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NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH All-natural Venetian Golf & River Club. Golfers and nature lovers may have discovered their perfect neighborhood in Venetian Golf & River Club, located off Laurel Road in north Venice. With a meandering 18-hole championship golf course designed by Chip Powell and a 70-acre nature park on the Myakka River with canoe launch and […]


NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH
All-natural Venetian Golf & River Club.

Golfers and nature lovers may have discovered their perfect neighborhood in Venetian Golf & River Club, located off Laurel Road in north Venice. With a meandering 18-hole championship golf course designed by Chip Powell and a 70-acre nature park on the Myakka River with canoe launch and boardwalks, the gated community has earned the Audubon International Gold Signature for protecting wetlands and preserves. In fact, during last December’s annual Audubon one-day bird watch, residents won the Southern region’s top award by identifying 60 different species. They’re watching real estate values take flight, too; residences here range from courtyard homes and exterior maintenance-free villas priced from the $300,000s to grand estate homes from over $1 million.

Number of Venetian Golf & River Club properties: 870
Number of sales from 3/2006 to 3/2007:45
Range of sales prices: $306,430 to $1,243,950
Average sales price: $775,190
Square footage: 1,082 to 4,146

SAMPLE LISTING
This 2,352-square-foot home at 321 Montelluna Drive is offered for sale at $539,000. It has three bedrooms, three baths and a den. Finishes include upgraded carpeting and tile, granite counters, a pavered driveway and pool deck. The lavish swimming pool has a waterfall and twin lion’s head fountains. Rob Terral of Pan-American International Realty is the listing agent. Previous sale: $523,400 in 2005.

RECENT SALE
A four-bedroom Spanish Mediterranean home at 154 E. Portofino Drive sold recently for $765,000 after an original list price of $789,900. With 3,104 square feet under air, it features faux painting in the master suite, dining room, art niche, guest bath and billiards room. The master suite has a sitting room that opens to a covered lanai with an elaborate outdoor kitchen, and the pool area has a spa and rain columns. Larry Kabinoff of St. Lawrence Lots LLC was the listing agent and Nick Herron of Re/Max Properties was the selling agent.

MLS statistics courtesy of Rob Terral of Pan-American International Realty. MLS records transactions and listings by members of the Sarasota Board of Realtors Multiple Listing Service.

TOP OF THE MARKET
A one-and-a-half-acre, Gulf-to-bay estate on Casey Key that sold for $6.9 million after an original list price of $7.5 million recently topped the residential sales market. The property, at 2635 Casey Key Road, includes a 4,400-square-foot, Bermuda-style main residence overlooking 164 feet of white sand beach on the Gulf side and a charming two-bedroom guesthouse on Little Sarasota Bay. The main house has six bedrooms, three full bathrooms and a powder room as well as meticulously maintained gardens. Deborah Beacham of Premiere Properties of Southwest Florida was the listing agent, and Doris Bushman of Michael Saunders & Company was the selling agent.

Sales information provided by Kim Ogilvie of Michael Saunders & Company.

CHARMED, I’M SURE When the market slows and sellers grow uneasy, clever realtors generate excitement in creative ways. Marcia Salkin and Pauline Soublis of Premier Properties teamed with Carol Clark and Joel Schemmel of SKY Sotheby’s to stir interest—along with mint juleps—for their listings in The Oaks Bayside. The Old Southern-style homes, at 100 Osprey Point Drive and 136 Osprey Point Drive, are offered for sale at $10.8 million and $7.7 million, respectively.

Guests were steeped in Southern hospitality, from icy mint juleps to the lovely ladies dressed as Southern belles who served as greeters and tour guides. “We had a wonderful turnout with over 100 people,” says Clark. “Guests responded with very positive comments, and we were fortunate to experience gorgeous weather and a magnificent sunset. The event was a fun way to showcase these residences, which really are the pinnacle properties of The Oaks Bayside.”

GO LONG Ever dreamed of living like an NFL star? Quarterback Kurt Warner of the Arizona Cardinals is selling his vacation home in Sabal Cove on Longboat Key for an asking price of $1,724,900 and will even autograph the deed of sale. Warner purchased the 4,000-square-foot, four-bedroom home when he was still with the Super Bowl-champion St. Louis Rams. Built in 1994, it has expansive lake and golf course views. Warner’s home is listed with Tom and Andy Cail of SKY Sotheby’s International Realty.

GOING, GOING, GONE! Marsha Wolak is trying to shatter the image of real estate auctions as the last step before foreclosure. “Auctions are no longer the last resort of desperate sellers,” explains Wolak, who started Marsha Wolak Auctions earlier this year, “but an alternative for individuals seeking a different approach to buying and selling property. Buyers usually get a bargain, but sellers get a good deal, too, because they can rid themselves of properties in a hurry without fees and without hassles.”

Wolak’s new company specializes in residential and commercial properties, with offices in Tampa, Sarasota and Naples. A short-sale division handles sales for financial institutions, but Wolak also sells for individuals who are looking for an innovative way to showcase their properties.

At a recent auction Wolak sold a Ritz-Carlton penthouse for $3 million, her largest residential sale to date. She’s currently preparing to auction off a buildable canal-front lot at 505 Avenida de Mayo on Siesta Key. And with each successful sale, her telephone starts to ring. “We’re a nice alternative to real estate agents for people who want a different approach, say a faster resolution or results without the marketing costs,” she says.

Wolak explains that sellers have to be motivated and not looking for top dollar, although there are occasions when the competitive nature of the auction drives price up. Sometimes bidding starts with a reserve amount and the sale price is subject to seller confirmation. Then there are absolute sales, where offers can begin at any amount and the property sells to the highest bidder, creating tremendous excitement in the crowd.

Wolak has the genuine patter of an auctioneer. “I love to hold my auctions on the property, with a big tent filled with chairs so bidders can see the land, see the waterfront and walk around the neighborhood,” she says. Wolak also offers a bidder reward program for high rollers and frequent bidders, including VIP seating in a special roped-off section along with beverages and appetizers. “We don’t just sell property at our auctions, we create events,” she says. “The atmosphere is exciting and fun.”

IN ANY LANGUAGE Candy Swick felt certain she could loll around the house in her pajamas on New Year’s Day. But the telephone rang very early, and the caller begged Swick to show her prospective buyers a house that Swick had listed for sale. One hour later, Swick met the enthusiastic clients at the property only to find out that neither spoke or understood a word of English.

The buyers hastily called a multilingual friend, and he hurried over to the house to act as interpreter. The buyers loved the place and decided right then and there to buy. But the friend could not accompany them to the bargaining table, and once again Swick was left to negotiate the contract and explain the subtle nuances of the transaction.

“I was lucky enough to locate someone through MLS, Tania Corredor, who was fluent in Spanish and English, and I hired her to facilitate the transaction,” Swick says. As luck would have it, the deal did not go through. But Swick was so impressed by Corredor’s people skills and professionalism that she hired her to come aboard and work at Swick & Associates.

Not long afterwards, the Spanish-speaking couple called back. “This time, the details all came together,” says Swick. “They got the house; I got a brilliant new associate and a few words of Spanish on my vocabulary. Gracias.”

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