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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How I Would Live My Life at Island Court Venice (and What I’d Eat)

DaleAnn Clancy Photography

DaleAnn Clancy Photography

I love the urban lifestyle. It’s all about convenience, spontaneity, partaking in cultural pleasures, delicious dinners, and being part of a live/work/play community.

Central to this vibrant way of life, a new development has broken ground and is poised to take advantage of one of the most beautiful walkable neighborhoods on the Gulf Coast, Venice Island.  Called Island Court Venice, this new construction project is perhaps the first of its kind to appear in Venice in over a decade. (more…)

Tax-Free Weekend: 6 Tips for Smart Shoppers

Students Running
With school almost back in session, this weekend marks the return of Florida’s tax-free holiday. From August 1-3, shoppers will save on school supplies, clothing and some electronics, and with the array of retail options throughout Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties, you’ll be top of the class in no time! Here’s what you need to know to make the most of this 72-hour shopping extravaganza:

Study in Style – This year, you won’t pay sales tax on clothing up to $100 per item. Get some fashionable inspiration before you shop and check out style blogs – some of my personal favorites are Lauren Conrad, The Londoner and Style Confessional. (more…)

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1 Boat and 4 Islands in 8 Hours: Part Three – Palm Island

DSC_2462Now onto part three of my Florida island hopping adventure.

The day began almost seven hours earlier at the Cape Haze Marina where I departed with my friends from the Freedom Boat Club on a quick voyage to Useppa Island (read the first blog here). Then, we trekked to Boca Grande for lunch before being “castaway” on Little Gasparilla Island (read the second blog here).

Now, we finish out the day exploring the canals, streets, and sands of Palm Island. (more…)

Retail Update

A rendering of The Mall at University Town Center - Sarasota, FL

A rendering of The Mall at University Town Center – Sarasota, FL

“Look at your shopping centers.  Are they going down?  Or coming back?”

With this simple query, Todd Mathes—the director of development for Benderson Development—prefaced his recent update on the retail market in Sarasota-Manatee before an audience of over 200 agents from Michael Saunders & Company.

Everyone already knew the answer, of course. For not only has the region’s explosion of new, high-quality retail been the subject of countless updates in the news media, but is also being observed closely by some of the biggest names in international luxury retailing and commercial development.

The Mall at University Town Center
Nearly all of this interest has something to do with the imminent debut of the Mall at University Town Center, Benderson Development’s latest contribution to Sarasota’s growing reputation as the best place to live, work, play—and now shop—in the State of Florida.  The mall, whose grand opening is on the calendar for October 16, is the only enclosed mall being built in the United States this year.  Moreover, its stores are being populated by some of the most sought-after names in luxury retailing and fine dining.  Indeed, The Wall Street Journal noted that Taubman Centers Inc., co-developer of the new mall, is doing “something that is rarely seen these days in the retail world: opening a new regional mall.”

(more…)

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1 Boat and 4 Islands in 8 Hours: Part Two – Boca Grande to Little Gasparilla

DSC_2583_BocaGrande_Premier

Photos by Premier Photographic Events

In my last blog post, you read about the start of my island hopping adventure with the Freedom Boat Club. We began our day at the Cape Haze Marina and voyaged to a very enchanting Useppa Island. Now, we continue the journey on to two nearby barrier islands.

Beloved Boca Grande
Within fifteen minutes of our departure from Useppa, we were floating through the captivating canals of Boca Grande, the charming community on Gasparilla Island. (more…)

The Faces of the MSC Foundation’s Mid-year Grant Giving Ceremony

All images by InstudioEphoto.

The MSC Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Michael Saunders and Company, held its mid-year grant giving ceremony on Thursday, July 17th at the company’s Lakewood Ranch location. During a period of giving from January to June 2014, MSC agents and staff raised a total of $34,250 which was distributed among 33 local nonprofit organizations.

To help provide a glimpse into how deep these efforts reach, we have compiled some images and moments from Thursday’s ceremony (all images by InstudioEPhoto): (more…)

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1 Boat and 4 Islands in 8 Hours: Part One

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Boating the waters of Placida Harbor

Sometimes you are so close to something that you can’t entirely understand its worth. This is never as true as it is for those of us who live in Florida and take our slice of paradise for granted. We grow complacent – never quite appreciating how turquoise the Gulf is, how easy it is to reach the beach, or the countless colors in a sunset.

And so, it was with my typical Florida-native expectations that I found myself an hour south of Sarasota ready to hop on a boat. (more…)

Parsing the Market

Aerial-DSC_7796Is the real estate market emitting mixed signals?  Or is the picture being blurred by conflicting accounts of its renewed strength?  Probably a little bit of each.

Sales Activity over Six Months
As real estate markets re-stabilize, it is not uncommon for upward spikes in monthly sales to be followed by a month or two of pared-down activity.  Such mixed results inevitably spur nervous hand-wringing among market watchers, even though it is virtually impossible to spot a developing trend over such short periods of time.  For this reason it is wiser to examine at least six consecutive months of sales activity to assess where we’ve been; as well as six months (or more) of local economic indicators to predict where we’re going.

Between January and June, residential property sales throughout Southwest Florida were up 0.44% over 2013; and were 11.3% higher than the first six months of 2012.  It is worth mentioning, however, that a flood of pent-up demand made 2013 the region’s most active year ever in terms of total properties sold—and thus a tough act to follow in any year. (more…)

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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:

Vue Sarasota Bay

BuildingRenderingCLOSEUP.LIGHT-MLSWith construction now underway, the 18-story Vue Sarasota Bay will soon afford its residents with forever views of Sarasota Bay, the city skyline, its barrier islands; and the Gulf of Mexico.  From its prime bay front location—adjacent to the new Westin Sarasota—buyers will enjoy walkable access to downtown Sarasota’s performing arts venues, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens; and scores of first-rate restaurant and retail establishments.

(more…)

Go Back In Time