Buying real estate in Miami can be a great investment, but there are a few things potential buyers should keep in mind. First, it’s important to have a good understanding of the local market and the different neighborhoods within the city. This will help you find the right property in the right location at the right price. Second, be prepared to negotiate with the seller and clearly understand what you’re willing to pay for a property. Third, get a home inspection to ensure the property is in good condition. And finally, be prepared for the costs associated with buying a home, such as closing costs and other hidden fees. Here are F.A.Q.s when buying Miami real estate.
We in Florida share the same database of properties, whether Miami, Miami Beach, Brickell, Bal Harbour, Sunny Isles Beach, or anywhere else in the Sunshine State. One great broker can deliver the results you’re seeking rather than having to call several agents and eventually see the same property twice and, as they say, step on toes. Find someone you trust (and like) and let them do the work to show you the best properties meeting your criteria. They are your liaison and trusted advisor for all things Miami real estate.
When purchasing 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. Ask your agent or broker if they charge a buyer or seller processing fee. Usually, $295 to $495 is paid at closing. This is negotiable. Although a rarity, a buyer might pay a real estate commission when buying an off-market or FSBO (for sale by owner) property. This could be advantageous as a tax-deductible expense so check with your CPA.
Miami and Miami Beach are 2 different cities in 2 different locations. Miami is on the mainland of Florida, and Miami Beach is an island 2 miles east of Miami. There are no beaches in Miami. The beaches are located in Miami Beach.
South Beach (SoBe) is not a city but the southernmost point of Miami Beach, spanning 23rd Street south to 1st Street. Mid-Beach, or what used to be known as Millionaire’s Row, spans from 24th Street to 63rd Street. North Beach (NoBe) spans 63rd Street to 87th Street ending at Surfside and the North Beach Oceanside Park.
A buyer’s closing costs will 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 cost is approximately $250-$1200 (depending on property size) for a basic inspection, which is a small price to pay for peace of mind and the knowledge of what you’re buying. The seller pays the doc stamps ($.70/$100) for the deed recording, not the buyer.
In Miami, cash is only sometimes 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 the sales prices. You will NOT be able to obtain financing for some Miami condos, regardless of your credit score or income, based on Fannie Mae’s guidelines. Please feel free to contact us for a more in-depth explanation. You cannot always depend on a pre-approval letter when financing a condo in Miami. The building itself must also qualify.
There is no absolute way to calculate property taxes before closing, regardless of what the current owner is paying; however, in Miami-Dade County, the rule of thumb for estimating your property taxes is approximately 1.75% of the purchase price. Here is the Miami-Dade Tax Estimator so you are aware in advance.
Monthly maintenance fees on a condo are calculated based on the square footage of the livable area or area “under A/C,” meaning under the 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. For instance, if you have a condo on the 7th floor and a condo on the 57th floor of the same building, the maintenance fee per square foot will be the same on both condos. The average price per square foot for a Miami condo is $0.85 psf as of 2022. This usually includes all building amenities such as common areas (manager, pool & landscaping), water, sewer, garbage, cable, and internet. Rarely does it cover your electricity (electricity via FPL.com).
Use caution when purchasing a 2-story loft-style condo, as developers may count the “air space” above the living room in their floor plan when quoting the square footage of the living area.
Nearly all Miami condos that include a parking space consist of assigned parking, not deeded parking. This means the space is assigned to you and controlled by the condominium association. You cannot purchase or sell parking spaces in a condo building unless it is deeded. Further, assigned parking spaces are owned by the respective condo association and assigned to individual owners, which technically means the condo association could change an owner’s parking space in a building to a different space, even though this rarely happens. Ask the association to confirm in writing. When you are buying a Miami condo, the condo rider of a purchase agreement asks for a specific parking space number(s) for the respective condo being sold. Also, have the title company draft an assignment of parking to sign at the closing because parking for many condo owners in Miami is very important.
Many condos in Miami have private valet companies that manage their valet services. For these condos, owners and tenants can sometimes pay a flat monthly rate for a valet space for their unit, separate from the in-and-out fee paid by guests. This must be negotiated with the valet company that manages the respective building directly and do it before the purchase.
Always check a condo association’s pet policy rules before making an offer. A building that allows pets for owners does not necessarily allow pets for tenants. Whether you are an owner or a tenant, you should call the condo association for the pet policy.
Another important item to know before your purchase a Miami condo is the building’s rental policy. More than 85% of the time, the building will allow 1-year lease terms only. Another 10% consists of associations allowing 3-6 month terms and, on rare occasions, single-month lease terms. Less than 5% of the time, you cannot rent at all, or as with condo-hotel properties, nightly rentals that are also capable of Airbnb.
You will have 15 days of due diligence upon signing the contract and making your first escrow deposit. You can use this time to present the developer contract to a trusted attorney and broker, so you can fully understand what you’re buying on paper. Many units purchased pre-construction from a developer are delivered “decorator-ready,” which means a condo is delivered with a kitchen and bathrooms built out but no flooring, trim, closets, or window treatments. If you purchase a decorator-ready condo, be prepared to hire a contractor to finish the condo which may take a few months after closing. Lately, some units purchased pre-construction from a developer are delivered “built-out,” which means that a condo is delivered with flooring, trim, and white walls. Still, you must hire a vendor to install window treatments and build custom closets after closing. When buying a Miami pre-construction condo, many developers will give you options for flooring, kitchen cabinetry, and kitchen countertops with optional upgrades that will complete the condo at closing.
Stop Searching. Start Living.
Whether you’re seeking a waterfront home, a remodeled condo, a Miami Beach penthouse for sale, off-market properties, investment opportunities, or relocation assistance for your family and team, I’ll have it customized and ready for you. Contact me for a curated list of properties, and let’s discuss your ideas and vision for South Florida.
Let’s Connect On…
An expert in South Florida coastal properties, my specialty areas include South Beach, Miami Beach, Sunny Isles Beach, Aventura, Bal Harbour, Bay Harbor Islands, Surfside, Miami Shores, Hollywood, Brickell, Downtown, Wynwood-Edgewater-Midtown, Key Biscayne, Bay Harbour Islands, Coconut Grove, Coral Gables, and Fort Lauderdale (East of US1).
At Sotheby’s, Your Vision is Our Inspiration.
You have ONE life to live. You should expect the most from it. At ONE Sotheby’s International Realty, we are inspired by giving extraordinary lives a home to thrive. Many know Sotheby’s International for its brand heritage, prestige, propensity for perfection, and, quite simply, immense global reach. As curator of luxury real estate, it’s my pleasure to connect you with the world’s best real estate brand. We have a vast global network of friends & colleagues who offer a bespoke experience wherever you reside. Locally, I offer exceptional real estate and client services with the leading firm, ONE Sotheby’s International Realty.
Technology & Resources
The Miami Beach Real Estate Blog is an excellent resource for South Florida residential real estate data and property information. Check back often to learn about Miami real estate opportunities & trends.
- Jade Condos Sunny Isles Beach
- What’s My Home Worth Today?
- Marketing Your Property
- Join the VIP group
- Client Reviews
- Sotheby’s the Auction House
Who You Are
You are a client, not a customer. You can expect confidentiality and risk assessment with accurate information to build your net worth as a client. Knowledge is protection.
- Clients are under the protection of a professional.
- Customers purchase a commodity or service.