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Miami Real Estate FAQ's

As a Miami real estate agent, I am asked a lot of the same questions on various topics.  Below, you will find a list of answers to the most commonly asked questions.  I am sure you will find these answers quite useful, especially when you are buying or selling a Miami home or Miami condo.

Commissions:

  • Miami real estate buyers do NOT pay commissions.  The seller pays the commissions in virtually all transactions.  The same applies to tenants where the landlord pays the commissions.  

Locations:

  • Miami and Miami Beach are 2 different cities in 2 different locations.  Miami is on the mainland of Florida, and Miami Beach is on an island 2 miles east of Miami.  There are no beaches in Miami.  The beaches are located in Miami Beach.
  • South Beach is not a city.  Other than a place that LeBron is "going to bring his talents to", South Beach is a nickname of a section of Miami Beach between 5th Street and 23rd Street.

Costs:

  • A buyer's closing costs are going to be approximately 1%-3% of the purchase price.  This number will vary depending on whether or not you are paying cash or financing your purchase.
  • A property inspection is not required but is highly recommended.  The average cost is approximately $200-$400 for an inspection, which is a small price to pay for peace of mind.
  • The seller pays the doc stamps for the recording of the deed, not the buyer.  

Landlord/Tenant Laws:

  • Unlike some states, the laws governing the relationship between a Landlord and a Tenant in Florida are statutory.  Please see the Florida Residential Landlord and Tenant Act which is Title VI, Chapter 83, Part II, § 83.40 - § 83.682.   

 Distressed Property:

  • A Miami Short Sale may take as long as 12 months to close.  A Foreclosure usually only takes 60 days.
  • Most Miami Foreclosures sell over asking price as there are normally multiple offers that drive the price up.
  • Most Miami Foreclosures sell within the first 2-3 weeks on the market.

Cash vs. Financing:  

  • You will NOT be able to obtain financing for some Miami condos, regardless of your credit score or income.
  • You cannot always depend on a pre-approval letter when financing a condo in Miami.
  • In Miami, cash is not always king.  Because of the high level of cash buyers in the Miami real estate market, a cash offer does not necessarily give a buyer more leverage in negotiating sales price.

Living Area - Square Footage - Maintenance Fees:

  • Monthly maintenance fees on a condo are calculated based on the square footage of the livable area or area "under A/C", meaning under air conditioning.  Never use the terrace space to calculate square footage.  Also, the maintenance fees do not change as you move to a higher floor.  It is purely based on a set price per square foot.
  • When looking at asking price per square foot or comparable sales price per square foot, always make sure to use under A/C living area square footage. 
  • Use caution when purchasing a 2-story loft style condo as developers usually count the "air space" above the living room in their floorplan when quoting square footage of living area.

Parking:

  • Nearly all Miami condos that include assigned parking spaces, which are assigned by the condominium association, are NOT deeded parking spaces.  This means that you cannot just purchase or sell parking spaces.
  • Generally, the valet company who manages each building charges a flat monthly rate for an additional valet parking space.

Pets:

  • Always check a condo association's rules regarding the pet policy before you make an offer.  A building that allows pets for owners does not necessarily allow pets for tenants.
  • Pit-bulls are illegal in Miami-Dade County.

Contractors:

  • Almost all units purchased from the developer, are done so as "decorator-ready".  Be prepared to hire a contractor to install flooring, trim, closets, window treatments and paint which may take 60-90 days after closing.