Archives May, 2010

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The Neighborhood Report – North Port

Heron Creek in North Port offers remarkable home choices around a beautiful golf course.

The city of North Port—Florida’s fourth fastest growing city and fourth largest in land area—is strategically located midway between Tampa and Naples. This thriving young community was founded in 1959 and has the amenities and assets that make it an attractive location for new businesses, industrial projects, office development and quality city living. Over the past ten years, North Port has experienced a steady increase in population, and in July of 2008 became the largest city in Sarasota County. Additionally, impact fees, utility and land cost in North Port are among the lowest in southwest Florida.

Sales Activity – North Port

Properties throughout North Port are selling faster than they are coming onto the market, indicating a shift in inventory that has been long needed. Within the past 30 days, there have been 11 closed deals in North Port, and only four newly listed properties. (more…)

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Fluency in Every Language, Including Money

International buyers have always had a soft spot in their heart for Florida; particularly it’s fabulously cultured West Coast.  Not a day goes by that we don’t hear a foreign language—or heavily-accented English—being spoken in close proximity to wherever we happen to be.  For this reason, we have gone to great lengths at Michael Saunders & Company to court the international buyer throughout our 35 years of service to the region. We never take lightly the fact that a buyer from England, Canada or the European continent may be just as inclined to buy one of our sellers’ properties as someone from Michigan, Indiana or New Jersey.

Right now in particular, international interest in owning properties here has never been more intense. Maybe it’s our bottoming home prices, the lowest in ten years. Maybe it’s our current mortgage lending rates, the lowest in 50 years. Maybe it’s the fact that the financial turmoil sweeping through the European continent reminds its citizens yet again that America—in spite of its economic ups and downs—is still the safest haven on earth to invest money. Then again, maybe it’s the weather.

Whatever their reason for coming to Southwest Florida, we have long cultivated formalized brokerage affiliations in countries throughout the world whose citizens display a particular fondness for wanting to be here. These exclusive affiliations include such internationally renowned real estate networks as Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, Luxury Portfolio, Christie’s Great Estates, Mayfair International Realty and the European Real Estate Network (or EREN); which are made that much more powerful through Michael Saunders’ active involvement in many of their governing bodies. The end result is a steady stream of customers being constantly referred to Michael Saunders & Company because our network partners can be confident they will receive the individualized service and special attention they need.

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Punta Gorda Neighborhood Video

The city of Punta Gorda is located between Sarasota and Fort Myers at the mouth of beautiful Charlotte Harbor. Its fine location allows for endless recreation. The deep harbor and 75 miles of deep sailboat water canal frontage make it an excellent sailing and boating location, as listed by numerous magazines and sailing publications.

The homes range in style from canal front homes to waterfront condos. The charismatic Downtown area boasts many historic homes. The residential areas near the heart of downtown feature many brick streets lined with huge royal palms. Several Key West-style homes boast tin-roofs and charming verandas. Smaller bungalows sit slightly further inland and evoke memories of the fishing village of yesteryear.

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Saunders Luxury Sales Report for May 22, 2010

Michael Saunders & Company is proud to announce a number of successful closings made possible through the professional representation of our agents, who work each day to fulfill the unique needs of homebuyers and sellers. For the week ending May 22, 2010, a total of four properties priced between $1,300,000 and $2,250,000 sold in Sarasota County.

Sold for $1,675,000 on Siesta Key on May 19

Susan Mitchell of Michael Saunders & Company closed a sale on an exclusive  property on Siesta Key with serene views of the water and the calming sound of gentle waves on the beach in the background. Susan represented the seller, who sold the Gulf-front property for $1,675,000 on May 19, 2010. The buyer was represented by Ralph Jurney of Horizon Realty International.

Maria Beck, P.A. of Michael Saunders & Company closed a sale on a home in Sarasota endowed with multiple separate porches perfect for sunset viewing or daytime lounging. Maria represented the buyer, who bought the property for $1,700,000 on May 17, 2010. The seller was represented by William Fox of FOXmls.com.

Ruth Robinson and Catherine de’Ath of Michael Saunders & Company closed a sale on a condominium in Sarasota boasting views of Sarasota Bay and a proximity to the Van Wezel, Selby library, and downtown Sarasota. Ruth and Catherine represented the seller, who sold the property for $1,300,000 on May 21, 2010. The buyer was represented by Pamela Charron of Prudential Palms Realty.

Sold for $1,300,000 in Sarasota on May 21

Julie Jacques of Michael Saunders & Company closed a sale on a condominium on Longboat Key that enjoys a pool overlooking the Gulf and an impressive fitness center among the many other luxuries of condominium life. Julie represented the buyer, who bought the property for $2,250,000 on May 21, 2010. The seller was represented by Cheryl Loeffler of Signature Sotheby’s International.

Ask Dennis – Are Businesses Coming Into Our Area?

In this Ask Dennis Video, Dennis Dahm talks about businesses coming into our area.

Sarasota, Manatee & Charlotte Counties: Year Over Year Sales Comparison (April)

Our market’s recovery continued moving forward in April. Inventories of available properties continued to decline throughout Manatee, Sarasota and Charlotte Counties; while sales were up by more than 27% in Manatee County, 19% in Sarasota County and 17% in Charlotte County. Pending sales, a strong harbinger of closed sales to come in the next 30 to 60 days, were also up significantly. Pendings were up 52% in Manatee County, 27% in Sarasota County and nearly 10% in Charlotte County.

*Data courtesy of Trendgraphix

Buying a Home?

(From Wells Fargo)

Our FHA adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) provides many advantages:

This is a great time to be a homebuyer! Interest rates are historically low. There are plenty of homes to choose from. And with a government-insured FHA 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) (1):
• The initial interest rate (start rate) is very attractive and principal-and-interest payments are fixed for the first five years
• There are built-in safety nets, because the interest rate can only go up or down 1% per year or 5% over the life of your loan
• High loan amounts up to $729,750 are available in certain metropolitan areas with high housing costs. (2)

Benefits within an ARM’s reach:
• Buyer-friendly — Flexible credit and income qualifying guidelines
• Cost-effective — Down payments as low as 3.5%
• Attractive rates — initial ARM interest rates are typically lower than fixed rates, but can adjust in the future
• Accommodating — Gift funds accepted toward your down payment
• Fully assumable — Future qualified buyers may be able to take over the loan under its original terms

(1) Interest rates may increase after consummation. (2) Increased FHA and conforming loan amounts are only available on loans closed and funded on or before December 31, 2010. Wells Fargo Home Mortgage is a division of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. © 2009 Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. 105525 – 1/10

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Saunders Luxury Sales Report for May 15, 2010

Michael Saunders & Company is proud to announce a number of successful closings made possible through the professional representation of our agents, who work each day to fulfill the unique needs of homebuyers and sellers. For the week ending May 15, 2010, a total of eight properties priced between $1,000,000 and $3,500,000 sold in Sarasota and Manatee Counties.

Sold for $1,750,000 in Nokomis on May 10

Whitney Eichenberger of Michael Saunders & Company closed a sale on a property on Siesta Key near the pristine white sands of the key’s world-renowned beaches. Whitney represented the seller, who sold the condominium at $1,250,000 on May 13, 2010. The buyer was represented by Mehasti Behbahani of Key Realty.

Ethel and Harvey Lovelace and Bob Harsch of Michael Saunders & Company closed a sale on a property in Nokomis, conveniently located between Venice and Sarasota. Ethel and Harvey represented the seller, who sold the bayfront house at $1,750,00 on May 10, 2010. The buyer, represented by Bob, will enjoy magnificent views over Dona Bay.

Bibi-Ann Allard of Michael Saunders & Company closed a sale on a property in Sarasota, positioned on Hudson Bayou and within walking distance of beautiful Selby Gardens. Bibi-Ann represented the seller, who sold the penthouse at $1,500,000 on May 12, 2010. The buyer was represented by Arthur Paterson of Paterson Properties LLC.

Sold for $3,500,000 in Casey Key on May 12

Phyllis Garfinkel and Ruth Robinson of Michael Saunders & Company closed a sale on a property in Sarasota overlooking tranquil, protected boating water. Phyllis represented the seller, who sold the house at $1,000,000 on May 10, 2010. The buyer, represented by Ruth, will enjoy the relaxed environment afforded by waterfront living.

Diane Fogo-Harter of Michael Saunders & Company closed a sale on a property in Bradenton commanding a panoramic view of Sarasota Bay and ideal for watching spectacular sunsets. Diane represented the seller, who sold the waterfront house at $1,200,00 on May 10, 2010. The buyer was represented by Julie Evans of Wagner Realty.

Lise-Anne Charbonneau of Michael Saunders & Company closed a sale on a property in Sarasota set in the charming waterfront community of Aqualane Estates. Lise-Anne represented the buyer, who bought the house for $1,800,000 on May 7, 2010. The seller was represented by Tamara and Todd Currey of Signature Sotheby’s International.

Sold for $1,200,000 in Bradenton on May 10

Jackie Kennedy of Michael Saunders & Company closed a sale on a property in Osprey on the quiet north end of Casey Key, just minutes from lively Sarasota. Jackie represented the buyer, who bought the secluded waterfront house at $2,375,000 on May 6, 2010. The seller was represented by Sandra Gillette and Charles McKenna of McKenna & Associates Inc.

Deborah Beacham of Michael Saunders & Company closed a sale on a property in Casey Key, an irresistible marriage of the calm of Casey Key with breathtaking views of Sarasota Bay. Deborah represented the seller, who sold the estate at $3,500,000 on May 12, 2010. The buyer was represented by Bill True of True Real Estate Inc.

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Adopt An Island

Bird Key

To say that Bird Key was once considerably smaller than it is today is to say the least. In his book Gulf Coast Chronicles: Remembering Sarasota’s Past (The History Press: 2005), Sarasota author and historian Jeff La Hurd provides an account of Bird Key, some 50 years before development would forever alter this small spit of land just offshore from downtown Sarasota.

“The tiny island was only fourteen acres in those days and barely broke the surface of the water,” La Hurd writes. “But it was stunningly beautiful. Filled with palm trees, brightly colored seashells, and the myriad of birds that flocked there for food and rest.” Clearly, Bird Key was as desirable then as it is now.

“Then” was the year 1910. Mrs. Davie Lindsay Worcester, a wealthy visitor from Cincinnati, came to Sarasota hoping to recover from a serious illness by basking in Southwest Florida’s gently therapeutic climate. A philanthropist of great heart and substance, Mrs. Worcester traveled by boat with six friends on her first outing to Bird Key; which, as yet, was unconnected to the Sarasota mainland. The beauty she encountered upon arrival prompted her to pen one of the most rhapsodic descriptions of Sarasota’s beauty ever consigned to paper. In a letter to her husband Thomas, she described her maiden visit to the island thusly:

“I felt that my heart would burst on that shell-bestrewn shore. With thousands of palms soaring toward the clouds; at our feet the Gulf of Mexico washing up, restless, to our toe tips, and (shells) scattered, scattered everywhere…all beautiful toys, as it were; not given stingily or grudgingly but five, ten feet deep, perhaps; scattered like beautiful flowers so far as color and form was concerned, on that white sand until you felt you could not tell the dear Father enough how grateful you were.”

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The Neighborhood Report – Downtown Sarasota

Discover an extraordinary lifestyle in downtown Sarasota. Pictured is the breathtaking view from La Bellasara.

Living in the heart of downtown Sarasota offers access to an array of dining and theater attractions along with an abundance of social activities, all within the convenience of walking distance. Where else can you live so close to everything that your car can stay in the garage? Discover an assortment of residential opportunities available in all price ranges, from charming single-family homes to soaring condominium estates and more.

Market Activity – Downtown Sarasota

If you are considering buying a home in downtown Sarasota, there are presently 274 listed properties priced from $114,000 up to $6,850.000. Recent market activity in this area has been strong, with 66 pending sales between $118,900 to 1,775,000 and 102 downtown condominium sold year to date. (more…)

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