The Match Game

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With the spring thaw suddenly melting mountains of snow into rivers of slush, winter has finally loosened its icy grip across a broad swath of the Midwest, Rockies, Canada and the Northeast.

As a result, spring in Southwest Florida always experiences a noteworthy bump in the number of buyers who have sworn an oath to never spend another winter shoveling snow or chipping away at the ice beneath it.   For many, it is finally time to make good on their annual vow to purchase a home in Florida before the next winter’s onslaught begins.  Typically, their shopping starts now and lasts all summer long.

Admittedly, year-round sunshine and beautiful beaches are a huge part of why most of us came to Florida in the first place.  But if these were the only reasons, then just about any coastal town in peninsular Florida would be an acceptable choice.

Instead, people choose to live in the Sarasota-Manatee-Charlotte Counties area because its award winning beaches and dependably warm weather are just the beginning of an extraordinary lifestyle that is truly second to no other region of Florida.

In naming Sarasota a “Dream Town,” in its March 2015 issue, Coastal Living Magazine summed up the area’s lifestyle appeal in these words:

“Sometimes you give up big-city pleasures to enjoy life by the sea. But here on a gracefully curving bay south of Tampa, there’s been no such sacrifice. The remarkable reality—and surprise—of Sarasota is the pairing of a thriving arts and culture scene with world-class beaches; a combination that’s made all the sweeter by the local, laid-back Gulf vibe.”  (more…)

The Gulf Coast Goes Viral with #SaundersSights

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Grand Prize Winner. Photo Joshua McLendon. Boca Grande.

Over 1,350 photos from hundreds of participants covering four Gulf Coast counties, $2,000 in prize money, four weekly winners, one grand prize winner, and more stunning sunset snapshots than we could have possibly imagined, and the close of the #SaundersSights photo contest  goes out with a bang!

Included in the contest were any photos shared via Instagram and Twitter with the #SaundersSights hashtag, as well as images uploaded to theSaundersBlog and the SaundersSights Facebook Gallery. While any photo shared since last June were under consideration, only five entries could win the prizes that were announced over the last four weeks. (more…)

Caravanning the Sands of Longboat Key

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It was a Tuesday like any other (unless you included my epic internal struggle as I am trying my best to go coffee-free). Still, I made it to the Michael Saunders & Company sales meeting on time (8:30am) and in typical fashion, I took it all in as MSC agents connected over coffee (sigh) on the state of the market, and shared new listings and real estate-related wants and needs.

The Sales Meeting at Selby Gardens

The Sales Meeting at Selby Gardens

As the meeting was coming to an end, I looked closely at the day’s Caravan. Now, while the word caravan typically conjures up images of desert sands, camels, and perhaps Peter O’Toole, for Michael Saunders & Company, it is a tried and true Tuesday tradition.  (more…)

Modern Family

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Mention “family” in a crowded room and you might well evoke a different image in the mind of every person who hears you utter the word.

The Many Forms of Family
The traditional Leave it to Beaver notion of a nuclear family—that of a working dad, stay-at-home mom and their all-American kids—has long since given way to a more inclusive concept of “family” as currently portrayed in the popular TV sitcom Modern Family.  There, the central character is an affluent, divorced grandfather who has wed a young Hispanic woman and accepted the late-in-life challenge of starting a whole new family.  His new family is juxtaposed against his adult daughter’s more traditional suburban family; as well as his son’s household, in which the young gay attorney is co-parenting an adopted Asian child with his stay-at-home male spouse.  Beyond the comic possibilities, the show’s premise makes it abundantly clear that families now come in all shapes and sizes, even though the traditional concept of family togetherness is still the central focus of our lives.

The Social Evolution of Singletons
Even people who live the single life—either by choice or through such circumstances as divorce or widowhood—often develop their own sense of family by nurturing close ties to their friends; and yes, even to their pets.  With more than 50% of Americans now living single, the option to remain solo by choice has quietly become one of the most fascinating social evolutions of the past 50 years.  So says author and NYU professor Eric Klinenberg, whose book Going Solo explores the phenomenon in depth.  (more…)

The Definitive Guide to Today’s Affluent Buyer and Seller

Michael Saunders & Company’s affiliate specializing in luxury real estate and the international market, Luxury Portfolio, has released their 2015 white paper examining the emerging class of the global affluent. The study takes an in depth look at consumers in the top 10% in a dozen countries spanning North American, Europe and Asia-Pacific.

Click on this link to learn the latest trends, facts, and figures effecting the luxury real estate market(more…)

Casey Key: Beachfront and Boating Bliss

Casey Key has recently found its way into the national spotlight.  The Today Show , Realtor.com, and other news sources have reported that Rosie O’Donnell, who is going through a divorce, is selling her luxurious island home.

703 Casey Key Rd, Nokomis, FL 34275 – MLS A4113565, Michael Saunders & Company

As one of the gems of our Gulf Coast, Casey Key rests alongside Nokomis, fifteen miles south of Sarasota. A barrier island, it has long maintained something of off-the-radar status. Its secluded, understated way of life has appealed to many affluent, private individuals – including celebrities.

The landmark and historic Blackburn Point Bridge offers a glimpse into the island’s low key lifestyle.

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And the Oscar for Best Tax Climate Goes to….

OscarAfter Sunday night’s Academy Awards, America’s annual season of awards begins to wind down. Naturally, these award shows remind us of all the “best of” accolades that have been regularly bestowed on our region by a number of media organizations.

Topping the List
To wit, Southwest Florida perennially tops just about any list of America’s best places to live, work, play, vacation, start a business, buy a home or retire.  Our beaches are repeatedly ranked among the most beautiful in the world, our public schools among the highest-rated academically in all of Florida; and our colleges and universities among the best in their respective disciplines.

Meanwhile, our cultural scene is continually lauded for its depth, variety and bold creative choices; while the region’s emerging reputation as an unparalleled venue for certain prestigious sporting events has spread to such an extent that it has been tapped to host several high-profile international competitions in the weeks and months ahead.

Even as this column is being written, Siesta Key’s public beach has just been named the best beach in America on TripAdvisor.com’s  2015 Travelers’ Choice Awards.  And the accolades just keep on coming. (more…)

Siesta Key: Top Homes on the Top Ranked Beach

Trip Advisor has awarded the very best in travel destinations for 2015, and Siesta Beach was named the number one beach in the United States!

Siesta Beach - Trip Advisor's Top Beach in the United States, 2015 Travelors' Choice Awards

Siesta Beach – Trip Advisor’s Top Beach in the United States, 2015 Travelors’ Choice Awards

To celebrate this achievement, we wanted to share a selection of spectacular Siesta Key homes for sale – all of which are only moments away from white sands, warm waters, and stunning sunsets. (more…)

Vote for Venice: America’s Happiest Seaside Town

HappiestTownsLogo_final2015-2The authority in all things coastal has named Venice, Florida a finalist for “Happiest Seaside Town” in America. Coastal Living has rounded up the top ten seaside destinations that make you smile and while this moniker comes as no surprise for locals and all of us at Michael Saunders & Company, we are thrilled to see it recognized!

To determine the finalists, Coastal Living started with places they designated as a dream town, and then studied their ranks on the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, percentage of clear and sunny days, healthiness of beaches, commute times, walkability, crime ratings, standard of living and financial well-being of the locals, geographic diversity, and their editors’ assessment of each town’s “coastal vibe.”612-Barcelona-Ave---Sharky`s---N5901203_34

We encourage you to show your support of our happy hometown by voting on the Coastal Living website. (more…)

7 Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day in Sarasota and Beyond

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Valentine’s Day is this Saturday, February 14th, and love is certainly in the air on Florida’s Gulf Coast. With an amazing array of events and attractions to enjoy,  here are 7 of the best ways to celebrate this romantic occasion:

Beauty and the Beach
There’s something about the sound of the waves, the salty air and the feeling of sand beneath your feet that is just effortlessly romantic. So this Valentine’s Day, enjoy a long walk on one of the incredible beaches that line our coast. The perfect backdrop to spend your romantic day, you could even treat your valentine to a sunset picnic on the shore. (more…)

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