Realtor takes to the water to show South Florida mansions

On a recent Saturday afternoon, real estate agent Bonnie Heatzig accompanied her clients, visiting from Washington, DC, on a tour of luxury properties in Boca Raton.

But instead of getting in his car for the start of the tour, they jumped into his family’s boat for a sunny two-hour ride around Boca’s waterways and exclusive waterfront mansions.

His clients were all smiles as they talked about which homes had the best views and the most potential to live in.

Heatzig sells the South Florida lifestyle – water, sun, fun – and what better way to do it than from a boat?

The executive director of luxury sales at Douglas Elliman in Boca Raton, Heatzig came up with the idea of ​​doing boat tours during the pandemic — the market was picking up, but some home visits were being canceled and there were safety concerns. So she turned to the outdoors and the water, hoping to give her clients a better idea of ​​what the property might look like and a deeper perspective of what life in the south might be like. from Florida.

“You get a whole new vantage point from the water, and you can see firsthand how close the house is to the intracoastal, the entrance, and what the views are like,” Heatzig said.

With a housing market showing almost no signs of slowing down, Heatzig said she takes boat tours of waterfront homes almost weekly.

Touring waterfront homes by boat isn’t new, but it’s Heatzig’s way of really selling the romance of a waterfront property – riding your future dock can be sexier. than walking down your future driveway. And in a market awash with overseas clients who might be in the mood to buy within sight of the palm trees and yachts, these tours are a crucial way for buyers to not only understand the properties they’re looking at, but also to understand the lifestyle in which they will buy.

“It’s an experience just to be on the water like that,” Heatzig said. “It puts everything into perspective.”

JR Schuble and his two sons, Justin and Jordan, were on tour with Heatzig on Saturday as the brothers begin looking for water property, preferably in the Boca Raton area.

“It’s very South Florida,” the brothers said of living by the water. The family also has a home in Washington DC, although they are no strangers to the area. They have been visiting South Florida for years because their grandmother had a home in the area. Their parents also own property in Boca and have stayed with them during the pandemic.

“Our friends come over to visit and they don’t want to leave,” Justin added of South Florida’s allure.

Heatzig tours usually involve giving potential buyers a general tour of the waterways so they can get an idea of ​​how they might navigate a boat in certain areas or what kind of backyard views they’ll get they can expect. Other times, depending on what the client is looking for, they will tour the waters and moor the boats at various properties they wish to view and tour the interiors.

She begins her rounds by educating buyers on the different aspects of living on the water, neighborhoods, prices and general home sizes, whether there are fixed decks or drawbridges, etc.

And Boca Raton’s luxury real estate market is doing well. According to data from Douglas Elliman, the median selling price of a luxury home in Boca Raton was $2,952,500 in the third quarter of 2021.

While an overland home search typically involves the best school zones and safety, for potential waterfront buyers, concerns include the condition of the seawall, water frontage and s there are fixed bridges, noted Josh Dotoli, founder and director of the Dotoli Group in Fort Lauderdale.

The waterways tour allows potential buyers to get an idea of ​​the backyard view of the home, how much natural light the home can receive, and how and where they can moor their boats. For boaters, seeing how much frontage there is and how much dock space they have, allows them to visualize the size of a boat that can dock there and if there is enough room to navigate the water.

“You demonstrate the lifestyle. You are buying the garden, the pool and the view,” Dotoli added.

It also helps enable buyers to make quick decisions in a scenario where properties go off the market within days, said Kevin Spina of Keyes’ Company Spina Group.

As the inventory is limited, it is a good tool to help buyers quickly understand what the property is like, since there is an urgent need to get a property under contract.

Seeing the waterfront home can make the difference in what a customer buys, Spina added.

As for Heatzig customers, the brothers have yet to settle on a property. Although at the end of the tour, Heatzig popped champagne.

“Once you’re on the water, it’s hard to come back,” Jordan said. “You are paying for a permanent vacation.”

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