Archives October, 2009


Ask Michael Saunders: The Importance of Staging

Does your home give a great first impression? Company founder and CEO Michael Saunders discusses the importance of presenting your home to attract and impress prospective buyers. Learn tips and tools you need to succeed in selling your home in today’s competitive market in an exclusive video interview with the area’s most influential real estate professional:

What are some simple steps a buyer can take when selling their home?

If you have questions for Michael Saunders, email

The Spotlight is On – Top 10 Reasons to Choose Sarasota

Downtown Sarasota sparkles at night in the calm waters of Sarasota Bay.

Downtown Sarasota sparkles at night and reflects off the calm waters of Sarasota Bay.

The web’s most popular social network sites are still buzzing about Sarasota’s recent placement as the #1 city in the United States to buy a home according to real estate maven Barbara Corcoran on NBC’s Today Show. The criterion for her list was simple: these are the cities in which prices have dropped the most, but have seen a boost in the last fiscal quarter.

While those of us who already live in this preferred destination have been aware of its charms for some time, interested homebuyers from around the nation have been zeroing in on our area upon hearing this recent spotlight of hope that has been pointed in our direction. To help them along, we are proud to present the top 10 reasons why now is the right time to choose Sarasota as a place to live: (more…)


Embracing Short Sales


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Very few terms in the real estate lexicon have the ability to incite major heartburn faster than “short sale.” Once a largely unknown (and poorly understood) process to even the most experienced agents, the term has bullied its way into common everyday usage thanks to continued fallout from the contracting economy, the mortgage meltdown and acute sluggishness in the now-recovering housing sector. Simply put, a short sale is a transaction in which the proceeds from the sale of a property at current market value are expected to fall short of the balance owed on the loan securing it. In such a sale, the bank or lender is formally petitioned to approve a discounted loan balance once financial hardship on the part of the seller is proven. A buyer is then able to purchase the home at the agreed-upon price, which is at or slightly below the going market rate.

Alas, we wish it were as simple and straightforward as it sounds. Far from what its name suggests, a short sale is anything but speedy. Short sales are negotiated at least twice, first between the buyer and seller; then ultimately between the seller and the bank. Long vexing delays are the norm after a contract is presented to a bank for formal approval by its loss mitigation department. Typically, it takes several months—at best—to complete a short sale, with no guarantee at the outset of a positive result in the end. In fact, all efforts in the end may not prevent the property from going into foreclosure. Agents have been known to spend upwards of 120 hours on a single case; only to see their efforts amount to nothing when the lender ultimately refuses to budge. Moreover, navigating the short sale process has been compared to trying to nail Jell-o to the wall—only slower and more exasperating. The process is extremely fluid, poorly-defined; and without a clear set of procedures for agents or sellers to follow. A callback might be inadvertently missed which can rotate your file back to the bottom of the pile. Under the best of circumstances, you need the patience of Job, the persistence of a marathon runner and the nerve of a tight-rope walker to manage a successful short sale transaction.


Ask Michael – Market Cycles

In an exclusive interview with Michael Saunders, we ask her the following:

Looking through the historical lens, how does today’s real estate downturn compare to other market cycles?

If you have questions for Michael Saunders, email

The Neighborhood Report – Englewood Areas

The Englewood area offers an assortment of lifestyle options. From soaring condominium residences to quaint beach cottages, there is something to suit every taste.

The Englewood area offers an assortment of lifestyle options. From soaring condominium residences to quaint beach cottages, there is something to suit every taste.

The old adage “location, location, location” is an apt description of the undiscovered Englewood, Placida, Punta Gorda area. It is a Mecca for water lovers; from world-class fishing and boating to its uncrowded beaches, there is always a water sport or recreational activity to enjoy. This area is perfect for those who want a quiet and laidback lifestyle, but also want to be within proximity to fine dining, cultural activities and night life, as downtown Sarasota offers many amenities and is an easy drive.
Market Update

Barbara Saputo, branch manager of Michael Saunders & Company’s Englewood office, reports a significant increase in property showings in the last few weeks for listings priced according to current conditions. Those that are priced to the market are going to get shown, from the high-end, beachfront condominiums to the moderately priced single-family homes. Buyers will also find new construction properties throughout the area—of particular interest are the single-family units in Pennington Place and paired villas in Stillwater. Both neighborhoods are conveniently located, gated, and offer a host of community amenities. (more…)


Today Show’s Barbara Corcoran Calls Sarasota the #1 Best Market in the U.S. to Buy A Home

Exciting news for the Sarasota, Florida, area! The Today Show’s Al Roker talked to real estate guru Barbara Corcoran about the US cities where you can get the biggest bang for your buck. Together, they reviewed the 10 Biggest Markets on Sale across the country, cities where prices have dropped the most, and the areas with the greatest real estate values.

Barbara said that this is the time to buy in these particular places. The number #1 city on the list was Sarasota, FL!

Now is definitely the time to buy real estate in Sarasota while prices are still down significantly.

See the Today Show video of the 10 Biggest Markets on Sale below:

Visit for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Need Assistance? – Top 10 Tips for Choosing the Right Realtor

Take your time and find the right Realtor for you and your family. Image courtesy of sandywright.

Take your time and find the right Realtor for you and your family. Image courtesy of sandywright.

When you decide to buy or sell a home, you are about to embark on one of the most important financial situations most people face, yet so many give too little thought to finding the right real estate agent to assist their unique needs. When working with the ideal agent, you can save yourself time and aggravation in your real estate experience in selling your home for top dollar or finding the home that suits your price range and taste.

Here are 10 helpful tips to help you choose the right Realtor for you: (more…)

Can You Do It?



Can you effectively introduce a business unit which is counter-intuitive to the very foundation that your company was built on? The answer is an emphatic YES! Michael Saunders and Company started in 1976 as the premier luxury real estate firm serving the Sarasota elite and expanded over the years to meet the demands of the affluent along Florida’s Gulf Coast.

For years, their sales price has been significantly higher than the MLS in all areas serviced and $1MM+ sales were the norm. But even then, while known as the luxury leader in Sarasota, they did in fact handle less expensive homes by appealing to the wants and needs of those buyers.

In 2008, in response to the changing real estate market, the company continued to adapt to the times by actively seeking and obtaining key REO accounts to augment revenue. By creating a completely separate division (BEST Opportunities & Bank Owned Properties) with a unique logo but similar color scheme, MS&C has successfully integrated a profitable division which might to some seem, detrimental to the core foundation on which the company was built. As a result, their market share continues to grow while their competitors on the sidelines look on.

Since the inception of the program, MS&C has experienced a 35.8% closed conversion rate for properties in the program. According to recent website statistics, a Best Opportunities property attracts 4-5 times more visitors than an IDX listing. In addition to this, clients stay on a Best Opportunities property detail page 35% longer than IDX listings and 97% of the visitors view two or more properties.

“Our mission is to be the market leader,” comments Michael Saunders, “and that requires us to be nimble in dealing with whatever market is handed to us. But we believe we can still do that in the context of the brand we have built…as the brokerage of choice of the most discriminating consumers.”

Posted By: Jana Coleman, LeadingRE Regional Vice President, Southeast

Doing Business in Paradise


Photo Credit: Lori Sax

There wasn’t an empty seat in the Ritz-Carlton ballroom a couple of weeks ago when the Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County held its annual Hall of Fame Awards luncheon to recognize outstanding achievement by some of our most dynamic home-grown businesses. At a time when business is being attacked on every front by a viciously contracting economy, it was a solidly upbeat audience of nearly 400 attendees that stood and roared its approval for each of the honorees who—though vastly different in their business enterprises—are united by a common commitment to outstanding corporate citizenship, community involvement and environmental sustainability.

The awards kicked-off with the annual presentation of the Clyde Nixon Business Leadership Award—so named in memory of the late, much-admired chairman of Sun Hydraulics.  It is bestowed each year on an individual who exhibits the same corporate values and leadership skills for which Nixon is still remembered.  Clyde, as his wife Joan described in remarks prefacing the award, was never more tireless or enthusiastic than when he was up to his neck in community development activities.  “He loved chairing, mentoring and helping people succeed at all levels,” she said in recalling his legacy.

Sitting near the front of the room, a totally unsuspecting Michael Saunders didn’t have to travel more than a few steps to receive the prestigious leadership award after suddenly learning that she was this year’s recipient.  She enthusiastically accepted the honor on behalf of all area business leaders.


Go Forward In Time

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