Their First House

By Robert Plunket May 27, 2009

Searching for a starter home for our young Sarasota Magazine editor.


By Robert Plunket


Click here to see our Real Estate Junkie discuss these Bradenton buys on ABC7.


Hannah, our associate editor (and author of the popular GenXtra blog on our Web site) and her boyfriend, Steve, have asked me to help them find a house. Their wish list is quite specific. Since Steve works in Pinellas Park and Hannah in Sarasota, they want something halfway in between – Bradenton. It would preferably be something older, with character and charm, near downtown, in a good neighborhood, and need minimal renovation. They can spend up to $130,000.


It was harder than I thought. The choices in this end of the market are going fast. And let’s face it – most of the homes in this price range are bland, shabby, poorly located, or have other major drawbacks. But I did come up with several sensational choices – at least I think so.









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2529 Seventh Ave. W., Bradenton


First, here’s a great old Sears Roebuck type house from the mid 1920s with a magnificent banyan tree in front. It’s located in the Wares Creek area – which they are about to finally dredge, thus vastly increasing the neighborhood’s appeal. It has 3 bedrooms, 1 bath, updated kitchen, a fireplace and a nice back yard. The square footage is 1,512. They’re asking $130,000. Drawbacks: It’s on a sort of busy street, and not on a premium block. Call Katie Annis at 941-355-7696.


 2327 Seventh Ave. W., Bradenton


Also on Seventh Avenue West but in a slightly fancier location is this classic Spanish bungalow from 1925. It’s got 3 bedrooms, 1 bath, a fireplace, great wood floors, and a big fenced back yard. I peeked in through the windows and it seemed to be in pretty good shape. The square footage is a generous: 1, 868. The price is $129,000. Drawbacks: It seemed the tiniest bit dark inside and it’s a short sale, meaning the bank can be a pain in the neck negotiating. Call Andrew Barnard at 941-907-2000.


 1532 Ballard Park Drive, Bradenton

Here’s a dark horse pick that’s my personal favorite. I first looked at this house when it was priced at $239,000. Now it’s a short sale and down to $99,000. It’s been beautifully and stylishly remodeled; and the back yard, with hot tub, is everything you want in a city garden.


The back yard of the Ballard Park Drive home.

The layout is eccentric but would work great for a couple (it’s a two bedroom, two bath.) The problem here is that the neighborhood will not support such a nice house. If you can get beyond this and think of the surroundings as “arty” rather than “iffy” then you’ll have a real gem. The lister is Peter Poe at 941-729-8523.


2715 2nd Ave. W., Bradenton


And here’s the best buy. It’s located worlds away, north of Manatee Avenue, in the prestigious Riverview Boulevard neighborhood, just a block or two from the river. It was built in 1950 of poured concrete and is solid as a fort. (Note the late art deco design touches.) It has never really been updated and needs new carpet, paint, etc. And it’s small – just over 1,000 square feet – two bedrooms, one bath. But it’s an easy remodel, no need to move walls, and there’s plenty of room to expand when Hannah and Steve start hearing the patter of little feet. Something this cute, with so much potential, in such a great neighborhood, and priced at $124,900 (and not a short sale) –wow. Call Anne Walker at 941-366-8070.


Which will they choose? Stay tuned.
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