Tuesday, June 25, 2013


GOLDEN BEACH - A special place to live 

Stretching  on about 1.8 mile on the barrier island between the ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway, Golden Beach, at the northernmost tip of Dade County,  is only about four blocks wide, and an exclusive luxury-homes area. 

A bit closer to the Fort Lauderdale's than the Miami's airport, it borders with Sunny Isles Beach, Hallandale Beach, and Aventura.

Golden Beach is a gated city. Access through its pretty guard-house gives residents a sense of security and belonging.

Golden Beach Real Estate:

A total of about 370 homes can be found in Golden Beach. I will classify the rich mix of Mediterranean, modern, and traditional architecture of Golden Beach Homes, ranging from relatively small homes to imposing mansions, in three types:

Directly on the Ocean 
Of all Golden Beach homes, the ocean-side houses are the most valuable. If having your "own" beach is not enough to make you ecstatic, just imagine the unending view of water, sand and horizon from your window when waking up every morning.

Golden Beach Intracoastal and Canals Waterfront Homes.

Across the street from the Oceanside Homes, the Golden Beach homes on the Intracoastal waters appeal to boaters.  They have all private docks with ocean access. Docks are generally on deep canals and can accommodate anything from typical fishing boats to large yachts.   

The non-waterfront homes.  Not all homes in Golden Beach have a direct access to the canals. However they share the same amenities, private beach, and community life. The fact is a sizable amount of Golden Beach residents do not make the boating option their priority, but are rather attracted by the beautiful environment of Golden Beach, and its quality of life.

Regardless of which you choose, or which you can afford, Golden Beach should certainly be at the top of your list if you are looking for an upscale, posh, and convenient place to live.

Multiple amenities add to the enjoyment of Golden Beach residents.  Basket Ball court, Tennis Courts, a Ball field, Kids' Playground, Picnic and recreation areas with public restrooms.  A special mention to the nice (historical) beach pavilion.

Quite a few celebrities are said to own homes in Golden Beach, if that can add to its attraction and make some prospective residents happier.   

Golden Beach is certainly an exciting place; but it is also a very family-friendly city. You can notice it by the children freely biking and skating on its streets, the careful speed of passing cars, and the general air of prosperity and good, peaceful life.  Many communal activities and celebrations take place regularly and those who live in Golden Beach seem quite proud and happy to belong to the city.

No commercial activity is allowed in Golden Beach. You won't see shopping centers or stores here. No condominium buildings, no new developments. And it seems as this will not change in the future. Construction codes and remodeling of homes are also strictly regulated in Golden Beach and this is an additional guarantee.  

If we should believe the statistics out there, counting the 25-years-and-older population,  96.4% of Golden Beach residents have at least a high-school education. 60.1% a Bachelor's degree, 27.0% have a Graduate diploma. Golden Beach Unemployed?  1.3% - Is that funny? 328 of Golden Beach residents are foreign-born, which is higher than Florida's general percentage. (23.4% of these are from Latin America).

Golden Beach is a unique location in South Florida where you can have a home directly facing the ocean, or alongside a canal. But there is more:

A private beach, for the exclusive use of the 920 or so residents of Golden Beach.

Everybody agrees that Golden Beach is a boaters' choice. On the Intracoastal, and about 20 minutes from Haulover Inlet and the access to the open ocean, you can keep your yacht or more modest fishing boat right in your backyard. It can be a status statement and some people would choose to limit their use to the occasional onboard drink with their guests, while breathing the breeze on the quiet waters; but who said that this is not enjoyable?

For families with kids, access to excellent public schools adds to the appeal of Golden Beach.

Then there is the great shopping factor. Bal Harbour is about a hundred blocks away, or ten minutes drive. Aventura is across the Lehman's causeway, and this can nicely complement your outdoor activities. Good restaurants abound North and South. 

The city's private Beach is delightful, but just in case you like some more company, you can try Hollywood Beach or Sunny Isles Beach. In this last city, large high-rise buildings contrast with the Golden Beach way of life, but the options of entertainment, dining, and shopping are a different magnet.

Willing to drive some more?  South Beach perpetual party is right on Collins, One hundred more blocks South of Bal Harbour, which is just a few blocks drive from Sunny Isles Beach and Surfside.

Much closer is the Hallandale pretty Village at Gulfstream with its shops, restaurants, casino and race track; Let's not forget the Diplomat shopping center, the Diplomat Golf Course, and the Greyhound Track.

The unique Hollywood Beach is an appealing option, for a pleasant walk right alongside sand, restaurants, bars and shops. 
Downtown Hollywood, Fort Lauderdale Beach are some other possibilities of enjoying South Florida if you live in Golden Beach.
We're talking just a few more minutes drive. 

Golden Beach is a pearl. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Why Loan Modification Programs to help avoid Foreclosure do not work

I just read this article, from Reuters.

As all these news develop and unravel day by day, we keep noticing how sick our system can be, and how hypocrisy and cynicism have replaced many people sense of values. 

As a Realtor, I take care of every detail of every transaction, no matter how small, how wealthy or how modest the buyer or the seller could be. 

I can't imagine not telling the truth at all times to people who could be making one of the most important economic decisions in their lives. 

As their agent, I take to heart, as I am sure most of us realtors do, my clients' needs, their concerns, their worries, their doubts, their hesitations. I do my best to inform them about everything they want to know, regardless of how trivial it might seem to me. 

I have a deep feeling about the trust that people have deposited in me. I try to learn as much as I can in order to respond correctly to their questions. And above all, I try not to ever be unfair, to neglect them, to misrepresent any fact that could affect their decision, or to give them less then the best opportunity to make their best judgment. 

I am not the only one. Most colleagues I know feel and act in the exact same manner. On occasions, when exchanging thoughts, the same attitude transpires in their comments. I can see that they regard their client as a partner, a friend, a fellow human being, more than a simple source of income.  

Of course there are exceptions, and some agent could not do enough to hold the same ethical values that these kind of transactions demands. But believe me, it is not so common.

On the other side, you have these large financial institutions, of which many were technically broke and bankrupt, and would not be here if it hadn’t been for our government "bail out" that kept them alive with taxpayers' money. 

What you will read below will give you an idea of the lack of compassion, understanding, empathy, in light of the suffering of millions of hard hit families, who have lost or are about to lose their homes, in the midst of one of the worst economic crisis in this country's history.  

If what I have read is true, whatever our government had planned to try to alleviate the hardship of our middle class has been simply ignored and stripped of all value for only one purpose:  greed

Former Bank of America workers allege it lied to home owners

By Michelle Conlin and Peter Rudegeair -   (Reuters) 

Six former Bank of America Corp (BAC.N) employees have alleged that the bank deliberately denied eligible home owners loan modifications and lied to them about the status of their mortgage payments and documents.

              The bank allegedly used these tactics to shepherd homeowners into foreclosure, as well as in-house loan modifications. Both yielded the bank more profits than the government-sponsored Home Affordable Modification Program, according to documents recently filed as part of a lawsuit in Massachusetts federal court.

              The former employees, who worked at Bank of America centers throughout the United States, said the bank rewarded customer service representatives who foreclosed on homes with cash bonuses and gift cards to retail stores such as Target Corp (TGT.N) and Bed Bath & Beyond Inc (BBBY.O).

              For example, an employee who placed 10 or more accounts into foreclosure a month could get a $500 bonus. At the same time, the bank punished those who did not make the numbers or objected to its tactics with discipline, including firing.

              About twice a month, the bank cleaned out its HAMP backlog in an operation called "blitz," where it declined thousands of loan modification requests just because the documents were more than 60 months old, the court documents say.

              The testimony from the former employees also alleges the bank falsified information it gave the government, saying it had given out HAMP loan modifications when it had not.

              Rick Simon, a Bank of America Home Loans spokesman, said the bank had successfully completed more modifications than any other servicer under HAMP.

              "We continue to demonstrate our commitment to assisting customers who are at risk of foreclosure and, at best, these attorneys are painting a false picture of the bank's practices and the dedication of our employees," Simon said in a email, adding the declarations were "rife with factual inaccuracies."

              Borrowers filed the civil case against Bank of America in 2010 and are now seeking class certification. The affidavits, dated June 7, are the latest accusations over the mishandling of mortgage modifications by some top U.S. banks.

              Mortgage problems have dogged Bank of America since its disastrous purchase of Countrywide Financial in 2008. The bank paid $42 billion to settle credit crisis and mortgage-related litigation between 2010 and 2012, according to SNL Financial.

              Bank of America and four other banks reached a $25 billion landmark settlement with regulators in 2012, following a scandal in late 2010 when it was revealed employees "robo signed" documents without verifying them as is required by law.

              But problems have persisted. Since 2012, more than 18,000 homeowners have filed complaints about Bank of America with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a new agency created to help protect consumers. Recently, the attorney generals of New York and Florida accused Bank of America of violating the terms of last year's settlement.

              The government created HAMP in 2009 in response to the foreclosure epidemic and to encourage banks to give homeowners loan modifications, allowing some borrowers to stay in their homes.

              THE BLITZ

              The court documents paint a picture of customer service operations where managers roamed the floor with headsets, able to listen into any call without warning. Service representatives were told to lie to homeowners, telling them their paperwork and payments had not been received, when in reality they had.

              "This is exactly what's been happening to homeowners for years," said Danielle Kelley, a foreclosure defense lawyer in Florida. "No matter how many times they send in their paperwork, or how often they make their payments, they simply can't get loan modifications. They wind up in foreclosure instead."

              The former employees said they were told to falsify electronic records and string homeowners along in foreclosure as long as possible. The problem was exacerbated because the bank did not have enough employees handling modifications, adding to the backlog of cases purged during the "blitz" operations.

              Once a HAMP application was delayed or rejected, Bank of America would offer an in-house alternative, charging as high as 5 percent when the loan could have been modified for 2 percent under HAMP, according to an affidavit by William Wilson, who worked at the bank's Charlotte, North Carolina office.

              Wilson, who was a case management team manager, said he told his supervisors the practices were "ridiculous" and "immoral." He said he was fired in August 2012.

              Bank of America said it was not at liberty to discuss personnel matters.

              (Reporting By Michelle Conlin and Peter Rudegeair in New York; Editing by Paritosh Bansal)

Henry B. Nathan

Luxury Waterfront Real Estate Specialist

 United Realty Group 


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