Tuesday, May 29, 2007

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Architecture and Real Estate - how do these 2 work together

A lot of people ask how I incorporate my architecture background with our Real Estate Business. So here's the explanation.

I graduated with a bachelor's degree in architecture from the University of Miami, and hence all the Hurricane stuff you see me with. I worked with a couple of big firms both locally and abroad and then started my own architecture firm doing additions and remodelings in Miami Shores. I did several projects, including the design of the Brockway Memorial LibraryMiami Shores, and always helped friends visualize the potential of homes before buying them.

addition in

That's when the vision of my business was born. If so many of my own friends had benefited from my architectural consulting services prior to purchasing a home, wouldn't it be ideal if I had a Real Estate License and offer those same services to potential customers? (the answer was a really LOUD YES!!!)

As a buyer, when working with me, you will gain from having free architectural consulting at your fingertips. Finding the "perfect home" is no easy task, properties will need some work and some changes most of the time. Whether it is to open a kitchen out to a family room or to "formalize" a dining room, or to add a Master Suite to a property, I will sit down with you and help identify your needs. I will then sketch out numerous schematics and will come up with a conceptual plan. Having worked in the field and built additions, I will be able to estimate the cost of construction and will then lead you to an architect or design professional that can finalize the plans.

I will also assist buyers with other design consulting aspects like materials and color selection as well as furniture arrangement. My enthusiasm is endless when it comes to design.

As a seller, the advantages are endless. I will ask that you acquire floor plans of your properties (most cities will have floor plans and are easy to order); I will have those floor plans ready to show any prospective buyers. I will also help you identify any weaknesses in the current design of your property and will accentuate all the positive features.

I will help sellers stage their properties with a very detailed list of suggestions that is customized to each property. I will even help you hire the right construction professionals to prepare your home for showings (like floor refinishers, carpenters, painters, etc.). A lot of our customers are absentee owners and we take care of the coordination of these jobs for them.

Having a passion for architecture and for helping people visualize the potential of a property is what makes my job so much fun. My customers will tell you how I light up when I see a good space (they will also tell you what my reaction is when I visit "butchered homes"), how I will go out of my way to make their dream a reality within their financial parameters. I am an architect by profession, but a Realtor by trade, the combination of these is what we offer to our customers in unmatched service.

Thanks Ardell for inspiring me to write this.

For more information about RICK & INES and their services, please visit http://www.miamism.com

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Historic Preservation in Miami Shores - Mediterranean Revival architecture

A few years ago, while a board member of the Miami Shores Historic Preservation Board, I created, with the help of other board members, an educational brochure for our community. The brochure included the image shown as well as a brief history of Miami Shores and its development back in the 1920's.

The style popular in South Florida in the 1920's is now called "Mediterranean Revival" which was influenced by the architecture of the countries bordering the Mediterranean coast, namely Spain, France, Italy and North Africa. Historic architecture in Miami Shores is comprised of mostly Mediterranean Revival homes and we thought it would be valuable for home owners to be able to identify different elements, learn about them and hopefully inspire them into renovating and restoring our historic core. This same style of architecture can be seen in other historic districts in South Florida like Morningside, Coral Gables, Miami Springs,Historic Bayside and Coconut Grove.

The exterior identifying featuresof these fabulous old houses are shown in the illustration: Historic Cuban Clay Barrel Tile, Cornice Details, Lime Based Paint, arched windows, decorative columns, wood casement windows, balustrated balconies, decorative or structural ornamental brackets, decorative ventilation grids, rough textured stucco walls, low pitched multiple gabled roofs, chimney, and awnings.

Please understand that not all homes have all these features, but we picked a home in Miami Shores that displayed all of these. It is also important to understand that proportion and the manner in which these elements were used is what makes these properties so breathtaking.

Interior floor plans are mostly informal and asymmetrical in arrangement. Arched openings separate main rooms or areas. Ceilings have exposed beams and rafters, some carved, and others painted. Plaster walls have a rough texture.

Over the years many of these homes have undergone alterations to both the exterior and the interior. Yet, despite these changes their distinctive character makes them stand out from those of more recent construction. These historic homes make our Miami Shores Village unique.

The restoration of a historic property should be done with a lot of care, patience as well as knowledge. It takes some people years to restore their home to perfection, but the effort is well worth it. Educating yourself about the features should be an important part of the process. Restorations should be consistent with The Secretary of Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation. Such standards include examples of correct and incorrect repairs and replacement of roofs, windows, materials and other features.

When restoring a historic home, some people start with windows- I urge all historic home owners to try to get the original floor plans of their home in order to study the proportion of the openings, to see the type of windows originally installed, their vertical nature and the materials. It would not be historically appropriate to install a colonial window in a Mediterranean Revival home. One controversial topic is replacing wood windows with more modern, metal clad ones. In my opinion, replacement with a better constructed, more durable insolated window is acceptable as long as the opening remains the same, as well as the type of window and proportion of lights and muntins.

The same applies to other features and basic knowledge is crucial. For example, you should never install arched awnings over rectangular openings; never replace decorative ornamental metals with different materials like concrete balustrades, always repair decorative and structural columns with the same or similar order; exterior and interior plaster should be matched to look like original. There are numerous details that should not be overlooked and minor details is what makes the final product.

Here are some sketches I did of historic homes in Miami Shores.

After reading this article you may be wondering, How does this apply to buying or selling real estate? The answer is simple. When planning to buy or sell a historically relevant home, you should work with a real estate agent that is not only sensitive to historic preservation issues, but someone that understands historic architecture, from materials to features to minor details.

For more information about Miami Shores, please contact RICK & INES at 305.758.2323 and visit our website at http://www.miamism.com

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Why isn't my house selling?

Here in Miami Shores I get asked this question a lot? Why aren't houses selling? Well....Today Rick came up with this great article in MSN Money called 6 Reasons Houses Don't Sell by Bankrate.com.

The 6 Reasons Houses Don't Sell, according to Bankrate.com are:

1. Your home is overpriced

2. Your home doesn't "show" well

3. You're in a bad location

4. You have a lousy listing agent (I thought this one was a little harsh but really Laughed!)

5. You are battling competition or market conditions

6. You have ineffective marketing

All sellers should be looking at this article, it is clear and to the point and will help you understand some real estate adversities. The reason your home is not selling could be one or a combination of any of these. There are some that cannot be remedied like location, but the rest are within your control.

For more Miami Shores Real Estate tips and information, please visit RICK & INES at http://www.miamism.com

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Miami Shores Marshmallow Drop - part II

I promised videos and photos of this Miami Shores, Florida event. It was such a spectacular day and my son, Gabriel, even found a "Golden Marshmallow" and got a special prize. Please follow this LINK to see the photos.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Relay for Life - Purple Pelican Nesting sites in Miami Shores

I am proud to have been in charge of nesting 2 Purple Pelicans for the month of March for Relay for Life in Miami Shores.

What is Relay for Life? - As explained by Tammy Austin, sponsorship Chair 2007, "It is a unique event that is more a celebration than a fundraiser. The event recognizes cancer survivors and remembers those who did not survive the fight against cancer during this celebration of life that is enhanced by food, entertainment, and activities for all ages." ....READ MORE

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Miami Shores Annual Marshmallow Drop

The Marshmallow Drop is an event every kid in Miami Shores looks forward to, no matter the age (I am so glad that I have the perfect excuse to be a part of it since I have kids). Every year, the Saturday before Easter, a helicopter will drop over 10,000 marshmallows over the Miami Shores Recreation fields. This year the event will take place on Saturday April 7th at 9:30 AM. .....READ MORE