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This method achieves success while developing long term business relationships.

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South Florida News

  • Could Uber “skyports” for LA air taxis be real estate’s next big thing?
    Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, a concept Uber Air taxi and Gensler's skyport design

    Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, a concept Uber Air taxi and Gensler’s skyport design

    Uber intends to start its flying taxi service in Los Angeles, complete with “skyport” stations that would include a retail component. Could those skyports be the next big thing in real estate?

    New details about the ride-hailing company’s Uber Air service show prototype concepts for the sleek landing stations, according to Curbed.

    Uber wants to build those skyports in cities around the country, starting with L.A. and Dallas in 2023, according to the report.

    Uber bills Uber Air as an “affordable shared flight” option for consumers, although it estimates that operating each of its four-seat electric-powered vehicles will cost around $700 per flight hour. It’s unclear who would pilot the vehicle, whose price would would likely put a ride far out of reach for most L.A. residents.

    A number of design firms are working on skyport concepts, which Uber wants to be capable of handling 1,000 landings per hour. Architecture giant Gensler revealed its CitySpace concept for L.A. on Tuesday.

    The modular CitySpace skyports are designed to be quick to build from the ground up or converted from an existing parking garage to “minimize the effect ton the local community and environment.”

    Like those of most competitors, Gensler’s concept resembles small airport terminals with multiple landing pads on their rooftops. [Curbed]Dennis Lynch 

  • Airbnb urges hosts to pay local taxes on short-term rentals in Palm Beach County

    Airbnb unit in Flamingo Park area of West Palm Beach (Credit: Greg Lovett | Palm Beach Post)

    Airbnb provided tax-compliance guidance to its hosts in Palm Beach County as commissioners prepared to vote on revised rules for short-term rentals listed on Airbnb and other online platforms.

    Airbnb advised Palm Beach County hosts in an email to establish accounts with the county government for paying the Tourist Development Tax and obtaining a Business Tax Receipt from the Palm Beach County Tax Collector.

    Failure to establish accounts to pay county taxes “could prevent you from hosting short term stays in the future,” Airbnb said in the email to Palm Beach County hosts.

    Rick Rose, owner of Grandview Gardens Bed & Breakfast, told the Palm Beach Post the email to hosts is a positive sign that Airbnb is “no longer working against local authorities.”

    County commissioners are expected to vote this week on an ordinance that revises short-term rental rules set late last year.

    The existing rules are part of an ordinance that county commissioners approved last October, which led Airbnb and HomeAway to file lawsuits against the county in November.

    A judge issued a stay of the Airbnb and HomeAway cases pending the final reading of the ordinance revising short-term rental rules, now scheduled during commissioners’ meeting Tuesday.

    The existing rules for short-term rentals require owners to register their properties with the county and pay the county’s Tourist Development Tax, or “bed tax.”

    The revised rules would eliminate a requirement that hosts submit a property report once a month and remove “illegal listings and bookings” on short-term rental platforms. The revision also would remove a requirement that owners of short-term rentals report to the county tax collector all sites they use to market their units.

    As of April 2, 880 owners of short-term rentals had active business tax receipts with Palm Beach County or pending requests for business tax receipts. [Palm Beach Post]Mike Seemuth

  • Discovery Channel founder throws in a car museum and resort to sweeten listing
    West Creek Ranch and Gateway Canyons Resort and Spa

    West Creek Ranch and Gateway Canyons Resort and Spa

    John Hendricks, the billionaire who founded the Discovery Channel, has re-listed his Colorado ranch — and thrown in a nearby resort and car museum to lure in a buyer.

    Hendricks, who first listed the property back in 2017, is asking $279 million for the package of properties that cover 8,700 acres in Gateway, Colorado.

    That’s a major markup over the previous $149 million asking price, but the listing now includes his Southwest-style home along with the nearby Gateway Canyons Resort and Spa — a 72-room lodge — and a car museum, according to the New York Post. Two of the classic cars — a 1906 Cadillac and a 1929 Duesenberg — are included, too.

    Meanwhile, the eight-bedroom, eight-bathroom main house, dubbed West Creek Ranch, spans more than 22,000 square feet.

    In addition to a pool and spa, it also has a two-story library, an elevator, a gym, billiards room, staff quarters, art studio, movie theater, two-bedroom guest house, horse stables, an airstrip, an airplane hangar and a helipad. Oh, and it includes a private observatory (with a telescope) and a prehistoric dinosaur footprint.

    Plus, the sprawling estate is surrounded by mountains.

    “West Creek Ranch is a place where the earth really opens up to tell its story,” Hendricks said in a news release about the listing. “When you look up at the walls of the canyons, it’s all these layers of earth that go back 300 million years.”

    LIV Sotheby’s International Realty has the listing. [New York Post] – Mike Seemuth

  • How many Airbnb hosts are spying on their guests?
    (Credit: iStock)

    (Credit: iStock)

    Trust doesn’t come easy with home sharing.

    A recent survey found that about one in 10 Airbnb guests have discovered chidden in their short-term rentals.

    Property exchange services firm IPX1031 conducted the survey in April, asking 2,000 people about their experiences as Airbnb guests, Inman reported.

    The survey showed that 11 percent of the respondents found such cameras, while 58 percent were concerned “property owners may have hidden cameras within their Airbnb.”

    At the same time, nearly 25 percent of the respondents said they would not object to cameras in living rooms, kitchens and other common areas in Airbnb rentals.

    Airbnb spokesman Charlie Urbancic questioned the methodology of the survey, telling Inman it failed to “take into account several important factors.”

    Urbancic also cited Airbnb rules requiring its hosts to disclose the presence and operation of “any type of security camera or other recording device.” If a host makes such a disclosure after a guest reserves an Airbnb, the guest can cancel the reservation and collect a refund.

    Not all the results of the IPX1031 survey were negative for Airbnb, which is reportedly gearing up for an initial public offering this year. More than 80 percent of survey respondents said they trust Airbnb hosts. [Inman.com] — Mike Seemuth

  • Tech-driven insurer Lemonade set to expand into Europe
    Lemonade CEO Daniel Schreiber and Frankfurt, Germany (Credit: iStock)

    Lemonade CEO Daniel Schreiber and Frankfurt, Germany (Credit: iStock)

    A company that started selling renters’ insurance in New York, then expanded nationwide, is set to start operating outside the U.S. for the first time in Germany.

    Lemonade will sell contents and liability coverage in Germany that is comparable to renters’ insurance in the United States, according to the Financial Times. Axa will provide reinsurance for the Lemonade launch in Germany.

    Lemonade is a widely recognized player in the so-called “insurtech” business: using technology to develop innovative approaches to insurance coverage.

    For the first time, Lemonade will use what it calls Policy 2.0 in Germany, a shortened policy document with simpler language, Lemonade CEO Daniel Schreiber said. “We’ve reduced our policy from 40 pages to four,” Schreiber told the Financial Times.

    Based in New York and Tel Aviv, Lemonade plans to expand further in the United States and throughout Europe, where the company has a regional base in Amsterdam.

    “Dutch regulators are … forward looking and looking for ways to innovate,” Schreiber told the Financial Times. The Lemonade CEO, who is British, also told the Times one reason for launching in Germany instead of the UK is the “very uncertain” impact of Brexit, the pending exit of the UK from the European Union.

    Schreiber told the newspaper that Lemonade plans eventually to operate throughout the European Union: “Once you have a license … you are basically free to sell in all 28” countries in the EU.

    Big-name investors in Lemonade include SoftBank, Allianz and Google Ventures, now known as GV. The latest funding round in April totaled $300 million and valued Lemonade at more than $2 billion.

    Schreiber declined to comment on Israeli media reports that an initial public offering of stock is under consideration at privately held Lemonade, which has raised $480 million of equity capital so far. [Financial Times] – Mike Seemuth

  • Korean hotelier and booking platform valued at more than $1B
    (Credit: iStock)

    (Credit: iStock)

    Yanolja, a South Korea-based hotel operator and booking platform, says fresh funding from investors valued the company at more than $1 billion.

    The equity investors are Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC and U.S.-based Booking Holdings, a financial backer for several operators of online hotel sites with global reach, according to IPE Real Assets.

    GIC and Booking Holdings invested €159 million (US$180 million) in Yanolja, which has increased its sales by more than 70 percent annually over the last five years.

    Booking Holdings also announced a commercial agreement with Yanolja, which owns a group of hotels that rank among the largest in Korea, with 200-plus properties operating under brands well known in the Korean market.

    Yanolja is an investor in the leading hotel chain in Southeast Asia, ZENRooms, which has more than 1,000 rooms across the region. Yanolja also operates the largest online hotel-booking platform in South Korea.

    Yanolja said in a statement that it will use some of the proceeds from its equity funding round “to accelerate digitalization and achieve growth potential in the global travel and leisure market, going beyond the traditional travel sphere,” IPE Real Assets reported.

    The company has drawn praise for upgrading the concept of “love hotels” from abhorrent venues to appealing short-term rental properties for young people and travelers. [IPERealAssets] — Mike Seemuth

  • He got lucky, babe: Tom Petty superfan buys singer’s childhood home in Gainesville
    Tom Petty and his childhood home at 1715 NE 6th Terrace (Credit: Getty Images)

    Tom Petty and his childhood home at 1715 NE 6th Terrace (Credit: Getty Images)

    A California real estate agent and self-proclaimed Tom Petty superfan bought the musician’s childhood home in Florida, with plans to turn it into a tourist destination.

    Kevin Beauchamp learned through a Tom Petty fan page on Facebook that the singer’s childhood home in Gainesville might be put on the market. The California real estate professional got in contact with the owner, according to The Gainesville Sun.

    The property was never officially listed, but the current owner said she was inundated with offers after posting in the Facebook page her intentions to sell.

    The modest, single-family home was valued by a local appraiser at $112,000, though other online sources put its value at $160,000, according to the newspaper. Built in 1952, much of the home has been rehabbed, though the bathroom’s pink tile remains from Petty’s days.

    Beauchamp, who paid $175,000 for the house, is seeking to work with other Petty fans and a local music nonprofit to turn the home into a museum or some sort of tourist destination, according to the Sun. Such plans have not been approved by the Gainesville City Council.

    Not all homes tied to celebrity musicians are having such an easy time finding buyers. Kanye West sold a Hollywood Hills home for $3 million, after originally listing it for $3.9 million. Billy Joel is still looking for a buyer for two of his South Florida mansions, even after reducing one of the home’s asks by $1 million.

    Then again, even the losers get lucky sometimes.

    [Gainesville Sun] — Joe Ward

  • AIDS Healthcare Foundation downsizes proposed low-income apartment project

    AIDS Healthcare Foundation multifamily development rendering (Credit: Sun-Sentinel)

    A Los Angeles-based foundation providing medical care for HIV patients downsized the density of its proposed apartment development in Fort Lauderdale for low-income people.

    AIDS Healthcare Foundation reduced to 500 from 680 the number of apartments in its planned 15-story building at 700 Southeast Fourth Avenue, according to a new site plan filed with the city.

    The largest apartments would be 411 square feet, and most would measure 263 square feet, less than an average hotel room.

    Most of the city commissioners had opposed the denser, 680-unit project that AIDS Healthcare originally proposed – which hit resistance from some nearby homeowners, including residents of Rio Vista.

    The downsized multifamily development by AIDS Healthcare would have 277,282 square feet of interior space, down from the originally proposed 345,000 square feet.

    New renderings show a four-level station for emergency medical services has been added to the building design. AIDS Healthcare Foundation is a global non-profit provider of medical care for HIV patients plus HIV testing and prevention services.

    Despite its reduced number of units, the foundation’s Fort Lauderdale apartment development remains designated for low-income residents, Michael Kahane, the southern region bureau of AIDS Healthcare Foundation, told the Sun-Sentinel.

    “We look forward to bringing a dignified low-income option into the market,” he said by email. [Sun-Sentinel]Mike Seemuth

  • Broward will close its convention center for 19 months during expansion project

    Broward County Convention Center expansion rendering (Credit: Broward County
    | Sun Sentinel)

    Broward County plans close its convention center for 19 months to expedite an expansion of the waterfront property.

    The Broward convention center is scheduled to close completely from February 2020 to November 2021. The shutdown is expected to shorten by two years an expansion that would increase the  center’s exhibition space by 75 percent.

    The convention-center expansion will be “lower risk and lower cost” with a 19-month shutdown of the entire facility, assistant county administrator Alan Cohen told Broward commissioners at their meeting Tuesday.

    Commissioners approved the plan to close the convention center temporarily, but some said the impact on Broward tourism might prove severe. Commissioner Tim Ryan a longer the convention center is shut down, the larger is the amount of tourism business “we might lose permanently.”

    The expansion of the convention center is scheduled to unfold along with nearby construction of a waterfront outdoor plaza and an 800-room hotel. Omni Hotels would be the hotel manager.

    Under current project schedules, expansion of the west side of the convention center would be completed in October 2021, the east-side expansion in January 2023 and the hotel in May 2023.

    The current estimated cost of the three-part project on county property is just over $1 billion, $100 more than the previous estimate.

    Cohen said higher prices for building materials account for much of the increased cost estimate. Upgraded designs to improve resiliency to storms also added to the total estimated cost. He said the hotel, for example, is now designed to remain operable from the second floor if the first is flooded.

    Broward County previously had planned to keep the convention center open throughout the expansion project. But closures of certain sections would have left too little space for larger conventions and trade shows, Cohen said.

    The expansion project would increase exhibition space at the convention center by 75 percent to 350,000 square feet in about four years.

    In the meantime, future events such as The Home Show and the Fort Lauderdale International Auto Show will have to find other venues during the Broward planned 19-month shutdown of the convention center, starting February 2020.

    The county plans to issue bonds to finance the convention-center expansion and plaza development, estimated to cost $584 million, and the hotel project, which has an estimated cost of $491 million.

    County commissioners also authorized a $1.3 million budget to cover compensatory payments to Broward hotels that lost reservations due to cancellations of events planned at the convention during the 19-month period when it will close. [Sun-Sentinel]Mike Seemuth

  • You can stay in Tony Stark’s cabin in Georgia for just $335 a night
    Robert Downey Jr., the guest cabin at Bouckaert Farm, and (inset) as featured in "Avengers: Endgame" (Credit: Marvel Studios, AirBNB and Getty Images)

    Robert Downey Jr., the guest cabin at Bouckaert Farm, and (inset) as featured in “Avengers: Endgame” (Credit: Marvel Studios, AirBNB and Getty Images)

    For about $335 a night, Marvel fans can make like Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow and act like they’re in “Avengers: Endgame.”

    The lakeside cabin where Tony Stark is shown living with Pepper and his daughter in the film is now available for rental on AirBnB, according to Hypebeast.

    The three-bedroom, three-bathroom cabin is located in Fairburn, Georgia., about a 20-minute drive from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

    It can accommodate up to six guests, and it still has some availabilities this summer, according to the listing.

    [Hypebeast] — Alex Nitkin