Category Archives: Wellington Real Estate

May 2016 Wellington Real estate

Realtor Ann Cook

Wellington Real estate

Ann Cook Of Illustrated Properties Loves Horses And Real Estate

Story by Matthew Auerbach

Photo by Abner Pedraza

When you grow up in New York City and are drawn to all things equestrian, you might have a hard time making your dreams a reality. Ann Cook, a Realtor with Illustrated Properties, had to wait a while, but she eventually found herself in the right place to satisfy both her love of horses and real estate.

“Although school and college took me to the Boston and San Francisco areas, it was not until I settled on Martha’s Vineyard that I was able to incorporate riding and my professional career as a Realtor,” she said. “Then I was invited to spend the winter of 2000 here in Wellington and found the perfect home to follow my two passions: dressage training and successful real estate transactions.”

Cook has come to specialize in Wellington’s unique real estate market, working with seasonal equestrians and year-round residents dealing in farms, luxury homes, villas and investment properties.

“I provide a full service of representing sellers, buyers, rentals and property management,” Cook said. “There is so much satisfaction in knowing that my work has led to a successful transition, whether for a first-time homebuyer or my sellers, and in finding just the right property for my buyers. My approach is very hands-on — I like to attend every showing of the homes I have listed for sale to ensure that all the property features are highlighted, and then give my sellers immediate feedback.”

Cook isn’t new to real estate. She marvels at how far the industry has come from the days of no cell phones or internet. However, she’s not nostalgic for days gone by and realizes how much modern technology has affected and improved her profession.

“For today’s buyers, sellers and investors, immediate access to property information is essential,” she said. “My property listings are all represented with professional HDR photography, video tours and aerial photos. Personal color brochures are given to all prospective buyers and include information about the neighborhood, survey and floor plans.”

The fact that Wellington is known around the globe as “horse country” continues to propel its popularity as one of the world’s most unique destinations. Cook will be the first to tell you that’s very good for business.

“We are the winter equestrian capital of the world, and we will keep growing,” she said. “The Wellington Equestrian Partners’ plan to purchase the International Polo Club and further expand the Global Dressage Festival and the Winter Equestrian Festival is great for our economy. Wellington continues to attract new visitors. An increasing number of my clients are European professional riders and their clients here for our winter months.”

Cook’s lifelong love of horses continues to this day. For the past two winters, she has presented the People’s Choice Award at the Global Dressage Festival for exemplary horsemanship, sportsmanship and performance.

“It is another way I am involved with the equestrian community and give a little something back,” Cook said.

Illustrated Properties is located at 11924 W. Forest Hill Blvd., Suite 18, in Wellington. The reach Ann Cook, call (561) 301-4626 or visit


April 2016 Wellington Real estate


Wellington Real estate

Equestrian Background Gives Realtor Francis Hoet An Edge

Story by Matthew Auerbach

Photo by Abner Pedraza

When two of your main interests are real estate and all things equestrian, is it any wonder that you wind up in Wellington? For Francis Hoet, a Realtor with Illustrated Properties Real Estate, the community was a natural destination, considering the life she led before arriving in South Florida.

“I have double nationality, Belgian and Venezuelan, and received my bachelor’s degree in education in Caracas, Venezuela,” Hoet recalled. “My passion for real estate stems from my family. We have a long history in the real estate business in Latin America, Europe and the U.S, both as investors and owners of real estate brokerage firms. I began riding and showing in the jumper ring in 1991 in Caracas, where I met my husband, Cesar Hirsch, who is an FEI international equestrian judge and owner of Equis Boutique. We first came to Wellington in 1999, enjoyed spending several months a year here, and finally decided to move to Wellington with our horses during the winter season in 2009.”

Hoet and her husband have four children, ages 17, 16, 11 and 6. Hoet’s fluency in English, Spanish and French enables her to connect buyers with sellers all over the world. Since many of her clients are foreign equestrians who visit Wellington year after year, she specializes in sales and rentals of equestrian properties.

“I also have local clients who want to offer their properties for sale or rent during the season, so I make sure to help them stage their properties appropriately to meet the standards of the discerning buyers or tenants,” she said.

Hoet remains an avid equestrian fan, which she said helps her in providing insight and experience when it comes to the needs of her buyers. “I travel to several horse shows in the U.S. and other countries, which allows me to market properties among the equestrian community,” she said.

Being associated with Illustrated Properties allows Hoet to serve her customers fully, whether they are buying, selling or renting.

“I believe in giving the highest level of customer service to my clients, evaluating each client’s unique needs and finding them their ideal property,” she said. “Illustrated Properties Real Estate is affiliated with Christie’s, Luxury International Portfolio and Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, a network of the world’s finest real estate firms. Working with these companies allows me to maximize the exposure of a property not only locally, but at an international level.”

Hoet sees Wellington as a destination unlike any other.

“Wellington is a very special and unique town because of its diversity,” she said. “Thousands of visitors from all over the world come to Wellington each year, which has a positive impact in our local economy. Wellington also offers an array of communities to suit every taste, such as for the equestrian enthusiast, the aviator and the golfer, among many others.”

As far as the local real estate market, Hoet is pleased with its current state and upbeat and optimistic regarding its future.

“The Wellington real estate market started strong this year,” she said. “We have more buyers looking to invest in Wellington or to relocate, attracted by this family-oriented town and by its expansive equestrian venues and facilities for polo, jumping, hunters and dressage. Buyers feel confident investing in Wellington, and it is going to be a good year for the Wellington real estate market.”

Illustrated Properties Real Estate is located at 11924 W. Forest Hill Blvd., Suite 18, in Wellington. To reach Hoet, call (561) 729-8518 or visit


March 2016 Real Estate

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Wellington Real estate

Realtor Jermaine Bell Specializes In Home Transformations

Story by Matthew Auerbach

Photo by Abner Pedraza

Ask a hundred real estate professionals the one thing they love more than anything else about the business they’re in, and you’ll most probably get a hundred different answers. For Jermaine Bell of Century 21 WC Realty in Wellington, it’s the chance to turn an ugly duckling into a swan.

“I really enjoy home transformations,” he said. “I love working on homes that most people are scared to step foot into and making them absolute gems.”

Bell grew up in Kingston, Jamaica. He left the island at age 16 and finished up his high school years at Plantation High School. After attending Florida Atlantic University for two years, he began his new life in real estate. He has been a licensed, full-time Realtor since 2004. Bell lives in Wellington with his wife and daughter.

Bell’s area of expertise is residential real estate, which he has concentrated on for more than a decade. His interest goes beyond putting the right buyer in the right home.

“I love helping my clients generate income, whether that be through flipping a property or rental income,” he said.

Bell knows that his experience as a Realtor comes into play with every potential deal. He doesn’t underestimate the effect of the human factor in these dealings, either.

“I think I not only offer expertise in my craft, but a personal relationship with my clients where they all feel that I genuinely have their best interests at heart,” Bell said. “They also know that I would never make suggestions or ask of them things I wouldn’t do myself. I think based upon that, a respect factor is developed that goes a long way in building a fruitful relationship. One of my strengths is being able to adapt to an ever-changing market.”

Riding the ups and downs of a sometimes volatile real estate market is part of the job. There’s something to be said for stability as well, which is Bell’s up-to-the-minute assessment of real estate in the Wellington community.

“The current state of real estate in our area is extremely solid,” Bell said. “Values are on the steady rise, which is great for current homeowners. The demand for the area is still strong and shows no signs of slowing down, in my opinion.”

Bell very much enjoys living and working in Wellington, the place that he and his family call home.

“Wellington is an area that offers such a wide variety of things to so many different people,” he said. “The different economic and social demographics make it a very unique environment. From the different parks and recreation, multicultural events to the various equestrian activities or landing a plane in your back yard, it has a little of everything.”

Century 21 WC Realty is located in the original Wellington Mall at 12794 W. Forest Hill Blvd., Suite 29, in Wellington. To reach Jermaine Bell, call (561) 201-9219.


February 2016 Wellington Real Estate

RealEstate_Karen Gant_ReMax

Wellington Real estate

Re/Max Direct’s Karen Gant: From Hollywood To Wellington

By Matthew Auerbach

Many real estate professionals have an interesting back story that details the road taken to their current profession. You’d be hard-pressed, however, to find a tale more unique than that of Re/Max Direct’s Karen Gant. How many real estate agents do you know who also are lifetime members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences?

“I am a true movie buff,” Gant said. “After receiving a BFA (bachelor’s of fine arts) degree at Hunter College in New York City, I aspired to build a career in entertainment. I moved to Los Angeles and worked my way up to senior level marketing positions at Warner Brothers, Twentieth Century Fox and CBS, creating and producing movie and television advertising campaigns. During that period, I had the honor to be elected into the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences as a lifelong member.”

In 1994, Gant met her husband, Richard. A new phase of her life was about to begin.

“We began to think about buying a home together,” Gant said. “Good climate was a priority, and Florida seemed like the answer. I have always had a history with South Florida, where I visited generations of relatives over the years. In 1998, we bought a beautiful home in Boca Raton and quickly adapted to our new lifestyle and friends. Only one thing was missing: a new career to challenge me and provide stability for our new life. An acquaintance suggested real estate, and shortly thereafter, I was on my way to real estate school.”

Gant was also on her way to Wellington. She and Richard moved here in 2003, where she continued to specialize in luxury homes.

“To me, a beautiful home reflects artistry in its architecture and design,” she said. “Initially, I focused on waterfront properties, as well as new construction. Since moving to Wellington, I have concentrated particularly on the community of Versailles, where I have lived and worked for more than 12 years, becoming the number one Realtor in transactions and closings.”

Gant credits the unique makeup of Wellington for making her job easier.

“The comfortable, laid-back charm of Wellington provides a great backdrop for me to work,” she said. “The majesty of the beautiful horses trotting along as cars whiz by is not typical of any area I know. I am impressed by the growth and opportunity of Wellington, although I have had the experience of working all over Palm Beach County and know most of the area quite well.”

Gant has been associated with Re/Max Direct for three years. The relationship has been a successful one for both parties.

“Their focus on new technology exceeds the boundaries of every other brokerage I have been affiliated with,” Gant said. “Since we inhabit a digital world where technology moves faster than warp speed, I feel confident knowing that I have the tools to serve my clients with maximum efficiency. My goal is to ensure that my clients feel that they are well-informed through close communication.”

She takes a clear-eyed view of the future of the housing market.

“The current real estate market is still volatile,” Gant said. “Although certain areas of the country have made a healthy recovery, Florida is still in the process. I see that improving now, and even with a slight increase in interest rates, for every prospective buyer, the American Dream is still fueled by the desire to purchase a home.”

To contact Karen Gant, call (561) 644-3720 or (561) 615-1081, or visit


REAL ESTATE: Military Service Gave Realtor Paul Smolchek His Drive To Succeed

18_REAL ESTATE Paul Smolchek

Wellington Real estate

Story by Matthew Auerbach

Photo by ???

Paul Smolchek credits his success as a Realtor with Equestrian Sotheby’s International Realty in Wellington to his military background. As a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and through subsequent service in both the U.S Army and U.S. Army Reserves, Smolchek was instilled with a drive to never quit until the job is done.

“What I feel sets me apart from other Realtors is an unwillingness to settle,” Smolchek said. “I have always been driven and committed toward helping others and helping my community, trying to give more than I take. In life as in business, I believe that the desire to help others always serves people well. From my time at the military academy until now, I have tried to be a problem-solver and find creative ways around difficult problems. I believe that to be a great asset when you are dealing with clients about a decision that can be very emotional and personal.”

Smolchek has lived in Wellington since 1997. It was a case of love at first sight.

“Having spent the last 18 years living in the western communities and being immersed in the equestrian way of life, I couldn’t help but fall in love with the lifestyle and the people,” he said. “I have always enjoyed living here and being close enough to the coast to be able to not only enjoy the water and coastal life, but still also enjoy the equestrian lifestyle and all that Wellington has to offer.”

His love of that specific lifestyle has become Smolchek’s area of expertise. “My focus and specialization will continue to be the equestrian communities, trying to help families find their spot of paradise,” he said.

Meeting with the owners at Equestrian Sotheby’s, Smolchek became excited to join the dynamic organization. He is convinced the company’s international involvement benefits his work on a local level.

“I think that one of the biggest things that Equestrian Sotheby’s offers that sets us apart from other firms in the area is the global reach of our brand,” he said. “There is such a large international clientele that call Wellington home. The global reach of Sotheby’s International ties our clientele back to our local community.”

Smolchek has a message for both buyers and sellers in the Wellington area: the future is bright.

“In looking at the local market and how it’s affected by an extended geography and national trends, I am very optimistic about the upcoming season and love the outlook for the near future,” he said. “My belief is that we are still in a bit of a sellers’ market but with a very controlled growth, something that we didn’t see in the housing bubble in the early 2000s.”

This makes it good for both buyers and sellers, Smolchek explained.

“Owners have the ability to enjoy a strong return on their investments with strong offerings, and at the same time, we still feel very optimistic about buyers finding an attractive deal in a market with a good mix of availability,” he said.

Equestrian Sotheby’s International Realty is located at 12180 South Shore Blvd., Suite 102, in Wellington. Contact Smolchek at (561) 644-9830 or (561) 771-2626.