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Record Setting Year in 2014

by Roger Pettingell

Area Number of Sales Hits High Mark

My Closed Sales are Highest for Third Consecutive Year

2735 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key, Florida 34228
Strong year for home sales - Homes like this one I sold last year for $5.75 million added to the record.

The final figures are in for the record setting year of 2014. I was able to set a personal record of 59 sales totaling over $66.6 million. I was not alone setting records, it was a banner year for Manatee and Sarasota counties. Sarasota County had more closings than any other year with 11,550, which was 68 more than in 2004 when the previous high mark was hit. Although Manatee County didn’t break a record, 7,976 closings were recorded for the year. The record was set in 2013 with 8,003 closings. The combined totals for the two counties accounted for nearly eight percent of all closed sales in the state.

My closed sales put me at the top of residential property sales in these two counties for the third consecutive year, and fifth time in seven years. I was second in 2009 and 2011.

So, what is going on? Certainly, the economy and consumer confidence is good for the housing market. Maybe more important, baby boomers that are retiring are looking at this area for their dream home. I don’t see that changing this year. More demand might put a strain on existing inventory, so now would be a good time to sell. As I mentioned late last year, beachfront property is prime real estate for retirees.

With higher demand prices of homes should increase slightly, and I am hoping for a three to five percent increase. This would be far different than the annual increases that were present leading up to the year 2008 when home values were increasing in double-digit percentages. The expected increase in home prices is healthy for the seller, but not high enough to discourage buyers. This is healthy when neither side feels slighted.

A five percent increase also isn’t alarming to home buyers who might feel as though we are heading into a price bubble that might burst any time soon. We still have not fully recovered from home prices in the area when the median price in 2005 was $322,700. At the end of 2014 the local median price was $210,000.

Low 30-year mortgage rates of 3.86 percent are also fueling the high number of sales. This may be noteworthy for homes of younger buyers who are able to spread their payments over that period. In the last six months, 66 percent of my buyers have paid in cash.

Those looking for investment properties, this year might be a good time to purchase. According to the on-line real estate clearinghouse Zillow, rental costs are expected to increase this year. I have a couple residences for sale that qualify as rental properties. Canadian-born visitors like rentals as their travel visas into the United States allow for a six-month visit.

Here are newspaper links announcing the final sales figures for 2014 in Sarasota and Manatee counties.

Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 if you have a property to sell or buy. Our new listings last week include an updated home in Queens Harbour with pool and boat and a beachfront condominium at Beachplace.

3590 Fair Oaks Lane $1,795,000   Photo Slideshow
1055 Gulf of Mexico Drive, #106 $1,249,000   Photo Slideshow

 

Winter Festivals are Upon Us

by Roger Pettingell

Winter Season Signals Many Events

Week Long Celebrations Start in October, Finish in May

Ringling Bridge Run
Ringling Bridge Run - Now in its 12th year, the 4-mile race had 2,600 participants this past weekend.

Starting in October every year Sarasota lights up with more festivals and cultural gatherings each week to entertain the returning guests who escape the cold of the north. The winter season starts then and runs through mid-April to signal the start of the summer season. Sand art festivals, opera, ballet, orchestra, holiday festivals, St. Armand's Circle events and the Van Wezel Performing Arts Center ramp up their schedules during this period. There are a few celebrations that are longer annual events and attract their own set of followers who return each year.

The first is the Ringling International Arts Festival that begins in mid-October. The four-day event of live entertaining including dance, stage performances signals the start of the cultural season here in Sarasota. Four venues within walking distance of each other on the campus of the Ringling Museum of Art will feature artists and performers from around the globe. This is truly an international arts festival and well respected with high quality entertainment.

The Sarasota Chalk Festival in Burns Square completed its seventh year, typically held in late October. The 2014 festival was moved to Venice and completed the Largest Anamorphic Pavement Art in the World at the Venice Airport Festival Fairgrounds. It has grown from 22 local artists and 5,000 attendees in 2007 to internationally known artists and thousands of attendees. The successful theme for 2014 was ‘Extinct and Endangered Species.’ Expect the theme for 2015 to be announced in February.

Now in its 17th year, the Sarasota Film Festival is a 10 day event that runs the second week of April to highlight independent, new and veteran filmmakers to Sarasota. Over 180 films, documentaries and shorts are highlighted in Hollywood 20 cinema on Main Street.

When the snowbirds leave, students of the musical arts get involved in an intense three-week experience during the Sarasota Music Festival. The festival was started in 1965 and now focuses on the teaching of students who receive tuition for the performance of chamber music. Beginning May 31, this festival is sponsored by the Sarasota Orchestra. The Florida State Legislature designated the festival as the "Official Teaching and Performing Festival of the State of Florida" in 1984. Hundreds of applications are received from around the country, and 40 are selected to participate in the training.

Other shorter festivals in Sarasota are growing in depth and participation. Weekend and day events are listed on our upcoming events calendar.

Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 if you have a property to sell or buy. We are building a good inventory of luxury waterfront homes and condominiums to choose, including these residences added last week.

3040 Grand Bay Blvd, PH2101 $2,995,000   Photo Slideshow
2550 Harbourside Dr, #321 $1,125,000 Video Photo Slideshow
3040 Grand Bay Blvd, #265 $949,000   Photo Slideshow

 

Photography to sell properties

by Roger Pettingell

Visual Products Introduce Homes to Buyers

Photos and Videos Distributed Widely on the Internet

Sarabande penthouse time-lapse photography
Sunset Time-lapse Photography - Sarasota looks so good in this time-lapse photography sequence from the penthouse for sale at Sarabande.

People are very visual today. They like photos and video to make decisions in their lives. So, in selling real estate, the more high quality photos we can get and the best video carries a great amount of weight when buyers are evaluating homes to view for a showing. Photos and video also cross all language barriers.

Our Multiple Listing Service (MLS) requires a minimum of one photo, but we try to include the maximum number of 25 in each property for sale. The photos attract potential buyers and pulls them into the details of the home or condominium. The photos and video have other valuable uses. Our restrictions on numbers are more liberal for the listings on our website.

On our single property sites that we set up for each listing we provide more photos. This is helpful on large homes with multiple bedrooms and unique features. We are able to show a tour of the home as you enter and each room as you would walk through the residence. With more photos we can show the pool and existing boat docks. We can also get into the community with pool, beach, golf, tennis or marina access.

Aerial photos of 530 Harbor Gate Way, Longboat Key, FL 34228
Aerial photos give a different buying perspective.

Coldwell Banker provides selling opportunities through their network of sites. Our higher resolution photos are uploaded to FloridaMoves.com for more distribution of our seller’s homes. FloridaMoves.com receives over 100,000 visits and averages 1.5 million page views per month. We try to get photos of our properties into the homes of many potential buyers. Coldwell Banker Previews International for luxury homes has direct distribution to sites such as LuxuryRealEstate.com, UniqueHomes.com and RobbReportCollection.com.

Our high definition videos are posted on our YouTube.com channel. We extend the distribution by also including them on the FloridaMoves.com site. Coldwell Banker has a great YouTube channel with a map locator called CB on Location. Our property videos appear there. Some of our REALTALK™ and community videos also appear on CB on Location. Coldwell Banker translates our properties into 19 different languages through a service offered by Proxio.

Helicopter tour of Sarasota
Sarasota Helicopter Tour - This Sarasota helicopter video takes visitors on a tour from Casey Key, through Sarasota, then to the northern tip of Longboat Key and has nearly 1,000 views on YouTube.

We have found that potential buyers like unique angles to get a different sense of the home. Our helicopter photos and videos of properties are well received as buyers can see the layout of the lot and the neighborhood. This helicopter video tour of Sarasota has nearly 1,000 views on YouTube. The FAA will be issuing guidelines for the use of drones and we have found them useful to get in closer to the homes, where a helicopter would be restricted. We know we drones can’t operate near airports and above 400 feet, restrictions that are outside our normal operating range anyway. When we get photos and videos in front of a wide range of buyers we find we have more success. It is the extra work that we feel is important.

Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 if you have a property to sell. Buyers can be aggressive if they can find the right fit for them. Here are four additions to my inventory this past week, from a penthouse suite in Sarasota to a great home in Sleepy Lagoon on Longboat Key.

340 South Palm Ave, #912, Sarasota $2,495,000 Video Photo Slideshow
2165 Gulf of Mexico Dr, #144 $2,195,000 Video Photo Slideshow
1115 Gulf of Mexico Dr, #505 $785,000   Photo Slideshow
690 Penfield St, Longboat Key $679,000   Photo Slideshow

 

Home Inspections Aid the Buyer

by Roger Pettingell

Knowing the Home You Are Buying

Basics of Home Inspections, The Process and Results

Home inspection reveals hidden defects
Hidden Damage - Once the curtain was pulled away from this home window, a leak that led to the roof was discovered by the home inspector.

A couple weeks ago I recorded a REALTALK™ video on buying homes with an “As is” contract. In the video I talked about the right of a home inspection for these home purchase contracts. Not just a formality, home inspections can become a critical part of the home buying and selling process. They should be performed by a certified home inspector for all real estate contracts.

Inspections are not meant as a pass or fail for the purchase but rather as a means to point out home problems that weren’t seen by the average home buyer. It is an inspection from the roof to the foundation. In “As is” contracts the buyer can use the home inspection as background to reject a purchase contract. There usually is a deadline date specified in the contract, one good reason to arrange for an inspection immediately after signing the contract. A purchase rejection can happen when significant problems are discovered by the inspector.

In other contracts, the buyers and sellers can negotiate which items on the list of problems should be fixed before proceeding with the sale. Often this is a casual process because the seller may not have been aware of the defect when the home was put on the market. Be aware, a specified dollar repair cap can be part of the contract.

A seller can hire an inspector before putting the home on the market to discover any potential issues. The seller can either elect to repair it then or put it on the disclosure list for later discussion. When a home goes into contract it is the buyer’s responsibility to hire and pay for an inspector. Our office has a list of reliable inspectors in the Longboat Key and Sarasota areas that we often recommend to buyers I represent.

Common Condominium Problem
Not all damage is the responsibility of the property owner. The damage could be the result of neglect on the exterior of a condominium. In these cases the association is consulted for repairs.

The inspection process can take as little as a half hour for a smaller home to several hours for multi-level homes. We always recommend that the seller not be present, although we usually have someone in our office there to respond to any questions the inspector may have. These are unemotional responses that don’t slow down the process. The buyer should always be present, or be represented by the agent of the buyer. Often, the agent will accompany the buyer to the home and meet with the inspector there. The summary at the end of the inspection is very important as the buyer can see first-hand what will be included in the report, usually presented by an email to the buyer within a day or two.

Once an inspector arrives they should explain the process and include a statement of what they do not inspect. Their inspection will cover the physical aspects of the house including the HVAC system, condition of the roof, plumbing, electrical, and structural condition. They will also ask which appliances are part of the sale and will inspect them for proper operation. They will note the dates of the mechanicals such as the water heater. Some condominium associations require replacement of water heaters, typically after 10 years. Installation dates on other mechanicals, such as the HVAC system are also noted so the buyer has a clearer understanding of what they are purchasing. If there is a pool they will inspect for visible signs of leaks, that water circulates properly and the heater works in heated pools. Other amenities such as the condition of a boat dock also will be reported by the inspector.

They are not a building contractor, when there is a major problem they may ask that a qualified contractor review the suspected damage for their opinion. A contractor should be consulted if any of the problems are major enough to prolong a closing date or require an unusual expenditure amount. The contractor can give his estimate of repairs.

Termites revealed
Nasty Pests - Visible signs of termites are revealed, but a true picture by a termite inspection.

Here in Florida it is not unusual for a termite inspection to be performed by a pest control company who may also accompany the inspector. This likely isn’t necessary for a fifth-floor condominium but should be considered for a home in the wetlands, or has a history of termites. For an inspection there is a better level of expertise from pest companies when dealing with termites.

A mold inspection may also be performed by the inspector if he or she is certified, or by another company that specializes in these inspections. Certain manufacturers of drywall from China possess a potential environmental hazard in the home if the building was constructed in the years from 2001 to 2007. Home inspectors are qualified to look for signs of these defective products and will recommend remediation or review by another contractor. They are looking for unusual mold patterns or signs of piping corrosion. The gases in these inferior grades of drywall can be harmful if inhaled over time, discolor copper piping and even wreak havoc with electrical wires.

In other parts of the country other inspections may be necessary such as a radon inspection in areas where large amounts of granite is in the bedrock. The EPA states that radon is present in all states though. In some locations such as Dallas, Washington, DC and Baltimore, new laws require that new home construction be certified to Green building standards. California became the first state to enact a state-wide Green standard.

Call our office at (941) 387-1840 if we can assist you through the buying process, contracts and the hiring of inspectors. We inform our sellers of these issues so they are informed of this natural part of home sales.

I am also pleased to announce my final real estate figures for 2014. I closed over $67.5 million of residential properties for the year, a 10 percent increase over my second most successful year, which occurred in 2013. This makes me the #1 REALTOR® in Sarasota and Manatee counties for the third year in a row, as well as 2010 and 2008!

Catch my comments on Longboat, Lido and Siesta keys in the Sarasota Magazine article by Ilene Denton. RealtyTrac released their findings on home prices and cited Sarasota among the top three Florida cities leading in home price increases.

But that was last year. I have over $2 million of properties pending from 2014 and have my first big sale this past weekend for 2015. This year I look forward to working with you to buy or sell property here in Sarasota and Longboat Key. I wish you and your family the best that this year has to offer.

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Why Choose
Roger Pettingell?

Experience

  • Over 33 years as a top producing REALTOR® on Longboat Key and in Sarasota.

Achievements

  • Number 1 single Coldwell Banker agent in all of Florida for 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017
  • Number 1 Realtor on Longboat Key and Bird Key for 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018
  • Number 1 Realtor for all Sarasota in 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018
  • Coldwell Banker Society of Excellence award in 2013, 2014 and 2016
  • Ranked among the top 250 agents in the country for 2014, 2016 and 2017 by REAL Trends as reported in the Wall Street Journal.

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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.