Rats, debris and a two-year buildup of filth aren’t normally synonymous with million-dollar waterfront homes, but this isn’t exactly a typical time in real estate.
And Sarasota-Bradenton area real-estate agent Troy Funk recently found himself in those colliding worlds. The upshot, says Funk, with Allison James Estates & Homes, is megadeals for waterfront properties are at the taking for buyers who will suspend belief — and step over the occasional mousetrap.
“If you want waterfront value,” says Funk, “this is the best time.”
In August, for instance, Funk listed a bank-owned home in Bay Isles, a Longboat Key neighborhood where former U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris owns a property. The 3,667-square-foot, five-bedroom, three-bathroom home, with a dock and direct access to the bay, sold for $1.7 million in 2004.
But when Funk got the listing at 511 Harbor Point Road, the house was in total disarray, with rats gnawing through almost every room. “The house had been abandoned for an extended period of time,” Funk says in a statement, “and had serious deferred maintenance issues.”
Funk, nonetheless, had multiple offers within days of the listing, many from out-of-town buyers who had only seen the house online. A sale on the house closed Sept. 9 for $1.09 million — a $610,000 drop from the previous sale price.
Funk says the low price isn’t a true representation of the market, but a reflection of how desperate some lenders are to unload nonperforming assets.
“The banks are really aggressive when they have high-end properties,” Funk says. “They can’t hold on to multi-million dollar properties. So they list low.”
The trend, projects Funk, will stick around, at least in the short term. For example, one waterfront property he’s currently showing, in south Sarasota, is in “dumpy condition,” admits Funk. The roof, he says, is caving in. But he has already fielded 20 offers for the $450,000 listing.
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