Realtor Donna Soda, of the Soda-Stavola Group, was asked about the things that separate homes once they start climbing into the multi-million luxury category.
It can as simple as knowing that the sun sets in the West.
Soda and partner Laura Stavola were on hand at their current listing, a $4.495 million home at 15514 Anchorage Place in the Lake Club of Lakewood Ranch.
"The positioning on a lot is important," Soda said. "You want to make sure there is plenty of sun on the pool, that there is enough shade on the lanai, and you are maximizing the lake view."
The 7,060-square-foot home, built on a 1.34-acre lot, obviously has plenty of space with four bedrooms and seven bathrooms (two half baths), but Soda and Stavola said so much more separates the high-priced homes.
"The owner had a vision, and he is a developer so he knew the materials," Soda said. "They knew how they wanted to position this home on the lot. From the inside, they wanted to make sure you are looking out at the right things ... the pool, the lake, the massive lanai."
Stavola said the home is a cut above.
"This truly is a custom home," she said. "Most of the finishes are one of a kind. The design is not based off anything."
The owners are Milestone Communities President and CEO Jerry Nowee and his wife, Mary, of Nova Scotia, Canada. The have wintered at the home for three years as snowbirds before putting the home on the market.
"We were getting older and traveling," Jerry Nowee said by telephone from Canada. "We have a boat, too, and we only have so much time. Then there were some health issues."
Jerry Nowee said their vision was to build a Tuscan style home with a guest suite attached so their company could stay and go as they pleased.
He said it took 14 months to build the home and almost as long to plan and design it.
"The hardest part was picking the stone and brick," he said. "We went through five to six different examples. We didn't go with cultured stone because we thought being authentic would add to the home's character."
They eventually picked recycled brick from Chicago and stone from the central U.S.
While the stone work provides a mansion effect, Jerry Nowee said he didn't want the feel of monstrous estate.
"I wanted a house that would be very livable," he said. "Sometimes a home can feel empty."
As far as the way the home is situated on the lot, Jerry Nowee said he had purchased another lot in the Lake Club and then changed to buy the home's current lot. He has a neighbor on one side of his lot while the lake and open land border the rest of the home. He said he loves the privacy the lot provides.
Soda said the COVID-19 pandemic might have forced more people into the luxury market who are looking for the additional space. Stavola agreed, saying she has customers from the northern areas of the U.S. who are looking for estates.