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.