Brightline Brings New Era of Premium Train Travel to South Florida

It’s been 122 years since a train brought this much excitement to South Florida. That was when Henry Flagler’s Florida East Coast Railway reached Biscayne Bay and launched the development of “Mayaimi,” turning an unknown swath of coastal land into what would become one of the most famous cities in the world. A good idea is timeless, so it’s no surprise that All Aboard Florida’s Brightline, the 21st-century reincarnation of Flagler’s creation, was an instant success when it debuted this year to much fanfare. The only privately owned, operated, and maintained passenger rail system in the United States today – the first of its kind in over a century – carried its first passengers between Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach in January 2018. Service debuted to Miami in May, and Orlando is next on the line, with its launch expected in 2021. The express service with a focus on hospitality brings a premium alternative to the frustrating, time-consuming struggle of driving South Florida’s congested roads. Brightline travels between Miami and Fort Lauderdale in 33 minutes ($10 Smart, $15 Select each-way), between Miami and West Palm Beach in 75 minutes ($15 Smart, $25 Select each-way), and between Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach in 40 minutes ($10 Smart, $15 Select each-way). The travel time and cost to Orlando from the 3 other stations has not yet been confirmed. The American-made trains have 19-inch (Smart) and 21-inch (Select) wide seats; Free WiFi; outlets and USB jacks in all seats; food and beverage service including alcohol; storage for

Get Turned On: Home Automation is on the Rise

“Clap-on! Clap-off! Clap-on! Clap-off! The Clapper turns things on and off from anywhere in the room. I always remember that 80’s commercial – granny lying in bed, clapping off the lights in her room without having to get up. How ingenious, I thought. Call me lazy, but the moment I saw that commercial, I knew the Clapper was for me. I think I even put it on my Christmas list that year, but alas never got one. Thirty years later, The Clapper is still with us (available at Target for $16.39) but technology has gotten a lot more complicated and sophisticated. Now, even our cars light up and unlock their doors as they see you are approaching. Home Automation Home automation is definitely on the rise. This is the era of ‘smart homes’. It is projected that by 2020, 55% of households will be ‘smart’. A 2016 study found that nearly half of Americans already own or are planning to install smart technology in their homes. Home automation has certainly made life a lot easier. Even remotely, it allows you to control your home’s security, manage your home’s energy consumption, see what is happening in and around your home while you are away, and control the thermostat, appliances and lighting in your home from almost anywhere. Clapping is no longer necessary, now your cell phone, iPad or voice command technologies are the new control devices. As high-tech homes are becoming more popular and commonplace, we as professional Realtors must keep up, educate ourselves about different

Millennials: Home Buying Powerhouse

Millennials Power The Real Estate Market. For the fourth consecutive year, millennials are the largest group (33%) of home buyers in the nation, (66% of which are first time buyers) and Miami is one of their top ten destinations to buy. According to a recent study Miami ranks as the second most desired U.S. city for millennials to live in, not only because of the sunny weather but for diversity of job opportunities and its start up culture. What Millennials are buying If you are considering selling your home in the near future, it’s important to know what millennials are looking for. For one, they are doing away with a starter home from the get go, demanding more square footage (2000 to 2600 sq ft) with 3+bedrooms. Also gone: the fixer-upper. Millennials don’t want to bother with renovations.They want turn-key and smart homes. Open floor plans and gourmet/chef kitchens are ‘de rigueur’ as well as outdoor space for gardening, especiallygrowing vegetables. The pursuit of a healthier lifestyle is spurring this trend for gardening, which has now become a $36.9 Billion industry. South Miami offers great choices for Millennials Millennials are finding South Miami, with its varied real estate opportunities and great schools, a fantastic place to put down roots. For more detailed information on South Miami living, feel free to reach out to us at any time. Call The Monica Betancourt Group at 305-632-7248

Dog Gone Real Estate

What do dogs have to do with real estate Good school? ✅ Central location? ✅ Dog friendly? ✅ What millennial consider when buying a home. Yes! Dog friendly real estate has become an important consideration in millennials’ home buying decisions, ranking high on their “must have” lists alongside updated rooms, open floor plans and home offices. Googling “dog friendly real estate” brings up a slew of articles ranging from ‘sell your home by promoting it as pet friendly’ to Zillow’s pet friendly apartment searches, to Realtors specializing in this particular field. Since 2013, Realtor. com has a rental app called #AskOtis that provides information on dog friendly rentals as well as other ‘tail wagging good news’. Recently, a client of mine was seriously considering buying the less appealing home rather than the one she really liked because it was in close proximity to the neighborhood dog park. The traditional, shaded fenced yard would no longer ‘do’- what Cleopatra really needed, she insisted, was social interactions with other pooches. Sound crazy? Real facts about the millennial buyer Not really, especially when a recent Harris Poll on behalf of Sun Trust Mortgage found that 33% of millennials’ home buying decision is influenced by their dog. Dogs ranking as the top motivators of first time buyer, outranking marriage (25%) and the birth of a child(19%) by several notches. This year alone, according to the American Pet Products Association, Americans will spend over $69 billion on their pets. Talk about pet power! As a dog lover and dog owner

The Fairchild Coconut Grove Experience Presented by The Monica Betancourt Group

Serene waters. Crisp designs. Elite appliances. Sheer and utter elegance. Imagine all of the above being qualities of one place. The mind no longer has to try to conjure up such grandeur because The Fairchild: Coconut Grove is truly one of a kind. The Fairchild experience is “one of chic, comfort and convenience so you feel right at home, right away.” The Monica Betancourt Group had the pleasure of meeting with Patrick Vysata of One Sotheby’s International Realty, for a private preview of The Fairchild Coconut Grove. Upon walking inside the show room, The MBG team knew that it’d be something extremely special. The Fairchild features curated waterfront living, lavish residences, immaculate master bathrooms, gourmet chef kitchens, lavish amenities, wet bar cabinets, and distinguishing design features. Amongst the design features, The Fairchild offers twenty-six unique residences in a building designed by acclaimed architect Max Strang and very fine architecture by Rafael De Cardenas. The residences offer dedicated elevator lobbies, 11-ft ceiling heights throughout, 13-ft in penthouse, private outdoor living areas with bay views, natural stone flooring throughout, spacious custom walk-in closets, laundry rooms, service quarters and/or outdoor showers in select residences. The gourmet chef kitchens are fully equipped with: cabinetry by Poliform with integrated LED lighting, Sub-Zero column refrigerator, Sub-Zero column freezer, Wolf gas range with single and double ovens, Wolf Pro stainless steel hood with stainless steel backsplash (with integrated warming rack and heating lamps), Wolf transitional convection steam oven, Asko dishwasher, Quartz counter surfaces and plumbing fixtures by Dornbracht. The master bathrooms are

The Monica Betancourt Group – Miami Rental Rates Frenzy

                Miami has much to offer, from business opportunities to cultural diversity, educational expansion, world renowned health care and a multitude of entertainment and lifestyle options. It is no surprise then, that Miami has maintained its high ranking for having one of the nation’s most expensive rental rates. Zumper, an online rental listing site, conducted a study on the top 50 metropolitan areas across the United States. The results of the study, conducted in February 2015, showed that popular cities such as San Francisco, New York, Boston, Washington D.C., Chicago and Seattle were among the top 10 most expensive rental cities in the nation. Miami, listed as number eight, has been raising a bit of concern for both current and future Miami rental residents. Although Miami is not number one on the list, its renters are exhibiting a negative reaction because studies and trends are predicting that these monthly rates will continue to rise. So what is a Tenant to do? Well, for starters, I believe that renters should know this: on average, it costs $400/month more to rent than to own. The next thing that renters should note is the fact that mortgage rates are nearing record lows – which makes home ownership a more realistic goal for a lot of people. For some, renting has always been the “better” option due to the popular notion that Tenants evade property maintenance costs; however, this couldn’t be further from the truth, especially when you weigh the value in owning versus renting in the long run.