Editor’s Note: We spoke with Island Team Broker Associate Michelle Finley with Paradise Exclusive Real Estate and Parsley-Baldwin Realty on Boca Grande. Call 941-208-5353; visit TheIslandTeam.com.
Michelle, what’s the 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 with Brian Faro as the managing broker. The company is one of the most successful boutique real estate brokerages in the region, surpassing $2 Billion dollars in total real estate sales. Another office was opened recently at the corner of Dearborn and Indiana Ave. with convenient parking. The other office is located at 8300 Wiltshire Drive just off Gasparilla Road. Our experienced team of professional realtors includes Kendal Canonico, Melissa Mutkoski, Marlene Harkey, Claire Brophy, and McKenna Groshans. I can also be found at the Parsley Baldwin Real Estate office at 428 W 4th Street on Boca Grande.
What’s your 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 when we purchased a local business. We eventually sold our business, our house and lived on a boat with a senior in high school, a first grader and a dog. After about a year, I started to consider new opportunities. That led me to an invitation by Jim Benson to join his fast growing real estate company in 2014 and I haven’t looked back since. I love being part of the growth of our great community.
What are some of the issues impacting on the region’s real estate market? Rising interest rates is an ongoing challenge along with the increase in value of homes over the last three years. The inventory of available homes is still low, which impacts on pricing. Overall, the growth in the area has been slow and steady thanks to the ongoing appeal of the area along with the development of Wellen Park and better roads connecting more neighborhoods. More developments are coming to Sarasota and Charlotte County.
Many buyers value the stewardship involved in managing our local waterways and beaches. That’s important along with the sensibilities of smart growth. Charlotte County has the second oldest population in the nation. More job opportunities is one trend that can attract a wider mix of new residents including millennials. The higher prices of homes on the other coast of our state has spurred relocations into our area. Hopefully, we can maintain the appeal of our small town vibe with the ongoing growth and development.
What are a few tips for a seller in today’s market? Do not cancel your flood insurance. It may be transferable to buyers and that’s appealing with rising costs. Consider interest rate buydowns to lower your payment if you are a buyer. It can also help sellers. If you have an insurance claim from Ian, be sure it’s closed, or you have a plan to close it. A buyer is going to want to know if actual repairs were made beyond collecting a claim. We can help a buyer or seller navigate potential issues. The condition of a home and any upgrades really matter. And finally, declutter and make sure your home is ready to show and sell!
What about a few tips for buyers coming from outside of Florida? Start searching and collaborating with an agent before you arrive. This will save you time by narrowing your search based on your needs. With inventory still tight, you need to be ready to write the offer when an opportunity presents itself. Make sure you are getting realistic insurance and tax estimates. Look into the transferring option If the seller has flood insurance. Do your homework about the Hometown Heroes Program. Don’t forget the option of an interest rate buydown. Everyone on our team takes pride in helping every client – buyer or seller – to understand their options and the impact of various laws and requirements.
What’s the latest with Matt, Spencer, McKenna, and Bodie? Matt has been handling our growth into the Tennessee area along with enjoying our grandchildren as he heals after back surgery. Our son, Spencer, is a Firefighter/EMT with the Englewood Area Fire District and has taken over our water treatment company, Coastal Water Care, offering water softeners, RO systems and well service. He’s also enjoying being a parent with Jadilyn to Ariel and James. My daughter, McKenna, lives in Colorado with her husband, Gade. They’re expecting their first child in February. Our youngest son, Bodie, is a senior at LBHS and works for AutoZone.