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Lakewood Ranch Real Estate Blog

River Strand Real Estate: What's Next?

River Strand Real Estate: What's Next?

What's next for River Strand Real Estate now that Lennar has only 30 new homes to sell? The community has already been turned over to the homeowners and the transition is well underway. Quite a bit of disucssion in River Strand has revolved around how Lakewood National may impact River Strand as that community continues to grow in size and scope. It is certainly a good question to ponder, but there is reason to be excited about River Strand for many years to come.

river strand real estate

To be sure, Lakewood National will be a fantastic option for prospective homeowners to consider if a new home is the only option. The commercial infrastructure around Lakewood National will also improve. It has been fun to watch the WaWa's and the Dunkin Donuts go up right down the road--these are markers for what will eventually become a thriving area around Lakewood National. My wife even ballroom dances at the local Fred Astaire right down the road from the community. So, simply put, Lakewood National will be a hit--especially when the amenities are established.

But back to River Strand. One of the defining characteristics of River Strand real estate is the location....

Under Contract: River Strand Real Estate: Villa for Sale

6521 Candlestick: River Strand Real Estate for Sale

Affordable Luxury in River Strand. Fabulous Lifestyle. Outstanding Location. This newer built "Lake View" Villa is located in the Sanctuary at River Strand, one of Manatee County's finest resort style communities. As you make your approach, the curb appeal will impress immediately with the brick pavered driveway, tile roof, and mature maintenance free landscaping.


Under Contract: Condos for Sale in River Strand

7225 River Hammock Drive: Condos for Sale in River Strand

HOW WOULD YOU like to own a 1) TURNKEY FURNISHED condo 2) at an affordable price 3) in an established community 4) with a terrific view? Don't miss out on this "No Rooftop" rear lanai view with a wide and deep view of the 8th fairway of the Sanctuary, with only golf course, water, and preserves as far as the eye can see. NOW is the time to act on this amazing MAINTENANCE FREE condo before it slips through your fingers! Condos for sale in River Strand are some of the hottest properties available in Manatee County--just take a look at this virtual tour and you will see why!


Lakewood National Real Estate: Surrounding Area Activities

Location! Location! Location!

One of the most important things about finding a new place to call home is the area around you. The things that surround you shape your everyday life and can make or break your experience in a new town. The location is one of the many things that are so special about condos and homes for sale in Lakewood National.

Lakewood National is in a phenomenal location just off the highway between Tampa Bay and Siesta Key that gives you access to the entertainment of Bay area, the top ranked beaches of Siesta key, and the many attractions of Sarasota. It gives you the unique opportunity...

Lakewood Ranch Communities

Here are a few excerpts from the LWR magazine explaining why Lakewood Ranch continually shows above average home sales.

“The pace and distribution of sales is especially encouraging, according to Laura Cole, vice president of marketing for LWR Communities, LLC. “We are seeing solid sales across all villages, price points, and product types,” Cole said.  Sales are credited to the Ranch’s successful market segmentation—the targeting of various age, income, and household segments with appropriately priced and designed residential product types and lifestyle amenities. There are now more than 20 builders in Lakewood Ranch with 50+ models, ranging in cost from $200,000 to more than $1 million.  The active employment market, coupled with great schools and amenities, continue to attract buyers, as does the availability of various healthy community features such as easily accessible parks and multiuse paths and trails that offer a variety of experiences, including biking, walking, running, hiking.  Coming online at the end of 2017 is Lakewood Ranch Waterside, the newest village at the Ranch, located in Sarasota County. LWR Waterside will feature single-family homes, townhomes and apartments—all nestled among seven lakes, with walkability to the new village center, Waterside Place.” 

Among the communities showing strong sales are Lakewood National, Esplanade, and Del Webb.  ...

Coming Soon - Beautiful River Strand Villa!

Lovely Villa for Sale - 6529 Candlestick Dr., Bradenton, Fl 34212 

Immaculate, tasteful and almost new! This spacious villa has an open floor plan with 2 bedrooms AND a den. The gourmet kitchen has a closet pantry, granite countertops and stainless appliances. The seller has upgraded many items in this villa including gorgeous light fixtures and fans, customized closets in the master bedroom, 2nd bedroom and the pantry, and custom Duette cellular vertical shades on both door walls. There is also tile on the diagonal in main living areas, crown molding, and an extended lanai with a gorgeous water view. The spacious lanai has pavers with both covered and exposed areas underneath the large screened cage. This villa has a social membership only so the fees are very reasonable for such a fantastic, maintenance-free community. The social membership entitles you to full use of the 3500 sf fitness center with separate aerobics room with 24hr access, and use of the tennis center with 8 HAR-TRU lighted tennis courts and an on-site tennis pro. The main pool has a poolside grill, sand "beach" and resistance swim pool. There are many pools throughout the community that you will have full access to. There is a wonderful restaurant in the Tuscan inspired clubhouse for casual dining or gourmet evening meals and buffets. There is an annual $500.00 restaurant minimum. This complex is within 1 mile of I-75 which makes commuting to St. Pete, Tampa, or Sarasota a breeze. Truly a River Strand best buy - don't miss it!   

 Call Carol Marra at 941-345-6087 for more information


How to Protect Yourself from a Home Burglary

Even though a burglary occurs every 20 seconds in the U.S., you can still protect yourself - here are 4 ways to do that:
1. Most burglaries happen during the day so watch your neighbors home in the daytime. Burglars like to break into homes during daytime hours - between 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. There is a good chance people will be away at work or school, at this time. The last thing criminals want is to encounter someone at home. Don't leave your home unlocked just because it's daytime.
2. Don't post to Social Media when you are away from home. Locating someone's home address using basic information from their social media profile is surprisingly easy. In one survey, of convicted burglars, more than 10 percent say they used social media to determine who was out of town. So while it's tempting to post about your vacation to your social media feed, wait to share those trip photos when you're back home.
3. Use the security measures that are in your home. Burglars are looking for easy targets, so basic security measures are pretty important. Unlocked windows, unused deadbolts, poorly lit homes, and residences without security systems are prime targets for burglars, so make sure you are using the security features you already have.
4. Your Landscaping Choices Can be a Burglar's Best Friend. Thieves are searching for crimes of opportunity, and tall landscaping gives them a place to hide while  searching for a way into your home. Sometimes the best defense is shrubs that are trimmed lower than windows and a clear view of your front porch.


Market Stats for Bradenton and Sarasota

Below are the latest housing statistics for Manatee and Sarasota County.  This could this be the beginning of a market correction.               

The average time a home in Sarasota and Manatee Counties is listed before going under contract is 50 days.
The average home sales price In Sarasota County has decreased to $350,055, and the inventory has increased by 13%.
In Manatee County, the average sales price has decreased to $338,860 and the inventory has increased by 10.5%.
For full reports, click on the links below.

So You Live in Lakewood Ranch. What Are You Doing Today?

So you live in Lakewood Ranch. What are you going to do today? The great thing about this area is that you have SO many choices. I mean, you can go to a Polo match and even watch rowing. If those two items are on the list, you know you have options!

Here are just a couple of things right around the corner:

  • Rafting/Kayaking, Paddleboarding
  • TreeUmph! Adventure Course
  • The Ringling Museum
  • Mixon Fruit Farms
  • Florida Railroad Museum
  • Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium
  • Bradenton Riverwalk
  • Big Cat Habitat & Gulf Coast Sanctuary

Of course, you can lounge at the beach, go to Myakka State Park, go boating, play tennis or golf...the list goes on. My wife actually dances at Fred Astaire, and there are multiple dance studios in the area as well. She has taken up ball room dancing and now competes all around the country. I mean, how cool is that? Of course, this is not to say that other areas in the country do not have interesting activiites. But with such an infusion of people--Lakewood Ranch is now the 4th best selling community in the country--new activities are sprouting up and it is causing a lot of excitment. So many interesting people from so many interesting places. I am just happy to be a part of it. Life is on the move, and Lakewood Ranch is moving!


Lakewood National: What to Expect for Fall 2017

Lakewood National, the area's newest bundled golf course community, has meandered through its first season, with the first homes just closing this past April. Sales velocity in all of the major product lines--terraces, verandas, coaches, and single family homes--has been brisk. Golfers agree that the course is a fabulous addition to the area. About the only complaint that we have heard is that the cafe is not open yet, and thirsty golfers want a place to "chill" after a long day on the course.

So what can we expect as fall rounds the corner for 2017? By that time, the models should be open for the condos--the terraces, verandas, and coaches--which should further bolster sales. Right now, many prospective buyers have visualized what the condos for sale in Lakewood National might look like by touring condos in River Strand. While some of the features for the condos at Lakewood National are upgraded, the footprint of the condos are the same, save some minor variances. 

At the same time, homes for sale in Lakewood National stand to gain the most attention. The higher price point, relative to similarly situated homes for sale in River Strand, will require some more justification from buyers. Builder models will help paint that picture. Simply touring homes in River Strand will not necessarily convey what homes will look like in Lakewood National. The front elevations will be nicer in Lakewood National, and some additional features, including outdoor kitchens, are also available.

Once the models for the homes and condos for sale in Lakewood National are finished, and the marketing machine that is Lennar advertises their presence,...

Sales Increase as Season Winds Down

(April 21, 2017) - According to the recent numbers compiled by Florida REALTORS® from My Florida Regional MLS, March 2017 proved to show strength in both Sarasota and Manatee County. The combined closed sales for condos and single family in the two-county area increased by 6.2 percent from March of 2016. 
Sarasota condo sales increased by 13.5 percent from last year, while single family homes increased by 2.6 percent. Manatee single family home sales increased by 11.7 percent, while condos were down by 4.4 percent from 2016. 
"It's common to see an increase in sales when we near the end of our season," explains Xena Vallone, 2017 President of the Realtor® Association of Sarasota and Manatee. "And the bump in pending sales in March will likely lead to more closed sales in April and May 2017."
Carol's Commentary:  Season 2017 was very busy and I continue to see homes sell well.  But just because season is over it does not mean that your home will not sell.  Homes sell at every time of the year and families with children might prefer to move in the summer months.  I also see a real need for homes in the $200(k) to $300(k) price range, especially with pools and in good condition.  
Destination Realty Group has buyers looking for properties in all price ranges. 
Call Carol at 941-345-6087 for a FREE home anaylsis.

Best Home Fixes to Sell Your Home Fast

Kitchen and Bath  The old adage “kitchens and baths sell homes” was never truer.   And here are a few fixes that would definitely pay off.  Countertops make a huge impact and cost about a quarter of an entire kitchen remodel.  So replacing worn or dated countertops, especially old Formica, can really make a huge impact.  I suggest replacing these countertops with a reasonably priced granite or quartz – for baths too.  Adding a kitchen backsplash adds some interest to an otherwise plain kitchen.  And remove most plants and decorative items off the top of kitchen countertops and cabinets. Leave only a few updated items that will complement, not detract, from the overall look of the kitchen.

Walls  Freshly painted walls and baseboards are an inexpensive fix for a tired looking home.  Keep the color neutral like a light beige or grey or even a new ‘greige’ which is a combination of both beige and grey would work.  ...

Heritage Harbour Stats for 2016

2016 "Heritage Harbour" Real Estate Review

(Includes stats for both River Strand and Stoneybrook)

Total number of homes Sold in 2016 - 117

Total number of condos Sold in 2016 - 120

Average 2016 Sold home price - $341,684.00

Average 2016 Sold condo price - $192,571.00

Average days on market to closing for homes - 118

Average days on market to closing for condos - 109

Highest priced property sold in 2016 - 7314 HERITAGE GRAND PLACE (River Strand) $660,000.00

Lowest priced property sold in 2016 - 311 CAPE HARBOUR LOOP #105 (Lighthouse Cove Townhomes) $119,000.00

(Statistics were taken from the Mid-Florida Regional MLS and does not include private sales.) ********************************************************************************************************************************************************* "2016 was generally a good year for Heritage Harbour sales. But with more days on market and more price decreases I could see that "Harbour" prices were moderating a bit. This is a good thing because we do not want to repeat the roller coaster ride we had in the mid 2000's. Also new construction in East Manatee County continues to surge with about 29 new developments and more coming! These new developments are big competition to re-sales especially when builders offer incentives in the form of cash and extras. But as usual, "Harbour" homes sold well in 2016. ********************************************************************************************************************************************************* Heartfelt thanks to all of the sellers and buyers who have made 2016 another record breaking year for Destination Realty Group We are so grateful to work in such a wonderful community!! Wishing you all a Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous 2017!

All my best, Carol


My Top 4 Reasons Your Home Does Not Sell Quickly

My Top 4 Reasons Your Home Does Not Sell Quickly

By Carol Marra CLHMS CRS e-PRO

Failing To Prepare the Home For Sale
Presentation is everything and even more so when you’re going to put your home on the market. Buyers often can’t imagine what the property will look like when it’s spruced up, so it’s up to you to put your home in mint condition. Giving your home “curb appeal” usually requires painting the front door, trimming shrubs and re-mulching beds.  Painting the inside and making sure the whole house is sparkling clean doesn’t cost much but could have a big payoff.  When buyers reach a certain amount of objections, they walk out. If your house has more objections than other homes for sale, it makes it difficult to get the buyer to choose yours. Every little improvement you can do to the home, to eliminate an objection, can be the difference of your home being on the market for several months or selling quickly. 

Overpricing Your Home
The value of your home is not determined by what you would like to sell it for, what you paid, how much money you put into it, or what you owe. The value of your home is determined only by what a buyer is willing to pay for it in today’s market by comparing your home to others that have recently sold, in your neighborhood.  Overpricing your home drastically reduces the chances of a fast sale, keeps other agents from showing the home, and helps to sell the competing homes. When buyers are looking for homes for sale, they are like all customers. They want the best available home at the best price. Buyers will compare your property to others on the market and they won’t knowingly pay too much.

Making It Difficult To Show Your Home

The more flexible you are in allowing realtors to bring their buyers into your home, the more...

Moving Day – Bridgewater We Have Arrived!

Moving Day – Bridgewater We Have Arrived!

It felt strange to walk into an empty home and think this is where I live now but when the movers began to bring my furniture in, I started to feel like this is my home.  My Bridgewater home is very different from my last home – it feels open and lighter and brighter.   

My last home had dark cherry cabinetry and black granite and more enclosed spaces.  It also had a second story bonus room and a large pool and lanai.  This time we opted for a single story with an outdoor kitchen but no pool.  Change is good especially when it means less maintenance.  I guess the biggest change is seeing the lake behind my home – my last view was a cart path on a golf course.  


Braden River Lakes Under $250k!

Honey, stop the car, this is it! A "WOW" home. Click Here To Watch The Video!  A truly Premium Homesite at an Unbeatable Value for a Quick Sale. As you enter the residence, your gaze will immediately shift to the large double glass sliders and a TERRIFIC lengthwise lake view.
Mature canopies of trees can be seen on either side of this fabulous water view, and a second lake can be seen in the distance too. In fact, full lake views are observable from the lanai, owner's retreat, and the breakfast nook--simply amazing!

The front elevation also has fantastic curb appeal--the mature trees and large triple palm show prominently. This cozy home has been completely remodeled including the kitchen, which features newly installed white shaker "soft close" cabinets, Cambria Level 5 fine Quartz, Whirlpool stainless steel appliances, & faucets. The freshly painted interior makes for a clean crisp finish, especially when viewed together with the tastefully appointed wood laminate floors in each bedroom.
The third bedroom even has French Doors leading to the living room, so it could be used as an office or den. Tile in all main living areas. Other highlights include a large Owner's Retreat, walk in closet, and en-suite bathroom with quartz and glass encased shower. Newly installed A/C unit, Washer & Dryer, and lanai enclosure. Fenced in-yard. This community is close to everything! Quick commute to I-75, Sarasota, St. Pete, Anna Marie Island, and Lakewood Ranch. Beautiful Home. Great Location. A winning combination!


My Move to Bridgewater in Lakewood Ranch

Being a realtor for more than 12 years gave me an inside view of what is involved in moving to a new home – I thought. Staging the home, preparing for showings, and all the details that follow should be a breeze. But truly this process became more real and personal when I moved myself! The first step in the process was to sell my current home. I counsel my clients how to stage their homes and how to handle showings all day long. But now it’s my turn to handle these details. Here are just a few things I encountered:

    • I cleaned my desk in my office so well, I couldn’t find some of my files.
    • I made my husband crazy by telling him he could no longer eat anything that smells ie. garlic bagels or fishy tuna.
    • I hid my jewelry so well I could not find it.
    • I made my husband check everything in the home to make sure it all works – again I drove him nuts.
    • I told my dear photographer (who I have used for years) that if my home did not sell it was all on him.
    • I generally was a little bit crazy – my business partners did not complain, they just stayed away from me.

And the end of this story is my home SOLD in 2 days. We closed in a month, our furniture is in storage, and now we are homeless. Mom can we stay with you for awhile? Stay tuned for the next chapter in this story – Moving to Bridgewater in Lakewood Ranch!

View All Homes For Sale in Bridgewater


Condos for sale in Lakewood National: The Bellini

Condos for Sale in Lakewood National: The Antonia Floorplan

As a former new home sales consultant, I spend a considerable amount of time combing through each floorplan to see what might resonate for my customers. My hope is to align the needs and wants of each prospective customer in the hopes of finding the most suitable floorplan for their family. So, let's take a look at the Bellini floorplan and see if it might be a good fit for you.

condos for sale in Lakewood National: The Bellini

The Bellini is a very different style than its comparably sized counterpart, the Antonia. The Bellini offers a true great room concept for a "conversational" experience. Let me explain. The Bellini's great room is located in the rear of the condo, which faces the lanai and emphasizes the view. While the Antonia dedicates a portion of this space to the owner's retreat, the Bellini utilizes the entire space for the great room. The breakfast nook has multiple windows and allows light to illuminate the kitchen area, which flows through to the main living area. The section of the floorplan designated as the "dining room" is often converted to a den, with room for a pull out couch.

With the great room absorbing all of the space in the rear of the condo, the front of the residence is reserved for the owner's retreat and guest bedroom. The owner's retreat is large enough to accomodate a king size bed, two side dressers, and one large dresser, and even has two walk in closets and an en-suite bathroom. The guest bedroom is also amply sized, and has a guest...

Condos for sale in Lakewood National: The Antonia Floorplan

Condos for Sale in Lakewood National: The Antonia Floorplan

As a former new home sales consultant, I spend a considerable amount of time combing through each floorplan to see what might resonate for my customers. My hope is to align the needs and wants of each prospective customer in the hopes of finding the most suitable floorplan for their family. So, let's take a look at the Antonia floorplan and see if it might be a good fit for you. 

Antonia Floorplan: Condos for sale in Lakewood National

The Antonia offers bedrooms that are on opposite ends of the condo, a big plus for those families that desire a little more privacy for when guests visit. The master bedroom is located at the rear of the condo and the window faces toward the view. The first phase of construction overlooks the 11th and 12th hole of the course with any combination of golf, water, and preserve views, so that will be a pretty fabulous way to wake up in the morning. The master bedroom also features two walk in closets and an en suite bathroom.

The main living area can be described as a living/dining room combination or a great room, depending on how you intend to utilize the space. Some homeowners dispense with the idea of a formal dining room area, put a small table in the breakfast nook, and use the dining room as a part of a larger great room concept. There is always some overflow space at the kitchen counter, where folks routinely place a couple of high chairs too. Alternatively, you can stick with the traditional format and have a table in the desiginated dining room area. If you are anticipating more guests, this might be the better play. Either way, you will...