Practical Information

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  1. Why Hire a Real Estate Agent?

    With so much information readily available online, clients sometimes ask me, "Why should we hire a real estate agent?" They wonder, and rightfully so, if they couldn't buy or sell a home through the Internet or through regular marketing and advertising channels without representation, without a a real estate agent. Some do OK, many don't. So if you've wondered the same thing, here are 10 reasons why you might want to consider hiring a professional real estate agent.

    1. Education & Experience

    You don't need to know everything about buying and selling real estate if you hire a real estate professional who does. Henry Ford once said that when you hire people who are smarter than you are, it proves you are smarter than they are. The trick is to find the right person. For the most part, they all cost about the same. Why not hire a person with more education and experience than you? We're all looking for more precious time in our lives, and hiring pros gives us that time.

    2. Agents are Buffers

    Agents take the spam out of your property showings and visits. If you're a buyer of new homes, your agent will whip out his sword and keep the builder's agents at bay, preventing them from biting or nipping at your heels. If you're a seller, your agent will filter all those phone calls that lead to nowhere from lookie loos and try to induce serious buyers to immediately write an offer.

    3. Neighborhood Knowledge

    Agents either possess intimate knowledge or they know where to find the industry buzz about your neighborhood. They can identify comparable sales and hand these facts to you, in addition to pointing you in the direction where you can find more data on schools, crime or demographics. For example, you may know that a home down the street was on the market for $350,000, but an agent will know it had upgrades and sold at $285,000 after 65 days on the market and after twice falling out of escrow.

    4. Price Guidance

    Contrary to what some people believe, agents do not select prices for sellers or buyers. However, an agent will help to guide clients to make the right choices for themselves. If a listing is at 7%, for example, an agent has a 7% vested interest in the sale, but the client has a 93% interest. Selling agents will ask buyers to weigh all the data supplied to them and to choose a price. Then based on market supply, demand and the conditions, the agent will devise a negotiation strategy.

    5. Market Conditions Information

    Real estate agents can disclose market conditions, which will govern your selling or buying process. Many factors determine how you will proceed. Data such as the average per square foot cost of similar homes, median and average sales prices, average days on market and ratios of list-to-sold prices, among other criteria, will have a huge bearing on what you ultimately decide to do.

    6. Professional Networking

    Real estate agents network with other professionals, many of whom provide services that you will need to buy or sell. Due to legal liability, many agents will hesitate to recommend a certain individual or company over another, but they do know which vendors have a reputation for efficiency, competency and competitive pricing. Agents can, however, give you a list of references with whom they have worked and provide background information to help you make a wise selection.

    7. Negotiation Skills & Confidentiality

    Top producing agents negotiate well because, unlike most buyers and sellers, they can remove themselves from the emotional aspects of the transaction and because they are skilled. It's part of their job description. Good agents are not messengers, delivering buyer's offers to sellers and vice versa. They are professionals who are trained to present their client's case in the best light and agree to hold client information confidential from competing interests.

    8. Handling Volumes of Paperwork

    One-page deposit receipts were prevalent in the early 1970s. Today's purchase agreements run 10 pages or more. That does not include the federal- and state-mandated disclosures nor disclosures dictated by local custom. Most real estate files average thicknesses from one to three inches of paper. One tiny mistake or omission could land you in court or cost you thousands. In some states, lawyers handle the disclosures, thank goodness!

    9. Answer Questions After Closing

    Even the smoothest transactions that close without complications can come back to haunt. For example, taxing authorities that collect property tax assessments, doc stamps or transfer tax can fall months behind and mix up invoices, but one call to your agent can straighten out the confusion. Many questions can pop up that were overlooked in the excitement of closing. Good agents stand by ready to assist. Worthy and honest agents don't leave you in the dust to fend for yourself.

    10. Develop Relationships for Future Business

    The basis for an agent's success and continued career in real estate is referrals. Few agents would survive if their livelihood was dependent on consistently drumming up new business. This emphasis gives agents strong incentives to make certain clients are happy and satisfied. It also means that an agent who stays in the business will be there for you when you need to hire an agent again. Many will periodically mail market updates to you to keep you informed and to stay in touch.

  2. Who Pays the Real Estate Commission?

    To understand who pays real estate commissions -- whether it's sellers or buyers or both -- first take a look at how real estate agents are paid and how they share cooperating commissions. Don't be embarrassed if you don't know how commissions work because I've had clients who didn't know, even though I had sold their home, represented them to buy a new home and then later listed that home for sale.

    How Real Estate Commissions Work

    ·         Real estate agents work for a real estate broker.

    ·         All fees paid to a real estate agent pass through the broker.

    ·         Only a real estate broker can pay a real estate commission and sign a listing agreement with a seller.

    How Are Real Estate Agents Compensated by the Broker?

    Divisions vary. New agents can receive as little as 30% to 40% of the total commission received by the brokerage. From that amount, other fees may be deducted such as advertising, sign rentals or office expenses. Top producing agents might receive 100% and pay the broker a
    desk fee. Everybody else falls somewhere in between.

    Listing Agents' Fees

    The most common type of listing agreement between a seller and her agent gives that agent's broker the right to exclusively market the home. In return for bringing a buyer to the table, the seller agrees to pay a commission to the broker. Typically, this fee is represented as a percentage of the sales price and is shared between the listing broker and the broker who brings the buyer.

    Co-Broker Splits

    Divisions of fees among brokers is not always fair or equal, just like life. For example, a seller could sign a listing agreement for 7% that stipulates the listing broker will receive 4% and will co-broker 3% to the selling broker. It's not always a 50/50 split. In a buyer's market, sellers might want to consider asking the broker to give a larger percentage to the buyer's broker. In a seller's market, the buyer's broker might receive less. There is no set formula.

    Buyer's Brokers

    Seller Pays the Buyer's Commission

    Under a Buyer's Broker arrangement, the named brokerage and agent represent the buyer. The fee paid to the broker most commonly is paid by the seller. Some buyer broker agreements contain clauses that will compensate the brokerage for the fee it is due less the amount paid by the seller. For example, a cooperating listing might offer to pay a broker only 2.5% of the sales price, whereas the brokerage operates at fees of 3%. The difference of .5% could be paid by the buyer if the broker chooses not to waive that amount.

    Buyer Pays the Commission Directly

    ·         The seller is then not obligated, under most listing agreements, to compensate the listing broker for more than the listing side or portion of the commission.

    ·         Often sales prices are reduced to reflect the amount the buyer is paying.

    ·         Sellers can also credit the buyer the commission and the buyer, in turn, credits the brokerage.

    Who Really Pays the Commission?

    It can be argued and, quite rightfully so, that the buyer always pays the commission. Why? Because it's typically part of the sales price. If the seller did not sign an agreement to pay a commission, the sales price might have been lowered. And therein lies the appeal of buying homes through unrepresented sellers because, given the same logic, those prices should reflect a net sales price without a commission. But those sellers haven't quite figured this out yet which causes potential buyers of those listings to be consistently disappointed.

    To help alleviate much of this confusion, don't be astonished if over the next 20 years sellers and buyers each retain their own representation and pay separately for said representation.

  3. Eight Reasons to Buy a Home

    If you're like most first-time home buyers, you've probably listened to friends', family's and coworkers' advice, many of whom are encouraging you to buy a home. However, you may still wonder if buying a home is the right thing to do. Relax. Having reservations is normal. The more you know about why you should buy a home, the less scary the entire process will appear to you. Here are eight good reasons why you should buy a home.

    Pride of Ownership

    Pride of ownership is the number one reason why people yearn to own their home. It means you can paint the walls any color you desire, turn up the volume on your CD player, attach permanent fixtures and decorate your home according to your own taste. Home ownership gives you and your family a sense of stability and security. It's making an investment in your future.

    Appreciation

    Although real estate moves in cycles, sometimes up, sometimes down, over the years, real estate has consistently appreciated. The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight tracks the movements of single family home values across the country. Its House Price Index breaks down the changes by region and metropolitan area. Many people view their home investment as a hedge against inflation.

    Mortgage Interest Deductions

    Home ownership is a superb tax shelter and our tax rates favor homeowners. As long as your mortgage balance is smaller than the price of your home, mortgage interest is fully deductible on your tax return. Interest is the largest component of your mortgage payment.

    Property Tax Deductions

    IRS Publication 530 contains tax information for first-time home buyers. Real estate property taxes paid for a first home and a vacation home are fully deductible for income tax purposes. In California, the passage of Proposition 13 in 1978 established the amount of assessed value after property changes hands and limited property tax increases to 2% per year or the rate of inflation, whichever is less.

    Capital Gain Exclusion

    As long as you have lived in your home for two of the past five years, you can exclude up to $250,000 for an individual or $500,000 for a married couple of profit from capital gains. You do not have to buy a replacement home or move up. There is no age restriction, and the "over-55" rule does not apply. You can exclude the above thresholds from taxes every 24 months, which means you could sell every two years and pocket your profit--subject to limitation--free from taxation.

    Preferential Tax Treatment

    If you receive more profit than the allowable exclusion upon sale of your home, that profit will be considered a capital asset as long as you owned your home for more than one year. Capital assets receive preferential tax treatment.

    Morgage Reduction Builds Equity

    Each month, part of your monthly payment is applied to the principal balance of your loan, which reduces your obligation. The way amortization works, the principal portion of your principal and interest payment increases slightly every month. It is lowest on your first payment and highest on your last payment. On average, each $100,000 of a mortgage will reduce in balance the first year by about $500 in principal, bringing that balance at the end of your first 12 months to $99,500.

    Equity Loans

    Consumers who carry credit card balances cannot deduct the interest paid, which can cost as much as 18% to 22%. Equity loan interest is often much less and it is deductible. For many home owners, it makes sense to pay off this kind of debt with a home equity loan. Consumers can borrow against a home's equity for a variety of reasons such as home improvement, college, medical or starting a new business. Some state laws restrict home equity loans.

    By Elizabeth Weintraub, About.com Guide

  4. What is a Short Sale?

    A short sale means the seller's lender is accepting a discounted payoff to release an existing mortgage. Just because a property is listed with short sale terms does not mean the lender will accept your offer, even if the seller accepts it.

    Be aware that the seller need not be in default -- to have stopped making mortgage payments -- before a lender will consider a short sale. A lender may consider a short sale if the seller is current but the value has fallen. The seller may have over-encumbered, owe more than the home is worth, so a discounted price might bring the price in line with market value, not below it.

    6 Things to Know Before You Buy That Short Sale House:

    When you spot a short sale house that interests you, take your hand off the mouse and step away from the computer. Before you get all excited over the prospect of buying that short sale house, pick up the phone and call your real estate agent. Your agent needs to research that short sale listing first.

    In some real estate markets, fewer than one in 10 short sales close. Just because that home is listed as a short sale doesn't mean it's really for sale (because it's subject to lender approval), nor does it mean it will sell at the advertised price. Here are 6 things you need to know before trying to buy that short sale.

    Comparable Sales For That Short Sale House

    The short sales I list are all priced below comparable sales, yet they are priced in line with pending sales. Why? Because short sales take anywhere from 2 to 4 months, on average, to close, and pending sales will become the comparable sales at closing.

    Some short sales are priced ridiculously low. So low that the sellers' bank will never accept them. These types of listings receive multiple offers. But all is not lost. To get your offer accepted, it will need to be priced near market value. If you're not prepared to pay above a superficial price on a lowball short-sale listing, then pass.

    Mortgage Amounts, Number of Loans and Lenders

    Ask your agent to research how much is owed against the home and find out the number of loans that are recorded. A second or third mortgage lender will receive peanuts as compared to the amount a senior lender in first position will get.

    Moreover, some lenders, deserving or not, get a reputation for being difficult to work with. If your agent is an experienced short sale agent, he or she will know who these lenders are and can advise you of the difficulty you may encounter.

    Short Sale Listing Agent's Track Record

    A listing agent who is advertising a short sale but has never closed a short sale is a risky proposition for you. That's because it's up to the listing agent to submit the short sale package to the lender and negotiate. Your buyer's agent can't talk to the bank.

    Some listing agents hire outside companies to do their job, and the results of those negotiations are sketchy at best. Ask yourself, do you want to risk rejection of your short sale purchase because the listing agent has no experience?

    Short Sale Seller Qualifications

    Find out if the listing agent has received a completed short sale package from the seller, and ask about the contents of that package. A complete short sale package consists, at minimum, of the following:

    ·         Sellers' hardship letter

    ·         Tax returns

    ·         W-2s

    ·         Payroll stubs

    ·         Financial statement

    ·         Bank statements

    Some sellers do not want to cooperate and are slow to return these documents. Others have never been told by their agent that these documents are mandatory. You don't want your short sale purchase delayed because the listing agent doesn't have the required documents.

    Number of Short Sale Offers Received

    Homes priced under market value will receive multiple offers. An agent is not required to disclose the terms of those offers, but you do want to know how many offers you are up against.

    Here's how it generally works:

    ·         When a short sale home first comes on the market, the first offer will most likely be a tad below list price.

    ·         The second, at list price.

    ·         The third offer will be slightly higher, maybe by a $1,000 or $2,000.

    ·         The fourth offer will be significantly more.

    You want to make an offer that will beat the competition yet still be below market, or don't waste your time.

    The Listing Agent's Short Sale Procedures

    Although REALTORS are required by the REALTOR Code of Ethics to treat everybody fairly, not every agent is a REALTOR. This means the short sale listing agent may decide to submit only the first offer to the bank and withhold all other offers.

    Withholding other offers could be considered to be a violation of the fiduciary relationship formed between the listing agent and the seller. The seller is entitled to receive the highest and best price. Realize that even if your offer is submitted to the bank, as time marches by while waiting for short sale approval, another buyer could outbid you.

  5. What is an REO (Real Estate Owned)?

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  6. The 5 Most Common Complaints of Short Sale

    Roughly forty percent of the homes for sale on today’s market are short sales and foreclosures! Distressed properties are well known for their value (a reputation which is sometimes accurate, and sometimes not), but they also have a reputation for causing buyers to become distressed, too!

    Transactional snafus, last-minute surprises and long, drawn-out escrows that never close seem to be par for the course. Instead of avoiding these properties altogether, get educated about the most common dramas that go down in these deals, and how you can avoid falling victim.

    1. Run-on (and on, and on) escrows. When you’re buying a home (or selling one, for that matter), time is absolutely of the essence. And buyers reasonably expect that the big time suck in real estate is in the house hunting process itself; seems like once you find a home you want to buy and the seller agrees to your price and terms, things should move pretty quickly, right?

    Not so much, when it comes to some distressed property sales. I’ve heard tell of the occasional, swiftly-moving escrow on an REO (real estate owned – by the bank). But for the most part, these transactions take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks longer than “regular” sales, because of the extra signatures, supervisor-level approvals and even investor involvement required to seal the deal. Banks don’t have the same sense of urgency individual home sellers do, and it’s not uncommon for the people who need to sign on the dotted line to be on vacation or scattered across the country, adding days’ or weeks’ worth of time to the escrow.

    And short sales are also an entirely different animal when it comes to escrow timelines. While a standard sale from an individual seller to an individual buyer might take 45 days from contract to closing, a short sale can take anywhere from 45 days to 6 or 8 months (!) to get the deal closed, after the seller has accepted the contract.

    Avoid the drama by: expecting your escrow to run long, and being pleasantly surprised if it doesn’t. Expectation management is everything. Make sure you take these extended timelines into account when you’re working with your mortgage broker on the issue of when to lock your interest rate, and how long your rate locks will last. You might even need to plan on and/or set aside an allowance for the cost of extending your low interest rate, if rates are rising rapidly during the time you’re waiting for the deal to be done.

    2. Bank won’t take lowball offer. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve received a question from an outraged reader to the effect that a buyer has had their short sale or REO offer rejected on grounds that it was too low, even though the bank has no other offers, I could buy a foreclosure myself (admittedly, it’d be one of those $150 foreclosures in some blighted town with tax liens and no plumbing, but still).

    Banks owe their shareholders and investors a duty to get as much as they can for these properties. Just because you see it’s on the market and listed as a short sale or a foreclosure doesn’t mean they’re going to give it to you for a fraction of its worth. The bank’s goal is to get a purchase price as close as possible to the home’s fair market value, as determined by the recent sales prices of similar, nearby homes, with some adjustments made for the property’s condition. Fact is, many banks would rather see the listing agent reduce the price by a moderate amount, and wait to see what offers come in, than to accept an offer 30 percent below the asking price just because there are no other offers on the table.

    Avoid the drama by: working with your agent to make a realistic offer, based on recent comparable sales in the neighborhood, not just on what you think you can get away with. You can waste a lot of time, spin a lot of wheels and lose out on a lot of properties making lowball offer after lowball offer on distressed homes. Sit down with your broker or agent, review the ‘comps’ and make a smart offer that reflects a good value for you, is within your budget and is not bizarrely out of the realm of the fair market value of the property.

    3. Last minute postponements/cancellations. These transactions have an uncanny way of being delayed at the last minute – or never going through at all, through no fault of the wanna-be buyer. You signed docs yesterday, put your dog in the crate this morning and just hopped in the moving truck, only to get a text from your broker that the deal didn’t close because the escrow company which was selected by the bank flubbed the checkboxes on a single sheet of paper (it happens). Or, you’ve been in contract (with the seller) on a short sale for four months, and the bank refuses the sale entirely because the seller refuses to kick even $1 of their own cash into the deal, despite having a flush savings account.

    Avoid the drama by: staying as flexible as possible with your moving plans as long as possible. Best practice is to plan on some overlap between the time you can be in your last place and your scheduled move-in date. Also, if you’re in contract on a short sale, you should take the point of view that you don’t have a firm deal until you get the bank’s approval of the transaction. So don’t even think about starting to make moving plans or paying for home inspections and appraisals until you know the bank has greenlit the deal and that the purchase price and terms they’ve approved work for both you and the seller.

    4. The bank’s black box. Make an offer on a normal home and you’re likely to know what the outcome will be within a few hours or a few days, at the outside. If things take longer because the seller is out of town or some such, the listing agent tells you that, and you at least know what’s going on.

    Make an offer on a bank-owned property or a short sale? It’s a crap shoot – could be days, but could also, easily, be weeks or months before you know what’s going on. And no amount of calling, pleading, prodding or nudging is likely to get you much information on how your offer or the seller’s short sale application is being handled or what (if any) progress is being made. And that “black box” into which your offer disappears at the benk level is very frustrating.

    Avoid the drama by: continuing your house hunt until you have an answer back. Maniacally pestering the listing agent for answers or harrassing your buyer’s broker into spending hours on hold with the bank is highly unlikely to get you any insight. (With that said, it does make sense for your agent to check in regularly – sometimes even daily – with a short sale or REO listing agent to stay updated on any developments with the property and to make sure your offer/transaction stays in the front of their mind.)

    Most of the angst in these situations arises when a buyer feels they passed on properties that would have really worked for them when they pinned their hopes on a distressed home. You can only control your efforts and activities, not the bank’s. So, consult with your own broker or agent about staying proactive in viewing and even pursuing other properties until you have a firm “yes” from the bank on your short sale or REO offer. Until that time, and usually for a short time after you get the bank’s approval, you have the right to back out of the transaction if you need to (make sure your broker briefs you on precisely when your right to rescind your offer or exercise contingencies – i.e., bail – will expire).

    5. Double standards. In a “regular” equity sale with no bank involvement, both buyer and seller are obligated to meet various timelines. Seller has to provide disclosures by X date, open the property to inspections – with utilities on – by Y, and close and move out by Z. REO and short sale buyers, on the other hand, are often dismayed to find that even though the bank might take weeks or months to sign or handle its deliverables, the bank will insist that the buyer show up, sign or send a check quick-like.

    Avoid the drama by: chalking it up to the (admittedly irritating) way things are – the price you pay to buy from the bank. Realize that working with the bank on the bank’s terms is unavoidable when you buy a distressed property. Then, go into the deal with realistic expectations – including the expectation that the bank will drag its feet, despite expecting you to keep every deadline – and you’ll be less frustrated, and less likely to make poor decisions out of frustration.

    Also, make sure you do respond in a timely manner to the bank’s requests and your obligations under the contract. I’ve seen banks capitalize on buyer delays in returning signatures and removing contingencies to accept higher offers they received in the interim. Don’t lose your home on a technicality because you assume that the bank’s timelines apply to you as well.

    Courtesy of: Tara Nicholle Nelson

     

  7. How to Rent an Apartment after Foreclosure?

    If you are in a housing crisis, do not despair. Here are some tips to show you how you can rent an apartment after a foreclosure.

    Instructions

    Things You'll Need:

    ·         Current credit report

    ·         Money

    ·         Professional references

    ·         Social security card

    ·         Bank statement

    ·         Driver's License

    ·         Pay stub,

    ·         Rental history,

    ·         Employer; name address and phone number

    1.     Step 1

    Check your credit report to make sure there are no errors. If you see that you have late payments, or a foreclosure on your credit, be aware that this is a red flag. Do not stress out, there are property owners that are willing to work with you.

    2.     Step 2

    Review the classified in your local newspaper. Look for smaller apartments, duplex, condominiums and town houses.

    3.     Step 3

    Check your bulletin board at your church and ask co-workers, friends and family. Word of mouth is a good way to find rental housing.

    4.     Step 4

    Make a list of rental properties. Call and make an appointment to meet with the property owner, or property manager.

    5.     Step 5

    Offer to pay two months in advance, the last month and the security. This would be a gesture of good faith and most property owners will work with tenants who are willing to pay more up front.

    courtesy of eHow

     

  8. How to rent an apartment?

    You can simply get a Real Estate Agent (eg, Adlene Ezzekmi, PA) do the work for you or conduct the search yourself. What makes it interesting, is the Real Estate Agent will do it for you free of charge. Yes, It will not cost you a penny.

    If you decide to do it your self, here are the steps:

    1.     Step 1

    Be prepared: Create a renter's resume' with your current and previous five addresses and landlord phone numbers, your employer and length of employment, your current salary and other income, personal references, among other information. Include a copy of your credit report. You want to look as good on paper as possible to stand out from other applicants.

    2.     Step 2

    Look in the newspaper classifieds, apartment hunter publications, college campus bulletin boards, and online for available units to investigate. Ask friends about openings in their buildings.

    3.     Step 3

    Consider how much you can afford to pay. A good rule of thumb is no more than 30 percent of your take-home monthly income.

    4.     Step 4

    Enlist a rental agent to narrow your search. Depending on the market, this service may be free (paid for by landlords) or cost you a percentage of your rent when you land the apartment.

    5.     Step 5

    Turn to a roommate service if you're looking for cheaper space to share. Be clear what qualities you desire in a roommate, as well as types of people or habits you'd prefer to avoid, such as smokers.

    Case the joint

    6.     Step 1

    Inspect the property carefully. If there's any damage, you not only want to ask that it be fixed, but don't want to be blamed for it later. Make sure such problem areas are addressed in a lease, either by your agreeing to live with it, or the landlord agreeing to fix it by a certain date.

    7.     Step 2

    Check out common walls (walls shared with adjoining apartments). The more walls in common, the greater the chance of noise from next door. Also consider a common entrance in terms of how much privacy you may want.

    8.     Step 3

    Ask about amenities such as enclosed parking or a garage, a yard, storage, laundry facilities, pool, tennis, gym or concierge services.

    Negotiate the deal

    9.     Step 1

    If you find an apartment you love but is a stretch financially, ask if there are responsibilities you can take on to lower your rent, such as cutting the lawn, sweeping common areas or taking deliveries. Or if you find a great apartment but it lacks services such as utilities, laundry facilities, cable TV and Internet access, ask the landlord to throw some in at no charge. Many newer buildings will. Or offer to sign a longer-term lease or give a higher security deposit in exchange for more services.

    10.  Step 2

    Examine your lease in detail: How much notice is required prior to moving, how large a deposit you have to make, how much cleaning is required upon leaving to get your deposit back, and other provisions. Some agreements require first and last months' rent plus a security deposit--a significant chunk of change. Is the lease month to month, or a 6- or 12-month period?

    11.  Step 3

    Find out what kinds of cosmetic changes you can make, such as painting walls, or structural changes, such as adding shelving.

    12.  Step 4

    Ask for a lease with an option to buy if you'd be interested in purchasing the property down the line.

  9. Living in Miami

    The tide has turned. For those who work or want to be near downtown Miami or Brickell, there are now exciting places to live, shop and dine in Miami's Biscayne corridor.


    People are finding that Miami has great restaurants and shops to choose from, like Soyka or the Captiol Grill to name a few, Plus with the new Performng Arts Center and Opera House coming on-line, culture will abound.

    Miami also has one of the premier Design Districts that will enable you to shop for the unusual to decorate your home.

    Some of the exciting projects in Miami, Biscayne Boulevard and Brickell Avenue are the 1800 Club, 900 Biscayne, Blue, Boulevard, Cynergi, ICE, IOS on the Bay, MarinaBlue (pictured), Marquis, Metropolitan, Midtown, Nirvana on Biscayne Bay, One Miami, Opera Tower, Paramount Bay, Platinum, Quantum, Star Lofts on the Bay, The Loft Downtown, The Loft Downtown 2 and Tivoli to name a few.

    Please contact me if you would like more information on purchasing or investing in some of these exciting projects.

  10. How to obtain Renter's Insurance?

    Instructions

    Just because your landlord owns the building doesn't mean he or she is responsible for covering your belongings in the event of a fire, theft or other nasty event. Even if you think all your worldly possessions don't amount to much, don't overlook this critical form of protection.

    1.     Step 1

    Shop around, starting with the auto insurance company--you may be able to tap into volume discounts if you have more than one policy with a company. Then check other agents and online insurance services. As a rule, renter's insurance is cheap--a couple hundred dollars a year should easily buy upwards of $15,000 in personal belonging protection and several hundred thousand dollars of liability coverage. Get your landlord's requirement in the lease or rental agreement for minimum coverage.

    2.     Step 2

    Investigate what the renter's insurance policy covers. Beyond protecting you if your property is stolen or lost in a fire, or suffers water damage, it must also offer liability coverage if, for instance, you leave the iron on and cause a fire.

    3.     Step 3

    Think you don't have much stuff? The average renter has more than $20,000 worth of belongings which may include expensive electronic equipment, bikes and small appliances. Photograph or videotape each item, list when you acquired it and its purchase price or current value. Keep your list in a safe deposit box along with the photos and videotape.

    4.     Step 4

    Spend a little more and get replacement coverage. This guarantees that your property will be replaced at current value, not what you bought it for originally.

    courtesy of eHow