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July
18

6 Reasons You'll Need a Real Estate Agent in this Market

Real Estate Tips

Over the last couple of years, we've seen record low inventory, significant demand, and low-interest rates, which have created an unprecedented seller's market. While rising rates are expected to cool things off a bit, sellers are still very much in the driver's seat.

However, our real estate agents say buying a home in this market isn't impossible. Buyers just have to adjust their approach. It's also never been more important to have an experienced real estate agent in your corner. An agent is critical for navigating the complexities of today's market and avoiding costly pitfalls. Here's why:

  1. See Listings As Soon As They Hit The Market
    Properties aren't sitting on the market very long these days, which is why you'll want to get in to see them as soon as possible. Your agent can let you know the minute a property hits the market. The multiple listing service (MLS) website, which is only available to real estate agents, can be configured to send you an email the moment a listing matches your criteria. Speed is essential when it comes to booking home tours, and you can rely on your real estate agent to battle for an appointment time. Your agent may even be in the loop on new properties before they hit the market and can get you in ahead of the competition. For example, if you'd like to schedule a tour of one of these Bradenton homes for sale, a good agent can get you in to see one today.

  2. Help You Spot Potential Pitfalls
    It's hard to spot potential problems during a 15-minute home tour. As a buyer, you'll likely spend the time trying to envision yourself living in the space. Therefore, you can rely on your agent to be an experienced second set of eyes that can help you spot problems, costly pitfalls, or other elements of the home that you may overlook.

  3. Draft A Competitive Offer
    To win a bidding war these days, buyers often have to get creative. Your agent can help you draw up an offer that stands out from the competition. Whether it's waiving inspections, increasing earnest deposit, or determining the right offer price, an experienced agent likely has a good sense of what it'll take to "win" the home.

  4. Administrative Tasks
    There is a lot of documentation involved in the home closing process. It's important that you have an experienced real estate professional in your corner to help you wade through the paperwork. Your agent can take the time to walk you through the various documents, so you know exactly what you're signing.

  5. Coordinate Inspections
    Your real estate agent has a wide network of industry contacts, so they can refer you to reputable inspectors, contractors, and other service providers who can help support the transaction. They'll also work to schedule these appointments on your behalf.

  6. Negotiate On Your Behalf
    Most real estate transactions involve some negotiating. Whether it's contingencies, repairs, or the final sale price, negotiating terms takes time and energy. If you're in the market for one of these Sarasota homes for sale, you want someone in your corner who knows what they're doing.

Buying a home is challenging in today's market, but a good agent can help you find success. Contact us today to start exploring local listings.

December
27

New Year's Resolution: Find Your Florida Dream Vacation Home

Florida Vacation Home

With its amazing weather and beautiful beaches, it's not hard to see why purchasing a vacation home in Florida is the ultimate dream for thousands of people all over the world. Not only is a Florida vacation home a great escape, but it's also a fantastic investment. Florida is a hot real estate market, and it's easy to generate rental income from a second home when you're not using it

If buying a Florida vacation home is one of your New Year's resolutions this year, here are some tips from our real estate agents on how to find the right dream home for you:

  • Choose Your Location
    With so many beautiful parts of Florida, choosing one location can be a challenge. Florida is home to 1,350 miles of coast, numerous state parks, and of course, Disney World. To choose the right location, think about your personal preferences and lifestyle. Do you prefer to be on the beach or inland? Do you prefer the Atlantic or Gulf coast? If you're having trouble deciding on an area, take a look at these beautiful Bradenton homes for sale or these amazing Sarasota homes for sale for inspiration.

  • Secure Financing
    If you're planning to finance your vacation home, you'll need to secure a second home mortgage. Keep in mind, second home mortgages often require higher down payments and may also have higher interest rates and fees than a traditional mortgage as lenders may consider second homes to be a bit riskier. Be sure to get pre-approved by a lender before you start shopping.
     
  • Determine The Rental Opportunity
    When buying a vacation home, you'll also want to consider if you'll be planning to rent out the property while it's not in use. If so, you'll want to choose a home in a popular vacation market to maximize your rental income. Do some online research, and check rental websites like Airbnb to get a sense of how much income you can generate from rentals.

  • Consider The Tax Benefits
    When financing a second home, you'll have the benefit of being able to increase the mortgage interest you deduct from your annual income which can result in big savings. However, to achieve this, you will have to use the home as a vacation home. In other words, the primary purpose of the property can't be to generate income alone, you have to treat it as a vacation home first.

  • Find A Good Real Estate Agent
    No one knows the local market like a real estate agent. An agent can not only help you find the right dream home but can also stand in your corner and negotiate a deal. An agent is also a great resource for learning about the local rental market and connecting with property management and vacation rental companies.

A Florida vacation home doesn't have to be a dream. If you're planning to make a purchase in 2022, now is a great time to start your research. For more info on the Florida real estate market, contact us today.

October
25

7 Tips for Saving Up for a Down Payment

down payment

Saving up for a down payment can be one of the most challenging parts of buying a home, especially for first-time buyers. Here are seven tips our real estate agents recommend to help you save for a down payment on your dream home!

  1. Set a Goal
    First things first: It's important to know how much you need to save. Research Bradenton homes for sale, for instance, to see average home prices in the area. It might be a good idea to talk to a lender, not necessarily to get pre-approved right now but to get an idea of what kind of a loan you will likely qualify for and how much you'll need to put down. Once you know how much you'll need, you can set a goal and start saving!

  2. Reduce Your Spending Money
    There's one place you can always cut back, and that's your "fun money." It might not sound like fun to cut back on trips to the movies, coffees to go, and impulse buys, but putting that money into savings instead is an easy way to save. If that new TV seems too tempting to refuse, browse Sarasota homes for sale to keep yourself motivated!

  3. Lower Your Expenses
    You may be able to save money on your expenses, too. Make a list of your monthly expenses and look for two different things: expenses you can reduce, such as by changing the deductible on your car insurance or even eliminate entirely, such as a cable subscription or gym membership that you don't use often enough to justify the expense. The money you save each month can go straight into savings.

  4. Save Any Unexpected Money
    Any extra money you get, above and beyond your usual income, can also go straight into savings. This includes bonuses from work, gifts from family, and pay for side jobs. If you want to be really ambitious, you could deliberately take side gigs or even a second job on a temporary basis to generate some extra money for your savings.

  5. Start a Dedicated Savings Account
    When you're saving for something specific, such as a down payment on a house, it's a good idea to create a brand new savings account, separate from your regular savings account. Make sure your regular savings account has enough money in it to cover you in an emergency, but having a dedicated account for your down payment savings will help you to save better and see at a glance how you're doing.

  6. Transfer Money Automatically
    Out of sight, out of mind applies here! Add up how much money you're saving each month on reduced expenses and spending, and set up an automatic transfer to happen every month with that base amount. You can always add to it as you can, but this way, you'll have a minimum amount going straight into savings every month.

  7. Seek Help
    No matter how good you are at saving, you could benefit from looking into various programs that will get you into a home sooner rather than later. For instance, many employers offer the ability to borrow from your 401(k) to pay a down payment. There are also many grants and other programs available for homebuyers, especially first-time homebuyers.

Saving for a down payment may seem daunting, but having a solid plan in place can put your dream house within easier reach than you might think. Ready to start your search? Contact us today.

August
23

Tips for Picking A Real Estate Agent During a Hot Market

Real Estate Market

It's a hot market, and you're looking to buy or sell a home among Sarasota homes for sale or Bradenton homes for sale. While an agent can help you in any type of real estate market, their help is especially critical during a hot market. Here's why.

Why Hire an Agent?

Yes, your home might just fly off the market with a Craigslist ad or the like, but what if it doesn't? With an agent, your home will get considerably more exposure in MLS (multiple listing service) databases created and maintained by real estate professionals to help homeowners like you sell their property. It just makes sense that the more potential buyers see your property, the greater the chance that the selling price could go much higher than your expectations. You could have buyers competing with one another, and that could only benefit you.

Your agent will be there throughout the whole process and able to offer advice for any aspect of the sale, from determining a price to staging your home to determining the scope of repairs you want to do before you put the home on the market. 

But an even better reason to hire a real estate agent is that many potential buyers are not comfortable talking to the owner of a property and prefer to deal with an agent. Not only can you -- and should you -- make yourself scarce while the agent shows your home, but you'll boost the comfort level of potential buyers, who may feel they are visiting you, as the owner of the home, rather than seriously looking at a home they want to live in.

What to Look for in an Agent

As you begin to look for a real estate agent, you will likely focus on an individual's experience in selling houses like yours in your neighborhood. Ask neighbors for recommendations. Get at least three referrals. And remember, while experience is important, so is personality. Can you relate to this person? Does he or she seem real to you? Look for an agent you can build a rapport with, in addition to their sales and successes.

Pay attention to the agent's marketing tools, including website, business card, brochures, signage, social media efforts, and more. Does the agent's personal appearance give you confidence in them, or is something lacking? 

When you discuss the sale of your home with a real estate agent, you want someone who can guide you through what can be a precarious journey. Can your agent answer questions reliably and with real data about investment analysis, neighborhood-level market performance, and possibly even the impact of your decision to sell? You don't want an agent who honey coats their answers; you need real information about possible pitfalls, so listen carefully to how your agent replies to your questions and make sure the agent is really hearing you.

Our real estate agents can give you solid advice on how to hire the right professional to help you sell your home. Contact us today. 

August
9

How to Prepare for a Stress-Free Move

Stress Free Move

Moving can be stressful, but does it have to be? It's never too early to think about how you'll make moving easier, even as you're just starting to look at Sarasota homes for sale. By following these guidelines from our real estate agents, you can stay organized and hopefully avoid any big surprises on your moving day.

  1. Get the Move Scheduled in Advance
    With the number of Bradenton homes for sale and how the market is currently booming, movers and trucks get booked up more quickly than you might think. If you're using movers, schedule with them about a month in advance, possibly longer if you have more notice of your impending move. If you're renting a truck, schedule that too, so that you don't find yourself with a lot to move and no way to move it.

  2. Set up a Labeling System
    Make it easy for movers to get your boxes into the right rooms by color-coding boxes. This will help ensure boxes end up in the room they are supposed to be in. For even more convenience, make sure you label each box's contents on each side of the box.

  3. Start Packing Non-Essentials a Month Prior
    Don't make the age-old mistake of overestimating how much time you still have before your move! Start packing up non-essentials as early as possible. You'll be surprised by how much of your household doesn't get used on a daily basis. Starting early allows you to ensure the nonessentials are well organized and labeled, especially helpful after the move since these are the things that'll probably be unpacked last.

  4. Donate to the Thrift Store
    While you're packing, keep a few boxes labeled for the thrift store. It's easy enough to put things you don't want in the thrift store boxes and drop off a big load of donations when the house is nearly packed. No sense in paying to move things you don't want to keep!

  5. Take Pictures for Reference
    As you're packing, take pictures of anything you want to remember when you're unpacking. Even if you think you'll remember how Grandma's china was displayed or how the stereo is wired up, it may be a long time before those things are unpacked, and you'll have a lot of other stuff on your mind in the meantime. Pictures will make it faster and easier.

  6. Pack Overnight Bags for the New Place
    To prevent having to scramble to find essentials your first night in the new house, pack an overnight bag for each person. Make sure everyone has changes toiletries, a phone cord, a book to read, and anything else you might need if you were staying in a strange place for a couple of nights.

  7. Have a Backup Plan
    No matter how prepared you are, last-minute changes can still happen. Make sure you have several options just in case things go awry. For instance, have a list of local moving companies you can call if your movers fall through or friends with trucks and large vehicles who would help you in a pinch.

Moving is a big event, but it's also an exciting one! By being fully prepared for your move, you can turn your attention to the thrill of moving into your dream home. Contact us today to start the process of finding the perfect home for your family.

May
10

What to Consider When Choosing a Gated Community

Gated Community

Everyone wants safety and security for their homes, but before you assume a particular gated community is right for you, it's important that you understand all the rules and restrictions that accompany that security. Our real estate agents can help you make the right decision based on your lifestyle. There are several basic types of gated communities. Each has its own pros and cons.

  • Equity Country Clubs
    These are communities associated with a private country club. In addition to monthly homeowner's association fees, which take care of regular maintenance tasks, homeowners are assessed with a portion of the costs to renovate or add amenities, such as the golf course or tennis courts. These are known as equity fees. Avid golfers may find these added costs worth the benefits.
  • Non-Equity Country Clubs
    These country clubs do not require membership of all residents, who will therefore not have to pay equity fees. That probably also means you are unable to use the golf course or other facilities. Each community has its own rules, so you need to check what amenities are included for your use. 
  • Guard-Gated Properties
    A guard at the gate checks the ID of all visitors. After verifying that the visitor is authorized by a resident, the guard will direct the visitor to the appropriate destination. The guard will usually follow a strict protocol to ensure the safety of the entire community. These properties typically include amenities such as fitness centers, clubhouses, and tennis courts. Their maintenance is included in the monthly homeowner fees. 
  • Guard-Gated 55+ Communities
    Monitored by a guard at the gate, this community is focused on the interests of residents over the age of 55. You will often find social gatherings, crafts, and outings in addition to a clubhouse. To qualify, a household generally only needs one person of the appropriate age, but there may be limits on the number of people under that minimum age in the entire community. Normally, school buses are not allowed on the grounds, and you will rarely find playgrounds. Grandparents who find themselves bringing up their grandchildren may find this a hardship. 
  • Non-Guard Gated Communities
    The gate to these properties is accessed via passcode or telephone. Visitors may need to insert an ID while speaking to someone via camera. With a phone entry system, visitors input numbers on a keypad which causes the resident's phone to ring. The homeowner will then buzz them in. Homeowner fees are typically less expensive than in guard-gated communities.

In addition to the perks and restrictions specific to each of these, there are some policies that apply to all. Some benefits include lower crime rates, less traffic, no solicitors, and higher property values. Most exterior maintenance will be covered by the HOA fees. Some properties even include cable and house painting. Less work on the part of the homeowner means more spare time to enjoy the amenities offered. The downsides can be restrictions on the type of pets allowed, excessive HOA fees, restricted visitor access, and strict rules governing home exteriors. Deliveries may be problematic. Many communities require the owner to reside in the home for a defined time frame before renting to avoid turnover.

Once you understand the parameters of living in the various gated community types, it's easier to know what to look for in a new home. Contact us when you're ready to look at Bradenton homes for sale or Sarasota homes for sale in gated communities. 

July
31

How to Make Your Offer Stand Out in a Competitive Market

Competitive Market

If you're looking to buy a home and have found one that you love, that's great news, but we are in a competitive market, so you'll need to make your offer stand out from any others that come in.

Our real estate agents love helping people find a new place to call home in the Sunshine State. With the real estate market being as hot as the Florida summer weather, we suggest the following five ways to make sure your offer stands out. 

  1. Keep it Simple
    Make sure that when you make an offer on a home, it's simple. The contract that's most appealing to the buyer is based on price, of course, but also on the number of contingencies it has, and the fewer the better. Common contingencies include your ability to obtain financing or a painting allowance so you can pay to have the home repainted, but in a competitive market, it's best to make your offer as straightforward and simple as possible.
  2. Show That You Can Afford the Home
    Contact a mortgage lender early in the home buying process so you can be pre-approved for a mortgage. Our mortgage partner, HomeBridge Mortgage, provides buyers with a pre-approval letter that can help you submit your offer in the best possible light. You'll receive a pre-approval letter that indicates the amount and type of mortgage you can qualify for based on your financial situation and credit history. This type of documentation demonstrates that you can successfully obtain the mortgage and close on the loan. If you won't be getting a mortgage but will instead be paying cash for the home, submit proof of the funds along with your offer.
  3. Make Your Inspection Period Short 
    You'll want to have a licensed inspector check out any home you're thinking about buying. This includes a close look at the home's structure as well as systems such as the heating and air conditioning to determine if they have any problems. You'll want to talk to your REALTOR® to be sure that you have a plan in place for having a timely home inspection. That way, if the inspection comes back showing problems and you decide not to buy the home, the seller can put the home back on the market more quickly.
  4. Make Your Best Offer on Price  
    You may assume that if the home seller thinks your offer isn't high enough, they'll make a counteroffer. But especially in a competitive market, this may not necessarily be true since the seller may receive other offers that are higher. If you don't make your initial offer your best one, you may not get another chance.
    It's essential to work with a REALTOR® in today's highly competitive real estate market. Contingency clauses are becoming more common and navigating them successfully takes the expertise of a REALTOR®.
  5. Write a Letter to the Seller  
    It can help to write a cover letter along with your offer so you can explain why you love the seller's home. Let the seller know what you appreciate about their home and give them a glimpse into how you'd love living there. Just make sure to let your real estate agent approve the letter so you don't accidentally violate Fair Housing laws.

Contact us at Wagner Realty today to see Bradenton homes for sale and Sarasota homes for sale and let us help you with your search. We'll help you make an offer that stands out in a competitive market and gives you the best possible chance of buying the home you want.    

April
22

Married and House Hunting: Working Together to Buy a Home

Buying a House as a Married Couple
Everyone's "dream home" looks a little different, but what happens when you try to merge two different pictures? House hunting as a married couple is easier than going solo because you have emotional and financial support throughout the process. If you and your spouse have different ideas about your future digs, it's important to find out now and figure it out.  Keep in mind, compromise isn't always easy when you're making the most significant purchase of your life. 

At Wagner Realty, our real estate agents are committed to simplifying your search for a home. We know how important it is to find a house that works for both you and your spouse. As you prepare to embark on a house-hunting journey, here are some home-buying tips to help you avoid common conflicts:

  • Know Your Credit Scores and Financials
    Your finances may already mingle, but do you know each other's credit scores? Before you start the process of applying for a mortgage, pull up your credit reports and see if there's room for improvement. For example, errors should be reported and corrected, and it may be wiser to pay off certain loans or credit cards than to face a higher interest rate. Getting a firm grip on your entire financial picture will also prevent surprises down the road.  Contact Annualcreditreport.com to request your free annual credit report. 

  • Create Lists of Your Individual Musts
    As you search for a home, which features are the most important to you? What about your spouse? Instead of learning about each other's must-haves and dealbreakers along the way, take some time to write them down now. Take a week or two to make lists on your own time, and don't consult each other about them. Think of at least a dozen things you want your home to have, like a spacious backyard, master bathroom, or waterfront views.

  • Tap into Your Real Estate Agent's Expertise
    Don't forget: you two aren't doing this alone! Your real estate agent has insights into the local market and the painstaking process of choosing a home, and they're emotionally removed from your disputes and decisions. Use them as a mediator of sorts. If you and your spouse are first-time home buyers, this is especially important, because you will need unbiased input before making emotional decisions that affect your whole future.
     
  • Fixer-Upper or Move-in Ready?
    Remodeling is right for some homeowners, but you should be on the same page about the amount of remodeling you're willing to do. If one partner wants a move-in-ready house and the other is willing to make repairs and upgrades for years, it's time to decide on a compromise. For example, how much money are you both willing to spend on upgrades? Is it okay to make remodeling plans if key spaces – for example, the kitchen or living room – are already up-to-date? These are questions that may help you get closer to the same page.

Ready to start looking for a house with your spouse? Contact Wagner Realty to find an agent who can help you find a home that makes both of you happy.

January
28

Don't Be Suprised By Closing Costs

Buying a Home Closing Day Surprises

Transferring the ownership of a home at closing can be confusing. Even though real estate closings take place daily, the paperwork and costs that ensure that your property transfers legally can often be met with surprises if you're not prepared.

Our real estate agents are here with an explanation of what costs to expect at closing so you are not caught by surprise.

Closing Costs: No Surprises

In any real estate transaction, buyers and sellers should understand each closing cost component before coming to the signing. Some items can be negotiated before the closing to determine who pays.

Typical costs that may appear on your real estate closing statement are:

  • Real Estate Commissions: Usually paid by the seller, this is the realtor fee, usually a percentage of the selling price, to sell the property. The total may be divided between the selling agent and a buyer's agent.
  • Origination Fee: Often expressed as a percentage of the amount borrowed, a lender or broker will charge a fee to cover expenses of processing a mortgage application, administrative costs, loan underwriting, and funding.
  • Points: A point represents 1% of a mortgage. Borrowers often have an option of paying more "points" to receive a lower interest rate. A point may be worth one-quarter percent reduction in the mortgage rate. Conversely, borrowers might ask for "lender credits" to offset some closing costs while raising the mortgage rate.
  • Underwriting Costs: These represent the cost of researching your credit history and other background information to determine if you qualify for the loan.
  • Credit Report: This information is required to determine whether the mortgage application is approvable and the maximum amount the borrower may borrow.
  • Appraisal: Lenders require a professional assessment of the property that will ensure they will recover the remaining balance of the mortgage in case of default and foreclosure.
  • Survey Costs: Often paid by the buyer, the mortgage lender may require a survey to confirm property lines.
  • Home, Flood, and Pest Inspection: Before closing, a professional inspection for damage and deterioration is standard procedure. Buyers may request that the seller repair deficiencies before the closing.  In some cases, the seller may have listed the home "as is." Alternatively, the seller may counteroffer with a reduction in the selling price.
  • Title Search: Cost to research the property title among public records.
  • Title Insurance, Lenders:  Title insurance protects the lender in case there are undisclosed liens or other encumbrances. Buyers may also purchase title insurance covering the property as long as the buyer or heirs have possession.
  • Settlement Fee: Paid by either buyer or seller, this fee is paid to the closing agent to manage the closing and escrow accounts.
  • Property Taxes: Responsibility of the seller until closing. After that, the buyer pays.
  • Mortgage Insurance Premium: To protect the lender, if required, the buyer may pay the first premiums at closing.
  • Recording Fees: In many areas, these are fees to record the new deed and mortgage with the local government.

Value of an Experienced REALTOR®

When you're ready to begin touring Sarasota homes for sale, there is nothing like the help of a local real estate professional by your side. Our real estate agents know the current market in Southwest Florida and are ready to help.

Contact us at Wagner Realty to get started.

December
6

There's No Place Like a New Home for the Holidays

New Home for the Holidays - Wagner Realty

So you have decided it's time for a new home, and are eagerly counting the days until spring to begin the search. But should you really wait that long to get started? While spring is one of the most popular times for buying a house, there are some advantages to making your purchase in the off-season, particularly around the holidays. So, perhaps it is time to talk to our real estate agents about finding your new home. After all, there's no place like a new home for the holidays.

Here are some advantages of making your home purchase over the holiday season:

  • Less Competition
    Off-season home shopping generally means less competition with other buyers, which means that there is a smaller chance of there being multiple offers on a home you're interested in purchasing. Fewer buyers to compete with can also translate to more room to negotiate with sellers, providing the potential to get a better price and better terms than you might if you were purchasing in the spring or summer. Finally, with fewer buyers shopping for homes, there will be less competition for the time of real estate agents, allowing yours to put a lot more time into helping you find your dream home than might be possible in the peak buying season.

  • Motivated Sellers
    People who put their homes on the market during the holiday season tend to be very motivated to sell. Often, they are selling at this time of year – rather than the peak season – because they need to. Perhaps they have a job in another state or need to move for family or financial reasons. Maybe their home has been on the market for a long time, and they want to make a sale before the end of the year. If you're buying a house from a seller that needs to sell quickly, the chances are good that you can get a better deal than might otherwise be possible.

  • Potential Price Advantages
    Research has shown that buying a house during the holidays can save you money. A study that looked at the best days to get a price discount on a new home found that seven of the ten best days were in December. The highest discounts were secured by people who bought homes on the 26th of December, having put in offers for those homes around Thanksgiving.

  • Quicker Closings
    Generally, everyone involved in a holiday-season home purchase wants to get the deal signed, sealed and delivered by the end of the year. Buyers and sellers want the moving wrapped up, given the hassles of relocating during the holidays. Lenders wish to wrap up loans posting them to the current year's book, and real estate agents want their commission recorded as income for the current year. What that means is that deals are made, and the closing process completed more quickly than would happen during the busy spring or summer seasons.

These are just a few of the potential advantages that can be gained by buying your new home during the holiday season. To hear more about how you can benefit from buying a home in the off-season, please contact Wagner Realty. We're always ready to help you make your best deal on a new home – no matter what time of year you choose to buy.

October
29

7 Ways to Negotiate a Home's Purchase Price

Buy House Negotiate Price

If you walk into a supermarket and try to negotiate a lower price for a gallon of milk, you're bound to walk away disappointed. Luckily, when it comes to buying a house, the fine art of haggling is still alive and well. Our real estate agents are here to help you get the best price you can on your dream home, and these are the tips you need to know about negotiating a better deal. 

  1. Do Your Research
    Knowledge is power. Find out as much as you can about the property, its history, and how it stacks up against similar real estate listings--past and present--in the same general area. Relevant market comparisons are one of the most reliable tools you can use to negotiate a lower price, so don't skimp on the research.

  2. Act Fast
    Once you've made an offer and received a counteroffer, don't wait around. Respond as quickly as you can, ideally within 24 hours. This lets the seller know you're serious and prevents another prospective buyer from swooping in with a higher offer.

  3. Be Nice
    Nothing will get the door slammed in your face faster than rudeness. While it might be easy to assume an adversarial relationship with the seller, your goals are mutually beneficial – they want to sell a house, and you want to buy one. Approaching the negotiating process with respect and courtesy will make it more likely that you'll be able to reach an amicable agreement.

  4. Make a Respectable Offer
    From a buyer's perspective, the goal of negotiating is to arrive at a lower price, but it's possible to take it too far. If a homeowner lists their house at fair market value, a lowball offer might insult the seller to the point that you may not get a response at all. So make an offer that's below the list price, but not so far below that the seller will balk.

  5. Increase Your EMD
    An earnest money deposit (EMD) is the sum of money you put down to show the seller that you're serious. Typically it's between 1% and 3% of the sale price of the home. But offering a higher EMD, say 3% to 5%, can let the seller know that you're serious about buying, and may make them more receptive to an offer that's lower than their listing price.

  6. Be Flexible
    Buyers and sellers each come to the table with a list of contingencies, and it's to your benefit to be a little flexible on both counts. Reducing the number of contingencies you're asking for makes the whole process easier for the seller, and being flexible about the seller's needs – such as what date you will take possession of the property – is a great way to butter them up.

  7. Check Your Emotions
    You have to be in love with a house to be serious about buying it, but you should never let your emotions run amok during the buying process. Keeping a cool head will help you stay within your budget, and will prevent any missteps that could put the whole deal in jeopardy. 

Contact Wagner Realty today to learn more about how our team of experienced real estate agents can help you get a better deal on Bradenton homes for sale. We're no strangers to the negotiation process.  We work with you to help you get a house you love at a price you can afford.

October
25

Sarasota's Favorite Coffee Shops

Sarasota Coffee Shops
If you love coffee, you know the only way to start your day is with a rich, warm boost of your favorite caffeinated drink. As you shop for Sarasota homes for sale, you'll soon discover we have plenty of great coffee shops waiting to welcome you to your new city.

To get you headed in the right direction, our real estate agents tracked down some of Sarasota's favorite coffee shops. You'll have to let us know which one serves your coffee the way you like it.

  • Buddy Brew Coffee | 1289 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota, FL, 34326  
    Buddy Brew is the downtown Sarasota coffee spot to connect with friends, share a meal, and sip a cup of single origin coffee. You can have a seat and sip Buddy's coffee from a mug or grab a bag of beans for a morning caffeine boost at home. Buddy's makes it simple to order online and pick up your coffee at the shop.

  • The Clever Cup - 6530 Gateway Ave., Sarasota, FL, 34231
    The Clever Cup is the local hangout of choice for business people, young families, and South Sarasota coffee lovers. For conscientious coffee drinkers, they brew fair trade organic coffees and espresso drinks. Tea lovers will find their favorites as well. The owners welcome you to eat in or grab-and-go coffee and homemade pastries seven days a week.

  • Kahwa Coffee - 1487 2nd St, Sarasota, FL, 34326
    The barristers at Kahwa Coffee serve up fresh coffee ground from beans roasted in Tampa Bay. Free Wi-Fi, iced coffees, refreshers, and pastries make this the perfect coffee shop to settle down and relax. Kahwa Coffee is open seven days a week.
     
  • Perq Coffee Bar - 1821 Hillview St, Sarasota, FL, 34239
    Perq Coffee Bar serves single origin specialty coffees to Southside Village coffee lovers who crave great coffee experiences. They use choice beans from small producers around the globe. You can continue the Perq coffee experience at home with brewing supplies, merchandise, and coffee subscriptions.

  • The Reserve - 322 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL, 34236
    The Reserve isn't just a coffee shop; it's a gathering place with something for everyone. You can sip wine, handcrafted coffee, teas, kombuchas, and craft beers. For hungry moments, they offer a lite bites menu. You can enjoy live music presented by local talent in an open courtyard. If you don't feel like going home, you can spend the night in their guest room accommodations.

  • Pastry Art Bakery Cafe - 1512 Main St, Sarasota, FL, 34236 
    The Pastry Art Bakery Cafe serves delicious pastries from baklava to classic cakes. If you're a coffee lover, you may want to bypass the pastries and get right down to a caffeinated brew. Their on-premises roastmaster has a 20-year precision-roasting history. Great coffee is the foundation that transforms their coffee selections into coffee art. If you can't get enough, you can purchase their origin, organic, and flavored coffees in bulk.
     
  • Coffee Carrousel - 1644 Main St, Sarasota, FL 34236 
    The Coffee Carrousel serves homestyle breakfast and lunch in a down-home atmosphere in the heart of Downtown Sarasota. They offer an extensive menu with daily specials. Guests love the food and the friendly back-in-time family feel. And of course, they serve a great cup of coffee.

There's so much to love about living in Sarasota, and there's no better way to start your day in the city than with a fresh cup of coffee. Contact Wagner Realty when you're ready to learn more about buying or selling your home in our seaside community.

July
30

Buying Your First Home? Learn These Lessons Today.

Home Buying Lessons
Buying a home is a huge deal especially for first-time home buyers. Apart from being the single biggest purchase you will ever make, the process itself can be complicated. When you work with one of our real estate agents from Wagner Realty, we will always be on hand to help guide you through the entire process. Below are the key lessons to learn today to help make your home-purchase journey a little less stressful.

Put Aside Your Down Payment Money

It's common for lenders to require you to put down 20 percent as down payment for your new home. Although many lenders allow as little as 3 percent for first-time home buyers, committing anything less than 20 percent will mean higher loan costs and additional private mortgage insurance fees. Save enough money for your home's down payment using several savings schemes such as setting aside work bonuses and tax refunds or having an automatics savings plan.

Explore All Your Down Payment Options

As a first-time home buyer, you have several down payment options available to you if you cannot raise the deposit money. These are:

  • Federal mortgage programs offer loans with only three percent down
  • Federal Housing Administration loans permit 3.5 percent down payments
  • Veteran Affairs loans sometimes require little to no down payment at all
  • Crowdfunding or asking family members to pitch in

Check Your Credit

Your credit is a key factor in determining whether or not your home loan is approved. Moreover, it will determine your loan terms and interest rate. Therefore, work to improve your credit score in advance and offset outstanding debts early.

Pick the Right Home

Always consider everything you are looking for in your dream home when shopping around for one. Here:

  • Pick the right location and neighborhood
  • Consider crime and safety statistics
  • Check out noise, traffic, and activity levels
  • Look out for the nearest hospital, grocery store, pharmacy, school district, and other amenities

Budget for Closing Costs

After making an offer and starting the process of closing the deal, you need to account for closing costs that can run from two to five percent of your loan amount. Here, our real estate agents can help you shop around for affordable options to minimize some of your closing expenses such as title searches, home inspections, and homeowners insurance.

Take Your Time

Perhaps one of the hardest lessons on this list, but taking enough time to look for your dream home and shop around for all the services you will require throughout the buying process is essential. Try to minimize your frustrations and manage your emotions because making rush decisions can easily lead to buyer's remorse.

Be Prepared to Compromise

Making a strong offer is not a guarantee that you will close the deal. As issues arise from the home inspection and appraisal processes, be prepared to make compromises with the seller on certain things. However, too many compromises may result in high renovation costs.

Find a Great REALTOR®

When looking for homes for sale in Manatee and Sarasota Counties, it is important to hire the services of a professional buyer's agent to help you through the buying process from your home search through moving day.

Contact Wagner Realty today to get started buying your Flordia dream home.

Contact Wagner Realty

April
19

Make Them an Offer So They Know You Mean It

5 Tips for Making an Offer to Buy a Home

Tips for Making an Offer to Purchase

So you've fallen in love with the perfect house. Your dream home is waiting, and now the ball is in your court. Knowing how to make the right impression with the seller is an important element in negotiating an agreeable selling price and ensuring that your prospective new home doesn't slip away and into someone else's hands. Our real estate agents have the experience and know how to help you make an offer that's hard to refuse, and we've put together a few suggestions that could give you the advantage in sealing the deal.

1. Straight to the Heart

Many home sellers have an emotional attachment to their home and may be a bit reluctant of letting it go to a virtual stranger. If you are ready to make an offer, consider taking the time to write a cover letter to send with it. Of course you'll want to introduce yourself and perhaps give the seller a little bit of personal background, but more importantly, you'll want to let them know why their home is so appealing to you. Giving the seller insight as to why you love their home may just give you the upper hand, especially if there are multiple offers on the table.

2. Build Trust and Confidence

An offer is one thing, but documentation that backs up your offer in black and white is almost certain to get the seller's attention. Proof of financing terms from your bank as well as an underwriting approval indicates that you are ready and have the financial resources available to purchase the home.

3. Think Twice Before Asking for Extras

Asking for seller concessions such as closing costs may put your offer in line behind other buyers who aren't requesting such credits. Furnishings and fixtures are not always included with the home, and no matter how much you fancy them, it might be wiser to wait and purchase comparable items on your own instead of giving the seller a reason to hesitate in considering your offer.

4. Know Your Budget and Use It to Your Advantage

If you are in a position to do so financially, you might give some thought to making an offer over the seller's list price. There's no doubt that an offer that exceeds the seller's expectations will be taken seriously.

5. Sweeten the Pot

Want to let the seller know that you mean business? Here are a few other ideas that might sway the seller to accept your offer:

  • Propose a quicker than normal closing date. This may work especially well if the seller is motivated and wanting to move quickly.
  • Increase your Earnest Money Deposit. By willingly putting more down to begin with, you send a message to the seller that you are committed to obtaining the financing needed in order to purchase the home.
  • Offer a month of free occupancy for the seller. Some sellers may actually need more time to complete the move from the home they're selling. Giving them the luxury of a little added time after closing might be a winning move on your part.

You know what you're looking for, and now you know some of the best secrets to making a successful offer. Your dream home is out there, and we want to help you find it Contact Wagner Realty today, and let our team of experts show you a world of possibilities!

Contact Wagner Realty

January
4

Step-by-Step Guide for Relocating to Sarasota

Sarasota Relocation Guide
If you're thinking about relocating to a warmer climate, Sarasota, Florida is a wonderful choice. It's the city "where urban amenities meet small-town living." Winters are tropical, with occasional Gulf breezes and rain showers to ease the heat. You'll find a thriving art and culture scene and exciting residential and commercial architecture. If you're making the transition as a Sarasota retiree, you'll find many activities to fill your leisurely days.  

Our REALTORS® live, work, and play in the Sarasota area. We believe it's one of the most desirable cities in America. When you're ready to explore local living options, we'll be happy to arrange tours of Sarasota homes for sale. In the meantime, take a look at our Step-by-Step Guide for Relocating to Sarasota.

1. Visit Sarasota
If you haven't made up your mind about your move, visit our fabulous city and you'll know for sure. Sarasota is far more than just palm trees, beaches, and sunshine. You'll enjoy entertainment, dining, and outdoor activities. With the extensive selection of homes, you're certain to find the style, space, and amenities you want.

2. Connect with a REALTOR®
Establish a relationship with a Florida real estate professional who can manage the home-buying process from beginning to end. Your REALTOR® can begin searching for a home that meets your criteria. 

3. Organize your move
Consider delegating your moving tasks. Movers can pack, load, move, unload, unpack, and set up at your final destination while you relax and remain stress-free. If you're moving for a transfer or promotion, your employer might reimburse your expenses. Otherwise, they could be tax deductible.

4. Arrange your utilities
You must contact several sources to establish utility services in your new home.

5. Connect your phone
If you're a cell-only family, check to see if your provider has coverage in Sarasota. Companies like Wirefly, Xfinity, and others offer Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) home landline service. 

6. Get legal to drive in Florida
Drivers in Florida must have:

  • Florida auto insurance: Ask your current agent for a referral to a Florida insurance agent.
  • Florida drivers license: The Sarasota County Service Center may be able to convert your out-of-state license to a Florida license. Bring original documents to prove your ID.
  • Legally registered vehicle: You must register your out-of-state vehicle within 30 days of establishing residency, placing your children in school, or beginning a job. Visit your local Florida Tax Collector's office with your ID, original car title, vehicle registration, Florida Insurance verification, and an executed HSMV 82040 VIN verification inspection form,

7. Find a new doctor
The Sarasota County Medical Society maintains an online Sarasota Physician Directory.  

8. Find a new dentist
Visit Dentist.com for a directory of Sarasota dentists

9. Enroll your kids in school

10. Change your address
Complete a USPS.com online address change so your mail will follow you to Sarasota. USPS partners will send digital coupons you can use at your new location.  

11. Register to vote
Follow the instruction at the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections website to complete the voter registration process online or print, complete and mail the application. 

Wagner Realty to Find Your Sarasota Home

We'd love to help you make the move to Sarasota. Contact Wagner Realty if you're buying or selling your home, or visit our Sarasota Home Buyers Guide to learn more about living in Sarasota.

Contact Wagner Realty

December
12

First-time Buyers Guide: Buying a Home in 2018

Buying Your First Home in 2018
2017 has been a busy year for home buyers and 2018 seems like it will be booming too. 

While some people will shy away from getting involved in such a busy housing market, first-time buyers should be excited! First-time buyers have some major home-buying advantages.  There are many state, county and municipal assistance programs available for first-time home buyers.  In addition, time is also on the side of the first-time buyer. Since you don't have to worry about selling an existing home before you move, you can gather information and take action on your terms.

Let's focus on the top ten things you can do to get off to the right start.

  1. De-mystify Your Credit
    Authorized by federal law, Annual Credit Report provides a free credit report once per calendar year. Good credit means a better mortgage loan, so this is the place to get started. Follow up on any errors to raise your credit score fast.

  2. Pay Any Debts You Can
    Outstanding debt is another big part of your credit score and, thus, your mortgage options. If you have any debts you can pay off in the next few months, focus on them. Avoid opening new credit lines or canceling existing ones.

  3. Work on a Household Budget
    A sound budget helps you save for your home and transition smoothly to mortgage payments. It's the perfect time to gather the bills, figure out where money is going, and see if you can cut a hundred or two in expenditures.

  4. Determine What You Can Afford
    Knowing how much house you can afford will save you time and help you focus on the best homes for you. There are several home affordability calculators available on the web to help you zero in on the right home price based on annual income, debts, and down payment.

  5. Get Pre-approval – Ideally, Before April
    Pre-approval is a written commitment by a lender to issue a loan with certain terms. Although pre-approval does expire, it's best to get it done before April – that way, you know if your tax refund needs to go to housing expenses.

  6. Start Choosing Your Neighborhood
    If you can find the ideal neighborhood for you, you're halfway home! Most buyers start by deciding what amenities they need in a home and neighborhood. Then, they visit neighborhoods at different times of day and talk to local residents.

  7. Save for That Down Payment
    The bigger your down payment, the less you'll have to finance and the more money you'll save in the long run. It's also important to put some money aside for closing costs, which often can't be financed fully. Even a few thousand dollars can make a difference.

  8. Research First-Time Buyer Programs
    The government offers a number of mortgage loan programs, many offering special incentives for first-time buyers. Each one is overseen by a different federal agency, which creates guidelines lenders must follow. Programs include the USDA, VA, and FHA loans.

  9. Check Out Houses
    It's never too early to get a sense for what you want in a house. Online listings are available at the click of a mouse any time of the year. Don't forget to attend some open houses to see your options live and in person.

  10. Find a Real Estate Agent
    Wagner Realty is the #1 agency for first-time buyers. Our REALTORS® have helped thousands of people get first homes in Bradenton, Longboat Key, Lakewood Ranch, and Sarasota.

Contact Wagner Realty for expert help to get the search for your first home started.

Contact Wagner Realty

August
28

7 Instagram-Worthy Spots in Bradenton

Downtown Bradenton - Bradenton Area Visitors Bureau
Bradenton is one of the most desirable communities in all of Florida's picturesque west coast. With seaside charm and sophisticated amenities in a mid-sized city of 54,000, it attracts visitors and new residents alike each year. As the county seat and the core of the Bradenton-Sarasota-Venice area, there is truly something for everyone.

Sure, just about any seaside town in Florida will wow you with its fair share of marvelous attractions, but Bradenton is in a class by itself. Let's take a closer look at seven of the top sights that will make you want to take a selfie:

  1. Bradenton Riverwalk
    In 2012, Bradenton launched its 1.5-mile Riverwalk packed with beautiful homes and high-class businesses. It has become one of the city's economic engines, filling the social calendar with events like concerts, festivals, and talks by world-class experts. Plus, it's absolutely gorgeous: Known as a "gallery of outdoor art" it boasts nineteen distinct pieces by local artists.

  2. Village of the Arts
    The Village of the Arts is a small, spirited community where artists from a variety of disciplines live and work. From the first moment you arrive, the colorful buildings, murals, and even cars will take your breath away. From baking to yoga, you'll find anything with a creative spark here. One of the monthly art walks is the best way to take it all in and stage the perfect photo.

  3. Twin Dolphin Marina
    It's not surprising that Bradenton is home to an enthusiastic boating and water sports community. No matter whether you like sailing, jet skis, or anything in between, you'll find what you want at the Twin Dolphin Marina. Amenities include luxury live-aboard facilities, concierge services, and – of course – sunset harbor views that are second to none.

  4. Bean Point
    Bean Point is as far north as you can go on spectacular Anna Maria Island. This seven-mile barrier island is known for the sea turtles that come ashore each year to nest. Bottlenose dolphins cavort and play in nearby waters, and a vast assortment of seabirds can be found through most of the year. Named for its first resident, Bean Point offers some of the best views in the area.

  5. Robinson Preserve
    Robinson Preserve is a 600-acre natural preservation area that offers a true adventure to those willing to explore. It welcomes visitors to a secluded and pristine vision of Old Florida that can be compared only to its "big brother," the historic Everglades. The best way to trek through Robinson Preserve is to plan a day-long kayaking expedition with an experienced guide.

  6. Historic Bradenton Pier
    When walking along Sarasota Bay for sightseeing or a picnic, no journey would be complete without a visit to the Historic Bradenton Beach City Pier. It is home to one of the most popular restaurants in the entire metro area, serving delectable seafood. It's also one of the best places to glimpse a truly unobstructed view of the Bay – and you're welcome to fish all day.

  7. Your New Bradenton Home
    Picture it: A beautiful home that meets all your needs, nestled in the heart of a seaside paradise. Warm sun, sand, and surf all year around, with inviting sea breezes and the gentle whisper of the water lapping not far from your window. All of this and more could be yours when you decide to work with Wagner Realty, the trusted REALTORS® in Bradenton.

Homes in Bradenton appeal to people of varying tastes and lifestyles. You can combine beauty, convenience, and "old Florida" charm with the right home. Contact us today.

Contact Wagner Realty

 

August
14

Living Like a Local in Longboat Key

Longboat Key Dining Spots 

Longboat Key Restaurants
When you find yourself in a living in a new city and want to find the best spots to grab a bite to eat, what do you do? That's easy—ask a Local! Luckily, our REALTORS® live and work in Longboat Key are thrilled to share some of our favorite eateries that will have you dining like a native Floridian in no time.

Homes in Longboat Key offer easy access to beautiful Gulf Coast views and miles of beautiful beaches. With all that seaside scenery, it comes as no surprise that Longboat Key serves up some of the best seafood around, but our local restaurants also offer much more! Here are some of our favorites:

  1. Amore, 555 Bay Isles Parkway, Longboat Key
    This incredible Italian fusion restaurant offers up a delicious traditionally-inspired menu that includes savory pesto gnocchi—a perfect comfort food if ever there was one—and possibly the most tender, juicy and flavorful rack of lamb we've ever tasted. Amore also offers both indoor and outdoor dining, and a full bar with live entertainment.

  2. Lazy Lobster, 5350 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key
    For high-end seafood in a relaxed, casual setting the Lazy Lobster is your go-to destination in the Longboat Key area. Their menu is stacked with seafood dished both classic and creative, from chilled ahi tuna and lobster bisque to crab cake salad and lemon-garlic shrimp and grits. They also have great happy hour specials, and a wide range of gluten-free options.

  3. Chart House, 201 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key
    Although it's known for its seafood, with many dishes sourced from local catches, Chart House is also a great place to go when you want to branch out. In addition to mouth-watering seafood dishes like stuffed flounder and cedar plank salmon, you'll find a menu stacked with delicious soups, salads, and some of the best steaks around. And all you chocoholics better stick around for dessert, because the hot chocolate lava cake is about as good as it gets.

  4. Dry Dock Waterfront Grill, 412 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key
    The lunch menu at the Dry Dock Waterfront Grill gets high marks for offering a dizzying variety of options in a gorgeous waterfront setting (to be fair, the dinner menu is great too, but a top-notch lunch spot is harder to come by). In the mood for seafood? The grouper sandwich is offered grilled, fried or blackened. Have a burger in mind? The half-pound Angus boathouse burger has your name on it. Vegetarian? If not, you will be after you try the grilled portobello mushroom sandwich.

  5. Euphemia Haye Restaurant, 5540 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key
    A perfect spot for a romantic dinner, Euphemia Haye might just be Longboat Key's most unique fine dining spot. A stone's throw from the beach, this picturesque restaurant is nestled in a historic wooden cottage and surrounded by a garden of tropical greenery. The creative a la carte menu includes an overflowing wine list and lots of healthy and vegetarian options alongside amazing pasta dishes, juicy steaks and fresh-caught seafood. The neighboring Haye Loft offers a more casual location to grab a drink and check out some live music.

When you're ready to begin your search for a home in Longboat Key, contact Wagner Realty. We have the "inside scoop" on the best homes for sale in our area--not to mention the restaurants, shopping, nightlife, and attractions in Longboat Key.

Contact Wagner Realty

May
30

What's It Like to Live in Siesta Key, FL

Buying a Home in Siesta Key FL
Many people looking at Sarasota homes find themselves drawn to the charm of Siesta Key, just a 15-minute drive from downtown Sarasota proper. Siesta Key, a community of just over 6,000 people, is a barrier island with some of the most beautiful sights in Florida.

If you're searching for the right place to truly enjoy the climate and views only Florida can offer, Siesta Key is perfect. Although it attracts many tourists, there are also plenty of "out of the way" places to enjoy a slower pace.

Spanning just 3.5 square miles, Siesta Key is made up of four main districts:

  1. Siesta Beach
    Siesta Beach is consistently ranked one of the best beaches in the world and among the top three in Florida. The Siesta Beach area is home to many eateries showcasing the region's best seafood. As a resident here, you'll live where people come to get married or go on honeymoon.

  2. Crescent Beach
    Crescent Beach sits just south of Stickney Point and has a distinctive crescent shape. This is the place to be if you want true beachfront property situated right next to the water. Crescent Beach is easily accessible for those who want to walk to major amenities instead of driving.

  3. Turtle Beach
    Turtle Beach is home to some of the top resorts and campgrounds in the area. It is a smaller and quieter beach known as the place to go for fishing. It is one of the only beaches around Siesta Key without white sand – the shore is known for a distinctive black coloration instead.

  4. Siesta Key Village
    Siesta Key Village is what most people think of when they think of Siesta Key homes. From shady streets to sunny beaches, Siesta Key has what you need to make everything a Florida holiday. It's especially famous for watersports and parasailing.

    No matter where you are, Siesta Key is known for breathtaking sunsets. Blackened gator tail and local fish are some of the dinner favorites, topped off at the end with a slice of authentic key lime pie.

Living in the Land of Sand and Surf at Siesta Key

Thanks to its unique geography, living in Siesta Key feels like being away from it all – but you still have access to all the best amenities of Sarasota, Bradenton, and even the Tampa Bay Area. But how can you know if Siesta Key is right for you?

Locals applaud Siesta Key for its laid back community, great shops, and nightlife. Despite its popularity with out-of-town visitors, it is amazingly intimate and local, with a flavor all its own. It also has a strong arts and culture scene, and there is always something to do. Don't miss the historic Ringling Bros. home.

For its permanent residents, Siesta Key attracts families and established professionals working in the growing technology and healthcare scenes in Sarasota or Bradenton. The area is serviced by the world class Sarasota Memorial Hospital. Sarasota County Schools operates more than 30 public schools in the area, with many elementary schools rated among the Sunshine State's best.

Intrigued? Get Started Today with Wagner Realty

Siesta Key is the place to be, no matter whether you're moving to Florida from outside the state or "trading up" from a hectic urban lifestyle. Truly, the best way to appreciate how Siesta Key can transform your life for the better is to see some of the amazing homes for sale.

Want to find out more? Contact Wagner Realty to get started. Our REALTORS® in Sarasota will be glad to help you find the perfect Siesta Key home for you.

Contact Wagner Realty

April
25

Five Favorite Anna Maria Island Restaurants

Visit the Best Dining Spots on Anna Maria Island

Best Anna Maria Island Restaurants

Anna Maria Island, FL is a truly unique community, and that commitment to originality is always on display at the diverse dining destinations around the island. As you might expect from a seaside town, many of Anna Maria Island's most popular dining spots are big on serving fresh, locally sourced seafood, with entree inspirations from around the world. Enjoying a meal on the island is as much about the scenery as it is about the food on your plate. Let's just say you won't have any trouble finding waterfront dining when you call Anna Maria Island, FL home.

One of the nice things about living on Anna Maria Island is that there's a dining spot for every occasion. You can enjoy an elegant, sit-down meal by the sea, or head straight from the beach to a bistro in your flip-flops. No matter the occasion, Anna Maria homes for sale put you close to the action on the island.

Anna Maria Beach Restaurants

Five Food Favorites

  1. Beach Bistro – 6600 Gulf Drive – The Beach Bistro has been delighting locals and visitors alike for more than 25 years. With a menu of unique seafood options, Beach Bistro has earned countless awards from ZAGAT and other big-name restaurant reviewers. As an added bonus – or perhaps the main attraction – Beach Bistro has also been lauded as having one of the best wine lists in Florida, with more than 200 options available.

  2. Eat Here Anna Maria Kitchen – 5315 Gulf Drive – The Anna Maria Kitchen wants you to "Eat Here," and we certainly won't be arguing. Eat Here Anna Maria Kitchen is a collaborative effort between the operators of Beach Bistro and a number of young, creative restaurateurs in the area. The result is a less formal setting that's still big on atmosphere, perfect for lunch or an evening out with friends. While the atmosphere is less formal, the quality of the food is just as fantastic as what you'll find at Beach Bistro.

  3. Anna Maria Island Beach Cafe – 4000 Gulf Drive – Noticing a theme, yet? If you enjoy eating with your toes in the sand, then you won't find a better place than Anna Maria Island to pursue your culinary passion. The Anna Maria Island Beach Cafe is a friendly, welcoming dining spot located right on the beach. In addition to a diverse menu and a well-stocked bar, the cafe is big on entertainment. On many nights, you'll have live music to serenade you as you eat with the sunset in the background.

  4. The Waterfront Restaurant and Craft Bar – 111 South Bay Blvd. – Special occasions call for special meals, and The Waterfront always delivers. This is a formal, sit-down restaurant with fantastic seafood dinners and a menu of craft drinks that you won't find anywhere else. Enjoy a light, tasty lunch, or stop by at dinnertime for a truly unforgettable meal.

  5. Sandbar Seafood and Spirits – 100 Spring Avenue – The Sandbar is a place where memories are made, and knots are tied. This is one of the most popular restaurants on the island for weddings, thanks to its combination of fantastic food and stunning scenery. Of course, you don't need to be planning a beach wedding to enjoy a meal at this beloved Santa Maria Island establishment.

Anna Maria Island Dining Patrons

Our REALTORS® in Anna Maria love getting to experience the island, and we know you will too. Contact our local Anna Maria office to shop for homes on Anna Marie Island, and learn what it's like to enjoy a world-class meal by the sea.

Contact Wagner Realty

April
3

Loving Life in Lakewood Ranch, FL

Lakewood Ranch Designed with Residents in Mind

Lakewood Ranch Florida Living

31,000 acres, 15 neighborhoods, and world-class amenities around every corner. The master-planned community of Lakewood Ranch, FL is anything but average--and that's no accident. From the start, the community was designed with its residents in mind, so that you can find everything you need in a peaceful, secure, scenic Florida setting. There are homes here to fit every buyer in Lakewood Ranch and enough recreation activities to keep you busy for years to come. 

Lakewood Ranch, FL - A Master-Planned Community

While the community is a major selling point, life at Lakewood Ranch still starts at home. Lakewood Ranch homes include single-family homes, condos, apartments, town homes and custom-built homes from the best builders in the area. The community is broken down into 15 villages, or neighborhoods, each with its own perks and amenities.

Most villages in Lakewood Ranch are adjacent to at least one golf course and offer beautiful views even if you're not the type to hit the links yourself. There are also age-restricted villages to be found within the community, along with family-friendly villages. Our Lakewood Ranch REALTORS® can help you find a house you'll love in a neighborhood you'll be proud to call home.

World-Class Golf Moments from Your Front Door

The Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club is really three great golf courses in one, each with its own unique personality. Cypress Links, King's Dunes and Royal Lakes are the three 18-hole courses that make up Lakewood Ranch and Country Club. Every course at the club makes use of the gorgeous natural scenery of Lakewood Ranch, and can be enjoyed by golfers of any skill level. The club also offers a host of other recreational activities, and a busy schedule of special events that are always well-attended by the community.

Year-Round Fun and Sun at Lakewood Ranch

When you live in Lakewood Ranch, winter is little more than a distant memory. Even during the heart of January, you can golf in a short-sleeve polo or go for a cool, comfortable morning jog without bundling up for a blizzard. In addition to great golf, you can enjoy year-round fun at the Premier Sports Campus, the Sarasota Polo Club, and the Ancient Oak Gun Club. Parks, walking trails and scenic hideaways dot the community as well, so there is always something new to explore.

Move-In Ready and Maintenance-Free

Whether you're purchasing a second home or moving in full-time, Lakewood Ranch offers move-in options to make life a little easier. There are move-in ready homes available in some villages, as well as maintenance-free homes that provide peace of mind throughout your time in Lakewood Ranch. You're also welcome to handle those details yourself, but it's nice to know the all-inclusive option is there if you need it.

Town Centers for Dining, Entertainment, and Shopping

Town Centers are the hubs of Lakewood Ranch's villages, where residents go to shop, dine, drink and enjoy an evening out with their neighbors. Neighborhood shopping centers allow you to handle grocery shopping, banking and all of life's little errands without leaving Lakewood Ranch. You'll also find three large, central town centers called San Marco Plaza, Waterside Place, and Main Street, each with its own unique businesses, dining spots, and entertainment options.

There has never been a better time to find your place in the beautiful, all-inclusive community of Lakewood Ranch. Contact Wagner Realty to shop for homes in Lakewood Ranch, FL, and learn what it's like to have everything you need in life located within minutes of your front door.

Disclaimer: All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. All properties are subject to prior sale, change or withdrawal. Neither listing broker(s) or information provider(s) shall be responsible for any typographical errors, misinformation, misprints and shall be held totally harmless. Listing(s) information is provided for consumers personal, non-commercial use and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing. Information on this site was last updated 12/02/2022. The listing information on this page last changed on 12/02/2022. The data relating to real estate for sale on this website comes in part from the Internet Data Exchange program of Stellar MLS (last updated Fri 12/02/2022 12:03:50 AM EST). Real estate listings held by brokerage firms other than Wagner Realty may be marked with the Internet Data Exchange logo and detailed information about those properties will include the name of the listing broker(s) when required by the MLS. All rights reserved. --

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