Spotlight on Sarabay Coves Condominiums

November 25, 2011

You can spend a million or even much more on waterfront property that has deep water dockage — and if you’ve got it to spend, why not?

But what if you don’t? There are plenty of places where you can spend wage-earner money and have access to the same water as everybody else — like Sarabay Coves.

Sarabay Coves is in the northeast corner of Sarasota Bay:

From the street, it’s just north of the Sarasota-Manatee county line and accessible to both areas. The airport is a 10-dollar cab ride. The address, in case you want to play around in Google Maps or Google Earth, is 1714 69th Ave W Bradenton FL 34207.

66 condos in 3 buildings (parking at ground level and 3 stories above that) with a swimming pool, club house, and tennis courts. Sale prices are in the high 90s and low 100s for a 2 bedroom, one-thousand square foot condo. Monthly condo fees will run around $450 a month and that includes all maintenance and insurance except what’s inside your condo (or your boat).

The DOCKs, though, are where it’s at! Dock a boat up to 42 feet, draft to 5 feet, for just $1.50 per month, and just walk up to your condo when you’re done!

The last time I checked, a slip of that size at Marina Jack in downtown Sarasota was $500 a month — and you have to share the bathroom facilities! Hmmm.

All of the condos have screened lanais. The view will depend on which side of the building you are on, with the best ones facing west toward the Gulf — but even those are affordable. If you can live with one facing town to the east, the price will be well under $100,000. Every now and then a 1-bedroom unit becomes available as well, priced commensurately lower.

The view to the west looks over the rooftops of Trailer Estates, a long-established manufactured home community. I’ve heard people express that as a drawback, but I have a different view(!): each homeowner in Trailer Estates owns their own lot … and that means it is highly unlikely that a developer will build some huge high-rise to block your view of the sunset over Sarasota Bay!

All in all, Sarabay Coves is quite a little secret hideaway for boat people.  To see what’s available right now,  either drop me a line or search the MLS at my site

2012: My New Year’s resolution is early this year

November 14, 2011

It’s hard to believe that so much time has gone by without me posting on this blog … or Facebook … or LinkedIn … or pretty much ANYwhere. Embarrassing. Someone said that life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans, and I guess my own example supports that thesis.

Faced with a long gap in writing, a variety of thoughts crowd in … none of them really conducive to picking up the pen/keyboard again. Excuses, reasons, justifications … all the way on down to doubt, recriminations, self-loathing … good God, man, better get a grip!

A recurrent theme in those mental meanderings is, “What can I write about?” Something interesting, something engaging, something useful to readers? Truth is, it better be interesting to me first or it won’t get written, I suppose.

The professional practice of real estate is a lot about focused research on a particular area/neighborhood. One cannot be an expert on everything, everywhere, but it is possible to achieve a 90th-percentile level of knowledge of any neighborhood in a fairly short time, and we realtors do that all the time, as the need arises in order to serve a customer. The results of that research can get tucked away in a file cabinet for future reference but I think it’s more useful to plaster it up on this blog instead. It’s fun for me, it’s good information and it won’t get lost in my filing cabinets this way. So periodically, I’ll add another “Neighborhood Focus” blurb. That’s my New Year’s resolution, a little early this year.

Naturally, since boats and waterfront is on my mind much of the time, that’s where the “Focus” will wind up most of the time. Aw, gee.

Stump Pass one fine day

Sometimes you just gotta do …

February 15, 2010

… what you gotta do. Sunday it was pretty cool here still,  but we were driving across the Ringling bridge and the water looked so good we just had to go boating. By the time we got out, the sun had gone down a little further and the wind had come up a little more, so it was not quite as balmy as we had hoped!

DSCN0996We’re coming in New Pass, and that’s the Sarasota skyline behind Cynthia. In the lower right corner is my foot with some new Vibram Five Finger footwear. Like going barefoot but with a little protection on the sole for those of us that have to wear shoes for work every day and so don’t have the tough feet we had when we were little! They feel great, and I expect they’ll feel even better when the weather warms up about 10 degrees.

Summer Love

February 14, 2010

Summer Love


Last Saturday, our spell of cold weather let up just a tiny bit and I was able to get the boat out on the water for a couple of hours.

I have to say, I know that people up north snort a little when we Florida folk complain about the cold. It’s like when my mother (everyone’s mother?) used to say, “You’re not going to eat that? There are people staving in Africa!” Talk about cold weather in Florida to your family and friends up north, and you’ll hear a little shaming! I tell them, move on down here for a few years and see if your notion of what is cold doesn’t get rejiggered a bit.

Okay, but back to Summer Love, which is the name of this incredible 105-foot yacht I ran into.

Well first, how cold was it? The high was about 64 and the wind was straight out of the northwest at 25 knots with higher gusts. That meant it was blowing straight down Sarasota Bay, so there was no lee anywhere. Our M.O. on real windy days is to hug the shore to windward and enjoy the relatively calm water there, but that trick wasn’t working this day.

The only thing I can say is that at least if I was going straight into it, it was a bumpy ride but dry. Turn to put the wind coming over the side of the boat, and the spray kicked up by the pounding will blow over you and wet you. Just a minor problem unless the temperature is under 70, in which case you will be cold indeed.

So straight into it I did go for a few miles, to anchor up in the lee of a little mangrove island out in the bay and enjoy the relative peace and quiet, reading a book or watching the mullet jump. On the way I stopped for gas at the Longboat Key Moorings Marina, where fantabulous craft like Summer Love arDSCN0989e gathered thick as wasps in winter.

Even in a high-end place such as that, Summer Love stands out. She has those strong good looks that had to come out of the 50s. Built by Feadship (Holland, and still in business, thank you very much) of wood, she has obviously been well-loved. The dockmaster said she was 70 or 80-some feet long when built but added to later. She does look a little long and lean, but you can’t fault her for that.

This bayfront is a rare bargain … if you can, BUY it!

June 20, 2009

Boatable waterfront property, generally speaking, is priced according to the type of water access/water view it provides.

A salt-water canal with enough water to float a fair-sized outboard powerboat can be pretty affordable. You can get started for under $200,000, depending largely on boating distance from the Gulf — expect a fairly long run of 6-8 miles at that price; the closer to the Gulf, the more it costs.  Expect a narrow strip of water with a view of your neighbor’s dock and back porch across the canal.

The price goes up after that, if:

  1. the canal is broad, or better yet, a natural bayou that gives you a little space between you and your neighbors;
  2. the lot sits out at the juction of two canals on a corner or a peninsula that gives a broader view yet;
  3. the lot has a view of undevelopable wetlands or a preserves; or
  4. the lot has frontage on open water, like a bay. These can run close to a million and go up from there, depending on dozens of variables.

I have stumbled across a foreclosure home that is extraordinary in its location, and it will likely list for less than a million dollars. Assuming some flexibility on the part of the bank that owns it, it may sell for $700-800k … and it is REMARKABLE. Buy it if you can!

It sits on a corner lot of a half-acre between Terra Ceia Bay and a canal, so it has both a stellar open-water view AND 2 more protected slips (one with a boat house — rare!) up the canal. The house has roll-down hurricane shutters, a gorgeous pool, and lots of space (4 bedrooms, 3600 SF). Oh, and the Gulf is about 10 minutes’ run from the dock!

Here is a video of the view (8 more are on, just click here to see them all):

If you, or anyone you know, is in the market for a wonderful piece of boating property, contact me right away. I’ve looked at every other property for sale on Snead Island and this one is unmatched in its class. It is not yet on the market, but when it comes up for sale, I think it will sell FAST.

Waterfront for UNDER $100k (I kid you not)

June 9, 2009

My compulsive nature (now being used for good, ha-ha), lets me leave no stone unturned in searching for what my clients want!

Yesterday it took me to a first-floor condo at the Whitaker Bayou Condominium listed for just under $100,000. Here it is on a map.

I haven’t been inside the condo yet, but who cares? It’s 2 beds, 2 baths, about 1,000 square feet, not updated, I’m sure … but it’s the extras that are exciting.

What extras? Room for your boat, of course!

The back of the unit has a long seawall with a numbered boat berth for each unit. Isn’t  that something? It looks like up to 25 feet would be no problem.

The place is as neat as a pin, as you can see.

Whitaker Bayou itself runs under a low bridge (about 7 feet if memory serves) so the vertical clearance of your boat is important. But right after that, Sarasota Bay is in sight. There is a full-service boatyard there and for years, a company has been threatening to put in a luxury dock-o-minium complex in its place. Presumably those plans are on hold while we wait for the economic bogey-men to leave us in peace.

Anyway … that’s waterfront living (in Sarasota DOWNTOWN no less) for under a hundred. Yes, sirree.

Waterfront for $110,000

June 9, 2009

You wouldn’t think it’s possible … but it is!

I actually went and viewed this one yesterday … a 1/1 manufactured home in Trailer Estates, Bradenton FL … just a few minutes from my home office.

It’s on a deep water canal with no bridges to the bay. I know it’s deep because there is a sailboat docked opposite this unit.

I’ve never lived in a trailer, but I’ve lived aboard a boat, and I’ll tell you: A trailer, er, manufactured home, is more spacious. That’s ’cause it’s rectangular, you know, no pointy ends or graceful curves. It also has a real bathroom, real municipal water and sewer, never gets barnacles, and never sinks at its mooring.

Think of a trailer with dock space behind it as a boat slip you own, with an extra little dwelling where you can keep some tools and a washing machine!

Anyhow — it’s cool in an old-Florida, low-overhead, unpretentious sort of way. Not for everyone, to be sure — but one way of living the waterfront dream on very limited bucks! Don’t knock it if you haven’t tried it.

Awesome link to local conditions

April 30, 2009

Yesterday we had lunch with a friend out on the tip of Anna Maria Island at a place called the Rod and Reel [875 N Shore Dr, Anna Maria, FL 34216, 941- 778-1885, Get directions).

Who knows how long the Roda and Reel has been a delightful dining destination??

Who knows how long the Rod and Reel has been a delightful dining destination??

This place is hard to describe … fishing pier, bait shop, bar, restaurant, all built at the end of a pier overlooking the blue waters of Tampa Bay where it meets the Gulf of Mexico. It has lots of character, charm and color (e.g., the men’s room is marked “Outboards,” the Ladies room “Inboards.”  The food is good and affordable, but the ambience is priceless.

But while my friends smoked, I wandered around and noticed a peculiar mast atop the building, fitted with solar panels. weather-station-at-rod-and-reel1When I went to investigate, I found that it is a weather monitoring station, with website listed.

Turns out there are quite a few of these stations scattered about the region, and their website will tell you where they .. and YES, you can view current, local conditions.

Cool? Take a look:

Click the rectangle in the center of the map to see that inset in detail. Station 23 is the one at the Rod and Reel; 21 is at Mote Marine near New Pass in Sarasota.

Now if there were just a live webcam at each site!

Big Rig!

April 25, 2009

Last weekend was the 4th Annual Small Boat Festival in Cortez, which is just up the road a bit. I could have kicked myself for not taking more pictures — there are always some really great smaller craft there, and interesting people doing interesting things with boats.

On the way back, we stopped by a tiny old marina on Palma Sola Bay to see what’s happening, and we saw that one of the neighbors has a clever approach to getting his/her  small craft down the street to the water’s edge:

Nothing shabby about this "tractor-trailer" rig

Nothing shabby about this "tractor-trailer" rig

Don’t laugh — it works! And you can’t tell from the photo, but that is some first-class aluminum fabrication on that custom trailer. Somebody who know something about aluminum spent a lot of time getting this just right.

You gotta love it!

Can I use my 401(k) or IRA to invest in real estate?

February 10, 2009

When you invest in real estate, you do so to make money – and making money means paying taxes.

Fortunately, there exist a variety of legal structures that allow one to avoid or reduce taxation on investments – and investments can include real estate. Today our office hosted a training by Scott Maurer of the Entrust Group on the topic of investing in real estate within one’s IRA or 401(k) retirement account.

As you already no doubt know, these types of retirement plans offer a variety of tax benefits that make them attractive for investments that are anticipated to produce either current income, appreciation, or both (and what investment isn’t anticipated to do at least one of those things?!?).

The training was fantastic. There is a great deal more flexibility than I had previously thought. And at the same time, it requires a lot of care to avoid mistakes that could trigger some pretty costly penalties. Fortunately, setting up and administering these investments is exactly what Entrust does. They do it well and they do it at modest cost.

For example, if your IRA or 401(k) doesn’t have enough money to buy an investment property, no problem. You can “partner” your retirement funds with ordinary funds (yours or another partner’s) or with another person’s retirement funds (your spouse’s, for example) – as long as the records are handled correctly.

On the other hand … want to rent that investment property to a son or daughter? Or use that vacation rental yourself a few weeks out of the year? That WOULD be a problem – IRS rules do not allow any personal benefit or dealing with lineal family members. Making that mistake could disqualify the whole investment, triggering back taxes and penalties., 800-425-0653 for more information.