How Leading COMPASS Realtor Dennis Bowers Leverages His Construction Background to Set Up Homes to Sell

Written by Posted On Friday, 30 April 2021 11:24

Q & A with Southwest Florida’s Leading Realtor at Compass

Dennis Bowers is the Principal of The Bowers Group and specializes in construction real estate with over a decade of experience. The Bowers Group saw a record year in 2020, serving 110 customers - more than $70 million in sales volume, including multiple sales over 5 million dollars. Thriveglobal had the opportunity to interview Dennis, who is part of Compass Realty, about his secrets to selling a home from the lens of a construction background turned realtor. 

After almost a decade of working for two luxury builders in SW FL construction, Dennis injected his experience in renovations and flipping homes and pivoted to become a full-time real estate advisor. Dennis gives readers an inside look from his knowledge at construction sites, providing realistic expectations to customers building or renovating. He connects clients to movers, builders and attorneys and his relationship with local businesses helps him represent buyers and sellers at a higher level.

Below are a few questions we asked him:

How has your construction background influenced your work as a realtor?

Working in construction allowed me to truly appreciate a part of the industry that many agents aren’t exposed to. The experience allowed me to gain a unique perspective and insider knowledge from the seller side, but also a deep understanding about everything that goes into building a home and recognizing value. Many of my clients and referrals come from my days in construction, which has played a significant role in growing my network and business. When you are able to spend months at a time with a customer, tear apart their home, put it back together – and do a great job – there is a level of trust that is hard to split. 

What should a home buyer look for when buying a home?

There are countless factors that come into play when buying a home. The first is location, taking into account factors such as a gated vs. non-gated community, more land vs. less land, school zones, proximity to shops, restaurants, the beach, airport and place of work. Next, looking at the elements of the home including square footage, pool vs. no pool, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, future rentability and more. If I were to take a family in Southwest Florida who has kids, I would concentrate on good-rated school areas first and from there, it would depend on what type of amenities they want and how big of home. From those two factors, you can funnel down to the right property. If working with a family looking for a second home or a part-time residence, location and amenities are the same, but the question of rentability, proximity to shops and restaurants also play a role.

As for the home itself, anything can be modified, it just takes time and costs money. If you love the home, it’s in an area you love, it has the right “bones” – buy it. You can add finishes into any home and if you have the time, patience and budget, you end up with the exact home you are looking for. Ceiling heights are a huge factor. Not having to re-engineer trusses is a big cost saver. The ability to manipulate the layout is key. True structural changes are big costs: items where architecture, engineering, and planning add costs that are hard to make up. However, many older structures are set with low headers over doors and sliders, therefore updating and raising to 8’ can open the area, update the look and increase value. Other factors for future add-ons, review at the type of slab and foundation. Here in Florida, we have monolithic slabs and stem wall construction. Make sure to account for weight loads of new additions: all of these items require an engineer and plan. Nothing is unfixable, it just all costs money.

Are there any red flags buyers should be looking out for?

The type of construction, plumbing used, age of the roof, types of windows, age and brands of mechanicals (HVAC, water heater), defective items (polybutylene pipes, non-impact windows, aluminum wiring, old copper or cast-iron pipes), foundation issues and work completed without permits and inspections. 

What are some of your favorite construction concepts and why?

I love Design Builds which give the buyer full customization for their plans, designs and finishes. This is the priciest way, but is the most fun to complete. As far as finishes go, I love the old Florida feel with a front porch, plank siding, and metal roof. Inside, I like a more transitional feel with clean lines and light colors, however not super modern and cold-- a mix of natural woods and hard surfaces. We have seen a huge transition through Naples over the last 15 years from a heavy Tuscan to a more transitional feel. Many cities have the ultra-modern look and that has not caught on yet in Naples. We have some of that being constructed, but it limits your exposure to possible buyers who may not like it.

What recommendations do you have for sellers looking to make minor changes to improve their home value before listing their property to sell?

More than ever, people want move-in ready homes. They want to be able to bring their belongings and not have to do any work. Pricing is very important. If it needs work and you can’t pay, the list price will have to be lower. If the seller has money, clean the carpets, declutter, add new countertops and a fresh coat of paint. There are many factors associated with home improvement and you need to evaluate the cost, timeline, and return on investment to make sure you are bringing value to the sale. I would estimate that 80% of my buyers want to do no work. They want to move right in… maybe just clean the place.  The value-add is money in your pocket when selling

What type of construction layouts make sense during the pandemic and remote work environments?

In Southwest Florida, we are fortunate that the outside becomes a workplace. Split floor plans provide distance between people who may be working or in school to provide privacy and quiet. Most buyers are considering these factors when purchasing. An extra room or two is more desirable than ever. A covered outdoor area provides another workplace for most of the year in Florida and through the summer months elsewhere. High-speed internet is a must and should be factored in every home.

For more information on Dennis Bowers, please visit the following link:

https://www.compass.com/agents/dennis-bowers/

Thanks for the interview!

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