The Four Ws

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“Who am I?” and “Why am I here?”
James Stockdale, 1992 Vice Presidential Debate.

Who
Greetings and welcome to Gulf Returns, my own parcel of Internet real estate. My name is Mark Washburn and I am a real estate investor in Southwest Florida.

Real estate investing represents a major career change for me after nearly 20 years in the telecommunications industry, most recently leading a venture-backed service provider.

While running technology companies and real estate investing are quite different, I have found that many of the skills necessary for success are transferable, including developing accurate projections and modeling of return on investment.

What
The purpose of this blog is to chronicle my experiences as a real estate investor in the Southwest area of Florida. I plan to post information that I uncover as well as share experiences that may be valuable to others.

Where
A chance meeting on trolley during a vacation at South Seas Resort on Captiva Island introduced me, to the opportunities that exist for successful real estate investing in Southwest Florida. With the explosive population growth throughout Southwest Florida, investment opportunities are numerous.

I have elected to focus my efforts in Lee County and, in particular, Cape Coral and Lehigh Acres. These communities have long taken a back seat to the more glamorous Naples, Marco Island and Sanibel…..but are now booming due to many factors that we will explore in this blog.

Why
One of the things that has most amazed me about real estate investing is the lack of organized, easy to find web-based information. Sure most realtors have a static web site with a link to MLS, and maybe the local school system but that is typically about it.

Inevitably, if you want more detailed information, you have to pick up the phone. I have come to the conclusion that this is an industry that has not adopted the self-service formula that is prevalent throughout many other industries including the high-tech world I used to work in.

Hopefully, Gulf Returns will evolve into a valuable resource for real estate investors and we can all learn something from each other.

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