Debbie Wysocki is an award-winning luxury real estate expert and founder of the Florida Luxury Homes Group partnered with Keller Williams East Fort Lauderdale specializing in waterfront, oceanfront, and beach community properties as well as Luxury Vacation Rentals/ Investments.
Author of four outstanding real estate books with over 20 years of experience, Debbie Wysocki has the distinction of closing the highest-priced property in Lauderdale Beach twice and most recently in Hillsboro Shores (for a resale home) in January 2021.
Here she talks with Haute Residence about how she achieved success in her career and knowing when to take the right opportunity.
Why did you choose Real Estate?
I saw my dad able to retire from being a truck driver in his early 40s because of investing in 'bread and butter rentals.' Having seen this, I always had an interest and purchased my first property when I was 22. Being a former financial analyst in Beverly Hills, I have witnessed the cyclical financial markets and believed that Real Estate would be a solid investment for retirement and my husband agreed.
About a year after moving to Florida, I connected with a friend of a friend who was part-time in Fort Lauderdale and part-time in Los Angeles. Real Estate (both commercial and residential) was part of his portfolio. We clicked and I became his 'chief of staff,' we worked together for over 20 years and grew his portfolio from about $13 million to almost $100 million.
Because my number one job was always to be the best mom possible, I did this as a consulting gig AND concurrently built a very successful, large, six-figure residual income direct sales business in the nutrition industry with over 15,000 members in two different companies. Having residual income allowed me to be part of the Team, which included my sister and stepdad, taking care of my mom for six months in home hospice.
After she passed, I was lost for about a year -- and then after a CEO business coaching retreat and presenting my '5 best skills,' I actually got my real estate license and about a year later partnered with Keller Williams in East Fort Lauderdale.
How did you get to where you are today?
You know, some people look at success and say 'oh they were lucky.'
I would say it's 90% hard work and then knowing when to take immediate AND massive action when luck shows up (i.e., an opportunity).
Having been on my own since I was 16, I definitely learned the importance of hard work -- giving more than expected or paid for and finding the good in everything.
I had great mentors and several key bosses who invested time in me and believed in my abilities long before I knew what path I would go down. It was such an honor to be the Executive Assistant to the CEO of The Times Mirror Company right out of college and after 5 years working for a rainmaker at a boutique investment firm in Beverly Hills as a financial analyst for 11 years. Those two positions really prepared me for working with high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth clients and knowing how they think and the level of service they expect.
What is one of your favorite client stories?
Working with my consulting client in Real Estate for 20 years is definitely one -- I learned just about every facet of real estate investing and property management. He gave me the freedom to learn and actually run his business when he was out of town 75 percent of the time.
One of the ideas I came up with was furnishing and making his EMPTY Oceanfront homes rentable as short-term and vacation rentals more than 21 years ago -- long before there was an Airbnb or VRBO. I marketed the homes on Craig's list and my client had a great ROI. About 9 years ago, cities started regulating these rentals because so many owners were mismanaging properties and not being good neighbors, and it was when this happened that my client decided to divest himself of his residential properties. The buyers always wanted me to take over management.
Oceanfront and waterfront properties EAST of the Intracoastal hold their value and typically appreciate (even when the rest of the country is affected by downturns in the market)-- specifically in Southeast Florida because we are known as a destination area pulling investors and buyers from the high tax northeast and midwest states, the Caribbean, South America, and Canada.
This is what I and my Team specialize in – and 90% of our clients are– cash buyers.
We also have the most prestigious Luxury Property Management Division with the most pristine vacation & short-term rental homes in the Greater Fort Lauderdale Area so we are able to serve both owners and guests who expect the very best. We have created alliances with companies in other markets where our Guests can be assured of an equally great home and service.
What is your biggest success story to date?
My favorite real estate story is when the above client started selling his oceanfront properties--the buyer of my favorite oceanfront home on 1/2 an acre in Lauderdale Beach was separated, and her husband wanted the home she had just purchased. She said NO, Debbie will find you another one -- I am keeping this one. Well, after about 6 months of door-knocking and letter-writing to the neighbors (who knew me well because I had been in the neighborhood with my kids for 22 years by now), I finally hit gold and was able to negotiate another half-acre oceanfront parcel for the husband. A little before that parcel closed, an adjacent 50-foot lot became available and I negotiated that sale.
This new client did pay market value, but there were only 47 oceanfront lots in this neighborhood -- and last time I checked, God wasn't making NEW oceanfront home lots. For almost two years, I assured him he would make money, AND 24 months later, I had the highest-priced sale in the neighborhood where he had an annualized ROR in excess of 75%.
Needless to say, this client was very pleased with my negotiating skills.
What makes your market unique?
Because our business only focuses on the very specific market of oceanfront and waterfront properties East of the Intracoastal, it is very niche. We assist customers and clients with these kinds of properties in these areas:
- Property Management
- Vacation, Short-Term & Longer-Term Rentals
- Design & Execution of Property Updates/Refreshing
- Furnishing homes top to bottom
And, we know this market well -- it is an intimate friend.
Debbie Wysocki is one of the exclusive agents representing the Harbor Beach/East Lauderdale, Lauderdale By The Sea, Hillsborough Beach/Hillsborough Shores, and Deerfield Beach real estate market as a member of the Haute Residence Real Estate Network. View all of her listings here.