In this episode of the Top of Mind podcast, Mike Simonsen sits down with Ines Hegedus-Garcia, the current Chair of the Miami Association of Realtors, to talk about the dynamics behind Miami’s thriving real estate market. Ines shares her perspectives on why the Miami market has stayed strong through recent economic turmoil, looks at the opportunities and risks for the market, and discusses industry insights from her leadership roles in Miami’s 60,000+ member real estate association. She also gives us her take on the region’s distinctive architecture and what design and technology trends to watch.
About Ines Hegedus-Garcia
Ines Hegedus-Garcia is a REALTOR from Miami and Executive Vice President at Avanti Way Realty. Ines is at the forefront of the property technology industry due to her industry leadership and hands-on approach to technology adoption.
She is the current Chairman of the Miami Association of Realtors and was the 2019 residential president. She is also a Director of Florida REALTORS, as well as a Director of the National Association of REALTORS. She chaired the 2020 Emerging Technology Committee and 2022 Communications Committee at Florida Realtors and is The Vice Chair of The Board Leadership Forum. Ines is also the chair of NAR’s Federal Technology Committee and sits on the board of directors of Second Century Ventures.
The National Association of REALTORS identified her as a leader in forward thinking real estate ideas. Today she is invited to participate in conferences around the world to educate others about the power of new media and Ines’ participation in leadership, as well as the early adoption of social networks have earned her recognition and respect among her colleagues and clients. An architect by training with a passion for out-of-the box thinking, she’s also a Miami architecture + historic properties expert, and her Miami architecture and history articles are read by thousands each month on Miamism.com.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- Why Miami real estate is still thriving, and why this year’s market changes have been positive for buyers and sellers in South Florida
- Insights into the international political and financial dynamics that drive Miami real estate
- Opportunities and risk around the booming construction market, including some surprising new approaches to meeting rental demand
- Which exciting architects in Miami to pay attention to, which buildings in Miami are her favorites, and why
- Which technology and policy changes to note for Miami’s climate change risks
- Her perspectives on running one of the largest realtor associations in the country, with over 60,000 members
- How she uses market reports on the popular Miamism blog to engage readers.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
- Ines Hegedus-Garcia on LinkedIn
- Ines Hegedus-Garcia on Instagram
- Avanti Way Realty
- Mike Simonsen on LinkedIn
- Altos Research
About Altos Research
The Top of Mind Podcast is produced by Altos Research.
Each week, Altos tracks every home for sale in the country - all the pricing, and all the changes in pricing - and synthesizes those analytics to make them available before becoming visible through traditional channels.
Schedule a demo to see Altos in action. You can also get a copy of our free eBook: How To Use Market Data to Build Your Real Estate Business.
Mike Simonsen (00:05):
Welcome to the Top of Mind podcast from Altos Research. This is the show where we talk to real estate industry insiders and experts about the trends shaping the market today. Enjoy the show.
Mike Simonsen here. Thanks for joining me today. Welcome to the Top of Mind podcast. This is where I talk to the smartest leaders, thinkers, and doers in the real estate industry. For a few years now, we've been sharing the latest market data every week in our Altos Weekly video series with the Top of Mind podcast, we, we are looking to add context to the discussion about what's happening in the market from, from the leaders in the industry. Every week, of course, Altos research tracks every home for sale in the country, all the pricing, all the supply and demand, all the changes in that data. And we make it available to you before you see it in the traditional channels. People desperately need to know what's happening right now in the housing market, and the market was so frozen solid last fall, and then suddenly the landscape is changing.
everybody's worried about what happens in 2023. So you need to communicate about this market to your clients. Then you should go to altos research.com and just book a free consult with our team. We're gonna talk about Miami today and South Florida and a lot of those related things, but of course, Altos covers every, every zip code in the country. So go to Altos and, and join us. So speaking of Miami and experts and people who use data, I've got a fantastic guest today. Inez Hees Garcia. Inez is the current chair of the Miami Association of Realtors. She's also a very successful realtor in Miami and E v P at Avanti Way Realty. Inez is at the the forefront of real estate technology. She's a longtime publisher of the absolutely fabulous real estate blog, Miami miami.com, which is really it's great features. Arch, the architectural spirit of South Florida. Really terrific work there. she's a frequent speaker at conferences around the world and, and has been a good friend and Alto's client for many years. So I, I can't wait to talk about Miami and all the interesting trends there. Miami is a very special real estate market in the us so plus we're gonna get some insights from Inez on social media and her work with her blog and photography as well. So, Inez, welcome to the podcast.
Ines Hegedus-Garcia (02:44):
Wow, what, what a welcome. That was fantastic. Thank you. I'm gonna hire you and go around the world with Mike
Mike Simonsen (02:52):
<laugh>. I will, I'll introduce you on stage anywhere you like
Ines Hegedus-Garcia (02:56):
<laugh>. That was great.
Mike Simonsen (02:58):
So, well, let's start here with, let's start with you and your background. You've been a realtor and broker in Miami for a long time. you're an architect by training, right? So tell us the Inez story.
Ines Hegedus-Garcia (03:11):
Listen, I would've never in a million years thought of becoming a realtor that was not in my plans. You know, like you, you put your plans on paper, realtor and selling real estate was definitely not part of that. Now, that's the beauty of this industry, right? It's, it's, it's so organic. And then now when you start talking about agents is like, what, what agent really planned to become a realtor from the first day in their career plans? So based on that I was doing architecture. I was being an architect. I was designing both commercial and residential projects. And I, as a fluke, a family member actually bought a commercial property. They buy this commercial property and they say, Ines, we need you to manage it. And I was like, what, what, what do I know about managing a commercial property?
Now, you know, my husband, you know, Rick, Rick is an accountant. My my uncle said, Ines, forgot sake. It's not rocket science. You do all the people stuff. Rick does all the financial stuff. Should be cake now. It was really fun because being an architect and being able to call a roofer and climb the roof and say, wait, wait, wait. You're not doing this right? Or the ac or whatever it was that we were hiring was the fun part. Now we lost opportunity to make some really big commissions by not being realtors, by not having our licenses. We were just managing this commercial building and Rick said, I'm getting my license. And I said, that's a great idea. I still had like no intentions ever of doing that. we blinked and from that one building, all of a sudden we were managing 20.
It was just crazy. and then all of a sudden it was like, wait a minute. We are definitely losing opportunity. I got my license as well. Now, once I get my license, then I realize, wait a minute, residential architect residential real estate and architecture really go hand in hand. This is, and not only that, I was making more money as a realtor that I was as an architect. Pretty sad. I know. It's crazy to even think about that. So, so it just, it just was very organic. and I just, you know, doors open and you choose to go through them or you choose not to. I choose to go through them. And so organically enough, my, my profession as a realtor in getting involved in leadership, everything has just happened. And it's, it's been a really great ride and it continues to be a fantastic ride. So that's, that's pretty much my story.
Mike Simonsen (05:48):
That's a great story. And leadership is really an interesting part of that story. So let's go there for a second. You are currently the chair of the Miami Association Realtors. You've done a lot of n a R things and Florida Association. Tell me about the, the, the current role.
Ines Hegedus-Garcia (06:04):
Well, listen this is my biggest achievement and and I know it sounds cliche, but I'm so honored to be leading the largest local realtor association in the country. We have over 60,000 members. Miami is larger than 45 state associations. So it's nuts. It's crazy. and so it's, it's a challenge. It's a challenge. I'm just taking on full force. It's super exciting and I'm just, and it's not a me thing, which is the beauty of leadership. the team is just so fantastic. Everyone involved. The rest of the leaders in the association, the staff are c e o. So it's just it's, listen, it's February, so I've been chair for two months, and it's just in, I just can't wait. I mean, I, it, the year's gonna go by fast is all I have.
Mike Simonsen (07:07):
Yeah, that's great. And so, so 60,000 realtor members is let's talk about them for a sec. Is that, so, you know, now in 2023, we had crazy pandemic that that number probably grew during the pandemic.
Ines Hegedus-Garcia (07:23):
Yes, yes. It grew, it actually grew by a lot. all the, the people that are being laid off and they were sitting home, a lot of people just decided to get their real estate license. in Miami specifically, we had a lot of people from the hospitality industry get their licenses. and, and it was great because they, they really understand working with people and, and working with the consumer at the right level. So, so yes, I, I think we can say that numbers don't, don't really reflect, you know, what happens in the industry with sales, but, but it's, it's nice to have that 60,000 number behind us.
Mike Simonsen (07:59):
Yeah. And so then does that shrink this year in a, now a year now it's a much more challenging market.
Ines Hegedus-Garcia (08:06):
You know what's funny? We were just talking about that in our meeting yesterday. There's a couple of, of media channels that are reporting a, a big drop in agent count. We haven't seen that. We haven't seen that at all. Our number count continues to increase, continues to grow. I can't tell you, I don't know the, the, the data off my head of how many agents get their licenses on a daily basis, but it's in Florida it's a big deal.
Mike Simonsen (08:31):
It's a big deal. So that's interesting that it hasn't hasn't changed yet. I have a, there's always complaints in, in the industry that we have too many agents and, and there's only, there's there's a million and a half agents and there's only 5 million home sales. You know, the therefore, and I have a hypothesis that, that says, because it's relatively to start and end your real estate career, we actually always have the exact right number of them. It's a, an efficient market for when there's more sales with more money, there's more people going after than that's good. Competition like that is as efficient as it as it gets. So it's interesting though, to, to hear that, that it actually hasn't declined yet. It's in much of the country, the second half of 2022 was really hard. How did you feel it in Miami?
Ines Hegedus-Garcia (09:24):
I'm gonna tell you something. I think Miami continues to defile the odds. it's, it's, it's really incredible when I look, especially at your data, you know, at what the rest of the country is doing. And our numbers continue to increase and increase, and we're still in an appreciating market, and we're, so, we're not seeing that the craziness of the rest of the country. And there's many reasons for that. we have a lot of, of foreign nationals that buy in Miami. so there's, there's a huge, and for example, when the mortgage rates were affecting the market, our market has a lot of cash coming in. So those mortgage rates are not affecting our market as, as much as in other parts of the country. so it, it's definitely a, a different our, our weather. I mean, we can talk about everything that's great about Miami, what makes Miami different, but it's, it's just, it really continues to defeat the yards in every which way.
And one fun one, during the pandemic, when when the world and the closed down and we didn't have travel, I remember my agents were freaking out. We were thinking, oh my God, you know, we don't have our foreign national buyers. What's gonna happen to the Miami market? We expected collapse. And guess what? Your people from California <laugh> started coming in and all the New Yorkers, and they said, if we have stay at home orders, we better be in a pretty place and place that's fun and a place that's open and has diverse culture and great weather and all the great stuff. So so we actually, the market was really, really positive. during the pandemic. We never saw a downside. And then Borders opened again after Covid, and we, now we have California's New Yorkers, south Americans, and Europeans. So it's, it, it's good to be us
Mike Simonsen (11:22):
That's really, yes, it is. And, and it's a really fascinating, so the, we can see, for example, the central Florida markets have definitely slowed down from their pandemic peaks, although not as big. They didn't, they haven't slowed as big as the Western us, the Boise and Phoenix and Austins those hit the breaks much harder. so the central Florida markets, though they're definitely have, have cooled way down Miami, like you can see it in the data, is ha has stayed significantly more robust. And so is that really like, like maybe two years of pent up international buyers who like, who, who, who had to wait for a while? Is that, is that maybe what's helping things right now?
Ines Hegedus-Garcia (12:07):
No, you know what, I, I don't think so. And I'll tell you why. Because what, what happens, especially with South America when, when a country is doing poorly politically in South America, that's when we see the influx of people. So, so right now it, I mean, it's, it's incredible. You see Argentina going through turmoil, and guess what? The US offers really great stability, even if our interest rates are not, we think they're not as favorable or whatever happens, you know, for them it is, you know, we we're seeing a lot of Colombians, we're seeing a lot of Chileans. So, so Miami kind of depends on political unrest in the rest of, of the country, which is crazy.
Mike Simonsen (12:48):
Which is crazy, but it turns out to be very reliable. And
Ines Hegedus-Garcia (12:51):
That's, that's exactly it. So there's a big joke that that Miami is close to the US where we're like in the border of the us.
Mike Simonsen (12:59):
Close to the us That's right. It's really nice because it's very close South America, but it's very close to the us That's, that's terrific. And yeah, and it turns out that if, if you're at home in a, in a country with political turmoil, you know, your, your interest rates are 14% or something, you know, coming to the US it's like, it's still very cheap. Mm-hmm.
Ines Hegedus-Garcia (13:16):
Mike Simonsen (13:17):
That's, that's neat. Okay. That's, that's that's really fascinating to, to watch that trend. So the, the market's been been solid this year. and have you n have you noticed change since the beginning of the year? So for example, in the, in, you know, the rest of the country, v pretty, pretty dramatically. Markets slowed down rest of the country in some, in, in some of the, the, the bumpiest, you know, west coast markets inventory available inventories back over where it was pre pandemic, most of the country, it's still very low, but, but you know, Austin and Phoenix and those places is back up. and, but after the first of the year and much of the country, we've had a notable change, inventory is falling, buyer demand is picking up. It's surprising that folks are buying in spite of the high, the new interest rates. What are you seeing since the first of the year?
Ines Hegedus-Garcia (14:20):
listen, we're, we're seeing something very similar. so definitely inventory slowly going up, not too pre pandemic numbers, but we're seeing inventory going up, but we're seeing it's not the multiple offer crazy bidding war scenarios out that's gone. So that's out of the way. so we're seeing we, we did see a slowdown and we were talking about a, a few colleagues a couple of days ago about this. what's interesting from that slowdown is like, oh wow, interest rates are 6% and we're thinking that's still a great interest rate, you know? Yeah, of course. It wasn't the 2.5 that we were lucky to get a couple of years ago, but the reality is if you bought a 2.5%, oh my God, just pat yourself on the back and just say your timing was on point. You know, but the reality is those buyers that were holding back, cuz they were freaking out, our interest rates going up, they're now realizing, wait a minute, wait a minute, it's not as bad, you know, 6%.
And then when you have an appreciating market like Miami offers, then you need to do the numbers, right? So if historically we're appreciating at at 8% and interest rates are at six, you better buy now. Cuz if you wait till the end of the year thinking that the interest rates are gonna drop a point, you may lose out on a greater opportunity. So, so that's what we're seeing, we're seeing, and then we're seeing sellers being more flexible. So that's positive, you know, and, and my point of view is now we're seeing a little bit longer inspection periods we're seeing some seller concessions. So market is normalizing. And a joke that I tell my my agents when they're like, wait a minute, I've had this listing on the market for 30 days. I'm like, okay, no, now you have to be an agent. Now you gotta market the property. You know, you didn't have to market the last couple years. It was easy, it was pie. Now you have to go back to working. So, so it's, it's not negative by any means, but to me it's like, oh, we're back, going back to normal, you know, it's fun.
Mike Simonsen (16:24):
Yeah, that's great. that's a, that's a very optimistic way to look at it, <laugh>.
Ines Hegedus-Garcia (16:29):
Well, thank you.
Mike Simonsen (16:30):
But having those like crazy overbidding times and the multiple offer things, like, it's not, not healthy for anybody in the, in the market. And so it has definitely returned. So then when we've been talking about obviously the outta town buyers, south American turmoil, are those patterns, do they change? Have they changed post pandemic? are there new trends that we should pay attention to there? what about Russia, Russia money? Does that, does that matter? How, how do we, how should I think about those?
Ines Hegedus-Garcia (17:00):
You know, you know, it's funny. my sunny ISS office is so diverse. I think the other day we had a training and we had Russians, every country in South America was represented. So we had Portugal, we had French, Chinese, Korean. So I, I was looking around the room and I said, oh my God, this is awesome. This really represents Miami. So with that said, my, my agents represent and service all kinds of people from all over the world. I can tell you that, that yes, Russia has always been interested in Miami. I don't think we've seen a crazy just overflow or I don't see more movement from Russia. We've been seeing more movement from the countries in South America with turmoil. is it different than before? I, I don't think so. What I'm seeing a little bit different this time is that these four nationals that would buy cash, they're still buying cash, don't get me wrong. But now they're not afraid of leveraging their money. So, so now there's more foreign national programs out there in the lending industry, and now they're thinking, wait a minute, let, let me leverage my, my money here in the United States because they trust the US ultimately. So that's the only thing that I would tell you that I see that's a little bit different.
Mike Simonsen (18:22):
That's interesting. So there's actually more lending programs for foreign nationals that have, have, that have emerged recently.
Ines Hegedus-Garcia (18:28):
Mike Simonsen (18:29):
Oh, that, that opens up the market more for, for the, for those folks. As somebody who doesn't, who's coming from Chile or someplace who has some money, but not, not, not enough to buy the a place full cash
Ines Hegedus-Garcia (18:45):
Or, or more fun than that. Hey, listen, I have $500,000. Instead of selling them one property, you say, let me sell you three, and you leverage the money.
Mike Simonsen (18:56):
Wow, that's interesting. and does that, you see a lot of that kind of activity, so suddenly they're, they're investors in Florida.
Ines Hegedus-Garcia (19:04):
Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, A lot for sure.
Mike Simonsen (19:07):
You know, in Miami, especially a few years ago, a few, a couple decades ago had real building booms, real building booms, right? And then has had boom and bus cycles on construction. where are we in that, in that phase right now?
Ines Hegedus-Garcia (19:21):
So it, it's funny because a lot of people are always, you're always gonna reference 2008 as the, the bus. but I can tell you there was a lot of media channels also covering, there was way too much new construction inventory. And the reality is that it wasn't a lot of media channels were covering 25 years of inventory, and the reality it was like less than five. but in, since we've been seeing a boom in new construction to the point where a media channel was gave me some quotes about, oh no, because construction is down in South Florida. And I was like, no, no, please send me the stats. Because absolutely not. There's all kinds of developers, all kinds of projects, anything that's new construction is selling fast. Anything that's new construction in the single family or townhouse arena, there's, there's not enough of it being built. It's selling like hotcakes. so, so yeah, we're seeing a lot of new construction, a lot of cool architecture here in, in Miami coming up. we're seeing those cranes again. And, and it's, listen, it, it's exciting and not at the same time because we see the skyline shifting so quickly and, and hopefully there's more quality than anything else. But, you know, me, my my architecture brain, I, I can really pick them apart really fast.
Mike Simonsen (20:45):
Yeah. Do you, do you like the general trend of the what's being built architecturally?
Ines Hegedus-Garcia (20:52):
Yeah. Listen, for the most part, yes. and probably I'll have a couple colleagues kill me. architect to is one of our big firms that is always building. So a new building goes up who design it architectonic, and you're like, oh, ya, <laugh>.
but the reality is, yeah, I, I would tell you that most of the time they're great quality. They, they have a good reputation. I think it more importantly than that is developer and the quality of the construction that people are concerned with. And everybody that's coming in, we're not seeing a lot of new developers that no one knows. So it's all reputable, all really great quality construction. We're seeing a lot of Airbnb buildings, like short-term rental buildings where investors can come in and, and we'll see where that goes, you know, and my point of view, if there's way too much inventory for short-term rentals, then hey, those rentals may not do as well as we expect. so let's see, let's see when those projects are finished, and let's see what the return is for, for these investors in the Shortterm
Mike Simonsen (21:53):
Buildings. That's a really interesting thread. You know, there is there, so I was recently in Nashville and we stayed in an Airbnb and the entire neighborhood was like Airbnbs, and you could tell because they all had like the same, you know Nashville sign on the, like the wall of like, here I am on, you know, and, and you could see it all the way down in the little townhouses and, and so, but Nashville has a big tourist, you know, in bon tourists industry, and they worked great for us. We were eight people, boom. We had a nice house. It was an excellent way to do it. But on the other hand, what if, you know, recession hits and the tourism drops, like, do those start to fail? So what do those look like in Miami? Are they like townhouse stuff or are they, like, of those new construction high rises, are they a lot going into the short-term rental?
Ines Hegedus-Garcia (22:47):
I would tell you most of them are gonna be high rises. So, so it's, think about it. I mean, you have a 50 story highrise, and what they do is that half of it is hotel, half of it will be short term rental. they, they're really flexible. They give owners the opportunity. Either you manage it yourself or we have concierge to manage it for you for a fee. so there, there's all kinds of different fun and great models and, and the math is, is working out even with figuring out vacancy rates. But again, it's, there's a lot of them going up. You know, I, I mean, I know people love Miami, but it gets to a point where, wow, that that's a lot of short-term rentals that are being built.
Mike Simonsen (23:31):
Yeah. And, and how is the city with that, or the region of the county, how, how are they with, so a lot of cities are afraid of that and are restricting, and there's a lot of, you know, like not allowed to put short-term rentals. How's, how's Miami doing with that?
Ines Hegedus-Garcia (23:47):
So, so listen I'm gonna put my chairman of the board hat on. we protect property rights. If you buy a property, whether it's single family, whatever it is we're supposed to tell you, you have the right to do whatever you want with your property. so, so that's my chairman of the board hat that, that I should always wear and always <laugh> speak out on. with that said, obviously quality of life is, is always a question, you know, so when you have residential single family areas, you're always concerned. Now this is controlled by the Department of Business Regulation, D D P R at the Florida level, the state level. So you get your license for short-term rental at the state level, and then each local municipality will have an extra license. yes, there's communities that are concerned with that quality of life, but, but at the end it's, it's a matter of doing it correctly.
Miami Beach was the first one that, that had a huge fines, and it was just crazy. And, and guess what? We also need to protect our hotel industry in Miami Beach, you know, because at the end of the day, you have this massive hotel industry, and then if you provide at the same time parallel to that short term rentals, then you don't want your businesses to go, you know, upside down. So it's, it's been challenging. but the city I, I would tell you is, is open to, to the growth. And we have enough tourism here, I think to, to cover everybody. I think it's, it's, it's the the unhealthy party house next to you that, that you're concerned with.
Mike Simonsen (25:23):
Yeah. Right. And, and, and sometimes it's the hotel industry who wants to squash the competition.
Ines Hegedus-Garcia (25:30):
Yeah. No, no, no. There, there's, and listen, and obviously I, I don't know the exact regulations that Miami Beach has come up with, but yes, there's licenses and you have to go through processes and, and with every right, Miami Beach not only has to protect private property rights, but they have to protect their, their businesses as well.
Mike Simonsen (25:48):
Yeah. So at this point though, you see, we, we still see boom in short-term rental construction and the investor types who are buying those units as of February of 2023. You like, you still see that momentum?
Ines Hegedus-Garcia (26:02):
Oh, for sure. No, no, that hasn't stopped. That hasn't stopped. And you know what, and it's, and it's funny because I, I see it just in my own office. I, I have, I don't know, we, in Avanti, we have about 1500 agents. in my particular office in Sunny House, we have about like a hundred and, and right under 200 agents. And a lot of my agents work with investors, and they work with short-term rentals, and they're doing beautifully. They, their business has not gotten affected at all.
Mike Simonsen (26:31):
That's amazing. That's really interesting to hear. And it's, it's funny, as much as the data has been national, the trends have been national, we d we still, we always have our local insights. And it's one of the reasons I wanted to talk to you today because it, you know, Miami, Miami's really suck out in, and it's sort of a different cycle this year being its own space. So that's really fascinating. Let's talk a little bit more about the market before, and then we're gonna talk into, into, go into like social media and things like that. But let's talk about affordability. How do you, I in a world where like, hey, we're putting up 50 story highrise, and oh, by the way, everybody's buying those for short-term rentals, it's hard to buy it from a place to live. What happens with affordability? What is happening? How do you feel about affordability in Miami?
Ines Hegedus-Garcia (27:16):
Listen, it, it's just funny because my own kids as being millennials and being in that buying stage we have this conversation all the time, thank goodness my oldest bought his place. So now he's looking for a single family house. So we can say when a city grows organically is especially one that is like Miami, there, you're gonna push away to the borders, to the outskirts, the local living person, like the, the working class. And, and I don't think this is a phenomenon of Miami. I think this just happens to any city that's growing. So we're sitting, we're, we are seeing these growing pains and, and they are being addressed. we're constantly, when it comes to advocacy at the local and state level, that's, that's one of our big deals is, is affordability. And and we're constantly trying to come up with programs, you know, for people to be able to afford and stay in Miami.
We, we don't want our brain power, our kids to move out of, of our city. And it's, it's a challenge. I'm not gonna say it's not, it's a challenge, but at the same time, if you're not afraid of buying, like when my son bought a couple of years ago, he's got incredible equity. You know, anyone that holds back and continues to rent thinking, I can't afford Miami, guess what, you're never gonna afford Miami. So I think my, our job as, as realtors is to explain that process and, and, and to let the consumer know, don't, don't be afraid. You know, and, and pull, you have the data, you know, the data is what is our annual appreciation in the different micro markets within Miami. And we, you and I have talked about micro mar markets and how generalized data, sometimes it's very difficult to, to analyze. And these micro markets, as soon as you analyze them and you realize, wait, wait a minute, if I would've bought three years ago, I would have $200,000 worth of equity. You go, wow, you know, now I can move into a bigger property. so back to your question of affordability. Yeah. It's, it's a, it's an issue. Yes. It's a challenge. Yes. Is a one it's one that a lot, not only politicians locally, but us as a board and an association are, are trying to grab head on.
Mike Simonsen (29:35):
Yeah. You don't resent all the Californians coming in and buying up all the properties and driving the prices up
Ines Hegedus-Garcia (29:40):
<laugh> the Californians and not, not so much because they're nice. I think the New Yorkers Oh my goodness.
Mike Simonsen (29:48):
Yeah. That's, it's the New Yorker's fault. Yeah.
Ines Hegedus-Garcia (29:54):
Are obnoxious, obnoxious. We love our New Yorkers. We do,
Mike Simonsen (30:02):
Of course, always. And, and that's of course the New York phenomenon. It's been the lifeblood of Miami forever, right? It's it's driven a lot of Miami forever. So okay. Well that's great. And, and of course there was a real tr there has been, i, in over the pandemic especially, there was a real trend of, or at least a, there's a headline, I don't know if there was a real trend, but there was a headline of like San Francisco techno, a couple of loudmouth venture capitalists who are like, I'm moving to Miami. Some people moved to Miami and some really loudmouth VCs moved to Miami, and a lot of it was around Bitcoin and the cryptocurrency market. And, and for a while there was capital there. Did that impact your business? Like people with a lot of Bitcoin money? Were they, was that, and and is that gone
Ines Hegedus-Garcia (30:46):
Now? You know what, I think the, the crypto people that moved to Miami, they talked about their crypto, but they, they didn't buy in crypto, you know? So I think that's the difference. So you, you can be a loudmouth talking about it and having, but at the end of the day, the transactions were made and, and regular transactions, not crypto. And and, and so no, it did not affect our market at all. Those people, you know, the, their wealth came from different sources. we have not seen that affect us at
Mike Simonsen (31:19):
All. No impact whatsoever. Yeah. Do you feel momentum for like technology, does that feel real and palpable in, in Miami? Is there a future?
Ines Hegedus-Garcia (31:28):
It, not only does it feel real and palpable, it, it's, it's tangible. It's really exciting. because I was involved as an early adopter of social media. I was involved with that tech world many years ago, and I remember to, to get a tech conference was really difficult. And, and it was like, it was always complain when, when are we gonna see the light at the end of the tunnel? And now it's just all the startups that are coming in. All the venture capital money that's here is just, it's super, super exciting. we, we need to thank Mayor Suarez for that. You know, that that whole open arms come in, how can I help you? Has been just a game changer for us here in Miami. And, and it's, listen, you and I are techies, you know, there, there's, I get goosebumps thinking about the, the tech and, and all the, the innovation that's happening here in Miami right now. So it's, that's one of the best things that's happened to Miami in the last couple years.
Mike Simonsen (32:28):
That's really exciting to hear. It really feels good to be part of a growth growth market. Growth industry there, for sure. Yeah. That's, that's exciting. Well, that's cool. And that's actually a good transition. You know, we probably met 17 years ago, something like many years ago, right at when we started Altos and we were doing blogging stuff, and you were, and you created miami.com mm-hmm. <affirmative> which you still run today. How many people have been able to keep any blog going for 17 years or however many 18 years? How, like, and, and but it obviously still probably drives a lot of your business too. Tell us about Miami.
Ines Hegedus-Garcia (33:06):
Listen, Miami is my child, you know, is just nuts. Because when I, I decided to transition from sales into leadership and partnering with Avanti Way Realty, and now being more at the management level, I'm not gonna kill my child. so I'm, I'm keeping that one alive, but it's, it's a labor of love. You know, it's, it's evolved throughout the years. It, it started with, you know, how I can communicate with the consumer at a different level. obviously s SEO was, was a huge thing that the fact that Google just loved the blog and new content. I never in a million years thought that I was a writer. but guess what, after you've been doing it for so long, and by the way, and you know this, I never hired anyone to write, like, I write all my blog posts, which is insane.
I think back now, think about this, three to four articles a week for 17 years. That's a lot of content. at least I, because I have so much content, I have the ability of recycling this content for things that are more local. So I or, or apply more to the time. so labor of love just cool to see tech change around it, you know? cool to see what social media has, what people are doing with social media, and then they're like, you're a blogger, Ines, really, you're a blogger. And it's, and it's funny for it for me to even vocalize that. but yes, <laugh>, yeah, I couldn't call myself anything else. and it's, it's been absolutely amazing to learn what my voice is and to learn what, what my audience wants to see in content and to understand that marketing aspect of how to sell real estate by understanding an audience and huge lesson.
Mike Simonsen (35:03):
Yeah. So what, tell me about your audience. What do they, what do they respond to? What, like what are they like?
Ines Hegedus-Garcia (35:09):
So, funny enough, it has changed throughout the years, and I think obviously it has changed because of my growth and what I'm writing. there's no blogger that's not, that's gonna go at it blindly. You have to look at your analytics and see what's being read the most. my articles that are always read the most are my market reports. So, so Mr. Stats <laugh> right here, you know, that, that's, that's it. I, I don't care if you're buying or selling, you always wanna know what, how the market's behaving. So, so those are always doing the best. And then the ones that I have a passion for, anytime there's a, a really cool architect coming in and I talk passionately about what they're building, what I'm seeing, and how it's changing the landscape. And, and I think people see my passion and those articles, and those are the, the most read and my educational ones, historic homes, materials. What, what's the right window? What's the right roofing tile for a Mediterranean revival home? I can go on and on and <laugh>.
Mike Simonsen (36:07):
So do you have some architects that we should pay attention to? Who should I know? Who do you like architect wise?
Ines Hegedus-Garcia (36:12):
Oh my God, there's and he's not a local anymore. Opheim, Chad Opheim in Miami has done some beautiful buildings and he's building all over. there's, there's a guy that actually went to with me. His name is Alan Schulman. And what I love about Alan is that he takes historic buildings and he repurpose them, but with the right thought without destroying the integrity of the, of the building or the architecture. so those two are, are local ones. And then obviously you, you have like massive architects that, that are all over Miami. I mean, Zha, Haddi that, that passed away recently. we have a one of her buildings, her first residential building in the, in the us is just absolutely fantastic.
Mike Simonsen (37:04):
Yeah. That's, that's a good looking building. Yeah.
Ines Hegedus-Garcia (37:07):
Zog and Damron, I think my favorite building in Miami is a parking lot, which is like, what <laugh>. So
Mike Simonsen (37:15):
I love it. I have to, I don't know that one.
Ines Hegedus-Garcia (37:17):
Yeah, so it's 1111 Lincoln, and it's a concrete structure that just gives me goosebumps every time I go. There's no bad angle. I every, I may visited like once a week and I can take a hundred photos every time I go.
Mike Simonsen (37:30):
I love it. I love it. What a great, what a what a great observation. Like the coolest building is, is a parking lot. I also love the, the, the, the Schulman who, who does respects that then the architectural integrity, because Miami has such a great architectural history and culture that, but it's also time to change some of those buildings around. Right. Some, some of those are getting old, right? Yeah.
Ines Hegedus-Garcia (37:59):
We have a great project right now that's been a labor of love. It's the Miami Marine Stadium. So the Marine Miami Marine Stadium was built, I think it was in the eighties by this guy Candela, who's a Cuban architect that passed away also last year. But during Andrew, the hurricane in the nineties, the city was managing the, the building and they pretty much just kind of abandoned it. And then they said it was structurally unsafe and a bunch of people came up, including the National Trust for Historic Places and, and declared it historic, like one of the, the top 10 endangered buildings in the world. And I was part of that, which I was very, very happy to be. So years, it's been like 12 or 13 years since that process began of, of not destroying it and maybe restoring it. And they just started the concrete restoration for it last week. Wow. So big win.
Mike Simonsen (38:56):
Yeah. And do you think the city and the region in general does like a good job between that, that trade off of, Hey, we gotta build new, but we also gotta protect the old, does Miami do well there, or the things that need to be improved?
Ines Hegedus-Garcia (39:08):
Unfortunately, we don't. We have a couple of passionate people. it's like Miami Beach I think is one of the best. The city of Miami is trying to do. Well, coral Gables is fantastic. but yeah, there's always people are saying, again, where you're protecting property rights. I bought this place, I don't care if it's a historic Ken on Elliot, I'm gonna tear it down. So then Miami Beach, like has created like a moratorium for historic board to review. So there's, there's processes, but we've lost some gems over idiocy at the end of the day, you know, and, and, and it makes me sad. I mean, I, I've written blog posts when like an important house is torn down and I'm crying and Rick is looking at me like, are you kidding
Mike Simonsen (39:53):
Ines Hegedus-Garcia (39:54):
Crying over a house has been torn down. And it's like, yes,
Mike Simonsen (39:59):
<laugh>. Yeah. Yeah. That's really, really tricky. And, and maybe even we'll accelerate over the next few years because because of that age of the, some of those properties, it's like, we gotta replace and because of this massive growth happening so many other, so many great things about that learning. what else have you learned from the, that Miami and that process that, that you can share with us?
Ines Hegedus-Garcia (40:26):
Listen, I think the process of, of having a blog that, that has a really strong audience is that, well, I've learned, I'm always positive, you know so it's not like I'm ever going to use my voice to tear someone apart. I mean, that, that's something that I would never in a million years do. But I think that having a voice teaches you that you do have a responsibility to educate the consumer on things that they may not be aware of. And, and that's been challenging because putting things in a light that's healthy without being negative, but at the same time being informational is very rewarding. one, one example is, is one house that got torn down close to me in Miami Shores by a, a well-known architect, and it was his own home. And and the architect that built the house in its place was a good friend.
So, and it was, it just, it was hurtful. So I wrote a really great post about how sad the process of replacing what's old with new, just for the sakes of replacing, without thinking of restoration. But I didn't mention his name. And, and he called me like, I hear my phone, he called me and he's like, you called me out. I said, no, I did not call you out. I said, just because you're feeling guilty about the whole process of not educating your client doesn't mean that I'm calling you out. I'm calling the whole process broken. And it's up to you to realize that from now on, you have a choice as an architect to educate the consumer what you're tearing down for the sakes of tearing down.
Mike Simonsen (42:07):
Yeah, it is a real challenge. And it's of course California is very sensitive to things like that, but it's one of the things that then leads to affordability challenges and like, it's a real double-edged sword in there. interesting. So you mentioned the hurricane, and do you have a view on climate change? Climate risk? Has your business changed or your buyers? What, what, tell me about how you think about climate risk now.
Ines Hegedus-Garcia (42:37):
Listen it's something that we must be aware of. I think we put a blind eye in anything that was sea level rise of climate change here in Miami for a few years. there were a couple of media reports of actual realtors at that would say, oh, nothing's happening. You don't have to worry for 50 years, and we need to be responsible. You know? the beauty is that we've reached the point in sustainability in the city where, you know, the, the city officials are, are being responsible and they see, you know, we, we need to address this infrastructure in Miami needs a lot of work. but for example, I'll, I'll mention Brickle, you know, our financial district, you see in the news, and I get calls from like South America, oh my God, I just saw it in the news, Bri's underwater.
And yeah, while we have these heavy rains, it literally is underwater, but it rains in less than 24 hours, it's gone. It's not like it stays underwater. Now that doesn't mean that's right. It just means it's not as bad as the media's perceiving it to be. so yeah, we have a long trip ahead of us when it comes to being better about sustainability, but we are definitely addressing it. Some of, of the ways that we're addressing it, in my opinion, are band-aids. for example, there's certain areas in Miami Beach where, and there are commercial areas where the the city's racing the street. So you race the street, you keep the actual retail at the same level as before, and they add pumps, but guess what? So you're protecting the car, is that what you're telling me? The car's more important than the pedestrian walkway that was there before. So, so we need better urban planners. We need better solutions to, to these band-aids that, that I don't think are solving the problem. And, and it's just very, very temporary. And at the end of the day, I, I hate to protect the car, you know, I, I wanna protect the walkability, I wanna protect those, those businesses at the end of the day.
Mike Simonsen (44:42):
Right, right, right. And when you're working with maybe younger realtors, is, is climate risk and climate change, is that something you discuss with them? Is it like, help them? How do you communicate to like, well, you know, if you're buy on the 50th floor, you're gonna be fine <laugh>, what, what kinda conversations do you have?
Ines Hegedus-Garcia (45:00):
Well, that, the big joke is yeah, if you buy on the 50th floor and how are you gonna get to the building where, but there's boats or boats, you know, <laugh> to get to your place. no, no. The reality is the, the education is what is your local municipality doing re regarding this climate change. you what's happening with flood insurance, for example, which is huge, what's happening with these fifties homes, you know, that are sitting in, in lower grounds and what needs to happen to those to come up to standards? So there's zoning changes happening throughout. So it's about keeping, letting those younger agents know, please inform yourself about what the, each municipality is doing and which streets do flood and what happens and, and what the changes are. And that's, that's our responsibility that we all have to have and, and disclose
Mike Simonsen (45:56):
What is happening with flood insurance.
Ines Hegedus-Garcia (45:58):
Well, listen, I, I think the, the biggest change that I think will be positive is, is the whole lidar mapping idea. So my sister's also an architect and she was freaking out that her house insurance was gonna go up. And yes, that's a problem. Insurance is, is definitely increasing, especially in, in Florida. but there's, there's changes right now with mapping to understand exactly how much they flood, where you are within those flood lines and, and what a homeowner needs to know and do to protect their property. And, and that's what's important. I think it's, it's that, that whole evolution of, again, education, cuz at the end of the day that's, that's where it is. And making sure that, you know, our local governments are protecting us and are giving us that right. Information.
Mike Simonsen (46:48):
That's interesting. And I, I've, I've said elsewhere that, that it feels like Florida is generally we're underpricing the risk in much of Florida. We still, even though flood insurance is, is rising, it still feels like the risk is growing and the damage skill is growing. But it's interesting to hear about the technology changes that actually help us make better decisions along the way there. Have you ever had a situation where you tell a client, don't buy this house, buy that house, because we can see how the flood map works better?
Ines Hegedus-Garcia (47:23):
Oh, I, yes. Well, absolutely. What, what I say is, listen, I want you to come back to this area after a torrential rain just so you see what's happening. You know, and, and that's an eye opener that that's a huge one. I could not live with myself selling a property and the person can't even go out their front door because their house is flooded. So, but, but talking about underpricing, the risk insurance is really, really, really high, you know? so I think that the problem that we were having in Florida outside of, in the insurance thing, and I think this is gonna be a really great solution because it's, it is advocacy at, at the state level, is that contractors could actually go straight to the insurance to say that they were doing, so they would get paid by the insurance and they would remove the, the homeowner. So there was a lot of fraud there, you know, so, so now it's a, no, the, the homeowner needs to be involved in that. and that's, that's, to me, it's gonna make a huge difference.
Mike Simonsen (48:29):
Mean it's a huge difference because the less fraud means then you don't have to pass that, those costs on. interesting. Okay. I like it. Th those are real changes. Like the technology changes, the legislation, the legislative changes in the face of the fact that the risk is increasing, that we need to do those mix. All right. Well that's really terrific. It's exactly what I wanted to get out of our conversation, and as I, I appreciate your insight. I love the, you know, Miami is such a special market to, to see and to hear about. I, I love your, your role both as, as a practitioner, but also as a leader of the 60,000 agents in Miami. I really appreciate your time today.
Ines Hegedus-Garcia (49:08):
Well listen, thank you for having me. it was a blast. I can't wait for you to come back to Miami so I can see you live and in person. And, and thank you for having me. This was really, really a trick.
Mike Simonsen (49:21):
And as where should people find you on the social media? We talked about a bunch of your stuff, but where should we, where should they find you?
Ines Hegedus-Garcia (49:27):
Listen, everything Miami is on, so on Instagram, on Miami on Twitter is my first name, so it's enes, i n e s. So that's the only one. You're
Mike Simonsen (49:36):
The first Ines
Ines Hegedus-Garcia (49:37):
<laugh>. So that's, yeah, that's crazy. So Twitter is enes, but the rest of the social media platforms under Miami you'll find me
Mike Simonsen (49:44):
Terrific. My and Miami is when yeah, you're, your Instagram is great. Well, cuz you're such a good photographer and capturing the, the art of the space and the, and the architecture it's really, really terrific. All right, everybody, that's the top of mind podcast. My guest, Anez chairman of the Miami Association of Realtors this year and a longtime practitioner, Anez, thank you so much. Everybody will be back next week with another top of Mind podcast.
Ines Hegedus-Garcia (50:10):
Thank you. Thank you.
Mike Simonsen (50:18):
Thanks for listening to Top of Mind. If you enjoy the show, I'd really appreciate leaving a nice review on your favorite podcast app that helps other people find us as well. Be sure to subscribe so you don't miss future episode