Miami, America’s Hot Spot
A look at why real estate in Florida – especially Miami – is leading the nation in international buyers
By Stephen Keeler
Montserrat singer Arrow first recorded the 1982 hit song “Hot, Hot, Hot.” But one might says it’s Miami’s tune now. In the world of real estate today, ‘hot’ doesn’t mean temperature, it means Miami, as in rip-roaring, the time is now, this-is-the-place to be hot.
Fueling the real estate fire in Miami specifically, and Florida in general, are buyers from outside the United States. Florida leads the nation in international buyers, with a whopping 10 percent of the market share. With the entire residential market bursting at $68 billion a year in transactions and $24 billion in commercial development per year, this market is significant, and savvy international buyers and their advisors are in charge – if they have the right talent and the tools to support them.
Niche Brokerage for a Niche Market
That’s why CSI International’s Opulence International Realty was formed within the past 12 months, according to James Hoffman, president of the real estate arm. “We recognized a gap between the ever-increasing level of interest from international buyers in high-end properties and the market’s ability to serve them appropriately. Now, buyers from Brazil, Europe, Canada and Asia have at their disposal some of the best real estate brokers in the business, serving them on a high-end platform that delivers insight, speed, accuracy and service, which we expect from every professional working here.”
Hoffman added, “Much business in South Florida is done in cash, but given the portfolios of most international buyers, asset reallocation is called for within the context of wealth management. Each client is different, so we tailor the type of service experience to match the uniqueness of each client.”
That platform leverages the latest in technology and performance to deliver on the trust OIR’s professionals have with their clients. It’s not just knowing the market for James and the OIR brokers, “It’s delivering a turnkey solution for clients who need someone they can trust,” according to OIR broker Liz Alberty. “Yes, overseas clients are attracted to the great weather and the Miami lifestyle. Who isn’t?” she asks with suave energy. “More importantly, they may feel out of their element and need a complete service for legal considerations, title review and financing.”
Alberty loves the fact that she has subject matter experts on hand for all her buyers, many of whom may be looking at homes in Guadalupe, San Martin, Monaco, Italy, and many places other than Miami. “Once they see all that we have to offer, and how much more they get for their money, Miami is quickly at the top of the list,” she said.
The Brazilian Factor
For OIR broker Melissa Hormann, it’s Brazilians who are flocking to Miami. “Brazil has horrendous traffic in the larger cities; as a result, Brazil has more helicopters in the air every day than any other country in the world, shuttling my clients to avoid the traffic,” she notes. “So I have to make sure I meet their needs with the latest in solution solving. It’s critical to be able to do business remotely.” That means leveraging OIR’s technology. Melissa elaborates, “Many clients will buy without ever coming to the United States. I show my clients the properties on my iPad via my Facetime app, and we do the contracts via email. Advanced technology makes it so easy.”
But that doesn’t eliminate the personal touch. “You have to have a relationship with Brazilians for them to work with you, to trust you,” Hormann said. “With OIR, I travel to Brazil to meet them, either through my own network, or by setting up a seminar event.” In this way, she both meets her clients in person and gives them the knowledge to execute the transaction in their most preferred manner. “Plus, with the technology, I get to spend more time with my clients and less filling out paperwork.”
The Art of Building Strong Relationships
Getting to know his clients is OIR broker David Pulley’s key priority, as well. “It’s not a transaction business, in spite of the high demand. It’s about relationships. I put myself in the right environments to serve my clients best.” For him, there is no one specific type of buyer; everyone is coming to Miami. “The inventory is practically gone,” David said. “Now, buyers are putting down 40-50 percent for piles of dirt in downtown, South Beach, South of Fifth; East Edgewater, Brickell, everywhere.”
Why now? Pulley knows. “New York’s had its day; now Miami is booming, catching up to the other major cities. It has the best weather, great culture, international market, beautiful beaches and art. ‘In season’ used to be three months, January to March. Now it’s a six-month season minimum, and year-round residency is growing. The days of Miami as just a vacation destination are over.”
Pulley says OIR’s people, leadership, resources and tools for agents help business by helping clients. “With my clients, I get to help shape the future of Miami,” Pulley said. “And we’re making Miami hotter than anyplace in the world.”
For more information about OIR or to reach Hoffman, Alberty, Hormann, Pulley, or another broker specializing in international real estate, go to www.opulenceinternationalrealty.com.