ARIA is sure to be one of the most distinctive new condominium developments in the Sarasota market place. ARIA occupies one of the last remaining parcels directly on the Gulf at the southern end of Longboat Key. Situated on the site of the historic 1930’s Villa Am Meer estate and composed of only 16 spectacular residences on a private and magnificently landscaped five-acre parcel with 200 feet of pristine Gulf front beach, ARIA promises a life of pleasure to its few lucky residents.

ARIA is now under construction and has just THREE residences remaining to be sold! Don’t miss the opportunity to be a part of this exceptional community. Call me today to schedule your private introduction to ARIA and to reserve your residence in this very special development. 941.928.3559

ARIA Longboat Key

NEW Luxury Beach Front Condominium on Longboat Key

Infinity Longboat Key Rendering

With just 10 miles of beach front on Longboat Key, it is rare that a brand new project is built.  Let me introduce you to one of the first to be developed in seven years! 

Infinity Longboat Key will have just 11 residences made up of nine three- and four-bedroom condominiums and two spectacular nearly 5,500 square foot penthouses.  All of these distinctive residences have expansive terraces of 1,202 – 1,940 square feet with summer kitchens offering breathtaking views of both the Gulf and Sarasota Bay.

The project, designed by celebrated Sarasota architect Mark Sultana of DSDG Architects has been defined as being in the style of Coastal Contemporary and will be built to the very latest coastal construction codes including floor-to-ceiling impact glass windows in all units offering spectacular lights and endless sight lines across the beach and bay, and will also incorporate the latest energy efficiencies.

Luxurious finishes will be used in the residences including Italian cabinetry in the kitchen and baths, Wolf and Sub Zero appliances, gracious en suite master and guest bedrooms and large open living spaces.  Each unit is also afforded a private two-car garage with storage, and an exclusive elevator for ease of access and privacy. Early buyers have the opportunity to work directly with Mark Sultana to custom design their interior space.  Penthouse buyers have the ability to fully customize their homes with Sultana.

To complete this impressive project, resort amentities such as a beachfront pool and spa, fitness center, tennis court and club house will be available on site.

The developer is now accepting reservations with a $25,000 fully refundable deposit for the A or B plans (see below and attached) and a $50,000 deposit for penthouses.  The reservation period is anticipated to last 90-120 days with contract conversion immediately following.  Construction is expected to take 12 months.

The extraordinary beach front luxury Longboat Key residences are priced from $2,825,000.

Please contact me for more information or to schedule an appointment with me to learn more about this exciting new Longboat Key condominium project.

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Click on the image below to view larger scale floor plans, site plan and reservation/purchase details.

Infinity Longboat Key

Sarasota 3rd Best Place to Live in Florida

Sarasota Waterfront

While those of us that have already found complete fulfillment living in Sarasota, those that have not yet discovered our incredible city may find an article such as appeared in this month’s Florida Travel + Life persuasive.  Aside from our spectacular seaside setting and all of the amenities that come with living in a waterfront locale, Sarasota boasts one of the most active creative communities found anywhere.  Performing and visual arts along with collector’s galleries and hundreds of special events highlight a feature that few other cities of Sarasota’s size can assert.

The Sarasota lifestyle is not only appealing to those who enjoy the cultural side, but with one of the highest concentrations of award-winning independently owned restaurants in the country, boutiques and shopping for everything from high fashion to antiques from the Ringling era, and hand-made custom jewelry alongside internationally acclaimed fine watches, typical “tourist” fare, and gourmet artisanal cheese makers, and outdoor and indoor recreational options that run the gamut, it is hard to find anything that is not alluring.  

If you have not seen for yourself the myriad facets of Sarasota that make it truly one of the most enchanting places to live, work and play, now is a great time to visit.  With real estate prices more than 30% less that the peak of the market, inventory beginning to wane and prices inching higher, housing values are still at their best though this unique time is not expected to last.

Read the Florida Travel + Life article here.

Is This Your Time To Buy?

Sarasota Waterfront Condominium

The Moulton Sarasota Real Estate Report – March 11, 2012

The National Association of Realtors performs an affordability index utilizing factors such as home prices, mortgage interest rates and income, and they recently announced that the “affordability factor” is better than it was when they started the measurement in 1970.  Does that mean that this is Your Time to Buy?

Affordability factors aside, all signs are pointing to Sarasota Real Estate – especially at the luxury levels, in the most desirable locations and in move-in-ready condition –  inventory definitely being on the decline with pricing stabilizing.  Given that virtually no one, not even the most experienced realtors or real estate experts, can time the exact bottom of our market, in my opinion, if you continue to wait until inventory has shrunk too far you risk getting caught in bidding wars or missing out on the great opportunities that are available right now.  Though negotiating power is strong right now, once inventory becomes even more compressed and prices begin to regulate and consistently move upward, buyers will lose leverage.

Another area of opportunity lies in the reports of considerable homebuilder confidence, as I have also reported in recent postings.  As they begin their climb out of the multi-year slump in new home building, my guess is that this is a great chance for buyers who have preapproved mortgages to walk in, make an offer and, if at first you don’t succeed, don’t be surprised to get a call back soon after your departure with a counter-offer.  There have been well-documented reports of significant increases in applications for building permits in some of the more sought-after Sarasota and Manatee neighborhoods, and with this heightened activity will come competition for sales.

I would caution that I do not believe that this is a time for speculation.  With most pundits predicting moderate gains over the next several years, rather buyers should be considering purchases they are prepared to hold onto.  Now is the time to use the stresses of the last few years to weigh into the selection criteria for our new properties.  Top considerations should center around quality of life – it’s now about lifestyle, pride of ownership and a place where memories can be made, along with value.  I think most would agree that Sarasota offers the greatest in virtually all aspects of quality of life, I know that my wife Katie and I have found it to offer all that we would ever want in a place to live, work and play!

In this week’s Michael Saunders blog, “Spring has Spring”, you can read about why Sarasota’s Real Estate doyenne likens her optimism to one of the country’s great prognosticators, Warren Buffett.  You can read her post here.

SAR Year-End Report Validates Upward Trend


As reported in my Year-End Sarasota Real Estate Market Report last week, the key statistical markers are pointing toward sustained recovery.  As further evidence I am attaching the Sarasota Association of Realtor’s recently released analysis of our region’s 2011 results. 

Property sales up 8.2 percent for full year 2011; prices stable

For the full year 2011, property sales of members of the Sarasota Association of Realtors® jumped by 8.2 percent to 8,224, achieving the highest level since 2005. The surge in sales was accompanied by stabilization in the median sale prices, which now stand at $155,925 for single family homes and $156,800 for condos over the full year, and have not fluctuated much for the past 12 months.

Once again, the market has demonstrated that Sarasota is a destination of choice for many homebuyers. For the overall year of 2011, the resurgence in sales was dramatic, and represents a 44 percent increase over the low point of the downturn in 2008, when only 5,820 properties changed hands.

“This is really incredible news, and demonstrates how far this market has improved in only three short years,” said SAR President Laura Benson. “Now, we also offer very affordable pricing. Combined with the high quality of homes and condos on the market, I think we clearly have the best values in Florida, without question.” 

Property transactions in the Sarasota real estate market jumped 7.3 percent in December 2011, compared to the November totals. Combined sales stood at 648, up from last month’s figure of 602 and the October 2011 sales of 577. This sales resurgence has paralleled the drop in the available inventory, and put the remaining months of inventory in the range of a seller’s market.

The inventory of available properties for sale in Sarasota was at 4,567 in December, down slightly from the 4,672 in November. The inventory fell to a 10-year low of 4,408 in August 2011. As the inventory has slid, the months of inventory has dropped and now stands at 6.3 months for single family homes and 9.2 months for condos. A figure of 6 months is considered equilibrium between a buyer’s and a seller’s market. 

The December 2011 median sale price for condos recovered strongly to $150,000 from November’s figure of $127,000. This was the highest level since August 2011. Condo prices have been fluctuating for several months, with the year-to-date median sale price at $156,800. 

For single family homes, the median sale price dropped slightly in December to $160,000 from $162,000 in November 2011. For the overall year, the figures have remained remarkably steady, indicating a stabilizing market.

“There is a real sense of optimism and excitement returning to the market,” Benson noted. “We’re entering the height of the season, and the open houses have been bustling with energy and interest. Recent news of new home sales doubling in one community and setting records for annual sales in another are clear signs of the strength of the current market.”

Pending sales were at 694 in December 2011, down slightly from the November 2011 number of 782. Last month, 504 single family homes and 190 condos went under contract.

Distressed property sales continued to represent a higher percentage than normal in the local market for the fourth quarter of 2011. In total, 41.7 percent of sales in the fourth quarter were distressed property sales (foreclosures and short sales). This was somewhat higher than the third quarter, when the overall percentage was 38.8 percent, but well below the market high of over 50 percent in the second quarter of 2010. 

Median sale prices continued to show three distinct markets, with normal market transaction sales prices more than double those for bank-owned transactions. But the price gap has narrowed somewhat, particularly during the past two quarters. For the second quarter of 2011, foreclosed condos sold for a median price of $62,250, while market condo transactions saw a $270,000 median. For the quarter just ended, those prices were at $73,500 and $193,500, respectively.

“Realtors® and consumers have adjusted to the market realities, and it appears that pricing in all categories has become more reflective of the current conditions,” said Benson. “We continue to watch and hope for a break in the distressed property cycle, and we anticipate the improving economy and lower unemployment rate will eventually bring these figures down to lower levels. The positive side is that our market offers incredible buying opportunities that won’t last long.” 

Click HERE for the complete press release in PDF format, plus six pages of statistical charts.

The Case for Real Estate Investment

This week Michael Saunders makes the case quite clearly that, despite the recent years of woe in the housing market, real estate remains a secure and desirable form of investment. In Michael’s weekly market report attached below, she cites data prepared by Steve Harney, a national real estate authority, in which he reports that over the last 12 years, “had you invested $100 in each in early 2000, by now you would have netted $140 in real estate, $112 on the Dow, $90 on the S&P and $70 on NASDAQ.”

Though our regional real estate market continues to be in a somewhat fragile state, it is well reported that 2011 saw sustained increases in key markers such as price and volume, and all indicators are pointing to further improvement in 2012. Buying a home in Sarasota has never been more “affordable”. With the prices lowered across the board plus record low interest rates…add to that the incredible lifestyle of Sarasota’s magnificent setting and infinite options for dining, entertainment and cultural activities, investing in Sarasota real estate is a safe bet!

10 Common Real Estate Investing Mistakes

The slow but steady rebound of the housing market has brought about a rise in real estate investing. But investing in property is no easy business, although the dozens of money gurus on the Internet would tell you otherwise. There is a right way to go about it—it’s just a matter of finding it while avoiding the many pitfalls. Here are ten of the most common real estate investing mistakes and how you can avoid them.

Not having a game plan

Atlanta-based investor Andy Heller says many new investors take the plunge without a plan: they snap up good deal, then don’t know what to do with it. Eventually they’ll end up with a number of properties just gathering dust. Your first step should be choosing your strategy, then finding a home that fits it.

Expecting returns overnight

What the Internet ads don’t tell you is that a lot of work, time, and money goes into real estate. For your cash to work for you, you need to make smart decisions, develop negotiation strategies, and understand the risks of the business. It takes time, but with good direction, it’ll start paying off eventually.

Working alone

If you think real estate agents are just for first-time buyers, think again. A good network is part of any successful investor’s arsenal, both for buying his own properties and selling them off. Build strong relations with professionals in the field. Ideally, you should be on good terms with at least one realtor, a lender, a home inspector, an appraiser, and a closing attorney.

Over-valuing properties

The idea is simple: you buy a property, then you sell it off for a profit. So the point is to not pay too much for a home—but according to Heller, that’s what a lot of new investors do. Take the time you need to analyze the value of a home—how much it’s worth, what improvements will be needed—before putting your money into it.

Not doing research

First-time investors are often taken aback by the complexities of the real estate business, and this often leads to costly mistakes. Start by joining a National Real Estate Investors Association (REIA) chapter in your area. The monthly meetings touch on a wide range of topics, from buying short sales and foreclosures to leasing issues.

Counting on appreciation

A lot of buyers snapped up properties during the housing boom, thinking they can make quick profits given the strong seller’s market. But the ensuing crash taught them a hard lesson. There’s no telling where the market will go, but with sufficient research and smart analysis, you can lower your risk and find other ways to make proft.

Miscalculating costs

There’s a lot more to home ownership than the asking price. Mortgage, insurance, and property taxes add up over time. And since it takes time to lease or sell a home in today’s market, you’ll be paying them out of your own pocket for a good while. If you’re not prepared, what started out as an asset will become a liability before you know it.

Focusing on single deals

It takes more than one deal at a time to run a real estate investing business. Besides, you miss out on many opportunities by limiting your volume. Build a steady stream of prospects; with enough deals on the horizon, the good ones will naturally come to the fore.

Not having an exit strategy

So you have a plan, but what if it doesn’t work out? Make sure you have at least two backup plans so you don’t get stuck with a property. Plan A might be to work on the home before reselling it. If the market is slow, Plan B could be a lease-purchase offer. And if that doesn’t work out, you can either just rent it out. The profits may be lower with succeeding plans, but it’s better than losing money by simply holding on to it.

Underestimating rehabs

You don’t need an engineering degree to estimate costs, but you do need a good buffer. When you decide to rehab a home, always set aside twice as much time and money as what you would expect it to take—and if you can still make a profit then, it’s worth taking on. This will give you a comfortable cushion against any problems.

Secure and Grow Your Property Investment Return

If you are a buyer with money to invest in today’s housing market, there are a number of strategies that have stood the test of time when it comes to property investment and realizing a return on those investments. Below are 8 tips from the authors of Investing In Real Estate (McLean and Eldred 2006) for maximizing your real estate assets.


  1. Maintain a positive cash flow. The rent on your investment properties should cover the mortgage, taxes, insurance, and any other related fees. When all is said and done and paid, there should be money left over each month. It’s also a smart idea to hold enough money in reserve to cover mortgage-related expenses in the event the property is vacant for a period of time. How much money you hold in reserve is your decision and will likely depend on how the rental market is performing.

  2. Leverage OPM. OPM, or other people’s money, is a principal factor in growing your own net worth. In other words, as your tenants provide you with their money to pay down mortgage debt each month, your equity as the owner of the property grows. This is often referred to as equity growth via amortization.

  3. Improve your properties. Perhaps the most common form of investment return, property improvements have the potential to result in a greater property resale value. Consequently, your ability to sell the property for substantially more than you paid for it results in a profit. For example, if you purchase a house for $60,000 that requires a little TLC, and you spend another $10,000 making improvements, you may be able to sell the more attractive and marketable house for $100,000 resulting in a $30,000 profit.

  4. Buy wholesale. In terms of housing, wholesale refers to properties whose prices are lower than market value due to foreclosure or tax sales. When you buy properties at a bargain that is well below market price, you build your net worth and equity holdings.

  5. Take advantage of tax breaks. Real estate investment comes with its perks. One of the biggest perks comes in the form of tax deductions, tax credits, and other government-sponsored programs for real estate investors that cut your tax bill, thereby increasing your bottom line and equity growth.

  6. Care for your assets. Property structures—be they residential or commercial—are no different than any other asset that needs regular attention and maintenance. Think of your property investments just as you would your own vehicle or home. Regular maintenance helps retain value and is a necessity, not a luxury of ownership. It’s not a good idea to wait until something breaks before you fix it. In fact, it usually costs more! Managing your property asset is just as important as buying smart and positive cash flow.

  7. Asset + time = equity. In many respects, property investments are similar to stock market investments; the longer you wait, the greater your return. As your property increases in value, so does your wealth. When you buy at today’s prices and take advantage of wholesale bargains, your asset grows in value over time because of local appreciation. When added to the amortization principle described above (see #2), you’ve got a number of factors working in your equity’s favor.

  8. Remember that rent is not a fixed price. When you are actively managing your property portfolio, pay attention to costs that are affected by the rising cost of living. For example, higher insurance rates, property taxes, and maintenance fees that you must pay are all legitimate pass-through factors to consider in increasing your rent cash flow.