Buffett's real estate office a 'game changer' in Venice

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Posted: Thursday, October 17, 2013 5:17 pm

VENICE, Fla. - The Florida real estate market is now getting some competition from the world's fourth richest man. Prudential Florida Realty has become Berkshire Hathaway home services.

Warren Buffett seems to know a thing or two about investing, and he's been bullish on the economy improving. The fact his company is moving into the Florida real estate business might suggest he knows where the industry is heading.

One of those Berkshire Hathaway offices is in Venice, and realtors there say they're excited about what it means for them and for things to come.

Venice realtor Charryl Youman is excited. "Having Warren Buffett in Venice is a big deal." The sign outside and inside of her office has changed. The new company is owned by WCI Communities but is partnering with the world famous company headed by investor Buffett. "Warren Buffett has a good feel for good business, and I think that is a vote of confidence for our market, particularly Southwest Florida. It's a known brand and it's a game changer in the real estate industry. We are so excited to be a part of it."

Youman says it makes sense as more and more baby boomers are themselves are investing and retiring to the Sunshine State. “It's still the number one place people want to vacation and retire. The demand is strong."

The one issue all realtors are facing right now is inventory. A healthy market has about a six month supply. In Venice right now they say it's under three months and possibly closer to two.

"We are very shy of listings. We have buyers, we need something to sell them," says Youman.

That old supply and demand thing is pushing up prices. However, Youman says you can still get a deal. "A three bedroom, two bath, two car garage, you can still get in the mid 100's…maybe something that needs cosmetics, a little older, a little more charming. If you want to get into new construction you can still do it for less than $200,000."

Overall, Youman says the partnership will help with technology and resources both internationally and here at home. "This part of the Southwest Florida coast is really the most affordable part I think. Being so close to the beach, people come here and they are surprised by how much house their money can buy."

Condos are also now picking up. Youman says there are some for under $100,000 in the area. But it’s a little bit harder to get financing because of fees which come along with them.

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