Getting a Mortgage Just Got Easier

couple_ss_243494074There are reams of evidence to support the fact that purchasing a home in today’s housing market is cheaper than renting.  Yet once convinced that buying is the sensible thing to do, many aspiring homebuyers have seen their hopes dashed by many of today’s strict mortgage lending requirements.  That is, until recently.

It was lax mortgage underwriting standards that helped hobble the housing market in the first place.  Overly-corrective measures then forced the needle to swing hard in the opposite direction, making loans more difficult to come by for all but the most credit-worthy borrowers.

An Encouraging Middle Ground
As 2015 gets underway, there is a middle ground forming that should encourage more homebuyers to step-up and qualify for a loan.  It will still be more rigorous than before—and that’s a good thing, given the abuses of the past.  But it will also stop penalizing people who have anything less than stellar credit, lower the down payment ceiling on many types of loans, assign a bit more risk and responsibilities to lenders; and open up new possibilities for first-time homebuyers.  (more…)

Why Did it Sell: A Thirst for Waterfront in Punta Gorda

Punta Gorda Isles

Punta Gorda Isles

A love of boating was behind the December sale of this $900,000 waterfront home in Punta Gorda, Florida.

Michael Saunders & Company Realtor®, Elizabeth Burr, with the Englewood office

Michael Saunders & Company Realtor®, Elizabeth Burr, with the Englewood office

“From their dock, it’s less than five minutes to open water,” explained Elizabeth Burr, Realtor with Michael Saunders & Company who brought the buyers.  “They are avid boaters like I am and were very interested in the deep waters of Punta Gorda.”

Full-time residents of upstate New York, Elizabeth’s customers were searching for a vacation home – the perfect place for a family of four (with two kids still in high school).  After selling one of their properties, and being aware that real estate prices in Florida would only continue to climb, they knew there wouldn’t be a better time to find their dream home.

Their brokerage, Baird & Warner, was a member of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World and referred them directly to Michael Saunders & Company. During her interview, Elizabeth connected with her clients immediately and they started working together. (more…)

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23 About Me: Just a Country Girl at Heart

23LogoAt every Michael Saunders & Company location, there are indispensable staff members devoted to supporting both our agents and customers. At our Boca Grande office, there is one individual who acts as receptionist, listing coordinator, and closing coordinator and what’s more, she does it all with a song and a smile. Carol Kyre has been with Michael Saunders & Company since May of 2011 and her positive approach and friendly demeanor have not gone unnoticed among those who work alongside her.

We asked her to participate in our 23 About Me blog series and we weren’t at all surprised that she put as much care and thought into her responses as does in her approach to life everyday.

Carol Kyre

Carol Kyre – Receptionist, Listing, and Closing Coordiator at our Boca Grande office (next time you are on island, bring her vanilla ice cream!)

Choose one: country estate, city penthouse or beachfront living?
Country estate.  I always tell my hubby, Paul, I’d like a Little House on the Prairie size home on acreage but with all the modern conveniences like heat, a/c, and indoor plumbing.  I like plain and simple but I draw the line at an outhouse!

What is your favorite ice cream?
Vanilla because it’s so versatile!  I could make a chocolate shake, root beer float, butterscotch sundae, pie a la mode, etc.  Yummy!!!  I’ll be right back…I need to go get my dessert spoon!

Favorite cuisine?
Can’t beat a nice, juicy steak.

How did you first find your way to this area?
My grandparents migrated to south Punta Gorda from Michigan in the 1960’s, and we always took family vacations here to visit them.  My two older brothers and I all ended up here after we left the nest. (more…)

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MSC Foundation: A Speech that Left Everyone Else Speechless

Michael Saunders with Susie Doyan from Charlotte County's Special Olympics Florida

Michael Saunders with Susie Doyan from Charlotte County’s Special Olympics Florida

What does it mean to really make a difference in one person’s life? Thanks to a beautiful, heart-warming speech given by Susie Doyan, a notable participant in Charlotte County’s Special Olympics Florida, those in attendance at the the MSC Foundation’s End-of-Year Grant Giving Ceremony on January 14 received a glimpse into how the MSC Foundation is transforming lives.

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From July to December 2014 the agents and staff of Michael Saunders & Company raised over $60,000 – its highest amount yet. Awarded to forty local non-for-profit organizations, eighteen of which received a grant for the first time, Michael Saunders & Company gathered with a representative from each nonprofit to celebrate this record achievement by awarding grants in person. (more…)

Top 10 Trending Properties this Week – Jan 9th

We just shared the most popular properties of 2014, but what are buyers interested in this week? We’ve made it easy to see which homes for sale and for rent on MichaelSaunders.com attracted the most attention over the past seven days.  Here they are in reverse order:

10. 5445 Pamela Wood Way, Unit 160 | Sarasota

For Rent

For Rent | $1,200 / mo.

(more…)

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3 Predictions for the 2015 Housing Forecast

Homebuyers_3688562

Realty Trac—a leading provider of data for the housing industry—began the New Year by reporting that three Florida metro areas experienced some of the nation’s largest gains in median home prices in 2014.  One of them, Sarasota, saw a 12% year-over-year increase.

There is little doubt that low inventories amid persistent high demand are the cause. Still, the double-digit rise means that substantial levels of home equity are seeping back into the market, giving local homeowners a real incentive to list their homes and pursue their own long-deferred housing goals.  A greater selection of homes will also hasten a balanced market and establish a more sustainable rate of annual property appreciation.

Building from the premise that equity is surging back into our homes, there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the region’s housing market.  Barring any unwanted jolts to the economy, here is our basic forecast for the region’s housing market in 2015: (more…)

Best of TheSaundersBlog 2014

BestoftheBlog-1

2014 was an impressive year for theSaundersBlog. We shared up-to-the-minute news in real estate, unbelievable homes for sale, and what it’s really like to live in Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte, and Lee Counties. From things-to-do for Halloween to a fun boating expedition of our barrier islands, there were numerous blog posts that resonated most with our readers.

Here are the ten most popular stories of 2014:

1. SaundersSights

The Gulf Coast is nothing if not picturesque, so we are asking everyone to share your photos via social media.  Learn more here (and stay tuned for an upcoming contest announcement!).

2. 17 Reasons Why There’s Nothing Better than a Sarasota Summer

From sunsets to Savor Sarasota, this collection of fun facts and photos illustrates the best of the summer season. (more…)

10 Most Popular Homes for Sale of 2014

MichaelSaunders.com accumulated over two million visits in 2014. With all that website traffic, we thought it would be interesting to discover which Manatee, Charlotte, and Sarasota homes for sale received the most attention.

In comparing this year’s top ten with 2013’s list of most popular properties, there were certainly similarities but also some surprising differences. In 2014, a Sarasota condominium squeezed into the number ten spot. All ten properties are waterfront while all but two are located on a barrier island with Casey Key accruing the most attention. Three of these luxury listings sold in 2014. One property even caused quite an stir with this ballet-inspired property video that went viral.

 

Here are the top ten listings in reverse order:

10. VUE Sarasota Bay: 1 North Tamiami Trail #0405

3 Bedrooms | 3 Bath | Downtown Sarasota
New construction of sleek and chic condominiums overlooking the most magnificent slice of Sarasota Bay, currently 59 out of 141 units (42%) have been pre-sold.

$1,395,000

$1,395,000

(more…)

A Mission of Caring

shutterstock_115303960Led by headline-grabbing improvements in each of its major sectors—including tourism, real estate, manufacturing and retail—2014 was nothing short of an exceptional year for the Southwest Florida economy.

The old saying “a rising tide lifts all boats” is often used to advance the notion that such marked improvements in the general economy will improve the lives of all who participate in it. While that is certainly true to a great extent, you only need to look beyond the headlines to see that pressing human need never takes a holiday.

Hunger, homelessness, lack of literacy, abuse, and veterans in need are among the serious challenges that persist even as the U.S. economy begins to flourish again.

Our part of Florida’s Gulf Coast is well known for having a huge philanthropic heart; and we at Michael Saunders & Company are proud to be a part of its longstanding tradition of giving back. At the local, grass roots level, the company is grateful for the involvement of its agents, leadership team and staff in giving generously to the MSC Foundation. We are also grateful to our buyers and sellers without whom the foundation’s mission of caring simply wouldn’t be possible. (more…)

The Best Christmas Experience You’ve Never Heard Of

What do you get when you combine Charles Dickens, classic carols, Victorian costumes, colorful characters, and Christmas – all set on the captivating Bayfront estate of a bygone era?

The setting for "A Victorian Christmas at the Crosley"

The setting for “A Victorian Christmas at the Crosley”

Nestled just north of the Ringling Museum of Art on Sarasota Bay rests one of the Gulf Coast’s most precious jewels – The Powel Crosley Estate. The Mediterranean Revival-style mansion in Manatee County was built in 1929 by Powel Crosley for his wife, Gwendolyn. (more…)

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