Archives November, 2009

Market In Review: The Wells Fargo ViewSM

Refinances and first-time homebuyer property sales largely contributed to third quarter volume

Consumers were active in the housing market during the third quarter with refinance and purchase applications. Existing homeowners fueled the refi activity, and first-time homebuyers accounted for 43% of home purchases in August, according to the Sept. 18 issue of Inside Mortgage Finance.

In a September 2009 Wells Fargo Home Mortgage survey, 56% of first-time homebuyers cited the $8,000 tax credit for their reason to purchase. Low interest rates drove 66% of these borrowers, and 74% attributed the decision to low home prices.


In the same survey, renters shared their reasons for intending to purchase their first home within six months. Roughly 84% said low home prices were the reason, 74% cited low interest rates, and 72% referenced the tax credit as the key deciding factor.

As of the publication date, there is still debate in Congress about whether the first-time homebuyer tax credit will be extended beyond the Nov. 30 deadline.

When will local housing markets recover?
Recent news released from the National Association of REALTORS® showed that pending home sales have increased for seven consecutive months based on contracts signed in August. In addition, the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices demonstrated that the annual decline in home price values continues to slow and that many markets have experienced some sustained monthly increases.


Human Resources

Strength in NumbersAs a company intent on providing the best possible customer service, we succeed in direct proportion to how well our agents can do their jobs.  So its music to our ears when we hear newer agents, veteran agents—and former agents returning home from other companies—tell us how delighted they are to be where the best resources are. Here’s what some of them said when asked why they chose Michael Saunders & Company as their base for serving their clients and customers.

Every Tuesday morning, scores of our agents pack a church hall in South Sarasota to preview the company’s newest listings, share ideas and professional secrets, welcome new agents; and generally discuss best practices for selling properties in today’s market.  Each week, Michael weighs-in with new ideas and initiatives before they fan out to preview their colleagues’ newest listings, offer solid advice on proper pricing and generally support each other’s efforts to succeed on behalf of their clients.

At last week’s meeting, Michael enthusiastically welcomed Judy Arreola—a veteran top-producing agent—back to the fold after several years with another company.  As her business partner, Kristina Talkie—who is joining MS&C for the first time—looked on, Judy rose to let everyone know why there’s no place like home.

“Wow, where do I begin,” she said.  “Michael’s business practices, her professionalism, integrity and aptitude for the business are unparalleled in our profession.  Michael is a local girl who truly cares about Sarasota, loves real estate and surrounds herself with the best marketing and technology teams in the business.  Working with this outstanding woman is a golden opportunity.”



Remarkable Sherwood Forest Home – Sarasota, FL

The Michael Saunders & Company video team is pleased to present Marianne LeBar’s listing at 4745 Maid Marian Lane. This beautiful home is located in the Sherwood Forest Subdivision in Sarasota, FL.


The Neighborhood Report – Stoneybrook in Palmer Ranch

The villas in Stoneybrook offer a unique lifestyle surrounded by lush landscaping.

The villas in Stoneybrook offer a unique lifestyle surrounded by lush landscaping.

Palmer Ranch is brimming with beautiful neighborhoods and lifestyle options offering the best in country club living and resort-style amenities. Designed around a gorgeous 18-hole golf course, Stoneybrook Golf & Country Club is a gated community of over 850 single-family homes, attached villas and maintenance-free condominiums enveloped by well-manicured landscaping and grounds.

As specialists in Palmer Ranch properties, the agents of our Palmer Ranch office provide the most in-depth market experience in the area. Palmer Ranch office manager Darla Furst keeps a close watch on the market throughout Sarasota, where she notices strong activity in the Stoneybrook community, which currently has 56 active listings. Of these available properties, 10 are single-family homes and the rest are balanced between condominiums and villas. (more…)

Park It – Top 10 Sarasota Area Parks

Fall is the perfect time to enjoy a picnic in any of our area parks.

Fall is the perfect time to enjoy a picnic in any of our area parks.

Now that the crisp fall weather has put a slight chill to the air and cooled the water of the Gulf of Mexico, our beautiful beaches are frequented much less than when the days of summer provided sun-drenched fun in the sand. While a day at the beach becomes a little less attractive, the weather is perfect for outdoor recreation at one of our many area parks.

Filled with an assortment of recreational facilities to ensure a healthy, active lifestyle, the parks throughout Sarasota County serve as the perfect destinations for biking, hiking, canoeing, picnicking, camping and more. So, plan an afternoon to enjoy our perfect fall weather at one of these top 10 Sarasota area parks: (more…)

Primary Choice

8000taxcreditHomebuyers probably don’t see themselves this way, but as they step up to take advantage of the best housing values in more than a decade each becomes their own personal economic stimulus package, securing for themselves a fabulous long term investment even as they help rescue the economy from the mess it’s in.  More likely, they see themselves as grand prize winners in the housing sweepstakes; smartly timing the market just as prices are bottoming, interest rates are at an all-time low and the first time homebuyer tax credit is on hand to add an extra dollop of icing to the cake.  Moreover, if you also happen to be a newcomer to Florida your decision to move your primary residence to one of the least-taxed states in America will be the gift that keeps on giving.

For the stragglers among us—not to mention many would-be buyers who didn’t quite qualify for the first round of housing tax credits—Congress has just rolled back the clock by about six months to allow one last opportunity to take advantage of what has been an enormously popular and effective incentive.  Judging by the number of homes sold since the tax credit first went into effect; this is one of the few economic stimulus measures that have truly found its way down to the grass roots level.  We applaud Congress for not only renewing the credit in a landslide, bi-partisan vote, but also for broadening its benefits to include a substantially larger pool of potential move-up buyers.  At the end of the day, every buyer who uses the credit to sweeten an already great deal moves the housing market one transaction closer to shoring-up the rest of the economy.  Indeed, most economists are of the mind that until the housing market regains its footing, the overall economic recovery will simply stumble forward with precious little for anyone to cheer about.

Under the revised rules of the extended tax credit:

  • First time home buyers can now receive up to an $8,000 tax credit by entering into a binding contract on or before April 30, 2010; and closing by June 30, 2010.
  • Buyers who have lived in their residences for five years may now receive a credit of up to $6,500 (or, up to $3,250 for a married individual filing separately).
  • The tax credit is now available to individuals earning up to $125,000—or $250,000 for couples—on homes priced to $800,000



Ask Michael – The Importance Of Company Values

We asked Michael, what her thoughts were on why Michael Saunders & Company has been so successful in its 30+ years of service.

Michael discusses the company’s beginning and building its foundation on values and consistency, the very high standards our clients can always count on.

The Neighborhood Report – Anna Maria Island

The laidback lifestyle on Anna Maria Island attracts many interested homebuyers.

The laidback lifestyle on Anna Maria Island attracts many interested homebuyers.

Wonderful values make the current real estate market very appealing to buyers. Pam Ali, branch manager of Michael Saunders & Company’s Bradenton office, notices an increase in activity on Manatee County’s beautiful Anna Maria Island.

The Anna Maria area offers a true Florida island lifestyle. The quaint feeling of smaller buildings and beautiful beaches attracts buyers who are looking for a quiet place to unwind. Many of those who have purchased on Anna Maria Island have done so for either a second home or to completely relocate to enjoy the ultimate in Florida island living. Walking on the beaches, watching sunsets, kayaking the sparkling waterways and excellent fishing are the ways of life on the island, and today’s market has offered many opportunities for buyers in all price ranges to take advantage of some of the best properties available. (more…)


Play Ball


Ed Smith Stadium

As they write the newest chapter in Sarasota’s 85-year history of hosting major league baseball’s annual rite of spring, the Baltimore Orioles carry on a tradition started long ago when the New York Giants—recruited with the help of John Ringling—first came to Sarasota in 1924, having just won back-to-back World Series in 1921 and 1922 and the National League pennant in 1923.  Other teams that have called Sarasota home throughout the intervening years include the Boston Red Sox, the Chicago White Sox and the Cincinnati Reds.

Although the official start of Spring Training is still more than three months away, the Baltimore Orioles fly into town on Saturday to participate in Family FanFest, at Ed Smith Stadium.  The event—hosted in conjunction with The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce and Sarasota Convention and Visitors Bureau—marked the first official Sarasota welcome for the Orioles since July’s announcement that the team would move its spring training operations here.

“The Orioles are extremely excited to be a part of the Sarasota community, and this event is our first opportunity to meet many of our new neighbors,” said Greg Bader, the Orioles’ Director of Communications.  “Our year-round partnership extends well beyond the traditional spring training season, as we look forward to demonstrating our commitment to the community in the weeks, months and years to come.”

While the Baltimore Orioles have a long and distinguished tradition of being deeply involved in the philanthropic lives of the communities they call home, Sarasota is already assured of a grand slam when the team takes the field at Ed Smith Stadium.  Baseball is big business in Florida, and this year’s Grapefruit League play comes at a time when our local economy has rarely needed a bases-loaded home run more.



What You Should Know – $8,000 Homebuyer Tax Credit Extension FAQs

Congress extends the popular $8,000 tax credit for homebuyers.

Congress extends the popular $8,000 tax credit for homebuyers.

New legislation passed through the United States Congress has extended and expanded the first-time homebuyer tax credit. The tax credit now applies to sales occurring on or after January 1, 2009 and on or before April 30, 2010. However, the law also allows home sales occurring by June 30, 2010 to qualify, provided they are due to a binding sales contract on or before April 30, 2010.

The extended Act covers sales occurring after November 6, 2009, and establishes income limits of $125,000 for single taxpayers and $225,000 for married couples filing joint returns. The new law:

• Extends the deadline for purchasing and closing on a home
• Authorizes the credit for long-time homeowners buying a replacement primary
• Raises the income limitations for homeowners claiming the credit

The Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009 has also established a tax credit of up to $6,500 for qualified move-up/repeat home buyers (existing home owners) purchasing a primary residence after November 6, 2009 and on or before April 30, 2010.

Below are basic questions and answers regarding the extended $8,000 Homebuyer Tax Credit and the $6,500 move-up/repeat buyer credit. For more in-depth queries, we encourage you to consult a qualified tax advisor or professional. (more…)

Go Back In Time

Google Profile