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

Monday, March 26, 2007

Girl Scout Cookies for our Military

A lot of us may not agree with the war, others are very enthusiastic (I have not met the first). But the truth is that whether or not we agree, it doesn't change the fact that our military, our friends, our neighbors...... are risking their lives for our country. We need to show our support in every way we can and I wanted to share with you what some dear friends have done.

This year we thought we were receiving the customary "girl scout cookie plea" from some Miami Shores real estate clients and friends, but it was very different.....READ MORE

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Pink House - Miami Shores, Florida

Who said we don't have good architecture in Miami Shores?

The Pink House is one of the best known and most photographed residences in Miami. It is a symbol of modern design. It is located in Miami Shores, on Biscayne Bay and occupies a double lot with over 100' of open bay water frontage.

Many factors make this house interesting, but its controversy has always intrigued me. Designed by Laurinda Spear and Bernardo Fort-Bescia of Arquitectonica for Spear's parents in 1976, it's a series of planes and framed views together with clever climate-minded design which maximizes East/West breezes......READ MORE

Friday, March 09, 2007

Downtown Miami Shores, Florida

Miami ShoresMiami Shores is known mostly as a small residential area, but Downtown Miami Shores has great businesses to be proud of. Located on Northeast 2nd Avenue From 94th Street to 101st Street, you will find all kinds of shops and places to eat as well as medical and real estate offices. Through the years Downtown Miami Shores has gone through changes and we expect it to get better and better, especially with the redevelopment plans taking place.

Here are some of the places you can visit in Downtown Miami Shores:

READ MORE.........

Monday, March 05, 2007

Miami Shores, Florida - Market conditions

It is a full-blown buyer’s market, no matter what price range you are referring to. We have over 20 months of inventory and still very few buyers which means that as a seller you have to take the extra step to make your property stand out. What can you do to make it stand out? Please follow this link to read Craig Schiller’s article on staging, he’s a talented and successful stager in The Chicago area. Pricing is THE most important factor when selling a property, sellers are competing with many other properties, and buyers are looking at the best priced listings first.

There are currently 183 single-family listings in Miami Shores, Florida:

  • Highest priced listing: $3,950,000
  • Lowest priced listing : $329,900
  • Properties currently under contract: 6
  • Closed properties since 1/1/2007: 8

Property values have remained steady in Miami Shores and have not dropped like many other areas in Miami. Miami is number 3 in the highest portion of households in foreclosure in the nation, according to Business 2.0 Magazine.

This graph shows the movement in different price ranges in Miami Shores. Please note that the $200,000 and under market was omitted because there are no listings in that price range. The highest number of sales has occurred in the $400,000 -$600,000 range price, but it is also the range price with the most inventory. The least number of sales have been in the $600,000-$800,000 range price.

For more information about Miami Shores Real Estate and Miami Shores Market Conditions, please contact RICK & INES, Your Property Pros.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Unity Day in Miami Shores, Florida

The annual Unity Day Celebration took place March 3, 2007 in the Miami Shores Recreation Fields. This year is was specially significant because it was the Village of Miami Shores' 75th year celebration!

The event was sponsored by the Miami Shores Mayor's Community Task Force and included an incredible fireworks display at 8:00 PM. ....READ MORE

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Reality Check - truth hurts

What happens when a good friend wants to sell their home but you know they will lose money if they sell now? Just last week we were invited to do a listing presentation by friends and neighbors. As soon as we pulled their tax information we knew they would lose money with this transaction.

We hoped there was a discrepancy in the tax roll with regards to the size of the house, we hoped they had not put a lot of money into it, we hoped we had made a mistake and could give them the information they wanted to hear.

Although their house ended up being 200 square feet bigger than the tax roll shows, we did what any ethical real estate agent would do, we presented reality. Reality that would not be welcomed and would be combated with objections......READ MORE

Thursday, February 15, 2007

TRUST YOUR REALTOR - South Florida Real Estate Market

Our goal with this blog is challenging. Although we are Realtors and we do sell properties, we want our customers to trust us and to know that we represent their best interest. We have established a great reputation and hope to convey that message to our readers. I want to thank Rebecca Blood who has inspired me into writing more in depth about what we do with the idea of establishing a clear road of communication where we can dialogue openly and honestly about our market.

Rick and I specialize in the South Florida Real Estate Market, specifically The Miami Shores and surrounding areas. We work with sellers for the most part but also work with a limited amount of buyers, buyers that we can offer our time and effort because they are loyal.......READ MORE

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Tour Miami Shores, Florida

You have heard us talk about Miami Shores, Florida a bunch of times and you are still wondering what the big deal is. Rick and I live, work and play in Miami Shores. It is our home and we would not change it for anything.
Miami Shores has something for everyone. Its civic buildings include, Village Hall, Brockway Memorial Library, The Police Department, The Fire Department, The field house and community center. .....READ MORE

click her to see what we are talking about!

Friday, January 26, 2007

St. Rose of Lima Carnival

Saint Rose of Lima Church's annual carnival is happening right now in Miami Shores. Starting Friday, January 26, 2007, to Sunday, January 28.

This is a very special community event because parishioners and school families volunteer their weekend to put the carnival together. People attend not only from Miami Shores, but also from other schools and other areas in Miami. The funds raised in the carnival go towards a school and parish fund used to maintain and refurbish the St. Rose of Lima facilities. Community spirit is visible everywhere, booth sponsorship banners are placed all over the carnival, bazaar with all kinds of great stuff for sale, volunteers preparing food and manning booths with different games, 50/50 raffle, wine and beer tent, silent auction with items donated by families and local businesses, picnic area, and not to forget great carnival rides like The Ring of Fire, The Orbit and The Thunder Bolt. .....READ MORE

Thursday, January 25, 2007


Super Bowl XLI will take place in Miami on Sunday, February 4, 2007 in Dolphin Stadium. This will be the 9th time in Miami (4th time at the Dolphin's Stadium and the other 5 at the Orange Bowl).

The Super Bowl is known for so many things.... the incredible commercials, the halftime shows (which by the way will be Prince this year), the beautiful Vince Lombardi Super Bowl trophy, designed by Tiffany & Co., and of course the actual game. I personally had never known the impact this one game has on the host city. Miami is a madhouse right now. People are renting places at extravagant prices, coming from all over the nation. Did you know that there are rental agents that specialize in the Superbowl?...READ MORE

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Eating at North Miami Beach's Houston's

Houston's is a chain of restaurants that can be found throughout the United States. It is known for the great steaks and healthy side dishes like asparagus, baked potatoes, eggplant, etc. Every time we visit one of these restaurants, they are packed with people and you can expect to wait for a table. It also has a full bar and the architecture and interior design of each establishment, although similar in style, is unique and welcoming.
We have gone to the North Miami Beach Houston's a couple of dozen times but need to tell you about our last visit. Rick and I went with our 3 kids who are 12, 10 and 2 years of age. To our surprise, although a lot of people were waiting for tables, there was a table for 5 available and that's when we met our server, Javier. ......READ MORE