Moving to Miami – A local’s take

Beach on South of Fifth

I was born and raised in Miami so writing this comes pretty easy to me. Let me start by saying I do not have a journalism degree and I write as if I were speaking so you might catch some grammatical errors here and there. Anyone looking to move to Miami should consider a few things first…

Yes, the recent tax reform has caused many wealthy Americans to move to Florida in droves, with most choosing Miami. Make no mistake about it if you are a high-income earner this new reform can save you hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars plus you get to enjoy great year-round weather.

Yes, even Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull made a song about this topic “Move to Miami” which means many people do consider moving to Miami, and why wouldn’t you. It’s an amazing place to live. Is it perfect here? No, but Miami has a lot to offer.

I always tell people that Miami is not only part of the US but also part of the Caribbean. For its relaxed atmosphere and vibe, amazing beaches and people from all over the world. To see what I mean about the amazing beaches take a look at the beaches of Miami Beach from Google Maps – Miami Beach and you will notice their light blue colors that resemble many of the favorite Caribbean beaches. As you can tell I am a beach lover and I can continue talking about the beaches, but then that won’t really help you. So here it is…

Moving to Miami – A local’s take on how to start your real estate search.

Are you moving to Miami because of a job transfer? This kinda makes it easier for you because your search should be limited to a home within 5-7 miles of your job. You must take into account that Miami is quickly becoming a major metropolitan city and commute times must be factored into the equation of your home search. Our public transportation is a “work in progress” so proximity to your job should be looked at closely. Don’t be lured into moving a bit further to “save money” you will lose money sitting in your car on your way to and from work, and it will also add stress to your life.

Commute times must be factored in, and which direction are you travelling to and from. Do not move out West to save money if you will work in Downtown Miami or Brickell. Even though on a map it’s 10-12 miles that morning commute will take you over 1 hour, and if there is an accident it can take as long as 2 hours. The morning commute is much easier if you travel East to West or South to North. Example, if you were to get a job in Downtown Miami or Brickell the best solution would be to live in those areas but if you don’t want to then the easiest commute would be to live East which would be on Miami Beach. Do not move north to Aventura or Sunny Isles because that North to South commute in the mornings is one of the worst in town, and so is that afternoon drive home. I can write an entire blog about commuting to work in Miami but I will limit it to this section.

Are you moving to Miami and also need to move your business? This gives you free rein on where to move both your business and yourself. I would say the only “real hub” would be if you are in banking or financial services, most can be found in Brickell and Downtown Miami otherwise you can choose to move wherever you like best. I still suggest moving within 5-7 miles of where you will have your business and it’s also a good idea to have your business in a central location that’s easy for you and your employees to get to everyday.

Are you moving to Miami and have kids? – Are you sending your kids to Private school or Public? This matters, and could possible dictate where you will live. Let me give you a real world example – I will leave my clients name out though 😉

A couple of years ago I was helping a client of mine move from Brazil to Miami. He is married with 3 children ages 5-10 at the time. He told me… Jose I am moving my family to Miami and I want them to go to one of the top private schools in Miami. Now a little history first. He had bought a nice 2 bed 2 bath as a 2nd residence in one of the top buildings in South of Fifth, so he was a bit familiar with the different areas of Miami.

Long story short… from the start he thought he wanted a larger unit in the same building or neighboring buildings because he loved South of Fifth and the beaches, and he had also bought a boat which he kept at the Miami Beach Marina. So our search in the beginning was focused on a 3-4 bedroom condo in South of Fifth. They really liked one which happened to be in their same building, and they wanted to buy it and submit an offer. Keep in mind they were travelling back and forth from Brazil to Miami to see properties so time was of the essence. At the same time we were also looking into the private schools in Miami. My advice to him was the following: Let’s pick a school first and make sure we can get the 3 kids in, and then we can search for a home. Well… they finally picked the school which is in Pinecrest so that made our search a little more focused now.

I immediately thought about this scenario… 3 kids, different ages, different likes, they will be in different activities, etc… this means whoever is picking them up and dropping them off will have to make different trips as they will not all be ready to go at the same time. Then I thought… there is no way the parents will have a great experience if they live in South of Fifth and have to travel multiple times to and from the school especially considering this will be the first time they live anywhere outside of their home country. I then did what a consultant should always do. I talked to my client and his family and advised them about the commute and how long it will take and the various back and forth they will have to do while at the same time the kids will want to be closer to the school so they can also meet friends who live closeby. They thought about it and agreed with my advice and decided to narrow their search to near the school.

We then started to focus our search on homes around Pinecrest and Coral Gables and did not buy the penthouse. We ended up choosing a great home in the Pinecrest area just minutes to the school. Fast forward almost 4 years… and the kids and parents are so grateful for the home we found. When we speak or see each other they always thank me for not only helping them with the schools but also for advising them to live near their children’s school. Pat on the back for me! Please note that the condo sale would have been almost double the sale price of the house they purchased. This is how I have been trained and how I always carry myself… I put my clients interests first.

Do you buy a Miami Condo or a Single Family Home? This is more of a personal preference. What are you used to? How many are you? While homes offer more bang for their buck some people don’t care to have to maintain a home and they prefer living in a condo with all the amenities. Here’s an example – If you have a budget of $1,000,000 its easy to find, in a good and central neighborhood, a 2,000+ square foot, 3-4 bedroom home with a pool, but trying to find that in a condo within budget becomes a challenge especially since most condos tend to be smaller. Now, if you area a beach lover and want to be on the ocean then a condo is pretty much your only bet. Unless you don’t have a budget then you can buy an oceanfront single family home in Golden Beach for $20 million dollars.

Are you a boater and want to have your boat right behind your home? Most people would right away think that they can only search for a waterfront house, but that’s not the case. Here in Miami there  are condo buildings that have marinas, either as part of the complex or nearby. As a professional in this community I can guide you on which buildings have marinas and would best suit your needs.

Are you retired and moving to Miami? If you are retiring and wanting to move to Miami then this becomes more of a lifestyle decision. What do you like to do? If you want to sit on a beach all day then a beachfront condo on Miami Beach is your answer. Are you more of a city person and like to be in the center of it all. Then Brickell condo might be your best option, as Brickell is quickly becoming the center of Miami especially with the recently completed Brickell City Centre which is a mix of residences, shopping mall, movie theater, restaurants and nightlife.

At the end of the day. Always seek the advice of a real estate professional. We not only know the areas, but we will take the time to listen to your needs, and then make our recommendations. Yes, we can all search for homes for sale on our phones or tablets and look thru the pretty pictures and videos. That only gets you so far. Can you get lucky and find a great place to call home, I’m sure you can but then again why leave it up to chance. You need to engage in conversation with not only a professional but also a local who lives and works in the city you are planning on moving to. The guidance is immeasurable, and we will save you tons of time and energy and give you insights that you will not be able to find anywhere online. That is the added value we, as professionals, bring.

Best of luck with your Miami home search. Feel free to scroll around here blog and the main site, and please check back often. Thank you!


Disclaimer: the opinions and views expressed here are those of the author and do not represent any entity whatsoever with which I am now or will be affiliated. 

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