Informational Articles

Florida Studio Theatre (FST)

By | May 19, 2011

“Exciting, Entertaining, Forever Contemporary Theatre” – Scene Magazine.

Currently in his 31st Season as FST Artistic Director, Richard Hopkins had a vision. In 1980, FST was a small, alternative touring theatre. Hopkins’ focus was on taking contemporary theatre to new audiences. Over the years, FST and the audience have evolved and expanded, growing even more fervent in the value of contemporary theatre.

Hopkins states “theatre must be affordable and accessible to as many people as possible”. He further believes there are three elements of excellent theatre… places, people and plays.

Sarasota is the cultural capital of Florida. FST is another one of Sarasota Treasures. Subscribe now for Summer Season 2011… 3 shows for $29.00.

“Cowgirls”
“Our Son’s Wedding”
“The Savannah Disputation”

For more information visit: www.floridastudiotheatre.org

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Real Estate Market Statistics for April

By | May 17, 2011

The Sarasota Board of Realtors reports that a total of 759 property sales were closed in the Sarasota real estate market in April 2011, continuing a strong spring surge that reached the 800 level in March. The recent sales rush has taken the market to the highest levels since the fall of 2005 when sales started to decline. Prices also maintained their highest levels of the year in April 2011 for both single family homes and condos, and the available property inventory dropped to 5,258, a big drop from last month’s level of 5,501, and less than a third of the available properties on the market during the 2004-2006 real estate boom.

Click here to view the complete report and statistical charts:

http://www.sarasotarealtors.com/files/monthlystatistics/SRJune2011stats110517124808.pdf

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Savor Sarasota is Back!

By | May 15, 2011

It’s that time of year again! The 6th Annual Savor Sarasota Week is back!

 If you are anything like my husband and I, you might find yourself going to the same restaurants every time you go out. As we learned about Savor Sarasota week 3 years ago, we have looked forward to it every year since.

If you are new to our beautiful area, or just looking to make your taste buds dance and delight in food that you wouldn’t normally try, then this will be your week of wonder.

For the past 6 years, restaurants across Sarasota, Longboat Key, Siesta Key and Venice have been showcasing their specialties for the weeklong event. Along with a great housing market, 2011 is bringing Savor Sarasota for 2 full weeks from June 1-June 14th!

Savor Sarasota allows residents and visitors alike to visit participating restaurants for really great deals. Most of the restaurants that are participating will do a 3 or 4 course menu for a very low set price of $25 or $35 per person.  If experiencing new wines and desserts is more your style, a lot of the restaurants that are participating have an option for that too, while still saving you money off of their normal menu prices.

For more information about the restaurants and menus that they will be offering visit: http://savorsarasota.com

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Relocating to Sarasota Series

By | May 11, 2011

When my husband and I relocated to Sarasota 4 years ago, we realized how difficult and tiring it can be to find all of the places that are so important, i.e. a great vet, a great doctor, the best schools, your favorite banker or pharmacist, your favorite restaurants, and of course, a real estate agent that will stick with you as your life and your needs change.

This series will cover all of those topics, but for this article, we will be discussing schools, specifically pre-schools. Luckily, since we have been living in Sarasota for 4 years, we have made quite a few friends, and gotten to know the area, so when we had our first child in December, we thought that it would be easy to hire someone to watch our precious child. We were wrong! We searched, interviewed and let all of our friends know that we were looking for someone, and we visited what seemed like every pre-school in Sarasota and Bradenton but we never felt good after leaving the pre-schools and the interviews, and we weren’t willing to settle when it came to our baby.

After more research, we stumbled upon Primrose School at Lakewood Ranch, and we set up an appointment to visit. While doing my research on Primrose, I discovered that the owners are a local couple, Mr. and Mrs. Frank, who have 3 children of their own. The Franks opened Primrose in 2005. The Franks decided to open Primrose because Mrs. Frank has an Education background, and had discovered Primrose themselves when they were living in Tampa and had their first child. While they were doing their own research into pre-schools, they were also having a hard time finding a safe environment for their child. They discovered Primrose, and the more that they learned, the more they wanted to be a part of what Primrose has to offer children and parents. When we asked Mr. Frank what he loves about owning a Primrose School, he said “what isn’t to love about it? I get to see all of the energy that the children offer and the positive environment that the school is providing the children.” When the Franks aren’t at Primrose, they are spending time with their 3 children, attending their sporting events, or just traveling around the state of Florida.

During our tour at Primrose, there were a few things that stood out to me. First, we felt really welcomed there, including my baby, whom I had never seen smile so much at so many people! Second, the environment really stands out; you can clearly see the activities that are carefully planned for all of the different age groups to help stimulate their development and social growth. Primrose was the only pre-school that we had found that had a curriculum for babies as young as 3 months. The thing that stood out the most to me was the staff. Everyone seemed so friendly and caring and professional! As Realtors, we often find ourselves asking clients, “could you see yourself living here,” well on our tour of Primrose, I was asking myself, “can I see us leaving our child here?” and the answer was a resounding yes! The school takes pride in its safety, cleanliness and the curriculum, particularly; they take pride in knowing that while everything looks great and clean, you are getting quality and depth to your child’s education. In our opinion, Primrose is the whole package. For more information about Primrose, visit http://www.primroselakewoodranch.com/

If you find yourself relocating to Sarasota, and need assistance in finding all of the things that we can’t live without, including your next home, let Jay and Danielle Ratwani guide you to all the best that the Florida Gulf Coast has to offer.

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Siesta Key Beach

By | May 8, 2011

Crescent Beach on Siesta Key

The great Dr. Beach has spoken…and do we have news for you..  Sarasota’s Siesta Key Beach now holds 2010’s Number 2 spot in the Nation for ‘Top Ten Beaches’!

Of course it’s still Number 1 for those of us who have chosen to live here and are we ever lucky! It’s the best place we know to take a beach walk, picnic or watch a magnificient sunset.  Some travel far and wide to experience Sunday Drum Circle or view sandsculpture competitions. You should check it out for yourself!

We are lucky to be here that’s true, wish you were here..  Read more about it at http://www.drbeach.org/DetailedList.htm

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Listings Compete to make the “Must See” Property List

By | May 4, 2011

With a high inventory count in the Sarasota/Bradenton market place Realtors and Buyers can afford to be picky in which properties they would like to see when they go out with their Realtor. Often times the pictures and the way the home looks in the pictures can influence their choice. Now more than ever it is important to make your home standout above the rest. The Cleary Group has found an interior designer who can assist Sellers in staging their home so that it shows in tip-top shape Below is the the service Marsha Ritter and Associates can provide.

Expert advice on how to stage a home for sale doesn’t have to be expensive. Let Marsha Ritter Interiors help get your home ready for sale. In one hour we can come in and give helpful tips and ideas to make a home more appealing for a quick and easy sale. Below are some samples of our work…just click the first image to view the gallery of before and after photos:

Over 30 years in the Interior Design business gives us an edge up on the latest trends in the housing market. We use what is already in the house in different ways to give a fresh new look to the home. Whether it’s a quick paint color change or just editing your wall art we will guide you through the preparation process. Give us a call to schedule an appointment. (941) 993-7002 or e-mail: marsha@mrinteriors.net.

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May Events in and around Sarasota

By | April 29, 2011

Sarasota Skyline from City Island

Many of our seasonal residents have returned north so it’s a great time to get out and enjoy all that Sarasota has to offer. Here’s just a few of the activities happening in the Sarasota area during the month of May:

Date Event or Activity Location Click Link for More Information
May 1st 33rd Annual Siesta Fiesta Siesta Key Siesta Fiesta
May 1-31st Ringling School of Art & Design Adult Classes Sarasota Ringling School of Art
May 1st Spring Garden Tour Sarasota UF Extension Service
May 1st The Garden Music Series – Sarasota Brass Quintet Sarasota Selby Gardens
May 1st Annual Jazz on the Water Cruise on LeBarge Sarasota Jazz Club of Sarasota
May 4th Courthouse Square Concerts Bradenton Manatee County Courthouse
May 5th 2nd Annual Fiesta on Main Street Sarasota Fiesta on Main
May 5th Bluegrass Jam at Bee Ridge Park Sarasota Sarasota County Parks
May 6-21st New College Art Exhibition Sarasota New College
May 7th Downtown Bradenton Farmers Market Bradenton Farmers Market
May 7th Cruzin’ on Dearborn Englewood Englewood Village
May 7th Classic Corvettes on the Circle St. Armands St. Armands Circle
May 8th Annual Siesta Key Sand Sculpture Contest Siesta Key Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce
May 9th “Driving Miss Daisy” Monday Night Movies at Ringling Sarasota Ringling Museum
May 13-14th Anna Maria City Pier Centennial Celebration Anna Maria Island SRQ Magazine
May 13th Paradise Found Tropical Dance Party Osprey Bentley’s Resort Hotel
May 14h 15th Annual Big Truck Day Sarasota Phillippi Estate Park
May 15th Drum Circle Siesta Key Drum Circle
May 18th Dialogues with Florida’s Past Sarasota New College Campus
May 19th Art After 5: Jazz on the Bay Sarasota Ringling Museum
May 19th Rennie Harris Puremovement Sarasota Asolo Theatre
May 20th Reels at Rossi Park “Rising Stars” Bradenton Realize Bradenton
May 20th May Art Walk at Towles Court Sarasota Towles Court
May 21st Party on the Plaza Bradenton Realize Bradenton
May 21st Pups at the Point: Pets Playtime at the Museum Osprey Spanish Point Museum
May 21-22nd 8th Annual Downtown Sarasota Craft Fair Sarasota Art Festival
May 25th Southeastern Guide Dogs Campus Tour Sarasota Southeastern Guide Dogs
May 25th Hurricane Preparedness Program Sarasota Twin Lakes Park
May 28th Native Plant Walk at Deer Prairie Creek Preserve Venice Native Plant Society
May 31st Afternoon at the Movies Venice Jacaranda Library

Call us when you are ready to make your move! To search for homes in the area go to Search for Sarasota Homes. We’re here to help you every step of the way…call us today!

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RE/MAX Alliance Group Still the Market Leader in Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte Counties!

By | April 19, 2011

DID YOU KNOW……… A few weeks ago the Herald Tribune published a blog that said Coldwell Banker was the local real estate market leader siting sales transaction figures that were incorrect and incomplete as they were skewed toward only one Coldwell Banker franchise.  Luckily, somehow the Trib was made aware of their mistake and last week published an apology to RE/MAX Alliance Group, and a new article that announced that WE are the true market leaders in Manatee, Sarasota and Charlotte counties!
Click on this link to read the article:  http://insiderealestate.heraldtribune.com/2011/04/07/appologies-to-remax-alliance-and-coldwell-banker-remax-alliance-is-still-the-market-leader/

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Flipping Foreclosures Becomes New Game

By | April 19, 2011

More investors are finding a sweet spot in flipping foreclosures, but it’s not the same type of house flipping seen during the real estate boom.

During the housing boom, investors would take advantage of skyrocketing real estate prices and loose lending regulations by buying a property, remodeling, and then selling it for profit.

Today’s flippers are buying at ultra-low prices mostly in cash deals and are doing mostly only minor repairs, such as repainting, replacing appliances, and sprucing up the landscaping. Their profits aren’t as large when they sell, but they may sell more properties in a year, says Penny Boling, the broker-in-charge of Century 21 Boling and Associates in Myrtle Beach.

The ‘Street Sweepers’
Keith Gamble has made foreclosure flipping a full-time job. He purchases properties at a monthly foreclosure sale and usually has about four properties at any given time.

“Some people’s bad fortune is other people’s opportunity,” Gamble says. “I know that sounds callous — I know people doing what I’m doing at the courthouse each month are there to take advantage of that opportunity, but I also feel we provide a backstop to the market.”

The flippers are often taking the neighborhood’s blight and helping to fix up the homes that had been badly trashed from the previous owner. Boling says the investors’ abilities to also pay cash will help the market get through the abundant foreclosures that are plaguing sales.

“They’re kind of like the street sweepers,” Boling says of the property flippers. “They’re part of the cleanup committee of this marketplace.”

Source: “Foreclosures Offer New Twist on Old Game: Flipping Houses,” RISMedia (April 4, 2011)

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Fannie Offers Closing Cost Help for REOs

By | April 15, 2011

Fannie Mae is trying to lure more buyers to its foreclosure properties by offering to cover 3.5 percent in closing costs for home owners who close by June 30 on its HomePath properties.

Fannie’s HomePath program provides low down payment financing on REO property sales and has no requirements for mortgage insurance or appraisals.

During the fourth quarter of last year, Fannie offered closing cost assistance and was able to recoup 55 percent of unpaid principal balance on defaulted mortgages through the sales.

Source: “To Move REO, Fannie Offers Deals to Consumers,” National Mortgage News (April 12, 2011)

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