Saturday, October 25, 2008

Icon South Beach


450 Alton Road

A unique and contemporary two-tiered residential tower at a great location, the ICON rises 35 and 40 floors, on 7 acres lushly landscaped and 1,000 feet of bay front.

Icon South Beach Features:

Heated bayfront lap pool and whirlpool spa

Elevated infinity edge bayfront swimming pool

Modern Health Spa and Fitness Center equipped with sauna and steam room

Resident cafe on the bay

Pool bar and grill serving fun, casual fare

A multi-story grand lobby with soaring 20-foot ceilings created by world-renowned designer Philippe Starck and Yoo Ltd.

40 feet long magnificent reception desk

Lounge at the foot of a gigantic pink looking glass encasing a glowing fireplace

A 24-foot golden urn-shaped coffee and tea area with a kitchenette

Porte cochere entry

24-hour complimentary valet parking

State-of-the-art building wired for high-speed Internet, and TV cable

Concierge staff with complete services including housekeeping, laundry and dry cleaning.

Billiard Room

Conference Room

Business Services

24-hour computer monitored security and fire prevention systems

Icon South Beach Residences features:

9-foot ceilings

Spacious walk-in closets

Tinted, impact proof tempered glass.

Icon South Beach Kitchens:

Sub-Zero built-in refrigerator-freezer

Miele appliances

European custom cabinetry

Marble or granite countertops

Icon South Beach bathrooms:

Philippe Starck fixtures

Fine European cabinetry

Whirlpool bathtub in Master

Marble flooring.

South Beach:

At the Southern end of Miami Beach, a section about 25 blocks long, stretches alongside the ocean. In less than 20 years it has undertaken an incredible change from a long row of run-down hotels, mostly occupied by retirees, to one of the best known world tourist destination.

Hundreds of nightclubs, restaurants, hotels, luxurious residences are the constant playground of top jet-set, sports, fashion, cinema and arts personalities.

The white sand of South Beach is a special mix of local tradition and world-class boutiques, stores, where the eccentric meets the bohemian, long haired northern beauties alternate with gorgeous stylish Latinas. At night, the local crowd and international tourists dressed up in varieties of luxurious and informal casual attires will stroll along Ocean Drive and Lincoln Road. Exotic cars, traffic jams, noise, music are only part of the fun.

South Beach hosts a variety of cultural, art and exhibition events. The Convention Center, The New World Symphony, Concerts at different clubs, Museums and Galleries, can keep you busy every day of the year.

Of course, the best way to enjoy South Beach could be just to walk, or rent a bike or scooter, or just enjoy the lights, the breeze and the beautiful people.

When looking to buy or rent a Condo in South Beach please check our CONDO SEARCH where you can review all listings in most of the Condominium buildings in South Beach.

If you are looking for a condo or home in South Beach, we at can assist you and help you find the South Beach home, vacation home or investment property, that you are searching for. Our great experience in South Florida Real Estate and our friendly attention will make all the difference

If you would like to search the listings of condos for sale at Icon South Beach,


For more information, please call

Henry B. Nathan - United Realty Group Inc.

(954) 296-6741


Henry B. Nathan is a Florida Realtor at United Realty Group Inc.Visit my website: you can search for Aventura Condos, Florida Condos,

Saturday, October 18, 2008

How much realtors get in a short sale

Bank have in general the standard of never allowing more than a 5% to be split between the two brokers involved - listing broker and buyer broker.

However I have seen cases where only 1% was offered.

In most cases, the listing states that commissions are not guaranteed, which in plain English could mean that the bank can pay the brokers whatever they want at the moment of the closing.

In effect, in real life, when the broker has presented a customer to a seller (in this case the bank), he will not be able to back up if a deal is agreed upon, where the bank offers a very low commission.

I have seen one case of a deal where the bank offered $ 1,000 flat in a $ 200,000 listing.

It could sound enough. But it does not when you realize that most realtors do a few sales every year, after hard work, hundreds of showings and uncountable calls and "busted deals".

Henry B. Nathan is a Florida Realtor at United Realty Group Inc.Visit my website: you can search for Aventura Condos, Florida Condos,

Saturday, October 11, 2008

More about foreclosure and short sales

October 12, 2008 By Henry B. Nathan

For the last couple of years or so, the new terms “short-sale”, “pre-foreclosure”, “bank-owned” have become very familiar to any active realtor.

Yes, there are courses and classes and conferences to make us aware of the opportunities of this new sector in real estate. And I am continuously receiving emails offering leads on foreclosures and short sales and “BPO’s”.

I have been involved in a few short sales and I even lend occasionally advice to people who ask me what I know about the subject. The fact is that there is not so much to explain about it. It’s just a logical way that a lender can use to handle bad or problem-loans and cut its losses.

So far so good. However, every time I get involved in a short sale or “pre-foreclosure” deal, the bizarre takes over the rational, and weirdness supersedes common sense. Let me explain why I think so:

1) There are some conventions in how we usually handle a real estate sale in the US. Usually we list a property when a seller designates us as his “listing agent” and we place it on the MLS. There are some requisites to do that. He must give us an exclusive right of sale; otherwise we wouldn’t put it on the system.

2) If we have a buyer looking for a property, we will search on the MLS system and establish a relationship with its “listing agent” by asking to show it to our buyer, or requesting additional information.

3) Once an offer is made, an answer is received within a short term, usually 2 or 3 days. It can be an acceptance, a counteroffer, or a rejection. A non-reply within the given term is considered a negative answer.
Now let’s compare this to what a bank involved in a short sale, or foreclosure sale usually does:

A) After talking to his bank, the seller of the troubled property agrees with a real estate agent to list his condo for sale in the MLS. The agent will place a special clause in the listing, stating its special status as a short sale and its contingency to a bank’s approval.

B) When an offer is received, the bank sometimes requires that it must be accompanied by a loan approval or a proof of funding if it’s a cash offer.

C) The buyer’s agent will often find a clause in the listing, stating that no commission is guaranteed. It is known that banks do not like to pay co-operating brokers more than a 2.5% compared to the usual 3%, but even this is not guaranteed. You must accept whatever the bank will definitely wants to pay you. No discussion.

Do you think that this is the perfect way for the banks to attract the best and most motivated realtors? Work double for less money?
Usually, in a buyers' market, a smart seller often increases the commission, so buyers’ agents are motivated to give him some priority. But apparently, banks have discovered that they can dictate their conditions, nickel-and-dime us so that they can save a few pennies after sinking billions of dollars in dubious transactions. Naming a listing agent who lives 200 miles away from the property isn't the smartest move either.
But let's not discuss their marketing skills.
They must know what they are doing.

D) When an offer is presented, the bank does not answer within any agreed period.

E) First difference: the listing agent does not remove the property from the MLS.

F) Second difference: the bank can take many months to reply. Meanwhile other offers are frequently received and presented to the bank by the listing agent. The process gradually resembles an auction and the higher bidder might get finally an answer. Or not.

G) Third difference. When a buyer’s agent contacts a bank-owned or foreclosure sale, and even some short sales, we often observe that the same agent or broker has his name on a lot of listings. This agent is sometimes based in a location that is distant from the property. I have seen brokers in Tampa handling listings in Miami. Do these guys have some special connection with the bank? What is the criteria of the banks when they choose their listing brokers?

Frankly, I don’t get any calls from any bank offering me listing business. And I have called a few of these “loss-mitigation” departments! I haven't seen many of the best agents in my area involved in this kind of transactions, either.

H) Fourth difference: Frequently, many of these listing agents don’t even bother to show the property. They designate a “showing company” to take the buyer’s agent call and arrange a showing, usually by means of a lock-box key.
The “showing company” does not usually provide information about the property.
So much for great sales techniques, indeed.

I) Fifth difference: these listing agents very often do not respond at all to phone calls or emails. Perhaps because of the sheer amount of listings they carry, or because they are just disgusted by the whole process. It was transparent to me in some of the cases where I was involved that these listing agents didn’t care too much. In all truth, it looked like nobody cared, except me and the buyer. Some business must result though, and I am not trying to mock or belittle those agents; it's just the whole system that looks so unprofessional.

K) In the case of a short sale, the listed price doesn’t mean too much. It can be very low to attract offers. The listing can sometimes falsely indicate that the price was “approved by the bank”. Correct me if I am wrong but It often bears the mark of “bait and switch”.

L) Now let us study the short-sale transaction from the seller’s point of view: he has possibly initiated the case providing the information required by the bank, often with the assistance of the real estate agent who will list it on the MLS.

M) The seller starts calling the bank. He will get all kind of conflictive information. A different employee will respond to his call every time and everybody looks completely disconnected from what has been done so far. They hang up promising him to call him back the next day, which of course never happens. In many cases, when the seller asks to know what is the exact pay-off of his mortgage, he can get different amounts every time.

N) The seller often gets simultaneous calls from the bank, threatening foreclosure. He sometimes tries to explain that there is a short sales procedure going on. But in spite of having spoken to dozens of bank employees, nobody seems to have any idea of what has been done the day before.

Does this look like a comedy? You bet.

Everybody chasing his own tail in a mad dance. That’s what it looks like.

My personal opinion: Complete disaster. Ridiculous. Tragic. Catastrophic.

A waste of my time, and everybody’s time.

They are the reason I lost a couple of possible sales, and gained the frustration of a few good buyers with cash in hand. I now try to discourage my clients of getting involved in this joke. Am I wrong? Maybe.

But if these banks expect to get out of this mess, they’d better get their act together.


Henry B. Nathan is a Florida Realtor at United Realty Group Inc.Visit my website: you can search for Aventura Condos, Florida Condos,

Bailing out the idiots
...or is there something fishy?

It's amusing, but I don't feel like smiling.

It would be funny if it didn't look very suspicious. The background of the bank crisis makes this case quite eye-opening. It illustrates some of the incredible things that are happening in the real estate and mortgage markets, while our government is embarking on the largest bailout in history.

I am a licensed Florida realtor. In July 2008, one of my clients called me to place an offer on a condo listed in the MLS by another realtor. Located in Hollywood, it was listed for sale at $238,000.

I called the listing agent and he informed me that it was a SHORT SALE, which, as you know, means that the mortgage lender is willing to take a loss. Some time ago, the bank had refused an offer for $ 250,000 but, after a few months, the situation had deteriorated so much that they had lowered their price and would be very open to negotiations.

At the request of my customer, I put immediately presented an offer of $199,000 CASH, with no contingency, which was transmitted to the bank by the listing agent. As required, we provided the bank with the proof of liquid funds that my clients had ready to close.

I did not hear from the bank. I periodically checked with the listing agent who had the contact with the bank. He kept telling me that the bank was silent and had not replied yet.
He told me a couple of times that our offer was the only one and that he hoped that the deal would go through.

About a week ago, I called him again. This time the news was different. The listing agent told me that the bank had foreclosed on the property. Then, the bank gave it to another realtor for sale and it was placed on the Realtors MLS system. Very quickly, the bank got some offers and signed a contract to sell it for $155,000.

I called the new listing agent who is selling the foreclosed condo.
He tried to explain that what looked funny was "usual" since banks have 2 separate divisions, one for foreclosures and the second for short sales, and that they don't act in a coordinate manner. I don't buy into this foolishness. I am sure that a simple note in the file would have made clear to anybody involved in the bank that there was a solid cash offer for $199,000.

The bottom line is that there is no reason why a bank can foreclose on a property where they had an offer to sell for $199,000 and instantly list it (after foreclosure) and sell it for $155,000. That evidently would increase the loss of the bank by $44,000 plus the usual foreclosure expenses. That is an additional loss of about 22%

Later on, I had a conversation with the listing agent who had handled my short-sale offer and he was evidently distressed since he had worked with the seller for a long time, getting offers for up to $250,000 which were systematically ignored or refused by the lender. The outstanding debt was apparently of about $ 288,000. That meant a loss of a little more than 10% on the loan. The bank ended up taking an almost 50% loss. This is one of the major banks. It might be a peanuts case, compared to the hundred of billions these big banks are holding in their portfolios, but still a significant example.

The seller had apparently tried to save his property from foreclosure by selling another apartment, and keep paying his mortgage. But, later on, he opted to put it in short sale hoping to minimize the loan default and salvage his credit.

The realtor told me that after this experience he was considering retiring from this business.

This is not about the loss of a commission by me and the other agent.
Frankly speaking, the point is that this smells very "fishy".

The whole situation could only be one of two things. Complete stupidity, or fraud. Actually I wouldn't worry too much about a bank mishandling their business. But at this point, our whole banking system is being "bailed out" with taxpayers' money and we have the right to know.

Traditionally, there was a fairly transparent way of conducting sales and purchases of real estate. Lately, a very different environment is encountered by many professionals, and some of us fear that, even when people are losing their homes and our whole economy is deeply troubled, some persons or organizations could be involved in unscrupulous dealings.

Although I am not making any accusation, this case is, in my opinion, very strange. Of course, there is also the strong possibility that it's just one more instance of the banking mess, and that this is a case of plain bureaucratic stupidity.

Will our money be used to bail out this kind of businesses?

October 11th, 2008

Henry B. Nathan is a Realtor in South Florida. Please visit my website and search of the top real estate database. Great Search Tools will make your search enjoyable and successful.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

The Wave Condos on Hollywood Beach

The Wave Condos in Hollywood Beach
2501 S. Ocean Drive

A good alternative for nice condos on Hollywood Beach. Check this out.

Built in 1968
Completely renovated in 2004
550 Units
17 Floors

A beachfront condominium building, in a great location.
It is the product of a recent condo conversion. Building has sustained extensive renovation.

A great alternative on Hollywood Beach, right on the sand.

Studios, one and two-bedroom units.
Many with good ocean views.

Preferred by beach lovers, a relaxed atmosphere is the mark of the Wave.
Well located, close to the Hollywood Boardwalk, the Diplomat Hotel, and a short drive to the Casinos and Aventura Mall.


Heated pool and spa
Party room
Fitness Center
Valet Parking
Executive room with wireless internet
Billiards room
Piano Room
Washer/Dryer in unit

For more information, please call
Henry B. Nathan
(954) 296-6741

Henry B. Nathan is a Realtor in South Florida. Please visit my website and search of the top real estate database. Great Search Tools will make your search enjoyable and successful.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

More on Davie and creativity in taxation

October 2, 2008,

I got the news that Davie’s Town Council has postponed a proposed ordinance on billing drivers involved in accidents, to cover the cost of police and fire-rescue.

The proposed fee is of about $ 940 per incident, including the cost of an independent contractor acting as the collection agency.

A decision on the subject is expected in two weeks.

The general outrage might have caused the delay.

I take it as a sign of our cities’ rebellion against their citizens’ decision to limit their unbridled spending. The modest reductions in property taxes gained so far by legislature rulings and constitutional amendments are gradually being upset by new charges and fees for services that are included in the normal function of our government and have always been covered by the taxes collected.

This kind of sneaky double-taxation has been going on for a while. But this new one is just too much.

Congratulation to Michael Mayo, whose article I just read in today’s Sun Sentinel.

For cash-strapped cities, crash fees could be just the start.

Michael Mayo - News Columnist - October 2, 2008

Accident response fees?

Brilliant. That's the proposal being kicked around in Davie.

Can't wait to see what cash-strapped local governments think of next.

In beachfront cities, how about lifeguard fees? Kayak rescue: $50. CPR: $500. Getting to swim another day: Priceless.

Or how about expedited fire response fees? A cool grand if you want a pumper truck to douse those flames within 10 minutes. Water, of course, would be extra.

Or how about public-meeting speaking fees? Something like $20 a minute. Hey, free speech is still free, but those microphones and cameras for your town's webcasts cost money.

Pardon my dripping sarcasm, but I'm ticked about this Davie plan, which got a thumbs-up on first reading last month and will be back on the Council agenda Oct. 15 after being tabled on Wednesday.

It's basically a city money grab on insurance companies by a third-party vendor, the Cost Recovery Corporation of Dayton, Ohio. According to CRC president Regina Moore, the company would get roughly 10 percent of the amount billed. The city would get the rest.

The proposed contract calls for at-fault drivers in accidents to pay for everything from the number of cops to the type of fire-rescue equipment called out to the scene.

It would even bill for the amount of time a police officer had to spend in court testifying as a witness ($80 an hour, according to the company's fee schedule).

According to the proposed ordinance, when "a no-fault declaration is made, the fee imposed may be proportionately charged to all drivers involved."


The fees would be billed to nonresidents and residents alike. Call me naive and hopelessly old-fashioned, but I always thought some municipal services were part of the civic compact, paid by tax dollars. Things like emergency rescue and police response to wrecks.

Welcome to government as user-fee capitalism, where a price will be put on everything.

"Where does it end?" Davie Mayor Tom Truex said Wednesday. At first, Truex supported a limited recovery fee plan for major accidents on major highways that run through Davie, like Interstate 595. But he opposes the broader plan.

"It's not a crash recovery fee," he said. "It's an accident tax."

Moore said the concept has been successful in many cities, encouraging safer driving and leading to a reduction in accidents.

Or maybe it just leads to an increase in unreported minor accidents.

She insisted that wasn't the case. She also insisted it wouldn't lead to hit-and-runs. She must not know South Florida very well.

A 2006 policy brief by the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies called the fee "a form of double taxation" and criticized CRC for "employing aggressive and threatening tactics" to collect fees.

"Simply untrue," Moore said.

Moore said those responsible for accidents should pay for costly services they require. So why not charge swimmers who get caught in riptides for lifeguards?

"You're taking it to a complete extreme," she said.

No, that's taking this to its logical conclusion.

Don't like the direction things are headed? Write your local elected officials.

But if you want them to read your thoughts, that might be a $10 bifocal maintenance fee, please.

Henry B. Nathan is a Florida Real Estate Professional. Please visit my website to search for

Florida Condos, Hallandale Condos, Aventura Condos, Hollywood Condos, Sunny Isles Condos