Real Estate Gossip

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Neighborhood Watch Picturesque Palm Island Palm Island is the Florida of days gone by, a pristine barrier island west of Englewood and north of Boca Grande that is accessed only by private boat or car ferry, offering seven miles of sugary sand beaches with nary a single high-rise to spoil the view. Less than half […]


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Neighborhood Watch
Picturesque Palm Island

Palm Island is the Florida of days gone by, a pristine barrier island west of Englewood and north of Boca Grande that is accessed only by private boat or car ferry, offering seven miles of sugary sand beaches with nary a single high-rise to spoil the view. Less than half of the island is developed, giving residents a feeling of space and tranquility that has become rare along Florida’s coastline. Full-time residents and their guests enjoy boating, fishing and shelling with a relaxed island lifestyle and a sense of seclusion from the bustle of the mainland.

Number of Palm Island properties: 300
Number of sales 10/2006-10/2007: 10
Range of sales prices: $800,000 to $1,735,000
Range of square footage: 1,317 to 4,500

Sample Listing
A newly constructed, two-story Palm Island home right on the Gulf of Mexico is offered for sale for $1,495,000. Located at 261 S. Gulf Blvd., it has three bedrooms and three full baths, beamed ceilings, granite counters and a plasma television. The interior is turnkey furnished with a tasteful color scheme, beautiful furniture, appliances, most artwork and kitchen supplies. It is situated in the Colony Don Pedro Homeowner’s Association, where amenities include a common heated swimming pool, lighted tennis courts and dockage. Kevin Mackin of Mackin Realty is the listing agent.

Recent Sale
A home at 160 Bocilla recently sold for $800,000 following a list price of $875,000. Named “Sol Shine,” it overlooks Kettle Harbor. Major remodeling included a new metal roof, front and back decks, new windows and doors, kitchen cabinets, stainless steel appliances and lush landscaping. The great room has hardwood floors and a vaulted bead board ceiling. The dock has a new boat lift and there are no bridges to the Intracoastal Waterway. Kevin Mackin of Mackin Realty was the listing agent, and Kim Brereton of Tarpon Realty was the selling agent.

MLS statistics courtesy of Kevin Mackin of Mackin Realty. MLS records transactions and listings by members of the Sarasota Board of Realtors Multiple Listing Service.

Top of the Market
A magnificent, 11,000-square-foot gated estate at 171 S. Washington Drive on St. Armands Key claimed the area’s highest sale price in October, $7.4 million, after an original list price of $9.8 million. The two-story Mediterranean home has five bedrooms, five full baths and two powder rooms that overlook a large swimming pool and beautifully landscaped grounds. The property stretches 300 feet along a protected bayou, and has a private boat dock and breathtaking water views along two sides. Professional interior design complements the classic architectural style. An elevator, wine cooler, state-of-the-art sound system and media room are among its modern luxuries. Membership to the Ritz-Carlton Beach Club was included in the sale. Klaus Lang of Michael Saunders & Company was the listing agent, and Bruce Myer of Coldwell Banker was the selling agent.

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

Old Home Place
After four generations of family ownership and 64 years of idyllic Florida vacations, a pecky cypress cottage on 1.1 acres of prime Longboat Key beachfront is being offered for sale. The 1,600-square-foot home on Sleepy Lagoon is updated and extremely comfortable, with hardwood floors, a modern kitchen with Sub-Zero refrigerator, three bedrooms, two and a half baths and spacious porches. The property stretches along 90 feet of white sand and turquoise Gulf waters, with some of the prettiest views on Longboat.

“When Floridians built their vacation homes along the beach in the 1940s, they chose prime locations,” explains Maureen Horn, listing agent with Prudential Palms Realty. “This cottage sits on the widest part of the beach, surrounded by 14 stately royal palms and positioned perfectly to capture sweeping views down the beach.”

Horn says the cottage is perfectly livable as is, with a lovely porch where the current owner reads her books. The buyers could live there while building a larger home and later use the cottage as guest quarters, she suggests. One architect who has expressed interest is considering incorporating the cottage within the floor plan of a new home.

The decision to part with the place has been extremely emotional for this family, Horn adds. “There are so many memories there and so much family history. But the time has come to let it go.” The property is listed for $3,999,999.

L.A. Story
While she was in Los Angeles visiting her grandchildren, Janis Collier of Michael Saunders & Company sold the most expensive house of her career for more than $5 million to her friend, who is now her neighbor. And it all happened between breakfast and lunch, with the legwork handled by her assistant and her colleague.

Naturally, Collier was practically walking out the door to the airport when a good friend called to say she was headed to Sarasota with her decorator to look at a house. “After she’d visited my home in Harbor Acres, that neighborhood became her preferred location,” Collier says. Coincidentally, a new Harbor Acres listing had just come across Collier’s desk, so she sent it to her friend, explaining that the house was listed by her colleagues Susan Matteoli and Linda Driggs at Michael Saunders & Company, who would be delighted to show her the property. Collier then arranged to have her assistant, Liza Knipe, pick up the friend and her decorator at the airport and drive them to see the original listing.

“My friend fell in love with the house and telephoned her husband back in Atlanta,” says Collier. “The husband called me in Los Angeles and told me they wanted the house. I called Susan, and together we handled the negotiations over the phone. Susan wrote up the offer and the deal was complete.”

Just hours after they arrived, Collier’s assistant drove the proud new Harbor Acres homeowner and her decorator back to the airport for a return flight to Atlanta. The entire deal took place in less than half a day. “Who would ever think, especially in this market, that all of this could happen when you go on vacation for a few days?” Collier says.

Fit For a King
A man’s home is his castle, particularly when it boasts a clock tower, stained glass, twin turrets and drawbridge over a genuine moat.

Welcome to Palazzo de Colores, the famous “castle house” at 1608 Hudson Pointe Drive in Sarasota. Loaded with architectural details, antique finishes and craftsmanship, the residence took two years to design and construct and is offered for sale for $2,695,000. Fashioned after the romantic castles of Europe, the 4,100-square-foot home has handmade windows, carved front doors, a gourmet kitchen, vaulted ceilings and stunning landscape lighting.

Listing agent Linda Driggs of Michael Saunders & Company has had interest from buyers as far away as Great Britain and France and calls the design and decoration of the property the most unusual of any house she has ever seen. “The entire home is like a work of art,” she says, “with beautiful details that are appreciated by everyone who walks through the magnificent front doors.”

A Christie’s Great Estate Listing, Palazzo de Colores is being sold totally furnished with period furniture, authentic antiques and artwork—a fairytale home for buyers seeking the royal treatment.

Stage Makeup
Debbie Vogler, a real estate agent with Michael Saunders & Company, says she can make a home sell faster for a higher price, all because of three little initials behind her name—ASP, short for Accredited Staging Professional.

Vogler practices the art of preparing a home for sale in such a way that it looks and shows better than other homes on the market. The principles and practices of staging cover everything from cleanup and clutter removal to the rearrangement of furnishings to enhance interior space. Stagers work with what the homeowner already has—and there is a definite art to changing someone’s personal space without stepping on anyone’s toes.

“The ultimate goal is to allow a buyer to see themselves in the home,” explains Vogler, “and that means de-personalizing the space.” At the same time, she cautions, you do not want to insult the owner by deeming their beloved photos and possessions “junk” and sweeping everything into a cardboard box.

“We enhance interiors by removing and rearranging for the best possible result,” she says. “Professional stagers create rooms that are beautiful and spacious and not overwhelmed with personal possessions or collections or memorabilia that can interfere with the selling process. My job is to create an interior that helps buyers focus on the space, not the stuff.”

Vogler does not charge her clients a fee for staging, including that service to her sellers as their agent.

Marriage That Works
Husband and wife Alison and Raul Elizade have been working together in the Siesta Key office of Michael Saunders & Company since 2003, combining Raul’s expertise in research and analysis with Alison’s background in marketing to create a formidable sales team.

“Sarasota is our first market and our first love,” explains Raul. “Even when we lived in New York, we were traveling to Sarasota as often as possible, visiting Alison’s parents and vacationing on Siesta Key. We bought one property and then another and now we are full-time residents, living close to downtown and raising a family here.”

A native of Buenos Aires, Raul left a career on Wall Street as an investment strategist for European and American financial institutions. Alison’s business experience was in sales and marketing. Being married and working together offers the couple’s clients many advantages, explains Alison. Because they are raising children here, they understand the needs of families. There is an unending creativity stream, as they live, eat, and breathe buying and selling. “Someone is always talking real estate in our household,” admits Raul. “Even our children contribute at dinner, and I am impressed by their ideas and knowledge of the market.”