If you want good advice, you go to the pros.

So, for this year’s edition of Hotspots’ annual Real Estate Issue, we went straight to the experts, the hard-working brokers who write up the listings, host the open houses, take no prisoners at the bargaining table, and close the sales.

We asked a selection of local agents to tell us two things: 1) whether South Florida real estate is still a good investment, and 2) why you should consider listing or buying with them.

So, pull up a chair for this South Florida real-estate masterclass. (Broker responses are listed in the order in which they were received.)

Howard Elfman

Douglas Elliman Real Estate

Fort Lauderdale


Is South Florida still a good place to invest in real estate?

South Florida is a great place to invest in real estate for multiple reasons. First, our cities continue to grow. With that comes more entertainment venues and restaurants, more direct airline flights — both national and international — and more housing alternatives, all of which creates a better quality of living. In addition, more people are choosing South Florida to vacation, as shown by both hotel and Airbnb occupancy. One reason for that is easier direct travel with less fear of traveling internationally in today’s environment.

Why should someone choose you as their realtor?

I have been a real estate broker in this market for the past 20 years, with personal sales of thousands of homes and hundreds of millions of dollars. I am service-driven and a client-focused professional who always puts the needs of my clients first. I have local, national and international reach and am deeply involved in my profession and the community. I’m District Vice President for Florida Realtors and past President of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Realtors Association. I sit on the Planning & Zoning Board of the City of Fort Lauderdale as well as the board of directors for Riverwalk Trust, just to name a few. Put my experience and knowledge to work for you.

Derrick Mandoza

Keller Williams Realty, Inc.

Palm Beach Gardens


Is South Florida still a good place to invest in real estate?

South Florida is a great place to invest in real estate. PricewaterhouseCoopers ranks the east coast of Florida, Miami/Fort Lauderdale/Palm Beaches, No. 3 in the nation for new population growth. On average, single-family home prices are increasing at 8% annually, and with the new tax laws implemented, we are going to see real estate take off.

Why should someone choose you as their realtor?

As an agent with Keller Williams, the No. 1 real-estate brokerage in the country, I’m able to bring national visibility and branding to your property while utilizing a comprehensive sales team to provide the specialized service and care you deserve.

James Oaksun

New Realty Concepts

Oakland Park


Is South Florida still a good place to invest in real estate?

Valuations have doubled since 2011. You can’t randomly pick a home and win. But there are three ways to end up smelling like D&G and not Old Spice. First, be patient. You’re buying for the long haul. Own for 10 years, and you should make out all right. And don’t refinance! Second, find a home needing some improvements. Finally, focus on neighborhoods that are relatively undervalued. Ideally, seek to do all three.

Why should someone choose you as their realtor?

I’m uniquely positioned to help with all these. My proprietary research has identified locations that are both undervalued and have ample nearby amenities — thus ideal for longer-term ownership. And although certain improvements add more value to a property than their cost, the magnitude of improvement varies greatly by neighborhood. My fact-based analyses offer clients better protection than any “rule of thumb” could.

Paul Slutsky


Fort Lauderdale


Is South Florida still a good place to invest in real estate?

With our amazing weather, South Florida continues to be a hotbed for investors. Statistics show continuous growth in Broward County, and there’s no end in sight. Prices are rising, and inventory is low. With that combination, South Florida is the perfect place for an investor to feel confident that his investment will show a return.

Why should someone choose you as their realtor?

I’ve been a resident of Broward County for over 25 years. I treat my clients like friends. When I take a client out to see properties, I look at it as if I’m spending the day with a friend, and we just happen to be looking for homes. I hold the hand of every one of my clients until the end. I don’t pass you off to a processor, nor do I work on a team. When you work with me, you know I’m the one who’s going to show up, from the first showing to the day we go to the closing table.

Frank Vigliotti

ONE Sotheby’s International Realty

Fort Lauderdale/Miami Beach


Is South Florida still a good place to invest in real estate?

South Florida has always been a strong region for a real-estate investment. Whether the market is flat, downward or on an upward trajectory, here in South Florida we are always selling properties. Our real-estate market is unique: We attract many different buyers from all over the country and worldwide. We get buyers for a primary residence or a second home as well as investors.

Why should someone choose you as their realtor?

[My business partner] Henri Vezie has been selling real estate here since 1999, and I have since 2005. With that experience, we have a long list of clients that includes investors who are always interested in buying real estate in South Florida. We recently sold a condominium to an investor from New York who plans to remodel and rent as an income source. Given our location as coastline communities — Wilton Manors, Fort Lauderdale, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Pompano Beach, Hollywood, Miami Beach — there are always people who want to come here and fulfill their dream of living by the sea. Our homestead exemption [on taxes] and [the lack of] state income tax also attract buyers to our region. Our job market is strong, and the jobless rate falls below national levels. Henri and I serve all types of buyers and sellers with million-dollar service, no matter the price point. We are always available to speak to you about anything real estate. If you are wondering the value of your property, just contact us and we can give you a valuation.

Brian S. Bedigian

Coral Shores Realty

Fort Lauderdale


Is South Florida still a good place to invest in real estate?

South Florida has in the past and will continue to attract vacationers, snowbirds and residents who wish to relocate full time. Our climate of sunshine and economic growth will always [make South Florida] a great place to invest in property. 

Why should someone choose you as their realtor?

As a fulltime realtor in Broward County for the last 25 years, I have seen two major cycles of sales and the rebound of values. We always bounce back. I’ve had the pleasure to work with new clients, past clients and their friends and family. I offer my full dedication and commitment to my clients to help them buy or sell their homes — asking myself, “How would I want my realtor to conduct business?” — and that turns clients into customers for life.

Frank Rubino

Castelli Real Estate Services

Wilton Manors


Is South Florida still a good place to invest in real estate?

How’s the weather? Well… look around: We live in paradise! With an average temperature of 76 degrees and miles of sunny beaches, it’s no wonder South Florida continues to be a great place for real-estate investment. And compared to other major markets, our prices are still affordable.

Why should someone choose you as their realtor?

With over 25 years of real-estate sales experience in South Florida, a thorough understanding of specific eastside Fort Lauderdale neighborhoods, and a business degree from Hofstra University, I am more than qualified to effectively negotiate a fair price for both buyers and sellers. So, whether you’re looking for a second home, a beach getaway or a property that’s walking distance to Wilton Drive, let me make your real estate dreams become reality.

David Lopez

Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Florida Realty



Is South Florida still a good place to invest in real estate?

South Florida is definitely among the top places to invest in real estate. This is evident in the vast number of foreign investors who are attracted to the great things South Florida has to offer. Florida is known across the globe as the American Riviera, and buyers will always be attracted to Florida due to our year-round sunshine and the diverse lifestyle that Florida offers.

Why should someone choose you as their realtor?

Connie Cabral, who leads our team, has established herself as a top producer, ranking in the top half of the 1% in the Network nationwide for five consecutive years. Connie’s success, coupled with my diverse knowledge and experience in the different aspects of the real-estate industry, offer an unparalleled force when it comes to representing you. Our success is based on our commitment to our clients, ability to connect with all cultures, unmatched knowledge of the market, and most important: listening to our clients’ needs and wants.