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Karen Wantuck
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Michelle Burke-Phillips
423 St. Armands Circle
Sarasota, FL
(941) 388-3966

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Posts Tagged ‘Sarasota condos in foreclosure’

Foreclosure on my Block–Sarasota, FL

Saturday, May 29th, 2010

I paid $365000 for my home Dec 05, bought a foreclosure on the same block in 09 for $157,000. Now this home is available to you for $170,000. A 3/2 with a fenced backyard in the closest planned community near downtown Sarasota, 5 miles from airport, 5 miles from I75.

If you are interested in this home….or any other foreclosures… please send me your email address, and price range and I will send you more foreclosures that are good deals.

But keep in mind the REO (bank owned foreclosure property) goes fast, has multiple bidders so you have to be ready to go. The banks also prefer owner/residents rather than investors.

I might buy it myself....but I already own two homes on this block.

Don't Wait! REO property goes fast.

Why Are Monthly Condo Fees in Sarasota, FL So High?

Friday, May 7th, 2010

In Sarasota, FL (and probably everywhere else in the Sunshine State), monthly condominium fees surprise potential buyers because they seem very high in price. 

Such fees usually include a lot of services like sewer/water; maintenance of the grounds; care and maintenance of the exterior of the building such as repainting, re-roofing. resurfacing the parking and garage areas, and maybe even small maintenance within you own unit like dripping faucets.  But the bulk of the fee goes to the Insurance Industry!

THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY  (*## ; (  grrr ##.)  Since Katrina and assorted other wind storms that blew around Sarasota, FL (Sarasota HAS NOT experienced a hurricane for over 70 years) the insurance industry has gotten almost free rein to raise premiums.   

 That coverage pays for costs to rebuild and/or repair damage to the roof and/or the exterior of the building in which your condo is located. It covers damages produced by wind, flood, and debris damage (flying ceramic tiles can be treacherous missiles).  Normal coverage handles fire and  liability for a slip, fall, or even a drowning. It is all lumped into one fee which owners have to pay.

Adding to the cost for monthly fees may be an association’s desire to collect more than needed in order to have a large reserve to use for new sprinkler systems, new elevators, pool resurfacing, updating of lobbies…and any other item that MIGHT be needed in the not so distant future.  In this way, owners are never bothered with assessments (demands for money) to keep their investment current and valueable.

The Watergate in downtown Sarasota, for example, has monthly association fees of over $700. Their reserves are impressive and used well year-after-year. And the Ritz….if you can afford to buy at the Ritz, I guess monthly fees in excess of a thousand dollars are no problem. You want a Cola at 2 a.m? Just call the desk and it’s their pleasure to bring it to your door. There are a few buildings with such Concierge Services and it is paid for, along with all the coverage outlined above, by a monthly association fee.

Aside from association fees, owners pay local and state taxes (figure 1.5% of purchase price unless you buy a foreclosure or short sale).

You will also want to insure your interior which will cover your furnishings…..and the walls from the studs inward.  That coverage is usually very low. You aren’t going to furnish it expensively so why bother? Well, let’s imagine that a storm breaks a window….or the comode in the unit above yours breaks and for a few days, without being discovered, flows into your condo.  Your sheet rock will absorb that moisture and must be replaced, maybe all the carpeting as well. That’s when you call your insurance company and yes, you will be glad you paid $300 a year for interior coverage. I had a break like that in a tiny pipe behind a comode and it cost in excess of $10,000 in repairs–all paid for by my insurance company!

Therefore, when considering a purchase of a condominium (or villa, townhouse), look to the association documents or ask your real estate agent what the fees cover. Usually it is spelled-out on the sheet the agent will give you for each property you are considering. (I send my buyers a sheet for each property we are going to visit and all these particulars are therein stated.)

WHAT MY COMMUNITY PROVIDES –  As an example, consider where I live which is just 5 miles from downtown Sarasota, Lido Key and St. Armands Circle. It is composed of 400 dwellings, and 4 associations all with their own president and  fees: The Single Family home section pays $80 a quarter and just the entrance greenery is cared for; the Townhome and Villa section  pay $300+ a month for exterior bldg. care, grounds, basic cable and pressure washing the roof every few years, and the Maintenance-Free home section owners pay $188 a month which gets you grounds maintenance and basic cable. Furthermore, ideally each section’s association has put aside enough money in reserves to take care of the roads when they need resurfacing.

In case I’ve got you totally freaked out about fees: You get to look at the financials and full documents of an association after you have an accepted contract to purchase, and have 3 days after receiving same on a resale to back-out of your offer if you don’t like what you see. For a condo newly constructed or with no previous owner, you have 15 days for review of the docs.

ASSOCIATION FEES FOR SINGLE FAMILY HOMES: If you buy a single family home in a DEED RESTRICTED COMMUNITY there will also be fees required….and usually monthly. These may cover only the upkeep and care of public areas….not insurance on your structure….and are therefore probably very low cost.

I’ll do another blog on Deed Restricted vs Non-Deed Restricted purchases later if you want. 

Do you have other areas of interest? Ask me a question….and sign up to follow my blog. 

CONTACT ME FIRST.  And if you are a potential buyer of real estate in Sarasota, FL or surrounding towns…be that a condo, single family home, or a commercial property, contact me before you come so I can send you the best buys.  If you are already a client of mine. Tell all your friends ; )  Karen

Sarasota Home & Condo Prices are so Low. Is something Wrong with the Place?

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010
A recent Canadian client asked me “why are some properties which were selling for $200,000 five years ago, now selling for $100,000? Is something wrong with the neighborhood?”
No. Probably not. Remember, the US housing market had a melt down and we are back to 2002 pricing.
Especially in places that are built after 2000 because Sarasota /Bradenton was considered THE place to retire, THE place to invest back in 2003-2006 especially. You could buy and flip and make 45% profit.
Lots of people got caught up in a buying frenzy, buying at the high point. Like Apple stock it looked soooo good. Unfortunately, unlike Apple stock the prices didn’t continue up and up and up. Instead we imploded like the entire rest of the USA housing market.  First the investors jumped ship, then those folks who could get out and at least break even sold… and finally the poor smoos who had to hold because of lousy mortgages which locked them in for 2 or more years, and those who bought with ballooning mortgages so that at the end of the day they owed more than they paid for their homes. They got out too.
The result of this wholesale dumping, and foreclosures and the newest misery, the short sale, is low, low, low prices especially in the condo market.
We are now at the bottom (so seez me and also finally the national press). Sarasota (and much less Bradenton) is once again the golden child of places to retire, or for second homes.
And all those people who have been waiting to buy back in to Florida housing are now pulling us off the shelf and watch out because prices are starting to move ever so slightly up. 
The Federal incentives helped some and you folks in Canada who have a healthy economy and now have a monetary value on or almost on par with the US dollar are swarming to Sarasota where the sun seems to always shine, the beaches are plentiful and the waters warm.  
If you buy and hold, I pretty much think any good property will increase in value for through the years even though there may be a number of vacancies in this moment in time.
The most important thing is for condo associations to be healthy and you can’t judge that without seeing financials and you don’t get those until you make an offer which is accepted. Then you, dear buyer, have 3 days to look it over (if it is a resale) or 15 if it is new construction. Don’t like what you see? You can then just back out of your contract. 
Better have a real estate agent help you read all the fine print….and please, please, please. Find ONE AGENT you like and don’t play the field. We hate it when we find out you are using one agent for one part of town and another agent for a different part of town. Why would you do that? It doesn’t cost you anything to use an agent, and in the USA one agent can show you all and everything for sale. 
Market Recap

  • Avg. Sales Price: 379,000

  • Avg. Days on Market: 130

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