Tomi Kuczynski is a licensed REALTOR® and a real estate consultant with PadQue of Fort Lauderdale, which is powered by Charles Rutenberg Realty. He believes the concept of a great neighborhood is very individual — a combination of location, architecture, character, conveniences and social climate and how those factors coincide with a person’s tastes and lifestyle. Kuczynski shares his insight on the local real estate climate.
Q: How did you get into real estate?
A: Growing up, my parents liked to move a lot. My sister and I would get excited with each move, looking at new homes and new sceneries; each time was an adventure. By 12, I was riding my 10-speed up to 50 blocks to look at model homes. Fast forward many years, when I was selling my home in Dallas, I became friends with my REALTOR® Phil Hobson. After the sale, I began courses for real estate while I continued to freelance in advertising. One day the phone rang and on the other end was Phil, offering me a position as advertising director. Shortly thereafter I was both [a] REALTOR® and art director, working alongside Phil. He was my mentor and a terrific one at that. He took me under his wing and taught me the ins-and-outs.
Q: What neighborhoods would you recommend to the LGBT community?
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A: South Florida has become much more diverse since I relocated here in 1997. Then, Victoria Park was highly desired in Fort Lauderdale, and South Beach was prominent for Miami-Dade. We saw an exodus from South Beach to Hollywood in the early 2000s when Wilton Manors became the favored area. Now downtown Miami is resurging along with Brickell and Midtown, while Oakland Park and east Fort Lauderdale are also revitalizing. But members of the LGBT community will find numerous other communities attractive due to a strong demographic of gay and gay-friendly occupants throughout Miami, Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale.
Q: What did you learn from the recent real estate market crash?
A: I think what everyone learned is caution. For coastal areas, such as South Florida, we must use greater caution and responsibility in spending and investment decisions, as the rumblings of the crash were inflated by the destruction of Wilma in 2005. Weather catastrophes like Wilma and Katrina can and did bring strong communities to ruins in a matter of, what seems [like], seconds.
Q: What do we have to look forward to in the local market?
A: Florida statistically is doing extremely well. We are still outperforming much of the country, realizing some of the greatest year-to-year price increases. Numerous [people] who faced foreclosure have begun reentering the market, while many Baby Boomers will be transferring to or within the South Florida market. In addition, foreign investors are still very attracted to Florida as a whole. Another factor, which will continue to impact our market is the rapid acceleration of rental rates.