Start 2017 Off Right… List Your House for Sale

As we are about to bring in the New Year, families across the country will be deciding if this is the year that they will sell their current house and move into their dream home. Many will decide that it is smarter to wait until the spring “buyer’s market” to list their house. In the past, that might have made sense. However, this winter is not like recent years.

The recent jump in mortgage rates has forced buyers off the fence and into the market, resulting in incredibly strong demand RIGHT NOW!! At the same time, inventory levels of homes for sale have dropped dramatically as compared to this time last year.

Here is a chart showing the decrease in inventory levels by category:

Start 2017 Off Right… List Your House for Sale | Simplifying The Market

Bottom Line

Demand for your home is very strong right now while your competition (other homes for sale) is at a historically low level. If you are thinking of selling in 2017, now may be the time.

*Source: Keeping Current Matters, Inc., 2016  Start 2017 Off Right… List Your House for Sale

High Demand for Home Sales, 5 Reasons You Should Sell Now

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5 Reasons to Sell This Fall

School is back in session, the holidays are right around the corner, you might not think that now is the best time to sell your house. But with inventory below historic numbers and demand still strong, you could be missing out on a great opportunity for your family.

Here are five reasons why you should consider selling your house this fall: 

1. Demand Is Strong

The latest Realtors’ Confidence Index from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows that buyer demand remains very strong throughout the vast majority of the country. These buyers are ready, willing and able to purchase… and are in the market right now!

Take advantage of the buyer activity currently in the market.

2. There Is Less Competition Now

According to NAR’s latest Existing Home Sales Report, the supply of homes for sale is still under the 6-month supply that is needed for a normal housing market at 4.7-months.

This means, in most areas, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers in that market. This is good news for home prices. However, additional inventory is about to come to market.

There is a pent-up desire for many homeowners to move, as they were unable to sell over the last few years because of a negative equity situation. Homeowners are now seeing a return to positive equity as real estate values have increased over the last two years. Many of these homes will be coming to the market this fall.

Also, as builders regain confidence in the market, new construction of single-family homes is projected to continue to increase over the next two years, reaching historic levels by 2017. Last month’s new home sales numbers show that many buyers who have not been able to find their dream home within the existing inventory have turned to new construction to fulfill their needs.

The choices buyers have will continue to increase. Don’t wait until all this other inventory of homes comes to market before you sell.

3. The Process Will Be Quicker

Fannie Mae announced that they anticipate an acceleration in home sales that will surpass 2007’s pace. As the market heats up, banks will be inundated with loan inquiries causing closing-time lines to lengthen. Selling now will make the process quicker & simpler. 

4. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move Up

If you are moving up to a larger, more expensive home, consider doing it now. Prices are projected to appreciate by 5.3% over the next year, according to CoreLogic. If you are moving to a higher-priced home, it will wind up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and mortgage payment) if you wait.

According to Freddie Mac’s latest report, you can also lock-in your 30-year housing expense with an interest rate around 3.46% right now. Interest rates are projected to increase moderately over the next 12 months. Even a small increase in rate will have a big impact on your housing cost.

5. It’s Time to Move On with Your Life

Look at the reason you decided to sell in the first place and determine whether it is worth waiting. Is money more important than being with family? Is money more important than your health? Is money more important than having the freedom to go on with your life the way you think you should?

Only you know the answers to the questions above. You have the power to take control of the situation by putting your home on the market. Perhaps the time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire.

That is what is truly important.

If you want a current market value for your property, call or email us today. 

*Source: Keeping Current Matters, Inc., 2016 5 Reasons to Sell this Fall

Orr’s Pond

Orr’s Pond is a gated community located in South Miami.  The history of the community began in 1937 as the original estate of the Orr family. The original Orr home is a charming storybook cottage style with over 16,500 square feet of land.  Orr’s Pond community was constructed in 1988 that has now been fully walled and gated with 18 homes added.

 Orr's Pond

The community features a winding drive under huge, mature oak trees and lush vegetation by the pond. There is a private gatehouse in the entrance.  The homes in Orr’s pond include high ceilings throughout the first floor and two-car garages.

If you have any interest living in the gated community of Orr’s Pond, contact us and we will help with your real estate needs.

Ponce-Davis

Ponce-Davis is an unincorporated exclusive community in Miami, bordering High Pines on the west, Coral Gables on the north and south, and Old Cutler Road on the east.  The community has access to all of the amenities Coral Gables has to offer.  Ponce-Davis is minutes away from Downtown Miami and walking distance to the many shops, bars and restaurants in South Miami and Merrick Park Shopping Center.

Ponce Davis Map

The neighborhood is very family oriented.  Some of the schools designated for this area are controlled choice schools which include Sunset Elementary, Coral Gables Preparatory Academy, and George Washington Carver Elementary.  Controlled choice allows school districts to make student school assignments using parents’ indicated favored school choice.  Should a student not be placed at the favored school, they will be placed on a waiting list.  Coral Gables Preparatory Academy, an A-rated historic public school in the Gables, includes grades Pre-K through 8th grade. The other schools that are designated for this area include Ponce De Leon Middle School as well as Coral Gables Senior High.

Homes are situated on large lots as compared to Coral Gables’ lots with some being at least one acre ranging between $2 million to $4 million.  Although Ponce-Davis is a non-waterfront community, residents have large back yards and some with grand pools and gardens.  Luxury living is in demand and is a greatly desirable place to live, work and play.  Ponce-Davis offers a high quality of life.

If you are interested in finding a home within the neighborhood of  Ponce-Davis, give us a call and we will help you!

The City of Miami Beach

Miami Beach is located on the coast of Miami-Dade County, comprised of a group of natural and man-made barrier islands between the Atlantic Ocean and Biscayne Bay.  The community was incorporated on March 26, 1915.  Miami Beach is known for its Art Deco architectural style and heritage.

Miami Beach Map

The history of Miami Beach began in 1870, when father and son Henry and Charles Lum purchased the uninhabited land for 25 cents an acre.  The Biscayne House of Refuge was the first structure constructed in 1876 by the United States Life-Saving Service to provide food, water, and shelter for people who were shipwrecked.  The City of Miami was established in 1896 with the arrival of the railroad, which developed a port by 1905.  John Stiles Collins was an American Quaker farmer that moved to South Florida in an attempt to grow vegetables and coconuts on the island.  The farming venture was unsuccessful but Collins went on to become a land developer.  In 1911, Collins and his family formed the Miami Beach Improvement Company and established the term “Miami Beach”.  They built the Collins Bridge in 1913, a casino and an oceanfront hotel.  The family also began the residential development of the island.  The area had a 400% population increase between 1920 and 1925.  Today, Collins Avenue and the Collins Canal on Miami Beach are named in his honor.

Miami Beach is filled with exciting activities and entertainment for everyone.  South Beach, also known as SoBe, is a popular destination for both residents and visitors.  Besides the beach, there are many restaurants to dine, shops, and boutique and luxury hotels to stay.  Ocean Drive is the center of the Miami Art Deco District, with about 800 preserved buildings.  The road begins at South Pointe to 15th Street.  The famous Versace mansion is located on Ocean Drive and is one of the most photographed houses in North America.

Miami Beach Scene

Lincoln Road is a pedestrian road between 16th Street and 17th Street, running east-west with shops, restaurants, galleries, a theatre, and the New World Center concert hall.  The history of Lincoln Road began around 1912, when Carl Fisher, an American entrepreneur, cleared the land that was covered by a forest of mangroves.  Lincoln Road was the town’s social center and it was also where Fisher maintained a real estate office.  Over a period of time, Lincoln Road featured the finest retail destinations, such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Cadillac car dealership.

Miami Beach also offers city tours, food tours, sunset cruises, concerts, museums, and much more.  Some of the parks located at Miami Beach include Fairway Park, Flamingo Park and Pool, North Shore Park Youth Center, and Normandy Isle Park and Pool.  Fairway Park has tennis and basketball courts, a rock wall for rock climbing, a teen club, activities, classes and other clubs.  Flamingo Park and Pool is known for its swimming lessons and water playground.  There are also currently six dog parks, known as Bark Parks, and one Dog Beach within the City of Miami Beach.

Some of the Miami Beach schools include South Pointe Elementary, North Beach Elementary, Fienberg Fisher K-8 Center, Biscayne Elementary, Nautilus Middle School, and Miami Beach Senior High School.  South Pointe Elementary and Feinberg-Fisher are an International Baccalaureate World School.  Miami Beach Senior High School is an A-rated School with academies focusing on different areas that offer the knowledge and skills for a successful career, such as hospitality and tourism, information technology, marine and environmental science, and visual and performing arts.

The City of Miami Beach attracts visitors from around the world because of its assortment of amenities as well as its trend-setting arts and entertainment destination.  The area is tourist-friendly and a hot vacation spot for all that it has to offer.  From the shops and beaches, to the clubs and restaurants, Miami Beach has something for everyone.

If you have any interest living in Miami Beach, let us know and we will find you the perfect home!

Westchester

Westchester is an unincorporated community and census-designated place in suburban Miami-Dade County with over 29,000 residents, located between SW 8th Street (Tamiami Trail) south to SW 40th Street (Bird Road) and SW 117th Avenue east to the Palmetto Expressway.

Westchester Map

The public schools belonging to the Westchester area include Royal Palm Elementary, Coral Park Elementary, Banyan Elementary, Emerson Elementary, Olympia Heights Elementary, Tropical Elementary, Rockway Elementary and Middle, Riviera Middle School, Miami Coral Park High School, and Southwest Miami Senior High School.  The private schools in Westchester are St. Brendan Elementary and High School, St. Agatha Catholic School, Florida Christian, and Christopher Columbus High School.

Florida International University (FIU) is near the neighborhood of Westchester.  The community has seen more of an economic revival with the continuing growth of the FIU campus, which draws students and professors, both locally and internationally, to the area.

Westchester is mostly a residential area.  Visitors and residents can enjoy Coral Estates Park, Rockway Park and Banyan Park.  Coral Estates Park has tennis courts, a large field for sporting games, a children’s play area, and a gazebo.  Rockway Park offers swimming classes at the public pool and a nice green space for visitors to relax or enjoy sporting events, as well as a summer camp for children.  Banyan Park has a large field for fun events and sporting activities.

Besides the parks, the community of Westchester offers local shops and restaurants, while being minutes away from the Miami International Airport and Miami International Mall.

If you are looking for a home in the Westchester area, let us know and we can help you out!

Cutler Bay

Cutler Bay is located from SW 184th Street, also known as Eureka Drive, east of US1 to the coast, and north of Black Point Marina.  The community of Cutler Bay was incorporated on November of 2005, making it the youngest incorporated municipality in the State of Florida.  Today Cutler Bay is home to over 40,000 residents.

Cutler Bay Map

In August 1992, Cutler Bay was greatly affected by Hurricane Andrew, a Category 5 hurricane and one of the most powerful storms to have ever struck South Florida.  Hurricane Andrew destroyed over 25,500 homes and damaged over 100,000 others.  Since then, the community has established emergency hurricane plans to help keep the area protected.

Cutler Bay has many sites to see for visitors and residents.  Among these places is the Charles Deering Estate.  The Deering Estate at Cutler is a 444-acre estate on the East side of Old Cutler Road with globally endangered pine rockland habitat, as well as a habitat for rare and native plants such as orchids, bromeliads, and 40 species of trees.  The Estate serves as an outdoor classroom and laboratory for students and scientists.  Deering Estate offers guided tours, as well as eco-adventure tours which are limited and available by registering with the ticket office at the estate.  These eco-adventure tours are biking, kayaking and canoeing with a guide to explore the nature in Deering Estate and the bay.  The estate also offers lectures, community classes, and rental facilities for social events like corporate parties and weddings.  The social events can be held in the library, ballroom or court yard.

There are several parks that can be enjoyed at Cutler Bay.  Some of the Cutler Bay parks include Bel-Aire Park, Cutler Ridge Park, Franjo Park, Saga Bay Park, and Whispering Pines Park.  Visitors can enjoy the views, play sports, relax, and be involved in special community events at the parks.  Bel-Aire Park is approximately 5.2 acres and has an open field for sports with bleachers, a concession stand and a small children’s play area.  Cutler Ridge Park is the second largest park in Cutler Bay.  This 11 acre park has several open fields for sports activities, as well as a public pool, a large gazebo and community center, a single tennis court, and a walking path.  Cutler Ridge Park is known for hosting events such as sporting events, an Easter Egg Hunt and a Chili Cook-Off.  Franjo Park is a 5 acre park just off Old Cutler Road.  This park was perfectly planned for sporting events, with three lighted softball/baseball fields, batting cages, bleachers, a concession stand, water fountains, and picnic tables.  Saga Bay Park is a 5 acre park with four lighted tennis courts, covered children’s play area, circular walking path, picnic table and benches.  The park has a large field for visitors to enjoy playing their sports.  Whispering Pines Park is a 1½ acre park located by Whispering Pines Elementary School.  The park has several picnic tables, a gazebo and a large covered playground.  Cutler Bay hosts a 4th of July parade every year at Whispering Pines Park.

Whispering Pines Elementary, Cutler Ridge Elementary and Bel-Aire Elementary are just a few of the public schools in Cutler Bay.  The magnet schools by the Cutler Bay area include Southwood Middle and Coral Reef Senior High School.  Magnet schools offer a specialized curriculum for students.  Some of the private schools near the Cutler Bay area include Westminster Christian School, Palmer Trinity School and Cutler Ridge Christian Academy.

The community of Cutler Bay promotes going green and encourages environmental responsibility for all its residents.  The Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program enables residents to invest in solar panels, wind generators and other forms of green energy that is sustainable and beneficial for the Earth.  This movement is also active in other South Florida municipalities, such as South Miami, Coral Gables, Pinecrest, and Palmetto Bay.  Cutler Bay was successful in passing the Financing Initiative for Renewable and Solar Technology (FIRST) bill, which allows home owners to voluntarily enter in a program that allows the district to give them a loan for the cost of installing an alternate energy-producing device.   In return, the home owners would repay the cost of the loan over a period of time.

Cutler Bay encourages residents and businesses to go green.  The community is a great place to live for growing families and those who enjoy going to parks and fun activities like sporting events.  Cutler Bay is central to many of the attractions that South Florida has to offer.

If you are looking for a home in the Cutler Bay area, let us know and we can help you out!

The Village of Pinecrest

Pinecrest was incorporated on March 12, 1996 and is situated twenty minutes south of Downtown Miami and Miami International Airport.   Henry Flagler used the land at US1 and Southwest 102 Street as a staging area during the construction of the Overseas Railroad to the Florida Keys in the early 1900s.

Pinecrest Map

By the 1930s, the community began to evolve around Parrot Jungle and Gardens, one of the first tourist attractions established in the Miami area.  Founded in 1936 by Franz and Louise Scherr, Parrot Jungle was situated on 20 acres of property at Red Road and Southwest 111 Street, when Parrot Jungle moved to Watson Island in 2002.  The property became Pinecrest Gardens.  Pinecrest Gardens features over 1,000 varieties of rare and exotic tropical plants.  Visitors can picnic in the gardens and spend the day exploring, listen to a lecture or enjoy a concert.

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, a premier conservation and education-based garden, borders Pinecrest.  Fairchild attracts visitors from around the world and hosts many events and festivals such as the International Mango Festival, classes and lectures from local and global experts, the International Chocolate Festival, weddings, corporate and special events.   Matheson Hammock park is located East of Pinecrest.  Other parks in the Village include Coral Pine Park, Veterans Wayside Park, Suniland Park, Evelyn Greer Park, and Flagler Grove Park.

Ranch-style houses are the most popular architectural style found in this community.  During the 1950s and 1960s the area thrived with the expansion and construction of ranch-style homes on acre lots which laid the foundation for the community’s rural and lushly landscaped residential way.

Pinecrest is known for its consistently “A” rated public elementary schools, as well as the highly regarded private Gulliver Academy & Preparatory school.  Gulliver Academy is a private school that provides a traditional academic education and has four campuses ranging from PreK3-12th grade.  Bet Shira Congregation, Kendall United Methodist, Pinecrest Presbyterian, St. Louis Covenant, and Temple Beth Am are all private schools within the Village of Pinecrest.  The public schools include Palmetto Elementary, Pinecrest Elementary, Palmetto Middle, and Miami Palmetto Senior High School.

The Village of Pinecrest is also making efforts to becoming a greener community and an active member of several recognized organizations such as International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) and Florida Green Building Coalition.  The community has a long history of environmental compassion and activism.  Pinecrest has been named a Tree City USA community by the Arbor Day Foundation.  Over 10,000 street trees have been planted since 1997, creating scenic green paths throughout the residential community.

The Village of Pinecrest is a family friendly community with great schools and beautiful surroundings of lush tropical landscaping.  Residents can also enjoy many amenities of the Greater Miami area.  Pinecrest is a desirable place to live, recognized by those who enjoy a superior quality of life in a unique green community.

If you have any interest living in The Village of Pinecrest, give us a call and we can help you!

Coral Gables – “The City Beautiful”

Founded in the 1920s, Coral Gables is a notable beauty with Mediterranean-style architecture located just southwest of downtown Miami.  The Gables is a well known area of Miami with classic Old Spanish homes originally constructed in the 1920s and 1930s.  The Gables keeps its nickname “The City Beautiful” because local authorities enforce rules on homeowners to keep their community looking its best.  The streets are lined with trees and there are small parks featuring carved coral rock fountains and entryways.

Coral Gables map

One of the historical landmarks is the Biltmore Hotel.  Situated on 150 tropical acres, the grand Biltmore Hotel was built in 1926.  Land developer George Merrick was joined by John McEntee Bowman at the height of the Florida land boom to build a vast hotel to be the center of sports and fashion, and to create Merrick’s vision of “The City Beautiful”.  The 18-hole golf course was designed by Donald Ross and debuted in January 1925 along with a magnificent inaugural ceremony that was the social event of the year.  During the Jazz Age from 1926 to 1942, the Biltmore was one of the most fashionable resorts in the entire country.  Thousands of spectators would turn out on the weekends to watch synchronized swimmers and other popular aquatic shows at the Biltmore pool.  During WWII, The Biltmore was converted into a huge hospital and was known as the Army Air Forces Regional Hospital.  The hotel was closed for some time and reopened again in 1983 after being fully restored to its former glory.  Today, guests can enjoy the many amenities The Biltmore has to offer, as well as its grand architectural elements and lush South Florida landscape.

The Biltmore Hotel

The Venetian Pool, another historical landmark in the heart of the Gables, is an aquatic facility unlike any other in the nation.  In 1923, artist Denman Fink and architect Phineas Paist created a paradise with the efforts of George Merrick.  The Venetian Pool is formed from a coral rock quarry and holds 820,000 gallons of water.  Originally, the Venetian pool was opened as the “Venetian Casino” in 1924.  The casino was a destination for many socialites and celebrities and the pool was emptied for concert performances.  The Venetian Pool is still one of the main tourist attractions open to the public in Coral Gables, offering a unique and relaxing swimming experience.

The community of Coral Gables offers other attractions, such as the Coral Gables Museum, Montgomery Botanical Center, Casa Bacardi, and Coral Gables Merrick House and Gardens.  The Merrick House was home to George Merrick, located on 907 Coral Way, and became a historic site in 1977 that offers tours today.

Coral Gables is an ideal location for shopping and fine living.  Stylish shops and high end boutiques, art galleries, five star restaurants, a cinema, and live theater are situated along Coral Way, also recognized as Miracle Mile.  Village of Merrick Park is an upscale shopping center featuring over 100 retail stores including several restaurants.  The Gables also hosts community events for everyone to enjoy, such as the Farmers Markets, live music, art exhibitions, and holiday events.

Coral Gables is also a family oriented community known for its high rated schools.  Coral Gables Preparatory Academy, an A-rated historic public school in the Gables, includes grades Pre-K through 8th grade and is a controlled choice school.  Controlled choice allows school districts to make student school assignments using parents’ indicated favored school choice.  Should a student not be placed at the favored school, they will be placed on a waiting list.  Coral Gables Senior High School is also a public school with grades 9 through12th.  Other public schools in Coral Gables include David Fairchild Elementary, George Washington Carver Elementary, George Washington Carver Middle, Henry S. West Laboratory, International Studies Preparatory Academy, Ponce de Leon Middle, and Sunset Elementary.  Private schools in the Gables include Gulliver Academy, Riviera Day School, Saint Philip’s Episcopal School, Saint Theresa Catholic School and Saint Thomas Episcopal Parish School.

The University of Miami is also located in Coral Gables, offering over 200 majors and programs.  Rated the No. 1 School in Florida, the University of Miami, also known as “UM”, teaches students from around the world and has private research facilities for the school of medicine, marine science, engineering, education, psychology and more.

The diverse community of Coral Gables continues to be a charming historic beauty and an attraction for tourists and corporate travelers, as well as growing families.  As a greatly desirable place to live, work and play, The Gables offers a high quality of life with access to all types of public services.

If you have any interest living in The Gables, give us a call and we will help you out!

High Pines

Located between Coral Gables and South Miami, High Pines is a neighborhood of high demand and short supply.  The homes have large lots and are newly constructed with prices ranging from $400,000 to over $2,000,000.  Housing options in this area range from luxury homes to townhouses and condominiums.  High Pines is not located within the city limits of South Miami or Coral Gables, but rather a subdivision in unincorporated Miami-Dade County.

High Pines Map

The schools belonging to High Pines are controlled choice schools Sunset Elementary, Coral Gables Preparatory and George Washington Carver Elementary.  Students must reside within the designated controlled choice boundary of the school selected.  Ponce De Leon Middle School and Coral Gables Senior High School are also designated schools for High Pines residents.

This family oriented neighborhood is walking distance to many of the shops and dining located in South Miami, such as Sunset Mall, a grand outdoor mall featuring shops, movies, dining, and entertainment for everyone.  High Pines is an ideal community to live in for the growing family and anyone who enjoys a quaint neighborhood and access to much of what South Miami and The Gables has to offer.

If you are interested in living at High Pines, give us a call and we will help you find a home!