This is the most important choice during your expatriation in Miami: finding the house to buy or rent to settle down with your family. Coral Gables is one of Magic City’s most desirable residential areas because not only are the homes and properties available comfortable and spacious, but the location also boasts top-notch French and international schools. Head to Coral Gables to find the home of your dreams!
Coral Gables is your last say
Every year, hundreds of French people come to settle in Miami to change their profession or life and offer new opportunities to their children. And the Covid crisis has only amplified this phenomenon. In 2022, Magic City is a destination more coveted than ever by expatriates. Among fashionable neighborhoods, Coral Gables is on the rise.
Coral Gables first attracts because it is a place steeped in history. Highlights include Merrick House, the original home of the city’s founder, City Hall, the John M. Stable Building and Coral Gables Elementary School, all built in the 1920s.
Security is also one of the great advantages of the neighborhood: Considered one of the safest communities in Miami – safer than approximately 44% of cities in the United States The crime rate in this community has decreased by approximately 19% compared to 2021.
The community of Coral Gables is very conducive to outdoor activities. There are indeed many trees and greenery found there. The city is home to many golf courses and parks as well as some outdoor family attractions such as the Venetian Pool or Matheson Hammock Park
Finally, the city has Fairchild Tropical Garden for those who like to admire exotic shrubs. There are also many parks that have palm trees, well-kept green spaces and shaded areas where you can relax. Here are some more fresh ideas of what to do in the Gables
Coral Gables, a very French neighborhood
Expats will be delighted to learn that the place is home to high-level French and international schools, including the French-American School of Miami . For the record, EFAM was the first school in the State of Florida to provide immersion primary education in accordance with the official instructions of the French Ministry of National Education. It accepts children from kindergarten to CM2. Just on the other side of the US1, there are many options for middle and high school with ISPA (public high school with French program), Gulliver High (private high school with optional French). Further towards Calle Ocho, there is also ISCHS (charter school with French Baccalaureate).
The Coral Gables Real Estate Market
Houses, more houses
Coral Gables has been welcoming new developments with townhouses or apartments for the past ten years. (condos). For example, Merrick Manor , this turnkey apartment complex with high-end amenities, located just steps from the shops of the Village of Merrick Park shopping center
However, the neighborhood is mainly made up of individual houses (73% in 2022), in the Spanish style of haciendas, or “Mediterranean Revival”. Known for their warm color palette, these homes typically feature clay tile roofs and floors, asymmetrical facades, high ceilings with exposed beams, and especially wrought iron features that give them a unique style.
There are luxury residential complexes such as Cocoplum, particularly popular with European customers. This enclave of 302 residences (including 172 waterfront residences) has been designed by world-renowned architects and builders. It offers the ultimate in privacy, elegance and exclusivity.
In the same vein a little further on Old Cutler, Gables Estates located on the palm-lined Old Cutler Road in the southern part of Coral Gables and bordered by the picturesque Biscayne Bay.
Further north and more intimate, Biltmore Parc Residences, a 5-story complex with 32 units, each with 2-3 bedrooms. Conveniently located in the heart of Coral Gables, Biltmore Parc is near the Granada Golf Course and Venetian Pool. Then, it is your choice wether you decide to buy or rent a house in The Gables!
Coral Gables is beautiful… and intends to remain so
Buy or rent a house in Coral Gables is a privilege and the City is very strict about respecting the planning code.
To maintain the beauty and traditional aesthetics of the community, local authorities impose rules on landlords. It keeps the value of homes in the neighborhood alive. As you will have understood, investing in a property in Coral Gables is a safe bet.
Some numbers (2022) on the Coral Gables real estate market:
– 33 houses and 34 apartments are sold per month in this area
– The average price per SqFt is $908 for a house and $613 for a condo
– 52% of homes sell in less than 30 days.
In conclusion, get closer to a real estate agent specializing in expatriation and who knows the neighborhood and its specificities, particularly if you are a first time buyer
You have to discover the charming neighborhood of The Roads, it’s one of a kind! Situated between Brickell, Downtown Miami, and the bayfront village of Coconut Grove, The Roads is very sought-after for its tree-lined streets, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens and charming houses.
A bit of history of The Roads
Originally named “Brickell Hammock”, The Roads has been developed by Mary Brickell in 1922. A bit before she died, she gave the streets, sidewalks and parkways to the City of Miami.
Fun fact, this neighborhood also off the normal Miami street grid. All the streets in The Roads are named roads, instead of streets and avenues, as in the rest of Miami.
Discover the real estate market in The Roads neighborhood
This area is mainly residential. The Roads is a popular neighborhood for home buyers who can afford to buy a home in the median price range of $1.17M. Indeed, in October 2022, the median listing home price in The Roads was $1.2M, trending up 61.7% year-over-year. Moreover, it is a balanced market at that time, which means the supply and demand of homes are about the same.
On top of beautiful homes, buyers and investors can find luxury new construction residences with top notch amenities. For example, Eleven in the Roads, this modern and exclusive three-story building which features only 24 private residences. The homes consist of 2, 3, and 4 bedrooms, including 8 Garden residences, 8 Spa residences and 8 Penthouse residences with private rooftop terraces. The residences also feature spacious great rooms, large master suites, midnight bar in penthouse master suites, oversized soaking tubs, chef- island with custom-designed Italian cabinets.
More affordable, The Roads at 21st is a 14-story condominium building with 57 units. There are a wide range of units for sale typically between $255,000 and $390,000, but unit PH-8 has sold for $595,000. Located in a quiet residential area of the city, this secured, pet-friendly building boasts a 5th floor pool, fitness center, covered garage parking and social room.
Living in The roads
The Roads is a very quiet neighborhood although so close to Brickell and Downtown Miami – about a 3 min drive-, with a good number of schools within a driving distance. Not to mention the excellent MAST Academy located on Virginia Key.
Is it ranked #5 of 25 for the best neighborhoods to live in Miami, especially for young professionals. It is also ranked #6 to raise a family – 23% of residents were families with children in 2022.
Coral Gables means tree-lined boulevards, ivy-covered mansions, and historical landmarks such as the world-famous Biltmore Hotel and the Venetian Pool,
You could easily spend days – or a life- in The City Beautiful but here are 6 things to do in Coral Gables.
Lowe Art Museum
The Lowe Art Museum -LAM- is located on the campus of the University of Miami and is Florida’s first fine arts museum. It exhibits a permanent collection of 10,000 pieces comprising Greco-Roman, Amerindian, Asian, African and Renaissance works, and paintings by masters such as Tintoretto, Stella, Gauguin and Picasso. You can also go there to admire masks and textiles from Kenya, Zaire and Mali. Count 4 – 5 hours for a complete visit of the museum.
Enjoy some Family time at Matheson Hammock Park
First, you will have to take the beautiful Old Cutler Road in Coral Gables, to get there. The highlight of Matheson Park is its beach. At the end of the road, you reach the seafront. The site includes a marina and a beach with way board, kayaking in the bay, kite surfing, etc… The beach is not a natural area of white sand but still, it is very pretty and appreciated by the locals. It is an artificial pond surrounded by pretty palm trees, and a magnificent view of the bay and the skyline of skyscrapers of Miami. Don’t miss a bite or a glass of wine at Red fish.
The Shops at Merrick Park
It is definitely one of the 6 best things to do in Coral Gables! Featuring exclusive international brands like Gucci, Burberry, Neiman Marcus, and Tiffany & Co., The Shops at Merrick Park are an upscale outdoor shopping mall for those who want to treat themselves, or at the very least, do a little window shopping and dreaming.
The Venetian Pool
The famous pool is almost 100 years old, contains more than 800,000 gallons and made from a coral rock quarry used by George Merrick to build many of the early homes in Coral Gables. A variety of caves and grottos have been carved into the surrounding rock. It’s making it a unique swimming and exploration experience that you won’t find elsewhere.
The pool also features waterfalls, porticos, and plenty of seating areas shaded by towering palm trees. The Venetian Pool has undergone several renovations and historic restorations. The last one is currently undergoing and will end in March 2023, for its 100th birthday!
Featuring year-round productions appropriate for kids and adults, Actors’ Playhouse at Miracle Theatre is Coral Gable’s premier community performing arts venue and was founded in 1988. Since then, the art deco inspired theater has received a multi-million-dollar upgrade. Though it’s still a quaint and charming theater, it sports state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems. From serious dramas to lighthearted children’s productions and even standup comedy, there should be something for everyone! Check out the calendar of events on their website to see what’ll be on-stage when you are in the area.
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
Situated on nearly 90 acres of picturesque land on Old Cutler Road, the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden has full of tropical plants, flowers, and trees, including extremely rare species like the petticoat palm. It’s also home to flora that can’t survive anywhere except for South Florida.
The garden’s amenities include a learning center, museum, and an onsite laboratory. They also host a few popular events throughout the year, like the International Chocolate Festival. A thorough tour of the Fairchild typically takes about 3 hours, but time-challenged visitors should opt for a 45-minute tram tour.
How to price your home to sell is a big deal and there are a lot of factors to consider. Sure, you’d like to get as much money as possible, but if you overprice it, you risk seeing our property sit on the market with no offers. On the other hand, if you price it too low, you might end up with low offers that don’t meet your needs. Here are some tips to find the sweet spot.
The importance of pricing right
The period of best opportunity for selling a home at a good price is the first 2 to 4 weeks after it is put on the market.
If your house is priced right from the first, you are in the best position to attract the maximum number of potential buyers able to pay the price your home is worth.
If your house is priced too high, buyers are apt to be few and far between, with little chance of any offers to pay your unrealistic price. You may lower your price later, but by then you will have missed many of the most interested buyers… and time.
If your house is underpriced, you may be swamped by non-serious buyers and too low offers that don’t meet your needs.
Hire a PSA agent
One of the biggest reasons buyers and sellers should work with a real estate professional is their local knowledge and it is especially true with a Pricing Strategy Advisor agent (PSA). This way, you know you are working with a real estate agent that knows how to more exactly price homes. They know how to value your property more accurately — whatever the condition.
As we move towards a more balanced market, pricing a home accurately is going to be critical for both sellers and real estate agents. A PSA certified agent is useful by making the closing process better and reducing your risk of a transaction falling through. Because, as we know, deals can fall apart because of an appraisal.
Moreover, online valuation tools like Zillow are only a starting point for pricing your home to sell. They won’t give you all the information you need in pricing your home, and they use limited data.
That is why a Pricing Strategy Advisor agent is the best choice: he/she will be able to lead you to an ideal valuation of your home that will help it sell in the appropriate time while maximizing both profits and time on market.
Tips to how to price your home to sell
Study your comps
Comparables are homes similar in size, amenities, features, structure, and age to your own that recently sold in your area/neighborhood. Real estate professionals and appraisers use comps as a reference point for the subject home and then make dollar adjustments. A CMA, by analyzing a group of 5 or 6 comps, provides clarity around how your home equates to the competition in the context of other relevant market trends.
Don’t overvalue your renovations
Even you have spent a lot of dollars in this new kitchen countertop, the buyer may not like it and want to change everything. While some upgrades may increase our home’s value, it’s unlikely you’ll get back the full dollar amount that you put in.
Think like a buyer
What are the things that you value in a home? Is it a large yard, an updated kitchen or a view? These are likely the same things that your buyer values as well. The property facing the street is going to be a tougher sell than the waterfront one. Also, talk to your agent about current buyer trends.
If no one ask for seeing your home or if you receive feedback that you are priced too aggressively, don’t hesitate to adjust your price. If a house is on the market for too long, interest is lost quickly. Even if the price is lowered after, the initial rush of buyers is over.
A short sale in real estate allows a struggling homeowner to submit a proposal to their lender to sell their home for less than the remaining balance of the mortgage. During the Great Recession of 2008, short sales became popular as many homeowners went underwater in their homes.
What is a short sale in real estate?
A short sale occurs when a homeowner in financial trouble sells their home for less than they owe on the mortgage. Instead of waiting for the bank to foreclose on the home, the homeowner initiates the short sale process by submitting an application to the lender.
Short sales are a safer alternative to foreclosures for both sellers and their lenders. That is why you often can find them priced just below market value.
The lender will get all the proceeds of the sale, and then have 2 options: either forgives the difference or gets a deficiency judgment, which requires the original borrower to pay what’s left over.
When a homeowner is eligible to ask for a short sale?
For a bank to agree to a short sale, the homeowner must establish:
- They face a financial hardship that prevents them from meeting their loan obligations, AND
- They don’t have enough income and assets to pay off the loan. It can be cash, other real estate, available credit, investments, and virtually any other thing of value the homeowner can use to pay the loan.
- The property is worth less than the amount of the loan. The seller or a specialized real estate agent (SFR®) has to run an accurate Comparative Market Analysis or a Broker Price Opinion.
Advantages and differences with a foreclosure
- The short sale in real estate is a much quicker process. A foreclosure is a legal action taken by a lender to seize a seller’s property after they fall too far behind on their monthly payments.
- Fee savings: Normally, the seller bears the burden of closing costs and real estate agent commissions. In a short sale, however, the lender will pay those fees and commissions.
- Both processes can negatively impact a seller’s credit score (a short sale could knock as many as 160 points off). In a foreclosure though, you can have a far more damaging impact on a seller’s FICO®.
- Short sale is a private process (lender/seller) as a foreclosure involves the Court and is public.
Get prepared for the short sale
If you are a homeowner facing a foreclosure, it is important that you work with a knowledgeable agent who will protect your best interests. A Short Sale and Foreclosure Resource Certified Agent (SFR®) are better qualified to handle these situations b. They are also experienced to deal et negotiate with lenders and banks.
Sell your house with unpermitted additions can complicate the process and result in a lower appraisal than if the work was permitted. Here’s what you need to know about selling a home with unpermitted improvements.
How unpermitted additions affect your home value
Permits may be required for structural, electrical, and plumbing work but also for minor projects. Accordingly, the term “unpermitted work,” is used to describe any addition or improvement made without the required permits.
Many individuals, including licensed and unlicensed contractors, do work for renovation or before selling a property without pulling permits to save time and money . They are hoping or believing that no one will find out.
Unfortunately, there are 2 main consequences:
- Home insurance: If unpermitted additions later cause a hazard in the home and someone is injured or there is damage to the property, the homeowner’s insurance policy won’t cover the damage if they investigate and find evidence of unpermitted work.
- Appraisal: Some lenders won’t issue a loan for a house with unpermitted work. Others may request from the appraiser to not include the additional square footage when determining the home’s value.
How can you sell a house with unpermitted additions?
Legalizing unpermitted work
The first way to sell you house with unpermitted additions is pulling a retroactive building permit. It allows the Building Department to confirm that the work complies with all current codes.
You will have to go to the City or county and apply for it. If you made the additions yourself, you’ll likely incur penalties and even additional taxes on top of the permit fee. If the additions were the work of the previous owner, the city might waive these additional costs.
Sell the house as-is
Florida sellers are legally obligated to disclose unpermitted work at the time of the sale, in a document named Seller’s Disclosure. Even if the unpermitted work was done before the Seller lived there, not disclosing it to buyers could mean possible legal trouble if they discover it after the fact. It protects the buyer from purchasing a home with undisclosed problems, but also the seller from potential lawsuits.
Consequently, you can choose to sell your home as-is and disclose the unpermitted additions. Then, you’ll need to set the asking price accordingly, with a real estate professional. You may have to set a lower price for your listing, since the buyer will have to assume the responsibility for the work that was done.
Moving to a new state (Florida) or a new country (USA) can be a lot of work and some stress if you don’t get prepared. With relocation, timing is everything. Here are some good tips for a well prepared and hassle-free relocation.
The time for moving
If possible, postpone your relocation until summer or winter time. If you have children, this will help in their transition because the moving will fall at the ends/beginnings of new school semesters rather than the middles. It will give you more real estate opportunities as more properties are on the market at those times of the year.
Choose the best school for your kids
If you have children, anticipating the question of their schooling is wise advice for a successful expatriation. The choice of schooling must be prepared well before moving abroad because it is not always possible to obtain a place in the establishment of one’s choice. Greatschools gives you ratings and comparison of the local schools of your new area.
Choose a trusted Realtor
Secure a licensed Florida Realtor that you trust is one of the tips for a hassle-free relocation. He will do the legwork of finding homes that meet your requirements have them put together a schedule of open houses within a small timeframe. Living in Florida is much different than the rest of the country. Understanding home features relating to hurricane protection, energy efficiency and the Florida climate are important to be informed about prior to making a choice, whether it is to buy or to rent.
Learn how to get around
Have a look at typical commute, public transportations options, main highways and traffic to get to know your new neighborhood and calculate the time to go to work. Check on Walkscore for biking and walking options.
Check if your employer provides with relocation assistance
If you are moving for professional reasons, check with your company. Many of them offer reimbursement on moving company costs, storage costs temporary housing, pre-move visits, etc…
Secure temporary housing
One of the fundamental steps of a successful expatriation is to find accommodation before arriving in a new state to have a fixed address.This may initially be a temporary residence. It is indeed important to arrive on site with an address to communicate.
Choose the moving company
Knowing early in the process how much money you’ll need to budget to cover moving costs is important. Are their prices competitive? On another hand, Be wary of extremely low-price quotes. Beyond the star ratings for a moving company, have a look at a handful of the written customer reviews. Read both good and bad reviews for each company. Check the BBB website for how complaints have been resolved with the company. Finally, choose a company that knows the place you want to move in. A company with local knowledge will provide an accurate price quote and understand what it takes to move about in crowded areas like Miami for ex.
The benefits of home staging are huge when you decide to sell your house as want to make your home appear as attractive as possible to draw in potential buyers. That might mean having the best photos of it, writing an attractive listing, boosting your cub appeal… and staging your property following these few tips.
Home staging, what is it?
Home staging is the process of highlighting the best features of a home using interior design techniques. It’s part of the home selling process and is designed to impress buyers during open houses and showings.
You can decide to take the DIY route with staging a house, or hire a professional stager, depending on you possess – or not- the skills to stage a house well. Sometimes it’s best to recruit the help of professionals, especially when dealing with a high-stakes transaction like selling a house.
Remember the greatest buzz about your house comes when it’s first listed, so you must take advantage of that first impression and make sure everything is optimized.
Why home staging is important?
Proper staging won’t just help a home appear newer and in better condition. It also allows buyers to visualize their life in this home versus going into a “seller’s home” and decoration.
Some tips to stage your home
This is the first job you should tackle when you decide to home stage. Why so important? Because a cluttered room will look smaller, and buyers will focused more on your belongings than on the house they are visiting. Try to free up as much surface space as you can on shelves, coffee tables and especially in the kitchen.
In many cases, home staging involves first removing personal photos and decor, evidence of pets, knick-knacks, religious images, political memorabilia… The seller can begin packing and storing their items in the garage or basement until the sale is completed. The goal here is to make it look like a model home.
Don’t underestimate the power of a new paint job on a property. It can completely overhaul the look and ambiance of any space. Just like cleaning your home, a new coat of paint is one of the most cost-effective ways to home stage your home.
- ONE ROOM, ONE FUNCTION
If a room is staged as a combination of home office, gym and playroom, buyers can be confused about the purpose of the room.
- SET THE SCENE
This can really envision the new life of a potential buyer here. For ex, put cookies on the oven, set the table, turn on a fireplace if it’s winter, light up some candles and put some ambiance music…
Benefits of home staging are numerous and is worth the investment. It helps maximize the rate of return on the sale of your property—and usually costs less than the first price reduction. With an average staging investment of 1% of the sale price, about 75% of sellers saw an ROI of 5% to 15% over asking price, according to data from the Real Estate Staging Association (RESA). Go for it!
Welcome to The Grove! Born in 1825, it is Miami’s oldest continually inhabited hood. Between the independent book shops and locally owned cafes, there are also newer developments here. For ex, CocoWalk an open-air mall recently totally face-lifted, luxury high-rise condos and a couple of modern hotels (like Mr. C Coconut Grove a 2019 luxury boutique hotel of 100 rooms, each with a terrace). Here are 5 things to do in Coconut Grove.
Viscaya Museum and Gardens
This 20th-century estate includes Italian Renaissance gardens, natural woodlands, and even a historic village. The Villa also includes a museum featuring antique furnishings, most from the 1400s to 1800s.
For whom? Art lovers, architecture buffs, history fans, garden amateurs.
One of the greatest family friendly place in The Grove. The park features a boardwalk bridge with expansive views of Biscayne Bay. Plus, it is the site of annual events. Coconut Grove Arts Festival is one of hem, in February of each year. Then, The nine-acre park offers lots of indoor and outdoor sports, from soccer to softball, football to ping pong.
For whom? Families and sport lovers.
Shopping time at CocoWalk
Shopping is definitely one of the 5 things to do in Coconut Grove! Luxury shopping is a must in The Grove and the commercial complex spread over three floors, houses cinemas, great shops, cafes and a restaurant for every foodie. Don’t miss Gas Bijoux, a jewelry store that was founded in St. Tropez, France. Here, you’ll find stunning handcrafted baubles made in their Marseille workshop and a lot of accessories. You deserve it.
For whom? Fashionistas.
Coconut Grove Cemetery
The cemetery, purchased for $140 in 1913, was initially for Bahamian settlers. It is an essential piece of Miami’s Black history and Bahamian community.
Fun fact: You may recognize this cemetery as the place where the graveyard scenes of Michael Jackson’s Thriller video
For whom? Everyone.
Coconut Grove Farmer’s Market
This market has everything! The variety of organic fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, seeds, and raw vegan foods offered under their tents is extensive. Then, one can find fresh mushrooms, tropical fruits, cactus, vegan meals, sushis, ice cream and so much more. The place to be on Saturday morning.
For whom? Families and pets.
Housing market in this area is booming. Wether it is for rent or for buy, check out all the living in the Grove options here