Monday, April 2, 2018


By Mary Kennedy                                                     

I've always longed for a beach house so I could have a view like this!  This shot is of the Atlantic ocean, taken from my favorite stretch of beach in Ft. Lauderdale.  In these dark days (it's supposed to snow here in the northeast tomorrow!) I always think how wonderful it would be to wake up to a view like this. Or this...the picture below was taken from a hotel right where we go for mimosas.   There was some storm damage as you can see, and the new fence needs to be painted. 


I spotted an ad for a Ft. Lauderdale oceanfront condo for sale for $130,000 a couple of years ago.  Yes, oceanfront!! How was that possible, I wondered?  It was in Galt Ocean Mile, just a little north of the condo.  It was one bedroom and listed as a "fixer-upper." Who cares, I thought! I knew the building well, because it was right near a little deli we used to go to for breakfast. 

My husband isn't a fan of "towering infernos" as he calls the high rises that have taken over beachfront property and shade the beach every afternoon around 3:00 pm.  But still, I was  enthralled by the idea of owning an oceanfront condo. I wasn't daunted by the "fixer-upper" description.

 How bad could it be? It was ocean front in Ft. Lauderdale! My favorite place on earth. I envisioned waking up in the morning, taking the elevator down a dozen flights to the lobby and stepping out on the sand. I could live with linoleum floors, outdated tiles in the bathroom, ugly paint colors and shabby carpeting. All that can be fixed, I told myself. Surely it is all cosmetic. 

I clearly have been watching too many home renovation shows. On shows like Flip or Flop, everything is fixable. "It's just cosmetic," is one of Tarek El Moussa's favorite sayings. Here is Tarek and his beautiful wife, Christina, in happier times.


Then a few doubts crept in. My husband insisted it was "too good to be true," and I did my best to ignore his warnings. I started chatting with a woman at the beach and the talk turned to oceanfront condos. "Wildly expensive," she said.

"Did you hear about the one up the road a little?" I gestured in the direction of a white high rise with a green stripe. "They're offering a one bedroom, oceanfront, for $130 thousand."

"Oh my dear," she said, resting her hand on my arm. "The one at Galt Ocean Mile? You wouldn't be interested in that one. It's in terrible shape. Just awful."

"You've seen it?"

"No, but a neighbor told me they're selling it 'as is'."

"As is?" Well, she didn't burst my bubble entirely because "as is" could mean anything. If it had dark paneling or horrible finishes, I could live with it. The ocean was right outside my window!

You're probably wondering where I'm going with this story. Did reality hit? Yes, sad to say, later that day, I visited a real estate office while I was out shopping.

Then I learned the grim truth. My beloved condo was much worse than a "fixer-upper." It was only $130 thousand but was a complete gut job.  The agent was familiar with it. Someone had removed the kitchen and bathroom (how is that even possible?) and the living room didn't even have a floor. The building owner planned to sell it to a developer who would flip it. "I couldn't even show it to you," the agent said with a chuckle. "It's been condemned, it's unsafe to enter."

So my dream of owning a little piece of oceanfront vanished, just like that!

In the meantime, I'll have to be happy with the condo. It's right on the ocean and here's a photo I took from the balcony. It's on a nice, quiet stretch of beach in Ft. Lauderdale.


All's well that ends well, right? Maybe someday my dream of owning an oceanfront place will come true!!  How about you, do you dream of owning a particular piece of property somewhere? Your own little piece of paradise?

Mary Kennedy

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