Friday, March 07, 2014

This is from the Florida Association of Realtors...

CoreLogic: 4M homes achieve positive equity in 2013
IRVINE, Calif. – March 6, 2014 – CoreLogic released new analysis showing that 4 million U.S. homes returned to positive equity in 2013. Overall, 42.7 million mortgage homeowners have equity (86.7 percent); 6.5 million homes (13.3 percent) do not.

Florida ranked second in the number of mortgaged owners who were underwater in 2013. Overall, 28.1 percent of homes with a mortgage were underwater. An additional 3.6% of mortgaged Fla. homes are barely above water.

Due to a small slowdown in the quarterly growth rate of the CoreLogic’s Home Price Index, the negative equity share was virtually unchanged from the third quarter of 2013.

Negative equity, often referred to as “underwater” or “upside down,” means that borrowers owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth. Negative equity can occur because of a decline in value, an increase in mortgage debt or a combination of both. Borrowers with less than 20-percent equity are referred to as “under-equitied.” Borrowers with less than 5 percent equity are considered “near-negative.”

Under-equitied mortgages accounted for 21.1 percent of all residential properties with a mortgage nationwide in 2013, with more than 1.6 million residential properties at near-negative equity.

“The plight of the underwater borrower has improved dramatically since negative equity peaked in December 2009 when more than 12 million mortgaged homeowners were underwater,” says Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic. “Over the past four years, more than 5.5 million homeowners have regained equity, reducing their risk of foreclosure and unlocking pent-up supply in the housing market.”

“Stability and growth in the housing market are essential for a durable recovery of the U.S. economy,” adds Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. “We still have a long way to go to eliminate the negative equity overhang but significant progress is being made every day across most of the country.”

2013 report highlights

• Nevada had the highest percentage of mortgaged properties in negative equity at 30.4 percent, followed by Florida (28.1 percent), Arizona (21.5 percent), Ohio (19.0 percent) and Illinois (18.7 percent). The top five states accounted for 36.9 percent of negative equity in the United States.

• Of the 25 largest Core Based Statistical Areas (CBSAs) based on population, Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Fla., had the highest percentage of mortgaged properties in negative equity at 31.5 percent, followed by Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla. (30.4 percent), Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz. (22.1 percent), Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights, Ill. (21.4 percent) and Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, Ga. (19.9 percent).

• Approximately 3.9 million upside-down borrowers hold first liens without home equity loans. The average mortgage balance for this group of borrowers is $219,000. The average underwater amount is $52,000.

• Approximately 2.6 million upside-down borrowers hold both first and second liens. The average mortgage balance for this group of borrowers is $293,000. The average underwater amount is $75,000.

• The bulk of home equity for mortgaged properties is concentrated at the high end of the housing market. For example, 92 percent of homes valued at greater than $200,000 have equity compared with 81 percent of homes valued at less than $200,000.

© 2014 Florida Realtors®

Monday, July 01, 2013

Snow Birds and Baby Boomers Information Alert

To all of the Florida 'Snow Birds and Baby Boomers" if you live in Florida or planning a trip to Florida, there is a new law you should be aware of when driving. Beginning October 1, 2013 texting and driving is illegal. Its not a good idea anyway and I think most of our crowd shies away from the activity. In an emergency, I would suggest legally pulling off the road or highway and stopping send a text or make a call.  Remember October 1, 2013.

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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Real Estate Bubble on the Way?

Today in the Sarasota Herald Tribune there appears a column about the real estate market conditions written by a business reporter, focusing on stories about real estate. In the article, Mr. Salman reports "Although most economists stop short of predicting another real estate bubble, current conditions match the housing run-up of nearly a decade ago." There is a big difference from the 8 year old 'bubble burst'. The major actor in the real estate crash had mostly to do with the lending practices of  Fanny Mae. In those days there were high risk, questionable loans in play. For example no money down loans and no document loans were quite common, When I think of today's Buyers who are often cash buyers including institutional investors such as hedge funds I believe they have professionally analyzed the risk vs. reward factors of the Sarasota market. This is totally different from the days of  what I call the "sign and drive" mortgages. Today's market seems to be on more solid ground.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Here Come The Boomers

The influx of Boomers into the Florida market is once aging thriving. In the last 12 months, Florida experienced a 4.5% increase of folks 65+ Sarasota where I hang my real estate license grew 3.9%. New home building has taken off. Confidence at least for this demographic is rising. Let us hope it keeps up.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Appraisal Issues

For millions of people in Florida and in the Sarasota area, condo living has proven to be the best of both worlds. You don´t have to worry about the upkeep of a big, expensive home, but you still own something and the tax write-off is fantastic. In most cases, the home owners association is supportive and your neighbors are mature adults who have long since gotten over the college kid party phase of blasting their music at 3 AM. Condos are truly the perfect housing answer for a fast growing part of the population.
If you´re looking to join the condo crowd, there are a few things you need to ask yourself before you take the plunge. The buying process for a condo isn´t really all that different then buying a regular home. To be approved for a home loan, you´ll need to have an appraiser from the bank come and take a look at the unit you´re looking to buy. That appraiser will take everything he or she sees into consideration before giving his decision to the bank.
One question you should ask, however, is if common elements in the condo were taken into consideration during the appraisal. The reason why this is important is that you don´t want to get low-balled on your financing. Let´s take a look at common elements in condo developments and how they can affect the asking price.
There are many different common areas in a condo development. A common area can be described as any area that adds value to the property that isn´t owned by you. They include things like a pool, or in some cases pools, that everyone on the property can use, surrounding nature areas which may or may not even be owned by the same people that run the condos, any kind of ornamental and special street lighting that the entire condo community shares, playgrounds made for the condo community and even unsightly things like retention ponds. You can actually be considered to have a "water view" when you overlook a retention pond.
Now that we´ve defined what common areas are, let´s take a look at why it benefits you that they are appraised. When the seller of the condo set their asking price, they took the entire condo community into consideration. Just like a large apartment complex would charge you extra if they had a pool and a gym or a college or university would charge you extra to live on campus based on the amenities you would have access to. So for you to get enough financing from the bank, you´ll need to make sure that the appraiser that determines the worth of the unit you´re looking to buy considers these common areas or there will most likely be a conflict between the asking price and the appraised value. This could mean the difference between getting approved for enough financing to get the condo and not.
But just like most things in life, this knife cuts both ways. You want to make sure that the appraiser doesn´t overvalue the common areas in a condo community because then he or she will probably tell the bank that your offer price is much too low and that it won´t be accepted. The bank can then try to talk you into borrowing more money then you feel comfortable with or more than you can afford to pay back. The key to the appraisal of common areas is balance. You need to make sure your appraiser is experienced with condos so that he or she knows exactly what to look for and exactly what value to assign important things like common areas.
When you´re looking to buy that price piece of Sarasota, FL real estate, a condo can be just the thing you´re looking for. For many single, hard working folks that are intimidated by the thought of caring for a big, cumbersome Sarasota home, a condo is the perfect answer. But make sure your bank appraiser knows his way around a condo development before he reports back to the bank. If his appraisal isn´t balanced, you could end up on the short end of the stick.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Storage Units

Whether you are about to move out of your apartment into your first very house or selling your home of many years to move into a more manageable condo, relocating takes a lot of work. Especially if you are moving from a bigger home to a smaller one, you may need to start downsizing. Though this process can be both physically and emotionally tough, there are a few ways to ease the stress:

  1. Take baby steps: If you have some time before your move, start to think about what you would like to bring to your new house and what you can give away or sell. Sometimes keeping a notebook to jot down important items that you want to keep or others that you no longer need can help alleviate some of the anxiety of moving. Once you are ready to start sorting your belongings, its okay to start small. In fact, it’s a great idea! Begin with a seldom-used area that doesn’t have too many things in it, like a guest bedroom or even a small closet. Begin to sort things into piles like “Keep”, “Donate”, “Give to family”, and “Sell.”

  1. Start boxing items immediately: Creating piles of your belongings will only lead to clutter and confusion. You will be amazed how good it can feel once you’ve made a decision to donate something and you can put it in a box and not worry about it any more. The same goes for items that will be joining you in your new home. Designate an area of your house to safely store the boxes you’ll be taking with you. Choose medium sized boxes so they don’t get too heavy, and don’t forget to label them. It may also be helpful to write specific descriptions of the items inside.

  1. Invite someone over to help: Every activity is more enjoyable with a friend or loved one by your side. Sorting through lifelong belongings can bring up a lot of great memories for you to share, and having someone to talk to can also be very helpful if you need to make a decision about what to do with a particular item. These choices can be tough, so make it easier on yourself. You can even put on some of your favorite music while the two of you sit and pack.

Unless you need to move in a hurry, take some time to go through your belongings. Don’t rush yourself or try to do too much in one day, and the daunting task of getting organized can actually be fun!


Author bio: Lisa is a guest blogger who writes about home ownership, getting organized, and finding storage units in Virginia Beach and storage units in McAllen. She believes in the power of lists, labels, and storage units.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Landings Of Sarasota, Florida

Cleverly disguised behind a shopping mall, The Landings of Sarasota Florida is a hidden treasure; a beautiful, peaceful gated community. It is considered to be the first gated community of Sarasota.

This land that would eventually become known as The Landings of Sarasota Florida was originally owned by an Ohio family, the Hovers. The large family, including two cousins, a sister, three brothers and all of their families, bought the nearly 100 acre parcel for winter vacationing. Starting with Dr. William Hover who came to Sarasota seeking a cure for a throat illness in 1902, this family built homes and a large dock along the bay, enclosing the property with trees, both citrus and pine. The Hover family became quite active in establishing early Sarasota by buying a large, failing pier within the town limits and establishing several bustling companies on it, along with many other business ventures. The Hovers eventually settled in Sarasota year round.

Things remained relatively unchanged until, in 1981, the Carriage House Villas were constructed at the entrance to the site. Many more subdivisions were to follow, including Eagle's Point and Eagle's Point Villas, and the condos found in both the Lakeview area and, more recently, Philippi Landings. An area known as the Treehouse section gets its name from townhouses cleverly located among exising ancient oak and other trees. Robert Morris, the developer of this peaceful Sarasota neighborhood, had a keen eye towards protecting the environment and establishing a rich, natural feel to his projects. The areas are surrounded by lush Florida vegetation, trees dripping with beautiful spanish moss, lakes, nature trails and even a nature preserve. Trees surround the roads that curve lazily through each area. The wonderful Sarasota homes themselves are designed to fit any nature lovers dream, with decks custom made for enjoying the beauty of nature that surrounds them.

A wonderful central gazebo lends to the fairy tale serenity of this Sarasota nieghborhood, and residents can enjoy relaxing canoe rides or kayaking in the lakes, or exploring the nature trails. A community center and sports complex in the middle of the Landings of Sarasota Florida features tennis courts, raquetball courts, a community pool, and many excercise activities such as Zumba, pilates and yoga. It also features family oriented community programs such as book clubs and movie nights.

The Landings of Sarasota Florida feature real estate choices from single family homes and townhouses to condo living. This variety of Sarasota real estate, coupled with the natural surroundings and easy access to both beaches and downtown Sarasota, attracts all age groups including retirees and young professionals. Families are drawn into the peaceful setting and closeness to fantastic school districts. Jobs can be found in nearby Sarasota in the Sarasota Memorial Hospital, making The Lanidings an attractive choice for doctors or nurses. Any number of medical professionals, lawyers and those in the banking industry currently call the Landings home and have no plans to leave their piece of Sarasota heaven.

There is the added attraction of the wide selection of fine higher learning institutions close by, all following the tradition of Sarasota Florida's popular continuing education programs for retirees as well as offering degree programs for all students. A close proximity to the beautiful Siesta Key Beaches and numerous golf courses add to the appeal of The Landings of Sarasota.

This peaceful slice of prime Sarasota real estate is bordered to the south by Phillipi Creek, the north by Field Road, the Tamiami Trail to the west, and reaches down to the shores of the beautiful Roberts Bay. Residents love the closeknit community atmosphere of the Sarasota neighborhood; it is one of the rare places left where people greet each other by name, walk freely and securely amongst the streets, and have a safe place to raise their kids.

Properties in this hidden treasure of Sarasota real estate are affordable, whatever housing selection is chosen. Condo pricing can range anywhere from just under $170,00 to around $550,000, with an average price of between $220,000 to $350,000. Single family homes start at below $500,000 and can range upwards to $585,000. The single family Sarasota houses of The Landings are well maintained with beautiful landscaping and acreage, and many of the homes boast private pools as well.

This quiet Sarasota neighborhood with its prime location to downtown Sarasota, natural beauty, affordable prices, and the added security of a gated community is a hidden treasure, for now. Act quickly to get your home in The Landings of Sarasota, Florida before the secret gets out.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Number One Spring Break Destination for Families – Sarasota Florida

According to (SATW), the Society of American Travel Writers, the best place in the United States for family vacations, during spring break, is Sarasota, Florida. The Society of American Travel Writers was the source of this honor. They used the opinions of their travel experts on the factors that make a city a great place for families to go on a vacation during the annual spring break from school. Livability dot com is the website that announced the award.

SATW board member, Annette Thompson explained, "Family destinations have interests for all members, at all age groups, of a family. This is the main factor that makes any destination, family friendly. These activities should occur both in and out of doors. This provides vacation protection from inclement weather. One of the best features of Sarasota is the many beaches of white sand, bordering on azure blue waters. Nearby are many entertainment opportunities. Combined, all these factors are what make Sarasota the best of possible spring break vacation destinations."

Because of its six different beach sites, Sarasota is considered more friendly for families than other destinations. Each of the six sites has a variety of hotels, rental accommodations, parks for relaxation, natural and heritage sites and restaurants with fantastic food. An example of one of the great historical sites is the mansion home of John Ringling, who was connected with the Ringling brothers circus. Sarasota also has great cultural offerings. There is a nationally famous opera house, a ballet troupe, a symphony orchestra, theaters, galleries of art and a variety of museums.

One of the favorite pastimes, for nature lovers, is a great collection of parks and wildlife preserves. Visitors can observe foxes, tropical birds, alligators and other wildlife. In most of these areas there is so much wildlife that warnings have to be posted about not feeding the alligators please! Some locations have sailboats, jet ski equipment and kayaks for rental. For baseball fans, the Baltimore Orioles hold spring training camp in Sarasota.

As with other Gulf coast beach areas, one of the most popular pastimes is sunset. Thousands of sunset lovers gather on the beaches, and at area restaurants with great western vistas, to watch the sun set for the day.

Sea sports are also popular, as are watching for Gulf Coast dolphins that love to tease people on the beaches with their peak and hide antics. This normally occurs in mid to late afternoon, in each of the six Sarasota beach locations.

Designation as the best Family Vacation Spring Break Destination is not the only award Sarasota has earned. One of the many other awards was given to Siesta Key beach. This beach is considered the number one beach in the United States. This award was given by Doctor Beach and is noted by a billboard near the beach pavilion at Siesta Key beach.

Sarasota real estate has benefited from these awards and popular destination designations. Near Siesta Key beach are the beautiful Siesta Key Condos, which have become a popular property for frequent visitors to Sarasota.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Sarasota Proves To be #1 For Retirees

Sarasota Proves To be Number One For Retirees

Looking for your perfect retirement home? According to, Sarasota Florida is at the top of the list for best places to retire. Founded in the early 1900's, this little gem of Florida's Central West Coast is considered to be the cultural hub of the state. Sarasota real estate is affordable, and the weather is warm all year round.

Sarasota, Cultural Hub Of Florida
Whether it is a night at the opera, an afternoon of music from the acclaimed West Coast Symphony, or a weekend of theater from The Players, Sarasota culture is teeming with music, dance, art and theater. The Ringling Brothers Circus has a close connection to Sarasota, wintering their show in the city and founding the well known John and Mabel Ringling Museum of Art, among other institutions. The Asolo is an Italian theater that Ringling bought and reconstructed in Sarasota; it now is in use by Florida State University's fine arts program.

Since 1965, The Sarasota Music Festival has been hosting established musical acts as well as giving students a chance to perform. There is also a classic car museum, an aquarium, a circus dedicated to the memory of John Ringling, and many art galleries. Sports fans aren't left out, either, as Sarasota holds the spring training camp for the Baltimore Orioles.

Sarasota, Real Estate Options
If your budget is a condo budget, a small detached house budget, or a luxurious water-side home on Siesta Key budget, Sarasota real estate is affordable and the housing market strong. There are multiple gated and golfing communities, apartments, and middle class neighborhoods. Sarasota boasts several hospitals, medical facilities, and doctor's offices. There is both bus and Amtrak service to get around Sarasota, especially for shopping in the beautiful St. Armand's Circle. With no state income tax, Sarasota easily proves itself as one of the best places to retire.

Sarasota, Historically Fascinating

The Historical Society of Sarasota itself began in 1927, and it continues to preserve historic buildings such as the 1901 Crocker Memorial Church and the 1882 Bidwell-Wood House, the oldest building in Sarasota. Sarasota is packed with historical significance as a home for native Americans over 3000 years ago, a landing point in the 1500's for Ponce de Leon, an attractive spot for Scottish immigrants in the 1880's, and the home town of philanthropist and circus founder John Ringling. The buildings of Sarasota demonstrate the rich historical background of the town.

Sarasota, So Much To Do
There is no limit to how you can spend your days in a Sarasota retirement. Deep sea fishing, golfing, visits to the aquarium, spending the day at the beach and diving with dolphins can all be done within the town limits, but nearby Bradenton, Venice and Osprey all offer entertainment for Sarasota residents as well. Sarasota places special emphasis on adult education programs.

It is no surprise that on February 28,2012, Sarasota ranked number one on the list of the best places to retire at

The others listed were:

#2) San Antonio,Texas: A popular retirement spot among service member retirees, but it has high crime rates.

#3) Naples,Florida: A retirement spot geared towards wealthier individuals, but there are no colleges available for continuing adult education.

#4) Tuscan,Arizona: Warm winters, beautiful scenery and low housing prices make this town a good choice, but there are high crime rates and elevated taxes.

#5) Asheville,North Carolina: Popular for its mild climate and variety of neighborhoods, this town's housing is expensive and there are high crime rates.

#6)  Beaufort,South Carolina: This a good retirement choice due to low tax rates, but the job market is tight and health care facilities are not abundant.

#7) St. Augustine,Florida: Low housing prices and rich historical significance make this a popular choice, but retiree jobs are scarce.

#8) Fort Myers,Florida: This town offers low housing prices and a variety of activities, but it has heavy traffic congestion and high crime rates.

#9) Venice,Florida: Beautiful beaches and quaint communities abound, but there are no adult education opportunities.

10) Prescott, Arizona: Boasting a beautiful downtown area, this area has high taxes and limited healthcare facilities.

Sarasota stands proudly at the top of this list of best retirement places, and with adult education emphasis, many cultural activities, proximity to beautiful beaches, and a wide variety of popular attractions it is likely to stay there for some time to come.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Discovering Sarasota - Bungalow Hill

Bungalow Hill: Historic Elegance On The Hill

Founded nearly one hundred years ago, Bungalow Hill is a small subdivision of Sarasota sitting just south of Hudson Bayou. Picturesque and historic, Bungalow Hill is a family friendly combination of location, small town charm, and historic importance. With housing styles ranging from newer, modernized homes to bungalows from the 1920's, Bungalow Hills is a dream come true in today's Sarasota real estate market.

Almost secret in its location, this treasure of Sarasota is bordered by Orange and Pomelo Avenues and Bahia Vista Street. Its location is outstanding. It is within walking distance to downtown Sarasota, and is also convenient to popular attractions like Bayfront Park, the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, and the Burns Court and theater. Additionally, with being so close to Sarasota Bungalow Hill has an excellent school district with nearby Sarasota High and easy access to Sarasota Memorial Hospital and the Southside Village shopping district. With two large grocery stores in close proximity, the Ringling Bridge Walk, and the Siesta Keys being only a ten minute drive away, most residents fall in love with the charming Bungalow Hills neighborhood and stay for life in the quiet, peaceful neighborhood. The neighborhood is surrounded by the equally appealing Graham Heights and Prime Subdivision as well as Rigby's, with each neighboring community also carrying out the quiet historic charm of Sarasota's Bungalow Hill.

Five of the historic Sarasota houses in Bungalow Hill are featured on the annual Historic Homes Tours presented by the Sarasota Alliance for Historical Preservation. One stop on the tour is the Edwards-Fritz Home, designed by famous Sarasota architect Thomas Reed Martin and owned by Sarasota mayor A.B. Edwards who ran Sarasota during the 1910's. Other stops will be the 1927 Samuel T. Humber House, the 1918 Brewster and Hatch home, the Washington and Van Gilder Home, and The Hollins House. Each of these homes is steeped in architectural history relevant to its time.

The neighborhood is well loved for its friendly people, family oriented routines, close proximity to many exciting attractions, and diverse housing styles. As the name implies Bungalow Hill is famous for bungalows, but it also boasts more modern homes in a tasteful and elegant blend of historic and updated styles. Even when homes are updated or expanded, they are finished in keeping with the overall charming, historic feel of the neighborhood.

Sarasota Bungalow Hill harkens back to a time of sitting on the porch, chatting with neighbors, and knowing everyone by name. Kids play safely in the street, watched over by all the residents of the neighborhood. It is a step back to a peaceful, relaxed era where people cared about thier neighbors; an oasis of peace in hectic modern times. Bungalow Hill is in the process of building its own park, a welcome addition to the neighborhood. It is no wonder people choose to settle down and raise their families here; some homes have been through generations of possession by the same families.

With interest rates so low and Sarasota houses so affordable, many people are starting to look at the peaceful quiet neighborhood, and there has never been a better time than now to look into the Sarasota real estate pocket of Bungalow Hill.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Discovering Sarasota - Pinecraft

Pinecraft is a one of the most fascinating neighborhoods in Sarasota. Located on either side of Bahia Vista Street, Pinecraft lies to the east of Turtle Avenue. Most newcomers and visitors are amazed to see a large community of Mennonite and Amish out there and they take pleasure in visiting Yoder's Restaurant as well as Dutch Heritage of Troyer to relish Sarasota Amish home preparation. Bus loads of relatives, vistors and friends are brought in by the large communities of Amish in Pennsylvania, Ohio and other states in the north during the winter, causing the local population to tremendously increase. This has led to the mushrooming of rental properties in Pinecraft.

The Amish snowbirds who came to Pinecraft as early as the 1920s settled here because of the warm weather and the opportunity to do farming during winter. Some of them stayed in tents and tourist camps. Some others bought land, built their own homes and went on to become permanent residents.

Pinecraft got its name from Earl and Mary Craft who platted the original 454 lots of 40 ft × 40 ft plots (the Sarasota National Tourist Camp's grounds) in 1926 and the large number of pine trees that grew in the area. They also gifted land for a public park along Phillippi Creek and earmarked land for water tank and community house. Though later in 1926 a neighboring subdivision was laid out by First National Company of Sarasota, both the subdivisions are referred to as Pinecraft now. This locality is bounded by Phillippi Creek on the north and the west, Beneva Road on the east and Forest Lakes on the south.

In the beginning, worship services were held in the homes of people. The growth of the population during the winter led to the construction of an Amish church in 1945 on Hines Avenue that remained opened throughout the year. The landmark church on Bahia Vista which conducts services for both Amish and Mennonite faithful was a bakery before it was converted into a Tourist Church.

In Pinecraft, there are over 500 homes most of which are cottages built in 1940s and 1950s. Some of these cottages are being demolished and larger houses are being built on double lots. Residences built in line with contemporary style are also available in the northern part on Phillippi Creek and Schrock Street. In fact, two houses built here on five lots by Mennonite businessmen are as big as mansions and can accommodate all their family members during the winter season. Whereas most of the old houses have been upgraded and renovated, incorporating amenities including air conditioning.

Barbara Beiler who came here in 1961, has lived in Pinecraft since 1979. She attends services at Ashton Road Mennonite Church though long way off from this place. She owns a home on Clarinda Street along with her husband and another one next door which she has rented out. She says, "I like this place and for a long period of time most people have known each other."

Many houses used to remain empty during the summer, but not any longer. Though rents are lower during the summer months, it contributes to the turnover before the arrival of the Mennonite and Amish snowbirds.

According to Beiler, the neighborhood has seen tremendous change since her arrival to this place. She recalled that that traffic used to be lean in those days when people used to come just for the winter and the place wore a rundown look and many buildings did not have heating systems because of the mild weather.

The owner of the Wagon Wheel Real Estate Milton Yoder has been living in Pinecraft for the last 43 years. Recalling those times when the streets were not paved and covered with sand, he said that the county has bought in a lot of improvements by providing water, sewer lines and street lights.

Although some "for sale" boards can be seen in the Pinecraft, most houses are sold through auction in the winter time. According to Beiler, a lot of sales happen through word-of-mouth publicity. Yoder himself conducted the auction of Yoder's Restaurant in 1981 and according to him, on a square foot basis many houses in Pinecrsaft are more expensive compared to the other Sarasota real estate. The demand is high for homes located near to the churches and shopping areas.

During the time of the housing bubble, home prices in Pinecraft fluctuated heavily as it happened all over Sarasota. However, it has stabilized now and recently a home was sold for $65,000. A few houses that cost less than $100,000 are also available for sale, though many houses are valued between $200,000 and $600,000. Beiler said that some of the families that have shifted to areas where the home prices are lower still came to Pinecraft biking and participate in the locality's social life and activities.

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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sarasota Attracts More Than Sunshine As Tourists Enjoy The Beaches Again

Sarasota Attracts More Than Sunshine As Tourists Enjoy The Beaches Again

Florida's tourism industry is getting a much needed jump start in 2012, and Sarasota's Siesta Key Beach is enjoying the boost as well. After a record high number of tourists in 2011, it is looking as if 2012 is off to an even better beginning.

In 2010, the explosion of the oil rig Deepwater Horizon hurt Florida's tourism trade in many ways. Already hurting from the recession, now tourists were afraid of soiled beaches and cancelled their trips. The bustling in-state tourism trade feared rising gas prices and chose to cancel as well. 2011, however, showed an increase in visitors, up 4.4 percent from the previous year. Officials feel that the long dark summer of recession, coupled with the shadow of the oil spill, is finally over and Florida is fully expected to recover.

Sarasota was unfairly judged following the events of the oil spill; Siesta Key had no oil wash up on its pristine shores yet tourists cancelled reservations through the end of June of 2010. 2011, however, found Sarasota's tourism trade boosted at 10.9 percent, accounting for an increased revenue of 13.9 percent; this is the highest of all Florida counties for the year. Sarasota real estate and rental properties are benefitting from the 2011 recovery in a big way with an increase in home sales of 18.2 percent during the year, and 2012 is starting off just as strong. Sarasota real estate agents remain optimistic as luxury home sales increase, the demand for rental properties rises, and the opportunity to profit from the increase in tourism drives investment property sales.

Airports have shared on the booming re-emergence of the tourism trade in Florida with an increase in revenue during 2011 of nearly 12 percent. Taxes on various tourist industry related sales jumped to over 7.2 percent.

Sarasota and other Florida counties saw increases in the international tourist trade by 21.8 percent, and domestic tourism jumped up by 3 percent. Florida residents began to vacation in-state again, with an increase of 12.5 percent in 2011. During the last year, room rental rates increased by 5.5 percent to an average of just under $119 per night. The overall amount of profit generated by room rentals was up 10.9 percent, beating the rest of the country's room revenue by 2.1 percent. In fact, so strong was the year for the tourism trade that job creation jumped 4 percent with an additional 38,000 jobs added. All indications are that these trends will continue throughout 2012; tourism in Florida has not been this high since 2007.

The success of Siesta Key Beach and other Florida hot spots for vacationers seems to be a combination of increased confidence in the economy and the desire to simply travel after previous years of consumer worries and economic woes. This year's strong start appears to be attributed to the exceptionally mild winter so far.

Sarasota will continue to draw tourists and remain on the forefront of the tourist trade with its ample offerings of trade shows featuring antiques, arts and crafts, boats, jewelry and more. Festivals such as the Annual Downtown Festival Of The Arts and the Downtown Arts and Crafts festival will continue to entice visits throughout the year, and the white sandy beaches of Siesta Key will remain a popular tourist spot. Golfing, deep sea fishing and tourist attractions like the John and Mable Ringling Museum and the beautiful islands off the coastline will keep the tourist trade active in and around Sarasota.
It is possible, however, that gas prices will skyrocket and discourage in-state vacationers from traveling to Siesta Key Beach and other summer get-away destinations. While it is likely that Florida's residents will still travel in their state, it is feared that they won't spend as much when they travel and will cut their vacations short. International financial instability is causing great concern for the now flourishing tourism trade as well.

Still, as of January 2011, Florida's tourist industry has led the way in market shares across the United States by two points. The measure of the success of Florida's recovery can be found in Sarasota's real estate market, which has been named number five on the top ten turnaround list for the housing industry. 2012 started with a 38 percent increase of pending home sales in January, which is a very optimistic sign of the county's recovering economy. Condo prices have increased by 20 percent and home prices have jumped by 17 percent.

All of Florida is benefitting from a re-energized tourist industry, and Sarasota is definitely leading the way in that recovery.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Sarasota Florida: Learn As You Play In Your Retirement

When you consider retiring and moving to a beautiful, warm place like Sarasota Florida, you might be thinking of a life of luxury, rounds of golf, beachcombing and drinking iced tea on your front porch. Amazingly, though, a large portion of people who move to Sarasota as a retirement destination find themselves enrolling in universities for continuing education and other activities to keep their minds rich and active.

One such Sarasota establishment is the Lifelong Learning Academy at the University of Florida's Sarasota-Manatee campuses. This is a school run by retired teachers and professors, and attended by many retirees who have the desire to continue their learning experiences well past their retirement years. The success of universities such as this will only continue to grow as the next generation of retirees find themselves choosing Saratoga as a retirement destination. These newer retirees will be bay boomers, and they will be bringing with them a love of learning, a desire to achieve goals that they could not reach previously in their working lives, and generally a higher level of college education than those that have retired to Sarasota before them.

Sadly, the economy is at play in the decision to further a retiree's education and find work. In today's economic downturn, living a life of luxury on pensions and social security might not be realistic for everyone. Even though Sarasota real estate is well within reach of those facing retirement, they might find themselves having to continue to work to support themselves in these uncertain times. Luckily, Sarasota will meet the needs of retirees by offering continuing education and enhancement programs through programs offered by institutions such as the Lifelong Learning Community.

The soon to be retiring baby boomer generation will have to work harder for less, even in the affordable Sarasota real estate market. Many baby boomers have had to tap into their retirement nest eggs to make ends meet. Still, the dream of warm, sunny Saratoga Florida is within reach for the next generation of sun seeking retirees. They might need to downscale the home of their dreams, but the idea of moving to Sarasota is still alive and well for most people when they think of Florida as a retirement destination.

Retiring baby boomers will bring a unique blend of determination and business savvy to the Sarasota scene. Already a health conscious group as a whole, they will be finding ways to capitalize on inexpensive healthy recreational forms instead of the stereotypical retiree on yachts and golf courses. This business acumen will follow them in their choices of homes and living arrangements as well. This generation of retirees are used to knowing what they want, and they are accustomed to working for what they need. They won't be held down by having to work later in their lives to keep their lifestyles alive; they will most likely find ways to make money from their interests. Careers in health care will always be in high demand, as are opportunities in Sarasota real estate, construction, and food services.

College courses like those offered by the Lifelong Learning Academy offer a place for retirees to meet and interact socially. Friendships are formed by the common goals of continued learning and self enrichment. This idea of interaction amongst peers is another reason these continued educatinal opportunities are so popular.

Sarasota Florida is known for its rich background of continuing education for retirees. Since the 1970's introduction of the Sarasota Institute for Lifetime Learning, these classes have been a key attraction for retirees. Baby boomers in particular will love this Sarasota feature due to the affordability of schooling; since most classes are taught by other retirees, some of which are volunteers, costs can be lowered significantly to attend school.

Sarasota real estate offerings are not only affordable, they are further sweetened by the city's rich heritage in arts and cultural attractions. These tend to draw the college educated baby boomer retirees. The comparable wealth of the region will ensure that these attractions and educational opportunities will continue for some time to come.

Considering Sarasota as a retirement destination is an investment in anyone's future. Full of rich educational opportunities and steeped in arts and cultural offerings, Sarasota Florida is one place where retirees can make their retired lives as relaxed or as active as they choose to be.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Medical Care in Sarasota Florida

Due to the aging populace in Sarasota Florida, they are equipped with a heavy number of medical locations for emergency and expert care. Whether the problem is minor or major, Sarasota is capable of providing top medical service and treatments. Sarasota Memorial hospital was honored recently with an award for their operational expertise and patient care accomplishments. Besides the residence in Sarasota, visitors are also welcome to receive Sarasota medical treatment. Not only is there a fantastic selection of service providers and medical professionals, but recuperating while being cared for by Sarasota doctors is a pleasurable experience. Here is a list of the well-known medical care facilities available in Sarasota:

Sarasota County Hospital This Sarasota run hospital has been recognized for its efforts in various areas. Sarasota Memorial Health Care System has over 800 beds, and the second biggest intensive care community hospital in Florida. It is a complete service facility with focused dedication in vascular, neuroscience services, heart, cancer, home health, and long-term care.

Doctors Hospital of Sarasota This Sarasota hospital has over 160 beds and is recognized as a general care service hospital servicing the Sarasota and Manatee regions. They encompass an emergency room that is accessible all year round, every day, all day. They supply medical and specialty services including outpatient facilities, diagnostics, and rehabilitation services.

Tampa General Hospital The Tampa General has over 800 beds and is identified as an acute care hospital. Tampa General serves as the district’s, including Sarasota, only facility for comprehensive burn care, adult organ transplants, and level one trauma. Patients needing care at Tampa General are airlifted from Sarasota to the Tampa General hospital.

University of South Florida College of Medicine TGH is known as one of the eight widespread stroke centers in Florida. It is also identified as a state qualified spinal cord and head injury rehabilitation facility.

James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital The James A. Haley Veterans Hospital is the most active of four poly-trauma centers in the country. Services are accessible to over 100,000 veterans living in the four-country district of Florida including a comprehensive care VA medical facility in Sarasota.

Dattoli Cancer Center This center is focused on prostrate cancer and its prevention. The goal is to keep from having a detrimental effect on their patient’s lifestyle. They propose an option to prostrate surgery with an unequaled blend of pioneering diagnostic treatment technology.

Sarasota doctors are trained in other well-known fields such as chiropractic procedures, dentist, ophthalmologists, opticians, physical therapist, orthopedic surgeons, and cardiologist. Among other Sarasota medical care centers, there are special facilities for family care that includes: Pediatrics . Flu Shots . Preventive medicine . Heart problems . High cholesterol . Infections . Physicals dealing with school, sports, or work . Primary care therapy for any adult illnesses Acupuncture and Eastern Medicine along with aging and lifestyle specialist are also part of Sarasota medical care assistance. The Sarasota Medical Center also offers a inclusive weigh loss program. This is why so many residence in Sarasota feel that they have found the secret to feeling and looking good. It is a paradise for those who feel the need for relaxation, nice weather, and tranquility. In addition, there are also Sarasota doctors trained in Juvederm, Botox injections, and vein sclerotherapy.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Unusual Cold Weather Won't Last

Sarasota, an amazing place in Florida is now in its season where many lives are being affected by the cold weather which is abnormally unusual. A mixture of sunny plus cloudy climate is creating a problem for the residents of Florida who are living in the Sarasota weather. The weather reports have been constantly indicating that the temperatures are expected to drop even further in the next few days from now and the Sarasota cold weather is going to create several problems if the residents are not prepared to face the low temperatures.

What are the general temperatures throughout the year in Sarasota?

If you carefully check records, you can observe that the Sarasota weather is not normally extreme in any case. It does not exceed 35 C and does not drop down beyond 10 C. It is cool and pleasant. But from the past few days, the Sarasota cold weather has been dropping considerably. If weather reports are seen, then the maximum average temperature around January- February is around 23 C and the minimum average temperature is 10-11 C. Rest of the year the temperature keeps fluctuating, tentatively rising upto 33 C and dropping to 10 C.

This is generally the climatic condition in Sarasota. But this time the Sarasota weather, especially the Sarasota cold weather is expected to be very chilly and freezing. Unexpected and infrequent rains are expected. The temperature, which is becoming lower than the normal temperature in addition to the strong winds, is causing problems for the residents who are living in this chilling Sarasota weather.

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Monday, January 16, 2012

Siesta Key Florida

Located on the central western coast of Florida, Siesta Key is a beautiful barrier island between Sarasota Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. It is eight miles long with two bridges connecting it to Sarasota. The gorgeous beach with its miles of fine white sand was voted the best in America last year.

This little island paradise has more than sunny beaches, however. Siesta Key has two shopping and restaurant areas. Stylish shops display fashions, beach accessories and souvenirs for all types of shoppers. Visitors and residents can relax in informal garb while dining in the many restaurants for breakfast, lunch or dinner. A selection of dining establishments offers everything from delis, cafes, tapas and oyster bars to fine dining on seafood, Japanese, Italian or French cuisine.

The district of Crescent Beach offers upscale boutiques, custom jewelry, a full service grocery store, drug store and post office. Siesta Village, which is north of Siesta Beach, is a pedestrian area where visitors and residents can relax in sidewalk cafes and enjoy its stores, shops and restaurants. There is a drug store and post office here also, and the Chamber of Commerce is in the village center.

The year-round balmy weather is ideal for all kinds of outdoor activities from just strolling along the beach to tennis, volleyball, bike riding, kayaking or even flying a kite. Sailing charters are available to tour the turquoise waters and view the dolphins, manatees and a great variety of sea birds. Fishing charters, jet skiing and parasailing are also popular on Siesta Key. Access to the beaches is numerous, with quaint names such as Turtle Beach and Point O’ Rocks. Siesta Key has beautiful woodlands, wetlands and exotic wildlife.

For lovers of golf, the area near the mainland coast has many top golfing destinations. There are public courses designed for all skill levels.

Siesta Key is conveniently located near the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport. Other airports, Tampa International, St. Petersburg-Clearwater International or Southwest Florida International, are all within easy driving distance.
An Episcopal, Catholic and Presbyterian Church are located on Siesta Key and nearby Sarasota has many denominations of churches, synagogues and other spiritual centers. Siesta Key has a private preschool and elementary school. The Sarasota County School District serves the island community with an elementary, middle and high school, as well as magnet programs and a school for gifted children.

Siesta Key is only minutes from Sarasota, which is considered the cultural center of Florida, where there is an array of museums, art galleries and theaters, including ballets, orchestras and circuses. Also, four hospitals are nearby and Siesta Key is just six miles from Interstate Highway #75.

There is a great selection of accommodations in this vibrant community for both visitors and those looking for either a fulltime residence or a second home. Remember that Florida residents can be exempt from the first $25,000 of their home’s value for tax purposes, which reduces their property tax bill. Condos, single family homes, townhouses and villas, as well as land, are available for sale on Siesta Key.

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Sarasota Living

The Sarasota Florida life style is very dynamic. This city has everything under the Florida sun to offer that the state is most known for. From pristine beautiful white sandy beaches to rich Floridian culture, Sarasota intrinsically pulls off melding together both the bohemian lifestyle with sophistication and fun at the same time. The town was first founded in the 1880’s and has since adapted into a major metropolitan city bordering other growing cities such as Bradenton, Palmetto, Ellenton and Venice. Located in the middle of the western Florida coastline it is less than a day’s drive from any city in Florida, and only a couple hours at most from more well known larger cities – Tampa, Miami, and Orlando.

It is easy to see why this city is so well loved by both the tourists and proud locals. Like many places in Florida, there is great seafood and the many, many sunny days. Having a tropical climate, this area rarely freezes and never snows. The gulf beach breezes are only minutes away when a fun day of escaping the summer heat is in need. The Sarasota lifestyle is one of the most relaxing and beautiful places to live in the United States.
Sarasota is home to what is debated to be some of the world’s best beaches. Siesta key is loaded with a beautifully generous stretch of glistening blue ocean skylines, white powdery sands, gulf sunsets, and occasional dolphin sightings. People travel from all over the world to visit there. Lido is in close proximity, which is a quieter beach that is also popular as well; for some locals it is the preferred beach. It is next to St. Armand’s Circle that has many small upscale restaurants and shops. This is a wonderful place to spend the day. St. Armand’s Circle is loaded with infamous local artists and small family owned shops with excitement for all the senses; such as a small family owned fudge shop where you can watch the employees make homemade treats before your eyes, various small stores holding original artworks by local artists and small boutiques with one of a kind fashions.

Sarasota is also a great place for the family. The mote marine is a wonderful place for both kids and adults, where you can view dolphins, manatees, and pet the stingrays. The museum is a great place to learn about the Florida reefs and ecology. There is a nice gift shop at the end of the museum’s tour.
Sarasota is not just known by tourists for its shopping, weather and beaches, it is also a well known amongst artists. It is the home of the prestigious Ringling School of Art, named after John Ringling, an eccentric circus performer who first put Sarasota on the map.

John Ringling made an elaborate Italian villa for his wife Mable, and had his mansion and extensive art collection donated to the People of Florida which has become the official art museum of the state of Florida. The collection contains thousands of art collections from paintings to sculptures and hosts the medieval fair in October where people can watch reenactments by performers dressed in costumes from the Middle Ages.

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

The "New" 10 Commandments

I. Thou shalt have no God in America, except for me. For we are no longer a Christian nation and, after all, I am the chosen One. (And like God, I do not have a birth certificate.) SOURCE

II. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, unless it is my face carved on Mt. Rushmore. SOURCE

III. Thou shalt not utter my middle name in vain (or in public). Only I can say Barack Hussein Obama. SOURCE

IV. Remember tax day, April 15th, to keep it holy. SOURCE

V. Honour thy father and thy mother until they are too old and sick to care for. They will cost our public-funded health-care system too much money. SOURCE

VI. Thou shalt not kill, unless you have an unwanted, unborn baby. For it would be an abomination to punish your daughter with a baby. SOURCE

VII. Thou shalt not commit adultery if you are conservative or a Republican. Liberals and Democrats are hereby forgiven for all of their infidelity and immorality, but the careers of conservatives will be forever destroyed. SOURCE

VIII. Thou shalt not steal, until you've been elected to public office. Only then is it acceptable to take money from hard-working, successful citizens and give it to those who do not work, illegal immigrants, or those who do not have the motivation to better their own lives. SOURCE

IX. Thou shalt not discriminate against thy neighbor unless they are conservative, Caucasian, or Christian. SOURCE

X. Thou shalt not covet because it is simply unnecessary. I will place such a heavy tax burden on those that have achieved the American Dream that, by the end of my term as President, nobody will have any wealth or material goods left for you to covet. SOURCE

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Life In Sarasota Florida

Explore Sarasota Florida, the ever-evolving Florida destination. Sporting the finest beaches in the world, including Siesta Key, Lido Key, Anna Marie Island, Longboat Key & Lakewood Ranch, Sarasota is a small community rich in culture, fine restaurants, and the wonderful Sarasota Florida climate. Located on the West coast of Florida, 45 miles south of Tampa, Sarasota Florida real estate offers something for everyone. From single family homes on the Sarasota mainland, to condominiums on Siesta Key Longboat Key and Lido Key; Anna Marie Island; New Home construction in Lakewood Ranch & Manatee County; Old Florida charm in downtown Sarasota; Gated Communities and golf course settings - Sarasota has it all... Come to Sarasota - You have earned it!Sarasota Florida is known as the "crown jewel" of the South. The pure white crystal sand beaches of the Sarasota barrier islands of Siesta Key, Lido Key, Anna Marie Island, Holmes Beach and Longboat Key, a booming economic climate and the overall Sarasota Florida real estate community attracts tourists from all over the world. Every season offers a totally unique experience! Make your plans now to visit the wonderful Sarasota area.

Sarasota - A World Class Community Our flourishing educational, cultural & economic landscape and the diverse opportunities Sarasota offers makes it easy to understand why Money Magazine named Sarasota Florida:

#1 Best U.S. Small City and Best Places to Retire in the U.S.

Sarasota Named Arts Capital of Florida

According to a recent article in Southern Living magazine, Sarasota Florida and Sarasota County is the nations per-capita Arts Capital. The rich arts landscape of Sarasota includes the world-class Florida West Coast symphony, Sarasota Opera, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, Asolo Performing Arts, John Ringling Museums, Sarasota Ballet, Selby Botanical Gardens, Sarasota Film Festival, Sarasota Music Festival, Banyan Theater Company, Tampa Performing Arts, Sarasota Film Society, Venice Little Theater, Manatee Players, Circus Sarasota, G Wiz Museum, Golden Apple Theater, Sailor Circus, Players Theatre, Sarasota Jazz Club, Ruth Eckerd Hall, Burns Court, & Towles Court art communities.

In downtown Sarasota visit the Friday night gallery walks, catch the music once a month at "Downtown After Five' or spend a Saturday morning at the Sarasota Farmers Market, the new Whole Foods Market or relax at the Sarasota News & Bookstore. Sarasota is also home to the Ringling School of Art & Design.

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Sunday, July 05, 2009

Florida Real Estate Listing Agreements

Exclusive Agency Listings

By definition this type of agreement in which the home owner appoints a real estate broker as the exclusive agent to sell the property for a pre determined period of time, usually 8 to 12 months but can be as little as 3, at a pre- determined price or Listing Price and a pre-determined commission paid to the broker for the sale. In this type of contract the owner maintains the right to directly sell the property without paying a commission if the buyer did not come as a result of the agent´s effort.

Your real estate agent is your strongest allied in selling the property, but this type of agreement allows the home owner to compete with the agent, thus making it a complicated relationship in which a greedy buyer may approach directly the homeowner and negotiate a better price.

This type of agreement is easily circumvented hence very unpopular among real estate agents. No agent in Sarasota, which really is committed to sell a property, will accept this type of agreement because of the obvious difficulty to track where the buyer came from thus making all agents´ efforts to sell null, if the buyer claims otherwise. Often a seller feels inclined to sell directly and avoid paying a commission easily accomplished by just waiting to close after the expiration of the agreement. In addition, there are no provisions for listing in the Multiple Listing Service hence no other brokers or agents involved. A commission will be paid only if the real estate is sold to a buyer obtained through that brokerage.

Reputable agents will not invest any effort in this type of transaction since there are time and expenses involved, that will not be recovered if the agent is circumvented. A sign of the times, contracts of this kind are biased and often detrimental to the agent or call for an ethical conduct among parties that no longer exits or is rare to find and difficult to prove in a court of law which in term demands additional expenses.

The agent may choose or agreed upon not to advertise your property in the MLS making it available to thousands of other real estate agents and possible buyers. Not having your property listed with an online search engine or the MLS is to curtail the chances of selling you property sooner and at a better price.

If you are determined to sell your property and want an agent to work hard to sell the house, honestly earning a commission then you might consider other types of agreement since the Exclusive Agency Listing will not yield the results you expect in Sarasota or anywhere else.

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Monday, June 29, 2009

Deciding Where to Retire

Deciding where to retire

Deciding on where to retire is a decision millions will face in the coming years. It may be to places like Sarasota or it could be simply down-sizing to a place near "the kids".

Baby Boomers have several choices. They can stay where they are, downsize to more suitable 'digs', move away or even buy a motor home and live everywhere / nowhere. Where's the perfect place is anyone's guess. There can be some method to finding your 'right place'. Sarasota is definitely a great option for many Boomers.

Needs will always changeStudies show people often go through stages of retirement. A person who is 62 will have different needs than a person who is 85. Deciding where to live will change over time and thus people will probably make a move more than one time. Many dip their toes in the water first - retire slowly. Boomers today have too much ambition to quit and do nothing. For a lot of people, they understand they can work from anywhere. With cell phones and internet access, I could almost sell real estate in Florida from my home state of Michigan. ...more

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Friday, June 26, 2009

Buyers Agent

In today's volatile real estate market the role of a Buyer's Agent is more important than ever. Foreclosures, Short Sales and REO (bank owned) sales make up a large portion of today's real estate business. Understanding each of these types of sales is a very important service provided by a Buyer's Agent. For More information...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sarasota Neighborhoods

Sarasota is a bright and eclectic patchwork of neighborhoods and lifestyles. Made up of dozens of communities, there is no one unifying experience that sums up the life and the heartbeat of this city among cities. From the eternal sunshine and to glittering white crystal sand beaches, Sarasota will forever be many things to many people. Below is a either a link to the individual Sarasota area or a brief description of the neighborhood. Also you will find a rough idea of the price range of the respective locale.

Sarasota neighborhoods

Thursday, April 09, 2009

The Current Rules of the Game

How to safely " play real estate' in Florida. That is a good question. Are prices at the bottom? Don't know - no more than anyone knew they were at the top. What I have noticed is more of the 'experts' seem to be more neutral or positive than in recent months.

The current prices are pre-2003 for many Sarasota houses and condos. If you purchase a property today, will it go lower tomorrow? Maybe. But it very well could be a day away or week away from turning around. It is a lot closer to the end now than in 2007.

Be cautious. Be wise. Do your homework and find an agent who cares about finding you the very best property which meets your needs.

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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Save Money Tip

TIPS ON PUMPING GAS (Good information)

I hope these tips will help ease the pain at the pumps !

I don't know what you guys are paying for gasoline.... but here in California we are also paying higher, up to $3.50 per gallon. But my line of work is in petroleum for about 31 years now, so here are some tricks to get more of your money's worth for every gallon.. Did you know that when they fill a ferry boat with fuel there can be a 23 gallon difference depending on if the tank is warm or cold.Here at the pipeline we deliver about 4 million gallons in a 24-hour period thru the pipeline. One day is diesel the next day is jet fuel, and gasoline, regular and premium grades.
We have 34-storage tanks here with a total capacity of 16,800,000 gallons.

Tip #1.) Only buy or fill up your car or truck in the early morning when the ground temperature is still cold. Remember that all service stations have their storage tanks buried below ground. The colder the ground the more dense the gasoline, when it gets warmer gasoline expands, so buying in the afternoon or in the evening....your gallon is not exactly a gallon. In the petroleum business, the specific gravity and the temperature of the gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, ethanol and other petroleum products plays an important role. A 1-degree rise in temperature is a big deal for this business. But the service stations do not have temperature compensation at the pumps.

Tip #2.) When you're filling up do not squeeze the trigger of the nozzle to a fast mode. If you look you will see that the trigger has three (3) stages: low, middle, and high. In slow mode you should be pumping on low speed, thereby minimizing the vapors that are created while you are pumping. All hoses at the pump have a vapor return. If you are pumping on the fast rate, some of the liquid that goes to your tank becomes vapor. Those vapors are being sucked up and back into t he underground storage tank so you're getting less worth for your money.

Tip #3.) One of the most important tips is to fill up when your gas tank is HALF FULL or HALF EMPTY. The reason for this is, the more gas you have in your tank the less air occupying its empty space. Gasoline evaporates faster than you can imagine. Gasoline storage tanks have an internal floating roof. This roof serves as zero clearance between the gas and the atmosphere, so it minimizes the evaporation.

Unlike service stations, here where I work, every truck that we load is temperature compensated so that every gallon is actually the exact amount.

Tip #2.) Another reminder, if there is a gasoline truck pumping into the storage tanks when you stop to buy gas, DO NOT fill up--most likely the gasoline is being stirred up as the gas is being delivered, and you might pick up some of the dirt that normally settles on the bottom.Hope this will help you get the most value for your money.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sarasota Property Taxes

Sarasota Taxes

Property Taxes - General Information

When do I pay my property taxes?

Florida law provides for certain discounts on CURRENT TAXES if they are paid before March of the following year. Discounts are accepted according to the POSTMARK of your payment. Tax bills are mailed out in November of each year with the following discounts in effect for early payment:

4% if paid in November
3% if paid in December
2% if paid in January
1% if paid in February

Gross taxes become due in March. Taxes become delinquent April 1st and additional charges become due.

What if I don't get my bill?

According to Florida law, it is the responsibility of the property owner to see that a bill is received and taxes are paid. Tax statements are sent to the owner and the address on record. If you move, it is your responsibility to send written notification to the Property Appraiser. A delay in recording of the deed can also result in your not receiving a bill on your property. You should have received a separate tax bill for each property you own. Verify that the legal description on the tax bill is for all of your property. If you do not receive a bill by November 15th, notify this office immediately or you can obtain one from this web site. Click here.

What if I receive a tax bill and I no longer own the property?

If you received a real estate tax bill for property you no longer own, please forward it to the new owner or return it to this office. If you received a tangible personal property tax bill for property you no longer own, but you did own on January 1, 2004, you are still responsible for paying the taxes. If you did not own the tangible personal property on or after January 1, 2004 you need to contact the Property Appraiser immediately at (941) 861-8200.

What if I receive a notice stating "This bill has been requested by an escrow company"?

This statement means that an escrow company has requested your original bill. By Florida law, when an escrow company requests a property tax bill, the tax collector is required to send it to them. The property owner then receives an informational notice, which is what you have. If your taxes are not escrowed through a mortgage company, you should submit payment with the bottom portion of your notice. If your taxes are escrowed you do not need to do anything further - your escrow company would have received the same bill. However, if your taxes are escrowed and you received the original bill (with no statement across the top), contact your mortgage company immediately.

How can I get a paid receipt?

Paid receipts can be printed anytime from this web site (click here) or can be received by fax from Tax Talk at (941) 861-8315.

Do I have to pay all my taxes at once?

If your taxes are at least $100 this year, you may choose to pay next year's taxes on the installment plan. Property owners must send a completed application to the Tax Collector before May 1st for taxes which will be due later that year. Otherwise, all taxes are due and payable in full. Applications can be printed from this web site (click here). Payments are quarterly: in June, September and December of the tax year, and March of the next year. Remember, you must plan ahead. If you wait until you receive your tax bill in November, it will be too late to pay by installment for that year.

What if I can't pay my tax bill?

Florida law entitles you to defer payment of a portion of your tax bill if you are eligible for homestead exemption. This also depends on your age and income. Interest is charged on the deferred taxes and treated as a lien against your property. Taxes and interest are due only upon your death or if you sell your home. Application must be made on or before January 31st. For more information, click here.

I bought the property in the middle of the year. Will I have to pay taxes for a whole year?

No matter when you purchase the property, as the owner, you are responsible for paying the entire tax bill mailed in November. However, taxes are usually prorated on the closing statement and credit is given by the seller for the time during the year that you were not the owner. This credit is between you and the seller. No money is given by the seller to the Tax Collector as partial payment of that year's taxes.

Who decides what my taxes will be?

According to Florida law, your tax bill includes both ad valorem taxes and non-ad valorem assessments. For more information about each of these: Ad Valorem Taxes Non-Ad valorem Assessments

Who do I contact for other questions?

Jim Todora, Property Appraiser (941) 861-8200 Karen Rushing, Clerk of Circuit Court (941) 861-7400

As a property owner in Sarasota County, it pays to be informed about your rights and responsibilities under Florida law. Understanding the procedures regarding property taxes can save you money and will help this office to better serve you. If you have questions not answered here, please do not hesitate to call us at (941) 861-8300 or e-mail to

For more information on the taxes for Sarasota please go to the following web site.:

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Reverse Mortgages

Reverse Mortgage

By Gary R. Brey, Broker
Manasota Realty Inc.

Over the last ten years or so, there has been a major increase in specialty mortgages. It use to be, in the not so distant past, that you would go to the bank to get a mortgage and there was really only one kind of mortgage that you could get.

These days, you have your interest-only loans, your Sarasota home equity loans and now comes a new kind of mortgage, and it sounds almost too good to be true.

A reverse mortgage actually stipulates that you do not have to pay back a single cent of your mortgage until you move out of your Sarasota home. That’s right, you do not pay a cent until you move out. Are there catches? Well, yes, of course there is, but that doesn’t mean that the reverse mortgage won’t work for you. Let’s take a closer look at this new borrowing tool.

You have to be over the age of 60 and own your own home. A reverse mortgage wouldn’t work for a first time buyer or if you don’t already own a home. It’s more like a home equity loan, but one you don’t have to pay back for a long time.

If you pass away before you move out of your home, the cost of the mortgage must still be paid off by whoever takes possession of the home next.

A major advantage of the reverse mortgage is that there are no income requirements at all. Since you don’t have to make monthly payments, the bank completely ignores your financial situation, even if you are retired and living on a fixed income. This can be a Godsend for those that need money to improve their home but wouldn’t be able to make even the smallest monthly payments.

You have many different choices when it comes to how you want to spend this windfall. You can have a single lump sum payment sent to you for you to do what you want with. You can get a monthly payment from the bank, like getting an extra check every month. You can even use it as a credit line, much like a credit card, where you write checks up to the balance of the amount you borrowed. This can be a great option if you’re simply paying contractors to work on your home.

Most reverse mortgages are set up so that you must live in the home while you have the mortgage. Even if you still own it, if you move out and begin to rent the property to others, your reverse mortgage would come due. Of course, every bank will have their own set of rules, you should check with your local lenders to see what their rules are.

Should the equity of your home fall due to a disaster or some other unforeseen problem, a reverse mortgage can really bite you in the butt. Most people take a reverse mortgage to improve their home and build equity so that they can then sell it, pay back the reverse mortgage and still have a nice investment profit. But there are circumstances when a house’s value falls and you’re still left with the mortgage to pay back. Just because you don’t have to pay it off every month, you shouldn’t underestimate the fact that the debt is real and so is the eventual repayment.

If you know someone who might be considering one of these loans, make sure they completely understand what they are getting into before they sign on the bottom line. Since you must be over a certain age to get this mortgage, judgment can be altered due to conditions such as Alzheimer’s and other illnesses associated with age. While it is completely possible that the person getting the loan will never have to pay back a penny of its cost, that person’s children will be given the debt after they die.

A reverse mortgage can be a wonderful way for people on fixed incomes to improve their living situations. But just like any other mortgage, it will have to be paid back eventually so they should not be entered into lightly.
Sarasota Real Estate

Friday, October 05, 2007

IRAs offer way to invest in real estate

IRAs offer way to invest in real estate
By Gary Brey, Broker, Sarasota, Florida

Nothing can make your retirement account grow the way Real State Investments can. A long term, stable, steady growth… sounds like a winner for me, but guess what? It can even be purchased with “Tax Differed” dollars! Yes, you can invest your retirement account into Real Estate.

Traditional IRA’s custodians like most banks and brokerage firms, only allow you to work with traditional financial instruments like mutual funds, annuities, certificates of deposit and stocks; finding a custodian that allows you to invest in real estate will be the task. Allowed by section 408 of the Internal Revenue Code, one can purchase commercial property, condominiums, trust deeds, land and residential property among others, with funds from several common forms of IRA’s including a Roth IRA, Traditional IRAs and Simplified Employee Pension Plans commonly known as SEPA-IRA.

The owner of the IRA account cannot be the custodian of the account; so one should find a custodian knowledgeable in the area, since they will hold the title to the real estate, start a search under “Real Estate IRA” or “Self-Directed IRA”. The custodian should just holder the titles and usually do not service the account, like collect rents, take care of repairs and other similar things, he will charge a service fee, but in addition you, must have someone servicing the properties. Some will do both and, of course, you will be charge accordingly. Whichever way you decide to go, or with whom, just make sure rents are paid into the IRA and taxes are paid by the IRA account. Like everyone says, do your homework and know what you are getting into.

Most custodians allow the purchase of residential property, commercial buildings and even vacant land. These purchases can be made in conjunction with family member, partners or friends in other words you will be buying a portion of the property. According to the rules set by IRS, you cannot occupy the property not even as a vacation home, nor can your business lease an office in the commercial building owned by your IRA. The rule restricts the use of the property and to ignore the rule will cost you plenty in taxes and penalties. The property your custodian will buy with your IRA cannot be property previously owned by your, your wife or children; this is mentioned in section 4975 of the Internal Revenue Code, the “Lineal Descent” will be disqualified.

If you are adding some other funds so the custodian can purchase the property be sure to include that amount in the total due so the title company will reimburse after the closing.
Following the code the title of the property you are buying will show the custodian’s name and your IRA’s.

All income generated from the property must be deposited in the IRA account, this income will pay for all maintenance, repairs, taxes and insurance that are needed to operate de business, all those payment should be drawn from the same IRA account. A property held by you IRA custodian can be sold as long as the proceeds go back to the same account and is not sold to a lineal descent. One can continue making regular contributions into a traditional IRA account or Roth IRA account of up to 3,000 per year or 3,500 if you are age 50 or over.

At age 59 and a half you can have the custodian do a distribution and receive the property then you will have to pay taxes over the current market value of the property. This is applicable to traditional IRA accounts. However, with a Roth IRA account you will not owe a penny, very attractive if you consider that the property will appreciate with time.

Funds from most IRAs are allowed to be invested in Real Estate there are some additional benefits in addition to yield great returns:

A Roth IRA: Will give you no deductions on your current contributions, but since taxes were already taken, your withdrawals are non taxable. So if you are planning to hold Real Estate purchased from this type of retirement account know that the biggest benefit will come from long term purchases in which the property will appreciate.

A SEP IRA: This type of retirement account is designed for small businesses and self employed people. Allows for contributions up to 40,000 per year or 25% of your income which ever is smaller. This option allows for larger contributions and rapid growth to build up a fund that can afford to invest in real estate. Distributions, in this case, are taxed as regular income.

Traditional IRA: Allows for deductions directly from your untaxed income up to 3,000 per year. Distributions are considered an income hence is taxable.

Sarasota Real Estate

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Eliminating 'Phantom Tax' on Foreclosures

A couple of my friends and perhaps yours are faced with losing their homes. It is a very tough time.
Please read the following article. It is important.

REALTOR® Magazine-Daily News-Eliminating 'Phantom Tax' on Foreclosures Lauded

Monday, March 05, 2007

Reverse Mortgages

Over the last ten years or so, there has been a major increase in specialty mortgages. It use to be, in the not so distant past, that you would go to the bank to get a mortgage and there was really only one kind of mortgage that you could get.

These days, you have your interest-only loans, your Sarasota home equity loans and now comes a new kind of mortgage, and it sounds almost too good to be true.

A reverse mortgage actually stipulates that you do not have to pay back a single cent of your mortgage until you move out of your Sarasota home. That’s right, you do not pay a cent until you move out. Are there catches? Well, yes, of course there is, but that doesn’t mean that the reverse mortgage won’t work for you. Let’s take a closer look at this new borrowing tool. more...

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Siesta Key Beach

Too often we natives here forgot what a jewel we have in our beaches...especially Siesta Key.

In the Great International White Sand Beach Challenge of 1987, scientists studied samples from more than 30 beaches around the world before declaring that the beaches of Siesta Key were home to the finest, whitest sand in the world-a designation they still hold today. The geology department at Harvard University determined Siesta´s sand to be 99 percent pure quartz and of such a fine texture that it remains cool even during the hottest hours of a sunny day. more about Siesta Key and it's beaches

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Saturday, January 27, 2007

Sarasota Real Estate Taxes

Finally someone gets it! Yesterday a Florida state senator from Miami seemed to get the fact that local governments, who get their taxing authority from the State, spend too much money and tax too much. Although he praised Sarasota (he was a guest here speaking) I think Sarasota is just as bad as any government when it comes to spending my money and your money. If anyone does not think this is a problem, get yourself a copy of the Sarasota county budget. Call the county and they will send one - free of charge of course. (It only weighs about 5 lbs., by the way).

State lawmakers seem to be ready to deal with the exploding real estate taxes. Perhaps they are tired of paying taxes like we are. Perhaps they understand it is our money and not their money. If you want to kill an economy then raise taxes, vote down any new projects which would increase the tax base and tax revenue.

Local governments and for that matter any level government do not create wealth. They reduce it. But thanks in part to what may be a changing mood and tide in Tallahassee, someone is starting to get it.

What can you and I do about it? For one thing, vote. And, vote for those that would cut taxes and cut spending. Today's lawmakers at the local level somehow feel it is their mandate to create a social state where they the government exists to provide everything to everyone.

Vote for candidates who are savers and not spenders.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Documentary Stamps

The purchase or the sale of real estate in Florida is assessed a "Doc" stamp tax. Remembering that Florida has no income tax, doc stamps are one of the taxes we pay in this state as well as many other states I should mention.

The "stamps" are literally affixed to a deed in a real estate transaction. Both the seller and the buyer pay this tax - but not at the same rate.

Buyers pay $.35/$100 for new money (borrowed money) such as a mortgage. The stamps are not assessed on cash paid from the Buyer. The seller is charged $.70/$100 on the sale price of the transaction. In any deal, the payment of the "doc" stamps is negotiable.

The Buyer or the Seller can agree to compensate the other party for the stamps. It can be a last minute closing maneuver to see if one can enhance their position or it can be an upfront negotiation item. more...