Royal Poincianas blooming in Coral Gables

Greetings Patient Readers!

It’s been a long time, I shouldn’t have left you, without a dope post to step to.  Ok enough of that, today I wanted to tell you about one of my favorite things about Coral Gables, and Miami in general…the blooming of the Royal Poincianas.  Every year around the end of Spring these gorgeous flowering trees pop their bright orange flowers and turn an ordinarily plain and unassuming tree into a fiery explosion of color and gorgeous flowers.

The trees are not originally native to Coral Gables, or even to America for that matter, as they were introduced to the Americas by Phillippe de Longvilliers de Poincy (de what?) who was a French nobleman that brought them over from Madagascar in the 1600′s.  Thanks to Mr. De De De, and the tree’s natural beauty, these trees spread throughout the country.  They have taken up a substantial residence in South Florida as our tropical climate is just right for their liking.

If you drive around South Florida this time of year you cannot miss them, but Coral Gables has some of the most beautiful specimen, see if you agree…

Up close the flowers are spectacular

Full view of the tree

Closer…

And even closer

Ready for her close up

Work it you sexy tree!

Ok I promise this is the last close up!

Some of the buds are still waiting to pop

The Coral Gables Blog patent pending “Through the Trees” shot

Some of them are aggressive and attack others!

Well I hope you enjoyed our tour of The Royal Poinciana now bow down and pay homage to your tree king, lest you be attacked by an aggressive one!

Thanks for reading!

Joshua T. Reich

Published in: on June 14, 2012 at 2:17 pm  Comments (1)  
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The Venetian Pool in Coral Gables

Hello again famous readers!

Today I passed by the excellent Venetian Pool in Coral Gables.  In case you have been living under a rock and did not know, this pool was originally a rock quarry “from which limestone was taken for the construction of early Coral Gables Homes.”  These days if you give the lifeguard $50 he will let you take home some of the pool for your own house… please note that the previous statement has been deemed false upon further investigation.

You can read more about the pool in the first picture but I wanted to give you my impression as a man on the street with a front row view.  I loved it, you feel as if you have been transported to a bygone era where even the public pools were grand and impressive.  The building was ultra-Coral Gables with the same great architecture and attention to detail found in the city’s other landmarks.

It was a very calm atmosphere (of course it was a Tuesday) and there were a few groups of people scattered about the property and some sun-bathing by themselves.  There is actually a very nice little sandy beach area but there were a lot of people sunbathing so in my ever present overabundance of caution I decided to avoid snapping the pics directly at any people.  You cannot be too careful these days!  But the overall experience was very nice and I look forward to going back again.

Here are some of shots of the pool hope you enjoy!

The entry sign

Walking in...

This nice fountain welcomes you inside

Get some perspective

The obligatory pergola

The courtyard

Twas a gorgeous day to look at cool old buildings

Finally the pool!

A nice shot of the tower

One of the only natural waterfalls in Florida ;-)

One of my favorite shots

An old cave that is unfortunately no longer in use

Thanks for reading!

Best regards,

Joshua T. Reich

Published in: on February 28, 2012 at 5:50 pm  Comments (2)  
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Sweet Ficus Trees

Hello Well-Read Reader,

One of my favorite things about Coral Gables is the abundance of very nice, very big and very old Ficus Trees.  Yes I know that is strange.  After a recent home inspection for a client went particularly well I found myself driving up Columbus Blvd in a great mood and I decided to stop and take some pictures of the Salvadore Park and Tennis Center.  But as a nice added bonus I noticed that, like many streets in Coral Gables, this one was lined with some very impressive Ficus Trees.  As a young lad growing up in Miami I remember climbing the Ficus trees to heights that would have given my mother a heart attack if she had seen me, they were like the mountains for us flatlanders…I heard that is what they call us…among other things.

But I digress, today I present to you some of the most stately and impressive Ficus Trees that I have seen in The Gables, as I snapped away wasting imaginary film I came across one that was my favorite and will be the grand finale of the arborworks below, enjoy!  PS Hey you kids!  Get out of that tree!

Ficus to the South

Ficus to the North

Two Big Ficus

What a beast!

In the immortal words of Biff from Back to the Future: Make like a tree and leave!

Best regards,

Joshua T. Reich

Published in: on January 23, 2012 at 8:08 pm  Comments (4)  
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Salvadore Park and Tennis Center in Coral Gables

Greetings Readers,

I was at an inspection today at a fantastic old spanish home in Coral Gables and the route I took when leaving brought me to the Salvadore Park and Tennis Center.  I am an old tennis player myself although I have never played on these courts before.  I discovered that the park also has a fantastic playground for kids as well as some nice open spaces.  I decided not to go in and take pictures of the courts as there were several matches going on at the time and I do remember my tennis etiquette that my grandpa taught me…oh wait on second thought he would just laugh when he, a senior citizen, would hit wicked back spin shots that I couldn’t get to.  Miss ya Charlie!

So I took a few basic shots so you can get a good idea of what the park looks like.  I did not get too close to the playground either because there were many children playing and if I was a parent and saw some guy (even a sharp dressed guy) taking pictures of kids at a playground I would probably beat the crap out of him…err, I mean call the police.   I hope you enjoy, there are also some awesome (literally I was in awe) giant Ficus trees that I will feature in a future post…and in the future I will feature further features from the future….sorry about that…enjoy!

Well come on in…

Tennis anyone?

They also have practice courts

Very nice wide open spaces in this park and many places to sit and relax

And here is the playground which is quite large and varied

Thanks for reading and by the way THAT WAS ON THE LINE REF WHAT ARE YOU BLIND???

Best regards,

Joshua

Published in: on January 19, 2012 at 3:39 pm  Leave a Comment  
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2011 Coral Gables Real Estate Recap: Condominiums

Greetings Famous Reader!

Well the numbers are in now for the 2011 Condominium Recap in Coral Gables.  Yes I know in the last post I said they would be in tomorrow and that was last Wednesday, well the good news (to offset this post) is that the market is really taking off since the beginning of the year.  My phone has been ringing off the hook (which is even more impressive because it does not have a hook) which has left me little time to dabble in the numbers.  But fret not I have dug deep like Dig Dug and now it’s on like Donkey Kong!  I tried to think of one more video game from the 80′s but then I realized I might be annoying you.

So back to the action, the condo market is…well…let’s just say it is not showing the same signs of leveling out as the single-family market.  Whereas the average price of a single family home actually increased slightly in 2011 the average price of a condominium continued to fall.  Despite an anomalous jump in Average Sales Price from ’09 to ’10 the Average Price/Sf. from the same period dropped and continued to do so in 2011.

The distressed portion of the condominium market mirrored the single-family market in that Short Sales overtook Foreclosures in 2011 and both continued to rise dramatically.

I predict a continued downward pressure on condominium prices in 2012 brought on by the continual stress of distressed properties.  This is compounded by the fact that because condominium associations cannot collect adequate fees from delinquent owners they are often forced to raise maintenance fees for those that do pay which is a scary proposition for potential buyers.

What does this mean for you?  Well if you are looking to by a condo in Coral Gables in 2011 you might want to hold off a bit as prices will continue to fall, and if you are looking to sell a condo in Coral Gables you may want to sell now before the price drops more in 2012.

Of course the major caveat to this is that with condominiums each building is different, some are highly sought after and will have either stabilizing prices or even in some elite condos there will already be price increases.  The important thing is to do your research, or to have someone that really knows the market do it for you… I’m just saying.  So here are some graphs that show you what I have been blabbering about.  Since most of you have stopped reading by now for anyone that is still reading I will give you a prize like Oprah does… send me some random data and I will turn it into a sweet graph, nothing vulgar please!  And we will share it on The Coral Gables Blog in the future!

Ok enough words, now for graphs!

Thanks for reading and have a great 2012!

Best regards,

Joshua

2011 Coral Gables Real Estate Recap: Single-Family Homes

Greetings Relentless Reader and Happy New Year!

I hope everyone enjoyed a fantastic holiday season with friends, family… and even family who you wouldn’t even want as friends!

Well let’s get right to it with our…
“First Annual Coral Gables Real Estate Market Yearly Annual Update of the Year for 2011 Anno Domini”…  got to work on that title.  But here goes…

In 2011 Coral Gables continued to feel the effects of the overall slump in the real estate market on a local and national level.  However, there were many encouraging signs to 2012 being a much better year than the past few.  The average sales price and sales price / sq. ft. saw increases for the first time in 5 years.  And while the number of short sales rose, reflecting a national trend, the number of foreclosures declined for the second year in a row.

Overall this points to a solid stabilization in the single-family market after the last few years of declines.  If you are looking to purchase a home in Coral Gables this data means that now is the time; prices will not get much lower and within the next 2-3 years will begin to climb again as distressed properties are sold off and the current harsh lending guidelines are relaxed.  Add to that the historically low interest rates (reported by BankRate.com as 4.21% at the time of this post) and it looks like now is the perfect opportunity to buy a Single-Family home in Coral Gables.  The chances of your home’s value dropping in 2012 are very low and there is a slim chance that if you make a smart purchase you will actually see an increase in your home’s value.  Call me to find out how to make a smart purchase.

Take a look at some of the numbers to get an idea of how 2011 was a year of stabilization in the Coral Gables Single Family Home market…

You can tell I know the Coral Gables Market because I make sweet graphs!  Tomorrow… the Coral Gables Condo Market (collective sigh)

Best regards,

Joshua

Visit Santa Claus in Coral Gables!

Ho Ho Ho,

For the second year, in what will hopefully become a long lasting tradition, Santa Claus has decided to visit the city of Coral Gables prior to his Christmas duties.  Many speculate that Santa is visiting to play a few rounds at our world class golf courses, but actually he is looking to invest in distressed properties, apparently since the world is in a recession his concept of giving away things for free has really caught on.

All kidding aside this is a very cool thing that the city of Coral Gables is doing again this year, you can get full details at the City of Coral Gables website here…well maybe not they have not uploaded the most Recent Coral Gables E-Newsletter to the website yet, but fear not fearless reader!  I’ve got your back!  Waaaaaayyy back!  Sorry I couldn’t resist, here is a summary of the information on Santa Claus 2011 Visit to Coral Gables, I plan to intercept him at numerous venues and take pictures for the TCGB faithfull, then I will be selling them for $50 each ;-) JK here goes the copy…

SPECIAL OFFER: If you do not have time to meet up Santa this year you can send me your kid’s wish list and I will make sure to present it to Santa for his signature in true Realtor fashion, once he signs it he is legally obligated to deliver the gifts, if he does not I have a clause that will allow you to use his sleigh for 1 week.  But seriously if you want your child’s Christmas list signed by Santa send it over and I will make it happen and even take a picture of him signing it!

From the Coral Gables E-Newsletter….
Santa Claus will be riding on a fire truck through the streets of Coral Gables between December 19 and December 22…

Santa and his special helper, Mayor Jim Cason, will ride on a Coral Gables fire truck around the City, on his schedule as listed below, giving out candy canes to all the boys and girls along the route who have been extra good this year.  Listen carefully for the holiday sound of the fire truck. Please remember Santa has many streets to cover and all times are estimated.  Santa will not be able to safely make his way down dead-end streets.  However, if you live on a dead-end street and would like to see Santa, please wait for him on the open-ended corner of your street.

Santa’s schedule is as follows:

Monday, December 19, 2011

9 a.m — 10:30 a.m.: The Deering Bay and Kings Bay communities

10:30 a.m. — 12 p.m.: The area bordered by Bella Vista Avenue north to Snapper Creek, from SW 60 Ave east to the bay

1 p.m. — 2 p.m.: The area bordered by Snapper Creek north to Kendall Drive/ Arvida Parkway, from Red Road east to the bay

2 p.m. — 3 p.m.: The area bordered by Casuarina Concourse north to Sunset Drive, from Erwin Road east to the bay

3 p.m. — 4 p.m.: The Cocoplum community

Tuesday: December 20, 2011

9 a.m. — 10 a.m.: The area bordered by Sunset Drive north to South Alhambra Circle, from Red Road east to Granada Blvd.

10 a.m. — 11 a.m.: The area bordered by Edgewater Drive north to Prospect Drive, from LeJeune Road east to the bay

11 a.m. — 12 p.m.: The area bordered by Ingraham Highway north to US 1, from LeJeune Road west to Rivera Drive

12 p.m. — 12:30 p.m.: The area bordered by Broker Street, US 1 and Grant Avenue

1:30 p.m. — 2:30 p.m.: The area bordered by Alfonso Avenue north to US 1, from Granada Blvd west to Caballero Blvd.

2:30 p.m. — 4 p.m.: The area bordered by Ponce de Leon Blvd, north to Bird Road, from LeJeune Road west to Granada Blvd.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

9 a.m. — 11 p.m.: The area bordered by Ponce de Leon, north to Bird Road, from Red Road east to Granada Blvd.

11 a.m. — 12 p.m.: The area bordered by Bird Road north to Miracle Mile, from Douglas Road west to LeJeune Road

1 p.m. — 3 p.m.: The area bordered by Bird Road north to Coral Way, from LeJeune Road west to Granada Blvd.

3 p.m. — 4 p.m: The area bordered by Bird Road, north to Coral Way, from Granada west to Red Road

Thursday, December 22, 2011

9 a.m. — 10 a.m.: The area bordered by Miracle Mile north to Flagler Street, from Douglas west to LeJeune Road

10 a.m. — 12 p.m.: The area bordered by Coral Way north to SW 8 Street, from LeJeune Road west to Granada Blvd.

1 p.m. — 3 p.m.: The area bordered by Coral Way north to SW 8 Street, from Granada Blvd west to Red Road

A pic of the last time Santa invaded these parts oh those were festive times…

Santa Claus is Coming to Town!

To all a great holiday and to all a great night!

Best regards,

Joshua T. Reich

 

Published in: on December 8, 2011 at 7:59 pm  Comments (1)  
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1st Ever Video of Coral Gables Country Club Prado Entrance*

Hello Fearless Reader,

Have you ever heard of video?  Well it is sweeping the nation and I have the FIRST EVER VIDEO of the Coral Gables Country Club Prado Entrance (*on The Coral Gables Blog).

So the quality is not great and I am looking to already upgrade my recently purchased Sony Handycam that was engineered by Carl Zeiss.  Unfortunately, it feels like it was engineered by Carl Sagan, meaning back in the 70′s, no disrespect to Mr. Sagan who was a star (get it?).  In any case I think you get a much better feel for the beautiful architecture and landscaping of this Coral Gables and South Florida landmark with video.

If you are looking for a fabulous location to take pictures, whether they be for a wedding, a quinces, a sweet 16, graduation pictures or even pictures of your dog in a costume, this is the place to be.  For those of you who are geographically challenged go to the intersection of SW 8 ST and SW 57th Ave, honk your horn and start waiving your hands outside your car and I am sure one of our fellow South Floridians will point you a finger in the right direction.  Enjoy and please don’t give me the thumbs down on YouTube I’m not sure my ego can take it.

 

Thanks for watching…more to come!

 

Best regards,

Joshua Reich

Published in: on December 7, 2011 at 10:48 pm  Comments (1)  

November 2011 Coral Gables Real Estate Market Update: Quality over Quantity

Hello Valued (and intelligent) Reader,

It’s that time of the month again…normally that statement can be cause for trepidation and fear but in this instance it just means that it’s time for the Coral Gables Market Update.

This month we have some mixed results, on the bad side we had 10 fewer closings in November 2011 than in October 2011 (Oct.’11=35 and Nov’11=25).  This doesn’t seem to bad because of course November is turkey time and people are generally much more interested in family time that closing time.  But wait there’s more bad news, in comparison with the 32 Closed Sales in November of 2010 we are at a big drop in 2011 with only the 25 closed sales. Maybe the turkey was better this year?

But wait there is a twist!  This year, November 2011 the average sale price was $1,305,220 which is an increase of approximately $200,000 from last years’ November 2010 average of $1,051,528.  So prices are going higher and there are less sales as a result.  This is a good trend for the market, it shows that many of the lower priced distressed sales are starting to slip into the past.

Just to check my hunch on the numbers a little further I decided to check the number of distressed sales for the two periods.  Sure enough there was a large drop in the number of distressed sales this year as opposed to last, which would explain the drop in number of sales but the increase of average sales price.

Here is a graph because graphs are sweet, especially 3D graphs, please put your 3D glasses on now…

Comparison of Distressed Sales

Thank you for reading,

Joshua T. Reich

 

 

Published in: on December 5, 2011 at 8:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
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CASH FLASH: Bank of America May Pay $$$ to Short Sale Your Property (Until Dec 12th)

Hello Attractive and Intelligent Readers,

If you or someone you know is thinking of doing a short sale on a property they may be eligible to receive cash back for completing a short sale if their loan is with Bank of America.

There are currently 21 short sales on the market in Coral Gables….Black Jack!

The program is called a Cooperative Short Sale and seller’s could be eligible to receive $5,000-$20,000 in cash back if they fit the following requirements…If you think you may qualify give me a call at 305-283-4470 and I will be glad to discuss the details.

In the immortal words of Mel Brooks, if you can read this you don’t need glasses…

The Florida Enhanced Short Sale Relocation Assistance Program has been extended to Dec. 12, 2011. This program offers enhanced relocation assistance to help encourage homeowners to engage with Bank of America on a pre-offer short sale. Homeowners may be eligible for relocation assistance between $5,000 and $20,000.*Eligibility:

  • Homeowners with property in Florida
  • Short sales initiated without an offer between Sept. 26 and Dec. 12, 2011
  • The customer will have to be eligible for one of the without an offerprograms, such as the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) program or Bank of America’s proprietary program (specific investor participation and eligibility criteria do apply to these programs)
  • Successful closing of the eligible short sale by Aug. 31, 2012

Exclusions:

  • Ginnie Mae, FHA, VA and USDA loans are ineligible for participation
  • Lot loans are ineligible for participation
  • Properties outside Florida are not eligible for participation
  • Short sales initiated with an offer are not currently eligible for the enhanced relocation assistance

Frequently Asked Questions:

How can I find out if my client/homeowner qualifies for this relocation assistance?
Call a Bank of America short sale specialist at 1.877.459.2852,
Monday-Friday 8 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Eastern

Do I have to do anything different to initiate or complete the short sale?
No. If the homeowner’s short sale is initiated between Sept. 26 and Dec. 12, 2011, and the property closes by Aug. 31, 2012, the homeowner will be eligible.

 

Will the relocation assistance funds be reported on the HUD-1?
Yes, they will be documented on the HUD-1, and a 1099-MISC will be issued.

Can the relocation assistance funds be used to pay off existing liens?
Yes, if the investor approves it.

Will this enhanced relocation assistance waive the homeowner’s deficiency?
An additional benefit for these pre-offer programs, such as HAFA and Bank of America’s proprietary program, is that deficiency may be waived for homeowners who qualify.

Is the relocation assistance added to any other incentives, such as HAFA or Bank of America proprietary program incentives?
No. A homeowner will receive the $5,000 to $20,000 in place of the typical incentive paid out by these programs. The relocation assistance is essentially an enhancement to the standard payout offered on these programs.

Is the enhanced relocation assistance available for other programs?
The enhanced relocation assistance is currently available only to short sale programs initiated without an offer. However, as we gauge the success, we may extend this incentive to other programs.

Questions?
Homeowners and agents may call 1.877.459.2852 Monday-Friday 8 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Eastern to speak to a Bank of America short sale specialist about this exciting relocation assistance offering.

* The relocation assistance payment is calculated based on the unpaid principal balance of the homeowner’s loan and the type of short sale that the homeowner completes, but will not be less than $5,000 or more than $20,000. The payment amount will be calculated based on the homeowner’s loan balance as of August 2011 and the short sale program in which the homeowner is eligible. The payment will be delivered at the time of closing if the homeowner complies with all terms and conditions of the Short Sale Agreement, including the satisfaction of all second liens and presentation of clear title for the property (the relocation assistance payment can be used to clear those liens). If the homeowner does not comply with all terms and conditions of the Short Sale Agreement, the homeowner will not receive the relocation assistance payment. Even if the homeowner receives relocation assistance, Bank of America, N.A., and their successors and assigns may reserve and retain the right to pursue collection of any deficiency following the completion of the short sale, unless otherwise prohibited by law. The amount of the deficiency and relocation assistance will be reported to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on the appropriate 1099 Form or Forms.  We suggest that homeowners contact the IRS or their tax preparer to determine if they have any tax liability. This offer is for Florida properties only. To receive the relocation assistance, the property must close by Aug. 31, 2012.

———–HERE ENDS THE LEGAL MUMBO JUMBO BACK TO OUR REGULARLY SCHEDULED SHENANIGANS

Since I always like to include a photo…

What I tip my Concierge for ordering my Lobster Bisque from Morton’s

 

My readers are the best and most attractive!  Thank you for your continued support but please stop camping outside my home!

Joshua T. Reich

Published in: on December 1, 2011 at 8:25 pm  Leave a Comment  
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