Eitan Gontovnik: Making Moves In North Beach

Eitan Gontovnik

Story Provided By: MiamiBeachLifeMag.com


When a city gets as hot and popular as North Beach has been for the past couple of years, investors start looking for spots to purchase, and that’s where Eitan comes in, lawyer by trait, realtor expertise. Eitan has one focus, and that’s “North Beach”, let’s find out why you should pick Eitan as your next North Beach realtor.


What made you get into real estate? I grew up in Huntington Woods, Michigan, which is an incredible neighborhood in the Suburbs of Detroit. It is tough to compare to a neighborhood in Miami, but it feels a little bit like Coral Gables meets mid-beach, Miami Beach without the expensive mansions and waterfront properties. It is very much a neighborhood with sidewalks, beautiful parks, community events and where quite often people who grow up there end up than raising their families there as well once they are adults. The houses there are mostly from mid-century, beautiful colonials and tudors. Since my teens, I would often go to open houses, sometimes with my mom, but often times alone as well.  I fell in love the different types of architecture, landscaping, and decorations, everything that makes a house a home and on a larger scale leads to a beautiful neighborhood for people to live, grow up, raise a family. At 18 I decided to get my real estate license in Michigan. It was the summer before I went away to college at Michigan State University, so I did not really put it to use. But in a sense, I have had my real estate license for 16 years. In college, I majored in Building Construction Management, which is a sort of business degree with a heavy concentration in the construction and real estate field.  I came close to obtaining a second degree in Urban Planning. The courses I took in college gave me a background in fields overlapping and complementary to real estate so I think my interest developed even more during that time.

We heard that you live in north beach, why north beach? I think I was first exposed to the area when I came down to Miami for Winter break in 2002 with friends from college. My friend’s mom had intended to book us a hotel in South Beach, but somehow it ended up being the Dezerland. That was my first taste of Miami as an adult. I remembering first falling in love with the beach itself, but also walking around the North Beach neighborhood, though at the time I had no idea what it was. In law school, living near the campus was a priority so living in Miami Beach was not really an option.  In 2010, after I graduated, I knew I wanted to live on the beach.  I looked at few apartments in South Beach and in North Beach. Not only were the apartment in North Beach a much better value, but I loved the feel of the neighborhood, the abundance of good coffee the ability to walk to the beach in minutes.  I ended living at 401 Blu on 69th and Abbott for 3 years and loved it. Having lived in North Beach for the last 7 years at 4 different locations and transitioning from renter to property owner, I can tell you that the things that brought me to the neighborhood that are still some of those same things I love about living here. First and foremost, living near the beach to me is one of the best parts of living in Miami.  Even if I don’t take a dip in the water, taking a walk along our amazing boardwalk, catching a glimpse of the water while I’m driving in my car or from my balcony always makes me happy and keeps my stress level low. I can walk to the beach from my place in 5-10 minutes and there is something very special about that. I love the cafes and restaurants that we have in the neighborhood.   I think we have some amazing coffee, pastries, and food. We also have some amazing public space.

Where do you see North Beach in 5 years? In the 7 years, I have lived in North Beach, I have seen a lot of improvements.  Nicer parks, improvements to the streetscapes and some new restaurants and bars that provide a more enjoyable living experience. Based on what I see in the master plan, the recent vote to increase FAR in the town center and what I know about some of the projects that are planned there, I think North Beach is on track to become one of the hottest neighborhoods in Miami to live, invest and vacation.   I see us having a much more vibrant commercial district/town center which in my opinion is absolutely needed.  I think that will draw more people to the neighborhood as residents and visitors (both local and tourists) to restaurants, bars, etc… people who may not have wanted to visit North Beach in the past.

We heard that you graduated from the University of Miami (UM), how was that experience?

I had a fantastic experience at the University of Miami (UM). I went there for law school, so my experience is a little bit different than someone who may have gone there for undergrad.  First, I love the Coral Gables campus.  It is beautiful and very much designed to fully utilize and enjoy the natural environment.   Coming from Michigan, where I vividly remember schlepping to class through the snow and freezing rain, it was a pleasure to sit outside by the lake enjoying lunch or sometimes a drink at the Rat (which I think is now gone). I met some incredible people at the U.  Some of my closest friends are people that I met while in school.  Additionally, I found the quality of the education to be extremely high, they have some fantastic professors and programs.

Why should people use you to buy or sell their property?

My background in law, construction, and urban planning has provided me a very strong skill set to be able to represent my clients fully and extremely competently.  I have a level of professionalism that is sometimes lacking in the industry and if you speak with my past clients they will tell you that I am extremely pleasant to work with.  My clients often become close friends/family.  That is truly the part of the business that I enjoy most.

What advice do you give someone that wants to buy a property these days?

First of all, find a great agent and commit to using them.  As a buyer, your agent’s services are free, yet incredibly valuable, so there is no reason to go through the process alone.  The real estate contract, the home buying process has many moving parts and intricacies so a competent agent is invaluable. Second, it is very important to understand all the costs involved. If we are talking about a deal involving financing the loan is not escrowed, the buyer will be responsible for paying the taxes and insurance.  Additionally, it is important to keep in mind the cost of upkeep, especially in a single family home.  As far as condominiums go, it is crucial to find out as much as you can about the building, the financial condition of the building and maintenance fees.  While a beautiful unit in a condominium is wonderful, if the building itself is challenged, it may be best to purchase something else.

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