I guess the easiest and quickest way to help an investor make a decision is to target your specific objective. You then can be the judge about which price category you fall into based on your available funds. Each category below is different. Each is also time sensitive, and what may be a good direction for your money today, may not be the same in a year or two. I have also broken it down into tier’s so you can quickly get to your price range info. Here are the best of the best!
TIER #1 INVESTOR……..$50,000 and less. This category is an easy one……Gulf Access lots. Location……two Cape Coral areas. These types of lots have never been priced lower than right now, in our market. Whether you select lots that have utility services in the SE & SW portion or the well/septic areas of NW Cape, you can’t go wrong.
The SE & SW gulf access lots offer the ability to buy and build with full city utility services already in place. Most also have the utility assessments paid in full. As an investment, it’s a good choice for resale to those folks looking to come there, to buy and build. There is an advantage over the well/septic lots in that you don’t have to worry about paying for utility services twice. If you build on well/septic lots…..sometime down the road, you will eventually pay again to convert to city utilities.
I am suggesting the far NW portion of the city for 2 reasons. Although these areas do not currently have any utility services, they offer 2 very nice advantages……….super wide canals and large saltwater lakes. From an investment standpoint, these sometimes 200 ft wide canals and big saltwater lakes will be the first to jump up in value, when Cape Coral experiences the next round of folks that discover this fine city. Some of the area is sailboat access canals, others have 1 bridge access. The wide canals offer you more distance and privacy from your neighbor across the waterway, and the lakes offer some great fishing.
TIER #2 INVESTOR…….$150,000 and less. Again the top choice is Cape Coral. For this price range, the best investment is a single family home. Your investment should be a purchase of a 2007 or newer home. It must have a minimum of 1600 sq. ft of living area.[under air conditioning] The bones of the home must be in great shape….no roof or plumbing or chinese drywall issues. The home must also be deep into a solid residential neighborhood. This is especially a good investment for 2 reasons. Cape Coral at one point in the market downturn was ranked as #2 in the nation for foreclosures. That process left a ton of home owners, now as renters in the market. Rental rates are also high right now, as a direct result of so many of these conversions. The second reason, there are a lot of folks that have their aim at retirement, but are not quite ready to make the move. In the next few years they may want to go ahead and buy and rent it out till ready to make the retirement move. As an investor, you will have a large pool to market to when time to re-sell the home. One word of caution, I would not encourage you as an investor to look at homes with pools for your purchase.
TIER #3 INVESTOR…….$350,000 and less. I would suggest the island of Fort Myers Beach. I would suggest a small back bay home on a canal if possible, or a beach front condo.
If it’s a home you desire, there are plenty along the back side of the island perhaps on saltwater canals. Don’t count on anything large in size, cute and clean is the goal. Your ability to market these as vacation rentals is huge. For the vacationer that wants to bring his boat down and use, it’s a perfect set up. The boat has protection from the weather, and the family has a small home to enjoy. Rental rates are both seasonal [Nov-Apr] and non-seasonal May-Oct] are great. Plan on using one of the islands fine vacation rental management companies……never try to attempt to manage it yourself. Its well worth their fee to screen applicants. The in-season income stream will be great. A word of caution, be sure you read the rules and regulations carefully and that the complex has plenty of reserves in the bank. When you purchase a condo here in Lee County, you have a 3 day cancellation period once you go under contract……plenty of time to review the condo documents.
The south end of Fort Myers beach is called “Condo Row”. This part of the island boasts mid rise and high-rise complex’s. Prices start around $275,000 for units with partial Gulf of Mexico views. Most are usually 2 bedroom. The advantage for an investor is the maintenance free cost of ownership, since your only responsible for upkeep on the interior of the unit. Again as stated above, the seasonal tenant will proved the best income stream, and the summer usage would again be best by using a rental management company to market on the internet. Most seasonal tenants like to return to the same unit and complex year after year. Most offer covered parking, large pools, clubhouse, meeting rooms, etc. for amenities.
TIER #4 INVESTOR……..$350,000 and above. For this type of investor, it’s going to be gated private waterfront or golf course communities. Both Fort Myers and Cape Coral are great locations for the investor. Again the high number of foreclosures in our area has also effected these types of planned communities as well. As a result, prices are very weak in this segment of the market as well.
For the Fort Myers area I would suggest a look at the McGregor Boulevard corridor from downtown all the way to San Carlos Blvd. The premier Gulf Harbour gated, waterfront community is a prime example with a mix of both condo’s and single family homes. It offers a large basin marina with slips. Amenities abound also. Just Google and enjoy.
For Cape Coral I would suggest the SW area which is home to the gated communities of Tarpon Point and Cape Harbour. Both offer a variety of home styles and types. Both have large marina’s and boat slips. Easy Gulf of Mexico access and both developments offer a ton of amenities including retail shops and fine dining. Google these as well.
In any case, whether you’re a large or small investor, its wise to use the services of a well seasoned Realtor that has previously sold in the development you have an interest. It’s also a good idea to always have your accountant run the numbers for you, based on the time frame you intend to hold. The timing is right with great “Steals and Deals” here in SW Florida. We bottomed out in values in 2011, and are on the slow way up in prices, making this a great time to be in the market!
Here is a tip. Before you jump into the market and start looking at property…..[unless you’re a cash buyer], you should get pre-qualified for the amount of your potential purchase. Hal and I have used Barb. Petrowitz at First Main Street Financial for many years with great success for our investors. She can be reached at www.mortgagebarbteam.com. Her direct contact info is firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-791-5555. She can pre-qualify you right over the phone..