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Turtle nesting season begins with new laws

by Roger Pettingell

Turtle nesting season begins Monday

A new Longboat Key ordinance takes effect this year to protect turtles

Literature on new law and helpful tips for turtle nesting
Turtle Nesting Literature - There are plenty of pamphlets on the subject, click the image for a video.

Turtle nesting season officially begins May 1 but the turtle watchers are already combing the beach looking for any activity that may be a little early. These wonderful animals need our protection as the parents lay the eggs, the turtles trek to the sea and begin their journey of life in the seas. Government and private organizations are working hard to preserve this ritual of life’s beginnings. They are doing this through legislation, watch programs and public education programs.

In 2016, with the help of the Longboat Key Turtle Watch program, 1,184 nests with hatchlings were identified. Sarasota County accounts for the highest density of nesting turtles on the Gulf Coast of Florida. This watch group made up of volunteers is sanctioned by Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, responsible for marking nests so that visitors on the beach can enjoy their time there and understand the areas that should not be disturbed. This group patrols the Manatee County portion of Longboat Key each morning during the May 1 to October 31 official nesting season. They identified 578 of the total nesting areas last year.

All data on turtles in the county is collected by volunteers and staff at Mote Marine and the Coastal Wildlife Club. Another group, The Anna Maria Turtle Watch is made up of volunteers on that island. The information collected by all groups is sent to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

There are estimates that mature female Loggerhead Turtles at 25-30 years old lay approximately 100 eggs in each of four to seven nests over a two-week period. Last year the renourishment program returned over 500,000 cubic yards of white sand to the beaches of Longboat Key through dredging and daily truck hauls. Since nesting turtles return to the area of their start in life a major change to the nesting area presents another challenge.

You can help with some simple compliance with laws and beach maintenance, particularly during night time hours:

  • Interior lamps should be moved away from windows.
  • Do not use any lighting on the beach for fishing.
  • No campfires or cars are allowed on the beach.
  • Report any pets other than service animals that are on the beach.
  • Fill in any holes dug into the sand and remove beach furniture by hand, equipment is not allowed during nesting season.
  • It is recommended that beach furniture be stacked away from potential nesting areas if it cannot be removed. Turtles nest high on the beach to avoid high tides.
  • Do not set furniture closer than five feet to a marked nest.
  • Remove any plastic from the beach that can be ingested and ultimately deadly to turtles.

Any nesting disturbance or stranded turtles should be reported to Mote Marine at (941) 388-4331. A video on sea turtle protection can be found here. Turtle nests are marked by yellow caution tape attached to four stakes in the sand and marked with a yellow Sea Turtle Nest notification. Typically there are additional marks that include dates and the person responsible for the nest. Try to collect as much information as possible in your report to the Sea Turtle Program at Mote Marine.

There are rules to observe to avoid disturbing sea turtles while nesting
Sea turtles can nest in high traffic areas like this one outside a popular restaurant on Anna Maria Island.

This is the first year of a new Sea Turtle Protection Ordinance on Longboat Key that alters enforcement, lighting on the beach and removal of beach furniture at night when the hatchlings make their way from the beach to the sea. In the water they journey to a nearby seaweed line for food and shelter. Of those hatchlings only one of every 1,000 to 10,000 are expected to reach maturity. This law protects all nesting turtles, including the threatened Loggerhead and endangered Green turtles that nest here.

The new ordinance allows enforcement of protections on any night when in the past officers were only walking during moonlit nights. A number of restrictions on home lighting in the coastal areas were enacted, all to prevent disorientation of the turtles making their way to the sea. Beach furniture should be removed during the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 p.m. Temporary structures or furniture will either be tagged by law enforcement or removed from the beach.

A letter from Mote Marine to citizens in the affected coastal areas outlined some of the changes on artificial lighting that can deter nesting females and hatchlings from making their way to the water. If an home or public interior light can be seen from the beach the shades must be drawn or tinted with a light transmittance value of 45% or less. Special outdoor lighting can be used that are either red or amber in color. Do not use flash photography on the beach. You can request a lighting inspection of your beachfront residence before the law takes effect May 1 by calling Chris Elbon of code enforcement at (941) 316-1966, ext 277.

There is plenty of information available for residents of these affected areas. Educating yourself is helpful so that you can continue to enjoy the beach and help protect these creatures of the sea. Hotels also possess varying degrees of literature for their guests. If you have a guest staying in your residence or you know someone who is visiting you can also help by presenting them with this information. Your efforts will let them know that you are concerned about the environment of Longboat Key. It will help you, your guests and the turtles.

New luxury home brand for Coldwell Banker

by Roger Pettingell

New luxury brand for Coldwell Banker

Last week's launch phases out Previews International for Global Luxury

Luxury Home for Sale at 5080 Gulf of Mexico Drive
Global Luxury home for sale - This Home for Sale at 5080 Gulf of Mexico Drive on Longboat Key will now appear under the Global Luxury brand.

When the historian Edward Gibbon penned the quote “All that is human must retrograde if it does not advance” most likely didn’t have Coldwell Banker in mind, but it certainly is applicable to the hugely successful real estate company. The leader in residential real estate sales has announced a major rebranding of its high-end market, changing from Previews International to Global Luxury.

Why a company that represents more than 25,000 homes for sale over $1 million is compelled to change directions in its branding is best summed up by corporate executives.

“Our relevance in luxury has endured because we always observe and anticipate the changing needs and desires of the modern-day affluent client. With an eye to the future, the luxury team embarked on a journey to reinvent the luxury marketing offering.”

That was in a letter announcing the change last week, co-written by Charlie Young, President & Chief Executive Officer of Coldwell Banker and Bruce Zipf, President & Chief Executive Officer, NRT LLC. NRT is the parent company of Coldwell Banker.

This highly progressive company is always looking to the future of real estate and not going in retrograde. Coldwell Banker handles more than $133.5 million in luxury home sales each day with an average sales price of $1.94 million. And now more than ever the company should be bullish on the luxury market.

In an article posted this year by the real estate watchdog group Inman, 2017 will be a great year for the luxury market. They cited four reasons in that there will be new ways to finance high-end homes, foreign buyers are expanding into the U.S. market, we are part of a historical growth period and there is typically an upturn in post-election purchases.

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury logo
Moving forward with the new branding effort for Coldwell Banker Global Luxury

We are in Phase III with the national launch of the new branding which kicked off last Tuesday. Phases I & II were ramping up phases that gave us time to order the new materials that will aid a successful launch. Now the new website, www.ColdwellBankerLuxury.com is live. The website www.ColdwellBankerPreviews.com will forward to the Global Luxury website so you need do nothing if you have it bookmarked in your browser. The residential site www.ColdwellBankerHomes.com will show an inventory of all homes listed on the MLS, including those over $1 million, further expanding the luxury home reach. This website had over 10.4 million visits which resulted in an average of 1.6 listing views per visitor in March.

That is a lot of traffic and good exposure for your home listed with our company. Your listing is also syndicated out to over 40 real estate portals including Zillow, Trulia and realtor.com when we build your single property website, such as the one listed here at www.622SouthOwl.com. Your home will also be a featured listing on our website, LongboatRealEstate.com which receives hundreds of visits a day.

If you are a fan of the Coldwell Banker articles written in Previews Inside Out, they have rebranded those news stories as the Coldwell Banker Global Luxury blog. Since social media is a strong marketing format, you will begin to see the changes across the Internet at Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Our websites and social media outlets have the new logo with service marks.

Coldwell Banker also promotes its luxury market with direct mail and print advertising, a total annual net reach of 1.1 million high-end buyers. There are 100,000 inserts into each issue of Unique Homes, with readers in 80 countries. The company inserts a supplement in the Friday issue of each Wall Street Journal edition in nine major cities. It prints 150,000 for direct mail to individuals with home values over $2 million and a net worth over $25 million.

These new efforts should have good effects on marketing homes on Longboat Key. Buyers will have good access to rich information that is available for each home listing. Our office here is also experiencing good growth. I have been told we will be making an announcement in the press this week about our growth and the new branding efforts.

I hope your Easter holiday weekend was a good one. As an added note, the Fifth Annual Blue Ties & Butterflies at Michael’s on East in Sarasota this Wednesday has some open tables that I encourage you to participate in. This fundraiser provides major support for the Child Protection Center in Sarasota and DeSoto counties. If you can’t attend I urge you to give a donation to this highly worthwhile organization that provides critical support for children with prevention, intervention and treatment programs. You can purchase a ticket or donate through the event website here.

I added two new residences for sale last week on Longboat Key. The first is a beautifully upgraded, two-bedroom beach retreat, located on the ninth floor at the Privateer South, #906 and overlooks the Gulf of Mexico stunning azure waters with views from every room. The second is a three-bedroom residence in the popular community of Beachplace, #305 on the lower end of the island. This home has a spacious layout and is ready to immediately enjoy or rent. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing or if you have a property to sell or buy.

Address List Price Media Slideshow
1000 Longboat Club Rd, #906 $829,000   Photo Slideshow
1075 Gulf of Mexico Dr, #305 $779,000   Photo Slideshow

 

Call us at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing

 

Longboat Key Center for the Arts

by Roger Pettingell

Art center to close, new one in progress

New Longboat Key center will be built on land twice the size of current site

Sound Stage & Post Production Facility
The Ringling College of Art and Design is expanding its facilities in Sarasota and has operated the Longboat Key Art Center for 10 years.

Since 1952 the Longboat Key Center for the Arts has been offering workshops, classes, concerts and lectures. And Saturday was the final opening for an arts exhibit, which started a run of artwork by the Women’s Contemporary Artists. Plans were announced in February that the center would close in May. But not to worry too long, plans are in the works for another center at a new location closer to the center of Longboat Key.

For the past ten years the center has been a division of Ringling College of Art and Design, which made the announcement that it would sell the land to a private developer so the 2.3 acres will be used for single-family residential homes.

Also in February, the town of Longboat Key purchased the Amore Restaurant on Bay Isles Parkway and with it acquired 2.1 acres that the restaurant used for fine Italian dining and personal celebrations. The land is adjacent to 2.8 acres the town acquired in 2014 to be used for a center. That more than doubles the size of land used for an art center, giving the town more flexibility for cultural development in the arts. With more land, they will have more words in the name, to be called the Longboat Key Center for the Arts, Culture and Education. Ringling College will operate the new center through a lease agreement when it opens, likely in 2020.

The expansion could also mean that the new center will have a wider use. Already there is a discussion to use the new facility for weddings and will have a larger theater. The workshops, classes, art exhibits and recitals would likely continue. Part of the money from the sale of the land will be used for planning and construction costs.

So what is to become of the buildings on the current site. Already there are plans to move one of two historic Whitney Cottages. In 1935, 16 cottages were built for the former Whitney Beach Resort on the north end. When the resort closed in 1950 the cottages were moved to new locations. There is now a campaign to raise funds to move the one cottage to a location along Gulf of Mexico Drive. The 1,764 square foot facility could serve the community as a welcome center to visitors entering the island from the north. It could also be used by the historical society as announced recently by a coalition of home owners that are developing plans for the fundraising campaign.

Fans of the Amore Restaurant will be delighted to know the its owner said he plans on opening a new restaurant. The new arts center if completed as envisioned will likely raise property values on the island. It all looks good for a vibrant lifestyle when everything comes together. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing or if you have a property to sell or buy.

First quarter 2017 real estate market report

by Roger Pettingell

Sales picking up the pace on Longboat

Reports for quarter rolling in show strong sales, following national trend

REALTALK #123 (April 4, 2017)
First Quarter 2017 - March set the pace for strong sales as discussed in this real estate market report, REALTALK #123 (April 4, 2017)

With just a few weeks remaining in the peak selling season, 2017 is shaping up to be a strong year. Bolstered by last month sales, March came in like a lion and went out like one too. There may have been many reasons for home buying jitters and I typically point to the stock market when that occurs. But the stock market hit record highs so other factors must figure in to sluggish sales the first two months of 2017. It’s possible buyers were looking to the uncertainty that comes about with the inauguration of a new president.

So the figures are coming in for the first quarter. According to a report by the Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee, inventory was the highest it has been since April of 2012. The National Association of Realtors painted a similar picture. Although sales actually slid, the organization reported that February’s mark was 5.4 percent higher than in the same month last year. Prices increased nationally to an average of $228,400, partially due to low inventories.

Evidence of price fluctuations is demonstrated in the chart below this REALTALKplus™ article, where home prices on Longboat Key took a dip in December of 2016 but rebounded to an median price of nearly $1.5 million by the end of March. I discussed this increase in my REALTALK™ #123 video on April 4, 2017. The average price for one of my sales in the first quarter was $1.4 million. If all my pending sales were to close today I would be on pace for another record setting year. The pattern was similar in 2016 when I closed $77 million in volume sales.

My average days on the market have followed a trend set in Sarasota and Manatee counties. In February, Manatee County reported an average of 76 days on the market, Sarasota reported 77 days on the market. My average days on the market is floating right around 79 for 2017.

So, is it a seller’s or buyer’s market? I would conclude that it is a good time for both sides. Sellers are getting near their asking price and buyers are getting a good value for money spent on homes. The sale to list price ratio is 95 percent in both counties.

Luxury homes are selling too. It might take a little more effort to sell waterfront property, finding that right buyer is always out there. I have seven properties over $1 million pending, the highest is a beautiful home at $6.495 million in Harbor Acres. This year I have also closed on seven homes over $1 million.

622 S. Owl Drive, Bird Key, Sarasota
New Bird Key listing - This home was featured in an article, April 2 in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

There are homes on the market here at or above $10 million. On Sunday Harold Bubil of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune wrote a nice article featuring my listing on Bird Key that is currently for sale at $9.995 million. It is a landscaped lot and a lot with a very warm and cozy home built by the owners at 622 S. Owl Drive. It could be separated into two lots. To ask that amount it has to be waterfront of which this property has 450 feet of it.

They all aren’t single-family homes. I have a residence at the Ritz-Carlton pending for $3.6 million and one at L’Ambiance on Longboat Key pending at $2.5 million. These two communities command high dollar for their residences as they are well-maintained and offer many amenities.

Please check out my newest listings that were put on the market last week. The home at 416 Bayshore Drive is on an acre of prime real estate in Osprey. The Little Sarasota Bay wraps around this parcel on two sides and the panoramic views are enhanced with walls of glass on this unique home. The second is in the Bayou Section of Longboat Key, behind the gates of Bay Isles. It’s a charming three bedroom home on the grounds of Longboat Key Club. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing or if you have a property to sell or buy.

 

Address List Price Media Slideshow
416 Bayshore Dr, Osprey $1,395,000   Photo Slideshow
3490 Bayou Sound $850,000   Photo Slideshow
2016-17 Median price chart for Longboat Key
Median prices for homes sold on Longboat Key.

 

Call us at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing

 

Sarasota Film Festival

by Roger Pettingell

19th annual event kicks off Friday

Filmmakers and cinema stars in town for 10 days

Sarasota Opera House
Many of the events for the 2017 Sarasota Film Festival will be held at the Sarasota Opera House.

An annual event in Sarasota that attracts film stars and helps reflect the cultural arts spirit is the Sarasota Film Festival, which starts this Friday with an opening celebration. Each year they feature stars that are invited to the festival so fans can get up close and personal. There is so much going on that it will be hard not to see the gatherings at events, especially if you are in the areas around the Sarasota Opera House or the Regal Cinemas Hollywood 20. It will have the appearance of Cannes or Sundance, but you don’t have to leave Florida to enjoy.

A tribute luncheon at the Sarasota Yacht Club on opening day will feature film icon Rory Kennedy. The youngest child to Senator Bobby Kennedy and Ethel Kennedy, one of her documentary productions, Last Days in Vietnam, was nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the 2015 Academy Awards.

The red carpet rolls out on Friday at 5:30 p.m. at the opera house before the opening night film, Take Every Wave: The Life of Laird Hamilton. This is a 2017 documentary of his charismatic life during the winter surf season on Kauai Island of Hawaii. Rory Kennedy is the film director and is expected to be in attendance for the film showing. If you don't see her at the luncheon you may likely catch up with her at the opening night party following the film. Cocktail attire is the dress of choice for both. Grab a SFF signature cocktail as North Pineapple Avenue turns into a block party with the music of Jah Movement, one of Florida’s best reggae bands.

One of the film stars in SFF attendance will be actress Diane Lane, who had her screen debut in 1979. She will be attending the closing night film, Paris Can Wait, a 2016 comedy romance film with actors Alec Baldwin and Arnaud Viard. On April 8 she will have a 90-minute conversation with the audience at 2:30 p.m. in the Keating Theatre of the Florida Studio Theatre on Palm Avenue.

Aisha Tylor, possibly best known for her show, The Talk, will also be in conversation with the audience at Florida Studio Theatre, noon on April 8. The Talk has been Nominated for five Emmy Awards. She made her directorial debut with the film Axis, which will be shown during the film festival, April 7 and 8.

Another Oscar nominee, Stanley Tucci, will be in attendance and is on the advisory board of directors for the film festival. The film festival movie Paint it Black was produced by his production company, but you may remember him most for his role as Caesar Flickerman, the outrageous show host in the Hunger Games. He was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in The Lovely Bones.

Rosanna Arquette has also announced she will be attending the film festival. She is an actress, film director and producer, nominated for an Emmy Award in 1982 for her role in The Executioner's Song. She has appeared in several movies starting with her debut in 1978 alongside Bette Davis in The Dark Secret of Harvest Home.

Kenny Anderson, a point guard from Georgia Tech who played for several NBA teams from 1991 to 2006, will be on a panel discussion on the topic, athletics and youth empowerment in the Florida Studio Theater on April 8. His movie Mr. Chibbs is part of the Sports in Cinema Features of full-length films and shorts that will be shown during the festival.

Look for signs downtown advertising the SFF with the theme this year, See and be Seen. The series of posters were created by local artist Ringling College of Art student Tyler Mathis, whose artwork was selected from nearly 20 other submissions. He used homophone words of the theme for his posters, interchanging appropriately Sea for See and Scene for Seen. So you should dress to be seen at the Sea and Scene Block party in J.D. Hamel Park, the night of April 7.

There is plenty to do during the week. Hollywood Nights with a red carpet for student film creators kicks off Sunday, April 2, with screenings in the Regal Cinemas Hollywood 20 theater. Veterans are featured Tuesday night at the Sarasota Opera House with the world premiere showing of Returning, which shows returning veterans of war and their reintegration into society. The Booker Film Academy shows off their student achievement, Redirection on Thursday at the Regal Cinemas Hollywood 20 theater. Into the Who Knows! is a sensory-friendly screening in Theatre 9 of the Regal Cinemas Hollywood 20 on Sunday, April 9.

There are also panel discussions, topical films, short films. The theme, Through Women’s Eyes, will feature 15 shorts and six full-length movies written, directed and produced by women on April 1 and 2. It kicks off with a reception at Sarasota City Center on Saturday at 5 p.m. The theme, Florida on Film, features 21 short films and four full-length films created by Florida filmmakers. Each day there are centerpiece and spotlight films in the theaters of the Regal Cinemas Hollywood 20.

Then it’s time to wrap up the 19th Annual Sarasota Film Festival with a…Wrap Party, Saturday at the Sarasota Sky Bar & Club. Hank & Cupcakes from Atlanta will be spinning pop songs that evening for your friends, filmmakers and industry guests. Enjoy the films.

Local college excels in the arts

by Roger Pettingell

Ringling College of Art & Design

Three new state-of-the-art facilities this year set higher standards

Barbara Basch Visual Arts Center
Barbara Basch Visual Arts Center - Students will receive instruction and work alongside professional artists when completed this year.

Within a couple mile stretch on US 41 near the airport is a series of higher education schools, at least one is nationally recognized for their programs in the arts. The Florida State University in Sarasota has long established itself on the Ringling Museum grounds with its FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training curriculum. Another college in that strip is making an emergence as one of the best schools for training professional artists, and is solidifying its progress with state-of-the-art classrooms. Within the year the Ringling College of Art & Design will complete its series of additional classrooms and production studios.

The Alfred R. Goldstein Library opened in January with a ribbon-cutting ceremony that marked a historic date in the school’s timeline of events. The unusual design of this 46,000 square foot facility allows students to interact with each other for lively discussions. As any library should, there are many spaces in the building where students can study independently in quiet settings with over 65,000 books and periodicals at their disposal. Students also have access to audio, movies and even digital games.

Ann and Alfred Goldstein Center
Ann and Alfred Goldstein have contributed to the growth of the school with large donations over the years and have three buildings named for them.

The philanthropic Goldsteins have contributed to the school with many donations over the years. Ann and Alfred Goldstein donated over $1 million in 2005 for the express purpose of creating a curriculum that included business art classes of accounting, management and marketing. The Ann and Alfred Goldstein Center was named in their honor. The retired Realtor from New York contributed to schools in that state and Sarasota programs including one at Mote Marine and Laboratory. The library was the third building on campus named for the couple, as was the Ann & Alfred Goldstein Hall with rental apartments available to students. The 93-year-old Alfred attended the opening ceremony of the library.

A stunning building of sleek design is the Richard & Barbara Basch Visual Arts Center, nearing completion on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Way. Set to open this spring, visitors will be able to view students working on projects in printmaking, photography, woodworking, sculpture and digital fabrication. The Visual Arts Center will be home to one of the campus galleries that display the work of students as professional artists.

Sound Stage & Post Production Facility
Sound Stage & Post Production Facility - The 30,000 square foot studio is expected to open this summer.

Set to open this summer is an amazing complex that is to be one of the most advanced production facilities, where students will collaborate with professional film makers and musicians. This is a cooperative adventure between the school and a private company, Semkhor Network, Inc. and its development and production division, Semkhor Productions. In the agreement, the college will lease the land to Semkhor which will build the studio with a combination of its own money and a county economic development grant.

The Sound Stage & Post Production Facility in construction is next to the wonderful setting of Martin Luther King Park on Cocoanut Boulevard. The complex will be an array of stages, post production work areas, dubbing bays, editing suites, a private screening room and sound stage for sound effects, or Foley stage. A Foley stage is used to dub in everyday sounds in the film production process. There will be eight sound stages in 25,000 square feet of the total 30,000 square-foot space, one of which is leased to Ringling College for a 20-year period, then turned over to the college for ownership.

The Ringling College of Art and Design was started in 1931 as a remote branch of Southern College in Orlando. The institution qualified to issue degrees with its accreditation in 1979 by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and in 1984 received accreditation by the National Association of Schools of Art. It has grown as a private institution with an enrollment of 1,300 from over 40 states and countries. Before graduation each student has the opportunity to work on at least one professional project. There is more about the Ringling School of Art & Design and other area colleges in this September 2016 REALTALKplus™ article.

Ringling College President, Larry R. Thompson, is hoping these new facilities will continue to set higher standards for film and art education in order to stay ahead of some of the finest schools in the United States such as Florida State University and New York University. They’ve already set the standard high to help Sarasota remain as one of the top cultural arts cities in the nation.

Call us at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing

 

The current process for home loans

by Roger Pettingell

Allow extra time for mortgage process

Home buyer considerations before the purchase offer is made

REALTALK™ #121 on mortgage challenges
Mortgage challenges - I compare cash with home loan offers last week in REALTALK™ #121.

I explain in my REALTALK™ #121 video last week why cash is preferable in making an offer on a house. There are a few reasons why that is true and I explain in summary why obtaining a home loan today is more challenging compared to the days where no-doc mortgages were prevalent in the years leading up to the housing bust in 2008. Since then legislation reformed the loan industry when it was enacted as the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010.

The consumer credit process for home loans needed a change to avoid another housing disaster like the one that was created where 8 million homes were foreclosed upon. Under this new legislation predatory practices were reduced. Banks have less options for preparing loans that put an undue stress on the home buyer. These loans were advertised in ways that seemed very attractive but eventually would be the cause of many foreclosures.

Two fundamental principles were altered that would challenge even those with good credit to obtain home loans. The first was an increase in the credit rating an applicant is now required to have in order to receive loan approval. Whether a financial institution uses the FICO score or another form of credit rating, the applicant’s perceived ability to repay the loan is a much bigger part of the process. The second is the documentation required for a loan today, as I outline in the steps below.

The first step is a prequalification, used as an initial indicator, and then the pre-approval process. Although the prequalification is a basic step to get an idea as to how much a lender is willing to loan you, it requires little documentation. It may mean nothing to the buyer if you submit a prequalification letter to the seller’s agent with an offer, so many people don’t bother with prequalification. The pre-approval process will have some meaning since you have gone through the beginning of the home loan process and are approved for the home loan amount. Possibly you have even locked in an interest rate with the bank. Since your ability to repay has been tested, you have a reasonable expectation to continue income, and your debt levels are low, the next stage of the process becomes easier.

Since pre-approval is typically before the offer is made, the next stage begins when the offer is accepted by the seller. The full application is made at that point. The documents needed for pre-approval will need to be updated, especially if they are older than 90 days.

The application is submitted to the processing department of the financial institution. If everyone has done their diligence this may be a smooth process. If steps are missed in the application, the processing department may require additional documents to proceed with the loan. If both Realtors have properly advised their seller and buyer of the property fair market value, an appraisal is only a necessary formality. A bank is not interested in providing a loan that is far higher than the property value. In that way the bank protects its investment and in a foreclosure can recover its money through the sale of the home. There may be other documentation required such as HOA rules and regulations.

Once a satisfactory commitment is achieved by processing, underwriting will look for any potential fraud and review the submitted documentation. They will also review the fair market value of the property from the appraisal before the loan is cleared to close and a closing date is set or confirmed.

Underwriting must also review the loan so that it complies with Federal rules. In order to be insured by the Federal Housing Administration the bank must demonstrate that loan meets minimum guidelines for down payment and the credit of the borrower is in good standing.

In 2016 the FHA refined its rules to make the process more transparent to the borrower. Banks are now required to disclose all costs associated with the loan within three days of the application. This extends the review and rescission period for the consumer. A governmental online resource site was created that simplifies the loan payment schedule and has a tool to compare rates from different institutions in your area. Within three days of closing the lending institution is required to confirm its original costs and terms so the consumer is not faced with this review at the closing, where the pressure to sign is increased.

New rules also place new calculations and procedures on how some debt affects the loan. Student loans and 30-day revolving credit accounts are verified for payments on time. The money received for a down payment is reviewed for its source and more documentation may be required.

With interest rates still hovering around four percent, depending upon the type of adjustable or fixed mortgage and the length of the term, loans are still attractive to those who can make higher percentages on their investment money. This may change however. Fed Chair Janet Yellen has hinted that the central bank may have three separate interest rate hikes this year.

The length of time for the loan application process to go through its steps has increased. Consider this at the time the purchase contract is signed. Don’t commit to a short closing process unless you are confident that the bank is prepared to complete their process on time. It may be frustrating to renegotiate a contract to extend the closing date. I discuss more about that in REALTALK™ #121. Good luck.

Last week I listed an elegant estate behind the secure gates of The Oaks Country Club in Osprey. The home is a delight for features and décor. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing or if you have a property to sell or buy.

Address List Price Media Slideshow
468 Walls Way, Osprey $1,995,000 Video Photo Slideshow

 

Call us at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing

 

Referendums next week to affect density

by Roger Pettingell

Zoning and Commissioner positions

Voters on Longboat Key to decide zoning changes that will affect density

Colony Beach and Tennis Resort
Former Colony Beach and Tennis Resort - The property sits idle awaiting voter outcome next week.

Longboat Key residents will be voting on two referendums and positions on council when they go to the polls on March 14. Why they are voting on referendums for density increases has been years in the making, and similar ballots have been placed before voters in the past.

As recently as August 2016, Longboat Key voters rejected plans for a north end hotel complex of 105 units on 2.6 acres of land that would have increased the density through a zoning change. The new units would have come from a pool of 250 hotel rooms that residents accepted by a referendum vote in 2008.

There have been other referendums for zoning changes. In May of 2015, voting mostly through absentee ballots, residents approved Longboat Key Club’s plans to convert 300 residences to hotel rooms.

Now there are two new referendums for density increases to be voted upon next Tuesday. Maybe a simplification, but property owners on Longboat Key are concerned about island traffic increases while developers believe new construction will enhance the quality of life for all on Longboat Key and preserve its character.

Referendum 1 is the milder of the two in this contentious debate and involves the Mote Marine property at 5630 Gulf of Mexico Drive. Mote is in the process of selling the property to a private home builder that wants to have a zoning change that would allow 10 residential homes on the 1.5 acres of land.

Concerns over building heights and increased traffic, residents are speaking out against Referendum 2. Voters will be asked to approve a change that would allow up to 417 mixed use units of hotel rooms and residences at the former Colony Beach and Tennis Resort. Unicorp National Developments is the current majority owner of the nearly 17.3 acre parcel of land. Its president, Chuck Whittall, has been holding a series of town hall style meetings to explain his concept for a resort that he says will be one of the best in the nation. He has even proposed increased mass transit systems funded by Unicorp that will alleviate traffic problems.

When the land at 1620 Gulf of Mexico Drive was purchased in 1968, the original owner conceived a premier tennis facility that would be unique in the United States. By 1997 the resort started an eight-year string as the number one tennis resort in the nation as named by Tennis Magazine. Mired in bankruptcies and lawsuits since the mid-2000s, the resort has been vacant since 2009.

Although the wording of Referendum 2 does not change, the developer has changed his proposal. Within the last weeks he proposed the maximum height of the buildings changed from 12 to nine stories and the number of residences from 180 to 108. These changes may be the result he received as feedback from the town hall meetings. If the referendum passes he will submit his plans to the Town Commission for approval.

Whittall also noted that he does not plan to sell the property if the referendum fails. If voters reject Referendum 2, others may step in with their proposals to purchase the land or work with Unicorp. One organization, Colony by the MW Group, has been buying advertising space that claims will transform the colony into a viable resort again without the need for voter approval. They are urging voters to vote no so they can move forward with their proposal to build a resort-style hotel that falls within current zoning regulations.

Registered voters will also elect one District 4 at-large position, vote for Jim Brown or Gene Jaleski, and one Town Commission position, vote for Jack Daly or Larry Grossman.

Absentee balloting ends soon for the 6,344 registered voters on Longboat Key. Next Tuesday residents of Sarasota County will vote in the Town Hall building at 501 Bay Isles Road, while Manatee County residents will place their ballots at the Longboat Island Chapel, 6200 Gulf of Mexico Drive. Polls will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Early voting will be available 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the town hall building, daily through Saturday. Sarasota vote by mail can be found here, while Manatee County forms and information are available here. The last day to register for voting was February 13.

Updated March 15 with election results

Both referendums on Longboat Key to increase density on the island were defeated by voters in the March 14, 2017 general election. Referendum 2 for a zoning change at the former Colony Beach and Tennis Resort went down with nearly a 7:1 ratio of votes. In other results on the island, Town Commissioner Jack Daly retained his seat to represent District 4 and former Mayor Jim Brown won in the district at-large race.

Eight residents vied for two city commissioner positions in Sarasota. Since no one candidate received over 50 percent of the vote, there will be a run-off election May 9, 2017 with the top three advancing: Jen Ahearn-Koch, Hagen Brody and Martin Hyde. The top two will take office May 12.

Check out my newest listing with direct views of Sarasota Bay, Harbourside golf course and downtown Sarasota from this charming Aruba residence at 3080 Grand Bay Boulevard #536 on Longboat Key. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing or if you have a property to sell or buy.

Address List Price Media Slideshow
3080 Grand Bay Blvd, #536 $679,000   Photo Slideshow

 

Call us at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing

 

South Florida Museum is expanding

by Roger Pettingell

Connect. Creating Pathways for discovery

Museum is poised to be a regional leader with its ambitious expansion

Snooty, a Manatee County icon
Snooty, a local icon - The Manatee County mascot.

Snooty looks to get a new home. The 69-year-old male manatee isn’t moving out of Bradenton where he has lived most of his life, the aquarium is getting an upgrade. And so is the rest of the South Florida Museum that will include an expansion to most of the facilities. Once completed, the museum will continue to build its reputation as a regional leader of science exploration and education.

The original Parker Manatee Aquarium was built for Snooty, a transplant from Miami where he was the first recorded manatee birth in captivity. And since the 1949 Desoto Celebration in Bradenton, the massive 1,230 pound mammal has lived in the aquarium and celebrates his birthday every year. And each day he sets another record as the world’s oldest manatee, documented in the Guinness Book of World Records. There is no telling how old Snooty will live as he is just as spry and entertaining as he has been over the many years.

He lived alone for many years with handlers preparing his daily diet of up to 80 pounds of vegetables and apples. That all changed in 1998 when the aquarium took on its first guest through the Manatee Rehabilitation Network. Snooty would not be able to survive in the wild, but his visitors of fellow manatees come and go to be released back into the wild. There has been a long need for a larger aquarium to accommodate the additional manatees so the ambitious program Connect. Creating Pathways was launched to address Snooty’s habitat and many other aspects of the museum.

Capital fund-raising campaign for the South Florida Museum
The Mosaic Backyard Universe will help young children develop a sense of their natural surroundings through interactive displays. The Connect. campaign, is creating pathways for the museum expansion through donor support.

In the first phase of construction, The Mosaic Backyard Universe will be a 5,000 square foot interactive playground where preschoolers can learn about simple science through natural surroundings. The children will be encouraged to explore the wonders of nature in a familiar environment that will resemble a backyard playground. The expansion will be a part of the museum transformation so entire families can experience a fluid flow of exhibits through the museum to explore the heavens, earth and seas.

The backyard universe will connect with the Bishop Planetarium, a domed building with a high definition display of the universe that can be used to explore the skies of any day as far back as 20,000 years. The planetarium hosts an annual presentation in December to explore the skies that may have been used to guide shepherds to witness young Jesus. The Star of Bethlehem presentation is very popular and typically sells out their shows.

The Bishop Planetarium is also host to other programs such as their think+ drink monthly events that engages local scientists with those curious about the world around them. Had you attended the January monthly presentation of Stelliferous Live you likely would have seen a presentation on the February 11 lunar eclipse. There are still tickets available for the March 22 show that starts at 7 p.m. but get them early because there might be a lively discussion about NASA’s discovery of seven earth-like planets orbiting a star nearly 40 light years away. Planetarium Director Jeff Rodgers will be able to speed up space travel and take you to the solar system recently discovered by scientists. Other planetarium events for adults and families are listed on their website.

The new commons area will upgrade the overall experience by accommodating larger groups to explore the planetarium, natural history offered by the museum and world of aquatic life including Snooty. A relaxing café will be added and plans call for a new gift shop. The museum has a permanent collection of 60,000 objects of local and national significance to be integrated into a new pattern for natural discovery. At times the museum will host special exhibits such as the current Walk in the Park series of photos that runs through May 28. Retired Bradenton Herald award winning photographer Grant Jefferies has displayed a few of his amazing photographs that captures the beauty of the Manatee County preserves.

CEO Brynne Anne Besio
CEO Brynne Anne Besio - The Chief Executive Officer of the South Florida Museum explains the Connect. campaign to a recent gathering of supporters in the Bishop Planetarium.

Museum CEO, Brynne Anne Besio, is optimistic about the future of the South Florida Museum. The plans require money and she is hoping to raise necessary funds through memberships, donations and the Connect. campaign. Contact their membership department to join at one of the levels that most suits your needs. As a member you can take advantage of their reciprocal program with free or discounted admission to other museums that are in the program.

The museum is open Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays. They are closed on Mondays, some holidays and special event days. It is open for your discovery of nature, our culture, the earth and the skies above us.

Last week I placed two new properties on the market, including a residence at the Ritz-Carlton above the hotel in downtown Sarasota. There designer Anne Folsom-Smith created an interior masterpiece by combining two floor plans into a total of over 5,300 square feet on the 15th floor. The second is a remarkable value on the Gulf of Mexico shoreline in the south building of the Water Club on Longboat Key. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing or if you have a property to sell or buy.

Address List Price Media Slideshow
1111 Ritz Carlton Dr, #1501 $3,795,000 Video Photo Slideshow
1241 Gulf of Mexico Dr, #111 $499,000   Photo Slideshow

 

Call us at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing

 

Buttonwood Harbour: Community Spotlight

by Roger Pettingell

Wonderful ecosystem on Longboat Key

A secluded enclave near the beach and center of many island activities

Buttonwood Harbour, REALTALK™ #116
Different kind of snowbird - I discussed a highlight of nature in my report of Buttonwood Harbour during my recent REALTALK™ #116 video.

Lush foliage, a relaxed atmosphere but close to everything you may need or want, Buttonwood Harbour is a calling for those who desire to live in their own little enclave of paradise. Buttonwood Harbour is midway up the 11-mile Gulf of Mexico Drive stretch that runs the length of Longboat Key. This is the center of activity for Longboat Key, with a shopping center nearby anchored by Publix and the proposed Longboat Key Cultural and Arts Center next door.

The 50 homes that make up Buttonwood Harbour are second and third generation populated, mostly single story homes that have been upgraded since their original construction in the 1960s. These are homes in an ecosystem of wildlife and I reported nesting Bald Eagles in REALTALK™ #116. Here you have single family homes with garages and private access to the Gulf of Mexico beaches.

In particular I was describing a three-bedroom home I announced for sale at 604 Buttonwood Drive. This lovely home offered furnished is decorated with comfortable décor and the space has been tastefully upgraded with newly-installed designer tile throughout. The kitchen and bathrooms boast neutral granite countertops and new sinks with designer faucets.

604 Buttonwood Drive home for sale in Buttonwood Harbour
Offered furnished, this recently upgraded home for sale in Buttonwood Harbour is ready to enjoy.

The Cedars Tennis Resort is a short drive up Gulf of Mexico Drive. This private membership club offers 10 Har-Tru tennis courts, private professional instruction and daily clinics to perfect your tennis strategies. After a rigorous workout relax with a yoga session or casual swim in the pool. There is a fitness center open 24 hours and bicycles for member use. You can further relax and catch some light food at the café and tiki bar on-site.

There are plenty of good opportunities for boaters. The Buttonwood Harbour Association offers boat owners dockage for only $500 a year and have a free boat ramp for all owners to use. The waterways begin in Cranes Bayou that pours into a unique set of navigable channels in Buttonwood Harbour.

The markers in the channels are maintained by a private, non-profit group, Buttonwood Harbor Channel System, Inc. They report the markers to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for use in their navigation charts, the charts used by seagoing navigators. Coast Guard and NOAA recognize these markers for their accuracy. The channels are deep and reported with a six-foot minimum at mean low tide. Fishing, sailing or relaxing in the shallow waters of the Jewfish Key sandy shoal are just some of the activities for boaters. Others may prefer to moor at a fine bayside restaurant or cruise the waters to spy dolphins or manatees.

Marina and Moorings of the Longboat Key Club
Longboat Key Club Moorings and Harbourside Golf Course are close to Buttonwood Harbour.

For those owners of a super-yacht, the Moorings of the Longboat Key Club are a short drive away. This is the luxury marina with restaurant, spa, concierge service and 24/7 security. Your yacht of 200 feet can be well maintained there by your crew or the professional mechanics on staff.

Surrounding the marina are the three challenging courses of the Longboat Key Club Harbourside Golf Course. The White Egret, Red Hawk and Blue Heron nine holes each make up the system of 27 holes at Harbourside. They have many of the amenities that are also present in the Cedars Tennis Resort. So if you have a strong tendency for golf, you may consider joining the Longboat Key Club or both.

The community of Buttonwood Cove is just north of Cranes Bayou. The 57 residences here were constructed in 1980. Owners have access to community and private boat docks, or a fishing pier. There is a resort style pool, hot tub and tennis courts at 3500-3600 Gulf of Mexico Dr.

Last week I put on the market a wonderful, stylishly furnished upgraded residence at Beachplace with a newer kitchen. This two-bedroom property on the fifth floor of building seven at Beachplace is ready for you to enjoy. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing or if you have a property to sell or buy.

Address List Price Media Slideshow
604 Buttonwood Dr $599,000   Photo Slideshow

 

Call us at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing

 

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Roger Pettingell?

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  • Number 1 single Coldwell Banker agent in all of Florida for 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016
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About Roger Pettingell

Roger Pettingell of Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate is your Longboat Key, Florida Luxury Real Estate Specialist. Roger provides his real estate expertise to sellers, investors, developers, and buyers in the Sarasota area including Anna Maria, Bird Key, Bradenton Beach, Casey Key, Cortez, Grand Bay, Holmes Beach, Longboat Key, Marina Bay, Osprey and Siesta Key. Search for homes, luxury homes, condominiums, investment property, development property, and vacant land and lots on the Longboat Key, Florida and the surrounding area.