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Realty Check

What Your Money Will Buy
… for $7 million, $1 million and $625,000.

$7 million

“When the buyers saw this brand-new home, the view and the pier dock overlooking the bay, they knew it was perfect for them,” says selling agent John Nicholson. Nicholson, of VIP Realty, Sanibel, is referring to a five-bedroom, six-and-a-half-bath, waterfront home on the west end of Captiva with 6,667 air-conditioned square feet and 8,233 total square feet. His colleagues at VIP Realty, Mike McMurray and Trevor Nette, the listing agents, note that the impressive Old Florida architectural design, the bayfront location and the deep-water dockage were also significant attractions.

Built in 2010 with a beach-house ambience, the home has a den, office, eat-in kitchen, exercise room and elevator. The deluxe master suite includes a dressing room, sitting area and balcony. The home sold in December for $7 million, unfurnished.


“The (buyers) fell in love with the near-180-degree view of Smokehouse Bay, the Enclave and Enclave Marina as well as the fine craftsmanship of the home itself,” says listing agent Stacy Witthoff of The Needles Group at ERA Flagship Real Estate, Marco Island. The home with the view is a three-bedroom, den, two-bath residence with 2,993 square feet of air-conditioned space and 4,843 total square feet. According to Withoff, the 15,000-pound lift does not obstruct the impressive views.

Built in 1996 in the Tigertail Beach section of the island, the single-story dwelling enjoys 169 feet of water frontage. In addition to the three bedrooms and den, there’s a fifth room that can serve as a family room or another bedroom. Selling agent Lisa Gandy of Keller Williams Realty, Marco Island, reports the home sold in March for $1,082,500, unfurnished.


The buyers of this three-bedroom, den, three-bath home in Grandézza, Estero, not only got themselves a great home, but also a deluxe lanai with an outdoor kitchen and a pool with a water feature. “The views on this Grandézza home really sold the buyers on it,” says Prudential Florida Realty listing agent John A. Turco. “They were looking for a great home on a golf course, and this was it—not to mention the added beauty of the preserve beyond.”

With a floor plan of 2,900 square feet, the home includes upgrades such as crown moldings, custom-painted ceilings, window treatments, appliances, granite countertops and 42-inch cabinets. Built in 2004 on a northern-exposure lot with impressive golf course and lake views, this residence has 3,925 total square feet. The December sale for $625,000 included negotiated furnishings, Turco says.

Neighborhood Watch
Belle Lago

When toll brothers introduced belle lago in 2003, the luxury home choice in Estero had been mostly golf course communities. Without those amenity fees, Belle Lago thrived. The developer partnered with the neighboring Estero Country Club to offer golf memberships and direct cart access. The 240-acre community has estate and villa homes ranging from 2,100 to 4,200 square feet, sited among nature preserves and lakes. There are currently 37 lots available.

Total number of properties: 447

Total MLS sales, April 2010 to April 2011: 26

Price range, April 2010 to April 2011: $225,000 to $575,000

MLS sales, April 2009 to April 2010: 14

Price range, April 2009 to April 2010: $300,000 to $700,000

On the market: The Tiena, pictured left, is a two-story home with three bedrooms, three baths and a study that provides 3,024 air-conditioned square feet and 4,400 total square feet. A dramatic foyer with a barrel-vault ceiling opens to a formal living room and a dining room that look out onto a charming courtyard. Upstairs, the master suite is joined by two guest bedrooms and an open loft, ideal for a media center or children’s playroom. The master bath has marble countertops and a Roman soaking tub. Joe Pavich Sr., broker/owner of Realty World Florida, Estero, reports the price of this home, built in 2006, as $514,900, unfurnished.

Recent sale: Located on a cul-de-sac and rich with preserve views, this four-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bath home was built in 2006. Equipped with a three-car garage, the residence has 3,345 air-conditioned square feet and 4,200 total square feet. The home sold for $500,000 in June 2008. Chuck Scariano, of Downing-Frye Realty, who sold the home in February, says the motivated owner sold the property for $435,000, unfurnished.

Market Talk
Low-priced condo sales boost Naples and Fort Myers markets

Two high-profile, low-priced condo projects had a lot of tongues wagging this spring thanks to enticing locations and petite price tags.

In Naples, it was the 10-acre Abaco Bay, situated near all the pleasures of Old Naples, with upscale Windstar and the Naples Botanical Garden close by. The Palms at Waters Edge, a four-acre complex, rises beside the Caloosahatchee River near downtown Fort Myers.

It turns out the marketer of both developments is Naples-based Patten Sales & Marketing LLC, an affiliate of the Patten Family Cos. and an acquisitions specialty firm that shops for what it considers the best deals in the marketplace. Based on their track records under the Patten aegis, these two properties qualified.

Sales consultant Ryan Fitzhugh says the company began marketing the 83 units it acquired at The Palms at Waters Edge in January and had one left to sell in mid-April. In Naples, sales consultant Jon Riley says marketing of 35 units in the 161-unit complex began in February, and in April, seven remained.

Both stories are eerily similar. In Naples, the former developer made many improvements in 2005 to the two-bedroom, two-bath units, which were built in 1985 with floor plans of 900 square feet. “He sold units in the first three phases for more than $200,000,” Riley says, “but in 2008 the market became so distressed he went bankrupt.”

Fitzhugh says the former developer of the 92-unit Fort Myers complex built in the mid-’70s gutted the units and refurbished them with upgraded components. Although some were marketed for close to $300,000, he, too, fell victim to the slow economy.

Enter Patten, which made some additional improvements at each site and launched a major media blitz, advertising the units at $59,900 in Naples and from $49,900 for one-bedroom units and from $69,900 for two-bedroom units in Fort Myers.

Riley and Fitzhugh say location has been the major draw. And, of course, the price.

Realtor Graham Ginsberg, of Sun Realty, Naples, in commenting on the condo marketplace as a whole, notes that units can be had at surprisingly low prices, but buyers need to be cautious. “They should consider the maintenance fees,” he advises, “and it’s a good idea to have a CPA check the condo’s financial records.”

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