Real Estate Information Archive


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Title Searches and Insurance

by Roger Pettingell

Florida Title Searches and Insurance

Clear Title on Your Home Purchase is Worth Insuring

2024 Alameda Avenue, Sarasota, Florida
Title Insurance - Although this home on Alameda may be sold for cash, title insurance is worth it.

A home title or deed is the property record with the county in Florida: recorded with the name, names or organization that has the rights to that property. That may be an oversimplification, but in its basic definition is the way we keep track of properties in the United States. It is the recorded proof of ownership, so to speak.

Every time a title is filed with a change of home ownership, the recorded deed adds to the purchase history of that home or condominium. If there is a lien put against the property, typically through some court ruling, that record will also show up with the property. The lien could follow the property and in the event of a sale, would require that the lien was satisfied before the sale could take place. It all sounds so simple.

With most records in the county open to the public, searching for a good title has been made easier. An Internet search of the local county records usually uncovers tax or personal liens. These searches are so easy that it is tempting to perform your own search and feel comfortable that you have a clean title.

The stakes are potentially high though and professionals are trained to look for the pitfalls. For instance, a lien filed under the name of John Smith might not show up if Jack Smith is listed as the owner of the property. Further complications could arise in divorce settlements or the death of a spouse when the home is titled to the deceased.

Mortgage lending institutions usually require a title search. That protects their interest in the property. And if you are opting for a cash purchase, as over 60% are in this area, you may only have that obligation to yourself to protect the property. There are a multitude of potential problems that could cost thousands, if not millions, of dollars down the road.

Title searches are also backed up with insurance, these policies warranty the search and free title. Any problem that arises later will result in an amount paid to you in order to satisfy the judgment. Once again, the bank will want this protection for their interest in lending the money for the home purchase.

In Manatee County, as in most counties in Florida, title insurance is typically paid by the seller of the property as a one-time premium. Here in Sarasota, the home buyer is responsible for purchasing title insurance. However, in both counties these responsibilities can be reversed if spelled out in the purchase contract.

Many fees on the Good Faith Estimate are negotiable. As for title insurance, the state of Florida has set the following guidelines for establishing its cost. Although these rates are set by the state of Florida, you do have the ability to negotiate the agent's fees for issuing the insurance. Call other title companies for competitive fees and work in the 0-30% range of the total cost as a negotiating tactic. In the chart below you can see the percentage rate of retention allowed by Florida law.

The rates below are those spelled out in Florida law. In the third column is the rate of retention allowed by the insuring company. Therefore, title insurance on a home of $75,000 is calculated to be $431.25, or $5.75 for every $1,000 of home value. It is on a graduated scale of costs per thousand, established as follows:

Amount of liability written Premium Agent
  Amount Retention
From $0 to $100,000 of liability written $5.75 30%
From $100,000 to $1 million, add $5.00 30%
Over $1 million to and up to $5 million, add $2.50 35%
Over $5 million and up to $10 million, add $2.25 40%
Over $10 million, add $2.00 40%


Using the table above, here is an example for $150,000 of insurance written for a home. The first $100,000 is set at the $5.75 rate, calculated to be $575, and the $50,000 above the $100,000 is at a $5.00 rate per thousand, or $250. Adding $575 and $250 together, the cost of insurance is $825. Since the entire amount is in the 30% range, you may be able to negotiate any part of the $247.50 that is legally retained by the agent.

Rates are discounted by Florida law when a loan is reissued as the result of refinancing and within 10 years of the original home purchase. There are restrictions, such as the loan must be made by the bank that issued the original loan. The law also calls for discounts when a new construction home is purchased.

This whole system may seem confusing to residents of other industrial countries. Much like the government here issues a car title as valid registration, property in other countries have their titles issued by their government. It is also the responsibility of their government to resolve any disputes. In this country the county does not determine who owns the land, they only hold the records. Disputes are settled among the parties involved.

On my website is a list of all the costs that are associated with the closing of your new home purchase. This article outlines what can be expected at closing. I recommend reading this web page well before your closing date, and use it as a refresher before the final walk-through.

The upcoming holiday weekend puts us on notice that summer is coming to a close soon, I hope you have enjoyed it. Please contact me with any questions on titles, insurance, or home ownership through (941) 387-1840. I will return with another blog entry next Tuesday. Enjoy your Labor Day weekend.

Sarasota Area Construction Updates

by Roger Pettingell

Ground Broken in Sarasota, Longboat Key

Updates to the Vue, Aria and Infinity Condominiums

Back in April I wrote about new construction projects that will add more residences to Longboat Key and Sarasota, most in the form of condominium communities. These new developments are fueled by rising prices in the local housing market. The updates are encouraging to those who wish to purchase these luxury residences on, or near, waterfront beach property. It has been eight years since new product has been available, so this recent surge in construction is welcomed.

Drive along Gulf of Mexico Drive on Longboat Key and you will be drawn to the construction near the Bay Isles area on the Gulf side. As of last notice, 13 of the 16 condominiums with a total value of $62 million at the Aria are under contract. The construction is quite noticeable on the historic Villa am Meer estate. The original home and the gated entrance to the 1935 home remain intact, which developers U.S. Assets Group and Jay Tallman plan to surround with a Wellness Center and recreation center with a private dining room, wine cellar and fully equipped guest suite. The beach side pool is designed with an overhead rain curtain. It is reported that the three remaining properties range in price upwards from $3.6 million.

The new Aria has many amenities for someone considering a luxury waterfront condominium. Peering through the old gated driveway of the Villa am Meer estate you can see the 1935 original home that will be restored to complement Aria's features.

An artist drawing on left showing the new Aria. On the right is a photo taken this week through the old Villa am Meer gate that shows the 1935 home in the far background on the left.

Cross over the John Ringling Causeway into Sarasota and it’s easy to find construction of the "Vue Sarasota Bay", near the Ritz-Carlton at Route 41. Here, developers the Kolter Group, have 144 moderately priced residences in construction on this high profile plot of land. The location is ideal and the $800,000 starting price will be attractive to those looking for a local upgrade, or to new residents of the area. Floor plans start at 1,945 square feet for a 2 bedroom and 2.5 bathroom unit, up to a 2,824 square feet of living space. There are nine floor plans for the penthouse suites. According to developers, 40 units are under contract in this 19 story luxury complex. A restaurant and bar are planned for the top floor of this high rise building.

The $120 million project cost for Vue Sarasota Bay has a completion date set for the fall of 2015 with its accompanying Westin project soon after in the winter of 2016. The Westin is expected to have 155 hotel rooms for visitors when completed. Sarasota is alive with new construction projects. The Sarasota Downtown Community Redevelopment Authority Area status report was released to the public on the same day I initially wrote this article. Over 20 projects are listed on the report that will create new buildings or redefine existing structures to add lodging to this growing city.

The Vue Sarasota Bay is now under construction. When completed as in the artist rendering at left, 144 moderately priced units will be available. Construction recently started on the Vue Sarasota Bay.

The Vue Sarasota Bay is now under construction. When completed as in the artist rendering at left, 144 moderately priced units will be available, of which 40 are in contract. In the recent right photo construction has begun with the Ritz-Carlton looming in the background.

Infinity on Longboat Key announced this month it was implementing Wicked Smart Homes technology in each of the 11 luxury condominiums at 4700 Gulf of Mexico Drive. Construction is expected soon for these three and four bedroom units and two penthouses. The smart home technology will allow owners to control security and comfort levels of their condominium from any location in the world that has Internet connectivity for a smartphone, tablet or desktop computer. Recreational amenities at the Infinity include a lighted HarTru tennis court, heated infinity edge swimming pool and spa surrounding a paver sun terrace overlooking the Gulf of Mexico.

Look for more updates to more of the developments planned in Sarasota and on Longboat Key. There is a resurgence of interest in luxury waterfront properties. Let me put my experience to work for you, call me if you are interested in buying or selling in the area. We can discuss these new construction homes or any other property you may have an interest in.

Updated August 29, 2014 with the Sarasota Downtown Community Redevelopment Authority Area status report. Here is the most current update report.


Sarasota area Boating

by Roger Pettingell

Sarasota and Longboat Key Boating

Area Has Everything for the Sail or Power Boat Enthusiast

Sailing is taught at an early age here in Sarasota
Educational Programs - Sailing lessons in Sarasota.

Our world is surrounded by azure sparkling water on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico and Sarasota Bay, making it a very attractive location for boating. To create more shoreline, canals were carved out of the landscape to create finger waterways that flow out to these two bodies of water. In turn, it is very inviting to own a power or sail boat in this area, so there are many opportunities to get involved in any of the social organizations that support the boating lifestyle. Yacht clubs, marinas, resorts or squadrons are all supported here in Sarasota and Longboat Key.

Entire communities exist around some of these organizations. The Bird Key Yacht Club is a prime example. Bird Key, on Sarasota Bay supports some of the most elegant luxury homes in the area. Internationally known and respected residents call this island of 250 acres their home. The yacht club mimics the area for its luxury, supporting both boaters and non-boaters since its beginning in 1959. Besides its boat slips for the yachting community, there are plenty of opportunities to relax in the club house, dine the exclusive facility, swim in the pool or learn tennis from a pro instructor. The Bird Key Yacht Club is one of the original 13 members of the Florida Council of Yacht Clubs. The council promotes reciprocity, joining one is an invitation to visit other member clubs of the council.

The Sarasota Yacht Club greets you as you approach St. Armand's Circle on Lido Key.
The Sarasota Yacht Club greets you on your approach to Lido Key from the Ringling Causeway.

Within a mile of Bird Key in Sarasota is Marina Jack, and toward Lido Key is the Sarasota Yacht Club. Bird Key is predominately a man-made island off Ringling Bridge and Causeway, continue further toward the Gulf and you will easily find the Sarasota Yacht Club on the left. Founded in 1926, the elder yacht club is also one of the original members of the Florida Council of Yacht Clubs. The local Bradenton Yacht Club in Palmetto was also asked to join the original group. Today you can expect to find a member club in many of the larger shoreline cities. The Mother’s Day Dash is a highlight regatta supported by the Sarasota Yacht Club.

Marina Jack in Sarasota offers three dining experiences, dinner cruises and deep harbor docking. Book a wedding on the Marina Jack II for a memorable event. You and your guests will receive a classic coastal cruise ceremony aboard this luxury yacht. For the reception, book the event room on the upper deck which has a capacity for 170 guests. There is a good chance you will also be treated to a beautiful Gulf sunset for your wedding. In the lower level, nightly entertainment is also top notch. Marina Jack is home to some of the finest boat shows in the area. Check its event schedule, there is usually something going on such as the upcoming ZD Wine Dinner or the Saltwater Shootout.

The Resort at Longboat Key Club boasts Sarasota's only AAA four-diamond beachfront resort. The marina resort on Longboat Key is a spectacular set of facilities that include championship golf courses, world class tennis courts, outstanding dining facilities and spa that will be sure to elevate your spirits. Call our office, we can locate a home or condominium for you to complement your club membership in the club within close proximity to the Longboat Key Club Moorings. The moorings here can accommodate up to 150-foot yachts in its deep-water marina with 291 slips. Each slip is outfitted with exceptional amenities to make this a first class facility for your sail or power boat. Marina security is maintained 24 hours within the protected confines of a manned guard gate.

Aerial shot of the Sara Bay Marina on Tamiami Trail in Sarasota
The Sara Bay Marina on Tamiami Trail in Sarasota is surrounded by homes in this boating community. Sara Bay has a fine selection of new and used boats.

If these clubs and marinas don’t fit your lifestyle, there are many others that line the waterways and open water of the Sarasota area. In Sarasota there is the Sara Bay Marina with dry and wet slips. Siesta Key Marina and Turtle Beach Marina are on the small island of Siesta Key. There are five more marinas and clubs worth mentioning in Manatee County. The Bradenton Beach Marina on Anna Maria Island, along with Manatee Landings Marina, Parrot Cove Marina and Twin Dolphin Marina in Bradenton offer services and rentals. The Bradenton Boat Club has floating docks and dry rack storage.

One local association promotes club racing, regattas and other sailing events. The Sarasota Sailing Squadron also has new dockage to support its growing membership. The Manatee Sailing Association conducts its monthly meetings at Pier 22 Restaurant in Twin Dolphins Marina in Bradenton. Their light-hearted meetings typically begin with a discussion of sail boat topics by local experts and conclude with their monthly business meeting. They sponsor racing events, social outings, beach clean-ups and an annual picnic in August. Closer to Anna Maria Island is the Cortez Yacht Club with similar outings and meetings, also of interest mostly to sailors who own, or have an interest in sailboats. The annual Easter Egg Hunt is one of the highlights sailboat races of the year for the CYC. The Bayshore Gardens Yacht Club is another club to promote maritime endeavors and connects members through its Facebook page. Bayshore Gardens marina is close to the Sarasota and Manatee county line.

Sailing is taught at an early age here in Sarasota
Monthly Meetings - Local experts present topics of interest to Manatee Sailing Association members.

Many of the associations above belong to a collective group of local sail and power boat enthusiasts. The Sarasota Bay Yachting Association has 12 local clubs under its umbrella, from Venice to Bradenton. This organization promotes safe boating and sponsors education programs such as youth sailing education. It also sponsors competitive regattas through its boating and sailing sports initiatives. Since 2009 the Sarasota Bay Yachting Association has promoted its local boat of the year. It also has good information on its website that includes racing rules and information of interest to local boaters.

With all the water surrounding Longboat Key and Sarasota you can see why boating is a popular past-time here. And if you need to sharpen your sailing or motor boat skills, contact any of the marinas here or check out the education programs at the sailing and power squadrons in Sarasota or Manatee counties.

Please take a look at our most recent listings in Sarasota and Longboat Key. We welcome these new sellers to our services here at Roger Pettingell, Coldwell Banker Previews International. Please feel free to call the office at (941) 387-1840 when you are ready to buy or sell property.

2024 Alameda Ave, Sarasota $1,599,000 Video Photo Slideshow
2023 Harbour Links, Longboat Key $679,000    


When Zillow acquires Trulia

by Roger Pettingell

Combination of Zillow and Trulia

Will the Merged Supersite Change the Process?

REALTALK #13 video - What it means in real estate when Zillow acquires Trulia
REALTALK™ #13 - What changes when Zillow and Trulia merges? - July 30, 2014. Click on the image above for the REALTALK™ video.

The announcement last week that Zillow was acquiring Trulia created quite a stir in business and real estate. They are the two largest consumer-driven web sites for the houses, condominiums and rentals. They currently account for about 48 percent of the listings Internet traffic. The combination of the two will create a monolithic supersite.

My REALTALK™ #13 episode last week quickly became the most watched YouTube REALTALK™ video since we started the weekly Wednesday series in April. The interest is high on the $3.5 billion acquisition.

So what does this mean to the real estate community? We still have the Multiple Listing Service for REALTORS®. The MLS provides a great amount of information for us to better serve our clients. Zillow and Trulia provide more tools for our clients to be informed and most use those sites as good preliminary information for our discussions. Merging them into one won't change that, so why should we have both systems? One is a regulated system and the other is consumer-driven.

Zillow is not restricted in pulling in information from multiple sources. This opens them up for more information, which is good for the consumer. While it relies on unregulated sources, it also is open to inaccuracies. We rely on the MLS for its accuracies.

I do like Zillow for its mapping, particularly the aerial maps. The recent upgrades of our current MLS system have addressed the mapping issues and also make the system more mobile friendly. The National Association of REALTORS® announced the 89% of home buyers make searches on mobile devices. Since my site,, has been optimized for smartphones and tablets I have seen a big increase in the number of those pages viewed.

Zillow and Trulia attempts to price properties by using the vast amount of data it collects. As in the REALTALK™ example I give on the difference between two condominiums, given as a Zestimate, the price can be drastically different than what the value is for the property. Zillow may compare square footage, but not take into account that one may have a gulf view in comparison to a first floor street view.

Zillow also does not take into account any upgrades that may have increased the value. An open floor plan with upgraded kitchen can increase the value and Zillow cannot adjust for those upgrades. Not until I see the residence will I have a good idea for its value. Only then can I rely on the data that is out there, knowing what is useful information.

The deal approved last week by both board of directors is not expected to close until next year. Even then, both brands may keep their identities for a while despite the overlap of services and data. Then the sites may merge into the supersite I envision. ComScore, a source of digital business analytics, reported that these two sites now account for 71 percent of unique visitors among the top 15 real-estate sites. The way I see it, a more informed consumer has the knowledge to move forward with realistic expectations. In this way we can both keep our eyes on the prize, and that is selling their real estate.

Displaying blog entries 1-4 of 4




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.