Thursday, January 30, 2014

55 and Over Communities in Sarasota

Many Sarasota area home buyers are interested in 55 and over communities, but don't know where to start their search.

The state of Florida has a website that lists state-registered 55 and over communities.  You can view the registered communities for Sarasota County here in this link:  http://fchr.state.fl.us/housing_directory/search/Sarasota/County

I have a page on my real estate website, www.davidbarrhomes.com/55_and_over_communities, with available properties for sale in Sarasota and Manatee Counties from the MLS.

Age restricted communities in this area come in a range of prices and styles.  Here are some examples that are currently for sale as of this writing (price and availability subject to change):

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2/2 Villa for sale in Venetian Falls in Venice $249,000
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Semi-detached 2/2 villa for sale in Lakeridge Falls in Sarasota $269,900
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2/2 villa for sale in Meadowcroft in Bradenton  $114,900

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3/2 villa for sale in 55 and over community in the Cascades in Sarasota $335,000

55 and over communities have restrictions not only on age of residents.  Age restricted communities are not a good choice for investors, as many do not allow rentals within up to 2 years of ownership, and guests under certain ages may have a limited length of stay.  Most are pet friendly, but may have restrictions on number and size of pets.  Parking restructions can be a problem for vacationing guests as well.

Please contact me if you are interested in purchasing a home in a 55 and over community in the Sarasota area.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Expand Your Options: Tasteful Sarasota Home Renovation

I'm working with customers looking for a larger home with an open floor plan.

Newer homes have been meeting today's home buyer needs with open floor plans and interesting tile and finishes for years now, but don't rule out older homes.  Renovated older homes in established neighborhoods can offer similar amenities, with the added benefit of a mature landscape setting.

I ran across the pictured home below while searching listings and thought this was one of the best examples of a tasteful renovation of an older home I had seen.  The natural fibers of the wall coverings, sisal rug, and window treatments all contribute to a pleasing earth tone palette.

Renovated 1981 home with high ceilings, crown molding and today's colors and finishes.

The Sarasota area offers a wide variety of real estate for any taste or lifestyle.  Please contact me to help you find your retirement or vacation home.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Hidden Gems: River District and Wares Creek in Bradenton

A lot of home buyers in the Sarasota and Bradenton areas come from out of town and out of state.  Many may not be aware of two of our area's hidden real estate gems.

The River District in Bradenton has some incredible historic homes, many updated, and many with direct frontage on the Manatee River.  Personally, I love showing these types of homes to customers, because I find the owner's interpretation in the updating of their homes extremely interesting and inspirational.

Follow this link for River District homes for sale in Bradenton.

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Home for sale in Bradenton's historic River District, built in 1948

Another hidden gem is the Wares Creek area of Bradenton.  Close to Bradenton's revitalized downtown, Wares Creek offers vintage cottages, bungalows, and some Spanish/Mediterranean style homes.

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Home for sale in Bradenton's Wares Creek, built in 1920

Sarasota Beach Lots for Sale

The old saying "they aren't making any more beach" is never more true when the subject is Sarasota beachfront lots for sale.

Unlike the east coast of Florida, my service area of Manatee, Sarasota, and Charlotte County is not dominated by lines of beach condos.  Wide areas here do offer single family homes for sale with direct beach frontage.

Beach lot for sale on Manasota Key
Beachfront lot on Manasota Key for sale

Unfortunately, the inventory of buildable vacant beach lots is extremely limited.  If you are interested in building your own vision of a retirement or vacation home on the beach, I have made your search a bit easier.

Please visit my real estate website, www.davidbarrhomes.com/beach_lots_sarasota, for up to date property listings.  I have also included a color coded map based on list price to further assist you in your search.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Sarasota Home Inspections

I belong to Trulia Voices Community, where prospective buyers and sellers can ask Trulia Realtor members questions about Sarasota area real estate.

Today, a new home inspector was asking Realtors questions whether to purchase an electronic key for access to lock boxes.

You can read the thread here: http://on.trulia.com/1itQIHE

Trulia is of the same ilk as Zillow as far as inaccurate listing data, but they do provide an excellent forum for consumers to evaluate agents based on their responses to questions.  On this particular thread, one of the agents said they hired the home inspector.

Realtors should never hire home inspectors for their home buyer customers, nor should they ever recommend an inspector.  If something goes wrong after the buyer closes on the property, or the inspector misses something, there's a huge potential conflict of interest.

Read more about Sarasota home inspections here on my website:  www.davidbarrhomes.com/home_inspection

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Construction starts at Sandhill Preserve

I was showing property yesterday in The Isles of Palmer Ranch, one of Divosta Homes' communities.  I stopped to snap a picture of the site of their latest new home development, Sandhill Preserve.

Sandhill Preserve is situated between Village Walk and The Isles on Honore Rd.

Construction begins at Sandhill Preserve on Palmer Ranch

Divosta has a strong track record of selling their new homes quickly.  If interested in a new home please contact me for more information.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Trulia Marketing Propaganda

This morning I was subjected to the idiotic choreographed grinning of Trulia's "real estate expert", former soap opera star Michael Corbett.

There's no doubt Trulia and it's competitor Zillow are expert at marketing themselves as the go-to source for real estate information.  But nothing is further from the truth.

Take today's example of Corbett's segment on Fox and Friends.  He picked three examples of some "great real estate deals" in different parts of the country, ostensibly from Trulia's suspect list of homes for sale.

Two of the three homes he showcased were not for sale on Trulia's website.

Read how Trulia, and to a greater extent, it's competitor Zillow, does business and why:  www.davidbarrhomes.com/debunking_zillow

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

I'm a Redfin Partner Agent!

I've been selected to be a Redfin partner agent.  Redfin will be joining the Mid Florida MLS as a licensed real estate broker sometime in late March or early April.

Redfin is a cutting edge internet brokerage.  Based in Seattle, they currently operate in Miami but do not have a brick and mortar presence there, nor will they in the Tampa area.  Potential buyers and sellers work with Redfin Partner Agents through referral agreements with local real estate brokers.\

I was selected through a five step process which included interviews and feedback from my past customers, as well as my past 18 month sales volume.


www.redfin.com

www.davidbarrhomes.com

Sarasota Real Estate Best Deals

Somehow I am subscribed to an email newsletter from one of our area's biggest real estate brokers.  The emails showcase "the area's Best properties".  Irritating random capitalization aside, there's no mention in the email about what actually makes their selections best.

It inspired me to add a Sarasota Best deals page to my website:  www.davidbarrhomes.com/best_deals

I regularly sift through hundreds of listed properties, and post the best ones in four different price points.  Each property is selected either by prior sales price (real estate is a cyclical business) or by rentability (condition/price/location/potential rental rate).

By the way, condos never make the cut to be included on my best deals page.  Read why here:  www.davidbarrhomes.com/condo_versus_house

Competing with Goliath

Yesterday I blogged about a Port Richey waterfront home I listed for sale.  Port Richey is not an area I normally serve, but the owner is a personal friend and past co-worker.  She knows I'm a total geek when it comes the internet and using it to market to buyers and sellers.

What happened immediately after posting the home in the MLS, on my website, and on my personal real estate website www.davidbarrhomes.com is an excellent case study in how an individual Realtor can compete with the biggest real estate companies online, and get results.

Within an hour, the home listing on my website (www.davidbarrhomes.com/5039_waterside_dr_port_richey) had a viewer from Sweden:


Within minutes of sharing yesterday's blog post on Google+, a Google search for "port richey waterfront home" ranked the blog post and the link to the property on the first page, above the fold, and above Realtor.com:


The big brokerages focus their marketing on the number of homes for sale they represent, forcing a potential buyer to fumble through their website to search for the kinds of homes they are looking for.  My strategy is to market your individual property for sale to potential buyers who are looking for specific features, such as waterfront.

Now is a good time to put your property on the market.  Contact me and let's get started.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

New Listing: Waterfront Home in Port Richey

I just listed a home for sale in Port Richey on Miller's Bayou.  You can view the property details and video tour on my website: http://www.davidbarrhomes.com/#!5039-waterside-dr-port-richey/c17js

I don't normally serve this area, but I'm happy to help a friend and past co-worker.  I emailed her with some Google Analytics information showing a potential buyer from Sweden already viewing her home online, within an hour of adding it to my website.

If you're thinking about selling your home soon, an individual agent can compete with the biggest brokers and get your home noticed online, where over 90% of buyers start their home search.  Contact me today to get started.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Mobile Apps on Trulia and Zillow

Are you using Trulia or Zillow mobile apps?

I've written extensively about how Zillow in particular (and Trulia) is not a real estate company but a website that sells advertising.  The real estate listings on both sites are notoriously out of date or just plain inaccurate, some never having been for sale in the first place.

Have you driven to a property using one of these apps and found the home wasn't for sale?  You're probably not alone.  If you 're looking for a good Sarasota real estate app, copy this link to your mobile browser:  http://t.ikenex.com/?k=LGz

Friday, January 10, 2014

Downtown Sarasota Condos

I continue to tweak and improve the user experience when searching for Sarasota real estate on my website, www.davidbarrhomes.com.

Today I added a map of downtown Sarasota condos for sale, color coded by price range, at
http://www.davidbarrhomes.com/#!downtown-sarasota-condos/c18hv

Many of my competitor's websites provide a laundry list of condo links for you to click on to view condos for sale.  Since I work with so many out of town buyers, I realize most aren't familiar with the names or locations of some of Sarasota's most popular downtown condos.

I also have all Sarasota downtown condos for sale listed by using my exclusive property summary report, which shows floor number, condo fees, and pet restrictions.  No other Sarasota real estate website makes your search so easy at a glance.

Manatee County 2013 Real Estate Statistics

2013 was a year of continued sustainable growth in the Manatee County FL real estate market.

Manatee County includes the well known cities of Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch, Palmetto, Parrish, and Ellenton.  The 2013 median sales price of single family homes increased to $215,000, an 18% increase over 2012's $182,000 median sales price.

Condos in Manatee County fared slightly better, with a 21% increase in 2013 and a median sales price of $127,500.

Interestingly, Manatee County's median single family price was higher than Sarasota County for 2013.  While Sarasota is generally considered slightly more expensive than Manatee, the Manatee number likely was bolstered by a flurry of new home construction at higher price points.

The numbers are reversed for condos.  Sarasota had a higher median sales price than Manatee County at $165,500, while the median sales price for Sarasota condos only increased 10% over 2012.

Please visit my real estate website for 10 year sales trends:

http://www.davidbarrhomes.com/#!real-estate-prices-sarasota/c198a

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Sarasota Real Estate Posts Median Sales Increases for 2013

The latest data from the Mid Florida MLS confirms what I have been telling real estate buyers for months.  The Sarasota real estate market is strong.

The median sales price for a single family home in Sarasota County increased to $184,500 from $155,000 in 2012.

The median sales price for condos, townhomes, and villas in Sarasota County increased to $165,000 from $150,000 in 2012.  This result further supports my rationale for choosing single family homes over condos, since appreciation for single family homes is increasing faster than condos.

In case you missed it on my website:  www.davidbarrhomes.com/condo_versus_house

I have also updated sales statistics for Manatee and Charlotte Counties.  Please visit www.davidbarrhomes.com/sarasota_real_estate_prices for more information.