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You’re in Luck: Your Guide to Saving Your Green this St. Patrick’s Day

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Today on St. Patrick’s Day,
Two leprechauns sat by the bay,
One turned to the other,
And said to his brother,
“A loan for my home I do pray!”

St Patricks Day dog

We’re seeing green today! And I don’t mean beer. You don’t have to give up your St. Patty’s celebrations to save money for your home loan. You can still celebrate without spending your entire pot of gold. Here are a few tips to save your green this holiday, and get you one step closer to buying your dream home!

  1. Celebrate St. Patty’s Day at home: Instead of going out and spending all your green at the Irish pub, try hosting your own St. Patty’s Day Celebration instead. Invite your closest friends over for some green-themed fun and follow these low-budget party ideas.
    1. Green Beer: The easiest recipe you will ever follow! You will need a pint, beer and some green food coloring (McCormick $3.14). Simply place a few drops of food coloring into the pint, pour the beer over the drops, and watch your beer change colors. Ps. this recipe can be followed for any beverage of your choice.
    2. Leprechaun Cupcakes: Simple and delicious! Throw some of your green food coloring into vanilla frosting, and mix it until it is fully green. Bake some cupcakes, frost with your newly made “Luck of the Irish” inspired frosting, and top with some shamrock sprinkles (Walmart $5.99). Cheap, easy, and Leprechaun approved!
    3. Reach the pot of gold: Gold Oreos that is! Simply spray a pack of Oreos with edible gold spray (Wilton Color Mist $3.50). Place your gold coins (oreos) in a big black bowl and let your guests enjoy the lucky pot of gold!
  2. Don’t want to stay home? If its part of your tradition to go out on St. Patty’s Day, save money by doing some research before you go.
    1. The best trick to saving your money when going out for a night on the town is to set yourself a budget! Calculate an amount of money that you are comfortable spending, and take it out in cash. Do not over spend the cash that you took with you! For example, if you have $100 of disposable income to spend tonight, then take it out in cash and go home once you have spent it! Limit yourself and your wallet will thank you later!
    2. Stick to the deals! Do some research and find out which restaurants/bars are offering the biggest bang for your buck, and do not steer away from the St. Patty’s deals!

You are luckier than the Leprechauns this St. Patty’s Day, because you are one step closer to getting that loan for your dream house!

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New Year, Fresh Start

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As 2016 came to an end, it was time to consider New Year Resolutions. The infamous saying “new year, new me” automatically popped into my head, as society has drilled this concept into my mind for as long as I could remember. But aren’t you so tired of hearing this phrase? Every year, over and over, people claim that they will make resolutions and change areas of their lives, only to let it fall through just a few weeks later.

Let’s vow to make this year different! This year, do not quit on your resolution. Let 2017 be the year of positivity and gratefulness, savings, health, prosperity and accomplishments:

  1. Positivity & Gratefulness: Positive thoughts lead to positive outcomes. This year, let’s try to work on letting stress go! Focus on the happiness of waking up for another day. Whether succeeding or failing in a project, focus on the experience you gained while trying. Take a moment each day and appreciate everything around you – the beauty in nature, the smile of a coworker, a good cup of coffee – anything that you are grateful to have in your life. Say thank you more often. Enjoy a meal with family or friends. Avoid complaining or judging others, or yourself. Focus on the law of attraction, and do what you can to boost your attitude of gratitude!
  2. Savings: 2017 will be the year of saving! Whether you are saving money, or working to save your credit, let 2017 be the year you accomplish this goal! Work smarter, not harder! Open a savings account (if you do not have one already) and anytime you can, put money in it. Even if it is only five dollars, no pressure. If you save one dollar a day, that is 365 saved in a year, five dollars a day saves $1,825, and so on. Make sure to pay bills on time or ahead of time if you can. Keep the balances on your credit cards low, and pay off debts rather than transferring them around. Do not close any open accounts, even if you are not using the credit card, and do not open credit accounts that you do not need.
  3. Health: Work on your overall health for 2017, and no, this does not mean lose 50 pounds. Try to incorporate exercise into your daily routine, as a way to let go of some of the stressors from your day. Eat Breakfast! Breakfast is the most important meal of the day; it gives you energy, which leads to productivity. Meditate before bed, and reflect on calming your thoughts. Take a vacation to a destination that you have never been before. Explore your roots by going to visit the place where your ancestors lived. Grow as a person by taking a volunteer trip, or take a “staycation,” and just stay home and watch movies all day long, resting and relaxing.
  4. Prosperity and Accomplishments: 2017 is the year you will accomplishment your goals! Make a commitment and stick to it. Keep track of your progress, and if you fail for a moment, keep going. Ask for help when you need it. Focus on being consistent. Whether your goal is to purchase your first home, start a family, open a business, buy a car, etc. Do not stop working until you achieve it.

Make 2017 YOUR year.

New Year, Fresh Start- to be a better version of yourself.

Person silhouette standing in 2017 on the hill at sunset

Historic Miami In Danger

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Miami is regarded across the globe as a top travel destination. The sand, beaches and beautiful people are surely appealing enough to draw in tourists and inhabitants from all around the world. But Miami is criticized for one thing (alright maybe a couple of things), the lack of historical elements across the city. Granted, there are a few historical landmarks and trademarks that can be branded as true Miami, but in comparison to major historic cities, Miami tends to fall rather short. That’s not to say there is no history in Miami, that certainly isn’t the problem, however the growing population coupled with the tendency to tear down historical buildings certainly isn’t helping.

Don’t get us wrong, we’re all for the growth of Miami real estate, but isn’t it worth discussing that historical landmarks are haphazardly being removed? Between 2011 and 2012, homeowners removed more homes that predated 1942 than in the past 7 years in total! Many have pushed for any home that was built before this year to go before a committee before any work was to be done on it, but their propositions have been declined. Even past residential historic Miami, the commercial aspect is facing a great deal of danger, as well. Just last month, the historic church on Lincoln Road was being threatened to be torn down to be used for further retail space, however preservation groups immediately tried to appeal any movement whatsoever.

However, it isn’t ALL bad news! On the other hand, there seems to be a number of growing developments, which are actively avoiding historic Miami and promising to bring new job and revenue to Miami, as a whole. For example, a mega mall that has slowly been moving forward to be one of the largest retail destinations in South Florida, spanning over 10 blocks! Further developments like the All Aboard Florida project promises to expand, not just Miami, but Florida as a whole, with the central hub being in Miami as plans go forward to unveil the station hub that is reminiscent of Grand Central Station…with a modern twist of course! Even parts of historic Miami are being protected like the Miami Marine Stadium, which is currently in the process of receiving donations to restore the landmark! In the end, maybe the act of removing and restoring are cancelling each other out when it comes to historic Miami, but one thing is for certain, we should be more mindful of our beloved city’s history! What are your thoughts? Should Miami be more mindful when it comes to historic landmarks?

 

historic miami

Foreign Investment and Miami Real Estate

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Miami’s expanding skyline could easily be attributed to a number of possible contributors. One might think that it is due to a population growth or a stabilizing economy, and therefore, real estate market. Both answers are correct. But what if we told you that it was primarily due to foreign investment, which has helped Miami a tremendous amount in terms of it’s real estate growth, and well, skyline development. Initially, the Miami downtown area had very slow, stable growth, but within the past years has quite literally skyrocketed. This doesn’t simply just happen everywhere, in fact, many cities have been pushing for foreign investment, but have fallen flat. So why Miami?

Miami is a major tourist destination, the city attracts dozens in pursuit of beauty, luxury, and of course…beaches. But this barely scratches the surface as to why it has witnessed such rapid growth because of foreign investors. The main reason– because it is considered to be the “Capital of Latin America” by many. Studies by the Miami Downtown Development Authority suggest that 90% of new condo demand in the downtown area is primarily from foreign buyers.

The large influx of foreign attention can be traced back to several distinct variables that make Miami the prime destination for them to place their investment money for safekeeping. From a financial standpoint, Miami offers low prices and low interest rates as opposed to Latin American destinations. However, from an aesthetic perspective, the potential of investing in Miami is absolutely boundless. Not only does Miami promise a beautiful permanent or vacation home, but the prospect of the United States and the opportunity for a better lifestyle are major perks, as well. Not to mention the biggest drawing factor of Latin American suitors, the culture which is a vibrant infusion of both Latin and American!

 

Essentially, this has a huge trickle down effect on both Miami Real Estate and the quality of living within the area. A combination of demand from both domestic and foreign buyers have allowed for the real estate market to reach record levels of sales in 2014. Not to mention the city growth itself like the recent approval of SkyRise Miami which is calling for foreign investors to back the project by granting them an EB-5 visa, a green card for foreigners who invest $500,000 to $1 million in the United States. At this rate the growth caused by foreign investors shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon and will ultimately contribute.foreign investment

 

Tourism and Real Estate: How They Benefit Each Other

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Real estate trends usually revolve around a number of different factors, which can prove to be major influence. Tourism has proven time and time again to be one of those contributors. Miami is no stranger to record-high tourism, which easily explains the constant renovation and reconstruction of Dade County. In 2013 alone, Miami tourism continued its streak of record-breaking numbers with a whopping 14.2 million visitors overnight, most of which were classified as luxury visitors.

The tourism-real estate trend isn’t just limited to the South Florida area, however. When looking on a national scale, other areas are reaping the benefits, as well. Nashville, for example, has seen a massive increase in the commercial real estate industry all thanks to the booming tourism numbers. Nashville, Tennessee was named one of the top travel destinations of 2014. As a result, new developments are constantly springing up in the area that range from retail to restaurant to a new music center which contributed millions to the economy during its first year.

Miami not only boasts massive tourism numbers, but immigration numbers to boot. Just last month, the World Cup influenced a major influx of Hispanic visitors to show off their pride in one of the nations top Hispanic travel destinations. As a result, the Hispanic population has ultimately witnessed an increase after events like the World Cup all due to the tourism experience. This eventually segues into a much larger growth in real estate; it also affects the overall cultural experience of South Florida. Commercial and residential real estate growth becomes evident when you take a look around and take notice of all the reconstruction, sky-high construction cranes, and growth in business. All the signs point to the fact that the effects of tourism are positively influencing real estate.

Tourism and Real Estate

Florida Makes Changes to Help Struggling Homeowners

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Photo courtesy of turtlemom4bacon via Flickr.

There’s some good news for homeowners finding themselves in financial hardships… According to the Miami Herald, state officials have voted to implement a massive overhaul on a $1 billion program to help struggling homeowners, potentially opening the doors for thousands of Florida homeowners who were previously denied government aid.

When the program launched last April, the Miami Herald reported that  strict requirements would disqualify many local homeowners right off the bat. And according to Florida Housing Finance Corporation data, 12,516 homeowners were rejected, while only 5,540 applicants were approved.

Now that the rules for qualification have be reviewed, the FHFC said it will reach out to homeowners who were initially rejected to check if they qualify under the new rules.

Click here to read the full Miami Herald article.