By Hector Florin
Bob Montgomery wants to take a break from two decades as a Florida real estate broker. So the 69-year-old is reaching into his grab bag of real estate tricks to lure a buyer for his Hypoluxo Island home. Montgomery is dropping the price of his waterfront property by $5,000 a day. While no faux-Lotto billboards update the latest asking price (now at about $1.55 million), signs planted on swales along Ocean Avenue announce his stunt. It kicked off Feb. 1, with the Barefoot Lane home carrying a listing price of $1.7 million. Montgomery, of Ocean and Intracoastal Properties, was itching to take his luxury RV on a cross-country trip, and decided it was time to take a swing on selling his home and property — even in such a meager market.
“I’ve gotta find out where the bottom is,” Montgomery said. Following the home’s fifth Sunday home showing on March 1, Montgomery sounded cheerful about the turnout, though he didn’t indicate any serious offers at hand.
“It seems to at least pique their curiosity,” he said. Hypoluxo Island has not been immune to the massive drop in real estate prices that has blanketed South Florida. Palm Beach County appraisals have dropped the market value of Montgomery’s home and land 10 percent in the last two years, to just under $1 million.
But that’s nothing like the plummeting prices and deals available farther inland and in suburban subdivisions, said Steve Presson of Corcoran Group in Palm Beach. And in a suffering economy, there are few contenders for homes floating above the seven-figure price tag.
“Clients aren’t buying the property. They’re buying the deal,” Presson said.
Diana Reed of Illustrated Properties in Palm Beach said she’s seen an uptick in calls and showings over the last month and a half.
“I’m hoping that helps translate into sales,” says the 10-year real estate agent and Hypoluxo Island resident. Inquiries have come from western communities like Wellington, and Weston in Broward County, as well as Northeasterners.
“They just look at [waterfront living] as the trophy when living in Florida,” Reed said. Montgomery predicts any buyer would very likely knock down the 1960 home, as the value is in the land. And he thinks his work ethic will result in his beating the real estate doldrums and jumping into his RV.
“If you have a plan, and you work your plan, then you’ll be more successful than if you don’t,” he said.