by Robin F. DeMattia
Tim Savage and Mike McCumber were competitors for years, Savage working for Downing-Frye Realty and McCumber with Premier Properties. They often crossed paths, with one representing the seller and another the buyer in a transaction. But it was a chance meeting on a sandbar in The Bahamas that led to their formation of their own firm, Gulf Coast International Properties, in 2008.
“We got to talking and realized we were both interested in offering clients more of a boutique, high-end service experience,” McCumber says. “And though the market was down and the big companies were pulling back, we wanted to move forward.”
The partnership has thrived, with Gulf Coast International Properties holding multiple price-per-square-foot records for sales in Port Royal, Aqualane Shores, Old Naples and other beachfront properties.
“Part of the reason our firm works is that we instilled in our agents the values of how we conduct ourselves, that we treat people well, and we operate as a team,” Savage explains.
“We try to build each other up and give each client the best service, and that involves a group effort. When a client calls, anyone who picks up the phone knows about that person and their property. That can’t be done at a corporate level in other firms.”
That level of service is set to expand, now that the firm engaged Vicki Tracy as its Chief Operating Officer. A long-time Naples resident, Tracy is known throughout the community as someone who gets things done, whether it is spearheading a $250 million new start-up and sales at The Arlington, a continuing care retirement community recently opened in East Naples, or planning signature fundraisers like the successful Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples “Big Wigs” gala last winter.
Joining the team at Gulf Coast International Properties is a great fit for Tracy, who held a Florida realtor’s license earlier in her career and has known Savage and McCumber for years. “I like their values, the way they do business, and how they treat their clients and team,” Tracy says. “They’re already successful. I will just help them enhance their impact.”
The 20 realtors at Gulf Coast International Properties – hand-picked by Savage and McCumber to join the team – are experts in the luxury lifestyle available in Naples, whether it’s a $350,000 Old Naples condominium or a $45 million waterfront house on the beach.
“Most of us grew up here or have lived here for the past 30 to 40 years,” says Savage, a second generation realtor in Naples. “Some of us went off to school, but we all came back here and are selling the lifestyle that we love and appreciate. It’s a testament to Naples, and it makes us successful in selling it.”
McCumber says buyers are attracted to the climate, beaches and myriad activities available. He says the firm works with several generations of families and multiple CEOs who like Naples so much they refer their friends. “The wealthy follow the wealthy,” he says. “If you look at the history of Port Royal, you will see people from the same companies and families.”
Savage also notes that Naples does not have the industrial or congested feel of Florida’s east coast. “Naples has a little bit of everything and not too much of anything,” he states, noting that people enjoy the shopping, dining, nightlife and cultural events that are offered.
As far as trends in what people want in a property, Savage says it ranges from renovating older homes to teardowns to new construction. The deciding factor is often how long a buyer wants to wait before enjoying their home.
One clearly evident trend, however, is the move toward coastal, transitional and contemporary architecture. Savage says this look is being influenced by the younger generation as well as buyers from Canada and Europe. “They like the clean lines and ‘less is more’ feel,” he says.
In addition to serving its clients, Gulf Coast International Properties makes it a priority to give back to the community by supporting charities such as the Greater Naples YMCA and Hope for Haiti.
“I think it’s important to reinvest in your community,” Savage says.
McCumber, who has owned Marine Management Yacht Services since 1981, donates his boat and time to charter cruises purchased during local charity auctions.
Learn more about Gulf Coast International Properties at www.gcipnaples.com or call 239.404.7006