Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 51

Florida As-is and Repair Limit Contracts

by Roger Pettingell

Comparing two popular contract types

Alternatives to standard Florida home purchase and sale contracts

As-is contracts in REALTALK™ #30
REALTALK™ #30 - As-is contracts

You find a home that you want to make an offer on but notice that the seller will only accept As-Is contracts. Is it a good thing or a bad thing? Or, the seller has a concept of using a repair limit. I discussed the As-is contract in my REALTALK™ #30 video and repair limit contracts last week in my REALTALK™ #181 video. These are contract tools that have advantages for the seller and the buyer.

The scenario in the as-is contract is that the seller feels the home shouldn’t require any repairs. If the seller is aware there may be required repairs that is noted on the disclosure form they may have made allowance for the repairs in the listing price. In the Longboat Key and Sarasota markets homes for sale may be a second home for a couple with their primary residence in the Midwest. In this situation they may want to sell the home as-is because they don’t want to deal with the repairs.

Lending institutions that are offering short sale or foreclosed homes for sale will often have the requirement that all offers have an As-is clause in the contract. They are not in the business of making home repairs. In any case the As-is requirement is usually noted in the realtor comments section of the listing.

Should the buyer hesitate to purchase a home As-is? To the contrary, they should accept it knowing they can decide later not to purchase the home if they find repairs they are not willing to fix themselves. A buyer will often schedule a home inspection soon after the contract is signed. This period of 10 to 15 days for the home inspection will determine if the repairs will be too costly. This can happen if the roof needs replacing, for instance.

The buyer may love the home they want to purchase. They may want to renegotiate the contract for a lower price that will cover the costs of a new home. This is where you have to check your emotions at the door. If the seller senses you are buying the home no matter what, they can hold strong on their initial contract price. If the home is a tear-down roof repairs are inconsequential. I have had home inspections in these situations for any number of reasons, maybe the buyer wants to have a good working knowledge of the utilities on the property. Some say an As-is contract offers more benefits to the buyer in that it is an easy contract to get out of before the inspection period ends.

The Midwest couple that hasn’t seen their southern home in months may want to exercise their right to place a repair limit in the contract. This is a protection from unforeseen repairs. The seller is basically stating that they are willing to make repairs up to the limit established in the contract.

Repair limit contracts
Repair limit contracts in REALTALK™ #181.

Repair limits are typically set up to one-and-a-half percent of the purchase price. The repair limit on a $500,000 home purchase contract will be set between zero and $7,500. The seller is obligated to repair a water heater that costs $500 since it is below the repair limit. However, there is no obligation for a roof replacement that is estimated to cost $30,000. This is where the fun begins.

The buyers are aware of the poor roof condition and know that it has to be repaired, if not replaced. If the roof had been leaking for a period of time there may also be a mold issue too. If the seller is unwilling to replace the roof, the buyer can walk away. The seller is going to have to fix the roof if he wants to continue listing the home, knowing the roof condition. It will certainly come up on the next inspection report, and the next one after that. The seller can issue a credit to the buyer at closing to cover the costs of a new roof. If I am representing the buyer I would also recommend a mold inspection.

We offer a pre-inspection when we list a home for sale. A certified inspector will come into the home for sale and note any conditions that will require repairs. This is a great time to be made aware of any unsatisfactory conditions. It is a great time to repair these problems before the home goes into contract. In a perfect world you would think all problems would be fixed. If all the repairs are made you may decide on an As-is contract or one with repair limits to protect yourself. Maybe the pool heater breaks in between the time of the first inspection and the inspection by the potential buyer.

We like to have a smooth process in all of our home sale transactions. As I discuss in REALTALK™ #181, I typically do not sell new homes. Older homes have a lot of appliances with limited life spans and at any time these can break down. You are not going to sell a home that does not have a working oven so it is fair to have it fixed for a smooth closing.

2675 Gulf of Mexico Dr, #501
Veinte community - 2675 Gulf of Mexico Dr, #501

Last week I listed a wonderful fifth-floor penthouse in the Veinte community on Longboat Key at 2675 Gulf of Mexico Dr, #501. This three-bedroom, three bath residence is in a great location on the Gulf beach and within walking distance to the Publix Shopping Plaza. St. Armands Circle and Sarasota is a short drive where the night life is fun and the cultural arts scene is world renown. 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
2675 Gulf of Mexico Dr, #501 $1,250,000   Photo Slideshow


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


Comparing online home buying programs

by Roger Pettingell

Comparing the Big Three to local agents

Offerpad, Knock and Opendoor may have their places in real estate sales

1449 Hillview Drive
Home For Sale in Harbor Acres - Are the new services the best choice in selling your home?

Considering selling your home by owner, either through a website or just by hanging a sign near the street? There are many obstacles to consider before you travel down this route, especially if you are serious about the sale of your home or residence. It seems lately there are new websites offering alternatives, claiming to save you thousands of dollars and with a quick sale.

Are these claims real? Let’s examine how websites such as Offerpad, Knock and Opendoor operate. They may be the Big Three of this new technology. We’ll see how others are getting into the game. RP Funding is bundling there services with a agent and offer to pay your closing costs. I’m not knocking their services. But as in other transactions, shop around for the best terms and interest rates. You could find yourself saving a little at closing but end up paying thousands more in interest.

As for the Big Three, let’s start with the fair market value of your home. Although Zillow is not in this market of selling your home, they do have a process of evaluating your home value called their Zestimate. Zillow has received a lot of criticism and even lawsuits for their Zestimate pricing structure. The company based in Seattle may not have a clue what a home on Gulf of Mexico Drive on Longboat Key is worth. They base their estimates on an intelligent algorithm, pulling from comps, tax records and possibly price per square foot.

What they don’t do is walk into your home, look at upgrades made to the home and give value to the little things that current buyers are looking for on Longboat Key. In contrast, the Big Three provide their valuations similar to Zillow, and offer their bid on your home at a value much less than the current market. Offerpad and Opendoor will offer to purchase your home based on their estimate. Knock will place your home on the market for six to eight weeks and offer to purchase it at the end of that listing period. By undervaluing the price of the home all three are assured of a profit.

Maybe you think that your savings in the sale will present itself with the fact that you do not have to pay a commission. The Big Three each charge a commission but may call it something else. Opendoor calls it a service charge of 6.5 percent. Their buyer-centric platform is openly admitted by these companies.

1235 North Lake Shore Drive
Home-buying programs may not be the best choice for the luxury waterfront second-home market.

Consider the cost of repairs. In the process a qualified independent inspector will provide a list of expected repairs. A professional agent working on the seller’s behalf is certainly acquainted with this process and will negotiate which repairs the seller is willing to make or will recommend a credit, if necessary. It is part of the negotiations. The Big Three are very rigid on these costs. If you are in a situation that you can not make the repairs, a mandatory credit is issued at closing.

Other fees with these online companies have terms such as customer experience fees, closing costs, market risk fees and holding fees. Knock does have unique programs to trade-in or trade-up your home, but interest can be as high as 8 percent while living in the home waiting for the sale.

Another concern about the Big Three is that they don’t take all homes offered to them for purchase. Each has restrictions on what they will take based on price, age of the home, clear title provided, occupied or the community has age restrictions. They may not make an offer on a home that has significant damage, they want a quick turnaround.

Also, they do not sell in many areas of the country. Offerpad listed six cities on its website, two of which were in Florida. Through the Tampa link I found four homes for sale in Sarasota and no homes for sale on the barrier islands. Opendoor had 10 cities listed with Minneapolis and Houston coming soon. The Tampa link did not have any homes for sale in Manatee or Sarasota counties. Buyers on Knock go through a free pre-approval process before gaining access to its inventory. These are hit-and-miss strategies for buyers, especially since they may know they have free access to hundreds of homes in these areas through the Multiple Listing Service.

These services may have a future in some markets and for some home sellers. Sellers that need to move on quickly may want to use these services. Inexperienced sellers, owners that want little to do with the process or homeowners in default and facing foreclosure may be good candidates. This doesn’t sound like the seller of a waterfront luxury property in a second-home market. Those sellers want the experience of a professional real estate agent in the market they have their home.

You can use some of those same arguments to justify using a professional versus hanging a sign alongside the road as FSBO. Those sellers lose out on the exposure of the MLS, the negotiating experience to get the best price and the knowledge of the closing process so the sale is seamless. It reduces the stress in selling a home. We have seen it many times, one year with a sign out front before they visit our office.

225 Sands Point Rd. #6105
New listing - 225 Sands Point Rd. #6105

Last week I listed an Inn on the Beach community resort residence on Longboat Key at 225 Sands Point Rd, #6105. It is a unique furnished home behind the gates of the Longboat Key Club. This is an income-producing property, listed in the rental program there. The owner has 30 days of access per year and all the Longboat Key Club privileges while in residence. We discussed the property and announced in REALTALK™ #176 that the proceeds from the sale benefit the Southeastern Guide Dogs program in Palmetto. 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
225 Sands Point Rd, #6105 $329,000 Video Photo Slideshow


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


Home Showcase XVIII - Residence Rentals

by Roger Pettingell

Rentals of Longboat Key residences

Wonderful opportunities for waterfront condominiums under $1 million

Fairway Bay #101
Fairway Bay - 1900 Harbourside Drive, #101

Last week in my REALTALK™ #151 video I discussed the opportunities for using your property on Longboat Key as a rental. I have four properties today that I am highlighting, and all of them have rental possibilities. They are all on the water, increasing their value and remarkably they are all listed under $1 million. Two of these residences for sale are on the Gulf of Mexico shoreline and two are on the Sarasota Bay side, a good mix of north, middle and south ends of Longboat Key. While some communities have one month and three month minimum rental restrictions, the two residences on the Gulf side in the Silver Sands and Sand Cay communities can be rented on a weekly basis, two of the least restrictive associations.

Fairway Bay residents appreciate wonderful amenities, including 24-hour manned guard gate, security, on-site management, clubhouse with library and social room, fitness, tennis, swimming pool and heated spa. Bike to deeded beach access at the private Bay Isles Beach Club. The spacious waterfront townhouse at 1900 Harbourside Dr, #101 offers a 3BR plus office interior with three terraces, peaceful views, its own deep-water dockage on Sarasota Bay and many community amenities. This property includes a two-car garage. Bike to enjoy deeded beach access at the Bay Isles Beach Club offered at $789,000.

Grand Bay is a secluded community with views overlooking Sarasota Bay

3080 Grand Bay Blvd, #515
3080 Grand Bay Blvd, #515, Longboat Key

The second featured listing is at Grand Bay, a socially-active community located behind the gates of Bay Isles. Residents enjoy the privilege of access to first-rate amenities including a wonderful clubhouse, game room, library, fitness center, four Har-Tru tennis courts, heated swimming pools and spa. This secluded neighborhood is centrally located just a short drive from the gorgeous grounds of Longboat Key Club's Harbourside and Islandside facilities, Harbourside Moorings Marina, St. Armands Circle and downtown Sarasota.

This charming Bimini residence in Building V at 3080 Grand Bay Blvd, #515 offers beautiful views of Sarasota Bay and downtown that stretch on forever. The south-facing, light and open two-bedroom layout features oversized tile flooring, a neutral décor ready for you to move right into and floor-to-ceiling walls of glass sliders that open to the impressive, extended wraparound terrace from every room. Deeded access to the private Bay Isles Beach Club and two premium, under-building parking spaces are also included for the asking price of $599,000. What a great value in this wonderful secluded community.

North end community of Silver Sands, great residences to enjoy or rent

5841 Gulf of Mexico Dr, #245
5841 Gulf of Mexico Dr, #245, Longboat Key

Silver Sands is situated on the north end shores of Longboat Key beaches. Residents enjoy delightful amenities including shuffleboard, a small putting green to perfect your stroke, heated swimming pool, Gulf-front hammocks and picnic areas. Residents also have the option to lease on a weekly basis all year long. Resort-style living at this two-bedroom Gulf-front retreat will be hard to ever leave. Ideal as a year-round getaway or rental property, this residence at 5841 Gulf of Mexico Dr, #245 listed at $479,000 is ready for you, equipped with a full-sized kitchen, offered turnkey furnished, with ceramic tile flooring throughout and screen-enclosed lanai that opens to the lush community grounds.

Many amenities offered in the Gulf beachfront community of Sand Cay

4725 Gulf of Mexico Dr, #207
4725 Gulf of Mexico Dr, #207, Longboat Key

Also toward the north end, Sand Cay is a quaint beachfront community offering delightful amenities including shuffleboard, tennis, heated swimming pool and a Gulf-front patio deck equipped with barbeque area. Deep sea fishing, boating, fine dining, full-service spa and golfing opportunities are also offered at the renowned Longboat Key Club, just minutes away. This community boasts excellent rental options with on-site rental program management and the option to lease on a weekly basis, all year long. A light and bright beach getaway, this second-floor, furnished Sand Cay residence at 4725 Gulf of Mexico Dr, #207 is the ideal vacation retreat, simply waiting for you to enjoy or rent.

We are thrilled to have broken our annual real estate sales record, wrapping up 2017 with $104.6 million in individual total sales volume throughout the year. The year-end total sets a record sales volume sold by any individual agent ever over a one-year period in Sarasota. Breaking the $100 million mark is extremely exciting for us, especially because it means an almost 25% increase over last year’s record! Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing of these properties or if you have a property to sell or buy.

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


Home Showcase III – Global Luxury homes

by Roger Pettingell

Local single-family homes featured

Two homes on Siesta Key and two homes in Sarasota highlighted

In the third installment of the Home Showcase we took a look at Coldwell Banker Global Luxury homes on Siesta Key and in Sarasota. The Global Luxury brand has been a successful campaign since it was launched in April. Homes that fit the criteria is based on the area of their location. Among other criteria, in order to meet the standards for Sarasota County the homes must have a listing price above $1.2 million.

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury

MTV premieres its next reality television show tonight at 10 PM based on the lives of young adults living on Siesta Key. Homeowners on Siesta Key enjoy beaches that are 99% quartz. The sand feels cool on the feet as the heat is reflected and not absorbed in the white sands. The beach is popular at sunset for its panoramic views of the sun as it drops into the Gulf of Mexico. The facilities and parking have been upgraded the last couple of years increasing its popularity. As a result the beach has been at the top of everyone’s list for best beaches. Tourism plays a major role in the economy. Boutique shopping, fine dining and an active nightlife appeal to vacationers.

Nearly two acres directly on the beach

636 Beach Road on Siesta Key
New reality show premieres tonight - National attention to Siesta Key may affect home values

The barrier island is primed for a resurgence in popularity and land value brought on by the anticipation of the MTV show. Last week we adjusted the price of a home for sale at 636 Beach Road on Siesta Key, appropriately named The Belle of the Beach. The home has 100 feet of beach frontage, four bedrooms, with 4.5 bathrooms in 4,163 square feet of living space. The home was built to the highest standards by McGuinness Construction and designed by the Tichenor Group. A gourmet kitchen overlooks the living and dining areas which makes an ideal space for entertaining. It is priced at $7 million.

Completely remodeled bayside Siesta Key home

5151 Jungle Plum Rd
Home in Hidden Harbor is a boater's paradise

The boater’s paradise home at 5151 Jungle Plum Road in Hidden Harbor is attractively priced at $2.995 million. Boat dockage consists of 150-feet of water frontage, multiple lifts, shore-power and water. Just a couple minutes to the Siesta Key beach, there is a custom main home and separate guest cottage. Pass through the French doors of the main-floor master suite for access to the pool deck. A spiral staircase leads to three bedrooms upstairs. Entertaining is made easy with the open pool deck, Tiki bar and outdoor dining areas. The guest cottage has two full bedrooms and kitchen. You can expect a manatee to swim by in the summer months or an occasional dolphin in the bay or intracoastal waters.

Sarasota, attractive in many ways

1654 Landings Boulevard
1654 Landings Boulevard, Sarasota

Sarasota has become a cultural arts city over the years with everything from ballet and contemporary dance to opera, pops and symphonies. A few hundred thousand visitors walk through the Ringling Museum of Art’s doors each year and the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall is active almost every night with internationally renowned performers. Sarasota has also been attractive for its wonderful homes built to high standards.

The home I have listed in the Landings in southern Sarasota, a short drive to Siesta Key meets the high standards of the Global Luxury brand. Walking into this home is like entering a palace with its double staircase that greets visitors. Owners of this home at 1654 Landing Boulevard will have confidence knowing that the wonderful views of the foliage in their back yard will not be developed as it sits on non-buildable conservatory land. It is a smart home with most conveniences or home entertainment accessed with the touch of a button. The master suite includes a fireplace, three closets and spa-inspired bathroom. The back yard is a combination of function and luxury. It is complete with a summer kitchen, swimming pool, raised spa and safety padding on each side to protect children. It is listed at $2.195 million.

The heritage of William Henry Whitaker

975 Whitakers Lane
975 Whitakers Lane in Sarasota

William Henry Whitaker was an early settler in Sarasota, arriving in the 1840s to build a log cabin and begin raising cattle on land that was once part of Hillsborough County. County lines were redrawn and this land became part of Manatee County, until 1921 when the land was annexed as part of Sarasota County. An enclave of homes, bayou and cemetery are named for the Whitaker family. The elder was a patriot to the confederate cause and earned his reputation in its support. The estate at 975 Whitakers Lane on Whitaker Bayou was built with quality workmanship in 2006. Look out through a generous amount of glass windows from any of the four guest bedrooms on the second level to view the swimming pool, spa and boat dock. The bayou opens up to Sarasota Bay for your boating pleasure. The master suite is on the first floor and features walk-in closets and a marble bath. Listed at $2.095 million, this home has more than 5,300 square feet of living space. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing of these homes or if you have a property to sell or buy.

New web designs created with the user in mind

by Roger Pettingell

Websites follow responsive guidelines

Complete redesigns for main site and single property sites

New website design for
The new home page - Responsive in design, the video features local Sarasota scenes.

We are well into 2017 so we reviewed our Internet marketing strategies for homes we have listed. We knew some things needed updating and started before the holidays with an initiative to advance our main website. We’ve gone through that process and have our new site launched. We reviewed our single property sites and found a new design that we think shows off our homes for sale in a much better way. We hope both are more intuitive and aligns us with the algorithms of the search engines.

The first major change to is the video that plays across the screen when you open the home page. The video is a montage of Sarasota and Longboat Key scenes so that site visitors can get a glimpse of life in the area. It shows our beautiful weather, some of the culture and areas where you can dine out in luxury. It is short but if the visitor has serious work to do they can begin their home search or pull from the menus that are highlighted at the top.

The video and the entire site is in a design that is responsive to the size of screen you have or smartphone you may be carrying. A few years ago Google, the giant of all search engines with 80% of the searches on the Internet, announced it would favor websites that are optimized for mobile devises. We were ahead of the game and confirmed our site was good for their algorithm. But they change as technology changes. Now the search engines in their results are favoring websites that are responsive and adapt the output for mobile devices and desktop machines.

What that means for sellers that list with me is that their property has a better chance to be seen by buyers that are using a search engine to look for properties to buy. As the search engines adapt to the public use of technology such as smaller screen, we try to be at the forefront of those changes.

Scrolling down the home page you may see that we left the sliding images of the properties with direct links to our featured listings. The number of properties displayed is responsive to the size of the screen. On a desktop you may see 12 properties for sale, but may only see two on a large smartphone. In the old design the number was limited to five no matter what the size of screen.

Mobile screen for
Mobile devices have a new look with redesign.

We kept the other information such as my Monday articles that we rebranded as REALTALKplus™ to coordinate with my weekly REALTALK™ video series. We will be producing episode #118 this week. REALTALK™ appears as a video above the most current two articles. This is the video series where we discuss communities, events and real estate trends for the local market. There is a playlist on YouTube for all videos and a page on this website that lists all of my REALTALK™ videos with a transcript for each.

With the redesign we were able to keep all the information that we presented as before. Our challenges included such pages as our Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) data that tracks back as far as 2008 in monthly reports, and for 18 communities in Longboat Key and Sarasota. The web site is a repository of such information. For these communities with CMAs we have created easy search links so buyers can get for sale properties with one click of the mouse. Or they can use the advance search capabilities of the website.

And now the entire website is responsive to the smallest smartphones. On the older site of just last month we were limited to four categories when the site servers recognized a mobile phone. In the upper right corner under the logo there are three lines that expand out to links for all the same information that is available on the desktop version.

New design for 6855 Gulf of Mexico Drive
Rollout of new property websites - The new design for single property sites is easier to navigate.

We felt it was important to roll out a new design for all the single property sites. Every client that lists a home with me has their own website attached to the address of the home for sale. So the new construction home at 6855 Gulf of Mexico Drive has its own website at Our new listing in the Grand Bay community has its own web site at These sites receive a lot of traffic from outside sources as the information is syndicated to over 40 real estate portals such as Trulia, Zillow and We feel the new design is more exciting and they also are responsive to different size screens as in our main web site. Another change is that most of the basic information for each home is condensed to one scrolling page. There is a drop-down menu in the upper right with access to more information though. I will be rolling out this new design to promote our homes moving forward.

I listed five new homes last week including one that has the most luxury appeal in a great location. The home at 622 S. Owl Drive is a waterfront home that has two lots that can be separated or left with the home with its mature landscaping for privacy. Our new listing at 975 Whitakers Lane in Sarasota is a boat-lover’s dream with direct access to Sarasota Bay and out to the Gulf of Mexico. The listings in the Islander Club at 2301 Gulf of Mexico Dr, #71N, the Promenade at 1211 Gulf of Mexico Dr, # 406 and the listing noted above in the Grand Bay community expand our inventory of luxury waterfront residences. 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
622 S Owl Dr $9,995,000 Video Photo Slideshow
975 Whitakers Lane $2,095,000 Video Photo Slideshow
2301 Gulf of Mexico Dr, #71N $895,000   Photo Slideshow
1211 Gulf of Mexico Dr, #406 $799,000   Photo Slideshow
3080 Grand Bay Blvd, #524 $695,000   Photo Slideshow


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


Smart Homes, the future is getting here quickly

by Roger Pettingell

New technology drives service integration

Definition of a Smart Home by Coldwell Banker

Smart Homes in REALTALK #114
Smart Homes - The advances in REALTALK™ #114

Implementing Smart Home technology to new home construction is advancing and with wireless connectivity added to the systems, the same technology can be added with integration to existing homes. In some respect a programmable thermostat to control heating and air conditioning is considered the basic level of a Smart Home, but there is a whole new world when you plan your Smart Home around environmental, security and entertainment controls.

I first reported on Smart Home technology two years ago with a demonstration in REALTALK™#42 by Mark Bolduc of Wicked Smart Homes. Since then his company has implemented systems in such places as the new Infinity community on Longboat Key and many other homes and residences in the area. I updated advances in Smart Homes this month in REALTALK™ #114.

A lot has changed since then. I learned first-hand of some of the new technologies at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. This past weekend Harold Bubil, real estate editor for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, interviewed me for his article on Smart Homes and BuilderFest. The emphasis now is on voice recognition and total integration.

A software app that recognizes your commands is the beginning of a new frontier in these systems. Whether you tell Siri to turn on the lights, turn up the volume of your Sonos speaker system in the family room, or activate your home security alarm, the integration of voice commands to Smart Homes is the future.

Even Amazon’s Echo with Alexa software is considered for home integration and companies are now building this component into their televisions and home appliances such as refrigerators. Some day you may be able to ask how long has the milk been stored in your refrigerator. Alexa is currently implemented in Smart Home hubs, lighting, HVAC and security systems. A smaller version, the Echo Dot, and a portable speaker version, Amazon Tap is on the market. You can use both these systems to order your pizza for dinner or send a voice command to set an alarm clock. The Tap is under $130 while the Dot is less than $50. The full Echo system is listed at $179.99 on Amazon.

Google Home integrates nicely with NEST thermostats, smoke detectors, CO alarms and security cameras. With a simple command that starts with “OK Google,” users can also communicate with Chromecast products. You also have a Google assistant answer some of your most pressing questions such as knowing the speed of light. In time they expect to accompany the assistant when services are activated for local home grocery delivery, for instance.

When I was in Vegas I spent more time in the Smart Home sections of the CES, rather than lose money in the casinos. The technology was fantastic but I was more interested in applications that integrated all the systems from one device or app on a Smart Phone. Almost anything electronic can be implemented into the overall convenience of a Smart Home, even a toaster that has a Wi-fi or Bluetooth component.

Coldwell Banker has partnered with CNET to set a definition of a Smart Home. To start, the home must have reliable Internet service. To be considered a Smart Home, there must be connections to at least three of following home services: Lighting, safety, entertainment, appliances, HVAC, outdoors, security and temperature. Outdoors could include services such as landscape lighting, pool covers, pond systems or plant watering. The company continues to lead the country in new implementation and has put out a glossary of terms for Smart Homes.

Coldwell Banker Smart Home certificate
I completed my training in Smart Home technology in September through Coldwell Banker University.

I am a certified as a Smart Home agent by Coldwell Banker, and received training through our organization for selling homes with this technology. Coldwell Banker has been a leader in new technologies and have launched a Smart Home kit for staging homes. It is my belief that homes will sell for more and sell quicker by implementing these services. The staging kit is available to home sellers who use Coldwell Banker to sell their home. Announced in august of last year, the $999 kit consists of a Nest thermostat, Nest CO and smoke alarm, Nest indoor security camera, August connect, and Lutron wireless lighting starter kit. Home sellers can install the kit themselves or hire a professional for installation.

Vivint, a company with a strong Florida presence, also offers an integrated package for doorbell, lock, lighting and security under one app with no contract and one monthly fee. They will also customize a package when you call their professionals for a free quote. Packages start at $39.99 per month and include 24/7 monitoring. This includes free installation in Florida, up to $1,500 in free equipment and 24 hours of video storage for security. They even have a good special going on now and waving the start-up costs. Their nearest sales locations are in St. Petersburg and Tampa.

I did have a chance to wander around CES and look at other technologies that included a $10,000 toilet and a Samsung smart watch that will include the iPhone IOS operating system. Now, there's an interesting concept. I also was photographed with Raymond Teller, who legally changed his name to Teller and is one half of the Penn & Teller comedy duo. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 if you have a property to sell or buy.

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


What to expect at the listing appointment

by Roger Pettingell

A little preparation increases sale efficiency

December is a good month to market your home for sale

1117 Benjamin Franklin Drive, #A
This beach home on Lido Key is a new listing from a recent listing appointment.

December is a good month to list your home for sale in Sarasota. This may be different in the north when a springtime listing may take advantage of the upcoming good weather. And if you have listed a home up north you may find that the listing process may be a little different than what is expected here. In REALTALK™ #110 last week I discussed what I would look for in your home before we talk about placing it on the market.

Before the appointment I start with a little homework. I look at recent sales that indicate the current market of similar homes. But at that point I still don’t know the fair market value of your home until I get inside. Then I look for upgrades that will increase the value of the home. Home buyers tend to be more encouraged by an updated home.

I also want to know the condition of the home. Are there any cracks in the ceilings? Are there any maintenance issues that can be remedied for a quicker sale. I pay particular attention to the areas around vents where mold may accumulate. Some of these items may come up in the inspection after a sales contract is signed, but we prefer to know in advance so we can correct the problem and close more efficiently.

Our staff is ready to help in any way and can suggest the right specialist for each repair job. We have contact information for what we have found to be the best painters, plumbers, electricians, flooring installers and home cleaners. You may have your own handyman in these areas. If staging is an issue we can make recommendations there. If clutter is an issue we can suggest volunteer organizations that will remove furniture and give you an receipt for tax deductions.

Expectations for the listing appointment in REALTALK™ #110
REALTALK™ #110 - We discuss the listing process and what to expect at the appointment.

Once we have determined conditions that may need improved or any updates that have already been done we can review price. We want to settle on a price that is fair in the market but something that you would feel comfortable with. If you have a mortgage, will the price be sufficient to settle with the bank and hopefully have a good profit remaining. Most home sellers do their own research beforehand. Zillow is a popular website that gives Zestimates. However, these estimates do not take into consideration the condition of the home or any updates that increases its value. The comparable home sales tools that I have are likely to be more accurate. Contact our office and we can set you up with free emails that will show price adjustments and new home sales in your area.

Here is a good reference to use if you are planning to do any remodeling projects before you speak with an agent. It is the 2016 Cost v. value report for the Sarasota area, published annually by Remodeling magazine. This report compares 30 different remodeling projects and how they affect the value of your home. With this report you can compare the Sarasota area to other areas of the southeast region and the nation. For instance, fiberglass attic insulation can have a 150.9% return on investment in Sarasota. A garage door replacement can have a return of 103.1% when you price the home for the market.

After we feel comfortable with the price, then we can establish an action plan for marketing your home. I have Coldwell Banker to thank for providing me with many print and online opportunities that we use to the fullest. I promote homes through my website here and a personal website for each home with the Internet address based on the physical address of the home. My full-page weekly ads in the Longboat Key Observer is a print medium I use. We also use direct mail to market your home.

There is a list of documents that I request so they are readily available for any interested buyers. I feel this is important so that we are able to answer any questions while the buyers are excited about the home after a showing. Also in the REALTALK™ video I explain the need for these documents and cited insurance premiums as an example. I use these for the printed brochure that we provide at each showing. We copy and create digital documents in PDF format before returning them to you. Our service can convert most sizes, including large floor plans. Here is a list of documents that are useful:

  • Insurance papers
  • Survey
  • Title insurance policy
  • Floor plan
  • Site plan

Age, warranties and make of appliances:

  • Refrigerator
  • Dishwasher
  • Oven
  • Microwave
  • Hot Water Heater
  • Air Conditioner

You can expect that I will request a copy of the home key, elevator code or security code. Some agents use lockboxes. Since we accompany our showings, we add a layer of security by keeping these keys locked in our office until the time of the showing. We can make copies if the keys you possess are your only set.

I will also want to know the financial condition of the home. If the home is in a trust or owned by an LLC, with this information I will be in a position to better discuss an offer with a buyer’s agent. Any equity in the home is good if there is a mortgage on the home.

I do like listing appointments and hope that you contact my office when you are ready to sell. This home at 1117 Benjamin Franklin Drive, #A is across the street from the Gulf of Mexico beach on Lido Key and is a new listing last week. The home is listed at $1,299,000 and has plenty of wonderful updates. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing.

Address List Price Media Slideshow
1117 Benjamin Franklin Drive, #A $1,299,000 Video Photo Slideshow


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


Current technology for real estate sales

by Roger Pettingell

Staying current and moving forward

Using technology to market homes and track closings

REALTALK #106, Sharpening the Sword
Sharpening the Sword - How I stay ahead of the curve in real estate technology, REALTALK™ #106.

Cyber Monday is a good day to review current technology that I use to market my listings and communicate with my clients. I also use technology to share information among the staff and to track the progress necessary for each client to close on their homes in the most efficient manner. With this technology we nurture new and potential clients so that their needs are also met. The technology in our office is a variety of software and hardware that is either “off the shelf” for realtors, or customized from leading vendors.

Most of my customers are home sellers. To start, each listing has its own website. The address is commonly associated with the physical address such as one listed last week at A community like the Players Club at 1445 Gulf of Mexico Drive on Longboat key will be promoted by its community and residence number, such as I like using this form of Internet promotion because I can put more information on the site that I may not be able to include in the MLS system or that which appears on and I can include more documents that are commonly requested by potential buyers. It also is a great format to communicate with the search engines. We can input details in the Internet syntax, or metatags, for search engine optimization. These websites are syndicated to over 40 Internet portals commonly associated with real estate sales.

I promote each home sale as a featured listing on this branded website, In order to stay current with the requirements of the Internet giants like we are switching to a responsive design on our site that should be ready for launch early in December. Currently, we are optimized for mobile devices that presents a different experience on SmartPhones. The new design will respond to each device and present the best experience for an end user searching for property to buy. Google has announced they will favor this type of technology in their search results.

Longboat Key Home Prices
Home sellers begin their pricing research on Longboat Key and Sarasota through this free website.

That is my branded site to promote the homes I am currently selling. I recognize that most potential buyers and sellers begin gathering information on home sales through Internet sites, long before they make their first call to an agent to represent them. is my website that is established for sellers to get an estimate of their property’s value, and list comparable homes in the area. With an email address, the seller will receive updates on their home if the value should increase or decrease. For buyers exploring the waters, so to speak, my website is a good way to research home prices. By entering an email address the buyer will receive updates on new properties that open up on the market. Both of these websites are free to use.

We are also fortunate that our information for each listing is updated through the Coldwell Banker systems. In October there were 8.1 million visitors to with 12.6 million listing views. A majority of worldwide visitors were from the United States and Canada, our prime market targets. We continually feed videos, photos and descriptions to the Coldwell Banker telephone connection. An 866.600.6008 number advertised in local newspapers such as the Sarasota Herald Tribune connects a code in our listings advertised on that page to information about that property. Those listings are pulled from another system that we actively update with high resolution images, property descriptions and open house dates. All these feeds spread the word. The intent is to get quality information and photos in front of many people in our target audience.

A new technology we started this year gives the buyer a view of the property in three dimensions. These 3D floor plans are digitized in a way that the potential buyer can walk through a home as a virtual presentation. You have a choice of doll house or floor plan view to begin your navigation through the home. The photographer takes a 360 degree image of each room that is stitched together with software so that you can walk through the home as though actually being there. What I like about this system is that a visitor can master the techniques in just a few minutes. The Matterport system can be seen in this Bird Key home at

Matterport 3D floor plans for this home at 670 Mourning Dove Drive on Bird Key
3 Dimensional Floor Plans - I recently introduced this new technology as a virtual tour, website visitors walk through the homes I list for sale.

Our office has internal systems to track phone calls and processes for the efficient closing of all home sales. We store documents in digital format and have the ability to have digital signatures on contracts to avoid the lengthy paper flow. This Docusign system permits us to have legally signed documents between buyers and sellers even though they are great distances apart. Our system for escrow deposits is more secure than many systems that I have been involved with. Our office tracks each closing for a smooth transaction, from the home inspection to the closing at the title or law firm office.

I hope your Thanksgiving holiday was a good one. I listed a secluded waterfront home last week in the Sleepy Lagoon community of Longboat Key. This elevated home has three bedrooms, is on a deep-water canal with boat dockage and 10,000-pound lift. The home at 712 Marbury Lane has a two-car garage has been completely remodeled. 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
712 Marbury Lane $729,000   Photo Slideshow


Coldwell Banker programs to help sell homes

by Roger Pettingell

Coldwell Banker is number one for a reason

Distribution of your listing is syndicated worldwide

7213 Greystone St, Lakewood Ranch
Distribution - This new listing in Lakewood Ranch is syndicated to world-wide home-selling outlets

When you sign with a Coldwell Banker agent such as myself to sell your residence, you get more than an agent/broker, you receive the backing of a company that syndicates your sale information worldwide. For instance, an agent working in London can easily find information on your home sale and refer his client here. The listing and referral are a small part of the process when selling your home through the Coldwell Banker residential or Previews International program.

Those are just a couple of reasons why Coldwell Banker sells $20 million dollars a day of luxury properties here in the United States. While working with Fortune 500 companies, we successfully relocated 170,000 international executives last year, or 56% of the total relocations. Our area is a prime target for the foreign investors looking for their dream southern winter home.

There is a Coldwell Banker process that kicks in every time you place a home on the Multiple Listing Service with our office. It starts as the information of your listing populates the Coldwell Banker Homes website, or If the home qualifies as a Previews International home, your listing appears on that site too,

Coldwell Banker current eMarketing report
eMarketing report - Click on the image for the current Coldwell Banker analytics report

It is also syndicated out to the websites that homebuyers might begin their search for homes in the area. The popular sites of,, and are among the sites this information is sent to. When someone searches for a home on these sites a list will appear based on the parameters of the home buyer. When they see our client home for sale, they might click on that home for more information. When that click occurs a view is recorded. I have seen some reports with over a few thousand views of one of our homes on a single site such as Zillow. In our office we provide this information to our clients as a monthly Homebase Insight viewing report. For all of Coldwell Banker homes last month there were 44.8 million views on Zillow. See the Analytics Report to the left.

The report also is a record of and views. The July 2016 total activity on alone was 9.2 million visitors, who viewed 14.1 million homes. Within the past year was absorbed into the larger for a wider distribution of our homes for sale.

Through our CB Connect program that is now Dotsignal, our office is able to assign each listing with a code for mobile and newspaper distribution. When a code is activated by a potential buyer with one of our homes for sale, a lead is generated for my office to respond. These leads are recorded in the system. has been optimized to recognize mobile phone or tablet viewing. This optimization is important, last month the site was visited by viewers with 59% of total activity.

Coldwell Banker has another system for newspaper and magazine distribution. For each client listing, we attach at least one high resolution image that is suitable for print. We can populate information such as open houses and optimize your home in categories for special magazine publications or feature articles. The home office of Coldwell Banker reviews these listings and parse out those homes for print.

As part of the Coldwell Banker distribution your home could appear in the Wall Street Journal or Robb Report, publications for luxury homes. Coldwell Banker has exclusivity on based in London, relocating home owners from the United Kingdom and 50 other countries.

My independent agent website, provides a different experience for the home buyer. With our new Lifestyles section, your home is listed by a desired lifestyle and they can search with a single click by their choice of anything from Gulf of Mexico beachfront to one of two golf courses of the Longboat Key Club. Other areas include such lifestyles as Lido Key condominiums or St. Armands Circle single-family homes. These single click searches complement our community searches.

Our single property sites, which assigns every listed address with its own website are also syndicated to popular search sites. On these sites we can provide more information on the area, schools and government. But we can also include extra photos, video, floor plans and links to current Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) reports or upcoming events in the area.

It is no wonder then that Coldwell Banker has 56% of the local pending sales and 35% of the current listings. Our listing percentage will typically jump to 50% in the winter months as many of the second-home market buyers flock to Sarasota and Longboat Key for their luxury seasonal home.

It is for all these reasons that helped me propel home sales to $74 million in 2015 and $63 million in closed and pending sales volume so far this year. I have a good inventory of homes, including this new listing last week in Lakewood Ranch that rests on the third green of the Kings Dunes golf course. This home at 7213 Greystone Street, built in 2011 offers country club living at its best. 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
7213 Greystone St, Lakewood Ranch $969,000 Video Photo Slideshow


Pricing homes through CMAs

by Roger Pettingell

Using Comparative Market Analysis reports

History reports to 2008 in some Sarasota communities

3030 Grand Bay #384 Condo for sale
Pricing homes - Online pricing tools provide generic information. Setting a price for this new listing at Grand Bay #384 required more research.

We just posted all our Comparative Market Analysis reports for April representing home prices in 18 different communities. The CMAs help a property seller define the price of their home as compared to other homes on the market in their neighborhood. These reports are useful to the buyer because they can determine if the community they are looking is within their budget or if they are making an offer and it is a fair market value.

Our CMAs contain information in each report that is helpful for each community. They cover communities in Sarasota such as Harbor Acres. The Ritz-Carlton Tower Residences in downtown Sarasota and its Beach Residences on Lido Key are represented. On Longboat Key I provide information on the major condominium communities and housing communities such as Country Club Shores and three home communities behind the Bay Isles gated neighborhoods.

Each community CMA is structured differently but they all contain information on Active listings, Pending homes for sale and Sold homes. The solds include all those homes sold within the past year. There is an exception, I push out sold listings in Regent Place to two years because it is one of those communities with the fewest homes for sale on the market.

How you use these reports vary if you are the buyer or the seller. A seller may use the Active listings to gauge the number of residences that are currently for sale in their market. Homeowners looking to sell their property should be skeptical when using the Active listings to price their homes. Agents representing their client can ask any amount when pricing the property.

The Zestimate tool within Zillow might be a classic misuse of pricing. The data used to determine these estimates does not take into consideration any factors such as upgrades to the home. A Zestimate may also be inaccurate when pricing a residence at Grand Bay if your unit is a penthouse in comparison to a first-floor residence.

386 Bob White Drive on Bird Key home for sale
Sold price per square foot might vary by community so it is important to review this average figure on CMAs.

Instead, the more accurate way of pricing is to use the final sale price in the Sold listings. These prices more accurately reflect the true market value of the home. Even then a professional real estate agent will review each sale and determine which sold listings more accurately reflect a comparable price for the property you are selling. As in some communities, the number of parking spaces is important to buyers and can increase the value of a residence. I post the number of parking spaces in the CMAs for condominium communities. In single family home communities the number of parking spaces is less important. Instead, I will post fields that have historically had an influence on the price of homes in these neighborhoods.

Prices for Pending homes also reflect the asking price so like the Active listings do not reflect the true value of the home. By reviewing the Pending homes you can get a sense of the overall market because a high number of Pending sales might reveal how fast homes are moving in the market.

When you look at homes sold on these reports you can review the listing price in comparison to the sold price. I post this comparison on many of the CMAs. If there is a consistent differential in the listing price and sold price you may be able to factor that percentage in. This is a valuable resource for buyers. There may be times when a seller is highly motivated to sell their property and may already have priced it to sell in short time. These are easily spotted on the CMA.

The reports online can be used to start your research and view a history of the community you may be interested in as a buyer. In some communities I have monthly reports back to 2008, all available in PDF format. These reports are helpful to both buyers and sellers. Sellers already have a sense of what their home is worth when they contact me to list their homes.

Buyers can determine if properties in a community are priced outside of their budget and they can move on to isolate a neighborhood that fits their budget and needs. The price per square foot in a community such as Bird Key will be different than one in Country Club Shores. Waterfront homes in Harbor Acres are selling for premium pricing per square foot. On these reports I think it is important to review the sold price per square foot typically designated in the Sold Listings column as SP/SqFt.

The CMAs are found under the menu item CMA History on each website page. If you are unfamiliar with the Sarasota and Longboat Key areas, there is a map at the bottom of each page and you can click on the community you might want to begin your search. More budget conscious buyers might look on the bay side. In these residences the views are spectacular as the sun rises over Sarasota Bay. Premium properties on the Gulf side will present fantastic opportunities to view some of the world’s most stunning sunsets. Select your community on the map and the CMA reports open up for selection by month in the years I offer them. In 2014 I included Tangerine Bay on the south end of Longboat Key as my most recent CMA offering.

I discuss online pricing tools in REALTALK™ #18.

The comparables in these reports might be the first indication of price for your review. They are provided in a general format provided through information in the Multiple Listing Service. Once you feel comfortable with this knowledge, you can perform your own searches. Sellers can perform a search and get a more accurate price through my online tool at Buyers can view a map search under the For Buyers menu link, Home Search or by going to my website In the Communities menu, Homes for Sale will produce a map search for some of the communities in the CMAs. Advanced searches are available with each of these tools. I provide all this information for free.

When you are ready to sell your home or buy in the Sarasota and Longboat Key areas I would like the opportunity to speak with you about your needs. In that way I can find out what is most important to you and we can set some parameters for even more accurate sales comps or properties that meets your needs as a buyer. Check out my newest listing, a wonderful three-bedroom waterfront home on Bird Key with pool and deep-water dockage. 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
386 Bob White Drive $1,590,000 Video Photo Slideshow


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Why Choose
Roger Pettingell?


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


  • 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.