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November
28

Quick Home Improvement Projects You Can Complete Before 2023

Home Projects

Autumn is in full swing, which means the year is drawing to an end. If you're like a lot of homeowners, you started off the year with a long list of home improvement projects, and you didn't complete as many as planned. But have no fear — there's still time to turn things around. Our real estate agents are excited to share some quick home improvement projects you can still complete by the end of the year.

  • Paint a Room
    Is there a room in your home that just looks a bit drab and outdated? Change things up with a fresh coat of paint.

    To get professional results, make sure you use a good-quality primer and let it dry completely before applying the paint. Start by "cutting in" around the edges with a paintbrush, then use a roller to paint the flats of the walls.

  • Power Wash Your Walkways
    Concrete and stone walking paths tend to become caked with algae and grime. Use a power washer to blast this all away. Start with a good concrete cleaner applied with the low-pressure setting. Let it sit for about 10 minutes, then rinse it away with the high-pressure setting.

  • Update Cabinet Hardware
    Replacing your cabinet hardware is a fun, quick way to give your kitchen a facelift. Replace older, dated hardware with new, nickel, or brushed bronze hardware. All you need is a screwdriver and some patience. 

  • Replace Your Switchplate Covers
    If you have boring, white, or beige switchplate covers, consider replacing them with more interesting, decorative ones. You can pick a different switchplate cover to suit the theme of each room. For instance, you may want a train-themed one in your child's bedroom and one with sunflowers on it for your sunroom. 

  • Create a Chalkboard Wall
    This project works well in a home office or even in a child's playroom. Purchase a bucket of chalkboard paint, and use it to paint one wall. You will probably have to use two coats, so plan for several hours of drying time between coats. Use a roller so the paint goes on as smoothly as possible. You or your kids can then write or draw on this wall with dust-free chalk. 

  • Paint Your Front Door
    If your home's facade could use a makeover, start by simply painting the front door. Choose a different color — one that coordinates with the rest of your home exterior but still stands out. Bright, stand-out front doors are trendy right now, and if you decide you want a different color, later on, you can always re-paint it. Just make sure you use high-quality exterior paint.

  • Replace Your Light Fixtures
    New light fixtures can transform your room! Shop for fixtures that represent your current sense of style, and install them throughout your home. Whether you like hanging light fixtures or flush ones, there are some beautiful options on the market these days.

There's still time to update your new home with some quick projects this year. If you're still searching for the perfect home, don't hesitate to contact us. We'll help you find Bradenton homes for sale and Sarasota homes for sale in time for the new year.

November
21

How to Create a Holiday Charcuterie Board

Holiday Dining Ideas

Whether you're throwing a holiday party or preparing for a relaxing evening at home, a holiday charcuterie board is a delicious addition to your festivities. Our real estate agents suggest following this guide to help you create a tasty holiday charcuterie board. 

  • Select Your Charcuterie Board
    You'll need a slab or flat board to house your foods and spreads. While some people use their charcuterie board as a decorative piece, others focus more on functionality. You can invest in a handsome wood or marble charcuterie board, or if you've only got a little time, you can use one of your baking sheets. Make sure your board is suitably-sized for the number of people you plan to serve. A small board is sufficient when preparing for a quiet evening at home. You'll want a board approximately 20 by 15 inches for a larger crowd to ensure you have ample space for everything. 
  • Decide What You Want to Include
    There are no limitations on what you can and can't include on your holiday charcuterie board. You can even create a themed charcuterie board that's perfect for celebrating the holidays after you check out Sarasota homes for sale or after exploring Bradenton homes for sale. Most people include a few types of meat; pepperoni, smoked salmon, turkey, ham, and salami are a few possibilities.

    Add two to three ounces of meat for each person when arranging a snack board and five to six ounces per person for a meal board. Next, decide what kind of cheese you want to incorporate. Select a mix of hard and soft cheeses for variety and better visual appeal. See that your cheeses coordinate well with your meats.

    Spreads and dips are essential for any charcuterie board. Jellies, jams, mustard, relish, ranch, and cheese spreads are just a few alternatives. Include items that can be used to sample the dips, like veggies, fruit, crackers, pretzels, cookies, and bread. Other popular charcuterie items include pickles, olives, nuts, dark chocolate, and milk chocolate candy. Once you know what food items your board will include, you can choose your bowls and spreaders. Look for bowls and spreaders that coordinate with your holiday decor or help set your desired ambiance. 
  • Arrange Your Board
    To arrange your charcuterie board, begin by placing the dips on the board. Next, lay out your meats and cheeses, putting coordinating flavors next to each other. Place fruits, veggies, crackers, and other items near the dips people are most likely to use them with. Keep wet items (like pickles and olives) away from dry foods (such as crackers and bread). Use fruit, veggies, and wrapped candy to fill any sparse areas of your charcuterie board. 

A charcuterie board is a fast, versatile option for a holiday meal or snack. Interested in purchasing a home with more space for your holiday festivities? Or a new kitchen perfect for creating your holiday dishes? Contact us to get started with your search!

November
7

6 Restaurants You'll Love in Downtown Sarasota

Dining Downtown Sarasota

Sarasota has a little bit of everything that makes Florida special, and that includes delicious food. While the area is best known for seafood, there's something for everyone near Sarasota homes for sale. You can try out a new place every week of the year and never run out of things to discover!

Our real estate agents know that having places for a hearty meal, a family outing, or a romantic night out is an important part of enjoying your new community.

Here are some of the local favorites you might like to try:

  1. 1592 Wood Fired Kitchen & Cocktails – 1592 Main Street, Sarasota, FL 34236
    1592 Wood Fired Kitchen & Cocktails has a history as one of Sarasota's most beloved Greek restaurants. It still serves up such Mediterranean favorites as gyro kebabs, chicken souvlaki, and spanakopita, plus it has now expanded into neighboring cuisines. The modern menu includes entries from Portugal, Italy, Syria, and Turkey, among others. Its two-course lunch special is one of the most generous in town.

  2. The Bijou Garden Cafe – 1287 First Street, Sarasota, FL 34236
    The Bijou Garden Cafe has been a Sarasota mainstay since 1986. Owner Jean-Pierre Knaggs gives this warm and welcoming eatery a fusion flair that reflects his own French and South African background. The innovative, seasonal lunch and dinner menus mean you will want to stop in after you take in a day at the museum or a night at the theater. The Cafe's desserts are true works of art!

  3. Cafe Epicure – 1298 North Palm Avenue, Sarasota, FL 34236
    Cafe Epicure brings the spirit of the Italian trattoria to Sarasota, offering simple but robust food in an unfussy setting. Pasta, salads, and pizzas anchor the menu, along with small-plate appetizers. The Cafe touts a fine assortment of wines by the glass, providing terrific pairings with mains such as the chicken Milanese and the carbonara. Carpaccio is the most selected starter. Ask about the chef's specials!

  4. Caragiulos – 69 South Palm Avenue, Sarasota, FL 34236
    If you are looking for a neighborhood pizza place to bring the kids or visiting nephews and nieces, then Caragiulos may be the perfect place for you. Kids can craft their own pizzas out of diverse ingredients while adults savor the homemade Foccacia bread and other specialties. These range in complexity from the unassuming spaghetti and meatball platter to the authentic linguine with clam sauce and lasagna.

  5. C'est La Vie – 1553 Main Street, Sarasota, FL 34236
    C'est La Vie is here to bring the joie de vivre to Sarasota through a slate of French classics handmade with an "Old Country" dedication to craft, artistry, and freshness. Crepes, quiches, and croissants are available warm from the oven, filled or topped as you like it. Ideal for a little Parisian-style sit as you nibble your pastries and a small coffee – or a quick jaunt to take those delectable treats home with you.

  6. Drunken Poet – 1572 Main Street, Sarasota, FL 34236
    As the name suggests, Drunken Poet is a Bohemian cafe and has been known to host poetry (slam and otherwise) on occasion. Here, you'll discover an array of Thai, Japanese, and Chinese dishes, all whipped up from a small kitchen while you wait. It has built up quite a following for its versatile list of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free selections, while meat lovers rave about the Thai crispy duck and lamb shank.

Piqued your appetite? Contact us to find out more about Sarasota and neighboring Bradenton.

October
17

2022 Halloween Safety Tips

Halloween Safety Tips

Halloween is just around the corner! This time of year, it's so much fun to carve pumpkins, make costumes, and of course, go trick-or-treating. Don't let the magic of Halloween be overshadowed by an accident or injury. Our real estate agents have some important tips to help keep everyone in your family safe and well this Halloween season.

  • Put Reflector Strips on Costumes
    Add a few strips of reflective tape to your child's costume. You really only need four: one along the back and front of each leg. This will ensure drivers can see your child as they're walking down the sidewalk. If you're trick-or-treating in an area that's not well-lit, consider attaching clip-on lights to everyone, too.

  • Put Phones Away
    Unfortunately, there are a lot of distracted drivers on Halloween. And even a responsible driver, understandably, might hit you if you accidentally step out into traffic. Minimize the risk of such accidents by keeping your phone in your pocket while you're trick-or-treating. Make sure your kids do the same. The social media updates and shared photos can wait till you get home. 

  • Stick to Familiar Areas
    It can be tempting to explore a new neighborhood as you trick-or-treat, but it's safer to stay in neighborhoods you know well. You and your kids will be more familiar with the traffic flow. You're less likely to get lost or confused, and you'll see more people you know along the way.

  • Make Sure Costumes Fit
    Costumes don't need to fit perfectly, but they should not be so big or long that they drag on the ground and present a tripping hazard. You also don't want the sleeves so long that your child will struggle to hold onto their candy bucket or turn a door handle. So, when possible, have your kids try on their costumes before you buy them.

  • Drive Slowly and Carefully
    You can also keep others safe by doing your part and driving extra carefully on Halloween. Slow down, especially in residential neighborhoods. Turn the music off or down so you can focus. Don't look at your phone while driving, and make sure your kids know they need to be quiet so you can focus behind the wheel.

    If you're wearing a costume, make sure it's one that you can drive comfortably and safely in. You may want to drive in normal clothing and change into your costume at the destination.

  • Stay With Younger Kids and Designate a Meeting Space
    Teenagers can often go trick-or-treating alone. But you should always accompany younger kids. Also, agree on a meetup place. This should be a familiar place that's easy to reach. If anyone does get separated from the group, they can go to the meeting place and meet back up with you there.

With the safety tips above, you can have a happy and safe Halloween. If you're still looking for Bradenton homes for sale or Sarasota homes for sale, don't hesitate to contact us. We can guide you through the process of looking for a home for sale and making an offer.

October
10

Florida Harvest: What's in Season by Month

Florida Harvest

Cooking with seasonal ingredients is one of the best ways to improve the taste and quality of your food. Our real estate agents have been spending a lot of time perfecting their favorite fall recipes, and seasonal ingredients play an important role.  Some of our clients have also been inspired to improve their cooking skills after seeing the big bright kitchens in these Sarasota homes for sale

Because Florida is a tropical climate, our growing season is a bit unique when compared to other areas of the country. The majority of our crops come into season in the fall and winter, which is why now is the best time to start preparing your menu. Here is a quick guide to what's in season by month:

  • November
    As we near the end of fall and those hot temperatures begin to dip, you'll start to see some of Florida's best fruit start to ripen. Mid-to-late November is the start of grapefruit, orange, tangerine, and passion fruit season. Florida is actually one of the leading providers of these crops. You'll also start to see radishes and squash start to mature as well.

  • December - January
    Once December arrives, our grapefruits, oranges, and tangerines are in full season. In addition to our November crops, you'll also start to notice leafy greens like kale, collard greens, lettuce, and broccoli become ready for harvest. These are all great ingredients to use as healthy side dishes or to work into stews.

  • February - March 
    Spring starts early in Florida, and so does the spring harvest. Once February rolls around, it's time to start picking your typical spring fruits and vegetables like strawberries, papaya, tomatoes, potatoes, corn, cauliflower, celery, and cucumbers. These crops remain in season all the way through May.

  • April - May 
    Towards the end of spring and early into the summer is when you'll start to see hot summer temperatures set in, and some of the more tropical fruit start to flourish. Expect to see fresh blueberries, cantaloupe, and watermelons at the grocery down the street from these Bradenton homes for sale. This is a great time to eat guava, lychees, and longan as well. 

  • June - October
    In mid-to-late summer, tropical Florida weather and the hottest temperatures usually bring an end to the harvest season. However, some fruits like mangos and grapefruit continue to thrive during this time of year. Also, some crops, such as tomatoes, peanuts, avocados, and mushrooms, are in season all year long.

For the freshest produce possible, be sure to stop by the Sarasota Farmers Market, or if you live closer to Siesta Key homes for sale, there's the Siesta Key Farmers Market

Knowing what's in season in your area can help you ensure your family is eating the freshest ingredients all year long. Our climate supports long harvest seasons throughout most of the year. Contact us today to schedule a tour of one of our local listings.

October
3

DIY a Barn Door With These 7 Steps

Barn Door Tips

Barn doors look lovely in country chic homes and even in some cottage-style houses. They work well as closet doors, pantry doors, and even as laundry room doors. While there are plenty of pre-made barn doors for sale, making your own barn door is a fun project — and a great way to personalize your new home! Follow these steps from our real estate agents to make your own barn door.

  1. Purchase and Mount the Hardware
    Your barn door will need a track to slide on. Visit a home improvement store, and look for a barn door track in your preferred style. You want it to be at least 4 inches wider than the door opening. Follow the instructions on the package to mount the garage door. Screw it directly into the wall studs for maximum security.

  2. Measure and Cut the Vertical Boards
    To determine the width of your door, measure the door opening and add 4 inches. Measure the height of your door, start at the track, and measure down to the floor. Subtract 1/2 inch so the door has plenty of clearance over the floor.

    With these measurements in hand, start cutting your boards down to size. For a simple barn door, it is easiest to use 1 x 6" pine shiplap boards. They are inexpensive and take stain well. If your door width is not a multiple of 6, then you will need to cut one or more boards width-wise. 

  3. Cut the Horizontal Boards
    In addition to your vertical boards, you will need three boards to stretch horizontally across the door. Cut these as long as your door is wide.

  4. Sand Everything
    Once your boards are cut down to length, sand them well. Start with coarse sandpaper, such as 50- or 60-grit. Then, go over the boards again with a fine, 100-grit sandpaper. You can sand the boards as smoothly as you like. Leave them a little rougher for a more rustic look, but be sure there are no patches rough enough to cause splinters.

  5. Assemble Your Door
    Lay your sanded, vertical boards out on the floor, side by side, in the shape of your final door. Then, lay the horizontal boards across them. One horizontal board should go across the top and another across the bottom. The third should stretch across the middle. Measure to make sure it is properly placed. 

    Have someone help you hold the boards in place as you drive screws through the horizontal boards, down into the vertical boards.

  6. Stain the Door
    The great thing about making your own barn door is that it can be any color you like. Choose a stain you love. Apply it according to the instructions on the tub or can. Usually, you have to apply the stain, wipe off the excess, and let it dry for a day before handling the project again.

  7. Mount the Hardware
    This is the final step. Once your stained door is dry, mount the sliders to the top of the door. Usually, they will hook over the door, and you'll secure them with a couple of screws.

    When the hardware is in place, have a friend or family member help you lift the door and hook the sliders over the wall-mounted hardware. Slide the door from side to side, step back, and admire your good work.

With these instructions, you'll have a DIY barn door to be proud of. If you're still looking for the perfect home for your barn door, contact us. We'll help you find incredible Sarasota homes for sale and Bradenton homes for sale in your style.

September
19

Plan Ahead for Fall Fun in Sarasota

sarasota fall

Fall is when temperatures start to cool off in the Sarasota area, but the end of summer doesn't mean the fun is over on the Florida Gulf Coast. In fact, it's quite the opposite. 

The arrival of fall brings a plethora of fun outdoor festivals, markets, and events in Sarasota and Bradenton. It's good timing because fall is the perfect season to spend time outside in Florida. These are some of the upcoming events that our real estate agents are most excited about.

  • Fruitville Grove Pumpkin Fest - 7410 Fruitville Rd, Sarasota, FL 34240
    Fruitville Grove Farm is one of the best fresh vegetable growers in the Sarasota area, and we always look forward to their pumpkin season! This year marks the 34th iteration of Fruitville Grove's annual Pumpkin Fest, which takes place every weekend throughout October. In addition to an amazing selection of pick-your-own pumpkins, the festival also includes rides, vendors, a petting zoo, and live entertainment just minutes from these Sarasota homes for sale.

  • Beer, Bands & BBQ - 7289 Palmer Blvd, Sarasota, FL 34240
    The annual Beer, Bands & BBQ festival has become a local favorite since it first began in 2015. The festival is returning yet again on October 1, and it promises to be a great time! As always, you can expect some killer blues and rock bands, as well as BBQ-inspired food trucks and a great selection of local, craft, and domestic beer on draft. 

  • Hunsader Farms Pumpkin Festival - 5500 Co Rd 675, Bradenton, FL 34211
    Open annually from September to June, Hunsader Farms grows a stunning array of crops that change with the seasons. Pumpkin season is a big deal here, and we're happy to report that Hunsader's Pumpkin Festival is returning in 2022 for its 31st year. Just a short drive from many Bradenton homes for sale, the festival includes arts and crafts, pony and hay wagon rides, live music, great food, and a wide range of pumpkin-themed festivities on October 15-16, 22-23, and 29-30.

  • 16th Annual Hungarian Festival - 3000 Ringling Blvd, Sarasota, FL 34237
    We're really looking forward to the 16th Annual Hungarian Festival on October 15-16, 2022! It's the largest Hungarian festival in Florida, highlighting unique Hungarian cuisine, art, music, and dance. The festival returns this year to the Sarasota Fairgrounds and offers two days packed with fun and family-friendly performances, demonstrations, crafts, games, and more. 

  • Fall Festival at University Town Center - 140 University Town Center Dr, Sarasota, FL 34243
    Sarasota's Fall Festival at University Town Center was a big hit in 2021, and now it's coming back for its second year! The festival takes place on October 22-23 on the Mall at UTC and will include a pumpkin patch, carnival rides, a Lil Mr & Miss Pumpkin Pageant, and a wide range of fall-themed activities and photo stops. Attendees can also explore more than 40 market vendors and get refreshments at the food and beer trucks.

  • Sarasota Rocktoberfest - 199 Bayfront Dr, Sarasota, FL 34236
    The annual Sarasota Rocktoberfest makes a strong case for how much fun you can have when you combine a traditional German Oktoberfest celebration with a modern American rock music festival. It's a lot of fun! The festival returns to Downtown Sarasota on October 14-16. Enjoy exciting live music while you sample German specialties like Schweinshaxe (roasted ham hock), Knodel (potato or flour dumplings), and Kasespatzel (cheese noodles).

Contact us today to learn more about life in coastal Florida. If you're on the search for your dream home, our real estate agents are dedicated to helping you find it in Sarasota, Bradenton, and the surrounding areas. 

September
12

Benefits of Utilizing a Rental Program

Rental Program

Renting out a home, condo, or other housing can be a great source of additional income, whether you're dealing in short-term vacation rentals or properties that are leased annually. But with the potential for profit also comes a great deal of work, from finding the right tenants to collecting rent and maintaining your property. The tasks associated with renting out your property are not only time-consuming, but it's also easy for something to go wrong.

That's why our company - through our real estate agents and a team of rental experts - offers a property management program to make things easier for you if you're renting out your property. In fact, our team currently manages more than 1,200 properties, including annuals, short/long term, and vacation rentals in Manatee and Sarasota Counties. The following are some of the benefits of utilizing a rental program.

  • Expertise
    Our company has over 8 decades of rental experience, and we offer full-service property management services. Even if you're an experienced landlord, our experience, expertise, and convenient services can help you get the most out of your rental property.

  • Competitive Pricing
    We'll use our market data and rental rate data, as well as our professional knowledge of the current real estate rental market, to help you set the optimal rental price. Correct pricing will help you maximize your profits while also making it more likely that your home is rented quickly.

  • Marketing
    You'll need effective marketing that reaches the best potential tenants for your property. We provide this in a variety of ways, starting with utilizing our property management software to syndicate your property's listing out to multiple websites, including online booking sites. If it's needed, we can also purchase additional advertising.

  • Tenant Screening
    Taking the proper steps to research a prospective tenant can go a long way toward avoiding problems. We'll require them to fill out a fee-based rental application and will then conduct a background check on criminal, credit, eviction, and sexual predator records. In addition, we'll require proof of income and will contact previous landlords and employers.

  • Pre-Rental and Post-Rental Inspections
    Before a tenant moves into your home, we'll take detailed date-stamped photos to provide evidence of your home's condition. We'll do the same when the tenant moves out, and if they've damaged your home, we'll let them know and will adjust their security deposit accordingly.

  • Coordination of Repairs
    At some point, your property will need a repair of some sort. We have relationships with qualified service people and will work with them to assure that you receive the best quality of work at a good price. And since some repair emergencies happen after hours, we're available for these types of calls 24/7.

  • Consistent Payment Processing and Disbursement
    We'll monitor and process all your rent money, and you'll have the security of knowing you'll receive your payments when expected.

  • Communication
    Our property managers will frequently communicate with you, so you're kept up-to-date on everything and will have the chance to express any concerns or ask any questions.

  • Help to Comply with Applicable Laws
    Depending on where it's located, you may need a permit in order to operate your property as a rental unit. In addition, we'll make sure you understand the legalities of consent forms, lease agreements, and Fair Housing laws.

Contact us to see Sarasota homes for sale or Bradenton homes for sale or learn more about how our rental program can help you maximize your profits and minimize your problems. 

September
6

Sarasota & Bradenton Community Theater Productions

community theater

Theater season is just around the corner, and our real estate agents are already excited about the upcoming performances. Community theater is so important in our area as it serves as both a fun escape and an artistic platform for our local performers. This year's calendar is full of musicals, dramas, comedies, and even family performances, so there is sure to be something for everyone. Here are a few of the highlights that we're looking forward to the most:

Players Centre 
Located just down the road from these Sarasota homes for sale is the Players Centre. This wonderful community theater hosts everything from musicals to smaller productions and provides local artists and performers with an outlet to express creativity. Here are some of the performances in the upcoming season:

  • Side By Side: September 8 - 18
    A Tony Award-winning musical is funny, heartbreaking, and full of emotion. Side By Side follows an influential artist's search for the meaning of life. 
  • Little Shop Of Horrors: October 6 - 16
    One of the most creative and popular theater performances ever created, Little Shop of Horrors, is the story of a man who sacrifices his morals in search of fame and in the process creates a man-eating plant.
  • Miracle on 34th Street: December 1 - 11
    A classic Christmas movie comes to life on stage as a girl's belief brings validity to a department store Santa. 
  • Proof - January 12 - 22
    A Tony Award-winning drama portrays the life of a young woman coming to terms with her own identity after growing up with a famous but unstable father. 
  • Always...Patsy Cline - February 2 - 12
    This show is dedicated to the famous singer Patsy Cline who was killed in a plane crash in 1963. The performance tells the story of Cline's friendship with a fan.

Venice Theater
One of the largest community theaters in the country, the Venice Theater is conveniently located near Venice homes for sale. It hosts dozens of performances throughout the year. Here are some of the highlights of this upcoming season:

  • The Revolutionists - September 16 - October 2
    This performance tells the story of four women beheaded during the French Revolution. 
  • Kinky Boots - October 21 - November 2
    Winner of 6 Tony Awards, Kinky Boots is a classic musical with an emphasis on friendship, fashion, and diversity as well as many big hits.
  • A Christmas Carol -  Dec 9 - 20
    A classic the whole family will enjoy during the holiday season.
  • The Cemetery Club: January 20 - February 12
    A popular Broadway production, this romantic comedy is about the lives of three women who meet for tea prior to visiting their husbands' graves.

Manatee Performing Arts Center
With a history spanning back to 1947, Manatee Performing Arts Center has delighted visitors and locals with stage productions near Bradenton homes for sale. There are many different ways to catch a show on their stage, but theater fans can keep their calendar full with shows when signing up for their 22-23 Manatee Players Musical Series. Musicals in that series include:

  • Gypsy - October
  • The Music Man - December
  • Next to Normal - January
  • Company - March
  • Sunset Boulevard - April/May

The best part about seeing a community theater performance? When you love the community that you live in!  Contact us today for more information on local listings.

August
15

National Thrift Shop Day: Score Secondhand Treasures at These Shops

Thrift Shops in Sarasota

August 17th is an important day: National Thrift Shop Day! Thrift shops are a great place to discover secondhand treasures. You can save money, donate to a good cause, and give new life to things that might otherwise have been discarded. The best part of this holiday, of course, is celebrating by visiting a thrift shop. Our real estate agents recommend checking out one of these stores in the Sarasota area.

  • World's Attic Thrift Shop: 700 N. Beneva Rd., Sarasota, FL 34232
    World's Attic Thrift Shop
    has a great selection of men's and women's clothing. They also have an area with accessories, such as purses and jewelry, along with a few aisles of home goods. This would be a great place to pick up a lamp, some wall hangings, or holiday decor.

    This thrift shop is open Monday - Saturday. If you have something to donate, stop by Tuesday - Friday between 10 am and 3 pm.

  • Sunshine Thrift Store: 3611 1st Street E #230, Bradenton, FL 34208
    If you happen to be looking at Bradenton homes for sale on National Thrift Shop Day, stop by Sunshine Thrift Store. This is a large thrift store with more than 30,000 items in stock at any given time. Their clothing selection is very well organized by gender, clothing type, and colors, so you should have an easy time finding what you need.

    Sunshine Thrift Shop also has a good selection of housewares, linens, and furniture. They're open 7 days a week.

  • Fabulous Finds Thrift Shop: 1038 North Orange Avenue, Sarasota, FL 34323
    Fabulous Finds Thrift Shop is a good place to look for secondhand designer clothing, unique furnishings, and boutique accessories. They get a lot of items from theater groups and hobbyists, setting them apart from the average thrift store.

    Fabulous Finds is open Monday - Saturday, and they're near plenty of Sarasota homes for sale. So, you may want to do a little house hunting while you're in the area.

  • Habitat for Humanity Sarasota ReStore: 2095 17th St., Sarasota, FL 34234
    Habitat for Humanity Sarasota ReStore is a thrift shop that sells donated items to the public. The proceeds go to support the work of Habitat for Humanity, an organization that builds homes for those in need.

    This is a huge thrift store with more than 17,500 square feet of retail space. In addition to the typical clothing and accessories, you'll find light fixtures, appliances, patio furniture, and tools. This is a great place to shop when trying to equip a new home or decorate your yard and garden.

  • SPARCC Treasure Chest: 1426 Fruitville Rd., Sarasota, FL 34236
    SPARCC Treasure Chest is a thrift store whose proceeds are used to fund SPARCC programs. SPARCC, or Safe Place and Rape Crisis Center, exists to provide victims of rape and other crimes with safety, resources, and assistance.

    At this thrift store, you'll find terrific deals on clothing. They have special 50% off deals every day. This is a great place to shop for jewelry as they have lots of trendy, stylish items at affordable prices. Sometimes, you'll even stumble upon a nice dresser, small appliance, lamp, or decorative dish set.

Whether you stop by one or several of these thrift stores on National Thrift Shop Day, we hope you find some awesome treasures. Maybe your visit will inspire you to make thrifting a more regular part of your routine. If you're new to the Sarasota area and looking for a place to call home, contact us. Our friendly agents can help you navigate the local housing market.

August
1

Take a Sunrise Walk in Manatee County

Trails in Manatee County

The early bird may get the worm, but the early riser around Bradenton homes for sale gets something much better: spectacular sunrise views. Our real estate agents love to start their day with an early morning walk along these Manatee County trails.

  • Lake Manatee State Park - 20007 State Rd. 64 E., Bradenton, FL 34212
    Ironically, you won't actually see any manatees at Lake Manatee State Park. The dam which created the lake prevents these aquatic mammals from gaining access. But the 4.5 miles of pet-friendly trails that follow the lakeshore offer a number of equally captivating views. Watch the rising sun peek through the native plants as you keep an eye open for wildlife sightings. If you want a different perspective, paddle across the lake in a canoe or kayak. Hours are 8 a.m. - sundown daily, and admission is $5 per vehicle. 

  • Palma Sola Botanical Park - 9800 17th Ave. NW, Bradenton, FL 34209
    Palma Sola Botanical Park is a beautiful place to start your day. Thanks to the park's protected warm microclimate, the grounds are full of rare palms, flowering trees, and a variety of subtropical plants. Prior to 1990, the grounds served as the Manatee County Nursery. Dedicated community groups, with the help of the Bradenton Herald, gathered enough support to turn the property into the botanical park that exists today. Those who want a more vigorous workout can take part in Yoga in the Park on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday. Palma Sola is open daily from 8 a.m. - dusk, and admission is free.

  • De Soto National Memorial - 8300 De Soto Memorial Hwy., Bradenton, FL 34209
    Walk in the footsteps of some of the earliest visitors to Florida at De Soto National Memorial. The park's nature trail passes along the shoreline through several different ecosystems. Interpretive signage along the trails provides fascinating information about de Soto's expedition and the site's natural history. Spring and fall are good times to see birds on their seasonal migration. Leashed dogs are welcome. Park hours are dawn to dusk, seven days a week, and there is no charge for admission.

  • Robinson Preserve - 1704 99th St., Bradenton, FL 34209
    Savor an unforgettable bird's-eye view that goes clear across to Sarasota homes for sale at Robinson Preserve. The main attraction for hikers is a five-story observation tower that looks out over Tampa Bay, Anna Maria Island, and Fort De Soto. Prefer to stay close to the ground? There are still plenty of sights to enjoy on these 487-acre grounds that were once farmland. Explore the network of mud flats, mangrove swamps, and beaches with Fido by your side. Hours are 8 a.m. - sunset daily.

  • Coquina Baywalk - 2651 Gulf Dr. S., Bradenton Beach, FL 34217
    Don't have time for a lengthy outing? Coquina Baywalk, just minutes from Bradenton Beach homes for sale, packs a lot of quality into a trail that measures just under a mile. Check out the secluded observation decks nestled among the mangroves for some impressive views of the bay. Coquina Baywalk is open seven days a week from dawn until dusk, and admission is free.

The sun always shines on homes in Manatee County. Contact us at Wagner Realty for experienced and dedicated help buying or selling your home.

July
25

Cool Off With Shaved Ice Near Bradenton

Shaved Ice Bradenton

Fun in the sun also means knowing how to cool off – and our real estate agents have some ideas.

Crunching on ice is a classic way to stay cool and hydrated in the heat of a Florida summer, but it's not very fun. What if you could have all the important benefits and enjoy a refreshing dessert at the same time. The secret is shaved ice, one of the most beloved sweet treats anywhere in the Sunshine State.

Whether you're interested in Bradenton homes for sale or prefer Sarasota homes for sale, you'll find plenty of places for shaved ice in these twin cities. And you don't have to wait for the ice cream truck! Instead, there are lots of frozen dessert parlors, bakeries, and more all waiting to serve you.

Let's take a peek at some of the places to find shaved ice in and around these sister cities:

  • Coco Joe's Italian Ice – 5120 Manatee Avenue West, Bradenton, FL 34209
    Coco Joe's Italian Ice is one of the original names in Italian ice here in Manatee County. Around the area since 1995, it is built around a family recipe that founder Joe brought from Philadelphia. When you visit the shop, you'll be treated to a wonderland of Italian ice, gelato, custard, root beer floats, sundaes, and "The Big Nanner," a frozen and chocolate-dipped banana. Coco Joe's even offers catering.

  • Kona Ice of Manatee County – See Website for Location Details
    Kona Ice of Manatee County is a sweet treat shop on wheels you can distinguish by its iconic tropical music. With more than 50 flavors, there's something for everyone. You can even choose a sugar-free or 100% dye-free option. In a hurry? A visit to Kona Ice might take only a few seconds since the top ten most popular flavors are all set up for self-service. Kona Ice frequently holds special events, too.

  • Vampire Penguin Shaved Snow & Desserts – 4976 South Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34231
    Vampire Penguin Shaved Snow & Desserts specializes in light, fluffy, and creamy desserts you'll develop a craving for. Open every day to 8 p.m. or 9 p.m., you're welcome to pop in any time or issue your order through the website. Snazzy specials such as the strawberry cheesecake delight new and return visitors alike, and there are plenty of options for add-ons and mix-ins no matter what you decide to get.

  • Pelican's Snoballs – 806 6th Street West, Palmetto, FL 34221
    If you are searching for shaved ice near Palmetto homes for sale, you need to look no further than Pelican's Snoballs. Now open every day from 12 noon to 9 p.m., thanks to increased demand, the quintessential "snoball" experience can be invited to your own party or other events. Signature Snoballs include nine perennial favorites, with the pink cotton candy "Unicorn" being the #1 most requested pick.

  • Green Zebra Cafe – 1377 Main Street, Sarasota, FL 34236
    With two locations in Sarasota, including one on Main Street and another not far from the world-famous Ringling Museum, Green Zebra Cafe has a wide-ranging menu that's more than just shaved ice. Open for brunch and dinner, it has won "Best Breakfast" and "Best Lunch" awards from local Sarasota magazines. Its desserts are also acclaimed and are as tasty as they are beautifully plated.

  • Jeremiah's of Bradenton – 2525 Manatee Avenue West, Bradenton, FL 34205
    A popular chain offering fantastic shaved ice has found a new home in Bradenton. Recently opened, Jeremiah's of Bradenton is already a hit among locals. While the list of flavors is constantly being updated, you can head to this shop knowing you'll find a treat perfect for helping you cool off. Current flavors include blueberry, mango, cotton candy, and peach.

Contact us to find out more about Florida real estate.

July
18

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

Real Estate Tips

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July
11

Beaches Your Dog Will Enjoy in Sarasota

Sarasota Beaches

Our real estate agents find that Florida's incredible natural beauty is even more special when they share it with their best four-legged friend. Head out for a great day with your pet at one of these dog-friendly beaches near Sarasota.

  • Brohard Paw Park - 1850 Harbor Dr. S., Venice, FL 34285
    Brohard Paw Park, located just minutes from Venice homes for sale, is the Riviera Coast of dog-friendly beaches. After romping in the leash-free fenced-in park, Fido can head to the adjacent beach for a refreshing dip. There are drinking fountains, trash receptacles, and showers, along with an accessible boardwalk and plenty of benches and picnic tables where humans can have lunch or just relax as their pets have fun. Park hours are 7 a.m. - dusk daily.

  • De Soto National Memorial Beach - 8300 De Soto Memorial Hwy., Bradenton, FL 34209
    Bring your leashed pet along to explore De Soto National Memorial Beach, not far from Bradenton homes for sale. The stunning hiking path meanders around a number of different ecosystems, such as a mangrove forest, just like the ones the first visitors found. Afterward, the two of you can cool off wading in the waters of Tampa Bay. Park grounds are open from dawn to dusk, but note that the parking lot gates close at 5 p.m. Admission is free for all guests.

  • Palma Sola Causeway Park - 9000 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton, FL 34209
    Once you and your precious pooch visit delightful Palma Sola Causeway Park, you may never want to leave. Dogs and horses alike can be found, along with their humans, traversing the sandy stretches of this waterfront area. Visitors give the park high marks for the clean, well-maintained grounds and peaceful ambiance. Grills are available, so pack a picnic lunch with plenty of doggie treats. Palma Sola is open seven days a week from sunrise to sunset.

  • Indian Beach Park - 2703 Bay Shore Rd., Sarasota, FL 34234
    Tucked right in the center of the magnificent Sarasota Bayfront, Indian Beach Park packs a lot of activity into its single acre of land. The prime location makes it a popular spot for launching kayaks and canoes, while many others come to try their hand at fishing. Wind down after a long day by taking in some amazing sunset views with Fido at your side. Hours are 5 a.m. - 11 p.m. daily.

  • Bayfront Park - 5 Bayfront Dr., Sarasota, FL 34236
    Are you into multitasking? Culture, education, and entertainment meet head-on at Bayfront Park. One of the prominent features is the recently installed bioswale, designed to capture and treat stormwater runoff from surrounding surfaces. See if you can identify cabbage palm, mangrove spider lily, and other native plants inside the bioswale. Take a stroll with Fido to see the charming art installations, including Olympic Wannabees, Dolphin Fountain, and Ominous Ikon 69. Bayfront Park also offers opportunities for kayaking, canoeing, and fishing. Plans are underway to design and rebuild an upgrade to the kids' fountain on-site. Park hours are 5 a.m. - 11 p.m., seven days a week.

Contact us at Wagner Realty for cheerful and experienced assistance with all your real estate needs.

June
20

Add These Features to Your Pool

Pool Tips for Summer

Having a pool gives you a quick, enjoyable way to cool off in the summer. We've seen so many lovely Bradenton homes for sale and Sarasota homes for sale with pools. If you buy a home with a pool, you should know there are plenty of ways to customize your pool and pool area, making it feel more like your own. Here are a few features to think about adding.

  • Slides
    A slide can be an awesome addition to your pool. People often think of slides as being for kids, but there are models large enough for adults to use, too. A straight slide gives you the perfect way to make a splash with your entrance. A longer, spiral slide can be fun for older, more independent kids to play on. Keep in mind that water slides are usually only recommended for deeper pools since landing in shallow water can be dangerous.

  • Bubblers
    If you want to create a peaceful, relaxing environment in your pool, consider adding a bubbler to one corner. The gentle bubbles that emerge will mander through the water before rising to the surface and gently popping. Surround this corner of your pool with plants, and you have the perfect little resting spot.

  • Spillways
    A spillway is basically like an artificial waterfall built into one wall of the pool. It's typically mounted a foot or two above the water level so the water can come tumbling out and land in the pool. The sound of the tumbling water adds to your ambiance, and it can be fun to splash around under the spillway.

  • LED Lighting
    Swimming at night can be much more fun with LED lights in your pool. Most of these lights are color-changing. You can set them to rotate through colors every few minutes, or you can select a color for them to remain all night. Imagine lighting your pool up blue and red for Independence Day or green for St. Patrick's Day. LED lights are also energy-efficient, so you can feel good about this eco-friendly pool addition.

  • A Fountain
    If your pool has more of a classic look, you may want to add a fountain to its design. You can find fountains that feature sculptures of everything from fish to Greek gods. Pick one that coordinates with the rest of your landscape as a way of making your pool feel like a more integrated part of the yard.

  • Natural Rock Waterfalls
    Many pool companies will come to add natural rock waterfalls to the edges of pools. They can create a unique pile of rocks and hide a pump inside them. Water will tumble down over the rocks, creating a peaceful experience. You may want to have some built-in seats added near the waterfall so you can enjoy a close-up view more often.

  • Outdoor Shower
    Hygiene is important, even when you're in your own private pool. Showering before you get in the pool can help conserve the chlorine and keep the pH levels in check. Showering after you get out of the pool can rinse the chlorine off your skin, so you don't feel too dry. There are plenty of freestanding pool showers that can be installed just outside or next to the pool. You and your guests can then rinse off quickly while dressed in your bathing suits.

With the right features, your pool will become one of your favorite parts of your home. If you're still looking for the perfect Florida home with a pool, our real estate agents can help. Contact us to learn more about our services.

June
13

Minor League Baseball in Bradenton

Baseball Bradenton

Baseball season is upon us, but you don't need to go to a Major League game to enjoy excitement and fun. Our real estate agents know that a hard-fought Minor League game can be a joy to behold. As you explore Bradenton homes for sale or go across the way to Sarasota homes for sale, you'll have the best Minor League Baseball action right in your own backyard.

Bradenton is home to the Bradenton Marauders, the Minor League Baseball affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates. They play from historic LECOM Park, originally known as McKechnie Field, which has witnessed some of the greatest baseball games ever played in the Southeast.

A wonderful thing about Minor League Baseball is that you can enjoy it both before and after wrapping up the Major League season. There's always a welcoming community vibe, especially when LECOM Park is operated by the volunteer Bradenton Boosters during spring training.

Let's take a closer look and learn all about the team and venue.

About the Bradenton Marauders 

Part of the Florida State League, the Bradenton Marauders are the Single-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Like the field in which they now play, the Marauders have a longer history than one might think: They're directly descended from the Tampa Tarpons, which started in 1957.

In April of 2010, the Marauders played their first game in front of nearly 2,400 spectators at what was then called McKechnie Field, named after Bradenton resident and Hall of Fame inductee Bill McKechnie. In a promising start for the team, they defeated the Fort Myers Miracle with a score of 18-3.

In their first season, the Marauders led the league in runs, batting average, and on-base percentage.

The 2011 season is when the Marauders really established the vibrant local fanbase that they still have to this day. They attracted more than 56,000 fans after 40 home games, a complete turnaround, and a record-breaking performance in the world of Minor League Baseball.

They made an even bigger mark starting in 2015, their first-ever championship season, where they capped off one of the most memorable streaks of the decade to defeat the Tampa Yankees by three games to one. It was their first Florida State League title and truly put them on the map.

A Truly Historic Bradenton Landmark

LECOM Park was renamed in 2017 but is perhaps best known as McKechnie Field, where it has been closely associated with the Pittsburgh Pirates since 1925. Opening in 1923 as City Field, it has been called "Florida's Fenway Park." It's the oldest stadium in the U.S. and is still used for spring training.

It also stands shoulder to shoulder with world-famous Wrigley Field and Fenway Park as the third-oldest stadium still used by a Major League Team. Its layout, nostalgic appearance, and standard amenities have made it a stomping ground for the most enthusiastic baseball purists.

One of the most unique aspects of this family-friendly park is the role of the nonprofit Bradenton Boosters. The Boosters have worked hard for nearly a century to support and improve the venue – many of its upgrades and updates over time can be traced back to fundraising campaigns by these volunteers.

Throughout the spring training season, you'll find the Bradenton Boosters serving as ushers, security personnel, merchants, and press box attendants. It's one more way LECOM Park is a unique local institution.

Be sure to check out their home game schedule so you can experience this baseball diamond in person!

Contact us to learn more about Bradenton and Sarasota.

June
6

Beach Concession Snacks in Sarasota County

Beach Concessions

The beaches of Sarasota County await you this summer, and it wouldn't be a proper beach day without some great oceanfront snacks for the whole family. Fortunately, you won't have to travel far from the warm sand to enjoy a cool drink and a refreshing meal, with delicious beach concession snacks available a short walk from your favorite Sarasota County beaches. Our real estate agents have the delicious details on where to find beach concession snacks in Sarasota County this summer.

  • Siesta Beach Eats – 948 Beach Rd., Sarasota, FL 34242
    With both a Sand Pavilion where you can grab a quick bite and a Sun Deck where you can relax with views of the ocean, Siesta Beach Eats is your one-stop-shop for beach concessions near Sarasota homes for sale. The Sand Pavilion offers quick bites like burgers, fries, wraps, and salads, while the Sun Deck has a more extensive menu. There's also a retail shop where you can pick up equipment and supplies for the beach.

  • Lido Beach Concession Stand – 400 Benjamin Franklin Dr., Sarasota, FL 34236
    In the mood for beach fare that's a little more upscale than what you'd usually find at a concession stand? Lido Beach Concession Stand offers tasty treats like fish tacos, lobster rolls, and New York strip sandwiches, along with all of the delicious basics that you'd expect from a beach concession stand. Enjoy your meal with outdoor seating near the concession stand, or take the short walk back to your spot on the beach.

  • Coquina Beach Cafe – 2560 Gulf Dr., Bradenton Beach, FL 34217
    Located on Bradenton Beach, a short trip from Bradenton homes for sale, and featuring a deck that overlooks all of the action on the beach, Coquina Beach Cafe is the perfect place to recharge during your next beach day. In addition to plenty of food options, there's a full menu of frozen, tropical cocktails for the adults to enjoy and a delicious selection of ice cream for the kids.

  • Venice Beach Pavilion – 101 The Esplanade S., Venice, FL 34285
    Featuring a unique, winged roof structure that was built in 1963 and a convenient location near Venice homes for sale, the Venice Beach Pavilion offers excellent breakfast sandwiches along with a full lunch menu. Grab a breakfast sandwich to kick off your beach day, or stop by during lunch to try their signature BLT.

  • New Pass Grill & Bait Shop – 1505 Ken Thompson Pkwy., Sarasota, FL 34236
    Located on Sarasota Bay, close to your favorite beaches, New Pass Grill & Bait Shop is the perfect place to enjoy a waterfront meal after a day at the beach. Their award-winning New Pass Burger has delighted customers for nearly a century, and the full-service bait shop has everything you need for fishing at the beach.

  • Pier 22 – 1200 1st Ave. W., Bradenton, FL 34205
    For an upscale dining room experience that still offers casual vibes near the beach, try a trip to the Pier 22 restaurant for dinner after your next beach day in Bradenton. Pier 22 is more gourmet restaurant than a concession stand, but its location near the beach makes it a local favorite after spending a day with your toes in the sand. Try the lobster tail, steak dinners, or fresh catch of the day for dinner.

Searching for a home close to all of the amazing, beautiful beaches of Sarasota County? Our local real estate team is here to help. Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout the Sarasota County, FL area.

May
23

Where to Pick Your Own Produce Near Sarasota County

Sarasota Farms

One of the great things about living in Florida is that fresh fruit and vegetables are never really out of season. Local farms around Sarasota and Bradenton cultivate corps that change with the calendar.

Even so, spring is almost certainly the best season when it comes to u-pick produce. These are some of our real estate agents' favorite pick-your-own fruit and veggie farms in the Sarasota and Bradenton area!

  • Albritton Fruit Farms - 9600 State Rd 72, Sarasota, FL 34241
    A beautiful farm in the rolling countryside just outside Sarasota, Albritton Fruit Farms offers u-pick blueberries and sunflowers throughout the spring harvest season. This family-owned and operated farm is just minutes from these Sarasota homes for sale and includes 60,000 blueberry plants of four distinct varieties. The u-pick season usually runs from mid-March through late May, and specific dates are frequently updated on their website. 

  • Hunsader Farms - 5500 Co Rd 675, Bradenton, FL 34211
    Bradenton's Hunsader Farms is one of the best places around to get fresh produce. In addition to u-pick offerings that change with the seasons, they offer a fully stocked farm stand where you can shop an amazing variety of fruits and vegetables. U-pick offerings throughout April and May include eggplant, green beans, black-eyed peas, purple hull peas, and okra, and many more options are available pre-picked at the farm stand. There's also an on-site petting zoo and playground, and the farm is only a short drive from many Bradenton homes for sale.

  • Brown's Grove - 16015 Winburn Dr, Sarasota, FL 34240
    One of the leading citrus growers in the Sarasota area, Brown's Grove produces a wide range of fruit in their large, picturesque farm. Brown's Grove has been owned and operated by the Brown family since 1915, and their offerings include red and yellow naval oranges, Meyer lemons, red and white grapefruits, and Tango tangerines. The u-pick citrus season runs from December through February, but Brown's Grove also sets up a fruit stand at Phillippi Farmhouse Market in Sarasota.

  • Honeyside Farms - 24105 FL-62, Parrish, FL 34219
    An organic vegetable farm spanning 12 beautiful acres, Honeyside Farms is the pride and joy of Tiffany Bailey, a 4th-generation farmer who started growing her own produce just outside Bradenton in 2008. Today, the farm grows dozens of different crops a stone's throw from these Parrish homes for sale and offers weekly organic veggie box subscriptions. U-pick is offered on select days that are announced in advance via their social media pages. Honeyside Farms also sells produce at the Lakewood Ranch Farmers Market during the growing season from November to May.

  • Fruitville Grove - 7410 Fruitville Rd, Sarasota, FL 34240
    Fruitville Grove is a working farm as well as a farm market, and they offer a huge variety of local homemade goods year-round, as well as fresh produce in season. You'll always find fresh baked goods, jams and preserves, honey, and dairy products at the market. December through March is the peak season for most of their organic fruits and vegetables, but many crops are available well into spring. Fruitville Grove is perhaps best known for its annual Pumpkin Fest, which includes u-pick pumpkins and a wide range of food, games, and entertainment every October. 

Contact us today to learn more about life in Florida! Fresh local produce year-round is just one of many things that make this part of the world special, and our real estate agents can't wait to help you find your dream home in Sarasota, Bradenton, and the surrounding areas. 

May
9

Dolphin Tours in the Sarasota Area

Dolphin Tours

One of the best parts about living in Florida is getting a prime seat to view nature. This includes dolphins swimming, which you can see at several beaches, or better yet, on a dolphin tour. Spend a day on one of these delightful dolphin tours that are recommended by our real estate agents.

  • LeBarge Tropical Cruises - 2 Marina Plaza, Sarasota, FL 34236
    Live palm trees and refreshing cocktails help create the "floating island" vibe of LeBarge Tropical Cruises. One of their more popular trips is the Dolphin & Manatee Watch, a two-hour cruise that departs at 11 a.m. A trained marine biologist is on hand to offer fascinating insight about the life and behavior of dolphins and manatees. Tickets are $32 for adults and $28 for ages 4-12. Visit the website for schedule and availability.

  • Fun Boat Tours - 1265 Old Stickney Point Rd., Sarasota, FL 34242
    With a name like Fun Boat Tours, you know you're in for a good time. Both two-hour tours depart from Siesta Key Marina and cruise south along the Intercoastal Waterway. In addition to dolphins and manatees, you're likely to spot pelicans, herons, osprey, and other aquatic birds. Dolphins and Donuts heads out at 9:30 a.m., while Dolphins and Drinks has two sailings at 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Tickets are $45 for adults and $20 for ages 10 and under. Visit the website for schedule and availability.

  • Passage Key Dolphin Tours - 1343 Gulf Dr. S., Bradenton Beach, FL 34217
    Is it any wonder that dolphins love to play around beautiful Anna Maria Island? Passage Key Dolphin Tours knows all the favorite hangout spots, making their two-hour trips a spectacular show, especially when you choose the sunset cruise. Not content to sit on board? Get in on the action with a three- to four-hour dolphin and snorkeling tour. Start on one of the sandbars to look for sand dollars and fighting conch shells. Beginners are welcome, and no fins are required. Visit the website for schedule and pricing.

  • Paradise Boat Tours - 200 Bridge St., Building A, Bradenton Beach, FL 34217
    There are few guarantees in life, but one of the best comes from Paradise Boat Tours. They're so confident you'll see dolphins on their cruises that they'll accommodate you on another trip free of charge if you don't. On these 90-minute family-friendly tours, kids get to sit at the helm under the captain's supervision while wearing his hat for a memorable photo op. Guests are welcome to bring their own food and beverages, including beer and wine. Tickets are $35 for adults and $25 for ages 3-12. Visit the website for schedule and availability.

  • Sarasota Bay Explorers - 1600 Ken Thompson Pkwy., Sarasota, FL 34236
    Enjoy the comfy seating and unobstructed views on the 45-foot pontoon boats of Sarasota Bay Explorers. The company works in conjunction with Mote Marine Laboratory, whose marine biologists provide helpful commentary on the cruises. Two-hour trips include a walk on an uninhabited island to see the resident pelicans, egrets, herons, and ibis. Guests also get to observe and handle pufferfish, stone crabs, and other marine life that are gathered in a trawl net. Tickets are $35 for adults and $31 for ages 3-12. Visit the website for schedule and availability.

By land or by sea, life is always thrilling around Sarasota homes for sale and Bradenton homes for sale. If you're buying or selling a home, contact us at Wagner Realty for cheerful assistance with all your real estate needs. 

May
2

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.

April
18

Why You Should Steam Clean Before a Showing

Steam Cleaning

First impressions are everything. This is as true in the world of real estate as in any other. When a potential buyer first walks into a home, the first things they see (and smell) play a huge role in determining their interest. If your home makes a great first impression, you'll have an easier time making a sale — and you'll probably get higher offers, too. After years of experience, our real estate agents know this to be true!

One of the ways you can improve your home's first impression is by steam cleaning the carpets prior to your first showing or open house. Why is steam cleaning so important? Take a look.

  • Steam Cleaning Removes Trapped Odors
    Your home doesn't smell, right? We'll let you in on a little secret: you wouldn't necessarily know if it did. Homeowners become nose-blind to odors over time, but newcomers definitely notice those smells. When buyers look at Sarasota homes for sale, they want them to smell nice.

    Carpets have a bad habit of holding onto smells, and simple vacuuming doesn't do much to remove them. Steam cleaning, on the other hand, will remove trapped odors, including any you've become nose-blind to. Potential buyers will then be greeted by a fresh scent.

  • Steam Cleaning Removes Evidence of Pets
    Even if potential buyers own pets themselves, they don't want to see evidence of pets in a home they're thinking of buying. Buyers looking at Bradenton homes for sale want those spaces to look fresh and new. Even a little pet hair or one tiny stain can turn a buyer off. Steam cleaning removes evidence of pets from your carpet, reassuring buyers that your place is clean and well cared for.

  • Steam Cleaning is More Affordable Than Replacing the Carpet
    If your carpet looks a little discolored and dull, you may be thinking of replacing it before you sell. Sometimes, this might be a good idea. However, since carpet replacement can be costly, it's often wise to try steam cleaning first. 

    Steam cleaning costs a small fraction of what you'd pay to replace the existing carpet. In many cases, it will make your carpet look as good as new.

  • Steam Cleaning Ensures a Good-Looking Backdrop
    When you're preparing to sell your home, you can cover up minor faults like a divot in the wall or some scratches on the baseboard. But the carpet is a big element. It serves as the backdrop of your room, in a way. If the carpet does not look clean, that's something that buyers will notice.

    Steam cleaning ensures this major element of your decor looks its best. When the carpet is clean, buyers generally assume the rest of the home is clean, too.

  • Steam Cleaning Removes Allergens
    The last thing you'd want is for a buyer to walk into your home and start sneezing. While vacuuming does pick up some allergens, it also tends to disperse those allergens into the air. Steam cleaning does a more thorough job of removing pollen, pet dander, dust mites, and other allergens from the carpet. A home with carpets that have recently been steam cleaned is less likely to cause symptoms for allergy sufferers.

Preparing your home for a showing can go a long way toward helping you find the perfect buyer. If you're thinking about selling and are looking for an agent to represent you, feel free to contact us. Our experienced real estate agents can guide you through both the buying and the selling processes and ensure everything goes smoothly.

April
4

National Garden Month: Florida Gardening Tips

Florida Garden

Spring is upon us, and if you're like our real estate agents, you're probably eager to start gardening. We always believe vegetables taste so much better when they're grown in your garden. Since Florida receives tons of sun, rain, and humidity all year long, gardening in the Sunshine State can be rewarding and challenging. 

April is National Garden Month, so we thought we'd take the time to go over a few essential tips for making your Florida garden a success.

  • Gardening in the Spring
    Certain plants thrive in Florida's spring weather, which starts around mid-February. If you're looking to add vegetables to your garden, consider lettuce, cucumber, sweet corn, cauliflower, peas, tomatoes, zucchini, and squash. 

    Some of our favorite Sarasota homes for sale have beautiful flower gardens that they plant in early spring. If you're focused on flowers this year, you'll find that Hydrangeas, Lilacs, Lilies of the Valley, and cherry blossoms are all great choices for the warm Florida spring.

  • Gardening in the Summer
    Hot weather sets in around late March, but things start to get steamy in May. However, you can still plant and garden in the summertime. Sweet potatoes, peas, and okra are all vegetables that do well in the summer.

    If you do want to take a break from gardening in the summer, you can use these months as an opportunity to solarize your garden. During this process, you can clear out your plants, water the soil, cover your garden in plastic, and allow it to sit under direct sun exposure for about four weeks. Solarization will lead to healthier soil while killing pests and weeds.
     
  • Gardening in the Fall
    One of the great things about Florida is gardening season doesn't end in the fall. In fact, it's a common time to plant vegetable gardens. There are many plants that thrive in mild Florida autumn weather. Brussel Sprouts, as well as root vegetables like radishes and carrots, are great choices for the fall. Fertilizer that has high Phosphorus value helps keep roots strong and healthy.

  • Gardening in the Winter
    Areas of Florida have a traditional winter, and temperatures drop below freezing, but you can garden well into the winter months in our corner of Florida. In most cases, you'll want to plant your vegetables around October or early November. Some vegetables that grow well in cooler winter months include beets, broccoli, and cauliflower. 

    Leafy green vegetables such as kale and arugula also grow well during Florida winters. If growing leafy greens, we recommend using a fertilizer that has a high nitrogen value. With good soil, sun exposure, and regular watering, there is no reason to think you couldn't keep your garden active through February.

Keeping Your Garden in Good Shape
It might go without saying, but proper care is essential for creating a good environment for your plants to flourish. Don't forget to fertilizer regularly, keep your plants watered, and keep pests and weeds out of the garden. For inspiration on how to take great care of your plants, check out some of the gardens at these Bradenton homes for sale.

For more tips on gardening, landscaping, or boosting your home's exterior, contact us today.

March
28

5 Things That Are Easy To Forget During a Move

Moving Tips

Moving can be chaotic, as you are trying to get your entire life packed up, relocated, and unpacked again in a new place with minimal disruption. You may feel like you're on top of everything, but have you checked these five frequently forgotten things? It's easy to get so lost in the details of the move that you forget these basics. Take the advice of our real estate agents and make sure your plans don't overlook these items.

  1. Toilet Paper
    You may think you have everything ready for your first night at the new house, but do you have toilet paper? It's not something you usually have to pack in your overnight bags, so often, it gets overlooked. Unfortunately, many sellers don't think about leaving any behind when they're leaving their Bradenton homes for sale, so you may move in only to find that you don't have any. Putting a few rolls in your overnight bag will ensure you won't find yourself without.

  2. Meal Plans
    Your first night in a new house and possibly a new town might make it harder than usual to get dinner on the table... assuming the table has arrived yet! Have a plan in place for meals and other necessities (such as coffee) the first few days after your move, when you're still unpacking and settling in. This might mean having the basics packed in a box for the kitchen that says "open me first," such as ramen and pots to make it in, or creating a list of nearby pizza delivery places and takeout restaurants.

  3. Overnight Bags for Everyone
    There's a lot that can go wrong in a move, so it's important that everyone has a box or an overnight bag full of essentials that you keep with you, enough to get you through at least a couple of days if needed. This includes changes of clothes, pajamas, important medications, toiletries, and something to do, such as a book or games for the kids. If you're moving long-distance, this is especially important, as the truck could get delayed, and you may spend a few days "roughing it" in your new home.

  4. Your Mail
    Mail is frequently forgotten and left behind when people leave Sarasota homes for sale. Remembering your mail means not only checking the mailbox one last time but also setting up mail forwarding through the post office in advance to make sure you don't have to worry about your mail going to your old address after you've left it. As soon as you can, start calling or checking in with your accounts online so you can change the address there yourself, as it'll eliminate any delay in your mail getting to you as it goes through the mail-forwarding system.

  5. Background Items
    In any house, there are a number of background items that tend to blend into your surroundings or feel like they're a part of the house even though they aren't. This might include shelves, or mirrors mounted on the backs of the doors. These items are yours and should go with you when you leave the house. The same goes for outdoor items, such as planters and even patio furniture, which can be overlooked in a move. Window treatments usually stay with the house unless you negotiated different terms in your contract.

When it comes time to move, ensuring you have capable help from experienced professionals will ensure everything goes smoothly. For support throughout the selling or buying process, contact us today, and we'll help you get your search started.

March
21

Spend the Day at the Bishop Museum of Science and Nature

The Bishop Museum

Science fiction movies are fun, but they can't beat the excitement and wonder of exploring real-life stories. Our real estate agents love learning about our world at the Bishop Museum of Science and Nature, just minutes from Bradenton homes for sale.

About the Bishop

Opened in 1947, the Bishop Museum of Science and Nature is the largest natural history museum on the Gold Coast. Baby Snoots, a West Indian manatee affectionately known as Snooty, arrived in 1949 and became the museum's signature attraction.

Thanks to the museum's popularity, it moved into its current larger home in 1966. In time, exhibits grew to include the Parker Manatee Rehabilitation Habitat along with a replica of Barcarrota's Plaza, a 16th-century Spanish town.

In 2001, an electrical fire destroyed the planetarium and seriously damaged the museum's educational wing and administrative areas. Happily, in September 2002, the museum reopened bigger and better than ever. Throughout the years, renovations and additions have continued, maintaining the museum's status as a must-see destination.

The Bishop Planetarium

After being leveled by the 2001 fire, the Bishop Planetarium reopened in June 2005 as the top astronomy facility on the Gold Coast, not far from Sarasota homes for sale. The state-of-the-art projection system includes cutting-edge software that's 1.5 times brighter than the previous system, with four times the contrast.

Shows like "Passport to the Universe," narrated by Tom Hanks, take viewers on a virtual trip through the cosmos. Get a fascinating look at what lies beyond our own solar system and watch phenomenons like black holes. In addition, the planetarium can recreate a dark sky natural environment, allowing for the display of live on-air events as they happen.

Mosaic Backyard Universe

As part of the goal to make science fun and accessible for all, the museum created its latest addition, the Mosaic Backyard Universe. A one-time parking lot has been transformed into a backyard where kids can learn in a familiar setting. Features include a Tree House Platform, Cardboard Rocket, fossil-filled Dig Pit, Science Shed, and freshwater pond that's home to a number of turtles.

Parker Manatee Rehabilitation Habitat

Sadly, Snooty passed away in 2017 at the age of 69. But his legacy lives on in the Parker Manatee Rehabilitation Habitat, a 60,000-gallon pool where sick and injured manatees can prepare for their return to the wild. The habitat is designed to resemble a cypress spring so they can once again become accustomed to the food and environment they'll encounter. Above- and below-water viewing areas give visitors a chance to watch the manatees regain their strength and abilities.

Other Exhibits of Interest

  • The first floor holds permanent exhibits showcasing artifacts representing the earliest animal and human inhabitants of the Gulf Coast. Displays include "Land of Change" and "Fabulous Florida Seas."

  • The second floor is separated into two areas. River Heritage Hall focuses on how maritime history impacts community economics and culture, while Environmental Hall takes a sweeping look at the past, present, and future of Florida's environment.

  • Gallery spaces are home to a changing selection of temporary exhibits, including traveling exhibitions and special-interest ones developed by the museum's curators.

Information and Hours

The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature is located at 201 10th St. W., Bradenton, FL 34205. Hours are 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon - 5 p.m. Sunday. Tickets start at $23.95 for adults, $17.95 for ages 12-17, $14.95 for ages 5-11, and $8.95 for ages 2-4.

Life in Bradenton and Sarasota goes beyond fun in the sun. If you're selling or buying a home, contact us at Wagner Realty for cheerful and experienced assistance.

March
14

DIY Projects for New Homeowners

DIY Projects

When you're first settling into a new place, you may not want a lot of projects on your plate, but a few carefully chosen DIY projects can help your new house feel like home. Here are a few quick and relatively easy projects our real estate agents recommend for helping you feel at home.

  • Paint the front door.
    Especially if your new home hasn't seen a coat of paint in some time, painting the front door can make a huge impact on how it looks and make it feel a little more like yours, even if you don't have the time, money, or bandwidth to paint the whole home just yet. Consider painting it a fun new color, such as red, green, or blue, as it will liven up the look of your house. Remember, Bradenton homes for sale and Sarasota homes for sale are often painted in neutral color schemes so as not to turn off potential buyers, so repainting that door can add a little of your personality to your new home.

  • Update your house number.
    While you're painting that front door, consider updating your house number as well. It's not unusual for homes to have small, outdated house numbers that are hard to see, so make sure whatever you choose is well lit and large enough to be easily seen from the street. Choosing more modern-looking numbers and changing how they're mounted will also give your home a more updated look, even if that (and painting the front door) is all you do.

  • Hang string lights.
    Want to make your outdoor living spaces in your new home both cozy and cool? Hang string lights from your patio or porch roof, or use them to brighten a gazebo or pergola. Even if you don't have a roof or fence to hang them from, you can make your own planter posts for hanging lights using wooden barrel planters.

  • Modernize your popcorn ceiling.
    Nothing dates a house faster than a popcorn ceiling. They're not only unsightly, but they're also a magnet for cobwebs and dust. Fortunately, they're easily removed with a drywall knife, a shop vac, and a fresh coat of paint afterward. Remember that some popcorn ceilings could contain lead or asbestos, though, and have your ceiling tested before tackling it as a DIY-er, especially if your home was built before 1979.

  • Replace kitchen hardware.
    An easy way to make your kitchen feel more like home is to update the kitchen hardware to something more in line with your tastes. Swapping out cabinet hardware is fairly easy and can be done in an hour or two unless you choose to repaint the cabinets while the hardware is off. The hardware store offers a variety of options, so there's sure to be something that suits your tastes, whether they are traditional or modern, classic or funky.

  • Paint the kitchen cabinets.
    While you have that cabinet hardware off, think about whether you'd like a whole new look in your kitchen. Painting the cabinets is usually a fairly fast job compared to repainting the rest of the house and uses considerably less paint. That being said, it's also a project that yields big results for its relatively small investment, as changing the color of your cabinets can make your kitchen look like an entirely different room.

Little DIY projects like these are a fun way to help you settle in and improve your new home, but it's important to find the right house to start with. Contact us today and let us help you find your dream home.

February
28

Fishing Charters on Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island

No matter whether you choose Bradenton homes for sale or Sarasota homes for sale, you're in luck – you can visit a little piece of paradise whenever you want. Our real estate agents know one of the best things about living in the area is the chance to savor all Anna Maria Island has to offer.

This seven-mile barrier island off the coast of Manatee County is lauded far and wide for its fishing and its vintage 1950s and 1960s-era residences. Fishing has attracted visitors from across the country since 1938, but locals have the chance to enjoy it any time they wish.

Anna Maria Island is the destination of a large number of local fishing charters. Many of them are small, family-owned operations that have been in business for years. They give you a great way to explore and learn more about the area – and you just might catch a tasty fish.

Let's look at some of the noteworthy fishing charters now:

  • A Rodbender Fishing Charter – 4122 Via Piedra Circle, Sarasota, FL 34233
    Departing daily from Hart's Landing in Sarasota, A Rodbender Fishing Charter is a charter for all ages and all experience levels. You can score the catch of a lifetime with full fishing equipment included! Just don't forget to bring your own sunglasses and sunscreen.

  • AMI Charters – See Website for Location Details
    AMI Charters is the work of four local captains (and one kayaking expert) leading you on saltwater adventures in and around Anna Maria Island. In addition to classic fishing trips and tours, you can also select a romantic sunset cruise or a five-hour fun run that will bring you to restaurants and sand bars only accessible by boat. AMI also has a robust list of fishing tours, especially for the little ones.

  • Island Discount Tackle – 5503 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach, FL 34217
    Island Discount Tackle offers a little bit of everything you might need to make the most of your island adventure. Since 1988, it has created an authentic experience staffed by expert fishermen. Once you're fully geared up from "the biggest little tackle shop in Florida," book your charter fishing trip, parasailing, dolphin, or snorkeling journey. It might just be the thing that convinces you to check out Holmes Beach homes for sale.

  • Fishy Business, LLC – See Website for Location Details
    Fishy Business, LLC is a fishing charter boat service led by USCG-certified Captain Rick since 1986. With inshore flats and nearshore Gulf trips out to nine miles, Captain Rick provides it all – license, bait, and tackle. The 2012 Fishy Business is fully equipped with Lowrance GPS and the latest fish finders.

  • Anna Maria Charters – See Website for Location Details
    Described by its customers as "truly top-notch," Anna Maria Charters prides itself on the number of options it offers its guests near Anna Maria Island homes for sale. With four boats ranging from flats to offshore, you can customize your experience with five distinct options: Inshore spinning and fly fishing, nearshore fishing trips, offshore fishing trips, tarpon-only fishing trips, and tarpon-only fly fishing.

  • Florida Fishing Fleet – 4628 119th Street West, Cortez, FL 34215
    Florida Fishing Fleet operates from the very heart of the historic Cortez fishing village. You can opt for a split charter or private fishing charter, including license, rods, bait, tackle, ice, and fish cleaning done for you. With an experienced and charismatic crew and excursions of up to 12 hours, it'll introduce you to one of the best things about Cortez homes for sale.

Contact us to discover more about real estate throughout Manatee County.

February
14

Spend the Day at the Bradenton Riverwalk

Bradenton Riverwalk

Moving to Bradenton is a dream come true. The climate is great, the scenery is better, and there are always plenty of fun things to do. There are many beautiful Bradenton Beach homes for sale, for every need and every taste.

Then once you're moved in, unwind by spending the day at the Riverwalk: a one-and-a-half-mile stretch on the Manatee River, where families can come to hike, play sports, enjoy some entertainment, and have a bite to eat. Here's a look at what the Riverwalk has to offer.

Sports and Outdoor Activities

Located right on the beach, the Riverwalk features several great volleyball courts. Whether you're organizing a serious tournament or having a friendly game with friends, it's a great way to spend an afternoon.

There's also a skate park in the area, beneath the highway. Designed based on a survey of over 1,400 actual skaters, it has everything a skateboarder could want, including ledges, stairs, rails, and a pool, complete with tile and coping.

There's also a back trail for hiking and biking, which is great for all skill levels. Plus a pier on the beach for fishing. Whatever outdoor activities you're looking to participate in, there's space for them at the Riverwalk.

Downtown Bradenton

Arts and Entertainment

The Mosaic Amphitheater is a 400-seat outdoor performance space, which hosts everything from plays to concerts to school and community performances, and more. Come see what's playing, or even see about hosting your own performance event there!

You should also check out the outdoor art gallery. There are 19 different pieces in the gallery, including paintings and sculptures, as well as interactive pieces designed to promote learning and spark creativity in young people.

Marina

Restaurants

There are a number of great places to eat in downtown Bradenton, and some of the best are on the Riverwalk. Mattison's Riverwalk Grille Bradenton serves lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch. Their menu includes everything from pasta to seafood and steak to French Toast and avocado toast, plus a variety of specialty cocktails like cranberry maple and honey basil. Plus, try their "breakfast sundae": Greek yogurt, toasted granola, wildflower honey, and seasonal fruit.

If you're looking for more of a sports bar feel, check out Oak & Stone. They serve up basic foods like pizza and sandwiches, along with more off-beat fare, like crispy mozzarella and meatball lollipops, or Philly Cheesesteak eggrolls. Plus a variety of delicious craft beers on tap.

Or, if you want something upscale, try PIER 22, for gorgeous outdoor dining, right on the waterfront. They serve up delicious burgers and steaks, alongside premium seafood and sushi, and much more.

Parking and Other Considerations

There's always plenty of parking at the Riverwalk. Between the lots and street parking, there are over 1,700 spaces in the area. Street parking is free on weekdays, with a two-hour time limit. On weekends, all parking is free and unlimited, both on the street and in the lots.

The entire area is designed to be ADA-accessible. And soon, the Riverwalk will be expanding, thanks to a grant from the Manatee Community Foundation. Plans are in the works, based on input from the local community, to make the Riverwalk an even better and more accessible place for Bradenton arts, culture, and other activities to thrive.

The Riverwalk is just the beginning of what this area has to offer. If you're ready to make Bradenton your new home, contact us. Our real estate agents can show you all the best Bradenton homes for sale, and help you find the one that best meets your needs.

February
7

7 Places for Waterfront Dining

Waterfront Dining

One of the great things about living on the coast is that you don't have to go far to enjoy an amazing view of the water. You also don't have to go far for a good meal. Our real estate agents know you can do both at these fantastic waterfront restaurants. 

  • Jack Dusty - 1111 Ritz Carlton Dr, Sarasota, FL 34236
    Located on the Marina at Sarasota's Ritz-Carlton, Jack Dusty is always a great place to sip a craft cocktail while enjoying the Gulf Coast view. The atmosphere is laid back, and the menu includes specialties like freshly-caught Gulf Coast shrimp and Cioppino (a hearty seafood soup). Jack Dusty is also just minutes from many Sarasota homes for sale.

  • The Sandbar Restaurant - 100 Spring Ave, Anna Maria, FL 34216
    The Sandbar Restaurant is nestled on the shore of Anna Maria Island and offers beachfront dining at its finest. The food here is sustainably and locally sourced, from the grilled Gulf of Mexico octopus to the seasonal fish tacos. They also serve some great burgers, steaks, and salads and even have an on-site farmer's market where you can buy fresh local produce. 

  • Dry Dock Waterfront Grill - 412 Gulf of Mexico Dr, Longboat Key, FL 34228
    Outstanding food and a friendly, casual atmosphere are the hallmarks of Dry Dock Waterfront Grill, a beloved bayside eatery at the south end of Longboat Key. Dry Dock Waterfront Grill made Open Table's list of the 100 Best Most Scenic Restaurants in America, which is no surprise given the sweeping views from their open-air dining area. They serve incredibly fresh, locally-caught Florida grouper and red snapper and are located a stone's throw from these Longboat Key homes for sale

  • Tide Tables Restaurant and Marina - 12507 Cortez Rd W, Bradenton, FL 34210
    When you're looking for a casual eatery with a view of the water, look no farther than Tide Tables Restaurant and Marina. Overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway, not far from these Bradenton homes for sale, Tide Tables serves some of the best gumbo and fish tacos in town, and they have a great selection of craft beer from local Florida micro-brewers. 

  • The Waterfront Restaurant - 111 S Bay Blvd, Anna Maria, FL 34216
    With a well-rounded menu that highlights local ingredients, The Waterfront Restaurant is an elegant-yet-relaxed eatery with indoor and outdoor seating footsteps away from the beach. With a location walkable to many Anna Maria Island homes for sale, the Waterfront Restaurant's menu features global flavors with a local twist. The appetizers alone—fried green tomatoes, baked brie, Kung Pao calamari—are worth the trip.

  • Beach House Restaurant - 200 Gulf Dr. N, Bradenton Beach, FL 34217
    There's no better place in Bradenton Beach to watch the sunset over the Gulf than Beach House Restaurant. They have a spectacular outdoor dining deck, but even indoor diners gat an awesome view through the massive windows overlooking the bay. With a location near many Bradenton Beach homes for sale, they serve amazing fresh-caught seafood and salads with greens grown in their garden. 

  • The Old Salty Dog - 1601 B Ken Thompson Pkwy, Sarasota, FL 34236
    A Sarasota staple since 1985, The Old Salty Dog is a local hangout that serves tasty pub grub and ice-cold beer in a British pub-style environment overlooking the bay. They serve Caribbean jerk tacos and house-made crab dip alongside traditional English fish n' chips but are best known for their signature beer-battered hot dogs. 

Contact us today to learn more about life in SWFL. Our real estate agents are dedicated to helping you find your dream home in Sarasota, Bradenton, and the surrounding areas. 

January
3

Set Sail in 2022 Near Siesta Key

Siesta Key

Centrally located with easy access to the Gulf, Sarasota Bay, and a wide variety of local waterways, Siesta Key is a sailor's dream. Whether you're new to sailing with a desire to learn the ropes or you've been spending time on the water for decades, you'll feel right at home with the sailing community in Southwest Florida. Ready to set sail into a new year? Our real estate agents have the details on all that you can look forward to when sailing near Siesta Key in 2022.

If you love spending time around the water, then the beaches and waterways near Siesta Key homes for sale offer endless opportunities for your outdoor excursions. As a barrier island, Siesta Key offers easy access to the water, along with a collection of outstanding marinas where you can ensure that your sailboat is always ready for your next adventure.

  • Learning to Sail
    New to sailing and excited about living in a community where you can pursue a new passion for spending time on the water? Many of the marinas and sailing charter companies around Siesta Key offer excellent educational programs that can teach you everything you need to know to enjoy life on the water. Build your skills with classes for all experience levels, learn the specifics of navigating local waterways, and get certified to pilot a wide variety of watercraft.

  • Local Marinas
    Siesta Key is also a welcoming place for anyone who already owns a watercraft or is shopping for a new one. There are countless local marinas that help you keep your craft in top shape and provide a place to set sail whenever you please. And it's not just about maintenance or convenience. Many local marinas are home to vibrant communities that make it easy to connect with other sailing enthusiasts.

  • Easy Access to the Water on Bayou Louise
    Marinas are great, but what about when you want to set sail from a dock in your backyard? Bayou Louise, which runs through the northern edge of Siesta Key, is a protected waterway that provides easy access to Sarasota Bay and tons of other local waterways. If you're shopping for a home that makes it easy to spend time on the water, the area around Bayou Louise is the perfect place to start.

  • Tons of Nearby Waterways to Explore
    One of the great things about living in Siesta Key is that it's centrally located near so many other great coastal communities and waterways. You're likely to spend plenty of time on nearby Sarasota Bay as you pass by Sarasota homes for sale. Then there's the scenic Manatee River, which runs past Bradenton homes for sale and provides access to tons of smaller waterways along the coast. There are multiple smaller bays to explore before you reach Tampa Bay, and of course, the Gulf of Mexico is always waiting for you.

  • Beaches, Fresh Seafood, and So Much More
    There's plenty to enjoy when you're on solid ground around Siesta Key as well, with all of the attractions that you'd expect from a coastal Florida community and so much more. Needless to say, the beaches are pristine, the local, waterfront seafood restaurants are second to none, and the sunsets are so spectacular that you'll want to watch them every single evening.

Searching for a home that makes it easy to enjoy time on the water around Siesta Key? Our local real estate team is here to help. Contact us to buy and sell homes in the Siesta Key, FL area.

December
27

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

Florida Vacation Home

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

December
20

Florida in the Winter: 6 Things to do

Florida Winter

Florida is known as the Sunshine State, but our real estate agents can also offer some fun suggestions for when it's a little bit colder out!

"Cold" is relative, of course – when you're looking at Bradenton homes for sale or Sarasota homes for sale, you can expect daytime temperatures in the mid-70s, even in winter. In the middle of December, evening temperatures rarely go below 55. Most Floridians look forward to a few weeks of brisk breezes!

This means that, although you probably won't want to hit the beach, there are still plenty of things you can do around the area.

Let's take a closer look at some of your options:

  1. John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art – 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota, FL 34243
    John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art is a unique Florida institution. It's closely intertwined with the history of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, known as "The Greatest Show on Earth." But it's also so much more: 21 galleries of European paintings, a rose garden, a highly regarded research library, and even a preserved 1905-train car. The Museum offers free admission every Monday.

  2. Sarasota Classic Car Museum – 5500 North Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34243
    For a taste of vintage automobile culture, Sarasota Classic Car Museum delights. Featuring a collection of around 100 vintage vehicles in a 60,000 square foot space, it draws visitors from far and wide. Particularly loved is the Italian Car Collection, sporting classics from Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, and Rivolta. Recent exhibits have given visitors a deep dive into the artistry and history of Porsche and Ferrari.

  3. Marietta Museum of Art & Whimsy – 2121 North Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34234
    Want a truly unique art experience? Marietta Museum of Art & Whimsy brings joy to the forefront with its off-beat and eclectic contemporary collection. Paintings, sculptures, and more from local artists and those around the world will give you a new perspective. The Museum also maintains an outdoor garden area. This extraordinary art collection is ideal for families, including the young and young at heart.

  4. Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium – 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota, FL 34236
    Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium showcases the immense biodiversity of Florida and the Atlantic. Accessible 365 days a year, you'll get the chance to meet manatees, sharks, sea turtles, otters, and many more denizens of the deep. This independent, nonprofit marine research lab maintains one of Florida's top aquariums, including a shark habitat of 135,000 gallons.

  5. Robinson Nature Preserve – 1704 99th Street Northwest, Bradenton, FL 34209
    Robinson Nature Preserve is a fast-growing protected area of 682 acres encompassing a breath-taking biosphere of mangroves, tidal marsh, and coastal wetlands that developed from former agricultural tracts. With a rubberized pedestrian trail leading across the grounds, you'll have plenty of opportunities to see nature up close and personal. Kayaking is greatly enjoyed and encouraged.

  6. Bradenton Riverwalk – 452 3rd Avenue West, Bradenton, FL 34205
    See historic Bradenton come to life as you explore one of the top riverwalk areas in the United States. The Bradenton Riverwalk is a 1.5-mile public green space that has been open to the public since 2012. It has continued to expand ever since, with kid-friendly amenities such as a splash pad, skate park, and playground. The 400-seat amphitheater is used for live music and other community events.

At Wagner Realty, we know Florida is great in any season! Contact us to discover more about Sarasota and Manatee Counties.

December
13

Bake Cookies Day: Holiday Cookie Recipes

This is the perfect time of year to gather in your kitchen and bake some cookies. Not only are the winter holidays quickly approaching, but December 18th is Bake Cookies Day! So, pull out that mixer, stock up on flour, and check out some of these cookie recipes our real estate agents recommend.

  • Gingerbread Biscotti
    Gingerbread is a classic choice in the winter, and this Gingerbread Biscotti recipe is a tasty riff on the old standby. The recipe makes 24 biscotti — enough for sharing — and comes together in less than 90 minutes. The molasses gives these biscotti a rich flavor, and of course, plenty of ginger makes them irresistible alongside a mug of coffee or hot chocolate.

  • Penguin Slice-and-Bake Cookies
    If you have kids, these Penguin Slice-and-Bake Cookies are sure to be a favorite. The recipe tells you how to prepare the dough and assemble it into a long cylinder. Refrigerate and later slice to yield adorable penguins. The cookies themselves are tender and sweet with that classic sugar cookie flavor.

  • Mini Linzer Cookies
    Take a break from looking at Sarasota homes for sale, and whip up a batch of these Mini Linzer Cookies. They're a traditional cookie that will take you back to a simpler time. The recipe was created by none other than Ina Garten herself. It calls for raspberry preserves, but you could use apricot or blueberry preserves if you happen to have them on hand.

  • Chocolate-Dipped Hazelnut Shortbread
    Some people love shortbread, and others find it bland. But this kicked-up version, Chocolate-Dipped Hazelnut Shortbread, is sure to bring a smile to your face. Not only do these cookies taste delicious, but they also look attractive when presented in a bowl or mug with their chocolate-dipped ends pointing upward. The recipe makes one dozen biscotti, which is just enough if you don't want a sugar overload.

  • Monster Marshmallow Cookies
    If you're tired from spending the day looking at Bradenton homes for sale, then these Monster Marshmallow Cookies are the perfect ones to make. The recipe is easy to follow and only takes about 20 minutes to prep. The cookies themselves are extra large and loaded with crisped rice, pecans, chocolate chips, and mini marshmallows.

  • Soft and Chewy Ginger Cookies
    If you find gingersnaps to be a bit too hard and crunchy, you'll like these Soft and Chewy Ginger Cookies. The sugar coating gives them just a hint of crispiness. Just make sure you plan ahead since the dough does need to chill for at least two hours, and preferably overnight.

  • Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
    These Chocolate Crinkle Cookies have a fudgy center, and they're rolled in powdered sugar for a lovely, crackled look. The recipe is surprisingly simple. The decadent cocoa powder makes the cookies nice and rich. You need to chill the dough for 2 hours, but the results are worth the wait.

  • Snowball Cookies
    Even in Florida, where the holidays tend to be green, Snowball Cookies are a tried-and-true favorite. This recipe makes delicious ones loaded with walnuts, although you could substitute toasted pecans if desired. Dusting the cookies with powdered sugar twice, as advised in this recipe, results in a thicker and sturdier coating that won't fluff away.

Make sure you set aside time to celebrate Bake Cookies Day this year! It's the perfect reason to use your kitchen this holiday season. If you're new to the area and still looking for a place to do all your holiday baking, contact us to learn more about our real estate services.

December
6

Holidays in a New Home: 7 Ways to Make the Most of it

New Home for the Holidays

After looking at various Sarasota homes for sale, are you finally settled into your new house? As much as you love your new place, it may not quite feel like home yet. You may still be unpacking, decorating, and making the space your own. How, then, does celebrating the holidays fit into this equation? Better than you think! Here are seven ways to make the most of the holidays in a new home.

  1. Attend Local Events
    Your home may not quite be set up for celebrating yet, but surely there are lots of local events that can put you in the holiday spirit. Look for tree lighting ceremonies, local shopping events, and winter festivals to attend. You'll get to know the area and your neighbors better in the process.

  2. Make a Special Meal
    Enjoying a special meal at home is a nice way to spend time with family. Even if you can't make your traditional holiday meal because some of your cookware is still packed away, take the time to make something else. You can make a delicious holiday roast in a slow cooker or bake a lasagne in the oven. 

  3. Start a New Tradition
    New home, new traditions! If you take the opportunity to start a new holiday tradition, you will always reflect back on your first year in this home each time you stick to that tradition in the future. You could create a new traditional meal. Or you could play a certain game, wrap gifts together while holiday music plays, dance to some favorite tunes, bake cookies — the possibilities are endless. 

  4. Decorate With What You Have
    Sure, most of your decorations might still be packed away. Some of them may not work well in your new home since you selected them for your old home. But how much fun can you have decorating for the holidays with what you have on hand? You can really exercise your creativity here. Make snowflakes out of paper plates. Create paper chains from takeout menus. Use cookie cutters to trace holiday shapes onto paper, creating ornaments. Your decorations won't be traditional, but that's half the fun.

  5. Take Baked Goods to the Neighbors
    If you enjoy baking during the holiday season, consider sharing some baked goods with your neighbors. This is a great way to get to know others in your community. Becoming friendly with your neighbors will make your house start to feel more like a home during the holiday season and beyond. You might find that some neighbors give you holiday baked goods in return, which is always comforting, too.

  6. Order From a New Restaurant
    If your kitchen items are still packed, and cooking isn't an option, take this opportunity to order from a new, local restaurant. You'll be supporting a local business, which will help you start to feel like a part of the community. Plus, you'll get to enjoy delicious food, which always puts you in a holiday mood.

  7. Host a Move-in Holiday Party
    If you have friends and family members in the area, invite everyone over for a combination move-in party and holiday party. Nobody will be surprised that your home is still filled with boxes, and helping you unpack can be part of the fun. Put on some holiday music, and work together to make your house a home.

These ideas are sure to make your holidays brighter! If you're still looking for Bradenton homes for sale, please feel free to contact us. We'll put you in touch with our real estate agents, who can simplify the home buying process for you.

November
22

Small Business Saturday: 2021 Local Shopping Guide

Small Business Saturday

Shopping local is the perfect way to support small businesses during the holiday season. This year, our real estate agents suggest that you leave Black Friday to the crowd-followers. On November 27, be a trend-setter and support Small Business Saturday by patronizing these amazing shops around Bradenton and Sarasota.

  • The Dancing Crane Gallery - 1019 10th Ave. W., Bradenton, FL 34205
    Have you or a friend recently purchased one of the great Bradenton homes for sale? Add some individual flair with artwork from The Dancing Crane Gallery. Choose from paintings, glassware, hand-painted tiles, and sculptures from a variety of talented artists. Hours are 11 a.m. 4 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, with extended hours until 9 p.m. on the first Friday of each month. 

  • Mixon Fruit Farms - 2525 27th St. E., Bradenton, FL 34208
    Kids who hate shopping will love going to Mixon Fruit Farms, which is fun for the whole family. Take a fascinating tram tour through the grove, with a stop for an interactive educational show at the wildlife center. Then it's time for lunch at the Groveside Cafe and a visit to the Play Place before you pick up some fresh fruit, wine, fudge, and other treats to take home. Stock up on gifts like fudge, wine, and sauces. Mixon Fruit Farms is open 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Tram tours are held each day at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for kids ages 3-12.

  • Bookstore1Sarasota - 12 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota, FL 34236
    At Bookstore1Sarasota, their motto is, "Joie de Livres," which translates to, "Joy of Books." Owners and staff are passionate about the joy of books and equally passionate about sharing that joy with customers. Discover a new favorite from among their selection of current best-sellers and perennial classics. The shop's online author events and book clubs are a perfect way to connect with other book lovers. Hours are 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. daily except Sunday when doors close at 2 p.m. 

  • Lotus Boutique - 1464 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236
    Dress yourself from head to toe at Lotus Boutique, just minutes from Sarasota homes for sale. Lotus features the hottest designs from Diane von Furstenburg, Frank & Eileen, Norma Kamali, and other name brands. Complete your outfit with jewelry, shoes, and accessories in the latest styles. Afterward, cross the street to their newest addition and expand your wardrobe with their collection of activewear and casual favorites. Lotus Boutique is open 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon - 5 p.m. Sunday.

  • Pastry Art - 1512 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236
    Even power shoppers need a break. Rest and recharge with a snack or light lunch at Pastry Art. Choose from a tasty selection of salads, sandwiches, and wraps, or head right to the good stuff with a cupcake, cannoli, or molten lava cake. Coffee is locally roasted and freshly brewed for a full, rich flavor. Hours are 7 a.m. - 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. - 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Sunday.

Wagner Realty is proud to be part of the vibrant business community around Bradenton and Sarasota. Contact us for help with all your real estate needs.

November
8

Thanksgiving Recipes for Healthy Dining

Thanksgiving Dining

Thanksgiving is a time to gather with family and friends and enjoy a delicious meal together. If you're watching your weight, you'll be glad to know that you don't necessarily have to load up on unhealthy foods. 

Many of our real estate agents love to cook. When they weren't busy showing buyers all the great Sarasota homes for sale, they spent some time looking for delicious healthy recipes you can prepare this Thanksgiving. Take a look at some of the ideas below. By lightening up the menu, you can make sure that this year the only thing that will be stuffed on Thanksgiving Day is the turkey! 

  • Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
    This delicious butternut squash soup makes the perfect starter for Thanksgiving dinner. You can give it a healthy twist by swapping out the heavy cream for equally tasty coconut milk. Even better, if you use pre-cut butternut squash, you can make this recipe in just five minutes! That's a real lifesaver when you're already spending the bulk of the day in the kitchen. 
  • Shrimp Cocktail 
    Enjoying a healthy appetizer before dinner can help keep you from over-eating when you sit down for the main meal. Shrimp cocktail is an easy and festive dish that has a low-calorie count. Steam your shrimp in spices and make your own cocktail sauce instead of buying the pre-made version from the store - you'll be glad you did! 

  • Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Honey and Cinnamon
    Instead of making a traditional sweet potato casserole that's loaded with brown sugar and marshmallows, try these roasted sweet potatoes with honey and cinnamon. They still have plenty of sweetness but without all the added sugar. This super-simple recipe only takes a few minutes to prepare and is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. 
  • Healthy Mashed Potatoes
    Most people agree that Thanksgiving dinner wouldn't be the same without mashed potatoes. But, you can make a healthy version that doesn't involve two sticks of butter. This recipe substitutes regular milk for heavy cream and adds just enough butter to make the dish taste delicious without being overly fatty. Top your potatoes with some fresh chives for a little extra dash of color and flavor. 

  • Maple Bacon Brussels Sprouts
    When you try these maple bacon Brussels sprouts, you'll have a hard time believing they're actually good for you! This decadent-tasting dish gets its flavor from real maple syrup, bacon, and cayenne pepper. Also, if you think you don't like Brussels sprouts, you probably just haven't had them cooked the right way - so do yourself a favor and try them out. 
  • Healthy Cranberry Sauce
    It's a great idea to skip the sugar-laden canned cranberry sauce and make your own instead. This easy cranberry sauce recipe calls for only three ingredients - fresh cranberries, maple syrup, and orange juice. If you want to make it extra special, add a bit of cinnamon and vanilla extract as well. 

If you're looking for the perfect Florida home this Thanksgiving season, the agents at Wagner Realty are here to help. We have the inside scoop on all the best Sarasota and Bradenton homes for sale, so don't delay. Contact us today to discuss your goals and get started! 

October
25

7 Tips for Saving Up for a Down Payment

down payment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

October
18

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.

October
11

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.  

September
27

German Restaurants for Your Oktoberfest Plans

German Restaurants Sarasota

The official Oktoberfest festivities in Munich might be canceled this year, but that doesn't mean you can't celebrate the occasion here in the Bradenton area! In fact, our real estate agents have a few ideas about where to go for an Oktoberfest feast. Check out these local restaurants for an authentic dining experience. 

  • Lucky Frog Restaurant - 4625 Cortez Rd W, Bradenton, FL 34210
    With its unassuming storefront, it would be easy to overlook the Lucky Frog Restaurant. But you'd also be missing out on some of the best authentic German food near these Bradenton homes for sale. The Lucky Frog serves a broad menu of classic German fare like breaded pork schnitzel, sauerbraten, and spaetzle, along with daily chef's specialties. Oktoberfest events are planned for Oct. 9th and 23rd, 2021, including a special menu and live German folk music. 

  • Restaurant Edelweiss - 611 Manatee Ave E, Bradenton, FL 34208
    The fresh cuisine at Restaurant Edelweiss is made from scratch every day and has been voted the best authentic German food in Bradenton. The restaurant serves up finely crafted specialties like the mouth-watering Rügenwalder Knacker Platter, which includes two smoked pork knackwurst with German potato salad and a handmade pretzel. Be sure to check out the music schedule at Restaurant Edelweiss as well; live bands play every week. They also have a relaxing biergarten where you'll be glad to sit and sip a pint, with classic German beers like Warsteiner Pilsner and Hofbräuhaus Lager on draft. 

  • Old Hamburg Schnitzelhaus - 3246 E Bay Dr, Holmes Beach, FL 34217
    You'll find plenty of tasty Bavarian and Austrian dishes on the menu at the Old Hamburg Schnitzelhaus. This classic German restaurant near Holmes Beach homes for sale uses old-country recipes handed down through generations and serves guests in an intimate, relaxing space. Start with the Tagessuppe (soup of the day) and handmade pretzels with German mustard, and go from there. They have a great beer and wine list too. 

  • Siegfried's Restaurant - 1869 Fruitville Rd, Sarasota, FL 34236
    It doesn't get much more authentic than Siegfried's Restaurant. Owners Kim and Rene moved to Sarasota from Erkelenz, Germany in 2018, and started Siegfried's Restaurant with the goal of crafting delicious German food based on family recipes. Located a stone's throw from these Sarasota homes for sale, they have one of the best outdoor biergartens in town. 

  • Geier's Sausage Kitchen - 7447 S Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34231
    A unique German meat market and deli, Geier's Sausage Kitchen is a great place to pick up authentic German take-out. They also offer some of the best authentic, handmade German sausages you'll ever taste, including frankfurters, bratwurst, and knockwurst. Pick some up to throw on the grill for your own Oktoberfest party! 

  • Curry Up King - 935 N Beneva Rd #613, Sarasota, FL 34232
    Serving authentic German street food with an Indian twist, Curry Up King is a hole-in-the-wall joint that is not to be missed. With a small, no-frills seating area, the kitchen at Curry Up King produces genuine masterpieces like their schnitzel sandwich, which includes pork loin fried golden brown to perfection, topped with zesty curry lemon mayonnaise. And save room for dessert; they make just about the best apple strudel you'll ever have. 

Contact us today to learn more about life in Sarasota and Bradenton, and be sure to ask our real estate agents about finding your dream home on the Florida coast.

September
20

Why People are Moving to Sarasota and Manatee Counties

Sarasota Moving

People are flocking to the Sarasota area! Statistics recently released by the U.S. Census Bureau show that between 2010 and 2020, Sarasota's growth rate was nearly double that of the nation as a whole. While the growth rate of the U.S. population over the 10-year period was 7.4%, Sarasota grew at 14.4%, and nearby Manatee County grew at a shocking 23.8%.

Every day, our real estate agents work with buyers who are competing for the best Sarasota homes for sale. What is it about this area that's so attractive? From gorgeous weather to award-winning beaches, there's so much to love about living in the Sarasota area. Here's a closer look at some of the most important benefits. 

  • No State Income Tax
    The lack of a state income tax is one of the biggest benefits of living in Florida. Since so many visitors come to Florida each year, they pay the taxes for us! Tourists pay a 7% sales tax on the state level. On the county level, hotel stays and short-term property rentals are also subject to a 5% tourism tax. While this may seem annoying when you're visiting, once you become a resident, you'll love being able to hold onto your hard-earned dollars. 
  • Strong Job and Employment Market
    If you're still working, you'll be glad to know that the Sarasota area has a strong economy and a low unemployment rate. Some of the top industries in the area include healthcare, hospitality, education, professional services, retail, and trades. 
  • Culture and Performing Arts
    From the Ringling Museum and Marie Selby Botanical Gardens to the Sarasota Ballet and the Van Wezel Performing Art Center, there are many diverse cultural and performing arts attractions in the area. In fact, Sarasota has been named Florida's "Cultural City," thanks to its active theatrical and performing arts scene. 
  • Incredible Dining Options
    There are almost countless dining venues and drinking establishments in the Sarasota area. From incredible fine dining and casual cafes to upscale wine bars to local breweries, there's something here for everyone. Some of the most popular entertainment destinations in the area include Siesta Key, Downtown Sarasota, St. Armand's Circle, and Lakewood Ranch. 
  • Award-Winning Beaches
    Sarasota's beaches receive recognition nationwide. Siesta Key Beach has been named the number one beach in America multiple times thanks to its powdery, sugar-like sand. Other beaches throughout the county are also some of the most popular in the state of Florida.  
  • A Year-Round Playground
    Sarasota has an average of 251 sunny days each year and an average year-round temperature of 73 degrees. It's the perfect location for anyone who enjoys being out on the water boating, kayaking, or swimming. The city of Sarasota was also named the #1 Best Place to Retire nationwide by U.S. News & World Report. 
  • Affordable Real Estate
    Despite all of these incredible benefits, real estate in Sarasota and Bradenton is still relatively affordable. In fact, many residents find that owning a home here is often less expensive than renting. At the beginning of 2021, the average home price here was $319,793, and the median rent was $1,995 per month.

Finding your dream home in Florida can be a challenge, but it's much easier when you work with a great agent. The experts at Wagner Realty have access to all the best Sarasota and Bradenton homes for sale, and we want to help you! Contact us today to discuss your goals and get started. 

September
13

Galleries to Explore on Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island

Walking through an art gallery is a lovely way to connect with your feelings and expand your understanding of the world. So often, artists create images that evoke emotions that words can't express.

Luckily, Anna Maria Island has some lovely art galleries where talented, local artists showcase their pieces. Plan a trip to one (or more) of these galleries.  

  • Cove Gallery & Boutique: 104 Bridge St., Bradenton, FL  34217
    Just minutes away from many Bradenton Beach homes for sale, this unique gallery features ocean-inspired artwork. At Cove Gallery & Boutique, you'll find shadowboxes made from beach wood, paintings of waves, and beachy drawings. Admire the artwork, or purchase some for your own home.

    Cheryl Gonsalves's work is featured at Cove. She uses watercolors to create paintings of the ocean and seaside villages. Another prominent artist is Corin Finnie, who creates dreamscapes and murals. Guests also love admiring the sea glass creations of Avery Jackson.

  • Artists' Guild of Anna Maria Island: 5414 Marina Dr., Holmes Beach, FL 34217
    The Artists' Guild is a nonprofit organization that seeks to unite and support artists in the region. More than 150 artists belong to the guild, and most display their art here from time to time. Inside, you'll see everything from photography to pottery to pastel creations.

    This gallery is not far from many Holmes Beach homes for sale. They also offer online art classes, and each month, a different artist's work is featured in their front windows. 
    Gallery West
  • Island Gallery West: 5368 Gulf Dr., Holmes Beach, FL 34217
    Island Gallery West was created in 1990 by a small group of artists, and it has grown since then. In 2021, it was named Anna Maria Island's Favorite Art Gallery by Sun. Here, you'll find all sorts of art, from mosaics to jewelry. There are also plenty of paintings and drawings, of course. The gallery is always staffed by an artist who can answer your questions and show you around.

    Island Gallery West features a different artist each month, so you can stop by often and always see something new. 

  • The Studio At Gulf & Pine: 10101 Gulf Dr., Anna Maria, FL 34216
    The Studio at Gulf & Pine is the perfect place to stop after a long day of looking at Anna Maria Island homes for sale. This large indoor gallery was founded by Rhea Chiles, the former First Lady of Florida.

    At The Studio, you can view and purchase artwork, or you can take classes. They offer community classes on painting, drawing, and even culinary arts throughout the year. This gallery is very involved in local preservation and historical efforts.

  • Anna Maria Island Art League: P.O. Box 1243, Holmes Beach, FL 34217
    The Anna Maria Island Art League is not a traditional gallery but an organization created to support local and emerging artists through various festivals and events throughout the year. Their Springfest takes place annually on the beach and is a great place to view and purchase locally made art. If you become a member, you can enjoy discounts on classes and workshops.

Whether you're a lifelong artist or someone just learning to appreciate the beauty in art, these Anna Maria Island art galleries are well worth exploring. If you're new to the island and looking for a place to live, contact us. Our real estate agents can help guide you in your home search and help you find the right property for your art collection.

August
23

Tips for Picking A Real Estate Agent During a Hot Market

Real Estate Market

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

Why Hire an Agent?

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

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

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

What to Look for in an Agent

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

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

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

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

August
16

Benefits of Shopping Local

Shop Local Sarasota

It's impossible to overstate the importance of shopping locally. It buoys the local economy and supports your friends' and neighbors' businesses. It also puts a wealth of unique goods at your fingertips that you might otherwise have missed... plus, it's fun!

Our real estate agents have always believed in the power of shopping locally here in the Bradenton and Sarasota areas, and we have some truly incredible local businesses at our doorstep. Here's how you can support them. 

What Happens When You Shop Local

On a smaller scale—a local scale—you really can make a difference. Here's how it benefits your community when you shop local:

  • Your money stays local. Studies show that for every $100 you spend at a local business, $68 stays within the community, nurturing the local economy.

  • You help the environment. Yes, shopping local is greener! It creates less waste by reducing the need for packaging and transportation of the goods you buy. 

  • You create local jobs. Local businesses are more likely to offer quality, high-paying jobs in your community. 

  • You embrace what makes your community unique. Chances are, your local businesses offer something special and different from what the big national chains do. Shopping local encourages and supports that unique community identity. 

Shopping Local in Bradenton & Sarasota

There are many fantastic locally owned businesses in our area. When planning your next local shopping trip, be sure to check out these businesses:

  • The Bazaar on Apricot & Lime - 821 Apricot Ave, Sarasota, FL 34237
    You never know what you'll find at The Bazaar on Apricot & Lime! This unique indoor indie market hosts some of the coolest local vendors offering handmade jewelry, clothing, arts, crafts, and more. Plus, it's just minutes from these Sarasota homes for sale

  • Calusa Brewing - 5701 Derek Ave, Sarasota, FL 34233
    We're blessed with a lot of awesome local breweries here in Sarasota, but Calusa Brewing is definitely one of our favorites. They create an incredible selection of craft beers and ales, ranging from traditional styles to creative experiments, and serve them up in their lively taproom space. 

  • Banyan Coffee Co. - 216 22nd St W, Bradenton, FL 34205
    A great local coffee roaster in Bradenton, Banyan Coffee Co. will ship coffee beans right to your door (delivery is free in Bradenton), or you can sample a cup from their mobile coffee cart. Their coffee is also served and sold at dozens of local establishments, including Cremesh Coffee & Bakery, a stone's throw from many Bradenton homes for sale

  • Bookstore 1 - 12 S Palm Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236
    There's no substitute for the unique selection and helpful staff at a great local bookstore like Sarasota's Bookstore 1. They're committed to bringing great books to the community, and the newest arrivals are always listed on their website. 

  • Artisan Cheese Co. - 550 Central Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236
    Looking for a local cheese shop in which artisan cheesemakers craft specialty cheeses using the milk from Florida cows, goats, and sheep? Look no farther than Artisan Cheese Co. 

  • Village of the Arts - 1227 12th St W, Bradenton, FL 34205
    There's no better place to find local art than Village of the Arts, an eclectic community of cottages that house art galleries, studios, and shops run by local artists. They host an art walk the first Friday night and Saturday afternoon of every month

Our team is dedicated to supporting our local businesses in the Bradenton and Sarasota areas, and we can't wait to help your find your Florida dream home! Contact us today.

August
9

How to Prepare for a Stress-Free Move

Stress Free Move

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August
2

Events and Festivals Happening This August

Sarasota Events

In August, the calendar may be moving toward fall, but summer fun is still going strong around Sarasota and Bradenton. Join our real estate agents for some good times at these exciting local events and festivals taking place this month.

  • NBP Rec Days - Nathan Benderson Park, 5851 Nathan Benderson Circle, Sarasota, FL 34235
    Have you joined the kayaking craze? Maybe you want to pass your love of fishing on to your kids. NBP Rec Days are a great opportunity for the whole family to try various water-based activities, including stand-up paddleboarding, canoeing, and sailing, right by Sarasota homes for sale. Fishing licenses are required for those who choose to participate. Dates are Saturday, August 14, and Saturday, August 28, from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Fees are $10 per person, with a maximum of $35 for families of five or more. Kids aged 6 and under are free.

  • Majesty of Rock - CoolToday Park, 18800 W. Villages Pkwy., Venice, FL 34293
    It's a marriage made in rock 'n' roll heaven when Majesty of Rock performs at CoolToday Park, right down the street from Venice homes for sale. Frontman John D'Agostino leads the group of talented musicians through a selection of tunes from iconic classic rock bands Journey and Styx. Bring a lawn chair or blanket, but you'll probably spend most of the night dancing away. Music starts at 8 p.m. on Saturday, August 21. General admission tickets are $12.

  • World Series of Comedy - McCurdy's Comedy Theatre, 1923 Ringling Blvd., Bradenton, FL 34236
    Cap off a day of viewing Bradenton homes for sale with a night of laughs. The best of the best are competing in the World Series of Comedy, with 40 comedians appearing in four days. Your vote will help decide who moves on to the finals. Festivities run from Thursday, August 12, through Sunday, August 15. Visit the website for showtimes. Tickets are $25.

  • IQuest: Playing Around with Science - The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature, 201 - 10th St. W., Bradenton, FL 34205
    Prepare the kids to go back to school by sneaking some learning into their fun. At IQuest: Playing Around with Science, the award-winning game designer gives tips on creating games that incorporate scientific know-how. After playing science card games, participants will try their hand at designing their own games. IQuest takes place Saturday, August 14, from 4 p.m. - 8 p.m. The $8 admission includes a slice of pizza and a beverage.

  • Plantation Wine Festival - Plantation Golf & Country Club, 500 Rockley Blvd., Venice, FL 34293
    Enjoy a relaxing afternoon sampling a variety of wines in the lush surroundings of the Plantation Golf & Country Club, which opens its doors to the public for the Plantation Wine Festival. As if the wine wasn't enough, the club chefs are preparing a sensational assortment of food to dine on as well. The event will be held indoors in air-conditioned comfort, where you can look out over the beautiful greenery, colorful flowers, and serene waterways. The festival is scheduled for Sunday, August 29, from 1 p.m. - 4 p.m. Tickets are $25 for club members and $35 for non-members. 

Are you buying or selling a home around Bradenton or Sarasota? It doesn't have to get in the way of your summer entertainment. Contact us at Wagner Realty and let us handle the hard stuff.

July
26

Back to School Shopping in Sarasota and Bradenton

Sarasota Shopping

School will be back in session before you know it. Of course, here in the Sarasota and Bradenton areas, that doesn't mean summer fun is over. But it does mean it's time to hit the shops for some back-to-school shopping. 

Whether you're in need of books, art supplies, clothes, or all of the above, our real estate agents know just where to look! Check out these great local stores for all your back-to-school shopping needs in Sarasota and Bradenton, FL!

  • St. Armands Circle - 431 St Armands Cir, Sarasota, FL 34236
    Encircling a charming city park adorned with Italian statues, the shops at St. Armands Circle are an endlessly enjoyable place to shop. Easily explored on foot, the stores here provide for a wide range of back-to-school needs. It's an especially great area to get all your school clothes shopping done, with shops including Hatley, Modern Soul Boutique, Crazy Shirts, and Little Bo-Tique. The shops at St. Armands Circle offer some of the best shopping opportunities on the Gulf Coast, just a stone's throw from many Sarasota homes for sale.

  • The Mall at University Town Center - 140 University Town Center Dr, Sarasota, FL 34243
    One of the largest shopping centers in the Sarasota area, the Mall at University Town Center has a shop for just about anything you might need. Stock up on school supplies at Paper Source, make sure your kids have the latest technology at the Apple Store, and hit the Gap and Gap Kids for all their back-to-school clothes. The mall is packed with fun dining options too, and there are plenty of attractions here for the whole family. 

  • The Paper Inn - 5917 Manatee Ave W #609, Bradenton, FL 34209
    For the young artist in your family, Bradenton's The Paper Inn is one of the best places in the area to stock up on back-to-school supplies! This beloved local art supply and stationery store offers a wide range of essentials for budding artists, and they even host their own arts and crafts classes. The Paper Inn is located a short drive from many Bradenton homes for sale and is also one of the area's best destinations to find crafting and scrapbooking supplies. 

  • Bookstore1 - 12 S Palm Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236
    A good bookstore offers something for everyone, and Bookstore1 is a great bookstore. You'll find great reads here for every interest and every age group, from pre-K kids just learning their letters to college students looking to stock up for their Humanities classes. The folks at Bookstore1 have made it their mission to be Sarasota's best independent bookstore, and their friendly, knowledgeable staff will help you find anything you're looking for. 

  • Children's World - 4525 Bee Ridge Rd, Sarasota, FL 34233
    Children's World is the top destination in Sarasota for school uniforms. But it's also much more than that. They're also an amazing resource for all kinds of school accessories, books, supplies, toys, and games. You'll find a vast selection of everything your kids need to learn, grow and explore, both at school and at home. Children's World has been serving the Florida Gulf Coast since 1964, and they frequently host in-store play days for kids as well. 

Contact us today to learn more about life on the Gulf Coast of Florida and talk to our real estate agents about all the unique opportunities our area has to offer. We can't wait to help you find your dream home in the Sarasota and Bradenton areas!

July
12

Florida Boating Safety Tips

Florida Boating Safety

Living in Florida is truly living the dream! Living close to the water and being able to enjoy it almost year-round is one of the benefits of living here. As the summer weather heats up, be sure to test your boating safety know-how before you hit the water. Here are a few tips from our real estate agents to help keep you safe this summer.

  • Wear a Life Jacket
    Hands down, the most important safety precaution you can take on a boat is to make sure all passengers are wearing life jackets. Even if you are a good swimmer, you could be knocked unconscious or become disoriented if you're thrown from the boat. Also, make sure you get a life jacket that fits properly, especially for kids. It won't do you any good if it comes off when you hit the water.

  • Prepare a Boat Safety Kit
    Life jackets may be the most important, but they're only one of the things you need on board in case of an emergency. Also, be sure to have emergency items such as a first aid kit, fire extinguisher, a flashlight, duct tape, rope, a bucket, and a mirror, and a whistle for signaling if you need help.

  • Beware of Carbon Monoxide
    Carbon monoxide is as much of a concern on a boat as it is in your home. You'll have to be very aware of the risk of carbon monoxide created by your engine. Be wary of things like blocked exhaust outlets or idling your engine while sitting still, and have your engine checked regularly to ensure everything is in good working order.

  • Check the Weather
    Even in beautiful Florida, the weather can sometimes be a hazard. A beautiful day near Bradenton homes for sale won't always stay beautiful, and getting caught in a storm could turn that beautiful, relaxing boat ride into a fight for survival. Always check the weather forecast before venturing out onto the water.

  • Have Your Boat Checked Yearly
    Just like with your car or the HVAC system in your house, it's important to have your boat checked out regularly to make sure everything is in good operating condition. A safety check ensures that everything from emergency equipment, to ventilation, to your boat's battery are all present and functioning properly. It's a good idea to have regular checks and maintenance done on the mechanical components as well.

  • Take a Boating Safety Course
    Want to really make sure you are prepared to hit the water? Enroll in a boating safety course. You can find them both online and in person. The idea is to ensure you know common safety procedures, how to prevent common accidents, and are prepared in case of an emergency.

Florida may be like living in paradise, but it's still up to all of us to make sure our favorite activities stay safe and fun for everyone. Looking for your dream home among the Sarasota homes for sale? We can help with that, too! Contact us today for more information about buying and selling homes in Florida.

June
28

5 Places to Help You Stay Active in Sarasota and Bradenton

Stay Active in Bradenton

Our area is also a great place for retirees to get active and stay active!

If you haven't tried the SilverSneakers app, we highly recommend it. It's a perfect way to motivate yourself and also to find great fitness locations no matter where in the country you may be. Our real estate agents are particularly fond of these SilverSneakers locations in Sarasota and Bradenton:

  1. Sun N Fun RV Resort - 7125 Fruitville Rd, Sarasota, FL 34240
    Sarasota's Sun N Fun RV Resort is a beautiful place to park one's motor home and relax, but it's also much more than that. They're all about promoting a healthy, active lifestyle and offer amenities that include an extensive indoor fitness canter and an Olympic-size outdoor pool. Dozens of group activities and fitness classes are also available, ranging from yoga and Pilates to strength training and martial arts. Sun N Fun RV Resort also makes a great home base if you're in town looking at Sarasota homes for sale.

  2. G.T. Bray Recreation Center - 5502 33rd Ave Dr. W, Bradenton, FL 34209
    A state-of-the-art recreation complex in the heart of Bradenton, the G.T. Bray Recreation Center is a hub for all things fitness-related. Classes and programs are offered for every age and fitness level, with amenities that include tennis and racquetball courts, an Olympic-sized pool, an outdoor running/walking track, and a beautifully appointed indoor fitness center. The G.T. Bray Recreation center is also just minutes from these Bradenton homes for sale, making it a convenient option for staying active. 

  3. Lana's BarBelles - 7014 Cortez Rd W, Bradenton, FL 34210
    It's not easy to find a quality fitness center that's specifically tailored to women's needs. But Bradenton has a great resource in Lana's BarBelles, a woman-owned fitness center that focuses on group and personal training for women. They offer a free fitness assessment and specially-tailored programs to help all ages and fitness levels reach their health and wellness goals. Many folks visit Lana's BarBelles for the first time while they're in Bradenton on winter vacation and then keep coming back again and again. 

  4. GYM SRQ - 3530 Clark Rd, Sarasota, FL 34231
    One of Sarasota's most consistently highly-rated gyms, GYM SRQ goes the extra mile to create a better fitness experience. No matter where you're starting out or what your goals may be, they have classes tailored to your needs. Small group classes and one-on-one sessions with certified personal trainers are available to help you not only lose weight or gain strength but also learn the principles behind living a longer, healthier life. 

  5. Terra Ceia Bay Country Club - 2802 Terra Ceia Bay Blvd, Palmetto, FL 34221
    The Terra Ceia Bay Country Club is home to a truly spectacular golf course with splendid views and meticulously manicured greens and fairways. But the country club also offers a wide range of additional fitness activities and amenities, including racquet courts and a swimming pool. There's also a tiki bar and grill on-site, making it a great place to socialize and meet people in the local community. The Terra Ceia Bay Country Club is just a short drive across the Manatee River from Bradenton and minutes from many Palmetto homes for sale.

Contact us today to learn more about how to stay active and reach your fitness goals in Sarasota and Bradenton, and be sure to talk with our team about finding your retirement dream home!

June
21

Summer Lawn Care: How to Install a Sprinkler System

Summer Lawn Care

Your dream house has a beautiful yard with grass, trees, shrubs, even a flower garden. There are plenty of Sarasota homes for sale that fit the bill. Our real estate agents can help you find the one that meets your needs. Caring for your new lawn, though, is up to you.

One of the most important aspects of lawn care is water - giving the area just enough water, just often enough, without doing it too much or too frequently. To do that, you'll need a sprinkler system that's designed just for your lawn's needs. You can have it professionally installed, but as long as you're reasonably handy, you might prefer to go the DIY route instead and install it yourself. Here are some tips for installing your sprinkler system.

What You'll Need

Before you begin the installation, you need to make sure you have all your tools and materials ready. Here's a list of what you'll need:

  • PVC Pipes and Fittings. PVC pipe is sturdy and durable but easier to work with than metal, so you can cut it down to lengths of whatever size you need. The fittings let you put the pipe segments together in different formations, as needed: elbow fittings, for joining two lengths together around a curve, and T-fittings, for joining three.
  • Sprinkler Heads. The most important part of your sprinkler system. You can choose the direction of the spray, as well as how much and in what pattern. You'll also need risers to connect the heads to the PVC pipe.
  • Timer. Allows you to set when and how often your lawn gets watered. A smart timer can automatically adjust to weather conditions so it doesn't go off when it's raining.
  • Valves. The valves allow you to control how much water flows through your sprinklers. They're accessed through a valve box and connected to the system with wiring.
  • Drains. These remove the excess water from the pipes when the sprinklers aren't on. It can be done either manually or automatically.
  • Backflow Prevention. Sometimes, water from the soil can flow back into your water supply, contaminating it with dirt and bacteria. A backflow prevention valve keeps this from happening.

What to Do

The first step is to find the pipe that you'll be using as the water source for your sprinkler system. Water will flow from that pipe through all of your PVC pipes and be distributed to your lawn. Check the pressure of that pipe to make sure it's up to the job.

Next, dig trenches around your yard in the pattern in which you want to place your sprinklers. Also, dig one from the water main to where you want to place your valve box, and dig a hole for the valve box. Dig the trenches between four and twelve inches deep. You'll want to rent a trenching machine to help you get them the right width and depth. Then, lay the PVC pipes in the trenches.

This is just the basics. There's a lot more to know about sprinkler installation. Don't attempt to install your own sprinklers unless you know what you're doing or have an expert on hand to help you. If you're unsure, call a professional.

If you're looking for Bradenton homes for sale with great lawns that are perfect for DIY gardening projects like this, contact us! We'll help you find the home of your dreams!

June
7

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.

May
25

Dog-Friendly Restaurants in the Sarasota and Manatee Area

Dog Friendly Restaurants

Sarasota and Manatee Counties feature many fun places to dine, many of which offer fresh local seafood and fabulous water views. Some will also let you bring your dog with you as you enjoy their restaurant.

Our real estate agents suggest taking your pooch to the following dog-friendly restaurants in the Sarasota and Manatee area:

  1. Sun Garden Cafe - 210 Avenida Madera, Siesta Key, FL 34242
    Sun Garden Cafe, which serves lunch and dinner, offers locally caught fish, locally grown produce, farm-fresh eggs, and artisan foods from around the world. Feel free to wear your flip-flops and dine inside or outside. Well-behaved dogs are always welcome, so if you buy one of our Siesta Keys homes for sale, you can bring your pooch with you.

  2. Owens Fish Camp - 516 Burns Ct #7030, Sarasota, FL 34236
    Located near Sarasota homes for sale, Owens Fish Camp brings in local fish from the Bay every day. The atmosphere is casual old Florida, where you can try a craft beer with your seafood and eat at one of the front porch tables with your dog. A huge Banyan tree out front and a tire swing out back add to the laid-back, comfortable vibe.

  3. Turtle Beach Grill - 8865 Midnight Pass Road, Sarasota, FL 34242
    Located across from Turtle Beach near Sarasota homes for sale, the Turtle Beach Grill has dog-friendly dining on their outside patio deck. You'll be able to enjoy live entertainment on the deck Thursdays-Sundays from 5 p.m.-9 p.m. Visit the Turtle Beach Grill for lunch, dinner, or drinks, and you can even arrive by boat and dock at Bayfront Yachtworks.

  4. Gulf Drive Cafe - 900 Gulf Drive North, Bradenton Beach, FL 34217
    The Gulf Drive Cafe has been a popular fixture in Bradenton Beach since 1981, and it's easy to see why. The dog-friendly restaurant offers amazing views since it sits on 2 acres of waterfront on the Gulf of Mexico near Bradenton Beach homes for sale. Fresh seafood is a mainstay of the lunch and dinner menus, and while you're enjoying your meal, you can also have a cold cocktail and listen to live entertainment. And if you time it right, you can catch a multi-colored sunset from your restaurant view.

  5. The Waterfront Restaurant & Craft Bar - 111 South Bay Blvd., Anna Maria, FL 34216
    Whether you have a picky or an adventurous palate, you'll find something to love at The Waterfront Restaurant & Craft Bar, located near Anna Maria homes for sale. Utilizing fresh, natural flavors, the restaurant serves recognizable favorites as well as rare seasonal items. Try a selection from the micro-brew and wine bar and sit at the open-air patio that has views of Tampa Bay.

Even pets love calling the Sunshine State home! Contact us today to learn more about what homeowners enjoy about living in the Sarasota and Manatee area. 

May
17

How to Pick the Perfect Houseplants

Houseplant Tips

One of the best parts of buying a new house is giving it those personal touches that help turn it into a home. Our estate agents can help you find Bradenton homes for sale, but only you can make that home your own. One simple and rewarding touch you can add to any home is houseplants. What kind should you have, though? Here are a few things to consider when selecting houseplants.

  1. Benefits
    Think about what benefits you want. For instance, if you want to reduce stress, go with a lavender plant. Its scent has a calming effect and can improve sleep. Maybe you're looking to make your air more breathable. In that case, peace lilies and English ivy absorb toxins to improve indoor air quality. Or you might want to add a splash of color to your decor. If so, coleus comes in various bright shades, including purple, orange, and red. Gardon croton has leaves of red, yellow, green, and copper. And bromeliads bloom in red, orange, yellow, and pink. There are many other houseplants with myriad other benefits. Do some research and find out which ones best suit your needs.

  2. Environment
    Consider where your houseplants will be kept and what their needs are. How much sunlight does it need? What temperature range does it thrive in? Does it need a dry environment or a humid one? If you're looking for a plant for your bathroom, for instance, you should try the humidity-loving monstera plant. If you have a room without windows, try a snake plant. If you've got a big window with lots of sunlight, consider a jade plant or a lemon tree.

  3. Care
    Perhaps the most important consideration is how much care your plant will need and how much care you'll be able to give it. How often does the plant need to be watered? Does it need any other care, such as pruning? If you travel a lot, then look for a plant that doesn't require as much care - or be prepared to get a plant-sitter. Air plants, for instance, don't even need soil. Keep them in indirect sunlight and water them every two weeks, and they'll thrive. What if you're afraid you'll forget to water your plant on a regular schedule? Or that you'll accidentally overcompensate, watering it too often? Set a reminder on your phone to alert you when your plant needs water or other care. It can be set to go off automatically once a week, every two weeks, or however, often your plant needs attention.

  4. Containers
    Once you've chosen your houseplant, it needs to go in the right container. Porous clay pots are good for your plants and the environment. They retain moisture while letting soil toxins escape. You might also consider a glass terrarium designed to keep in moisture and heat. Whatever container you use, make sure it's got holes on the bottom for water drainage. If you're buying a baby plant, know how much it will grow over time, and get a container that will accommodate it - or be prepared to transplant it later. A larger pot can also allow you to put multiple plants in the same space. 

If you've got houseplants inside, you're likely going to want a few outdoors as well. Fortunately, there are plenty of Sarasota homes for sale with big front and backyards, perfect for gardening. Contact us to help you find the space that's right for you!

May
10

What to Consider When Choosing a Gated Community

Gated Community

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

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

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

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

May
3

Take Mom to These Brunch Spots Near Bradenton and Sarasota

Sarasota Brunch

Mother's Day is celebrated on May 9th this year, so what better time to treat mom to brunch or breakfast at a local restaurant? You'll be able to spend quality time together chatting as you enjoy a nice atmosphere combined with excellent food.
  
Our real estate agents suggest trying one of the following Mother's Day brunch options near Bradenton and Sarasota:  

  1. Pier 22 – 1200 1st Ave. W., Bradenton, FL 34205
    Mom is sure to love the amazing waterfront views from expansive windows at Pier 22, located near Bradenton homes for sale. The restaurant's atmosphere is casual, but the food is fine dining that's cooked from scratch. Choose a starter such as calamari, crab cake, or honey macadamia shrimp for brunch before moving onto an entrée like a beignet, smoked-salmon crepes, steak omelet, or shrimp and grits. Brunch is served from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
      
  2. Anna Maria Oyster Bar – 1525 51st Ave. E., Ellenton, FL 34222   
    Anna Maria Oyster Bar has four locations in the area, including one near Ellenton homes for sale as well as the intersection of I-75 and US-301. You and mom can dine inside, or, if the weather's sunny, sit by the waterfront outdoor dining area. Seafood dishes are popular favorites on the menu, including grouper cooked your way, fried oysters, and flounder Roma. Lighter bites of some entrees are also offered, as are salads, soups, burgers, and chicken and fish sandwiches. Lunch is served daily starting at 11 a.m.
      
  3. Station 400 – 400 N. Lemon Ave., Sarasota, FL 34236
    Located downtown near Sarasota homes for sale, Station 400 has character and charm since it's housed in a restored train depot that dates back to 1852. The restaurant has been voted the best breakfast and the best brunch in Sarasota, so it's a great spot to treat mom. Start her meal with a specialty mimosa such as blood orange hibiscus, blackberry bramble, or spicy mango. Share a plate of mini doughnut treats or crab cake fritters and choose a delectably decadent entrée like truffle eggs Benedict or apple-stuffed croissant French toast. Hours are 7:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. daily.
      
  4. Boca – 19 S. Lemon Ave., Sarasota, FL 34236
    Boca
    focuses on high-quality farm-to-table food made with local ingredients whenever possible. Start mom's brunch with a fresh mimosa and a plate of sharable fried green tomatoes or grilled gulf oysters. A wide variety of egg dishes are offered, including Boca corned beef hash and bbq pork Benedict, which consists of smoked pork, poached eggs, pretzel toast, cilantro bearnaise, and potato hash. A variety of flatbreads, muffins, and salads are also available. Brunch is served from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
      
  5. Paris Bistrot – 8131 Lakewood Main St., Suite 103, Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202 
    Paris Bistrot brings classic French dishes served in a cozy bistro atmosphere to Lakewood Ranch. Croissants and crepes dominate the breakfast menu, along with eggs Benedict and French toast. If mom prefers a sandwich, she'll have her choice of several options served on a French baguette. Breakfast and lunch are served during the week as well as from 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
      
  6. Mattison's - Multiple Locations
    All three Mattison's locations will be open and ready to serve mom's a memorable brunch this Mother's Day. Mom will love the delicious food and bottomless mimosas, whether you opt for dine-in or curbside pick-up. Plus, as a part of their Mother's Day special she'll be entered to win a spa gift card and Mattison's gift card.

Contact us if you're interested in buying or selling a home in the Bradenton or Sarasota area. Our agents are experts on local real estate and can help your transaction proceed smoothly.

April
26

6 Places to Play Pickleball around Sarasota & Manatee

Play Pickleball in Sarasota

Let's play pickleball! This paddleball sport that's sweeping the nation is a mix between tennis, badminton, and table tennis. Played either one-on-one or two-on-two, pickleball is great for players of all ages and skill levels. Our REALTORS® love playing pickleball, and we know you will too! Grab a few friends and learn to play this exciting sport at one of these courts.

  1. Colonial Oaks Park — 5300 Colonial Oaks Blvd., Sarasota, FL 34232
    Enjoy a day outdoors at the sprawling 23-acre Colonial Oaks Park. A perfect place to relax and enjoy Florida's warm weather, this park features a dedicated pickleball court for you to grow your game. Colonial Oaks Park is surrounded by Sarasota homes for sale, enabling you to spend time playing pickleball and picnicking throughout the year!

  2. Bayfront Park — 4052 Gulf Of Mexico Dr., Longboat Key, FL 34228
    When searching for Longboat Key homes for sale, let us direct you to one of the many community parks in town, such as Bayfront Park. This local park offers many opportunities to participate in recreational sports, including pickleball! Bring your pickleball paddle and stop by this local park. Hours of play are from 7 am - 10 pm. 

  3. Longwood Park — 6050 Longwood Run Blvd., Sarasota, FL 34243
    Another fantastic indoor and outdoor recreational facility near many of our Sarasota homes for sale, Longwood Park has everything adults, kids, and even dogs need to enjoy fun in the Florida sun. This dog-friendly park has a pickleball court, baseball field, tennis court, and playground, among other great amenities.  

  4. Lakewood Ranch Park — 5350 Lakewood Ranch Blvd., Bradenton, FL 34211
    One benefit we love about our Lakewood Ranch homes for sale is that these beautiful properties are within a short distance to amazing green spaces like the Lakewood Ranch Park. Open from sunrise until nearly midnight, Lakewood Ranch Park provides nearly the entire day for you to practice your pickleball skills on their courts. With eight hard-court tennis courts that feature lighting, there is plenty of room for you and your group of friends to have your own pickleball tournament.

  5. Palmetto Tennis Courts — 1500 W. 10th St., Palmetto, FL 34221
    If you're already an avid tennis player looking at Palmetto homes for sale, you've surely heard of the nearby Palmetto Tennis Courts. Open for play from sunrise to sunset. They're also the perfect place to challenge your friends and family to a game of pickleball. Reservations are not required, so feel free to pop in at any time for a game!

  6. John H. Marble Park — 3675 53rd Ave. E., Bradenton, FL 34203
    One of the coolest parks near our Bradenton homes for sale is John H. Marble Park. Whenever you visit for a game of pickleball on one of their two tennis-lighted hard courts, take a moment to explore their other amenities. Bocce ball, a pool, and even a remote control race track are available to use at your leisure. 

Would you like to live close to these wonderful pickleball courts so you can pay every day? Contact us and we'll show you the best homes available in the Sarasota and Manatee area.

April
19

How to Celebrate Earth Day in Manatee & Sarasota

Manatee Earth Day

Florida is home to so much natural beauty and wonderful outdoor activities! Celebrate Earth Day on April 22nd with our REALTORS® at these special activities in the great outdoors around Manatee and Sarasota Counties.

  1. Almost Heaven Kayak Adventures - 190 Taft Dr., Sarasota, FL 34236
    No time for a vacation? Kayaking is a wonderful way to relax and clear your mind. With Almost Heaven Kayak Adventures, all you need is a couple of hours just minutes from Longboat Key homes for sale. Enjoy leisurely tours of mangrove tunnels and marine preserves with possible sightings of birds, manatees, and bottlenose dolphins. Choose a stand-up paddleboard if you prefer a more vigorous workout. 

  2. Rye Preserve - 905 Rye Wilderness Trail, Parrish, FL 34219
    Step back into Manatee County's history with a visit to Rye Preserve. The 145-acre grounds, encompass four different ecosystems. Walk the trails leading through sand pine scrub, oak hammocks, and xeric oak scrub while the kids try to spot a rare gopher tortoise or other wildlife. Pet-friendly Rye Preserve is open seven days a week from sunrise to sunset. Consider stopping by after looking at Parrish homes for sale.

  3. Sarasota Farmers Market - 1 N. Lemon Ave., Sarasota, FL 34236
    The farm-to-table movement honors the rich variety of nutritious food that comes directly from Mother Nature. Healthy eating around Sarasota homes for sale is easy when you shop the fruits, vegetables, and artisan products at Sarasota Farmers Market. There's always great live music to enjoy while you shop. Leashed dogs are welcome at the market, which is open each Saturday from 7 a.m. - 1 p.m., year-round.

  4. Palma Sola Botanical Park - 9800 17th Ave. NW, Bradenton, FL 34209
    Nature's glorious colors are on full display at Palma Sola Botanical Park. Stroll along with the stunning gardens and around the three onsite lakes or sit in the gazebos, swing, or screened pavilion and take in the beauty around you. Yoga classes are held in the park multiple times a week, offering residents a relaxing way to connect with nature. Stop in after touring Bradenton homes for sale and pick up some flowers and plants at the Hidden Garden Nursery. 

  5. Oscar Scherer State Park - 1843 S. Tamiami Trail, Osprey, FL 34229
    When you visit Oscar Scherer State Park, you'll quickly forget how close you are to Osprey homes for sale. This pet-friendly secluded gem has 15 miles of nature trails and a three-acre freshwater lake with opportunities for paddling, swimming, camping, bird watching, and wildlife viewing. Admission is $5 per vehicle, and hours are 8 a.m. - sundown year-round.

It's only natural to put down roots around Manatee and Sarasota Counties. Contact us to get started finding your dream home in the area.

April
5

Where to Get Farm-Fresh Produce in Sarasota and Manatee Counties

Produce Stands in Bradenton

Spring is in the air, and that can only mean one thing... farm-fresh produce isn't far behind! It's something we look forward to every year. 

Of course, here in Sarasota and Manatee Counties, the growing season never really ends. But the arrival of spring still has our real estate agents excited to hit these local farmers markets in search of the freshest crops of spring. For fresh produce this season, be sure to stop by these local markets. 

  1. Oneco Farmers Market - 5108 15th St E Unit 501, Bradenton, FL 34203
    The Oneco Farmers Market is one of those places where you truly never know what you might find. Sure there are the staples, like fresh fruits and vegetables from some of Florida's finest growers. But this market also hosts vendors of all kinds, offering an astonishing variety of handmade crafts and unique foods. Located in a former big-box store just minutes from these Bradenton homes for sale, the Oneco Farmers Market is a true gem in Manatee County. 

  2. Sarasota Farmers Market - 1517 State St Suite 103, Sarasota, FL 34236
    Established in 1979, the Sarasota Farmers Market is one of the oldest markets in the area and one of the most reliable. They're open every Saturday, rain or shine, from 7 am to 1 pm. The market also features a dizzying array of vendors, offering everything from farm-fresh produce and house plants to artisan baked goods and organic skincare products. It's truly an incredible place to find just about anything, and it's mere footsteps from many Sarasota homes for sale.

  3. Detwiler's Farmer's Market - 2881 Clark Rd, Sarasota, FL 34231
    Fresh, healthy food is never hard to come by at Detwiler's Farmer's Market. Not only do they have prime fruits and vegetables of every kind imaginable, but also a full-service butcher shop and seafood shop, an Amish-style deli, natural groceries, a wellness department, and a farmhouse bakery. There's even an old-fashioned ice cream shop that serves amazing local ice cream. Or stop by their other locations, including one near Palmetto homes for sale. 

  4. Siesta Key Farmers Market - 5104 Ocean Blvd, Siesta Key, FL 34242
    Open in Siesta Village every Sunday from 8 am until 12 pm, the Siesta Key Farmers Market is always a fun place to browse in search of something special. You'll find homemade candles, local honey, specialty teas and coffees, paintings and crafts from local artists, handmade jewelry, and artisan soaps. And of course, you can always count on local farmers to bring in their latest crops. The offerings here often change with the seasons, so you'll want to visit Siesta Key Farmers Market again and again. 

  5. Bradenton Farmers Market - 400 12th St W, Bradenton, FL 34205
    The Downtown Bradenton Farmers Market is a favorite destination for Bradenton locals. Open every Saturday from 9 am to 2 pm on Old Main Street, it's more than just a place to buy fresh fruits and veggies. It's a social event, a central gathering place, and a crucial part of the community. The market offers live entertainment, games and activities, amazing food, and of course, an astonishing array of vendors selling everything under the sun. 

We just love springtime in Florida! Contact us to learn more about life in Sarasota and Manatee Counties, and be sure to ask our team about finding your Florida dream home today.

March
22

Sarasota & Bradenton Restaurants For International Waffle Day

Sarasota BreakfastIf you've been looking at homes in the Sarasota area, you already know there's a lot to love! As if the gorgeous weather and stunning beaches weren't enough, residents and visitors also enjoy a wide selection of amazing dining experiences.

On their days off, our real estate agents love taking a break to visit some of their favorite local breakfast restaurants. International Waffle Day is coming up on Thursday, March 25th, making now the perfect time to try out a few for yourself. 

  1. Anna Maria Island Beach Cafe: 4000 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach, FL 34217
    There's nothing quite like starting your day off with breakfast on the beach! The Anna Maria Island Beach Cafe opens every day at 8 am and serves fantastic Belgian waffles you'll ever have! Make sure you get the whole experience by adding strawberries or blueberries for just $1 extra. They also offer a full breakfast menu with items like Eggs Benedict, Country Fried Steak, and All You Can Eat Pancakes. After you're done with your meal, take a ride around so you can get a look at some of the beautiful Anna Maria Island Homes for sale. We're sure you're going to fall in love! 

  2. Blue Dolphin Cafe: 5370 Gulf of Mexico Dr., Suite 101, Longboat Key, FL 34228
    The Blue Dolphin Cafe offers a fun and intimate dining experience. They're open for both dine-in and takeout and offer a variety of waffle dishes as well as a full breakfast menu. Any time we're in the area showing Longboat Key homes for sale, we try to stop by and enjoy a meal. If you want to celebrate International Waffle Day, consider ordering waffles topped with fresh strawberries, blueberries, bananas, and whipped cream. 

  3. The Oasis Cafe: 3542 South Osprey Ave., Sarasota, FL 34239
    The owners of The Oasis Cafe have owned some of the most popular restaurants in Sarasota for over 30 years. It's no surprise that this is one of the best spots in the area to enjoy a delicious breakfast, lunch, or brunch. You'll love their Malted Belgian Waffles topped with fruit, nuts, and a side of real Vermont maple syrup.

  4. Sarasota Breakfast House: 1817 Fruitville Rd., Sarasota, FL 34236
    If you've been exploring Sarasota homes for sale, you'll want to get to know Sarasota Breakfast House. Not only are their fresh-made waffles incredible, but they also serve them up with a huge variety of gourmet toppings, including candied bacon pecans, peanut butter chips, Nutella, lemon ricotta filling, glazed walnuts, fresh whipped cream, and more! You definitely don't need a special day to enjoy this delicious treat! 

  5. Blue Jasper Restaurant: 5718 Cortez Rd. W., Bradenton, FL 34210
    Blue Jasper Restaurant, located in West Bradenton, is known for serving quality meals made with locally-sourced ingredients. You'll love celebrating International Waffle Day with one of their fresh-made waffles topped with decadent toppings like banana and berry compote or caramel banana and walnut. If you're ready to go all-in, order a waffle sundae topped with strawberry, banana, and chocolate syrup. After breakfast, take a drive around. You'll quickly see why so many people are interested in exploring Bradenton homes for sale

Our real estate agents are ready to help you find your dream home! Contact us today to discuss your goals and get started. 

March
9

Plant a Flower Day: What to Plant in Sarasota and Manatee Counties

Planting om Bradenton

If you're new to Florida, you might be surprised to learn that yes, we do get the occasional frost here in Sarasota and Manatee Counties in the late winter and early spring. This is just one of the things you need to know as you embark on gardening in your new home, acquired either from Bradenton homes for sale or Sarasota homes for sale. Fortunately, frost is rare and not much of an impediment to producing fabulous flowers, fruits, and vegetables in Florida.

While we suggest Floridians start planting long before National Plant a Flower Day, which is March 12, this national celebration, which promotes looking forward to spring by encouraging flower planting, is a great reason to jump right in.

And the good news is, after mid-February, the chances of a frost damaging seedlings or other plants are very low. So feel free to head to your local garden center and acquire some fabulous flowers to celebrate March 12 with a burst of color in your yard.

But before you start, a little planning is in order. What can you plant in our region of Florida? So many things, from tropicals to perennials, lush annuals, flowering shrubs, and glorious flowering trees. The key is making sure whatever you choose can tolerate our heat and humidity. 

What to Plant

The flowering plant palette for Florida is extensive. Among the most common flowering plants, you'll note are these.

  • Pentas. Also known as Egyptian Star Cluster, Pentas are evergreen perennials and come in pink, magenta, lilac, and white. They prefer full sun and are seasonal bloomers. An added bonus is they attract butterflies.
  • Coreopsis. You can't not plant Florida's state flower, the Coreopsis. It's a member of the aster family and has bright golden disk and ray flowers. It's a brilliant addition to any garden. 
  • Blue Salvia. Although native to the Southwest, Salvia farinacea does well in South Florida and can flourish in a hot, dry location. Low-maintenance Blue Salvia (also known as Mealycup sage) is an annual further north but blooms like a perennial in our climate. Pollinators love it.
  • Mexican Heather. A low-growing ground cover, Mexican Heather or Cuphea loves full sun, although partial will do. Plant it in a well-drained location. It produces lavender-pink to white flowers almost all year long.
  • Bougainvillea. One of our most spectacular bloomers, Bougainvillea's showy display isn't actually flowers at all, but rather colorful leaf bracts. It needs six hours of sun a day, and for that, you get an explosion of color most of the year.
  • Lantana. Another pollinator attractor (including hummingbirds), Lantana is available in pink and yellow or bright orange and yellow, and more. Deadhead flowers to keep the plant producing most of the year. Be sure to water Lantana when the weather is dry; mulch and fertilizer help promote abundant flowering.
  • Periwinkles. Also known as Creeping Vinca, Periwinkle is a creeping vine with pretty blue flowers, often used as a ground cover, and which can choke out weeds. Best blooming will occur if it's planted in partial shade.
  • Plumbago. This sprawling shrub is grown for its clusters of blue, phlox-like flowers. Plant Plumbago over a stone or wood retaining wall for a beautiful effect. It prefers full sun but will tolerate some shade.

Our real estate agents have more tips for how you can improve your property, indoors and out. Contact us today.

March
1

5 Ways to Make Your Home a Happier Space

Happy Home TipsEveryone spends a great deal of time at home, so why not make your space as happy as possible? It's easy to get used to the way your home looks, even it's less than ideal. Instead, look at it with fresh eyes and plan some ways to make your home calmer and more relaxing. That way, you'll enjoy your home even more.
  
Our real estate agents suggest the following 5 ways to make your home a happier space:  

  1. Get rid of clutter.   
    Clutter creates the opposite of a relaxing, happy space. Having piles of disorganized papers and other items is mentally distracting and causes you to spend time stressfully looking for misplaced objects. You'll feel much less tension at home if you go through your unused possessions and donate what can still be used. This needs to be done regularly to keep clutter at a minimum. Finally, invest in some attractive organizational tools like woven baskets to neatly store what you've decided to keep, and you'll have a happier, neater home.
      
  2. Use color to transform your mood.
    Color can transform your mood! Add a splash of color to your home by painting a wall or buying a colorful statement piece. You may want to use calm, relaxing colors like blues, greens, or greys in your bedroom but try more vibrant colors such as yellow in your family room. Accents like throw pillows and rugs can also easily add some more color – and happiness – to your home.
      
  3. Let the sunshine in.   
    Natural sunlight is a proven mood-lifter, so instead of creating a cave-like atmosphere by closing your blinds or draperies, keep them pulled up or off to the sides. Even if it's not a particularly sunny day, you'll still be getting a boost from the daylight. If you don't have many windows in your home – or for areas that don't face the sun – use large mirrors on the wall to reflect light from the outdoors. And when the sun goes down, rely on adequate artificial lighting in each of your rooms to help create a brighter atmosphere.
      
  4. Make every space count.
    Most homes have one or more areas that are drab or tend to be ignored. In your home, it might be a laundry room or a spare bedroom. Don't ignore these spaces when you're decluttering or refreshing your home since they can have a positive or negative impact on your mood.
      
  5. Go for greenery.   
    Plants and flowers add color and vibrancy to your home and bring about a sense of calm and happiness. Plants also eliminate toxins from indoor spaces, making the air you breathe in at home healthier. Buy a bouquet to brighten up your kitchen table every week and invest in some plants to place throughout your home. Even if you don't have a green thumb, varieties like the snake plant thrive with little maintenance.

Contact us to find out about Sarasota homes for sale and Bradenton homes for sale. Our agents would be happy to help you find the home of your dreams! 

February
22

How to Ensure Your Pet Stays Safe During a Renovation

Pet Safe Renovations

Renovations are a great way to keep your home up to date, to add value, and to compete with other Bradenton homes for sale when it comes time. Unfortunately, many homeowners put off updating their homes because of how complicated it is to get work done when you have pets. Here are a few suggestions for keeping your pets safe and minimizing stress so that you can do the work when it's needed.

  1. Find a safe place.
    Workers tend to leave doors and gates open, and honestly, it's not their job to watch out for your pets. The best thing for everyone is for you to find a safe place to keep your pet while workers are in the house. This might be a back bedroom, or it might be a crate. Try to include some things to keep your pet comfortable, like their favorite bed, blanket, or toys, plus necessities like food, water, and a litter box.

  2. Make sure everyone knows.
    Definitely let contractors know where you'll be keeping your pet, so they make sure not to let them out. As a precaution, if you're keeping your pet loose in a closed-off room, post a sign on the door reminding everyone to be careful opening the door.

  3. Do a safety check at the end of the day.
    Once the workers leave for the day, you'll likely be in a hurry to let your pet out so they can enjoy some freedom for the evening. But wait! Before opening that door or crate, do a walk-through of all the areas where the contractors have been throughout the day. Make sure doors, windows, and gates are all closed, and be sure there are no safety hazards such as sharp objects or loose wires.

  4. Know the schedule.
    It's also important to know where the contractors will be and what they'll be working on each day if only to make sure that you don't inadvertently put your pet in a room they need access to. Check-in regularly and make sure you know if there are any delays or changes in the schedule. In fact, it's probably in your best interest for a lot of reasons to know these things, and not only for the safety of your pet.

  5. Consider getting your pet out of the house.
    In some ways, having renovations done is a little like showing your home while it's on the market. Some homeowners leave their pets locked up in a room, but our real estate agents always appreciate it when pets are removed from the home. That way no one has to watch out for your pet, and it may minimize your pet's stress, too. Consider boarding your pets, or asking a friend or relative to keep them at their place during the day when the workers are there. Dogs could also be dropped off at doggy daycare, or if you have a job that allows it, brought to work with you.

Keeping your home up-to-date compared to other Sarasota homes for sale is an important part of owning property. If you're ready to list your home for sale, or even if you just have questions about what renovations you'll need to do before selling, contact us today, and one of our agents will help guide you through the process.

February
8

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!

February
1

Bird Species You'll Spot in Sarasota & Manatee Counties

Sarasota Bird Species

Welcome to bird watching paradise! The coastal regions of Manatee and Sarasota Counties offer some of America's richest and most diverse bird habitats, and our real estate agents are always eager to cross a few rare species off our lists!

Bird Species to Look For

Our corner of the state is hosts a wealth of bird species year-round, and many more use it as a stop-over on their annual migrations. All told, more than 320 bird species have been recorded in Sarasota and Manatee Counties.

When you're exploring our local beaches, forests, prairies, and estuaries this spring, be sure to keep an eye out for these amazing birds. 

  • Purple Martin: This South American native flies north every year to breed in Florida. Many residents in the Sarasota area put out gourd houses for them. 

  • Roseate Spoonbill: This year-round resident really sticks out in a crowd thanks to its bright pink plumage and spoon-like bill. You'll see colonies of them around mangrove islands.

  • Loggerhead Shrike: Though this small gray bird may not look scary, it's earned the nickname "butcher bird" for its habit of hanging prey out to dry on thorns or barbed wire to be eaten later. 

  • Black Skimmer: This increasingly rare black-and-white beach bird can still be seen around Lido Beach in good numbers. It gets its name from the way it hunts, "skimming" the water's surface with its bill. 

  • Florida Scrub-Jay: This handsome blue-and-gray member of the jay family is found only in Florida, making it one of the state's most sought-after birds.

  • Snowy Egret: This small wading bird with brilliant white feathers is a member of the heron family and one of several egret species in Florida.

  • Downy Woodpecker: America's smallest woodpecker, this is one of at least six woodpecker species you can see in the region. 

  • Limpkin: This wading bird is known for its distinctive shriek-like call (earning it the nickname "crying bird") is often seen dining on snails in Florida's wetlands. 

  • Purple Gallinule: With its purplish-blue plumage and bright orange beak, this bird is instantly identifiable. It often haunts the margins of swamps, sometimes walking across the surface of aquatic vegetation. 

  • Swallowtail Kite: With spectacular plumage that always catches the eye in flight, this black-and-white bird of prey often nests in pine trees adjacent to wetlands.

  • Crested Caracara: This resident of Florida's pine flatlands—a scavenger in the falcon family—is among our largest and most striking birds.

Where to Go Birding

Not sure where to find these unique and fascinating birds? Try some of these local parks and preserves in Sarasota and Manatee Counties:

  • Myakka River State Park: The pine flatwoods of this park, located just minutes from these Sarasota homes for sale, are among the best places to see Crested Caracara. 

  • Pinecraft Park: Spanning 15 acres, this small park has a unique hammock forest habitat crisscrossed by streams, making it a prime spot to see a wide variety of bird species.

  • Oscar Scherer State Park: Just outside Sarasota, this park harbors one of the largest populations of Florida scrub-jays.

  • Felts Audubon Preserve: This conservation area offers beautiful birding trails, a short drive from many Bradenton homes for sale.

Contact us today to learn more about ways to explore the great outdoors in Bradenton, Sarasota, and the surrounding areas. And be sure to ask our team about how we can help you find your dream home in Florida today. 

January
25

Explore Beaches in Sarasota and Manatee Counties with This Guide

Sarasota Beaches

What's the best part about living in Florida? Every day is a beach day! Our real estate agents love living so close to the shore. From splashing in the waves in the summer to enjoying the warm sun on winter beach walks, we love calling the Gulf Coast home. If you're ready to get your toes in the sand, we suggest you check out these five beaches in Sarasota and Manatee Counties.

  1. The "Best" Beach: Siesta Beach — 948 Beach Rd., Sarasota, FL 34242
    You don't need to venture far from your front door to hit one of the best beaches in the United States. Ranked #1 and in the top-ten of many local, regional, national, and international lists, Siesta Key Beach will never disappoint. The powdered quartz sand isn't the only draw to this sun-kissed shore. Siesta Key Village has plenty to eat, explore, and entertain you all day long.


  2. The Lowkey Beach: Longboat Key Beach — 2825 Gulf of Mexico Dr., Longboat Key, FL 34228
    Longboat Key is an excellent beach that's beloved by locals and visitors alike. What makes it so lowkey? It's located near Longboat Key homes for sale. Those that live close have no trouble walking or biking to the shore. If you're arriving on four-wheels, however, you'll encounter limited parking. This helps keep the beach free of crowds, which is ideal if you're a local looking to leave the bustling tourist beaches behind.


  3. The Local Beach: Venice Beach — 101 The Esplanade N., Venice, FL 34285
    A family-friendly beach sits right along the shores of the Shark Tooth Capital of the World in Venice. Venice Beach is a local spot for those who want to enjoy the sun, sand, salt, and surf. It's not just people you'll see playing at this beach; dolphins frequently splash in the waters close to shore. If you're interested in diving, there's a coral reef only a quarter-mile offshore to explore or drive by these Venice homes for sale.


  4. The Busy Beach: Coquina Beach —1437 Gulf Dr. S., Bradenton Beach, FL 34217
    Located on stunning Anna Maria Island, Coquina Beach is open from sunrise to midnight. You can easily fill all of those hours with on-site activities like their paved multi-purpose trail, children's playground, sand volleyball court, games tables, and of course, a whole lot of tanning. The wide beachfront brings in droves of people, including those who just want to enjoy a seaside meal at the Coquina Café. There's even a biweekly market during the low-season months.


  5. The Nature Beach: Turtle Beach — 8918 Midnight Pass Rd., Sarasota, FL 34242
    While Siesta Beach gets all the attention, you'll find a quieter retreat a little farther south on Turtle Beach. This is a fantastic place for nature lovers as a nearly empty expanse of sand dunes where you can watch seabirds, sharks, fish, and even tortoises stroll by. There's also a boat launch, though you can rent kayaks or paddleboards if you don't have your own watercraft.

Looking for a home within walking distance to the beach? We've got Sarasota homes for sale that you've got to see. Perhaps you'd prefer something a little closer inland? Then check out our Bradenton homes for sale. Contact us today to schedule tours for our best homes in Sarasota and Manatee Counties.

January
18

Is it Time to Upgrade Your Kitchen Appliances?

Kitchen Upgrades Sarasota

If your kitchen is beginning to look a bit outdated or things just aren't working as well as they used to, you might be wondering if it's time to upgrade your appliances. Our real estate agents usually recommend replacing your appliances before they break, as replacing items one by one can result in mismatched appliances. The last thing you want is a set of appliances that differ by color, age, or style appliances especially if you're planning to sell your home. Mismatched appliances can really give your kitchen a cluttered look.

Figuring out the best time to replace your kitchen appliances is the key to maximizing the longevity of your products and also maintaining your home's aesthetic value. Below are some tips to help you determine the best time to upgrade your kitchen appliances.

  1. They're Simply Aging
    Every appliance has a lifespan, so knowing the age of each kitchen appliance can help you predict when they might be on their last legs. Refrigerators generally last 13 to 15 years, while dishwashers usually last about 8 or 9 years. Of course, the exact lifespan will depend on the product and brand. If your appliances are getting up there in age, then it's probably time to start thinking about replacements.
  2. Your Kitchen is Out of Style
    If your appliances are wood-paneled, bright green, or look like they're from the 1960s, then they might be a little outdated. While your outdated appliances may work well or have sentimental value, installing modern-looking appliances may be helpful when it comes time to sell your home. Some of these Sarasota homes for sale have classic stainless steel appliances, which really creates a timeless look.
  3. The Noise is Becoming an Issue
    If your dishwasher sounds like a semi-truck or your refrigerator is buzzing, it might be time to start thinking about new appliances. You may have even become used to the sound by now, but you'll notice such a big difference when you upgrade. In fact, some of these Bradenton homes for sale have the quietest kitchen appliances on the market today.
  4. Your Utility Bills Are Too High
    Some old appliances can actually be really expensive to keep around because they're not very energy efficient. Modern refrigerators, dishwashers, ovens, and washing machines consume a fraction of the energy compared to older models from ten or twenty years ago. Upgrading to new appliances may be expensive in the short term, but you may actually see some cost savings down the road.
  5. They Don't Work Like They Used To
    All appliances tend to lose performance over time, so if yours aren't working as well as they used to, then it's probably time to start saving-up for replacements. If it's taking longer for your oven to heat up or your dishes aren't coming out as clean as they used to, it might be time to start shopping.

There are no hard-and-fast rules for determining the best time to replace your appliances, but age, style, and condition are often the best indicators. For guidance on the best ways to upgrade your kitchen, contact us today!

January
11

Healthy Dining Options Throughout Sarasota and Manatee

Healthy Dining Sarasota

Standards of healthy eating have changed over the years. Fortunately, one thing experts agree on is that healthy food doesn't mean bland and tasteless. Our real estate agents maintain their high energy levels by visiting these favorite healthy dining restaurants throughout Sarasota and Bradenton.

  1. Green Zebra Cafe - 1377 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236
    It's brunch time all day long at Green Zebra Cafe, with a delectable assortment of breakfast wraps, scrambles, toasts and Benedicts served from open until close. Try the signature raw pancake, made with a dehydrated banana pancake, cashew whipped cream, strawberry chia coulis, and fresh fruit. There's also a juice and smoothie bar with selections such as Apple Pie, and I Dream of Ginger. Green Zebra is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.

  2. Paleo Connection - 3515 N. Lockwood Ridge Rd., Sarasota, FL 34234
    Whether you're new to the paleo diet or you've already jumped on board, there's one special restaurant around Sarasota homes for sale to check out. All of the dishes at Paleo Connection follow this healthy eating style that emphasizes lean meats, fruits and vegetables, nuts, and seeds. The menu changes with the seasons to accommodate the freshest available ingredients. Hours are 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Saturday.

  3. Chicken Salad Chick - 7350 Cortez Rd. W., Bradenton, FL 34210
    Chicken salad is a deceptively simple dish that lends itself to a wide range of preparations. At Chicken Salad Chick, just minutes from Bradenton homes for sale, each delicious variation is named after a woman who inspired founder, Stacy Brown. Flavors such as Lauryn's Lemon Basil, Barbie-Q, and Cranberry Kelli use fruits, nuts, and seasonings to accent the juicy chunks of chicken. Chicken Salad Chick is open 10:30 a.m. - 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

  4. Bowled Life - Food Truck Various Locations
    Add açaí berries, a superfood loaded with antioxidants, to your own diet with a visit to Bowled Life. Their luscious açaí bowls incorporate fruits and toppings such as honey, Nutella, almond, flax seeds, and almond milk. Other healthy menu options include avocado toast, smoothies, and salads. When you're out and about, follow Bowled Life on Facebook or Instagram for their food truck schedule. Eatery hours are 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. daily.

  5. Get Fit Fuel - 8327 Market St., Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202
    Get Fit Fuel bills itself as a "one-stop source for healthy meals on the run." The shop carries a variety of fresh-made, prepackaged breakfasts, entrées, and snacks that are perfect for grab-and-go when you're out viewing Lakewood Ranch homes for sale. Build your own açaí bowl or try one of the house specialties. Order on the handy app, available for iPhone and Android, for pickup or delivery. Hours are 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. weekends.

  6. The Sandbar - 100 Spring Ave., Anna Maria Island, FL 34216
    Ed Chiles, owner of The Sandbar, developed an interest in environmental issues through his father, former governor Lawton Chiles. The restaurant has long been a landmark near Anna Maria Island homes for sale. The Sandbar is open for outdoor dining and carryout 11:30 a.m. - 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. - 10 p.m. Sunday.

Enjoy healthy eating around the dining table of your new Sarasota or Bradenton home. Contact us at Wagner Realty to get started.

December
21

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.

December
14

Make Your Own Holiday Wreath With These Tips

Holiday Wreath Sarasota

Nothing warms the heart like a home that's decorated for the holidays. Decorating your home doesn't have to mean spending a fortune on impersonal, store-bought decorations. Even the most quintessential holiday decoration, a wreath, can be made at home with a little time and creativity.

Our real estate agents have noticed that a little bit of tasteful holiday decoration goes a long way when it comes to making a good impression with potential homebuyers. Whether you're selling or looking for a way to personalize your own home, break out the crafting supplies, and add some holiday cheer with these tips.

Find the Right Form

At the core of most wreaths is a form to give it shape. What you use depends on what your wreath is made of. For instance, many wreaths have a metal form that's useful for wiring greenery to. You can also find styrofoam wreath forms that can be spray painted or have decorations, such as jewels, glued to them. Even a cardboard cutout can provide the foundation for a wreath, with the right three-dimensional ornaments affixed to it.

Use Nature's Own Supplies

You can't go wrong with a traditional evergreen wreath, and you'll find many Bradenton homes for sale with these types of decorations hung on their doors. Finding materials for such a wreath could be as simple (and as cheap) as taking a walk. Collect small, thin evergreen branches that can be easily affixed to your wreath, as well as other potential decor, such as pine cones. Do make sure you have permission before you go stripping branches off someone else's trees, though, and try not to take too many from one tree.

Repurpose Like a Pro

If a more traditional wreath doesn't appeal to you, you can make a free or inexpensive holiday wreath by repurposing everyday items. For instance, holiday fabric (perhaps from those holiday pajamas you never liked?) can be used to cover a styrofoam wreath form, or other holiday items such as ornaments or holiday cookie cutters can be grouped to form a wreath shape. Don't forget to finish it off with some pretty ribbon!

Tie It All Together

Once you have an idea for your wreath, the real trick is to put it into action. Choosing a sturdy way of putting everything together will ensure your wreath lasts the season, especially if it's expected to get knocked around a bit. Sarasota homes for sale get a lot of showings, so make your wreath strong if it'll hang on the door of your home while it's on the market! When well done, a wreath that is wired together can easily stand the test of time. While it's quick and easy, remember that hot glue is simply melted plastic and won't withstand a lot of rough handling. Other glues tend to weaken over time and may not be ideal for wreaths you want to reuse in future years.

The holidays are exciting, and nothing gets you in the mood to celebrate quite like decorating. Feeling overwhelmed at the thought of selling your home during the busy holiday season? Contact us today, and one of our agents can take some of that weight off your shoulders.

December
7

How to Give Back This Holiday Season Near Sarasota and Bradenton

Give Back in Sarasota

The holidays are a season of giving, and our real estate agents are always on the lookout for new ways to give back to our local community. This year, with so many families in the Sarasota and Bradenton areas suffering from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for help is greater than ever. 

Whether you're a long-time resident of the area or are looking at Sarasota homes for sale and Bradenton homes for sale, we're excited to share ways to help. Please consider some of these opportunities to give back this holiday season!

  1. Give to a Toy Drive
    As a child, one of the great joys of the holiday season is the thrill of unwrapping gifts on Christmas morning. That's why participating in a local toy drive is a great way to give back and share some joy with a child in need. No matter where you live, chances are, there's a toy drive in your area. Here in Sarasota, the 4th Annual Toy Drive, hosted by the Sarasota sheriff's office, or the local chapter of the Marine Toys for Tots program, helping children in need since 1947. 

  2. Give the Gift of Warmth
    Far too many people must face winter without the warm clothing they need. Donating unused winter coats to a winter coat drive is a great way to give someone the warmth and security they need this holiday season. Here in the Sarasota and Bradenton area, the annual Facing Homelessness coat drive collects much-needed winter coats for the homeless every December. 

  3. Donate Blood
    Blood and platelet donations are always in need, but many people forget about it during the holiday season because their attention is turned to other charities and causes. But the American Red Cross is always in need of donations, and the winter is actually one of the seasons of greatest need. Giving blood at a local blood drive this time of year is a life-saving gift that directly helps those who need it most.

  4. Donate to a Food Pantry
    No one should go without, especially during the holiday season. Donating canned goods and similar non-perishable food items to a food pantry or food bank is a great way to help. This is more true in 2020 than ever before. Check out this directory of food pantries and similar charities in the Sarasota area to learn more about where you can give. 

  5. Give to the Boys and Girls Club
    For more than 150 years, the Boys and Girls Clubs of America have helped create brighter futures for children in need. This nationwide charity network does so by providing quality voluntary after-school programs for kids who may not otherwise have access to them. Our local Boys and Girls Clubs of Sarasota County can always use your assistance, and there are many ways to give. Financial donations are always much appreciated, but you can also volunteer your time, just as essential. 

Contact us today to learn more about life in Sarasota and Manatee Counties. If you're looking for your dream home, our team is here to help every step of the way. We're also thrilled to offer some unique ways to give back to the community we love.

November
20

Gift Local This Year: Gift Ideas from Local Restaurants

Gift Local RestaurantsWith the holiday season right around the corner, our real estate agents encourage you to join our shop small initiative. Small businesses are the backbone of local economies. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it more difficult for these shops — owned and operated by our friends and neighbors — to succeed.

No matter who is on your Holiday gift list, we humbly ask that you join us in support of our community by purchasing gift cards from these local restaurants.

  • For those who appreciate a great meal...

    This holiday season show those you love you care by treating them to an amazing meal. There are countless delicious dining spots near our Anna Maria homes for sale, including Old Hamburg Schnitzelhaus and Anna Maria Oyster Bar. Old Hamburg Schnitzelhaus pairs German and Austrian dishes with imported beers to deliver a truly vunderba experience, while Anna Maria Oyster Bar serves up the freshest seafood around.

    If you're searching for a restaurant gift card closer to our Sarasota homes for sale, we recommend purchasing from Knick's Tavern & Grill or Smoqehouse


  • For those who love the ambiance of a cozy café…

    Sometimes, the best gift you can give someone is an opportunity to relax where the warm beach breezes blow. For those local to the Anna Maria Island area and around our Holmes Beach homes for sale, Anna Maria Island Beach Café, Minnie's Beach Café, and Paradise Café gift cards are wonderful stocking stuffers. Minnie's Beach Café is a calm space to grab breakfast or lunch during a beach day.

    Paradise Café is home to the best bagel sandwiches in town, a perfect grab-and-go breakfast when you're on the run. You can really wow someone with a gift card to Anna Maria Island Beach Café, a relaxed beachfront café ideal for kicking back with a coffee or a cocktail.


  • For those who prefer going out to watch the game…

    No matter which team you root for, we can all cheer for the return of major league sports. With countless professional matches in the U.S. and abroad slated for the following months, a gift card to a local sports bar is a great present for the sports fan in your life. Those living close to our Lakewood Ranch homes for sale know that Ed's Tavern is a fantastic place to catch a live game. Voted Best Sports Bar in Manatee-Sarasota County, Ed's Tavern also hosts poker and trivia nights.

    Closer to our Bradenton homes for sale a few miles west is Clancy's Sports Bar and Grill. This easygoing Irish pub/Tiki bar combo hosts live music every night, as well as bingo, karaoke, Texas Hold-em, and of course, the best sports games of the week.


  • For those with a sweet tooth…

    Who on your gift list wouldn't love something sweet in their stocking? Donut lovers will devour the delectable treats at The Donut Experiment on Anna Maria Island or Island Donut Company near our Bradenton Beach homes for sale. Pastry lovers, in general, will love the authentic Amish baked goods at Peachey's Baking Company. You also can't go wrong with a gift certificate for Island Scoops on Anna Maria Island, where you'll find Florida's best homemade ice cream.

Learn more about these and other local restaurants by viewing our short videos. Contact us today to schedule tours of our Sarasota and Manatee counties. Need more gift inspiration? We'll also be sharing local shops and nonprofits to support this holiday season.

November
9

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.

November
6

Enjoy the Great Outdoors In Sarasota & Manatee

Sarasota Outdoors

Who doesn't love a little free fun in the sun? With year-round warm weather, there are unlimited opportunities for you to enjoy time out and about in Sarasota and Manatee Counties. If you're looking for fun yet free activities to do around Sarasota and Bradenton, our real estate agents encourage you to check out these five outdoor spaces.

  1. Palma Sola Botanical Park – 9800 17th Ave. NW, Bradenton, FL 34209
    Palma Sola Botanical Park is where Florida's beauty remains timeless. This 10-acre oasis is a hidden gem located in the Old Palma Sola section nearby many northwest Bradenton homes for sale. Interestingly, this space has a unique microclimate that allows the park to house rare flora and fauna. As the site of many public and private events, a visit to Palma Sola Botanical Park always offers a serene experience.


  2. Red Bug Slough Preserve – 5200 Beneva Rd., Sarasota, FL 34231
    Get lost in relaxation within the 72-acres of Red Bug Slough Preserve. Located surprisingly close to our Sarasota homes for sale listings, this preserve is a fantastic weekend destination. Several miles of trails offering endless hiking opportunities while other amenities provide options for picnicking and fishing. With a park for pets and a playground for children, Red Bug Slough Preserve will make you feel a million miles away from the city while remaining just a few blocks from your front door.


  3. Turtle Beach – 8918 Midnight Pass Rd., Sarasota, FL 34242
    If you're looking for the best Siesta Key homes for sale, we'll let you in on a little secret: locals make a bee-line to the less-crowded Turtle Beach when they desire plenty of room to have fun in the sun. Located on the south end of Siesta Key, Turtle Beach is an active nesting area for sea turtles. It's quite unspoiled, especially during the off-season when only a handful of locals lounge on the sandy shores. With a campground next door, Turtle Beach is a wonderful place for a weekend getaway.


  4. Rye Preserve – 905 Rye Wilderness Trail, Parrish, FL 34219
    Find a slice of Old Florida paradise at Rye Preserve. Not far from cozy Parrish homes for sale, Rye Preserve is a 145-acre natural space that features four distinct ecosystems. With an extensive trail system that offers an opportunity to spot diverse wildlife like gopher tortoise and scrub-jays, the Rye Preserve is a great place to hike, fish, bike, canoe, kayak, horseback ride, and walk your four-legged friend.


  5. Pinebrook Park – 1251 Pinebrook Rd., Venice, FL 34285
    If you're planning on scouting Venice homes for sale, you'll discover that Pinebrook Park is a perfect space for exercise and relaxation. Fifteen-acres feature various amenities, including basketball courts, tennis courts, pickleball courts, and outdoor fitness equipment. There's also an unpaved fitness trail that winds through the park, offering opportunities for wildlife viewing.

  6. Robinson Preserve 1704 99th St NW, Bradenton, FL 34209
    Just over the bridge from Anna Maria Island homes for sale is a salt marsh waiting for you to explore. There are so many activities you and your family can enjoy when visiting the over 600-acre preserve. Hiking, kayaking, picnicking, and canoeing are just some of the activities you can enjoy during your visit to Robinson Preserve. Be sure to check out their website for kayak and paddleboard reservation information.

Would you love to live close to the best free attractions in Sarasota and Manatee Counties? We can help! Contact us today to browse the best homes for sale in Sarasota and Bradenton.

October
16

5 Places for a Picnic in Sarasota and Bradenton

Picnic in Bradenton

One of the perks of living in Florida is the year-round warm weather. With high temperatures and the cool ocean breeze, any day is a perfect day for a picnic. Our real estate agents encourage you to pack up a basket of your favorite snacks and head down to one of these inviting outdoor spaces for a picnic with family and friends.

  1. Jiggs Landing Outpost – 6106 63rd St. East, Bradenton, FL 34203
    Opened in 2019, Jiggs Landing Outpost quickly became one of the best local spots to grab a drink while listening to live music. The Outpost boat launch and picnic tables are open now, and this fantastic waterside hangout will soon be reopening for boat tours, cabin rentals, and kayak rentals. If you're in town searching for Bradenton homes for sale, stop by Jiggs Landing Outpost and mingle with a few of your new neighbors.

  2. Coquina Beach – 2650 Gulf Dr., Bradenton Beach, FL 34217
    As you visit Bradenton Beach homes for sale, you'll love the serenity that fills every inch of Anna Marie Island. Coquina Beach is on the southern end of the island, inviting locals and visitors to enjoy their unspoiled sands from sunrise to midnight. A wonderful place for a picnic, Coquina Beach also offers a host of amenities for visitors, including a sand volleyball court, a paved multipurpose trail, changing cabanas, grills, a playground, beach wheelchairs, and pavilions. If you don't want to bring your own food, you can grab a snack from the Coquina Beach Café and enjoy it at one of their picnic tables.

  3. Lido Beach – 400 Ben Franklin Dr., Sarasota, FL 34236
    With so many beaches near our Sarasota homes for sale, you'll have near-endless options for afternoon picnics. Lido Beach offers lovely parks, one just across the bridge from the city, another past the Lido shopping area, and a third on South Lido Beach. There are tree-shaded, dedicated picnic areas on the South Lido Beach. There you can walk the nature trails, let the kids enjoy the playground, or launch a canoe or kayak to enjoy the water trail.

  4. Joan M. Durante Park – 5550 Gulf of Mexico Dr., Longboat Key, FL 34228
    To retain Longboat Key's natural habitat, Joan M. Durante Park was restored to become a viable wetland and coastal hammock forest for wildlife and visitors to enjoy. Visit the 32-acre site, and enjoy a beautiful hike through the natural trails, watch the pelicans as you gaze out over the bay, or settle into one of the picnic facilities and enjoy an afternoon spent surrounded by nature.

  5. Caspersen Beach – 4100 Harbor Dr., Venice, FL 34285
    If there's one thing you must do after touring Venice homes for sale, it's having a picnic on Caspersen Beach! This serene beach is a treasure trove of seashells and sharks' teeth. A highlight of this park is the boardwalk that extends along the Gulf of Mexico, allowing you to enjoy the waves without the sand. Nature trails also stroll deep into the secluded coastal hammock, so you can enjoy nature's splendor after lunch. With a playground, restrooms, and lots of shark's teeth to hunt for, you can easily spend the entire day on Caspersen Beach.

Would you love to enjoy the sun, sand, and surf every day of the year? Contact us today.

October
2

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.

September
2

How Fig Newtons Helped Build Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island Historical Society   Fig Newtons  Fig Newtons Ad

Anna Maria Island, FL – When you think of Fig Newtons you probably don't associate them with the development of properties on Anna Maria Island – but they hold a chapter in the history of this quaint vacation island. Long before it became a mecca for vacationers from around the world, Anna Maria Island was home to the Caloosan and Timucan Native American tribes. Later, Spanish explorers visited the island, and Tampa mayor, Madison Post, settled there as well. But the island wasn't developed for permanent residence until the late 1800's – that's when Fig Newtons came into play.

 

Ohio native Charles Roser was working for a bakery in Philadelphia. Charles developed a fig cookie recipe that became quite popular around town, but it was a challenge to get the fig mixture into the cookie, so he also invented and patented a machine that inserted the fig paste into the cookie, making later mass production possible. Roser's cookie creation was in such demand, both the recipe and the machine were purchased by the Kennedy Biscuit Company (which later became Nabisco). The Boston-based company had a tradition of naming cookies after local towns and named the cookie "Newton" after the nearby town in Massachusetts. In 1891 the company began mass production of Fig Newtons. Between the sale of the recipe and the sale of the patent, Charles Roser became a wealthy man overnight. With his new-found wealth, Roser and his wife moved to St. Petersburg, FL. An entrepreneur at heart, Roser immediately looked for another business venture and soon formed the Anna Maria Beach Development Company in partnership with George 'Wil' Wilhelm Bean.

 

Wil Bean's father, George Emerson Bean, homesteaded the northern 160 acres of Anna Maria Island in 1892, establishing himself as the island's first permanent resident. Wil inherited his father's Anna Maria Island homestead in 1898 and the area was ripe for development. Roser and Bean created street maps, established sidewalks, and sold home lots. There was no bridge from the mainland, so Roser built a 678-foot pier to provide the ferries a landing spot, and the rest is history. Before long, Anna Maria Island was one of the finest resorts on the west coast of Florida, with pristine beaches, a bathing pavilion, and a water system – which was critical to the success of the island's development. The island soon had 60 homes, a hotel, church, school post office and stores. Today Anna Maria Island is still a place where "old" Florida charm remains the norm. On Anna Maria Island you'll find friendly people, a leisurely pace and flip flops – but you won't find high rises and fast food restaurants. 

 

If you'd like to take a step back in time, visit Anna Maria Island. To find a vacation rental, go to www.wagnerrealtyrentals.com. To discover more island history, stop by the Anna Maria Historical Society located at 402 Pine Avenue on the north end of Anna Maria Island. The museum is open on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Please note that the museum will be closed during September for floor replacement Occupancy is limited to five visitors at a time. Visitors must wear masks for the safety and health of other visitors and docents. To visit the museum online go to https://www.amihs.org.

August
7

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.

July
10

Small Business Spotlight: How to Support Small Businesses in Bradenton and Sarasota

Now more than ever, it's important that we support our local businesses. Our real estate agents encourage you to shop small each week and help stimulate our hometown economy. As you browse our Bradenton and Sarasota homes for sale, we invite you to visit these unique small businesses in the area.

  1. The Bazaar on Apricot & Lime – 821 Apricot Ave., Sarasota, FL 34237
    Explore an indie indoor market when you visit the Bazaar on Apricot & Lime. This venue is full of one-of-a-kind gems and talented, local creators. Stop by and support them in person and visit on a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday between 10 am to 3 pm. Don't feel like leaving your house? Be sure to check on their Facebook Live events to see what the bazaar has to offer virtually. 

  2. Write On Sarasota – 1423 1st St., Sarasota, FL 34236
    If you've ever planned a wedding, celebrated a major life event, or operated your own business, then you know that your choice of stationery is quite important. Write On Sarasota knows that wedding invitations, thank you notes, and even custom napkins can creatively express your gratitude, excitement, and brand. From general stationery to graduation announcements, birthday parties, and everything in between, Write On Sarasota will provide you with a thorough consultation and customized products to ensure that your event says exactly how you feel.  

  3. Island Coffee Haus – 5350 Gulf Dr., Holmes Beach, FL 34217
    Who doesn't love a cozy local coffee shop? Island Coffee Haus is the perfect place near Holmes Beach homes for sale to fill up your mug. The shop opened in 2012 and has been delighting locals and visitors with the cozy environment and coffee ever since. The cafe offers a locally roasted blend that includes Columbian, Mexican, and Puerto Rican beans. They also carry locally made artwork and jewelry for sale in the shop so you can support local artists while picking up your morning coffee and bagel. 

  4. Toy Lab – 1529 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236
    No one knows toys like Toy Lab, Sarasota's only independent toy store. This landmark shop has toys and games for kids and adults alike, offering services and suggestions from a team that is passionate about play. Some of the brands that they carry include Playmobile, LEGO, The Manhattan Toy Company, and Ravensburger Puzzles. The folks at Toy Lab will gladly wrap your purchase if you're gifting toys to someone you care about.

  5. The Siesta Key Farmers Market – 5104 Ocean Blvd., Siesta Key, Florida  34242
    Support local artists, photographers, and creators when you attend the Siesta Key Farmers Market. The farmers market is open to locals, and tourists from 8 am to noon on Sunday mornings. The market helps support 30+ vendors in the Siesta Key area.

  6. Pure Florida Honey Company - 417 12th St. W.#104, Bradenton, Florida 34205
    Purveyors of the Sunshine State's finest local raw honey, the Pure Florida Honey Company, also carries varieties of domestic and international honey, gifts from the hive, and much more. These specialty kinds of honey, like the Brazilian Pepper or the Mangrove, make perfectly unique gifts for the foodie in your life. Stop by and see what all the buzz is about!

  7. Village of the Arts – 1017 12th Ave. W., Bradenton, FL 34205
    Downtown Bradenton is home to a thriving arts scene thanks to the Artists Guild of Manatee and the Village of the Arts. Most of the Guild members are also Village residents. The Village stretches from 9th Ave West to 14th St West and offers artists the change to live, work, and play in downtown Bradenton. The commercial overlay of the Village of the Arts offers locals and visitors the perfect chance to support local arts and find one of a kind works of art right here in Bradenton. 

  8. Beach Market at Coquina Beach – 2650 Gulf Dr. S., Bradenton Beach, Florida 34217
    Who says you can't go to the beach and a farmers market at the same time? When you go to the Beach Market at Coquina Beach, you get to enjoy an outdoor market on the southernmost beach on Anna Maria Island. Shop for jewelry, apparel, and gourmet food from local vendors. Be sure to stop by after checking out nearby Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key homes for sale

There are so many wonderful and remarkable small businesses to explore throughout Bradenton and Sarasota. If you'd love to live within walking distance of these fantastic shops, contact us today!

June
5

Hiking Trails in Manatee & Sarasota Your Kids will Enjoy

Hiking Trails in Sarasota

From Bradenton down to Sarasota, there are miles of gorgeous preserved hiking trails for you and your children to explore. Plus, with Florida's fantastic year-round weather, these trails can be enjoyed all year long! Our REALTORS® highlight some of the hiking trails your whole family can enjoy in our area.

  • Quick Point Nature Preserve — 100 Gulf of Mexico Dr., Longboat Key, FL 34228
    Take a drive west of Sarasota and stroll through Quick Point Nature Preserve while you're searching for Longboat Key homes for sale. This 34-acre park right on the water features short and easy trails that are excellent for those desiring an easy and breezy walk along the beach. Tidal pools and quiet trails offer fantastic opportunities for wildlife viewing. There are also plenty of benches to sit and relax on if your little ones need to rest their feet.

  • Red Bug Slough Preserve — 5200 Beneva Rd., Sarasota, FL 34231
    Bring the whole family on a nature walk — dogs included! Red Bug Slough Preserve offers 72-acres of spectacular greenspace, including several miles of hiking trails. Surrounded by lovely suburban Sarasota homes for sale, this preserve also features a picnic, playground, and fishing pier where you can spend hours enjoying the outdoors. 

  • The Celery Fields — 999 Center Rd., Sarasota, FL 34240
    Enjoy wildlife watching without venturing too far from Sarasota homes for sale, The Celery Fields contains more than 400-acres of marshlands, canals, wetlands, and deep ponds where dozens of diverse bird species call home. This natural area is perfect for hiking, as well as other outdoor activities like biking, wildlife viewing, fishing, and even kayaking. Once used for celery farming, The Celery Fields is a great example of modern preservation.

  • Robinson Preserve — 1714 99th St. Northwest, Bradenton, FL 34209
    Just northwest of some of our Bradenton homes for sale is Robinson Preserve. This nearly 700-acre preserve has a variety of hiking trails, wildlife viewing opportunities, and a kayak launch. One of the reasons we love this green space is the new construction of its 2.5-kilometer rubberized pedestrian-only trail. Easy on the legs of both kids and adults alike, this trail lets families of all ages enjoy a long walk.

  • Ola Mae Sims Park — 11800 Erie Rd., Parrish, FL 34219
    Ola Mae Sims Park offers a wonderful place for the whole family to exercise. The 2/10th of a mile paved multi-purpose trail provides a simple way to stretch your legs while volleyball courts, basketball hoops, an open playfield, horseshoe courts, and a playground offer fun for kids of all ages. If you're in the area scouting Parrish homes for sale, take a quick break at Ola Mae Sims Park.

  • Emerson Point Preserve — 5801 17th St. West, Palmetto, FL 34221
    Explore a number of diverse coastal habitats with a walk through Emerson Point Preserve. Just a few blocks from new Palmetto homes for sale, this preserve features a network of hiking trails that showcase ancient and historic remains from long before Manatee County was a settlement. An outdoor education center, dog-friendly trails, observation tower, and opportunities for kayaking and fishing make Emerson Point Preserve perfect for outdoor leisure and learning.

Are you ready to explore the beautiful homes throughout Sarasota and Manatee? Contact us today to begin your search!

March
6

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.

July
8

5 Donation Centers in Sarasota-Manatee

Sarasota-Manatee Donation Centers

July 15 - National Give Something Away Day

Our real estate agents are looking forward to making a difference on National Give Something Away Day. Happening on July 15, this is a wonderful opportunity to give to charity and brighten someone's day. It also means you'll have less to lug around if you're about to move!

Lately, many people have gotten excited about the potential of the clutter-free life. One of the biggest challenges in de-cluttering is having one place where every item should always go. Sometimes, getting rid of an item simply makes more sense than keeping it.

Luckily, there are many organizations all over Sarasota-Manatee that will be more than happy to accept your donation. In most cases, all you need to do is visit and drop off your item. While each collection site has its own rules, they all help people in need.

Let's look at five of the top donation centers in the area:

  1. HOPE Chest Thrift Store - 1215 8th Ave W, Bradenton, FL 34205
    A short distance from Bradenton homes for sale is HOPE Chest Thrift Store. Hope Chest Thrift Store accepts donations of clothing, household items, furniture, and electronics during business hours. The store is open to the public and all proceeds benefit the clients of HOPE Family Services. Operating Hours: Monday-Saturday 9am-4pm. Please call for more information (941)745-2034.
  2. Goodwill Manasota Donation Center – 3614 East Bay Drive, Holmes Beach, FL 34217
    Holmes Beach homes for sale benefit from proximity to many nonprofits. One of these is Goodwill, which operates several drop-off points in and around Sarasota and Manatee. While Goodwill is mainly funded by its network of retail thrift stores, it also accepts donations directly from the public. 
  3. Salvation Army Family Store & Donation Center – 2280 17th Street, Sarasota, FL 34234
    The Salvation Army has a number of easy ways to donate items from Sarasota homes for sale. In addition to visiting the donation center on 17th Street, you also have the option of scheduling a free pickup at your home or place of business. The Salvation Army also accepts donations of private vehicles.
  4. Turning Points – 701 17th Avenue West, Bradenton, FL 34205
    Turning Points is a Florida nonprofit that provides assistance to people who are struggling with homelessness or domestic violence. Single mothers, the elderly, the disabled, and youth leaving the foster care system are just some of the many beneficiaries. Donations are gratefully accepted from throughout the region including Ellenton homes for sale. Bring canned foods, clothing, and toys.
  5. Englewood Helping Hand – 700 East Dearborn Street, Englewood, FL 34223
    The efforts of Englewood Helping Hand go to help the one in five Sarasota and Charlotte County youths who are food insecure. If you're looking at Englewood homes for sale, you're more than welcome to stop by and drop off food donations. The organization is in the middle of a major funds drive with the goal of moving to a bigger location, too!

Our real estate agents are always ready to give YOU a "helping hand" with all of your real estate needs. We bring you courteous customer service and insightful advice you can really rely on.

It's about time you discovered your Florida dream home. Contact us today to find out more.

June
17

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. 

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