Showing posts from 2014

How Do Mortgage Buyers Compete with Cash Buyers?

In the past 90 days, just over half the single home sales in Venice were to cash buyers.  Banks that are selling foreclosures prefer cash buyers, as do home owners selling on the open market.  Here's some tips to make sure your purchase offer with a mortgage is as attractive as possible to a seller. 1) Be prepared :  You have to be ready to show the seller you are a serious buyer by having a pre-approval letter from your lender.  Go do it.  Now. 2) Put as much escrow deposit down as possible: The more skin you have in the deal, the better it looks to a seller.  $1000 escrow deposits might work in certain price segments of the market.  But, if you really don't have more than $1000 to put down, are you qualified to buy a home in the first place? 3) Do your inspections quickly: FL contracts allow a 15 day period for home inspections.  You should offer 10 days.  You look like a more eager buyer who doesn't want to use the inspection contingency period to potentially bac

Market Update: Venice FL Homes for Sale Cash vs Finance

If you need to get a mortgage to buy a Venice FL home or condo, you'll be competing with a lot of cash buyers. According to our MLS, in the past 90 days, there have been 229 single family homes sold with all cash terms and 217 single family homes sold with conventional, FHA, or VA mortgage loans. CASH PURCHASES Median sold price: $218,000 Median days to contract: 26 Median sales price % of list price:  97% FINANCE PURCHASES  (Conventional/FHA/VA) Median sold price: $226,000 Median days to contract: 26 Median sales price % of list price: 97% Bottom line:  Whether you are paying cash or financing your Venice FL real estate purchase, properties are selling fast and at very close to list price.   Please contact me to assist you with your real estate needs.

Coming Soon in Sarasota

One of my clients is renovating a home in Sarasota that is walking distance to Phillippi Shores Elementary School, just north of Proctor Rd. and east of Tamiami Trail.  It should be ready for sale by the end of January. The open floor plan of this coming-soon home in Sarasota has lots of light and beautiful solid hardwood floors. This 3/3 home with bonus room/office/4th bedroom features all (real) wood floors, upgraded cabinetry (some hand-crafted), all new appliances, new roof, A/C, and lots of closet space. The master bedroom will have a dual vanity, a spa tub and separate shower stall, and his and her's closets.  The lot has plenty of room to add a pool. If you'd like more information about this home please contact me .

Investing in Sarasota and Venice FL Real Estate

There's been some news about real estate investors tapering off their purchase activity as housing prices increase.  That doesn't mean that the smart investors are giving up, because there's still good deals out there and a lot of rental demand in both Sarasota and Venice. For years after the real estate market downturn in 2008, it was easy to pick the low-hanging fruit of a $100K foreclosure, fix and flip it, or clean it up to rent for cash flow property.  In today's market, smart investors are factoring price appreciation in their formula for picking properties. Sarasota and Venice real estate is appreciating at healthy rates, but the higher overall price point of Sarasota versus Venice makes Sarasota a more difficult area for a newer investor to dip their toe in the market. Let's look at a side by side comparison of the two areas: Sarasota Target price range $150-$200K Highest rental demand:  Bahia Vista south to Clark Rd, west of Beneva and east of

Waiting Costs Money

If you've been looking for Venice FL real estate, or just starting out, you may or may not know that we have more buyers than homes for sale.  Homes are selling quickly, and that is creating frustration for some and a "wait and see" attitude for others. For those waiting for just the right house to come along, the old saying "time is money" is never more true than in real estate, at least in Venice. Let's take a look at what waiting to buy could potentially cost: Now: Home sales price $150,000 for a 2 bedroom 2 bath in Venice Interest rate 4.125% Mortgage monthly payment with 20% down: $581.58 Spring 2015: Estimated future home sales price $165,000 for a similar 2/2 in Venice Interest rate 4.35% Mortgage monthly payment with 20% down: $657.11 Housing inventory is expected to stay low, rates could go higher, and prices are projected to increase between 7%-10% .  Waiting to buy could cost you $76 per month, or approximately $912 per year.  Wha

Another Great Looking Flip in Venice, FL

I ran across this Venice FL flip for sale in the MLS.  Overall, this is a well-executed flip of a 2 bedroom, 2 bath home with large lot available for sale for $199,000, with city water and sewer. The home has new laminate floors installed throughout.  It looks nice in the pictures, but I'm not a personal fan of laminate.  Ceramic tile would have been a better choice.  If you are flipping investment property, it's much easier to get a neutral tile that will appeal to more potential buyers. The kitchen is pretty close to a perfect "10".  The lighting is a nice designer touch, and the white cabinetry and light color counter tops are excellent choices. I'm glad to see that the seller opted for a muted tile backsplash.  The open floor plan makes this 1,290 sq. ft. home see much larger. The bathroom successfully repeats the same winning formula as the kitchen:  a simple white vanity and light colored countertop, with a couple of designer sinks,

Home Flipping: I Analyse an Active Listing

I recently saw a home come up for sale in Sarasota in the South Gate area as I was searching for clients.  The home is a renovation, and the seller did most things right and a couple things that could have been done better.  Here's my analysis. The color palette is perfect.  The light gray walls and painted fireplace are exactly what buyers are looking for.  The large tile floors are also a good choice, but I bet this home had terrazzo floors.  I would have preferred those be refinished. The sectioned dining room could be improved.  This should have been opened to the living room, and the mirrors removed. I can't find much fault with the kitchen.  I really like the timeless simple white cabinets and flooring choices, as well as the pickled planked ceiling.  It definitely adds a memorable selling point to this home.  I might have chosen lighter color counter tops, but most buyers won't quibble with these. A lot of homes in South Gate have an enclosed lana

White Kitchens

I've been advising a client of mine who is renovating a home for sale, coming soon in Sarasota, about keeping everything white. The home is small, and using white will create the illusion of a larger, airy space that a potential buyer can imagine with their furnishings, art, and accessories. Here's a great example of how a small kitchen using simple materials looks spacious and contemporary: Subway tiles are a timeless classic.  The lack of cabinet pulls creates a streamlined effect that would work well on simple and inexpensive stock cabinets from places such as Ikea or Home Depot.  There are no jarring colors to distract the eye, which makes the space look larger. The goal in a successful "flip" is the balance between spending frugally on the renovation, while appealing to as many potential buyers as possible.  The simple lines and materials in the above example would appeal to any buyer who prefers a beachy aesthetic, or a rustic look by adding more per

The Slow Pace of Sales on Manasota Key

I just checked the sales data for the past 90 days for Manasota Key single family homes. Only 9 homes had sold, and of those, the median list price to sales price ratio was 86%.  This number is far too low in a seller's market.  Even worse, the median number of days on market for these sold homes was 571. You can view the report here . If you are thinking of selling your luxury home on Manasota Key, it's obviously time for a different approach.  I invite you to contact me to learn about Berkshire Hathaway's Luxury Collection, a powerful marketing program designed to put your property for sale in front of the most qualified potential buyers. You can learn more about the Luxury Collection here on my website:!bhhs-venice-luxury-collection/c11zl

Pet Friendly Condos for Sale in Venice FL

As a fellow dog lover, I am acutely aware that many people who relocate to the Venice FL area are bringing their pets with them and need to know exactly which condos allow pets. Pet friendly Brohard Beach in Venice FL courtesy of On my real estate website, you can search Venice FL area condos and villas for sale that are specifically pet friendly:!venice-pet-friendly-condos/c1xbi

Coming Soon: 2BR West of Trail in Vamo Sarasota FL

I will be listing a completely renovated 2 bedroom one bath cottage style home west of the Trail near Sarasota Square Mall in the next few weeks. The home will have an all new kitchen and bath, new roof and windows.  Here's a preview of the kitchen renovation. If you are looking for a smaller home that has an open and light feel, please contact me for a preview showing.

Get Inspired for Your Venice FL Kitchen Update

I'm always looking for new ideas and watching trends in design for my real estate business, as I have a couple of clients who rely on my input for updating or renovating their Venice FL area investment property to sell. I'm a big advocate of the sparse use of color with a heavy emphasis on white.  This picture from makes a statement in the use of white: Contemporary kitchen from White cabinetry and a light counter top color, such as this marble, create the impression of a much larger space.  The unusual glass back splash perfectly creates a focal point without a sharp color contrast. If you are thinking of selling your Venice FL area residence or investment property and want to maximize it's value, please contact me for a consultation.

Selling Venice FL Real Estate: Increase Your Curb Appeal

I've been writing a lot about increasing the value of your Venice FL home or condo for sale by simple improvements inside the property and outside, like adding a pergola. Curb appeal is the first emotional connection a buyer will make with your home and it happens within seconds.  Don't neglect landscaping that improves your home's curb appeal. Here's some plants I have personal experience with that grow easily in Florida's climate and will add visual impact: Bougainvillea Bougainvillea grows quickly and produces a lot of color, especially in the winter months here in FL.  Bougainvillea can be trained to grow on a trellis or a privacy fence, or trimmed into bushes or privacy hedges.  Once they "start", they really take off.  I've transplanted what I thought was a dead bougainvillea and it came back to life with little effort.  Make sure to get the purple variety with the smaller leaves.  The larger varieties with heart shaped leaves seem to

Counter Tops: Create a Memorable Selling Point for Your Venice FL Real Estate

I have worked with a lot of Venice FL home buyers over the years.  Buyers take their time to make a decision on which property to purchase and are looking for a WOW factor to help make that decision. If you are thinking of sprucing up your Venice FL real estate to sell, consider something different for kitchen countertops: stainless steel. Photo courtesy Stainless steel counter tops are not for the budget minded investor or seller, but it can give that WOW factor to a property and help it stand out in the mind of a potential buyer.  Consider installing a stainless counter top in just one part of the kitchen. Stainless counter tops mix well with a butcher block island If you have a section of counter top in a standard cabinet width, check out restaurant supply websites that sell prefabricated counter tops:

Selling Your Venice FL Home? Increase It's Curb Appeal with a Pergola

We don't seem to see many of these in Florida, but a pergola can add curb appeal to your home and make even a simple ranch home more inviting. A pergola adds architectural appeal to a bland facade Pergolas can be added to liven up a bland facade, to emphasize a walkway, or provide shade in the back yard.  Used in any of these ways, a potential buyer for your Venice FL home will remember your property as "the pergola house". Taylor Morrison's new homes in Arbor Lakes feature a pergola This backyard pergola has a retractable fabric shade You can really make your Venice FL home for sale stand out from the rest by adding a relatively inexpensive pergola.   Please contact me if you'd like to discuss a staging and pricing analysis for your Venice FL real estate.

Interesting Flooring Options for Venice FL Homes

If you are considering Venice FL real estate and thinking of flooring options, consider vinyl plank floors. What, you say? Vinyl?  Most people think of the ugly peel and stick tiles and old style sheet vinyl floors we grew up with in the 70s and 80's.  Fortunately, those days are long gone and vinyl has had a renaissance. Remember this vinyl from the 70's and 80's? Because most homes in Venice FL are built on a cement slab, wood floors most people are familiar with cannot be installed.  The concrete wicks water vapor from below, and causes solid wood floors to buckle and become moldy.  Engineered wood and laminate flooring require a vapor barrier and a foam pad, which increases the overall expense of an installation. Dramatic wood look for a fraction of the price. Vinyl plank flooring floats over an existing concrete slab and requires no moisture barrier.  They can be scored with a utility knife to length or width.  Vinyl planks are completely resistant to

Should You Buy a 2 Story Home in Venice FL?

I'm seeing some 2 story homes being built in some new home communities in the Sarasota and Venice areas.  I am often asked if buying a 2 story home is a good idea. 2 story homes offer a lot of square feet and are usually a good solution for a large family, or an extended family with older relatives.  Otherwise, I believe 2 story homes should be avoided whenever possible. 2 story home elevation in Taylor Morrison's Arbor Lakes at Palmer Ranch in Sarasota Older folks seldom like to climb stairs.  2 story homes limit the number of potential buyers when you decide to sell. 2 story homes usually require higher insurance costs.  They have a higher profile against wind and wind-borne debris. Bottom line:  Say yes to a 2 story home if you have a large family or need a lot of square feet and plan on staying in the property for a long time.  Say no to buying a 2 story home if you plan on selling or downsizing in the near future.

Venice FL Home Buyer Trends: Terrazzo

I recently analyzed a report from Google Trends about what home buyers are searching for online, and how it applies to our local Venice FL real estate market. One of the things buyers are looking for is vintage, and nothing is more vintage in our area than terrazzo floors.  I am a huge fan of rehabilitating old terrazzo floors in real estate investment property and property renovations. Terrazzo is a mixture of concrete, marble, glass, and granite or quartz, and is poured over the home's concrete slab foundation.  The surface is polished to a fine gloss, and is common today in commercial applications such as retail stores and airports. In the 50's and 60's, many Venice and Sarasota home builders used terrazzo floors.  Unfortunately, wall to wall carpeting came into wide use just after this period, and many of the homes with original terrazzo floors now look like the "before pictures" below when it's time for a renovation. Typical terrazzo in an inve

Great for Windows AND Your Bath

Here's a teriffic idea to spruce up your bathroom if you are getting ready to sell your home or condo in Venice. Valances look great on windows, so why not use them to hide those shower curtain rods and rings? As I've been blogging about in my renovation and staging posts for Venice FL home sellers, note the spare use of colors and the monochromatic approach used in these examples. If you are ready to sell your Venice FL home or condo, please contact me for a pricing, marketing, and staging consultation today.

20 Easy Ways to Modernize Your Outdated Venice FL Kitchen

Are you getting ready to sell your Venice, FL home or condo? You may not have to spend a lot of money on a kitchen makeover to attract a buyer and get top dollar for your property. A fresh coat of paint on walls and wood cabinets makes a huge difference.  Note the colors in this kitchen, and how the white and gray colors are punctuated with wood tones.  The space also appears bigger because the flooring color softens the transition to the walls. Photo courtesy of Read the entire set of 20 easy ways to modernize your Venice FL kitchen in this link  from When you're ready to sell, please contact me for pricing, staging, and marketing solutions that will help sell your home.

Venice Real Estate 101: Listen More, Talk Less

I just read an interesting Tweet from my Twitter feed  (follow me here:  @sarasota_homes ) that is Sales 101, but many in real estate don't put in practice. People buy for their own reasons, not yours.  Listening to the needs of the customer is key in any sales position. Lots of Realtors think having a "big personality" and talking a lot is "selling".  I learned a long time ago to let the customer talk, but ask them questions to zero in on what their primary motivations are for buying or selling their property. So Realtors, talk less, listen more, and sell more.

Manasota Key

For a change of pace, I thought I'd post some pictures of Manasota Key from a morning bike ride this past weekend. We are definitely getting into fall.  The mainland just off Manasota Key has to be one of the foggiest places on Earth. These were taken from the south bridge to Manasota Key at Beach Road.

New Listing: Home for Sale in Gulf View Estates Venice FL

I just listed a home for sale in Gulf View Estates in Venice, FL. The home is in the sought-after Gulf View Estates neighborhood, just north of Manasota Beach Rd. off Hwy 776. 1444 Roosevelt Drive is a move-in ready 3/2 pool home with rare preserve view for $224,900.  Most every room has a view to the caged pool.  The split bedroom plan includes an open kitchen/family room combination, with separate formal living room and breakfast room. Take a video tour of this property on my YouTube channel: Please contact me to schedule a tour of this home today.

4 Great Venice FL Home Improvements

Warm year-round temperatures and spectacular natural beauty makes Venice, Florida one of the most desirable real estate markets in the country. You can modernize your home and make it more useful for your needs — and improve its market value — by making a few popular updates. 1. Repurposed Sunroom The sunroom is a standard feature of many Venice homes. However, these screened porches often need an update to allow them to be used more effectively. Glass enclosure is one method, to add more usable space under air for daily living. Generally, extending the heating and air conditioning system for this remodeling task is not difficult. Another idea uses a series of French doors as the exterior of the sunroom area. This method allows easy access to outdoor areas and creates a classic look for the interior. Making the sunroom more comfortable can allow you to use it as a lovely dining area with a view of the outdoors. You can also use comfortable outdoor furniture to make it a pictur

Redecorating Your Home in Venice FL? Avoid the Color Red!

There's a lot of home and condo buyers in the Venice FL area, and over half of them are paying cash.  This suggests two things about our market: 1) Cash buyers are renovating and flipping; 2) Cash buyers are holding and renting for cash flow. In either scenario, how you stage the property for sale and the colors you pick create an emotional (positive or negative) reaction in a potential new buyer. One of the things that can create the biggest emotional reaction is paint color.  And there's one paint color you should avoid in FL at all costs:  RED. This bathroom color may be great in cold Norway, the NE US or Canada, but the color red does not work in Florida. Red is hot.  Red is danger.  Red means stop.  Florida is hot.  So don't use this color in your home.  Florida home buyers want soothing, cooling spaces after being out in the Florida sun and heat. The pale green glass tile makes this bath feel more sedate and cool. If you are selling your home or

Another Brokerage Cuts off Zillow

Inman News (one of the real estate industry's leading news providers) posted a story online about another brokerage cutting off their feed of listings to Zillow's website. Northwood Realty in Pennsylvania has announced they have stopped syndication of their company's residential listings to Zillow.  Northwood Realty has more than 1000 agents that serve the metro Pittsburgh area. "While we embace technology and promote it as a tool fo rour clients, it has become apparent that the level of inaccuracy on Zillow's website is misleading, inaccurate, and outdated," CEO and President Tom Hosak wrote in an email to agents. I have been saying for a long time that Zillow is a detriment to real estate consumers, and this decision by a large brokerage is further proof of that. Read the entire Inman article here . Read more about how Zillow does business on my website:!debunking-zillow-sarasota/cftb

Venice FL Kitchen Design Ideas

I've been blogging about how Venice FL home owners and real estate investors can make the most of their property for today's home buyers by using light colors to help create an open feel in any space. This kitchen, from, is a perfect example.  The light counter tops, cabinets, and wall color all combine to create an appealing, timeless kitchen design. Notice the spare use of color I have mentioned in previous blog posts.  I also thought the pine flooring was an example of the vintage appeal buyers are searching for, as evidenced by a recent report from Google Trends. Wood flooring is not the best choice for a Venice FL home, especially if the home is constructed on a concrete slab.  Concrete slab foundations emanate water vapor from the ground, which will cause warping, mold, or decay, of real wood floors. You can mimic this look by using wood-look ceramic tile, available in Home Depot or Lowe's.

Venice FL New Home Kitchen Design Ideas

Today I took a tour of a home builder's design center and found some interesting contrasts in design elements they are presenting for kitchens in their Venice FL new homes for sale. One of the trends is for a contrasting cabinet color for the kitchen island space.  The white color of this island makes it seem like it is floating in space against the light floor, retaining the feeling of openness in it's use in an open floor plan. The builder also provided more traditional cabinet colors and stone counter top colors.  The counter top material on the island in this picture is actually a laminate, with an embossed natural stone pattern. There are 4 different counter top choices in this kitchen below.  Notice how the dark cabinets draw the eye in, as opposed to a light or a white cabinet that would blend and make the space appear bigger. Remember, design is a personal choice.  But, if you're preparing a home for resale, or buying a starter home and need ideas