Archives April, 2010

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Michael Saunders & Company Among First U.S. Brokerages To Adopt The Roost Social Real Estate Toolkit, Bringing MLS Search Capabilities To Facebook

Southwest Florida Brokerage Joins 11 of the Nation’s Most Progressive Real Estate Firms in Expanding And Improving Its Social Media Presence

SAN FRANCISCO, California—(April 20, 2010)—Roost Inc. (roost.com), a real estate technology company that displays over four million real estate listings and provides advertising solutions to real estate agents and brokers, announced today that Michael Saunders & Company—along with 11 other of the country’s top real estate brokerage firms—have signed on to its Facebook-based platform, Social Real Estate.  Roost’s brokerage solution is an extension of its free Social Real Estate Toolkit, released earlier this year; and is the first Facebook application to integrate a full, MLS-compliant property search.

In addition to MS&C, companies that have executed agreements with Roost include Intero Real Estate Services (CA), Surterre Properties (CA), Real Estate One (MI), Houlihan Lawrence Real Estate (NY), RE/MAX Alliance Group (AZ), Amelia Bullock Realtors (TX), Century 21 Advantage Gold (PA), Zephyr Real Estate (CA), FresYes Realty (CA), Seven Gables Real Estate (CA) and Jordan Baris Realtors (NJ).

Michael Saunders & Company is the only Florida-based brokerage to sign-on to Roost’s innovative new Facebook-based real estate platform.

“It became clear to us quite some time ago that Facebook, chief among other social networking platforms, was filled with strategic marketing opportunities for our company; but we wanted to make sure we approached it properly and in a way that was at once effective, efficient and coherent from a brand perspective,” said Michael Saunders, founder and CEO of the 34-year-old Gulf Coast brokerage that bears her name.  “Roost made it very easy to move forward with confidence because it disseminates real estate content we know consumers want; then customizes it to reflect the values of our brand.”

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The Neighborhood Report – Downtown Punta Gorda

Revitalized and Refreshed: Discover the charms of downtown Punta Gorda. Image courtesy of tampabay.com.

The City of Punta Gorda was founded in 1882 by Colonel Isaac Trabue on 30 acres of land on the southern shore of Charlotte Harbor. A fire downtown destroyed almost all of Punta Gorda in 1905. After this disaster, the city council mandated all new businesses and homes be constructed of brick or concrete. After the completion of the first bridge across Charlotte Harbor in 1921, the great Florida boom reached the fishing village of Punta Gorda, and several key structures were built including City Hall, the Old Courthouse, Charlotte High School and the Punta Gorda Ice Plant

An Area of Revitalization – Downtown Punta Gorda

In 2004, the damage Hurricane Charley inflicted on the Punta Gorda area included many homes, structures and historical landmarks. A number of revitalization projects took place in the following years involving federal grants for restorations and amenities throughout the downtown corridor. Laishley Park Municipal Marina was constructed along Charlotte Harbor, the second largest harbor in the State of Florida with world-class fishing and access to the Gulf of Mexico. The marina has 85 boat slips and a boat launch for public use. A newly constructed Boat and Sail Club at Alice Park offers a kayak and canoe launch, along with powerboat dockage. The new construction of the Charlotte Event Center on Charlotte Harbor will bring culture and special events to the downtown corridor, and 800 new hotel rooms and restaurants add charm to the historic and downtown feel of the city. (more…)

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Don’t Shoot the Messenger

courtesy of mignatti.com

David Ramsey, the noted financial author, radio host and TV personality who guests on such programs as The Oprah Winfrey Show, 60 Minutes and The Early Show believes that a good broker or financial advisor must possess the heart of an educator. Not a salesman.

That sentiment applies to real estate agents as well. For ours is the moral and fiduciary obligation to keep our clients and customers as well-informed as possible regarding trends in the market that will likely impact their decision to buy, sell or wait.

We were reminded of our role as educators recently when a local debate broke out involving the frustratingly slow market for properties priced above $1 million. Does the upper tier need a downward price correction like the one that helped re-ignite sales of properties priced below $300,000? Or is the luxury market, as the other side contends, largely immune to the depth of correction that was needed to breathe new life into the lower tiers of the market.

The best way to settle this argument is by referencing Trendgraphix, whose unbiased reports reveal actual market trends based on actual market sales. Among other useful data, each new Trendgraphix report furnishes the most up-to-date snapshot we have of exactly what is selling in our market; and how much buyers are willing to pay relative to what sellers are hoping to net.

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Computer-generated visuals help buyers envision different decor

By MARSHA FOTTLER Correspondent, Sarasota Herald-Tribune

When Jerry and Kelley Lavin decided to place their custom home in The Oaks on the market, they needed an edge to compete with the dozens of other condominiums and houses currently for sale in their tony gated community in Osprey.

They found it in the virtual world. Encouraged by their real estate agent to “stage” the home with neutral furnishings that would neither distract or discourage potential buyers, they instead decided to keep the house as it is and instead offer design alternatives rendered by an architect with a computer-assisted design program.

The home, on the bayside of The Oaks, includes five bedrooms, five baths, a huge walk-in pantry, swimming pool, outdoor entertaining area and all kinds of amenities and upgrades you’d expect in a luxury residence, including a 1,300-square-foot, two-story guest house that offers seclusion and sensational views.

“With three room designs to show buyers, the real one and two virtual ones, I can increase the chances that they fall in love with this house because they have three different ways to visualize themselves in it.”

The homeowners worked with architect John Potvin and Baron Construction in 1998 to build a gracious home for easy living that additionally would provide gallery space for their impressive contemporary art collection.

They opted for furnishings that many potential buyers read as contemporary with Asian accents, although the style is actually eclectic. The walls are white, the floors are Philippine shellstone, Jerusalem marble and bamboo. Window treatments are minimal and crown molding is absent. The fireplace, with its marble surround, is sleek and polished. The property is priced at $2,472,000.

Virtual staging

The homeowners’ Realtor, Betty Mullinnix of Michael Saunders & Company, encouraged the Lavins to hire a home stager to maximize the appeal of their custom home to the widest interiors into something more neutral and traditional. This is a look that Mullinnix says most people expect when they tour a home in The Oaks, based on the landscaping, the elevations of the houses and the style of the clubhouse on the east side of Tamiami Trail.

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Neighborhood Video Collection – Casey Key

CASEY KEY is a unique island retreat that it consists almost entirely of single-family homes and private, lush waterfront estates. Vintage beach bungalows are nestled between large elegant homes up and down the island, both on the bay side and the gulf side.

Casey Key residents dwell on this eight-mile long barrier island, with no high rises and no traffic lights. Homes here exude a unique blend of wealth, elegance, and old-Florida charm.

Do it Right – Top 10 Home Buying Mistakes

Your dream home is out there. Be sure to take the right steps to get it. Courtesy of positiverealestateprofessionals.com

With any significant purchase, it is always important to have everything in order to ensure a smooth, stress-free transaction. From planning to payment, the smallest discretion can lead to a nightmare of results and regret. Buying your next—or first—home deserves the same close attention and scrutiny.

As anyone who has ever bought a home or property can attest, the process involves many decisions to be made and even more documents to be signed before the purchase is complete. Along the way, you want to be confident that you took the right steps to protect your best interests. So, if you are about to take the plunge, here are some mistakes to avoid that could mean the difference between a satisfied new homeowner and an unhappy climber on a mountain of debt:

1. Not checking your credit report and score – Review your credit report a few months before you begin your house hunt, and you’ll have time to ensure the facts are correct and dispute mistakes before a mortgage lender checks your credit. You can access a free copy of your credit report HERE once every 12 months. Remember, the cleaner your credit report and the higher your credit score, the more likely you are to be preapproved for a mortgage at a low interest rate. (more…)

Ask Gloria – What do Real Estate Agents have to do Differently in Today’s Market?

In this Ask Gloria Video, Gloria Weed discusses what real estate agents have to do differently in today’s market.

If you have questions for Michael Saunders, email AskMichael@michaelsaunders.com

The Neighborhood Report – Siesta Isles

The white sands of Siesta Key Beach are just a breath away from Siesta Isles.

Enjoy the best of beaching and boating in Siesta Isles, the largest subdivision of waterfront homes adjacent to Siesta Key Beach. Meticulously manicured and tropically appealing, the community was designed with winding streets and curving waterways meandering throughout. The homesites were planned with a mixture of sizes and shapes to avoid a grid-like pattern, and many of the properties are well-shaded by majestic, carefully preserved century-old oak trees. Homes situated on the waterfront offer wide seaways ideal for easy watercraft navigation.

Close-Knit Community – Siesta Isles

The Siesta Isles homeowners association hosts two neighborhood gatherings a year, one is an annual dinner and the other is a beachside cook out. Neighbors have arranged other groups within the community, including a monthly dinner party and a book club. (more…)

Chicken or Egg?

photo courtesy of dannyfranks.wordpress.com

Like the classic conundrum involving which came first, the chicken or the egg, here’s a question that never fails to ignite debate at cocktail parties everywhere:

Which matters more when selling a home?  The agent you select to help you accomplish the feat; or the company he or she works for?

Needless to say, there are no definitive answers to these questions because no two transactions ever involve the exact same set of circumstances.  Sometimes an agent’s track record of success helps attract a seller, while the company’s reach, reputation and resources help bring in the buyer.  One thing, however, is for sure in today’s unforgiving market. Whether you personally place more emphasis on the agent than the company he or she represents—or vice versa—there has never been a more critical time to weigh the merits of each very carefully before deciding with whom to list your home.

As a company dedicated to exceptional service, we naturally think that clients and customers are deserving and entitled to both—a great agent backed by the resources of a great company.  After all, at each closing, both agent and company receive just compensation for having done their fair share of the heavy lifting.  Moreover, a talented and resourceful agent is of much greater value to you when backed by a company that injects even more resources into the customer service equation.

At Michael Saunders & Company we go to tremendous lengths to make sure the agents we put in service to you can do much more than simply produce a valid real estate license and occupy a desk.  Although we have many of the market’s leading neighborhood and property specialists, we are determined to be known for the quality of our agents, not the quantity.

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Neighborhood Video Collection – Venice Island

Venice Island abounds in natural beauty and splendor. Individuals and families come from all over the world to settle in Venice because of the abundant sunshine and laid back atmosphere.

The Island offers a variety of homes, with many beachside villas and canal-front condominiums, as well as charming cottages and large estate-sized homes.

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