Ten years ago, I was badly injured in a boating accident. Since that time, my doctors had urged me to consider relocating to a significantly warmer climate because of my health issues. With both daughters tucked away at college, my husband and I started our search for a ‘place to hang our hat’ in sunny, warm Florida. We had nearly moved to Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida (outside of Jacksonville, and stomping grounds for UF quarterback Tim Tebow) a few years earlier. We were saddled with an agent whose obvious and only goal was to sell us SOMETHING, anything, as long as he could earn a commission. While we loved the area, his pushiness and, frankly, laziness in seeking out the best possible ‘bang for the buck’ left us cold, and we chose not to move at that time.
After that experience, we were now eager to buy, not necessarily in the northern part of the state, but further down south, around Tampa. (We ruled out Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Orlando. Our mission was to find a place that wasn’t too large nor too small, close to lots of amenities, including health care providers, among folks our own ages but not in a 55+ community, and close to the beach.) We set ourselves a price limit, with the provision that if we found something really great, we would exceed it, but our main concern was finding the right realtor with whom to work. We literally knew no one in the state, so we had to start from scratch, and it was, honestly, hard work. We did run into agents who were still operating under the market conditions of the 1980’s and ’90’s, ones who were unable and/or unwilling to ‘look outside the box’ and be creative, ones who hounded us with “recommendations” that were totally inconsistent with our personal agenda, agents who were lazy, indifferent and, frankly, just plain stupid. And then we called Tony Anderson, who had a listing on a bank-owned townhouse.
We never did buy the townhouse – it was in more of a ‘family’ friendly neighborhood, geared towards younger children – but we did buy a fabulous property that far exceeded our expectations in terms of price, style and location.
Tony is a Hoosier by birth, and brings a Midwestern sensibility and work ethic to his dealings that was outstanding. His specialty is bank-owned properties – those that have already gone through the short sale/foreclosure process and are owned outright by a financial institution. However, his years as a developer, buyer, flipper and agent have given him a wealth of information on all types of residential properties. He is, of course, the top producer for his agency. Tony is that rare combination of charm and warmth, coupled with a talent for numbers and a hard-nose approach to the realty business. I don’t think that there’s much he hasn’t seen in his years of all aspects of the industry. Working with him was a once in a lifetime experience; he suggested properties and neighborhoods we hadn’t before known about; he gently steered us clear from ones that sounded too good to be true, and told us why they weren’t such a bargain. While he clearly has his foot in the door with bank-owned properties, he is equally savvy with high-end, multi-million dollar properties and ventures as well. He has been a real estate developer, consultant, ‘flipper’, investor, landlord; there’s not much in the real estate market which he hasn’t experienced first-hand. That experience brings a world of wisdom that the average realtor quite often doesn’t possess, and that experience is invaluable. Tony knows areas which will hold their value, properties that are long-term holds, ones that would fit the bill for those looking to buy student housing as an investment (remember, the University of South Florida, University of Tampa, etc. are in this area), and those that are geared towards the 55 and up group – specifically or not – as well. He will help you determine the pro’s and con’s of your potential purchase. He will also personally visit and view a property in which you’re seriously interested. (We once dealt with a female agent who had a short sale listed at an attractive price. She had never seen the property itself, and relied upon three old photos of the unit when listing the condo. We were oh, so close to making a firm cash offer when Tony went back to check on it – only to find out that a water heater had burst, the place had flooded, mold was already climbing up the walls – HE knew, the listing agent didn’t. He’s just that kind of a guy. Oh, and we dropped that particular listing off of our short list immediately, thanks to his diligence.)
Tony Anderson’s areas of expertise in Florida cover the Tampa/Tampa Bay/Clearwater/St. Petersburg areas in particular. You can learn more specifics about him personally and professionally at his web site, www.tonyandersonrealtor.com – which will also give you his email and direct telephone number listings.
If you’re a SERIOUS buyer looking to work with an exceptional agent in southern Florida, I cannot recommend him highly enough. Just be certain to treat him like the professional gem that you’ll find him to be. Yes, working with him to buy our first place in Florida was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, as I mentioned above, but we’ll be working with him again in the near future to purchase another, larger Florida home – I can’t wait to see what he’ll have to show us!