Real Estate, Community News & More from My Desk to Yours

Thursday, December 26, 2013

What to Expect in the 2014 Housing Market

Price appreciation, low mortgage rates, and declining inventories in 2013 together contributed to more bidding wars. Take a look at our Sunday, December 29, 2013 Miami Herald Neighbors page for a market outlook...

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Real Estate Update: Pending Home Sales Down

Now is the time to put your home on the market right after the first of the year, especially here in Coral Gables. A Florida Realtors article shows that pending sales are slowing down. The Pending Home Sales Index indicates a projection of almost 10 % higher home sales in 2014, and an 11% increase in existing home prices. Read the article.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Cash Home Sales...

I want to share this article with you from the South Florida Business Journal:

South Florida led the nation in all-cash home sales according to a study by RealtyTrac. Just over 70 percent of October home sales in South Florida were cash deals, the highest among the Top 50 metropolitan areas. Many of the purchasers in those deals are investors, often foreign investors, or wealthy, second-home buyers. Working families rarely have the resources to shell out cash for a home. Read article.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Homes Selling at a Slower Pace

In Coral Gables, home sales slowed down slightly in the last few months, while inventory climbed in September after a steady four-year downward clip from 650 homes on the MLX in 2009 to 260 homes in May of 2013. Now we are up to 273 single-family homes for sale but this has just inched up since June. 
Although Florida Realtors reported that U.S. home prices are rising but at a slower pace than months before, we see the same thing in the Gables.   We do not foresee prices dropping. They have only fallen once (in 2007-2008) since I started selling real estate in the early 1970's. What we do predict is that buyers will begin to be more particular and not rush so much to get into a bidding war where multiple offers come in the first week on well-priced new listings.  The number of days listings are on the market will increase a bit.  We are going to be shifting from a very strong seller's market to a less strong seller's market or to a fair market for the next year or so.  

Now is the best time to sell. Call us and we will run a free market analysis. We make staging recommendations so your home is in tip-top showing condition and listed at the correct price in order to attract the maximum number of buyers in the first two weeks it is on the market.  

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Condo Real Estate Market Update

See below for recent real estate market conditions for the 33133 and 33134 zip codes, which include Coconut Grove and Coral Gables, from September 2012-September 2013.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Our Blog's Global Audience

From time to time, we like to peak at our blog's account stats and see who our audience is. The top searchers by country on our site are from:

1) USA
2) Canada
3) Russia
4) Germany
5) Latvia (interesting!)


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Caution: Before You Sell Your Home

Interview at least two or three real estate agents to get an idea of fair market value. Also ask them how many homes they have sold in the immediate area in the last year. The trouble is that if you go with the first agent you find, you might end up leaving money on the table if the market value estimate given is not a fair market value or the agent is somewhat inexperienced and has not had much training in marketing and selling.

Just the other day, I was chatting with a friend and she told me her elderly neighbor, “Sally”,  was approached by a real estate agent that was going door to door asking homeowners if they were interested in selling their homes. Some agents are doing that because Coral Gables' inventory is so low and they have nothing to sell or advertise. This “roving” agent  gave “Sally” a quick and easy estimate of a listing price. The lady does not read the papers often and had no idea how quickly the market has turned around in our town (up at least 25% from two years ago). She agreed to let the agent bring a customer by and took the first offer that came in selling her house immediately. It turns out that “Sally” probably left more than $200,000 on the table...Money that she could have made very good use of in her retirement. The property was not marketed and not placed on the MLX. It is a shame that this older woman was really unaware and should have at least asked another agent or some of her friends for advice.

In any market, it is important for your Realtor to price well so that you get top dollar and sell quickly but you need to seek an honest, professional opinion by reviewing research and comps. Ask your own neighbors, and friends and family, to recommend a good agent. You will be happy you did.

Top 25 Staging Tips to Get a Home Ready to List for Sale

There are many, many staging tips on the web but in this list below, we try to give you the most effective and inexpensive ways to get a home ready to put on the market. 

Realtors and their buyers are more likely to be interested in a home from the get-go if it is staged - this will allow the listing to sell quicker and for a higher price, maybe even getting several bids. Stage the home first so that it looks appealing to a wide variety of potential buyers, then take professional pictures to post online and print marketing materials. (You can keep a before-and-after for your own records.) 

Here are the top 25 staging tips to get a home ready to sell. This list can be useful to sellers as well as agents.
  1. Start at the curb in front of the house and walk through to the back of the house as you would during a showing. Write down anything that needs attention. Also, have a friend perform a walk-through and add her/his ideas to your list.
  2. Prune bushes and trees. Remove any dead or low lying tree limbs. Also, invest in a few flats of flowers that will last the entire growing season and add color to the front garden.
  3. Replace darker curtains with sheers that let in more sun so potential buyers can see the home in the best light.
  4. Shampoo and deodorize the carpets or refinish wood floors. Do not use incense.
  5. Wipe down and paint walls if they look worn or are an unusual color. Choose a neutral color if you repaint - something like eggshell white, linen white, or muslin.
  6. Declutter, Declutter, Declutter! Remove all knick knacks, souvenirs, personal photos, mail piles, etc. Place all money, jewelry and other valuables in a secure, out of sight location.
  7. Rearrange and remove furniture throughout the house to make rooms appear larger.
  8. "Rule of 3"  - no more than three items on top of table, dressers, kitchen counters, and the like. 
  9. Consider removing the bulk of your clothes from closets and pack them away in storage. You will need to do this soon anyway.   Anything that you can take out of the house that is not totally necessary, remove.....
  10. Clean all rooms from top to bottom, and ensure everything is dust free.
  11. Keep pets and pet food dishes and litter box outside or in the garage. 
  12. Bleach any mold or mildew you find outside and inside the house. 
  13. The bathrooms and kitchen can be brightened up by adding a few new hand towels and a soap dispenser. Keep toilet lids down and bathrooms should be unusually clean and fresh.
  14. Remove any fixtures that you do not want to include with the sale. 
  15. Clean all kitchen appliances especially the oven. Leaky faucets, jammed drawers, and broken light switches are a few repairs you can make.
  16. Keep beds made.
  17. Wash all windows and make them sparkle and keep the blinds open when showing. 
  18. Take off any screens if they are not alarmed and give maximum exposure to the view outside.
  19. Use warm, incandescent bulbs inside for a natural feel instead of the high efficiency ones that are bluish.
  20. Ensure each room has a set function. If you have a bedroom that you are using for storage (like I am) just box everything up and keep it in the garage or storage facility.
  21. Put in a bed, nightstand, lamp, and some paintings on the walls along with lovely linens to make it appear as a guest room. Four bedroom homes sell better than three, three better than two.
  22. Rent some furniture if necessary. We keep a supply in storage for our sellers to use if they need anything during the time we have the property on the market.
  23. Keep the lawn cut short and buy mulch to put around the plants and trees.
  24. Clean the siding, bricks, gutters, doorways, decks, by renting or borrowing a power washer. Clean the swimming pool, spa or hot tub.
  25. Make your home look like a hotel suite or guest cottage where someone can move right in.  This is exactly what you want to have happen. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Home Prices are Up 12.4%, the Highest in 7½ Years

Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller Index reported home prices rose the most since February 2006.  Read more in the Florida Realtors article.

In Coral Gables, this figure is even higher as inventory decreases.
101 homes were listed for sale in the Gables in August 2013. That is down 1.9% compared to the previous month and 8.2% lower than the same time last year.

The Average Sold Price per Square Footage in August 2013 for the Gables was $297. It is up 0.3% compared to July 2013 and 11.8% higher than last year.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Country with the Most Web Searches for Miami Real Estate ...


As reported by the South Florida Business Journal, Brazil ranked highest for property searches of Miami listings for sale in August 2013.  Brazil was followed by Canada, Argentina, Colombia and Venezuela.

Among U.S. cities searching for Miami properties online, the top five were:
  1. California - Los Angeles
  2. Georgia – Atlanta
  3. New York – NYC
  4. Texas – Dallas
  5. Illinois – Chicago
Read the full article. 

NOTE: Topping visitors to our real estate blog last month are Canadians and Russians.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Thursday, August 8, 2013

OPEN HOUSE SUNDAY: Original 1930's Art Deco Beauty on Country Club Prado

Open House  -  1615 Country Club Prado, Coral Gables

Sunday, August 11, 2013  -  1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

This three bedroom/three and a half bath home faces a park-like boulevard, giving you your own green space in the front yard. On the east side of the Prado, surrounded by million dollar homes, the property sits on a 13,003 square foot lot. Needs updating but is in great condition, with original architectural details and large two-car garage. The expansive yard lends for plenty of room for a pool.

This 1939 art deco home has all original red patterned tile floors. A gracious screened-in porch at the entrance and lovely foyer as you enter the home. The large living room has a fireplace with an art deco mantel. There is a huge formal dining room, sun room, and eat-in kitchen in this 2,660 square foot house. Off the living room are a bed and bath, and another full bath off of the kitchen. Beautiful crown molding throughout and original wrought iron railing accents the staircase to the upstairs bedrooms. Upstairs you have all hardwood floors with two bedrooms and one and a half bathrooms.

Come by this Sunday!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Months of Inventory Declining Since 2009

Looking back four years provides an interesting overview on the inventory drop in Coral Gables. See our latest Miami Herald ad showing these statistics.

Come see our new listing at 630 Majorca, Coral Gables, this Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Stats on Coral Gables Condos

According to the tax roll, there are 5,068 condos in Coral Gables.
  • 651 efficiencies
  • 1,219 one-bedroom condos
  • 2,449 two-bedroom condos
  • 622 three-bedroom condos
  • 117 four-bedroom condos
  • 5 five-bedroom condos
  • 5 six-bedroom condos
The breakdown by zip code:
  • 33134 zip code: 3,152 condos (North of Bird Road in central downtown Gables and north)
  • 33133 zip code: 777 condos (Along Edgewater near the Grove)
  • 33143 zip code: 170 (near South Miami south of Sunset)
  • 33146 zip code: 704 (south of Bird Road near UM, Ponce, US#1 corridor)
  • 33158 zip code: 264 (Deering Bay)
  • Other limited zip codes:  the balance

We are knowledgeable and informed about the Coral Gables market, its schools and services. Call us for professional advice on selling, renting or buying a condo. 305-975-8158 or e-mail me at

Slesnick & Jochem has a condo listing for sale at 626 Coral Way in the Gables on the Green building. See it if you like luxury living.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Dramatic Drop in Inventory

Inventory of homes in the $900,000 to $1M price range in the Gables has come down in the first half of this year. We now have less than a 3-month supply. Listings are averaging 67 days on the market and the average price per sq.ft. is well over $300 depending on location, lot size and condition. See graph.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

MUST SEE: Join Us this Sunday, July 14th at Our Open House from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.

1421 Ancona Avenue, Coral Gables, FL 33146

Sip your morning coffee on the quaint front porch of this Colonial 3 bedroom/3.5 bath home with Family room, library and playroom. Extensively renovated and expanded in 2006 with high-end finishes and architectural details.

Kitchen is equipped with restaurant grade appliances, butcher block counters and wood cabinetry. Fireplace, hardwood floors, crown molding, Plantation shutters, cherry wood built-ins, surround sound. Impact windows and doors.

North of Miller Drive between Alhambra and San Amaro. Firm price. 1-car garage. 10,500’ lot with room for a pool.

See more about this listing. Feel free to call us 305-975-8158.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

From Cottages to Castles in Coral Gables

We are down to just 239 homes for sale on the MLX in all of Coral Gables ranging in price from roughly $349,000 for a darling 1 bedroom/1 bath Old Spanish with 879 adj.sq.ft. on a 5,000 foot lot on Tangier Street in north Gables, to a $25,000,000 mansion in Tahiti Beach that has 10 bedrooms/10 baths and 21,000+ adj.sq.ft. on a 62,000 foot waterfront property with its own beach. 
Of the 239 homes for sale, 6 are under $400,000, 98 are under $1M, and ten are at $10,000,000 or higher.


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

New Florida Laws in Effect as of July 1

Florida Realtors reported a list of changes to Florida laws that went into effect this past Monday:

Residential Landlord and Tenant Act
Several changes were made including a change to the disclosure language landlords who rent five or more dwelling units are required to give. While the law becomes effective July 1, use of the revised disclosure is not mandatory until Jan. 1, 2014.

Renting with a Homestead Exemption
A “safe harbor” written into the law allows people to rent their homestead up to 30 days a year without losing the homestead exemption. However, rentals that exceed 30 days for two consecutive years jeopardize the homestead exemption in year two.

Citizens Property Insurance
A new rule requires all new applicants to go through a clearinghouse to establish if they’re eligible for Citizen’s coverage.

Taking Ownership of an Abandoned House
A claim of adverse possession now requires 1) payment of all outstanding taxes and liens levied by the state, county or municipality within one year; and 2) submission of information to the county property appraiser: contact info, date the adverse possession claim began, legal description of the property, and dates when outstanding taxes and liens were paid.

Read the full article.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Interest Rates Breakdown: Jumbo Loans

Over the past 20 years, the average interest rate has been between 6% and 7%. We have had record low interest rates in the past two years and they are heading up again. Jumbo loan mortgage rates have recently risen to 4.5% and are continuing to climb. The time to buy is now to get the best investment. The average sale price of a home in the past three months in Coral Gables is about $1M.
This is what your payments would look like if you purchased a $1M home at today’s rates (based on 20% down/$800,000 loan) and if those increase. Contact our friends at Home Financing Center at 305-777-1100 for additional details.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

South Florida’s Home Prices Rise by Double Digits

As Seen in The Miami Herald:
"Jeannett Slesnick, a broker-owner at Slesnick & Jochem LLP in Coral Gables, said the top challenge in the current market is the dearth of inventory amid rising demand. “It’s red hot. Red, red hot,’’ she said.  Slesnick recently listed a 3/2 old Spanish in north Gables that needed extensive work ... and got multiple offers on it almost immediately. It sold for over asking price." Read the full article.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Largest Increase in U.S. Home Prices in 7 Years

Home prices across the nation rose by 9.3% in February from a year ago, the highest increase since May 2006, possibly due to an increasing number of homebuyers and a limited supply of inventory. Miami's price gain was even greater at 10.4% over last year, according to the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home price index. Read the USA Today article.

Friday, April 26, 2013

What's Trending in the Coral Gables Real Estate Market?

Take a look at this first quarter, year to year comparison, of single family home sales in the Gables. The market is on a steady path to recovery.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Top Foreign Buyers of Real Estate in Florida: Canadians

Canada's national newspaper, The Globe and Mail, reported Canadians are helping the Florida real estate market recover by being their number one foreign buyer...
Citing the most recent S&P Case-Shiller data, the report says the price of a single family home in South Florida surged 12% from its low point in April 2011. In 2010, transactions involving Canadian buyers accounted for 36% of all real estate purchases by foreigners, it says. More than 500,000 Canadians now own Florida property, according to the report.
“Florida properties are a bargain compared to real estate in Canada. The median priced home in Florida is nearly half than that in Canada,” said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank.
Among the most desirable locations for Canadians are Sarasota-Bradenton-Venice, Orlando-Kissimmee and Miami-Ft. Lauderdale-Palm Beach.

Canadians Are Fueling the Florida Housing Market

Thursday, April 18, 2013

3 Reasons the Housing Recovery May Not Last, CNN Reports

I wanted to share this interesting article from CNN news:

"The housing market has made a big comeback over the past year; home prices have surged some 8% and homebuyers can't seem to buy up properties fast enough. But just as quickly as the market is gaining ground, some industry experts worry it will come crashing back to Earth. Here are three reasons the housing market recovery may not last..." Read more.

Monday, April 8, 2013

February Home Prices Showed the Biggest Increase Since 2006

Florida Realtors reported yesterday that U.S. home prices “jumped in February by the largest amount in 7 years, evidence that the housing recovery strengthened ahead of the all-important spring-buying season.”

The real estate data research company CoreLogic reported that home prices rose 10.2% in February compared to the same time last year. For 12 months straight, prices have been steadily climbing. (Coral Gables has also seen a steady increase in home prices in the past year.

Several reasons were cited for the increase in prices: more sales of previously owned homes and a very low inventory of homes for sale.

The cities with the largest home price increases were Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix and Riverside, Calif.

Although home values remain low, down 26% since April of 2006, consumer confidence is being fueled by higher home prices - enticing buyers to act quickly on a purchase before prices rise further and making homeowners feel they will get more for their house.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Women Who Make a Difference Awards Luncheon

The Junior League of Miami will honor three outstanding women at the awards luncheon this Sunday, April 7, 2013, at 11:00 a.m. at the Jungle Island Treetop Ballroom.  Click here for tickets and information.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Monday, February 25, 2013

Watch the Beacon Council's Lecture on the Real Estate Revival

Interesting info... Jeannett

"Since the 2008 recession, Miami-Dade County has seen a steady strengthening of its residential real estate market. One example: In 2009, the occupancy rate in Downtown was 62 percent. Today, that number has risen to 95 percent, a fact that explains the return of cranes to our city's skyline."

Watch the presentation.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Real Estate Trends in Miami-Dade County

We have started the year off with lots of activity in the real estate market. (So much so, that Slesnick & Jochem is holding five open houses this Sunday!)

Here is a chart we clipped from Miami Today (January 17, 2013 edition) prepared by EWM Realty that shows how the market has performed in the past ten years in Miami-Dade County - the graphic includes Inventory, Sales, and Prices...

Our Sunday Opens (early so you don't miss the Super Bowl)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Website Shows You Street View of Any Address

This is a really neat website that a friend sent. I found all of my old houses on it - find any address in the world...

Monday, January 21, 2013

Opening Night of Other Desert Cities at Actors' Playhouse

Cindy Birdsill, Ginger Jochem, Marti Bueso and Yolanda Woodbridge.
We attended the opening night of Other Desert Cities at Actors' Playhouse. It was a wonderful performance and the press seems to think so, too. Enjoy these photos. The show plays at the Miracle Theatre through February 10th. Box Office: 305-444-9293.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Buy Your Tickets to the 4th Annual Coral Gables TOUR of KITCHENS!

The Tour of Kitchens is an annual fund raising event of the Coral Gables Community Foundation. TheTour is in its fourth year and will return on Saturday, January 26th, 2013, 10 AM-2 PM.  The Tour features the kitchens of select private homes in Coral Gables, Florida. Tickets are $50 per person and are all-inclusive. Varying from eight to ten homes each year, the Tour offers a variety of experiences: food tastings, cooking demonstrations, vendors offering kitchen-themed merchandise, table settings, cookbook author signings, local celebrity chefs, and a glimpse into some very fabulous homes!

To buy your tickets:
Email -
Call -         305-446-9670
Website -

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Home Prices Expected to Rise in 2013

The Home Price Index report just released by CoreLogic shows home sales prices increased in 2012 by 7.5% and predicts they are on the road to rise 6% in 2013, leading to a continued housing recovery.

Read the Florida Realtors article and access the full report.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Florida Gets a "B-" Grade from StudentsFirst

The advocacy group StudentsFirst published a "report card" that ranks states by grade (A through F) based on how well they use education reform laws and policies to serve students and schools.  

Florida is one of only two states to get a "B-" and was at the top of the list of schools with better policies.

Read the NY Times article.

Read the StudentsFirst press release.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Are you selling a home or lot in Coral Gables?

Our Clients are looking for...
·        Two 4-bedroom homes in the $800,000 to $950,000 range in Coral Gables north of Sunset. 
·        A 3-bedroom/2-bath home in Coral Gables for $500,000 to $600,000.
·         A 7,000 square foot or larger lot in the Gables for a builder to put up a spec house (could have a tear-down home on it).

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Trulia, Zillow are not as reliable as Realtors

I thought I should post this interesting report from Florida Realtors about the reliability of Trulia and Zillow:

According to the study funded by Redfin, online listing services such as Trulia and Zillow didn’t have the same accuracy as broker-owned websites, in large part because licensed agents have direct access to a local Multiple Listing Service (MLS)...