Archives December, 2010


Getting Ahead of the Market in 2011

photo courtesy of

As 2011 kicks off, there’s ample reason to feel upbeat about the New Year.  Buoyed by the strongest holiday spending since 2006, retail sales will end 2010 on a high note.   Meanwhile, corporate earnings are up, there’s growth in the manufacturing sector; and the number of people applying for unemployment benefits fell last week to the second-lowest level since July 2008.

Investor confidence is also up.  Since the bull market began in March 2009, the S. & P. 500 has risen more than 86 percent; with a strong year-end surge pushing it up 20 percent since September alone.   Consumer confidence is at its highest level in five months, suggesting that people not only feel better about the economy but also more secure in their own circumstances.  The extension of the Bush tax cuts will also give a welcome boost to everyone’s discretionary spending.


The Neighborhood Report – Bird Key

A number of luxuriuos lifestyles are available on Bird Key. Pictured: 566 S Spoonbill Dr.

Those who call Bird Key home are fortunate to live in one of Sarasota County’s most desirable neighborhoods. Situated between St. Armands Circle/Lido Beach and downtown Sarasota, Bird Key is convenient to everything that Sarasota has to offer.

Bird Key is an island with a combination of garden homes, canal-front homes and impressive bayfront homes. A boater’s dream with deepwater canals in addition to sparkling bay views, most waterfront residences on Bird Key have their own boat dockage with easy access to Sarasota Bay. The neighborhood is complete with the Bird Key Yacht Club, which provides for an active lifestyle with tennis, swimming and elegant dining.

Market Activity – Bird Key (more…)


Holiday Events – Top Sarasota Area Holiday Happenings

PAL Sailor Circus offers family friendly entertainment during the holidays.

To complement the festive spirit of the holidays, many of us find ourselves with a little extra time away from the office to spend with family and friends. While utilizing this time in the comforts of your beautifully decorated home—courtesy of our helpful decorating tips HERE—can be both fulfilling and delightful, some folks may be interested in getting away for a pleasant distraction. Luckily, the Sarasota area plays host to a number of different shows and events, which can provide a chance for all to experience the season in a unique way.

From acrobats to the arts, these top Sarasota area holiday happenings are sure to entertain while filling you with holiday spirit:

Van Wezel – A Christmas Carol – Produced by the famed Nebraska Theatre Caravan & authored by Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol is a timeless holiday classic featuring a spirited ensemble of performers, elaborate costumes and a magical set that feels like a Christmas card come-to-life. Show runs on Wednesday, December 22 at 7PM. Click HERE for more info. (more…)


A Very Good Year

To sum up 2010 for the agents at Michael Saunders & Company is as easy as borrowing the song lyric immortalized by Frank Sinatra back in 1966. “It was a very good year.”

Mind you, not the best year ever in terms of total dollar volume; but perhaps one of the most satisfying, given today’s extremely harsh economy combined with the challenges of what is perhaps the toughest real estate markets in the region’s history. Needless-to-say, we are in awe of how well our agents played the extremely difficult hand they were dealt in 2010. “Humbled” might be the better word, as their considerable efforts on behalf of their clients and customers not only exceeded ambitious company-wide goals set this time last year, but also vastly outperformed the market in general.



Amberwynd, FL – Neighborhood Video

Amberwynd, on Palmetto’s Snead Island, has a timeless feeling. Nearby are the bays and inlets of Terra Ceia, where pirates once sailed and native Americans lived in harmony with the bounty of nature. The past is closer here. The feeling is Florida the way it used to be – private, secluded, with family farms and old fashioned villages set on country roads. Yet the metropolitan areas of St Petersburg and Sarasota are just minutes away.


Season’s Givings

2010 will end as it began for the housing market in Southwest Florida—on a steady path toward recovery. In between, we were confronted with a few unexpected hurdles; not the least of which was the wildly false perception that oil from a distant spill had somehow overtaken our coastline. Happily our famously white beaches were never threatened; and have never been more spectacular—or pristine—as we prepare to welcome our seasonal guests in the New Year.

News of the economy, as it affects the entire nation, has been very heartening of late. Across the country, factories are busier, construction spending is up, auto sales are on the upswing and sales among the nation’s retailers—according to the latest report out from the Commerce Department—rose more than expected in November, added proof that the recovery gathered a noticeable head of steam during the final quarter of 2010. Plus, consumer confidence—as tracked monthly by the Conference Board—improved in October and got better still in November. Confidence can move mountains in times like these.



Ho, Ho, D’oh! – Top 10 Holiday Decorating Mistakes

The Griswolds taught us more than you think about holiday decorating. Photo courtesy of

Whether or not you decide to take the advice offered in last week’s blog—our top ten tips for decorating your home—is based solely on preference, as you may already have your tried and true methods, procedures and designs that complement your home perfectly. However, it may behoove any holiday decorator to step back and examine their routine to ensure their style and approach meet their intentions of a festive holiday scene—without any potentially embarrassing or hazardous downfalls.

In addition to family, food and gifts, decorating your home is just one of the highlights of the holiday season, so be sure to make the most of your resources; but, choose wisely. From safety vulnerabilities to tacky props and more, here are our top 10 holiday decorating mistakes to avoid:

1.  Not Making Room – Decorating for the holidays calls for changing the everyday into the special. While your usual trinkets, decorations and personal touches work well throughout the year, adding your holiday things on top just creates clutter. Remove the regular pictures, knick-knacks, plants, and so on to make way for all your holiday pictures and treasures. (more…)

Gulf Gate, FL – Neighborhood Video

Gulf Gate is suburban Sarasota at its very best. Classic Florida ranch homes line sunny, curving streets and the all amenities of the Suncoast are but minutes away. It’s an all American kind of community, the perfect place for raising a family – or for a winter retreat when northern weather makes us the envy of the entire country.

First developed back in the 1960’s, much of Sarasota has grown up around Gulf Gate. Today it well may have the best location in town. Downtown is a fifteen minute drive. World famous Siesta Key Beach is a short bike ride away. And the best shopping in town surrounds the community, with supermarkets, malls, and Gulf Gate Village, a collection of specialty shops, unique restaurants, and lively nightlife that have made it one of the hippest locations in town.

The Neighborhood Report – Burnt Store Village

Well-manicured common areas make Burnt Store Village ideal for gatherings.

Developed in the late 1970s as a deed restricted, single-family community Burnt Store Village is located at the southern end of Charlotte County between Burnt Store and Zemel Roads. While a handful of homes in Burnt Store Village were constructed in the 1980s, most of the development took place during the housing boom in the 2000s, creating a variety of newer home styles and options. Burnt Store Village boasts 139 acres of common open space, which includes a resident park with walking paths surrounding a peaceful pond and a picturesque Gazebo. This area is also a great spot for community events. 

Market Activity – Burnt Store Village (more…)


Marketing on the Web: A Buyer’s Perspective

Michael Saunders & Company -

Michael Saunders & Company -

When Michael Saunders & Company opened its first office nearly four decades ago, it was with the commitment to deliver an outstanding real estate experience to every customer who entered our front door. While times have certainly changed—with today’s “front door” often being the home page of—our commitment to exceptional service, now firmly translated to the Web, is as passionate as ever.

It’s been 15 years since first premiered on the Internet. Since then, a major revolution in how buyers shop for properties has quietly ensued. In 1995, the site was one of only a handful in the industry to empower buyers to search for properties on their own. Back then, only 2% of buyers had the desire (or online capability) to take advantage of the technology. By 2000, however, that number had mushroomed to 40%; and by 2005, to 71%. Today, 90% of buyers search for properties on the Web before ultimately contacting an agent.


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