Monday, March 30, 2015

Analyzing a Venice FL Flip

Today I took a tour of a renovated home for sale in the Venice East area of Venice FL.  The home is owned and listed for sale by a real estate team from our Berkshire Hathaway office.

Renovated home in Venice Gardens Venice FL
Tone on tone floors and walls visually open the space

This home is a very well executed flip, with many of the features and trends buyers are looking for.  I've written about using light, neutral tones on floors and walls, and this home has taken good advantage of this technique.  The light, neutral colors create a backdrop for any type of style or decor.

Kitchen flip in Venice Gardens
The kitchen has most features buyers are looking for

I've also been writing about using white cabinets for your Venice FL kitchen renovation.  They are timeless, and continue the open and airy feel created by the light floor and wall colors.

Master bath renovation
Simple materials can make a big statement

Many people are intimidated by renovating a bath.  This home proves that simple white subway tiles and a classic dual vanity can make a big impact without a big investment.

Renovated pool in Venice FL
The renovated pool

The renovated, caged pool is a nice feature for those looking for a pool home.  This is where I may have taken a slightly different course as an investor on this flip.  The pool deck thin pavers are nice, but I would have used that money to put up a privacy fence, since this home is on a corner lot.

If you are interested in real estate to flip in Venice FL, please contact me.  You can also read more about flipping homes here on my blog.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Marketing a Home for Sale

When you are ready to sell your Venice FL real estate, what do the agents you interview plan to do to market your property?

It's important not to forget to provide marketing materials to prospective buyers and their agents in the home or condo during their personal tour.

Make sure prospective buyers are informed
Make sure prospective buyers AND their agent have the information they need

At this particular property for sale at 23265 Banbury Way in Sarasota National, I have provided:

1) The MLS listing;
2) The builder floor plan;
3) A comparative market analysis;
4) A rendering of the community's new amenity center under construction;
5) A color property flyer;
6) A flyer for a group open house I organized for other townhomes for sale on that street.

All information sheets are available in email format upon request.

When interviewing an agent to list your Venice property for sale, make sure they have a comprehensive plan to get an informed buyer to write a realistic offer.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Venice FL Kitchen Design Ideas and Trends

A lot of homes in Venice FL and surrounding area have small kitchens.  I'm working with an investor who is in the midst of a flip of a small home and I shared this idea with him.

Ideas for your Venice FL real estate flip
A white kitchen maximizes space with elevated breakfast bar
This picture comes to us via, a UK real estate website.  Our friends across the pond have lots of properties with small spaces, and this is a fine example of how to maximize space in a small kitchen.

I've been writing about using white in small spaces and this again shows why.  The elevated breakfast bar is a fantastic idea that is inexpensive and unexpected.  This would be what I call "a differentiator" for a property investor that wants to create a memorable space and minimize cost.

If you are investing in Venice FL real estate, please contact me help you locate property and sell your investment for more.

Manasota Key Beach Before and After

Everybody hears the stories about beach erosion in Florida, but nobody reports on what we in the real estate business call beach accretion.  It's a natural process of our beaches and thankfully it's happening on parts of Manasota Key.

Manasota Key Beach in December 2014
Manasota Key Beach in December 2014

Manasota Key Beach March 2015
Manasota Key Beach in March 2015

These two pictures were taken by me in roughly the same location, looking north on Manasota Key.  You can tell from the March photograph that we have gained about 50 feet of beach.

If you are interested in Manasota Key real estate, please contact me.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Association Fees Higher than Mortgage

Today I showed a condo to a customer in Sarasota in Beneva Ridge.

Condo for sale in Beneva Ridge in Sarasota
Condo for sale in Beneva Ridge
Beneva Ridge is a small condo complex right at the intersection of Bee Ridge and Beneva, behind the Publix shopping center.

I get inquiries from buyers about these condos because many have 3 or 4 bedrooms and 2 and a half baths.  Prices are under $100K, and the location value is good because you are only 15 minutes to downtown and about 20 minutes to Siesta Key beaches.

Seems too good to be true in Sarasota, right?  Yes, you'd be right.

These are wood frame condos that have experienced a lot of neglect.  The condo fees are astronomical for properties in this price range: up to $608 per month (per month, not per quarter).  Leaky roofs, termite damage, and past abandonment by former owners have put a strain on the association finances.

In most cases, your association fees for a unit in Beneva Ridge would be much higher than your mortgage payment.  As an investor, you're looking at about $350 to $400 in mortgage for a typical Beneva Ridge condo, plus an average of about $500 per month in association fees.  For $900 per month, you could buy a $225,000 single family home.

Visit and find more information about Sarasota and Venice FL real estate under the FAQ section.

Friday, March 20, 2015

New Sarasota Flood Maps: Grandfather Rules

I've previously blogged about changes to FEMA maps for Sarasota County flood zones.  There are rules about grandfathering rates that may help home and business owners save money on flood insurance.

Learn more about Sarasota County flood zones and flood insurance
Most of the grandfathering rules involve buildings which are pre-FIRM (built before the FIRST Flood Insurance Rate Map) and buildings which are pre-DFIRM, which are located in existing flood zones prior to the new Digital Flood Insurance Rate Map.

Buildings which are pre-FIRM have just one opportunity to be grandfathered, which is before the new DFIRM's become effective, sometime in 2016. The building must have existing, continuous coverage at the old flood zone map rate, and the policy can usually be transferred to a new owner.

If your home is currently located in a low to moderate risk flood zone (zones B, C, or X), the building owner can purchase a lower cost Preferred Risk Policy (PRP) prior to the new DFIRM effective date.  This will LOCK IN the the flood zone for future rating.

This is important, because if you are selling your property and you know it is going to be put in a higher risk DFIRM, you can save the potential buyer a significant expense.

If you are thinking of selling your Venice, Sarasota, or Nokomis home, please be sure to ask me about how Sarasota flood maps and flood zone changes might affect the sale.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Flipping Venice Real Estate? Look Out for Laminate Floors

As readers of this blog may know, I have never been a fan of laminate floors.  Now I have one more reason to dislike them.

Recent reports of formaldehyde emissions from laminate flooring are making news.  As a Realtor I'm prepared for the Florida Association of Realtors to come up with a laminate flooring disclosure, just like mold and lead based paint disclosures and addendums.

Laminate floors fail in FL due to high humidity

If you are flipping a house or doing a renovation to put your Venice, FL home or condo on the market, please avoid laminate floors.  A much better alternative is vinyl plank floors, which I have blogged about previously.

Please contact me for advice on making the right kinds of renovations to your Venice FL home or condo to get the best sales price.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Venice FL First Time Home Buyers

First time home buyer in the Venice area?  Yes, it might be a scary prospect.  You just need the right buyer's agent.

Read about buying your first Venice FL home

I have added a page to my website that describes what Venice FL first time home buyers can expect, as well as an outline of the buying process.

Please click here to visit the page on my site.  If you are ready to jump into the Venice, FL real estate market (I also cover Sarasota, Nokomis, and Englewood), please contact me.  I'd be happy to be your buyer's agent.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Flipping in Venice? Buyers Want Smart Home Features

If you are getting a Venice, FL home ready to sell or investing in a Venice, FL home flip, keeping up to date on recent home buyer trends will help you get a higher sales price in a shorter time.

A recent survey found that Realtors agreed that buyers today are more interested in homes with smart features than 2 to 5 years ago.  The same survey showed that half of Millennials and 57% of Gen-X home buyers were the top groups interested in smart home technology.

You can read the entire article here.

If you are thinking of investing in Venice, FL real estate, read more on my website and contact me to discuss a marketing strategy.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Canadian Bank to Clients: Florida Homes Still a Bargain

Canada-based BMO bank is telling its customers that despite increased prices and an unfavorable exchange rate, US housing and Florida real estate in particular is still a good bargain.

 Condos for sale in Venice

The median home price in Florida is $169,000, compared to $230,192 USD in major metropolitan areas of Canada.  Sal Guatieri, senior economist, BMO Capital Markets, notes that all regions of Florida, except Miami, were considered highly affordable in 2014 when comparing median prices with median family income.

You can read the entire article here:

If you are interested in Venice FL area real estate, including Bradenton, Sarasota, Nokomis, and Englewood, please contact me or visit my websites or

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Is Your Agent Mobile?

As a follow up to my last blog about Verizon's Realtor ad, it's important if you are selling your Venice FL home or condo to ask agents about their mobile marketing plan.

Mobile marketing for Venice FL real estate

You may get a blank stare, or the agents you interview might just volunteer only that they have a smartphone so they can respond to email.  They could say that their broker website works with cell phones and tablets.  That's not what mobile marketing in real estate is about.

It's no longer enough to rely on a broker site to market your home properly to potential customers using a mobile device.  Your property will be just one of many listings on that site.  The main reason you should hire a Realtor is to make your real estate stand out from the competition.

National trends are showing the number of mobile real estate searches surpassing laptop/desktop late this year.  I am also seeing this trend mirrored on my 3 real estate websites:,, and

Please contact me about my mobile marketing plan when you are ready to sell your home or condo in Venice.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Perfect Example of Tech in Real Estate

Verizon recently put out a terriffic ad highlighting how Realtors use (or have trouble using) technology.

Two Realtors discuss how they sell (or don't sell) using technology

I've written about this subject before.  "Experienced" Realtors, who have been in the business forever, usually have a hard time sending email, much less taking video or pictures of a home and sending them to a customer out of state or out of the country.

Here's the video link on YouTube:

Today, I'll be viewing a Venice FL home for sale for a long distance customer, and I'll be uploading the walk-through video to YouTube.  The last time I did this, he bought the home and obtained a tenant in 3 days, without ever setting foot in it.

If you are buying or selling Venice, FL real estate, contact me today.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

21 States Have Higher Property Taxes than Florida

A recent report by RealtyTrac shows 21 states had higher property tax rates than Florida.

Homeowners paid an average of 1.18% effective property tax rate in 2014 based on the average estimated market value of single family homes.  I usually advise my customers to anticipate 1.25% property tax upon the new assessment based on the sales price of the property.

New report on Florida property tax rank vs other states

New York, Texas, Illinois, Connecticut, and New Jersey had the highest effective property tax rate.

This report does not give a figure for those homes that qualify for a homestead exemption.

You can read the entire RealtyTrac report here.