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Local Farmer’s Markets

By | February 23, 2012

The Downtown Sarasota Farmer’s Market has been a downtown mainstay for more than 30 years. The year-round, Saturday morning market is a potpourri of fresh produce, food, flowers and plants, fine artisanship, friends and fun. It has become a community happening – a gathering place for people to bring families, friends and even dogs to peruse the displays of garden-fresh produce and unique craft products.

The beautiful setting of downtown Sarasota, combined with smells of fresh coffee and baked goods, and the live performances of entertainers make for an exceptional Saturday morning experience. Meet your neighbors over coffee; enjoy a market breakfast with friends; introduce your dog to others in the area; purchase fresh produce and seafood; find a special gift – it’s all at the Downtown Sarasota Farmer’s Market.

In addition to the Sarasota market, there are quite a few others in the area:

Bradenton Farmer’s Market
Saturdays from 9am – 2pm
http://www.realizebradenton.com/index.php/farmers-market

Bridge Street Market (Bradenton Beach)
Sundays from 9am – 3pm
http://www.bridgestreetmerchants.com/Market.aspx

Lakewood Ranch Farmer’s Market
Saturdays from 9am – Noon
http://www.lakewoodranch.com/events/event.cfm?eveID=2378

North Port Farmer’s Market
Saturdays from 9am – 2pm
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Naturally-North-Port-Farmers-Market/225156474214613

Phillippi Farmhouse Market
Wednesdays from 9am – 2pm
http://farmhousemarket.org

Sarasota Farmer’s Market
Saturday’s from 7am – 1pm
http://www.sarasotafarmersmarket.org/

Siesta Key Farmer’s Market
Sundays from 8am – 1pm
http://www.siestafarmersmarket.com

Venice Farmer’s Market
Saturdays from 8am – Noon
http://thevenicefarmersmarket.com

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Sarasota History Alive 19th Edition

By | February 22, 2012

This is the 22nd year that the Sarasota Alliance for Historic Preservation is hosting their Annual Homes Tour; and this year it will be in the Bungalow Hill area. This lovely part of our community is nestled in the West-of-the-Trail section of town. You surely don’t want to miss it. We thought it would be a perfect time for you to get acquainted with the history of Bungalow Hill.

Courtesy of Sarasota History Alive!

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SPRING TRAINING IN FLORIDA…

By | February 21, 2012

 Yes it is that time of year… Spring Training in Florida. It is a great opportunity to see your favorite team up close. Sarasota County is home to the Pirates (Bradenton), Orioles (Sarasota), Rays (Port Charlotte), Red Sox (Fort Myers) and Twins (Fort Myers). Within driving distance you can also see the Tigers (Lakeland), Blue Jays (Dunedin), Phillies (Clearwater) and Yankees (Tampa).

Check out the schedule of your favorite team at: http://www.floridaspringtraining.com/

TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALLGAME!

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Gecko’s Grill & Pub: Great Food, Great Spirits, Great Fun!

By | February 20, 2012

Gecko’s Grill & Pub has been a favorite for locals and tourists alike since 1992!  Whether out on your own, with your family or joining a group of friends, Gecko’s Grill & Pubs are the perfect place to relax and enjoy the camaraderie of a favorite neighborhood grill and sports bar.

Serving lunch, dinner and a complete late night menu, Gecko’s features American pub food with a gourmet twist, nightly chef’s specials and a full bar featuring 2-4-1 Happy Hour drinks ALL day EVERY day with the coldest beer and the smoothest spirits…not to mention the friendliest bar and wait staff around.

With lots of televisions and the latest satellite and sound systems to watch your favorite sporting event, Gecko’s is open 7 days a week in 5 convenient locations. For hours and locations of the Gecko’s nearest you check out www.geckosgrill.com or find them on Facebook Gecko’s Grill & Pub – Landings * Gecko’s Grill & Pub – Hillview * Gecko’s Grill & Pub – Clark Rd. * Gecko’s Grill & Pub – SR 64 * Gecko’s Grill & Pub – SR 70

Gecko’s ALL NEW ULTIMATE Happy Hour
All Day * Every Day * 7 days a week

2-4-1 Well Cocktails, Margaritas, Martinis, Frozen Drinks, House Wines & Every Day Low Price on Draft Beers

PREMIUM LATE NIGHT Happy Hour
10:00 pm to Close

2-4-1 PREMIUM COCKTAILS
Choose your favorite cocktails with premium brands like: Ketel 1, Stoli, Absolut, Tanqueray, Beefeater, Captain Morgan, Bacardi, El Mayor Tequila, 1800, Jim Beam, Jack Daniels, Maker’s Mark, Crown Royal, and Southern Comfort – to name a few!

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Sarasota/Bradenton – #5 Turnaround Town In The Country

By | February 17, 2012

The Sarasota-Bradenton area was just named the #5 turnaround town in the country by www.Realtor.com.

That’s no surprise out here in the trenches – my phone has been ringing off the hook, most listings I market receive multiple offers in the first week, and there’s a real feeling of optimism among my customers and my co-workers.

In fact, Florida dominated the list, taking 7 of the top 10 places.

Prices have been stable in our area for several years now and we’re on the verge of becoming a seller’s market again (based on the available inventory). FYI, a six-month supply is considered equilibrium, and we’re at 8.3 months right now. That’s a 10-year low for us.

By the numbers, our average list price appreciated 10.78% from last year while our time-on-market fell 26.57%. We also have 31% fewer listings this year than last year.

Here’s the link, in case you want to read the entire article:

http://www.realtor.com/blogs/2011/11/16/florida-dominates-realtor-com-top-ten-turnaround-markets/

… if you’re still thinking about buying a house in or around Sarasota, this IS the season to buy! Don’t wait for our inventory to get lower or prices to get higher!

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Three Types Of Lending For Investors

By | February 15, 2012

One of the most important aspects to investing in real estate is how you finance your property. Although all other factors may look favorable, having no or little access to good terms could be a deal breaker. Therefore, before doing anything else, it is important that you begin to line up some potential sources and explore what options are available to you.

There are various ways to start investing in homes, and each source has its own set of strengths and weaknesses. Your exit strategy, the condition of the property and various other factors will play a part in how you may be able to finance each specific investment. So let’s explore 3 of these top sources:

Traditional Financing

If one of your strategies is to buy, hold and rent, then using banks may be a safe bet for some of your investment properties. This is a source that can be considered up front when a property is in considerably good condition. Most banks will not support the financing of a fixer upper until repairs are completed, due to the amount of risk involved.

Therefore, you may need to spend a little extra time searching for those diamonds in the rough. Traditional financing is extremely favorable, because you can usually get some of the best interest rates, terms and closing costs when approved. The process certainly will take longer than using cash buyers or hard money lending for example, but it can be worth the wait.

Hard Money Lenders

For those who will either be flipping a property or would need to conduct significant repairs in order to refinance may want to consider building a relationship with a hard money lender. It is advisable to shop around to at least 2 or 3 in your area when possible to see which terms you find to be most favorable.

These loans will come with much higher interest rates (typically 12% or more), points and some type of balloon payment near the end of the agreement. Hard money may be offered for 6 months to a year while the repairs are made, until the home is ready to be sold or refinanced for better rates.

It is important that investors are prepared to either rent out or lease-to-own their property if perhaps the home is unable to sell on the market quickly enough. Also, newbie investors beware! Flipping houses can be more difficult that it may seem, and you must have a solid plan in place so that you are not forced into a tight financial situation.

Private Lending

Before ever considering this option, it is strongly encouraged that you talk with a local attorney that specializes in SEC policies. Laws can vary on a state by state basis, so it is important that you have a good understand of those guidelines before building any relationships with private lenders.
However, when done correctly this can be a powerful resource available to you, that doesn’t require credit checks or adhering to all the strict guidelines enforced on mortgage companies. Private lenders can be nearly anyone who has access to the necessary funds for your purchase (i.e. your doctor, friends, family, or investor club).

Typically private lenders can receive anywhere from around 9% and up for their investment, which is secured by the property and can be a great investment for them based on today’s rates. Loans can be negotiated on a property by property basis so that each investor only funds the deals that they are comfortable with.

With these 3 examples alone, you may have all that is needed to start funding real estate deals. Therefore, take action now and begin building the relationships and networks of lenders that you will need in order to start investing.

Are you in need of referrals? Contact us today to access a list of preferred lenders that we will recommend for your investment business.

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Lakewood Ranch Ranks #9 in Top Selling Master-Planned Communities in the US

By | February 9, 2012

Nothing is so fine as being number nine!

Lakewood Ranch has just been ranked as the ninth best selling master-planned community in the United States!

The California-based John Burns Consulting has ranked Lakewood Ranch in the top 10 selling master-planned communities in the United States, with 391 new home sales in 2011.

Coming in at number 9, Lakewood Ranch outpaced many other well-established and iconic communities such as Stapleton in Denver, Summerlin in Las Vegas and more.

With the new sports campus, new commercial construction this year totaling upwards of $150 million, and new rental projects springing up, Lakewood Ranch has become the premier new-home destination on Florida’s West Coast!

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Sarasota – The Smallest Top-10 Destination In The U.S.!

By | February 8, 2012

Is it the warm weather? The awesome beaches?  … or just something in the water?

It doesn’t matter – people are moving to Sarasota in DROVES. Moments ago, Penske Truck Rental released their annual top-10 list of places to which people are moving.  For the second year in a row, Sarasota came in at #9.

Here’s the full list (Sarasota is the smallest city by far, and one of the warmest, too!):

1. Atlanta
2. Phoenix
3. Orlando, Fla.
4. Dallas/Fort Worth
5. Chicago
6. Houston
7. Denver
8. Seattle
9. Sarasota, Fla.
10. Charlotte, N.C.

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Sarasota History Alive 18th Edition

By | February 8, 2012

St. Armands Key has its roots firmly planted in John Ringling’s vision of becoming a beautiful residential area, with a centralized shopping and park feature to attract the well-to-do. What’s more, he knew that imported European statuary would add greatly to making this a reality. St. Armand’s has an interesting history.
 

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New Trends in Kitchen Remodeling

By | February 2, 2012

Mulling over a kitchen remodel but want to keep costs low? You’re au courant with today’s trends that emphasize options and high-tech wizardry at affordable prices.

 

Trend #1: Remodeling scales back

A new focus on moderation and value has entered the remodeling mind-set. Trends that are likely to show up in your kitchen next year include:

You’ll repair your existing appliances instead of replacing them, extending their life with good maintenance and care. If you’re replacing cabinets, you’re likely to build around your current appliances rather than choosing new models.

You’re scaling back your cabinetry purchases, with an increased emphasis on kitchen storage and functionality over elaborate decoration. For example, rather than stacked crown moldings throughout the kitchen, you’ll put your money into practical roll-out trays and drawer organizers.

Small-scale kitchen projects are big news. Changing out cabinet hardware, replacing a faucet, and refacing your cabinets upgrades your kitchen without major expense.

Trend #2: Simpler, warmer styles dominate

Fussiness and excess have faded away in favor of pared-back looks that present a more timeless, value-conscious style.

Cabinet decoration continues to streamline. For example, massive corbels, once fashionable as undercounter supports, will give way to sleeker countertop supports and cantelivered countertop edges. Stacked moldings will pare back or disappear entirely. Elaborately glazed finishes will yield to simpler paints and stains.

Kitchen finishes will continue to get warmer and darker, and feature natural and stained woods. Walnut especially is growing in popularity.  Laminate countertops will continue to surge in popularity, especially in contemporary design. The latest European-inspired laminates offer more textured and naturalistic finishes than ever before. While exotic wood kitchen cabinets are out of reach for most home owners, glossy, look-alike laminate versions can be had for about one-third the price.

Trend #3: Technology expands its kitchen presence

Many of the techno products and trends that relate to your smartphones and tablets have just started making their way into your local showrooms and home centers.

Appliances will be equipped with USB ports and digital screens so you can display your family photographs and kids’ artwork.

Smart, induction built-in cooktops ($500-$3,000) remember your temperature settings as you move your pans across their entire surface.

One light finger touch is all it takes to open the electronically controlled sliding doors of your kitchen cabinets — a boon to people with limited mobilities. You’ll pay 40% to 70% more for cabinets with electronically controlled doors than standard models.

You’ll be able to use your smart phones and tablets to control lights and appliance settings from anywhere you have a wi-fi connection, as well as to shop for appliances from major manufacturers.

You’ll be opting for LEDs for your recessed lights, under-cabinet task lighting and color-changing accent lighting. You’ll see more LED-powered pendants and chandeliers from major manufacturers as inefficient incandescent bulbs continue their march toward extinction.

A wide selection of affordable microwave ovens with convection and even steam features gives owners of smaller kitchen spaces more high-end cooking power.

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