Archives March, 2010

Green Energy – Top 10 Things to do on St. Patrick’s Day – Sarasota and Beyond

Get in the green mood this St. Patrick's Day.

Whether celebrating your Irish heritage or finding another reason to party, we all have a bit o’ the Irish in us on St. Patrick’s Day. Every March 17, millions of people don green and observe the day with parades, good cheer, a hearty feast, and perhaps a pint of beer.

Regardless of your heritage, it is time to hit the town and celebrate the first green of spring. Here are top St. Patrick’s Day festivities to be found in the Sarasota area that can help you celebrate the green day to the fullest: (more…)

Market In Review: The Wells Fargo ViewSM

Credit Card Reform impacts millions
With an average count of nine credit cards per American household, the new credit card regulations that went into effect on Feb. 22 will have sizeable impact on our country.

The provisions – part of the Credit Card Act signed into law by President Obama on May 22, 2009 – call for credit card companies to give consumers 45 days advance notice of significant changes in the terms of their accounts and the right to ‘opt out’ of the account if they disagree with the new terms. Issuers are required to send bills to consumers at least 21 days in advance of the payment due date, and the due date must be the same every month.

Also, card issuers can no longer:

~ raise interest rates on existing balances unless the card has  a variable interest rate and the underlying index increases, a temporary rate for a specified period of time, or the customer is more than 60 days late on a monthly payment;

~ raise rates on new accounts for a period of 12 months;

~ charge a fee when a consumer exceeds a credit limit, unless the customer opts in to being charged the fee;

~ charge extra for certain payment channels, such as pay by • phone, unless the payment is expedited and representative of the creditor assists;

~ engage in the practice of double cycle billing.

In addition, card issuers are now required to provide more insight to customers about how much it costs to carry a balance on the card by paying only the minimum payments each month and how much the consumer will need to pay to eliminate the balance in three years.

* Article Courtesy of Wells Fargo

Ask Michael – Signs and Trends Pointing to a Market Recovery

In this ask Michael video, Michael Saunders explains the signs and trends observed that point to a market recovery.

Neighborhood Video Profile – Longboat Key

Between the destinations of Lido Key and Anna Maria Island, Longboat Key is a fine mix of tasteful luxury and manicured surroundings.  Just minutes from the heart of Sarasota, the long and narrow island feels like a secluded community with an elegant flavor of its own.

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Pardon Me While I Go Tweet

Despite its relatively brief existence, you’d almost need to be holed-up in the farthest reaches of an unwired galaxy to be unaware of the phenomenon known to billions on this planet as “social networking.”  Love it or hate it, there’s no denying its explosive growth and mushrooming influence.   Facebook, with its more than 400 million active users—half of whom log on to the site daily and remain there for an average of more than 55 minutes—will celebrate only its sixth birthday next month.  On its third birthday in 2007, Facebook boasted a mere 21 million active users spending an average of 20 minutes there each day.  Talk about a colossal growth spurt.

Today, if Facebook were its own nation, it would be the world’s third most populous after China and India.  Far from being for English-speaking users only, 70% of Facebook’s members live outside the U.S and rely on more than 70 available translations.

Social networking.  People either swear by it, or swear at it.  Either way, you can’t ignore the ability of online social networks to instantly touch the lives of massive amounts of people—around the globe—with more useful information and visual content delivered instantly than could ever be efficiently distributed via traditional paid media.

Users of Facebook post more than 60 million status updates each day; along with 3 billion photos and more than 5 billion items of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, etc.) each month.   It’s both a visual feast and an entertaining way to keep abreast of friends, colleagues and acquaintances you might not otherwise communicate with nearly as often—if at all.  New contacts are made and old friendships dusted-off as Facebook users connect with others outside their own social milieu and location, freeing them to form online communities around common interests, instead of just common geography.

Facebook is by no means the only social networking site to boast a massive worldwide audience.  It is joined in that arena by scores of other specialized sites, including Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn. Following January’s annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, global leaders launched their own secure online social network through which they can continue to convene, post new information; and collaborate among sub-groups formed at the meeting.  Dubbed the World Electronic Community—or WELCOM—the forum’s exclusive online network has about 5,000 members.

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The Neighborhood Report – Venice Island

A stroll along the storefronts along Venice Avenue on Venice Island.

People love to live in and visit downtown Venice—located on Venice Island—where they find a small town atmosphere with plenty to see and do. Here, there is an active center of town where you can stroll down Venice Avenue and enjoy the shops and outside cafes, just a breath away from beautiful area beaches. Convenience is key, as one can ride a bike or walk to most places of interest on Venice Island.

Market Activity – Venice Island

In the past 30 days, 17 properties sold and 58 have gone under contract on Venice Island, according to Venice office branch manager Kathy Wood. Recently, Venice office agents Jo-Anne Sckowska and Nell Taylor worked with a vacationing couple who wanted a condominium to use as a vacation place for now and eventually move into. All the properties that met their criteria were in different areas off the island, and Jo-Anne and Nell could tell the homebuyers weren’t very enthusiastic about them. So, the team suggested they view a listing across from the beach with a nice side Gulf view. This listing was a bit dated and needed updating, but was near where they were staying and convenient to all of downtown’s charms. As they walked in and looked out the window at the wonderful view, they were able to overlook the updating needs. They wrote a contract for cash on this island condominium and will go to closing very soon. (more…)

Smart Moving – Top 10 Tips to Help Cut Moving Costs

Moving your things from one home to another doesn't have to be costly.

After searching properties, making offers, securing financing and signing piles of closing papers, you’re finally ready to move your possessions into your new home. Understandably, by this point you and your finances are equally exhausted, so the thoughts of shelling out more money for moving can become quite daunting.

Fortunately, moving your things from one abode to another doesn’t have to be as costly as you think. By following the 10 tips below, you can help make your move a little easier and a lot more wallet-friendly:

1.  Garage Sale – If you plan to hire a moving company, many base their prices on what they need to move. So, get rid of the things you really don’t need or no longer use. The best way? Sell it in a garage sale. If you don’t have a lot of items to sell, consider a joint sale with some neighbors. With luck, you can rid yourself of extra baggage and put some money back into your pockets. Can’t sell it? Donate it.

2. Timing is Everything – Most people move on the weekend, so truck rental companies and moving companies will increase their rates for weekends. Move during the week, and you’ll save on a truck rental and movers if you need help loading up or unloading the truck. Also, most choose to move in the summer months, when work may be slower and the kids are out of school. The least expensive time of the year to move is between October and April, so try to schedule your move date then. (more…)

Approaching Equilibrium

A moment that seemed choreographed to cause maximum confusion about whether the housing market is in recovery—or not—took place in real estate markets across Florida last week.  No sooner had the National Association of REALTORS® issued its nationwide snapshot of existing home and condominium sales for the month of January than the Florida Association of REALTORS® released its own statewide recap.  To say the least, the two sets of monthly statistics clashed dramatically, painting very different pictures of the market.

Poised for national sales to finish up slightly in January, economists were caught off balance by NAR’s announcement that unit sales had actually declined nationwide for the second straight month, falling to the lowest level since last June.  Rightly or wrongly, the result was widely interpreted as a sign that the national housing recovery might be faltering.

Then—literally moments later—January sales for Florida were released by the Florida Association of REALTORS®.  The contrast between the two sets of results could not have been sharper; proving once again the old business adage that “all real estate is local.”

Far from mimicking the sluggish national trend, Florida’s existing home sales continue to blaze a trail of sustained recovery in the price ranges below $350,000.  Sales here rose impressively again in January, marking 17 straight months in which statewide sales have increased in year-over-year comparisons.

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The Neighborhood Report – Lido Shores

Lido Shores is home to an array of luxurious homes.

Established in 1950 and nestled between St. Armands and Longboat Key, Lido Shores is an intimate oasis of approximately one hundred homes. The waterfront properties have frontage on Pansy Bayou, Sarasota Bay, the Gulf of Mexico and New Pass, which provide direct deep water boating access to the Gulf of Mexico or Sarasota Bay.

Lido Shore’s location is ideal, within walking distance of St. Armands Circle and Mote Marine, and just a few miles from downtown Sarasota with its restaurants and myriad of cultural activities. Residents have a private beach with pavilion directly on the Gulf of Mexico. The voluntary and friendly Lido Shores Property Owners Association organizes social activities including sunset parties, a Fall House Tour with Dinner, and Spring Beach Barbecue. Some of the most elegant homes in Sarasota are located on Westway Drive, often called “The Rodeo Drive of Sarasota.” (more…)

Top 10 Tips for New Homebuyers

Work with professionals to avoid purchasing a home too small for your family.

Buying your first home is the realization of the American Dream. This exciting, overwhelming and even frightening experience brings an array of emotions brought upon by feelings of achievement, apprehension and joy–all wrapped into the walled and roofed structure you now call home.

To make the most of this life-enhancing event, you need to be sure that every step you take is in the right direction and with your best interests in mind. Before you sign those closing papers, there are many things to consider. To help you along, here are the top 10 tips for new homebuyers who plan to get the most from their first home: (more…)

Go Forward In Time


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