Archives September, 2009


Agents Aware – Top 10 Safety Tips For Realtors

Take the steps to ensure your safety.                                 Image courtesy of

Take the steps to ensure your safety. Image courtesy of

September is Safety Month for Realtors for the National Association of Realtors (NAR). While the association dedicates this month to spotlight the importance of personal safety, we would like to take the time to remind all real estate agents of the necessary precautions to be practiced regularly to keep them out of harm’s way.

The following 10 tips and tools serve as guidelines to help Realtors establish and maintain a safety-based routine to their daily procedures:

1. Meet clients for the first time in your office and ask for identification. Find out as much as you can about your new prospect, such as their occupation, interests, family, etc. Introduce all clients to coworkers and make it clear you will be taking them out of the office.

2.  Be sure your cell phone is fully charged and in your possession at all times. Pre-program emergency contacts as your speed dial options. Designate a mundane password or phrase with someone to serve as an alert. For example, “Can you please pull the Jones file before I return to the office?” (more…)

Fuzzy Math

Fuzzy Math, Photo Credit:

In case you missed the news—which is highly unlikely if you looked at TV, listened to the radio, read a newspaper or browsed the web in the past week—Florida has allegedly lost population for the first time since World War II.  A huge problem, the journalists all agree, since the Sunshine State historically relies on steady growth to fuel its economy.  (Doesn’t everyone?)

It must’ve been a slow news week.  The media sank its teeth into this particular item like a pit bull on steroids; reporting it in such somber tones you could almost hear the death knell in the background.  Please observe a moment of silence, it tolled. Florida has passed.

Here, for example, is how the New York Times reported the news:

Choked by record level of foreclosures and unemployment, along with a helping of disillusionment, the state’s population declined by 58,000 people from April 2008 to April 2009, according to the University of Florida’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research.  Except for the years around World War I and II, it was the state’s first population loss since at least 1900.

“It’s dramatic,” said Stanley K. Smith, an economics professor at the University of Florida who compiled the report.  “You have a state that was booming and has been a leader in population grown for the last 100 years that suddenly has seen a substantial shift.”



The Neighborhood Report – Longboat Key Communities

A View of the Gulf from 6171 Gulf of Mexico Drive - Sleepy Lagoon

A View of the Gulf from 6171 Gulf of Mexico Drive - Sleepy Lagoon

Sales of desirable, well-priced properties are happening on Longboat Key, according to Georgina Clamage, branch manager of Michael Saunders & Company’s Longboat Key South office. Longboat Key is Sarasota’s only barrier island offering a country club lifestyle with a beautiful beach and marina, fabulous restaurants and a thriving arts community.

Successes in Sales

Sleepy Lagoon

On the north end of the key, one of the more popular communities is Sleepy Lagoon. Located in a laidback part of the key with properties on both the Gulf of Mexico and Sarasota Bay, Sleepy Lagoon has become a major point of interest. In fact, 7 of the 12 sales there this year have been in the last 90 days. Listing agents Emmy Lou Gilbert, Michael Yawitz and Saint Cacchiotti of the Longboat Key South office worked with their sellers to keep them up-to-the-minute on the local market conditions, which resulted in successful sales for each in July. Terri Derr and Ken Torrington, also of the Longboat Key South office, sold 6429 Gulfside Road, a Gulf-front home that had been on the market since early 2007 and finally reached a price that the buyers couldn’t resist. (more…)

If They Gave Awards for Sand … Well, They Do ( article)

Photo provided by

Fate smiled on Siesta Key, near Sarasota on Florida’s Gulf Coast, giving it powdery white quartz sand that stays cool even in the hottest summer weather. Photo by Chip Litherland for The New York Times/


SUMMER may seem an odd time to flee to Florida, but thanks to a happy accident of geology, there’s one small island there that may be better to visit the more the mercury rises.

“Do you really have to put this in your paper?” asked a frequent visitor, Linda Guckenberger of Columbus, Ind. “Siesta Key is a hidden treasure, especially in the summer. The heat in Indiana is oppressive in August, so when we tell people we’re going to Florida, they think we’re nuts. They say, ‘Why aren’t you going north?’ ”

Siesta Key, an eight-mile-long, crescent-shaped barrier island on the Gulf Coast south of Sarasota, is becoming more popular in hotter months as tourists discover its powdered-sugar white sand that seems always to stay cool, no matter how high the heat outside. Other enticements include cool gulf breezes; clear, temperate, turquoise water; and huge discounts on accommodations from July through September at luxury high-rises, cozy cottages and funky beachfront bungalows.


The Neighborhood Report – Manatee County

Properties on Tidy Island

Properties on Tidy Island

Turn-of-the-century bayside villages, quiet rural settings, country club communities, comfortable urban neighborhoods and secure retirement enclaves are all part of Bradenton and Manatee CountyBordering the Gulf of Mexico between Tampa and Sarasota, Manatee County has earned the reputation of being one of the friendliest communities in on the Gulf Coast, in addition to its diverse neighborhoods and Florida charm. The agents of our Bradenton office proudly serve the residential opportunities throughout Manatee County and beyond.

Manatee County Sales Reports

Pam Ali, branch manager of Michael Saunders & Company’s Bradenton office, is pleased to report significant activity in home sales throughout Manatee County. In the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) for Manatee County, there were 243 single-family homes that sold in the last 30 days. The average sales price was $230,488. (more…)

Who Knew?

IMG Academies in Bradenton

IMG Academies in Bradenton

Not long ago we wrote about the various educational institutions that make Southwest Florida more than just a pretty place to live. The region is amazingly top heavy with superb choices to match the goals and aspirations of every serious-minded student, artist or athlete.  Just this week, in fact, it was learned that more kudos are due Dr. Larry Thompson and his Ringling College of Art and Design for being the first arts school ever named to U.S. News & World Report’s annual publication America’s Best Colleges.  No surprise there.

Recently, we were once again reminded how incredibly diverse our academic choices are when we were given a tour of one the area’s most unique institutions—Bradenton’s IMG Academies—which clearly inhabits a class unto itself.  Happily, the eye-opening tour was part of a larger mission.  Michael Saunders & Company has just become the official on-site real estate brokerage for this remarkable collection of training academies, each entirely devoted to excellence in a single sport.  A new full-service branch office of Michael Saunders & Company—our 17th—is now open and operating from the Clubhouse at IMG Academies.


The Neighborhood Report – Downtown Sarasota

Alinari - Downtown Sarasota Living

Alinari - Downtown Sarasota Living

The condominiums gracing Sarasota’s downtown offer a carefree lifestyle among an assortment of exciting amenities. As area prices have decreased considerably, buyers from around the world are taking advantage of once-in-a-lifetime values in some of downtown’s most sought-after complexes, namely One Hundred Central, Plaza at Five Points, Condo on the Bay, The Ritz-Carlton Tower Residences, The Residences at The Ritz-Carlton, Kanaya and The Renaissance, among many others. Gary Loughlin, branch manager of Michael Saunders & Company’s Main Street office, reports a standout opportunity in residences in Alinari. This beautiful location has experienced dramatically reduced developer prices on units, some up to 40 percent lower than the beginning of 2009, resulting in a steady flood of homebuyers taking interest.

Success Stories from Main Street

Main Street agent Karen Wall is the site representative for Michael Saunders & Company at Alinari. In the last few months, Karen has been involved in ten closed sales and currently has several more under contract. One recent buyer found the opportunity so exceptional that they purchased two units.

Until the price modifications were put into effect, the sales in the building had been quite slow for an extended period of time. These adjustments have definitely created a very strong buyer interest, with many people who previously viewed the units returning to purchase.

Gary’s Bottom Line – Advice to Homebuyers

Do not try to time the bottom of the market!  Right now, there are many fine properties and very attractive prices. Buyers are finding extraordinary values and moving on them.

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