Editor’s Note: We spoke with Island Team Broker Associate Michelle Finley with Paradise Exclusive Real Estate. Please call 941-208-5353; visit TheIslandTeam.com. Photo is from the annual community calendar and this image honors the Englewood Fire Department.
Michelle, what’s the brief history of Paradise Exclusive Real Estate and The Island Team?
In 2007, Jim Benson started Paradise Cove Properties and in 2017, the name was rebranded to Paradise Exclusive Real Estate. It has become one of the most successful boutique real estate brokerages in the region and in October 2020 surpassed over One Billion in local real estate sales. Our company offers three offices, located in Boca Grande, Englewood (Dearborn St), and Port Charlotte/South Gulf Cove. In November of 2013, I decided to restart my real estate career and in 2014 started The Island Team. Our current team members include Melissa Mutkoski, Kendal Canonico, Claire Brophy, and McKenna Finley.
What’s your own history in our community?
My husband Matt and I moved to Englewood in 2006 from Colorado. Instead of continuing as a professional realtor, I decided to embark on a new venture with my husband and we purchased a local business. We eventually sold our business, our house and lived on a boat with a senior in high school, first grader and a dog. Good times and memories for sure. After about a year, I started to consider new opportunities. That led me to an invitation by my broker friend Jim Benson to join his company Paradise Exclusive Real Estate.
How has Covid-19 impacted on the region’s real estate market?
It has reminded people you need to love where you live…and who doesn’t love this lifestyle? This has meant homes in demand and selling quickly. One of the most important impacts is the limited inventory of available homes. This has contributed to a mostly seller’s market, which means the demand for housing exceeds the available supply. Houses priced to sell move very quickly. This is a good time to sell a home, and the future looks bright with major developments like Wellen Park and more access roads connecting Tamiami Trail with areas in Englewood and Venice.
What’s the best way for buyers and sellers to succeed in a seller’s market?
One way for buyers to be more competitive is to understand low offers are not currently much of an option. If financing is needed, loan preapproval is a must before you even start looking. The biggest challenge is to be mentally prepared to move quickly while also being discerning about the new property and the surrounding area as it relates to schools and other considerations.
What’s the latest with Matt, Spencer, McKenna, and Bodie?
Matt owns and operates a water treatment company, Coastal Water Care. He offers water softeners, RO systems and well service. Spencer is a Firefighter/EMT with the Englewood Area Fire District. McKenna lives in Colorado and serves as an assistant/social media specialist for The Island Team while completing her Colorado real estate license. Bodie is a Freshman at LBHS and works for Publix.