From the Miami Relocation Guide.
If you have been reading the rest of this guide, you by now probably have your choice of areas narrowed down. But where do you go to find your own little slice of heaven? Fun as it is cruising the streets looking for “For Rent” signs and calling numbers that rarely answer in a language you speak, there are easier, less frustrating ways to obtain a decent place to live.
THAT GUY DRIVING YOUR TAXI CAN PROBABLY SELL YOU A HOUSE
If there is one thing Miami has a lot of, it is bad drivers. But next to that, it’s realtors. I’m’ not joking, walk into any bar in Dade County and chances are the guy serving you drinks has a real estate license. That guy next to you on line at Publix? He’s got listings from Aventura to Cutler Bay. The girl you met last night at Novacento? Gave you her card, didn’t she? It is not hard to find people to find apartments and/or houses for you. The problem, of course, is they may charge you fees, not be able to find exactly what you want, or find you places that are more expensive so they can make more money. It’s South Florida. We’re all on the take.
The best way to find a realtor that actually knows what they are doing as opposed to using it as a secondary source of income is to get a recommendation. If you have any friends in the area, see if they know have a realtor they used that did a good job. Not their friend, not their nephew Carlos, and not the girl at work who just got her realtor’s license, but a real-live professional realtor. While personal recommendations are often helpful, there are no guarantees unless they have actually worked for the person suggesting them to you.
EDUCATE YOURSELF IN THIS VOLATILE MARKET
Lacking anyone who can make a recommendation, try going in to a real estate office to see what they have to offer. Even if this means walking into the rental assistance office in South Beach when you are looking To buy a house in Pinecrest, the people inside can usually at least refer you to someone who specializes in the area you are looking at. Do not, however, let someone who does rentals in the beach look for said house in Pinecrest. They may claim to know the area, but that is most likely just them trying to earn a commission. There is a good chance this person not only doesn’t know about real estate in Pinecrest, but probably couldn’t even find it on a map. Local geography is not the strong suit of most South Floridians.
Assuming you do not want to go through a realtor, there are several resources you can use. There is always good old Craigslist, although your luck there is limited as Miami is not the most computer-savvy city. This is what happens when the majority of your populous comes from places that lack running water. The classified ads in the Miami Herald and the Miami New Times can also yield some interesting possibilities. Unfortunately everyone in Miami knows this so anything decent will be gobbled up within minutes of the paper hitting your front porch. Another great option is “The Flyer” which is sort of the Miami version of the Penny Saver, printed in both English and Spanish. So make sure you get the right one. It is typically delivered via US mail, but if you go to their website they will be more than happy to send you a copy. For the rest of your life.
So whether you decide to go it alone or use the services of a semi-scrupulous realtor, finding a house or apartment in Miami is not a difficult process to undertake. There are plenty of people looking to help you along the way, and even if you do not want their assistance we have many resources that you can use to find your own place. Just remember not to believe everything someone tells you and if something looks to good to be true it most likely is.
Stay tuned next week for tips on finding a job.
Miami Relocation Guide:
- Miami, FL: Where to Move and How to Find a Place
- Miami Living is Best For the Young and Single
- Home Hunting Advice for Families Relocating to Miami
- Searching For Jobs in Miami-Dade FL
- How to Survive in the Spanish Workplace
- Driving in Miami: The Rules Are Different Down Here
- Avoiding Miami Traffic (Maps)
- Making Friends in Miami
- The City of Miami, FL Compared to Other Cities in the U.S.
If you like these articles, why not link to the Relocation Guide, or bookmark it as one of your favorites?
About the Author: Matt Meltzer is a featured columnist at Miami Beach 411.