Local Buying Tips

  1. Work with a local agent who knows the neighborhoods, buildings and the market.
  2. Miami Beach has many different price points and what you get for your money varies widely on your budget.
  3. Our market is no longer considered a “down market”. Rather the Miami  real estate market has been in recovery for several years now.
  4. Although our market is expensive compared to others, it’s still less expensive than other comparable International cities.
  5. Do some research and choose your neighborhood wisely.
  6. For instance, do you want to live in a neighborhood that is pedestrian friendly? Although most of Miami  is very pedestrian friendly some areas are not.
  7. Narrow down your neighborhoods prior to looking at properties.
  8. Drive the neighborhoods.
  9. Does this neighborhood fit your lifestyle?
  10. Are there any future developments for the neighborhood in the works?
  11. What type of services does the neighborhood offer?
  12. If you want to walk around and not use a car, is it pedestrian friendly?
  13. If you need to drive how close are daily activities?
  14. How close is the airport?
  15. How close is your job?
  16. If you have children, what are the local schools and details of the schools. Are there any private schools nearby?
  17. Are there any local park facilities or activities for children?
  18. Does this building match your expectations in terms of service and amenities?
  19. Is it important for you to have 24 hour on site security? Or is less okay? The great thing with 24 hour security is more peace of mind, the other side is that security equals more monthly expense to run the building.
  20. What are the surrounding buildings and amenities?
  21. Is there a bus stop, a night club or something nearby that could potentially drive you crazy with noise?
  22. Is secured, garaged, second level (at least) parking a must?
  23. Miami Beach is an island and some times it floods 
  24. Most units in Miami Beach only come with one parking space. Be sure to clarify if it is “deeded” to the unit or “assigned” and what this means in terms of your ownership and resale.
  25. If you need an extra space, can that be arranged and/or can you purchase a second space?
  26. Not all buildings allow parking for motorcycles and scooters, if you have one be sure to ask about parking.
  27. I would highly recommend a two bedroom over a one bedroom. Once you purchase a Miami Beach Condo, you will have many visitors.
  28. The higher up you go in floors, the pricier the units tend to be but if you don’t mind the height the resale has better value in higher floors.
  29. Be sure to know what view is the best view in the particular building you like the most. Buy the best view for your money.
  30. Although ocean views are great during the day, during the night, there is nothing to see…it’s a black hole. Is this okay or would you would prefer a city view?
  31. More on the views…… in some buildings one view is a better investment than another.
  32. If the view is important to you, is there anything in the future that would block that view?
  33. In this city there are never any guarantees on “keeping the view”, unless you can obviously see that something couldn’t be built to block it.
  34. Are the windows and sliding glass doors hurricane proof? If not can you make them hurricane proof?
  35. How old are the appliances?
  36. How old is the air conditioning unit?
  37. Are any of the warranties transferable?
  38. Don’t read too much into the tax payment listed on the listing, it is the current owner’s, not what a new owner will pay.
  39. Who are the board of directors of the building and how is the building managed?
  40. Carefully read over the financials during the contingency period and ask questions if you don’t understand.
  41. Generally speaking how is the overall condition of the building?
  42. What are your voting rights in the condominium association?
  43. What restrictions exist in the condominium documents on the leasing of the unit?
  44. There are two factors you need to consider in terms of renting. (1) the rules of the building for renting & (2) the rules of the coding for Miami Beach. If your building allows short term rentals but the property is located in an area in the city not zoned for short term renting, you can be heavily fined for renting short term. 
  45. If you are going to rent out the property, have your agent pull “rental comps” so that you can get a good idea of how much per month you can get for the unit.
  46. How much are my assessments to the condominium association for my unit type and when are they due?
  47. Do you have to be a member in any other association? If so, what is the name of the association and what are your voting rights in this association?
  48. Are you required to pay rent or land use fees for recreational or other commonly used facilities? If so, how much are you obligated to pay annually?
  49. Is the condominium association or other mandatory membership association involved in any court cases in which it may face liability in excess of $100,000? If so, identify each such case.
  50. What is the general attitude of the building towards maintenance, updates and ongoing repairs?
  51. How much money is in the reserves?
  52. Are there any upcoming major projects? 40 year assessment, etc.
  53. How much is the assessment in total? Per unit?
  54. Exactly what does the assessment include? (If possible, ask for copy of the assessment documentation.)
  55. What other future projects does the board anticipate will need to be completed?
  56. What time frame will these projects be pursued?
  57. Do they foresee future assessments for these projects?
  58. Did the building get a loan to pay for the assessment and/or how are the owners paying for it?
  59. How many units owners have paid in full, are paying on time, are delinquent?
  60. Who is managing the assessment money and the project?
  61. On regular monthly maintenance payments: How many unit owners are paid to date, how many are delinquent?
  62. What’s included in the monthly maintenance payments?
  63. How many board members have served consecutive years? (More inside information.)
  64. Who manages the building? How long have they managed the building?
  65. Is the building eligible for financing?
  66. How long does the condo association application take?
  67. Are there any foreclosures or delinquencies and how is the building handling these issues?
  68. Read the condo docs and be sure you are okay with how this building manages their business.
  69. Before an offer is written on a property talk about earnest money deposits and contract contingency periods.
  70. You don’t have to use an attorney for the transaction, although I highly recommend to use an attorney.
  71. You will need to choose a title company and an inspection company (interview them in advance).
  72. How much are your closing costs estimated for a particular property?
  73. Work with a local lender or lending professional who is seasoned in the Miami market (this is a BIGGIE!!) Inexperience can kill a deal.
  74. Ask for referrals from past successful transactions.
  75. If you are buying a pre-construction property the developer will usually require pretty large cash deposits to hold the unit and during phases of construction.
  76. If you are buying a pre-construction property and need financing. Carefully consider this option as financing is not usually guaranteed on these types of properties when ready to close.
  77. When making an offer, the seller’s agent will require the offer to be submitted with a pre-approval letter or proof of cash so be sure to have this in advance.
  78. When making an offer have your agent put together a market analysis so that you can be sure you are getting the best bang for your buck.
  79. Not all sellers in the Miami Beach market are underwater or desperate. Understand the seller and their motivation to sell prior to making an offer.
  80. Prices listed on short sale listings are not necessarily the approved price by the bank thus are not indicative of what the property will sell for a final selling price.
  81. When looking at short sale properties be sure your agent is correctly interviewing the short sale agent.
  82. Foreclosures are not always the “best” deals.
  83. Most of our buyers need to perform more due diligence than foreclosure properties allow, are you will to take on this risk?
  84. If you are looking a distressed properties keep in mind that they have often been neglected for some time.
  85. I have found some of the best deals are those where the sellers are not distressed yet are eager to move the property.
  86. Preview the property during the day and at night.
  87. The highest and best offer does not necessarily mean just “the purchase price” rather it can include (but not limited to) inspection periods, inspections caps, time to close, cash versus financing, deposit amount and more.
  88. Good deals don’t just hang out on the market, they are good deals because they are good deals.
  89. The property that you looked at today and liked is the same property that someone looked at last week and liked, be ready to make an offer and move when you find a good deal.
  90. Pets or no pets? Some buildings do not allow pets at all. Some restrict on breeds and type of pet.
  91. Don’t wait for a particular “buying season”. There are always great deals throughout the year.
  92. If you are calling the listing agent directly, you are contacting and talking to the agent who works for the seller. Use your own agent to work for you on your behalf. The seller’s agent doesn’t need to know your business.
  93. Not all vendors are created equal. Be sure to use qualified vendors and interview them.
  94. Price per square foot is used a lot to prepare comps for what a property should sell for, ask us and we are happy to explain.
  95. Is the seller a foreigner? Be sure to look up rules on FIRPTA.
  96. How will you take title on the property? This is important to know prior to making an offer.
  97. In Florida if the offer is prepared on a typical Florida Realtor sales contract, once it’s signed by all parties and executed; it becomes the contract by which sale is governed.
  98. If you aren’t comfortable signing the offer prepared by your agent, be sure to get an attorney to review it for you.
  99. Understand title insurance and why you need it.
  100. Don’t underestimate your closing costs.