Buying a House in Miami

There are several very difficult aspects of buying a house in Miami.
#1. Finding a realtor that works with you and for you.
#2. Finding a home in Miami that is not either a million dollars or torn up and destroyed... or both!
#3. Location, location, location.  Good luck finding a good location.
#4. The monopoly that is insurance.
#5. Trust no one

Let's look into this more closely...
We went through 4 realtors in 6 months.  FOUR.  FOUR!  Is that not absurd?!
The first told me that she had a lot of things going on in her private life and didn't have the time to work with us in the manner in which we wanted to work.
The second took us out once and then stopped returning our phone calls and emails... that's good business... very professional.
The third took us out once also but then was going on vacation and doing a bunch of other things and basically couldn't take us out again for some time.
FINALLY, the fourth saw us through all the way, but we still didn't like her.  She weighed us down with every single problem or bump in the road.  She bullied us into using HER lender (we didn't), HER contractor (we didn't), HER insurance agent (we did), and HER inspector (we did).  We are convinced that she gets a cut from each of her contacts.  But alas, finally, finally, finally, she worked out for us... and her payoff was sweet, I'm sure.

Miami is ridiculous.  The crappiest home is overpriced.  When people are shortsaling or foreclosing, they literally TRASH their house.  It's horrible.  It gives you such a jaded view of what the people in this city are really like.  And seriously, the prices!  Unless everyone is either a doctor or lawyer, HOW do they afford it?!  Oh yeah, they're in debt to their eyeballs!
Not only that, but when you're looking for a house in Miami, you have to move FAST!  Like, if the listing has been on the market for even ONE day, it's usually gone already.  Why?  Because there are tons of investors who come from South America with lots and lots of CASH.  And they can outbid and out buy you any day.  A bank will take their cash offer over your financed one in a heartbeat.  Even though, these properties are usually either going to be rentals or flipped, the bank would rather get it off their hands pronto.  So, that's why we couldn't wait for realtor #1 or #3 to get their personal lives in order... every day that passed, we were missing out on opportunities!
Also, shady things go on... one time we were sent to a house that hadn't even hit the market yet.  It was GOING to be on the market later that week but we were getting first dibs at it.  We, along with like 20 other couples were going to see the house in the same hour.  It was so shady and it felt wrong.  Like we were cheating the system... we didn't feel right about it and didn't put an offer down.  But if everyone is doing that... going to see and put offers of homes that are not even out yet, then how does that give equal buying power to everyone!?  It doesn't!

Miami locations.  You'd have to live here to really understand.  But basically, you can cross the street and be in the ghetto or cross another street and be in little Cuba or cross another street and be in the richest area in the city.
Our only qualifications for location was to either be close to US1(yellow line on right, also called South Dixie Hwy), the Palmetto (Orange line in middle), the Turnpike (Another orange line to the left) or Krome (Last street to the left before going into the green which is the Everglades).  Mauricio works up North in a city named Hialeah... and there is NO WAY on God's green Earth I was going to be living there.
Click to enlarge
But you see, I didn't really want to live off of Krome because it's so far west that you can have alligators roaming your backyard (I exaggerate, but it is practically the Everglades) and to go anywhere at all, you'd have to battle traffic moving East.  It's horrible.
I didn't really want to live off of the Palmetto, because the further North you get, the more hispanic you get... and I'm hispanic.  But look, I don't want to shop at the Publix called SABROSO.  Ew, gross.
I didn't mind living off the Turnpike so long as it wasn't in Doral.  But the prices were very high.
My number one choice was US1.  And thankfully, that's what we got.
Miami is so tricky with locations.  Once we saw a lovely old home in what we thought was a good area, then we turned the corner and we were scared of being in the middle of a gang deal.  So you've got to be really careful and really persistant.

When you're financing a house, you need to get homeowners insurance.  The bank will not approve your loan without it.  And really, being in Florida, aka hurricane country, NOT having insurance is NOT an option.  The problem with the insurance situation, specifically in Miami, is that there is only ONE company that offers coverage.  ONE.  That's it.  How that's even allowed, I don't know?  Isn't that the very definition of a monopoly?  Every other insurance company has pulled out of the city for one of two reasons... the risk is too high with the constant hurricanes, OR the fraud.  Miami is completely corrupt.  So there is ONE company that still offers... but they also have the ability to charge whatever they desire... and because there is no competitor, we have no other option but to accept and pay it.  The price gauging is over the top.  And there is nothing we can do about it.  How is this fair?  How does no one do anything about this?  We paid over $6000 for insurance this year.  Hello, isn't that a bit much?! Yikes.

This leads me to my final point.  Trust no one.  Not your realtor, not your lender, not your inspector... no one.  Like I said, Miami is corrupt.  As previously stated in point #2, shady things are happening all the time.  It's dog eat dog.  Realtors are bullies, trying to get you to buy their own listings so that they reap both commissions.  Sellers are ripping out floors and stealing light fixtures just because they're angry that they had to foreclose due to their poor judgement and decisions.  Inspectors and working on the side with contractors to say you need more work done than you actually do need.  Insurance companies are charging higher than ever because people take advantage of the smallest storm to renovate their kitchen with granite countertops and stainless steel appliances for FREE.  Everyone is trying to suck every last penny out of your bank account... and they will if you let them!

I pray I never have to buy another house in this retched city.  And if you're thinking about moving to Miami... think again.


Shawna said...

Sounds lovely! haha. Let's just say this post made me *very* glad we live in small town Iowa lol. Even if we do have to deal with snow! ;-)