Can I move that tree? Or not?

February 9, 2009

You say you have the perfect place for that new home or addition? But there is a big tree right in the way — will the powers that be let you remove it?

It is generally no problem — with the exception of so-called “Grand Trees.” What are those? Any oak that has a 24-inch Diameter at Breast Height (DBH) will be considered a Grand Tree. These can be a problem to remove!

Better check with the authorities before you make an offer! Most anything Read the rest of this entry »


FEMA rules for additions to exisiting waterfront homes

February 3, 2009

So you want to buy a waterfront home — one that was built prior to the latest hurricane codes. It needs updating and an addition to the building would be nice too … Not so fast.

Please, before making an offer, know what you can and cannot do with that structure! Start by calling the local Zoning department and asking lots of questions. For example, the cost of your new permitted work may not Read the rest of this entry »


A slice out of time

January 30, 2009
The old Ruth Louise, in photos from the late '50s - early '60s. Am I just a nostalgia freak, or are these older boats uniquely handsome?

The old Ruth Louise, in photos from the late '50s - early '60s. Am I just a nostalgia freak, or are these older boats uniquely handsome?

I have a waterfront listing in downtown Sarasota that was owned by the same family continuously from about 1946 until recently. I attended the estate sale held there today, and an old scrapbook of the owner’s was for sale. A couple of pictures caught my eye, and I asked to have them. The Ruth Luise, named after the matriarch of the clan, is shown here, and I believe the body of water is Whittaker Bayou, just down the way from the house. In other photos, she was shown with the Clewiston locks in the background – these are in central Florida, separating Lake Okeechobee from the waters leading to the Gulf of Mexico. Apparently the owners got around a bit in her. When I was a boy, boats like this were common. Now that they are scarce, I can’t help but feel that something precious has been lost.


Some “Ins and Outs” of condo insurance

January 29, 2009

So you have a unit in a condo association, and part of your monthly (or quarterly) condo fee goes for insurance — so your troubles are over, right?

Well … not so much (and most of you know this), because the condo insurance doesn’t cover the inside of your unit. You have to purchase your own policy for your interior and contents.

What most folks don’t know is the “Ins and Outs” of that insurance and what to expect in case there is a loss, so let’s fix that. Spending a few minutes asking a few extra questions of your insurance agent and making sure you know what Read the rest of this entry »


New condo insurance law is causing indigestion

January 28, 2009

Effective January 1, 2009, condominium unit owners are required by state law to carry insurance, and condo associations have the right to purchase it bill the unit owners. This has hundreds of calls flooding in to state representatives’ offices from angry condo owners. Insurance can cost from $1,000 to $5,000 a year depending on Read the rest of this entry »


Waterfront for under $250,000? In Sarasota?

January 27, 2009

Not all waterfront is in the million-dollar category! For sure , some is. But I have a listing, for example, within a mile of downtown Sarasota, and one bridge to the bay, for $215,000! Add a dock and you’ve got a place for a good-sized outboard boat to live in your backyard.

I have a listing in Port Charlotte on a canal that comes out on the Myakka River, with dock and pool, for $219,000. That one just went under contract or I’d offer to show it to you.

Even Siesta Key, historically priced in the stratosphere, is getting reasonable again. I have a listing there, 3 BR, 2 BA at 599,000 that is gorgeous, with a dock and small boathouse.

All of these can be seen on these web pages:

Downtown waterfront

Siesta Key Waterfront


FL Supreme Court decision affects beach front property owners

January 26, 2009

Imagine that you own a beachfront property on Florida’s Gulf of Mexico. Your seaward property line is defined as the Erosion Control Line … which means your land has contact with the Gulf.

Along comes the government with a beach renourishment project which adds tons of sand, effectively pushing the water’s edge back and cutting off your property’s contact with the water.

Can the government do that? The Supreme Court said they can!

For details, go to the website of Attorney David Levin, waterfront specialist, at www.FLWaterfront.com, and click on “Newsletter.” There you’ll find David’s comments as well as a link to the complete text of the decision.

Many thanks to David Levin’s office for bringing this to the attention of all of us with an interest in waterfront property!


I’ve been rich, and I’ve been poor …

January 23, 2009

“I’ve been rich, and I’ve been poor; Believe me, honey, rich is better.”

 — Sophie Tucker, American singer, 1884-1966

I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor, but whether money is abundant, I’ve always been a do-it-yourself person. I’ve paid others to do what I was capable of doing lots of times, because I was too busy with other things, or not interested enough to take it on, or just lazy. Quite often, I experience that those who should be able to do a better job than me (professionals, for example) actually do not, and I wind up wishing I had done it! Maybe this has happened to you?

Now, I’m not talking about cutting my own hair or changing my own oil … I’m just saying that Read the rest of this entry »


Avoid bargains in parachutes and brain surgery

January 21, 2009

“Avoid bargains in parachutes and brain surgery.” This old saying is out there in many variations and versions, but the message remains the same: Some things are too important to shop for on price alone.

Econ 101 taught us that some items are commodity goods — the product is the same regardless of the supplier, and therefore price is the only consideration in choosing the supplier. The traditional examples Read the rest of this entry »


Do you really need title insurance?

January 20, 2009

This morning I spent some time in a seminar on title insurance given by Linda Witt of  Attorney Steve Greenberg’s office at Icard Merrill, and she shed light on several of the questions that come up around title insurance.

At a real estate closing or settlement, the buyer (or buyer’s lender, or both) will pass large checks across the table to the seller in exchange for Read the rest of this entry »