'Condo Vultures' Zero In on a Dwindling Market

"If he had a name like 'Condo Sellers' or 'Condo Finders' I would've never have called him," Srimal said of Zalewski. He likes the firm's aggressive image.

"When the price was going up it was aggressive in the other direction," he said. "It was totally reasonable when the price went up. So if we have to bring it to a reasonable level it should be aggressive in the other direction."

Condo Vultures led Srimal to a property that has been on the market for more than a year and has dropped in price from $585,000 to $325,000 -- a decrease of 44 percent -- the perfect conditions to go in for the kill.

"The market was overbloated. The average income is $50,000," said Srimal. "No way an average family could afford this house. Now it's coming down to what people can afford."

The Condo Eclipse

According to Zalewski, there are many buyers like Srimal fueling his business.

"I like to joke around there are so many buyers kicking the tires looking for a discount that we're going to have an eclipse this winter," said Zalewski. "They're going to be so many vultures in the sky the sun won't be able to penetrate to get through to the ground."

This eclipse isn't good for investors like Anthony Modrono, who is trying to sell his condo in a new high-rise building along the Miami River. Modrono bought the condo in April of 2003 and said he was hoping to double his initial investment of $350,700 in a two-story loft. He sunk an additional $60,000 into the property, paid the monthly mortgage and condo fees of $2,600 for eight months while it was empty and now he just wants to break even or realize a modest profit. And he is glad to have Condo Vultures' help.

"If they can find a buyer for my unit, if I can get what I need to get out of if, I'll sell it," Modrono said.

Even with the help of Condo Vultures, Modrono might still have trouble selling his condo anytime soon. According to agent Marcela Ayon-Siervo, many buyers believe prices will bottom out if they wait even longer.

"I've noticed there's a lot of people just kicking the tires in terms of wanting to see how low they can go," said Ayone-Siervo. "It's still very hard. Just because they want to get the property at the lowest possible."

Florida real estate has a long history of boom and bust cycles. Zalewski is betting on Condo Vultures because he is convinced its just a matter of time before this market comes back.

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