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REALTOR® Melton H. Little Joins Wagner Realty's Manatee Ave West Office

REALTOR Melton Little has joined Wagner Realty's Manatee Ave West Office.

Melton is a partner and attorney at Kallins, Little & Brosious, with nearly four decades of legal experience and is a veteran of the courtroom. He was Board Certified by the Florida Bar as a Civil Trial lawyer from 2004 to 2019 and Board Certified in Marital and Family Law from 1993 to 2019.

In 2020, his passion and tenacity for his clients and the community motivated him to pursue his real estate license so that he can continue to help and support families to fulfill their dreams of homeownership.

As a graduate of Bayshore High School and a long-time resident of Manatee County, Melton is committed to giving back to the local community. He has been actively involved in a wide variety of local organizations and has served on many nonprofit boards. During his career, he has also logged over 600 hours of pro bono legal services donated to those in need. In addition, he has actively coached youth basketball, soccer, and football for several local schools. In 2003, he was awarded the Boys and Girls Club National Medallion, the highest honor the club can award to a volunteer. His dedication to the community was also recognized in 2004 when he received the Manatee County Bar Association Community Service Award and again in 2013 when he was given the Manatee County Bar Association William C. Grimes Award for Lifetime Achievement in Community Service.

Melton will be providing residential real estate listing and sales services throughout Manatee and Sarasota Counties. "I chose Wagner Realty because of their decades of experience and the exceptional training curriculum they provide "Melton added, "Wagner just had that family feel and support that I was looking for."

Melton can be reached at the Wagner Realty Manatee Ave West Office located at 7411 Manatee Ave West, by phone at 941.730.5000, by email, or at


REALTOR® Robyn Reynolds Joins Wagner Realty's Manatee Ave West Office

REALTOR Robyn Reynolds has joined Wagner Realty's Manatee Ave West Office.

As an entrepreneur Robyn, a licensed esthetician opened and successfully managed a skincare studio in California for over ten years. She started her real estate career in early 2000 in luxury real estate in California. After much thought, she listened to her heart and moved to Castle Rock, Colorado, to be near her growing family. There she managed two careers, one in property management and the other in skincare. But her passion for real estate was still present and obtained her Colorado real estate license.

Robyn enjoys working closely with people and helping them sell or find a home. As a realtor, she finds it extremely rewarding to see the entire process through, from listing, staging, and selling, to helping families and individuals find a new home. She has always loved Florida and, after visiting for many years, made the move in 2017. Robyn is now selling luxury properties throughout Manatee, Sarasota, and surrounding counties.  

Her close-knit family is essential to Robyn; she visits Colorado often. In her spare time, she enjoys #vanlife and seeing the country. Recently, she has taken up e-biking and loves to be in nature. Her other hobbies include time with family, traveling, listening to live music, and indoor gardening.

"I chose Wagner Realty because of their decades of experience and the many offices in the area. Speaking with many people within the company, I knew I would work with the best team in the fast-paced Florida real estate industry. "Robyn added, "Wagner just had that community and family feel that I was looking for."

Robyn can be reached at the Wagner Realty Manatee Ave West Office located at 7411 Manatee Ave West, by phone at 805.279.3059, by email, or at


REALTOR® Holly Hulsman Joins Wagner Realty's Lakewood Ranch Main St Office

Holly Hulsman has joined Wagner Realtyʼs Lakewood Ranch Office as a licensed REALTOR®.

Holly was raised in Northeast Ohio about 30 minutes east of Cleveland and remains a devoted Cleveland Browns fan.  After marrying in 2003 and starting a family, she obtained her Class B CDL license, and chose transportation as a part time career, that lasted for 13 years.

In 2016, she moved to Sarasota where they salt margaritas and not roads and became a school bus driver for The Out of Door Academy in Lakewood Ranch. She graduated from Manatee Technical College with an Applied Technologies Diploma in Medical Coding.  Although she went through many career changes, the most consistent and valuable qualities she maintained was her passion, her down to earth personality, and humorous nature.  No matter what she pursues, it is always done with a smile and plenty of enthusiasm.  She is confident that those qualities are exactly the ones that will help her achieve positive success in her new real estate career. Holly will be providing residential real estate listing and sales services throughout our great community of Manatee and Sarasota Counties.

When Holly is not helping families locate their dream homes, she will be working out at the gym, gardening, fishing, and travelling.  Her life revolves around her 16-year-old daughter, 14-year-old son, and the cutest rescue bull terrier mix named Sam.

Holly can be reached at the Wagner Realty Lakewood Ranch Main Street Office located 8141 Lakewood Main Street #100, Lakewood Ranch, Florida 34202 or by phone at 440.856.5744, on the web at or by email at


Wagner Realty Announces August, 2022 Top Producers

August Top Producers


Wagner Realty's Rick Chang Voted by Local Community as Best Lakewood Ranch REALTOR®

Rick Chang

LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL August 29th – According to the Fall, 2022 Issue of Living Lakewood SRQ Magazine, the readers have spoken. They voted Rick Chang, REALTOR with Wagner Realty as the LWR Best Lakewood Ranch REALTOR specializing in working with international as well as domestic customers.

Born in Nanjng, China, Rick grew up in Sao Paulo, Brazil.  He came to the United State to attend College and received his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (BSME) degree with a minor in economics.  Rick speaks five major Chinese dialects, is fluent in Portuguese, and adequate in Spanish.  He has been in the hospitality business for most of his life and is now very passionate about real estate, tennis, golf, and fitness. His motto is "If it is out there, I will find it. There is no task too difficult, and I am the deal maker agent. If it is humanly possible, I will get it done," said Chang.

Rick is proud to be selected as the Platinum winner in this local competition and thanks everyone who voted him as the local real estate expert.

Rick can be reached at the Wagner Realty Lakewood Ranch Main Street Office located 8141 Lakewood Main Street #N100, Lakewood Ranch, Florida 34202 or by phone at 941.726.2550 , on the web at or by email at


REALTOR® Pauline Rocco Joins Wagner Realty's First Street Sarasota Office

REALTOR Pauline Rocco has joined Wagner Realtyʼs First Street Sarasota Office. Pauline is a Sarasota native and a graduate of The New York School of Art and Design. Impassioned from a young age by her late mother Pauline Schultz to create beautiful spaces, she began her career as an Interior Designer in 1999 with her firm. Pauline has been a part of the growth of Sarasota, Florida, with many Speculative Homes, Custom Homes, and High-Rise Condominiums. In entering a new chapter of her life Pauline and her husband, Dan Rocco, have created Rocco Design Associates. 

With a fiery passion for properties and a clear understanding of a client's vision, Pauline combined her expert skills into a unique real estate experience. She obtained her Florida real estate license in August 2022 and can now bring a client's vision to life. Using her keen eye to identify unique features and potential areas in space design, and can envision additional options in any given property and present them to discerning clients. She has built many lasting professional relationships with a blend of exceptional work ethic, communication, and trust. She enjoys working closely with people and making their real estate dreams come true. 

Aside from creating beautiful design spaces and selling homes, Pauline enjoys traveling with her husband, spending time with her daughters Olivia and Sarah, and playing with their two English Cream Retrievers. 

Contact Pauline today to receive your full-service luxury concierge real estate experience!

She can be reached at the Wagner Realty First Street Sarasota Office located at 1440 First Street Sarasota office or by phone at 941.402.7572, on the web at  or by email at


Wagner Realty Announces July, 2022 Top Producers


The History Behind the Island's "Most Popular Sign, "Welcome to Holmes Beach on Anna Maria Island"

Holmes Beach, FL – August 8, 2022

Think Anna Maria Island (AMI), and the images most likely to pop into your head are the beautiful gulf beaches, the white fine sand, the lush landscaping, the quaint island lifestyle and of course, that famous sign that reads, "Welcome to Holmes Beach on Anna Maria Island." For many visitors to the island, it's the first thing they see on the way in and the last thing they see on the way out – that is, unless they bought any of the numerous souvenirs that bear its image. We all know the sign, but where exactly did it come from?

The original sign was contributed to the community by the Anna Maria Island Rotary club back in the 1980s. In 2001, Ernie Kerr was an island resident and current president of the Anna Maria Island Rotary Club. He felt the old sign "...just didn't portray the true island flavor that we have come to love." Ernie was a retired commercial artist, so he made it his mission to replace the old sign. He then designed and fabricated a model of his vision. The model was presented to the Rotary Club and city officials where it was unanimously approved.

Ernie enjoyed every minute of fabricating the elements of the sign in his workshop garage. It took about six months to complete the construction and installation. The project was solely sponsored and funded by the Anna Maria Island Rotary Club. "Looking back, I have to say that I'm grateful for the support of my wife, Becky Smith, Branch Manager with Wagner Realty on the island, for her patience while I spent literally all my days into the evening perfecting every little detail of the sign. There were many nights that Becky sat at the dinner table alone, while listening to the annoying sound of the skill saw," says Kerr.

The new sign was erected in 2001 and continues to attract both young and old. Ernie admits that although this was the only monument he designed and built, he looks back with fond memories, and feels so much satisfaction every time he sees smiling families photographing themselves in front of "the sign that Ernie built." A sign built with a lot of love for the local community.


Wagner Realty Supports the Bradenton Police Department's  Bradenton Blue Foundation With Its 5th Annual Golf Classic

Bradenton, FL  July 26th – On Friday, October 7, 2022, Wagner Realty will host its annual Golf Classic at Tara Golf and Country Club in Bradenton.  The Golf Classic has raised vital funds for the Bradenton Police Department's Bradenton Blue Foundation, a non-profit created to support officers and our community with funds for specialty training, technology, safety equipment and community outreach. 

"This has become such an important community event," notes David Eckel, Wagner Realty's President and owner, adding "supporting our local law enforcement is so important. The Golf Classic is a wonderful opportunity for like-minded people to enjoy a great day on a premiere golf course, all to benefit our men and women in blue and the greater Manatee community." 

Every year, more than 70 businesses support  the Golf Classic through sponsorships and/or donated auction items. "The generosity, time and effort of everyone involved, is just incredible," notes Natalie Russell, event organizer and company Operations Manager. Businesses – large and small, and individuals have enthusiastically supported The Wagner Golf Classic to support the Bradenton Blue Foundation.

Sponsorships are available as low as $100, and auction item donations are appreciated.  To purchase golf tickets, sponsorships and/or participate in auction bidding visit or scan QR code. For questions, please contact Natalie Russell, Operations Manager at 941.727.2800.


Wagner Realty Named #1 Favorite Real Estate Company for 24 Consecutive Years

Bradenton, FL., July 18, 2022 - Every year, the Bradenton Herald features the "People's Choice" Awards, inviting readers to vote for their favorite service providers in a variety of businesses.  For the 24th consecutive year, Wagner Realty has been voted "gold" in the "2022 People's Choice" as the #1 local real estate service provider.  We would like to take this time to thank the general public and our customers for their vote of confidence and support, year after year.

The Commercial Division of Wagner Realty was also awarded gold and bronze recognition was acheieved in Wagner Realty's Property Management Division.

"I want to thank our hard-working and talented team for this honor" said David Eckel, Owner and Broker of Wagner Realty.  "Our agents are simply the best.  They're dedicated to improving the quality of life of our customers, their families and the communities we serve.  The People's Choice award exemplifys the excellence we foster in all aspects of our business.  Congratulations to all our brokers, agents and staff on this wonderful achievement!"

Established in 1939, Wagner Realty is one of the oldest and largest independent, local, veteran owned and operated real estate companies in Manatee and Sarasota Counties. With more than 200 agents, Wagner Realty serves all of Manatee and Sarasota Counties, as well the Greater Tampa Bay Area. For more information about Wagner Realty, visit


REALTOR® Jacki Jensen Joins Wagner Realty's Manatee Ave West Office

Jacki JensenBRADENTON, FL May 13th - REALTOR Jacki Jensen has joined Wagner Realtyʼs Manatee Ave West Office as a licensed REALTOR®. Jacki has been in the real estate industry since the early 1990's when she obtained her real estate license in the state of Colorado. She was in the forefront of the growth of Colorado working with the new construction housing market.

Jacki moved to the Bradenton area in 2004 where she remained in residential sales, adding property management to her resume. She will be providing residential real estate listing and sales services throughout Manatee and Sarasota Counties.

She loves the area where she can enjoy her favorite sport of tennis playing all year round.  Jacki is looking forward to taking pickleball lessons and joining a few local teams in the area, since it is such a popular Florida sport.

Colorado Springs is still home to her son and daughter, six grandchildren and one great granddaughter but the cold snowy winters will certainly draw her large family to visit her in the luscious warm weather and gorgeous beaches here in Florida.

"From the day I walked into the Corporate office, I felt so comfortable," notes Jacki, adding "I was warmly welcomed there and made friends from the first day. I am so thankful that my friends recommended me to contact Wagner."

She can be reached at the Wagner Realty Manatee Ave West Office located at 7411 Manatee Ave West Office, Bradenton, Florida 34236 or by phone at 719.352.5513, on the web at or by email at


REALTOR® Lora L. Howell Joins Wagner Realty's Lakewood Ranch Main Street Office

LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL May 6th – REALTOR Lora L. Howell, Esq. has joined Wagner Realty's Lakewood Ranch Office as a licensed REALTOR® and will be working with the business brokerage division.  

As part of the expert brokerage team in Lakewood Ranch, Lora will specialize in marketing businesses in a way that will appeal to a large base of qualified buyers.  With advanced understanding from both the litigation and transactional perspectives, she will advise clients with the confidence required in all business transactions.

Lora has been a member of the Florida Bar since 2007 and has focused her practice in the areas of Real Estate Law, Foreclosure Litigation, Family Law and Civil Litigation.

Ms. Howell was raised in Mooresville, Indiana and earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from Indiana University in 1994 graduating on the Dean's List and where she was a member of the Political Science Honor Society, Pi Sigma Alpha. She earned her Juris Doctor Degree from Florida State University College of Law and is currently active in several professional organizations as well as community groups.

Lora can be reached at the Wagner Realty Lakewood Ranch Office located at 8141 Lakewood Main Street, Suite N106, Lakewood Ranch, Florida 34202 or by phone at 941.756.7800, or by email at


REALTOR® Genesis Abascal Joins Wagner Realty's First Street Sarasota Office

Genesis AbascalSARASOTA, FL May 12th - REALTOR Genesis Abascal has joined Wagner Realtyʼs First Street Sarasota Office as a licensed REALTOR®. Genesis has been in the real estate industry since 2005, serving as a Sales Manager at a Miami real estate company. She was in the forefront of the growth and revitalization of the Miami Brickell Downtown area for over 17 years, working under one of the largest South Florida developers and brokerage teams.

Genesis frequently traveled to the Gulf Coast to visit family and fell in love with the area. In November of 2021, she made the decision to make Sarasota her home.

Genesis is committed to sharing her love of the Gulf Coast with expertise and market knowledge to her customers. Real estate is the only career she has ever had, and being able to work in the Gulf Coast has been her dream for many years. She will be providing residential real estate listing and sales services throughout Manatee and Sarasota Counties. Being bilingual and having experience working with International Spanish speaking clients, Genesis enjoys helping homebuyers/sellers and investors communicate their real estate goals.

"In searching for a new brokerage to place my license with, I was looking for an independent and large brokerage where I could be a part of a family and not just a name on a roster of agents," notes Genesis, adding "I was warmly welcomed and made to feel so comfortable that I selected Wagner Realty as my new home."

Genesis is a proud mother of one son, Elias, who lives in Miami. His love for theater and performing arts since the tender age of eight, has resulted in acting roles in local musicals within the Miami area. Genesis hopes that she can attract her now, eighteen-year-old son to join the more than half dozen different theater companies on a variety of theatrical stages locally in Sarasota.

Genesis has spent many years actively involved in local Miami non-profit organizations, such as the Covenant House, an organization that helps homeless children. She also served as Ambassador at Kristi House, a safe haven for abused children, while studying for her Bachelor's Degree in special education at Miami Dade College.

She can be reached at the Wagner Realty First Street Sarasota Office located at 1440 First Street, Sarasota, Florida 34236 or by phone at 305-853-6400, on the web at or by email at


Wagner Realty Announces April, 2022 Top Producers


Surprise Mom With a Bouquet from These Local Florists

Sarasota Florists

Mother's Day is just around the corner, so now is the time to start thinking about how you'll show mom your appreciation this year. 

Our real estate agents turn to our local flower shops to find the perfect Mother's Day gifts. A bouquet of flowers is not only a great way to freshen up the house, but it's also a gift associated with love and beauty. Here are some local flower shops that make a great Mother's Day bouquet. 

  • Sarasota Florist - 2300 Bee Ridge Rd #303, Sarasota, FL 34239
    For some of the finest Mother's Day florals in the area, stop by Sarasota Florist. This store's professional team of floral designers is offering a special Designer's Choice Mother's Day arrangement for $75. Looking for something different? Whether it's classic, traditional, modern, trendy, or offbeat, they can also create the perfect floral arrangement for you.

  • Suncoast Floristry - 1227 S Beneva Rd, Sarasota, FL 34232
    Expect beautiful flowers, great service, and on-time deliveries at Suncoast Floristry -- a local flower shop where you're sure to find the perfect Mother's Day bouquet. This independent, family-owned floral shop has been serving the Sarasota area since 1980. They offer a wide selection and affordable prices. Best of all, the shop is conveniently located near some beautiful Sarasota homes for sale.

  • Flowers By Edie - 4607 Cortez Rd W, Bradenton, FL 34210
    This local florist has been providing hand-delivered flowers to the Bradenton area for over 35 years. This shop offers tons of beautifully designed bouquets perfect for any occasion. Flowers By Edie has tons of Mother's Day specials available on their website. The shop is also just around the corner from some fantastic Bradenton homes for sale.

  • Blooms By The Beach - 2501 Gulf Dr. N, Bradenton Beach, FL 34217
    This beachside store is the go-to destination for beautiful flowers in Anna Maria Island and Bradenton. Blooms By The Beach is a full-service florist with high-quality products that are sure to delight. The store offers loads of options for Mother's Day gifts. The staff also has a reputation for being friendly and helpful, so you're sure to find the perfect gift for mom. After shopping, be sure to schedule a tour of one of these beautiful nearby Bradenton Beach homes for sale.

  • Ellenton Florist - 6214 US-301, Ellenton, FL 34222
    Celebrate mom with some of the most beautifully-designed bouquets in South Florida. Ellenton Florist sources flowers from the highest quality origins and has a dedicated staff of floral experts and artists. Mother's Day flower delivery is available in Ellenton, Parrish, Palmetto, and several other surrounding towns. This amazing shop is also just a few miles away from these spectacular Ellenton homes for sale.

Give mom the gift she deserves this year by visiting one of our area's wonderful local flower shops. For more local recommendations around Sarasota, Bradenton, or Ellenton, contact us today.


REALTOR® Maria LaPiana Joins Wagner Realty's SR 64 East, Bradenton Office

BRADENTON, FL, February 28th – REALTOR Maria LaPiana has joined Wagner Realty's SR 64 East, Bradenton Office as a licensed REALTOR®.  Maria has spent more than seventeen years in the real estate industry, with the majority of the time at Howard Hanna in Real Estate Services in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  After observing many of her long-term clients were migrating to the warmer Florida climate, it wasn't long before she headed south to spend more time in Florida. She was sold on the attractive sunny climate and went off to quickly obtain a Florida real estate license in early 2022, in addition to her Pennsylvania license. 

Maria will be providing residential real estate listing and sales services throughout Manatee and Sarasota Counties, with a specialty in helping clients to relocate to warmer climate.

"Wagner Realty has the perfect combination of more than eighty years of experience and family style atmosphere" notes Maria, adding "I had all my questions answered from very knowledgeable and friendly Wagner team members and that's what also convinced me that I made the right decision."

She can be reached at the Wagner Realty SR 64 East, Bradenton Office located at 5215 SR 64 East, Bradenton, FL 34208, or by phone at 724.840.8684, on the web at or by email at


Becky Smith to Manage Wagner Realty's Longboat Key Office

LONGBOAT KEY, FL, February 23, 2022 – Becky Smith, Broker Associate has been named new Branch Manager for Wagner Realty's Longboat Key Office, located at 5360 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Ste 101, on Longboat Key. Becky will be taking the helm as her predecessor, Dia Wilson has transitioned to concentrate full time on her real estate business.

Becky joined Wagner Realty in October of 2002, and quickly achieved multiple top sales and listings awards. She served on the REALTOR Association of Sarasota & Manatee (RASM) Professional Standards Committee. Becky brings more than twenty years of managerial real estate skills to this position and still manages the Wagner Realty Anna Maria Island Office.

Originally from Mishawaka, Indiana, Becky and her family moved to Anna Maria Island in 1988, so she considers the area islands her home.  "Becky brings so much to the table" notes David Eckel, Wagner President and Broker, adding "we know the Longboat Key Office will continue to bring a high level of credibility and reliability as Becky moves into this additional leadership role."

In addition to his real estate talents, she was a member of Toastmasters International for more than thirty five years. "I love Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key and look forward to leading my fellow Wagner Realtors as we continue to provide exceptional service to those looking to buy and sell homes in this incredibly beautiful area on the Gulf Coast of Florida."

Becky can be reached at Wagner Realty by phone at 941.773.1954, on the web at or by email at


Wagner Realty Settles In At New Office On Main Street In Lakewood Ranch

Lakewood Ranch, FL  February 17, 2022 – Wagner Realty has opened their doors for business at the new office located in the center of Main Street in Lakewood Ranch. The prominent store-front location is designed to create a first-class visitor experience.  

"We are very excited about our new upscale office in the heart of Lakewood Ranch," said David Eckel, Broker/Owner of Wagner Realty. "The office features collaborative workspaces as well as technology-enabled conference rooms for customer meetings. This space reflects the innovative culture of Wagner Realty. The décor, furnishings and unique design elements of the space collectively make the new office a comfortable place for agents to work, and for customers to enjoy the home buying and selling experience in a modern, comfortable and welcoming environment." 

"We have been working hard for months on this new location and office layout and are so thrilled to see everything come to fruition," said Diane Lee, REALTOR® and Lakewood Ranch Branch Manager. "Our high visibility store-front location at the entrance to Lakewood Ranch Main Street is a nice addition to the wide variety of restaurants and eateries, boutique shops, and other local businesses. We are excited to be in the center of the community events that Lakewood Ranch Main Street is well known for."

Wagner Realty is local, veteran owned and operated and recognizes that small businesses are the heart and soul of the community. They promote and support bringing awareness to small locally owned businesses.

Wagner Realty has deep roots on the Gulf Coast of Florida. For more than eighty years, over two hundred highly trained professional REALTORS® in eight offices have formed long-term strategic relationships with the community, lenders, title companies, and home inspectors. Wagner Realty provides a full suite of real estate services including Residential Sales, Commercial Sales & Leasing, Business Brokerage, Relocation Services, and Property Management/Rentals.

As a member of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World (LRE), Wagner Realty has a global presence in more than fifty countries and can provide a full range of services to people moving to or from anywhere in the world.

Wagner Realty has been awarded #1 Favorite Real Estate Agency for a consecutive twenty-three years in a row.

For more information, contact Natalie Russell, Operations Manager at 941.727.2800 or via email at


Broker Associate Nadia Gross Joins Wagner Realty's  Lakewood Ranch Office

LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL  February 14, 2022 – Nadia Gross has joined Wagner Realty's Lakewood Ranch Office as a licensed Broker Associate.

 After receiving a degree in Multinational Marketing from Florida State University, she spent over 13 years of Real Estate Sales and Investments in the high-end markets from Las Vegas to Sarasota. With more than twenty-eight years of business management and marketing experience, Nadia knows what it takes to help her clients achieve their real estate goals, understand the market, and negotiate the best deal and sell their homes for top dollar.

 For the past thirteen years, she has personally invested in real estate and the rental vacation business and that's where she discovered her passion for total renovation projects and new home construction. Her clients have raved about their equity growth, ultimately building a nice "nest egg" for retirement.

 Nadia stays connected with the local community with her dedicated volunteer involvement with Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS International) who partners with churches and organizations worldwide to equip and encourage moms in more than sixty-eight countries.

 "I really was impressed with the longevity of Wagner Realty" notes Nadia, adding "I was thrilled when the SR70 East office relocated to the thriving center of Lakewood Ranch on Main Street, right in the heart of my customer base."

 Nadia realizes that families who want to live on the West Coast of Florida will have many dreams and desires. Whether it's basking in the sun, sharing sunsets with loved ones, enjoying unique dining experiences, or creating an active lifestyle, she is ready to help fill those desires by providing the best real estate experience.

 She can be reached at the Wagner Realty Lakewood Ranch Office located at 8141 Lakewood Main St., Suite N106, Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202, or by phone at 941.301.7771. Visit her website at or by email at


Broker Associate Brian Sullivan Joins Wagner Realty's Anna Maria Island Office

Anna Maria Island, FL., February 8, 2022 – REALTOR® Brian Sullivan has joined the Wagner Realty Anna Maria Island Office as a licensed Broker Associate. Born and raised in Fredericksburg, Virginia, Brian started his career in 1999 as a Mortgage Loan Officer. In 2002, Brian became a licensed REALTOR and four years later he earned his Broker Associate license. His twenty years in the real estate industry has resulted in an unparalleled professional track-record and high ethical standards. Brian is well known for being an honest, hard-working agent who does everything in his power to ensure his clients' success. Brian will be providing residential real estate listing and sales services throughout Manatee and Sarasota Counties.

As a regular vacationer to Florida, Brian and his wife, Kayla dreamed of making the Gulf Coast of Florida their permanent home. They proved that dreams do come true when they packed up and moved to Bradenton in 2021.

The Sullivans are founders of Community Outreach, Inc., a local non-profit company in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Dedicated to helping the local community, the organization has contributed over $100,000 since its founding in 2009. 

"Wagner Realty is the perfect home for me" notes Brian, adding "I was immediately drawn to the friendly atmosphere of the island office as well as the corporate office. That factor, along with advanced technology tools and training is what convinced me that I made the right decision."

He can be reached at the Wagner Realty Office located at 2217 Gulf Drive North, Bradenton Beach or by phone at 540.379.5643. Visit his website at or by email at


REALTOR® Leslie Lake Joins Wagner Realty's Manatee Ave West Office

BRADENTON, FL, January 19, 2022 – Leslie Lake has joined Wagner Realty's Manatee Ave West Office as a licensed REALTOR. Leslie is a seasoned real estate agent whose career began twenty-four years ago in Norwalk, Connecticut. Her relocation decision to the Bradenton area was driven by, not only the glorious weather, but by the arrival of her first grandson.

"I am so lucky to be living here in paradise" says Leslie, adding "I am delighted to be with Wagner Realty selling homes in Manatee and Sarasota Counties." 

Leslie knows first-hand what it is like to make a life-changing move and that proves extremely helpful when collaborating with customers. Whether they are making a move across the country or down the street, her goal is to make that a seamless stress-free experience.

In her spare time, Leslie enjoys the outdoors including bicycle riding, boating, and walking our local area Robinson Preserve. Recently, she has been working on her creativity skills by taking classes at ArtCenter Manatee. She absolutely adores her two grandsons and enjoys outdoor activities with them. 

She can be reached at the Wagner Realty Manatee Ave West Office located at 7411 Manatee Ave West, Ste 100, Bradenton, FL 34210 or by phone at 941.524.3426. Visit her website at or by email at


Real Estate Myths You Shouldn't Believe

Real Estate MythsWhen you're buying a home, you're subjected to a variety of tips and recommendations from your friends and family. Unfortunately, our real estate agents know that much of the real estate tidbits floating around are myths.

Prospective homeowners believe these myths, potentially interfering with their dreams of homeownership. Here are a few common real estate myths we want to debunk.

  • Myth 1: You Can't Buy a Home Unless You Have a Ton of Cash
    This myth is usually offered by well-intentioned individuals, but it simply isn't true. It can also delay your dreams of homeownership because you mistakenly believe you need to spend as little money as possible so that you can save a lot of cash. With an FHA mortgage, you can purchase a home with a down payment as low as 3.5 percent of the home's purchase price. Even conventional mortgages offer a down payment as low as 5 percent of the home's price, also, if you are a veteran, you may be eligible for a 100% home mortgage!
  • Myth 2: Your First Move is to Find a Home You Love
    Before you start browsing Bradenton homes for sale, work with a lender to get pre-approved for a home mortgage. Your lender will request information about your income and assets, along with your credit history, to determine how much you can borrow. You don't want to find a home that checks off everything on your wishlist, only to learn that it costs more than your lender will approve you for. Most sellers also prefer homebuyers who have proof that they're pre-approved for a mortgage (especially in a competitive market). 
  • Myth 3: You Can't Buy a Home Unless Your Credit is Perfect
    It's possible to purchase a home even if your credit is less than perfect. There are mortgages specifically designed for individuals who have some deficiencies in their credit histories. While you can still buy a home with mediocre credit, it's best to improve your credit as much as possible before applying for a mortgage. The better your credit score, the lower your interest rate. This can save you thousands of dollars over the life of your mortgage. 
  • Myth 4: A Lender Won't Approve a Mortgage That You Can't Afford
    When deciding how much to potentially loan you, your lender uses lending guidelines concerning how much debt a borrower should have. For example, conventional wisdom states that your home expenses (including your mortgage, taxes, and insurance) shouldn't exceed 36 percent of your gross income. All your debt payments, including your mortgage, shouldn't be more than 43 percent of your gross income. However, this guideline doesn't consider your other expenses and your individual goals. If you spend a lot on travel, school tuition, daycare, or an expensive hobby, this will impact the mortgage amount that you can comfortably pay. Don't assume that a lender understands your entire financial situation. Instead, look at your budget and spending habits to get a more accurate idea of an affordable mortgage payment. 
  • Myth 5: You Really Don't Need a Real Estate Agent
    Before you start looking at Sarasota homes for sale, find a real estate agent to help you find your ideal home. Real estate agents have access to more available homes than the general public. They also have extensive knowledge of the buying process and can help salvage a deal if problems arise. A great real estate agent can save you a lot of time and money when you're buying a home. 

Ready to start searching for your next home? Contact us today!


Interior Design Trends to Know About This Fall

Fall Interior DesignA new home is like a blank canvas. There are plenty of Sarasota homes for sale, but it's your job to make that house your own, with everything from the colors of the walls to the style and layout of the furniture, and much more. Now, with fall upon us, it's the perfect opportunity to turn your new house into a home with some fun interior design trends. Here are a few you should know about.

  • Vintage Pieces
    There's nothing wrong with a home full of basic, functional, and comfortable Ikea furniture. But most homeowners today are looking for something more. They want something with personality. Something that has a story behind it. That's why vintage furniture is becoming popular. It's high quality and built to last, so you can have it in your family for generations. It can also help give your home a cozier, more personal look. Plus, buying vintage furniture instead of new pieces is more sustainable, reducing manufacturing and lowering your carbon footprint.

  • Natural Design
    Not everything can or should be bought secondhand. However, that doesn't mean you need to sacrifice sustainability. Simple choices like lighter, natural wood furniture pieces, rather than ones that have been stained darker, are more environmentally friendly. And when it comes to curtains and upholstery, choose more sustainable textiles, such as recycled cotton and organic hemp. Plus, those natural textures help give your home an upscale but cozy feel. It also helps to incorporate more natural light into the room, rather than relying on bulbs. And you can even add a few potted plants around the house, to complete the look. Being environmentally conscious doesn't mean you have to sacrifice style or decor. A little creativity and your home can be both stylish and sustainable.

  • Layers
    By layering different pieces on top of one another, you can create a look of contrasting or complementary colors. Start with a simple throw on your couch, with a color that pops against the sofa fabric. You can also layer curtains with shades on your windows. You can even layer a small, patterned rug over a larger, solid color one to create a whole new style choice. This applies to bedding, too. Sheets, blankets, pillows, and comforter don't all necessarily have to be the same color and style. Try mixing and matching to build new looks. What's more, you can keep multiple pieces around and switch them out periodically, to keep things fresh.

  • Compartmentalization
    A few years ago, open floor plans were all the rage. The kitchen, living room, and dining room were all one big space, and you could look over almost the whole house from a single vantage point. However, times have changed. Now, most homeowners want separate spaces and a bit of privacy between one room and the next. This is easily accomplished with a few partitions and room dividers. They allow you to define the spaces in your home more clearly. You can also create new spaces, like a home office, a den, or a play area for the kids. The mobility of these partitions also provides flexibility. And the dividers can be decorated in different colors and patterns, to blend seamlessly with the rest of your decor.

If you're looking for Bradenton homes for sale, our real estate agents can help you find the perfect one to meet your needs. Contact us to help you find your dream home, and find the design elements that will really make it yours.


Celebrate the Arts at These Upcoming Festivals

Craft Shows in Sarasota

Fall in Florida brings many exciting activities. While people up north are hunkering down for the winter, here, we're enjoying slightly cooler weather and gearing up for the busy season. From now until the summer returns, there's no shortage of things to do. 

This time of year, when they're not busy helping clients find their dream homes, our real estate agents enjoy visiting local craft shows on the weekends. Whether you're an art enthusiast or just looking for something fun to do, we recommend paying a visit to these upcoming events. 

  • Sarasota Rocktoberfest: JD Hamel Park, 199 Bayfront Dr., Sarasota, FL 34236
    This is so much more than a craft festival! Sarasota Rocktoberfest will feature tons of live music, huge glasses of beer, and plenty of mouthwatering Oktoberfest-themed food, including smoked sausages, sauerkraut, pretzels, roasted meats, and more. The event runs from October 15th to 17th, and admission is free! You'll also have the chance to shop at the marketplace, which features a wide selection of art, crafts, and fine products. 
  • Downtown Venice Art Festival: 100 W. Venice Ave., Venice, FL 34285
    The town of Venice is vibrant, beautiful, and filled with historic charm. The Downtown Venice Art Festival will feature more than 100 notable artists from across the nation. Here you'll find everything from painting to jewelry, photography, sculpture, glass, ceramics, mixed media, and more. The festival will be held on November 6th and 7th from 10 am to 5 pm, and admission is free. While you're in the area, you'll want to take a drive around so you can get a look at some of the beautiful Venice homes for sale
  • 32nd Annual St. Armands Art Festival: 411 St. Armands Circle, Sarasota, FL 34236
    The St. Armand's Art Festival has been named one of the best art festivals in the country. It features over 175 artists and craftsmen displaying their original work. Here you'll find sculptures, ceramics, jewelry, oils, watercolors, pottery, and more. The festival is scheduled for November 13th and 14th from 10 am to 5 pm, and admission is free. Since St. Armands Circle is so close to some of the best Sarasota homes for sale, you'll also want to make sure you leave enough time to take the scenic route home. 
  • Siesta Key Crystal Classic: 948 Beach Rd., Sarasota, FL 34242
    A bit of a different way to view art, the Siesta Key Crystal Classic gives you an opportunity to get a close-up view of sand sculptures created by 24 professional artists from around the world. While you're there, you can also enjoy sand sculpting lessons and demonstrations, live bands, and a bar tent. You also won't want to miss the Vendor Village, which will have over 70 retail vendors and 6 food trucks. The event will take place from November 12th through November 15th. 
  • Acrylic Painters USA Curated Exhibition: ArtCenter Manatee 209 9th St. W., Bradenton, FL 34205
    If you've been exploring Bradenton homes for sale, you'll definitely want to familiarize yourself with ArtCenter Manatee. They host a variety of art shows throughout the year, including the upcoming Acrylic Painters USA curated exhibition. This event will be held from October 26th through November 19th, and admission is free. 

Now is the perfect time to find your dream home in Florida, and the agents at Wagner Realty are here to help! Contact us today to learn more and get started with your homebuying journey.  


Wagner Realty Announces July, 2021 Top Producers


Terms to Know When Looking at Gated Communities

Gated Community Terms

Gated communities offer various advantages that many residents find appealing, but the gated community lifestyle isn't necessarily a perfect fit for every buyer. If you've been shopping for homes and thinking about purchasing a home in a gated community, then it's important to understand exactly what to expect from your neighborhood. Our real estate agents are here to help you make an informed decision, with our guide to terms you need to know when considering a gated community.

  1. Homeowner's Association (HOA)
    When you live in a gated community, the homeowner's association (HOA) is the organization that makes rules, enforces them, and ensures that the community is properly maintained. Each HOA is typically made up of members of the community, including an elected board of governors who are responsible for enforcing HOA regulations. Often, in addition, there may be a Management Company to oversee properties. The rules created by an HOA can be restrictive in terms of the architecture of homes, home maintenance, and the ways in which you're allowed to modify your property. However, those rules also play an important role in keeping the neighborhood looking great, keeping home values high, and making sure that everything from streets to landscaping are well-maintained.

  2. HOA Fees
    When you purchase a home in a gated community, you will be required to join that community's HOA. Joining an HOA means paying HOA fees, which can be paid monthly, quarterly, or annually. While the details vary depending on the community, HOA fees typically cover a wide range of service related to security, as well as maintaining your property and the community as a whole. In addition to maintenance, HOA fees often cover community amenities like pools, recreation areas, parking, and landscaping that help keep the community beautiful. If you're considering a home in a gated community, make sure you research exactly how much HOA fees will cost and what those fees will cover, and when they are paid.

  3. CDD Fees
    An alternative to HOAs, some communities have Community Development District (CDD) fees. These fees go toward paying for infrastructure and amenities within the community. Unlike HOA fees, CDD fees are paid as part of your local property tax, and CDD payments are tax-deductible. The cost of community improvements are put into a bond, and part of CDD payments go toward paying that bond off over time. Communities with CDD fees may have HOA's and HOA fees.

  4. Condominium Fees
    If you choose to live in a condominium community, then you can expect to pay condo fees. Just like with the other types of fees we have mentioned, condo fees go toward maintaining the condominium complex and covering the cost of any amenities offered by the complex. These fees can vary significantly based on the community and the size of your condo, so be sure to research them carefully. Some condominiums also have HOA and/or CDD fees.

  5. Recreation Fees
    Recreation fees can cover a wide range of amenities, activities, and services, with the exact details depending on the rules of each community. All members of the community pay the recreation fee, whether they use a specific amenity or not. The good news is that if your community requires recreation fees, then you may in most cases be able to use all of those amenities without any additional charge beyond the fee.

Whether you're shopping for Bradenton homes for sale in a gated community or a more traditional neighborhood, our team is here to help. Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout Southwest Florida communities.


Press Release: Wagner Realty Named #1 Favorite Real Estate Company for 23 Consecutive Years

Bradenton, FL, April 5, 2021 - Every year, the Bradenton Herald features the "People"s Choice" Awards, inviting readers to vote for their favorite service providers in a variety of businesses.  For the 23rd consecutive year, Wagner Realty has been voted the "2021 People's Choice" as the #1 local real estate service provider.  We would like to take this time to thank the general public and our customers for their vote of confidence and support, year after year. 

"Additionally, I want to thank our hard-working and talented team for this honor" said David Eckel, Owner and Broker of Wagner Realty. "Our agents are simply the best. They're dedicated to improving the quality of life of our customers, their families and the communities we serve. The People's Choice award exemplifies the excellence we foster in all aspects of our business. Congratulations to all of our brokers, agents and staff on this wonderful achievement!" 

Established in 1939, Wagner Realty is one of the oldest and largest independent, locally owned and operated real estate companies in Manatee and Sarasota Counties. With more than 200 agents, Wagner Realty serves all of Manatee and Sarasota Counties, as well the Greater Tampa Bay Area. The company's relocation division provides buyers and sellers with professional assistance when moving to or from anywhere in the world. As a member of LeadingRE, Wagner Realty offers global reach and access to top real estate professionals throughout the world. For more information about Wagner Realty, visit


6 Tips for Avoiding Vacation Rental Scams

Vacation RentalThe Internet has made planning vacations a breeze. But along with the ease of booking travel and accommodation on the web, we've also seen a rise in the incidence of vacation scams. 

It's all too easy to be fooled into thinking that a great bargain for a beautiful vacation property you're trying to rent is for real, when in fact, you've been had by scammers who have taken your money and run with it.

Here are 6 tips that can help you avoid vacation rental scams while you're booking your dream vacation.

Avoiding Vacation Rental Scams

  1. Too Good to be True?
    You know the old truism: if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Scammers try to reel you in with deeply discounted vacation rentals. All too often, these properties do not exist, or if they do, they belong to someone else. Be sure to check pricing on similar rental properties in the same location to see if the price is realistic.

  2. Does the Property Really Exist?
    As mentioned earlier, it's possible the property doesn't even exist. The scammer may have grabbed a picture from another website or is using an address from another property. You can try to verify that the property exists with a couple of Google searches.

  3. Research the Owner
    Research the owner's name, address of the property, and images. Check out the owner of the rental website, as well as the individual who pays property taxes. Beware if you are asked to pay rent in full by wire transfer.

  4. Pay Attention to the URL
    Scammers want you to move from the vacation rental website's communication system to a fake website. Check the URL. 

  5. Use a Credit Card
    Scammers commonly ask for payment by Western Union, cash, check, or wire transfer before arrival. This is a great way to lose your money, without the possibility of recovery. A wire transfer allows the scammer to move funds to another bank account, close the first one, and take your money and run.

  6. Rent a Property with a Traceable History
    Best bet: rent from someone you know, or go by recommendation from a trusted source. Renting from professional management companies that specialize in vacation apartments and/or cottages is another good bet. Looking for a short-term rental on Florida's Gulf Coast? That's our specialty! We believe planning a vacation should be a breeze, that's why our team is here to help you find a short-term or long-term rental perfect for your family! We've been a top choice for Gulf Coast house and condo rentals for years.

Our experienced team is here to help with your vacation planning! With 8 offices, our team has plenty of Florida properties to choose from for your vacation. Plus, our Anna Maria Island office has been open for over 80 years! 

Or if you're looking to move here permanently, our team can show you Bradenton and Sarasota homes for saleContact us today to book your trip in the Florida sunshine.


Press Release: Realtor Natasha McCorley Joins Wagner Realty's El Conquistador Office

Press Release: Realtor Natasha McCorley Joins Wagner Realty's El Conquistador Office

 BRADENTON, FL February 16, 2021 - Natasha McCorley has recently joined Wagner Realty's El Conquistador Office as a licensed REALTOR. She will be providing residential real estate listing and sales services throughout Manatee County.

Born and raised in Michigan, Natasha moved to Columbus, Ohio and started a remodeling company in 2011, "Top 2 Bottom Home Improvement & Decorating LLC".  As the name says, the company provided complete renovation services literally from top to bottom with each project uniquely finished with Natasha's magic touch of professional interior design.  Her home remodeling involvement coupled with her passion for real estate culminated in becoming a licensed REALTOR® in 2017.  She relocated with her family to the West Bradenton area in 2020. With her specialized knowledge of home remodeling, she will be a huge help to buyers and sellers.  

"I chose Wagner because the firm is local and I felt like I was part of the family as soon as I walked in the door," notes Natasha, adding "they're welcoming, and positive. It's a great company that offers expert personalized training!"

Natasha can be reached at Wagner Realty's El Conquistador Office located at 3403 El Conquistador Pkwy, Bradenton, FL, by phone at 941.253.7982, on the web at  or by email at  .


Top Reasons Why You Should Use a REALTOR When Purchasing New Construction

New Construction

If you want the option to select the finishes in your home or if you prefer a brand-new space, our real estate agents know a new construction home is an excellent option. When purchasing a new construction home, you may be tempted to forgo using a REALTOR®. Here are a few reasons to use a REALTOR® when purchasing a new construction home. 

  1. A REALTOR®Has Your Interests in Mind
    When purchasing a new construction property, you'll encounter individuals who represent other parties (like a builder rep) who will offer to handle the details of the sale for you. While these individuals are capable, you should remember that they are already obligated to represent the best interests of someone else. A REALTOR® will focus only on your best interests. 
  1. Your REALTOR® Will Help You During the Negotiation Process
    Like any home purchase, you want to procure the best terms when you're purchasing new construction. Even though the builder might act like the terms are final, there are likely some details that are up for negotiation. Your REALTOR® will recognize these details and help you procure the best terms possible. Maybe the builder is firm on their price; your REALTOR® might suggest negotiating for upgraded finishes or adding extra items (such as appliances or blinds).
  1. A REALTOR® Knows What Builders are Reputable
    Most people only buy a few homes during their lifetimes. A REALTOR® handles thousands of real estate transactions. As you browse Bradenton homes for sale, your REALTOR® will advise you as to which home builders are known for doing quality work. 
  1. Your REALTOR® Can Provide Helpful Recommendations 
    Throughout the homebuying process, you'll find yourself searching for professionals to assist with your purchase. Before you start looking at Sarasota homes for sale, you'll want to get preapproved for a mortgage so that you know what you can afford to borrow. While your builder may suggest a mortgage, your REALTOR® can suggest lenders that they know are buyer-friendly. Once you're ready to commit to a new construction, you'll want to ensure that the finished product is sound. Your REALTOR® can recommend a home inspector to make sure your new home is ready for you to occupy. You'll appreciate having a knowledgeable resource throughout the process.
  1. A REALTOR® is Familiar with the Neighborhood
    When buying a home, it's important to find a property in a neighborhood that's right for your lifestyle. It's hard to get an accurate feel for a neighborhood during a short visit. A REALTOR® is a valuable source of information for the neighborhood's true environment. They know which neighborhoods are good for families and which areas are better for individuals who value their privacy. 

Ready to start exploring new construction? Contact us to get started!


Press Release: Realtor Mary May Joins Wagner Realty's Lakewood Ranch Office

Press Release: Realtor Mary May Joins Wagner Realty's Lakewood Ranch Office

BRADENTON, FL, January 25, 2021 – Mary May has joined Wagner Realty's Lakewood Ranch Office as a licensed REALTOR®.  Mary will be providing residential real estate listing and sales services throughout Manatee County.

She is a native of Florida and was raised in Panama City, Florida. Licensed in 1984 as a REALTOR, Mary worked part-time and raised four children.  By 2006, she had stepped back from her real estate career to provide care for her family. She eventually settled in Manatee County.

In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, and spending time with her children and grandchildren.

"I was drawn to Wagner Realty because of their community presence," notes Mary, adding "and they provide a family atmosphere for agents and an inviting experience for buyers and sellers!"

Mary can be reached at Wagner Realty's Lakewood Ranch office located at 11121 SR 70 E, Bradenton, FL, by phone at 850.699.3964, on the web at  or by email at


Simple Ways to Cut Your Energy Costs

Energy Costs Sarasota

If extreme temperatures are rapidly increasing your home's energy costs, it's time to look for ways to lower your home's energy usage. Our real estate agents recommend homeowners conduct an annual appraisal of their home to find easy ways to lower their energy costs. 

Making your home more energy efficient is also beneficial if you plan to add it to the inventory of Bradenton homes for sale; buyers appreciate a well-maintained property that incorporates environmentally-friendly features. Here are some simple tips to help your household lower its energy usage. 

  1. Raise Your Thermostat When You're Away
    One of the most pain-free ways to lower your energy expenses is to raise your thermostat when you're away from home. Since you won't be there, it makes little sense to keep your home at its typical refreshing temperature. Before you leave, make it a habit to raise your thermostat three to five degrees.

    Worried that your home won't be comfortable when you return? Or, do you dread adding another item to your to-do list? Replace your current thermostat with a smart thermostat. With a smart thermostat, you can program temperature changes to occur automatically. You can put your thermostat on a timer, so it automatically raises the temperature when you leave for work and then lowers it shortly before you arrive. 
  1. Only Run Your Appliances with a Full Load
    Make it a goal only to run your appliances when you have a full load of laundry or dishes. Even if your washing machine or dishwasher has a setting for smaller loads, it's still using almost as much water as it would for a full load. If you run small loads because you need to wash a specific dish or piece of clothing, wash this item by hand. You'll use much less energy than if you use your appliance to launder or wash it. Or, if you frequently run small loads because you have items that must be washed a certain way (for example, with the delicate cycle or bulky cycle), try to plan so you can wash all these items together.

    As your appliances wear out, replace them with energy-efficient models. Sarasota homes for sale that include new appliances will also show well with prospective homebuyers. 
  1. Unplug Your Appliances and Devices When You're Not Using Them
    When an appliance isn't in use, remember to unplug it. Even when not in use, these "energy vampires" still use a small amount of energy. While one device may not make a huge impact on your energy bill, a bunch of unused devices can increase your energy bill by a whopping 10 to 20 percent.

    If the idea of having to unplug a bunch of devices doesn't sound appealing, invest in some smart power strips. When a device isn't in use, a smart power strip will cut the power to it. 
  1. Seal Your Windows and Doors
    Keep uncomfortable air outside by sealing any cracks around your windows and doors. If you feel a gust of air when you're around a window or door, it needs some attention.

    Inspect the frame and drywall for cracks. Seal them using a small amount of caulk. You should also check your weatherstripping. Old, worn-out weather-stripping does a poor job of insulating your home. It's easy to replace it with fresh weather-stripping that will be more effective at sealing the spaces between your doors or windows and their frames. 

  2. Don't Forget About Your Pool
    If you have a pool, reducing the amount of time you operate your pool pump will also cut down on required energy. Decreasing filtration time to six hours a day during the summer months and four hours a day during the chilly Florida winter months. Before cranking up the heat in your pool, remember that energy consumption increases 10% – 30% for each temperature degree rise. Using energy-efficient pool pumps can save you money and help protect the environment. They can use up to 65% less energy than standard pool pumps and save hundreds of dollars in energy bill costs.

Ready to explore other home options? Contact us today to get started!


5 Reasons You Should Move to Sarasota in 2021

Move to Sarasota

Would you like to wake up every day and feel like you're on vacation? Then a move to Sarasota may be just what you need. Our real estate agents love welcoming new residents to Sarasota. Even those who have lived in Florida their entire lives are wowed at the beautiful beaches, spectacular shopping, and laid-back lifestyle of this Gulf Coast city. There are dozens of reasons you should move to Sarasota in 2021; here are five of our favorites.

  1. The Weather
    You don't need to ever step foot in Florida to know that it's home to some of the most preferable weather conditions in the country. Although the summer highs always tempt a trip to the beach or an afternoon by the pool, the winter months are just as comfortable in their own ways. Limited rainfall and highs in the mid-70s allow you to spend as much time outdoors as you wish. Imagine spending New Year's Eve strolling the beach with only a light jacket.

  2. The Culture
    When most picture Florida, a beachy vibe comes to mind. What many don't realize, however, is that Florida is home to a wealth of diversity. Sarasota itself is a haven for the arts, often referred to as Florida's Cultural City. Museums, such as the Ringling Museum of Art, galleries, music festivals, food festivals, and hundreds of other seasonal or year-round events offer the opportunity to explore diverse arts and cultures without venturing far from home.

  3. The Houses
    How do you envision your perfect Florida escape? Whether you're looking for a bungalow near the beach, a condo in the city, or something in between, you'll find it in Sarasota. It's an affordable city for real estate with median home prices just above $349,000. If you're searching for brand-new homes, the new master-planned community Lakewood Ranch was rated one of the best-selling communities in the country. One look at our Sarasota homes for sale, and you'll see why Sarasota's population is growing year after year.

  4. The Proximity
    Dining, shopping, entertainment, relaxation… it's all just outside your front door in Sarasota. Fine-dining at five-star restaurants and seaside cafes mix with fresh yet cheap eats at roadside diners. World-class shopping lets you peruse luxury brands and homemade boutique goods in a single trip. Sports fans are only an hour away from live games in Tampa, while nature lovers can reach the gateway to the Everglades in just over two hours. Of course, you can always take a five-minute drive from home and relax on Siesta Key Beach, voted the best beach in the country.

  5. The Lifestyle
    With sunny skies, vibrant culture, and a short drive from the best Florida's Gulf Coast has to offer, living in Sarasota is the ultimate experience for every lifestyle. You'll enjoy equal parts excitement and relaxation in effortless ways. In a single day, you can enjoy a resort-like beach experience, savor prime seafood, and attend a renowned event, all within a few miles of home.

Would you like to call this Southwest Florida gem home? As one of the top-rated places to retire in the United States, now is the perfect time to put down roots in the Sunshine State for the long-term. Contact us today to see our latest listings for Sarasota homes for sale.


7 Tips for Finding the Right Home for Your Retirement Years

Sarasota Retirement Years

If you have been considering selling your current home before purchasing the home where you'll retire, this year presents an excellent opportunity to take the next step. Single-family homes are in high demand, making it easy to find a buyer, and interest rates are low if you're planning to finance your next home. Our real estate agents have more details on why this is a great time to shop and how to find the right home for your retirement years.

  1. Not Quite Ready to Retire? It's Still Smart to Be Prepared
    Even if you don't plan to retire for a few more years, it's wise to plan. If you need financing, it may be easier to secure a mortgage while you're still working. Shopping for your retirement home now also gives you more time to prepare, visit communities, and ensure that you choose a home that you'll love.

  2. Consider the Amenities and Necessities You'll Need Now and in the Future
    Choosing the perfect home to enjoy your retirement depends on your needs now, as well as what you'll need in the future. Ensure that any neighborhood and home you choose has the accessibility necessary for you to enjoy your retirement and that the services you may need in the future will be close to home.

  3. Visit Communities You Might Like to Call Home
    If you're planning to purchase a home in a community you've traveled to in the past, be sure to schedule a visit to help decide if you would like to live there long-term. Spending some time around the sun and sand near Sarasota homes for sale and Bradenton homes for sale makes for a fun vacation while also allowing you to learn more about a community you might choose to call home. Plus, our inventory of rentals are excellent options for you to learn what area you like best! Choose between annual options or 6-month rentals. 

  4. Make a List of Priorities to Help You Shop
    For many people, moving to live closer to family members and friends is a strong motivator when shopping for a home for retirement. Understanding what's most important to you will help you narrow your options. Make a list of your priorities, starting with the most important factors, and use it to aid your home search.

  5. Work Out Your Retirement Budget to Understand Your Purchasing Power
    Remember that your budget is likely to be different in retirement than it was while working, and plan for the future accordingly. If you haven't done so yet, lay out your budget for retirement so that you know exactly how much home you can afford while still leaving the funds you need to enjoy your retirement years.

  6. Take Advantage of an Appealing Real Estate Market
    If you've been waiting for an advantageous real estate market to sell your current home before buying your retirement home, now is an excellent time to strike while the iron is hot. The high demand for single-family homes means that you may be able to sell at a premium, which will leave you with more money to pursue your perfect home for your retirement years.

  7. Get a Knowledgeable Agent 
    Getting help from a knowledgeable real estate agent is always recommended and can truly give you peace of mind as you prepare for retirement.

Searching for a home near the sand and sun where you can enjoy retirement to the fullest? Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout Florida's Manatee and Sarasota Counties.


Gift Local This Year: Gift Ideas from Shops Near Bradenton and Sarasota

Sarasota Gift Local

'Tis the season for giving, and our real estate agents invite you to join our shop small initiative. Our local businesses support our communities economically and socially. Without them, Sarasota and Manatee Counties just wouldn't feel like home. Let's support our friends, family members, and neighbors by purchasing gifts from these local shops.

Gifts for the Outdoor Enthusiast…

Living in Florida means living outside for most of the year. If you have someone on your gift list that loves the outdoors, you can't go wrong with a gift card to Surfer Bus. Located around the block from Anna Maria homes for sale, this kayak rental service makes it effortless to get out onto the open water. For those who prefer to stay on land, Zegway by the Bay is a better bet. This unique company offers Segway tours around local towns near our Holmes Beach homes for sale. If you're looking to hit the town in style, consider a gift certificate to Longboat Limousine. Cruising from our Longboat Key homes for sale throughout Sarasota and Manatee Counties, you can simply enjoy a luxurious ride with million-dollar views of the Gulf of Mexico.

Gifts for the Foodie…

Who doesn't love good food? Gift the foodie in your life a gift certificate to Jennings Downtown Provisions. A favorite destination of those who moved into Bradenton homes for sale, Jennings is a restaurant and bar specializing in great eats like tacos and flatbread. The Bradenton Farmer's Market is another fantastic place where a single gift card will fill them with the best local flavors.

Gifts for Lovers of All Things Local…

The Original Sand Dollar and Sun & Surf Beach Shop have various gifts that fit perfectly under the tree. If you're seeking something unique, you'll find several one-of-a-kind, locally-owned, giftshops near our Sarasota homes for sale, like Artisans' World MarketplaceMaker's Market, and The Bazaar on Apricot & Lime. Or you can think outside the box and pair a foodie gift card from above with a trip to the theatre. 

Gifts that Celebrate the Arts and Nature…

While some nonprofit shops may not have gift certificates for purchase, you can gift tickets or memberships to some of our local museums like The John and Mable Ringling Museum of ArtSelby Gardens, and Sarasota Art Museum.

Gifts to Benefit A Favorite Cause...

It's a time of increased need throughout our community, which makes it a great time to give the gift of support. We also encourage you to consider gifts that help nonprofits in the Sarasota and Manatee Counties. If you aren't sure which non-profit you would like to support, visit The Giving Partner website. The Giving Partner, presented by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, helps local nonprofits tell their story and enables you to explore how each nonprofit is making a difference in our neighbors' lives. The Giving Partner database contains over 700 profiles of 501(c)(3) charitable organizations serving Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte, and DeSoto counties.

If you're interested in buying or selling homes in Manatee or Sarasota Counties this holiday season, feel free to contact us. For more gift giving inspiration, be sure to check out our collection of short videos.


7 Places to Take Your Dog Around Sarasota and Bradenton

Dog park Bradenton

If you've been feeling stuck at home over the last few months, imagine how your dog feels. Treat your pup to an exciting afternoon by getting out and about around Sarasota and Bradenton. Our real estate agents encourage you to check out these seven dog-friendly parks to bring your four-legged friend.

  1. Arlington Paw Park – 2650 Waldemere St., Sarasota, FL 34239
    Now that the humidity is lifting and the weather is cooling down, you're sure to find yourself cruising around to check out the latest Sarasota homes for sale. While you're out, why not bring your pup to the Arlington Paw Park. This former baseball field is now a sprawling dog park separated into two areas for large and small dogs, respectively. Although it's uncovered, there is plenty of water available to help your pup keep cool as it plays. Next door is Arlington Park, and though it's a people-park, you're welcome to walk your dog on-leash as well.

  2. Robinson Preserve – 1704 99th St. NW, Bradenton, FL 34209
    Another great park near our Bradenton homes for sale is Robinson Preserve. Nearly 500-acres of coastal and wetland habitat are yours to explore with your pup. Walk the trails with your dog and keep an eye out for the many diverse species of wildlife along the way. You can also opt to enjoy this green space alone, as there are plenty of opportunities for kayaking, paddle boarding, biking, fishing, skateboarding, and playing in the children's playground.

  3. Brohard Park 1600 Harbor Dr. S, Venice, FL 34285
    Even your dog will love a trip to the beach when you live near Venice homes for sale. Brohard Park offers a little bit of everything for locals and their pets. Bring your dog along to enjoy a fun day at their dog park or if your dog loves the water, take him to the dog-friendly beach. Other amenities available at this park include a fishing pier, bait shop, volleyball nets, and picnic areas. 

  4. Blackstone Dog Park – 2112 14th Ave. W, Palmetto, FL 3422
    If you are looking at Palmetto homes for sale, be sure to check out Blackstone Dog Park to get your pup acquainted with the area. This Manatee County dog park is open from sunrise to sunset and offers different sections for small and large dogs. Be sure to check out their rules before planning your visit. Visitors can also utilize the covered shelters for picnicking in a peaceful shaded area. 

  5. Dog Leg Canine Park – 7550 69th St. E, Palmetto, FL 34221
    Your dogs will love living near Parrish homes for sale when you take them to Dog Leg Canine Park. This three-acre off-leash dog park is the perfect place to let your dog roam and burn off some energy. The park is open from sunrise to sunset and even has a doggie drinking fountain available to keep your pup hydrated during their visit. 

  6. Laurie Crawford Dog Park – 51st St. W, Bradenton, FL 34209
    Another great Manatee County park perfect for off-leash fun! Laurie Crawford Dog Park offers a fenced-in, three-acre park for your pet to explore. Take your pup for a trip between sunrise and sunset. Other amenities include a doggie drinking fountain, picnic tables, and free waste bags. 

  7. Paw Patch Dog Park – 7025 44th Ave. E, Bradenton, FL
    Enjoy an adventure with your dog near Lakewood Ranch homes for sale. This off-leash 2-acre park is perfect for active pets and even features agility equipment. Paw Patch Dog Park is perfect for dogs of all sizes with a special area for small dogs. Just another one of the many reasons your pet will love living in the area! 

Are you looking for a home close to the coast where you and your four-legged friend can play in the sun? We'll happily assist you with your search. Contact us today to see our latest listings of homes for sale in Sarasota and Manatee Counties.


One Particular Harbour: Plan Your Gulf Getaway

Are you searching for a place where you can relax with your family and friends? Our real estate agents invite you to leave your worries behind and spend hours enjoying a staycation at One Particular Harbour.

Only moments away from the beach, award-winning golf, shopping, dining, and entertainment, One Particular Harbour is a gated community that caters to adults and families of all ages.

Short term stays include access to amenities such as a deep-water marina, restaurant, pool, grilling area, and children's area. For those visiting for more than 30 days, enjoy the extended amenities of Harbour Isle. A waterfront beach club, private pool, sky bar, kayak launch, fitness center, and yoga lawn can be yours to enjoy throughout your staycation.

One Particular Harbour 376-303

  • One Particular Harbour 376 – 303 | 3/3 Sleeps 7
    Spend quality time with your family in this luxurious three-bedroom condo. The open floor plan includes a screened-in lanai that accommodates indoor/outdoor living. Designed to comfortably sleep seven, there are two bedrooms with queen beds, one of which as an in-suite bathroom. The master has a king bed, an amazing view, and a lavish bathroom.

One Particular Harbour 387-402

  • One Particular Harbour 387 – 402 | 3/3 Sleeps 7
    This penthouse with a lagoon view will make you feel on top of the world during your stay. Both the master suite and one guest room host a king bed. The third bedroom has a queen bed and bunk beds, perfect for children! Enjoy cooking meals conveniently in the island kitchen before relaxing in the spacious entertaining room. With laundry and cooking appliances in the unit, as well as equipment like bikes, fishing poles, snorkeling gear, and beach items for guest use, you'll feel like you're living in an exclusive resort.

One Particular Harbour 380-103

  • One Particular Harbour 380 – 103 | 3/3 Sleeps 7
    Lose track of time admiring gorgeous sunsets from the screened-in lanai of this unique unit. One king bed sits in each master and guest suites while the third bedroom features a queen bed and two twin beds. Stay in and entertain as you enjoy the convenience of a fully-stocked kitchen and spacious dining area. With everything you need to make you feel at home, this unit was designed for R&R.

One Particular Harbour 387-201

  • One Particular Harbour 387 – 201 | 2/2 Sleeps 5
    Cozy into this two-bedroom unit and take advantage of its proximity to the shore. A queen sleeper sofa and queen bed in the guest room offer comfortable accommodations for guests while the king in the master bedroom offers hours of privacy. With a spacious kitchen, entertaining area, and lanai with seating, you can spoil yourself in this charming unit.

One Particular Harbour 388-301

  • One Particular Harbour 388 – 301 | 2/2 Sleeps 5
    This new unit is ready to provide an exceptional staycation to two couples or a small family who want to get away. King beds are in both rooms while the living room sofa pulls out to a queen bed for additional guests. A dream kitchen and courtyard views from the lanai offers plenty of spaces to relax after a day spent on the beach.

Are you ready for a staycation on Anna Maria Island? Our team receives approximately 10 rental inquires for this property daily, so don't delay booking your getaway.

Better yet, would you like to call this slice of paradise home? Whether you want to visit for a week or live here for years to come, contact us to discover our best Bradenton homes for sale and for rent in the area.


All About Living in the Parrish Area

Palm Trees Parrish

The Parrish, FL area has seen significant growth in recent years, and that's no surprise. With plenty to do close to home and an easy commute to nearby communities like Tampa, Bradenton, St. Petersburg, and Sarasota, the community has something to offer for everyone. Whether you enjoy spending time outdoors in the sun, catching up on culture, watching live sports, or shopping until you drop, it's easy to find fun around Parrish. Our real estate agents are here to help you get to know the community, with our guide to living in the Parrish area.

  • Parrish Has Homes to Suit Every Buyer
    A central location, strong job market, and diverse local attractions are just a few of the factors that have caused the recent growth of Parrish. That growth has lead to ample new construction in the area, and the average home in Parrish is just six years old. Parrish homes for sale feature something to fit every budget, from perfect starter homes for families to attractive, new luxury listings. 

  • Outdoor Fun from Golf to the Gulf
    Love spending time by the water? Parrish offers easy access to the area's best beaches, fishing spots, and marinas. Enjoy time by the Gulf on the beaches of Bradenton, St. Petersburg, and Sarasota, along with fresh seafood at beachfront dining spots. Of course, living in Parrish also makes it easy to experience the legendary local golf scene, including the scenic, challenging layout at River Wilderness Golf & Country Club.

  • Easy Access to the Best of Southwest Florida
    You'll find plenty to do close to home in Parrish, and even more when you visit the other dynamic, local Florida communities within short driving distance. Communities like Bradenton, Sarasota, Tampa, and St. Petersburg are all close by. Enjoy access to a diverse collection of job markets with a short daily commute, and find fun for every member of the family with nearby attractions for all ages. When you live in Parrish, the best of Southwest Florida is always waiting just outside your front door.

  • Enjoy Live Sports and Entertainment Close to Home
    If you love live sports, the Parrish area has action during every season. Catch your favorite MLB team tuning up for the season each spring, with the Yankees in Tampa, the Pirates in Bradenton, the Orioles in Sarasota, and the Phillies in Clearwater. Tampa is also home to the Lightning of the NHL, the Buccaneers of the NFL, and the Rays of MLB.

    There's plenty of culture in the area, too, with the Sarasota Opera, Sarasota Symphony, and Sarasota Ballet just a short drive from home. The many performance venues around Tampa also attract world-class performers, including some of the biggest names in music.

  • Local History and So Much More Near Parrish
    Art, science, history... the museums around Parrish offer something for every interest. The Florida Railroad Museum, located within Parrish, offers a trip back to the 1940s and 1950s when railroads were one of the most popular ways to travel. In nearby Sarasota, you'll find the historic Ringling Museum of Art, Selby Botanical Gardensand Mote Marine Aquarium. Just over the Sunshine Skyway, in St. Petersburg you'll find The Dali Museum and in Tampa, The Florida Aquarium. There's so much to discover when you call Parrish home!

Ready to enjoy all the perks of living in Parrish? Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout the Parrish, FL area.


Runaway Bay Rentals for a Close to Home Getaway

If you love the surf, sand, and incredible sunsets you'll love a vacation at Runaway Bay! Set along the serene shores of Bradenton Beach, Runaway Bay is nestled near Bradenton Beach homes for sale. If you've been dreaming of a "staycation" these cozy condos offer an opportunity for you to get away from the stresses of everyday life while remaining close to home. Our real estate agents encourage you to consider a long-weekend stay at one of these tranquil units.

Runaway Bay

Located on Anna Maria Island, just footsteps from Bradenton Beach, Runaway Bay is a short drive away from Sarasota, Bradenton, St. Petersburg, and Tampa. For those who are craving some excitement, popular Florida vacation destinations like Busch Gardens, Disney World, Sea World, and Universal Studios are within one to two hours from the property.

The amenities of Runaway Bay are so welcoming that visitors find everything they need for a relaxing and fun vacation. A large heated swimming pool and sauna are all on the property for those who want to pamper themselves. Or, if you prefer, there's also pickleball, a recreation room, gym, fishing pier, shuffleboard court, tennis court, and bocce ball. Whether you come from near or far, you'll savor every moment lounging in Runaway Bay.

Runaway Bay 114

  • Runaway Bay 114 – 2/2 | Max 6 Guests
    This convenient ground floor unit is perfect for a large family or group of friends, pets included! Totaling at 1,100 square feet, this unit features a fully-equipped kitchen, washer and dryer, and complimentary linens, beach, and bath towels. The master suite houses a king bed and an updated en-suite bathroom while the guest bedroom offers a queen bed and a single twin bed. The living room sofa also pulls out to a queen-sized bed for children or additional guests.

266 Runaway Bay

  • Runaway Bay 266 – 1/1, Max 4 Guests
    With unbeatable weekly fees in August and September, this second-story unit is ideal for a couple or small family looking to get away for a full week or more. A single bedroom contains a king-sized bed while the living room sleeper sofa provides overnight arrangements for additional guests. Although linens, some toiletries, and a fully-stocked kitchen are within the unit, this condo also provides beach chairs, beach umbrellas, tennis rackets, books, movies, a cooler, a beach cart, a boogie board, and board games to keep everyone entertained throughout their stay.

Runaway Bay 233

  • Runaway Bay 233 – 2/2, Max 4 Guests
    Recently remodeled, guests will enjoy the views from this second-floor unit. A full-size kitchen, washer, dryer, and screened-in lanai make this wonderful condo feel like home. The master bedroom has a queen-size bed with a walk-in shower in the attached master bathroom while the guest room contains both a twin bed and a full bed. 

219 Runaway Bay

  • Runaway Bay 219 – 2/2, Max 4 Guests
    Less than a five-minute walk from the beach, this recently updated unit features renovations to the master bathroom. The master suite boasts a king-size bed while the guest room has two twin beds. Completing the unit is a cozy kitchen, inviting screened-in balcony, and a convenient washer and dryer. The effortless stroll to the Gulf makes this unit ideal for those who desire a leisurely vacation.

Would you like to soak up the sun on Bradenton Beach? Contact us today to learn more about our renting a unit in the relaxing Runaway Bay.


Plan a Staycation with our Southwest Florida Rental Properties

Although current events may have canceled your global travel plans, there's still plenty of time to have an amazing vacation close to home. Our REALTORS® invite you to plan a staycation at one of our Florida rental properties. Situated near or directly on the sandy shores of the Gulf Coast, these rental properties allow you to soak up the sun and maximize your time to relax, unwind, and enjoy the simple pleasures that the Sunshine State has to offer.

Sunset Terrace 102

  • Sunset Terrace 102, Bradenton Beach
    Spend hours on the sand at this beachfront condor in Bradenton Beach. With two bedrooms and two bathrooms, up to four guests can comfortably enjoy a staycation in style. The stylish interior is outfitted with the latest amenities, including a fully equipped kitchen, a 65" Smart TV in the living room, and laundry in the unit. Outside, you'll find a heated swimming pool and private access to a white sand beach where you can enjoy dolphin spotting in the morning and beautiful sunsets every evening.

    Longboat Harbour Towers
  • Longboat Harbour Towers 905, Longboat Key
    Enjoy amazing views from the 9th floor of this turnkey two-bed, two-bath condo, and spoil yourself with a wonderful staycation. Lounge on the screened-in balcony after relaxing in the spacious master suite. Your stay includes access to the condo's heated pool, sauna, fitness center, and social room. With enough room for four, this condo only a few miles from the city, and mere feet from the ocean offers the very best of Florida vacationing.

The Shore 113

  • The Shore 113, Longboat Key
    Stroll right out to the beach from this fantastic first-floor two-two condo. With room for up to four, every area of this spacious unit has been renovated and upgraded to deliver maximum comfort. Outside, you'll enjoy dining on a private patio overlooking the beach and heated pool. Whether you're looking for a little R&R without the kids or hoping to give the whole family a much-needed break, this staycation on Longboat Key offers resort-style living without the crowd.

Shore 209

  • The Shore 209, Longboat Key
    If you're searching for the ultimate staycation, look no further than this gorgeous unit at The Shore. For a minimum of 60 days, you and up to five others can savor the sun, surf, and sand of the Gulf Coast without limits. Fully furnished for your convenience, a well-equipped kitchen, a comfortable living room, and serene bathrooms create a space that will immediately feel like home. This waterfront community includes a social room, fitness center, private library, and a recently resurfaced pool and spa. 

Who says you can't staycation forever? We have a portfolio of gorgeous Longboat Key homes for sale on the water and many stunning Bradenton Beach homes for sale within a short stroll to the shore. Contact us today to book one of our amazing rental homes and discover what life is like along the Gulf Coast.


How to Stay Productive While Working From Home

Working from Home Tips

As we shelter in place, many of us are working remotely from home. While for some, this may be an improvement over the office with its obvious distractions and interruptions, but for others, the home environment offers its own distractions. With schools closed, you may have kids to look after, or if you live alone, the laundry and other tasks call to you as you're in the midst of dealing with your work email backlog. Here are some tips that may help you as you navigate your new work environment.

  1. Start Early.
    Get up, get dressed, and get ready for work. Dress for comfort, but get out of your pajamas. Dressing for work puts you in the mood to work. 
  2. Set Your Schedule
    Be sure your family, friends, and colleagues know your work hours. While you'll of course be working your regular hours, working from home makes it easier for work to invade personal time during nights and weekends. If you have children, try to share responsibilities with the other parent, or look into getting some help with the kids during work hours.
  3. Take a Break
    Setting a schedule isn't just about working – breaks are necessary too. Plan for breaks and lunch – away from the computer. 
  4. Keep Distractions at Bay
    At home, we often hear the call to do laundry, sweep the floor, or fix something that's broken. Resist these temptations during working hours. Likewise, just as you would at the office, avoid diversions such as working with the tv on, texting, chatting on the phone, or indulging in social media.
  5. Have a Designated Work Space
    Whether it's a corner of the dining room table, an unused closet in a spare bedroom, or the entire bedroom itself, create a specific space as your office. Even if you just need a place to plug in your laptop, it should be your place during the time you work, and ideally, be a room where you can close the door.
  6. Personalize Your Work Space
    You spend eight hours a day at your desk, so you might as well make it appealing. Have fun with it! Go online and search for tips for making your home office space light and bright. Paint the walls white to lighten up the room. Use pops of color, like a colorful chair, some greenery, or art to inspire you. Save space with modular shelves and bins for your supplies. Put some personality into your home office and you'll enjoy working there. 
  7. Create an Environment for Concentration
    Unless you live alone, working without disruption can be challenging. If you don't have the luxury of a quiet space, try some noise-canceling headphones. Play classical music or sounds of nature to create an environment that makes it easier to concentrate.

Need a home with just the right office space? Our team can help you find Bradenton or Sarasota homes for sale that offer a better home office space when the time is right. Contact us today. 


7 Ways to Keep Your Kids Entertained at Home

Kids Entertainment

With the kids at home for the foreseeable future and many public spaces closed indefinitely, many parents will need a helping hand keeping their children entertained during this difficult time. Our REALTORS® understand that, while having fun is a great distraction, children still need to spend adequate time learning and growing while out of school. Thankfully, these seven educational websites offer great ways to keep your kids entertained and academically engaged while at home.

  1. Smithsonian's National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute Webcams
    With the weather warming up, a trip to the zoo would be a perfect no-school activity for children. Unfortunately, all Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo are closed until further notice, but that doesn't mean that children can't check in on their favorite animals. The National Zoo has webcams set up throughout the zoo that give a live glimpse into the areas where many animals live. 

  2. San Diego Zoo Live Cams
    The San Diego Zoo is one of the most famous zoos in the world, and you don't have to visit in person to see why. They've set up nearly a dozen live webcams that your kids can stream right at home. Take a trip to Africa and watch the baboons and penguins. View the koalas of the Outback, the apes of the Lost Forest, and the polar bears of the Northern Frontier. Go on an exciting digital safari to see giraffe, burrowing owls, elephants, tigers, and condors. 

  3. Google Arts & Culture
    Google is ready to open your children up to the art and cultures of the world. Their free online Arts & Culture program lets kids explore famous landmarks and streets, view high-definition artwork from renowned artists, and examine artifacts from pre-history to present day.

  4. Online Tours of the Louvre
    There are few museums in the world as highly regarded as the Louvre, and now you can visit without buying a plane ticket to Paris! The Louvre offers virtual tours online where your children can explore Egyptian Antiquities, Remains of the Louvre's Moat, and the Galerie d'Apollon.

  5. Children's Museum Houston
    While the Louvre is a fascinating facility, younger kids may enjoy activities and videos created by the Children's Museum Houston. Make learning fun and hands-on without leaving your home with their extensive video database.

  6. Scholastic Learn at Home Virtual Program
    In light of recent events, Scholastic is devoting its efforts to maximizing learning potential for children who are currently out of school. Their Learn at Home online program contains resources for parents, teachers, and students aged preschool through grade six and above. They post day-to-day projects featuring cross-curricular content to keep their minds growing.   

  7. Space Foundation
    Take a trip with your kids (and Snoopy) out of this world with some fun lesson plans created by the Space Foundation. This free downloadable STEM curriculum is perfect for kids in grades K-8. 

Are you looking for a way to stay entertained at home? Why not browse some of our Bradenton homes or Sarasota homes for sale? Many of these stunning properties feature high-definition photographs and even virtual tours. Contact us to learn more.


Retirees Move to Florida For More Than Great Weather

Retirees in Florida

Living in Florida offers some amazing benefits during your retirement years – sun, sand, and surf, but for people ready to embark on retirement, there's something that could be even better:

Amazing tax benefits.

Our REALTORS® know many different factors go into deciding where to call "home." When you're ready to retire, you have more options than you've ever had before. The Sunshine State is unparalleled when it comes to helping older residents get more from their retirement budget by making tax benefits as easy as can be. Let's look at some benefits that are just as attractive as the warm weather:

  1. No State Income Tax
    Many retirees continue to work part time. In many places, state income tax will take anywhere from 6% to 10% of your money every year. Not so for Florida, which is one of the few states with no state income tax. Only seven U.S. states have no income tax, and out of all of them, Florida has some of the best "quality of life" factors – especially for seniors.
  2. Low Average Sales Taxes
    Tax revenue needs to come from somewhere. Sales tax is where Florida makes up on its absence of income tax, but the state rate is just 6%, middle of the road for sales tax. Relatively few towns and cities in Florida impose any additional sales tax (although some go as high as 2.5%), and there are opportunities to make tax-exempt purchases throughout the year.
  3. Social Security is Tax Exempt
    Not only is Social Security income tax exempt in Florida, but it also will not take a cut from any of your retirement income. That includes savings and investment vehicles like the Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA), private or public pension funds and 401(k) accounts. Florida is one of 37 states that does not tax Social Security, but only a handful don't tax any retirement income.
  4. Affordable Cost of Living
    There are condos and smaller homes located nearby those refreshing sea breezes. The overall cost of living, including your groceries and other essentials, is middle of the road compared to the whole country.
  5. Extra Exemptions Aplenty
    There are plenty of other exemptions retirees may be able to enjoy, although some do require you to be a Florida resident for an extended time. The crown jewel of Florida taxes is the Homestead Exemption, which allows elders who've resided in Florida for several years to claim an additional exemption up to $50,000 from certain towns, cities, and counties.

Many home buyers discover Florida is the perfect place to retire. Whether you're looking at Bradenton homes for sale or further south at Sarasota homes for sale, the weather is mild, daily living costs are modest, and world-class amenities provide for an excellent quality of life. Many seniors put off downsizing or making the "big move" because it seems like such a hassle, but our agents have the years of experience and unbeatable customer service that can help you live the lifestyle of your dreams. To find out more, contact us today.


Upcoming Races in the Sarasota & Manatee Area

Races in Sarasota

On your mark, get set, race! Get your running shoes ready and check out these races taking place around the Sarasota and Manatee area during February and March.

  1. Sarasota Military Academy 3rd Annual Raiders Rise & Run 5K | Sat, Feb 22, 2020 — Payne State Park 2110 Adams St, Sarasota, FL 34237
    The Sarasota Military Academy is once again hosting its annual Raiders Rise & Run 5K to benefit their middle and high school Raider's teams. These young cadets have won both state and national titles, but their programs rely on continuous support from the community. The SMA Raider's Rise & Run 5K benefits these programs. If you're in the area viewing Sarasota homes for sale, join the Raiders at Payne State Park.  

  2. Manasota Track Club 25K & 50K Ultra | Sat, Feb 22, 2020 — Oscar Scherer State Park 1843 South Tamiami Trail, Osprey, FL 34429
    If you've already raced 5Ks, 10Ks, or even 15Ks in the 2010s, take your running skills to the next level with the Manasota Track Club's 25K & 50K Ultra. You read it right — 25K and 50K distance races will take place at Oscar Scherer State Park. If you'd rather watch from the sidelines, pay a visit to Oscar Scherer State Park in between tours of Osprey homes for sale.

  3. 11th Annual Take Stock 5K/Fun Run/ Mentor Mile | Sun, Mar 01, 2020 — 8100 Lakewood Ranch Main St., Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202
    If you're browsing Lakewood Ranch homes for sale, you'll become very familiar with the bustling Main Street within the community. Hosting events throughout the year, March kicks off with the 11th Annual Take Stock 5K, Fun Run, and Mentor Mile on Main Street. Proceeds from all three races benefit the Take Stock in Children organization, which provides mentorship and college scholarships.

  4. Shark's Tooth 10K & Shark Fin 5K | Sat, Mar 07, 2020 – Sun Mar 08, 2020 — Venice Airport Festival Grounds 610 Airport Ave. E., Venice, FL 34285
    Runners in the Shark Tooth Capital of the World are invited to participate in the Megalodon Challenge — a two-day race combining the Shark's Tooth 10K and Shark Fin 5K. Door prizes, music, and a post-race party on both days make the Megalodon Challenge one of the best weekends of the year. If you're planning on scheduling visits to Venice homes for sale, be sure to sign up for the Megalodon Challenge at the Venice Airport Festival Grounds.

  5. The 2020 Sarasota-Bradenton ITU Triathlon World Cup | Sun, Mar 22, 2020 — Nathan Benderson Park 5851 Nathan Benderson Cir, Sarasota, FL 34235
    If one of your goals is to complete a triathlon, you're in luck! Nathan Benderson Park and the Sarasota-Bradenton area are hosting the 2020 Sarasota-Bradenton ITU Triathlon World Cup. Conveniently close to Interstate I-75 and Sarasota homes for sale, the challenging course will take participants on a 750m swim, 18.3k bike ride, completed by a 5k run. Push yourself at this Sarasota triathlon! 

  6. Robinson Preserve Twilight 5K & 10K Run | Fri, Mar 27, 2020 — Robinson Preserve 1704 99th St NW, Bradenton, FL 34209
    The 12th Annual Annual Robinson Preserve Twilight 5K & 10K celebrates the stunning sunset views of Robinson Preserve. The event starts at 5:30 pm with age bracketed Kids Dashes. After the kids are done with their races, runners and walkers hit the trails for a 5k or 10k. Be sure to stick around after the race for food and beverages under the stars! Don't forget to register in advance and check out Bradenton homes for sale before your race time. 

Do you want to race into a new home within Sarasota and Manatee County? Our REALTORS® are here to do more than cheer you on! Contact us today!


Crossfit Gyms in Manatee & Sarasota for Your Fitness Goals

Crossfit gyms in Sarasota

If you're looking forward to a healthier you in 2020, then you're in luck. CrossFit is an excellent workout option to help you accomplish any fitness goal. Whether that goal is to improve health or weight loss, Crossfit can help you get in better shape. The program works for everyone—people who are just starting out and people who have trained for years. These CrossFit gyms in Manatee and Sarasota counties offer an intense workout to help you along on your fitness journey!

  • Seaward CrossFit - 1127 Goodrich Ave., Sarasota, FL 34236
    Reaching and surpassing your goals is the name of the game at Seaward Crossfit. Their training methodology and programming is based on more than nine years of experience in CrossFit training and coaching for CrossFit Headquarters. The diverse staff of fitness experts at Seaward Crossfit also brings to the table experience in everything from gymnastics and martial arts to OPEX Fitness and Baptiste yoga. Just minutes from these Sarasota homes for sale, Seaward CrossFit is an incredible place to improve your health.

  • Real Fitness Sarasota - 4728 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34231
    What makes Real Fitness Sarasota stand out among all the CrossFit gyms in the Sarasota area is their culture of support and inclusiveness. Great coaches and community make it a perfect place to unleash your best self. Take a look at their full lineup of classes and programs near Siesta Key homes for sale

  • CrossFit Lena - 5261 Paylor Ln., Sarasota, FL 34240
    CrossFit Lena is committed to getting you in the best shape of your life. But more importantly, they have a staff of friendly, talented coaches. It's about getting in shape the right way. Plus, with some of the best Sarasota homes for sale, just a stone's throw away, you never have to drive too far to hit the gym. 

  • Rack Star Athletics - 4608 E. State Rd. 64, Bradenton, FL 34208
    The folks at Rack Star Athletics are deeply dedicated to health, fitness, and family. Not only that, but they make working out fun. With programs ranging from strength & conditioning to personal training and individualized nutrition coaching, it's a great place to introduce yourself to CrossFit. Located in the lovely community of Bradenton, Rack Star Athletics is within minutes of Parrish homes for sale. 

  • CrossFit Manatee - 5645 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton, FL 34209
    One of the coolest things about CrossFit Manatee is that they offer a free "Introduction to CrossFit" class. That way, if you're new to CrossFit, you get a perfect inside look at exactly how CrossFit works. That makes it easier to know upfront if it's right for you. With a beautiful location in Bradenton near the banks of the Manatee River, CrossFit Manatee is just a short drive from many great Anna Maria homes for sale.

  • CrossFit 941 - 10530 Portal Crossing #103, Bradenton, FL 34211
    A top-notch Olympic Weightlifting and strength & conditioning facility, CrossFit 941 is dedicated to building a strong community of members through hard work and commitment. Ever since they opened their doors in 2013, they've been creating a safe and effective environment for their community. CrossFit 941 is just 20 minutes from the heart of Sarasota, and right around the corner from these lovely Parrish homes for sale. 
  • CrossFit Havoc - 801 7th Ave. W., Bradenton, FL 34205
    Accomplish your fitness goals with CrossFit instructors with over 20 years of experience when you sign up for CrossFit HavocLocated right around the corner from Bradenton homes for sale, CrossFit Havoc classes, games, and an open gym to help support you on your fitness journey. 

Contact us today to learn more about life in the Manatee and Sarasota area. Our REALTORS® have helped countless families find their dream homes in Florida, and we can't wait to help you find yours!


National Inspire Your Heart with Art Day: Art Classes in Manatee & Sarasota

Sarasota Art Class

Painting, music, theater, sculpture—there's no end to the types of art you can be inspired by. Our REALTORS® count themselves lucky to live in the Sarasota/Manatee area, where inspiration is never hard to find. 

This January 31st is National Inspire Your Heart with Art Day. In honor of the occasion, we're happy to share some of our favorite local art classes, studios, and creative spaces in the Manatee and Sarasota areas.

  • Ringling School of Art Continuing Studies - 2700 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34234-5895
    Take your art to a whole new level when you sign up for a class at Ringling School of Art Continuing Studies. These classes are designed for a multigenerational audience and all types of backgrounds. Their classes are broken up into three complementary programs including Studio and Digital Arts, Osher Lifelong Learning at Ringling College, and Englewood Art Center.
  • Art Center Manatee - 209 9th St. W, Bradenton, FL 34205
    Founded in 1937, Art Center Manatee is one of the oldest arts organizations in the Bradenton area. In addition to providing gallery and exhibition space to artists of all kinds, they offer classes in everything from drawing, painting, and photography to jewelry, glass, and pottery. For artists, it's always a welcoming and nurturing space, with numerous Bradenton homes for sale nearby. 

  • The Artful Giraffe - 1861 Fruitville Rd., Sarasota, FL 34236
    Representing a community of more than 300 local artists in every conceivable medium, The Artful Giraffe is a wonderful place in Sarasota to discover new art and to display your creations. Mere minutes from Sarasota homes for sale, the Artful Giraffe also hosts 20 to 30 art classes every month in their state-of-the-art pottery studio that holds 25 students. 

  • Arts A Blaze Studio - 8111 Lakewood Main St. #107, Bradenton, FL 34202
    Arts A Blaze is a pottery painting studio that caters to artists and crafters of all ages and abilities. Best of all, no appointments needed. Just walk in, pick a project, and start creating! And with these Lakewood Ranch homes for sale nearby, your next inspiration is never far away. 

  • Renaissance School of Art - 4600 Pine Harrier Dr., Sarasota, FL 34231
    Renowned artist and illustrator Vladislav Yeliseyev founded Renaissance School of Art alongside with his wife Marina and daughter Polina in 2009. It quickly gained a reputation as a great place to learn about art hands-on. Plus, it sits right around the corner from these beautiful Sarasota homes for sale. Renaissance School of Art offers a range of programs in painting and drawing and represents an incredible opportunity to take your art to the next level. 

  • Island Art League - 5312 Holmes Blvd., Holmes Beach, FL 34217
    A handful of Holmes Beach art lovers founded the Island Art League in 1989. What started as a small band of like-minded artists has grown to become a celebrated art resource in Holmes Beach. Within walking distance of many Holmes Beach homes for sale, the Island Art League offers everything from a large exhibit and gallery space to classrooms, photo labs, and even an art library and picnic grounds. 

  • Sarasota Clay Company - 1733 Northgate Blvd, Sarasota, FL 34234
    The Sarasota Clay Company is a clay workshop, gallery, and studio near these Sarasota homes for sale. They offer classes for all ages and abilities in hand building, wheel throwing, and sculpture, plus a full line of ceramic and kiln supplies for all your pottery needs. 

Contact us today to learn more about life in Florida. Our little corner of Florida offers great opportunities for fun, adventure, and creativity year-round!


Manatee & Sarasota Cheese Shops for National Cheese Lover's Day

Manatee Cheese Shops

It's almost time once again for the cheesiest holiday of the year, with January 20th marking this year's edition of National Cheese Lover's Day. Whether you're a true aficionado of all things cheese or you simply love an excuse to sample, you'll find no shortage of places to celebrate in Manatee and Sarasota Counties. Our REALTORS® have the details on 6 local spots where you can celebrate National Cheese Lover's Day.

  1. Artisan Cheese Company – 550 Central Ave., Sarasota, FL 34236
    With a convenient location close to Sarasota homes for sale and a diverse selection of cheese from around the world, Artisan Cheese Company is sure to have what you seek. Visit anytime to browse the best selection of artisan cheese in Sarasota. If you love a glass of good wine with your favorite cheese, wine, and cheese clubs at Artisan Cheese Company can satisfy both of your culinary passions.

  2. Chop Shop Grocer – 5906 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton, FL 34209
    Looking for a local, old-fashioned grocer close to Bradenton homes for sale? Then head for the Chop Shop Grocer, where you'll find great cheese and so much more. The award-winning deli at the Chop Shop stocks a wide variety of international cheeses, along with all of your favorite cold cuts. Grab a prepared meal, or find the freshest ingredients for your own home-cooked creations.

  3. Morton's Gourmet Market 1924 S. Osprey Ave., Sarasota, FL 34239
    Whether you're shopping for gourmet cheese, fine wines, or the freshest top-quality ingredients for your next meal, Morton's Gourmet Market in Sarasota will have what you need. Order a gourmet basket for the cheese-lover on your shopping list, or grab something delicious to take home. With more than 200 cheeses available every day and expert help from cheesemonger Karen LaBonte, Morton's is sure to stock what you seek.

  4. Papa's Meat Market – 324 Tamiami Trail S., Venice, FL 34285
    It's easy to find fresh food and fantastic cheese close to Venice homes for sale, thanks to well-known local shops like Papa's Meat Market. The cheese selection at Papa's Meat Market is diverse, with cheeses created on small farms throughout the country. At Papa's, you can sample everything from Amish cheese to the best imported Parmesan from Italy.

  5. Anna Maria Olive Oil Outpost – 401 Pine Ave, Anna Maria, FL 34217
    While you're out shopping for Anna Maria Island homes, you'll certainly end up with an appetite. Stop by the Anna Maria Olive Oil Outpost to sample some Truffle Pecorino and Formager Bleu creamy brie style cheese – or whatever the delicious cheese sample of the day may be. Aside from gourmet cheeses, the friendly staff is happy to indulge the taste buds of visitors with fabulous olive oils, freshly shaved parmesan, cured meats, handmade soaps, flavored balsamic vinegars and pickled goodies that make excellent gifts.
  6. The Ancient Olive of Sarasota – St. Armands Circle 26 N. Boulevard of the Presidents, Sarasota, FL 34236
    Just a short drive from Longboat Key homes for sale, you'll find The Ancient Olive. It's not a cheese shop, but when you have gourmet cheese, you need the amenities – like premium extra virgin olive oils and aged balsamic vinegars. The Ancient Olive provides an epicurean adventure that includes tastings of its various specialty foods among an array of unique culinary gifts, all found in the ambiance of a fine art gallery. The tasting room At The Ancient Olive features 55+ premium single varietal and flavored extra virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars and has been awarded for excellence in quality and education.

You'll never be hungry when you call our corner of Florida home. Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout the Manatee and Sarasota area.


Ring in the New Year at These Manatee & Sarasota Events

Sarasota New Year

There are a ton of fun New Year's events to enjoy in the Manatee and Sarasota areas this year. Whether you're looking for family fun, a formal event, live music, or just one big, local party with all of your friends, there's a New Year's Eve event with your name on it. Our REALTORS® are ready to welcome 2020! Learn about some of the local events with our guide to just some of the great New Year's Eve events in the Manatee and Sarasota area.

  1. 2020 EPIC New Year Party - Sarasota Municipal Auditorium, 801 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34236
    Ring in the new decade with 22N, an awesome high energy band that will have everyone on the dancing floor. When the band takes a break, DJ EMP will be spinning Top 40 hits to keep the party going. You'll love the huge dance floor! Party tickets for 2020 EPIC New Year Party include valet to the red carpet, paparazzi, bottomless bubbly all night, full open top-shelf bar, catered appetizers by Acropolis Greek Taverna and Star Thai & Sushi & Desserts, midnight celebration and much more. Plus, you can save $10 with the following case sensitive promo code: wagner. 

  2. Sarasota New Year's Eve Pineapple Drop – Main Street, Downtown Sarasota, FL 34236
    Participate in one of the most time-honored New Year's traditions, the Sarasota New Year's Eve Pineapple Drop, with a special Florida twist. Enjoy a carnival atmosphere perfect for families, along with local food, drink, a full bar, live music, and a spectacular fireworks display to close out the evening. Many Sarasota homes for sale are right around the corner from the festivities.

  3. New Year's Eve at Selby Gardens – 900 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota, FL 34236
    Enjoy an elegant, black-tie New Year's Eve experience with New Year's Eve at Selby Gardens, and ring in the new year in style. This event features a little bit of everything, with unique tropical light displays, a delicious four-course, sit-down dinner, and live entertainment throughout the evening. When the clock strikes midnight, you can cap off your evening with a fantastic view of the fireworks over Sarasota Bay.

  4. Salute to Vienna New Year's Concert – 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34236
    Head for the Salute to Vienna New Year's Concert for music, dance, and so much more. With a full symphony orchestra and tons of talented dancers, the Salute to Vienna has been a local New Year's Eve staple for more than 20 years. Make this Sarasota tradition a part of your celebrations! 

  5. New Year's Eve Docksider – 509 N. Tamiami Trail, Venice, FL 34285
    Searching for New Year's excitement and waterfront fun close to Venice homes for sale? Visit the New Year's Eve Docksider and celebrate your favorite holiday as only Florida knows how. Settle in for a relaxing, laid-back New Year's celebration on the docks, with fantastic food and live local music. 

  6. Decades Rewind – 1 Indian Ave., Venice, FL 34285
    Celebrate past decades as you ring in a new one at Decades Rewind, a music-filled New Year's Eve party that's sure to have you on the dance floor. The fun starts early in the afternoon, with music from the 50s, 60s, and 70s. As the evening progresses and midnight draws closer, you'll enjoy music from the 80s and 90s. If you're looking for an all-day party to celebrate New Year's, this is the place to be.

  7. The Waterfront at Caddy's - 801 Riverside Dr. E, Bradenton, FL 34208
    Ring in the New Year on the waterfront at Caddy's with Irish bagpipers at 7 pm, DJ Pezz at 8 pm and a complimentary champagne toast at midnight! Pull up your boat and enjoy a one of a kind waterfront dining experience and an incredible view near Bradenton homes for sale.

  8. Roaring 2020 New Year's Eve Party – Grove, Main Street, Lakewood Ranch
    Welcome the year in style and dress in your best 20's attire when you attend the Roaring 2020 New Year's Eve Party at GROVE! The perfect place to celebrate the New Year close to Lakewood Ranch homes for sale. Enjoy hors d'oeuvre's, carving station and a premium open bar all included with the price of your ticket. The cost per person is $119.95 plus applicable tax and gratuity. 

Is finding a new home at the top of your New Year's resolution list this year? We can help. Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout the Manatee and Sarasota areas.


Manatee & Sarasota Bakeries for Your Holiday Pies

Sarasota Bakeries

Not in the mood for baking this holiday season? No problem! The Sarasota and Manatee areas are loaded with great, local bakeries, perfect for picking up pies for all of your big holiday events. There's a local bakery for every taste, with specialties ranging from legendary key lime pies to a huge selection of gluten-free baked goods. Our REALTORS® are here to help you ring in the season in style, with our guide to the best Manatee and Sarasota bakeries for your holiday seasonal treats.

  • Ginnie's and Jane E's – 9807 Gulf Dr., Anna Maria, FL 34216
    Searching for something sweet close to Anna Maria homes for sale? Stop by Ginnie's and Jane E's cafe to shop for holiday pies and so much more. The bakery at this local gem stocks a wide variety of pies, with vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free options available. There's also a cafe and antique shop connected to the bakery.

  • Carribean Pie Co. – 2245 Bee Bridge Rd., Sarasota, FL 34239
    If you're looking for an authentic, amazing key lime pie close to Sarasota homes for sale, then the Carribean Pie Co. is more than worth a trip. Try the award-winning key lime pie or sample one of many other pies with tropical themes. With over 25 years of experience creating delicious treats, you can always expect quality desserts.

  • Island Gluten Free Bakery – 1880 Stickney Point Rd., Sarasota, FL 34231
    When Island Gluten Free Bakery got its start in 2006, it was one of just a handful of gluten-free bakeries in the country. Even though there's a lot more competition today, this bakery still ranks as one of the country's best. There are also extensive vegan options, all made fresh with local ingredients.

  • Yoder's Amish Village 3434 Bahia Vista St., Sarasota, FL 34239
    You can't go wrong with a pie from Yoder's Amish Village. This Sarasota staple has been serving up mouthwatering slices of pie since 1975. All of these Amish pies are completely made-from-scratch every morning. There are plenty of options to take home with you during the holidays, including cherry, pumpkin, southern pecan, double-crust apple, and more! 

  • Der Dutchman – 3713 Bahia Vista St., Sarasota, FL 34232
    Enjoy a homemade Amish pie during the holidays when you pick up pies from Der Dutchman. Conveniently located on Bahia Vista St, this Amish store is perfect for holiday desserts or even picking up last-minute gifts. Pie options include black raspberry, custard, pumpkin, and blueberry.   

  • Morton's Gourmet Market – 1924 S. Osprey Ave., Sarasota, Florida 34239
    Morton's Gourmet Market has upheld a tradition of tasty food for over 40 years. You'll impress at the holiday party when you bring a treat from Morton's Gourmet Market's talented pastry chefs. Some of their holiday dessert specialties for 2019 include pumpkin pie, old fashioned apple pie, and Jim Beam pecan pie. Be sure to place your holiday orders before December 20th. 

Still searching for the perfect local home where you can create your own holiday memories? Our team is here to help. Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout the Manatee and Sarasota areas.


How to Stay in Shape in Manatee & Sarasota During the Holidays

Workout in ManateeSticking to an exercise routine can be tough, especially during the holiday season. Between last-minute shopping, fun community events, and celebrations with family and friends, finding time for the gym is difficult. Thankfully, these fitness centers around Manatee and Sarasota Counties make it easy to stay in shape during the holidays.

  • AMI Health & Fitness — 5364 Gulf Dr., Holmes Beach, FL 34217
    The only full-service fitness facility on the island, AMI Health & Fitness offers 24-hour access to their equipment to help you stay in shape no matter how crazy your schedule becomes during the holidays. A huge benefit to AMI Health & Fitness is that they offer Fitness On Demand, which is a digital archive of group fitness classes that you can play at any time of the day or night. If you're searching for fitness freedom on your schedule, you'll be thankful that this 24-7 facility is close to the best Holmes Beach homes for sale.

  • Pilates is a Workout — 55 South Palm Ave., Sarasota, FL 34236
    This boutique Pilates studio close to Sarasota homes for sale in the heart of the city. They offer studio sessions and mat classes for people of all fitness levels. Pilates is a Workout will even provide private home instruction for those needing a convenient, professional exercise class in the comfort of their own homes.

  • Jaco Boxing & Fitness — 5708 Lawton Dr., Sarasota, FL 34233
    The one-stop fitness shop Jaco Boxing & Fitness, is ready to take your body to the next level with their HIIT boxing and weightlifting classes. They also offer a kid's fitness classes so the whole family can have fun reaching their fitness goals. Next time you're browsing Sarasota homes for sale, bring the family in for a free tour.

  • Latin Fitness — 4900 Fruitville Rd., Sarasota, FL 4232
    Dance your way to a healthier body during the holidays at Latin Fitness. They offer Zumba, Barre, and Pilates classes throughout the week focusing on cardio, strength training, and flexibility. If you're concerned with committing to a membership, they offer pay-by-the-class services. No reservations are required, so feel free to jump into a class after touring Sarasota homes for sale.

  • Longboat Key Fitness Studio — 511 Bay Isles Parkway, Longboat Key, FL 34228
    If you prefer a more private setting while you exercise, Longboat Key Fitness Studio is the best place for you. All training services are private or semi-private, letting you strengthen your body in a comfortable setting. Longboat Key Fitness Studio allows you to pay for only the services you use. Consider stopping by after viewing Longboat Key homes for sale to learn about their state-of-the-art equipment and training sessions.

  • Island Fitness — 407 Magnolia Ave., Anna Maria Island, FL 34216
    When shopping for Anna Maria homes for sale, you'll be happy to discover a full-service gym is located right around the corner. Island Fitness offers classes six days a week to get your heart pumping. Their trainers are also the highest certified trainers in the county, giving you the opportunity to receive professional sport-specific or fitness training to meet your wellness goals.

  • Koko FitClub — 2531 Lakewood Ranch Blvd, Bradenton, FL 3421
    Get fit in a way that fits your lifestyle. Koko FitClub offers flexibility and tailor-made fitness plans designed entirely for you. Around the corner from Lakewood Ranch homes for sale, when you stop into Koko FitClub you can expect a 15-45 minute workout driven by technology for your most effective workout yet. Perfect for those looking to get in shape but unsure where to start. 

Are you interested in buying or selling homes in the Manatee or Sarasota area during the holidays? Contact us today, and our REALTORS® will be happy to assist you.


6 Things to be Grateful for in Manatee and Sarasota Counties

Things to be Grateful for in Sarasota

Thanksgiving is upon us, offering an opportunity for reflection and gratitude. Everyone has their own favorites to be thankful for, but we thought it might be nice to start the holiday week off by sharing some of our favorites.

  1. The Beaches
    There's hardly a spot in Florida that isn't within an hour's drive of the ocean — no more than 30 minutes for most homeowners in Sarasota and Manatee Counties. We're thankful for every inch of sandy shoreline that allows us to live on permanent vacation. We especially love that beaches like Siesta Key are within walking distance of many Sarasota homes for sale

  2. The Sunshine
    The beach wouldn't be paradise without the sun! Our warm weather provides year-round comfort and stunning sunsets. We recommend checking out Robinson Preserve for beautiful sunset views near Bradenton homes for sale

  3. The Art Scene
    Sarasota and Manatee Counties have vibrant arts and culture scenes that rival other major metropolitan areas. Sarasota is home to art galleries and performing arts centers galore. Take a day and explore the Ringling, near Sarasota homes for sale. This creative community takes every opportunity to showcase its talent, and we take every opportunity to support it with our gratitude.

  4. Activities for All Ages
    No matter your age or ability, Sarasota and the surrounding areas have plenty of activities for all to enjoy. There are tons of hot-spots for shopping, both luxurious items, and handmade or antique goods. For a little bit of everything, swing over to Nathan Benderson Park near Lakewood homes for sale. Benderson Park is a unique 600-acre community park that includes North America's premier 2,000-meter sprint rowing course and a regatta center. But of course, there are outdoor recreational activities for everyone here, with golf courses, fishing holes, athletic facilities, and local parks stretched from end to end of the county. With museums, preserves, historical sites, and modern marvels at every corner, we're thankful for so much to do in our backyard.

  5. The Location
    While Sarasota and Manatee are rich in activities, we're also a quick drive to hundreds of other amazing destinations. Hop on I75 for a quick trip to Tampa for a Bucs game, southeast to Miami or the Keys for a classic getaway, or northeast to Orlando for the number one tourist attractions on the planet. With Gainesville, Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Daytona, and Panama City Beach all within half of a day's drive, you can explore every amazing Florida city each weekend of the year.

  6. The Relaxation
    There is so much to see, do, and experience in our town — and yet, it is still the perfect place to do absolutely nothing. Take an afternoon and get out on a charter boat for some fishing near Anna Maria Island homes for sale. Or, you can stroll or drive through town without a destination in mind. 

If you're you looking for a home close to a relaxing beach or a condo in the heart of a bustling art, culture, and dining scene, contact us today, and we'll help you find a home that you'll be thankful for every day of the year.


Holiday Event Guide Manatee and Sarasota Counties

Holiday Event Guide

We may have sand instead of snow, but Manatee and Sarasota Counties still transform into a winter wonderland during the holiday season. Our REALTORS® have put together this holiday event guide to make sure your family enjoys a season filled with cheer!

  • Sarasota Christmas Glow Run 5K — Nathan Benderson Park 5851 Nathan Benderson Circle, Sarasota, FL 4235 | Dec 07
    Get a running start on the holiday season with the Sarasota Christmas Glow Run 5K. The entire Christmas-themed lakeside course is open for runners and walkers so anyone can cheerfully attend. There will be snacks, refreshments, awards, and even a finish line with a forecast for a 100 percent chance of snowfall! Don't worry, the nearby Lakewood Ranch homes for sale you visit are only covered in sunshine.
  • The 12 Dolls of Christmas — Stone Hall 502 Third Ave W., Bradenton, FL 34205 | Dec 9 & 10
    Grab the kids and settle in for a new Christmas show. The 12 Dolls of Christmas holiday musical tells the story of a family Christmas pageant where twelve dancing dolls magically come to life. A fun show for kids of all ages, stop by Stone Hall after you walk a couple of Bradenton homes for sale.
  • An Old Florida Christmas — Manatee Village Historical Park 1404 Manatee Ave E., Bradenton, FL 34208 | Dec 15
    An Old School Florida Christmas celebrates old-fashioned holiday traditions by bringing the community together for music, food, crafts, and more. Stop by and pick up a few gifts from the many local heritage craft vendors. If you're hoping to unwrap a new place to live this year, we recommend you take a few hours to visit some Palmetto homes for sale just across the river.
  • A Night Before Christmas — GT Bray Park 5502 33rd Ave Dr. W., Bradenton, FL 34209 | Dec 14
    Santa will make a quick stop at GT Bray Park to make sure every little boy and girl updates him on their Christmas list. Bring your children down to the A Night Before Christmas event, which will feature hayrides, face painting, and even snow! Just a short drive from Anna Maria Island homes for sale
  • A Taste of Chanukah – Music and Food Festival – Philippi Estate Park 5500 S Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34231- December 22nd 3:00PM - 6:00PM
    Enjoy 3 hours of fun for the whole family with Kosher food and live entertainment near Sarasota homes for sale. A Taste of Chanukah includes many of the area's best Kosher caterers, a graffiti wall and photo booth, a laser light show, face painting, magicians and live music with DJ CJ Koenig. Plus, the whole family will love the Skyriders Trampoline Show. Don't miss out on this fun event!  
  • Harmony for the Holidays — Historic Asolo Theatre 5401 Bay Shore Rd., Sarasota, FL 34234 | Dec 21 &22
    One great aspect of the holiday season is that the airwaves are almost always filled with beautiful Christmas music. If you can't get enough of these yuletide tunes, buy a ticket for Harmony for the Holidays at the Historic Asolo Theatre. The Duchess Vocal Trio give their creative take on Christmas songs new and old. End a day browsing Sarasota homes for sale, with this concert.
  • A Christmas Carol — Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall 777 N. Tamiami Trl., Sarasota, FL 34236 | Dec 28 
    Enjoy the magic of the holidays with the whole family when you attend Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker. This stunning show will be in town on December 28th and is a holiday tradition featuring a timeless score. While you're in town, check out the Lido Key homes for sale
  • It's a Wonderful Life a New Musical - Manatee Performing Arts Center 502 Third Avenue West, Bradenton FL 34205 | December 5-22
    See the 1946 film come to life on the stage when you get tickets for It's a Wonderful Life A New Musical. The show runs from December 5-22, giving you plenty of time to get the family together for a trip to the theater. Plus, you can enjoy looking at Bradenton homes for sale prior to the show. 
  • Sledding with Santa (Lakewood Ranch) - Lakewood Ranch YMCA 5100 Lakewood Ranch Blvd 
    Bradenton, FL 34211 | December 6

    A free event the whole family will love close to Lakewood Ranch homes for sale. Sledding with Santa is the perfect event to kick off the holiday season and will have real snow! Gather the whole family for a fun day of sledding and holiday treats. 
  • Chanukah Celebration - Lakewood Ranch Main Street 8100 Lakewood Ranch Blvd., Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202 - December 22nd - 5:00PM - 8:00PM
    Join Chabad of Bradenton & Lakewood Ranch for its Annual Chanukah Celebration on Main Street right around the corner from Lakewood Ranch homes for sale. This festival features a Grand Lego Menorah & Chanukah Gelt Drop! Enjoy Falafel With Yoav, Kosher BBQ, Kona Ice Truck, Jeff the Juggler, Face Painting, Doughnut Decorating, Hot Latkes Music, Dreidel Moonbounce and More! Admission is free. Nominal food fees to apply.

For more help finding the perfect Sarasota or Manatee County home to spend your next holiday, contact us!


No-Shave November: Barbershops in Manatee & Sarasota Counties

Barber Shops in Sarasota

No-Shave November has blown up in recent years, with men all over the world letting their beards grow wild as a way to raise awareness and money to fight cancer. Our REALTORS® have always been happy to take part, but when November draws to a close, we're about ready for a shave. 

Luckily, we have some great barbers in Manatee and Sarasota Counties. So when No-Shave November ends and you're ready to kiss your beard goodbye, these local barbershops are the places to go. 

  • Locals Barbershop LLC - 3322 Manatee Ave W, Bradenton, FL 34205
    Bradenton's Locals Barbershop LLC is one of our go-to spots for a shave, trim or haircut in Manatee County. No appointments are needed, but you can book one online. You'll always find three barbers on duty, ready to hook you up with whatever style you need. With a location near many Bradenton homes for sale, a great haircut is never far away.

  • Captain Kirk's Midway Barber - 6836 14th St W, Bradenton, FL 34207
    A Bradenton staple since 1993, Captain Kirk's Midway Barber offers snips and shaves with great prices and a friendly atmosphere. They do master cuts for men, women, and kids, so whether you need a quick beard trim, a clean shave or a trendy fade, they'll get the job done for you. Plus, the convenient location is close to many Bradenton homes for sale
  • Just Gents Barber & Spa - 126 N Orange Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236
    Yes, men need to pamper themselves now and then. And when they do, they go to Just Gents Barber & Spa, Sarasota's premier grooming service. Perfect for guys who want to look great, feel great, relax, and rejuvenate. Just Gents is located right around the corner from these Sarasota homes for sale and offers a wide range of body, hair and skincare products and services, specifically designed for men.

  • Sarasota/Bradenton Hair Salon - 3645 Cortez Rd W #140, Bradenton, FL 34210
    Men and women alike will get a great trim or cut at Sarasota/Bradenton Hair Salon. Haircuts and shaves for men range in styles from fun to funky and always come with a low price tag. Plus, every service comes with a one-week guarantee, so if you're not happy with your fresh look, you can always come back after looking at Bradenton homes for sale

  • JD Barbary Shoppe - 8111 Lakewood Main St # 104, Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202
    In some corners, traditional barber skills are a dying art. But not at JD Barbary Shoppe. Here is a place you can stop in any time for a classic haircut experience, courtesy of master barbers who are well versed in all the tonsorial arts. From traditional straight-razor shaves to modern-day trimming techniques, JD Barbary Shoppe offers something genuinely timeless. Look for their authentic striped barber pole on Main Street in Lakewood Ranch, minutes from these Lakewood Ranch homes for sale

  • Venice Island Barber Shop - 505 S Tamiami Trail, Venice, FL 34285
    Established in 1961, Venice Island Barbershop is your father's barbershop, but that doesn't mean it can't be yours too. Decked out in vintage barbershop style, the shop is home to five antique barber chairs, with a talented barber stationed at each one. Just up the street from Venice homes for sale, Venice Island Barbershop offers an ideal mix of modern trends and timeless style.

Contact us to learn more about life in Manatee and Sarasota Counties! Our team has helped families find their dream homes of Florida's Sunset Coast, and we're committed to helping you find yours.


Plan Ahead - Craft Shows for the Holidays

Craft Shows in Manatee County

Even though there's no snow in sight, the many holiday craft fairs returning to town are making it feel a lot like Christmas. Our REALTORS® are excited to complete our shopping lists by visiting a handful of the spectacular holiday craft fairs in Manatee and Sarasota Counties. If you're looking for one-of-a-kind gifts for that special someone, head to one of these festive fairs.

  • Art & Design Show Sarasota — Robarts Arena 3000 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota, FL 34237 | Dec 6 — 8
    The historic Sarasota craft show returns! Art & Design Show Sarasota makes its way back into the Robarts Arena for visitors to find gifts for the serious art collectors in their lives. The preeminent destination for everyone from interior decorators and art enthusiasts to those who appreciate a great looking piece of décor for their home, Art & Design Show is free to enter. Browse the street fairs located just outside of the venue too and consider making appointments to browse the Sarasota homes for sale in the area.

  • Mixon's Harvest Craft Fair — Mixon Farms 2525 27th St. E., Bradenton, FL 34208 | Nov 23
    Harvest Festival Craft Fair at Mixon Fruit Farms is the best way to kick off harvest season. This free event features more than 60 unique vendors, live entertainment, delicious food, and chances for you to win exciting prizes. Fun for the whole family, kids can make crafts while you cross a few items off of your shopping list. If you'll be in the area looking at Bradenton homes for sale, making an entire afternoon of the event by touring the farm after you're done at the craft fair.

  • Bradenton-Sarasota Home + Holiday Show — Bradenton Area Convention Center 1 Haben Blvd, Palmetto, FL 34221 | Nov 15 – 17
    Have you got your eye on a few Palmetto homes for sale? Then head over to the Bradenton-Sarasota Home + Holiday Show and pick out a few pieces of décor as an early holiday gift for yourself. This is the ultimate one-stop-shop for anyone looking for great gifts. The art show will showcase fine masterpieces that are perfect for the art lover in your life. The event will also feature wine tasting for adults and a kid zone full of fun activities.

  • Atomic Holiday Bazaar — Municipal Auditorium 801 N. Tamiami Trl., Sarasota, FL 34236 | Dec 14 – 15
    Do you have someone on your holiday gift list that isn't easy to shop for? Then stop by the Atomic Holiday Bazaar for delightful irregular goodies! This indie craft fair not far from Lido Key homes for sale has unique items on display. They've recently expanded their selection, so be sure to visit the Bay Front Room to view more items.

  • Lido Beach Holiday of the Arts 2019 — Lido Beach 400 Benjamin Franklin Dr, Sarasota, FL 34236 | Dec 7 – 8
    Located close to many Longboat Key homes for sale, head over to Lido Beach and watch the beach transform into an outdoor gallery. Lido Beach Holiday of the Arts 2019 is the perfect opportunity to stock up on handmade art from local artisans. Give one of a kind gifts for everyone on your list when you attend this holiday festival. 

  • Holiday Gift Expo & Cookie Fest — Bradenton Area Convention Center 1 Haben Blvd, Palmetto, FL 34221 | Dec 1
    What's better than a holiday craft show? A holiday craft show with cookies! Not far from Parrish homes for sale, be sure to head over to the Bradenton Area Convention Center on December 1 for the Holiday Gift Expo & Cookie FestGet locally made gifts for those on your list and holiday cookies for you to enjoy while shopping.

Are you looking for a place to keep all of your new crafts and décor? Contact us today, and we'll help you find a great home in Sarasota or Manatee County.


Pumpkin Patches to Explore for National Pumpkin Day

Pumpkin Patches Manatee & Sarasota

Get started on your Halloween festivities early by celebrating National Pumpkin Day on October 26th. Give in to your pumpkin obsession by picking out the perfect pumpkin to carve, eating pumpkin-flavored foods, and participating in fun-filled activities for the whole family at these great pumpkin patches and events around Sarasota and Manatee Counties.  

  • 28th Annual Pumpkin Festival — Hunsader Farms 5500 C.R. 675, Bradenton, FL 34211 
    There's nothing quite like an afternoon at Hunsader Farms. Their exciting Pumpkin Festival returns this October and just so happens to have an event date on National Pumpkin Day. Join your family, friends, and our REALTORS® for a fun-filled day of live music, games, pony rides, crafts, activities for kids, a petting zoo, face painting, zip lining and, of course, plenty of delicious farm-fresh food. This event lasts from 9 am until 5 pm, so there's ample time to stop by after browsing Lakewood Ranch homes for sale.

  • Rubber Duckie Contest and Race — Jiggs Landing Outpost 6106 63rd St E, Bradenton, FL 34203
    Trade in your pumpkin for a rubber duck when you attend the 1st Annual Rubber Duckie Decorating Contest and Race. Drop off your decorated duckie before 10/31 where the best decorated duck will win a prize. Then come back and watch them race on November 2, at 2:00 PM down the Braden River. The event is the perfect excuse to check out nearby Bradenton homes for sale
  • Pumpkin Splash — Arlington Park & Aquatic Complex 2650 Waldemere St., Sarasota, FL 34239
    Splash into the harvest season at Arlington Park & Aquatic Complex. Their Pumpkin Splash event has floating pumpkins ready for kids 12 and under to swim to and pick. Although there is plenty to do in the area when viewing Sarasota homes for sale, this event does require prior registration. Also, little ones under the age of 5 must be supervised at all times. 

  • 31st Annual Pumpkin Festival — Fruitville Grove 7410 Fruitville Rd., Sarasota, FL 34240 
    The 31st Annual Pumpkin Festival is carving yet another year of fun into their long history. Enjoy this free event in between your appointments to walk Sarasota homes for sale. The event features a petting zoo, playground, fun photo ops, and special Halloween-themed contests. On National Pumpkin Day, there will be live music, a children's costume contest, and a performance by the Torres Family Circus with the Globe of Death.

  • Pumpkin Patch Express — Florida Rail Road Museum 12210 83rd St. E., Parrish, FL 34219 
    All aboard the Pumpkin Patch Express at the Florida Rail Road Museum! Treat your children to an exciting ride after you've spent the morning looking at Parrish homes for sale. The Pumpkin Patch Express and Pumpkin Patch Caboose will take you to a patch where children can pick their own pumpkins. There are other activities throughout the afternoon as well, including hayrides and crafts!

  • 43rd Annual Pumpkin Patch — Jesse P. Miller School 4201 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton, FL 34209 
    Their 43rd Annual Pumpkin Patch at the Jesse P. Miller School will be open on National Pumpkin Day for young ones to explore. Not only can you pick a great gourd, but proceeds from each pumpkin will be donated to community charities and scholarships. The event lasts from 10 am until 9 pm, so there's no reason to rush through your Bradenton homes for sale visits.

  • Fox Squirrel Corn Maze — 3002 Charlie Taylor Rd N, Plant City, FL 33565
    Get your pumpkin and corn maze fix when you venture slightly out of Bradenton and Sarasota Counties to the Fox Squirrel Corn MazeThe festival features plenty of fall fun for the whole family and is a short drive from Plant City homes for sale. The corn maze is open until October 27th on weekends only. Take your whole family to pick a pumpkin and see how long it takes you to get out of the maze.

After you've picked the perfect pumpkin, it's time to pick the perfect home. Contact us to view our best homes for sale in Sarasota and Manatee Counties.


Museums in the Sarasota and Manatee Area

Museums in Sarasota

Did you know that the Sarasota and Manatee area is home to some of Florida's most unique museums? Whether you're interested in art, history, culture, classic cars, or whimsy, there's a local museum waiting to be explored. In addition to being great places to visit, museums add character to neighborhoods while preserving local history. Our REALTORS® have all the details on the best museums to visit in the Sarasota and Manatee area.

  • The Ringling Museum of Art – 5401 Bay Shore Blvd., Sarasota, FL 34234
    Located close to Sarasota homes for sale you'll find the fantastic Ringling Museum of Art, which is the State Art Museum of Florida. Once the home of circus magnate, John Ringling, The Ringling Museum features art from local and national artists, a circus museum, and the incredible Ringling Mansion – Ca' d'Zan. This family-friendly museum includes everything from vast art collections, and gorgeous gardens, to traveling exhibits that make every visit unique. The Ringling also features live performances in it the Historic Asolo Theatre, along with films on the big screen.
  • Sarasota Classic Car Museum – 5500 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34234
    Whether you love classic cars or want to experience something new, the Sarasota Classic Car Museum is a great place to spend an afternoon. The museum features a collection of more than 75 classic automobiles from around the world, including exotic, one-of-a-kind creations.
  • Manatee Village Historical Park – 1404 Manatee Ave. East, Bradenton, FL 34208
    Just around the corner from Bradenton homes for sale is the Manatee Village Historical Park. Take a step back in time with a visit to this historic outdoor park, complete with an 1860 Courthouse and One Room Schoolhouse, all beautifully preserved. With free admission and 14 points of interest, this is a great way to learn about the history of Manatee County and Old Florida long before paved roads and electricity.
  • ArtCenter Manatee – 209 9th St. West, Bradenton, FL 34205
    Just across the river from Palmetto homes for sale, you'll find ArtCenter Manatee. Looking to enjoy some beautiful art, or find a place where your kids can pursue the arts in a supportive, encouraging environment? ArtCenter Manatee has everything that you need to enjoy the arts locally. Stop by to take in a rotating collection of unique, new exhibits, from local, state, and national artists. This is also a great place to participate in art classes for all ages.
  • Manatee County Agricultural Museum – 1015 6th St. West, Palmetto, FL 34221
    Close to Palmetto homes for sale, the Manatee County Agricultural Museum is a fun place to learn about the local history of agriculture, and how the industry has shaped the community. Also, this museum is home to the Manatee County Agricultural Hall of Fame where you can learn more about the people who brought agriculture to the area.
  • Marietta Museum of Whimsy – 2121 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34234
    If you're searching for a museum that's a little different from the rest, then you'll certainly enjoy visiting the Marietta Museum of Art & Whimsy in Sarasota. This museum features a little bit of everything, from whimsical outdoor art to family heirlooms. The museum was founded by Marietta Lee, who has made it her mission to showcase the unique history of local families.

Still searching for a home close to the art, history, and fascinating museums? Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout Sarasota and Manatee Counties.


Yoga Studios to Find Your Center in Sarasota and Manatee Counties

Yoga Studios Sarasota & Manatee

Yoga has helped people of all ages improve their breathing, balance, and alleviate stress levels. 

Luckily, residents of Sarasota and Manatee Counties have plenty of yoga studios to choose where to improve their yoga practice. These yoga studios have expert instructors and supportive classes ready and able to help you work out the knots and bring your daily life back into balance. Find your center at one of these area yoga studios. 

  • Pineapple Yoga Studio - 517 S Pineapple Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236
    The team at Pineapple Yoga Studio are experts at helping you bring light and love into your life. They keep their classes small so that you receive plenty of personalized attention. They also offer numerous retreats and workshops so you can develop a deeper connection with your inner self as you ponder Sarasota homes for sale

  • Balance Pilates and Yoga - 5120 Manatee Ave W, Bradenton, FL 34210
    If you are eager to bring your life back into balance, be sure to look into Balance Pilates and Yoga. They can help strengthen your body, engage your mind, and nurture your spirit so you can relax before seeing Bradenton homes for sale.

  • Salty Buddha Co. - 2219 Gulf Dr. N, Bradenton Beach, FL 34217
    When life gets tough, get salty with it! At Salty Buddha Co., they will teach you how to stand up and blow with the breeze when the storms start to rise. Their instructors will take you out on the water so you can roll with the waves and help you dig your heels into the sand for those times when you need to stand firm. As you become one with nature, you can look around and see the fantastic Bradenton Beach homes for sale.

  • Yoga Girlie - 907 5th St W, Palmetto, FL 34221
    Yoga Girlie LaRae Brownewell has a passion for helping people. She is a master at helping her students find peace so that they can enjoy prosperity. Since 2000, she has built her studio into one of the best studios in Palmetto. That is why many people who purchase Palmetto homes for sale look her up when they need to work out their stresses.

  • My Tranquility Farm - 13710 Golf Course Rd, Parrish FL 34219
    If you want to try something different and out of the ordinary, then consider a day doing yoga with goats at My Tranquility Farm. This unorthodox approach might be the ticket for helping you sort through the listings and decide which Parrish homes for sale you want to see. A day at Tranquility Farm is a one-of-a-kind experience you won't find anywhere else in the state.

  • Dragonfly Ayurveda and Yoga - 439 Tamiami Trail #202, Venice, FL 34285
    Searching for some peace and quiet? You will find plenty at Dragonfly Ayurveda and Yoga, where they will make it easy for you to sort through and sift out the noise of daily life. This fabulous studio offers small classes and personalized instruction guaranteed to help you relax and decide the best Venice homes for sale for you and your family. 

Our REALTORS® know Florida is the best place in the country to rest and relax. When you contact us, we will do our best to help you identify the ideal community and the perfect home for you to buy.  


Fall Festivals in Manatee and Sarasota Counties

Fall Festivals Manatee

Autumn is one of the most beautiful times of the year along the Gulf Coast. You can be sure everyone will be taking full advantage of the cooler weather by getting out and active! Our REALTORS® are here with the return of these family-friendly fall festivals around Manatee and Sarasota Counties.

  1. Hunsader Farms Pumpkin Festival — 5500 CR 675, Bradenton, FL 34211 | Oct 12-13, 19-20, 26-27
    In its 28th year, the Hunsader Farms Pumpkin Festival is a way to spend a fall afternoon after shopping Bradenton homes for sale. Over a dozen live shows will take place as well as a craft show, chainsaw sculptor and juggler. A petting zoo, pony rides, corn maze, face painting, playground, and butterfly experience keep kids entertained while mom and dad enjoy food galore!

  2. Fruitville Grove Pumpkin Festival — 7410 Fruitville Rd., Sarasota, FL 34240 | Oct 5-6, 12-13, 19-20, 26-27
    The Fruitville Grove Pumpkin Festival takes place every weekend in October. After touring beautiful Sarasota homes for sale, bring the whole family for live music, costume and pie-eating contests, a petting zoo, playground and so much more! Their Farmer's Market and Pumpkin Palace are open rain or shine. This means just about any weekend is a perfect opportunity to attend the 31st Annual Fruitville Grove Pumpkin Festival!

  3. Suncoast Food & Wine Fest 2019 — 5895 Post Blvd., Lakewood Ranch, FL 34211 | Nov 9
    The Suncoast Food & Wine Fest is ready to raise a glass to its 18th year! Spend the afternoon sampling tasty food from the best restaurants in Manatee County and sip on fine wines while supporting the Rotary Club of Lakewood Ranch. Proceeds from this festival go directly to the charities of Manatee and Sarasota Counties. Take a much-needed break from walking Lakewood Ranch homes for sale and visit the Suncoast Food & Wine Festival to celebrate the harvest season with kindness and generosity.

  4. Fall Kids Fest — 1100 US-41 Bypass S, Venice, FL 34292 | Sept 14
    If you're looking for a great indoor activity, attend the Fall Kids Fest at AMF Bowling as you get ready to schedule showings for Venice homes for sale. All kids 15 and under can bowl and rent shoes for free for their first hour with adults receiving a discounted rate as well. They're also discounting their tasty treats, offering $2 hot dogs, $1 cookies and soft drinks, and only $14 for a whole pizza!

  5. Bayfest — 402 Pine Ave., Anna Maria, FL 34216 | Oct 19
    Anna Maria homes for sale put you close to one of the coolest fall festivals of the year. Bayfest presents a fun-filled day during their 19th annual free street festival. A classic car show will display over 100 amazing vehicles while five great bands perform live music from 10 AM to 9 PM. There will also be plenty of food, refreshments, arts and crafts vendors and even a kids zone for the little ones. Take a quick stroll down Pine Avenue and enjoy the cool fall weather in Anna Maria.

  6. Siesta Key Crystal Classic Sand Sculpting Festival — 948 Beach Rd., Siesta Key, FL 34242 | Nov 15-18
    We may not have fall leaves and a chilly breeze, but what we lack in Northern autumn hallmarks we make up for in Southern charm. Once you've completed your search for Siesta Key homes for sale, check out the Siesta Key Crystal Classic International Sand Sculpting Festival. You'll be blown away by the intricate detail and larger than life features of these amazing san sculptures. Grab your ticket and spend the weekend on the beach marveling at these impressive creations.

Looking for a great home in Manatee or Sarasota Counties to settle in for the fall? Contact us today, and we'll help you with your search!


Dog Parks in Manatee and Sarasota Counties

Manatee Sarasota Dog Parks

Take Your Pooch to These Parks Near You

Your precious pooch wants and needs regular exercise, but walks around the block can get old fast. Our real estate agents recommend some of our favorite dog parks in Sarasota and Manatee Counties to share quality time with your pet in the Florida sunshine.

  1. Brohard Paw Park - 1600 S. Harbor Dr., Venice, FL 34285
    You and Fido can both work on your tans at Brohard Paw Park, the only beach area in Sarasota County where dogs are permitted and within convenient distance of Venice homes for sale. There is an adjacent fenced-in dog play yard with picnic tables, benches, doggie waste bags, showers, and drinking fountains for pets and their humans. Just south of Paw Park is a beach for humans only, equipped with boardwalks, benches, and showers. Hours at Brohard Paw Park are 7 a.m. - dusk daily.

  2. Bayfront Park - 4052 Gulf of Mexico Dr., Longboat Key, FL 34228
    The off-leash area at Bayfront Park, only minutes from Longboat Key homes for sale, is like a playground for dogs. Your pet will have a blast romping on and around structures such as ramps, teeter-totters, and even a "fire hydrant." The fenced-in park has a separate area for small or shy dogs. Bayfront Park is open daily except for Monday when the park is closed from 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.

  3. Lakeview Paw Park - 7150 Lago St., Sarasota, FL 34241
    Lakeview Paw Park gets high marks from users because of the plentiful trees that provide cooling shade on the grounds. Separate areas give small and large dogs their own spaces, and benches and picnic tables are available for humans. Adjacent Lakeview Park, close to Sarasota homes for sale, has scenic paths where leashed dogs are welcome. Park hours are 6 a.m. - sunset.

  4. Laurie Crawford Dog Park - 2811 - 51st St., Bradenton, FL 34209
    Happy Tails Canine Park opened in 2000 as Manatee County's first dog park, not far from Bradenton homes for sale. In April 2019, the facility was renamed Laurie Crawford Dog Park in honor of the local animal advocate who helped create the park. Upgrades include the addition of 1.25 acres of tree-shaded areas along with pavilions and benches, picnic tables, water fountains, waste bag dispensers, and trash cans. Hours at Laurie Crawford Dog Park are sunrise to sunset seven days a week. The new park area is closed for maintenance Monday from 7 a.m. - 10 a.m. is closed during the same hours on Thursday. 

  5. Dog Leg Canine Park - 7550 - 69th St. E., Palmetto, FL 34221
    The cleverly named Dog Leg Canine Park is a three-acre fenced-in area located at Buffalo Creek Park, just down the street from Palmetto homes for sale. Older, sensitive and small dogs have their own section away from the more rambunctious dogs. An on-site covered shelter offers welcome shade, and dogs stay hydrated at the water fountain. Free waste bags are provided. Dog Leg is open sunrise to sunset daily but closed for maintenance 7 a.m. - 10 a.m. Thursday and 2 p.m. to close the last Friday of each month.

  6. Holmes Beach Dog Park - 62nd St. and Flotilla Dr., Holmes Beach, FL 34217
    Holmes Beach Dog Park 
    is a popular attraction around Holmes Beach homes for sale. Relax on a shaded bench as you watch your dog socialize and make friends in the fully enclosed area. The community is fundraising to make upgrades to the park including landscaping for more shade, more secure fencing and gates, and even a potential park expansion.  Hours are sunrise to sunset daily.

Searching for the perfect home for your family, including the four-legged members? Contact us at Wagner Realty, your top choice for professional real estate services.


Fishing & Sailing Charters Around Sarasota

Sarasota Fishing and Sailing
When potential buyers begin searching for Sarasota homes for sale, they often ask about things to do here. Boating and fishing top the lists of our real estate agents for outdoor fun in Sarasota.

Choosing the right charter means the difference between an incredible experience you'll never forget, and a day that's just so-so. To help make sure you enjoy every minute of your trip, we've created the following list of our favorite local fishing and sailing charters. 

  1. Sarasota Fishing Charters -  2576 Hillview Street, Sarasota, FL 34239
    For a family-friendly fishing trip, Sarasota Fishing Charters with Captain Jack Hartman is a great choice. He welcomes all anglers from beginners to those with expert skills. The tours cover local area waters including Sarasota, Siesta Key, Lido Key, Longboat Key, and Anna Maria Island and are ideal for catching Taron, Redfish, Snook, and other Florida fish species. 

  2. Charter Fishing Sarasota - 1718 Cherry Lane, Sarasota, FL 34236 
    Sarasota Charter Fishing is also a family-friendly experience. You can choose from inshore charter fishing in Sarasota Bay, sport fishing, offshore fishing, or a custom deep-sea charter. Some of Captain Will's favorite fish to catch include Snapper, Grouper, Shark, Kingfish, Amberjack, and Barracuda. Charter guests also love the exceptionally smooth ride that the 23' Maco offers. 

  3. Key Sailing: 2 Marina Plaza, Sarasota, FL 34236 
    Book your adventure through Key Sailing and join Captain Tim and First Mate Jen on their 41' Morgan yacht. Whether you want to relax and enjoy the sunset, view local waterfront properties, or take the helm for a sailing lesson, Captain Tim and First Mate Jen are happy to accommodate you.  This Sarasota adventure is an excellent option for a couple's "date night," while families with children are encouraged to book one of their affordable private charters. 
  1. Captain Jack's Charters - 6174 Clark Center Ave. Sarasota, FL 34238 
    Captain Jack's Charters allows guests to experience the luxury of a 42-foot yacht. It's perfect for sunsets and sightseeing and available for weddings, birthdays, bachelor/bachelorette parties, and other special occasions. They'll arrange full catering with food and drinks, or you're welcome to bring your own. 

  2. Siesta Kation Sarasota Fishing Tours & Charters - 5587 Merrimac Dr. Sarasota, FL 34231
    For the ultimate well-rounded boating experience, look no further than Siesta Kation Sarasota Fishing Tours & ChartersSome of the services they offer include sightseeing, dolphin tours, diving, snorkeling, shelling, tiki bar tours, and sunset cruises. They also offer inshore, nearshore, and offshore fishing excursions. Choose the charter package that's right for you or have them create a completely custom package to suit your needs. 

  3. Inshore Addict Charters - 1059 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34236
    Captain Matt Davie of Inshore Addict Charters specializes in light tackle, inshore, and nearshore fishing. Both beginners and seasoned anglers are welcome on these charters. You can expect to catch local species like Snook, Trout, Tarpon, and Redfish. Sometimes, you'll also come across Sheephead, Cobia, Grouper, and more. 

Are you thinking about buying a home in the Sarasota area? Wagner Realty can help! Contact us today to discuss your goals and get started. 


Clean Eating Restaurants Near You

Sarasota Manatee Clean Eating Restaurants

Living in the Sunshine State gives you plenty of opportunities to spend time outdoors and enjoy a healthy lifestyle. For many Florida residents, staying active and eating well are important priorities. Lately, people across the state are embracing the idea of "clean eating."

While this might sound like just another fad diet, it's actually a way of life that's incredibly effective for maintaining your health. In its simplest form, clean eating involves avoiding processed foods, eating balanced meals prepared in healthy ways, and ramping up your intake of plant-based foods. 

Luckily, you don't have to slave away in the kitchen to enjoy eating clean. Our real estate agents have found some great clean eating restaurants throughout the Sarasota-Manatee areas! Check out this list of some of our local favorites. 

  1. Lemon Tree Kitchen - 1289 N Palm Ave., Sarasota, FL 34236
    With an array of healthy menu items designed to appeal to the everyday diner, Lemon Tree Kitchen is the perfect choice for a casual bite in a relaxed atmosphere. All of their dishes are made from scratch daily and feature clean, wholesome ingredients that are locally-sourced whenever possible.  After you're done with your meal, we recommend taking a drive around so you can see some of the great Sarasota homes for sale in the downtown area. 

  2. The Sage Biscuit Cafe in Downtown Bradenton - 1401 Manatee Ave W, Bradenton, FL 34205
    The Sage Biscuit Cafe brings homemade, quality dishes to their clientele that include vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. The Sage Biscuit Cafe is a family-owned business dedicated to serving their customers the freshest and tastiest food in Bradenton. After your meal, take a drive to view some of the best Bradenton homes for sale in the area.

  3. Veg - 2164 Gulf Gate Dr., Sarasota, FL 34232
    Veg offers high-quality vegetarian, vegan, and seafood dishes served in a cozy bistro setting. They're open for both lunch and dinner and can accommodate gluten-free and lactose-intolerant diners. They serve excellent homemade sangria, and the veggie burgers are out-of-this-world. 

  4. Fresh Kitchen - 8491 Cooper Creek Blvd #101, Bradenton, FL 34201
    Fresh Kitchen
    serves customers chef-inspired meals made from fresh high-quality ingredients to nourish and energize the body. At Fresh Kitchen, you can build your own bowls with hormone and antibiotic-free grilled meats and roasted vegetables. Your meal at Fresh Kitchen is 100% gluten-free.

  5. Ionie Retreat and Organic Raw Food Cafe - 1241 Fruitville Rd., Sarasota, FL 34236
    Part spa retreat and part vegan raw food restaurant, Ionie Retreat and Organic Raw Food Cafe is the ideal place to relax and unwind while giving your body the nourishment it craves. Grab a spot at one of the cute outdoor tables and enjoy a healthy smoothie, juice, elixir, or wheatgrass shot. Want something more substantial? They also serve pizzas, entrees, and desserts.

  6. Bowled Life Cafe  - 929 10th St E., Palmetto, FL 34221
    Bowled Life Cafe was opened in Manatee County in October 2018 and has been showing Bradenton locals the way to delicious, healthy eating ever since.  The restaurant specializes in acai bowls, smoothies, salad bowls, and avocado toast. David and Bettina Wheeler, Bowled Life Cafe owners, described their fare as vegan-friendly and "on the healthy side--no sugar is added and nothing is fried. Bowled Life Cafe, located just minutes from homes for sale in Palmetto.

  7. Green Zebra Cafe - 476 John Ringling Blvd., Sarasota, FL 34236
    Located in beautiful St. Armands Circle, family-owned Green Zebra Cafe is another local favorite. Their menu includes raw entrees and desserts, pressed juices and elixirs, smoothies, sandwiches, salads, and more. Best of all, everything is made from the best possible local and organic ingredients. 

  8. Lila - 1576 Main St, Sarasota, FL 34236
    For creative vegetarian and vegan dishes, you can't go wrong with lunch or dinner at Lila. This downtown hot spot prides itself on using organic and locally-sourced ingredients and preparing their dishes in a way that keeps all vegetarian and vegan dishes free of animal contaminants. Both vegans and meat-eaters love these fresh and delicious vegetable-centric meals!

There's so much to love about living in Sarasota and Manatee! From seemingly limitless dining and entertainment options to great weather and gorgeous houses, this city has it all. If you're ready to learn more about the area and start exploring some of our homes for sale throughout Sarasota and Manatee Counties, contact us today to get started.


5 Places for Horseback Riding in Sarasota-Manatee

Sarasota-Manatee Counties Horseback Riding

Horsing Around in Southwest Florida

When you think about moving to Florida, sun, sand, and surf most likely top your list of reasons to relocate here. But did you know Florida's call extends to horse farms, rodeos, polo fields, and thoroughbred horse racing tracks too?

Yes, "horsing around" can be added to your bucket list of things to do when you come to Southwest Florida. Moving to one of our nearby communities means you'll have the unique opportunity to enjoy equine events in cities like Lakewood Ranch, Sarasota, Parrish, Bradenton, and Venice.

Our real estate agents are here with some of the best places to enjoy horseback riding throughout Sarasota and Manatee Counties:

  1. Epic Equine Experiences - 8272 Whiskey Pond Lane, Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202
    If you want your time viewing Lakewood Ranch homes for sale to be truly epic, Epic Equine Experiences has you covered. Half-day trail riding on beautiful horses will bring you up close and personal with some of Florida's ecological wonders. Plus, delicious meals and lavish drinks are provided. Epic will even coordinate kayaking and swamp buggy adventures for you if you wish.

  2. Rosaire's Riding Academy & Pony Rides – 901 East Road, Sarasota, FL 34240
    Just a short ride from Sarasota homes for sale, you'll discover Rosaire's Riding Academy & Pony Rides. Rosaire's Riding Academy teaches riders of all ages how to handle, love, respect and enjoy horses. And if riding a horse just isn't for you, Rosaire's offers ground handling and grooming sessions. The academy hosts riding camps, individualized riding lessons, parties, and even a petting zoo. Your family can meet sheep, goats, and local poultry. You can even rent donkeys and camels.

  3. Born to Ride – 17960 Florida 62, Parrish, FL 34219
    Parrish homes for sale leave you in just the right area to canter on down to Born to Ride, one of the state's most unusual trail riding experiences. With help from riding experts, you'll explore Florida's gorgeous state parks. Everything you need is provided, and first-time riders are welcome. 

  4. BeachHorses – 8400 Manatee Avenue West, Bradenton, FL 34209
    Bradenton homes for sale aren't far from the beach, and BeachHorses combines two of the things residents love most about Florida. A service of Great World Adventures, BeachHorses has been a popular attraction since 2007. The first half of your journey is on the water and the second half is right on the beach. You'll even learn cool tricks – prepare yourself for horse surfing!

  5. Windsong Farm – 238 Lee Road, Venice, FL 34292
    Venice homes for sale may not have homemade pasta and singing gondoliers like their Italian cousin, but thanks to Windsong Farm, they do have plenty of horses to ride! Windsong Farms is one of the best bets if you want to introduce a child to the wonders of horseback riding. It operates a week-long summer camp with plenty to see and do for kids aged seven years to 16. Giddy-up!

Does buying a home in Florida have to be complicated? We say neigh! Wagner Realty will ride to the rescue with advice and customer care you can count on. You'll be galloping toward closing today in no time with us. Contact us today to find out more.


5 Top Spots for Birdwatching in Sarasota-Manatee Counties

Sarasota-Manatee Birdwatching

There's no shortage of fun outdoor activities to do in Sarasota and Manatee Counties. If you want to get out of the house and connect with nature, grab your binoculars and your camera and head out to some of the area's best birdwatching spots.

Whether you're new to the birdwatching scene of you're already a member of the Sarasota Audubon Society, you might be surprised by the array of interesting species you'll find nearby. Our REALTORS® recommend taking a drive to the following locations where you're sure to find some new feathered friends. 

Sarasota-Manatee Birdwatching

  1. Myakka River State Park - 13208 State Road 72 Sarasota, FL 34241
    Featuring over 58 square miles of prairies, wetlands, hammocks, and pinelands, Myakka River State Park is home to an abundance of wildlife. Here you can expect to see wading birds, raptors, songbirds, migratory species, and more.   You can observe the birds from the lakeshore or the Birdwalk, or canoe along the river. There's also an elevated canopy walkway and a 74-foot high observation tower. 

  2. Celery Fields - 6893 Palmer Blvd, Sarasota, FL 34240
    One of the best birdwatching spots in Southwest Florida, Celery Fields offers visitors the opportunity to catch a glimpse of over 220 species including Bald Eagles, Tree Swallows, Roseate Spoonbills, Osprey, Herons, Egrets, and over 20 different species of ducks.  Since the location is not far from some of the best Sarasota homes for sale, you can easily spend your morning birdwatching and the rest of the day home shopping! 

    Sarasota-Manatee Birdwatching
  3. Robinson Nature Preserve - 1704 99th St NW, Bradenton, FL 34209
    Northwest Bradenton is home to some of the most gorgeous Bradenton homes for sale and is also where you'll find the extremely popular Robinson Nature Preserve. The area is well known for Bald Eagle sightings, and with its 682 acres of tidal marsh, preserved mangrove, and former agricultural land, there are plenty of opportunities to see a variety of other species.  You can expect to see Pelicans, Herons, Egrets, Osprey, and more. Since the area is so protected, it's often possible to get quite close to the birds and observe them in their natural habitat.   

  4. Felts Audubon Preserve - 4600 24th Ave. E., Palmetto, FL 34221
    Located between residences and farmlands, Felts Audubon Preserve is one of the only places in the area to see colorful Indigo and Painted Buntings. There are also plenty of opportunities to see more than 160 avian species and over 30 different butterfly species.

    Once you've had your fill of birding, we recommend taking a drive around the area to check out some of the Palmetto homes for sale. This city offers residents a small-town feel with easy access to nearby cities and the waterfront. 

    Sarasota-Manatee Birdwatching
  5. Venice Area Audubon Rookery: 4002 S Tamiami Trail via, Annex Rd, Venice, FL 34293
    Birders from across the state and around the globe flock to the Venice Area Audubon Rookery where you can get so close to the birds that you barely need binoculars. Here you can watch them build nests, court, and mate, hatch their eggs and raise their families.  Expect to see Egrets, Herons, Ibises, Anhingas, and more. You'll also get a glimpse of alligators, who patrol the lake and keep predatory mammals away from the birds. 

    ​​​​​​​We suggest taking the scenic route home so you can take a look at some of the Venice homes for sale. You just might find the home you've been dreaming of! 

From outdoor adventures to shopping and nightlife, Our REALTORS® are "in the know" about all things there are to love about living in Sarasota-Manatee County communities. If you would like to learn more about the area and take a look at some of the gorgeous homes for sale, we can help! Contact us at Wagner Realty to get started.  


Best Waterfront Restaurants in Sarasota-Manatee

Sarasota Manatee Waterfront Restaurants
One of the best things about living in the Sarasota-Manatee area is it's proximity to the water. Not only is the area home to some of the best beaches in the country, but it also offers many opportunities to enjoy a memorable waterfront dining experience. 

Whether you're celebrating a special occasion or are looking for a great place to enjoy a casual lunch, the ideal waterfront restaurant is just a short drive away. 

Our REALTORS® have some favorite waterfront locations to share with you.  Here are five to start your local waterfront dining tour.

  1. The Sandbar Restaurant: 100 Spring Avenue, Anna Maria, FL 34216
    Located on the north end of Anna Maria Island, The Sandbar Restaurant offers an extensive menu made with fresh, local ingredients. The restaurant serves lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch, giving you plenty of opportunities to kick off your shoes and enjoy a memorable dining experience with your toes in the sand.

    While you're on the island, we recommend taking some time to explore. If you get a chance, strike up a conversation with some of the locals. It won't take long for you to understand why Anna Maria homes for sale are in such high demand. 
  1. Marina Jack: 2 Marina Plaza, Sarasota, FL 34236
    If you've been exploring the area looking at Sarasota homes for sale, you've surely seen the gorgeous building that houses Marina Jack. Offering upscale and casual dining options, a lounge and piano bar, and a sunset dinner cruise, this location has been a favorite among Sarasota residents for many years.   The Marina Jack dining room offers stunning views of the marina and an exceptional menu. The Blue Sunshine Patio is perfect for al fresco dining, and the Deep Six Lounge and Piano Bar offers casual dining and live entertainment. 
  1. Pier 22: 1200 1st Ave. W., Bradenton, FL 34205
    A Bradenton landmark, Pier 22 offers diners a taste of paradise on the Manatee River. Enjoy an upscale experience in the indoor dining room or grab a casual bite on the outdoor patio. Pier 22 also serves sushi, has an excellent happy hour menu, daily specials, and a special weekend brunch menu. Before you head home, take a drive around.  This will give you the opportunity to see some of the great Bradenton homes for sale near the riverfront and in the downtown area. 
  1. Ophelia's on the Bay: 9105 Midnight Pass Rd., Sarasota, FL 34242
    Ophelia's on the Bay offers an unforgettable fine dining experience on Siesta Key. Here you'll find a daily rotating selection of dishes inspired by global cuisine. With two glass-walled indoor dining areas and an outdoor patio, there isn't a bad seat in the house. You'll enjoy stunning views of Sarasota Bay and may catch a glimpse of sea birds, herons, and even dolphins.   While you're in the area, keep an eye out for some of the breathtaking Siesta Key homes for sale
  1. Gecko's Dry Dock Waterfront Grill: 412 Gulf of Mexico Dr, Longboat Key, FL 34228
    With panoramic views from the upstairs dining room and an outdoor deck overhanging the water, Gecko's Dry Dock Waterfront Grill on Longboat Key is a favorite among both locals and tourists. You can reach Dry Dock by car or pull your boat up to one of the restaurant's three wet slips. No matter how you arrive, you're sure to love the delicious seafood selections and casual atmosphere.  Before you head home, spend some time exploring the area. You'll soon see why so many homebuyers ask us to show them the best Longboat Key homes for sale

If you're ready to make the Sarasota-Manatee area your new home, we're here to help! Whether you want to live on the water, in the city, or in the suburbs, there's a home in the area that's perfect for you. Contact Wagner Realty today to discuss your goals and get started. 


Top Fishing & Sailing Charters Around Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island Fishing Charters
If you're touring Anna Maria Island homes for sale, then you're considering buying a home where the rest of the world dreams of vacationing. With its many quaint shops, award-winning restaurants, and beautiful beaches, there's never a shortage of things to do here. 

Our REALTORS® recommend taking a short break from house hunting to get a taste of what island life is like. Spending the day on a fishing or sailing charter is a great way to do just that. Here are a few of our favorite charter services to help you get started. 

  1. AMI Charters: 114 Beach Ave. Anna Maria Island, FL 34216
    For the ultimate day of saltwater adventures, you can't go wrong with AMI Charters. Book a full, three-quarter, or half day inshore/nearshore fishing trip. If you're not a fishing fan, you can also choose to leave your poles behind and enjoy the sites instead.

    AMI Charters offers daytime family sight-seeing trips, sunset cruises, and a "fun run" option that gives you a chance to check out the nearby sandbars, private islands, and dockside restaurants and pubs. This is a great way to enjoy the benefits of having a boat without the hassle of having to drive! 
  1. Snapper Addict Fishing Charter: 2652 Gulf Dr. S. Bradenton Beach, FL 34217
    Captain Layne Ostrander has been fishing the local waters his entire life, and now he brings his knowledge and experience to you. Snapper Addict Fishing Charter specializes in light tackle and reef fish including snapper, grouper, shark, hogfish, cobia, and kingfish.

    You'll love Captian Layne's laid-back and entertaining personality. Keep an eye out during the charter, because there's a good chance you might see some sea turtles and dolphins while you're out on the boat. Once you make it back to land, make sure to spend some time driving around the south end of the island, where you can get a good look at some of the beautiful Bradenton Beach homes for sale
  1. Tampa Bay Fishing with Captian Matt: 526 69th St. Holmes Beach, FL 34217
    If you're looking for a fishing experience you won't soon forget, plan to spend a day with world-renowned Captain Matt Ercoli. You can book one of his Tampa Bay Fishing Charters for half, three-quarters, or a full day. Species targeted on this charter include tarpon, snook, trout, redfish, snapper, and more.

    The charter includes all of your ice, bait, tackle, licenses, and even fish cleaning. All you need to bring is whatever you want to eat and drink, and a great attitude! After your day of fishing is done, make sure you take the scenic route home so you can check out some of the Holmes Beach homes for sale along the way.  
  1. Kathleen D. Sailing Catamarans: Keys Marina 5501 Marina Dr. Holmes Beach, FL 34217
    If a fun and relaxing sailing excursion is more your style, you'll love Kathleen D. Sailing Catamarans.  Options include dolphin watches, Egmont Key excursions, sunset sails, and private charters for up to 20 people.

    In addition to Anna Maria Island, Kathleen D. tours are also available in Siesta Key and Longboat Key, giving you the chance to experience even more of what Florida has to offer. 
  1. Anna Maria Charters: 752 Manatee Ave. Holmes Beach 34217
    Offering an array of fishing options including inshore spinning and fly fishing, nearshore, offshore, and tarpon-only trips, as well as sight-seeing and dolphin tours, Anna Maria Charters gives you the ultimate in flexibility.

    These family-friendly, full-service charters are extremely accommodating, helping to ensure that you'll enjoy every minute of your day on the water. 

Catch the Deal of a Lifetime on Anna Maria Island

When you work with us, you don't have to fish around for a good deal. Our REALTORS® know the area inside and out and will help you find the home you've been dreaming of. Contact Wagner Realty and learn how much easier home buying can be with us by your side. 


Summer Camps for Local Kids in Sarasota-Manatee

Sarasota Manatee Summer Camps for Kids

When it comes to summer fun for the kiddos, our real estate agents have a tip for you: Sarasota-Manatee has some of the top summer camps found anywhere in Florida! The concept of summer camp has sure changed over the years. Now, the conventional "cabin in the woods" approach is just one of many kids can embark on during break. Everything from arts to surfing to engineering is available to the lucky little ones living in our area. With more than 100 active summer camps around Sarasota and Bradenton, picking just one can be a real puzzler. To get you (and the kids!) started, we'd like to recommend five standout camps in Sarasota-Manatee:

  1. Summer Fun at Nathan Benderson Park (NPB) - 5851 Nathan Benderson Circle, Sarasota
    Every parent wants their kids to have fun at camp – and learning something new as well is a bonus! At NBP's Water Adventure Camp youngsters learn water safety and water sports techniques including kayaking, rowing, dragon boat paddling, sailing, and canoeing. On land instruction and safety requirements accompany all activities before campers get out on the water, so they obtain the knowledge and safety skills needed. NBP will provide all campers with PFD's (Personal Flotation Devices) as well. If your kids are land lovers, there are camps for Robotics and Coding, Drone Racing and Fishing at Nathan Benderson Park.

    All of this fun is just a short hop from Lakewood Ranch homes for sale.

  2. Dream Oaks Camp - 16110 Dream Oaks Place, Bradenton
    For children and young adults with special needs, the Foundation for Dreams celebrates the abilities and develops the strengths of children with special needs and chronic illnesses ages 7-17. The staff collaborates with families to provide individualized result-based goals, family support, and recreation in a camp environment. Summer camp programs feature fun activities that are strategically adapted to target specific, individualized goals to produce a comprehensive skill set with productive behaviors. Each unique program is specialized to meet your child's needs and strengthen his or her abilities. Dream Oaks camp is conveniently located from Bradenton homes for sale.

  3. Gator Tens for Life Athletic Summer Camp - 519 South Tamiami Trail, Venice
    Founded in 2013, Gator Tens for Life offers summer camps for kids five and up. It also sponsors "Mom's Morning Out" and "Parents Night Out" events. Led by a certified teacher, Gator Tens is associated with a local gym holding classes in cheer, judo, and other sports for kids five years and up. It's a fine way to cap off a season of looking at Venice homes for sale.

  4. Music Compound - 1751 Cattlemen Road and 801 Apricot Ave, Sarasota
    Music Compound offers a fun and educational music camp for all ages. Not sure which session to select? The Music Compound team encourages you to enroll the first week of camp, Intro to Music.  Each day features a different instrument, instructor, and approach. Intro week allows your child to select the instrument of their choice for following sessions, which focus on a specific instrument. Each session offers two to three instructors and provides an opportunity to learn three to five songs and perform at the end of the week.  Performances are the last 30 minutes of the session on the last day. Music Compound's music camp is offered in June and July, just down the street from top Sarasota homes for sale.

  5. Sailor Circus - 2075 Bahia Vista Street, Sarasota
    What kid hasn't wished to join the circus? Sailor Circus Summer Camp is for children ages 5-15(child must have completed kindergarten by the start of camp), with camp running Monday-Friday 9am-3pm. Campers learn a variety of circus arts including triple and single trapeze, globes, silks, Rolla Bolla, hula hoop, low wire, clowning, flying trapeze, juggling, and much more! Campers enjoy a unique experience where they learn circus arts disciplines and then showcase their new skills with a costumed performance with friends and family invited to watch!

    A typical day begins with a warm-up and group stretch, 1-2 warm up circus activities (like circus relay, low wire, unicycle, trampoline, hula hooping, or juggling) snack, showcase act rehearsal, lunch, theater games, arts and circus crafts, showcase act rehearsal, snack, check-out and group games, dismissal. It's so much fun, you just might be tempted to drive from Holmes Beach homes for sale to make memories for your little one!

With our blend of local insight and outstanding customer service, Wagner Realty's real estate agents make it easy for you to find the property you've been dreaming of. Contact us today to find out more.


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 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.


2019 Manatee and Sarasota County Earth Day Events

Earth Day Events Sarasota and Manatee County

  1. Sarasota Earth Day Celebration | Oscar Scherer State Park – 1843 S. Tamiami Trail, Osprey, FL 34229 | April 27
    This annual tradition allows visitors to enter Oscar Scherer State Park for free to celebrate their Earth Day events. Attendees can visit vendor booths, enjoy live music and sample delicious food. Volunteers can help place over 5,000 plants along the restored wetland area. Close to Venice and Siesta Key homes for sale, the Sarasota Earth Day Celebration is a great way to keep this beautiful state park clean and safe for the diverse wildlife that calls it home.

  2. NAWP Earth Day Garden Party | Longboat Key Club, 220 Sands Point Rd, Longboat Key, Florida 34228 | April 22
    The National Association of Wedding Professionals (NAWP) -  Gulf Coast Chapter will host its 2019 Earth Day Garden Party at The Resort at Longboat Key Club on April 22 from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm.  NAWP invites attendees to celebrate the plants and to hear chef/owner of Zildjian Catering, Alyson Zildjian, speak about eco-friendly events. Thinking of buying a home on Longboat Key? You'll want to check out these Longboat Key homes for sale.

  3. Earth Day Celebration at The Market at Lakewood Ranch | 8201 Polo Club Lane, Sarasota, FL 34240 | April 24
    Come enjoy live music at The Market! Activities include Sunset Yoga from 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm, and a family-friendly series of yard games, along with creating your own nature bug!  If you can't make it for the Earth Day Celebration,  The Market at Lakewood Ranch is open every Wednesday afternoon and evening from December through April, from 3:00 pm - 7:00 pm. Join your friends and the new neighbors who have just moved into beautiful Lakewood Ranch. Looking to buy here? Don't miss these Lakewood Ranch homes for sale.

  4. Englewood Earth Day Festival | Boca Grande, FL 33921 | April 28
    The Barrier Island Parks Society is planning yet another Earth Day Celebration in Englewood. This free festival of food and fun features opportunities to learn about the environmental work local non-profits are conducting. Be sure to visit the Barrier Island Parks Society website for updated information. Consider joining them on the Sunday after Earth Day. This area is so beautiful, consider it calling it "home" by browsing Englewood homes for sale.
  5. Earth Day Festival at Selby Five Points Park in downtown Sarasota | Monday, April 22, from 11:30 am - 1:30 pm
    The City of Sarasota and UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County will host an Earth Day Festival on Monday, April 22, from 11:30 am -1:30 pm at Selby Five Points Park in downtown Sarasota. The event will feature information booths throughout the park on a variety of environmental issues, including energy efficiency, stormwater pollution, composting, native plants, electric vehicles and more. Food will be available for purchase from the Spice Boys food truck. Visitors will have a chance to tour two tiny homes, pick up free bicycle gear, try an e-scooter, learn about plastic pollution and how to turn single-use plastics into reusable items, hear more about Sarasota in Motion, the city's transportation master plan, and learn why putting fats, oils and greases down the kitchen drain is so bad. In recognition of Arbor Day and the City of Sarasota's celebration of 33 years of being designated as a "Tree City USA" by the Arbor Day Foundation, some attendees will also be able to take home free native plants and trees available at the festival. For more information, contact the City's Sustainability office at 941-926-6686 or

Contact Wagner Realty to learn more about Florida homes in and around Sarasota and Manatee Counties. 


Manatee and Sarasota Counties: Where to Adopt a Four-Legged Friend

Manatee & Sarasota  Pet Adoption

Join our REALTORS® at Wagner Realty as we observe National Lost Dog Awareness Day on April 23rd. This annual event celebrates the happy reunions of lost pets and their owners while raising awareness for the hundreds of other missing or abandoned dogs that need a loving home. There are plenty of cute canines throughout the Sarasota and Manatee Counties that are available for immediate adoption. As you browse homes for sale along Florida's Gulf Coast, we invite you to stop by one of these compassionate animal shelters and find a four-legged friend to add to your family.

  1. Humane Society of Manatee County, 2515 14th St. W, Bradenton, FL 34205
    The mission of the Humane Society of Manatee County is to teach compassion and respect for animals through care, education, and working together.  When you adopt a pet from the Humane Society of Manatee County, not only do you save the life of an animal, but you bring our area one step closer to becoming a no-kill community.  Visit them Monday - Friday 8:00 am - 5:00 pm or Saturday 8:00 am to 4:30 pm and add a dog (or cat) to your family in your new Bradenton home.

  2. Nate's Honor Animal Rescue — 4951 Lorraine Rd., Bradenton, FL 34211
    Located near beautiful new Lakewood Ranch homes for sale, Nate's Honor Animal Rescue is changing the way the community views sheltered pets by educating area families about animal shelters. Help their no-kill shelter find forever homes for their rescued dogs by visiting one of their two adoption centers in Bradenton.

  3. Humane Society of Sarasota County, 2331 15th S., Sarasota, FL 34237
    Your family's new four-legged friend is patiently waiting for you at the Humane Society of Sarasota County. The organization is the area's premier no-kill shelter and works toward the common goal of living in a community where all animals are cared for and loved.  They provide compassionate care to shelter pets, find them permanent homes and promote responsible pet ownership throughout Sarasota County.  One of our area's Siesta Key homes for sale would be the perfect place for the newest member of your family.

  4. Satchel's Last Resort — 8101 Coash Rd., Sarasota, FL 34241
    The compassionate people at Satchel's Last Resort believe that no dog is unadoptable. They rescue, rehabilitate, and rehome canines of all shapes and sizes. Even if these animals have been turned away from other shelters, Satchel's takes them in and helps reintegrate them into loving homes. Some of their dogs are now living lives of love as they act as service dogs for those in need throughout the community. Give a great dog a second chance by adopting through Satchel's Last Resort, not far from Sarasota homes for sale.

  5. Moonracer Animal Rescue — PO Box 2103, Holmes Beach, FL 34218
    If you're dreaming of living in one of the beautiful Holmes Beach homes for sale, you're not alone. The wonderful dogs at Moonracer Animal Rescue also dream of finding a forever home close to the sun and sand. Moonracer is fighting to make Manatee County a no-kill shelter community. You can support them and help them achieve this goal by adopting one of their fantastic dogs.

  6. Bishop Animal Shelter SPCA — 5718 21st Ave. W., Bradenton, FL 34209
    Not far from Longboat Key homes for sale is the Bishop Animal Shelter SPCA. This privately funded no-kill shelter in Manatee County offers affordable dog adoptions that include spay/neutering, microchipping, collars and leashes, and a free appointment with their veterinarian. They even provide a Slumber Party program that lets you take a dog home for the night to see if they're a good fit for your home.

  7. Venice Doberman Rescue —611 Mobile Rd., Sarasota, FL 34293
    For decades, the folks at Venice Doberman Rescue have placed hundreds of Dobermans with loving families. They believe that every Doberman, young or old, deserves a caring home where they can live happily with compassionate owners. If you would like to find an adorable Doberman after purchasing Venice homes for sale, give Venice Doberman Rescue a call to meet their current furry friends.

Participating in National Lost Dog Awareness Day is a great way to show your support for the thousands of abandoned dogs that go to sleep every night without a permanent, loving home. To learn more about dog adoption centers in the area, or to shop Sarasota and Manatee County homes for sale, contact Wagner Realty today.


Mark Your Calendar: 5 Spring Festivals in Manatee and Sarasota Counties

Spring Festivals Sarasota & Manatee Counties
When's the last time you spent the weekend enjoying the sun and exploring the fun found around Sarasota and Bradenton? Our REALTORS® encourage you to get out and get involved in the many fantastic weekend events that fill our coast with rich arts and culture. Celebrate our gorgeous weather and vibrant communities by attending one of these five great spring festivals happening in Manatee and Sarasota Counties.

Mark Your Calendars for These Great Spring Festivals

  1. Village of the Arts Artwalk Weekend – 1017 12 Ave W., Bradenton, FL 34205 | April 5-6
    The first Friday of every month kicks off the Village of the Arts Artwalk Weekend. Take a stroll through the Village's galleries and shops, stopping to admire the wonderful works of art that our talented area artists bring to life. Pick out a few pieces to take home or learn more about these creations from the artists themselves. Close to Bradenton homes for sale, the Village of the Arts Artwalk Weekend is a can't miss event every month!

  2. The Sarasota Chalk Festival – Burns Square, S. Orange Ave at S. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota, FL 34236 | April 5-7
    Who doesn't have fond memories creating murals along the sidewalk of their childhood homes? Head out to the Sarasota Chalk Festival and watch as skilled artists turn Pineapple Avenue into a canvas for dazzling creations. These breathtaking masterpieces, just a quick walk from Sarasota homes for sale, will fill your weekend with inspiration and awe. Be sure to visit at night as they light the street with votive candles and offer wine tastings to create a truly romantic experience.

  3. The Sarasota Film Festival – 322 Cocoanut Ave., Sarasota, FL 34236 | April 5-15
    World-class cinema can be found just across the bay from Longboat Key homes for sale. The Sarasota Film Festival returns for its 20th year to showcase ten days of fantastic independent films. As one of the top film festivals in North America, residents and visitors of Manatee and Sarasota Counties are given an excellent opportunity to laugh, cry and be entertained with amazing stories from around the world.

  4. Main Street Live – 420 12th St. W., Bradenton, FL 34205 | April 13-14
    Right across the Manatee River from spacious Palmetto homes for sale is Bradenton's biggest block party. Come on out to Main Street Live in Bradenton this April and bring in spring with music from Reverend Barry & The Funk. Old Main Street will be closed to traffic as vendors, food trucks and live music fills the street. Join us and rock the night away as we dance and dine under the stars.
  5. Sarasota Veg Fest – Sarasota Fairgrounds, 3000 Ringling Blvd, Sarasota, FL 34237 | May 4
    Trust us — even the pickiest eater in your family does not want to miss the Sarasota Veg Fest. Celebrate healthy lifestyles, delicious food, and eco-friendly living at this free spring festival in Sarasota. Not too far from the Siesta Key homes for sale you've been dreaming of sits the Sarasota Fairgrounds which will host this second annual event. Sample delicious foods from more than 150 veg-friendly and vegan vendors, learn how to make healthy diet choices and enjoy live music and entertainment. There is even a Veggie Kids Zone full of arts, crafts, and activities for children. Guest speakers, raffles, fitness classes, and food demonstrations are also ripe for the picking at this great green gathering.

Contact Wagner Realty today to learn more about other spectacular springtime festivals happening around Sarasota and Manatee Counties. 


A Mom's Guide to Kids' Birthday Party Places in Manatee & Sarasota Counties

Sarasota Manatee Birthday Party Places for Kids
Birthdays come around just once a year, and our REALTORS® know it's an important time for your kids. It's the perfect day to spend with friends and family all around. Sarasota and Manatee Counties feature plenty of locations to have a party that kicks another year off right.

No matter what interests your young one has, our nearby communities are at the center of exciting party venues that are enjoyable and educational. From party staples like pizza to hands-on art projects, we have it all.

Some of the best places to throw a birthday party are at your backdoor:

  1. Kids Supergym Lakewood Ranch - 7337 International Pl, Sarasota, FL 34240
    Kids Supergym is located not far from some of our Lakewood Ranch homes for sale. Two trained instructors will supervise all of the activities in the gym from trampolines to zip lines to ensure partygoer's safety and fun.  The Supergym's viewing lounge area serves as the ideal spot for parents and adults to watch and prepare for food and more celebrating.

  2. Bowlero Bradenton - 4208 Cortez Rd W, Bradenton, FL 34210
    Give your child's birthday that extra helping of fun this year at Bowlero.  Bowling, arcade games, and kid-favorite foods are sure to be a hit, and Bowlero's party planners take care of the work for you. Located near Bradenton homes for sale, Bowlero and their staff turn a good time into a great party.

  3. Carla's Clay - 1733 Northgate Blvd, Sarasota FL 34234
    If you've been browsing for Sarasota homes for sale, you might have seen a terrific place for a hands-on birthday party. Carla's Clay is an art studio that offers classes for students of all ages. It builds on its Kids and Clay class with birthday party bookings of the entire studio. Fun activities are available for everyone, but there is a minimum of four guests for daytime parties and six for evenings. All supplies, instruction, and firing are included.

  4. Arts A Blaze Studio, 8111 Lakewood Main St, Unit 107 Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202
    Arts A Blaze Studio
    is an all-inclusive, pottery painting and glass fusing art studio perfect to host your "budding young artist's" next birthday celebration.  With party packages geared specifically towards children, your child and their guests will leave with a memento to commemorate the fun they've had.  One of the studio's staff artists will be on hand to greet guests, help with pottery and paint selections, instruction, and clean up.  Arts a Blaze Studio is located near Manatee County's Lakewood Ranch master-planned real estate community.

  5. Cookie Cottage - 335 Gillespie Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236
    What child doesn't love cookies? Cookies are a perennial favorite for kids, and Cookie Cottage will give them the whole experience. Located in the heart of historic downtown Sarasota, it provides custom cookie parties on any theme you choose. You'll get to decorate four to six cookies, a cupcake, and an apron. Indoor games, face painting, and crafts will be available, along with the option of a birthday cake.

  6. Evie's Family Golf - 4735 Bee Ridge Rd, Sarasota, FL 34233
    Up for a round of golf? Evie's Family Golf is the answer, with mini-golf, whiffle ball, and plenty of pizza. You'll get two hours of action for a discount price. Pizza, ice cream, and drinks are included, with the option to make your own pizza. Optional add-ons include bounce house access, face painting, cotton candy, and much more. It's a time to remember!

  7. Cat Depot, 2542 17th St Sarasota, FL 34234
    Cat Depot in Sarasota is the purrr-fect place to host your child's next birthday party. Included in the "Cat's Meow" birthday package is the 2-hour rental of a private party room for up to 20 guests. A party assistant will help with welcoming guests, arts and crafts, and introducing your child and their friends to some of the kittens and cats paying Cat Depot a visit until they meet their forever family.

When people think about buying a home, it usually doesn't inspire them to break out the party hats. An experienced real estate agent makes things easier with expert advice that will get you to closing.

Contact Wagner Realty to find out more. We look forward to helping you.


Moving to a New Home: Some Tips to Help You Purge Before You Pack

Moving to a New Home Purge Before You Pack

Our real estate agents at Wagner Realty stand by you every step of the way during your home buying journey. That includes move-in day!

Buying a home is an exciting time, but there's one part that gives people pause: Hauling their "stuff" to their brand new home.

With the popularity of things like the "KonMari Method" helping people to declutter their lives, more people are taking a close look at the things they own. Moving is an excellent opportunity for you to get rid of things you no longer need. That's much easier than finding new places to put them!

It's often a relief to start over in a new home. But how can you do it the right way?

Here's how to purge before you pack – and cut out stress for your moving day.

  • Start With Your Closet
    A closet is one place where it's easy to gather things you might never use again. Still, you don't want to get rid of items you really have an attachment to. As you go through the closet, ask yourself these questions about each piece of clothing:
    • Have you worn it at all in the last 12 months?
    • Is it in style or may come back soon?
    • Does it fit the way you want it to?
    • Does it have any stains or serious damage?
  • Donate or Sell Miscellaneous Items
    Furniture, kitchen items, and miscellaneous decorative objects tend to accumulate in unused corners of our lives. Before determining what to do with larger belongings, you should check the floor plan of your new home. Consider downloading a free app, like RoomSketcher, to determine the layout of your new home.

    If you aren't sure about which items of furniture you want to keep, a self-storage unit is a good temporary solution that offers both security and climate control for sensitive items. However, it's important not to use a storage unit as an excuse for not purging - if it becomes an intimidating chore, you may end up paying for many months of unnecessary storage.

    If you need to dispose of things, check with local charities to find out what they will and won't accept. Sell large, pricey furniture items through consignment shops. While smaller goods can be sold online, a neighborhood yard sale is often the most convenient choice.
  • Remove Appliances and Electronics
    Outdated and broken electronics generally aren't accepted for donation, so you'll need to get rid of them. Five years is the usual cutoff point for small and mid-sized items, while large items are no longer accepted at ten years. Remember that items with batteries and certain components may be hazardous. You may need to have these hauled away or leave them out on a special pickup day.
  • Get Rid of Hazardous Items
    Electronics aren't the only household goods that can pose a safety risk. Paint, propane, firearms, kerosene, fire extinguishers, fireworks, and pool chemicals need to be disposed of with care. Many counties have a specific hazardous waste drop-off site that you can use throughout the year to ensure these items will be kept safe. Don't be tempted to leave them in your garage.
  • Empty the Fridge and Pantry
    Last but not least, it's vital to get rid of any food you won't be eating or giving away before moving day. Non-perishable items that haven't been opened can usually be donated to any local food bank or canned food drive. Be sure to eat your frozen foods and open packages before you move so they don't go to waste.

By being proactive and following these tips, you'll be ready to make a smooth move once you get to closing day. If you haven't found your dream home yet, contact Wagner Realty for expert real estate advice.


Budgeting Your Way into Your First Home

First Home Buying Budget

Buying a new house can be a long, costly process, and preparing as much as possible will make it easier. You can avoid unexpected expenses and find a place to live that's affordable and comfortable for your family. Here are some tips from our real estate agents to help you budget your way into your first home.

Tips for Making Home-Buying Dreams a Reality

Save for a Down Payment

You should make your down payment as large as possible to save on mortgage interest. If you put at least 20 percent down, you can avoid paying for mortgage insurance. This type of insurance protects the lender and guarantees payment for people who choose lower down payments. According to Investopedia, it usually costs about 1 percent of the mortgage balance per year. That would be $1,500 for a $150,000 loan, more than $100 per month. Recent tax cuts eliminated a deduction for mortgage insurance and increased costs further.

Even if saving 20 percent isn't possible for your family, you can reduce costs by making your down payment as large as possible. Also, a larger down payment will give your home immediate equity and help you increase your credit score. That way, you can easily qualify for an additional loan for a new car or fresh decor for your home.

Prepare for Buying Expenses

Closing costs usually include fees for:

  • An appraisal
  • A survey to verify property lines
  • A wire transfer to send funds to the seller
  • Loan underwriting
  • Document preparation
  • Credit reporting
  • Recording fees for changing property records
  • Title insurance to protect you if the seller doesn't have the full deed to the property

Our agents can help you negotiate with the seller to reduce these costs as much as possible. We can also assist you with persuading sellers to replace old appliances and take care of repairs before you move in. That way, you can save time and money.

Decide How Much House You Can Afford

The cost of the mortgage isn't the only thing you need to consider. Other recurring expenses include homeowners insurance, maintenance, and landscaping. The rent for many apartments includes water, sewer, and trash pickup. In most cases, you'll need to pay these fees if you own your own home. Some homeowners' associations (HOAs) include some of these services in their fees, but you may end up paying more than you would in a house without an HOA. You'll also need to pay for property taxes and larger utility bills.

Budgeting for your first home can help you and your family make buying a house and moving less stressful. It can also prevent unexpected expenses. Contact us at Wagner Realty for help with creating a budget for your first home. We can also assist you in finding a place in your price range that meets your needs and help navigate the closing process.


10 Essentials to Sell Your Bradenton Home

Essentials to Sell Your Home in Bradenton
Want to sell a spare TV or some old clothes? Just take a picture or two, post them on eBay or Craigslist and wait for the calls to come in. But Bradenton homes for sale require a little more TLC to move quickly and command top price.

If you're a Bradenton homeowner planning to put your house on the market, use these smart tips from our real estate agents to develop a winning game plan.

  1. Do Your Homework
    Before you commit, research the local market to make sure it's a good time to sell. Look for data like average sale price and current inventory levels that indicate whether it's a buyers or seller's market. Seasonality is also a factor, so consider which time of year is optimal.

  2. Hire a Real Estate Agent
    No matter how many times you've sold a home, each situation is different. An experienced real estate agent helps you successfully navigate the ins and outs of the home selling process every step of the way.

  3. Ditch the Clutter
    What feels cozy and lived-in to you says messy and careless to buyers. Packed counters, cabinets and closets make a house look smaller and raise questions about ample storage space. Just can't let go? Check out Netflix sensation Marie Kondo and her hugely popular "tidying" method.

  4. De-Personalize 
    When a home is full of family photos and personal items, it's hard for a buyer to shake the feeling of being a visitor. Give them space to envision putting their own stamp on their beautiful new home.

  5. Give Rooms a Face Lift
    Are the walls looking a little shabby? Maybe you fell in love with colors that were trendy in the 90s but they're tired today. Repaint where needed with neutral colors to accommodate the vision of any buyer. If the current paint still looks good, make sure you remove any scuff marks and clean baseboards.

  6. Clear Up the Fix-It List
    Now is the time to take care of loose cabinet knobs, dripping faucets and other minor fix-it jobs that have been piling up. Never assume "no one will notice." While you're at it, why not go the extra mile and freshen up the look with new bathroom, kitchen, door and window hardware?

  7. Add Lighting
    The phrase "too much light" doesn't exist for home buyers. Make sure any burned-out light bulbs are replaced and change any dated-looking lamps or lighting fixtures. Before a showing, open all curtains and blinds and leave a light on in each room.

  8. Take the Smell Test
    Funky odors can detract from the most impeccably maintained home. You may have gone "nose-blind" to pet odors and other smells, so enlist the help of a friend. Don't overlook the tried-and-true effectiveness of baking bread or cookies for an irresistible aroma.

  9. Clean, Clean Some More and Clean Again
    It may seem obvious, but the importance of an immaculate home can't be stressed too much. If your schedule is too tight, it's worth the expense to hire a cleaning service.

  10. Look from the Outside In
    Renovation expert Bob Vila estimates that curb appeal can add as much as 20 percent to your home's value. Can you afford to pass up that kind of return? Be sure the outside of your home makes buyers eager to see what's inside.

Our real estate agents are ready, willing and able to make selling your home as painless and profitable as possible. Contact Wagner Realty to learn more. 



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.


6 Best Bakeries in Bradenton to Break Your Resolution

Bradenton Bakeries - Wagner Realty

The city of Bradenton has more to offer than beautiful houses, friendly neighbors, and plenty of sunshine. It's also home to some of the area's best bakeries. When our real estate agents are in the mood for a tasty treat, they love making a stop at one of their favorite sweet spots. 

The decadent delights you'll find in these shops are totally worth taking a break from your New Year's resolutions, if only for a day. We've created a list of our favorite Bradenton bakeries, so you can see for yourself what all the buzz is about.

  1. Arte Caffe 930 12th St W, Bradenton
    If you're looking for an eclectic and fun place to live, you'll definitely want to check out Bradenton homes for sale near the Village of the Arts. While you're there, stop by the Arte Caffe for fresh-made baked goods including authentic Italian breads, focaccia, bagels, and hard rolls. Take your treats to go or enjoy them in the front dining room, indoor café, or outside seating area.

  2. CopaMoca: 1506 13th St. W, Bradenton
    Specializing in Italian sweets and coffees, CopaMoca provides a perfectly relaxing atmosphere to help you escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Here you'll find a wide selection of traditional Italian cookies, scones, cannoli's, biscotti, and more. Relax in the café and take your time sipping on an espresso, macchiato, whole-leaf tea, or a cup of chocolate with steamed milk.

  3. Edible Elegance by Eli: 3737 Manatee Ave. W, Bradenton
    If you want to make your next event or special occasion memorable, look no further than the delicious creations from Edible Elegance by Eli. With almost limitless flavor combinations and even greater creativity, Eli's cakes, party packages, and custom-made sweets are sure to please any crowd.

  4. Turner's Donut Shop: 902 Martin Luther King Jr Ave. W, Bradenton
    Ask any Bradenton local where to find the best donuts in the city, and you'll get the same answer. Turner's Donut Shop has been a staple of Bradenton since 1960, with good reason. The fresh-made donuts, fritters, and breakfast sandwiches are literally the stuff of legends. Expect to deal with limited parking and a packed house but know that it will be 100 percent worth the wait.

  5. Hometown Desserts: 5120 Manatee Ave. W, Bradenton
    With locations in Bradenton and on Anna Maria Island, Hometown Desserts is a favorite among both locals and visitors. The artistry and attention to detail that goes into every single item is something you'll simply have to see to believe. Pick up some homemade pie, cupcakes, or cookies or order a custom-made cake that's sure to "wow" any crowd.

  6. Sugar Cubed: 531 13th St. W, Bradenton
    For a modern twist on traditional baked goods, you can't go wrong with a visit to Sugar Cubed. A self-proclaimed "pastry lab," this shop prides itself on baking innovation. Here you'll find deliciously surprising menu items like blueberry ginger muffins, butterbeer cupcakes, and salted caramel pretzel brownies. Of course, you can also find traditional favorites including chocolate-covered strawberries, key lime pie, and fresh-made cinnamon buns. No matter what you're craving, there's bound to be something at Sugar Cubed that will leave you feeling satisfied. 

Outstanding bakeries and cafes are just one of the things that make Bradenton a great place to live and work. Contact us at Wagner Realty today and let us show you even more reasons to make "The Friendly City" your new home.


5 New Year's Resolutions for Your Bradenton Home in 2019

Home Resolutions - Wagner Realty

With 2019 just around the corner, it's time to start looking at resolutions for the new year.  While many of us like to put our New Year's focus on our health, wellness, and families – all important things – many homeowners neglect the fact that the New Year is the perfect time to make some New Year's resolutions for your home.  

Below, our real estate agents outlined five easy New Year's resolutions for your Bradenton home:

  1. Do a Deep Clean
    Probably the last thing you're thinking about after a late night on New Year's Eve is deep cleaning your home, but it should be something on your docket for the first few days of the New Year. 

    Over the course of the annum, our homes get dirty – downright filthy, really – no matter how much attention you give to housekeeping throughout the year. Deep clean your kitchen, bathrooms, and laundry areas as a start. These places see the most use, most abuse, and most accumulation of grime.

  2. Seal The Gaps
    Worn weather stripping, windows that don't close all the way, and gaps in exterior walls, thresholds, and doorways can cause some major efficiency issues as well as plenty of other problems with pests, moisture, and draftiness. 

    As we approach the coldest winter months and cold winds bear down on our homes, we tend to notice an unsealed home far more than we would in the warmer summer months, so take the time now to prevent a drafty house in increase your homes heating and cooling efficiency

  3. Replace Filters
    Speaking of heating and cooling efficiency, you're not doing yourself any favors by letting a dirty air filter clog up your HVAC system. Replace or clean your air filter as part of your home resolutions. 

    A clean air filter means more airflow across your furnace's heat exchanger and evaporator coil, less stress on your blower motor and air conditioner, and less likelihood of breakdowns down the road. Use a quality, pleated air filter and replace monthly no matter what the manufacturer's packaging says.

  4. Touch Up Paint
    While seemingly insignificant, touching up paint can give your home a whole new glow for 2019. Over the year, we knick and knack, slam and scuff, and generally make a mess of our walls, doorways, and trim no matter how careful we are.  

    With that said, take some time to touch up those scuffs, fill any old picture holes with caulk, and make those touch-ups. For most homeowners, this is a simple task that shouldn't require much time or covering up – a perfect New Year's task.

  5. Make Remodel Plans
    One thing that we all fail to think about until it actually happens is remodeling. If 2019 is the year you choose to make some changes to your home, then take some time between your other tasks to map out exactly how you're going to go about doing so.

    Budgeting is crucial, so sit down with your family and discuss ways you can put away money for needed changes, sell some old clothes or possessions, and generally make a battle plan for your goals for the year.

Buy a Home in Bradenton

Maybe you're still looking for a home and have put your New Year's focus on purchasing Bradenton homes for sale. You've come to the right place! We have a full inventory of homes and can help you find the right one. Make a new home part of your New Year's resolution and contact Wagner Realty today to find the perfect home for you and your family.


Where to Celebrate New Year's Eve Near Sarasota

Sarasota New Years Eve
New Year's Eve is right around the corner, and the Sarasota area is a great place to celebrate. Whether you prefer a family-friendly event or an epic street party, we've got you covered. Our real estate agents have gathered a list of the very best ways to ring in the New Year in and around the city of Sarasota.

Are you ready to plan an evening you'll never forget? Let's start exploring your options!

  1. Sarasota NYE Pineapple Drop: Downtown Sarasota, 1 South Lemon Ave., Sarasota
    If you love being in the middle of the action, you'll definitely want to check out the Sarasota NYE Pineapple Drop. This event attracts tens of thousands of revelers and is one of the largest New Year's Eve celebrations in the entire state. Enjoy food and live music starting at 1 pm and stay for the party all the way through until 1:30 am. We suggest you take the scenic route on the way there, so you can get a look at some of the great Sarasota homes for sale near the downtown area.

  2. Main Street Live!: Old Main St. 400 12th St. W., Bradenton
    The city of Bradenton is ringing in the New Year with a special edition of Main Street Live! This event features plenty of food trucks, merchants, and of course, live music. If you're over 21, you can also expand your entertainment options by visiting some of the nearby bars and pubs. It won't take you long to see why Bradenton is known as "The Friendly City." Before you know it, you might find yourself adding Bradenton homes for sale to your 2019 wish list.

  3. Winter Wonderland: 5151 Ocean Blvd., Siesta Key
    If you've spent some time looking at Siesta Key homes for sale, you're probably familiar with the area's perfect blend of casual and class. The Beach Club's Winter Wonderland NYE Party is exactly that. Dance the night away with music by TL Jentgens, enjoy a premium open bar, hors-d'oeuvres and party favors, and a cash balloon drop at midnight.

  4. New Year's Eve at Selby Gardens: Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, 811 South Palm Ave., Sarasota
    If a fancy New Year's Eve is more your style, you'll want to check out the black tie NYE event at Selby Gardens. This sophisticated evening features a private tour of Selby Gardens' tropical light display and a four-course meal. After dinner, you'll enjoy performances by Trainees from the Margaret Barbieri Conservatory and The Sarasota Ballet Studio Company. Finish the night off with a midnight champagne toast and an unparalleled view of the fireworks over Sarasota Bay.

  5. Sarasota New Year's Eve ILLUMINATION Party: The Municipal Auditorium, 801 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota
    The ILLUMINATION Party at Sarasota's Municipal Auditorium offers attendees the chance to immerse themselves in a true red carpet experience. This all-inclusive party features valet, open bar, catered appetizers, and dessert stations. Dance the night away on the huge dance floor while listening to top-of-the-line live entertainment.
  6. New Year's Eve Fireworks: Marina Jack 2, Marina Plaza, Sarasota
    A favorite among local residents and visitors alike, the New Year's Eve Fireworks at Marina Jack is something you won't want to miss. Both the dining room and the Deep Six Lounge & Piano Bar are serving a four-course dinner, while the Blue Sunshine Patio offers more casual dining options. For a truly memorable experience, reserve your spot on the special four-hour dinner cruise with an elaborate buffet, dance floor, and midnight champagne toast. 

Wagner Realty - Your Sarasota Real Estate Pros

Do your 2019 goals include finding a new home in the Sarasota area? There are plenty of gorgeous homes for sale, and our real estate agents are happy to help you find the perfect one. Don't put your dreams on hold, contact Wagner Realty today to get started! 



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.


8 Great Holiday Gifts for the First-Time Home Buyer

Holiday Gifts for First-time Buyers

Decking the halls in your new home for the first time is a cause for celebration. If you've got a first-time home buyer on your holiday gift-giving list, you'll want to spend some extra time choosing the perfect item. Whether you decide to take the sentimental route or opt for something more practical, you'll want to give a memorable gift that they will love for years to come.

Our real estate agents spend plenty of time with first-time home buyers, so we have some insight into the things they need. Here are eight of the best ways for you to help your loved ones turn their new house into a home. 

  1. Smart Home Electronics
    Smart home technology is all the rage now, with good reason. Not only are smart upgrades cool and convenient, but they can also make your home safer and more energy efficient. Video doorbells, programmable thermostats, and smart lighting technology all make excellent holiday gifts.

  2. Kitchenware
    First-time homebuyers aren't likely to have full sets of matching dishes, a variety of wine glasses, nice knives, or quality pots and pans. Try to think back to the things you needed when you moved into your first home, and it's a good bet that the person you're shopping for needs the same things.

  3. Towels and Sheets
    Let's face it, towels and sheets are expensive, and they aren't much fun to buy. If you're going to take this route, make sure to choose quality items that will last for some time. Plush, absorbent towels and high-thread-count sheets are both excellent gift ideas. 

  4. Gizmos and Gadgets
    Want to give a fun gift that will get a lot of use? Consider a robot vacuum, one-cup coffee maker, or electric wine bottle opener. Essential appliances like a slow cooker, stand mixer, or a quality blender is also likely to become household staples.

  5. Practical Tools
    Most first-time homeowners don't know what tools they need until they're in a situation where they need them. You can be the hero by setting them up ahead of time with a versatile toolset, a good tape measure, or a quality flashlight (with batteries!) Don't be surprised if one day you hear a story about how your gift saved the day.

  6. Safety-Savvy Items
    Safety items like fire extinguishers, carbon monoxide detectors, and security cameras all make excellent gift ideas. Some less expensive ideas include a first-aid kit, heating pad, and ice packs, or motion-sensing nightlights.

  7. Personalized Gifts
    Commemorate this special occasion with a personalized gift like a monogrammed doormat, custom holiday ornament, or upscale home décor. Taking the time to have an item specially-made shows how much you care and is sure to tug on the heartstrings of the recipients.

  8. Store Gift Cards
    Gift cards might not seem like the most thoughtful choice, but they're often a lifesaver for new homeowners. There will always be times when they need something right away, and the ability to get it without spending their hard-earned cash is a gift they'll appreciate. Choose cards from home improvement stores, big-box retailers, or even your local grocery store. 

Is a Sarasota Home on Your Holiday Wish List?

If a new home is on your holiday wish list, you're in luck. Now is the perfect time to start checking out some of the beautiful Sarasota homes for sale. Don't let the hustle and bustle of the holidays get in the way of making your dream a reality. Contact Wagner Realty today to learn how we can help.


Where to See Santa in Sarasota

Sarasota See Santa
Whether you're a kid or a kid at heart, Christmas wouldn't be the same without a glimpse of Jolly Old Saint Nick. Luckily, Santa loves soaking up the sun in Sarasota before he gets too busy preparing for his big night.

Our real estate agents have the inside scoop on his favorite spots to hang out while he's here, and we're ready to let you in on the secret. Here are six of the best places to see Santa in and around Sarasota. 

  1. The Mall at University Town Center: 140 University Town Center Drive, Sarasota
    The Mall at University Town Center isn't just a great place to do all of your holiday shopping; it's also one of the best places to see Santa. Bring the kids to the mall's Grand Court where they can visit with Santa and become official members of his flight crew. They'll get to try on an official flight suit, learn how to fly Santa's sleigh, and play under magical lights and snowflakes. Santa and his helpers will be at the mall starting on November 9th and running until Christmas Eve.

  2. St. Armands Circle: N. Blvd. of the Presidents, St. Armands
    Enjoy a memorable evening of family fun in beautiful St. Armands Circle during the Holiday Night of Lights. The event takes place on December 7th from 6 to 9 p.m. and features a parade, holiday carol sing-along, and lighting of a 55-foot tree. Children will love having their photos taken with Mr. and Mrs. Claus, while Mom and Dad take advantage of shopping discounts at the area's unique local shops.

  3. Sarasota Holiday Parade: Downtown Sarasota, 1718 Main Street, Sarasota
    The Sarasota Holiday Parade has been a favorite of locals and visitors for the past 22 years. It's now grown to be one of the largest and most popular holiday parades along the Suncoast. Taking place on December 1st from 7 to 9 p.m., this event is the perfect kickoff to the holiday season. Watch as thousands of participants light up downtown Sarasota with festive floats and holiday music. Make sure you stick around until the end, where you'll see Santa and Mrs. Claus closing out the parade.

  4. The 33rd Annual Sarasota Holiday Boat Parade of Lights: Marina Jack Restaurant, Bayfront Park, City Island and Centennial Park
    You don't have to spend much time on Sarasota Bay to see why it's home to some of the best Sarasota homes for sale. Whether you're lucky enough to live in one of these homes or you take a trip down to one of the nearby parks, you'll love the breathtaking waterfront views of the 33rd annual Holiday Boat Parade of Lights. The event is held on Saturday, December 8th at 6 p.m. Keep a close eye on the festively-decorated boats, and you just might see Santa and some of his elves.

  5. Holidays Around the Ranch: 8100 Lakewood Main Street, Lakewood Ranch
    Holidays Around the Ranch
    , held on Main Street in Lakewood Ranch, is popular among revelers of all ages. Join in on the fun on December 14th from 6 to 9 p.m. Sing along with carolers while you wait for Santa and Mrs. Claus to arrive in a decorated horse-drawn carriage. Enjoy a line-up of live performers and musical entertainment while sipping cocoa and eggnog. Your kids definitely won't want to miss sliding down the real outdoor snow slide, and everyone will love watching the spectacular tree lighting.

  6. Privateers, Inc. Christmas Parade: Bayfront Park, 316 N. Bay Blvd. Anna Maria
    The Anna Maria Privateers are spreading holiday joy again this year with their annual Christmas Parade and Santa's Open House. The parade starts at Bayfront Park and then travels south, winding through the three island cities. After the parade, children are welcome to come to the open house and receive a gift from Santa himself.

Let Us Help Your Holiday Wishes Come True

If your holiday wish this year involves buying or selling a home in Sarasota, we can help! Contact Wagner Realty today to discuss your real estate goals.


Thanksgiving Day Runs for Sarasota Area Families

Sarasota Area Turkey Trots
Family-friendly Thanksgiving Day runs, also known as Turkey Trots, first began way back in 1896. Since then, the tradition has grown hugely popular across the United States, offering families and friends a fun way to burn some extra calories before indulging in the day's festivities.

While most of the country will wake up to cold, blustery weather on Thanksgiving morning, Sarasota area residents and visitors will enjoy mild temperatures that are perfect for an early morning run. This year why not start a new family tradition that will allow you to gobble guilt-free all day long? This list of the area's most popular Turkey Trot races will help you get started. 

First Inaugural Florida Turkey Trot: Nathan Benderson Park, Nathan Benderson Circle, Sarasota

Our real estate agents love visiting beautiful Nathan Benderson Park and are excited for the First Inaugural Florida Turkey Trot 5k. This centrally-located first-class venue is perfect for families coming from Sarasota, Bradenton, and Lakewood Ranch. 

The event will feature a chipped-timed 5k run/walk with a final "floating mile" over the lake and bracketed "Turkey Dashes" for the kids. Stick around after the race for sweet treats and beverages, and don't forget to bring along your canned-food donations for the All Faiths Food Bank.

All participants will receive a  commemorative shirt and finisher medal. Proceeds from the event benefit The Suncoast Aquatic Nature Center Associates, Inc. (SANCA).

ALSO Youth 9th Annual Turkey Trot 5K: Hyatt Regency Sarasota, 1000 Boulevard of the Arts, Sarasota 

Participants in the ALSO Youth 9th Annual Turkey Trot 5K will enjoy beautiful views of some of the best Sarasota homes for sale as they race over the iconic Ringling Bridge. This chip-timed race offers awards for the top finishers in each group, a finisher's medal for participants under age 15, and a long-sleeve tech shirt for all pre-registered participants.

After you're done, be sure to check out the post-race party and celebrate while enjoying music, snacks, non-alcoholic beverages, and a variety of beers. 

Tidewell Hospice Turkey Trot 5k: Lakewood Ranch Main Street, Lakewood Ranch

Are you too busy to make it to a race on Thanksgiving day? You're in luck! The Tidewell Hospice Turkey Trot 5k is held on Sunday, November 17th. This chip-timed 5k run/walk is both stroller and pet-friendly, making it an excellent family-friendly option.  

Children will love participating in the "Turkey-Dashes," and the 5k course features turkey-themed volunteers, plenty of water stations, and music to help you hustle along. Registration includes a commemorative moisture-wicking shirt.

You're sure to have fun at the after-party featuring food from local area restaurants. On your way home from the event, don't forget to take the scenic route so you can get a look at the many beautiful Lakewood Ranch homes for sale

Bradenton Turkey Trot "Give to Run" 5k: GT Bray Park, Bradenton

The 22nd Annual Bradenton Turkey Trot puts a unique spin on their event by skipping the registration fee. Instead, participants are encouraged to support The Food Bank of Manatee and Turing Points with monetary donations and/or canned goods. 

Participants have the option to purchase Turkey-Trot themed t-shirts, and the overall male and female winners will each receive a delicious pie for their Thanksgiving celebrations. This event is hugely popular and always has a large turnout. If you've been checking out Bradenton homes for sale this is a great way to meet some of your potential new neighbors. 

After experiencing the strong sense of community in the Sarasota area, we're confident you'll be more excited than ever to make this area your new home. Contact Wagner Realty to learn how we can help make your dream a reality.

Contact Wagner Realty


Get Your Bradenton Home Ready for Fall

Fall Home Maintenance for Your Florida Home
Like it or not, summer is behind us, and cooler weather is headed our way. Luckily, living in Florida means the changes in the seasons aren't nearly as drastic as those experienced by our friends up north. Still, our real estate agents in Bradenton want to make sure you're ready for the change. These are the steps you should take this fall to get your Bradenton home ready for winter. 

A Checklist to Get Your Florida Home Ready for Fall

  1. Make Sure Your Gutters Are Clear
    If you live in a house with lots of overhanging trees, you might be shocked to discover the amount of leaves, debris and organic matter that pile up in your gutters over the course of a year. This can cause a lot of problems, including potentially costly water damage during rainy conditions, so make sure your gutters are clear before winter arrives. 

  2. Check the Heating System
    Chances are, you haven't used or even thought about your heating system since last winter. But the day will inevitably come when you have to fire it up again. Before that day arrives, have your HVAC cleaned and serviced by a pro to make sure it's in good working order. 

  3. Seal the Gaps
    Air leaks around windows, doors and anywhere wires or pipes enter your home pose two potential problems. Not only do they let conditioned air escape – which makes your home more difficult to heat and cool – but they can also let mice, insects and other critters into your house. Winter is the time when small animals are most likely to want to seek refuge in your home, so do a thorough check to make sure you don't have any gaps. If you find any, use caulk or weather stripping to seal them up. 

  4. Inspect Your Roof
    Winter rains can take a toll on your roof, especially if it's already in not-so-great shape. Give it a thorough inspection, looking for moss, wet spots, loose or broken shingles and any other damage that might cause a leak. If you're not comfortable climbing up there on a ladder, hire a pro who can tell you whether or not your roof is sound.
  5. Turn Off the Irrigation
    Frozen pipes aren't necessarily common in our neck of the woods, but they're not impossible either. Before the threat of freezing temperatures arrives, winterize your irrigation system to make sure it doesn't freeze. Turn off the water at the main shutoff valve, and then open up each outdoor valve to let the water drain. 

  6. Add Insulation
    If you're concerned about being able to stay warm this winter, or if you want to reduce your utility bills by making your house more energy-efficient, adding some extra insulation is one of the best options. In most homes, the attic is the most cost-effective place to add insulation.

  7. Inspect Smoke Detectors
    Fall is one of the crucial times of year to make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors have fresh batteries and are working correctly. This is especially true if you have a fireplace that you plan to use this winter, but even if you don't, winter is still the season when the most house fires occur. While you're inspecting your smoke detectors, check your fire extinguisher and make sure that everyone in your household knows how to use it. 

Contact Wagner Realty today to learn more about adjusting to the changing seasons in Florida, and to find out how we can help you make your dream of living in the Sunshine State a reality. If you're looking for Bradenton homes for sale, our team is here to help. 


A Local's Guide to Halloween in Sarasota

Sarasota Halloween Events
Ask any of our real estate agents, and they'll tell you that Sarasota locals know how to celebrate Halloween. If you're lucky enough to be in the area this month checking out Sarasota homes for sale, you'll want to visit some of the area's hottest Halloween events. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • 30th Annual Fruitville Grove Pumpkin Fest (Every Weekend in October)
    Every Saturday and Sunday in October, you'll have the opportunity to visit the Fruitville Grove Pumpkin Festival. Enjoy a day of family-friendly fun including live music, a petting zoo, and decorated photo spots.

    Parking and admission are free, and attractions like pony rides, pumpkin painting, a rock wall, and bounce house are each available for a small charge. Don't miss the costume contest every Saturday at 1 pm and the pie eating contest every Sunday at 1 pm

  • Halloween Ghost Hunting Tours (October 12)
    If you're interested in a paranormal experience, look no further than the Halloween Ghost Tours at Historic Spanish Point. With over 5,000 years of history, this location is home to plenty of ghostly spirits and opportunities to interact with the after-life. Are you brave enough to check it out for yourself?

  • Howl-O-Ween Movie Night Spooktacular (October 13)
    The fourth annual Howl-O-Ween Movie Night Spooktacular is a free event held at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota. It kicks off at 5:00 pm with children's games and activities. Be sure to dress your little ones in their best Halloween costumes so they can join in on the parade around the bases before the 7:00 pm showing of the movie "Hocus Pocus" on the outfield video board.

  • Victorian Funeral (October 19)
    Begin your Halloween festivities by venturing out to Historic Spanish Point in Osprey for an unforgettable traditional Victorian Funeral. Immerse yourself in the grandiose and macabre experience as a grieving Victorian widow bids farewell to her beloved husband. This theatrical reenactment is sure to put you in a spooky mood and prepare you for the rest of the season. 

  • 6th Annual Haunted Trails at Oscar Scherer State Park (October 26 and 27)
    If you're looking for a fright, you don't want to miss the 6th Annual Haunted Trails at Oscar Scherer State Park. Here you'll find a trick-or-treat trail for the little ones, scary trails geared towards specific age groups, interactive games, the infamous Haunted House created by the Nokomis Fire Department.

  • 27th Annual Hunsader Farms Pumpkin Festival (October 13-14, 20-21, and 27-28)
    It wouldn't be autumn in Sarasota without a visit to the Hunsader Farms Pumpkin Festival. This famous festival is one of the signature events of the season. Visitors of all ages will love the Halloween attractions including a craft fair, hayrides, face painting, petting zoo, live music, train rides, and more.

  • Selby Gardens Spooktacular (October 28)
    Enjoy the gorgeous Selby Gardens in all of its Halloween glory during the Selby Gardens Spooktacular event, held on October 28th. Children of all ages will love trick-or-treating and participating in pumpkin decorating, seed planting, and "mad scientist" experiments. Adults can treat their palates with delicious foods from Michael's on East grill, the Selby House Café, or a tasty frozen dessert from B's Cool Treats.

Your Sarasota Real Estate Professionals

Autumn is an excellent time to relocate to the Sunshine State! Whether you're a local planning to sell your home or a buyer searching for the perfect new residence, our qualified agents make it easy. Contact Wagner Realty today to discuss your needs and learn how we can help. 


Your Guide to Favorite Spas in Bradenton

Bradenton Spas
You don't have to whisk off to a far-away resort to enjoy a relaxing day at a top-notch spa. No matter where you live, you're likely to find some excellent day spas nearby.

The city of Bradenton, on the West coast of Florida, is home to stunning beaches, excellent dining and entertainment options, and plenty of opportunities to pamper yourself. Whether you're a local looking for a luxurious way to spend your day off or a potential new resident ready to take a break after exploring the many gorgeous Bradenton homes for sale, you'll want to check out one or more of the best spas in Bradenton. 

  1. Bellagena Skin Care Studio & Spa | 5861 Cortez Rd. W. Bradenton, FL 34210
    The professionals at Bellagena Skin Care Studio & Day Spa believe that quality skincare is a necessity, not a luxury. The spa offers a full range of services including custom facials, RED Light Therapy, massage, detoxifying infrared sauna, microdermabrasion, and more. Enjoy clinical skincare treatments in a calming spa setting, at prices that will fit everyone's budget. 

  2. Spa Northwest | 5701 21st Ave. W. Bradenton, FL 34209
    At Spa Northwest, you'll find the perfect atmosphere for a relaxing couples massage, acupuncture treatments, or a luxurious facial. Take your wellness to the next level by participating in weekly yoga classes or booking a health and nutrition consultation with the spa's Ayurvedic Health Counselor (AHC).

  3. Serenely Nails and Day Spa | 7604 Cortez Rd. W. Unit 8 Bradenton, FL 34210
    If you enjoy a relaxing manicure and pedicure, you'll love the cozy setting of Serenely Nails and Day Spa. While you're there, make time for hot stone, aromatherapy, or Reiki massage. Other services include eyelash extensions, a purifying back treatment, and a selection of rejuvenating facials.

  4. The Blue Door Spa and Salon | 5432 E. State Rd. 64 Bradenton, FL 34208
    Blue Door Spa & Salon offers a full range of services including hair coloring, cuts, and treatments, waxing, makeup, lashes, massage, facials, and results-driven body treatments.

    Spend a pampering girls night out with your friends while enjoying one of the spa's luxurious treatment packages like "Royal Treatment," "Pure Bliss," or "Perfect Escape."

  5. Sea-renity Beach Spa and Bou-Tiki C | 112 Bridge St. Bradenton, FL 34217
    A visit to Bradenton is never complete without taking a ride out to the charming city of Anna Maria Island. While you're there, you'll want to soak up some "vitamin sea" at Sea-renity Beach Spa and Eco Boutique.

    Experience a relaxing individual or couple's massage right on the beach in the spa's unique tiki hut. After your appointment, make sure to stop by the Bou-Tiki eco boutique to shop for locally-sourced jewelry, art, clothing, and more.

  6. MassageLuxe | 8378 Market St., Suite A40 Bradenton, FL 34202
    MassageLuxe offers massages, facials, waxing, and other treatments. To get the most out of the Luxe experience, consider becoming a member. Your membership entitles you to enjoy benefits at any of the MassageLuxe locations across the United States, free daily HydroLuXe massage sessions, and discounts on other spa services.

  7. Pure Skincare by Elizabeth | 4012 Cortez Rd. W. Bradenton, FL 34210
    If you believe taking care of your skin should be a priority, you'll love working with the esthetician and owner of Pure Skincare by Elizabeth. She's passionate about bringing her clients the best skincare available to heal inflammation, treat skin conditions, and slow the aging process. Services include custom facials, peels, dermaplaning, and waxing, and are available by appointment only.  

Are You Ready to Live Where Others Vacation?

If you're ready to make this corner of paradise your permanent home, our real estate agents can help. The city of Bradenton is home to many different residential neighborhoods, each with a unique vibe. Contact Wagner Realty today to start exploring your options.


Planning a Kitchen Reno? 6 Tips to Plan Your Project

Plan Your Kitchen Renovation
Nothing spruces up a home like a kitchen renovation. It improves how you make use of your home and can deliver a return on investment when it comes time to sell your home.  

The biggest challenge with a kitchen reno is knowing where to start.  Our REALTORS® have helped clients make the right decisions when renovating their kitchens prior to listing. Take advantage of these tips to make your kitchen reno project a huge success for your home.

  1. Full Remodel Versus Upgrade
    The first step is to determine just how big of an effort you want or need to put into your kitchen. Some homes may require a complete overhaul while other kitchen spaces may require some well-placed updates and upgrades. Consider all of your options before you get out that sledgehammer.

  2. Identify Likes and Dislikes
    Every space in your home has aspects that you like and those that you dislike. When planning your renovation, be sure to keep and enhance the parts that you like rather than just getting rid of what you dislike. This process allows you to allocate money from your budget to get more out of what you already enjoy. It might also mean you have to spend less to handle your dislikes.

  3. Keep the Current Layout
    If at all possible, try to keep the current layout of your kitchen intact. Most home renovation experts estimate a $5,000 price tag every time a homeowner decides to move the location of appliances or plumbing. This will help keep your expenses down and allow you to allocate precious budget dollars where you need it.

  4. Cabinets are Key
    Your cabinets are usually the first thing that you notice and the most used part of your kitchen. They also tend to make up about 30% of an overall kitchen renovation budget. With this in mind, take the time to find the best deals and the best use of space. Consider using innovative design ideas like the half moon lazy susan or double sliding shelves to make the best use of those blind corners.

  5. Make a Dramatic Impact
    If you are trying to spice things up in your kitchen, then consider some options that can have a dramatic visual impact on your new space. One investment is in your backsplash. Experts suggest taking your backsplash all the way to the ceiling. Not only does it protect your walls but it also adds a fantastic focal point to your kitchen.

    In addition to the backsplash idea, you should strongly consider using contrasting colors. Many Bradenton homes for sale have added value and style by integrating these color schemes in their kitchen spaces. You can use this technique to draw the eyes of your visitors to the parts of your kitchen that you wish to showcase.

  6. The Right Lighting
    One final consideration is the lighting in your kitchen. Too much light can be just as bad as too little lighting. Take the time to plan out the right amount of lighting to brighten your space without drowning out all your renovations.

    Take advantage of subtle lighting changes such as under the counter lighting. You can also upgrade the current fixtures to improve the overall lighting in your kitchen. Another simple change is adding green energy bulbs to lighten up the room and your monthly electric bill.

Our REALTORS® can answer your real estate questions whether you're buying or selling a home in Bradenton.  Contact Wagner Realty today to get started.


6 Spots for Ice Cream in Anna Maria

There's something to be said about the simple joy of a refreshing scoop of ice cream, and the Anna Maria area has plenty of great ice cream spots to satisfy your craving. Our real estate agents are experts in the area, and we make your housing goals our priority. So whether you're looking to buy one of many fabulous Anna Maria homes for sale or want to sell your current home, leave the work to us, and head on out to one or more of our six favorite places to indulge in a creamy treat.

  1. Holy Cow Ice Cream & Other Cool Stuff - 3234 E Bay Dr, Holmes Beach, Anna Maria Island, FL 34217-2044
    You may have trouble choosing from the three dozen tempting flavors at Holy Cow Ice Cream & Other Cool Stuff! Rum Raisin and Mocha Almond Fudge are just a couple of the delicious varieties you'll find on their ice cream menu. This colorful ice cream shop also has a great selection of milkshakes, specialty drinks, and frozen desserts, and kids of all ages will love Holy Cow's fish tank and its inhabitants.

  2. Two Scoops - 101 S Bay Blvd, Anna Maria, Florida 34216
    At Two Scoops, they say that every day is "Sundae," and one taste of their creamy confections will convince you. Fun flavors like Muddy Sneaker and Gator Tracks dot the menu alongside traditional favorites including strawberry and pistachio. Try one of their Signature Sundaes, such as the Waffle Wedge or Chocolate Decadence for extreme indulgence.

  3. Dips Ice Cream - 9801 Gulf Drive, Anna Maria, Florida  34216
    For a sweet, after dinner treat, head on over to Dips Ice Cream, and see what makes this ice cream shop a favorite with locals and visitors alike. In addition to outstanding scoops, Dips has a huge variety of candy that will satisfy virtually any sweet tooth. This small, family operated ice cream shop is sure to win a place on your list of favorite places to cool down with a refreshing bite.

  4. Joe's Eats and Sweets -  219 Gulf Dr. S, Bradenton Beach, FL 34217
    The fun at Joe's Eats and Sweets begins before you even go inside. Their colorful shop sets the mood for excitement, and the ice cream is out of this world! Escape from the heat, and find yourself lost in a smooth and delicious scoop or sundae. In the mood for something daring? Try one of their yummy new Freak Shakes or sample a local favorite, lavender honey swirl ice cream.

  5. Small Town Creamery - 5404 Marina Dr, Holmes Beach, FL 34217
    Kids and adults alike will love the fun flavors served up at Small Town Creamery. Join the fun by ordering a scoop of "C" is for Cookie or Bubble Gum ice cream, or if you want something a bit different, try the sophisticated flavors of the Purple Daze and Stellar Coffee varieties. Friendly service and an incredible selection of flavors make this ice cream shop a must visit.

  6. Anna Maria Island Creamery and Bakery - 9801 Gulf Dr. Anna Maria Island, FL 34216
    Rich Italian ice cream and irresistible pastries make Anna Maria Island Creamery and Bakery a decadent destination. Sourcing local ingredients, the staff makes fresh gelato right at the shop, and one taste will win you over. There are plenty of flavors to choose from and a topping station to add the finishing touch to your treat.

These local ice cream shops are just a part of what makes Anna Maria such a fun and beautiful place to live. For more area information or to get started with your house hunt, contact Wagner Realty today!

Contact Wagner Realty


How to Find the Right Agent to Sell Your Florida Home

Pick the Right Agent to Sell Your Home
Once you've decided to sell your home, the next step is to find the right real estate agent to help you get the job done efficiently and to your satisfaction. The trick to finding an agent that has your best interests is to do some research ahead of time and to be open and honest during your initial meeting with them. Our REALTORS® are always on top of the housing market and have built a strong reputation with clients who are buying or selling Florida real estate. Before you select your agent, prepare some questions to ask up front and know what characteristics you should be looking for during your first meeting. 

Experience Matters
Just as in any field, skill and knowledge are gained over time in the real estate industry. One of the first questions you might want to ask a prospective agent is about their experience. Aside from inquiring about the number of years an agent has working in the field and with their firm, it's important to ask about their recent performance. A good agent should be proud to share their track record with you when you ask about the number of sales during the past year and the percentage of listings that have sold.

Understand the Plan
Asking an agent to explain their specific plan to market your home is not only recommended, but it's also smart. It's much better to understand how your agent will work to get your home the best exposure and the most offers than to automatically assume their plan will work for you. Discuss their marketing strategies including online visibility, signage, and local advertisements. Inquire about how the lockbox will be handled, home showings, and an estimated time frame.

Negotiation and Communication
Get a feel for the agent's communication style while you're discussing the home selling process, but don't be afraid to ask them directly about their negotiation skills. After all, your agent will be the one acting on your behalf during this time period. You'll want to know that they have excellent negotiation tactics and that they're willing to put them to use for you. Communication is crucial in working with an agent, and it's best to understand how and when they'll be communicating with you about offers, updates, and changing market trends.

Dollars and Cents
Have the agent explain how their commission works during your initial meeting. You might think that an agent requiring less commission is a wise choice, but a well-paid, experienced agent has most likely earned a reputation for excellence. It's important to consider a combination of factors when selecting an agent.

Pitch Perfect
Finally, you might ask the agent why they believe they would be the best choice for selling your home. This question gives the agent an opportunity to pitch their qualifications to you, and you'll be able to see how effective their selling skills are right away.

Choosing the right agent to market your home is a huge decision that will affect the entire process, hopefully in a positive way. When you're ready to list your home for sale, contact our team at Wagner Realty to understand what it's like to work with the best in the business.  Our 200+ Associates are licensed REALTORS® and belong to the local, state and National Associations of REALTORS®.

Contact Wagner Realty


Benefits of Hiring a REALTOR Instead of Going It Alone

Hire a Realtor to Sell Your Home

Selling your home is a big undertaking, and although tackling the job yourself may initially seem like a good idea, many for-sale-by-owner (FSBO) listings fall short of ideal and at times wind up costing the seller money. Our REALTORS® in Sarasota are experts in the housing market, and we understand just how much work it takes to make a home sale successful. If you are considering selling your home, here are some of the benefits of hiring a real estate agent to sell your house.

  • Higher Exposure
    When you list your home as "For Sale By Owner," you'll likely get some bites with the exposure you gain via online advertising or through local media. What some sellers may forget to consider is that professional real estate agents have a vast network of marketing resources and are knowledgeable about what works best in each market. Choosing an expert to steer the selling process ensures you much higher visibility through professional online marketing and local advertisements.

  • More Accuracy in Pricing
    There's always the risk of asking too much or too little for your home, but that risk is much greater if you don't have the help of a real estate agent to advise you. Our REALTORS® stay on top of real estate trends and are available to make suggestions as you decide on your listing price using tools such as a comparative market analysis. We'll work towards pricing your home at just the right spot to garner the most interest from prospective buyers and, in turn, more serious offers to purchase.

  • Avoid the Paperwork Nightmare
    Selling a home involves a sizeable commitment of time and work, and one of the most frustrating aspects for FSBO seller is dealing with all the necessary paperwork. When you partner with a real estate agent, the paperwork is under control and in good hands, and you have the assurance that nothing is overlooked. A simple mistake on a disclosure or contract could wind up costing you profit or even the sale.

  • Insight Into Visual Appeal
    Do you know where to start when you need to make your home ready for an open house or private viewing? A real estate agent can make things much easier with advice on needed repairs and how best to present your home to potential buyers. Furthermore, when you work with a real estate professional, they take care of showing the house for you which is often preferred by the buyer. All you'll have to do is make sure everything is tidy, and let your real estate agent present your home in its best light.

Sarasota Real Estate Experts

Our Wagner Realty sales team is ready to make your home sale a success, and we're excited to speak with you. Save yourself time, frustration, and potentially money by allowing us to present your home to many potential buyers who are currently touring Sarasota homes for sale. Contact Wagner Realty when you're ready to list your home for sale.


Sarasota Arts and Culture: Discovering Florida's Cultural Coast

Sarasota Florida's Cultural Coast

Sarasota Mansions, Museums & More

Sarasota is about so much more than beautiful beaches and fantastic shopping and dining, although we can't brag enough about those attributes. Our city is a mosaic of cultural events and attractions that are begging to be explored. Known as the "Cultural Coast" of Florida, the Sarasota area adds an unheralded depth of sophistication and education with its various performing arts venues, museums and more. If you are drawn to the area and are thinking of purchasing one of several Sarasota homes for sale, be sure to spend some time acquainting yourself with our city's cultural flair.

John Ringling's Mansion

It would be difficult to find a more fascinating and breathtaking display of art and architecture than the collection at John Ringling's Mansion. One of the founders of the world-famous Ringling Bros Circus, John Ringling, and his wife had the Venetian Gothic style home built after his travels through Europe. Particularly enthralled by Venice, the Ringlings brought back not only art but inspiration for what would be their winter home and eventually a tribute to both their lifestyle and their circus legacy. The mansion, officially called Ca' d'Zan, is a whopping 36,000 square feet and houses several permanent art collections and special exhibitions. Visitors can also enjoy performances at the mansion's theater, a museum dedicated to the circus and family oriented events. The home and gardens are an attraction in themselves, showcasing the grandeur of Venetian style.


Aside from John Ringling's Mansion, you'll find several other museums in Sarasota that are definitely worth a visit. Just as its name implies, the Marietta Museum of Art and Whimsy puts the spotlight on the fun and whimsical with bright and inspiring pieces of art. The Sarasota Classic Car Museum is a must-see for lovers of vintage automobiles, and Crowley Museum and Nature Center is a great family attraction that nature enthusiasts and pioneering spirits will love. With a great collection of contemporary art on display, Art Center Sarasota focuses on showcasing area artists and educating the public through workshops and special events.

Performing Arts

If you love live music, Sarasota Orchestra won't disappoint. From their Masterworks and Pops series to special events that include the annual Sarasota Music Festival, the orchestra presents a variety of entertainment throughout the year. If you prefer live theater, Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe performs Broadway hits and much more in a display of fun and musical excitement. You'll also find a fantastic variety of music, comedy, dance and theatrical performances at Sarasota's Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall.

Botanical Gardens

Art extends to the great outdoors in Sarasota and its beautiful botanical displays. Visit the tranquil grounds of Marie Shelby Botanical Gardens where you can peacefully stroll through the grounds and marvel at over 20,000 plants carefully tended and arranged for our enjoyment. Sarasota Garden Club is open to the public and is home to thirteen individual gardens that you can leisurely explore.

Sarasota is an all around great place to live, and with so much to discover on the Cultural Coast, we think you'll be delighted time and again. For more information on the Sarasota area and to discuss your real estate needs, contact Wagner Realty today. Our REALTORS® in Sarasota are ready to welcome you home.

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Buying a House When You Have Kids

Buying a House When You Have Kids
Buying a home is often a time filled with both excitement and anxiety, and if you are a family with children, those feelings can be even more intense. With kids, your house hunting strategy will be different than that of a single person or a retired couple. Our REALTORS® in Sarasota understand the ins and outs of the housing market, and we've put together a checklist of things to consider as you prepare to find your family's dream home.

  • Get the Kids Involved 
    You might not bring your children to every home tour; however, making them part of the decision-making process can be an advantage. Children can provide a different perspective during a house hunt, and they may bring features of the house to your attention that you hadn't considered. Of course, you won't want to put the ultimate decision-making power in your kids' hands, but letting them experience the process and voice their opinions will make them feel included and allow them to learn a little as well.

  • Education and Your Family's Future
    Most families with kids who are shopping for a home make looking at the school district a priority, and for a good reason. Quality education is essential for all families, and you want your children to have access to schools with high marks. Besides checking online resources and visiting with schools in your desired neighborhood, consider speaking with other parents in the area as well to gain their feedback on area schools. Keep in mind that some communities with highly desirable schools also have higher home prices and property taxes, so you'll need to weigh the benefit and determine if you're planning on living in the home long term.

  • Perfect for Now, But How About Later?
    When you're looking at Sarasota homes, it's easy to picture how well its size and layout will work for your kids at their current age, but it's also key to factor in how it will suit your family's needs as your children grow. Bedrooms and bathrooms are particularly crucial as children transition into their teenage years and want more privacy and space of their own.

  • Yards and Beyond
    Outdoor space is many times considered a must for families with children. Not only do they want a place to play, but parents also want that place to be safe and comfortable. While touring potential homes, consider both the size and layout of the yard to see if it will be ideal for your family. Note whether the yard is fenced or can be quickly and if it borders a busy street or intersection. Many parents also want their children to have neighborhood buddies, so take some time to get a feel for how many other families with children of similar ages live nearby.

Wagner Realty wants nothing more than to see your family's dream of owning your own home come true. We provide personal, results-oriented service to you from our first meeting to closing day for your perfect home. For more information about Sarasota homes for sale, contact Wagner Realty today.

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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.

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What is the Difference Between Pre-qualification and Pre-approval

Buy a House - Real Estate Terms
One of the first steps our real estate agents recommend when you decide to start shopping for a home is to get pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage. While many people use these terms interchangeably, they are different and depending on your situation you might choose one over the other. Here's what you need to know.

What They Have in Common

Both pre-qualification and pre-approval refer to a statement in writing from a lender that they are willing to finance your home purchase. Either or both will happen before you start looking at homes. However, neither is a complete guarantee that you'll be approved and a lender can still turn you down for a mortgage up until you've actually received final approval.


Most people wait until they are actually ready to buy, but getting pre-qualified can happen early on in the home-buying process. It's a good idea to start here if you're not sure how your financial situation will impact the home buying process or if you think you may need to make improvements to your credit. Pre-qualification is a basic review based on your monthly income and debt. A pre-qualification means that based the lender's initial evaluation, you'll probably be eligible for a mortgage of a certain amount. This evaluation is based on the information you provide to the lender about your monthly finances. It doesn't consider your credit report or history, verify stable employment and other information, or scrutinize your financial situation. Often, you don't even have to meet with a lender in person. Pre-qualification can be helpful if you aren't sure how much or what kinds of mortgages might be available to you.


You can start with a pre-approval or get pre-qualified first, then move on to a pre-approval once you're completely ready to buy. Pre-approval requires you to actually start the mortgage application process. You may be charged a fee to cover pulling your credit report and the letter from your lender will state that you are pre-approved for a specific amount. Your lender's underwriting department will verify all your financial information such as your assets and salary, verify your employment and personal information, look at your bank statements and pay stubs, obtain your credit report and do a detailed review of your finances.

A pre-approval means you've gotten the financial details out of the way, all that is left is to find a suitable property. In a hot market, a pre-approval can give you an advantage, since it is the next best thing to paying cash. Since you've already started the application process, it shows you're a serious buyer and sellers know the chances of your financing falling through after this point are slim. Unless your financial situation changes significantly for the worse, or the appraisal comes in low, you're good!

A pre-qualification or pre-approval is an essential first step and both will give sellers the confidence that your offer is the one they'll want. Contact Wagner Realty and get started on your home buying journey today!

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How to Add Value and Personality to Your Bradenton Home for Sale

Bradenton Home - Add Value and Personality7 Tips for Giving Your Home the WOW Factor

When you put your home on the market, the value must be obvious. Your home must generate interest even for a potential buyer who's just driving by. As buyers make the rounds of Bradenton homes for sale, you need a "wow" factor that brings them to your front door. That's a tall order, but it's doable with the right fixes and upgrades.

Our real estate agents understand that upgrading your home is the key to attracting buyers. As many remodeling projects won't deliver a sound return on your investment, you must find other ways to add personality and value.  Use these seven tips for adding value and personality to your home for sale.

1.  Upgrade Your Bathroom

Home buyers love modern attractive bathrooms. Unfortunately, if you do a full remodel, you won't likely recoup your costs. You still have options for creating a fresh new look.

  • Paint - Lighten and brighten your bathroom with fresh paint and trim in pale grays or blues.
  • Fixtures - Upgrade your faucets and shower fixtures with modern replacements in metal colors from Venetian bronze to polished copper.
  • Hardware - Add new towel bars, hooks, and vanity knobs or handles in colors that compliment your fixtures.
  • Grout redo - Freshen your tile with a DIY grout redo. If your grout is dingy but in good condition, repaint it with an economical grout paint pen.

2.  Enhance Your Lighting

Trendy pendant lighting fixtures brighten dull corners, make rooms appear more spacious, and add personality. Pendant is the trendy name for drop or suspended lights that hang from the ceiling by a rod or chain. They've been around for a long time, but you can find modern, colorful versions that add value to any room.

  • Install a wide light over a work area.
  • Hang a track of pendant lights over a kitchen island or dining table.
  • Focus a wide beam above artwork, in a foyer, or in a corner.
  • Choose LED options to save energy.

3.  Freshen Up Your Paint

Fresh paint adds value to your home exterior and a colorfully painted door adds a personality wow. Newly painted walls enhance any room. Pale blues and grays are the new "neutral" colors for kitchens, living rooms, and baths. Avoid dark colors when the goal is to lighten and brighten.

4.  Enhance Your Landscape

A well-planned landscape adds personality that attracts homebuyers passing by. Keep your grass mowed and trimmed, of course. Add value with creative landscaping.

  • Design an attractive garden look with a bench among colorful flower beds, trees, greenery, and shrubs.
  • Bring your garden right up to your door with uniquely potted plants and hanging baskets.
  • Renew your landscape with fresh mulch or ground cover.

6.  Add Energy-Saving Upgrades

You can add value to your home and attract buyers with the lure of future energy savings. Solar panels can be costly but they deliver a return on your investment when you sell. A kitchen redo with Energy Star appliances adds value and personality. If these upgrades are too costly, try less expensive enticements.

  • Energy saving hot water heater. washer, dryer, furnace, or ac units
  • Solar landscape lighting
  • LED lighting

7.  Replace Your Garage Door

A new garage door adds personality and value to your home and it's a Remodel Magazine Cost/Value study Key Trend. At a $3,470 average cost, a garage door is a relatively low-budget remodel and it brings a higher return on investment than any other item on the Cost/Value list.

Wagner Realty Can Help

There's an art to adding personality and value to your home. Our real estate professionals can help. Contact Wagner Realty when you're buying or selling a home or for more information about the Florida communities we serve.

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What Makes Sarasota's Neighborhoods Great

Sarasota Florida Neighborhoods
When you're planning to make a move, you choose your neighborhood carefully. It makes sense to find a community that lives up to your highest expectations. If you're considering Sarasota homes for sale, you're headed in the right direction.

Our real estate agents could give you a long list of great reasons to make the move to Sarasota. Instead, we've decided to keep it simple by sharing 5 Things that Make Sarasota's Neighborhoods Great.

Living in Sarasota is Like Being on Vacation Every Day

Sarasota is a beautiful active city. It's no wonder vacationers visit in record-breaking numbers. With easy access to Sarasota Bay, Venice, Lido Key, Casey Key and other seaside vistas, you won't have to travel far for vacation-style fun every day.

Endless Entertainment Options

Entertainment variety is a key perk of living a Sarasota lifestyle. Here are just a few of the many entertaining experiences.

And for Kids...

Highly-rated Schools

The Sarasota school page on shows a long list of positive ratings. These reviews were parent-generated, but Florida Department of Education stats reveal the same positive trend. The FLDOE ratings show that many Sarasota schools consistently earn "A" ratings.

Low Crime

Many Sarasota neighborhoods are rated highly-safe. But as with any active city, crime varies from neighborhood to neighborhood. To get the specifics on your future home, you must do your own research. Websites like and AARP Livability Index can help. When you enter your city or zip code, these sites supply crime and other livability ratings for your chosen neighborhood.

Easy Commutes

In Sarasota, the average commute takes 21.9 minutes. That's largely due to the fact that I-75 and SR 19 cut right through Sarasota. If you prefer to avoid driving, SCAT buses run throughout the city. You can also register for a vanpool or carpool match-up on the FDOT Commuter Services page. As you'll find a number of white collar jobs in the city, your commute time could be minimal.

If you're thinking about moving to Sarasota, let us help. Contact Wagner Realty if you're buying or selling a home or if you simply want to know more about Sarasota living.

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5 Steps to Take Before a Home Renovation

Home Renovation Steps
This is often the time of the year to begin home renovation projects that have been on the back burner for quite a while. Home improvement projects can be satisfying and even fun when they are properly planned and well executed. Maybe you have a vision of what you'd like to change in your home but don't know quite where or how to begin. Before you jump in head first, there are several steps you should take to get your project off on the right foot.

  1. Picture the End Result
    Whether you want to remove a wall to add space to your family room or replace the cabinetry in your kitchen, the first step is to decide how you want your space to look, feel and function after the project is complete. During this pre-planning phase, you'll want to consider your physical space and how it will be affected and give some serious thought to colors and styles. Plenty of online resources are available for inspiration, and you might also want to browse home improvement and hardware stores get a more realistic sense of how your renovation will come together.

  2. Research Costs to Help You Budget
    You know what you want, and now it's time to determine how much the upgrade will cost you. If you enjoy DIY projects and have the necessary skills to do the renovation, you might save a substantial amount of money on labor. If you are planning on hiring a professional for all or part of the project, get more than one estimate to compare pricing and to help you decide which contractor is the best fit for you. Price check materials and labor costs, and ask for recommendations from friends and family who have completed renovations in their own homes.

  3. Set Goals While Adding Flexibility to Your Schedule
    Actually beginning a renovation is often the hardest step. It's important to plan out a schedule and make an effort to stick to it. You'll want to have frequent and open communications with your contractor if you plan on hiring someone to do the work. If you are tackling the project yourself, keep track of your progress, keeping in mind that all of your hard work will be well worth it. Of course, few projects are completed without some setbacks, so be prepared to make a few adjustments along the way.

  4. Plan for Living Around the Renovation
    If you are remodeling your master suite, you'll need to plan on using a different bedroom and bathroom during the renovation. Likewise, if you are doing a complete kitchen makeover, planning meals elsewhere is mandatory. Adjusting your life for the duration of the project will be inconvenient, but a little pre-planning can help you avoid some frustration.

  5. Prep the Area
    Before you begin your renovation, it's likely that you'll need to pack away most everything in the area. Keep in mind that there may be lots of dust, debris, and general clutter, and unstored items could be damaged. Don't forget to label any boxes used for storage to make reorganizing your belongings much easier after your project is complete.

Our real estate agents understand that your home is your sanctuary, and a renovation may be just what you need to make your home feel and look perfect to you. We're here for all your real estate needs and happy to assist you with questions and recommendations. Contact Wagner Realty today!

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Buying a Home vs. Renting: Which is Right for You?

Buying a Home v. Renting
Buying Your First Home. 3 Reasons Why It Could be Right for You.

If buying your first home has been on your mind lately, maybe it's time to escape the rental trap that so many people have fallen into and begin the search for an investment in your future. There are many advantages to being a homeowner, and it might be easier to purchase your perfect home than you think!

Invest in an Asset

Buying your own home is effectively ensuring that you have invested in your own future. Falling into the cycle of putting your hard earned money towards rent may keep a roof over your head, but the only one making a profit is your landlord or rental agency. A well-maintained home will retain and usually build value as time passes, so you are virtually saving for years to come when you make a mortgage payment. A home purchase is a solid way to enhance your long-term net worth and even build your credit. You can't recoup the money you've been spending for rent payments, but you can take the first step today in making a solid investment in your new home.

Do the Math

Many people don't realize that buying a home vs. renting might actually save them money. Rent prices have been on the rise and in many cases, may actually exceed what you would be paying for a monthly mortgage installment. You're likely footing the bill for the rental property insurance and maintenance in your rent payment. If you own your own home, you have the advantage of being able to shop around for the best prices and services for these extras.

More Control Over Your Environment

As a prospective buyer, you are able to research and ultimately decide on your surroundings. You might be tired of less than thoughtful neighbors surrounding you on all sides, and a nice quiet neighborhood could be just what you're seeking. Want to make improvements or updates to your living space? Often, that's not possible when you're renting. Even getting basic repairs performed sometimes proves to be a hassle if your landlord isn't ideal. Owning your own house gives you the freedom to make your home uniquely yours without the hassle of having to ask permission or haggle over upkeep with a landlord.

If you're ready to break free from the rental trap, contact Wagner Realty and let's discuss your goals as a future homeowner. Our real estate agents are known for their personal and dedicated service to their clients and are waiting to hear from you!


Will a Great Yard Sell Your Sarasota Home?

Sarasota Curb Appeal
Adding curb appeal increases the value of your home and makes it more appealing to house hunters. Landscaping projects can be a quick and fairly inexpensive way to make your homes stand out from the other homes for sale in Sarasota. Our REALTORS® know what it takes to sell homes in our community.  Here are a few ways to boost your curb appeal and give potential buyers a great first impression of your home from the minute they pull up to the curb. 

Paint a Picture of the Salt Life

Buyers are looking for a Sarasota home that embraces the delight of living in paradise. Paint a picture with a few flowering bushes in lovely stone planters. Power wash your driveway, stone paths, and lanai to make everything sparkle. Most home improvement stores rent power washers, making this an inexpensive improvement that magnifies the appeal of your home. If you have a pool, make certain that the water is crystal clear and brightly clean. These little things add up to make your home even more attractive.

Add a Hummingbird Garden

A hummingbird garden is a lovely asset to any home. It's small, colorful and requires minimal maintenance. Hummingbirds are tiny, so you don't have to worry about the car damage some larger birds cause. Hummingbird-friendly landscaping also attracts butterflies, so you get two benefits from a single weekend project. Look for plants with vibrant colors (especially red). Flowers that flourish in Sarasota include:

  • Red Bleeding Hearts
  • Calice Bush
  • Trumpet Honeysuckle

Each of these plants is low-maintenance. By planting several varieties, you can have butterflies and hummingbirds from May through August.

Consider a Lawn Upgrade

A beautiful yard provides a place for outside activities, prevents erosion, and releases sweet-smelling oxygen before a rainfall. A lawn with a dependable drainage system is extremely attractive to buyers. Low or easy maintenance is another benefit that home buyers are looking for in a new home. Before you make a major investment in upgrades, stop by one of our offices. Our real estate agents will be happy to share what types of lawns appeal to buyers in Southwest Florida. As a seller, you want to balance any investment you make with the benefits that it will provide.

Wagner Realty for Sarasota Real Estate Services

A few simple updates can make a major impact on the road-side appeal of your home. Look for ideas online or at one of our many nurseries in the area. One of the best resources for advice about lawn care and landscaping in Sarasota is free. The UF Agricultural Extension Department is available year-round with demonstrations and Q&A sessions at library branches in Sarasota and Manatee Counties. Contact Wagner Realty to start the process of selling your home.

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How to Interview an Agent Before Listing Your Home

Use These Questions to Find the Right Agent to List Your Home

Interview a Real Estate Agent

If you're ready to sell your home, you will need to find the right real estate agent to list it.  As a savvy homeowner, you should find an agent that not only has the credentials to sell your home but one that you're comfortable and confident working with.  Our real estate agents have been asked a lot of questions during their careers.  Here are some of the best questions to ask while interviewing a real estate agent:

  1. How long have you been in the business? 
    Experience counts. While new agents can be hungry and may bring energy and enthusiasm to the job, it's important that you know up front how much experience your agent has. Ask the question, and make sure you are comfortable with the answer.

  2. How many listings do you currently have?
    Agents who are successful get more listings, but unless they have a strong team, multiple listings could take time away from working for you. There's no perfect answer, but you want an agent with enough time to focus on selling your home.

  3. How do you come up with a listing price?
    The best agents will have a process they can easily share that will likely include analyzing recent sales of homes in your neighborhood and the current comparable listings on the market. The best agents also will need to see your home to know how to adjust for condition and special features.

  4. Will I be working directly with you?
    There's certainly nothing wrong with working with a listing agent who has built a strong team, but you need to know up front if you will be working directly with the agent or his/her associates.

  5. Have you sold any homes in this neighborhood?
    Location counts when you are selling your home, and if the agent you select is familiar with your neighborhood and has sold homes there before, he or she may already know buyers who are looking to purchase in your area.

  6. Can I get a detailed marketing plan and what will it entail?
    Selling a home requires marketing, and you deserve to have a real estate agent who will provide a comprehensive marketing program. A good marketing strategy will include professional photos and website presence, a brochure or flyer, advertising in local newspapers and magazines, and direct marketing that may include postcards or social media.

  7. Can you offer suggestions for updates or staging to help sell my home?
    You want an agent who is honest and open with you; someone who can be objective about your home. The way your agent answers this question will tell you a lot about how well you will work together.

  8. How much is it going to cost me to sell my home?
    In addition to paying commissions for two agents (yours and the buyer's), you will have additional closing costs, as well as real estate taxes and other fees. Make sure the agent you choose can detail these costs for you.

  9. How long will take to sell this home?
    No one has a crystal ball, but a good agent will be able to tell you what the average time on the market for homes like yours has been in recent months.

  10. Can you provide me with references?
    Get a list of references and call a few. There is no better source of information about the quality of a real estate agent than clients who have worked with him or her before.

Now that you know what questions to ask, contact Wagner Realty. We have the best agents in the area, and you are certain to find someone that is just right for you.

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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!

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The Story Behind Sarasota's Unconditional Surrender Statue

Sarasota Local Attraction Unconditional Surrender

Our REALTORS® are always thrilled when new residents come to Sarasota to look for a home and ask about interesting things to see and do. Inevitably, we direct them to a popular destination with public art that comes with quite a storied past. 

Sarasota's "Unconditional Surrender"

One of the most photographed statues in Florida, if not America, is a 26-foot tall statue that calls Sarasota home. It commemorates the famous photo that appeared in LIFE magazine of a young U.S. sailor dipping and kissing a nurse in Times Square on the day World War II ended. The statue, Unconditional Surrender, is part of a series of statues created by American artist Seward Johnson and can today be found in Sarasota's Bayfront Park.  This statue pays homage to the "Greatest Generation" and the joyful celebrations at the end of the war, but its placement in the park has a rather interesting history.

Statute Calls Sarasota Home Three Times

Sarasota's Bayfront Park has had the "kissing sailor" statue come and go on three separate occasions. Its story alone makes it worth a visit when you are ready to take a break from seeing Sarasota homes for sale.

In 2005, the statue made its first appearance when a heavy duty styrofoam version was placed in the park on a temporary basis. It was initially met with mixed reviews from locals who either loved it or hated it. After a couple of years, a foundation established by the artist decided to relocate the statue, so it was loaded onto a flatbed trailer and trucked across the country to San Diego. Then in 2009, thanks to the efforts of a local WWII veteran and art patron, a new, painted aluminum version of the statue was purchased and delivered back to Bayfront Park.

Unfortunately, it was placed just a little too close to the busy intersection, and just three years later, a woman driving a Mercedes jumped the curb and hit it, knocking a big hole in the sailor's foot and causing more than $125,000 in damage. So, once again, the statue was loaded on a flatbed, and this time it was trucked to New Jersey where it endured six months of painstaking repairs.

After the statue was repaired, it was returned to Sarasota in December 2012, once again placed in Bayfront Park, but this time, city leaders had it installed further from the road near the shoreline where it currently remains.

Today the statue is one of the most popular stops for tourists who visit Sarasota, and most residents have grown fond of it too. On any given day you can see couples recreating the famous "kissing sailor" pose for their own selfies and photographs.

Wagner Realty to Make Sarasota Your Home

So when you're looking for a new home in Sarasota, be sure to contact Wagner Realty, and before, during or after visiting homes with one of our agents, make a trip to Bayfront Park to see the famous "kissing sailor" statue. With a story like this, we're fairly certain it will become one of your favorite places to bring your friends and family when they come to visit you in your new Sarasota home.

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Right on the Money | Getting Your Finances in Order to Buy a Home

Getting Your Finances in Order to Buy a Home

Get Right on the Money to Buy a Home
Preparing to purchase your first home starts long before you choose a REALTOR® or fill out a loan application form. You've probably started the process without even knowing it by graduating from school, accepting your first job, and financing a car.

There's something you should know before we get started: lenders typically base their loan approval on two things:  

  1. a buyer's ability to make an acceptable down payment and
  2. the buyer's credit profile.  A good credit profile shows the person's ability to make timely, ongoing monthly payment.

Before you begin the loan application process, it's important to get your finances in order to buy your first home.

Save for a Down Payment

Saving for a down payment is hard, but it is worth the effort. A more substantial down payment will give you better interest rates and more options. The amount of your down payment increases or decreases the risk the lender takes when providing the financing for your house. The larger the down payment, the less chance of losing part of their investment.A good rule of thumb is to save at least 20 percent of the purchase price of a home.  By doing this, you'll receive better mortgage and interest rate options--and avoid the extra cost of private mortgage insurance (PMI).  

Following a monthly budget will allow you to save enough money for your down payment. Designate a savings account fund earmarked for your down payment.  Once you buy your home that same money-saving discipline will help you save enough money to make your monthly mortgage payments.

Your Credit Score

Lenders use your credit score to determine how likely you are to pay your bills in a timely manner.  Typically, the higher your credit score, the better interest rate you may be able to obtain.  A person's credit score is based on information about your credit history taking into consideration factors like the amount and type of debt and late payments.  

You can order your credit report from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. They will all be slightly different, so look at each report. You can order free copies once a year from Look for any inaccuracies and report them to the credit reporting agency. Fixing mistakes takes time, so start this process as early as you can.

Getting your finances in order prepares you to impress mortgage loan reviewers and qualify for the financing you need to buy your first home.  Contact Wagner Realty to get your home search started.

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Spend Sunday Evenings in Siesta Key at the Drum Circle

Siesta Key Drum Cirlce

One of the perks of living near Siesta Beach in Sarasota (apart from enjoying the beach itself) is the weekly drum circle held every Sunday. Here, you will be treated to a beautiful sunset while listening and dancing to drummers in a festive-like atmosphere. Our REALTORS® in Sarasota have all the details of this exciting local phenomenon as well as all other to-do things in the area. 

The Siesta Key Drum Circle starts one hour before the sun sets every Sunday and continues into the night. The popular tradition attracts large crowds of onlookers and participants for dancing and drumming on Siesta Beach. Drum circle regulars sporadically perform with fire, swords, or even hula hoops. They are also dressed in beautiful colors and offer flowers to onlookers.

Where Does the Siesta Key Drum Circle Occur?

The free fun event is held every Sunday evening at Siesta Beach. It takes place south of the beach's pavilion between the third and fourth lifeguard stands. Since it is a huge event that attracts a large crowd, you cannot miss it once you get to the beach.

You are advised to arrive early to get a parking space and also sit near the front of the circle for a great view. You should also bring your beach chairs or blankets. Several hundred people typically attend the drum circle. Depending on what you came for, you will find an engaging show and a mellow atmosphere.

The Siesta Key Drum Circle is not a commercial event but a local phenomenon that started spontaneously, grew from demand and active participation, and now enjoys a life of its own. It is one of the main reasons why Siesta Key homes are in high demand.

History of the Siesta Key Drum Circle

The weekly ritual started in 1996 during the autumn equinox. It evolved from a potlatch ceremony of a Ringling School of the Arts' creativity workshop. The event continued for several years with the support and participation of members of the local churches as well as the Native Descended Nation, which explains its spiritual aspect.

In the beginning, the drumming circle was located at Beach Access 8 and was only supposed to be held during the full moon. However, people liked it so much that it became a weekly affair. When the event moved to the Siesta Public Beach, it seized to be a sacred atmosphere and became a carnival. It also got a change of diversity and pace.

Today, the drum circle has raised whole generations of kids who now bring their children to the family event. The Sunday night tradition is now the number one free event in Sarasota and is listed in most magazines. It is a must-see attraction for your family that has evolved into a local culture passed down generations.

Imagine both finishing your week and starting the next in a fun drum circle carnival that allows you to let loose and dance your stress away. You will find the circle both a spiritual and social event. It generates positive energy and gives people the space they need. Moreover, it is an ideal way to spend quality time with your family because it offers a unique experience, but once the sun sets and it gets dark, you will find the crowd becomes less inhibited.

If you are looking at Siesta Key homes or are interested in moving into the area, contact Wagner Realty today to find your perfect home. Wagner Realty has served Sarasota County since 1939 helping people find their ideal home.

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Baby Boomers are Landing in Sarasota

Baby Boomers Sarasota

It happens every year as sure as the change of the seasons: Folks from the North and even into Canada travel south to find a warm, mild climate to spend the winter. The name given to those who happily engage in this annual practice: Snowbirds.

Snowbirds are typically established professionals or retired people who want to enjoy a change of scenery and a slower pace for winter. There'll be no worries about keeping the furnace hot or digging the car out of the snow when you decide to bask in beautiful Sarasota.

Just how welcoming is Sarasota? Its winter temperatures run from about 51 degrees at night to 70 or so during the day. Air conditioning is ubiquitous throughout Florida, so virtually any place you plan to spend your time will also be equipped with central heating.

It should come as no surprise some people decide to finally settle down here. In recent years, Baby Boomers have flocked to Florida like never before!

Sarasota Has the Most to Offer in Senior Living

When it comes to easy living, Florida's retirement scene is almost as well-known as its beaches. Florida has been a retirement destination for decades and has developed amazing amenities to match.

It offers world-class cuisine, golfing, water sports, and more. Some of the nation's leading hospitals are also found here, making it easy for elders to access the care they can count on. When family comes in to visit, there are outstanding airports to choose from--and even rail travel.

Florida is far and away the best when it comes to communities focused on senior living. Due to a convenient location, climate, weather, and gorgeous surroundings, Sarasota has attracted an enviable share of developments with the snowbird and retirement lifestyle in mind.

Some include:

  1. Esplanade at Lakewood Ranch, 12825 Malachite Drive, Sarasota
    A gated enclave featuring 1250 single family homes and detached villas, Esplanade at Lakewood Ranch is beloved for resort-style accommodations. From the 18-hole championship golf course to the Amenity Center packed with activities and gathering places, its features are second to none.

  2. VillageWalk of Sarasota, 8109 Camminare Drive, Sarasota
    VillageWalk has an array of more than 1,700 residences over 516 lush acres. Residents can choose luxury single family homes, patio homes, and townhomes with maintained lawns. Bridges and lakes liven up many miles of walking paths and lead to the tennis courts and pool of the Town Center.

  3. The Isles on Palmer Ranch, 5901 Benevento Drive, Sarasota
    This lakefront master-planned community is integrated into a wondrous landscape of lakes and nature preserves. Tennis, bocce ball, basketball, a pool, and more are available. It is maintained by a full on-site staff including an activities director who works to provide fun, friendly events.

  4. Cascades at Sarasota, 4450 Royal Cascades Way, Sarasota, FL
    A secured and gated community north of University Parkway, the Cascades at Sarasota helps residents stay active and feel their best. It boasts a complete spa and exercise facility, tennis courts, and pool, as well as nine ball courts. Activities and classes are scheduled on a regular basis, too.

  5. LakeRidge Falls, 4200 Lakeridge Blvd, Sarasota, FL
    This active adult community offers a wide range of social gatherings including an art league and all-day getaways to the famous Immokalee Casino. There's always something being added or renovated, so the fun never stops. The 399 homes sit on 170 acres with no less than 16 lakes – ducks included.

To discover Sarasota homes for sale, contact Wagner Realty. Our REALTORS® look forward to helping you find your Florida home.

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Selling Your Home? Don't Be Surprised by Closing Costs

Sell Home Closing Costs
Selling your home can be a profitable venture, particularly if you invested a large down payment, have built up equity, updated the home as needed, and have benefited from rising market values here in Florida. But it isn't as simple as getting a check from the buyer, paying off what you owe and pocketing the rest. There are costs associated with selling, and it's important to familiarize yourself with them so that there are no surprises at the closing table. 

Most of a seller's closing costs are based on the sales price of the home, and some costs may vary depending on where you live. Our REALTORS® can help you estimate costs based on an expected sales price. Doing those calculations at the start of your sales process will help you evaluate offers with complete information. Here's a list of typical closing costs for sellers:

  • Your Mortgage
    Typically the biggest expense at closing is paying off your mortgage. Call your mortgage company and ask for a pay-off balance. Your monthly statements likely include the current loan balance, but the amount you actually pay will vary slightly since interest accrues daily. You'll also need to pay off any second mortgages or home equity loans at the time of the sale.

  • Real Estate Commissions
    The agent who listed and tirelessly marketed your home, made beautiful flyers and web listings, set appointments, held open houses, managed negotiations and all of the paperwork to get you to the closing table gets paid by you at closing. The standard commission nationwide is 6 percent, which is shared with the buyer's agent. On a $300,000 home, that's $18,000. The commission is deducted from the seller's proceeds.

  • Transfer Tax
    The seller typically pays the cost of transferring the title to the new owner's name. The cost for this in Florida is $77 per $1,000, so with our $300,000 home example, you would pay roughly $2,300 for this line item.

  • Title Insurance
    Title insurance protects the buyer from any unforeseen problems, like unpaid contractor's liens or problems with prior document filings. In Florida, the cost on our $300,000 example would be $5 per $1,000 or $1,500. Some Florida counties make this the buyer's responsibility, so you'll want to ask your agent to help clarify this based on where the home you are selling is located.

  • Other Costs
    Since property taxes are typically due at the end of the year, you'll need to pay your pro-rated property taxes from January 1 to the closing date. This amount goes to the buyer as a credit at closing, reducing what they pay, however they will be responsible for the entire year's property taxes when they come due. The same goes for any Home Owner's Association fees that are paid in arrears. Note that if you pay into escrow for your property taxes and your mortgage company takes responsibility for them, you will receive a refund for the taxes from your mortgage company about 30 days after you pay off your loan.

  • Agreed Upon Improvements or Credits
    If during the contract negotiations you agreed to purchase a home warranty for the buyer, offered to pay a portion of their closing costs, or agreed to a carpet allowance or other credit, this payment will also occur at closing.

Now that you have a clearer picture of what expenses you can expect to pay to sell your home, it's time to hire a great agent and get started. Contact Wagner Realty, one of the most respected real estate companies in Manatee and Sarasota Counties, to get an expert agent working for you.

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Buying Your First Home May Not Be Out of Reach

Home Loan Options
These days, it seems like there are more barriers than ever between first-time home buyers and their dream homes. One of the most challenging is coming up with a down payment. Conventional wisdom suggests that home ownership might be out of reach for someone who can't put up a down payment on a home – but that might not be the case. 

We asked our REALTORS® to share some tips on how to buy a home with no money down. As it turns out, there are several options that could help you become a homeowner without having to come up with a down payment.

Avoiding Down Payment Woes

A recent survey by shows that 69% of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings. Considering that the standard 20% down payment on a $200,000 home is $40,000, it's not hard to see the problem. Even a federally-insured FHA loan requires a down payment of 3.5% (or $7,000 on a $200,000 home). The fact that home prices appear to be on the rise again certainly doesn't help.

No Money Down Loans

To buy a home via the traditional route requires a traditional mortgage, and most mortgage lenders would never dream of offering a loan to a buyer who has not saved up enough for a down payment. That being said, these are the non-traditional options:

  • USDA Loans: U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Housing loans are available with down payments as low as 0% in many areas. These loans essentially exist to help fill underpopulated parts of the country and are particularly helpful for low-income families looking to buy homes in rural areas, though they are available in many areas that are surprisingly close to major cities. Check the USDA Eligibility page to see if you qualify.

  • VA Loans: Dating back to the GI Bill of 1944, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' loan program offers zero down payment home loans that many veterans and military families may qualify for.

  • Credit Unions: Many credit unions (nonprofit banking cooperatives) offer mortgages to their members requiring low or no down payments. To qualify, you typically need a very good credit score and an income less than 80% of the median in your area, but it's an option worth looking into.

  • Navy Federal Loans: The Navy Federal Credit Union offers qualified members 100% financing. Eligibility is restricted to members of the military and their family members, along with certain civilian employees of the military and U.S. Department of Defense.

Weighing Your Options

Not everyone will qualify for a zero down payment mortgage, but you might be surprised by how many people actually do qualify. It might be just the edge you need to put home ownership within reach.

Of course, it's also good to keep in mind that putting no money down on a home isn't the best option for everyone. If you can make a down payment then you should, if only to have some equity in your home and avoid paying extra for private mortgage insurance. And of course, the more you are able to pay upfront, the less you will have to pay in interest in the long run.

Contact Wagner Realty to learn more about how you can buy a home with no money down. We are committed to helping you find your dream home in the Sarasota/Bradenton area, and are ready to explore all options to make that dream a reality!

Contact Wagner Realty


Most Romantic Spots to Pop the Question on Florida's Gulf Cost

Five Engaging Locations to Pop the Question

It's February and love is in the air. If it's inspired you to propose to the one you love, why not make it a romantic event? You don't need a trendy live band or flash mob dancers to make your proposal special. You simply need the right romantic spot.  When you're touring Sarasota homes for sale, you'll find plenty of romantic places to make your proposal an occasion to remember.

Our REALTORS® live and work in the Sarasota/Bradenton area. We're certain that among the area's white sand beaches, natural landscapes, and fabulous dining venues you'll find the ideal place to pop the big question. To help you plan your romantic adventure, we've prepared our list of Five Engaging Locations to Pop the Question in Florida.

1.  Ophelia's on the Bay - 9015 Midnight Pass Rd, Siesta Key

If you live in one of our nearby Siesta Key homes, you already know that Ophelia's on the Bay sets the scene for big romantic nights. You and that someone special can dine on the open-air patio. If you prefer an indoor table, both dining rooms have a wall of windows that deliver a perfect view of Little Sarasota Bay.

An ever-changing menu features fresh seafood and classic cuisine prepared with Florida grown fruits and vegetables. You can begin your meal with wine from Ophelia's extensive selection and toast your engagement with a glass of fine champagne.

2.  Picnic on the Bay at the Ca' d'Zan at The Ringling, 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota

You can create your own love-inspired event in the shadow of the Ca' d'Zan at the Ringling. This Venetian Gothic-styled mansion is the opulent home of circus millionaires, John and Mable Ringling. You may stroll the beautiful bayfront grounds, tour the oldest rose garden in Florida, and share a romantic picnic with a light meal from the Muse restaurant. 

3.  Waterfront Restaurant, 111 South Bay Blvd., Anna Maria Island

The Waterfront Restaurant is a local favorite that's easily accessible from Anna Maria Island homes. Together, you can enjoy delicious, fresh cuisine, a laid-back atmosphere, and natural island charm.

Of course, your love will say "yes." And once the proposal is on the record, you can toast your engagement with a sip of wine, a specialty drink, or a craft beer. If you prefer to make your proposal on the beach, you'll find white-sand and gulf waters just beyond the door. 

4.  The Ringling, Sarasota, 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota

The Ringling experience gives you a complete art and cultural immersion. It's bound to make your true love say "yes." You'll be blown away by the Museum of Art, Circus Museum, and other fabulous attractions on the estate. You can attend a live performance at the Historic Asolo Theater or pop the question at Blossoms & Brunch in Mable's rose garden.

5.  Kathleen D Sailing Catamarans, Longboat Key

Residents of Longboat Key homes will happily explain that a big engagement reveal doesn't have to be in a restaurant. It doesn't have to be on land at all. When you book a Sunset Cruise with Kathleen D. Sailing, you can share your romantic proposal at sea then sail off into the sunset... literally. For a slightly different slant to the evening cruise, you can schedule a Full Moon Sail.

Your Real Estate Professionals

Whether you live in Sarasota, Bradenton or one of our other nearby communities, this is the perfect place for living, playing, and falling in love. Contact us at Wagner Realty when you're considering making this your permanent home after you say "I do."


Easy Landscaping Tips to Increase the Value of Your Florida Home

Easy Landscaping Florida Home
Landscaping can be an easy and fairly inexpensive way to increase the value of your home and add some much-needed curb appeal. When our REALTORS® are showing you Sarasota homes for sale, you'll certainly notice landscaping features you simply adore. Landscaping is often one of the first things you notice about a property, so keeping yours in top shape can really pay off.

  • Add or update some basic features. After a while, just about anything can look a little outdated. Clothes, décor and yes, even landscaping. Don't be afraid to change things up a bit. Change the type or color of stone on a walkway. Swap out the plants in outdoor planters or pots for something a different shape, size or color. Add flowering shrubs or a tree. Add a fresh layer of mulch. Is your landscape missing some of these basic features? Feel free to add them to give your yard an updated look. If you're starting from scratch, you may want to invest in some mature plants to make the landscape look more established. Make sure any updates match the style of the home for a more cohesive look.

  • Pay attention to design. The best landscape design will make your yard look interesting no matter what time of year. Go for a variety of plants, colors, and textures but not so much that things look chaotic or haphazardly thrown together. Using native plants is always an excellent idea. They are adapted to local conditions so they cost less to maintain, which means they'll thrive with little effort. A few well-placed trees can be a very desirable feature. They offer shade for lounging and according to the U.S. Department of Energy, they can even make your home more energy efficient. They're an eco-friendly feature, which is important to some buyers.

  • Clean it up. Hardscape features such as decorative or retaining walls, walkways, decks, and patios should be repaired if necessary and power washed. Get rid of algae, leaves, and debris in water features and change the filters. Prune any shrubs or trees that need it.

  • Lawn care is essential. A plush, green lawn looks inviting. The good news is that lawn care is fairly simple and budget friendly. Mow, fertilize, rake, aerate, and weed. Keeping the lawn edged makes everything look nice and neat. In addition to making your property look amazing, a well-kept lawn gives your home an easy to maintain vibe, a plus with potential buyers.

  • Add a deck or patio. Decks and patios are among the most popular features potential homeowners look for. They're inviting, relaxing and great for entertaining. If your house doesn't have one, consider adding it. The project cost can often be recouped entirely when it's time to sell. ­

There are plenty of beautifully landscaped and well maintained Sarasota and Bradenton homes for sale. Contact Wagner Realty today to find your new dream home.

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Secrets from the Pros for Finding the Right Neighborhood

Secrets for Finding the Right Neighbhorhood
You may be looking for your dream house, but have you given any thought to your dream neighborhood? The location of your home is at least as important as those four walls and a roof -- perhaps more so. The right neighborhood can offer not only amenities that are important to you, but an investment that will pay off in years to come. 

It's easy to browse Sarasota homes for sale, but harder to shop for a neighborhood directly. Without MLS listings for neighborhoods, how should you determine where to look for your dream home? Here are a few tips to get you started.

Identify Your Priorities

Before you even start shopping for a home, you should have a good idea OF what you want in a neighborhood. Sit down and make a list, ranking them in order of priority. If there is something you can't live without, such as good schools for the kids or walking distance to work, school, shopping, or public transit, put that at the very top of the list and mark it off from the rest.

Some of the factors you might consider in your search for a neighborhood are:

  • Schools
  • Urban vs. suburban
  • Accessibility
  • Ease of commuting
  • Security and safety
  • Amenities such as shopping, restaurants, parks, and more

Balance Price and Investment with Quality of Life

Financially speaking, the best investments are where you buy in during the beginnings of a period of growth, when a neighborhood is just starting to improve itself and grow in popularity, so that your home's value will accrue quickly. Look for areas that are adjacent to popular neighborhoods that have already gone through that period of growth and improvement. As rising values price out young, new buyers, they'll look to recreate the same experience nearby.

This being said, there's still a balance to achieve between a good investment and quality of life. Look for neighborhoods that offer the opportunity for rising values, but also those qualities you ranked as most important. This might mean that the best investments don't make the most sense for you and your family, but that's okay!

Start Your Research Online

The Internet is good for more than just browsing Bradenton homes for sale at 1am. As you browse, make a list of the neighborhoods you see in the listings, and then use Google, municipal websites, and a variety of other online tools to:

  • Read reviews of local schools online
  • Check crime statistics
  • Locate and read reviews for grocery stores, gas stations, coffee shops, etc.
  • Track traffic during peak times in Google Maps
  • Look for community information, such as local organizations, rec center and library event schedules, etc.

Visit the Neighborhood

If your preliminary research online checks out, it's time to go to the neighborhood and check things out.

  • Visit the neighborhood during various times of the day and on different days of the week. What's it like during the day? How does it change in the evenings and on weekends?
  • What is the foot traffic like through the neighborhood?
  • How do the homes look? Are the houses and yards well-maintained?
  • Is the school well-maintained? How do the facilities look?
  • Are there bars on the windows? Graffiti or other signs of mischief?

Ask Your Agent

Don't forget about one of the most important resources at your disposal: your real estate agent. Our REALTORS® are knowledgeable about the neighborhoods they cover and can help you more easily navigate the process of finding the right neighborhood for you and your family. Contact Wagner Realty today to consult with one of our experienced agents about your search.

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Checklist to Sell Your Florida Home for the Most Money

Sell Your Florida Home
No matter where your house is located or when you choose to sell it, there will always be competition from other sellers in your area. The good news is there's plenty you can do to make your home stand out if you're willing to invest some time and a bit of elbow grease. Our REALTORS® know what it takes to sell a home, and we've put together a checklist to help you maximize the value you get for selling your Florida home. 

Tips for Maximizing the Value of Your Florida Home

Whether you're looking to maximize your return on investment, sell your home as quickly as possible, or both, it all starts with having a plan. Your real estate agent should be a huge help throughout the process, which leads us to the first point on our checklist:

  1. Find the Right Real Estate Agent
    A knowledgeable, attentive real estate agent will be one of your biggest assets when selling a house, so take the time to find an agent who understands your market and needs. The right agent will have deep knowledge of your local real estate market, a willingness to answer your questions, and an understanding of the modern marketing methods that will help get your home sold.

  2. Pick the Right Price
    Choosing the right price is one of the first things that your real estate agent can help with, and it's a crucial step in finding the right buyer for your home. A market analysis from your real estate agent is a great place to start, and you can also scout local homes for sale to get an idea your competition. Going a bit lower than the competition may help with a quick sale while aiming higher can work if you're willing to wait for the right buyer.

  3. Clean and Clutter-Free
    Once you've got the initial details out of the way, it will be time to show off your home to the world. Make sure that the interior of your home is clean top to bottom, and that you clear out the unnecessary clutter so that buyers can imagine their life in your home. Buyers love to look for the little details, so make sure to clean everywhere.

  4. Consider Curb Appeal
    You want buyers to be impressed from the moment they see your home from the street, so make sure to spend time concentrating on curb appeal. Keep your yard clean, your lawn cut, and your landscaping looking its best. A fresh coat of paint is also a great idea if the area around your front door could use some touching up.

  5. Make Meaningful Fixes
    Most buyers will consider minor maintenance issues as a sign that something more serious could be wrong with the home, so it's important to make any necessary fixes before you start showing your home. A walk-through with your real estate agent is a great way to spot any issues.

  6. Make Your Marketing Count
    Online marketing is an excellent way to attract potential buyers, so make sure that your real estate agent has a plan for marketing your home. Professional photography goes a long way toward making your home look great online, and a listing on your agent's MLS helps ensure that interested buyers will have an easy time finding your home.

Finding the right real estate agent is one of the most important things you can do when selling a house, and our team would love to help you get the results you seek. Contact Wagner Realty to buy and sell homes throughout the Sarasota area.

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5 Tips for Sarasota Newlyweds Buying Their First Home

Newlyweds Buy First Home
Finding the right first home is much like finding the right life partner. Will it be love at first sight or a determined search? Are you looking for a fixer-upper to call your forever home--to have and to hold, to shape and to mold? It's a serious endeavor often fraught with pitfalls. First, you'll need a map and a good compass. Yes! A map of Sarasota homes for sale and a seasoned guide from our REALTORS® to point you in the right direction with these five tips for buying your first home.

1.  Love Nest Wish List

Your love nest wish list is a compilation, using pen and paper, of all the things you are looking for in your first home. This is important. Don't wing it. Certainly, compiling a list of "things" is a rather broad task. Shorten it. Define what "things" means to you and your spouse. However, for the sake of buying your first home in Sarasota, the term "things" refers to quality, not quantity--what you need now with room to grow.

  • Floor plan: Write down all the rooms you need and want (e.g. bedrooms, baths, kitchen size, family room, home office and bonus rooms).
  • Square footage: How much square footage does your floor plan require?
  • Landscape: Do you want to take advantage of Sarasota's year-round beautiful weather in an outdoor kitchen and pool?
  • Location: Are school districts important to you?

2.  Budget For Today, Tomorrow and # Years

Don't fudge the math or misplace a decimal point--it's number-crunching time. Yippee! Don't fret. You have a good plan in place, and you know where you're going. You have dreams. Absolutely! You also have a budget to map out for today, tomorrow and # years in order to make your dreams a reality.

  • Credit report: Are you applying for a joint mortgage loan? What is your budget if only one spouse is carrying the note?
  • Today: What is your price range today with a mortgage payment at 25% to 30% of your gross income?
  • Tomorrow: If you choose to sell down the road, will it be desirable to potential buyers regarding local property values?
  • Forever: Are you planning a family? Will you build out, convert unfinished attic space or undertake a different remodeling project?

3.  Pre-Approved Mortgage

Not that long ago, you simply found the home you wanted, submitted an offer and went to the bank for financing. It is now customary to secure a pre-approved mortgage before a seller or agent will show you a home. However, you are not bound by the letter. Once you find the perfect home in Sarasota, shop different financial institutions for the best interest rate available to you.

4.  Home Inspections

The last thing you want is to move into a beautiful first home only to discover problems with essential systems. Are there signs of roof leaks, uneven room temperatures, plumbing issues and/or electrical problems?

Don't be shocked after the fact if you come across system problems regardless of a home's age. Moreover, make sure a home inspection includes the age of HVAC systems and the roof--two major expenses should they need replacing.

5.  Hiring A Real Estate Agent

As newlywed first-time home buyers, work with a real estate agent familiar with the communities that interest you. Our REALTORS® know the subtleties of Sarasota markets and will craft a realistic offer on your dream home substantiated with comparable statistics. We do the footwork and guide you through the entire home-buying process.

From your love nest wish list to closing, speak to a real estate agent with extensive experience in Sarasota homes for sale by contacting Wagner Realty.

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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 for a directory of Sarasota dentists

9. Enroll your kids in school

10. Change your address
Complete a 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


5 Spots in Sarasota to Ring in the New Year

Sarasota New Years Eve Spots2018 is almost here, and our REALTORS® in Sarasota know just how to celebrate. If you're still free on New Year's Eve, it's time to make plans for an unforgettable evening. 

Here are five of our favorite ways to ring in 2018 right here in Sarasota: 

  1. NYE Party at the Municipal Auditorium
    One of the biggest and most popular parties in Sarasota, this all-inclusive bash benefits charity and features top-shelf liquor, bottomless champagne, live music, appetizers, valet parking, and other VIP perks. We're actually sponsoring this year's event, which will fill out the historic Sarasota Municipal Auditorium. Get your tickets now to take advantage of early prices for the "Best NYE Party in SRQ".

  2. Pineapple Drop & Fair on Main Street
    Downtown Sarasota gets tropical every year for a unique NYE tradition: the Pineapple Drop. But before you look up at midnight to watch the illuminated fruit on Lemon and Main, you can spend all day with the family at a big outdoor New Year's Eve Party. Carnival rides, games, three stages of live entertainment, dozens of local food and drink vendors, and more will fill Main Street from 2 pm onward. Grab the kids for an all-day celebration, or come after dark to drink and dance the night away with your favorite adults.

  3. Fireworks Show at Marina Jack
    This year, Marina Jack and the City of Sarasota will work together to produce a midnight fireworks show over the marina and bay. Grab a seat at one of two four-course dinners at the restaurant (which overlooks the water), or spend midnight on the water itself, with a four-hour dinner cruise that boards at 8 pm. The celebratory cruise will include a delicious buffet, champagne toast, and live music. No matter how you spend the evening, the fireworks show is sure to dazzle.

  4. Speakeasy at the Powel Crosley Estate
    Want to ring in 2018 like it's still 1928? Come to the famous Powel Crosley Estate for a New Year's Gala and After Party that will be roaring all night long – or at least until 1 AM. The waterfront mansion will transform into a speakeasy-style party venue, complete with card games, live jazz, dancing under the stars, and a classic and delicious meal straight out of an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel. Get glamorous and channel your inner flapper for an unforgettable New Year's Eve.

  5. Glamour at the Selby Gardens
    If you're looking for something formal and fancy, why not spend the evening among the flowers? Our friends at the gorgeous Marie Selby Botanical Gardens are hosting a black-tie New Year's Eve "experience" among their tropical plants and festive holiday lights. The evening will include hors d'oeuvres, a four-course dinner, and live music and dancing. Of course, it all ends with a champagne toast at midnight and a fantastic view of the fireworks over Sarasota Bay.

After you experience our night life, don't forget to check out all our beautiful Sarasota homes for sale. Our agents are always ready to help you find the listing of your dreams. Contact Wagner Realty today to get started on your search for a new home in the new year.

Contact Wagner Realty


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


Top Tips from the Pros For First-Time Home Buyers

Tips for Buying Your First Home

First-time buyer tips from the pros

Buying your first home is an important life milestone. The process requires your patience, dedication, and financial commitment. You must think differently and consider factors that may not have been important before now.

The good news is that our REALTORS® know what it takes to find a home that's right for your family. When it's time to search for your new home, we'll help you through the process. Our Real Estate Guide for Buying Your First Home provides a to-do list to help you prepare for your home buying experience.

Build Your Bank Account

You should stop spending and start saving long before you begin touring homes for sale. You'll need the money when you close on your home and cash to cover a wave of home-related expenses.

  • Down Payment
    Traditionally, home buyers put down 20 percent of the sale price. A higher down payment will be even more beneficial in the long-run. It will lower your finance costs and your monthly payment.
  • Closing Costs
    The day you sign your closing documents, you'll pay title fees, taxes, homeowners and mortgage insurance, and other expenses that could add 2 to 5% to the home sale amount.
  • Ongoing Home Expenses
    You will need a financial cushion to cover recurring home operating costs, unanticipated repairs, and planned remodels. You'll have a home full of appliances, home systems, a roof, and a yard to maintain. You must also pay for trash services, water and sewage fees, and higher energy costs.

Start Thinking Like a Buyer Instead of a Renter

If you have no idea about the kind of home you want, look at home listings, attend open houses, and drive by homes for sale. Even if you're not quite ready to buy, you can get an idea of communities, home prices, amenities, and how much you're willing to pay for what's available.

Check out the Local Schools

If you have children or plan to someday, you must make sure you're in a thriving school district. Visit a non-profit school rating website like to see community school ratings.

Determine How Much You Can Afford

The FHA Mortgage Calculator and similar online apps and websites make it easy to calculate monthly mortgage costs. You input the mortgage amount, down payment, terms, rates, and other factors and the calculator shows you the monthly payment and income you need to afford it.

Get Your Credit in Order

You can pay the three major credit bureaus for a copy of your credit reports, but you can access them for free at Viewing your reports allows you to uncover problems that may make it difficult to get your home financed. You can eliminate inaccurate information and contact debtors to correct, resolve, or dispute problematic credit entries.

Get Pre-approved

When you find the home of your dreams, your pre-approval letter will save some delays. Your mortgage company will review your debt, credit rating, and financial standing to determine if you're mortgage-worthy. When they issue an approval letter, it tells potential home sellers that you're ready to buy.

Consider Mortgage Assistance Programs

You may qualify for mortgage assistance from Veterans Administration, HUD, and other government programs. They offer low mortgage rates, minimal down payments, and reduced qualifications.

Let Us Help You Find Your First Home

If you're ready to buy your first Gulf Coast of Florida home, you need a realtor to provide professional guidance. Contact Wagner Realty if you're buying or selling a home, or simply want information about the communities we serve.

Contact Wagner Realty


Holidays on Main at Lakewood Ranch

Lakewood Ranch Holidays
Our team of Lakewood Ranch REALTORS® loves a good Christmas party as much as anyone, and we wanted to give you a heads up on some of the fun holiday happenings around Lakewood Ranch this season! You can expect a packed schedule of events on Main Street at Lakewood Ranch this month, including some that you definitely don't want to miss. So gather up your holiday cheer, and join us for Christmas on Main!

  • Thursday, December 7, 14 & 21 - Carriage Rides, Strolling Carolers, Santa Stroll
    Every Thursday until Christmas, carolers will be out on the streets spreading holiday cheer from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm. You can also take a carriage ride as you listen to the carolers sing, and keep an eye out for Santa as he strolls the streets during this free weekly event.

  • Friday, December 8 - Holidays At the Ranch
    This annual holiday street festival is one of our favorite Christmas events. From 6 pm to 9 pm, you can enjoy a spectacular Christmas lights display, join in with singing carolers, and watch Santa make a grand entrance in a horse-drawn carriage. There will also be children's activities, rides, and crafts, as well as plenty of holiday-themed refreshments.

  • Saturday, December 9 - Lunch with Santa at MacAllisters
    Join Santa for lunch at MacAllisters Grill & Tavern between 12 pm and 3 pm for great food and a chance to have some fun with Santa Claus himself. Call ahead to reserve a spot.

  • Saturday, December 16 - Breakfast with Santa at Polo Grill & Bar
    In case you missed your chance to dine with old Saint Nick at MacAllisters, he'll also be sitting down for breakfast at Polo Bar & Grill from 8:30 am to 10:30 am on Saturday, December 16. Reservations are available by phone, and don't forget to bring your Christmas list!

  • Sunday, December 17 - Lunch with Santa at Main Street Trattoria
    Last chance! Sit down with Santa for lunch at Main Street Trattoria from 1 pm to 3 pm on December 17. We assume he'll be too busy making toys from then until Christmas, so be sure to make a reservation and take the opportunity to meet him while you can!

  • Friday, December 22 - Jingle Run 5K
    One of the largest chip-timed 5K run/walks in Sarasota and Manatee Counties, the annual Jingle Run 5k is a great way to get your blood pumping and the holiday spirit flowing. Just tie some jingle bells to your shoes (they will be provided) and you're off! There will be holiday music along the way, and a post-race party at the end of the line.

  • Saturday, December 23 - Christmas Celebration
    The Christmas on Main festivities culminate with the December 23 Christmas Celebration, which includes food, fun, games, rides, and music. Join Grace Community Church for this special Christmas Celebration from 6 pm to 8:30 pm.

No matter the season, there's always something going on at Lakewood Ranch! Contact Wagner Realty today to learn more about life in this vibrant community. Our team is committed to helping you find the perfect Lakewood Ranch homes.

Contact Wagner Realty



2017 Bradenton Blues Fest

Bradenton Blues Fest
When you think of living in Bradenton, Florida, the first thing that most likely pops into your mind is enjoying our city's sugary sand beaches. However, Bradenton boasts a full slate of local activities and events sure to please locals, visitors and new residents alike starting with our upcoming Bradenton Blues Festival Weekend.  One of the best-kept secrets in Bradenton and beyond is the annual Bradenton Blues Festival.  The Bradenton Blues Festival main event will be Saturday, December 2.

The Bradenton Blues Fest Returns

For music aficionados, the Bradenton Blues Festival is known for amazing sets from hot local and national blues musicians. It's put on every year by the nonprofit Realize Bradenton, solely dedicated to a vibrant and prosperous downtown for the Bradenton community.

In addition to the smooth blues solos, Blues Festival is known far and wide for the best eats. As you enjoy acts on the big stage, you'll also have the opportunity to sample local craft beer and pick your favorite from more than a dozen specialty food vendors.

The fun doesn't end when the last act takes a bow, either – there's still Sunday to look forward to.

The Bradenton Blues Brunch Won't Have Your Favorite Foodies Singing the Blues

The Bradenton Blues Brunch caps off the event from 11 am to 1 pm. on Sunday. You'll find it along with a lively crowd of blues fans at Mattison's City Grille, a hip hangout you just can't miss when you visit the Bradenton Riverwalk.

Mattison's is known for mouth-watering steaks and seafood, a dizzying selection of tasty cocktails, and scrumptious key lime pie that will have you coming back for seconds. It also distinguishes itself with a complete selection of fresh signature sushi rolls.

Tickets for the brunch are available for $50 and attendees will nosh their way through a three-course, seated-and-served brunch headed by renowned chef Paul Mattison. Mimosas, wines and even a Bloody Mary or two will be on hand to be paired with each course.

Plus, you'll get live entertainment from top local blues duo Fowler and Walker. Find out more about the line-up and book your Blues Fest tickets soon – they're going fast!

Our REALTORS® would love the chance to show you Bradenton's most breathtaking homes for sale. See all Bradenton living has to offer – and enjoy Florida's finest blues event at the same time. Contact us to get your home search started.

Contact Wagner Realty


Sarasota Farmers Market-Year Round Family Fun

A Chance for Sarasota Families to Gather  

Sarasota Farmers Market
Held every week, the Sarasota Farmers Market takes place right in the heart of Downtown year-round. Read on to find out more, and feel free to get in touch with our REALTORS® to learn more about life in Sarasota, FL.

A Long-Running Sarasota Tradition  

The Sarasota Farmers Market was established in 1979, offering a selection of local plants, produce, prepared foods and crafts that caught on quickly with the local community. It has only grown in the years since, quickly becoming a beloved mainstay of the Downtown Sarasota area. Today, the market spans more than 5,000 square feet and offers a space for more than 70 vendors to sell their locally grown and crafted goods.

Weekly Family Fun in Sarasota, FL

Operated by the nonprofit SFMV, Inc. (Sarasota Farmers Market Vendors), this weekly market promises a colorful variety of locally grown produce. Availability changes with the seasons, so be sure to return again to see what's new! Of course, there's a lot more to the Sarasota Farmers Market than fresh veggies. For example: 

  • Arts and Crafts: Handmade soaps, jewelry, baskets, clothing, candles, pottery and paintings are just a few of the things you can find at the market.
  • Flowers and Plants: An ever-changing selection of plants are available from local nurseries and florists, from orchids and floral arrangements to vegetables and herbs that you can plant in your own garden. 
  • Food and Beverages: Food trucks and tents provide all kinds of refreshments, from a hot cup of Joe at JavaDawg Coffee to a hearty meal courtesy of Alpine Steakhouse. :
  • Local Produce: As with any good market, farmers are at the heart of the Sarasota Farmers Market. Local and organic fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, eggs and honey are always on the table. 

Visiting the Sarasota Farmers Market also provides an opportunity to check out some of the local businesses in Saratota's vibrant Downtown district. Grab lunch at Boca Kitchen Bar and Market, find the latest catch at Duval's Fresh Local Seafood, or stop for coffee and fresh baked goods at Coffee Carousel. 

Plan Your Trip to the Farmers Market

The Sarasota Farmers Market takes place every Saturday from 7 am to 1 pm. Unlike many farmers markets that close up shop in winter, the Sarasota Farmers Market continues every week throughout the entire year, offering a selection of goods that changes with the seasons. You'll find it on Lemon Avenue, near its intersection with Main Street. Parking is available on the streets and in public lots nearby. 

Contact Wagner Realty today to learn more about all the latest happenings in the Sarasota area. Our team is standing by to help you find the best Sarasota homes for sale.

Contact Wagner Realty


Home Buyers Guide: How to Win in a Seller's Market

Buying in a Seller's Market
Open houses are packed to the rafters, "for sale" signs are few and far between, and the appealing properties that do make it to the market are selling before you even get a chance to pull out your checkbook...What do you do when you're working to buy a home, and see the signs of seller's market all around you?

Buying a house in a seller's market is never going to be easy, but it's absolutely possible if you're willing to make some extra effort. Our REALTORS® know what it takes to navigate a seller's market, and we've put together five must-know tips to help you do the same.

5 Tips for Buying a House in a Seller's Market

  1. Find the Right Real Estate Agent
    Purchasing a house is a complex process even in a buyer's market, so when you're trying to navigate a seller's market it really helps to have the right real estate agent. Your real estate agent should have a deep understanding of the local real estate market, good relationships with listing agents, and experience helping buyers land homes in competitive markets. But finding the right agent is only the first step. Once you do, you'll want to stay in contact, ask questions, and work with your agent to quickly identify homes that match your needs.

  2. Get to Know the Listing Agent
    In order to make a competitive bid right away, it's important to understand exactly what the seller is looking for in an offer. So once you find the right real estate agent and line up some homes that fit your needs, asking your agent to contact the listing agent is a great way to find out what it will take to make a winning offer. Remember that a phone call to the listing agent will typically yield much more valuable information than an email or text.

  3. Prioritize Wants vs. Needs
    Being prepared to pounce when you find the right home is essential in a seller's market, and it's a good idea to understand exactly what you're looking for in a home. So if you're searching for homes for sale in Bradenton, for example, consider what you want, what you need, and what you can live without. Knowing what you want ahead of time helps give you the confidence to make a competitive bid when you identify the right home.

  4. Be Ready to Bid Competitively
    In a buyer's market, you may have the luxury of starting out with a lower offer and negotiating from a more favorable position. Time is such a huge factor in a seller's market that starting out with a low-ball offer will often mean losing the opportunity to buy. Be prepared to make a very strong offer right away, and let the seller know that you mean business.

  5. Write a Letter
    Let's say you're looking for Sarasota homes, you find the absolute perfect match, and you know there will be a lot of competition for the home. Your offer is already strong, but what can you do to help make that final push? Try writing an honest, heart-felt letter to the homeowner, to let them know exactly why you're so excited about the property. It won't win you the deal on its own, but a letter can really help sway the seller to your side.

Are you searching for the right real estate team to help you land your first-choice home in a competitive market? Contact Wagner Realty for all of your real estate needs in the Sarasota and Bradenton, Floridareal estate areas.

Contact Wagner Realty


10 Traits of a Great Neighborhood

10 Traits of a Great Neighborhood
Finding the right home may be your top priority as a shopper, but identifying the right neighborhood is just as important for landing a home you'll love long-term. Our REALTORS® know what it takes to become a neighborhood expert, and we've compiled the top 10 traits of a great neighborhood.

How to Find a Neighborhood You'll Truly Love

  1. Easy Access to Key Services
    Whether you need to shop for groceries, go to the gym, stop at the post office, or simply run your daily errands, having the services you need close to home makes it much easier to get things done. So if you're shopping Sarasota homes for sale, keep an eye out for neighborhoods that allow you to take care of business.

  2. Fun and Entertainment Close to Home
    Every neighborhood offers something to do, but the right neighborhood for you will have entertainment options that match your taste. If you like the idea of a master-planned community with nearby entertainment options, check out Lakewood Ranch homes.

  3. Local Businesses
    Small businesses are the lifeblood of so many neighborhoods because they provide necessary services, unique products, and fun activities close to home. An active, growing small business community is a sign of a great neighborhood, so be sure to sample the local business scene.

  4. Great Food
    We all have our own neighborhood preferences, but most would agree that great food close to home is a major plus. Look for a neighborhood that offers all of your favorite dining options, along with new things to try. Becoming a neighborhood expert has never tasted so good.

  5. Safe Streets
    Whether you're shopping for a family home or flying solo, finding a neighborhood with low crime rates is certainly an important priority. Try visiting neighborhoods both during the day and at night to get an idea of security in the area.

  6. Strong Schools
    Perhaps you're shopping with your family in mind, or you simply want to leave the option open in the future. Either way, finding a neighborhood with a strong school system will serve you well.

  7. Spectacular Scenery
    It's so nice to be able to sit on your patio or peer out the window and enjoy spectacular scenery close to home. Shopping for a home near the water is a great idea if you're looking for lovely views, and Longboat Key homes are a perfect example.

  8. Walkability and Public Transportation
    Do you enjoy being able to walk to nearby amenities, or hopping on public transportation rather than driving to work? Finding a neighborhood with transportation options that fit your lifestyle will make life much easier.

  9. Outdoor Fun
    You won't have any trouble finding outdoor fun in Florida neighborhoods, but it's still a good idea to make sure that a neighborhood offers your favorite outdoor activities. Homes for sale in Bradenton make it easy to enjoy all of the outdoor entertainment our corner of Florida has to offer.

  10. The Right Fit for You
    We have covered many of the topics that shoppers find most important in neighborhoods, but ultimately this process is all about finding the right fit for you. Try creating a list of your own ideal neighborhood features, and rank them in order of priority.

Whether you're still searching for the perfect neighborhood or you already have an ideal match in mind, our local real estate team is here to help you cross the finish line. Contact Wagner Realty to buy and sell homes in the Sarasota/Bradenton area.

Contact Wagner Realty


Don't Miss Lakewood Ranch's BOOFEST on Main Street

Living in Lakewood Ranch is a HOWLING Good Time

Lakewood Ranch Boofest Event
It's October, and we all know what that means, everywhere you turn ... ghosts and goblins abound.  It's no different in Lakewood Ranch.  Just minutes from Southwest Florida's beach, shopping, dining, and local events, the Lakewood Ranch Community Activities Corporation is busy preparing for the community's annual themed Halloween event, BOOFEST on Main Street.

The mission of Lakewood Ranch Community Activities Corporation is to nurture a sense of community and friendships through memorable events and social clubs within their community. Some of the LWR's  activities are so popular that they have become annual events such as the Eggstravaganaza, Boo Fest, and Holidays Around The Ranch.

Our local REALTORS® know the importance of getting to know your new neighbors when you buy a home in a new community, so we've created this Lakewood Ranch event highlight so you don't miss any of the howling good fun that will be happening at BOOFEST on Main Street.

BOOFEST On Main Street Is A Lakewood Ranch Tradition

Kids of all ages love Halloween. The family-friendly community of Lakewood Ranch has plenty of scary good fun planned for its annual October holiday event. 

Since Halloween falls on a school night, BOOFEST is scheduled for Friday, October 27--the fun starts at 6 PM.

Children will find plenty of thrills and chills at this all-ages Halloween celebration. It includes its own super Spooktacular Maze, crazy balloon art, and themed performances from local dancers.

Young guests are encouraged to dress in costumes to visit neighbors and friends. Exhibitors and sponsors will fill their bags with all sorts of tasty treats. Naturally, there will be a costume contest with plenty of prizes.

A full haunted house is planned – giving all the young ones many chances to enjoy on one of the most exciting nights of the year. It's the perfect way to get into the Halloween spirit!

Find Your Lakewood Ranch Home with Us

BOOFEST is your family's opportunity to pack a whole season of Halloween fun into a single night. Plus, if you just can't get enough of this creepy extravaganza, you still have time for a full evening of trick or treating throughout the weekend.

Lakewood Ranch is known for its safe and welcoming neighborhoods, so parents can feel confident as their children participate in the local festivities. And, of course, BOOFEST is just one of several yearly events you'll be able to enjoy if you buy one of the homes for sale in Lakewood Ranch.

People throughout Florida and beyond relocate to Lakewood Ranch for all sorts of reasons including great amenities, mild weather, and a wide range of beautiful homes. Once you visit, you might find that you wouldn't want to live anywhere else.

Our REALTORS® can help you find the perfect home for you and your family.  Contact us to get started.

Contact Wagner Realty


How to Prepare Your Home for a Hurricane

Home Preparedness
When you own a home in an area that could be affected by hurricanes, it's important to plan ahead to prepare both your home and all of the people in your household.

Hurricane damage can cut homeowners off from important services like electricity, internet, phone, and water. These risks are present no matter the strength of the hurricane affecting homes both inland and directly on the coast. While there is no way to eliminate the risk of hurricane damage, there are plenty of steps you can take to make sure that your home is prepared.

Weathering the Storm

Being informed is one of the most important steps you can take during hurricane season. You can install a weather app on your phone, watch the local news, or visit the National Hurricane Center's website for the most up to date information on potential storms. Knowing when a storm is coming will give you as much time as possible to prepare.

  • Evacuation Routes and "Escape" Supplies – Take the time when the weather is nice to research evacuation routes in your area, and plan ahead so that you have somewhere safe to go in the event of a storm. Make sure that everyone in your household understands your evacuation plan. It's also a good idea to put together a set of tools for evacuation, including a disaster kit, batteries, flashlights, first aid supplies, and emergency cash.

  • Prepare Outdoor Areas – If you live in an area with hurricane risk, keeping your outdoor spaces safe can reduce potential damage to your home. Check the trees and shrubs in your yard to make sure that they are healthy, trim them to reduce the risk a fallen branches, and clear out any lawn furniture if the arrival of a hurricane is imminent. If a tree or shrub is not healthy, removing it may be the best course of action.

  • Clean Gutters – Hurricanes have the potential to drop tremendous amounts of rainfall in a short time, so it's also a very good idea to clean your gutters regularly, including downspouts. If your gutters are aging, loose, or otherwise not looking their best, it may be time to replace them.

  • Ready Your Roof – While you are up cleaning gutters, check the condition of your roof to see if it is in need of repair or reinforcement. Having a professional repair any issues before a storm comes is well worth the cost.

  • Purchase Supplies – In addition to the preparedness kit we mentioned above, there are a few items you may want to pick up if a hurricane is coming to your area including plywood to cover windows, fresh water in case of emergency, and batteries for electronics.

  • Check Your Home Insurance – No matter how much you do to prepare, hurricanes can still cause serious damage to your home. Check your home insurance to see what coverage you have in the event of a hurricane, and don't wait until the last minute to do so. It is so much easier to take care of these important details ahead of time, when you don't have to worry about the pressure of an incoming storm.

Our REALTORS® are here to help with all of your real estate needs on the Florida coast. Contact Wagner Realty to buy and sell homes in the Sarasota/Bradenton, FL area.

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Buying a House as a Single Mom

Home Buying for the Single Mom
If you're a single mother, the idea of buying a house can seem like an unreachable dream. The Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2016 show that women still earn less than men. As the custodial parent, you must stretch fewer dollars to meet increasing financial obligations. Homeownership can seem unrealistic under such tight financial circumstances.

Our REALTORS® understand your concerns and we want to help. We believe that buying a house should be an attainable dream, so we've compiled a list of resources to help you reach your goal.

  • The Department of Housing and Urban Development
    maintains a number of programs that can assist you in buying a house. The Community Development Block Grant Program, Home Investment Partnership Program, and Neighborhood Stabilization Program direct home buying assistance funds to local communities via Florida state agencies.

  • Florida Housing Finance Corporation
    The First-Time Homebuyer Program works with approved lenders to offer a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. As with many loan programs, when you are buying a home, you must meet income and credit guidelines.

    The State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) provides funds and block grants to Florida communities for low-income families. These grants fund home rehab, down payments, homeownership counseling, and other critical services.

  • Habitat for Humanity Florida
    Habitat for Humanity Florida has provided 17,000 new and rehabbed homes to deserving Florida residents. If you qualify as a single applicant, you must give 200 hours of your time to help build your home. You must also agree to live in a Habitat-designated neighborhood and attend homeowner classes. When your home is finished, Habitat will sell it to you with no consideration for profit.

  • Fannie Mae
    publishes a list of Fannie Mae foreclosed properties for sale. Their First Look program gives individual buyers an opportunity to view and bid on foreclosed properties before investors have a chance to buy them.  Homepath offers a three percent reduction in a Homepath property's closing costs when you complete the Ready Buyer online homeownership course.  Homepath properties that qualify for the Home Ready mortgage program may be eligible for a low down payment and other benefits included in HUD's Neighborhood Stabilization Program.

  • FHA Loans
    An FHA mortgage can minimize the problems of buying a house when you have limited cash flow or a problem credit history. The requirements are less strict than a traditional loan. The mortgage requires only a 3.5 percent down payment and it offers competitive interest rates.

  • USDA Loans
    Under the Rural Development Home Loan Program, the USDA will guarantee 90 percent of your home loan.  You must meet USDA income and credit qualifications, but the standards are less stringent than traditional loans. The home you choose must also meet eligibility guidelines for rural properties and must be your primary residence. USDA charges a monthly fee for mortgage guarantee insurance.

When your dream of owning a home seems out of reach, we can help. Contact Wagner Realty to help make your homeownership dream come true.

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Five favorite places for date night in Sarasota

Sarasota Date Night Spots
Sarasota homes
are among the most enticing in the Sunshine State. Found on Florida's southwest coast, the city of about 56,000 people has been known as Circus City or even simply "Paradise."

But did you know that Sarasota is also a great place for a romantic date? 

No matter whether you are meeting someone new or celebrating an anniversary, Sarasota will provide plenty of amazing places to do it. Over the years, it has attracted some of the top chefs and world-class restaurants. Plus, there are lots of other things to see and do both before and after you eat.

Let's consider some of the most romantic options for your big night out.

  • Marina Jack II Sightseeing Cruise
    Sarasota offer many sightseeing cruises you can book for the afternoon or even for a sunset dinner excursion. The Marina Jack II is docked behind the restaurant of the same name which offers full waterfront dining and seafood classics. Lunch, dinner, group events, and even weddings are held aboard the Marina Jack II.

  • Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
    If your date loves flowers, you won't want to miss this opportunity to experience the richness and beauty of nature. This "tropical urban oasis" sits on the shores of Sarasota Bay. It is home to a world-famous conservatory, fern garden, bamboo grove, banyan grove, and much more. You'll see exotic species as well as the iconic mangroves that contribute to Florida's unique look.

  • The Ringling Museum
    The Ringling Museum consists of permanent exhibits dedicated to the Ringling Circus, a private art collection, and the estate grounds of the 56-room mansion opened in 1926. After 5 PM, it's free to walk the manicured grounds and drink in the many breathtaking sights. During the day, the Historic Asolo Theater offers live performances from celebrated theater groups. You can truly make a whole day of it at this unique museum and architectural treasure.

  • Siesta Key Beach
    Stay anywhere on the coast of Florida for very long and you'll soon realize that one of the best things in life is free: The sunset. While there are many lovely places to see it, Siesta Key Beach is the most romantic by far. It's been praised for "the whitest and finest sand in the world" – since it is 99 percent quartz and highly reflective, it feels cool no matter the time of day.

  • Celery Fields
    Celery Fields is the perfect place for an outdoor picnic. A recreation area sprawling over more than 360 acres, it attracts colorful birds throughout the year. Dotted with ponds and shaded by gorgeous old growth oaks, willows, and pines, it offers all kinds of opportunities for a romantic moment away from it all. Keep your eyes open for more than 200 bird species including the eastern meadowlark and barn owl. The shores of Ackerman Lake attract many couples, especially throughout the spring.

Make Sarasota Your Home

Do you want to enjoy Sarasota's small town charm and big city amenities all year round? Contact Wagner Realty and our REALTORS® in Sarasota will be glad to help you. Our team offers years of experience and insight into the local real estate market.



Famous Homes in Sarasota - Ca dZan

Ca' d'Zan - Home of John Ringling

Sarasota Ringling Home
Sarasota's neighborhoods are teeming with gorgeous, modern, waterfront homes, but one building still stands out nearly a century after it was first built. One of the most beautiful and historic homes in Sarasota, the Ca' d'Zan, was restored to its former glory at the turn of this century. Today, the bayfront mansion's Venetian-inspired architecture and opulent furnishings are just as impressive as they were in 1926, when the Ringling family moved in and hosted glamorous parties on the water.

Whether you want to step back into the Roaring Twenties, catch a gorgeous sunset, or learn more about Sarasota's history as a circus town, this mansion-turned-museum is a must. Here are some of our favorite things to do at the Ca' d'Zan.

Sarasota's World-class architecture

Admire World-Class European Architecture

When circus magnate John Ringling started building the Ca' d'Zan ("House of John") in 1926, his family was one of the wealthiest in the world. Instead of pinning their dream homes on Pinterest, they traveled through Europe for inspiration, and the authentic masterpiece is a great example of Venetian and Spanish architecture from the 1800's. The Ringlings spent $1.65 million (more than $20 million today) and imported most of their materials – and design ideas – from Europe, and the manicured grounds and well-preserved mansion may transport you to the middle of Italy with their authentic details. For example, the roof is tiled with a cargo ship's worth of salvaged Spanish antique tiles, and the home itself is modeled after the Doge's Palace in Venice, Italy.

Enjoy Gorgeous Sunsets Over Sarasota Bay

There are plenty of places to watch the sunset in Sarasota, but this mansion offers one of the oldest and most beautiful vantage points. As the sun begins to set over Sarasota every night, bursts of color illuminate the blue bay and cast a golden glow over the Ca' d'Zan's marble walls. Once a month, donors gather on the outdoor terrace for live music and gourmet dinners during this natural spectacle. It's easy to see why Mable Ringling commissioned a custom dock and gondola for the property. In the 1920's, servants would take Mable and her friends for picturesque sunset gondola rides along the shore. Towering Banyan trees, colorful gardens, a six-story tower, and a patio right on the sea wall complete the picturesque outdoor experience.

Take a Walk through the Ringling Family's Life

The mansion was donated to the State of Florida in the late 1930's, but it deteriorated so much in the decades to come that Ethan Hawke and Gwyneth Paltrow filmed Great Expectations there in 1996. By then, the dilapidated mansion was the perfect fit for a reclusive Dickensian widow's dusty, crumbling manor. Fortunately, that's all changed, and the well-restored mansion now looks a lot like it did when the Ringlings first moved in. Renovations began in 2002, and today the mansion is meticulously restored and furnished with much of its original artwork, décor, and furniture. Restored murals by famous artists depict vivid circus and Renaissance scenes customized for the Ringlings themselves. Even clothing in the closets, liquor bottles in the bar, and silver in the butler's pantry are original possessions of the Ringling family.

Our REALTORS® are eager to help families like the Ringlings start a beautiful new chapter in Sarasota, Florida. Whether you want a mansion on the bay or an apartment downtown, we will make sure your search is productive and your deal is fair. Contact Wagner Realty today to find a real estate professional that can help you find your dream home in Sarasota.

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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.

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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.

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Gamble Plantation State Park in Ellenton FL

Find the Unexpected in Ellenton, Florida

Ellenton Florida's Gamble Plantation

 Most people envision crystal blue water and white sandy beaches when they think about relocating to Florida and not American history class and the Civil War.  However, plantations were built and flourished in Florida.  One such plantaton still stands today as the Gamble Plantation Historic State Park in Ellenton, Florida.

Gamble Plantation's History

In 1844 Major Robert Gamble purchased 3,500 acres northeast of today's Bradenton and his plantation soon became a leading producer of sugar cane, molasses, citrus, grapes and olives.  Gamble's plantation became renowned for its 10-room, two-story architectural design.  Greek revival in design, its red brick and tabby walls were two feet thick.  The exterior of the home showcases wide-shaded upper and lower verandas wrapping around three sides of the home.  The original 40,000 gallon cistern remains today.

Legend has it that Confederate Secretary of State Judah P. Benjamin used the Gamble Mansion as a safe haven after the Confederacy fell in 1865 until he fled the United States for England. Like many southern plantations, after the war the Gamble Mansion fell into disrepair.

Gamble's mansion was sold to the Patten family after the war.  In 1925 the property was saved by the United Daughters of the Confederacy and restored the home, who donated the mansion and 16 acres of land to the state of Florida.

Gamble Plantation Historic Park Today

Ellenton's Gamble Plantation Historic State Park welcomes thousands of visitors each year. The park covers over 3,500 acres and the beautifully restored mansion is open for guided tours.

The Gamble Plantation State Historical Site is the only remaining plantation house in South Florida. Built in the mid-1800's by Major Robert Gamble, it was the epicenter of a large sugar plantation. The area along the Gulf Coast from the Crystal River to below Tampa Bay was optimal for growing sugarcane, and many wealthy Floridians settled and built plantations there.

The park grounds open daily at 8 AM. The visitor center/museum is open Thursday through Monday, 9 AM – 5PM.

Living in Ellenton

Ellenton, FL is a cozy community settled along the banks of the Manatee River just a short drive away from Bradenton, Sarasota, and Anna Maria Island. Waterfront properties abound and an eclectic variety of Ellenton homes offer the best in Florida living.

When you are considering a move to the sleepy southern town of Ellenton, our REALTORS® can help you find a beautiful home that will suit your family's needs. Contact Wagner Realty to find out more about South Florida living.

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Discover Sarasota's Favorite Family Attractions

Sarasota Jungle Gardens - Florida Family Fun

Sarasota Jungle Gardens

If you've got a growing family, buying a home in Sarasota might be the right choice for you. With about 56,000 residents, Sarasota has long prided itself on its combination of big city amenities and small town living.

Sure, Sarasota is home to some of the best public and private schools in Florida. But, let's face it: Most kids don't get too excited about that. What they really care about is fun, excitement, and adventure.

Sarasota has that in spades – and one of the best examples is Sarasota Jungle Gardens.

Sarasota Jungle Gardens is Fun for Everyone

Sarasota Jungle Gardens was founded in 1939 and is one of the most popular attractions in the area. It features ten exotic acres of tropical vegetation and trails that will give you plenty of amazing opportunities for your own little family safari.

Of course, no jungle would be complete without plenty of awesome animals!

When you explore Sarasota Jungle Gardens, you'll have the chance to encounter a crew of more than 200 animals. They run the gamut from Florida locals to some of the most breathtaking creatures you'll see anywhere in North America.

Sarasota Jungle Gardens is well known for the complete selection of parrots and macaws plus the legendary Florida flamingo. Visitors are especially fond of the flamingo flock, as they can be spotted roaming freely across much of the grounds.

Of course, you'll also find Florida alligators and their distant Nile cousins, the crocodile, lurking in a brilliant recreation of their native habitat. The different guided tours and shows – including Reptile Encounter, Jungle Bird, and Wildlife Wonder – help ensure that you can see everything in a visit.

A Petting Zoo and Other Fun Sights Round Out the Experience

Although there are plenty of reptiles, snakes, and small mammals to see, kids of all ages tend to gravitate toward the petting zoo. This interactive experience is suitable for the smaller kids, as they'll meet and hand-feed friendly critters like goats, chickens, and a miniature cow.

Younger kids won't feel left out – although it can get pretty steamy in Sarasota Jungle Gardens, the events are short enough to keep the little ones' attention. If sitting still just isn't happening, there's a full playground and a beloved wooden train for the junior explorers to check out.

Last, but not least, you won't want to forget the cafe and the gift shop. The Flamingo Cafe pays tribute to the Gardens' most iconic residents with favorites like hot dogs, hamburgers, and pizza. Drop in and you'll have the chance to hand-feed the koi fish.

The Flamingo Cafe also takes reservations for large groups and birthday parties.

Sarasota Jungle Gardens--the Perfect Sarasota Experience

As kids grow, their interests change. Luckily, Sarasota will never leave them with nothing to do. From parks and playgrounds to the perfect high school hangout spots, this little city packs a lot of living into a quaint community where people feel free to get to know one another.

It's no surprise homes in Sarasota are in demand all year around. If you want to find the right one for you, working with an expert team is essential. Contact Wagner Realty and our REALTORS® in Sarasota will give you the personalized assistance you deserve.

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Don't Miss Siesta Key's Turtle Beach! |

Siesta Key Turtle Beach

When it comes to beach days in Sarasota, Siesta Beach gets most of the hype – and rightfully so. Its powder-white sand and gorgeous sunsets regularly top "most beautiful" lists and Siesta Key is a historic beach town with plenty of daytime and nighttime activities. However, that national and global acclaim brings the crowds, especially on sunny weekend days. If you want to enjoy the charm and beauty of Siesta Key without spreading a towel on a packed beach, we recommend Turtle Beach instead.

Just a few miles south of its more popular cousin, Turtle Beach takes up the southern tip of Siesta Key, nestled close to quiet Siesta Key homes instead of hotels and bars. Here are some of our favorite things about Turtle Beach:

Turtle Beach Has Both Lagoon and Gulf Views

Turtle Beach is right on the Gulf of Mexico, but it's separated from the other side of Siesta Key (the part that faces Sarasota Bay) by a small lagoon. This keeps it quiet, narrow, and difficult to develop, especially as erosion frequently eats away the sinkingly soft sand. Even during peak seasons in Sarasota, Turtle Beach is one of the quietest places in Siesta Key, and it's sandwiched between two bodies of water to boot. Get gorgeous sunset views to the west and quiet lagoon views to the east, plus overhead shade from trees that tower over the grassy dune.

Amenities Make it Easy to Get Away

Turtle Beach has everything you need to spend a fun, stress-free day at the beach: ample free parking, public restrooms, showers, picnic tables, charcoal grills, and even a boat launch. It's not as newly renovated or well-maintained as the public facilities as Siesta Beach, but the parking lot isn't nearly as crowded either, so you probably won't have to hunt for a spot in the lot or get there at dawn to get a table. Just spread a tablecloth and set up lunch with your family after a few hours in the water.

Snorkeling & Shelling

Turtle Beach's name is no accident. Sea turtles nest here once a year, and sea life in general is more active and visible, in part because the beach has a steeper drop-off and human feet don't disturb the deeper water. Bring your snorkeling gear (or rent some on your way through Siesta Village) to take advantage of some of the best snorkeling off Siesta Key, FL. When you're on shore, pay attention to the shells in the darker sand too. Local artists and collectors love Turtle Beach for its abundance of unique, well-preserved shells.

Our REALTORS® in Sarasota know which beaches are the least crowded, and they also know local real estate trends and news that will give their clients an upper hand. If you're selling your house or looking for a new home in Sarasota or Siesta Key, contact Wagner Realty to get in touch with an agent who can help.

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Battling Multiple Offers and Winning Your Dream Home

Battling Bidding Warts
Sarasota, Florida has it all--beautiful weather, amazing amenities, and a community with something for everyone. It's no surprise that, when buying a house, you might find yourself in a situation where the home you want has multiple bids.

It may seem like the only thing you can do is raise your offer and hope for the best. Sometimes doing just that is the simplest way to get a seller's attention. Still, it's not your only option.

In an ideal situation, you'd make your offer, find out you're the only buyer, and move toward closing within a few weeks. Still, there are some homes that are worth the extra effort. Let's look at some steps you can take to fend off multiple offers and emerge victorious.

Multiple Offers Don't Mean the End – Here's What You Can Do

  • Stay Calm
    Just because there are multiple offers, it doesn't mean you're out of the running – even if offering more money is not right for you. Other would-be buyers could fall in love with another property or discover something they don't want to deal with in the current one. An agreement could fall apart for hundreds of reasons, even something as simple as a personality conflict.
  • Get More Information
    To start, you should work with your real estate agent to figure out, if possible, how many offers are out there and what the current high offer is. Outplaying just one other buyer isn't that hard, but do you want to push forward against three or five? If budget is a concern, you should tread carefully at first. Don't let emotion draw you into a costly "bidding war!"
  • Write a Letter
    When you lead with a more generous offer, it can foreclose other options that might be just as effective. Building a human connection with the seller can be a tremendous help. Send a letter that offers a quick biographical sketch, including reasons why you've fallen in love with the property in question. Sellers are more likely to work with those they like!
  • Offer Cash
    Financing adds a lot of time and complexity to an offer. If you have the opportunity and you're confident the property is right, consider paying in cash. This can be a huge relief to sellers, since it simplifies things and allows them to meet any deadlines they've set for themselves. If you know you'll need a mortgage, get a pre-approval to raise a seller's confidence.
  • Buy the Home As-Is
    Many buyers are anxious to avoid purchasing a property "as-is," feeling that it must mean the seller is hiding something. You can defend yourself against this by getting a property inspection done. Still, if you really want to make a unique impression on a seller, bring up the topic of buying as-is – especially if the seller hasn't mentioned it.
  • Ask Your Agent to Make a Call
    Your real estate agent is there to ensure your best interests are represented. A good real estate agent is a partner who understands not only the market, but the personalities involved. Sure, a miracle is unlikely ... but it never hurts to turn things over to the experts. It just might be the case that a quick conversation with your agent may make a decisive difference.

Buying a house requires the best help you can get. Contact Wagner Realty for the top Sarasota homesour REALTORS® work hard to get you the home you dream of!

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Spending the Day at Sarasota's Marie Selby Botanical Gardens |

Sarasota Selby Gardens

Sarasota certainly isn't short on beautiful scenery, but one hidden gem shines especially bright. Full of colors that rival our sunset skies and scents that evaporate stress, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is tucked into a lush waterfront spot right next to the Marina. In between beach days on Lido and Siesta Key, you can spend a whole day exploring this downtown treasure, known simply as Selby Gardens or Selby to those with homes in Sarasota. Whether you're planning a romantic date, a fun family outing, or a solo stroll, Selby is the perfect place to do it, and it's open every day except Christmas for your convenience.

Here are some of our favorite ways to make the most of your time at this world-renowned plant conservatory.

Explore the Children's Rainforest Garden

One of Selby's newest and most impressive sections is the Ann Goldstein's Children's Rainforest Garden. This interactive space is designed to simulate the biological richness and cool tranquility of the rainforest, while turning every spot into a hands-on learning opportunity for kids. Your kids will love the 12-foot-tall waterfall that splashes into a tranquil pool, the century-old Banyan tree that offers ample natural shade and seating, and the swinging rope bridges that stretch overhead for bird's eye views of the canopy and garden. You'll love the way Selby integrates biology and ecology lessons into their all-natural play areas, which also include special thatched research huts and an outdoor classroom.

Take an Art, Landscaping, or Yoga Class

Your day in the garden could also be a learning experience – if you enroll in one of Selby's many art, wellness, or horticulture classes. Join Yoga in the Gardens for an early morning stretch session, hone your photography skills on Tripod Tuesday, or pick a watercolor class that matches your experience level. Or if you want to learn how to landscape your Sarasota home, take a gardening class that focuses on orchids, bamboo, succulents, or another Florida-friendly theme. Selby's educational opportunities include one-off classes and season-long series, so you can choose how much time to commit.

Walk Among the Butterflies & Ferns

Everything at Selby serves a purpose beyond looking pretty, but the plants and flowers in front of Payne Mansion have a magical role: attracting butterflies. Visit the Butterfly Garden after touring the historic mansion, and meet dozens of colorful guests who drop in every day to enjoy the gorgeous plant life. Then stroll over to the Fern Garden for another blissfully serene experience. Just follow the circular path around the low-lying and towering ferns, which flourish in Sarasota's subtropical climate and show off a wide range of scents, textures, and colors.

Selby Gardens View

Follow the Mangroves for Waterfront Views

Make sure you stay until Selby closes, because the waterfront location makes for perfect evening views of Sarasota Bay, downtown Sarasota, and Bird Key. Three different mangrove species are native to the region's shorelines, and Selby's boardwalk meanders through grand examples of all of them. Enjoy the black, white, and red mangroves as you follow the wooden path along the shoreline, to a spectacular lookout spot right on Sarasota Bay. Selby hosts a Fourth of July party every year to take full advantage of these stunning bayfront views.

When you live in Sarasota, you have year-round access to this lush retreat and its schedule of fun and educational events. Our REALTORS® in Sarasota can help you find the perfect home to landscape in our subtropical beach town. Contact Wagner Realty to get started today.

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Amazing Fourth of July Events in Sarasota

How Sarasota Celebrates the Red, White and Blue

July 4 Events Sarasota

When the night sky lights up this Fourth of July, where will you be? For families with homes in Sarasota, it's hard to get this answer wrong. Siesta Key's explosive Independence Day celebration has drawn thousands for the past 26 years, but the country's best beach isn't the only place to be on Tuesday, July 4. Our gardens, parks, and restaurants also offer world-class waterfront views and patriotic celebrations this Fourth, so you can choose your view every year.

If you live or plan to buy a house in the Sarasota-Bradenton area, just pick which body of water you want to see sparkle, and settle in for a full day or evening of Fourth of July fun. Here are some of our favorite spots to celebrate:

Siesta Key Public Beach

It's no surprise that Sarasota's most popular fireworks show happens right on its famous white sand beach. The 27th annual Siesta Key Fourth of July Fireworks start at 9:15 PM this year, and the explosives last at least a full half hour, with colors and shapes that rival even the most picturesque Siesta Key sunsets. The Chamber of Commerce's official celebration is always on Siesta Key Public Beach, but if you want to beat the crowds and enjoy unbeatable views, go a little south of the public area, toward Crescent Beach.

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

A lush, tropical retreat in the middle of downtown Sarasota, the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens are nearly surrounded by Sarasota Bay and the Hudson Bayou. They take advantage of their stellar views of multiple fireworks displays over Sarasota Bay, with an evening party that features live music, a cookout, and cool drinks. The All-American Cookout starts at 6, but free trolleys bound for Selby start leaving the Sarasota Friendship Center at 5 PM.

PIER 22 in Bradenton

Would you rather skip the beach and city crowds, and take in some waterfront fireworks at a slower pace? Head north to Bradenton's PIER 22, a literal pier that juts right out onto Manatee River for unbeatable waterfront views. This Fourth of July, the restaurant is hosting a buffet-style barbecue and waterside fireworks display. Come to PIER 22 at 6 PM for the Independence Day buffet, a single seating event that coincides with the explosions over the river.

Bayfront Park & Marina Jack Trail

The fireworks over Sarasota Bay are visible from both sides of the causeway, but the best views are from the edge of the marina, where family-friendly Bayfront Park pokes out into the water. Grab dinner and drinks at Marina Jack or O'Leary's Tiki Bar & Grill, then walk the Marina Jack Trail along the perimeter of this small but beautiful bayfront park. The fireworks over Sarasota Bay will begin at around 9 PM this Fourth of July, so grab a bench or spread a blanket and enjoy the spectacular show.

Before the Fireworks: Sarasota Jungle Gardens

Looking for a family-friendly distraction before the fireworks begin? Sarasota Jungle Gardens is right on the Bay near Ringling Museum and New College of Florida, and it's an interactive wonderland with flamingos, alligators, and lush landscapes where kids can frolic and adults can relax and take in waterfront views. Kids' admission is half off from Saturday, July 1 through Tuesday, July 4, making it the perfect pre-fireworks destination for Sarasota families.

Are you interested in buying a house in Sarasota? Contact Wagner Realty for more information about our beautiful beach town and its fun, lively neighborhoods. One of our REALTORS® in Sarasota will help you get started on your real estate journey. 

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Male Versus Female Differences in Buying a House

Gender Difference Buying a Home
As a modern thinker, you probably believe that men and women are pretty much the same under the surface. Unfortunately, that's not true. When you're selling your home, it's important to realize that a few traditional men vs. women differences are alive and well and they can affect the sale of your home. Our REALTORS® view these differences as a challenge. As we market your home, we work with you to prevent them from becoming a roadblock to selling your home.

Man vs. Woman: Together But Different

When significant others search for their dream home, they scan listings, discuss properties and attend open houses together. Only as they examine each property with a critical eye, do their male versus female homeowner value systems clash. Couples often follow a pattern documented by real estate researchers. They arrive together to view your home but they look for different things.

  • Women require safety
    When a woman home-buyer searches for a good neighborhood, safety is her primary concern. She wants to feel secure in her home and anxiety-free if she takes an evening stroll through her neighborhood.

    A man will choose convenience over safety. An occasional police run in his neighborhood doesn't bother him as long as his favorite eating and drinking spots are within walking distance.

  • Women want friends and family nearby
    Women are friendlier than men. (It's not a stereotype if it's true.) Women want friends and family nearby. They want their homes to be a hub for friendly gatherings and family fun.

    Men, don't care whether friends and family live nearby. They just want to live close to their workplace and they want neat and quiet neighbors.

  • Women want demographic sameness
    A woman prefers neighbors whose work and social lives mirror her own. If she has a young family, she wants to live near other young families. If she's a retiree, she wants retiree neighbors.

    Men don't care about demographics as long as their neighbors don't cause conflict.

  • Women like white paint and sunlight
    Women home buyers prefer an open floor plan, blank white walls, and rooms bathed in a generous infusion of light.

    Men think den. That usually means dark wood, dark fabric, and dark leather.

  • Women want spacious bedrooms
    A woman wants a boudoir, a bedroom with dreamscape potential. She prefers an abundance of space, a luxurious bath, generous closets, and plenty of room for anything else she desires.

    Men don't mind a compact bedroom as long as there's space enough to do whatever they want in other areas of the house.

  • Women want space in the kitchen too
    When a woman home-buyer looks at a kitchen, she contemplates cooking and entertaining. She wonders if the layout is big enough and efficient enough for smooth meal preparation.

    A man explores a kitchen looking for updated fixtures and high-tech gadget potential: electronic ovens, trendy built-ins appliances, and wireless-connected refrigerators.

  • Women look at the inspection bottom line
    Women review inspection reports for conclusions. They just want to know if everything is okay. They don't need to know the details.

    Men prefer to avoid handyman specials. They prevent this by scrutinizing every detail an inspector writes about electrical, plumbing, HVAC, roofing, and other critical home systems.

We're Here to Help

When you're struggling with man versus woman home buying difficulties, our real estate agents can help you overcome them by presenting your home in the best possible light. Contact us for more information about the realities of selling your home.