Impact Glass – More than Just Hurricane Protection

When living in south Florida, there are a few things of which you can be certain. One of them is that our winter weather is great and sure beats the cold and snow that’s part of so much of our country for 3-6 months every year.  The second is that over time, our summer weather will include some very heavy storms and on occasion, a hurricane.

Working in real estate, sellers and home owners often ask me, “What are the best ways to enhance the value of my home?”  Many times my answer is to do little in the way of updating the home as more often than not it doesn’t increase the property value and I hate to see my clients put good money into bad. The one suggestion for all upscale properties that I make is, if you don’t have impact windows throughout the home, this is one investment they should consider.

Impact windows that meet current building codes are critical underwriting components for luxury home buyers, as most domestic high net worth insurance companies are reluctant to provide hurricane coverage on luxury homes that do have a qualified windstorm protection system.

The payback on you​r impact window investment is both obvious and subtle. First, there are substantial savings for having impact windows on your home, especially since the hurricane insurance rates have skyrocketed over the past several years.

Another, but more subtle reason is that a growing number of buyers of luxury homes are coming to the Palm Beaches to buy a second home​, where they’ll spend the winter months enjoying golf, tennis and ​our beautiful beaches. These buyers of exclusive properties go north during our hurricane season, and they aren’t interested in being bothered to secure their homes by having to put up storm shutters. Impact windows are the trouble free way to solve that problem.

I mentioned savings, and to put that reference into context, Mark Montgomery with the Celedinas Insurance Group told me of a recent situation in the Palm Beach market where Citizens Insurance, the primary carrier in south Florida, did not renew a windstorm policy with an $8000 annual premium because the home in question exceeded their new $1-million policy limit.

The owners were able to get coverage from Lloyds of London at an annual cost of $30,000. If the home had approved shutters or impact glass protection, they would have qualified for a preferred luxury home insurance policy at an annual cost of about $10-$12,000. That potential $20,000 annual savings alone would have paid for the cost of the installation within just a few years.
The last reason has to do with increasing the sellability of the home.  Buyers especially after the hurricane season of 2005, are much more in tune to hurricane impact windows and protection. It’s usually one of the first questions a buyer asks when previewing a home for the first time.  Many buyers over the years have even instructed me in doing a property search for them to rule out any homes that don’t have hurricane impact protection.
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What’s Driving the Luxury Real Estate Market?

The south Florida luxury home market is booming. It began in my estimation about a year ago, in August, when I and a few other high end real estate brokers started seeing a real uptick in buying and selling activity in the upper segment of the real estate market.  Gulf Stream in particular may have been one of the hottest markets in South Florida. Surprisingly, that was during the late summer, traditionally a time when sales tended to slow.

That increased sales pace in luxury homes has continued through the New Year, and is being driven by three key economic factors that I have tracked over the years.

The first element is the trend of the stock market, which has recently been extraordinary, hitting new highs. This has provided wealthy investors with additional funds and the confidence to make major investments in new or second homes that satisfy their personal tastes for leisure activities like golf, tennis, beaches and boating. When consumer confidence is high buyers are willing to pull the trigger more often and in even some cases over-pay a bit to secure a property. This wouldn’t happen in previous years.

The next factor is the fact that almost 70% of investors and buyers of south Florida’s luxury real estate are from New York, particularly Manhattan and the Hamptons. According to the NY Corcoran Report, “Closed sales in the first quarter of 2014 increased 38 percent over the same period last year…sales volume rose by 27 percent…and [Hampton] properties that are unique and those that are priced well within their particular range are selling much more quickly than usual.”  Some luxury apartments in Manhattan are exceeding over $2,000 per square foot numbers not seen since the last boom.

That information bodes well for ongoing purchases of higher end properties in our areas as those sales create a “trickle down” effect on purchases in south Florida. You will see a parallel when the New York/Hampton real estate markets are doing well, Palm Beach will follow.

The final element that influences the market is the economics of supply and demand. For example, in the highly desirable areas of Gulf Stream, Manalapan and Ocean Ridge, currently there are about 50% of the numbers of homes listed today, compared to just a few years ago. These home range in prices from $750,000 to over $39-million for a newly constructed, furnished Intracoastal to ocean Manalapan residence situated on approximately 2-acres. When inventory is low it helps create a sense of urgency in the market with buyers.
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Real Estate Testimonials – Jean Wagner

As a broker, realtor and investor locally and out of state, I understand the importance of choosing the best professionals with whom to work, particularly as an absentee seller.

When I made the decision to sell my investment property in the Palm Beach area, I wanted to work with someone I could trust to handle the listing and sale, and someone who would demonstrate the highest levels of honesty, integrity and ethics, particularly in a difficult business environment.

Steven Presson was recommended to me by a friend in south Florida, and after several telephone conversations, I listed my property with him.  It turned out to be a wonderful experience working with Steven.

Not unexpectedly, the sale of a condo took almost 18-months, and during that time, Steven consistently provided me with excellent counsel on market conditions as well as input and competitive analyses to help me adjust my pricing to the changing conditions of the Florida market.

Steven’s work ethic, integrity and consistent honesty were clearly evident throughout the entire time we worked together.  There were several offers made that didn’t close, but ultimately, due to his hard work, we were able to conclude the transaction and close the sale to my total satisfaction.

As a realtor, I heartily endorse Steven, and give him the highest of references as a trustworthy businessman and realtor.  I’m happy, when the opportunity presents itself to do so, to refer him to other Florida investors whom I know because I’ve found him to be extremely reliable.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions regarding this letter of recommendation.

Real Estate testimonial from Jean Wagner

Real Estate testimonial from Steve & Judy Miller

Real Estate Testimonials – Steve & Judy Miller

We want to personally thank Steven for his assistance in selling our home. After having listed our home with another broker for over a year, he was referred to us by a trusted friend, and from the beginning we saw the difference he made in the marketing of our home.

Steven’s approach took a great deal of stress off our shoulders, and he not only performed well, but exceeded our expectations.  His professionalism, energy, attention to detail and follow-up made us certain that we were in the best hands possible.

Steven proved that we made the right choice, when after only 120-days you sold our home at the agreed upon price.  We can’t thank him enough for everything he has done, and are delighted to recommend him to our friends and anyone who is looking for the best in real estate sales of upscale properties.

– Real Estate testimonial from Steve & Judy Miller