Sarasota Realtors Robert and Valerie Orr
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Should I Refinance To Stop Paying PMI

You probably don't like having to pay more out on a monthly basis than you absolutely have to but, it's a reality you've come to accept -- to a point. As your home gains more equity, it comes closer to be worth enough to let you out of paying for private mortgage insurance or PMI. You might know that it's not insurance for your benefit, but for the lender, particularly because it does provide protection in the event you are unable to pay your mortgage.
What you might believe, due to a lot of misconceptions which float out in the nether, is that your PMI doesn't magically go away. Many people think that once their principal balance falls to 80 percent, private mortgage insurance detaches itself from their monthly obligation, but that's not the case. Most lenders require you go through a process in order to cancel PMI.
There are different ways to get into a position that allows you to cancel private mortgage insurance. One, of course, is to pay more into the principal to accelerate your equity position. Another way is to use savings or other... read article

Sarasota Real Estate Market Sales Increase

Sarasota, Florida (April 2017) -- During the month of March, the Sarasota-Manatee real estate market experienced a sales bump as the season begins to wind down. In fact, data collected by the Florida Realtors of My Florida Regional MLS, shows strong numbers in county combined closed sales for condos and single family properties. Those combined sales represent an increase of 6.2 percent over March 2016.
Sarasota and Manatee Closed and Pending Sales
This continues a trend, as single family homes in Sarasota County increased by 2.4 percent and condo sales rose by 0.4 percent in February. For Manatee County, closed sales for single family residences rose by 6.6 percent in February.

For the month of March, condo sales in Sarasota increased by 13.5 percent, compared to last year, while single family property sales rose 2.6 percent. In Manatee, condos actually experienced a dip of 4.4 percent, compared to last year, but single family home sales rose by 11.7 percent.

Pending sales -- the number of listings which went under contract during the month -- are generally considered a strong indicator of the following month's sales performance. In both Sarasota and Manatee counties, pending sales rose by 6.1 percent, compared to March 2016. This, despite... read article

Siesta Key History

Virtually uninhabited since settlers came to Florida, Siesta Key is a relatively new community. In the 16th century, the peninsula which would become the 22nd largest and 3rd most populous state in America, was home only to a few native Indian tribes. In 1513, Europeans began to explore the land. But, it wasn't until the early part of the 20th century, Siesta Key even became home to some daring families. At the time, it was completely unrecognizable from today. In fact, it's a wonderful transformation. And, it all started in earnest when one ambitious entrepreneur opened a fertilizer plant in about 1848.

Siesta Key History
Today, four districts comprise Siesta Key: Siesta Beach, Crescent Beach, Turtle Beach, and Siesta Key Village. But this certainly wasn't always the case. Home to just a few fisherman families, with plenty of mosquitoes and snakes to contend, its dense vegetation, wildcats, boars, and sand fleas made it all but uninhabitable. In fact, the only way to get supplies from the mainland was by boat, across Sarasota Bay. Therefore, it's no surprise only the most hardy and handy of families could call this... read article

December 2016 Sarasota Real Estate Condo Market Posts Increase

Sarasota, Florida (January 2017) -- The Sarasota and Manatee real estate market boasts strong condo activity for December 2016. Closed sales were particularly impressive in the condo unit category, while single family homes actually declined slightly, compared to the same month in 2015. Inventory across the two county real estate market rose again, as it did in the preceding months of October and November last year. This is somewhat unusual as the buying and selling season generally occur in the first few months of the new year.
“With increased inventory in the condo market, it appears our sellers started early in anticipation of northern visitors wanting to escape the harsh winters. This is the time of the year they wait for, it is truly when the largest pool of buyers are in the market to purchase their product,” Xena Vallone, 2017 Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee President, explains.
Top five luxury homes closed in December

280 GOLDEN GATE PT Unit#9, 3 bedrooms, 4 full baths $4,295,000
271 ROBIN DR, 4 bedrooms, 5 full baths $3,110,000
7610 SANDERLING RD, 5 bedrooms,6 full baths $2,989,000
3049 BAY SHORE RD, 4 bedrooms,5 full baths $2,862,500
1357 HARBOR DR, 4 bedrooms, 5... read article

Sarasota Florida History

Known for its beautiful, sprawling, white sand beaches, its wonderfully mild winters and balmy summers, Sarasota, is home to much history. With its many challenging and gorgeous golf courses, great marinas, museums, shopping districts, and more, Sarasota is a terrific place to live.
Strolling along the beaches and touring downtown, as well as inland, it’s difficult to believe Sarasota was so different in the early to mid-nineteenth century. Once known as Zara Zote, eventually, it became Sara Sota, until the name morphed into its modern carnation.
Sarasota Florida History
Sarasota saw its first real visitors with the arrival of the Spanish in the early 1500’s. In 1539, Spanish Conquistador Hernando de Soto arrived in “ZaraSota,” a name meaning "Radiance of Soto." The peninsula became a territory of the United States in 1819 and later earned its statehood in 1845. Fort Armistead became the first Army military installation. For many years, Spanish, European, Cuban, Mexican, South American, and eventually, Americans traded in the area. The arrival of William H. Whitaker of Savannah, became one the very first settlers, establishing a residence on Whitaker Bayou in the 1840's.
Sarasota,... read article

Mixed-Use Quay Sarasota Development Receives Final City Approval


After the start of the New Year, a year-long process of design and permitting for the project's infrastructure will commence.
Following years of planning, the enormous mixed-use Quay Sarasota Development Project, finally won city approval. A potential $1 billion undertaking, the site will combine commercial, residential, and office buildings. Over the next decade, the once long-vacant site will undergo a significant transformation, to enhance the downtown waterfront area, attracting more businesses, city residents, and benefiting the local economy.

Mixed-Use Quay Sarasota Development receives Final City Approval
Originally built in the 1980's the Sarasota Quay fell vacant and was torn down ten years ago, in 2006. Now, the 15 acre site is scheduled to become an immense project, lead by Greenpointe Communities. Along with the approval of Quay Sarasota are a slew of new initial design and permitting work. These will involve, among many other projects, water, sewer, and road infrastructure changes and updates.
"We're excited to be in the city of Sarasota at this point in time. You really get the sense that something's happening here and that the city's at a pivotal place," Greenpointe regional... read article

Inexpensive Weekend DIY Home Improvements

As the Sarasota real estate market inventory and pending sales continue to increase, you might be thinking about selling your house soon. To fetch the biggest return on your investment, your property must entice potential buyers. This is done by decluttering, depersonalizing, disinfecting, and staging. To really pique interest and get buyers through the door, you can do a few inexpensive weekend DIY home improvements.

Bad ROI Home Improvements
The trick is to choose the right improvements. While some might improve aesthetics and function, they don't necessarily pay off at resale. In fact, according to the Remodeling magazine’s 2016 Cost vs. Value Report, there are projects which you should avoid altogether, if you are going to sell your home. Making the list of bad ROI home improvements are a deck addition, upscale bathroom remodel, upscale master suite addition, upscale bathroom addition, and a modest bathroom addition.

It’s understandable if you, like many Americans, associate home improvement projects with money flying out your door. After all, the average bathroom remodel tops $16,000, according to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost Vs. Value Report. Replacing your windows runs $8,000 on average. Kitchens and master... read article

Sarasota October Real Estate Market Inventory, Pending Sales Up

In a reversal from previous months, the two county, Sarasota-Manatee market experienced a change during the month of October. Both inventory and pending sales increased, converse to the last few to several months. Combining Sarasota and Manatee counties, inventory increased by 17.5 percent over last year, as well as 3.1 percent up from September. This marks a reversal in the trend which began earlier in the year.

“Not only did we see an increase in the number of contracts written in October compared to last year but this is a reversal of the trend for most of this year, when contracts written were lower than the previous year. This should lead to more closed sales in the next sixty days," said 2016 RASM President, Linda Formella.
Top five luxury homes closed in October

2120 Casey Key Rd, 5 bedrooms, 5 full baths, 2 half bath $3,200,000
1300 Benjamin Franklin Dr, 3 bedrooms, 3 full baths, 1 half bath $2,850,000
443 Meadow Lark Dr, 3 bedrooms,4 full baths $2,625,000
931 Blue Heron Overlook,4 bedrooms,5 full baths,2 half bath $3,200,000
1304 N Lake Shore Dr, 4 bedrooms, 4 full baths, 1 half bath $2,400,000

Median Home Prices
In addition to increased inventory, pending sales and median prices... read article

Smart Home Money-Saving Energy Tips

We all like to save money when and where possible. It's why we plan and budget spending to maximize savings, investments, and to enjoy various activities. But there are more steps homeowners can take to save every month. It's not often we think about energy efficiency, that is, until we are able to open the windows and give the air conditioner a much-needed break. The fact of the matter is, energy hogs live in your house. But, you don't have to pay for their rent free lifestyle if you know some smart home money-saving energy tips.

Biggest Home Energy Wasters
A few years ago, the Digital Power Group grabbed headlines when it asserted a smartphone uses more energy than a medium-sized, Energy Star refrigerator. Combining battery charging, with data use, and WiFi connectivity, the company claimed this rivals a refrigerator in energy use. Of course, that's a big contention but these pocket-sized technological wonders do consume a lot of energy.

An energy-efficient home will keep your family comfortable while saving you money. Whether you take simple steps or make larger investments to make your home more efficient, you’ll see... read article

Sarasota Real Estate Market Healthier With Fewer Distressed Sales

August distressed property sales, composed of foreclosures and short sales, continued to fall across both Sarasota County and Manatee County. By comparison, distressed property sales fell an astounding 53.9 percent from August of last year. As a result, the total number of distressed property sales decreased to just 5.8 percent of all completed residential real estate transactions. In August 2015, sales of distressed properties accounted for 12.8 of all residential property sales.

Closed sales of single family homes and condos combined went up in August by 1.8 percent over August of last year. Traditional sales, however, which include only non-distressed properties, shows an improvement of 9.9 percent over August 2015. Clearly, as sales of distressed properties decrease and account for a smaller market share, prices of non-distressed properties will experience positive gain. Although there were fewer distressed property sales, which drives down the total number of all closed transactions, this is good news for the health of the market across both counties.
Sarasota and Manatee County Median Home Prices
In addition to falling distressed property sales, both Sarasota and Manatee counties experienced a rise in median home prices. Residential real estate median prices continue to increase from 2015 to 2016. During August, the... read article