Sunday, March 30, 2014

Divosta Homes for Sale in the Sarasota Area

Divosta has a reputation for quality construction. In the Sarasota area we have 6 Divosta communities to choose from:  San Michele, San Palermo, Village Walk, The Isles of Palmer Ranch, Sandhill Preserve, and Island Walk of Venice.

Because Divosta homes are so popular, I have a page on my website listing all the available Divosta homes for sale in the Sarasota area:!divosta-homes-sarasota/c1lq0

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Capri Villa for sale in Village Walk $267,500

Cayman townhomes and Capri and Carrington villas are 2 or 3 bedroom, between 1500 and 1800 sq ft.  Some have private pools.  Expect prices in the mid to upper $200's.  Single family homes, starting with the Oakmont model, start in the $350's.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Case Study: Why an Experienced Buyer's Agent is a Must

Today's experience working with out of town buyers makes an excellent case study in why you need an experienced buyer's agent.

I have been working with a couple since late 2013 who want to move from Clearwater to either Sarasota or Venice.  The buyers had a smart initial strategy to visit Sarasota and tour homes one day, and visit the Venice area and tour homes a couple of days later.

Luckily, this couple was very clear in terms of what they were looking for.  They did not like high-rise condo living, wanted something near beaches and amenities, and wanted to gain some privacy in the process.  After touring homes with them two times previously and asking for feedback every time we visited a property, I had a good idea of what they were looking for.  Key terms here: ask and listen to the client.

Fast forward to this week.  I sent the buyers a list of properties to choose from for our property tour today, but they didn't make any selections.  This is actually pretty common.  In a new area a buyer is not familiar with, it's hard to select properties based on a few pictures and a MLS report.

I went ahead and scheduled appointments and called the buyers to confirm the first address to tour.  I was able to show them a range of properties and price ranges in 5 different communities, with two of their favorites being last minute additions I had made to the list they had not seen in previous emails.  I made sure to ask first that they were not too overwhelmed with touring, and that those homes I had added to the list would be of interest.  Key terms again:  ask and listen to the client.

My knowledge of available properties in neighborhoods or subdivisions with real estate fitting the buyer's needs turned out to be invaluable.  If you are interested in Bradenton, Sarasota, or Venice real estate, but aren't quite sure where or how to start, I'm here to help.

Check the Status of a Property from Zillow or Trulia

Have you been searching Zillow or Trulia for Sarasota real estate?

I've been saying for a long time that these services have a lot of inaccurate information and outdated properties for sale on their sites.  Many of the homes and condos they list for sale were never available for sale in the first place.

You can check the true status of a property you've found on either of these sites with a MLS # search:!sarasota-mls-number-search/cvrw

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Owner Financed Homes for Sale in Sarasota

I may be one of only a few Sarasota area Realtors who actively markets services to home buyers looking for homes offering owner financing.

To serve your needs, I have a page on my website that lists all homes and condos offering owner financing from the MLS :!owner-financing-sarasota/chfb

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Owner financing available for this beachfront condo $349,000

Owner financed homes are at fairly low levels due to our strong real estate market.  Here's some tips when looking for owner financing:
  • Don't ask what terms the seller is offering before seeing the home in person.  It's like asking the seller what is final best sales price will be.  Most of the time, the response back from the seller will ask what terms you are offering.  Financing terms are part of your overall offer and will be as negotiable as the price;
  • Have at least 20% of the anticipated final purchase price as a down payment;
  • Have your down payment source of funds ready to go at a moment's notice;
  • Have references at hand in case the seller asks for them.
I work with a real estate attorney who can handle the closing, draft the financing documents, and record the mortgage with the county, just like a regular bank loan. 

Bad things happen to good people.  If you have the funds, stop renting and start building equity in a strong real estate market.

Venice FL Real Estate

If you are considering a move to the Gulf coast of Florida or purchasing a vacation home, Venice is a great place to end your search.

Venice has a rich history dating back to the early 1920's, reflected in it's architecturally interesting downtown.  Venice Island has the best of all things Florida: culture, dining, shopping, and tree-lined avenues, all just a short walk or bike ride to Venice Beach.

See the latest Venice FL real estate for sale on my website:!venice/cuv4

Venice Art Festival in downtown Venice
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Newer maintenance-free home in Amora on Venice Island $349,000
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Two blocks to Venice beach, heated pool $419,000

Monday, March 24, 2014

Sarasota Real Estate Website

I've been working the past couple of weeks on an improved Sarasota real estate website to bring you the latest technology and tools for your Sarasota real estate needs.  The new look is easy on the eyes, and new navigation makes it easier to find everything you are looking for.

All of my popular content, advice, and Sarasota neighborhood profiles have found new addresses on the web. To update your bookmarks or poke around if you are a first time visitor, please visit my new sitemap,!sitemap/cx5k or visit

Friday, March 21, 2014

Sarasota 55 and Over Communities

My Sarasota real estate website listing 55 and over communities has been updated with live MLS data.

If you're looking for Sarasota 55 and over communities for sale, you can see available properties for sale in just one click:!55-and-over-communities/cus Major updates and features added

My Sarasota real estate website has undergone a complete upgrade.

Now using HTML5, I've added interactive map search and live MLS listings for over 50 popular Sarasota area neighborhoods.

Website navigation is much more streamlined, with access to all major pages available in the main menu.

Check it out and let me know what you think.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Visit My New Website

A goal I set last year for my real estate website,, is finally coming to fruition. As with my old website, I designed the new style and layout.  I'd love to get some feedback on the new design and layout.

The redesigned site works on all computing platforms (desktop, laptop, and mobile) using the latest HTML5 features.

One of the benefits of the upgrade is that I can organize all my website links in a drop-down menu.  Another benefit coming next week will give buyers and sellers the latest real estate search tools and features.

Unfortunately, if you've been visiting my website through links on this blog, most of them are no longer valid.  When you get redirected to from an older link, please use the main menu on the home page to access the content you are looking for.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Sarasota FL Real Estate Owner Financing

Homes and condos for sale with owner financing is an area of real estate most agents don't serve effectively, if at all.  I recognize there is a sizable number of underserved potential home buyers who are looking to own their own homes and repair their credit after the real estate market crash of 2007 and 2008.  I can assist buyers looking for owner financing:

The most frequent question I get from buyers looking for owner financing is 'What kind of terms is the seller looking for?'.  The most frequent question I get when asking home owners is 'What kind of terms is the buyer thinking of?'.  A home owner always responds more favorably to a written offer.

The best way to approach owner financing homes from a buyer's standpoint is to tour homes that fit your budget both for monthly payments and the amount of money you have to put down.

As with bank financing, home price and loan terms are negotiable.  Home buyers should be prepared to suggest financing terms in a written offer such as:
  • Minimum 20% down payment of the negotiated sales price;
  • Interest rate ranging between 5.5% and 6.5%;
  • Monthly payments based on a 30 year term;
  • Balloon payment due in a range between 2 and 5 years.  Buyers who had a recent short sale can get bank financing in 2 years with otherwise good credit.  Buyers who experienced a foreclosure due to a documented hardship can get a bank mortgage in 3 years.

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Pool home in Rotonda offering owner financing $154,500
A written offer which includes these kinds of items is more likely to get a favorable response from a home owner than a verbal inquiry before you have seen the home in person.

The financing documents are drawn up by a real estate attorney who will handle the closing, and, as with bank financing, the mortgage is recorded with the county.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Sarasota Flood Insurance

A lot of buyers I have been working with have been concerned about potential price increases and changes for Sarasota flood insurance.

Well, there's good news on this subject.  Today, the House passed a measure that repeals the huge increases home buyers and home owners were threatened with under the Biggert/Waters Flood Insurance Act of 2012.

The new bill passed today will allow homeowners to keep their current flood insurance rates even after new flood maps are drawn.  It also allows home buyers to keep a home's current lower, subsidized rate, rather than prompting a full scale flood elevation survey and new policy at a much higher amount.  On average, it is predicted flood insurance premiums will increase 15% annually rather than the 300% to 500% increases being reported prior to the new bill's enactment.

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Beachfront home for sale on Manasota Key $4,250,000

The bill still has to be reconciled with the Senate version of a similar bill, then sent to President Obama to sign into law.  Both bills in the House and Senate had broad bi-partisan support.

This is great news if you are interested in Sarasota waterfront homes or beach homes

Monday, March 3, 2014

Sarasota Homes with no HOA Fees

I am always monitoring Google analytics for current home buyer trends and search terms, and many buyers are looking for homes without HOA (home owner association) fees.

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Siesta Key home with no HOA fee $599,000

I have added a page to my real estate website with only homes for sale that do not have HOA fees:!sarasota-homes-no-hoa/crd0