than one provider and let you know if they have any special relationship with or receive any compensation from any of the providers. 

8.      What type of support and supervision does your brokerage office provide you? Having resources such as in-house support staff, access to a real estate attorney, and assistance with technology can help an agent sell your home.

9.      How will you keep me informed about the progress of my transaction? How frequently? This question does not particularly have a right or wrong. It’s tandem to your own feelings. Would you prefer to have updates twice a week? Or would you preferred to not be bothered at all? Do you prefer phone? Email? Or a personal visit?

10.  Could you please give me the names and phone numbers of your three most recent clients? Ask those clients if they would work with this real estate agent again. Find out if they were pleased by the follow-up, communication styles, and work ethics of your agent.

Comment

How to position your home as the #1 choice for potential buyers

Comment

How to position your home as the #1 choice for potential buyers

The best way to impress a potential buyer is to impress them from the start. In order to accomplish this, there are several things that can be done to properly sell your house in the least amount of time. Some of these things are related with the right preparation to get your home sold, others have to do with proper marketing and exposure that you should give in the current marketplace. There are different strategies to use in a high or low marketplace that will help you sell.

1.    Looks: Have you ever heard that you only get one shot at a first impression? That’s why it is important to keep the entry freshly painted, some flowers or candles will help your home look clean and inviting. It is also important to have the interior painted with neutral colors or staged in a way that the buyer can envision themselves living there. Remove some furniture that will make the home look less crowded. Buyers are impressed by a well-kept house, this will help ease their minds and allow them to see themselves in the space in a more tranquil and relaxed manner. The exterior is just as important, landscaping needs to be inviting, colorful, and well groomed. It is highly recommended to keep your driveway and curb cleaned. Overall everything should look well maintained and organized. Also it is important to keep pets away while you are showing a home. Some buyers are not pet friendly and will be distracted seeing pets around.

2.    The right real estate agent: the right real estate agent is always critical to a successful sale. The realtor you choose should be able to advise you on what can improve the looks on the home, provide you with a great marketing plan that will put your property on the most important websites and publications, provide you with great photographs, provide you with videos, open houses, and to be available to you on a constant basis. Most of all, your listing agent should be able to make a great price analysis of your home and work with you to determine the right price to put your home on the market. Overpricing a home is actually one of the biggest mistakes some sellers make. You want the most potential buyers for your home, not the least potential buyers giving your home a chance. Nothing is more appealing to a buyer than a magnificent, well-priced home in a desirable area. If you’re looking for advice in any of these areas then please allow me to show you the unique differences between Elliot Lee and the rest to help sell your property for the highest dollar amount in the shortest amount of time in the current marketplace. 

Comment

Closing costs when selling

Comment

Closing costs when selling

What’s the price of selling your house? As a seller you will experience an array of taxes, fees, commissions, and various closing costs that may whittle from 4 to 7 percent of the sales price. So how much net profit will you walk away with? You should be provided with a Seller’s Estimated Net Proceeds worksheet by your agent, which will list the expenses that will be deducted at the closing table.

Here are some of the closing fee’s you will encounter:

·         Mortgage payoff balance

·         Loan payoff fee

·         Lien releases

·         Prepayment penalty

·         Recording fees

·         Commissions for listing and selling agents

·         Notary fees

·         Escrow fees

·         Title search fees

·         Seller concession

·         Repairs

·         Home warranty         

There may be other costs associated when selling your house. If you are unsure, please do not hesitate to contact me by my phone or email and I will be happy to answer any questions you have. 626.757.4484 | Elliot@Elliot-Lee.com

Comment

9 tips to whip your home into shape and wow potential buyers

Comment

9 tips to whip your home into shape and wow potential buyers

There's an art to the home selling process. This typically includes the likes of home preperation, internal/external cleanup, and staging. Here is 9 tips to get your home into shape to be in the optimal selling condition.

1.    Improve landscaping- curb appeal is the tandem definition of a good first impression.

2.    Clean the outside- sloppy exterior will make buyers think you have a sloppy interior. Be sure to clean the gutters and pressure wash your homes siding.

3.    Make repairs- In a buyer’s market, you want your home to be in the best condition possible. Take care of the major stuff, like broken windows or a leaky roof. These are all elements that can discourage buyers.

4.    Make the front door inviting- with a fresh coat of paint, especially in colors that contrasts with the home. It will make your door stand out, making it its own welcome message.

5.    Depersonalize- The point of catching a buyer is to let them have the freedom and imagination to see themselves living in the home. Clean up by renting a storage unit for your photos, extra furnitures and other personal items.

6.    Organize closets and drawers- Messy closets gives the impression that there isn’t ample space, making the illusion of less space when there really is more.

7.    Make every surface shine- Make sure you dust your home from ceiling fans to floors and everything in between, clean your home until it sparkles.

8.    Take the colors down a notch- Having your awesome lime-green bedroom will appeal to a certain type of people. In the home selling process, it’s better to paint your walls a neutral color so that it will appeal to a wide range of buyers.

9.    Eliminate bad odors- hide litter boxes, close your toilet seat covers, and spray air fresheners throughout your home. I recommend the use of scented candles, it creates a cozy and warm atmosphere that is inviting to potiential buyers.

Comment

Miami’s Top 8 restaurant views

Comment

Miami’s Top 8 restaurant views

Miami is the city where people are never on time, jobs are scarse, and nobody speaks english. However one thing that you can bet on Miami is the beautiful weather and endless water views and ocean vistas. Problably the best part is taking Instagram pictures and posting it to make all your friends in the freezing cold up north jealous by showing them what they're missing. So to help you become the envy of everyone who is not here in Miami, here's is a compiled list of 8 best restaurant views in no particular order.

Tuyo, Bayside

This downtown spot is a culinary lab of sorts for the Miami Culinary Institute at Miami-Dade College. Located on its Wolfson campus, the windows on this 7th floor restaurant look north towards the landmark Freedom Tower and American Airlines Arena, then out onto Biscayne Bay.

This downtown spot is a culinary lab of sorts for the Miami Culinary Institute at Miami-Dade College. Located on its Wolfson campus, the windows on this 7th floor restaurant look north towards the landmark Freedom Tower and American Airlines Arena, then out onto Biscayne Bay.

Rusty Pelican, Key Biscayne

In the most sweeping restaurant view of Miami’s skyline you’ll find, this Key Biscayne landmark has been a brunch, wedding and special occasion staple for over 40 years. Looking west over Biscayne Bay one can watch Miami’s boom and bust economy as cranes and condos have made this view more dynamic as the years go on.

In the most sweeping restaurant view of Miami’s skyline you’ll find, this Key Biscayne landmark has been a brunch, wedding and special occasion staple for over 40 years. Looking west over Biscayne Bay one can watch Miami’s boom and bust economy as cranes and condos have made this view more dynamic as the years go on.

Monty's Raw Bar & Grill, South of Fifth

Perhaps the next-best skyline view comes from this funky seafood bar next to the Miami Beach marina in South Beach. The draw of Monty’s isn’t just its spectacular view west over Biscayne of the city skylines, but its sunset happy hour where you can enjoy half priced drinks while you watch the sun go down over Miami.

Perhaps the next-best skyline view comes from this funky seafood bar next to the Miami Beach marina in South Beach. The draw of Monty’s isn’t just its spectacular view west over Biscayne of the city skylines, but its sunset happy hour where you can enjoy half priced drinks while you watch the sun go down over Miami.

Smith and Wollensky, Miami Beach

For the most diverse view in Miami, nothing beats an outdoor table at venerable Smith and Wollensky. Bite into a juicy steak at one of their tables situated on the southern most point of South Beach and look out at the Atlantic Ocean, the downtown skyline, Fisher Island, and the beautiful people running through South Pointe Park without even having to turn your head.

For the most diverse view in Miami, nothing beats an outdoor table at venerable Smith and Wollensky. Bite into a juicy steak at one of their tables situated on the southern most point of South Beach and look out at the Atlantic Ocean, the downtown skyline, Fisher Island, and the beautiful people running through South Pointe Park without even having to turn your head.

La Mar, Brickell Key

Not only is the waterfront view from the Mandarin Oriental’s newest restaurant one of the city’s best-  looking west across the serene bridge to Brickell Key towards the Brickell skyline - but it’s also the best restaurant with a view in Miami as Chilean legend Gaston Acurio brings his seafood mastery to South Florida

Not only is the waterfront view from the Mandarin Oriental’s newest restaurant one of the city’s best-  looking west across the serene bridge to Brickell Key towards the Brickell skyline - but it’s also the best restaurant with a view in Miami as Chilean legend Gaston Acurio brings his seafood mastery to South Florida

Brasileiro, Brickell Key

In the space that was once Pocao, the premiere Miami rodizio steakhouse, Brasileiro adds an Asian fusion menu to the rodizio repertoire while diners sit almost-on-the-bay and gaze across Biscayne at Virginia Key, Fisher Island and, from some tables, the diners at La Mar.

In the space that was once Pocao, the premiere Miami rodizio steakhouse, Brasileiro adds an Asian fusion menu to the rodizio repertoire while diners sit almost-on-the-bay and gaze across Biscayne at Virginia Key, Fisher Island and, from some tables, the diners at La Mar.

Red Fish Grill, Coral Gables

Unlike Tavern on the Green, this restaurant-in-a-public-park serves up actual good food in one of our hidden gems: Matheson Hammock Park. Drive through the banyan trees and down the dirt roads to end up at this bayside spot where you’ll forget you’re anywhere near one of the largest cities in America, and enjoy the blue waters of Biscayne Bay rolling out over a deserted beach as you dine on fresh caught Miami seafood. It’s like being stranded on an Island, without the dehydration.

Unlike Tavern on the Green, this restaurant-in-a-public-park serves up actual good food in one of our hidden gems: Matheson Hammock Park. Drive through the banyan trees and down the dirt roads to end up at this bayside spot where you’ll forget you’re anywhere near one of the largest cities in America, and enjoy the blue waters of Biscayne Bay rolling out over a deserted beach as you dine on fresh caught Miami seafood. It’s like being stranded on an Island, without the dehydration.

Atrio, Brickell

The best urban view in the city has to belong to Atrio on the 25th floor of the Conrad Hotel in Brickell. The western view out of the dining room gives you the Brickell skyline and sprawling Miami in the background, while the eastern view from the patio has you towering above the Rickenbacker causeway as it stretches across the Bay to Key Biscayne.

The best urban view in the city has to belong to Atrio on the 25th floor of the Conrad Hotel in Brickell. The western view out of the dining room gives you the Brickell skyline and sprawling Miami in the background, while the eastern view from the patio has you towering above the Rickenbacker causeway as it stretches across the Bay to Key Biscayne.

Comment

The rich pouring into Miami, causing income inequality

Comment

The rich pouring into Miami, causing income inequality

Miami’s measure of income inequality is ranked among the third highest in comparison to other U.S. cities after Atlanta and New Orleans. The income inequality has grown faster than any other city since 2007. According to the Miami Herald, housing prices in Miami’s wealthy neighborhood has outperformed those in poor neighborhoods.

After the housing bubble burst, values of the highest-priced homes in Miami-Dade and Broward counties dropped but never feel below the highest prices of 2003. The lowest-priced homes fell below what they cost in 2003 and remained below the 2003 benchmark in 2013.

According to a recent article, 26 of the Forbes 400 richest people now call Miami home, up from 14 in 2004. Miami is now ranked fourth in the country for Forbes 400 residents, topped by only New York, San Fransisco, and Los Angeles.

Comment

7 Steps to selling your home

Comment

7 Steps to selling your home

1.    Prepare before you list

a.     Determine what needs to be painted, cleaned, repaired or tossed out. It’s important to look at the home through the eyes of a buyer and envision yourself as the one purchasing the property.

b.    Typically, the marketplace is more active throughout the summer because parents want to have the home before enrolling their children into the school year (usually around August).

c.     Cosmetic improvements such as paint, wallpapers, landscaping, and staging help a home show better and are a good investment.

2.    Find a Realtor

a.     In the maze of contracts, financing, inspections, marketing, pricing, and negotiating, having a knowledgeable real estate professional who knows the community will help you to sell the home in the shortest amount of time while maximizing your profit. Allow me to show you the differences between Elliot Lee and the rest.

3.    Setting the right price

a.     The home selling process is a mixture of science and art, and not one real estate is the same they are all unique and are worth their own prices. There are several factors will determine how much you can get for your home including the location, current market conditions, unique features, amenities, size and interest rates.

4.    Market your home with the right marketing plan

a.     Your adviser should share what their marketing plans is in order to get your home sold. Where are they going to utilize the best resources to get the most exposure for your property? Elliot Lee can help you by creating a customized marketing plan with effective marketing techniques catered to the distinctions of your home to allow maximum exposure to properly sell your property.

5.    Negotiating an offer

a.     Negotiations is a complex matter, and all transactions are unique. Both buyers and sellers want to feel that the outcome favors them, or at least see a fair balance of interest. See if it’s a “buyer’s” or “seller’s” market, if you’re a buyer, being in a buyer’s market produces advantages as there are high inventory and low demand.

6.    Settlement

a.     Beware of the contingencies that will impact you. Most transactions include home inspections, so you will need to have your home available to the inspector and then negotiate with buyers about anything the inspection turns up. Another important aspect to closing is the appraisal. In some cases homes appraisal come higher than the sales price, if this happens you know you can breathe and know that the property is for sale less than the market value. However in most cases, appraisals come in lower than the sales price, when this happens lenders will limit your loan to a lower value. The buyer may have to come up with additional cash. It is important to consult your Realtor for best advice on how to handle this situation.

7.    Plan your move when you list your home

a.     Once you decided to sell your home your moving plans should begin. For example, by cleaning the closets, basement, and attic, there will be less to do once the home is under contract. Which mover should you choose? I can help set you up with a couple of reputable moving companies that are certified to handle your items with care.

i.    Your planning will be guided by a number of things

1.    Are you moving long distance? If yes, you’ll likely need an interstate mover and the use of a large van

2.    Planning is key, stock up on boxes, packing materials, tape and markers. Always mark the boxes so that movers will know where goods should be placed.

Comment

Comment

How to look for a property

In order to find the right property for you it is important to first decide if this is for an investment purpose, a vacation property, or a new home etc. After you have figured out why you want to buy the home, it is time for you to decide where you want to purchase, what size you want it, how many bedrooms you want, and what features it may include.

It is best recommended to use Realtor.com, this is because Realtor.com is the only website that is directly linked with the National Association of Realtors (NAR) database. As a result the website actively adds and removes properties every hour and is constantly updating itself to keep with the available inventory. There are other website which are just as informative, but most of these are not consistently updating their inventory such as Zillow or Trulia, who are platforms that are not regulated by real estate law. As a result these platforms produce inactive listings which are true listings, but might have already been taken off the market. 

Comment

Home Inspection (What it consists of)

Comment

Home Inspection (What it consists of)

Inspecting the conditions of a house is a very important part of the home-buying process and should be included in the purchase contract as one of the conditions of closing a deal. The inspection clause in a purchase contract gives the buyer the right to have the property thoroughly inspected. The purpose of the inspection is to provide a current report of the overall assessment of physical conditions of the property. More than one professional inspectors should look for defects in the buildings structure, systems, and physical components, such as roof, plumbing, electrical, and heating/cooling systems, floor surfaces and paint, windows, doors, foundations, and detection of pest infestations or dry rot and other damages. The inspector should also examine the land around the house for issues concerning grading, drainage, retaining walls, and plants affecting the house. Even if the seller provides a report, it is always best to not rely on that alone and get your own professional opinion.

In most cases buyers get the inspection after they are in contract to purchase the property. It’s usually made contingent on the buyers approving the results of one or multiple inspections. The buyer arranges and schedules the inspections. Before getting a professional, you can also conduct your own informal inspection. Look out for issues like sloping floors or browning walls, signs of water damage, missing roof shingles or gutters coming loose, old or low quality appliances and fixtures, and signs of wear and tear that needs repair.

Hire a general contractor or a home inspector to perform a full inspection from top to bottom, including roof, plumbing, electrical, heating, foundation, and drainage. Typically this process takes anywhere from $200-$500, depending on location, size, and age of the home. As a buyer, you want to choose someone who will be thorough and tough. I can recommend 3 well qualified seasoned home inspectors. However I do not recommend you stop there, ask other home owners and friends for recommendations or check with the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). Also get a pest report, it is wise to hire a licensed structural pest control inspector, who will create a special pest report. Some general contractors are also licensed pest inspectors, but will normally charge extra. It is important to have a written report of all inspections. 

Comment

South Florida home prices keep rising: S&P/Case Shiller

Comment

South Florida home prices keep rising: S&P/Case Shiller

Paramount Miami World Center. Inquire: Elliot@Elliot-Lee.com

Paramount Miami World Center. Inquire: Elliot@Elliot-Lee.com

South Florida again ranked among the highest metropolitan areas for rising home prices, according to the S&P/Case Shiller Home Price Indices released Tuesday. 

In February, the Miami area's ranking was up 9.2 percent, year-over-year, and up 0.6 percent from January. 

The Miami metropolitan area came in third for the highest increase, after Denver and San Francisco, which reported the largest year-over-year gains, up 10 percent and 9.8 percent, respectively. 

Nationwide, an S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city composite showed a 5 percent gain, year-over-year. 

"Home prices continue to rise and outpace both inflation and wage gains," said David M. Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, in a statement. "The S&P/Case-Shiller National Index has seen 34 consecutive months with positive year-over-year gains; all 20 cities have shown year-over-year gains every month since the end of 2012." - Ina Cordle

Read the full article @ the Real Deal

Paramount Miami Worldcenter. Inquire: Elliot@Elliot-Lee.com

Paramount Miami Worldcenter. Inquire: Elliot@Elliot-Lee.com

Comment

Financing Process

Comment

Financing Process

The financing process works in a series of steps and sometimes it is very tedious. To make things easier, I've compiled a breakdown of steps to take for the financing process including:

1.    Rechecking Credit

a.     Make sure that your credit report is as accurate and up to date as possible.

b.    Get a credit score & report- obtainable by going to any of the 3 credit bureaus (Experian, Trans-union, and Equifax). You may go to www.equifax.com and click the option on the website for a one time purchase of your credit report and score for $15.

2.    Get prequalified

a.     When financing a home, it is a better idea to be pre-qualified. This allows a lender to calculate an estimate on how much you can afford using the information that you provide. Getting prequalified helps you make an informed application for the mortgage preapproval and is evidence that realtors know you will be able to get financing.

3.    Shop for loans

a.     Shop around for the right terms for you. There are a number of different kinds of loans you can shop for. The more terms on your mortgage, the higher the monthly payment. Mortgages are typically 15-30 years, and prepaid interest is called “discount points” or “points”. I can recommend 3 professional lenders for you to decide, but I wouldn’t stop there. Keep shopping around online or through friends and referrals to decide which terms offer the best rates.

4.    Get Preapproved

a.     Getting preapproved is a firm commitment from a lender to loan you up to a certain maximum amount without the specific property. This is a very positive step, it lets you go through the financing process before making your offer, which in turn saves you time and energy down the line. After you’re preapproved, closing the loan is quick depending on a good appraisal review and title report.

Comment

Comment

Financing documents and requirements

In the past applying for a mortgage was easy: You’d complete an application and the lender would pull your credit score. More often, you would be approved. However nowadays lenders are much more strict. In order to be considered for a loan lenders require taxable income, assets, rent payments and more.

Tip: bring in documents early. Doing this can speed up the process. Also do not cross out or white-out any information on the document. If you make these changes, it’s not a valid documentation. Some of the things loan originators will require would be:

·         Paystubs, W-2’s

o   Loan guidelines typically specify a month of verified income. This is provable with the borrower’s paycheck stubs. If employees pay electronically the paystubs can be accessible through the corporate website and will be available for printing.

o   A mortgage lender typically require your most recent W-2 form, some lenders will ask the borrower for two years of W-2’s.

·         Investments, bank, and tax documents

o   Borrowers typically must show proof of investment. This is done by presenting an investment account statement within the last 30 days. If applying for a jumbo loans, lenders could ask to provide up to 3 months of statements.

o   Income tax returns

o   Lenders will also need to sign an IRS Form 4506-T, which grants the lender to get a hold of a transcript of tax return. This practice is in effect to prevent fraud.

·         Profit-loss statement

o   This is usually for self-employed borrowers, who are required to have a current-year profit-and-loss statement.

·         Rental property income

o   Borrowers who include rents from investment properties in their income need to be able to show the income on their tax return. Cancelled rent checks and bank statements might be alright if the property was purchased in the current calendar year.

Comment

Financing costs when buying a home

Comment

Financing costs when buying a home

The costs of buying a house is heavy, and for those who think knowing mortgage rates, tax payments, and sticking within your budget will be sufficient will be in for a surprise. There are more expenses involved in the home buying process than just property costs, here are some things you should keep in mind when budgeting your expenses:

  • An appraisal to justify the fair market value.
  • Inspection costs.
  • Real Estate attorney to review contract.
  • Property taxes for example are another cost to look out for. The general mortgage rate is about 3.8%-4.2%.
  • Homeowners Association.
  • Moving costs: packing, storing, transporting.
  • Utilities: telephone, electricity, gas, and water.
  • Appliances or furniture.
  • Maintenance and Renovations: example is trees that fall on roofs, gutters need cleaning, driveways need repair, plumbing, and wiring. The rule of thumb is to budget at least 1% of your homes purchase price each year for home maintenance costs.
  • PMI and title insurance: if the down payment on your house is less than 20% of the purchase price, you will have to pay for Private Mortgage Insurance. PMI protects your lender in case of default. It’s standard and fees may vary. Title insurance offers protection for you and your lender if you discover someone else who could claim title of the house.

Comment

Choosing a Real Estate Agent

Comment

Choosing a Real Estate Agent

All real estate agents are regulated by law. Therefore their professional information is public, search their licensing information and look for any complaints or if the person is a real licensee. Check to see if they are a REALTOR and therefore adheres to the NAR’s code of ethics. Certain designations also represent their specifications. For example ABR means accredited buyer representative, and CIPS means certified international property specialist.

When selling a home, be careful of agents who “buy the listing.” Meaning some agents will agree to a high price in order to buy the listing. This could mean that the agent is either exceptionally good or he doesn’t truly understand the market. A good agent will help you set a price that reflects the market. To maximize your profit, but not set a price so high it scares off buyers. Allow us to show you the unique differences between Elliot Lee and the rest.

Comment