By Felicity Sargent
The Jills reign over South Florida’s real estate market.
“It used to be that we would have to work on sellers for months to get a reduction, but now that everyone is so aware of the current market situation, sellers are really bringing themselves into reality; and the ones that aren’t…we’re still working on!”
Living in the media-fueled society that we do, it’s seemingly impossible to avoid the constant reminders about our economy’s turmoil. At the beginning of this crisis, there were some predictions that certain upper echelon markets would avoid the downturn; but currently, it’s simply an accepted fact that everyone has felt a difference in their lives, one way or another. The line between those who prevail and those who don’t is not easily defined, though there are certain individuals who can succeed in any market. Two of these success-driven minds are real estate tycoons Jill Eber and Jill Hertzberg, collectively known as The Jills of Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. Both share a similar set of ideals and work ethic that has led them to being renowned throughout the state of Florida as the top realtors for the world’s dignitaries, athletes, celebrities, and business leaders.
The Jills share the sentiment that honesty and positivity are most responsible for their immense success. Though the entire globe has felt the effects of the economic slowdown, international elites are still coming to Florida to purchase second and third homes; the Jills have seen many Latin Americans, Russians, and other Europeans buying in the state. The many draws that Florida has to offer give the Jills an edge in the volatile market. “In real estate it’s all about location, location, location,” explains Eber. “We’re a worldwide destination with South Beach, magnificent weather, incredible culture, and the Miami International Airport. Additionally, for affluent Americans, Florida still has no state income tax. It’s an incredibly unique and desirable place to live. As long as they keep coming and wanting to be here I feel we’ll continue to be able to put the deals together.”
Even in this difficult market, exclusive property sales are still flourishing because no matter how you slice it, there is only so much waterfront land in superior locations, and this simple fact keeps properties very desirable, thus allowing the Jills to continue to run an incredible business. With this new market, the Jills have learned the importance of educating their clients, and that education has aided their sales this year. Eber explains, “It used to be that we would have to work on sellers for months to get a reduction, but now that everyone is so aware of the current market situation, sellers are really bringing themselves into reality; and the ones that aren’t…we’re still working on!” A prime example of sellers becoming more realistic is the Continuum Oceanfront Penthouse property. “Last year the sellers were reluctant to come off their asking price of $21 million. This year they’ve conceded to sell for $14.9 million,” Hertzberg explains. “This is a very special direct oceanfront property offering 7,400 square feet and 6,000 square feet of terraces, including a stunning rooftop with private pool. The seller has brought his price completely into reality right now and it’s a phenomenal buy.” The Continuum Oceanfront Penthouse is just one of many examples of the Jill’s customers reducing their selling prices to more realistic terms.
Recently, the two have added several prime listings to their portfolio and have completed substantial sales. The property 3 Indian Creek Island Dr. is one of them. Views from the idyllic private Indian Creek Island property offer exposure to Miami’s sunshine and wide bay breezes. This 2-acre offering boasts approximately 30,000 square feet of exclusive contemporary design with a water, air, and light theme throughout, and will probably be one of the most beautiful and unique properties in the country.
Another listing fresh to the market is a $23 million property, and its choice Miami Beach location justifies the price tag. The 14,000-square-foot estate is set on exclusive (and guarded) Palm Island, exactly halfway between the business center of downtown Miami and the pleasure center of South Beach. The ideal locale itself will sell the house, not to mention the stunning vistas and vast square footage. Both Jills feel confident that this property won’t stay on the market for long. Both of these properties feature 200 feet on the water with room for a sizeable yacht. Other current listings include Mike Piazza’s residence in the Murano at Portofino Miami Beach, listed at $4.9 million, an oceanfront penthouse at 7964 Fisher Island Drive for $11.5 million, and the property at 40 Indian Creek Island Road for $15.9 million. As extravagant as these residences are, their current listing prices are comparatively low. Hertzberg explains, “It’s a difficult market. We’ve felt that. The positive is that everyone in the world knows that these are tough times, and as a result, we’re seeing both buyers and sellers become much more realistic about their objectives.” However, evidence that this change in the market is not as detrimental as many seem to think, there are still buyers searching for the best-of-the-best that are willing to pay whatever the price to get exactly what they want. The Jills just made a record sale of a residential waterfront lot located on Sunset Island, which closed for $22.5 million. This property is undoubtedly one of Southern Florida’s most exquisite, private paradises. They also recently sold a 5,700-square-foot penthouse on Fisher Island, which did not even have walls, kitchen, or baths, for $8 million.
And it’s sales like these that keep the Jills optimistic. “I’m a very positive person,” says Eber. “I never look at things in a negative way. By the year’s end we will have sold approximately $200 million. I believe that we’re going to continue to sell a lot of properties. As sellers become more realistic, buyers will be there.”
Thus far, this theory has proven to be true. The two Jills are incredibly busy, and in the past month bore witness to a notable rise in business. “It has definitely picked up from a month or two ago,” Hertzberg affirms. “We’re working on several offers now and have had a very positive year.”
No one knows what the New Year or the new administration will bring for 2009, yet it’s easy to predict that The Jills will continue to reign over Miami with their unrivalled mastery of the market. As both Jills put it, “We know there will be tough times ahead, but Miami will always shine.”