Afternoon Tea with Lonna & Nikki!

The Costa Bella Realty Group had an amazing interview with Helen Vella-Basilone, founder of Vella Strategies. We discussed women in the real estate industry, the current market and how it is important to use your transferable skills to embrace change and transition into a new career. In today’s world we have to be open to reinventing ourselves and captivating on opportunity.
The Costa Bella Realty Group is a boutique real estate brokerage that specializes in residential homes (sell and buy), luxury home specialist, commercial property (sell, buy and lease), property management, investment properties, seasonal rentals, hotels and large apartment complex sales. Our team of realtors have a combined experience of 38 years in the business.
Ready for the next conversation on buying or selling for home? Contact us at 954-416-2725.


Costa Bella Realty Group Welcomes The Nikki Hanna Real Estate Group

Nikki Hanna is among the most well-respected business professionals in South Florida with diverse experience in full-service residential home buying and selling. Nikki was born and raised in Hollywood, Florida where she attended Nativity Catholic School and is an alumnus of Chaminade-Madonna High School. She attended Nova Southeastern University where she graduated with a masters in business and leadership.

Nikki Hanna has been a part of the West Broward community for 20 years as a business consultant and owner of several successful businesses in the health and wellness industry. She was the Chief Executive Officer for the Davie-Cooper City Chamber of Commerce. Actively involved in the community through volunteering, serving on committees and helping to raise money for non-profits, Nikki derives immense satisfaction from giving back and watching the impact non-profit organizations have in the community.

She is extremely knowledgeable of the current market in Hollywood and has particular expertise in General Residential Sales, Luxury Home Sales, Commercial Properties, Relocation, Rentals, Off Campus housing and Investment Properties. Honesty, transparency and dependability are the cornerstones of what makes her a resource buyers, sellers and investors simply can’t pass up.

As a Licensed REALTOR®, Nikki’s background of success encompasses a proven track record of identifying and capitalizing on hidden market opportunities, transforming opportunities into deals, and finding the hard-to-find investment projects that consistently yield a significant return on investment.

Nikki serves her clients in the role of strategic planning counselor and advisor. She understands the importance of being knowledgeable and flexible while working with the market shifts. She possesses the right set of skills to aggressively negotiate the right deal for you. The Nikki Hanna Real Estate Group is excited to be a part of the Costa Bella Realty Group in her hometown. Nikki can be contacted at 954-701-5246.


Investing in Real Estate: 2018 and Beyond

Real Estate is currently, and has always been, the most stable investment one can make for the future. Sure, many will read that first line and immediately think that this is a hack-job piece created by a salesperson, however, that could not be further from the truth. Let’s take a look at a few variables and see exactly why investing within your means in real estate is the safest choice for not just your money, but your future.

Real estate values are not subject to the massive price fluctuations like the stock market and commodities. These assets can swing multiple percentage points in a day. First and foremost, 2008 did not happen due to property simply losing value. The “crash” happened because Americans invested well beyond their means, leveraging bad debt to purchase multiple properties and when the economy had a financial downturn, it left people up the proverbial creek without a paddle. This economic crisis was created and manufactured not just by wall street greed, but due to the greed of the middle class as well. Real Estate did not lose value, American’s lost money and were unable to afford the mortgages they signed for with outlandish interest rates. American real estate had a surplus of supply as people could no longer afford the property due to being bankrupted by poor decisions and greedy lenders, assigning no doc loans to those who were all too eager to sign for them. Do you know what happened to American real estate as a direct result of the 2008 economic crisis? Foreign money moved in and bought what we could no longer afford. There was a downturn prior to this happening, but that was merely a supply-demand cause-effect situation playing out due to banks not lending (under the same circumstances) and real estate becoming too expensive to afford for the American middle class.

From 2008 onward, foreign money has been a massive piece of the stabilization of the American economy. If I turn this article political, we can truly go into why American economic infrastructure was destroyed, but that’s a thought for another day. Foreign money (and smart American money) has propelled our real estate market during times when our middle class could no longer afford real estate, due to spreading themselves too thin and becoming crippled with debt. We had a period I like to call “THE GREAT SALE”- real estate values weren’t much lower, however, SHORT SALES being approved and subsidized by the government moved our market forward. Deficiency judgements weren’t being assigned to the homeowner due to the government covering the tab. Sales volume was wild during this time period for a country going through an economic crisis, which falls between 2008 to 2012. From 2010 through 2012, residential sales grew roughly 10% each year until booming in 2013 past what they were even in 2007*.Short sales fueled this boom, and smart money in America, coupled with a massive influx of foreign capital assisted in this growth. This was our first real recovery period. People were able to drop their debt, and smart, qualified investors were able to capitalize.

Step into present day, and we see property values (and sales) have fully rebounded. 2017 and 2018 sales are eclipsing those of 2007, and are well on their way to retracing the buying frenzy of 2004/2005. The difference between now and then is quite simple. American real estate is now hitting these numbers without crippling homeowners, and without spreading capital too thin through refinancing and property acquisitions beyond the average American’s financial means. We are seeing a resurgence of QUALIFIED first time home buyers. Americans are receiving tax cuts and bonuses. Big business is reinvesting in our country. An incredible amount of manufacturing has returned to America. The life-blood of a truly dominant American economy is coming home.

We as south Floridians are in a truly unique position. We live in East California, and what I mean by that is simple: we are a part of one of the most dominant real estate markets in the world, not just America. Hollywood is slated for the most growth year over year in south Florida in my personal opinion. Here you have a city nestled in the shadows of Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, undergoing a massive infrastructure and branding overhaul. It is no longer solely a retirement destination. Downtown is bustling with new business, the beaches are bringing in huge names in Margaritaville and boutique hotels from around the world, and more importantly, maintaining their business. These places aren’t coming in, setting up shop, and calling it a day. They are investing long term in Hollywood. We have some of the most unique and high end restaurants in South Florida with names like Gigi’s Waterfront and Sardelli’s, along with being a host to a variety of culinary destinations in the heart of Downtown Hollywood. Even with this growth, there are still many areas within our city where a smart real estate investor can invest and walk into a great cap rate. Duplexes and triplexes throughout the city are available with 7-12% cap rates on the market TODAY. These properties were pulling numbers like this in 2004, 2008, 2012, and will always continue to churn out a solid investment for people intelligent enough to invest in the locomotives of the real estate industry. These are investments that pay you back in eight to twelve years, and everything after that is maintenance and profit. As long as you as the investor do not overextend beyond your means, you can always make slow and steady gains in the real estate industry. These aren’t investments solely for you, they are for your children and your children’s children.

Hollywood is not only a great city for investment, it is also an excellent city to raise a family, citing overall crime reductions of 11% in 2017, with a 26% reduction in violent crimes in 2016. These are numbers directly from the office of the City Manager, however with the police presence in Hollywood it is quite easy to see why we are able to reduce our crime rate. Hollywood invests in its future, and that investment is paying dividends for it as a city. Since installing CCTV and LPR technology, we have also seen a 77% decrease in vehicle burglaries on north beach alone, an almost complete eradication of something that plagued an area of the beach I personally used to live and have experienced first hand. Couple the crime rate reductions with the money pouring into this city from all angles, quite literally, and you have the recipe for an area slated for large economic growth over the next twenty years. You won’t become rich, or poor, as fast as messing around in the cryptocoin markets, but your money and your future will be safe. At the end of the day, safety, longevity, and happiness are all that matter in life. Invest in avenues that reflect those values.

Developers are building within their means, buyers are purchasing within their means, and lenders will only lend with extensive applications, not willing to lend to those attempting to extend beyond their means. Honesty is everything in today’s real estate market, and sales volume and valuation are currently reflecting that. You need an honest real estate agent assisting and guiding you through the purchasing process. Whether investing or purchasing for the first time, Costa Bella Realty Group will be your guiding light.



Michael Spitaleri

Costa Bella Realty Group

Real Estate Salesperson

First time home buyers: The “American Dream” is back!

Home Ownership has been the keystone of the “American Dream” since the inception of our country: a man’s worth was determined by his land. Although valuing oneself on what they own is considered archaic in today’s society, one aspect has remained constant throughout the last 100 years: the American dream is still based around home ownership. The dream has gone through a very tumultuous phase in the last twenty years, being pummeled by the stock market crash of 1998, and then a year later entering into a phase where we had a complete buyers frenzy, which carried on all the way to the housing crisis of 2008.

What changed in that ten-year period? Why did we enter into such a detrimental housing crisis? Well to put it simply, American’s were leveraging their debt to an unsustainable degree. It simply took a downtick in the economy to pop the bubble that our banking system created. It’s taken another ten years, but we, as a country, have learned from our mistakes. The days of no document loans are over, and we, as an American financial system, are ready to create a sustainable debt infrastructure and reopen the gates of the American dream to qualified first time home buyers.  The best instrument to enter into the denizen of home ownership is the FHA loan. An FHA loan is a mortgage insured by the Federal Housing Administration, and they have never looked more lucrative than they do today, especially for a population that has just gone through an extremely rocky twenty-year financial cycle.

The qualifications for an FHA loan are very simple. Before we get into that though, let’s take a look at why the FHA is such a great instrument to enter into home ownership today. Let’s say you want to buy a home, and its value is at $300,000.00. With an FHA loan and a credit score over 580, you would only need to put down a 3.75% down payment on the property! That’s only $11,250 (plus closing costs) to enter into the American Dream! Now, if your credit score is under 580, there is still hope for you! You would simply have to bump your down payment up to ten percent to qualify. It has never been easier for qualified home buyers to cross the bridge into home ownership than it is today, sustainably.

Now, some people would say we are entering another bubble. I don’t see it that way, and here’s why: our countries GDP is sustainably hitting the mark over three percent growth each quarter, something the American economy was unable to do one time in the past eight years, even though we were coming out of a major recession. Our stock market is seeing new highs every day. Our jobs reports are coming back with positive growth each quarter. We are bringing manufacturing back to America and revitalizing our infrastructure nation-wide. We are entering an eight-year period where we may be lucky enough to see true growth year over year. I’ve always been a contrarian, but when everything falls into place, you have to ride the wave and go with the flow. To put it simply: You are losing money by not being involved in real estate today.

If you are not a cash buyer, then the most important step of investing in real estate is the pre-qualification process. You will simply need your last two years tax returns, two years of income statements, and your most recent monthly pay stubs. If you’re self-employed, you will need three years of tax returns and a year-to-date profit/loss statement. Simply call Costa Bella Realty Group today, and we will be happy to walk you through the entire process, professionally.

Michael Spitaleri
954 895 0199

Hollywood the growing city

The presence of New Developers is among us in our quaint little city of Hollywood.

Hollywood being the third largest city in Broward county is located on the South Florida Coast between Ft. Lauderdale and Miami. It’s proximity to I95 and the Florida Turnpike is also inviting. Currently there is more than $1.65 Billion in Real Estate development now planned or under construction throughout the city. There are key commercial corridors offering additional redevelopment opportunities. A Tri Rail Coastal Link Commuter Rail service in the making that will provide an Urban lifestyle many are seeking. There are visitors from around the world that come to stay along our Historical Broadwalk and our beautiful beaches.  A 2.5-mile pedestrian walkway along the Atlantic is lined with shops and Bistros and accommodations to fit every taste and Budget.  For recreation there are three municipal golf courses, a ten acre urban park filled with activities in the heart of Downtown Hollywood such as concerts, art shows, movie nights and an assortment of classes. Being raised here in Hollywood I have seen many changes through out the years, but I have to say what is going on here now is just the iceberg.

I read a quote from the City of Hollywood about their Mission “The City of Hollywood’s economic development team is committed to implementing a holistic and sustainable economic growth strategy that results in a robust economy and healthy neighborhoods. We are here to help you with:”

  • Confidential Project Management
  • Site Selection
  • Market Research & Data
  • Business Connections
  • Permitting & Regulatory
  • Economic incentives

As you can see this city is getting ready for “The New City of Hollywood” I will keep you updated on the progress and news as I see it develop.

Zillow, Trulia…Your Real Estate Enemies
In today’s technology savvy society, it is only natural that potential homeowners turn to popular sites like, and to search for single family, rental and investment properties. Everyone is familiar with the quote “nothing comes for free,” right? Let’s give these sites a little credit. A prospective buyer or seller will receive free inaccurate, outdated, deceiving information at absolutely zero cost.
Always turn to a licensed real estate professional when making one of the most important purchases in your life. Would you rather make a $350,000 purchase with a person who can physically assess a property, give you accurate listing information, set up a personalized profile with your criteria, and negotiate the best deal for your dollar? Or would you rather throw your hard earned money into cyber space?
One of the biggest misconceptions about not using a real estate professional is you will save money. Contrary to popular belief, it is quite the opposite. Here are a couple examples on how you make more with the help of a professional.
  1. These sites do not know the true value of your home or the homes in you neighborhood.  Does know that you just installed impact windows, remodeled the bathrooms and replaced the roof while your neighbors still have outdated windows and bubblegum pink bathrooms?
  2. Going in with non-representation does not save you anything when purchasing.  A seller’s agent is ultimately being paid by the person/property they represent. They have loyalty to their client and may be limited on helping a buyer. In the end they may receive a full 6 % commission without getting you the best deal.
  3. Finding a property or listing your home online is only the beginning. Time is money. Do you have the time and qualifications to host open houses, deal with contracts, schedule inspections, work with appraisers and coordinate closings?
Consider a real estate agent as your personal “home concierge.” Let the experts do the work. Use your online searching skills to research local realtors. It is important to match yourself with a person you feel comfortable and confident with.

by Jade Weiss, Realtor – Costa Bella Realty Group