Real Estate

Renovating to Sell: Common Mistakes

In terms of renovations, we have seen it all! When you are upgrading or renovating parts of your home - either for yourself or in preparation to sell, you want to stick with areas that are important to buyers and places that will translate into a good return on the investment, either by a higher sale price or a faster sale. We've already shared how-tos and to-dos about staging (a case study, the importance of) and how to prepare your condo for sale, so how about we focus on some DON'Ts for a change...


...Leave your kitchen cabinets without knobs!

Nothing says "I cut corners!" like forgetting important finishing touches, such as, say... HOW TO OPEN A CUPBOARD. 😛 If you took the time, and likely large expense, of renovating a kitchen prior to putting your home on the market, go ahead and spend the extra $100 for knobs and handles on the cabinetry. Leaving them without looks like an "i" without a dot above it; you can read what it's supposed to mean in the sentence, but it just looks wrong. Not only do knobs and pulls finish the look, they also serve to give a sense of style to the room and can make a space look sleeker or more traditional depending on what you choose.

Why, yes, I did actually just buy these from a big box store, install them myself, and potentially forget to properly connect the faucet. Why do you ask?

Why, yes, I did actually just buy these from a big box store, install them myself, and potentially forget to properly connect the faucet. Why do you ask?

Why yes, I did think out this kitchen for both look and functionality! Thank you for noticing.

Why yes, I did think out this kitchen for both look and functionality! Thank you for noticing.

...Install Cheap Countertops!

Are you sensing a theme? Kitchens are one of the most important rooms in the home when it comes to making the decision to buy a property. Families spend a lot of time in their kitchens. And just like leaving off knobs and pulls, installing cheap granite with no movement that is sold in-stock at every home box store sends the same message: I don't care enough to do it right. (Which, consequently, leads to buyers wondering what else isn't done right that they can't see...)  We aren't saying you need to spend top-dollar to put in state-of-the-art quartz or super-unique solid surface countertops, but if you are going to try to make a statement, don't make it with cheap granite!

No personality...

No personality...

Pizzazz galore!

Pizzazz galore!

...Install Thin Granite!

Don't waste the money on granite if you are going to drop in 1/2" thick granite.  It looks cheap and most people will just see the renovation as something they'll need to replace to get to current standards anyway.  Hence, they'll see more dollar-signs instead of a newly-updated space, which is entirely opposite of your point. 

This thin-granite look doesn't make a statement. :-(

This thin-granite look doesn't make a statement. :-(

Wow  is what this 3" granite says!

Wow is what this 3" granite says!

...Just Update Part When The Whole Room Needs It!

Sometimes it draws more attention to outdated aspects of a space by updating some but not all older features.  A full-on outdated bathroom with small tile and older cabinetry, with the right staging and accessories, can look classic and full of ecclectic personality! But updating the yellow laminate countertop in this same vintage space to something chic and new will only call more attention to those parts you didn't update, like the shabby shower door and outdated tile. 

Cute & Vintage

Cute & Vintage

Chic & Current

Chic & Current

Some monstrous hybrid of the two!

Some monstrous hybrid of the two!

...Invest Where You Won't See Return (Unless It's Necessary!)

There are updates that add tremendous value to your home: the roof, AC, and appliances are the first that come to mind. Then there are the things sellers update because they think they will see that money come back.  A couple places where you might skip updating unless you have a necessary repair or replacement are:

  • Windows: If they open and close and lock, let them be. Replacing can be both expensive and time-consuming, given that window replacements require permitting.
  • Water Accessories: You need to have a water heater; don't worry about upgrading the size. Likewise, water softeners are a must for few, and a plus for most. Don't add just to sell.
  • Places you can't "see": As long as your majors are covered (like AC and roof as mentioned above), other "guts of the home" renovations might not bring back the return you desire. Stick to repairing and refreshing areas that potential buyers will see while they are making their first impression of your home -- in the photos! Internal home issues can be brought to the table and discussed during inspection and negotiation periods, but you never get the chance to correct the first impression! So de-scuff the moldings, repaint the weird wall colors, swap out antiquated fixtures for something more current, and yes, please hang some inoffensive art to keep it interesting!

We often meet with our past and future clients when they are considering renovations to help discern the essentials from the unnecessary and we would love to be the one you call if you need that kind of input!  Please don't hesitate - we have lots of opinions backed up by experience and we enjoy sharing. :-)

Pet-Free Paradises

Our world has gotten friendlier over the past few years, and in general we approve! But what if you're put off by this new world of pet-friendliness? While pets have sashayed right into real life as dining partners, workout partners, and (dare we say it?) office helpers, it seems that there isn't a place today for people who aren't pet-lovers themselves. If this sounds like you, and you would like your home to be a vacation from other people's pets, then perhaps you should check out some of downtown's pet-free buildings. Let's have a look!

*The price range noted below reflects closed sales in the past year.

Regency House

This Palm Avenue gem is known for its friendly community has fantastic city and water views, and the great location right across from Bayfront Park. 

  • Price Range: $300,000 to $700,000
  • Year Built: 1972
  • Building Amenities: Fitness room, community pool, building library, community room, manned security inside building
  • # of Floors: 11
  • Perks & Plusses: Super-spacious floor plans. Spectacularly green city views over Burns Court to one side and expansive sparkling water views from the other.  Walkable to everything downtown.

Condo on the Bay - Building 888

Condo on the Bay was the first of its kind: a high-rise nestled against the waterfront offering totally unobstructed views of the Bay, the Gulf beyond, the barrier keys as well as downtown Sarasota.  Composed of two buildings, only one is pet-free.

  • Price Range: $500,000 to $1.2 million
  • Year Built: 1982
  • Building Amenities: community pool, manned security & gated entry, tennis courts, fitness center w/sauna, boat docks
  • # of Floors: 18
  • Perks & Plusses: One of only a few downtown condo buildings that has boat dockage.

One Watergate

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  • Price Range: $400,000 to $850,000
  • Year Built: 1974
  • Building Amenities: Pool, fitness/community room, tennis courts, secure building, on-site management
  • # of Floors: 18
  • Perks & Plusses: Walking distance to new hot-spot Westin & classy favorite the Ritz's Jack Dusty.  The higher levels can see everything: the bay, the marina, Golden Gate Point, all the keys, and even out to the Gulf of Mexico

Embassy House

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This building isn't 100% pet-free, as owners (not tenants) are allowed one cat per residence.  However, these seen-and-not-heard animals might be tolerable thanks to the spanning views of Sarasota Bay, the Marina, and Golden Gate Point available in Embassy House!

  • Price Range: $500,000 to $1.1 million
  • Year Built: 1975
  • Building Amenities: Community pool, 24-hr security, fitness center
  • # of Floors: 19
  • Perks & Plusses: Full walls of windows frame the views for days that you get here.  Walkable to everything downtown.

Whatever lifestyle you're searching for downtown, we can help you find it.  Pet-full or pet-free, walkable or boatable, there is a place for you in Sarasota!  If we can be of assistance in your search for the perfect home or condo in Sarasota, please give us a call today.

Highest Downtown Condo Sales in June

With our eye always fixed on the great views from the top in downtown Sarasota, these five notable sales that closed in June caught our attention.  Have a look at the most expensive condos that were sold last month!

#1 - $3.2 million for Centrally-Located Penthouse

100 Central Ave #PH-01

  • Building: 100 Central
  • Floor #: 11
  • Beds: 4
  • Baths: 4 full, 1 half
  • Square Footage: 3,764 (+ nearly 1000 sq ft of terrace!)
  • Sold on 6/26/18 for $3,200,000

What does it cost to be in the penthouse of the most centrally located building in downtown Sarasota, walkable to literally everything downtown, across from the library, Five Points Park, an elevator ride from many restaurants below?  Just over $3,000,000, apparently.  Check out this perfect-location penthouse!

#2 - $2.5 million on Golden Gate Point

258 Golden Gate Point #301

  • Building: Majestic Bay
  • Floor #: 3
  • Beds: 3
  • Baths: 3 full, 1 half
  • Square Footage: 3,206 (+ over 2000 sq ft of wraparound terrace!)
  • Sold on 6/22/18 for $2,550,000

Getting on the exquisite waterfront peninsula of Golden Gate Point comes with a price tag, and the luxury almost-15-year-old building is no exception.  With views spanning from the city to the bay from the absolutely expansive wraparound terrace, this condo screams SPECIAL.  Majestic Bay is one of only a few buildings where each condominium occupies an entire floor, allowing for different and stunning sights from every window and a lovely feeling of exclusivity, if we do say so ourselves.

#3 - Just over $1.5 million in the Ritz Tower

35 Watergate Drive #405

  • Building: The Ritz Carlton Tower Residences
  • Floor #: 4
  • Beds: 4
  • Baths: 4 
  • Square Footage: 3,659 (+ nearly 1000 sq ft of terrace!)
  • Sold on 6/28/18 for $1,670,000

The Ritz Carlton Tower Residences enjoy all the amenities of the Ritz Carlton, which is adjascent to this luxury high-rise located on the waterfront side of downtown.  This grand building offers its residents 24-hour security & concierge, a large theater room, fitness & massage facilities, a heated outdoor pool, and amazing Ritz-qualities services like daily continental breakfast offered to owners as well as in-room dining service!  

#4 - $1.24 million for Palm Avenue High-Rise

340 South Palm Avenue #61

  • Building: Sarabande
  • Floor #: 6
  • Beds: 2
  • Baths: 2 
  • Square Footage: 2,075
  • Sold on 6/8/18 for $1,240,000

Just over one million gets you full bay and city views in one of downtown's finest buildings: Sarabande. Located on the southern part of Palm Avenue, owners of this residence will find themselves minutes from cool Burns Court and totally walkable to Main Street. The spacious interior frames stunning water views.

#5 - $1.2 for Condo on the Bay Penthouse

888 Boulevard of the Arts #PH1901-1902

  • Building: Condo on the Bay
  • Floor #: 19
  • Beds: 5
  • Baths: 3 full, 1 half
  • Square Footage: 3,603
  • Sold on 6/28/18 for $1,200,000

Condo on the Bay is perfectly poised right on the edge of Sarasota Bay, with unmatched and unobstructed water views. This large penthouse condo needs a little updating, but these views will always be right outside the window. Check out the endless aqua waters and the beautiful Ringling Bridge!

If you are interesting in buying or selling a view from the top in and around downtown Sarasota, please give us a call today! :-)

New Construction is HOT HOT HOT

credit: Robert Johnson Fine Art

credit: Robert Johnson Fine Art

Summer has begun!  Typically, the summer shows a slow in our real estate market, and this year looks to be similar.  Let's take a look at what is happening in the downtown Sarasota condo market right now:

Rendering of  The Mark

Rendering of The Mark

New construction is cutting into the resale market.

25% of all the homes that went to contract in the last month were new construction condos.  With new buildings popping up all over downtown, it's no wonder this is sending shockwaves through the resale market.  Especially hard-hit?  The luxury market; with almost all the new buildings having starting price points in the high-hundred-thousands or more, buyers with that budget have a lot of brand-new options with more modern aesthetics and amenities than many of our "older" buildings. 

New construction price point is more than twice as high as resale.

AQUA  Luxury Condos on Golden Gate Point

AQUA Luxury Condos on Golden Gate Point

This means that if you have a million-dollar condo in an older building, you've got some stiff competition.  With modern-day finishes, such as large walk-in closets, sleek kitchens, and floor-to-ceiling hurricane-grade windows in the new buildings, it can be hard for older residences to keep up!  Couple that with the fact that developers have noted the desire of their residents to have an active life and are providing more in-building amenities, such as state-of-the-art fitness centers, indoor dog parks, and rooftop lounging space, and you've got a recipe for new construction luxury success.

Keep your eye on the rising skyline of Sarasota: Epoch, 7-One-One Palm, The Mark, The Collection, Aqua, and the new Ritz Carlton Residences (to be built on the old Quay Sarasota site) are all set to spring up in the foreseeable future.

Don't lose heart if you are trying to sell.

Despite the effect that all the construction growth is having on our market, 2018 is off to a strong start.  May's closed sales in units were above last year's by 6%, and the average sold price was above last year's by 4% for resale condos downtown.  As always, if you are trying to sell in the summer, patience is necessary.  Inventory is lower than other times of the year, but so is the number of potential buyers.  If you are not in a hurry to sell, the summer might provide a good time to spruce up outdated fixtures, get grout cleaned, and replace anything broken.  If time is of the essence, be prepared to price appropriately for sale.


Let us help.

We are downtown experts.  We're here to guide you through the process of buying or selling in Sarasota.  Give us a call today if we can assist you in valuing your property, listing it for sale, or helping you find a new home to fit your life.

On the Rise: Epoch

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epoch, noun. 

a period of time in history or a person's life, typically one marked by notable events or particular characteristics.

We're here to tell you about the latest and greatest new thing downtown: Epoch.  Located on the southern downtown part of the bayfront in between the Royal St. Andrew & Echelon, this area is wonderfully walkable to all things downtown: Main Street restaurants, the art galleries of Palm Avenue, Florida Studio Theater, Island Park, Marina Jack's, and more!  Let's find out more...

Sophisticated Downtown Residences

  • 24 full- and half-floor units
  • 3,688 SF to 5,374 SF under air
  • Design inspired by the Sarasota School of Architecture
  • Developed by Seaward Development, who just completed 7 One One Palm
  • Taking reservations now
  • Move-in 2020
  • From the $3 millions
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Epoch is going in at 605 S. Gulfstream Avenue, site of the 1970s-built Versailles condos and apartments.  Aside from the great location, the architecture looks like it will be pretty stellar as well.  Internationally-recognized Nichols Brosch Wurst Wolfe & Associates is the architecture firm.  Based out of Coral Gables, this architecture team has designed myriad contemporary buildings in Miami and Orlando, from hotels to resorts to offices.

The units themselves are slated to have flowing, light-filled spaces, enticing great rooms, modern kitchens, indulgent master suites and spa-like bathrooms.  Building amenities will include an oversized lap pool, wellness center, and rooftop terrace.

Epoch is still very new, so we'll keep you informed as we learn more about this new downtown luxury address.  If an epoch is a period of time marked by notable events, then your Epoch may be the period of your life marked by style & luxury at downtown Sarasota's newest high rise.  Stay tuned!

Coming Soon to Downtown!

There is a LOT going on in downtown Sarasota right now and we want you to be in the know about every up-and-coming project!  While we will eventually highlight other new developments, today we're going to fill you in on 7-One-One Palm and BLVD, two new condo buildings breaking ground (both literally and figuratively) in downtown Sarasota.

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7-One-One Palm

Location: You guessed it!  711 S. Palm Ave, across from Essex House and north of 41

Number of Residences: 16

Number of Floors: 4 levels above garage parking

Square Footage: Floor Plans range from 2000-2500 sf

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Approximate price point: Starting at $1,049,000

Time Frame: Groundbreaking happened in mid-January, and anticipated move-in dates start next winter.

Tell me more: In addition to your typical luxury-condo appointments like high-quality finishes, modern aethetic, fitness center, and pool/spa, 7-One-One is super pet-friendly!  They are putting in their own private, protected Paw Park for their 4-legged residents.  We think that's just top drawer!  Each residence also gets TWO parking spaces, which is not typical with many of our downtown and waterfront condos.

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Location: 500 N. Tamiami Trail in the Rosemary District

Number of Residences: 49

Number of Floors: 18

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Square Footage: Floor Plans range from 3550 sf to 5500 sf

Approximate price point: Starting at $1.7 million

Time Frame: Ground-breaking hasn't happened yet, but it looks like it will be a 2019 build.

Tell me more: The construction company (BCBE) working on BLVD is the same that built Aqua on Golden Gate Point, and the developer (Core Development Inc.) developed the Ritz-Carlton Hotel here in Sarasota, as well as Concession Golf Course and Residence.  The high-quality team will mean a sound and beautiful building, and the amenities like the rooftop pool, concierge, on-site wine cellar, and an open-air pet lawn on the 5th floor make this building simply luxurious.  We can't wait to find out more as this project gets further along!

Whew!  With so much expansion happening in and around downtown Sarasota, you may need a Sherpa to help you navigate the new downtown market!  Let us be your guide.  Give us a call today if we can help you purchase or sell in downtown Sarasota, or if you want to know more about what is on our real estate horizon.

Pantone Announces Color of the Year: Ultra Violet

Reblogged from Michael Saunders & Company's partner firm, Christie's International Real Estate's Luxury Defined blog.  To read the full article, please visit their website here.  

5 Homes Inspired by the Pantone Color of the Year: Ultra Violet

The experts at the Pantone Color Institute, the trendsetting color consultancy firm that helps manufacturers choose colors for their products, selected Ultra Violet as 2018’s Color of the Year. It’s a blue-based shade of purple that would admirably suit a king or queen, a bishop, or the artist formerly known as Prince. The color’s exclusivity derived from the difficulty and cost of extracting it from a rare species of marine snail. Then, in 1856, a young chemist named William Henry Perkin tried to synthesize antimalarial quinine from coal tar and, instead, stumbled onto the first aniline dye, a brilliant, colorfast purple that awakened the Victorians’ vibrant palette. Thus, Ultra Violet inspires 2018 and this Luxury Definedcollection of elegant homes in which deep shades of purple reign.

Villa Lavanda

Ibiza, Spain

Villa Lavanda lives up to its name.  This idyllic cliffside aerie has an array of purple-accented features: a lavender field, jewel-toned fabrics and finishes, and a great room with an exquistire Mudejar-style ceiling under a purple alcove.

Magnificent Palacete

Cascais, Portugal

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This five-story residence on the southern coast of Portugal is vividly decorated throughout.  The lower-level office has a bright purple palette, which creates contrast with the alluring views of sea and sky.

Hacienda Las Luciernagas

Tepoztlan, Mexico

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This Mexican hacienda is a haven of tranquility, just like its beautiful setting in the hills above the ancient town of Tepoztlan.  The peaceful ambience extends to the two-story great room with its rich wood and tile finishes, stone columns, viga-beamed ceilings, and violet-hued walls.

Leersum Equestrian Estate

Utrecht, Netherlands

Unique inside and out, this ranch-style equestrian estate in Holland's Utrechtse Heuvelrug National Park has an array of exquisite appointments, including a cinema adorned with quilted-velvet walls and a ceiling in vibrant shades of purple.

The Brander House

Los Angeles, California

A purple door opens to reveal a white hallway lined with posts and beams, a signature design element of the home's celebrated architect, Eugene Kinn Choy.

We adore this year's vibrant and exciting Color of the Year and can't wait to see it brought to high-level and seaside living in Sarasota!  Please give us a call today if we can assist you in finding a great residence in our own vibrant community.  

Winter Wonderlands

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The holidays are here and with them come our seasonal residents, escaping the cold and snow from all over the country.  Many Sarasotans (full-time or seasonal) will not see snow at all this year, in fact (and I'm one of them!).  Michael Saunders & Company partner, Christie's International Real Estate, recently posted some of the best homes in winter wonderlands currently on the market.  So grab your lemonade, wipe the sand from your feet, and get into the holiday spirit from our 75 degree paradise by checking out this lovely set of wintery escapes.

This blog was excerpted from Christie's Luxury Defined blog.  You can read the full article here.  

6 Homes in Winter Wonderlands

Here come the holidays, with a layer of fresh powder for your skis. Luxury Defined presents six scenic homes designed to make the most of the season—and the snowpack—in ultimate convenience and creature comfort. From a grand chalet in the Italian Dolomites to a gorgeous mountain estate in Telluride, these deluxe residences come alive at wintertime, with glamour and glow enough for a 21st-century Currier & Ives print. There’s an ultra-chic, ultramodern apartment in St. Moritz; a mountain-view home under the big sky of Jackson, Wyoming; and, luxury ski homes just steps from the pistes and lifts near Sun Valley and Tahoe. Ski in or ski out, or take your place by the hearth and dream of springtime. Sleigh bells ring. Are you listening?

Alpine Chalet

Madonna di Campiglio, Italy

This magnificent alpine chalet, poised on a mountainside in the Brenta Dolomites, is perfect for ski and apres-ski, Italian style.

This magnificent alpine chalet, poised on a mountainside in the Brenta Dolomites, is perfect for ski and apres-ski, Italian style.

Chesa Futura

St. Moritz, Switzerland

[side note: This interesting and stunning property was also featured in our blog about architectural works of art.  

This uber-chic apartment offers a bird's-eye view of St. Moritz from its coveted location in the Sir Norman Foster-designed Chesa Futura residences.

This uber-chic apartment offers a bird's-eye view of St. Moritz from its coveted location in the Sir Norman Foster-designed Chesa Futura residences.

Gros Ventre Butte Estate

Jackson, Wyoming

On 11 private acres near Gros Ventre butte, this contemporary marvel is set against the backdrop of Grand Teton National Park.

On 11 private acres near Gros Ventre butte, this contemporary marvel is set against the backdrop of Grand Teton National Park.

Contemporary Mountain Retreat

Telluride, Colorado

This mountain estate, minutes from the Old West town and ski resort of Telluride, is a haven of tranquility and innovative design in Colorado's San Juan Mountains.

This mountain estate, minutes from the Old West town and ski resort of Telluride, is a haven of tranquility and innovative design in Colorado's San Juan Mountains.

Water's Edge

Incline Village, Nevada

Lake Tahoe is the setting for this beautiful log home equipped for four-season recreation and entertaining.

Lake Tahoe is the setting for this beautiful log home equipped for four-season recreation and entertaining.

Bald Mountain Log Home

Ketchum, Idaho

In a prized winter playground, this riverfront home is steps away from the chairlift to Bald Mountain Ski Area and 10 minutes' drive from the world-class Sun Valley Resort.

In a prized winter playground, this riverfront home is steps away from the chairlift to Bald Mountain Ski Area and 10 minutes' drive from the world-class Sun Valley Resort.

Please give us a call today for any and all of your real estate needs.  If you want to relocate or have a second home in our "winter wonderland," we can help, and if you desire to move to a winter wonderland of your own, we can help there too--by connecting you with one of our fabulous national and international real estate partners.  Happy Holidays from The View from the Top!

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Selling Season is Back!

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The Sarasota real estate market tends to be a cyclical one.  It picks up and slows down in concert with the influx and exodus of our seasonal residents and tourists.  Our market might be most easily divided into thirds: high season, typically January, February, and March; low season, October through the holidays plus April & May; and off-season, the rest of the year.  As we tiptoe into the cooler, most enjoyable months of being a Floridian, we are already noticing a massive pick-up in the local housing market.

What the Numbers Say Now

*All the data below is comparing October 2017 to September 2017.

*All the data below is comparing October 2017 to September 2017.

  • 50% increase in pending sales.

50% more properties went to contract in the month of October over September.  Welcome to selling season.  This means there are active buyers beginning to flood our market, and more importantly, it means our market has bounced back in a big way from the stranglehold that Irma put on us for a couple weeks in September.

  • 11% increase in sold properties.

Not only did more homes go to contract in October than September, but more sets of keys changed hands too.  

  • 7% increase in properties for sale.

As you can see from the bell curve in the graph above, people list their property in direct correlation to the seasonal & tourist nature of Sarasota.  More people in town = more people looking at your home.  

  • 8% increase in sale price.

Single family homes in Sarasota County sold for an average of $382,000 in October.  The condominium market showed a 5% increase, with a mean price of $379,000.  

  • 0% change in a couple key areas.

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The list price to sale price ratio remains at a very typical 93%.  This means that in general, you can expect to sell your home for approximately 93% of what you originally list it for.  The Sarasota County market generally hovers in the 92-96% range.

Also without change from last month to this is the number of days on market.  This is how long a home is listed prior to going under contract.  For both September and October, that number is 76 days.  Again, this is pretty typical, as our market over the last year ranged from monthly averages of 66-82 days.

Is now the time for you to sell?

We can help you make that decision.  We can look at your specific building or neighborhood and provide you with the most up-to-date market information so that you are making the best decision.  Fill out a contact form here if you would us to assist you in selling your home or condo.  We are always here to help you!

Ultra-Luxury Properties in Sarasota

We just told you all about the "Trophy Home" market worldwide, so we thought we would show you what Sarasota has to offer in the ultra-luxury department.  Christie's defined Trophy Homes as $100,000,000+, but for our purposes here, we're adjusting this to the Sarasota market, so about $10,000,000 for single family homes and $5,000,000 for condos.

The Ultra-Luxury Stats

  • Ultra-Luxury Single Family Homes Currently For Sale: 3
  • Ultra-Luxury Condos Currently For Sale: 4
  • $5 million+ Homes Sold in Last 6 Months: 4
  • $5 million+ Condos Sold in the Last 6 Months: 1
  • No homes priced over $10 million have sold in our area in the last 6 months.

What are the highest sales in our market?

Sarasota Mainland 

1372 Harbor Drive located in Harbor Arces - sold for $6,000,000

  • 3 bedrooms
  • 3 full baths, 3 half baths
  • 6,000 square feet
  • Frontage on Sarasota Bay
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Longboat Key

415 L'Ambiance Drive #704 located in condo community L'Ambiance - sold for $5,500,000

  • 3 bedrooms
  • 5 full baths, 1 half bath
  • 5,268 square feet
  • Gulf of Mexico view

Siesta Key

7858 Sanderling Road located in Sanderling Club - sold for $9,000,000

  • 5 bedrooms
  • 4 baths, 1 half bath
  • 6,312 square feet
  • Beach frontage on the Gulf of Mexico

Bird Key

467 Meadow Lark Drive - sold for $6,350,000

  • 5 bedrooms
  • 5 baths, 1 half bath
  • 6,579 square feet
  • Frontage and boat dock on Sarasota Bay

Casey Key

1808 Casey Key Road - sold for $6,550,000

  • 5 bedrooms
  • 5 baths, 2 half baths
  • 5,219 square feet
  • Gulf to Bay -- two water frontages

And the highest-priced property currently on the market in our area is...

Serenissima - 845 Longboat Club Road in the Longboat Key Club

  • 6 bedrooms
  • 6 baths, 2 half bath
  • 19,300 square feet
  • Golf course view, Gulf of Mexico beach frontage
  • His and Hers master suites
  • Three stories of living space
  • Listed at $26,500,000

The greater Sarasota area has everything from affordable to grandiose & I'm happy to share a peek into the most luxurious of Sarasota's housing market.  Please contact me for all your Sarasota-area real estate needs from downtown to luxury, and everything in between!

Trophy Homes Around the World

Reposted from Christie's International Real Estate, October 17, 2017.

Retrospective: A Decade of Trophy Home Sales

A look back at the growth and performance of the unique $100 million market

The ultra-exclusive trophy home is ever more conspicuous in the marketplace, and with it comes the proliferation of the $100 million-plus listing. Over the past decade, a record 32 properties have sold at the nine-figure mark across a dozen international property markets. This year, to date, there have been five estates listed for nine figures, including two priced at more than a quarter billion dollars. But even these ultimate luxury properties follow the fundamental market forces in play. Let’s take a look at the factors contributing to the rise of the nine-figure trophy home.

Three-Year Review: Rise to Prominence

Of the $100 million-plus listings currently on market, four homes were listed for sale in 2014, seven in 2015, fourteen in 2016, and five already in 2017.

Listing price increases have also accompanied the increase in the number of $100 million-plus properties for sale. Although the nine-figure listing has been a marketing ploy by some property owners, listing prices have increased as historic properties and new developments come on the market.

Ironically, the proliferation of trophy listings and sales occurred during periods of global uncertainty and volatility. Like masterpiece works of art, these trophy properties can be viewed as an investment category and an asset class.

For instance, in Hong Kong, residential properties in luxury enclaves are “important investment target{s} for many overseas companies.” Although the nine-figure listing is a fairly new market development, some of these initial listings already demonstrate the potential these properties have as stores of value.

Stanley, Hong Kong - $400,000,000 HKD

Stanley, Hong Kong - $400,000,000 HKD

Even with its sky-high asking price, The Manor—unlike other top listings in the area such as The Playboy Mansion or The Beverly House—is a value-added offering.

Listed for $200 million, The Playboy Mansion sold for $100 million, or $5,250 a square foot less than a year after first hitting the market. The Beverly House, if sold for its list price of $195 million, would have a square foot price of $3,900.

By comparison, The Manor—newly renovated and listed at $200 million— would be a relative bargain even if sold at list price, with a square-foot price of $3,500.

The Manor, Los Angeles, California - $200,000,000

The Manor, Los Angeles, California - $200,000,000

Co-owner and co-listing agent Rick Hilton of Hilton & Hyland Real Estate observes that “The sky is the limit. Once we hit the $100 million mark, we broke the glass ceiling—and we’re seeing people comfortable with spending more than that. Two-hundred million dollars doesn't just get you the largest and grandest private residence in Los Angeles' prestigious Holmby Hills, it gets you an exclusive lifestyle.

"The Manor is a home unlike any other in the world. Sitting on 4.7 acres of land, the French-château style 56,500- square-foot masterpiece is larger than the White House. On a square-foot basis, Los Angeles offers far greater value for money than competing cities across the globe, putting The Manor in a category of luxury all on its own.”

When compared to the average square-foot price of $8,489 for the current $100 million listings around the world, all three properties demonstrate the value proposition of Los Angeles trophy homes.

Although there has been much skepticism about this narrow market, a survey of prospective trophy-home buyers clearly demonstrates its viability.

The Playboy Mansion, Holmby Hills, California - $105,000,000

The Playboy Mansion, Holmby Hills, California - $105,000,000

According to Forbes, there are 2,043 individuals whose net worth exceeds $1 billion, up 13 percent from last year’s count. Together, their net worth amounts to $7.67 trillion, a yearon-year increase of 18 percent. By comparison, the total value of the 33 trophy properties currently listed for sale is $6.44 billion, or less than one tenth of one percent of the 2,043 billionaires’ combined net worth.

The wealthiest individuals on this list could afford to purchase all 33 of these $100 million listings for themselves without coming close to exhausting their fortunes.

A new benchmark may also be looming. In the South of France, persistent rumors suggest one palatial estate comes with a €1 billion price tag.

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To read the full article, please visit here.

Need a Beach Getaway?

From your penthouse in the sky, have you been dreaming about the beach?

It's getting to be that time of year... The best time of year for the beach!  Downtown, we are fortunate to be just across the bridge from Lido Beach and a short drive to many others: Siesta, Longboat, Turtle, Venice, Nokomis, and Anna Maria just to name a few.  Ideal beach-weather time is also synonymous with tourist season, however, so driving, traffic, and parking can be a deterrent to visiting some of the best beaches in the world.  Have you been thinking it might time to get a place on the beach, if only so that you don't have to deal with St. Armands traffic on the way to the sand and sea?  What if I told you we have a perfect island getaway/guest house/monthly rental property on the market right now that is WALKING DISTANCE to the #1 beach in the U.S.?  

And when we say close...

We mean CLOSE!  Check out the location of the cutest Key West-style beach house in Siesta Key Village!

5527 Avenida Del Mare Siesta-.jpg

5527 Avenida del Mare

Siesta Key, Florida





For yourself...

Imagine it:  You wake up, grab your towel, and walk two minutes to the pedestrian-only public beach access #11, a quiet entrance away from the bustle of the busiest part of the beach.  Your feet are on the warm sand before most people have finished making their coffee.  You flatten your towel over the powdered sugar sand and sip from your travel mug as you watch the soft waves of the Gulf of Mexico bring in the tide.  Later when you are finished sunning, you take the short walk to the Village for some lunch.  What could be better?

For investment...

Picture it: You own an adorable beach house, minutes from one of the most desirable vacation destinations in the world.  You have the option to rent it out on a monthly basis so other families can enjoy living the beach life for a moment in time before they head back to work.  Your in-laws come to visit and now can stay comfortably out-of-reach at the beach but within almost eyesight of the shops and restaurants of Siesta Key Village.  And if you need a mini-vacation yourself?  Take a long weekend (or a month, we're not judging) for a break from the city at the doorstep of the ocean.


  • 3 bedrooms
  • 3 full baths
  • 3-car garage plus tons of indoor storage
  • Inside utility
  • Updated and beachy-chic style
  • 1320 sq' under air
  • $875,000
  • Click HERE for the full info

However you would use it, we think this is the absolute best beach house on the market right now!  Take a look:

A great room features two French doors that open to a patio revealing a partial Gulf view.

A great room features two French doors that open to a patio revealing a partial Gulf view.

The renovated kitchen boasts stainless steel appliances and marble countertops.

The renovated kitchen boasts stainless steel appliances and marble countertops.

The cozy living room is bright and airy, with lots of windows and a fresh, beachy feel.

The cozy living room is bright and airy, with lots of windows and a fresh, beachy feel.

Three spacious bedrooms (one is an en-suite master) let in ample light and are set right in the canopy of the palms surrounding the property, lending a nostalgic treehouse vibe.

The private, fully-fenced backyard is the perfect oasis for those who prefer pools and sunshine to seawater & sand.  It's very spacious, with a lot of room to gather friends or to just relax next to the pool while the quiet sways of the palms put you to sleep.

If you are interested in this or any other Sarasota-area property, please give us a call today.  We love downtown, but we love the rest of Sarasota too, and can help you in any area.  :-)

Penthouses Around the World

We love a good view.

With Hurricane Irma bearing down on our state, now might not be when you are considering buying a penthouse in Florida!  Our partner organization, Christie's, recently shared this list of gorgeous waterfront penthouses from around the world, so while you're not able to enjoy the Sarasota View from the Top, take a look at these others!

Check out Christie's "The High Rise Life" penthouse feature here.

If are are considering moving away from Hurricane zone, remember that I, as an agent of Michael Saunders & Company, have access to a nationwide and international network of partners.  For your worldwide real estate needs, don't hesitate to reach out and let us help you find what or who you need!

To all in the line of Hurricane Irma, please stay safe!

Downtown Hot Spot: The Fountain

Quaint Italian Charm, Delicious Food, & Great Specials at

The Fountain Kitchen & Wine Bar

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There has been a restaurant on the corner of Pineapple and Orange for quite some time.  That restaurant has changed frequently, never really finding one that could take root in the little niche corner by Burns Court of downtown.  That is, until now.  The Fountain Kitchen & Wine Bar opened in 2016 and seems to have been gathering a large, local, and loyal following ever since.

Italian Done Right.

I popped into The Fountain a couple of weeks ago for happy hour with a friend on a Monday, and surprise!  My original having-a-case-of-the-Mondays day turned into five-dollar-gourmet-pizza Monday!  (Which is obviously a better kind of Monday, to be sure.)  Every. Single. Pizza on their menu is $5 on Monday, and if that's not a way to start your week, I don't know what is.  

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With their excellent selection of wine, my companion and I settled into one of the outdoor seats overlooking the fountain and sipped our rose while we waited for our pizza.  The restaurant is inherently Italian, featuring the aforementioned pizza, as well as salads, toasted sandwiches, and small plates.  According to a multitude of online reviews, and our own experience, the food is something they do quite well.  The place smells fantastic, and every dish rolling out looked the same.  Our pizza was absolutely indulgently delicious.

Great Food.  Great Deals.

In addition to $5 pizza Mondays, The Fountain has Wine Wednesdays--where all wine is 50% off, (This is clearly the next time I'll be stopping by!), Thirsty Thursdays--where beer & wine is $2 off, and occasionally features live music on the patio.  If you haven't stopped in yet to this relatively new downtown gem, take a walk down Pineapple and check it out!

3 Under 5

The downtown lifestyle is a coveted one: walkability to great restaurants, cute shoppes and salons; some of the best sunset water views in the state, arguably in the country; easy access to the many cultural amenities in Sarasota such as opera, theater, and art galleries; and of course the low-maintenance appeal of condo life, including concierge service, maintained amenities and grounds, and building security.  Would you be surprised to find that this lifestyle can be attained for under $500,000?  

Well it's possible, and downtown diva of real estate, Allison Werner, has spotted three unique properties currently on the market downtown for a steal...

Burns Court Enclave

Burns Court is the quiet, eclectic community on the south side of downtown, which typically carries a price tag much higher than this!  This adorable condo in gated Burns Court Enclave has been fully remodeled with bamboo flooring and a clean, modern kitchen.  It also features several floor-to-ceiling windows, making it light and bright.  Literally everything else on the marketing right now in this area of downtown is priced around or above $1,000,000.  Updated unit, desirable location...yes, please!

Francis Carlton

We love the Francis Carlton building here at View From the Top.  It's one of the most affordable ways to get into downtown, it's got water views, and it's in a beautiful historic building.  Steps away from the Ritz, around the corner from the Florida Studio Theatre complex, and the tiniest stroll from Sarasota Italian restaurant staple, Caraguilo's, this place is all about the location!  This unit in particular has been updated but keeps with the character of this gorgeous building with cool features like built-ins, plantation shutters, and beautiful arched windows.  What a steal!!!

Risdon on 5th

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Risdon on 5th is a contemporary-design new building located in the Rosemary District of North Downtown.  It's walking distance from hip new SRQ haunts such as Mandeville Beer Garden and Blue Rooster, as well as the chic fine dining and retail area on North Orange Avenue.  This is the last 1/1 unit available in ultra-modern Risdon, is able to be occupied this fall, and features a solar-heated rooftop pool as well as two rooftop terraces, offering unique and stunning views of all of downtown.  Other amenities of this new community include gated & secured parking (with charging stations for electric cars!), and a lush courtyard.  Very chic and reasonably priced!

As always, if you are looking for something extra-special in downtown Sarasota, give us a call and let us find you the perfect place!  The options, as you can see from these amazing residences mentioned here, are limitless and can fit almost any budget and lifestyle!

Is now a good time to sell your downtown condo?

Sarasota's real estate market is highly affected by "The Season," that nebulous timeframe from October to April during which we see a spike in both tourism and relocation to the area.  There are a multitude of reasons to sell your home during off-peak times: perhaps you want to take advantage of the slight dip in the market as a buyer and swap out your residence for another; perhaps a job is going to take you out of the Sarasota area; perhaps you drew a tarot card that told you it's time.  Whatever the reason, if you're thinking of listing your house during the summer, we've got a fullscale analysis to help you make that decision!

Inventory is low.

As of the end of May, there are 82 downtown condos on the market in the above-$800,000 price range.  That's the lowest it's been all year and over a 22% decrease over this time last year.  This is a good thing if you're listing your property; it means there isn't as many options for buyers.  They'll be selecting from a smaller pool, so your likelihood of standing out is greater and potentially easier than peak Season (Jan, Feb, Mar) where the numbers hover around 115 listings.

Average number of days on market is high.

While your likelihood of standing out to potential buyers is better during this time of year, the number of those looking for property also appears to be lower, as during the summer, the average number of days a house sits on the market before being sold is at its highest all year: nearly 6 months!  Quite likely you've noticed that 6 months from now is.... you guessed it!  Season.  So, if you absolutely must list now, have realistic expectations on the time it will take to sell your place.

You'll get the most out of your property during Season.

Buyers get the least for their money when the demand is the highest, so for Sarasota, that time is mid-winter, when they are scraping ice off their cars, pulling on jackets, and dreaming of palm trees.  During the most recent season - barring the anomoly of June 2016, where the price was at its second-highest all year - November, January, and December, respectively, were the months that garnered the highest price per square foot for sellers.

So what do we do in the summer?

Well, that's our next topic.  If you're going to list now, keeping realistic expectations is key to success.  Now is a great time to prepare your home so that it is ready to enter the market around mid-fall.  What you can do to prepare is our next topic, so stay tuned!

*all statistical information was gathered by Trendgraphix, with data supplied from the Mid-Florida MLS, for zip code 34236 condos over $800,000, at the end of May 2017.

Pamper Your Pooch

Sarasota is a place to pamper yourself.  For many, it's a vacation - a chance to indulge and pamper and splurge.  For others, it's a part time home - a place to get away from the stresses of winter and unwind by the water.  And for a lot of us, it's just... home - where work can take us away from the luxuries that surround us, or where retirement allows us to immerse ourselves in them!  In any case, there are ample options for pampering and splurging, even for our best four-legged friends!  Here are some ways you can pamper your pooch in Sarasota, a town that is just as luxurious and vacation-y for dogs as it is for humans.  :-)

For the dog who loves sunbathing...

Take them to Brohard Paw Park on Venice Beach.

This section of Venice Beach is a great place for your dog to pant away a morning on the sand with you by his side.  It's the only dog-friendly beach in all of Sarasota County!   There is an enclosed play yard with a watering station near the parking area, and a pet-friendly section of the beach where your dog can swim and romp.  Check out my dogs enjoying the rays!

Enjoy a stroll around Bird Key Park.

This leash-required park is a great place to bring your dog and enjoy the views of Sarasota Bay.  Expanses of grassy areas are lined with sidewalks perfect for a stroll, and there are benches around if you and Fido want to just enjoy the sun and the view for a while.

This dog is enjoying the trails at the Celery Fields.  Photo credit: Sarasota Magazine

This dog is enjoying the trails at the Celery Fields.  Photo credit: Sarasota Magazine

For the dog who loves to run...

Boy, do we have options for you!  There are dog parks dotted all over the county, from exclusive ones within certain neighborhoods, to ones within county parks such as Arlington Park, to the huge acreage of the 17th Street Paw Park.  Arlington and 17th Street both are leashless parks, fully fenced in, where your dog can get off and running with a pack of buddies.  If you like to run too, leash up your dog and go for a jog down the Legacy Trail, up and down the hill at the Celery Fields, or around the serene lake at Nathan Benderson Park.

Toasted Mango Cafe's dog-friendly patio

Toasted Mango Cafe's dog-friendly patio

For the dog with a refined palate...

This is another area in which Sarasota SHINES.  So many restaurants open up their exterior tables to your furry companions.  I love taking my dogs with me to brunch at Toasted Mango or Station 400, where no one judges me for dropping a bite off sausage to them under the table. ;-)  Owen's Fish Camp is another great downtown option, with loads of outdoor seating and a casual setting.  For the fanciest of pets, Bijou Cafe downtown, Cafe L'Europe on St. Armands, and Libby's in Southside Village are all great options for when you want a delectable meal, a glass of wine, and your dog by your side.

For the dog whose nail polish matches yours...

Take them for the full treatment at Bayside Pet Resort.

With options from the basic grooming package, to mud baths, pet-icures, and facials, your doggie will leave here feeling rested, relaxed, and perfectly pampered!  There is also an on-staff doggie masseuse and loads of relaxation packages available.  If you live the high life, so should your sweet pup. (Also, shout out to Bayside Pet Resort for being an outstanding supporter of the Humane Society of Sarasota County!!!)

Give their fur some flair at Sarasota Grooming Company.

Has your dog always yearned to stand out?  Give your poodle's poof a splash of pink.  Let the stylists give your maltese a mohawk.  The options are limitless so get creative.  This cute little boutique company also does fancy spa treatments too.

A great resource for anyone whose dog is more than just a pet is  Check it out for pet-friendly places and services around Sarasota and the rest of the USA!

Under Contract: Limited New Downtown Construction at Valencia at Rosemary Place!

I recently had the delightful opportunity to work with the buyers of a new-construction luxury townhome in the Rosemary District.  Valencia at Rosemary Place has a similar feel to the beloved niche community of Burns Court Villas, but is nestled in the expanding Rosemary District on the north part of downtown.  These townhomes are walking-distance from the Van Wezel and the Sarasota Bay waterfront to the west, and a short stroll from the Shoppes at Citrus Square to the east, which houses acclaimed restaurants The Rosemary and Pomona Wine Bar.  Getting to the rest of the downtown amenities, like the Saturday Farmer’s Market and other shopping and dining, is a breeze too.

These residences all have fabulous outdoor space; are light, airy & open inside; and feature a contemporary feel – really, I was blown away by the value being offered here and buyers seem to be as well, judging by the rate at which they are selling!  Phase 1 is finished and sold out completely and Phase 2 is selling fast, with only a few remaining and an expected completion date of early 2018.  Stay tuned for another blog on other developments happening downtown! 

Valencia, by the numbers

10: Ceiling height

30:  Total number of units in the development

500s: Starting price point

1900 - 2500:  square foot ranges, depending on floor plan

Pre-Build Rendering

Pre-Build Rendering

Construction Underway!