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Realty Check

What Your Money Will Buy
… for $2 million, $1 million and $600,000.


The lanai of this home in Quail West provides impressive views of the 10th fairway and green of The Preserve course, while the tile-roofed, multi-arched façade delivers a welcoming invitation to elegant Mediterranean living. Built as a model by McGarvey Homes in 2005, the North Naples residence includes three guest suites and 5,616 air-conditioned square feet. The homeowners have ample privacy on their side of the house in an area that includes a bedroom with fireplace and an office outfitted with a mahogany floor, beamed ceiling and built-ins. In addition to the three-car garage, there is golf cart storage. Ann and Steve Levitan of Levitan-McQuaid Real Estate Services, who were the listing and selling agents for the property, say the new owners loved the spaciousness of the rooms and were especially taken with the unique ceiling details. “They also saw the potential of enclosing part of the lanai to extend their family room to make space for a pool table,” Ann Levitan says, “and they have already started construction.” The four-bedroom, den, four-and-a half bath home, with 8,757 total square feet, sold furnished last January for $2,275,000.


The spectacular view from this home in Orchid Ridge in Shadow Wood at The Brooks was a key factor in the sale, according to realtor Ron Jordan of Keller Williams Elite Realty, Bonita Springs. “The negative-edge pool seems to pour into the lake,” says Jordan of the view in this three-bedroom, den, four-bath Estero home he sold in September. Built in 2001 by Harbourside Custom Homes, the finely detailed, single-story residence is equipped with marble floors and double tray ceilings, and has been professionally decorated. Air-conditioned living space accounts for 3,903 of the home’s total 7,669 square feet. Jordan says the summer kitchen on the lanai enhances the outdoor entertaining opportunities, and the location, within walking distance of the clubhouse, is an extra perk. Although the lake view was important, there was another strong inducement, Jordan says. “Shadow Wood Country Club and Homeowners Association are owned 100 percent by the members and are totally debt-free. All this offered the peace of mind to lock the deal.” The home sold partially furnished for $1,430,000.


“This home’s cheerful design, tropical decor, nature views and close proximity to the famous shelling beaches of Sanibel Island appealed to its buyers,” says Eric Pfeifer of Pfeifer Realty Group, Sanibel. “A 10-minute walk around the lake gets you to Gulf beaches.” The character of the Rocks community was also a factor, says Pfeifer, who sold four homes in the near-beach neighborhood this year. “Properties here offer great value, privacy and access to uncrowded beaches. “This East Rocks home has a southern exposure and provides sunrise and sunset views from screened balconies. There are excellent lake and wildlife views.” The three-bedroom, two-bath home, built in 1989, includes a large living room, separate dining room and family room. The floor plan includes 2,569 square feet of living area, and the total square footage is 7,629. There’s also a screen-enclosed, solar-heated pool and a four-car garage. The home sold in May for $677,000, unfurnished.


Market Talk
Buy With Cash, Then Rent

The dismal economy has produced a new breed of buyer, say some local real estate professionals. “They’re paying with cash, and they’re looking for properties they can own and rent,” says Judy Gannon, a realtor with Southern Bay Realty, Bonita Springs.

Gannon says she’s noticed the profile changing in the last six months. “Folks who can’t find a good return on their money with traditional options are starting to see a real estate purchase as a good long-term investment,” she says. “When the usual investment products were delivering more than what the mortgage interest would be, it made sense to borrow, but now, that delivery is far less available.”

Some clients also are looking to get an immediate return on their investment by shopping for places with seasonal rental potential, but that can be challenging. “In Lee County,” she notes, “although beachfront property is available, off-beach communities, such as The Residences at Coconut Point and Rapallo, are pretty well sold.” Gannon says locations close to shopping and the airport rate as highly with some buyers and renters as waterfront units.

The price range for these buyers is $300,000 to $400,000. “It’s an education process,” she says. “They come down here having heard that we’re giving property away, but when they see what $100,000 or $200,000 will get them, they adjust their sights higher.”

Heather Wightman, at John R. Wood Realtors, Bonita Springs, concurs. “Most of my buyers are still ‘bottom-fishing,’” Wightman observes, “but after they have looked at their original pricing criteria, they sometimes move themselves into the next level of pricing to get the bells and whistles they desire. Many buyers are thrilled with the opportunity to purchase a home in a location they never thought would be attainable. If they are not in a position to come down and use the home often, the possibility of rental is enticing.”

The majority of buyers are paying cash, she says, because cash offers on distressed sales are more likely to push ahead of other offers, and it gives them more leverage in the buying process.

Neighborhood Watch
The Strand at Bay Balcony

Luxurious living reached its peak in pelican bay in naples when The Strand at Bay Colony was launched in the early 1990s. Neighborhoods of condominiums, villas and single-family homes already existed in the exclusive, gated Bay Colony enclave in Pelican Bay’s northwest sector. Then 12 lots situated directly on the beach, sheltered by 570 acres of conservation land and protected by a manned security gate within Bay Colony, were designated as The Strand and destined for development as one of Southwest Florida’s most prestigious neighborhoods.

Number of properties: 12

Number of sales, October 2009 to October 2010: 0

Number of sales, October 2008 to October 2009: 4

Price range of sales, October 2008 to October 2009: $9.5 million to $16.4 million

On the market: Nature is in full view from the floor-to-ceiling, arched windows of this beachfront estate, for sale at $12.9 million, unfurnished. Realtor Bill Earls of John R. Wood Realtors, who handled all four of the most recent home sales in The Strand, reports that this home (pictured), built in 1995, is situated on an acre-plus and has 17,491 total square feet. Within the 9,775-air-conditioned-square-foot floor plan are four bedrooms, six full baths, three half baths, a great room, media room and office. A two-car garage with lifts supplies four-car storage.

Residents have membership in the Bay Colony Beach Club, and golf and yachting opportunities are available.

Recent sale: In April 2009, Earls sold a 12,505-square-foot home in The Strand for $16.4 million.


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