By Carl and Joan Kelly
Christopher Realty is one of the oldest businesses on Isles of Capri, founded in 1979. Jeri Neuhaus started as an agent in 2003 and bought the business two years later.
“Last year was our second highest volume year since I have owned the company. This season we have done more showings than any season since I have owned Christopher Realty,” Jeri Neuhaus pointed out.
“The difference we are seeing is that in years past we may have done a lot of showings and not written any contracts. This year we’re writing contracts. People are pulling the trigger.”
Debbie O’Dean joined Christopher in 2006. The two women work together as a team. They are referred to as Crisp (Debbie) and Crumpled (Jeri), who does not object to being called crumpled. “That’s who I am.”
The relaxed atmosphere works well in this place. They call the Isles of Capri the “Keys with out the drive.” It was penned by Mark Hawker, a former agent. The selling point is the direct access to the gulf, good fishing area and the laid back attitude. If you are going to the beach you can there by boat.
Properties are selling because they are priced right. Foreclosures and short sales are not the majority of the market on Capri. It is a smaller market with 550 lots and 840 utility customers.
The sales are a mix of single family houses and condos. “The unique thing about Christopher Realty is that of the 26 transactions last year we did both sides of 16 of them, listing and selling,” Jeri noted.
“Most of our buyers seem to be asking for waterfront homes under $500,000,” Debbie and Jeri explained. Referrals from satisfied buyers bring in half of the current business
Many of the buyers at present are not ready for retirement and are buying a second house for rental. The office also handles rentals with Whitney Blair at the desk. In addition they offer free fax, copies, notary and tourist information for the Isles.
Jeri’s biggest fear is that she will run out of inventory. Residents may be asked if they are interested in selling at this time.