Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff sold home for much less than Zestimate

Are you wondering how to avoid putting Zillow Zestimates on a pedestal?

  • Several closed sale prices can demonstrate the Zestimate’s shortcomings by showing the discrepancy between the sales price of a home. Prime example: formerly owned by Zilow CEO Spencer Rascoff and its Zestimates sold a a home for much less than the Zestimate.
  • Luxury home Zestimates are more likely to be off than others due to ‘non-quantifiable facts.’
  • Irregular lot sizes or proximity to ‘arterial’ roads can sometimes throw off Zestimates.

On February 29, Rascoff sold a Seattle home for $1.05 million, 40 percent less than the Zestimate of $1.75 million shown on its property page a day later.

The gap between the Zestimate of Rascoff’s former property and its sales price has decreased only modestly since then.

Zillow readily acknowledges that Zestimates can be inaccurate, but some consumers can still take them at face value, causing headaches for the agent, seller, and buyer!

The lesson to be learned from this Zestimate example is to  trust your real estate agent.  He or she knows the local market better than a ‘technical tool’ on Zillow that is fairly new and is not accurate and far from perfected.  The market is ever-changing and only a licensed Realtor can determine the comparable properties to zone in on a fair selling price or an appraiser is another great source.

Southwest Florida golf: Jack Nicklaus makes site visit to Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club renovation

By Greg Hardwig of the Naples Daily News

The Golden Bear was known as a tenacious golfer. But Monday, Jack Nicklaus wanted to show his softer side — to future golfers at The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club anyway.

The winner of a record 18 majors made a site visit to the five-week-old major renovation that he is a consultant on with architect John Sanford. The pair and several others — including brothers Michael and Henry Watkins III, the 70-year-old resort’s co-owners — spent about 3 1/2 hours in utility carts crossing back and forth over the mounds of dirt that again will become a golf course.

“It was sort of setting the tone for where you are and what’s going on,” Nicklaus said. “Basically what we did today was trying to make things a little bit more softer, a little more user-friendly, trying to get a few things to relate to water and trees and a variety of other things.”

Nicklaus, 76, has an affinity for the property since it’s where he broke 40 for nine holes for the first time, as an 11-year-old on a family vacation in 1951.

“Obviously I didn’t remember it,” he joked. “I do remember when I saw the scorecard that I double-bogeyed the last hole.”

Nicklaus, Sanford and Henry Watkins all believe the golf course construction is well under par at this point, with the lack of rain allowing Ryangolf to stay at or ahead of schedule on shaping the new layout that’s slated to reopen in December.

“It’s coming along very nicely,” Nicklaus said. “They’ve done a lot of work in about a month’s time. They’ve probably had about 14 holes that we saw quite a bit of. What was out there, it was starting to look like a golf course.”

“Obviously we get concerned when we start getting into the rainy season,” Sanford said. “That can slow things down. It’s a great piece of property — sandy soil for the most part — so we should be good. So far, so good.”

Renovation started on April 11. What comes next —after Nicklaus’ tweaks are made — will be laying down irrigation on what’s already been shaped. Sanford said it’s possible that a month from now grass will be laid down and growing on some spots. The entire course could be fully grassed by August, but it’ll take three months to get it grown in to where it’s playable.

Monday, a backhoe was digging out what will be a lake between Nos. 9 and 18 greens, and that’s the last major excavation to take place, Watkins said.

Nicklaus, who has signature designs at Bear’s Paw and Old Corkscrew and co-designed TwinEagles’ Talon Course and Whispering Oaks at Verandah with his son Jack II, did make some fine-tuning to a course that hasn’t changed a great deal since it was built in 1929.

“Nothing really earth-shaking,” he said.

Nicklaus didn’t like how the green on No. 7, a par 3, was out by itself, so it will be moved near a nearby grove of trees. And that will allow the tee for No. 8 to be moved and create a longer hole. The shape of the 16th green was changed, and will be brought closer to the water.

“Little stuff — stuff that I always do,” he said.

Sanford, who has worked with Nicklaus before, and Watkins III both were impressed with Nicklaus’ vision of how a hole will look and play, particularly at this stage with mostly a bunch of dirt everywhere with some trees, and stakes in the ground for where greens and tees will be.

“It’s always an exceptional experience to spend a day with Jack talking about golf course design,” said Sanford, who worked together with Nicklaus on the Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point in New York. “It’s a thrill for me.”

“It was really amazing to watch him work,” Watkins said. “… You get a sense of what it looks like, which is a bunch of mounds of dirt with some cavities occasionally, and that’s about it. Yet, he can look at it and say ‘No, no, no’ on the tee. ‘I’m driving down the fairway and I can’t see the lake over here. We’ve got to soften the bank so that the golfer knows that there’s a lake over here when he’s standing on the tee. We don’t want him to be surprised the first time that he plays this course and drives down there expecting to find his golf ball and it’s in an alligator’s mouth or something.'”

With the softening done Monday, the layout falls in line with being compatible with resort guests who may play it once or a handful of times during a visit, and still be playable for members and the public.

“We’re not trying to create a national open golf course,” Nicklaus said. “It’s a hotel golf course, a resort golf course, and membership, too, that people will enjoy playing. You’ve got a lot of golf in the Naples area. I think it’s bringing this golf course sort of up to snuff with a lot of others.”


Fifth Avenue South buildings demolished, as development plans at site uncertain

By Joseph Cranney of the Naples Daily News

Posted: May 11, 2016

Crews began demolition on local developer Phil McCabe’s old building on the 400 block of Fifth Avenue South on Wednesday, even as the building’s future, and the future of other commercial developments in the area, remains in flux because of a pending lawsuit.

Christopher Shucart, the developer who won city approval for a three-story project on 9th Street South that is similar to McCabe’s, said he is changing his plans after neighbors argued in the lawsuit that McCabe’s building concept doesn’t adhere to the Naples charter.

And another builder who wants to redevelop a property on Fifth Avenue is planning a three-story commercial building that doesn’t deviate from charter limits on building height. Neighbors have argued in court that the charter limits are absolute.

The question of whether the Naples City Council is properly enforcing the charter was brought to court in December when Bob Martin and Joan Fiore, two downtown property owners, sued the city and McCabe, claiming the council shouldn’t have approved McCabe’s plans to tear down his old building at 465 5th Ave. S. and put up a three-story building with underground parking.

The underground parking garage plus the three stories above ground make a four-story building, the lawsuit claims, violating a provision of the charter that restricts all commercial buildings to three floors. McCabe and the city argue the charter doesn’t clearly prohibit McCabe’s building design.

McCabe’s new building will include 11 condos on the second and third floors and high-end retail on the ground floor. He said he will delay construction on his underground garage, which would include 43 spaces, until Judge James R. Shenko makes a ruling on the lawsuit. McCabe has plans for 29 spaces of surface parking as an alternative.

Shucart got approval from the council in December to redevelop his property at 560 9th St. S. into a three-story building with upper-floor condos and underground parking — a concept virtually identical to McCabe’s. Now, Shucart is readying to abandon the old plan and replace the project with a one-story building, including parking at one of the city garages. The working concept for the 11,200 square feet of retail includes restaurants and general retail, Shucart said.

The building specifics won’t require approval from the council, Shucart said, and could break ground as early as September. Shucart will abandon his old condo concept if the judge doesn’t make a ruling on McCabe’s lawsuit by the time permits are issued for Shucart’s retail building, Shucart said.

About the likelihood of the lawsuit being resolved before then, Shucart said, “I don’t think it’s going to happen.”

“I think the lawsuit is going to get drug out for quite some time,” he said. “We have some great tenants that want to be in the building. We believe in the downtown area and believe a high-quality single-story would be very successful for that project.”

“I’m disappointed in the fact that we had to restart and redesign; excited in the fact it’s a very simple, clean concept to understand,” he added.

Mayor Bill Barnett, part of the five-member majority of the council that approved Shucart’s project in December, said “there wasn’t anything I didn’t like about” the project and that it “remains to be seen” if Shucart’s retail concept is a viable alternative.

“I think they’re smart to do it,” he said. “It’s going to have an effect on what happens in the future.”

Greg Hoffmann, a principal in the real estate company that owns 10 properties on Fifth Avenue, said in December his company was also planning to redevelop a lot on 4th Avenue South into a three-story building with 22 condos and underground parking. Hoffmann Commercial Real Estate hoped to have the construction finished in 2017, he said.

But no plans have been submitted to the city’s planning department for that property, said Planning Director Robin Singer. Hoffmann declined to comment last week.

“I can’t divulge anything yet,” he said.

According to plans submitted to the city, the developer of a new project at 505 5th Ave. S., across the street from McCabe’s development, is planning a three-story building that doesn’t include underground parking and has a maximum height of 42 feet, per the charter limit.

The developer, David Harvey from Stone Creek Properties, also shared his plans with the Old Naples Association, whose members have been critical of overdevelopment.

The project will include eight condos on the upper floors and 7,100 square feet of retail on the ground floor, with on-site surface parking, plans show.

Harvey met for an hour last week with the ONA, the group McCabe accused of attempting to “damage” him through the lawsuit, even though the ONA isn’t party to the suit.

Harvey, whose real estate company has offices in Austin, Chicago and Kansas City, declined to discuss the project’s specifics, but said the meeting was a “common process” to learn more about a community’s building design standards.

“We’re developing for the community,” he said. “They gave us good feedback on our design and development.”

ONA President John Lehmann said his organization is “encouraged” by the plans that don’t request deviations to building height.

“They were such night and day with what we’ve experienced to date,” Lehmann said. “They laid it all out. They were very open.”



Provided by Luxe Trends of Luxury Portfolio International

1. HomeWorks QS

Invest in an unmatched total home control system with HomeWorks QS. HomeWorks QS allows you to save energy while controlling interior and exterior light, electric light and daylight as well as audio-visual and HVAC systems. Not only does this system provide you with the ability to regulate your environment, but it will also pay for itself over the life of your home.

2. Handheld Touch Screen Remote

Incorporate a handheld touch screen remote into your home and use this wand-style wireless touch screen controller for your home theater, or your whole-house control.The device even has voice recognition so you can easily change the channel or lock the doors through a simple command.

3. Serena Remote-Controlled Shades

Looking to sleep in a bit? Block out the light with Lutron’s Serena remote-controlled shades. These motorized shades are available in a wide variety of colors and textures and can even be operated using the Lutron App from anywhere in the world.

4. Surround Sound

Enjoy a surround sound experience in any room with this ultra high-definition system. Watch your favorite movie or dance to your favorite song with controlled access through a touch screen, handheld remote or mobile device.

5. myRoom

Designed for your guestroom, myRoom provides your visitors with complete control over the room’s lights, temperature and shades. What better way to make guests feel at home and relaxed throughout their stay?

6. Luméa Slide Fan Control

Cool your home with the Luméa slide fan control providing control of the fans in any room. The easy-to-use slide control adjusts the fan speed to your desired level and a push button switch quickly turns the fan on and off.

7. Yale® key-free door lock

The ultimate measure in safety, Yale® key-free door lock lets you to lock and unlock your door from any touch screen in the house or remotely using your computer or mobile device. You will never have to worry about forgetting to lock your door again!

View a few smart homes currently for sale including a French inspired stone farmhouse in Montecito, California, a stunning contemporary waterfront home in Miami Beach, Florida and a remarkable sunset strip mansion in Los Angeles, California. You can also visit the Smart Homes LookBook on the Luxury Portfolio Pinterest page to see more available smart homes.


Naples getting rid of old beach parking meters

By Joseph Cranney of the Naples Daily News

Naples beachgoers won’t need to carry pockets full of quarters anymore after the City Council agreed Wednesday to finally phase out the city’s old coin-fed parking meters.

The city will install electronic pay stations at 12 beach access points in Park Shore stretching south to Aqualane Shores. Once the stations are installed, estimated for the end of June, beachgoers throughout the city will be able to pay for parking using a credit card, or park for free with a beach sticker.

“The old meters, they’re basically a thing of the past,” Mayor Bill Barnett said.

The council unanimously voted to spend $95,736 to purchase and install the new stations that will replace 139 parking meters.

“We plan to completely eliminate this type of technology,” said Ann Marie Ricardi, the city’s finance director.

The new stations will be installed at beach access points at the following locations: First Avenue North, First Avenue South, Second Avenue North, Second Avenue South, Third Avenue North, Sixth Avenue North, Sixth Avenue South, 15th Avenue South, 17th Avenue South, 32nd Avenue South, Broad Avenue South and Seagate Drive.

The stations also will open up 88 parking spaces to the general public that were previously restricted to cars with beach stickers.

With the old meters, the city’s parking rate of $2.50 per hour required people who wanted to visit the beach for at least two hours to carry 20 quarters with them.

Folks who want to feed the machines the old-fashioned way can still use quarters on the new pay stations, but they also give the option of swiping a card and extending their parking time using their cellphones.

Noting the machines’ convenience, Barnett said they are probably taken for granted by visitors from “cities all over the U.S.” that are used to them. Still, the pay stations are a relatively new idea in Naples.

As of 2012, there were 520 parking meters in the city. Nearly half were replaced with 30 pay stations last year. Those stations have recorded more than 5,000 transactions per week in the past year, according to the finance department. About 90 percent of the transactions were paid by credit card.

From October to March, the city’s beach parking revenues increased by about $245,000 compared to the same span in the previous tourist season.

Councilman Doug Finlay said there has been a reduction in beach parking fines since the new stations went in last year, which he guessed was because the stations make it easier for folks to add time.

The pay stations give customers an option to input their cellphone number, which allows patrons to send a text to add time to the machine without leaving their beach chairs.

The pay stations each cost about $1,785, including maintenance, according to the finance department. But the department projects an annual revenue of the 30 new stations at about $130,000, meaning the city would recoup its contract in less than a year.