Realty Check: October 2012
What Your Money Will Buy
… for $2 million, $1.3 million and $800,000. By Maxine Ginsberg
“After we sold my clients’ home in Park Shore, we began the search for a home in the boating community of Royal Harbor, which is just east of the Fifth Avenue South shopping district,” says selling agent Amanda Mallette of Premier Plus Realty Co. Their choice was a four-bedroom, den home with three full baths and two half baths.
“The large outdoor living area has a custom 42-foot infinity pool that overlooks wide water views,” she says. “Those wide water views are exceptional in this home,” adds listing agent Don Winkler of John R. Wood Realtors. “Every property in the community offers direct access to Naples Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. This one has a 10,000-pound boat lift and a 40-foot dock.”
Built by Coleman Homes in 2000 and updated in 2008 with storm protection and a whole-house generator, the two-story Naples home has 3,656 air-conditioned square feet and 4,762 total square feet, which includes a two-car garage. The agents stress that quality construction was a major selling point for this home, which closed in June for $2,087,500, unfurnished.
“This property sits on Dinkins Bayou, which was made famous by author Randy Wayne White,” says Eric Pfeifer, broker-owner of Pfeifer Realty Group, Sanibel, “but that’s not all that makes it special. The extensive remodeling and new landscape package made this stair-free home just what my clients wanted.” The Caribbean-style, three-bedroom, three-and-a-half bath pool home built in 1969 has been designed with a spectacular great room anchored by an artful, tile-inlaid wood-burning fireplace and crowned by a vaulted ceiling. Skylights and terrazzo floors enhance the ambiance. The 2,376-square-foot floor plan provides three bed-and-bath suites. There are 4,303 total square feet. “The water views and fishing opportunities are really impressive,” says Pfeifer, who represented both the buyer and seller in the transaction.
“The buyers sent me two pictures of their first night in the home, by text,” he says. “One was the husband in the pool, with all the beautiful post-sunset colors illuminating the sky behind him, and the other showed him returning from the dock with his upcoming dinner, trout he just caught.” The home closed in June for $829,000, unfurnished.
Three bedroom/bath suites are incorporated into the 2,003-square-foot floor plan of this fifth-floor corner unit at Barefoot Beach Club in North Naples. Spectacular water scenery includes unobstructed views to Sanibel, according to selling agent Denise Stilwell, a broker-associate with Royal Shell Real Estate, Naples.
“The buyers contacted me to help them find a Barefoot Beach condo,” she says. “They were thrilled with the space that this corner residence offered. The spacious, wraparound lanai, the northwest exposure and the elegant furnishings made this a perfect choice for my clients to share with their two young daughters, their family and friends.”
Stilwell notes that the beachfront home, built in 1991, has wood flooring, new air-conditioning equipment, new, motorized hurricane shutters and 2,368 total square feet. There are seven ceiling fans and a Jacuzzi tub. The home closed in June, for $1.33 million, furnished.
Buyers camped overnight at the sales office when The Dunes launched marketing in 2001. The North Naples project has an ideal location, close to Vanderbilt Beach and Delnor-Wiggins State Park to the west, and all the conveniences of U.S. 41 North just blocks to the east, with two clusters of high-rise towers and a community of coach homes. In addition to the pool, spa, tennis courts, fitness center and dining facilities on-site, membership is available in a private club on Vanderbilt Beach, and a beach shuttle is provided. New units are available.
Total number of properties: 634
Total MLS sales, July 2011 to mid July 2012: 37
Price range: $364,000 to $1.69 million
Total MLS sales, July 2010 to July 2011: 51
Price range: $398,000 to $2.25 million
On the market: Located on the 14th floor of the 18-story Grand Excelsior Tower, is a three-bedroom, three-and-a-half bath, split-plan unit offering 3,398 air-conditioned square feet. Built in 2005 with porcelain tile floors throughout, the home has a family room, large wrap-around terrace and roll-down shutters. Listing agent Cynthia Joannou, a broker-associate at Barefoot Beach Properties, says the building is pet-friendly, and the home is for sale for $1.75 million, unfurnished.
Recent sale: A three-bedroom, three-bath unit in the Grande Geneva building includes a customized den, marble floors, maple cabinetry and a wet bar. Located on the 16th floor, the home has 2,800 air-conditioned square feet and 3,050 total square feet. Beach club membership was included in the price, which was $1.2 million, unfurnished. The unit was purchased from the developer and closed in June.
Sellers Welcome Change in Market
Seller’s market. magic words to local homeowners, though not heard in these parts for a while. But local real estate professionals report that since midsummer, dwindling inventories in some communities are producing evidence that a seller’s market is returning.
“Since early summer, in the lower price ranges—that is, under $200,000—it’s common for multiple offers to come in on newly listed property,” says Craig Dorfman, managing broker of Prudential Florida Realty, Fort Myers. “That has been the case with our listings in Fort Myers, Cape Coral and Lehigh Acres, whether they’re short sales, foreclosures or traditional sales.
“It’s a nice change for sellers, who’ve been stuck in a buyer’s market for the last several years,” he adds, “and it’s a wake-up call for buyers to recognize that some listings now sell higher than the price they’re listed for.”
“I had clients who had a one-third-acre lot along the Cocohatchee River,” Patti Testa, of Royal Shell Real Estate, Fort Myers, recalls. The seven-figure property was on the market for three years with no activity. Then in July, with a reduced listing price, a prospective buyer made an offer, and within a week, we had another, higher offer, very close to the listing price. The first bidder dropped out, and the second bidder won.”
Shannon LeFevre, of John R. Wood Realtors, Naples, says, “From January to July 24, 2011, the average list price to sales price ratio in Grey Oaks was 88.63 percent. From January to July 24, 2012, it was 93.51 percent. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but if you take the average list price in the neighborhood for closed sales, $1,557,686, and factor in the discounts, you could’ve bought the home in 2011 for $1,380,577. In 2012 it would’ve cost $1,456,592, a $76,015 difference.”
Good news for sellers, but what should buyers do?
Strategy is crucial, says Lefevre. “Think outside the box if the neighborhood is really hot,” she advises. “Those who favored Pelican Marsh, with 10 months of inventory, which was undersupplied, in midsummer could have looked at Tiburón, with 28 months of inventory, which was oversupplied.