“Big Closets.”

That’s what Yanaisa Rojas, an intensive-care nurse and former apartment dweller, says she likes most about the single-family, four-bedroom foreclosure house she bought—her first—for $216,000 in Miami on Aug. 27, 2008.

The Cuban-born Rojas, 32, inspected more than 20 houses over a six-month period before choosing the one she purchased. “Miguel [Solis, a Prudential agent] has so much patience, because I know I can be difficult.” She put down 5 percent and secured a mortgage from Countrywide Financial, which she says is Prudential’s preferred lender.

What surprised Rojas most about buying a house was the insurance, which is not required in Venezuela, where her parents owned a home and from which she emigrated in March 2002.

A University of Miami graduate, Rojas seems acclimated to American life. Her brothers have lived in the U.S. for 20 years, and her Cuban-born fiance has lived here most of his life. She’s just not thrilled with Miami. “I’m the worst Cuban there is,” she laughs. “I hate rice. And I think Cubans are too loud. I prefer the Venezuelan culture, which is calmer and more respectful of family.”

Family is what’s keeping her here, for now. Rojas’s 62-year-old mother doesn’t speak English and is more comfortable living in this bilingual city. “I have to have my Mom near me,” says Rojas. Depending on how quickly her mother assimilates, Rojas says she’d like to relocate within the next three years to Washington, D.C., “where people are smart; it’s not like anywhere else.”

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Miami, FL.