Imagine a condominium with a beautiful view of Longboat Key’s beach.
But the security guard is unfriendly when a potential buyer drives through the gates.
The buyer notices the fitness center equipment is out of date.
Upon entry, the lobby has old carpeting and is emitting a musty smell.
The community doesn’t allow pets.
These might sound like minor drawbacks, but they can influence a condominium buyer’s decision about whether he or she purchases a condominium.
Four top Longboat Key Realtors discussed how condominiums can improve the marketability of their properties at the Saturday, March 16, Federation of Longboat Key Condominiums meeting, at Beach Harbor Club.
Cheryl Loeffler, of Signature Sotheby’s International Realty, led the discussion, which also included panelists Reid Murphy, of Developers Realty Co.; Lynne Koy, of Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate; and Ian Addy, of Michael Saunders & Co.
Of the Key’s 6,235 condominium units, 3,616, or 58%, were built in 1979 or earlier, according to data the Longboat Key Revitalization Task Force presented to Condo Fed in November.
“Most people consider the island to be about 96% built out,” Loeffler said. “We don’t have a lot of new property to deal with.”
The Realtors on the panel agreed on many of the factors that improve a condominium’s marketability.
Many older buildings prohibit pets or have extremely restrictive policies, according to Murphy, who believes many properties would benefit from loosening restrictions.
“Many times a buyer won’t get to see the development if they don’t allow a pet,” Addy said.
The Realtors on the panel agreed amenities, such as a fitness center, are important to buyers. If a community can’t put in an exercise room, it can still put in walking paths or other alternatives.
Buyers aren’t just concerned with the price of their units. They want to know what all of their costs will be, including homeowner association fees and electric and utility bills.
“They’re looking to define the overall costs of ownership more so now,” Addy said. “Amenities are important, but they could be a detriment if they raise the cost too much.”
Panelists disagreed about whether adding a security gate adds value.
Murphy said he doesn’t believe it adds much; Loeffler said it can add a sense of security; Koy said that for properties where most units are under $500,000, a gate doesn’t add much value; and Addy described it as “property-specific.”
Panelists also told the audience about current buyers.
Loeffler said she sees about 45% of buyers from Tampa to Naples and east to Lakeland; another 45% from nine “feeder” states, primarily in the Northeast and Midwest; and 10% to 12% are foreign.
Loeffler also summed up trends in what luxury buyers want today.
There will always be flamboyance but “bling” is out, Loeffler said, and artisanship and quality are in. Buyers are increasingly global, and they prefer to spend money on experiences rather than things. Their purchase decisions are influenced by the ability to add value.
Murphy said the Miami real-estate market is changing, with a surge in buyers from Russia and Brazil. Clients are finding South Florida too crowded and are looking at the local market as a quieter alternative.
Koy, meanwhile, is seeing baby boomers return to the market.
“The boomers that I’m seeing are thinking of this as their retirement community,” she said. “They’re looking for a future retirement home, and they don’t want quite as much space.”