My Bad

By Robert Plunket October 1, 2008

If I hadn’t pushed Florida real estate so hard, we wouldn’t be in this mess.


By Robert Plunket

Click here to watch our Real Estate Junkie discuss his role in the economy.


I’m surprised that in all the attempts to place the blame for the world economic collapse, no one is pointing the finger at the real culprit – me. Yes, I admit that in my enthusiasm to sell Florida real estate I was perhaps a little too successful. People wanted my “picks” and “best buys” so much that predatory loans were invented for people to buy them and things spiraled out of control and now we are faced total global disaster. Like Sarah Palin, I am “ill” about what’s happened.


If you have been impacted in a negative way by my actions, I first want to apologize. And if you are one the unfortunate friends and neighbors being forced out of their home or forced to drastically downsize, I now would like to offer, by way of penance, my guide to inexpensive yet very nice rentals. Yes, there is a bright side to the mess – never has there been a better time to rent in Sarasota. The variety of what’s available is amazing, and the prices are the lowest they have been in years.


Cheap rentals come in three general categories:



Cimarron Lakes apartment complex

  1. The big apartment complexes. These are the places owned by big corporation that specialize in renting one- and two-bedroom apartments, often to newcomers and kids just out of college. Sarasota has plenty of them, and they vary in quality. You can expect to pay between $650 and $950, and for this you get a nice, relatively new place to live with a full-time staff who fixes everything and a whole lot of amenities – pool, gym, jogging trails. Many take pets. The drawback here is a sort of transient atmosphere and a lot of rules to follow. One nice one I can recommend – I’ve had several friends living here over the years – is Cimarron Lakes at 5479 DeSoto Parkway (941-773-7431.) For more information about these places, pick up Southwest Apartment Guide at Publix or go to


  1. Next, quirky places in small buildings or private homes or “over the garage.” Craig’s List always has an interesting selection and some start as low as $500. Again, they wary wildly, and some are tiny, depressing, and moldy. But others are real finds, and if you really look hard you could hit the jackpot – a guest cottage on an estate for $800 a month. The secret here – check Craig’s List every morning. Unfortunately, it’s hard to find a good one that takes pets.


Examples of houses currently for rent in Southgate. 

  1. But I have a family, you say. I need a real house. Well, don’t despair. The town is full of empty houses that people are desperate to rent, and rents are actually going down. Pick a neighborhood you like and drive around and look for signs. I did this in Southgate yesterday and was amazed at the number of places for rent. Some blocks had as many as four or five. You get a nice house, usually not that new but with two or three bedrooms, a family room and a garage. Most are under $1,000 a month. With so many available don’t be afraid to try and get a better deal. Offer the landlord less, or say you mow the lawn or do minor repairs. If you’re a good tenant with a steady job and have been in the area a long time (or have rich parents) make sure he knows that. Landlords are desperate for good, stable tenants. If that’s you, demand a deal. You may not get it from the first landlord, but you will get it from the third or forth.



Keep in mind that rental deals are all across the board, including luxury downtown high rises and waterfront houses on Siesta Key. In future segments we’ll talk about how to live like rich person for $1,500 a month. And again – I’m really, really sorry.
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