‘Old Florida’ Home Harbors Historic Charm in Fort Lauderdale

41: Want a vision of what Fort Lauderdale homes used to look like - and get a feel for the times they lived in? Nothing lends a view or vibe more telling than the waterfront home at 2313 E. Las Olas in Fort Lauderdale’s Las Olas Isles neighborhood. It is a classic, timeless old Florida home.

Sure, the waterfront lot with the yacht out back lends a timeless touch. It speaks both to what old Florida style living was like when the home was built in 1949, and what people see as they drive by today.

And it’s cozy, with 2,700 square feet spread across a single floor. That’s why old-school Floridians and these Florida bungalows - also called “ranch-style” homes - are nothing like the scope, scale, and height multi-level mansions bring these days.

Yes, these classic character homes reflect a calmer, more charming time in American - and Fort Lauderdale - history.

The home’s circular driveway, pool, lush landscaping, and spacious interiors are ideal for a family or couple looking for the perfect tropical retreat. Priced at slightly over $1 million, it’s a trophy property on a special lot that’s in a unique situation.

An Old Florida Home and its Rich History

In a previous blog and video, we wrote of the attributes that would drive buyer interest in this home. It could be the property’s unique and rich history dating back four generations.

Actually, the greatest driver is the parcel itself, and the water lot it resides on. The property is nestled neatly on that rare space: waterfront dockage 20 homes from the Intracoastal. This spot provides that prized deep-water access for large yachts to make quick passage through the Intracoastal Waterway to the Atlantic Ocean.

Second to the water access out back was the Las Olas Boulevard address itself. Of all the streets in greater Fort Lauderdale, Las Olas easily is the best known and most historic. Fort Lauderdale’s original thoroughfare, it’s still known the world over as a destination for business, commerce, shopping, dining - and living.

Add to that the home’s timeless style and charming presence as an “old Florida bungalow,” it had the unique triumvirate of attributes that make this home stand out among other homes.

Those three forces came to play in the seller’s calculation as to whether to position, price, and market the home for sale to a potential buyer intending to make it their own home - or a developer set on tearing it down and building a modern, multilevel residence.

The team at  The Gary Lanham Group at Coldwell Banker Fort Lauderdale Beach Office consulted at length with the owner. To the seller, the questions were clear: Do we market the home for sale to a developer as a likely candidate for a teardown and rebuild, or market the home for sale to a family certain to appreciate - and possibly pay a premium - for the home’s timeless appeal?

Waterfront parcels across South Florida bring a different algebra to this uniquely complex equation. As those who know often say, “they’re not making more waterfront lots.” So, those that come up for sale often are snatched up quickly - and at a premium price.

Whether residents, investors, families, or retirees looking to sell their current home in Las Olas Isles, or anywhere in Fort Lauderdale Lake Ridge, Wilton Manors, Coral Ridge, Imperial Point, Coral Ridge Isles, or Bay Colony, homes on almost any water fetch a certain premium over land-locked homes. Doesn’t matter whether the homes have deep-water access to the ocean, or are blocked by low, permanent bridges, people who want to be on the water are willing to pay a premium for that attribute.

With this realization in mind, and after our detailed analysis, the owner decided to market to a family. After all, waterfront homes with the classic character and timeless style of these old Florida bungalows are truly unique in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and around the world.

And they’re highly in demand.

The ABCs of CBS Building

With the family market in mind, another consideration arose. Built of CBS (concrete block and stucco) construction, the home had “good bones.” It was solidly built during a time that such homes could withstand much that Mother Nature and Father Time threw their way.

Still, it was 70 years old. Our team suggested the seller hire a home inspector to do a complete inspection. As an older home, it was near the benchmark age for a teardown and rebuild as a modern mansion. So while any buyer certainly would hire their own inspector before closing, we could help put to rest any worries arising among prospective buyers regarding the home’s age and wear.

Not surprisingly, the inspection report revealed that the structure had plenty of years to go. Foundation to roof-line CBS construction is also a time-tested marvel.

That report left our team and the seller to ponder the next consideration: how can we maximize the home’s resale value and the rate of return the seller could earn on this old Florida style home with all the timeless attributes unique buyers are looking for.

Marketing Family-Friendly Features

Walk in the front doors to the entry foyer, and the home’s promise becomes clear. It has an original working fireplace - perfect for cool Florida winter evenings, or even if you want to drop the AC, pour a glass of wine, and enjoy a fire.

It also has two separate areas on the west and east sides of the house, rooms that could be used as a library or playroom. Back in the in the 1950s and ’60s, parents and children came to Fort Lauderdale to raise their families. As the years went on, grandparents remained, and welcomed their children and grandchildren.

Today, these waterfront properties have become prohibitively expensive for the middle class. So wealthy individuals and senior corporate executives are making the investment in rare, “trophy” homes. A refreshed home on Las Olas Isles is the perfect trophy. The neighborhood is vibrant. The beach is a walk or bike ride in one direction; that fabled Las Olas Boulevard shopping and dining district is to the west.

Watersports enthusiasts can launch their Jet Ski, boat, or even their yacht from the dock.

With year ’round sunshine, it’s the paradise many have come to know, appreciate - and seek - from life in South Florida.

A Classic Home: Refreshing for Tomorrow

With that buyer in mind and the report’s findings in hand, we set out to transform the home into a gem. We knew the home was perfectly suited to the right family, with a little fixing up. As we wrote before, what we saw in this Las Olas home was our own “Pygmalion.” Named for the play by George Bernard Shaw and based on the mythical Greek figure, a slight refreshing could create a home that would help a buyer planning to live there fall in love with.

That said, it was a bit of a time-worn mess. It needed tidying inside and out. We had landscapers freshen up the foliage. At the same time, we set out to refresh the interior.

At a minimum and a start, we decided to put on a fresh coat of paint. That one touch lifted the property’s spirits. The next step was staging. As we wrote previously, staging is when furniture, art, and other accessories are brought in to make the home look lived in. Any Realtor or savvy home-seller knows, nothing sells a home better than one that looks like home.

To do this, we enlisted expert broker and staging professional Robert MacKilligan of Florida Stage Hands and Designs to perfectly and magnificently stage home.

With staging in place, the Old Florida, ranch-style home at 2313 E. Las Olas in Fort Lauderdale’s Las Olas Isles neighborhood was ready for listing. The sellers were now primed to fetch top dollar for this place they’d called home - and were confident they were making the right move in preserving a timeless piece of Fort Lauderdale history for the next generation to enjoy.

Some residents, investors, families, or retirees are looking for their next real estate purchase of that contemporary, newly built home. Some are in search of that uniquely Old Florida Style bungalow that reveals the classic character of a home presenting timeless style, whether in Fort Lauderdale Lake Ridge, Wilton Manors, Coral Ridge, Imperial Point, Coral Ridge Isles, or Oakland Park. Either way, we’d like for you to think of The Gary Lanham Group at Coldwell Banker Fort Lauderdale Beach Office as your partner for tomorrow.

Gary Lanham Group at Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate is a boutique real estate organization offering sales, leasing, and brokerage services to the Greater Fort Lauderdale area. A listings agent matches home sellers with buyers and tenants with landlords. While Broward County is our universe, we focus on Coral Ridge Country Club, Oakland Park, Wilton Manors, Pompano Beach, and the surrounding areas. Call us today at (954) 695-6518 or visit www.GaryLanhamGroup.com.

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