Archives August, 2010


Point of Rocks, FL – Neighborhood Video

The world famous white quartz sand of Siesta Key’s Crescent Beach ends with a stretch of limestone rocks, a formation unique on Florida’s west coast. This is Point of Rocks, the Key’s highest elevation. The homes set on the bluff above the rocks are among the Key’s most desirable. Those facing the Gulf have spectacular views and the neighborhood itself retains touches of Siesta Key as it used to be.

It’s a low key community, intimate in scale, with less than 100 homes. Some are remodeled and expanded classics from the 1950’s and 60’s; other are newer and contain every luxury. A canopy road adds to the old fashioned, tropical atmosphere.


Launch Time – Top 10 Features of our Newly Launched Web Site

Updated and Enhanced: The new is designed with a focus on your needs.

After months of rigorous planning, meticulous development, thorough testing and scrupulous user feedback, Michael Saunders & Company is pleased to announce the launch of its new web site, An entirely updated version of the award-winning web site we first introduced in 1995, the new site is home to a new level of user features and upgrades specially designed to provide the compelling neighborhood content, market data and advanced property search capabilities buyers and sellers have come to depend on for their real estate needs.

 As you already have experienced a taste of the new site to find this blog, this is your chance to learn more about the exciting results brought about by its technological makeover. Keep in mind, we have a few more tricks up our sleeve that are yet to come. So, here are the top 10 features of our newly launched web site:

 1.  Instant Market Data – While traditional data sources rely on months-old market data, we now provide users with a clear view of current conditions provided by Altos Research, an award-winning company that monitors millions of properties in order to deliver the most comprehensive database of local market conditions available. Select your area of choice and learn up-to-the-minute market information.

 2.  Enhanced Property Search – In conjunction with our striking new “Gallery” display feature, our simple, straightforward search function includes property information delivered directly from MLS.

 3.  Just Listed – Be among the first to identify new listings available in your area of choice. Located on our home page, our Just Listed option delivers the most recently listed properties on MLS with full information and mapping capabilities.

 4.  Best Opportunities – A smashing success on our former site, we would be remiss to discontinue our popular Best Opportunities feature, showcasing the area’s most aggressively priced properties. Also located on our home page, this option brings you to the forefront of the greatest local values in real estate.

 5.  In-Depth Neighborhood Information – The new features neighborhood pages combining real estate listings with high definition community video tours, local business reviews, a library of area photos, and much more. Basically, each neighborhood now has its own website complete with the information to serve your needs.

 6.  Local Real Estate News and Advice – Designed as your homepage source for gaining market knowledge and advice, our Local Real Estate News and Advice section is your command center for comprehensive real estate information. Tabs include Video introductions to areas, a snapshot of recent posts to The Saunders Blog, a link to sign up for our informative monthly newsletter, and access to the Michael Saunders & Company Newsroom—where you can learn more about our recent transactions and company news.

 7.  The Saunders Blog – Since you’re reading this post, you already understand the value of The Saunders Blog—an inside look at the real estate market from the professionals. Besides our enlightening and endearing top ten lists, the content on The Saunders Blog are treated to a wealth of real estate news and information from up-close video interviews with Michael Saunders herself and some of the company’s department managers to weekly neighborhood reports and informative articles. You can also sign up HERE to receive new blog posts to your email.

 8.  Connect to Agents – It is no secret that our agents are the best around. Discover the difference when working with a Michael Saunders & Company agent by accessing them directly through our Agents link. Here, you can search for a particular agent or find one by entering certain criteria that matters to you, such as language preference or office location. Or send us a message, and we can match you with the perfect agent best for your needs.

9.  Open Houses – Before taking a driving tour of your open houses, chart your course online with our interactive Open House section. Here, you can view the week’s open houses by photo, area or map, then access a wealth of property details to further match your needs, including mortgage calculations, neighborhood videos and photos, agent contact information and more.

 10.  Your Feedback – Your satisfaction is important to us, so we want our website to be as accurate and user-friendly as possible. On the bottom right-hand side of each page you will notice a small red triangle. Simply click on this triangle to rate your experience with any page or supply feedback for any issues that you may encounter. Your feedback is important, as it helps make better every day.


Deborah O’Mara Joins the Lakewood Ranch Office of Michael Saunders & Company

Deborah O’Mara, a top-producing new home sales specialist in Sarasota/Manatee, has joined the Lakewood Ranch office of Michael Saunders & Company it was announced today from the company’s headquarters in downtown Sarasota.

“I’m thrilled to have someone with Deborah’s extensive business background and track record in real estate and new construction on our Lakewood Ranch team,” said company founder and CEO, Michael Saunders.  “Very much appreciated for her high level of energy, knowledge and integrity, Deborah’s clients can always expect an exceptional real estate experience. After living and selling real estate there for 10 years, Deborah provides the total perspective on the lifestyle options of Lakewood Ranch and other new homes communities throughout Sarasota and Manatee Counties. Her focus on customer care and follow-through not only earns her the respect of her clients but also their referrals of friends and family.”

O’Mara has enjoyed a noteworthy career in real estate and finance for over 32 years; starting as a real estate broker in Massachusetts in 1978, where she became partner in her own real estate company on Cape Cod specializing in new home sales. Deborah later relocated to Florida’s east coast, where she joined Citibank and soon became vice president of business development and marketing with real estate lending responsibilities.  In 2000, she moved to Florida’s west coast and currently resides in Lakewood Ranch with her husband, Charles.

            Most recently a top-producer for Neal Communities, O’Mara consistently set the pace for that company’s new home sales for over 10 years. During her tenure there, she sold over 200 new homes in Lakewood Ranch alone and has been recognized annually at the Million Dollar Circle Awards; twice as one of the “Top 5” new home sales consultants in Sarasota/Manatee, with annual sales in excess of $30 million. She has also been awarded the Master Certified Sales Professional designation.

Deborah is a member of the Sarasota Association of Realtors (SAR), Manatee Association of Realtors (MAR) and the Sarasota Women’s Council of Realtors. She has also twice been awarded the Five-Star Real Estate Agent Best in Client Satisfaction award.

The Lakewood Ranch office of Michael Saunders & Company is at 8325 Lakewood Ranch Boulevard.  Deborah O’Mara can be reached by calling (941) 730-0777; or at (941) 907-9595.  Her email address is


Introducing the all new

It’s with great excitement that we announce the all new, an entirely updated version of the web site we first introduced in 1995. The new site was launched earlier today and you are cordially invited to be one if its first visitors.

Three major new features make this newest version of as ground-breaking today as the original was back then:

A simple, straightforward search function that includes property information delivered directly from the MLS. In conjunction with our striking new “Gallery” display feature, this makes for a much more visually compelling search experience.

Up-to-the-minute market data provided by Altos Research, an award-winning company that monitors millions of properties in order to deliver the most comprehensive database of local market conditions available. While traditional data sources rely on months-old market data, we now provide you with a clear view of current conditions that can be understood at a glance.

Neighborhood pages filled with content to help facilitate your important decisions. The new features neighborhood pages combining real estate listings with High Definition community video tours, local business reviews, a library of area photos; and much much more.

Michael Saunders & Company was among the first brokerages in the industry to recognize the massive potential of the Internet. Since 1995 we have issued no less than three complete makeovers as technology improved and consumers sought still more timely and relevant content to guide them in their real estate experience.

As always, your input is extremely important to us.  Please enjoy your first visit to the new and let us know how you found the experience.

Saunders Luxury Sales Report for July 31, 2010

Michael Saunders & Company is proud to announce two 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 July 31, 2010, the properties below sold for over $1 million.

Longboat Key residence sold for $1,300,000 on July 30, 2010

Debra Pitell of Michael Saunders & Company represented the buyers of a direct Gulf-front unit with many designer appointments located in Sanctuary IV. Barbara Ackerman of Coldwell Banker represented the seller.

A great bayfront lot on Lido Key, located close to the beach, shops and restaurants, closed on July 26, 2010 for $1,600,000. Tom Delaney and Carol Aviles of Michael Saunders & Company represented the seller and the buyer respectively.

Ask Michael – Michael Addresses The Luxury Market and Working with The Leader in Sarasota Real Estate

In this Ask Michael Video – Michael Saunders addresses the luxury market and working with the leader in Sarasota Real Estate.

The Neighborhood Report – Country Club Shores

The homes of Country Club Shores offer a quaint "Old Florida" style. Pictured: 621 Ranger Lane.

Originally developed in five phases in the early 1960s, Country Club Shores has become one of the most sought-after locations on Longboat Key. With its convenient site at the southern end of Longboat Key, the neighborhood is popular with boaters as most homes are set on the open bay or deepwater canals with direct access to Sarasota Bay. Residents also enjoy beach access, just across Gulf of Mexico Drive.

Market Activity – Country Club Shores

There are currently 43 active listings in Country Club Shores ranging in price from $499,000 for a 1,600-square foot home built in 1968 to $3.7 million for a 2010-built bayfront estate. So far year-to-date, 12 properties have sold with prices ranging from $330,000 to $1.7 million. Of these 12 closed properties, four took place in July.

Agents from the Michael Saunders & Company Longboat Key office sold 2 lots on Ranger Lane recently. One was listed by Cathy Meldahl from the company’s mid-Longboat Key office, and sold 53 days later by Susan and Jonathan Fox from the company’s South Longboat Key office. The other was listed by Gail Wittig and Ian Addy and sold by Barbara Dumbaugh, also from Michael Saunders & Company. (more…)


A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Gallows

It seems like eons ago since the Internet first began to seriously revolutionize the real estate industry. In fact, it was only about 10 years ago that web usage among home buyers really began to soar noticeably; igniting in its wake a mild wave of angst among many in the business who misinterpreted this new wave of e-commerce as its death knell.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the gallows. The real estate business not only survived, but thrived; as the Internet served to elevate everyone’s game. Buyers got smarter, agents got better and relationships between the two took on a whole new level of trust, respect and understanding. Nowadays, when buyers eventually get around to working with an agent, they typically arrive on the scene extremely well informed; knowing much more about the process and its expected outcome than ever before. On the flip side, the Internet helps real estate companies affect cost savings that can be passed along toward improving other important facets of customer service.

With so many properties on the market, buyers simply don’t have the time to visit hundreds of homes. That’s where the Internet makes life so much easier for everyone. Freed from sifting through scores of potential properties by buyers who have already done so at their leisure, today’s agent is better able to concentrate on the heavy lifting—like helping their customers understand the complexities of the local market and the subtle nuances between its communities, neighborhoods—and very often—one side of a street versus the other. Agents for sellers are likewise empowered to offer their clients an entirely new and vital service: a solid internet marketing strategy designed to reach the most buyers in the least amount of time.

In the years since Internet usage first exploded onto the real estate scene, the richness of content has likewise grown; as have the number of dedicated web sites that cater to nothing else but the informational needs of real estate buyers and sellers. Ironically, buyers and sellers often need the human touch to help interpret what all the information means and whether the methods for reporting it are statistically accurate. Sites such as Trulia and Zillow provide a wealth of property information to buyers in search of homes across the nation; but they also report on local pricing and property value trends that are often at tremendous odds with the real facts on the ground. Needless-to-say, information from these sites are, at best, directional; and should never form the basis of major purchasing decisions until they have been thoroughly verified.


Oyster Bay, FL – Neighborhood Video

Every town has a neighborhood like Oyster Bay. It’s “old Sarasota,” where the homes are large and discrete and traditional. Other neighborhoods may be newer, but few can match the prestige of Oyster Bay.

Much of Oyster Bay remains hidden from the casual visitor. The two lakes upon which many of the homes look out are barely visible from the Road. And the splendor of the homes that face Sarasota Bay can only be appreciated from the water. A drive down the winding lanes showcases quiet luxury.

The location is certainly one of the attractions. It’s tucked away West of the Trail yet a ten or fifteen minute drive from just about everywhere.


Table Tops – More of Our Favorite Sarasota-Area Restaurants

Romantic or casual? Discover your favorite dining spot in Sarasota.

The Sarasota area offers an array of dining choices, covering all corners of the world in terms of styles and flavors. As longtime area residents and people about town, our agents and branch managers have sought, savored and selected the preferred dining spots they enjoy sharing with guests, clients and family alike.

So here—in no particular order—is the second sampling of a multi-part series highlighting some of our favorite Sarasota-area restaurants:

• VIZEN Japanese Cuisine – Located at 6559 Gateway Avenue in Gulf Gate, VIZEN Japanese Cuisine comes as the preferred choice for Main Street agent Tammy Garner. Housed in contemporary décor, VIZEN presents its guests with fresh sushi and an assortment of interesting dishes using a combination of great herbs, vegetables and meats selected by the owners/chefs. Chef Masaki “Matsu” Matsunae brings over 20 years of experience creating authentic Edo-style recipes mixed with a bit of French influence fusion to please sushi lovers. Tammy suggests making reservations. Smart casual attire required. Click HERE for more information.

• Mediterraneo – With its convenient downtown Sarasota location, Mediterraneo is named as the favorite area dining spot by Main Street agents Kim & Michael Ogilvie. With a casual yet chic style and a combination of consistent great northern Italian food, Mediterraneo offers a real “big city” atmosphere and the friendliest staff in town to keep Kim & Michael going back for more. “We feel like one of the family with complimentary rosemary flat bread right out of the oven and oftentimes a Limoncello to cap off the evening. Our favorite maître de and the boys from Milan are engaging and entertaining. So passionate are they about their beloved futbol, once there were tears whilst taking our wine order as the Italian team was upset in the World Cup and the lad just had to excuse himself and return to take our order.” It’s also perfectly located for a pre-movie meal. Visit HERE for more information. (more…)

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