Real Estate Go$$ip - July 2006

By staff July 1, 2006



Sylvan Lea, just east of I-75 and a mile north of Bee Ridge Road, has narrow, winding streets beneath a thick canopy of oak trees. Hawks, owls and other wildlife habituate this private community, which is sheltered from winter winds and delightfully shaded from summer heat. Architectural styles are eclectic, mixing single-story ranch homes with custom two-story residences occupied by young professional couples, families, empty-nesters and retired seniors. It's a remarkably loyal neighborhood, boasting at least a dozen residents who have sold and purchased homes within the community without ever leaving.

Number of Sylvan Lea properties: 50

Number of sales 4/2005 to 4/2006: 5Range of sales prices 4/2005 to 4/2006: $398,000 to $477,900

Average sales price: $437,500

Square footage: 1,838 to 2,307

Recent Sale

A charming three-bedroom home surrounded by lush landscaping at 1941 Rain Forest sold recently for $470,000, after an original list price of $493,900. It has a fireplace, French doors, designer window treatments, a newly resurfaced pool and patio and updated kitchen cabinets. The listing agent was Kim Gilliland of Prudential Palms Realty, and the selling agent was Kathy Geeraerts of Green Real Estate of Anna Maria. Previous sale: $145,000 in January 1994.

Sample Listing

A three-bedroom home at 2057 Misty Sunrise Trail is for sale at $450,000 in Sylvan Lea. Built in 1984, the house has 2,050 square feet of living space and a magical back yard with wood deck, paver bricks, a fountain and plenty of room for a swimming pool. Decorator touches, handsome tile work throughout and a new roof are among the features. Listing agent is Kim Gilliland of Prudential Palms Realty.

MLS statistics courtesy of Kim Gilliland of Prudential Palms Realty. MLS records transactions and listings by members of the Sarasota Board of Realtors Multiple Listing Service.

Top of the Market

A gated Gulf-front estate at 1067 Westway Drive in Lido Shores captured the top spot for residential sales this spring. The home, listed for $13.95 million and sold for $13 million, is set on two acres of direct beachfront with spectacular Gulf views across a private walking beach. It was built in 1996 by Michael Walker. The interior has 7,440 square feet of air-conditioned living space, but the total space is an amazing 22,230 square feet with decks, terraces, loggias and garage. Five bedroom suites offer ample room for guests, and one entire floor is dedicated to the master suite, which opens to stunning rooftop terraces. Listing agent was Kim Ogilvie and selling agent was Debra Pitell; both are with Michael Saunders & Company.

Sales information provided by Debra Pitell of Michael Saunders & Company.

HOME, SMART HOME The Home Builders Association of Sarasota County and Vision Homes are proud to present the first-ever HBA Tech House, showcasing the latest and greatest energy-conservation products and storm-resistant technology in residential construction-all without sacrificing aesthetics.

The cutting-edge HBA Tech House comes handsomely packaged in tasteful interior d├ęcor and exterior design. "We built the home in such a way that people can see the best and brightest new ideas," says Mike Padgett of Vision Homes. "Hurricane-resistant construction and green building techniques give us a stronger, more energy-efficient home while still maintaining beauty and functionality."

The two-story house offers 2,700 square feet under air, featuring three bedrooms, three baths, a study, bonus room and three-car garage. Special features include fiber-mesh concrete slab, proven to be more effective than the steel wire method in preventing foundation cracks, Lennox PureAire filtration systems, Monier roof tiles and Icynene foam insulation throughout the attic, which provides a remarkable 30-degree average temperature reduction. The house has a solar water heater, biometrics fingerprint entry, water-wise landscaping with irrigation supplied by well, impact glass with low emissivity (low-e) ratings on all windows to reduce the load on cooling and heating systems, whole-home water purification and reverse osmosis filtration for drinking water.

But the biggest buzz surrounds a feature homeowners hope they will never have to use: a hurricane-safe room built into the stairwell. This mini-bunker, surrounded by reinforced concrete, provides a protected shelter for families during storms as well as secured storage for valuables. The HBA Tech House is currently open to the public Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. and on Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. It's located in a new 72-acre subdivision called Trillium, east of I-75 on Proctor Road. List price: $889,900 furnished, which reflects a 12-month lease-back.

HAND-CARVED HOME Looking for an unusually beautiful home with one-of-a-kind features? Husband and wife Leo Litto and Debbie Pepin formerly owned a millwork company in Englewood, and their lovely waterfront home overlooking Lemon Bay was a showcase for what their company could accomplish. The residence is now for sale, complete with a striking interior and features literally crafted by hand. The unique wood elements include a 500-bottle wine cellar made of rare pecky cypress and a den floored in river-recovered pine that is petrified in many colors of taupe, brown and amber. The gorgeous kitchen was crafted from four different woods and has a V-shaped island designed to look like a ship's bow. Floors, walls, cabinetry, doors and even the air-conditioning vents are all done in gorgeous, gleaming natural wood. The property is listed with Terri Healey of Michael Saunders & Company for $1,495,000.

LAP OF LUXURY Located just steps from downtown with views of the John Ringling Causeway is a new Harbor Acres estate home that redefines luxury. The residence, located at 1423 Hillview, was constructed by Jenkins and Charland with architectural plans by J.W. Smith Design Group. Six bedrooms, seven full baths and two half-baths, living room, family room, den, exercise room, home theater, library with secret safe room and a full mother-in-law suite occupy 10,500 square feet of air-conditioned living space, but the home totals more than 20,000 square feet under roof including decks, verandahs and a six-car garage.

Soaring ceilings are done in pecky cypress, and the hardwood floors are Australian cypress. Fine finishes are found throughout the interior, with extensive use of granite, marble, stone and ornate woodworking. The 12-foot-high custom-carved stone fireplace was imported from Mexico, and the foyer features a custom-designed backlit stained glass dome chandelier. An expansive lanai surrounding the swimming pool and spa features a fully equipped grill area, stone decking, outdoor fire pit with copper hood, plasma television, stereo system, full pool bath with changing room and showers and stackable washer-dryer for towels.

Situated on an acre with private boat dock amid tropical landscaping, the property is listed with Marty Benson of Prudential Palms Realty for $9.95 million and has attracted attention from buyers as far away as Europe. "So far, we've shown it to one gentleman from Germany and another one from Norway," reports Benson. "We also showed the property to two former athletes. Each prospective buyer we bring to the property is impressed by the floor plan and amazed at the attention to detail."

GOLDEN RULE When Candy Swick's clients sold their penthouse, they made sure to leave it spit-polished and shining for the new owners. But they worried that their new home would not be cleaned and ready on moving day.

"This was an older couple, and they experienced a great deal of anxiety prior to closing," says Swick. "They had worked so hard to spiff their old place up, even cleaning and stretching the carpeting and polishing the mirrors, and were just in a tumult over what condition their new villa would be in upon arrival."

As luck would have it, the couple turned the key of their new home to find a pristine interior and welcome gift on the kitchen counter. The former owner had steamed the carpets, dusted, scrubbed, mopped and had even washed windows. "She had left her place as beautiful as they had left their own," says Swick. "And there were several bottles of good wine on the counter with a card welcoming them. In this world that can be hurried and stressful and sometimes downright rude, it was such a lovely moment."

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