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Masters of Moments

Nov 1, 2023

James Curnin is the CEO and founder of Clara Homes, a Miami-based, vertically integrated real estate firm offering residential and commercial development, operations oversight, and custom homes. He has pursued ground-up new construction opportunities in high-end markets across Los Angeles and Miami and specializes in the development of luxury spec homes, multifamily assets, and workforce rental communities.
In Miami, James seeks to fill the city’s much-needed niche for reliable, quality, and innovative work. To date, he has acquired seven waterfront properties, totaling $200 million in assets. Four of these spec homes have been completed and sold for above market rate, and the other three are in still in the preliminary stages of construction. James has also started taking on custom home projects with private owners as demand for turnkey residences surges.
In addition to developing spec homes, James is reinventing luxury apartment living in Bay Harbor with a new, three-building rental project called Clara Bay Harbor. The 150-unit new development will complete in three phases. James eagerly continues to pursue active opportunities in the South Florida multifamily and single-family home markets.

On this episode, Jake and James discuss:

  • Risks in building Spec Homes
  • Building in Miami and Los Angeles
  • Characteristics of a great contractor
  • The Luxury rental space
  • Sourcing deals


Clara Homes

Amanpuri, Thailand


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(00:00:00) - Intro

(00:02:20) - James’ journey into real estate and career

(00:15:38) Credit facilities

(00:17:05) Differentiating homes from the competition and lessons learned

(00:18:34) Risks in building spec homes

(00:19:38) Moving from LA to Miami

(00:22:42) Finishes in Spec homes

(00:27:04) Selling home pre-completion

(00:29:40) Navigating inflation and timing the sale

(00:35:00) The allure of Miami

(00:40:33) Characteristics of a great contractor

(00:41:25) The impact of climate

(00:42:46) Is your spec home business model scalable?

(00:44:35) James’ work in luxury rentals

(00:49:13) Sourcing deals

(0055:32) Structuring partnerships

(01:04:18) Staying in control of the process

(01:08:20) The Live Local Act

(01:14:12) Learning curves in pivoting to MF


(01:15:56) What is your favorite hotel?