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Realty Check


“The strongest selling point for this home is the location of the property, which provides stunning views of Collier Bay, partial views of the Gulf of Mexico from the third-floor viewing deck, and direct water access,” says listing agent Ian Clausen of Clausen Properties. “Second would be the size and quality of construction. No expense was spared.” Custom-built in 2007, the five-bedroom, five-bath, two-story home includes an elevator, summer kitchen, living room with fireplace and media room. With 4,892 square feet under air and 7,781 total square feet, the Marco Island home boasts a free-form pool with waterfall and stream. There’s also 165 feet of frontage, which Clausen says provides plenty of room for a large boat. The home was listed on April 19 and closed on June 25 for $2.4 million, unfurnished.



This Lee County home, built by Gulfshore Homes in Murano at Miromar Lakes, has four-bedrooms, four full baths, two half baths, an open floor plan and beautiful water views. The home has a two-car garage and provides 3,660 square feet of air-conditioned living space. “The international businessman who purchased this home has traveled worldwide,” says selling agent Lee Kitsberg of Miromar Realty. “He and his family fell in love with the amenities at Miromar Lakes and the opportunities for an active family. They selected this home because of the incredible attention to detail and the quality of the finishes throughout the home. This home has expansive outdoor living space, which is important to the family’s style of living.” The home sold in May for $1.3 million, furnished.



A charming exterior is the first enticing feature of this three-bedroom, two-bath home in Vanderbilt Villas, Naples, but it’s far from the last. Brazilian cherry wood floors inside, a screened pool outside and beach proximity are among other potent attractions. With a southern exposure and 2,168 air-conditioned square feet, this residence, built in 1990, provides 4,618 total square feet. “This beautiful, well-maintained home is within walking or biking distance to Vanderbilt Beach,” says listing agent Susan Owens of Amerivest Realty. “The new owners, who have young children, love the fact that the community is comprised of a single, very safe street ending in a cul de sac. The marble countertops, stainless steel appliances and saltwater pool were the icing on an already beautiful cake.” The home sold in August, partially furnished, for $540,000.


Neighborhood Watch

The homes of tidewater island in fort myers are situated in a small, gated development characterized by Old Florida architecture and tropical vegetation. Many homes have Gulf access, and some are situated on a freshwater lagoon with seven waterfalls. Golf opportunities are two miles away. Located off U.S. 41 on Island Park Road, south of Gladiolus Drive, Tidewater Island is close to shopping, beaches and entertainment amenities.

Total number of properties: 69

Total MLS sales, July 2009 to July 2010: 2

Price range: $630,000 to $808,000

Total MLS sales, July 2008 to July 2009: 4

Price range: $380,000 to $720,000

On the market: Outdoor amenities at this three-bedroom, three-and-a-half bath home, pictured at left, include a dock, lift, Gulf access, brick patio off the kitchen, lanai and pool. Inside, the 3,350-square-foot floor plan delivers a large living room and dining room finished with tray ceilings and crown molding. The den is equipped with a wall of built-ins. Listing agent Sally Hunt of VIP Realty says the arched hallway is decorated with Venetian plaster, and the butler’s pantry is equipped with a wine cooler. The home, built in 1998, has 5,900 total square feet and is for sale at $849,000, unfurnished.

Recent sale: The living area of this three-bedroom, two-bath home is 2,648 square feet, but there’s another 1,200 square feet on the ground level. A balconied living room overlooks the pool and lake. Listing agent Maria Coleman of Yacht Club Realty reports the two-story home, built in 1999, was purchased for $650,000
in December 2002 and sold in a short sale for
$325,000, unfurnished.


Market Talk
Financing Options for Buyers

The lending pendulum has swung from nearly anyone getting money to now would-be homeowners with even the smallest financial blemishes getting the cold shoulder from banks.

Rather than give up when that traditional avenue closes, prospective buyers can pursue alternatives, say two Lee County real estate pros, who add that the concept isn’t new, but the need may be greater now.

“There are several ways to seek private investors,” Robert Zivkovic, broker/owner of Zivkovic & Associates Real Estate Services in Fort Myers, says. “Real estate agents and mortgage brokers may be good contact points to get prospective buyers to private lenders.”

For example, Zivkovic says, estate planners might have clients looking for a solid investment.

“With interest on CDs and other typical investment products so low, there are people shopping for a good investment with a decent return,” he says. “In the past, when local home prices were inflated, the risk factor was higher. Now, with so many properties undervalued, the risk is reduced. And a return of perhaps six or eight percent could be very attractive to folks seeking to make their money grow.”

Although shorter-term loans are more readily available, it is possible to find 15- and 30-year terms. Zivkovic says he is already doing some of these loans.

“In August, we closed on a house in Cape Coral for a woman who had a steady job and was able to furnish a hefty down payment,” he says. “She had one matter to clear up, but the banks were giving her the run-around. We provided the loan, and she was able to move in in time for her kids to start the school year.”

Chuck Scariano, of Downing-Frye Realty, Bonita Springs, says condo buyers have a particularly tough time securing financing because some associations are reluctant to provide details the newly strict Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac institutions require.

“Although many banks are hampered by the need to adhere to the protocol, there are some banks with their own lending portfolios that can grant loans without satisfying those requirements,” he says.

Finding them might not be easy, Scariano says, but
local real estate agents with good knowledge of the local lending scene could be the link to get buyer and lender connected.

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