Advice from South Florida real estate experts

Sandra Tagliamonte

Broker/Vice President

One Sotheby’s International

Her back story: Before she entered the real estate profession more than 20 years ago, Tagliamonte ran health clubs—and, later, sold Toshiba copiers. What separates Tagliamonte in the luxury markets she serves throughout Broward is that “I truly care about each customer that I work with. It’s not about the money. It’s about walking them through the process of whatever they’re going through to make the process as easy and stress-free as possible. I’m always available for my clients.”

Trend watch: “The millennials love natural materials. They’re also drawn to smarthomes and colored LED lights. [My buyers] enjoy a modern aesthetic with clean lines—yet still comfortable. As far as the kitchen, farmhouse sinks are popular. As far as colors, we’re seeing sea gray and white in the new homes.”

Myth busting: “Florida has been attractive to international home buyers for years. But job growth in our state is now attracting millennials and families from all over the country. I feel the [South Florida market] is just as strong and as appealing as Los Angeles and New York.”

Words of wisdom: “The most valuable advice you can give a buyer: Never buy more house than you can afford. For a seller? Hire an experienced agent who knows the value of your home and comparable sales in the area. It’s very important to communicate frequently; you’re a team, and you must trust your real estate agent.”



Kim HackettKim Hackett

Estate Agent

Florida Luxurious Properties

His back story: A sociology and psychology major at the University of North Iowa, Hackett sold educational books door to door to earn extra money in college. He later sold cars; by 1984, Hackett had purchased the first of 10 auto dealerships in central Florida. In 1998, he merged with AutoNation and moved to Fort Lauderdale. Following another successful entrepreneurial venture after leaving AutoNation, his business experience and love of sales drove him to real estate. “In the automobile business, I was involved in over 800 transactions per month,” he says. “Five years into the real estate business, I’ve been involved with a combined $400 million in transactions. That equates to a lot of experience when it comes to closing deals. Along the way, I’ve learned that no transaction is the same; each one needs its own creative solutions.”

Trend watch: “Contemporary design, transitional and West Indies [motifs] seem to be the focus for 90 percent of our clients. Traditional Mediterranean seems to have lost its [standing] as the top design. In the condo market, new construction has taken off, leaving the resales at a lesser price point—making them a tremendous value at this time. In some cases, there are fantastic units in some well-established buildings that are selling at half the price of new construction.”

Myth busting: “People don’t always understand [the extra cost involved] with elements like finished closets, total smarthome automation [security cameras, lights, air conditioning controls, alarm systems] and electronics packages [TV, sound systems, wired blinds]. Do the research before assuming the cost to have the finished system you expect. New construction of a 6,000-square-foot property without all the details you want can cost you an additional $500,000 to $1 million.”

Words of wisdom: “Always use me as your real estate agent.”



Megan ProbstMegan Probst

Broker Associate

The Howland Group, Compass Florida

Her back story: The native of Jamaica and daughter of a developer was immersed in the world of construction sites from a young age. But it wasn’t until she helped her sister purchase a condominium in Miami Beach that the graduate of the University of Central Florida (she earned her degree in interpersonal organizational communication) found a passion for real estate. “I was immediately intrigued by the agent’s unique ability to connect a client with the lifestyle and home that fit their needs,” she says. As part of the Howland Group at Compass, Probst specializes in residential and mixed-use real estate for renters, investors and buyers. She’s also in her second year on the leadership board for the Miami Association of Realtors. “Having worked in various [capacities]—boutique brokerage, new development sales, nationwide brokerage—I have a well-rounded skill set that allows me to see the industry holistically.”

Trend watch: “I’m seeing buyers who are relocating to South Florida from a more densely populated city. This buyer tends to be accustomed to a more walkable and transit-oriented city and is looking to replicate that same lifestyle. For these reasons, he or she is typically drawn to the downtown offerings of both Fort Lauderdale and Miami. … Also, there are empty-nesters transitioning from larger homes in the suburbs. [Some are looking] for a more active social life near the downtown hub; others are trading in square footage for more amenity-rich communities. … In terms of location, beachfront condos [with luxury amenities], high rises in the heart of downtown, and single-family homes near the downtown corridor are hot markets.”

Myth busting: “I think we are finally past the stigma that South Florida is [a seasonal] place of residence. Top corporations are moving their headquarters here, and there is an influx of business professionals across industries attracted to [the tri-county area]. The hospitality, real estate, tourism, import/export and culinary scenes are expanding each quarter.”

Words of wisdom: “Hire a professional who is service-oriented, not discount-oriented. Your relationship with a real estate adviser should start well in advance of the time you are ready to purchase. Stick to your goals and work with a professional who will help you achieve them.”


Photography by James Woodley

Shot on location at Auberge Beach Residences & Spa, Fort Lauderdale

Creative direction: Melanie Smit

art direction: Evelyn Suarez

Editorial coordinator: Kevin Kaminski

Special thanks to: Tim Arnold (general manager) and Robert Wheeler (lifestyle team manager) and the rest of the team at Auberge; and Leia Bosco with Susan Penrod PR


About Auberge Beach Residence & Spa

The only new construction directly on the sand in Fort Lauderdale Beach has changed the residential landscape in more ways than one. The record-breaking property with 171 oceanfront residences—developed by The Related Group, Fortune International Group and the Fairwinds Group in collaboration with Auberge Resort Collection—has total sales of more than $420 million and counting. At press time, only 14 residences remained in the South Tower; the North Tower has closed on its 57 homes. Residences range in size from 1,350 square feet to approximately 6,000 square feet of living space; prices start at $1.8 million and go to $9.8 million. The property’s five-star amenities include access to 10,000-square-foot Auberge Spa, oceanfront dining at Dune, cigar lounge, screening room, golf simulator room, beach/poolside butlers, juice bar and barbecue cabana on the pool deck, 24-hour valet and security, and more. Visit aubergebeach.com or check out the sales office at 2200 N. Ocean Blvd. (with models designed by Steven G Interiors) for additional information.

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