Saturday, September 22, 2012

Marina Lofts Development Proposed for Land East of Esplanade Condo, New River,Fort Lauderdale

Two residential towers 27 and 16 stories high are proposed for a site on the South side of New River just east of the Esplanade Condominium.  Here is a link to an impact study that gives a decription of what this project would be.  Marina Lofts Impact Report

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Single Famil y Houses in Broward up 12.5% in a year.

The median sales price of a single-family home in Broward County rose 12.5 percent in August compared to the same period in 2011, according to a report from Greater Fort Lauderdale Realtors. The median price rose to $214,950 from $191,000 in August 2011, although the number dropped by $50 compared to July 2012. Broward’s townhome and condominium market saw a 7.6 percent year-over-year increase in August. Single-family inventory in the county fell by 51 percent in August, with a 44.1 percent drop for condos and townhomes.

Tamarac, Florida. A look back at its unique beginnings, as I remember it told by those who built it.

Ken Behring moved to Fort Lauderdale in the early 60s’s and bought a piece of land. Today it is the city of Tamarac. Tamarac was the first city to be granted a charter to incorporate as a city, before anyone lived there.  In the 60’s you could do things like that, if you knew and supported people like the Governor and Bud Dickenson, who held some elected State-wide office at the time.  Ken Behring appointed the first Mayor, John Morse. Since no one lived in Tamarac, there were no votes or elections. Ken just appointed John Mayor.

 Tamarac was the first city that offered houses where all of the exterior maintenance was done by the city. Ken knew that there were people who wanted to have a small house in Florida, but didn’t want the maintenance headache, and he met that need with Tamarac.

Ken was also one of the pioneers of pre-fabricated houses. Not mobile homes - they were traditional homes on foundations, but they were manufactured and delivered to the site and assembled, not in months, but days.  His factory had to be walled from view because people were coming from all over the world including Japan to see what he was doing. Ultimately, he abandoned the plan, mainly due to pressure from the construction trade unions who saw that his pre-fab  concept could put their members out of work.

Ken hired my mother after seeing her at a Museum of Art function where she roasted members of Beaux Art, a Museum of Art support group and a much anticipated and fretful annual occasion for the group. Ken said “You should be in public relations. Call me if you are interested” My mother was teaching high school at Stranahan raising two children on 4,000 a year at the time. She soon called him, and became the Director of PR of The Behring Corporation. She hired Kate Hartland as her first secretary, not because Kate had any office skills, in fact she couldn’t type. Kate was just very funny. Kate went on to become PR Director for United Federal Savings and Loan. (Another story for another time)  When I was sick at Sunrise Middle School and sent home, or when I missed the bus, I would be picked up, not by my mother, but by James, Mr. Behring’s driver, in Ken’s limousine.

The Behring Corporation eventually went bust in a market crash. All of the company VP’s including my mother piled into Mr. Behrings limousine for a ride to the unemployment office.

Ken moved to California and  made an even bigger fortune. He was featured on the Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous TV show.  Later in life is proudest achievement was founding a charity that provides wheelchairs for people around the world who otherwise wouldn’t have one.

Ken was also involved with a plan for another city in Florida with Jackie Gleason as his partner. I’ll save that story for another time too.

The 60’s was a time in Broward County where more than one person created a city out of thin air, flat land, some money, and raw nerve.

Thank you Ken, for the City of Tamarac, for all of those wheelchairs,  and for launching my mothers career in Public Relations.

Ever notice how many agents claim to be in the "Top 1% of Realtors Nationwide?" A catchy tag line for sure, but what does it really mean?

The Wall Street Journal recently published a list of the 1000 top producing agents in the Country. John Burger in Manhattan grabs the top spot for having gross sales of $279 million last year.  There are currently 1.1 million members of NAR. John is at the top of the pile of money earners scewing the numbers way up On the other end are NAR members in the business for two years or less who earn a median $8,900 per year. If the lowest income for 1.1 million Realtors is way less than $8,900 a year, and the highest income is John Burger at 279 million, I guess its not hard to claim to be in the top 1% of Realtors nationwide, which would probably put you earning less that $100,000. Not as dazzling an achievement as the claim could lead you to believe.

The median income for real estate professionals in the NAR network last year was $34,100, a 4.5% decline from 2009. Realtor income dropped every year since 2002 when the peak salary hit $52,200. Realtor income is down 34.7% between then and 2010.The median income of Realtors dropped almost 35% over the last eight years, according to new data from the National Association of Realtors, as home sales across the nation struggle to gain footing.

When choosing a Realtor, they key question is not how much they make, but how much they make for you. I know some very successful listing agents in Fort Lauderdale who consistantly sell properties way under market value.  Who are they working for?  Choose an agent who works for you to get the best deal on a purchase, or the highest price on a sale. Realtors are paid handsomly for what we do, shouldn't you get your money's worth?

I prefer my tag line; "I Am Not Number One, You Are" 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Who are the Richest Real Estate Buyers in South Florida?

Southeast Florida offers some of the worlds most luxurious real estate. A boat ride along the waterways of Fort Lauderdale offers a dazzling view of billions of dollars of waterfront mansions. The market for very high end condominiums in Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties is stronger than ever. Who are the people who can afford these properties and where are they coming from?

As the worlds economies continue to shift, and a wider gap between the uber-rich and the rest of us gets bigger by the day. The super rich seek not just the best of the best in real estate, but seek safe havens, not just for their money, but for their lives.

Miami has always been a haven for rich South Americans seeking stability and security in an envelope of luxury.

More recently, South Florida has become a magnet for newly rich Russians, particularly in coastal areas of northern Dade County.

Europeans, particularly the British and French who may have once gone to the coast of Spain, are now buying in South Florida where again, stability and security is key.

If you look at some of my vintage postcards of Fort Lauderdale from the 1940's, at  the marinas show what was then luxury yachts, usually owned by captains of industry at the time. Today these look like toy boats compared to the mega-yachts docked cheek to jowl along every suitable waterway in the city.

Manned with an iphone, I recently took clients on my boat and googled the names of jaw dropping yachts we saw. The co-founder of Microsoft, Steven Spielberg, and Dr. Ruth were among the lucky owners of yachts that were close to cruise ship size. 

While waterfront homes on the Las Olas Isles are pricey by most standards, often the yacht in back is valued many times higher than the real estate. Owners of many of these homes are rarely seen, because they are rarely in town. They may spend a few weeks, but otherwise it is the yacht crew using the house during provisioning stops between the Northeast and the Caribbean.

Palm Beach has always been the home of old money, and still is. Quite, dignified money.

Fort lauderdale, because of it's 144 miles of waterways and Port Everglades, is home to new money yacht owners. One house on the Las Olas Isles has a 14 car garage and a 4 million yacht in back, and is the Consulate of Mali. Mali, by the way, is one of the poorest countries in Africa. I question why they would need a Consulate in Fort Lauderdale?

Growing up in Fort Lauderdale, of course I was exposed to what were then, very rich people. A family friend married a man who inherited Gieco Insurance. They had probably the largest house around with an indoor pool, a grand entry staircase, and all built of pink brick. For the time, that was rich. By todays standards? Charming.

There are plenty of successful plumbers living in waterfront McMansions in Fort Lauderdale living the good life. There are also plenty of outrageously rich people. Sort of hard to tell who is who really.

This has always been a town where if you had enough money, it didn't matter how you got it, you could be a socialite. As archaic as that term may sound, being one was a very big deal for a long time in Fort Lauderdale. I could write a book about the rising stars of the newly rich who came to town and became not who they were, but who they wanted to be, and no one questioned it.

While I would like to say that I cater to the ultra-rich in my real estate business, the truth is, I don't. Which is not to say that if you are one, that I wouldn't like to sell you some major real estate.

It is more likely I find myself working with people whose wherewithal I can relate to. I think my feet are just to firmly planted on terra firma to appeal to that stratosphere.

But, if you want buy some real estate in the same town as some if the richest folk on earth, I will take you on my boat and show you how more than a few of them are living. No Reason why you shouldn't be among them. 

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Another Nice Note From A Happy Seller!

Rob Rose is an excellent Realtor and business man. I had a short sale drag out over the course of 2 years. For the entire duration Rob was very responsive and professional. He went the extra mile to make sure I understood what was going on, and that I was comfortable with it. And as a nice perk, he has embraced technology. For a computer geek like me it was amazing to have a Realtor who responds to email's, provides electronic documents, and orchestrates getting those documents to and from all affected parties. His response time in my experience, during waking ours, is about 15 minutes max - usually under 5 :) - He really makes you feel like his only client & priority.

And speaking about above and beyond - his contact network is unparalleled. I had a flood midway through closing (a huge one). Rob directed me to a contractor that was amazing and fixed the issue in budget, on time, and very quickly. He also chose the legal team to handle all of the proceedings - and they couldn't have been any more perfect.

You just can't go wrong on his advise. I'll never deal with any real-estate situations again without him on my side.

Thanks again Rob!!