South Florida Real EstateYou can’t talk South Florida Real Estate in a vacuum; the industry is too meshed up with the economy in general

Taking a bird’s eye view on where South Florida has been to where it is today, and what factors have contributed to it, helps frame the conversation more intelligently.

All and all South Florida Real Estate and local economy is pretty resilient. Tourism some would say is at the forefront of the recovery, slowly followed by Real Estate and Infrastructure (public works).

Progress is slow, and you could argue too negligible to make a positive mid or long term prognosis.

Tourism has been our bread and butter for some time now.

“According to Smith Travel Research, hotels in metropolitan Miami averaged $200.85 a night in Feb, up 9.2% from the same period a year earlier. By the way compared to New York City hotels avg $188.86 the same month. All Hotels in Broward and Palm Beach rose from a year earlier.”  –daily business review

But why is Tourism such a play for us?

According to Mike Maxwell, director of the real estate development program at the Huizenga School of Business at Nova Southeastern, “we are still a deal”.

It’s true!

If you compare hotel rates in New York, San Francisco and Miami, We ARE a deal! –and at the end of the day you are still in sunny South Florida.

As far as South Florida Real Estate is concerned, according to the Miami Association of Realtors, the median sales price of a single-family home in May was $190,000. This is about a 6 percent increase from a year ago.

The available homes inventory however has shrunk to $11,403 from $16,943 in the same period. There are also still quite a few foreclosures occurring with lots of cash buyers making their moves.

The condo market is rebounding together with the luxury homes sector. Commercial properties in addition to apartment complexes are also going for premium pricing.

So can you find deals out there today?

I think so! –they are not as attractive as they were a year to a year and a half ago. But there are a lot of people still hurting with their bad real estate assets weighing them down. The challenge is the financing.

Banks are still shy, some are lending, but most are waiting for stronger signs of a recovery. According to the FDIC, in the 1st Q of this year bank loan balances shrank by $56 billion.

On the flipside of that coin, there’s a lot of South American money coming into South Florida. For this group South Florida Real Estate and South Florida in general still provides them with a stable infrastructure where to park their cash and grow their real estate assets and business portfolios.

My personal view on our current South Florida Real Estate status and what it means for the average person is:

I’ve always believed South Florida can take the heat! As a community we’ve been through a lot, if we pull together we’ll always do better than if we don’t.

Regarding Real Estate opportunities:

Keep searching… the deals are out there!

I’m presented with opportunities in Real Estate on a weekly basis. It’s all about networking with the right Realtors, Attorneys and Homeowners and keeping a win-win viewpoint throughout the process!

Take care 🙂

Happy 4th of July from Salcines Law

I Hear America Singing
The Poetry Foundation

A collection of classic and contemporary poems from the Poetry Foundation archive to celebrate the Fourth of July.

by Becca Klaver

At no other time in the history of the Real Estate Industry, has the need for Miami Realtors to have a Team approach been more important.

Social Media and Team Building for Real Estate Brokers

Is tough for Miami Realtors these days. As an Attorney specializing in Real Estate Law I spend quite a bit of my time working elbow to elbow with Realtors in general.

Some Realtors are really good at what they do, and they do very well. Others are still struggling and trying to figure out how to adjust.

So I asked myself a question:


Why in spite of the same market economy and opportunities to make something happen, some of them do spectacularly well and others do poorly?

Let me offer you some insight on this topic:

As of July 1st 2012,  the amount of properties for sale in Coral Gables, FL which is where I live and run my practice from is 342.

If you estimate roughly about 100 strong listing agents that focus in the area (very conservative!)   -What’s the avg amount of available property per agent? Do the math!

The average property in Coral Gables has been in the market for 224 days and the median single family home price hovers at the $1.133 MM mark at an average cost of $337 per square foot.

The local economy is not out of intensive care yet, and in addition you not only have a very informed consumer, but also a well educated seller… A good thing!

However, an educated consumer also knows that if they must use a Realtor they are going to shop around for one that has the ability to move product and attract buyers! 

That means that today’s agents have to be equipped with a media-like platform housing their content creation and distribution, word of mouth networks and Social Media channels.

Because of a drying out of inventory, many Realtors have been focusing exclusively in the Short Sale Market,  because of  homes that are being foreclosed.

So if you think about all this in terms of  “customer needs and market trends” you soon realize that Miami Realtors have almost no choice but to say to themselves:    “I have to grab whatever comes my way, and sell anything that has a folio #”.

So, they want listings, buyers, help out with loan mods and shortsales, offer rental services, and if they have time, sell Life Insurance on the side.

I believe there is a broad definition to what a Real Estate consumer looks like these days. Their needs are versatile and they are educated and well informed!

So in search of an answer to my question I noticed that successful Miami Realtors do things a little different than average ones.

 A Miami Realtors mini-guide to Local Success


Surround yourself with a team of trusted advisors:

  • Team up with 1-2 bankers and financial institutions.
  • Create relationships with hard money guys and angel investors interested in Real Estate.
  • If focused on short sales and loan mods, get a good legal team to back you while you continue to focus on what matters most to your Real Estate practice:  marketing and prospecting.
  • Reach out to Relocation directors and introduce yourself.
  • Create alliances with value-based and consumer-centric Realtors. Do this with Listing and Buyer’s agents that you feel you can develop a working relationship with.

Get to know your ideal client better than they know themselves:

  • Do you work primarily with sellers or buyers? Each of them have unique content needs and decision making cycles.
  • If you focus on investors, foreign buyers… What are they looking for and why?
  • Anticipate their needs and provide content that helps their decision making process and ease their resistance points.
  • The needs of a retired couple are vastly different than those of a recently married couple, or even those with kids. I know you know this! But take advantage of that information when you create content around their personal needs.

What areas and neighborhoods do you feel you know like the back of your hand?

  • This makes a huge difference when you are working with motivated buyers. Buyers don’t just buy real estate, they buy the neighborhood, schools, hospitals, parks and libraries… you get the point!
  • Also, sellers want to know if you cultivate buyers streams and if you can sell and position their property in the right light. For them it’s also important that you get the local market they live in.

What type of property do you consider yourself an expert in?

  • If condos are your thing, then what kind of person buys a Condo in Brickell/Downtown?
  • What are the reasons why someone would but a condo? To live it, for their parents, flip it, rental? What’s going on in their lives?
  • Is the Luxury Residential market your thing?  If so, you need to start talking to Estate Planning attorneys, sports and celebrity agents, Publicists, CPAs, etc.
  • Find the right buying persona for the type of real estate property you’d like to specialize in.
  • Position yourself more as an Advisor and less as an Agent.

Build on these points and embed them in your model according to how you run your real estate business. But keep them front and center!

The fabric of the real estate industry is changing quickly, and even though there are those that feel realtors are not necessary, the fact is that “Over 80% of all FSBO’S end up listing with a Real Estate agent”

By the way, hint-hint! Mining FSBOs data  may not be such a bad idea since 8 out 10 sellers seek out a Realtor eventually.

Why is this a good thing for Miami Realtors?  –Because the FSBO that just spent 3 months attempting to sell their home is an educated consumer, the best kind!

Successful Miami Realtors also understand their local market and work within a team of professionals that are in turn well entrenched in the fabric of the community. These Realtors become an invaluable asset to anyone looking to buy or sell Miami Real Estate.

They also think of themselves more as Advisors and less as Agents. That idealized self image comes right through and it does make a profound impact on their prospects and current clients.

In summary, I think if at the local level Miami Realtors work as a team, with a consumer-centric mindset, not only will we prosper together but we’ll be offering remarkable value to those we aim to help:  Our customers and clients!


Coconut Grove Proposes 6 Million Dollar Project to Enhance its Business District

Real Estate Deals and News in Miami - Coconut Grove The project plans to pretty much take the business district to the next level. Part of the revamp will be by widening sidewalks, installing to lighting, planting and replacing trees.

According to the Miami Herald report the project will take place in two phases:

The first phase of construction will be on Florida Avenue, Virginia Street, Mary Street, Fuller Street and Commodore Plaza. The plans for Fuller are not yet complete.

The second phase, which is still in the conceptual phase, will include Bayshore Drive, Grand Avenue, MacFarlane Road and Main Highway.

The city expects work on Florida Avenue to begin in late June or early July. The city also expects to complete the first set of improvements in autumn 2013.”

Read more here…

The Grove brings fond memories for me as I’m sure it does to most people growing up in Miami.

Who doesn’t involuntarily smirk at the thought of  moments our younger versions spent with friends hanging out at the Grove, right?

In addition to my own biased view on that wonderful community, I believe that progressive urban designs and Real Estate deals and projects that further gentrify and unifies local communities are a good thing.

So let’s get started!

The Arts have always been a good catalyst for reviving local districts and neighborhoods, this is the case for Wynwood via the ARTPLACE Grant.


Wynwood Art ArtPlace is the product of a pioneering initiative of 11 of America’s top foundations, including Knight Foundation in conjunction with the National Endowment for the Arts, NEA, and seven other federal agencies.

To date, ArtPlace has raised close to $50 million to work alongside federal and local governments to transform communities with strategic investments in the arts.

“The aim of ArtPlace is to drive community revitalization by putting arts at the center of economic development.”

Read more… 

photo credit:

Patrons of the Arts have always fared better than your average investor it seems!

Take the House of Medici for example!

One could argue that they were primarily in banking which was the source of their unimaginable fortune in Florence, Italy.

What perhaps some fail to see is that they were fierce Patrons of the arts, banking and backing just about anyone with recognizable talent.

The artists supported by the Medici included Ghiberti, Brunelleschi, Donatello, Alberti, Fra Angelico, and Ucello.

During their rule, Florence became the cultural center of Europe and the cradle of the new Humanism.

They brought on the beginning of the renaissance by building the art industry and hence the market grew abundantly. This also gave opportunity for any artist to introduce his/her creativity and get sponsored by wealthy patrons.

Once peculiar characteristic is that they treated artists not as workers, but as creatives. So they gave them reign and and unstructured setting that fostered the creative spirit!

Sound familiar?

Not a bad business model for our local economy right?

The family went as far as building an art school which raised the greatest artist of the century such as Michaelangelo and Boticelli.

The Medici were smart!

They understood that making money, though essential, wasn’t enough, and that investing in the Arts raised the cultural standard of their society. This cycle would then become a breeding ground of prosperity and cultural development. In essence a long term investment in their local culture and people.

What ARTPLACE has accomplished as an organization that supports Artists Nationally is an incredible feat. I believe the effort must continue to be hyperlocal and grow from there!

Miami has proven to be a fertile ground for up and coming young artists. The long list of Artists born and bred here, our cultural history from so many different societies and of course The ARTPLACE Grant proves it!

But we need more Foundations and Patrons to step up and get more involved. This is a win-win for everyone!

When was the last time you sponsored a local artist?


Short Selling Your House Successfully 

Contrary to what you may have been led to believe, short selling your house successfully in Miami is not difficult, nor complicated.

The thing is  Short Selling Your House that we’ve been busier than usual, and in the spotlight more often in comparison to other States.

As a Real Estate Attorney and also a real estate consumer I have a somewhat unique perspective on the short sale process, its pros and cons, impact on families and our local economy as well.

So I decided to put together a few bullet points that focus on short selling your house successfully from a homeowner standpoint!

Realtors! Pay attention as well 🙂

Educate Yourself Via Your Peers – This is not hard to grasp. Everyone pretty much knows someone who’s lost their home to foreclosure.

So if you do know someone that’s gone through the process, or is going through it, talk to them, ask them questions regarding the process, cost, options. All the things you know you might have to spend time researching or paying someone to tell you, you can get from your peers.

Many times we trust strangers that have experienced a situation more so than expert testimony, believe it or not!

Read Everything on the Topic – Sometimes the best way to learn is via a self-taught method. Not because there is no value in formal education, but because when you learn on your own, you tend to experiment without constraint.

On the web not everything is filtered and there’s more peer-peer content than ever before. Consumer driven blogs and sites are a dime a dozen and many are good at providing basic information on just about any topic you can think of.

Three out of five patients consult prior to seeing their Doctor. Peer reviews are a powerful thing!

Consult an Attorney Before Making a DecisionOk, so this is where I tell you that even if you have talked to your friends that have gone through the process and learned everything there is to learn about successfully short selling your house, it might help just a… tiny bit… to consult with a lawyer regarding your personal situation.

This should be at no cost to you. I’ve never charged anyone to help figure out their options, and that’s usually the first step. Where are you at right now?

Know Your BankThe bank’s short sale decision making process is driven by a single factor, money. Ideally they would prefer that you continue making payments so they make interest on the loan as long as possible.

So negotiating with the bank is key in the short sale process. You have to motivate them to accept an offer that’s not their best scenario but when compared to the alternative is actually better.

If foreclosure is imminent and you can prove it, the bank usually takes the path of least loss to them.

Understand your Situation – The homeowner’s situation is a bit different from the bank’s. The short sale transaction is not like a typical home sale transaction. The price is inconsequential to you because what’s really important is to get out of a hole.

The only time that price comes into question is when the bank is pursuing a deficiency judgement for the homeowner to assume.

This is where your attorney goes to bat for you if needed, by negotiating away any deficiency in addition to managing the process quickly.

By the way HAFA properties carry no deficiency.

The Psychological Ramifications – Losing your home can be mentally taxing. This is not what you had in mind. All that money you invested is now gone and you basically have to start from scratch. It’s a tough time for any family.

On the bright side, this is a chance to start fresh. Lots of great deals to consider these days!

Also, you probably had a chance to save a little money throughout the process which can help with the logistics of moving and settling in a new place.

My point is, don’t dwell on it. It’s over… focus on what you can control and think ahead!

Finish strong and get ready for a new beginning for you and your family!

Working with Realtors

A good realtor can be of immense value to the short sale process. They can:

  • Facilitate the initial process.
  • As good connectors, they usually have a good network to pull talent from.
  • They can liaise with attorneys and manage flow and expectations for you.
  • They can find good properties at great value.

When it comes to the short sale process realtors are motivated by time and money. But time is especially important since the value of what they earn in commissions is directly proportional to the time they spent involved in the process.

They are also motivated by Volume or Quantity of transactions. The cash 22 here is obviously the time that it takes to manage each file. If they are too involved in the process they don’t have the time to do what they do best, which is to find people that are going through a rough patch and help them through the process… in essence to bring in the business.

Because of this, it’s essential for realtors in the short sale niche to be well connected, possibly embedded with an attorney that is also a specialist in short sales, loan modifications and foreclosure defense.

A good attorney can shorten the short sales process by:

  • Having built-in efficiencies and work flows in to the process.
  • Having the right team at the firm, the technology, software, and specialists on board.
  • Having the ability to negotiate win-win scenarios that improve both the rate of successful closes while reducing the effort per transaction.

One of the reasons why the Law Offices of  Jacqueline A. Salcines P.A  has such a good relationship with a handful of Realtors is because of the above mentioned points.

We understand the process of short selling your house successfully in our sleep, and the role and needs of key members that make things happen . This allows us to close deals much faster than the National and State average.

So you see! Short Selling your house successfully doesn’t have suck the life out of you. It’s all about having the right team working for you!

Short selling your house successfully is about understanding that the sooner a win-win scenario for all involved is created, the faster and smoother the outcome will always be.

See you out there!