Deal Estate: Buying, Selling or Weighing Your Options — See What Tallahassee Has to Offer
Midtown Remains in Style
IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD
As this quintessential Tallahassee neighborhood continues to attract buyers, residents are beginning to contemplate historic preservation
As we begin this department, embarking on a journey to explore and highlight all that Tallahassee real estate has to offer, what better place to start than at the heart of our city? With its traditional charm and diverse architecture, Midtown has become a thriving, trendy neighborhood for families of all shapes and sizes.
Originally part of an 1824 land grant to the General Marquis de Lafayette, this segment of town is now a thriving set of neighborhoods with abundant historical charm. All of the land sold by 1855, and over time the area became a popular residential area, home to houses that stand today as examples of the architecture of their eras.
In 1946, Midtown became home to Tallahassee’s first shopping center, a development boasting five connected stores with parking in the front. Although the neighborhood would see a slight decline decades later, it has been making a comeback as new families begin to move in to this central, bustling area near restaurants and shopping, renovating these houses and returning them to their former beauty.
Today the neighborhood is home to a wide array of residents, from families old and new to college students and young professionals. With houses in all shapes and sizes, everyone feels at home. There is a strong sense of community, according to Realtor Lisa Carey, a Midtown resident since 2004. Festivities are no rarity, and the neighborhood is more than happy to celebrate special occasions.
“We have a strong tradition of neighborhood parties. And Halloween, oh my gosh! We have had an excess of a thousand trick-or-treaters on Halloween… It’s such a fun community, and such a diverse community that everyone really likes participating in these holidays,” said Carey.
While the neighborhood has its definite advantages — proximity to downtown shopping and dining, walkability to local parks, and unique, charming architecture, for example — there are also complications. That proximity to bustling downtown businesses can mean encroachment in the form of through-traffic — both cars and people, either sight-seeing or en route to dinner or shopping. But more subtle is the question of modernization.
“I’ve seen some fabulous contractors come in and rehab some of the houses very beautifully. That has led to discussion within the neighborhood over whether to take on a historic preservation overlay. That would then restrict modifications that were done on the house,” explained Carey.
While homeowners must keep their homes updated and well kept, where are the boundaries between upkeep and abandonment of the traditional? For a neighborhood so steeped in tradition, this is a complicated — but necessary — question that is still not entirely answered.
Regardless of the selection Midtown makes, it will certainly remain a historic, beloved part of Tallahassee.
SHOW ME THE MONEY
We’re running the numbers with real estate industry facts and stats:
Over the past year, roughly 55% of local homes that were listed actually sold.
Nationally, 31% of all homes sold in December were on the market for less than a month.
In Dec. 2012, the sale price of a single-family home in Florida was up 14.1% and on the market 12 fewer days than a year ago.
Locally, homes with pools are fetching 13% more than those without pools.
38% of all residential listings coming onto the local market are marked as distressed.
In 2012, more than 15% of all local home sales have included a swimming pool.
Source: Tallahassee Real Estate Newsletter, Florida Realtors and National Association of Realtors.
Pumphrey House Undergoes Thorough Pre-Sale Renovation
Frank McCall, a noted architect for the mid 20th century South, designed this house in the American traditional style for Dr. James Pumphrey in the late ’60s. The house was grandly but comfortably built for a large family, and is currently undergoing renovation. While designed primarily as a residence for Pumphrey, his wife and their five children, it was also the setting for regular entertaining, and guests frequently flowed outside from the house’s spacious rooms. One of the house’s crowning jewels is its high-ceilinged great room with a row of doors opening out onto the wide decks and down to the pool. In addition, the house boasts a large kitchen, formal dining and living rooms, six bedrooms and a study.
Originally centered in a much larger estate outside of Tallahassee proper, the house remains quietly set on the highest point in the area among numerous protective oaks and pines, overlooking 11 acres of the property, including stabling and grazing pastures suitable for horses. With time and development, it has become and remains a quiet and secluded home in the central suburbs of Tallahassee.
Renters Return to Buy Updated Betton Ranch
Sometimes, selling a house requires giving it a facelift. And for this house built in 1959, a new face sealed the deal with one of its old flames — tenants from its stint as a rental property.
The owner of this house purchased it in 1992; after moving to Tallahassee for work, she had to relocate again in 2002 for her job, and rented the house out with the intention of retiring there in few years. When she decided to stay where she was, it was time to sell the house.
Living so far away from the property meant the owner would have to trust her Realtor, Deborah Thompson, to not only sell the house, but to get it ready to sell. Thompson noted that the house was outdated — it had an older roof and electrical box, for starters — but with 3 bedrooms and 2 decently sized bathrooms and a wonderful location, she knew that with the correct attention, the house would be a sure hit.
A pre-listing home inspection shed light on some problems and possible fixes, and then the team got to work. The roof on the house, breezeway and carport/workshop with half bath was replaced, along with the electrical box. New kitchen countertops, sink and faucet, new faucets in the bathroom, a full interior and exterior repainting (including cabinetry), and repairs to the house’s wood rot gave the house a whole new look — a look that was very attractive to potential buyers.
Priced at $260,000, the house stayed on the market 154 days from June to mid-November. When previous tenants, who had rented the property from its current owner for about two years, moved back to Tallahassee after relocating for work and saw the house was for sale, they made the call immediately. They had always loved the location, and all of the updates sweetened the deal, eventually re-uniting the house with its previous occupants for good with a selling price of $248,000.
THAT SECOND HOME
Enjoy a cozy getaway home, right on the slopes — with plenty of room for friends
Looking for a real change of pace from life in Florida’s Panhandle? Consider investing in a nest up north. Fun, unique family memories are just a plane ride away in this fully furnished Ski-in Ski-out home in Whitefish, Mont. This rustic gem is just steps away from the Home Again Ski Trail & Chair 6, and for $625,000 is a spacious, affordable buy that can sleep 10 easily in 4 bedrooms with 5.5 bathrooms and an additional downstairs den with bunk beds.
Overlooking Whitefish Lake and Glacier National Park, this home’s spectacular views and proximity to the inviting Montana slopes are sure to impress and relax you and your guests with each return trip. The large kitchen is perfect for entertaining, and the gas fireplace is sure to keep everyone cozy and toasty after a long day on the slopes (as will the heated slate tiles). The cherry on top? A hot tub overlooking the house’s extraordinary mountain view.
Outside, there is a lot more to do than just skiing, too: There is dogsledding, snowshoeing, hot-air ballooning, and riding snowmobiles. In summer, enjoy hiking, mountain biking, fly fishing, white water rafting, trout fishing, picking huckleberries, horse-back riding, championship golf, the Mountain Zip Line and a “Walk in the Tree Tops.” Throughout the year, experience amazing blue skies, pristine lakes and rivers, clear, crisp air and wildlife, while shopping and award-winning restaurants are within walking distance.
If you are interested in owning a rental property, in addition to a second home for skiing, this could be just the ticket. The house is currently rented out for 70 percent of the available nights during the ski season, and for 40 percent during the summer. When closing on the property, buyers can elect to continue or end the rental agreement.
The home is one side of a duplex, with wonderful, respectful neighbors on the other side who will make you feel welcome as you take some time off the work grind. This can become your family’s new Ski Resort dream home, sure to reduce stress every time.
IT’S JUST BUSINESS
▪ In Spring 2014, a vacant lot at the intersection of Tennessee and Monroe Streets will be home to a 20,000-square-foot mixed-use, split-level building. Hunter & Harp Holdings early this year began construction on the downtown four-story Gateway development. Anchor tenant Walgreen’s will occupy the first level, with drive-through accessibility from Tennessee Street. The Monroe Street level will include leasable tenant space, along with a parking garage. Additional leasing space, ideal for retail or business offices, will occupy the upper floors. The project promises to be a pedestrian-friendly, metropolitan addition to Tallahassee’s downtown.
▪ The long-awaited CollegeTown project next to Florida State University will have plenty of restaurants and bars open in time for the first home football game this fall. And right next door, a 14,000-square-foot Urban Outfitters. For meals and after-hours, look for: Madison Social, a “gastropub” with quality food and craft beers; Samba Cantina, a Southwest concept restaurant/bar; Recess, a rooftop pool and bar developed by Hunter & Harp; and Brooklyn Water Bagel. According to Ed Murray, president of NAI TALCOR, there are only two spaces left to lease. They’re looking for stores that provide “soft goods.”
▪ Close to Midtown, Whole Foods has a projected Oct. 15 opening date for its 36,000-square-foot store in Miracle Plaza off Thomasville Road. Also signing contracts, according to Murray, are: Island Wings, Zoe’s Kitchen, Barbaritos, Millenium Day Spa, Fab’rik (women’s fashion) and Alumni Hall (collegiate apparel).
▪ After closing just over a year ago, Peterbrooke Chocolatier is reviving its brick-and-mortar presence in Tallahassee with a new storefront in The Verandas at 1355 Market St. (next door to Tasty Pastry Bakery) and a store in the Miracle Plaza next to Whole Foods.
▪ Despite a depressed office market, the Summit East Office Technology Park has done well, reports Chip Hartung, president, broker and owner of Coldwell Banker Hartung and Noblin Inc. Realtors. At the crossing of Highway 90 East and Interstate 10, expanded regional offices for First American Title, Auto Owners Insurance and Megas are coming new additions to the office park.
▪ Doctors are coming to you, partnering with developers and other larger healthcare groups to build new facilities closer to retail centers. And medical facilities are even taking over old retail stores. Daniel Wagnon, shareholder of Structure Commercial Real Estate, says projects like the Canopy development on the Welaunee Plantation, currently underway by Tim Edmond, take things even further, creating a small community that promotes wellness and health, giving residents close access to their health care by folding it into the community.