Best Bargains

By Robert Plunket April 30, 2008

Yes, you can—afford one of these houses, that is.


By Robert Plunket



Prudential Palms held a special “affordable housing” open house marathon on Saturday – more than 50 properties all under $300,000. Some were cheap and nice; others were just cheap. Here are three of the top buys.


 Above, exterior and kitchen of 3317 Bougainvillea St.

3317 Bougainvillea St., Southgate. This 3- bedroom, 2-bath concrete block house has just been remodeled. Some minor finishing touches are needed but it’s 95 percent there. The kitchen is great – granite countertops, wood cabinets, and one of the baths is new and shiny. There’s an enclosed lanai with new tile floors and the house seems bigger than it is because of the high, vaulted ceilings. They’re asking $199, 900 (down from $299,000!) but they keep saying “owner extremely motivated,” which is real estate lingo for “offer 10 percent less.” For an updated, 3-bedroom house in a good family neighborhood, this house is a real standout. Call Ron Gordon at (941) 552-3549.


Above, exterior and living room of Clark Road condo.

Still too expensive? How about $89,000? Yes, a decent two-bedroom condo for well under $100,000. It’s 750 square feet, has nice new floors and is in a small (16-unit) complex on Clark Road, very neat and clean, and just two miles from the beach. It is not age-restricted. While this isn’t my dream apartment, it’s pleasant and God knows the price is right. You can actually afford this place on a salary of under $30,000. I looked at other condos in this price range – there aren’t many – and this one wins the prize. Call Kim Gilliland at (941) 349-3131.

 Exterior of 4751 Village Gardens Drive.

And finally, perhaps the best affordable housing situation in Sarasota is Village Gardens. I used to live there and I recommend it very highly. It’s up next to the dog track and dates back to the 1970s. From the outside the units (mostly one-story and arranged in pairs) are bland and undistinguished, but the interiors are sunny and well laid out. Most have cathedral ceilings and lanais.

Village Gardens' community pool.

Village Gardens has two claims to fame: its beautiful landscaping, with enormous trees and tropical plants, and the residents, who are a nice eclectic mix of all ages and situations – snowbirds, actors from the Asolo, young professionals, old professionals – and who make sure the place is well kept and well run.


4751 Village Gardens Drive was on the open house tour and it has a particularly nice light and airy feeling and a beautiful, private view. Two bedrooms, two baths, eat-in kitchen, and just been painted. It’s priced at $151,900. Other Village Gardens units start at $115,000.  Call Peggy Ann Wellman at (941) 349-3131.


Now that’s affordable.
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