Archives January, 2010


The Buyers’ Choice

If selling your home or condominium is high on your agenda in 2010 here are some important facts you should know.

Any licensed brokerage is capable of listing your property.  But only one is the undisputed leader in finding buyers for homes on Longboat Key. Michael Saunders & Company.

The proof is in the performance.  Based on dollar volume sales over the past 12 months—as recorded by the Mid Florida MLS and published by the leading independent real estate tracking firm TRENDGRAPHIX—agents from Michael Saunders & Company bring buyers to Longboat Key property sales nearly twice as often as their next closest competitor.

As the below bar graphs depict, this phenomenon holds true across all price ranges; but becomes noticeably more dramatic as the price range increases.  For properties $1 million and up, our agents furnish buyers more often than our next four closest competitors combined.

Before you list your Longboat Key property, contact an agent from Michael Saunders & Company.   Find out how the region’s largest network of top-producing agents, its most heavily-frequented Web site and unparalleled network of international brokerage affiliations will help you succeed in finding a buyer faster.  After all, isn’t that what selling your home is all about?

Give a Warm Welcome – Top 10 Tips and Treats for Your Open House

Make your open house special and memorable for your guests.

This time of year on Florida’s Gulf Coast brings an influx of visitors and seasonal residents who take the opportunity to view homes on the market. Perhaps that’s why well-informed real estate agents schedule their Sundays to showcase their properties to interested buyers and prospects.

Holding an open house is a wonderful way to attract attention to a home for sale, so it is important to be sure your home creates a welcoming ambiance of comfort and ease. To do so, it helps to fill the space with pleasant aromas and provide light snacks for your touring guests. While great food won’t always help close the deal, having treats and beverages can make some buyers linger longer and discover the charms of your place for sale.

Here are the top 10 tips and treats for creating a cozy, comforting open house: (more…)

Rule Britannia

As informed trend watchers will tell you, buyers from the United Kingdom are not only among today’s most active homebuyers in Southwest Florida; but have traditionally favored our region over all other possibilities on Florida’s two coasts.  So much, in fact, do they prefer our particular blend of climate, culture and coastal ambiance that they purchase residential properties in the Sarasota-Bradenton-Venice market at a rate nearly three times higher than either of their next two closest preferences—Naples and Tampa-St Petersburg.  (Source:  Florida Association of Realtor’s 2009 Survey of International Homebuyers)

Therefore, the decision to sell your home in Sarasota, Manatee or Charlotte Counties should by all measures include choosing a company that can provide you with the strongest and most comprehensive network of incoming international referrals—both from around the world and across the U.K.

At Michael Saunders & Company, we’re exceptionally proud of our exclusive network of worldwide brokerage affiliations—pieced together carefully over more than three decades—that enable us to put your property on the radar screens of qualified buyers everywhere. These affiliations include Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, Luxury Portfolio, Christie’s Great Estates, the European Real Estate Network and Mayfair International Realty.

While each of these exclusive affiliations is international in scope and strategically important in its own right, Mayfair International Realty is especially key toward helping our agents effectively connect with buyers from the U.K.—who last year alone accounted for 16% of all Florida home sales to foreign buyers.


The Neighborhood Report – Village Green

Well-manicured fairways adorn Village Green's golf course.

Village Green is a prime neighborhood in the city of Bradenton, Florida, with 1,001 residences consisting of 575 freestanding single-family homes and 426 villa condominiums. Many of the condominium sections include community swimming pools among their amenities, and winding paths and tranquil lakes highlight the beautiful, lush surrounds.

Bounded on the north by 7th Avenue West, on the south by 29th Avenue West, on the east by 63rd Street West and on the west by 75th Street West, Village Green enjoys a convenient location close to area shopping and medical services. The sparkling waters of Palma Sola Bay are only three blocks away, and the beautiful beaches on the Gulf of Mexico are a short three-mile drive.

Recent Sales Activity – Village Green

In the last 60 days, there have been seven sales in Village Green, with an average sales price of $156,992. Of the seven residences sold, five were single-family homes and two were villa condominiums.

Agent Kudos – Selling Village Green

Bradenton office agents Kathy Valente and Ally Howell have recently sold a home in Village Green to customers from out of the area. According to Ally, “They buyers fell in love with the home due to the great condition and gorgeous greenbelt view.”

7405 7th W Ave - This 3BR villa is available in Village Green. Listed by Kathy Valente.

The buyers were familiar with Village Green since they have family in the area, so they searched for homes online, where they also located Kathy and Ally for assistance in finding the right property. The residence purchased was a two-bedroom villa condominium with a two-car garage and approximately 2,100 square feet and sold for $136,000.


Linked – Top 10 Real Estate Apps for Droid Phones

More than just phone calls - Droids offer a variety of helpful apps for real estate.

Modern cell phones have come a long way from their bulky, buggy predecessors. Capable of performing many useful tasks, today’s smart phones have become essential daily tools incorporating programs to help with navigation, information gathering, shopping, social networking and more. For those interested in all things real estate, a number of helpful applications (apps) have become available.

Now, beginning your real estate search or learning about specific neighborhoods can be done in the palm of your hands. Whether you want a quick view of available properties, want to learn more about an area, or are a Realtor looking for information on listings and communities, the android smart phone market has some pretty helpful applications for you. Here are the top 10 real estate-based apps for Droid owners: (more…)

Fine Art

Through the soaring limestone, glass and sculpted bronze façade of 20 Rockefeller Center pass one of the world’s most coveted clienteles.  This renowned Midtown Manhattan landmark, long celebrated for its Art Deco design and worldly sophistication, appropriately houses another landmark of worldly sophistication—the 310,000 square-foot North American headquarters of the venerable Christie’s Fine Art Auction House, now in its 243rd year.  Appropriate too because the clientele that step across Christie’s magnificent triple-height threshold represents a cross-section of the most sophisticated and deep-pocketed buyers of fine art, jewelry and antiquities on the planet.  In New York, as elsewhere in the world, Christie’s is a name and place that bespeaks extraordinary art, unparalleled service and expertise; and international wealth and glamour.

What does any of this have to do with buying or selling properties in Southwest Florida?

If you’re selling a luxury home valued at $1 million or up, co-branding the Christie’s name with Michael Saunders & Company—by far the local leader in both listing and bringing buyers to high-value properties—immediately imparts an aura of prestige while heightening overall buyer interest in the property.  At the same time, it affords the opportunity your home to be custom marketed to, among others, the world’s most sophisticated connoisseurs of fine art and luxury properties—customers of Christie’s Fine Art Auction House.  Purchasing second, third or even fourth homes in quality destinations such as ours is front-and-center on the radar screens of many of these high net-worth individuals.   Moreover, they trust the Christie’s name implicitly and immediately realize that even the most complex real estate needs will be handled with Christie’s-like attention to details, service and style by its chosen representative in Southwest Florida—Michael Saunders & Company.

For this reason, Christie’s Fine Art Auction House is the only institution of its kind to wholly own and operate a worldwide network of top-tier real estate brokerages as an important—and some would say vital—service to its customers; and other equally capable homebuyers around the globe.  That service—better known as Christie’s Great Estates—is an international network of luxury real estate brokerages whose strategic connectivity links qualified buyers with properties judged to be among the finest in the world at any given time.



Ask Michael – What Advice Would You Give Real Estate Agents in Today’s Market?

In this Ask Michael video, Michael Saunders lends useful advice to help real estate agents navigate through today’s challenging market.

To see our complete collection of videos, click here.

If you have questions for Michael Saunders, email


In Praise of the Weather

It was so cold last week you could almost feel your eyeballs freeze; which was a nice distraction from hearing your teeth chatter.  We even overheard someone joke—at least we think it was a joke—that it was so cold they had to open the refrigerator to warm-up their condo.

Then, just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse, they did.  The nastiest blast of arctic cold in many years had the supreme bad manners to reserve itself for what might otherwise have been a typically lovely beach and swimsuit weekend.

To add insult to injury, we got no sympathy from our friends and families up north who can’t seem to find a single reason to feel compassion for people who don’t as a rule own winter coats or gloves.  Truth be told, our plants and shrubs were bundled up against the frost better than most of us were.

Which brings us to why on earth we’re pausing today to praise our recent weather.  Sure it was a surprisingly long spell of unusually cold weather—one that only occurs every two decades or so.   But Minnesota it wasn’t.

We are so accustomed to dependably glorious winters in Southwest Florida that it takes one of these rare bouts of frigid weather to remind us just how great we have it.  Luckily, we can take our fabulous winters for granted and be reasonably sure there’ll be others like it year after year.  Not so, many of the other unique diversions that add so much to our region’s stellar reputation and quality of life.


Stay Connected – Top 10 Real Estate iPhone Apps

Simplify your real estate experience with the right apps.

In today’s fast-paced, interconnected business environment, smart phones have become an important way of life for savvy professionals. From advanced GPS capabilities to informative home buying and selling programs, there are a number of highly intuitive iPhone applications (apps) to help anyone navigate through a real estate transaction easier than before.

Here are the top 10 real estate themed apps for iPhone users:

1. Around Me – This free app shows you a complete list of all the businesses in the category you have tapped on along with the distance from where you are. For every listing you can choose to see its location on a map, view the route from where you are, add the information to your contact list or even email the information to a friend.

2. Morgulator – When searching for a new home, a mortgage calculator is a must-have. This app gives you the usual mortgage information based on interest rate, term and downpayment. Just .99.

3. Home Tracker –  When shopping for homes, you’ll easily lose track of all the properties you’ve toured or researched. Home Tracker keeps track for you. Store information on each property such as address, ZIP code, price and size; add notes; take photos; rate the property condition, location and appeal; star your favorites; map the property. Priced at just $4.99. (more…)

The Neighborhood Report – Emerald Harbor

Our office on south Longboat Key specializes in communties throughout the area.

Located near the north end of Longboat Key, Emerald Harbor captures the essence of the Florida lifestyle as a quiet bayfront community. The neighborhood’s 72 homes are all  set on deep boating water along extra wide canals that offer direct access to the Intracoastal Waterway with no bridges to Sarasota Bay. Owners in this desirable community enjoy deeded beach access to Longboat Key’s sandy white beaches just across Gulf of Mexico Drive for shelling, strolling and watching beautiful sunsets.

Market Activity – Emerald Harbor

There are currently four active listings in Emerald Harbor, but activity in Emerald Harbor has been brisk recently with four of the five sales in 2009 occurring in the last four months of the year. One of those sales took place within the last 30 days. Selling prices in this community have ranged from $610,000 to a high of $1.375 million. (more…)

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