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Realty Check

Tweet and Sell

Twitter” used to be a word associated with bird sounds or general excitement, but now it’s synonymous with a high-flying social media service based at Twitter.com. Oprah, actor Ashton Kutcher and CNN have recently nudged Twitter further into the national conscience, but the publicity was hardly necessary. Unofficial figures for the free service that bills itself as a place for friends to connect estimate monthly users in the millions.

The networking potential of the hot new medium is not lost on Naples real estate broker Mark Weber. The owner of White Sands Realty reports he has been posting “tweets” on his site for about three months and has good results.

“I’ve heard from people from various parts of the country and even from a man in Greece,” the Naples realtor says. “I like the immediacy of it and the opportunity to create a global presence.”

Weber’s Twitter site, NaplesProperty, includes a short biography, family photo, some quotes, real estate advice and, at one point, a virtual tour of a $16.4 million sold property that has drawn a lot of response, he says.

“Twitter is as much about giving your knowledge freely as it is self-promotion,” he says. “It’s truly an interesting balance, siding on giving. Then, every once in a while, when you need to promote something truly worthy, your followers will listen to your request. A good, but unwritten, rule is that for every self-promoting tweet, you should give seven tweets of unique, free information.”

For example, Weber recently informed followers about a new addendum to real estate contracts concerning Chinese drywall and supplied a link for those who want more information.

“Tweets are limited to 140 characters,” he explains, “so you have to be concise and plan your content carefully.”

Followers, as they are called, can access Twitter through their cell phones or computers. Those who have a registered site can also forward material received. Weber says he likes his heightened profile and the increased prospects for new business.

“There may be potential home buyers out there with whom I’m making a connection, or fellow professionals with whom I can forge mutually beneficial relationships,” he says. “One guy in California contacted me about referrals, and a couple seeking a local condo also found me through Twitter.”


Models We Love

Dramatic in design and harmonious in color are words that come to mind to describe McGarvey Custom Homes’ two-story Villa Magnolia model in the Lipari neighborhood at Treviso Bay, Naples.

“I began the design theme by looking at the color palettes of the granites and flooring used throughout the home,” says Gloria Vickery, a McGarvey staff designer. “The chiseled-edge Turkish Travertine and marble inlays that define certain areas helped inspire the predominantly gold-and-cinnamon color scheme.” Vickery says she composed an overall look that is straight-lined and tailored in order to provide broad appeal.

The living room’s impressive 22-foot, two-story, semicircular window is one focal point, while arched niches with lighted shelving and cabinets are a second. Furnishings with a soft, traditional look include overstuffed, cut velvet lounge chairs and a sofa upholstered in striped, multicolored silk. An area rug in cinnamon and gold ties the space together.

Artful stone flooring introduces the first-floor, gold-walled master suite, and an artful balcony separates the two second-floor guest suites. The Villa Magnolia, with four bedrooms plus study, four-and-a half baths and 4,864 air-conditioned square feet, is priced at $3,455,000, furnished.

South Florida casual is the mood composed for the Renoir at Olde Cypress, Naples. Designed for Distinctive Communities Inc. by Soffit Tenney Architects and Interiors by Vine Fleur Designs, the background neutrals employed throughout the home provide a stellar showcase for rich chocolate, gold and red accents.

The parlor is an inviting, laid-back space furnished with comfortable seating. The dining room has beach-cottage personality, thanks to its beadboard detailing and classic lighting fixtures.

The island-equipped kitchen has been developed as a natural gathering place and a well-planned work area serving equally well for intimate tête-à-têtes or lavish fêtes.

At 4,201 square feet under air, this four-bedroom model with four full baths and two half baths enjoys strategic room placement that maximizes entertainment potential and delivers precious privacy. A grand street presence and an extraordinary outdoor living space with detached, covered summer kitchen are among the Renoir’s exterior virtues. The model is priced at $1,295,000, furnished.


Buyers Get Savvier

The same palm trees still sway in Southwest Florida, but the real estate scene looks a lot different, says one local realtor. “The volume of sales has been rising, but prices continue to fall, and buyers are coming in savvier than ever,” says Carol A. Bailey, of Amerivest Realty, Naples. The situation is also complicated, she says, by the fact that comps are no longer a viable yardstick to price property.

“Used to be that we could look at half a dozen sales in a neighborhood or a building and make a good decision as to where a property should be priced,” she explains. “But when there have been few or no sales in a particular community, arriving at the right price becomes a lot more challenging.”

Bailey says buyers are doing more due diligence than ever before. She cites her experience with one prospective buyer who had a professional appraisal done on the condominium unit he was interested in before he made an offer. The appraisal usually takes place in conjunction with the financing, after a contract has been accepted. “This time the buyer didn’t make his offer until he had a professional appraisal,” she says.

Offers have become a lot more significant in the current market, Bailey continues. “There’s a lot less room for sellers to negotiate from the offers they get,” she says. “They need to be considering buyers’ offers very carefully, because there are so many alternative home choices available.”

She also cautions sellers to be realistic about pricing. “If a seller prices a property way above homes with similar features, it is likely to stay on the market for a longer time, and time is money in the marketplace.” 



Neighborhood Watch
Pelican Isle Yacht Club

Pelican isle yacht club on Vanderbilt Drive in Naples began as a trio of 11-story buildings, anchored by a yacht club and 190 boat slips in 1995. Marketing began in 2006 for the new, two-tower, 29-slip, 80-unit Aqua condominium community in the northern sector of the community.

Total number of properties: 136

Total number of MLS sales April 2008 to April 2009: 2

Price: $750,000

Number of sales April 2007 to April 2008: 5

Price range: $700,000 to $1,640,000

On the market: The three-bedroom, den, three-and-a-half bath, sixth-floor end unit provides daytime boating views and sunset views of Wiggins Pass and the Gulf. The 2,863-square-foot home has new wood floors, new Italian lanai tile, new kitchen cabinetry with granite countertops and stainless appliances, plus new window treatments and hurricane shutters. Realtor Jim Mayer of John R. Wood Realtors, Naples, notes that Pelican Isle Yacht Club membership conveys with the sale. Built in 1996, the unit is priced at $1,395,000; furnishings are negotiable.

Recent sale: Sold in March at Aqua was this three-bedroom, den, four-bath, seventh-floor end unit, above. According to selling agent Sharon Kennedy, of The Bentley Sales Group, the home has 3,963 air-conditioned square feet and 4,748 total square feet. Tinted solar windows, tray and volume ceilings, an island-equipped kitchen and deluxe detailing are among the features. The selling price for this new unit was $2.8 million.

For more local real estate news, read Gulfshore Life’s bimonthly blog “The Housing Game."

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