Wandering Eye

This Siesta Key Home Just Sold for $9.25 Million. Let's Take a Look.

The sale of the waterfront home made for one of the priciest transactions in Sarasota County so far this year.

By Kim Doleatto May 31, 2024

799 Freeling Drive on Siesta Key

We’re not in the business of predictions, but we'd wager that a recent $9.25 million cash sale for a Siesta Key home will probably end up on our year-end list of the most expensive deals of 2024. What do it and its competitors all have in common? Oodles of square footage and waterfront locales.

The front entry

Located in Bay Island at the north end of Siesta Key, the home at 799 Freeling Drive was built in 1994 by longtime owners Paul and Cindy Balliette, who bought the property in 1992 for $385,000 and built in 1994. The home was fully renovated in 2017, and, both times, the couple used Perrone Construction and local architect Clifford M. Scholtz.

The new buyers, Philip Haag and Yvonne Haag, are a couple who have been scoping out the area since Easter, maybe from their perch at their Ritz-Carlton Residences condo. They wish to keep a low profile, but in a big house.

The first level in the three-story home

Spanning three floors and 7,636 square feet on half an acre, the home includes a main room with a gas fireplace and a stone wall peaking at 21-foot-high ceilings. A 12-seat movie theater is outfitted with carpet you’ll only see in two places on Earth—one of them the happiest. Paul Balliette was a subcontractor for Walt Disney World in Orlando, according to the listing agent, Michelle Ward of Compass, who represented them in the sale. Balliette brought some of the carpet to his and his wife's Sarasota home, which has five bedrooms, three full bathrooms and two half bathrooms.

The home theater
A bedroom

On the ground floor, there’s a two-and-a-half-car garage, a workshop wired for an electric charging station and space for an R.V. or boat. The backyard has an outdoor kitchen and dining space, a saltwater pool, an in-ground Jacuzzi, a three-hole putting green and 69 feet of bayfront access with a dock and 69 feet of concrete seawall that can accommodate a 60-foot yacht.

The home comes with a putting green.

For such a nautical-friendly homestead, it’s no wonder that “the guy that owns the Below Deck TV show came to look at it,” Ward says. If you’re unfamiliar, the program is a reality television series that chronicles the lives of crew members who work and live aboard super-yachts.

The home has a water views and a boat dock.

After 30 years, it’s time for the previous homeowners to “right-size,” says Ward. The decision to sell was “bittersweet,” she says, but it’s “time to get on one level. It was just two people so it’s a lot of space and getting ready for storm season became a lot, too."

The home was fully remodeled in 2017.

Although insurance rates and storms are leading to challenges for waterfront home buyers, this home is built like a bunker. It has a full house generator and sits on 57 pilings.

The dining room

The biggest "a-ha" moment for visitors was the main living level where the outside and inside blur. "You open it up and it's all one, with electric powered screens so you can leave the sliding glass doors open and entertain without bugs," says Ward.

An outdoor kitchen and dining area

Courtney Tarantino of Coldwell Banker Realty, who represented the Haags, says,  “This house appealed to them because it had all the extras, the blinds were done, it was furnished and the outdoor kitchen is unbelievable. It epitomized Siesta Key living on the water for them."

According to Tarantino, they love what the sellers did and there are "no big plans to renovate." 

A bedroom

Although luxe sales at higher price points are taking root, so are longer times to closing, allowing more time for negotiations. The closing attorney, Michael Infanti, negotiated a view easement attached to the home in perpetuity. Now, no one can build in the way of its water views, which includes the Intracoastal, the Siesta Key bridge and Sarasota Bay.

"With all the development going on, as much as I love real estate, we don't always get to save all the views, so it helped seal the deal," Tarantino says.

To take a look at other homes we love on the same street, we recently featured this colorful stunner and wrote about another with a hidden staircase.

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