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How Hurricane Ian will affect the Market and How You Can Help

Bringing Home to Home

Echo Fine Properties was born in Captiva Island, right where Hurricane Ian made landfall. Lots of folk here have attachments to Captiva, Sanibel, and  the Fort Myers area. Our family took our first break in the pandemic in Sanibel and recognize many of the Island shots that are so devastated. One of our key team members had her planned wedding venue literally wiped out. So, when we as an organization decided to consider helping out a local restaurant family and I heard they cried, I knew that this was the right venue that could make a difference. More on that in a moment…

Jeff Realty was a name that I used for myself when it was just me and a small team.  As we got larger, I thought we needed a new name, as it was about our brokerage as a whole, and Jeff being singular just didn’t seem right.  I commissioned and paid for a bunch of names. But an event that happened in Captiva changed everything.

My wife, Veronica, and I wanted to get away from our kids 5 years back for a holiday, so over New Year’s we escaped to Captiva Island.  We stayed at South Seas Island Resort and just chilled.  One of the cool things we did was go on a dolphin cruise.  When the dolphins were on the left-hand side of the boat, everyone young and old fought for position to see them.  The boat literally tilted to the left.  Then the pod of dolphins, swam under the boat and were now on the right-hand side of the boat.  Young and old laughing pushed to gain the best position on the other side and the boat swayed way to the right. Everyone was laughing and having the best time.  I couldn’t get the image out of my head. At 1 A.M. I woke up and started to think about dolphins and how that could apply to our name.

Dolphins are fun and intelligent just like our agents (fun and happy and helping is a big part of it for me).  They are native to the area and work in a “pod” using teamwork.  Our organization does the same thing which is opposite of what other agencies do. The public doesn’t really understand this but if you got your real estate license tomorrow, you are contracting and paying out for photography, videography, mailings, buyer inquires and so much more. Agents are basically solo contractors doing everything and have frustrations of not having cash on hand or expertise to do all these jobs. The company is really just a named figurehead. We are the exact opposite in that the company pays for all the marketing, employs our own photographers, videographers, and generates lot of buyer inquiries. We work in a pod with lots of internal communication. A dolphin pod is a great example of who we are.  Dolphins also have a superpower of advanced technology. Sonar or ECHO Location. We utilize the latest advanced technology not only to communicate together but to find buyers for our sellers and homes for our buyers.  So, we took the name Echo Fine Properties and use dolphins as a backdrop and have the sonar rings within our logo.  Our colors of teal and turquoise are the colors of the Intracoastal and Ocean. Now you know our origins!

So, seeing a place so close to our home, our company beginnings, and where I and our agents have vacationed and have family connections many times is emotionally impactful.

This week a number of our agents expressed a need to do something. We had a Zoom meeting with 20 agents this Thursday and narrowed down ideas and selections by Friday. What our Real Estate agents really do and why lots get into the profession is to bring joy. It’s an intimate and emotional experience when buying or selling a personal home. Bringing the normalcy of home to a CommUNITY became front and center.

One of our agents has a longtime friend in Port Charles which was severely impacted. Their young family has a pizza place and getting out and doing a day of feeding the community a home cooked free meal from a local establishment along with bringing other essential supplies become overwhelming. Bringing Home to Home as one of our agents said.

This needs some planning and I’ll  keep you posted on details if you care to contribute monetarily or help with any excess supplies you might have laying around that we can take on a supply run (everything from small toys for kids to shampoo to batteries). We will have a drop off center or can pick up at your home. More on all of this soon……..

In June I wrote about Dramatic Changes In the Real Estate Insurance Market. Last week right before the storm, a 6th insurance carrier within the last year filed for bankruptcy.  Thankfully, reinsurance and Federal Flood Insurance (you should always purchase if single family) takes care of much of this.  However, solving this problem is going to be front and center for Florida. Much of it involves fraud and putting caps on legal fees as it needs to get addressed now.

Last, if you are renting or buying, expect to be a bit more urgent in making decisions.  While many that are now homeless and renters will look to Sarasota, Tampa Bay, and Naples, an already low inventory market will not be able to absorb the excess demand.  Snowbirds are coming in a few weeks, and we are only 90 days from seasonal renters.  Palm Beach and Martin Counties are going to get a lot of the excess buyer and renters this season.  If you are considering buying or renting, I urge you to consider moving up your plans because the increase in the supply of “must renters” and “must buyers” will increase the demand side as they have to make decisions as there are not many choices of where to go.


Jeff Lichtenstein is owner and broker of Echo Fine Properties, a luxury real estate brokerage selling real estate in Jupiter  and homes in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. He has 20 years of real estate experience, has closed over 2,000 transactions, and manages over 70 agents in a non-traditional model of real estate that mimics a traditional business model.  Some publications he has been quoted in.

Feel free to ask him a question directly at including a complimentary real valuation of your home.

Posted in Open House Blog, Real Estate Tips on October 1, 2022 at 6:28 am.


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