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Realty Check

What Your Money Will Buy

…for $2.05 million, $1.3 million and $500,000.

$2.05 Million - three-story, 6,214-square-foot home$2.05 million

The waterfront location and the opportunity to buy new construction were the lead factors in the purchase of a four-bedroom, den, four-and-a-half bath house in Connors Vanderbilt Beach Estates, says listing agent Jill Rogers, of John R. Wood Realtors, Naples.

“It’s a boater’s dream,” says Rogers of the three-story, 6,214-square-foot home. “There’s a backyard dock, and the canal leads directly to the Gulf of Mexico.” Not that these were the only assets in a residence close to the beach and Delnor-Wiggins State Park in North Naples. “The home has an absolutely stunning circular grand staircase leading to the upper level with a rotunda bridge and loft,” Rogers points out. The southern exposure, cul-de-sac location, guest suites with balconies, fireplaced family room, theater/media room and 10,012 total square feet were also significant considerations. The home, built in 2009, sold furnished in January for $2.05 million.

$1.3 Million - Susurros del Mar a.k.a. Sea Whispers$1.3 million

“This home, named Susurros del Mar, or Sea Whispers, was featured in the Sanibel Zonta Club’s Peek at the Unique Home Tour in 2005,” reports Lisette Hitt, listing agent for the three-bedroom, three-bath residence built in 2004. “It shares a private lake with four other homes.”

The three-bedroom, three-bath home is set on a one-acre lot and has a western exposure. “The interior has both Mediterranean and Moorish influences with its use of columns, wrought iron and archways,” says Hitt, a realtor with Pfeifer Realty Group, Sanibel and Captiva. “It was designed and beautifully decorated by the original owners.”

With 3,800 air-conditioned square feet, the floor plan includes an office, library, gallery, two fireplaces and a living room with 20-foot ceiling. The guest rooms have their own balconies. There is travertine and bamboo flooring, and tray, barrel and coffered ceilings. An outdoor kitchen serves the pool and spa. The home has 6,878 total square feet, is located in Whisperwood Cove and was sold in November for $1.3 million, unfurnished.

$500,000 - The five-bedroom, four-bath home in Remington Oaks provides 4,074 square feet of living area in two stories.$500,000

“My clients thought they’d never find a home they liked as well as their last one,” says Sandra Castillo, of Prudential Florida Realty Group, Fort Myers, “but they found one on an acre lot in Fort Myers horse country.”

Castillo explains that her clients have four children and are relocating to Fort Myers full-time. “What they love about the home most is the gorgeous, unobstructed view of the lake and state preserve from almost every angle of the home as well as the lanai area,” she explains, “and the saltwater pool and waterfall spa are also a big hit.”

The five-bedroom, four-bath home in Remington Oaks provides 4,074 square feet of living area in two stories. “There’s something for everyone in this house,” says Castillo. “The media room and game room are ideal for the children, and the luxurious details, such as travertine floors, dining room columns and hand-crafted coffered ceilings, enhance the living experience for adults.”

The home closed in December for $500,000, unfurnished.


Neighborhood Watch - Bonita BayNeighborhood Watch


David Shakarian’s vision for Bonita Bay, formulated in the early 1980s and expanded through the following two decades, has resulted in a Bonita Springs residential community distinctive from any other close by. Within its 2,400 acres are three on-site golf courses, and there are two more off-site. There’s a marina and a private beach club. And just when it looked like the woodsy landscape would stay the same with estate homes and low-rise multifamily residences, along came the Lutgert Cos. to ring Hickory Bay with a cluster of glamorous high-rises.

The community is a long-time champion of water conservation and natural preservation.

While its territory remains serene, beyond its borders an abundance of shopping and entertainment establishments have enhanced convenience.

Total number of properties: 3,075 (zoning for two more high-rises exists)

Total MLS sales, Jan. 2011 to Jan. 2012: 174

Price range: $100,000 to $3.5 million

Total MLS sales, Jan. 2010 to Jan. 2011: 117

Price range: $120,000 to $2.3 million

On the market: A 1,000-bottle wine cellar and a gentlemen’s retreat are among the attractions of a five-bedroom, six-and-half bath, riverfront home. Within the 8,027 square feet of living area are a formal dining room, butler’s pantry and family room with wet bar. The outside area includes a pool, spa, outdoor kitchen and dock with lift. According to listing agents Max and Connie Lummis of Royal Shell Real Estate, Bonita Springs, the price of this Marina Pointe home, built in 2000 by Harwick Homes with 14,400 total square feet, is $3.9 million, and the furnishings are negotiable.

Sample sale: This two-story home, left, set on an acre in Spring Ridge, has 10,500 square feet of living area and 17,365 total square feet. Eight bedrooms and nine-and-a-half baths are provided within a floor plan that also includes a gold-leaf ceilinged dining room and travertine floors. Built in 1999, the home has loggias, walled gardens and koi ponds complementing golf and lake views. The listing team of Beverly Czachor, Cindy Kruesi and Dorota Harris, John R. Wood Inc. Realtors, Bonita Springs, reports the home was sold by the original owner for $3,148,414, partially furnished, in January.


Market Talk


Trip Advisor named Fort Myers beach third in its “top 15 U.S. Destinations on the Rise for 2012.” In January, Inman News listed Fort Myers seventh in “Nine U.S. Markets with Rising Property Values.” And U.S. News & World Report featured Naples in 2009 in its “America’s 10 Best Undervalued Places to Live.”

Does good press mean good business? Looks like it. “Do those articles help sales? 1,000 percent!” says Patrick Dearborn of John R. Wood Realtors. “People get the information so fast online. An article comes out, the phone starts ringing, and before you know it, we’re writing a property.”

Sue Schmitt, of SunStream Realty, Fort Myers Beach, says such articles are a catalyst for both property rentals and home shoppers sitting on the fence.

“Our sales team is seeing a shift from a wish to visit to a desire to buy,” she says.

“People have been very cautious about Southwest Florida since the market declined, and they’re cautious about what they read,” notes Claudia Hoh, Prudential Florida Realty, Fort Myers. “I get the feeling they’re a bit skeptical of local media pieces, but when the national media has good things to say, they consider it more reliable.

“For example, when a favorable feature about Naples came out in November in Kiplinger’s, I got several calls from up north, mentioning it,” she explains. “Whenever the national media has a positive piece, I make sure to relay it to my e-mail clients and potential clients.”

When Money Magazine ranked Cape Coral second in late 2011 among its top 25 places to retire, home shoppers came in better informed, according to Angel Gonzalez, broker at M&M Realty Solutions, Cape Coral.

“People may not be specific about what they’ve read, but they’re reading,” he says. “Now that the market is gaining momentum, clients come in already familiar with the area and its current status.”

Nancy Reese, of Rossman Realty Group, Cape Coral, agrees. “We saw an immediate result shortly after the Money Magazine article came out,” she says. “A number of people came in to rent property for a year. They were anticipating retirement and wanted to try the area before buying.”

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