Neighborhood Watch

By staff January 1, 2005

Strolling through The Meadows

The Meadows was way ahead of its time when British developer Taylor Woodrow created it in the late 1970s. One of the region's first master-planned communities, it embraced nature and achieved aesthetic harmony with winding streets, wooded trails, vast expanses of green space and groundbreaking underground utilities. Today, the north Sarasota County community's single-family homes, townhomes and villas are lovingly maintained, and the landscaping is lush and mature.

NUMBER OF MEADOWS PROPERTIES: 3,440, half single-family


SALES PRICES FROM 9/2003-9/2004: $187,000 to $790,000

SQUARE FOOTAGE OF THOSE HOMES: 1,849 to 4,426 square feet

MLS statistics courtesy of Deborah Beacham of Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate. MLS records transactions and listings by members of the Sarasota Board of Realtors Multiple Listing Service.

Sample Listing

Private wooded views and a grand lanai and pool make this Meadows home perfect for those seeking the Florida lifestyle. The three-bedroom, two-bath residence at 3418 Highlands Bridge Road has 2,600-plus square feet of living space in a graciously flowing floor plan. Built in 1991, it's listed for sale at $399,900 by Dennis Yoder of Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate.

Sample Sale

A 3,124-square-foot Spanish Mediterranean courtyard home at 4915 Rutland Gate Way in The Meadows recently sold for $7,000 more than the list price. The original asking price of the four-bedroom, five-bath home was $359,000; but the buyers paid $366,000 for the double lot and very private location at the end of a cul-de-sac. Oversized bedrooms, his and hers offices, a spacious bonus room/library and beautiful solar-heated pool with new screen and freshly renovated lanai floor are among its many features. Bob Itts of RE/MAX Properties was the listing and sales agent. Previous sale: 1988: $149,286.

Top of the Market

A two-plus-acre Longboat Key estate at 6877 Gulf of Mexico Drive that sold for $6.85 million captures the top slot for recent Sarasota sales. The two-story Mediterranean-styled residence has 300 feet of beachfront. Cherry cabinetry and top-of-the-line appliances make the chef's kitchen a focal point for entertaining. The house features vaulted ceilings, a formal dining room, elevator and 40-foot swimming pool. Two adjacent buildable lots create an opportunity for a sprawling beachfront estate. Dennis Girard of Resort Quest Real Estate of Southwest Florida was the sales agent.

Sales information provided by Kim Ogilvie of Michael Saunders & Company.

Hidden paradise

Right in the middle of the city, at the end of a quiet street, sits a tropical paradise just waiting to be discovered. Realtor Klaus Lang is the lucky listing agent for the unique historical property, located at the end of Hyde Park and connected to the mainland only by a driveway. Probably built around 1940, the island-style estate features a two-story main house with three bedrooms and the original gleaming wood floors. A guesthouse with full kitchen overlooks the tennis court and swimming pool, and an 800-foot seawall spans the property along Sarasota Bay.

The completely private estate currently belongs to an out-of-town owner who values seclusion and wishes to remain anonymous. "The feeling is old Florida, with lush landscaping and mature trees and charm," says Lang. "You're surrounded by water on an island, yet just minutes away from everything Sarasota has to offer. You don't find a place like this every day." The list price for this slice of paradise is $10 million.

What Did I Tell You?

Candy Swick has been telling clients for years that an experienced professional realtor can actually earn more money for a seller than the seller can make by marketing his or her own house. But sometimes the lure of easy money and no realtor fees can turn the most rational homeowner into a frothing FSBO (For Sale By Owner.)

"I'm friends with a certain judge who asked me to take a look at his home, but told me that he was reserving the right to sell it himself," explains Swick. "So I inspected the place and gave him my advice on everything from pumping up curb appeal to asking price. And I told him he would do better to list it with me and why. 'No, thanks,' he said. He was determined to sell his property on his own and confident that he would come out ahead."

Swick forgot about the house until the judge telephoned her several months later and asked her to take the listing. She agreed and sold the place in no time. "He called me up and told me that he was eating crow, fried, creamed and fricasseed, because I had netted him 15 percent more for his house after my commission," she says. "Coincidentally, I had shown him national statistics revealing that most homeowners who sell their own properties leave about 15 percent on the table. I did not rub it in."

Fancy this

Do you love to entertain? Is your lifestyle high style? Do you seek world-class amenities but demand privacy from the world as well? Annette Rogers has just listed your dream home. This two-story Beau Ciel penthouse offers 5,300 square feet of luxury living high above Sarasota. A library, media room and four bedroom suites afford the dweller all of the creature comforts and conveniences, wrapped in gorgeous trappings. Amenities include concierge and valet services, a heated pool and spa, and state-of-the-art fitness center.

The high-profile sellers have the property listed at $4.5 million, $4.9 furnished. "This is a deal, because the floor coverings are fabulous, the imported light fixtures are one-of-a-kind and the furniture is exactly right for the residence," says Rogers. "You could never find replacement pieces as finely detailed or such high-style contemporary furniture and accessories, chosen to enhance the interior space and echo the style of the building so exactly."

Next-door neighbors

Neighboring bayfront homes at 1212 and 1204 Hillview St. in Harbor Acres, both built around 1953, were listed together and sold in June for $5.995 million. The two adjacent bayfront residences stretch along Sarasota Bay for more than 333 feet, and each lot is larger than an acre. The larger of the two, at 1212 Hillview, is a two-story residence with four bedrooms, three-and-one-half baths, a pool and two-car garage. Both residences were sold "as is," and the expectation is that the new owner will utilize the parcel's vast development potential and create a magnificent bayfront estate. Marcia Salkin was the selling agent and Linda Dickinson was the listing agent; both are with Michael Saunders & Company.

Here, kitty kitty

Linda Formella, of Michael Saunders & Company's east Manatee office, believes every day is an adventure in the real estate business. And Formella isn't afraid to walk on the wild side. Take, for instance, the listing with one very unusual occupant.

"My sellers told me one of the rooms had been tailored to accommodate their pet bobcat," she explains. "Yes, these people were actually licensed to own an American bobcat and had altered an interior room to house the animal. The door was always kept locked and the door had a large sign warning people. Still, buyers wanted to peek in, so the sellers made a small window in the door so we could get a look." Formella's prospective buyers could get a very good sense of the room's size and shape and also see that the room had been stripped down to adequately house the animal, with concrete floors and no trim.

Ultimately, Formella did sell the house to buyers who could envision how the bobcat's old bedroom could be redecorated for their purposes. "The closing went smoothly, and I assume the bobcat is happily ensconced in a new room, somewhere out there," says Formella. And where was her unusual listing? Panther Ridge, of course.

Buyers who believe

Before construction even began at the luxurious Azure on Lido Key, Susan Cromwell of Michael Saunders & Company sold three residences, including a penthouse, for a total of over $6 million in sales. Cromwell's clients all requested Lido Key and agreed that the property offered the perfect location and amenities. Located at 129 Taft Drive, neighboring the Ritz-Carlton Members Beach Club, the condominium offers its residents easy beach access and is only steps away from upscale shopping and dining on St. Armands Circle. Construction started in August.

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