Housing in Miami: is it best to buy or to rent?

If you are planning to move to Miami, look no further! Expat US can help you find the place of your dreams.


This southern Florida city is a sunny paradise, but moving to an unknown city can be daunting. The following guide will allow you to have a better understanding for this sun-filled city and help ensure you find the best place for you to live.

 

Miami's different neighborhoods - 

Miami has a very diverse culture, and like New York, it is filled with different ethnicities, cultures and languages that mix and create a unique atmosphere.

The following list breaks down the different neighborhoods of Miami:

  • South Beach: South Beach is a very popular vacation spot, located on a barrier island between Biscayne Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. This neighborhood is packed with glamorous bars, clubs, and shops.
  • Bal Harbour: Located at the northern tip of the Miami Beach barrier island, the area boasts luxury resorts and palatial homes, as well as high end restaurants and shops.
  • Downtown Miami: This is the business district, however there are also a great deal of museums, stores and markets as well as the office buildings. Miami’s port is also located in this area. This is the fastest-growing district in Miami.
  • Coral Gables: Located only few minutes from Downtown Miami, this gated community gives off a bit of a small town flair. Amidst the trees and canals, you can find fantastic restaurants.
  • Coconut Grove: One of the oldest district in the entire county but still popular. This place attracts many artists and writers.
  • Key Biscayne: This area is a small tropical island. It is known for being peaceful and quiet, operating at a slower pace and being home to very friendly people. People even compare going to this neighborhood to entering a different world.
  • Little Havana:  Immigrants from Cuba, Puerto Rico, Colombia, and Guatemala originally settled here, which brought their unique culture to the district. This neighborhood is the place to go if you are looking for salsa music, very strong coffee, or an authentic Cuban meal.
  • West Miami: Home to the city’s airport, it still remains rather quiet and spread out. While it may be the right place for expat families, a car is definitely needed to get around.
  • Broward County:  One of three counties that make up the Miami metropolitan area. With the city of Fort Lauderdale, nicknamed the “Venice of America” and the large Sawgrass Mills shopping mall, it’s a major destination for anybody living in or visiting Miami. The only “negative point” it is that this neighborhood is located about half an hour away from Miami.

To find out more about the different neighborhoods of Miami you can read our article about the tools to compare cities and neighborhoods.

 

Buying or renting a home? A difficult decision for expats.

The choice between buying a home and renting one is one of the biggest financial decisions you can make, especially as an expatriate. The costs of buying are more varied and complicated than for renting, making it hard to tell which is a better deal. To help you to answer this question with figures, you can use this calculator.

Buying: 

Initial costs are the costs you incur when you go to the closing for the home you are purchasing. This includes the down payment and other fees.

- Recurring costs are expenses you will have to pay in owning your home. These include mortgage payments, maintenance and renovation costs, property taxes and homeowner’s insurance. Property taxes, the interest part of the mortgage payment and, in some cases, a portion of the common charges are tax deductible. The resulting tax savings is accounted for in each item’s totals. The mortgage payment amount increases each year for the term of the loan because the tax credit shrinks each year as the interest portion of the payments becomes smaller.

- Opportunity costs are tracked for the initial purchase costs and for the recurring costs. The former will give you an idea of how much you could have made if you had invested the down payment instead of buying your home.

- Net proceeds is the amount of money you receive from the sale of your home minus the closing costs, which includes the broker’s commission and other fees, the remaining principal balance that you pay to your mortgage bank and any tax you have to pay on profit that exceeds your capital gains exclusion. If your total is negative, it means you have done very well: You made enough of a profit that it covered not only the cost of your home, but also all of your recurring expenses.

Renting: Initial costs include the rent security deposit and, if applicable, the broker’s fee.

- Recurring costs include the monthly rent and the cost of renter’s insurance.
- Opportunity costs are calculated each year for both your initial costs and your recurring costs.
- Net proceeds include the return of the rental security deposit, which typically occurs at the end of a lease.

To sum up, buying a house or an apartment in the U.S. is a fairly straight-forward procedure. There are many properties for sale and realtors focus largely on bringing sellers and buyers together.

However, you can’t escape bureaucratic hurdles. As most expats do not have much of a credit history in the United States, getting a mortgage is probably the most difficult part. Those who come to the country for a short time only are usually better off renting a home.

In some cities, it may be easy to find an affordable house or apartment. In others, you may need strong nerves and a big budget to find a place to live. In any case, Expat US will accompany you during the entire process.

 

Accommodation in Miami

Finding a place to live in Miami is the same as in any other major city around the world except that in Miami, Expat US can find a place for you. No need to browse online apartment listings or to get in touch with real estate agencies and above all, you avoid scams.
This part is obviously the most important and once again, whether you want to rent or to buy, Expat US will assist you. As you may know, each state has its own laws and we are aware of the tenant rights, laws and protections present in all the different states

Once you find your home, you will need to set up utilities. The cost of utilities is often underestimated as it includes electricity, heat and waste disposal and the amount paid depends on how much is included in the total rent and on the size of your home and in some cases the costs can amount to almost as much as the monthly rent. This amount can be even higher if you include telephone and cable TV bills. We can help you to choose the best providers at the best prices and ensure that everything is set up quickly.

Expat US takes care of everything for your housing needs, be it a rental or a purchase.

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