Main St in Lakewood Ranch

Lakewood Ranch is a master planned community spread over both Manatee as well as Sarasota Counties in Florida. It is a massive community having an area of 31000 acres and home to dozens of neighborhoods and condominium communities. Lakewood Ranch is as famous for its beautiful landscaping as it is for well-designed homes. It is today considered one of the most desirable places to live in Florida.

Lakewood Ranch homes for sale showed an increase in sales in the first quarter of 2019. As compared to the first quarter of 2018, 7% more sales were recorded this year. In total, 417 homes were sold in the first three months which means nearly 5 homes sold per day in the first quarter of 2019.

As far as buyers are concerned, nearly 50% were from Florida while the rest of the buyers were from other parts of the country. Among Florida buyers, nearly half belonged to the local community. Lakewood Ranch is a big attraction for families as it is not only near Tampa but also far more affordable with median home values being much less what they are in Tampa and Miami.

It is not just a strategic location or affordability that attracts families to Lakewood Ranch. They are enticed by the presence of good quality shops, restaurants, schools, hospitals, and features entertainment and recreation. Lakewood Ranch is a master planned community with all amenities and a positive family atmosphere. Parents know their kids have plenty of activities when they are out for work. These are the reasons why Lakewood Ranch homes for sale are in such high demand among buyers.

Streets in Lakewood Ranch

Streets in Lakewood Ranch

Sales of homes in Lakewood Ranch have increased in most of the neighborhoods in 2019. However, special mention must be made of villages like Savanna and Mallory Park where sales of homes have increased significantly. Woodleaf Hammock, which is a relatively new community, and a village called The Isles have registered an impressive increase in the numbers of sales. Waterside, which is a village in Sarasota County, clocked 16 sales in the month of March, reflecting the interest of the buyers. Communities for seniors such as Esplanade and Lakewood National have also registered high numbers of sales in the same period.

If you are interested in Lakewood Ranch homes for sale, you need to contact a local and experienced realtor who can find you your dream home inside your budget.

Longboat Key Condo

Located in Sarasota and Manatee Counties of Florida is the coastal town of Longboat Key. Famous for its white sandy beaches, tons of palm trees, refreshing sea breeze, and fantastic weather conditions all year round, Longboat Key is considered a highly desirable place to live in Florida. Longboat key is both a town and a barrier island, south of Anna Maria Island between the Gulf of Mexico and Sarasota Bay.

The main attraction of Longboat Key is Gulf of Mexico Drive, a long and winding road that is bordered by dozens of shops and restaurants on both sides. This road is surrounded by beautiful landscape that includes huge expanses of water and hidden driveways. You will find a series of clubs starting from the southern tip of this barrier island in between many gated communities that reflect the elegant and relaxed condominium lifestyle of the residents living here. There are many Longboat Key condos for sale in these communities that are perfect for a dream life in this tropical paradise.

Median home value in Longboat Key is upwards of $700,000. but the cost of living is still affordable as median household income in this beach town is more than $100,000. It has a population of only 7000 and most of the homeowners live here only for a certain time period in a year. They enjoy a decent median monthly rent of close to $2500 from their investment.

Longboat Key is regarded as a luxury Gulf Coast golf resort community because of some world-class gold courses and 12 miles of stunning beaches. Waterfront properties offer residents a chance to enjoy golf and world-class shopping and dining facilities. The cool and relaxed lifestyle of Longboat Key attracts large numbers of retirees who come here to enjoy the scenic beauty and the warm and sunny weather conditions. However, it is a good place to live for families with kids too. You will find some very high-quality public schools in Longboat Key serving the educational requirements of the parents.

As far as Longboat Key real estate is concerned, it offers multiple options to you depending upon your budget and liking. These include wonderful estates, townhomes, and Longboat key condos for sale. No matter what your choice, you will enjoy living along the majestic Gulf Coast in this tourist beach town.

Take a look at the example below and imagine yourself here!

 

 

 

 

 

The Bay

The Bay has raised $8m in funding for the first phase of the new public park that is slated for Sarasota’s bayfront area.  The area encompasses 53 acres of prime waterfront grounds.  The first phase will create a 10-acre park starting at Hwy 41 and continuing along Boulevard of the Arts to the bayfront.  The Paterson Foundation has already donated $3m to the worthy cause and another $5m has been collected in private donations.

A sunset boardwalk on the bay is part of phase 1, along with the restoration of mangroves, and a public event area.  Groundbreaking is slated for the end of 2020, and a 20 year build-out is expected.

For up to date information, check out “The Bay Sarasota

Sarasota Parking Meter

Pay to park is now in Sarasota, so I thought I’d try it out because I needed a few pictures of the new Streetscape on Lemon Ave (and wow, is it going to be nice).  The metered spaces are designed to give you 10 minutes for free (not the pole meters), however I needed a little more time and bought 15 minutes for 25c.  There is also a phone app that you can use, ParkMobile, and you can extend time from your phone if you are not back to your car in time.  Check out the locations and rules here and don’t be fooled into paying during free time.  Parking rules are enforced Monday – Saturday from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm, free on city holidays and Sundays.

 

ABC7 Mark Boehmig

The effect of interest rates on Real Estate

Interest rates are still relatively low compared to the last 40 years.  In 1980 we purchased our first home and paid 15% interest on our mortgage, and as I look back at that purchase I’m still amazed. Our only concern at that time were the monthly payments;  that purchase was the perfect starter home for us.

My how times have changed…  Fast Forward 39 years to 2019 and interest rates are between  4.5 and 5% depending on several qualifying factors such as credit score, debt to income ratio, purchase price, and type of property (Condo, Single Family etc.).

Now that interest rates appear to have reached their low point in this cycle, the topic of rising interest rates is in the news again.

I was invited to a round table discussion at the local ABC News station, ABC7.  The expert panel consisted of  Richard Stern, Financial AdviserJerry Zivic, Consumer ReporterLeslie Swart, Mortgage Lender and myself, Mark Boehmig, a local Realtor with Michael Saunders & Company.

The topic of discussion, as you can guess, was about rising interest rates and the effect on the local real estate market.  So what are the actual effects of the rise in the interest rates?

This is the way I see it:

  • housing prices have been steadily rising for the past 8 years
  • mortgages have been tougher to qualify for
  • the government rules in place for mortgages have made the market more secure
  • interest rates have been very low for the past 8 years

With low rates and increasing housing prices, the federal government is slowly increasing the 10 year treasury bond yield, which increases the rate on money loaned to banks.  This will slow down the rise in home pricing, which keeps inflation in check.

What part of the sales cycle are we in?

Another thing to keep in mind, a 1% increase in interest rates equals a 10% decline in borrowing power.  To put this in monetary terms, if a buyer could previously qualify for a mortgage on a home with a value of $200,000. their borrowing power has now been reduced to $178000.

Real estate will adjust to these new parameters, therefore slowing the rise in housing prices.  As more inventory comes on the market the supply will increase, shifting the market from a sellers market, to equilibrium, then perhaps a buyers market.

As far as the Manatee and Sarasota counties of Florida are concerned, our market is a little different.  45-50% of our sales are cash.  How can this be?  Many people retire here.  They have sold their homes in other places and come here with cash!  Others come here buying second or third homes, and a majority of those sales are cash as well.

Keep these factors in mind if you are in the market to buy or sell property in the near future.  Having the knowledge of market conditions is important when the time comes.

The full panel discussion can be viewed here.

The sheer amount of money changing hands when buying a home means it’s an opportunity for scammers to make a quick buck. These people are on us like sharks are to blood in the water. Banks, agents, and consumers all need to be made aware. If you haven’t heard of phishing scams, then you should make yourself aware of them. Even Bradenton real estate has had some cases of scam artists trying to trick consumers.

Sadly, there has been a rise in wiring scams as of late. Here’s how to spot wiring scams and avoid making a big mistake.

What are wiring scams?

Let’s start off by defining phishing a bit here:

Phishing is the act of pretending to be a trustworthy entity, in many cases pretending to be a representative of a company, and using that trust to get sensitive information or even money from unsuspecting customers.

A wiring scam is just one manifestation of such a scam. In these instances, fraudsters pretend to be from a mortgage company, bank or other related institution and often inform the customer that banking details have changed or other issues have arisen, and that they must now send money into a new bank account. They quickly withdraw any money that they possibly can and get out of Dodge ASAP. One tragic instance happened recently to a British couple that perfectly spells out how a traditional wiring scam works.

How do they get the information?

The way it works is that a skilled hacker gets their way into either your email or that of the company and monitors emails sent between you and your bank or broker. Once they notice money involved, they send you an email pretending to be from the institution and asking you to send money to their account. Since they don’t actually have access to the company’s logo and other credentials, they will often make a closely related logo and name. Other than that, they are tough to spot.

How to avoid wire scams

It’s important to be diligent and go with your gut. If something doesn’t sound right, then it probably isn’t. Here are a few ways to avoid being the victim of a wiring scam:

  • Always request wiring instructions directly from your agent
  • Always be wary of emails saying there’s been a change. Tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars are never wired on a whim
  • Always check the logo and credentials of an email and check it with past emails from the company
  • Be aware of grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Scammers often have bad writing skills
  • Make sure to double check before wiring money

Bradenton and the surrounding communities, just like the rest of the country, are not safe from dishonest scammers trying to take money from honest people. You’ve got to remain diligent and learn how to spot a fraud. Use these tips on avoiding wiring scams, and you’ll be sure to avoid becoming a victim. For more real estate tips, visit my helpful blog.

Drowning in Problems Because of Water Damage?

They say that Florida has only two season: rainy and dry. Whether you own a home or a condo, water damage is a real issue down here. Did you know that between 2003-2012, total flood insurance claims averaged out to $4 billion dollars a year?!

Handling it in your home is easy compared to handling water damage in your Florida condo. That brings a whole new set of problems. Over my years of experience, I’ve learned a few tips of the trade. Best to learn how to handle water damage in your home or condo before you find yourself drowning in problems.

Handling water damage in the home

Florida is the 5th wettest state in the union in total, but it’s not very balanced. Some areas are relatively dry while other further south get drenched. Doesn’t matter where you are, though, flooding is a constant threat. But flooding isn’t the only issue! Things like burst pipes or hot water heaters can also flood your home with water. Here are some tips on dealing with it:

  • If it’s from an accident, shut off the flow of water from the main line. In warm climates like ours, the water line switches are often located outside.
  • Turn off your power. You don’t want electrical issues causing safety concerns like fires. Water and electricity don’t mix!
  • Contact your insurance company and immediately contact water restoration experts.
  • Begin basic cleanup, rescue your valuables, and set fans about to help the water dry.

Dealing with water damage in a condo

Anyone who has dealt with water damage in a condo probably wishes they had dealt with it in a home instead! A stand alone house is easy to deal with compared to an association full of independent apartments. Sometimes your upstairs neighbor’s hot water heaters explodes and it damages your roof; or worse, yours explodes and damages everyone else’s units!

First you have to determine fault:

  • Is it an event of casualty: casualty is when it is nobody’s fault. Say your neighbor’s hot water heater was installed properly and was relatively new, and just blew by complete accident(these things happen). Nobody is at fault and your insurance should cover things.
  • Is someone at fault: normally, fault is when it could have easily been avoided had proper measures been taken, but they weren’t. It’s like when your neighbor’s hot water heat was corroded and 30 years old.

Aside from the normal safety measures, you need to find out who is at fault and where the money is going to be coming from. That’s why you should always get a real estate attorney. They can help not only determine fault but also determine the best way for you to get payment. Better yet, they can help keep your costs low if you have to pay anything out.

Whether you are cleaning up after a flood or handling water damage in a condo complex, knowing how to handle water damage in your Florida home or condo is of extreme importance. Especially here in Bradenton if you’ve just recently bought a home.

Looking to sell your home in Bradenton but don’t want to pay a ton of money to get it fixed up? Here are a few things you can DIY around the house to increase its sell value

Nothing gets a home off the market quicker than a trendy new look and major upgrades. The market can be pretty competitive down here, and when you put in the time and effort to upgrade your house, people take notice. But there isn’t always enough money to go around. That’s where rolling your sleeves up and getting your hands a bit dirty could really help you out. The problem is that most people think DIY’ing something is too hard or takes too much effort. That’s just not true. Here are 4 quick DIY tips that will increase your homes value immediately.

Hang your curtains closer to the ceiling to increase your home’s value

What? How could this possibly help? Think about it! If you hang your curtains higher up toward the ceiling, it gives the illusion that your windows are actually bigger than they really are. This will give off a much more imposing feel when people see them, and make prospective buyers think more of the interior. It’s a long-used interior decorator’s secret.

Add molding to the top of your cabinets

Want a great DIY tip that will increase your home’s value? Add some crown molding to the top of your cabinets? It’s quick, affordable, and not very hard at all. The result will be beautiful accented cabinets. The right paint job could really bring out the contrast and make the home look beautiful. On top of that you’ll have extra storage to put some of your little-used kitchen ware.

Tutorial here

Frame your flat screen with molding trim

You know that beautiful flat-screen TV hanging on the wall in the living room? Imagine how beautiful it would look encased in mold trimming painted to match! Just get some mold trimming, make a box around the TV and voila! The possibilities with it are endless, and it’s much easier than you might think.
Tutorial here

Paint old air vents

You know those unsightly air vents that look like rusted steel? They don’t necessarily take away from a room’s appearance since they are normally covered by furniture, but if you don’t have them covered up, they can be a bit unsightly. That would all change if you spray painted them a chic new color! If you’ve got wooden floors, then try dark green to give a forest feel or black to be more film noir. It’ll transform your living room’s look instantly.

Upgrading your home’s interior doesn’t need to cost a fortune. You could do a lot of it yourself. Use these 4 quick DIY tips to upgrade your home’s value instantly, and you’ll see plenty more people complimenting the interior when they visit. Stay tuned for more great tips from my Bradenton, Florida real estate blog.

Going DIY will make your home and your bank account worth more

Make your home look better. Save money. Learn skills. It’s all here.

In part 1 we covered a few DIY tips that would instantly add value to your home. People these days are kind of caught in a conundrum: they want to make their homes look nice to stand out in a recovering market, but they don’t have the money to invest in major cosmetic operations for their home.

There are plenty of great things you can do around your home to add value to it without breaking the bank. You’ll even learn a few good tricks to help make yourself look like Mr. Fix-it(hey, brownie points are worth something too, right!?) Here are a few more DIY tips that will instantly add value to your home:

Replacing the faucets and handles

Nobody likes to struggle to turn the handle to get water out of the sink, only for a trickle of water to start running out of a rusted, jagged faucet. Fixtures are usually cheap, and changing yours to a sleek gold or silver will instantly make your home look more modern and luxurious. Some sets can be found for around $100 or sometimes less if you get your timing right, and installing them isn’t that hard at all.

Here’s a great article on how to install a bathroom faucet from Lowe’s.

Add a flagstone patio

Want a fun weekend-long project to undertake? How about making a flagstone patio? The reason this one is considered simple is that you can lay the foundation(normally a very difficult task) with just gravel or other crushed stone. This is called a “dry-laid” patio. Once the base is laid out, you can put the flagstone down and cut it easily with a chisel and a hammer to fit it in. Normally, laying the base and cutting the stones is very difficult, but it’s good for DIY’ers because those two steps are relatively easy. Check out this tutorial to learn more.

Paint the floor in your garage

One of the most popular things that prospective buyers are looking for, especially young families that need space, is a garage. Now, the benefits of one are clear(a safe place to park your car, extra storage space for your things, and extra fridge space for big food items), but how about making yours look a lot nicer for next to nothing and in very little time? Get a couple of rollers and brushes, a jug of grey paint, and paint the floor in your garage. This might be the easiest DIY tip that adds value to your home. The result is a garage that is resistant to stains and looks a lot nicer on the eyes.

People looking to either sell their home or just make the one they want to stay in nicer are usually looking to upgrade, but don’t want to shell out big bucks for full-makeover home renovations. These DIY tips will instantly add value to your home, and most won’t cost you very much at all. So roll up your sleeves and get to work! For more great real estate tips, check out my Bradenton real estate blog!

Holding an open event where interested buyers from around the Bradenton Area and beyond can come check your place out is perhaps the best way to expose your place to potential buyers. Whipping it into shape and making it look its best should be the first thing on your mind. I’m talking about a lot more than just cleaning, too. You wouldn’t show up to a job interview without looking your best, would you? Same thing goes here. Want to know how to prepare for an open house? Here are 3 quick tips that can make your home sell.

Take down the curtains
Most real estate agents agree that light is the difference between making a sale and not making one. Why do you think magazines go to such lengths to shine the right light on the people posing for pictures? The best way to let the light flow into your home is by taking the curtains down. It gives prospective buyers a better view of the walls and windows, and allows them to paint a blank canvas in their minds of what the curtains will be. The best part, though, is all of the light that the windows let in.

Take down personal wall art

Your home is your castle and probably the one place you should hang all of your personal family photos and beloved works of art. The thing is that when you’re holding an open house, it’s because you’re trying to make it someone else’s castle. Having pictures of your family up everywhere makes it hard for a buyer to imagine themselves in it, and also clutters up the walls. Not only that but they might not like your taste in art or picture frame color. Depersonalize as much as possible. Want to take up the wall space that’s left over? Hang up a mirror! It’ll improve the look and the lighting too.

Use white colors when possible

Numerous studies have confirmed that people equate the color white with cleanliness in rooms such as the bathroom and kitchen. Hotels even use white in their bathrooms to denote a feeling of cleanliness. Whatever the reason, real estate agents recommend to white-out your place when possible. Preparing for an open house is as much about playing to your audience as it is sprucing up your home. Add white towels in both areas, replace fixtures if possible, and get white cups, utensil holders, and any other trinkets you can think of. Every bit counts.

Throughout all my years of doing real estate in Bradenton, I’ve found that the best way to see a big group of potential buyers is by holding an open house. Preparing for an open house is a bit harder than just cleaning up, though. You want your place to look as perfect and appealing as possible. Use these 3 quick tips and your place is sure to fly off the market!