Informational Articles

Sarasota History Alive 4th Edition

By | October 27, 2011

Rosemary Cemetery is burial place for many early Sarasota citizens, civic leaders, and entrepreneurs including Scotsman John Hamilton Gillespie. We like to show this video during this time of year to set the mood for All Hallows Eve.

The cemetery was set aside in plat “Town of Sarasota”, filed on July 27, 1886.

Courtesy of Sarasota History Alive!

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Important Aspects of Selecting a Great Neighborhood

By | October 21, 2011

Many of my clients frequently ask the question – “How do I know if a neighborhood is good or bad?”. My answer has always been very careful due to the fact that I have worked with buyers from all over the world and I have found that what appeals to one buyer may not appeal to everyone. However, when I really started giving it some thought, I realized that ultimately, what drew me to my own neighborhood wasn’t who my neighbors were going to be, but the school district that I was going to be placing my son into, as well as the proximity to everything (shopping, the Interstate, entertainment, parks, and of course, the #1 rated Siesta Key Beach).

Any economist will tell you that in order for a neighborhood to be “good” you must weigh some important factors such as proximity to shopping, high household income, unemployment rate, and school district. Those factors will many times pre-determine how a neighborhood will perform with regards to how well the neighborhood is maintained and how well the home values will appreciate. As a Realtor, we often see communities with strong HOA’s looking great with perfectly manicured lawns, however, that should not detract from neighborhoods like Southgate that have a voluntary HOA. Very rarely have I driven through Southgate and seen anything but wonderful homes with great lawns. Lets keep in mind that many of the 1,000 homes in Southgate are assigned to Southside Elementary, Brookside Middle and Sarasota High. Southgate also has 4 parks within a 2 mile radius, and we are just 5 minutes to Siesta Key and Longboat Key, and just minutes to the Legacy Bike Trail which is a 12 mile bike trail that extends from Sarasota all the way to Venice.

One of the many things that I love about Sarasota, is whether you decide on the Southgate area, Gulfgate area, or even Lakewood Ranch area, you will find all of the important factors, which is why I call Sarasota “my little piece of Paradise”.

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Sarasota History Alive 3rd Edition

By | October 20, 2011

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. He was right!


Courtesy of Sarasota History Alive!

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Sarasota Real Estate Sales for September 2011 Outpace Last Year

By | October 18, 2011

The Sarasota Association of Realtors reports September 2011 property sales in the Sarasota real estate market were ahead of last September, with 570 this year compared to only 547 at the same time last year. This represents a small drop in transactions compared to August 2011, when 601 sales were recorded. But historically, the early fall is one of the slower sales seasons.

A recent article in Realtors Magazine Daily News noted that of the top 15 U.S. cities showing signs of year-over-year increases in list prices, ten are in Florida, and the Sarasota-Bradenton area came in 6th, with list prices up 15.9 percent. Listing price increases generally reflect optimism among sellers that a market is ready to head upwards.

The inventory of available properties for sale in Sarasota has been dropping for the past nine months, and was up only slightly in September to 4,430 after hitting a 10-year low of 4,408 the previous month.

The latest monthly figures in September showed a median price of $165,000 for single family homes, the same as August, and $140,000 for condos. The condo figure has been fluctuating for several months, hitting $185,000 in June, then dropping to $145,000 in July before climbing back up to $165,000 in August. These variations can be explained by the fact that certain months have seen the buying public focusing on smaller, bargain priced units, while other months have seen a higher concentration of luxury condo sales.

“In 2011, we’ve seen an acceleration of the market recovery, but we still have a distressed market that is weighing down on the median sales prices,” said SAR President Michael Bruno. “Overall, we had distressed sales at 43 percent of the total, which was a little higher than in August, but is still far below the 51 percent total in November 2010, almost a year ago. So we’re hopeful that the worst is over for foreclosures and short sales.”

The months of inventory rose slightly to 6.7 months for single family homes, from last month’s figure of 6.3 months. For condos, the months of inventory also rose to 11.1 months from 10.2 months in August. In September 2010, the figures were 9.9 months and 15.1 months, respectively. Both figures again remained far below the highs of 25.3 months for single family (in early 2009) and 41.7 months for condos (in late 2008). This statistic represents the time it would take to sell the existing inventory at the current month’s rate of sales. The 6 month level is traditionally a point which represents equilibrium in the market between buyers and sellers.

In September 2011, pending sales were down slightly from last September – 723 to 744 – and also down from August, when there were 813 pending sales. Last month there were 547 single family homes and 176 condos that went under contract.

“The September market is normally a slower time of the year, so there were no real surprises this year,” said Bruno. “The word of mouth among agents and brokers has been very positive, and I’m expecting a good season surge as we welcome back our winter residents and visitors. When it cools off up north, the market usually heats up in Sarasota.”

Click Here to view the full press release with statistics.

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Sarasota History Alive 2nd Edition

By | October 13, 2011

The Landing of the Scots

In honor of the upcoming John Hamilton Gillespie celebration (see the announcement in the right column), we would like to acquaint or re-acquaint you with the Landing of the Scots. It was tough-going back in the day, so we are sure you will appreciate the trials and tribulations of the colonists who came to their new world on the west coast of Florida.

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Mortgage Rates Set Record Lows

By | October 11, 2011

Freddie Mac released its Primary Mortgage Market Survey for the week of September 26-September 30 this morning. They found that mortgage rates set new record lows for the 5th straight week last week.

The average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell from 4.01% to 3.94%. 15-year fixed rates fell from 3.28% to 3.26%, while 5/1 year ARMs dropped six basis points to 2.96%. The one year ARM actually rose from 2.83% to 2.95%.

Although rates have risen slightly since this survey, they are still hovering right around record lows. The prospect of a technical double dip recession in the United States and the threat of a Greek default has caused investors to seek shelter in Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities, driving interest rates to record lows.

If you’ve been thinking about purchasing a new home or refinancing your current mortgage, now could be the time to do so. Fairway Funding Group has some of the lowest rates in the mortgage industry, consistently beating the national average. To find out more about our products and low rates, call us today at 941-993-8086.

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Sarasota History Alive 1st Edition

By | October 6, 2011

There’s a piece of important history in Luke Wood Park that has been covered over with dirt for 60 years. You probably pass it frequently when you head west at the junction of Highway 301 and U.S. 41 across from the new Publix, McDonald’s restaurant and Sarasota Ford.

Just before the Osprey Avenue stop light, and adjacent to the Senior Friendship Center, there is a four leaf clover-shaped mound with brick steps leading to the top of it. This was originally a memorial fountain and reflection pool dedicated to Mable Ringling for her contributions to Sarasota.
The Sarasota Alliance for Historic Preservation is undertaking a major renovation project to bring this beautiful fountain and reflection pool back to life. We, at Sarasota History Alive! have produced a video explaining this community project and how you can get involved. Please watch the video and find out how you can help.

Courtesy of Sarasota History Alive!


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Sarasota Real Estate Market Remains Stable

By | September 22, 2011

The Sarasota Association of Realtors reports that “a steady drop in property inventory for sale, combined with a stable sales demand in the Sarasota real estate market, is pointing toward normal, healthy property appreciation in the coming months.”


To view the full report with market statistics click here.

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Market Survey Shows Falling Mortgage Rates

By | September 15, 2011

For the second time in as many weeks, the rate on the 30-year fixed rate mortgage, the most common type of mortgage in the United States, has hit record lows according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey.

The average contract rate on a 30-year FRM fell to 4.09%, down from 4.12% the week prior. The average rate on a 15-year fixed rate mortgage fell from 3.33% to 3.30%, while 5/1 ARMs rose slightly, from 2.96% to 2.99%. One-year ARMs dropped from 2.84% to 2.81%.

Mortgage rates have been falling as a result of rallies in the treasury and mortgage-backed securities market. These rallies were spurred by poor economic data in the United States and the possibility of an economic conflagration in Europe prompted by a possible Greek default. The possibility (or maybe even inevitability) of a Greek default would damage the major Euro-banks, which have huge exposure to Greece.

If you’ve been thinking about purchasing a new home or refinancing your current mortgage, now could be the time to do so. Fairway Funding Group has some of the lowest rates in the mortgage industry, consistently beating the national average. To find out more about our products and low rates, call us today at 941-993-8086.

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Pelican Cove Market Snapshot

By | August 31, 2011

Sarasota is fortunate to have many unique communities and neighborhoods that appeal to many different people. It is one of the things that makes Sarasota so desirable for so many.  One of the true hidden gems is a condo community called Pelican Cove.  The Cleary Group has been selling real estate in Pelican Cove for over 15 years and have helped both Buyers and Sellers achieve their real estate goals there.  We were approached by the Sarasota Herald Tribune to do an interview about the community, which we were very excited to do.  Below is the link for the article, it will give readers a detailed look into this truly outstanding community.


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