Ty Smith is convinced real estate shoppers are poised to hop off the fence and open their wallets for properties in the local market. Smith, a buyer’s representative who co-founded Smith-Klein on Third Street South in Naples last June, says foreign buyers and investors are optimistic that a time of opportunity is at hand.
"Foreign buyers in particular are more conscious of a national economy in slowdown mode than of any particular local stall," Smith says. "Canadians are saying that their money will buy a lot more right now in the U.S. than it ever has before."
He should know something about buyers because that’s all he, partner Dana Klein and their four-member staff concentrate on.
"We’re strictly buyers’ representatives," he says. "We don’t have any listings we’re trying to sell, but we scrutinize the market to give our clients the best guidance. And we help them identify the best properties in each case. Our team works together for every client."
Investors are still out there, looking to make good deals on multiple units, Smith says. And developers are starting to feel as upbeat as potential buyers. "They’ve got confidence in the market going forward," he says.
The 17-year real estate veteran acknowledges that the buyer’s representative concept is still alien to many real estate shoppers. "The most common misconception is that people think they pay for our services, although that is not the case," he says. "The seller pays at closing."
The revived interest of seasonal residents has also been encouraging. "The climate and the beauty of this area haven’t lost their appeal," Smith says. "And area facilities, such as Florida Gulf Coast University and the Southwest Florida International Airport, will continue to create more jobs and a greater demand for housing. There’s at least a 25-year growth potential in Southwest Florida."
MODELS WE LOVE
The interior of the Vizcaya model at Miromar Lakes Beach & Golf Club reflects its lakeside location in Castelli, an eight-home enclave of half-acre home sites.
With a style more contemporary than traditional Mediterranean, its bright, lively spirit is expressed with clean lines and a palette of lagoon blues, creams and terra cottas.
Stonework inside and out embellishes a two-story floor plan with four bedrooms, four baths, powder room, pool bath, family room, wine cellar, library and media room. Gulfshore Homes put two guest suites with balconies and a loft on the second floor, giving visitors privacy and mile-long lake views.
As good as it is on the inside, the outside of the Vizcaya is also impressive, with a natural stone deck anchoring a summer kitchen and an exterior fireplace. The pool and spa are designed with a beach entry to the lake.
The Vizcaya, with 6,224 air-conditioned square feet and 9,089 total square feet, is priced at $6,350,000 furnished, on leaseback.
Attina, an attached villa model at Treviso Bay, has cottage charm in every inch of its floor plan, with 1,950 air-conditioned square feet.
Stepping from the foyer into the light-filled great room, one notices a fresh, crisp feeling coming from the white tile and the woven floral and striped fabrics in sea grass, spa blue and creamy white.
Interior designer Jennifer DeArozamena of Freestyle Interiors says the mix-and-match furnishings have relaxed lines, comfort and a blend of cottage chic and classic styling. For example, the dining area’s hand-painted hutch looks like a treasured country antique, and the sitting area’s mix of textures and tones is accented by a variety of pottery accessories.
A sleigh bed with a "harbor haze" blue upholstered headboard is the master suite’s centerpiece, while the guest bedroom sparkles in cornflower blue and white.
The pool is set off by a herringbone brick deck, woven wicker table and Adirondack chairs. Located in Via Veneto, Attina is offered by R&D Companies for $1,024,981, furnished.
COMMUNITIES WE LOVE
Looks like the moving vans will be pulling up in early fall to Aqua at Pelican Isle Yacht Club, an 80-unit condominium development overlooking the Gulf at Wiggins Pass, off Vanderbilt Drive in north Naples.
One of the few new projects progressing steadily despite the slow market, EcoGroup’s Aqua has sold 26 of 48 units released for sale, including a $5,250,000 penthouse with rooftop gazebo. That sale catapulted the total to more than $85 million.
Construction on the condominium tower is slated for completion in July, but the new marina and yacht harbor will beat it to the finish line. The marina’s 29 private slips can accommodate yachts up to 55 feet, and boaters will need only five minutes to access the Gulf.
"Aqua’s strength is that it is a true yachting community, complete with the finish levels and amenities that buyers in our price range have come to expect," says Aqua luxury home specialist Steve Wallace.
He adds that sticking to the original construction schedule for the tower and marina, which brings Aqua to market as a finished product, is pleasing to prospective buyers. "It’s much easier to sell a residence when the buyer can walk through the community and experience the lifestyle," he says.
Another boon to buyers may be the available design team. "We will manage contractors, retailers, designers and suppliers on the buyer’s behalf from start to finish," says Nick Naples, project manager for Aqua.
Buyers have a choice of three- and four-bedroom homes with a study. Sizes range from 3,500 square feet to more than 6,000 square feet of air-conditioned living space. Two penthouses are two-story plans with private rooftop gardens. Prices range from $2.1 million to $5,250,000, including equity membership at Pelican Isle Yacht Club.