Preparing an ‘Old Florida’ Bungalow for a Stellar Sale

40: If the video accompanying this blog doesn’t convince you the Fort Lauderdale real estate is the ideal destination for the live and play lifestyle, nothing will. It was shot on a beautiful South Florida day from a private dock behind a waterfront vintage home. In the backdrop was a magnificent ocean yacht docked a short way from the Intracoastal Waterway. The reflection of the water against the hull said it all.

Yet, the residence there truly spoke to the home’s character. The vintage home reflects old Fort Lauderdale. The “Old Florida” home was a masterpiece from a bygone era. It was a quintessential “Old Florida” bungalow that they just don’t build any more.

Located at 2313 East Las Olas Boulevard, it featured timeless, 1950s “mid-century” architecture. It was newly added to the Multiple Listing Service by the Gary Lanham Group at Coldwell Banker Fort Lauderdale Beach Office.

For our office, and the eventual buyer, it’s a trophy property with a rich history that reflected Old South Florida living. With vintage home designs and timeless lines, it could be just the right home for just the right buyer.

The question was, would the buyer appreciate this Old Florida legacy? Or would they see a piece of prime real estate looking for a fresh new home? Would someone bring youthful life to this vintage home?

Or would it become a modern, contemporary piece of residential real estate art?

For the seller, and any future buyer, the home is an opportunity - and a quandary. At a time when so many Fort Lauderdale homes are being bought for their prime perch on the water, buyers can go two ways.

Buying ‘Old Florida’ Charm

Some buyers would take a home like this and enjoy its old Florida charm. Generations old, it has solid bones and bespeaks to a style no longer seen in modern construction. Some find its lines and elevation truly charming.

Meanwhile, other buyers would look at this home and see a “teardown.” That’s a home bought strictly for the value and allure of property it sits on. The home would be torn down and in its place, the new owner - possibly a developer working on “spec” - likely would build an ultra-contemporary residence built of steel and glass. (“Spec” refers to someone who builds a home on the speculative basis, hoping to profit from a future transaction). The new construction would certainly be magnificent, but a dramatic change from what’s resided on that perch for generations.

The seller wanted to know whether to market the home for sale to a developer as a likely candidate for a teardown and rebuild, or to market the home for sale to a family certain to appreciate the home’s timeless appeal

When our office did the seller analysis, the family decided to market to a family.

Transformation of a Vintage Home in Action

What we saw in this Las Olas home was a “Pygmalion.” Named for the play by George Bernard Shaw and based on the mythical Greek figure, the home was destined for a makeover. In doing so, the seller would deliver to the buyer a work of art - a sculpture of Greek lore - that the buyer would fall in love with.

Our transformation would stay true to the old Florida style of living. The interior walls were repainted eggshell, a common, neutral, yet attractive color common to homes built in the 1950s and ’60s.

Then we set out to “stage” the home for showing. Staging is when furniture, art, and other accessories are brought in to make the home look lived in - and attractive to prospective buyers. To do this, we enlisted expert broker and staging professional Robert MacKilligan, and his assistant, and Sherri Cohen, of Florida Stage Hands and Designs. They staged the home magnificently and with staging in place, it was ready to be listed for sale.

With this love and attention, this bungalow would to a fresh, new level for the right family.

As an aside, we’re preparing to shoot a future video that will showcase Robert’s staging expertise. Robert will discuss the elements he used to bring out the best of this magnificent residence.

Getting a Premium for Preservation & Old Florida Legacy

The goal of staging this home was to seek a premium for the seller from a family buyer - and not have a developer buy and tear down the residence. We know this could be done by adding that staging pizzazz to the property. With a simple and tasteful coat of that eggshell paint and the right staging, the home would retain its 1950s and 1960s appeal. It would reveal in a colorful fashion what drew people to Fort Lauderdale and these mid-century homes during this bygone era.

The simple truth is, developers are investors seeking to maximize returns as quickly as possible. The lower they can buy a home for, especially one they intend to tear down and use the parcel for a new-build, the better their returns.

A “consumer,” on the other hand, has other motivations. They buy homes that “speak” to them. Their ideal home touches them in a way that they soon will be proud to show off as their own. An Old Florida bungalow steeped in the grandeur of the South Florida lifestyle is just that sort of home - for just that sort of buyer. Certainly, they want to negotiate down to the lowest possible price; we would expect no less from a savvy buyer and their representative agent.

But they’re seeing the property from a resident’s perspective, not that of a developer. So by staging and displaying the house, we can allow the house to speak to them in a way that will help keep the selling price higher than what a developer may pay.

One Team for Buyer or Seller

On the other side of the table is the seller - and our team. As the seller’s representative, we always anticipate showing the house with a keen eye on evaluating the financial conditions and terms in best and highest use on return on investment for our client.

But keep in mind, depending on the given transaction, The Gary Lanham Group works with sellers and buyers, whether they’re individual looking to sell or buy their private residence, or investors looking to maximize near-term ROI.

It’s with these insights in mind that the Gary Lanham Group comes to every client engagement. We help homeowners with properties in price points ranging from $225,000 to $1.95 million. We’re not Realtors interested solely in high-value listings. We’re South Florida locals interested in building relationships with friends. We believe that every homeowner deserves a chance to get the highest possible sale price from the home they’re selling, just as every prospective home buyer out there deserves a place to live that’s within their means, suits their lifestyle, and achieves their aspirational goals.

Whether the home you’re in today - or selling or buying tomorrow - is for your current family situation or future retirement needs, we’re here to help you achieve the highest return on investment - no matter your needs. And whether you looking to breathe new life back into a vintage home, or you’re hoping to build a modern masterpiece, we know this market.

Your Fort Lauderdale Real Estate Partner

For residents, investors, families, or retirees looking for their next real estate purchase in Fort Lauderdale Lake Ridge, Wilton Manors, Coral Ridge, Imperial Point, Coral Ridge Isles, or Oakland Park, 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

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