Red tide, algae prompts loss of business for SWFL realtors

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WINK News file photo

Dozens of realtors confirm they’ve lost business.

One realtor said the red tide and green algae is having a direct hit on her income.

She added she was forced to take last month off because business was that slow.

“It started with the algae and the red tide was the icing on the cake,” said Cheryl Miller, of Miller and Miller Real Estate.

Miller spent eight years working in Florida real estate, and a message left on her phone was the first time she lost a client because of the water:

“I was going to come down there and look at some properties in the Fort Myers area and my rental property manager called me and told me about the red tide so we’ve canceled that trip and have gone over to the east coast.”

“It’s just frustrating … I mean people are changing their minds about buying down here and it’s because of the water quality for sure,” Miller said.

Miller said she’s spent the last year helping the client find the perfect water-front property, but on Monday, their search ended abruptly.

“We’re trying to sell them a lifestyle and a lot of the lifestyle has to do with the water,” Miller said.

Miller said within the past month, some clients stopped returning phone calls completely.

“I’m going to say it’s half or less than what we had last year at this time … meaning that people aren’t looking? … They aren’t looking as much,” Miller said.

Miller blames it on the water.

“You don’t really know, but then when you get a call like this, now we know … we know for sure,” xx said.

The realtor that spoke to WINK News isn’t alone.

The Cape Coral Realtor Association sent a letter to their members asking about their losses due to the water.

The director said more than 40 realtors responded, including one case where a family left money on the table because they didn’t feel comfortable with the water.

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