Neighborhoods like Laurel Park boast proximity to downtown Sarasota and appeal to homebuyers relocating from bigger cities. 

Image: Jenny Acheson

It’s a good time to sell your home.

In the North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, December 2020 saw closed sales increase by 40.2 percent—and the median sale price for a single-family home increased by 12.7 percent, to $355,000, according to data from Florida Realtors.

The uptick in Florida relocations includes a sizable chunk of people moving here from New York City, San Francisco, Chicago and Los Angeles. They're looking for smaller city living minus big city traffic, where the bang for their buck is louder.

A home in Laurel Park

Image: Jenny Acheson

For urban dwellers wanting to recreate the conveniences of city living, neighborhoods like Gillespie Park and Laurel Park fit the bill. They’re high-density neighborhoods with close proximity to downtown amenities. Residents can catch a show at the theater, follow up with dinner and late-night cocktails, and grab groceries in a cinch—without relying on a car.

Coldwell Banker realtor Betsy Sublette has lived in Laurel Park for 20 years and has owned and sold real estate in Laurel Park and Gillespie Park for the last 22 years. She and her business partner, Kelly Mooney, shared some tips for home buyers looking to sell right now.

1. Walkability

Buyers coming from big cities want the convenience of nearby groceries, restaurants, the bayfront and theaters—without having to get in their car. It's not about the street having a sidewalk, it's about proximity to amenities.

2. Outdoor Space

The home doesn't have to have a pool, but it should have enough outdoor space to host a small dinner party, especially now that Covid-19 restrictions are keeping people home-bound. After being confined for more than a year, people want to get outside and take advantage of one of the main reasons they moved here: great weather.

3. Flex Space

With so many people working remotely, a home office has become essential. If your floorplan offers room for one, investing in a dedicated workspace will put your home at the top of a homebuyer’s list.

4. An En Suite Bedroom on the First Level

Many of the lots in Laurel Park and Gillespie Park are smaller and have two-story homes. Without an en suite bedroom on the lower level, an entire buying population is eliminated. Many buyers want to age in place, but will eventually have to give up what could be a forever home if they’re forced to regularly walk up a flight of stairs.

5. A Front Porch

Porches create a social space and tie back into walkability. When people walk by, there's a physical space to sit and engage with them. In fact, the City of Sarasota is encouraging porches in new builds to create neighborly, friendly spaces. 

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