Monday, August 21, 2017

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!

My wife sometimes teases me about the fact that I carry a compass (well...I used to carry an actual compass but now I use the one on my iPhone). We have all heard the saying about real estate: “location, location, location”. But I want to discuss this in a slightly different way. 

For those of you who are thinking about moving to Sarasota, Florida, and are actively looking at homes, I will always ask you this...which direction do you want your new home to face? I also utilize that compass on my smart phone as I am showing clients various homes so that they will get a feel for the movement of light from sunrise to sunset in each home they view.

Living in Sarasota means that you will have lots of sun, on a regular basis, streaming into your home. Choosing a home that maximizes the natural light, while still giving you the needed shade can be an important issue. When I was a young man building homes with my dad in Sarasota, we always oriented our spec homes to take advantage of the prevailing breeze to avoid the heat load of the western sun...but we didn't have such great insulation back then. So what is the perfect orientation for your new home? The answer may be different from one person to another.

Many homes in Florida use the open concept style - no walls between living, dining and kitchen. This style allows light to flow through the entire living area. Large sliding glass doors often are used as an exit to the lanai and pool. Keeping this in mind, you must decide what is most important to you. Do you want a direct view of our beautiful sunsets? If so choose a home with a west facing lanai. But…unless you have some trees to give you some shade, a west facing lanai gets the hot afternoon sun every day. Another thing to consider is if your pool uses solar panels be sure they are properly placed for maximum exposure.

If you prefer to wake up each morning to sunshine streaming into your room, you may want to choose a home with a master bedroom that faces east. If you are set on seeing the sun go down every evening, go for a home that maximizes that view. You may have to compromise on one thing or another, but no matter what you choose, you will love living in paradise! Give me a call at Re/Max Alliance Group and I will help you 'go in the right direction' and find the best location for your dream home in Sarasota, Florida!

Monday, August 7, 2017

The Dog Days of Summer Aren't So Bad!

Find a dream home in Sarasota, Florida
Now that we are in the dog days of summer, new residents of Sarasota, Florida may be wondering if it will ever cool off and if we do indeed have ‘Seasons’. Even though we have sunny weather most of the time, we do have seasons here in Florida. Though the seasons may not be as recognizable as those in the North, there are differences in each season.

Summer, as you probably know tends to be very hot…but there is almost always a breeze off the Gulf of Mexico to enjoy. When I was a kid growing up in Sarasota, we didn’t have air-conditioning but we somehow survived on the breeze! Summer starts sometime in May, as the temps begin to climb. Temperatures average in the high 80's to mid 90's and more. It’s a good time to enjoy the A/C during the day and the pool in the evening. The best times to visit the beaches are early in the morning and of course, in the evening for the beautiful sunsets. 
Summer also brings the rainy season and the threat of hurricanes. Thankfully, it’s been many years since Sarasota has experienced a hurricane. There are some theories and local superstitions as to why the city of Sarasota has not had a direct hit from a storm since record keeping began back in 1871; the wildest one has to do with American Indian Spirits that still protect the area. These are what are known as “Urban Legends.” Others say that the Sarasota area is safe due to Mother Nature’s placement of the sand dunes on the coastal beaches, or the magic powers of Siesta Key’s white sand beaches and underwater crystals. Whatever reason people believe, we have stayed safe from these potentially monster storms along the Sarasota Sun Coast for quite a number of years. The record books say that Sarasota did take on varying degrees of damage from hurricanes in 1926, 1944 and 1950. So the best thing to do during storm season, which peaks in early September, is to keep your eyes and ears open for weather news and go on with your fun in the Sarasota sun! Regarding plants, Florida native plants grow like crazy during the summer; grass needs to be cut once a week. If we do have a good rainy season, we have to cut grass every five days or so. A typical rainy season produces the chance of afternoon or evening showers, on any day. In years past, I could almost set my watch by the 4:00 PM showers which cleaned and cooled the air for evening.

Fall usually starts about mid-October. Floridians really look forward to the cooler temperatures and lower humidity levels. It’s finally time to open the windows and enjoy the fresh air! For Halloween, there is as much a chance for very warm weather as there is for a cool evening. Hurricane season ends November 30th, a date we are all happy to see. This is a good time to enjoy the beaches, or go to Myakka State Park for a wildlife tour. There are not many tourists yet, and the seasonal residents (Snowbirds) have not yet arrived.

Winter in Florida can be a surprise. Even as a lifetime Florida resident, it’s still weird decorating for Christmas when it is 75 degrees outside, but that is most often the case. If you look closely, there are subtle differences in the plants as the temps get a bit cooler. Some tree leaves change color a little bit, but nothing like up North.
We have seen winters where the overnight temps never dropped below 55 degrees. On the other hand, the temps have dropped to the mid-twenties in the past. Some of the plants lose their leaves, but not many. The grass slows its growth, to the point where it only needs to be mowed every 14-20 days.  Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Snowbirds arrive in force. Stores, streets, beaches and restaurants become very crowded.

Spring, the best season in Florida! Starting in about mid March, spring usually offers cool nights, warm days and lower humidity.  A day at the beach can literally be an all day affair, as long as you don’t mind crowds. Springtime brings lots of guests and tourists to the Sunshine state. The Snowbirds have not yet made their way back North and the Spring Breakers pay a visit although it’s not as crazy as on the East coast of Florida. In our area, we do not get the large groups of young people looking to party hard, but we do get a good amount of those looking for a spot in the sun to relax. Just as in the North, spring brings new life to plants and some animals. If there were frosty nights in the winter and some of the plants lost leaves, new growth starts now. You can actually see some of the trees and plants get a greener color. Oak and pine trees start to throw off pollen, causing problems for those with allergies. So, Spring is not without some disadvantages; it arrives at the peak of the dry season. With the low humidity levels and the lack of rain for several months, the chance for brush fires is heightened.

A few other 'unofficial' Florida seasonal dates:
  • Hurricane season is June 1 to November 30
  • Snowbird season is about October to May, give or take a few weeks 
  • Strawberry season is December through May depending on the weather
  • Fishing seasons vary by species
  • Alligator mating season runs from about mid April to June, so watch out on the golf course! 
Having said all of the above, I'm sure you will agree that despite the lack of definitive seasons, we live in Paradise! No snow to shovel! Golf and beach-walking every day! Beautiful sunsets every night! What's not to love? So if you are looking to actually LIVE in Paradise, call me and I will help you find your dream home in Sarasota, Longboat Key, Venice, Englewood and Manasota Key.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Gillespie Park - Downtown Sarasota’s Newest Up-and-Coming Neighborhood

In keeping with reminiscing about my Home Town of Sarasota, Gillespie Park is one of the areas that I have seen change, especially lately, since my childhood days growing up in north Sarasota.

Gillespie Park has become one of Sarasota's great places to live for young professionals and retirees and empty nesters. With its great neighborhood feel, large trees, charming architecture and downtown location convenient to all the of Sarasota's amenities, Gillespie Park’s popularity is exploding. Nestled between Fruitville Road, 10th Street, U.S. 301 and Orange Avenue, the subdivision consists of old bungalows, cottages and Spanish-style townhouses, many of them dating to the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s. A good number have been refurbished and renovated, or are in the process. With its lush vegetation and stately pines and oak trees providing a shady canopy, Gillespie Park has a distinctly Old Florida feeling.

So here’s a bit of history! Gillespie Park honors John Hamilton Gillespie, first mayor of Sarasota. This land was part of the town's experimental farm and when that failed due to poor soil, Gillespie laid out a golf course in 1886. After the turn of the century, the subdivision was platted for residential use. The real estate boom of the 1920s brought a wave of new inhabitants, and the neighborhood was named after Gillespie, who had arrived in town as one of the Scottish immigrants, built a hotel on Main Street and served as the city’s first mayor.

A focal point of the Gillespie Park neighborhood is the historic park named after Gillespie. The city created the park on 10 acres of undeveloped land purchased for that purpose in 1924. Gillespie Park was developed with special emphasis on recreation for children and, in 1926, won an award in the National Playground Beautification Contest. An oasis of trees and green open space, Gillespie Park now provides tennis courts, picnic pavilion, playground recreational facilities, and features a lovely meandering pond.

If you are looking for a great place to live in Sarasota that has on old Florida feel but is close to the many amenities in downtown Sarasota, call me, your Home Town Realtor!



SRQecoseeker.com, Activerain.com, Sarasota Herald Tribune, Sarasotagov.com

Friday, May 5, 2017

Re/Max Alliance Group is Number One!


With over 300 Realtors in our office, Re/Max Alliance is the NUMBER ONE RE/MAX in Florida. Re/Max Alliance has a proven track record of success in all facets of real estate brokerage - residential, commercial and property management.

What it takes to be number one is an easy question to ask. But implementing it takes great pain and sacrifice. It is something many do not have the stamina to continue to do. Re/Max Alliance Group does. What it takes to be number one is more than a plan. It is hard work and not giving up.


Consider:
  • The number 1 is synonymous to being the best
  • The number 1 symbolizes the leader
  • The number 1 is the number of confidence.
  • The longest word in the English language containing only ONE vowel is “strengths”!
Becoming a successful real estate agent is a combination of getting the right education and finding an established broker such as Re/Max Alliance Group. I am proud to work with the best…and the number one office! If you are looking to buy or sell a home in Sarasota, Bradenton, Venice, Englewood or on Manasota Key, call me...your Hometown Realtor!

Friday, April 7, 2017

The Safety and Security of Online Contracts


In my last blog, I discussed the evolution of technology as it relates to the world of real estate and specifically, online contracts and signatures. In this posting, I will discuss this further, especially the safety and security of these online documents and signatures.

On July 25, 2000, the first paperless real estate transaction took place in Broward County, Florida. That transaction involved the purchase and financing of a home and took less than five minutes to record. Confirmed documents bearing all necessary recording data were immediately returned to the settlement agent via e-mail. Images of the recorded documents were immediately available on the county’s website.

Paperless real estate transactions save time, and time is money. The process of accepting a purchase and sale contract; executing closing documents, the promissory note and mortgage; a compliance review by the lender; transferring the deed and the mortgage to be verified and recorded at the county office building; and issuing the title on the property — all can be sent electronically to the market for loan servicing rights. This process from beginning to end can be completed within one business day.

It has become clear that innovation and the paperless real estate transaction are essential in maintaining accurate consumer records and coordinating a seamless real estate transaction with great benefits to the consumer, the lending institutions and all the real estate professionals involved. Real estate documents often contain sensitive information and represent some of life’s most important transactions. With regard to security, a key advantage with e-signatures is this: Should an e-signed document’s validity ever be called into question, agents and their organizations can know with certainty that those documents are legally sound and defensible because the evidence of the signature is embedded into the document itself. And because independent e-signatures adhere to published, international standards, the signed document is valid forever.

Signatures have been the bane of a real estate professional’s existence for generations. With purchase agreements and closings getting more complicated every year, with more and more layers of mandatory disclosures, regulations, title assurances, and anything else you care to name, it’s easy for customers to miss a signature or initial. Historically, this meant that the real estate agent winds up expending precious prospecting time driving across town to track down the parties, or spending money to prepare and send documents back to them via FedEx. Now, this can all be taken easily and quickly online.

The signature request allows me to send a ‘sign form request’ and allows my clients to sign with a truly wet signature using a tablet or cellphone! My client can also use a laptop touch pad and a traditional mouse on a desktop computer too. There are easy methods for the computer challenged client where they are allowed to type and pick a font for their signature as well.

Are these programs legal? Electronic contracts and electronic signatures are just as legal and enforceable as traditional paper contracts signed in ink. Federal legislation enacted in 2000, known as the Electronic Signatures in Global and International Commerce Act (ESGICA), removed the uncertainty that previously plagued e-contracts. This e-signature law made electronic contracts and signatures as legally valid as paper contracts, which was great news for companies that conduct business online

Are these programs secure? These signature solutions use digital certificates to provide security and authentication. User authentication is enhanced by the fact that they require multiple layers of authentication. Virtually all electronic signature solutions generate an “audit trail” that includes the path the documents traveled and computer-generated event information such as the date and time the documents were signed as well as the IP address of the computer used to sign and send the documents.

No one wants to have a real estate transaction delayed because of a paperwork kerfuffle. Fortunately, there’s a better way, thanks to a miracle of modern information technology. It’s time to embrace the e-signature!

If you have any questions about online signatures, call me, your Sarasota Hometown Realtor and I will be happy to discuss this with you and…help you buy or sell your home in Sarasota, Florida.




Sources and credits: The Washington Post, Online Sunshine/The Florida Statues, NOLO Press

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Are You Stuck in a Real Estate Time Warp?

Evolution is a slow process in any industry and real estate’s technological evolution is no different. For many years while working as the IT Director as well as the technology support manager of the Real Estate business at Re/Max Alliance Group in Sarasota, FL, I worked toward creating an online system that would allow clients to able to sign and initial contact documents to avoid multiple reprinting, faxing, and the time delays associated with all the back and forth. Today, several large organizations have produced web based secure software that allows us to have documents electronically signed via email. Today, Re/Max Alliance Group uses such a software package.

I was in the computer world as a programmer before there were hard drives and ‘mice’ and know better than most that technology is a catalyst for change in most industries.  The real estate industry, in particular, has undergone major changes over the past 10 or more years and shows no signs of slowing down. While the basics of selling real estate haven’t changed, the tools used to do it have. Because of these tools, you and I can access virtually anything, or anyone, from a smart phone or tablet. I can complete paperless transactions from wherever I am. Gone are the days of being tied to an office or desk. Gone are the traditional ways of buying and selling property involving a land line and a fax machine.

Using this technology, I am able to get all parts of a purchase contract negotiated between a seller in Sarasota, FL and a buyer in, for example, Bombay India in 1 day! Without this system, that would have required hundreds of dollars in FedEx fees and several days, to say nothing about consuming a sizable chunk of a tree!

If you are stuck in a time warp and are leery of doing transactions online, worry not! The idea of paperless real estate transaction technology is obviously not brand new. It has been in the industry for a decade following the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act and the Uniform Electronic Transaction Act. Both acts were passed to ensure that paperless real estate transactions signed electronically were legally binding. I will go into this further in a future Blog.


In spite of all this technology, the real transaction happens because of the personal communication between you and your Realtor. If you have questions about using these services feel free to call me at 941-315-1185. And...if you are looking to buy or sell your home in Sarasota, FL, my hometown, definitely call me!

Friday, March 17, 2017

The Sarasota Experience!



One of the slogans for Re/Max is: “It’s the Experience®” and this is very important on a couple of levels. When looking for the best Real Estate agent to help you buy or sell a home in Sarasota, Florida, most people are interested (or should be!) in the background and experience of the person they are choosing for one of the most important purchases they will have. So here’s a little something about me!

As the former Technology Director for a decade at RE/MAX Alliance Group and a lifelong Sarasota resident, I combined my real estate technical background, thirty-year construction experience and knowledge of Sarasota to help you buy and sell homes in my hometown. To do the best job possible, I joined RE/MAX Alliance Group. As a Graduate of the Real Estate Institute (GRI), a Certified New Home Specialist (CNHS) as well as Residential Construction Certified (RCC), I can assist you in making an informed decision.

The second level of “It’s the Experience” is YOUR experience in the buying or selling process. I always endeavor to achieve the following criteria for my clients:

  • Make it a learning experience - from the very beginning, I always educate my clients about the process, such as pre-qualification for financing, the difference between single family homes, condos and villas, types of insurance needed, especially for flood areas and in general, learning about the Sarasota experience.
  • The communication experience - I keep you informed every step of the way and am always available for questions and assistance with the details. Good communication is essential!
  • Ensure a smooth experience - I can assist with helping you choose and manage home inspection services, mortgage, title and closing services, insurance companies, moving services, pest control and all the things necessary to make your transition smooth.
  • Make it fun experience - Yes, it can be! I am always happy to give my clients the grand tour of Sarasota and all the fun things there are to do here.
  • And ultimately, I ensure a great experience in achieving your goal and ‘checking all the boxes’ when buying or selling your home. I don't believe it's my function to SELL you the home I think you need - it is to HELP you find and identify just the right home for YOU.

I have been very successful buying and selling Sarasota Real Estate in Sarasota; I have achieved this by providing excellent service for more than ten years. I am committed to my community and have a deep personal interest in the clients I serve. If you are searching for real estate in Sarasota, Florida, I look forward to showing you the town I know - see Sarasota through my eyes and trust me to help you find the opportunity of a lifetime in the wonderful hometown I have known and loved for decades. To learn more about me, visit my website