Articles Tagged "Holmes Beach, Fl"

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August
10

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

Holmes Beach, FL – August 8, 2022

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

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

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

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

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.

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
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.

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
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
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!

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
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!

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.

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