Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Just Ask Boo Wins!

May 19, 2009

JustAskBoo Logo

Congratulations to JustAskBoo on their great recognition from the Miami Herald as the #1 People’s Pick for the Business Plan Challenge, and #3 overall from the Herald judges! With 192 entries, a third place finish is an incredible achievement! I was so honored to have been quoted in this article, and wish Team JAB many years of success.

Below is the article that appeared in The Miami Herald on Monday.
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People’s Pick and third place (tie): Online grapevine wins hearts — and clicks

ndahlberg@MiamiHerald.com
As the keeper of the e-mail list for her first child’s play group years ago, Province ”Boo” Zamek was soon the go-to person for information dissemination. Along with the time for the next play date, she was adding requests for housekeepers, nannies and handymen and it spread from there.

That sparked an idea. Why not have an online grapevine, supported by advertising and subscriptions, that would help people with their busy lives? So Zamek, who has 15 years of marketing experience, started JustAskBoo, incorporating it in February 2008.

It’s a thrice weekly free newsletter full of referrals and referral requests submitted by the more than 4,500 subscribers or JABbers. There’s also advertising and paid content, such as items for sale, store openings, jobs and charity events. Referrals are archived under 250 categories in a ”Treasure Chest” that is available for a $7.95 monthly subscription fee. About 1,200 JABbers have subscribed.

”Like many entrepreneurs, I saw a niche and filled it,” said Zamek, who tied for third place in this year’s Business Plan Challenge. Zamek, of Coral Gables, also won the ”People’s Pick,” garnering about half of the 2,153 votes cast by MiamiHerald.com readers.

Zamek’s idea is part Craigslist, part Angie’s List, part Daily Candy, but really very different. ”We’re not a blog; we’re not a mom’s website; we’re not about one thing,” Zamek said.

Here’s how she sets her site apart:

• More variety of posts and highly local content, all provided by the members.

• No anonymous comments are allowed.

• While JABbers are encouraged to give favorable reviews of services when they are deserved, they obey the Golden Rule: If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

• Nearly all referrals, except for nannies and housekeepers, are archived in the Treasure Chest, available anytime.

Anne Miller, a healthcare consultant in Coconut Grove, said she wished she had a JustAskBoo site when she moved here four years ago. She had started a home renovation and had one bad experience after another.

But since she signed up for the newsletter late last year, she has found a general contractor, an upholsterer, lampshades and the perfect frameless shower door. She also has used the service to give away items and placed an ad for administrative help that got 35 responses.

”It feels more like a community to me than going to the database on Angie’s List,” said Miller. “Having full names mean something to me. I know someone is standing behind their recommendation.”

Plus, she said, it is fun. When the newsletter comes, “I’m always curious what’s in there this time.”

Zamek and her team of three work closely with advertisers to make sure their messages get people in the door. Jennifer Stone, of Coral Gables, said JAB’s advertising director, Zaria Walter, helped her choose lettering and image size for her ad and also suggested catchy wording for a “deal of the day.”

Stone said she got several calls as a result, and that led to new clients. ”I’ll be going back to them for sure,” she said.

Realtor Ashley Cusack of EWM in Coral Gables said her JAB ad ‘is reaching a group I wanted to be reaching very pointedly. So many people say, `I saw that house on JustAskBoo.’ ”

Revenues are running 20 percent above projections, said Zamek. Still, when the economy tanked in March, JustAskBoo lost advertisers.

Zamek, however, did what a lot of business owners wouldn’t do — she hired more help. ”I knew I needed to focus on what is working and what is not working for our advertisers,” she said. She contacted them all and explained why they should give JAB another chance. Now the advertising is back.

”We needed to become their ad agencies. We needed to come up with their strategies. It takes a whole lot of time to do it, but it keeps us successful and them successful,” Zamek said.

Judges were impressed with not only the strength of her management team and advisory board but also that she is already bringing in impressive revenue.

Still, some thought the plan could be easily copied. Zamek counters that it is expensive to build the correct technology, making it hard to replicate.

Right now she’s working on raising money to finish the technology and get licensing deals in place to start in other areas. ”I feel like I am on a springboard. We are very close to entering other cities,” Zamek said.

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We are so thrilled to be a part of Just Ask Boo and encourage all of you to visit their website and sign up for their e-newsletter! Become a JABBER!

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The early bird gets the worm!

May 11, 2009
8310 SW 62 Place, $399,000

8310 SW 62 Place, $399,000

We listed a very cute home in South Miami in late April and have had so much activity on the home, we can’t believe it! Within 17 days of putting the home on the market, we had 3 offers, two of which were very good ones. We accepted one of them on Friday and are currently under contract. Here are a few of the other interesting numbers on this home – all occurring within the first 17 days of it being put on the market:

– Number of showings: 34
– Number of broker’s at Broker’s Open House: 20
– Number of groups through the one Sunday Open House: 22
– Number of offers on the house: 3
– Number of calls on the home since it went under contract: 8

We are certainly seeing the beginning of a new market with this kind of activity! This home was priced very aggressively and the area is very popular right now. However, we never guessed we would have seen this kind of activity!

To get more information on this home, please click here.

The “A” Word

April 10, 2009

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Back in February, we sent comparables to our sellers to make sure that we were still on target with all of our prices, because as we know, price is the name of the game in this market.

Since then, we put one of our listings under contract. The contract price fell between our high price per square foot and average price per square foot on those comps we did.

We just learned that the property did not appraise at the contract price, so we have gone back to reflect on the comparables that we were using. The reality is that when you do comps today, you lose some of the stronger sales that we had on those February comps – those that took place 8 months ago. The sales prices that we’ve had since then are bringing prices down a little bit and affecting our appraisals.

We have since talked to the appraiser and he has agreed to remove one of the houses he used as it isn’t a real comp – we are finding one more apropos for this property. And hopefully we can get this appraisal up…

We are running into this a lot these days – appraisals are not an exact science and they are very subjective, so more and more we have to work with the appraisers to help them get us the results we need.

Opportunity Knocks…

April 8, 2009

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We just got a great new listing in Pelican Bay, which is down in South Dade. The home is a foreclosure and was built in 2005. It has 5 bedrooms, 3 baths and is in really great condition. This house is definitely not what comes to mind when you hear the word foreclosure!

The two story house is very clean and has a formal living and dining room, a 2-car garage, separate laundry room, awesome built-out closets in every room, and is in great shape. It’s also located right on a pretty lake! You can enjoy views of the lake from the kitchen, dining room and family room – and it is listed at $295,000. What an incredible opportunity!

Contact me if you’d like to see it. 305-798-8685 or ashleymia@aol.com

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What a day!

April 2, 2009

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We hosted a Broker’s Open House at my new listing yesterday – 2495 S. Bayshore Drive in Coconut Grove – and what a turnout we had! We served a delicious lunch and were thrilled with the incredible turnout. We had about 50 agents through the house to see this remarkable new home. Thank you!

Paradise Found.

March 31, 2009

2495 S. Bayshore Drive

2495 S. Bayshore Drive

Graceful. Romantic. Clean & Crisp. Elegant. These are the words that come to mind when I think about the home I just listed with Karen McCammon in Coconut Grove. Located within the gated community of Treasure Trove, it is the only listing available in this wonderful and small enclave of homes.

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The 3-story villa-style home features a fabulous, well-planned layout. And graced with an elevator, it makes it very easy to get to the various levels. The serene feeling that this home exudes welcomes you as you enter into the foyer and living room. High ceilings and dark hardwood floors greet you and continue throughout the house. The plantation shutters lend to the organic island-feel that this home exudes.

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No expense was spared in the recent renovation of the kitchen – it is a dream come true! The finishes include Calacutta gold marble countertops, Waterworks fixtures and deep stainless farmhouse sink, handmade Crown Point kitchen cabinets that extend to the ceiling, remarkable Wolf stove and two beautiful SubZero glass-front refrigerators, each with freezer drawers.

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The living room is a true beauty with a gas fireplace and tons of charm. You also find a wonderful formal dining room, office and two bedrooms, each with its own bath, on this main level.

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Downstairs, a wonderful family room awaits and opens to the inviting pool and patio area, perfect for entertaining. A full guest suite is located downstairs, offering guests great privacy. Limestone floors unfold throughout the downstairs area.

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The 3rd floor is comprised of a remarkable master suite – views of Biscayne Bay, Brazilian cherry hardwood floors, two gracious walk-in closets, a large master bathroom and so much more! The additional bedrooms and bathrooms are also located on this level, with great spaces and private bathrooms.

Light-filled. Gorgeous. Refined. Divine. Paradise. This home has it all.

For a photo tour of this home, please click here.

We’re almost there…

March 26, 2009

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I have had a SERIOUSLY busy week. I think this just goes to show that this market is starting to turn around!

This week alone, three of my listings have gone under contract. We’re working several contracts on four additional listings (two with multiple offers) and have a buyer making an offer on another listing. 

Obviously my job is not done yet – inspections, appraisals and mortgage commitments remain huge hurdles. However, we’re well on our way!

Reductions Galore!

March 25, 2009

In the spirit of my most recent post, I’ve had some incredible price reductions lately on my listings!

4711-university-dr-3916-cropped14711 University
$3,395,000 from $3,750,000
– Incredibly beautiful house on the Gables Waterway.
– Completely rebuilt with incredible finishes
– 6 bedrooms/5.5 baths/2 car-garage/pool/boathouse

jab-1300-campamento-front1300 Campamento Avenue
$2,795,000 from $2,995,000
– Waterfront home in Gables by the Sea
– Built by owner/builder for himself
– Featured on the cover of Florida Life Magazine!
– 5 bedrooms/4.5 baths/2 car garage/pool/guesthouse

dsc_04961170 San Pedro
$1,995,000 from $2,099,000
– Waterfront home in Gables by the Sea
– No bridges to the bay!
– 4 bedrooms/3 baths/2 car garage

 

jab-9905-sw-89-court-front9905 SW 89 Court
$1,950,000 from $2,195,000
– Stunning new construction home in Baptist Hospital area
– Most incredible kitchen you’ve ever seen
– 5 bedrooms/5.5 baths/2 car garage/pool/guesthouse

 

front-shot-lo-res7500 SW 53 Avenue – PENDING SALE!
$1,685,000 from $1,895,000
– Stately new construction home in High Pines
– Built by the Rousseau Hays Group
– 6 bedrooms/6.5 baths/2 car garage/pool

 

jab-8900-sw-61-court-ext18900 SW 61 Court – PENDING SALE!
$1,999,000 from $2,099,000
– Expansive home on an acre in North Pinecrest
– 6 bedrooms/5.5 baths/3-car-garage/pool

 
ginger-lo-res11123 Placetas Avenue – PENDING SALE!
$989,000 from $1,080,000
– Completely renovated home on nice street in Coral Gables
– 4 bedrooms/4 baths/1-car-garage/pool

 
509871_5001414 Algardi Avenue
$925,000 from $995,000
– Beautifully and tastefully updated home in Coral Gables
– 4 bedrooms/3 baths/2-car garage/pool

 

dsc_50843038 Orange Street
$585,000 from $639,000
– Center Coconut Grove townhome built in 2004
– 3 bedrooms/2.5 baths/1-car garage/pool

As they say, “price matters”!

March 23, 2009

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Now more than ever in real estate, price is the name of the game.

Friends of mine recently listed their house in Coral Gables with Elena Kemper and Libby Klein of EWM. The house has 4,000 square feet and sits on a 15,000 square foot lot. It’s been completely updated and is absolutely gorgeous. They priced it very aggressively at $999,995 (that’s $245.34 per square foot), and it sold WITHIN 3 DAYS of it being put on the market.

The question that keeps arising in this market is if we price it too close to where we believe it will sell, are buyers still going to want to negotiate it way down? So people are trying to price higher to leave room for negotiation, but people are losing buyers these days. Sellers are often pricing so high that people won’t make offers. Yet here’s a perfect example where they priced low, and it sold quickly, very close to the asking price.

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A beautiful listing I currently have at 1123 Placetas sat on the market for 41 days priced at $1,080,000. When we reduced it under $1 million to $989,000, which was a very fair and realistic price in this market, we had an offer and it went pending within 13 days. While this is still pending and we have to get to the closing table, it does truly show that price matters.

Buy! Buy! Buy!

March 17, 2009

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There is no denying – I am a realist. I’ll be the first to admit that we are in a terrible market right now. It’s likely that prices will continue to decline throughout this year. But here is the reality. We won’t know when the bottom has hit until we’ve already started to come out of it. So in actuality, there was never a better time than right now to buy a house, if you are planning to buy and live in it for at least two years. For the next two years, you can live in a new house, take advantage of the tax breaks that we receive as homeowners, receive an incredible interest rate on your mortgage (they are as low as 4.75%!) and be poised to take the rise in values that we will undoubtedly begin to see in the next few years. There has never been a better time to buy!

Also, keep this in mind. If prices go down by 10% but interest rates rise by 1%, the monthly payment stays the same. So any advantage you might receive by the loss in purchase price was just negated by the rise in interest rates.