Archives November, 2010

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A Green Time of Year – Top 10 Green Gifts for the Home

Choose recycled wrapping paper for all your gifts.

With the shopping madness of Black Friday safely behind us, the gift-buying season is in full effect. Unfortunately, some of our friends and family can be notoriously hard to shop for, especially if they prefer the benefits afforded by eco-friendly gifts. Not that we could blame them for preferring to live light on the planet instead of piling up more plastic clutter around the house.

So, if you need to look for gifts that use recycled materials or gadgets that help your recipient further their green activities, here are our top 10 green gifts for the home:

1.  Eco Candles – From soy-based inks, to hemp twine, to recycled paper, this collection is committed to conserving our planet’s resources. The chlorine-free paper pulp box is biodegradable in 3-6 months and is wrapped with a 100% post-industrial recycled paper label awarded FSC-certification. Priced at just $18 each. Click HERE for more information. (more…)

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Harbor Acres, FL – Neighborhood Video

For generations Harbor Acres has been considered one if the finest neighborhoods in Sarasota. This is where the town’s elite has put down roots – the lawyers, surgeons, and entrepreneurs who have created modern day Sarasota. Here, tree-lined streets meander past opulent homes, with the beauty of Sarasota bay peaking out between the mansions.

As one of Sarasota’s oldest neighborhoods, Harbor Acres has an unparalleled location. Just south of downtown, residents can stroll to the city’s cultural activities and fine dinning, plus the beauty of Selby gardens and the bay front. A short walk or bike ride in the other direction leads to gourmet food shopping and even more restaurants. Within five minutes are the hospital, banking and brokerage offices, and Southside Elementary, one of the city’s finest schools.

Sarasota, Manatee & Charlotte Counties: October – Year Over Year Sales Comparison

Sarasota County: In October, the total number of properties on the market remained essentially unchanged, with year-over-year sales down by 15.3%. Pending sales, on the other hand, were up by 6.5% in a year-over-year comparison.

Manatee County: The total number of properties for sale remained essentially flat, with sold properties down by 17.2% and pending properties up by 17.6%.

Charlotte County: Properties for sale rose by 12.1% year-over-year, with sold and pending properties both down, by 19.3% and 7.5% respectively

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At the End of the Day…

News of our local economy has been decidedly upbeat of late, giving us another reason to be thankful as we look forward to the New Year.  The unemployment rate in Southwest Florida declined by nearly a full percentage point in October—its lowest level in three months—even as retail sales enjoyed the biggest one-month gain in nearly four years.  Meanwhile Chris Lafakis, an economist with Moody’s Analytics, predicts substantial growth in Florida’s economy due to a rebound in population growth and an increased willingness of people to travel to Florida for vacation.  “The story of pent-up demand is true in no place more so than Florida,” he said.

Such pent-up demand, set against a backdrop of steeply reduced home prices and interest rates, helps explain why dollar volume at Michael Saunders & Company through October was up 28% and unit sales up 34% versus the same time last year. With plenty of buyers now willing to commit, your biggest concern as a seller ought to be how proficient your real estate company is at attracting them.

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Plantation Golf & Country Club – Neighborhood Video

The Plantation Golf and Country Club is one of the area’s premiere golfing communities. With over 1300 acres of natural and man made beauty, it provides the perfect atmosphere for those who want a carefree Florida lifestyle. The emphasis is on the game itself, with an impressive number of amenities to complement man’s favorite sport.

Over 20 communities are nestled among the two championship 18 holes courses. Several — among them, Governor’s Green and The Reserve — are gated and feature large single family homes. Others specialize in a maintenance free condo and townhome lifestyle — perfect for seasonal and retirement residences.

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The Neighborhood Report – Perico Bay Club

Enjoy waterfront living in Perico Bay Club. Pictured: 1201 Spoonbill Landings Cir.

Perico Bay Club is a gated community located on the southwest side of Perico Island. The island was named after the Perico brothers from Cuba, who established a fishing camp in the area. The development was built by Neal Communities starting in 1985 and finished out in 1992. There are 700 units, all offering water or mangrove views. The mangroves are maintained at eight feet, and the annual trimming is the largest permitted in the state today. The community offers four tennis courts, several pools, an activity center and a dedicated television channel showing scheduled events. About 30 percent of the owners are full-time residents.

Market Activity – Perico Bay Club

In the last 30 days, there have been eight new listings, five pending sales and two closures. Currently, there are 41 units for sale in the Multiple Listing Service. During high season, Perico Bay Club usually has around 60 units for sale. (more…)

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The Neighborhood Report – Jacaranda West

Pictured: 333 Meadow Beauty Ct.

Located in Venice, Jacaranda West is a beautiful established neighborhood with low HOA fees. There is a private, member-owned and member-operated club which offers golf, tennis, social memberships, dining and seasonal memberships. Also, membership is not limited to residency at Jacaranda West.

Market Activity – Jacaranda West

Even in challenging times, the Jacaranda West market sells. At this time, there are 23 homes for sale in the Jacaranda area. In the past 30 days, there have been two sales, and there are presently six under contact.

An interesting fact that some people do not know about the Jacaranda subdivision is that when it was platted, the legal description says Venice Gardens. However, you must look at the unit number, as Jacaranda is Venice Gardens units 31 and up. There is a significant difference between Venice Gardens and the Jacaranda portion of Venice Gardens. For example, Venice Gardens has no deed restrictions and the Jacaranda section, units 31 and up, have deed restrictions with a mandatory homeowners association, plus it is a golfing community. (more…)

In League with the Best

The National Association of REALTORS® prefaced its 2010 Profile of International Home Buyers in Florida with an introduction few real estate professionals in our area would dispute.  NAR said that despite the national decline in home sales, “one significant countervailing force has been the growing importance of foreign home buyers.”  Foreign buyers, it said, recognize U.S. real estate as a desirable, profitable and secure investment.  Plus, the weakened dollar and corrected home prices have made Florida properties even more attractive to would-be foreign home buyers—who in the past 12 months accounted for an amazing 22% of all Florida home purchases.

This phenomenon is nothing new, as international buyers—especially from Canada, and the U.K.—have a long history of preferring Florida’s West Coast to most other choices in the Sunshine State. That being the case, it’s important to list your home where it is sure to be previewed by the most foreign and domestic buyers.

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2010 MSC Racing Triathlon Team in Full Stride

Twelve local athletes—donning athletic wear representing Michael Saunders & Company—have successfully competed in several recent triathlon events on behalf of the 2010 MSC Racing Team.

The most notable accomplishments of the year included Rachel Chambers’ first-place finish in the Longboat Key Triathlon. A photo of Rachel crossing the finish line in her MSC garb was featured in the newspaper. Also, two of our athletes competing at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Clearwater this past weekend turned in amazing results, achieving times of 4:24 and 5:03—both very amazing feats. The athletes were Marco Hintz and Rachel Chambers respectively.

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Turkey Out – Top Sarasota-Area Thanksgiving Dinner Destinations

Don't have the time to prepare your Thanksgiving feast? Not to worry. These local restaurants are open for you.

Focused around food, family, friends and even football, the celebration of Thanksgiving is time to express thankfulness and appreciation for the special people and things in our lives. Much like the stories of pilgrims and Indians, we gather around the table to behold a glorious bounty of delectable courses including the conventional fare of roasted turkey, fluffy mashed potatoes and gallons of flowing gravy. While fabulous home-cooked feasts are a traditional part of Thanksgiving, they can also be a lot of work and a lot of stress for those of us who are much too busy to spend countless hours in the kitchen cooking and cleaning. Luckily, a number of our area’s best restaurants are open and ready to do the work for us. With menus ranging from traditional to innovative, you’re sure to find a restaurant that suits everyone’s taste.

Here are some of the top Sarasota-area Thanksgiving dinner destinations providing a viable alternative to cooking on Thursday, November 25:

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