Build It and They Will Come

VUE & WestinHow does a hotel that hasn’t been built yet pay dividends to the region nearly two years before welcoming its first paying guests?

Virginia Haley, president of Visit Sarasota—the county’s lead tourism bureau—knows the answer.  Moments before joining other civic leaders at last week’s groundbreaking for the new Westin Sarasota Hotel, Haley shared her agency’s knowledge of the hotel’s pre-construction influence on the local economy.

“This property has already had a significant impact on tourism in Sarasota,” she declared from the speaker’s podium. “And we haven’t even broken ground yet!”  Ms. Haley was referring to the amount of tourism and convention business that Visit Sarasota has already pre-booked predicated on the July 2016 opening of the new hotel.

A similar scenario has unfolded at the new Mall at University Town Center, the new Nathan Benderson Park, and more than a half dozen other hotels and luxury condominiums that are in some stage of development throughout Southwest Florida.  Even before their foundations are poured, it seems, their anticipated arrivals are sparking something of an economic bonanza for the region.  (more…)


Why Did It Sell: A Siesta Key Point of View


It was 6:30 in the morning. Michael Saunders & Company Realtor Connie Lyke Brown’s phone started to ring.

“Don’t worry about picking it up,” she told her husband. “If it’s important they’ll leave a message.”

She looked over to see that he had already answered the phone.

Calling from North Carolina (and a true morning person), Julia* wanted to speak with Connie after seeing an ad on featuring one of Connie’s Longboat Key listings.

Julia and her husband were thinking about retirement. Though they hadn’t been to Sarasota, their family, who owned property in Bradenton, encouraged them to learn more about the area. Their goal was to retire in five or six years, after their children were out of high school. In the meantime, they felt the time was right to start looking for their future full-time residence. (more…)


Bay Point Ballet: The Making of a Real Estate Video Unlike Any Other

IMG_3255-cBayPointBalletHow do you tell the story of a unique property in a way that is interesting while also defining the essence of the house and the community? Well, if you live in Sarasota, where the sea and sky marries arts and culture, then the canvas for creativity is as endless as the shimmering Gulf horizon.

Such was the background for a recent collaboration between Michael Saunders & Company and the Sarasota Ballet.  To showcase 1459 Bay Point Drive, a remarkable 8,506 square foot home for sale on Sarasota Bay, the unprecedented team used the language of dance to express the property’s architecture, emotion, and enchantment.

Watch the ballet (err… video) for 1459 Bay Point Drive and keep reading to learn more about what went on behind-the-scenes.


Why Here? Why Now?

Siesta Key. Photo by DaleAnn Clancy Photography.

Siesta Key

Southwest Florida gets real quiet, real quickly, once the last of our winter visitors depart. Among other things, the resulting calm offers a respite for real estate agents who can finally catch their breath before regrouping for next season’s onslaught of buyers. This year, however, the onslaught never took a holiday.

With prices on something of a plateau lately after rising steadily all year long, a new sense of urgency has settled in among buyers; prompting them to buy sooner rather than later. Moreover, just as winter up north begins to loom again, home prices are expected to resume their gradual rise. Obviously, buying now could help you avoid both issues.

Although the market’s overall sales volume is up 10% over last year, the best news is from our luxury market. There, sales of properties priced above $1 million are up 22% over last year. For properties priced above $3 million, buyers no longer content to wait have driven closed dollar volume up by 60%.

Why here? Why now? And where are these luxury buyers coming from? These are questions we often field from reporters trying to make sense of the region’s resurging luxury market. (more…)

MSC Foundation: From the Classroom to the Courtroom

With a passion for where we live, work, and play, Michael Saunders & Company is committed to improving the lives of others within our community. Through the assistance of the MSC Foundation, our team of agents and staff generously contribute to well-deserving local charities.  This month spotlights two non-profit organizations which benefited from our most recent July Grant Giving Ceremony:

The Island School
Located in Boca Grande, Florida, the mission of The Island School is to create an educational environment which stresses academic excellence while nurturing the spirit of the child. The MSC Foundation’s grant will go toward funding its after school youth program for students whose parents work or live on Gasparilla Island.

Photo courtesy

Photo courtesy


10 Dreamy Beachfront Homes

Who doesn’t love spending time on one of our Gulf beaches? Dipping your toes in the warm water, reading a good book on the white sands, listening to the rhythmic sound of the waves, or simply standing there and watching the sunset…

To enjoy endless days of beachfront bliss, the following addresses along the open sea are sure to do more than impress:

Little Bokeelia Island

Little-Bokeelia-Island_32 (more…)


11 Ways to Spend Your Labor Day Weekend

In most places across the United States, Labor Day marks the unofficial end of a short-lived summer. Here on Florida’s Gulf Coast, it means there are just a few more weeks of balmy 90 degree temperatures before the climate cools to the luxurious 70’s. Nevertheless, we don’t need an excuse to fire up the grill, take a dip in the pool and enjoy a fabulous event or two – so we have rounded up 11 of the best ways to spend your Labor Day weekend in Sarasota and beyond:

Reel in the Catch of the Day
Florida’s Gulf Coast is renowned as a fisherman’s paradise. You’ll find a plethora of locations to cast your line on the Gulf, Bays and Intracoastal Waterway, filled with a variety of fish – from snook to snapper. This Labor Day weekend, consider picking a spot along the Venice Jetty, where you’ll often find some competition for the catch of the day in the form of playful dolphins. Be sure to obtain a fishing license before angling in the area – visit HERE to find out how.


Local fishermen reel in the last catch on the Gulf.


From Contract to Closing, What Happens Next?

Inspectors_141345433After hours of browsing online, a month of Sundays spent touring open houses; and numerous appointments to preview your pared-down list of properties, you’ve made an offer and had it accepted.   Already pre-approved for a mortgage, and with a signed contract in hand, you breathe a deep sigh of relief as your mind flashes blissfully forward to the day when you finally take possession of your long-awaited dream home.

Waiting to Pop the Champagne
The key word here is “when.”  For even though a signed contract helps clear a path to move-in day, there is quite a bit more that must be done before the property is finally yours.  Think of it as halftime at the Super Bowl with your team in a comfortable lead.   Things definitely look good, but you still have another half to play before you can collect the trophy.  So keep the champagne on ice while you pursue all the steps necessary to assure a successful closing.  Your bottle of the bubbly will taste that much sweeter for the effort. (more…)

August New Homes Update

Record levels of buying have led to a persistent shortage of available properties in our lifestyle-rich region.  Thus the option to buy new is well worth considering—especially if you’ve ever pictured yourself living in a new home or condominium.

The New Homes & Condominium Division of Michael Saunders & Company represents a broad spectrum of the region’s newest and finest lifestyle communities, with housing options that truly run the gamut. Here is a sampling of the choices now available:


infinity-balconyCoastal contemporary is also the design aesthetic at Infinity, the new luxury condominium that will occupy one of the last stretches of prime beachfront on Longboat Key.  Four of Infinity’s 11 residences are already under contract; with seven more available. Each offers a coastal lifestyle of extraordinary luxury, with large open floor plans, smart home technology; and floor-to-ceiling windows to maximize your views of the Gulf and bay. (more…)

5 Reasons Why MS&C Agents are Awesome

We are so used to go-go-going everyday that sometimes it can be wise to pause, take a deep breath, and recognize what makes a person exceptional.

At Michael Saunders & Company, we pride ourselves on having some of the finest real estate agents in the business. So, to our agents, in recognition of your tireless efforts on behalf of your customers and the community, here is a video from our latest All Company Meeting and five reasons why we love who you are and what you do!

1. A passionate desire to make a difference in the world you touch
From finding the perfect home for your customer to contributing to the MSC Foundation, there’s no denying your actions affect the lives of those in our community. (more…)

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