Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

All Bu$ine$$ | A Vintage House in Vamo Comes on the Market, but in an Age of Creative Real Estate Marketing, Its Backstory Lacks the Charm of the Home

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

All Bu$ine$$ | A Vintage House in Vamo Comes on the Market, but in an Age of Creative Real Estate Marketing, Its Backstory Lacks the Charm of the Home

Article excerpt

LISTING

Realtors, and their marketing departments, have a fairly new tactic in the battle for buyers: Storytelling.

Every older house has a story. The vintage property where prominent early residents once lived. The family home in the suburbs, where kids once played but no longer fits "just the two of us." The grand waterfront mansion that is going on the market because its owners couldn't freeze the calendar and now have to downsize.

"People want to project a lifestyle," said Tracy Eisnaugle, regional marketing director for Premier Sotheby's International Realty. "They fall in love with the feeling."

By telling a story, she added, "We are trying to touch something that evokes the buyer."

A half-block from Little Sarasota Bay, a 1924 Spanish-style house in pristine condition on Vamo Drive gives the appearance that its sellers must have quite a story to tell.

They do, but it's mostly about their business. Patty Kuehn and David Fitzpatrick are a husband-and-wife property-flipping team. But they do not grab rundown distressed properties, throw down some paint and new carpet, and try to make a quick profit.

"We try to resurrect and preserve. We are passionate about that," said Kuehn, sitting at the dining-room table of her 1924 home at 1711 Vamo Drive in central Sarasota County.

They look for the right house with good bones, then buy it, move in and repair, restore, renovate, relandscape and redecorate, and then sell for a profit.

"We do what we love to do, and make money doing it," Kuehn said.

A casual look around the Vamo Drive house reveals that Kuehn and Fitzpatrick love it a lot.

"I see so much real estate," said listing agent Tamara Currey of Premier Sotheby's, "and I really wanted to buy this house. This property took our breath away. It was the only one that I wanted to buy over what I already live in and love.

"Patty has transformed it into Shangri-la. It takes you back to a simpler time when you get here, but then with the modern conveniences of today, it is just a perfect match."

Right down to the furnishings. But these are not family heirlooms. She bought them "here, there and everywhere," and they are included in the $849,000 list price.

"I am a big antiques scouter, so I love finding antique furniture. I love things from India and China," Kuehn said.

The house, on a half-acre, has been on the market for two months, and the price has been reduced once. Currey said some buyers are deterred by the presence of only two bedrooms, when most of them want three. But she said that with the porches and outdoor living spaces, the house feels bigger than its 1,418 square feet of air- conditioned area.

"It's like a new house."

Exhaustive search

Kuehn and Fitzpatrick moved to Sarasota in 2010 on a seasonal basis, and found the Vamo Drive house after an exhaustive search, driving up and down street after street until they found the right property.

"It had to be the right house and have the right everything," Kuehn said. "Something I can work with, a palette. We happened to turn the corner (on Vamo Drive), and as soon as I saw the oaks,

creating a little tunnel to the water, I was just like, 'Oh. …

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