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Old 08-06-2015, 12:09 PM
Location: Sarasota, FL
3 posts, read 4,176 times
Reputation: 15


After 3 plus years of planning, my husband and I (and two dogs) finally made the move from Lexington, KY to Sarasota back in May! We're currently renting a house off Clark Rd and Beneva and so far we love it here but we don't exactly love renting! We're in a lease until May 2016 but we're already looking for a realtor so we can find the perfect house.

Background... We're a gay couple (33 and 34) with two older rescue dogs (a 5-lb miniature yorkie and a 17-lb lhasa apso). We both work from home in IT so we can live just about anywhere as long as we have a fast internet connection. We wanted to make the move to Florida for the last 10 years but had to wait until the right time in our careers and to sell our house.

We have a max budget of $325,000 for the a house or condo. We're pretty much open to anything in Sarasota county and points south. We're very boring. We just don't want to live anywhere were the neighbors would actively hate us.

Our dream is to be within biking distance of a beach but I realize that may have to stay a dream on our budget. Since we both work from home, we also need either three bedrooms or two bedrooms and another space that can function office. We also want a pool (the further from the breach, the nicer the pool needs to be

Since we have a place to live, we're also open to getting a fixer upper and doing renovations, as long as we can stay in budget. Needless to say, we spend lots of time driving around looking at subdivisions.

We look forward to any and all suggestions! I've been a longtime reader of this forum. It's so exciting to finally be an active participant.

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Old 08-06-2015, 12:42 PM
Location: Sarasota/ Bradenton - University Pkwy area
3,580 posts, read 5,139,354 times
Reputation: 3411
Are you looking to stay near where you are currently renting, or are you willing to locate further away? I am asking because if you are interested in newer construction homes in your price range you may have to consider either south Manatee county or south Venice.

If you would like to stay near your current location, south of Clark Road off of Beneva are several popular Gulf Gate area neighborhoods.

Gulf Gate has ranch style homes built mainly in the 1960's and early 70's. Most are 2 or 3 bedrooms with 1 or 2 car garages. Most of the homes are less than 1800 sq ft but some are larger. The zip code is 34231. It's one of the more affordable of the Gulf Gate area neighborhoods.

Gulf Gate Pines is a tiny neighborhood of ranch style homes built in the late 70's and early 80's. It's kind of difficult to find the neighborhood unless you take Brueckner off of US41.

Gulf Gate Woods (34231) is located south of Gulf Gate and close to the mall. Most of the homes were built in the 1970's. It does have deed restrictions. The homes are mainly ranch style, but they do mostly have split floor plans with the master bedroom separated from the other bedrooms. The kitchens are on the smaller side but most do have formal living/dining and a family room off of the kitchen.

Gulf Gate East is also off of Beneva. The homes were built mainly in the 1980's. Homes there sell for more than Gulf Gate or GG Woods. The lots are large, with winding streets. GG East also has deed restrictions. It's a very well maintained neighborhood. Most of the homes have vaulted ceilings in the main living area and often galley style kitchens, unless owners have updated. Some of the homes have small patio areas in front. Not your typical FL ranch style homes.

North of Clark Road and south of Proctor, off of Beneva, are some other neighborhoods similar to Gulf Gate East.

Beneva Pines (34233) and Country Place (34233) are both nice, well maintained neighborhoods with tree shaded streets. The homes tend to be larger than Gulf Gate. Some are ranch style, some are contemporary and some have somewhat of a retro 50's modern vibe with features such as atriums. You will more likely have to purchase a home needing TLC to stay within your budget there.

If you are willing to look further north,

Tamaron (34232) is located SE of Beneva and Bahia Vista. It's a deed restricted community with homes built mainly in the 70's and early 80's. Deed restrictions are pretty basic. The home styles are typically ranch styles, although some homes have vaulted ceilings and most have split floor plans. The lots are generously sized and the community has some green areas of lakes and walking paths.

A couple of other popular neighborhoods that would be similar to Gulf Gate are South Gate and Forest Lakes (34239 & 34232). Forest Lakes runs east and west of Beneva, Riviera street runs all the way south to Bee Ridge Rd. South Gate is a neighborhood with a voluntary HOA, it's $55 per year. If you join the HOA you can then pay $99/year for use of the community pool. The ranch style homes are popular with both buyers and renters. Many of the these 1960's - early 80's homes have been renovated. One note: do not take for granted that all homes in this area are on sewer lines, some are still on septic systems and will need to hook up to the sewer system at some point in time at your expense.

Off of Wilkinson east of Honore is Emerald Gardens (34233). More contemporary style homes, low annual HOA fees. Also in that same general area is Grove Pointe.

North of Bee Ridge Rd running between Honore and Cattlemen is Colonial Oaks (34232). Attractive, deed restricted neighborhood of 1980's and 90's built homes. The north section has tall oak trees. There's a commuity park with a rec center, tennis courts and a picnic area. HOA fees also reasonable there.

Just east of I-75 off of Bee Ridge Rd is Lake Sarasota (34241). This community has a voluntary HOA. You'll find homes built in the 1960's all the way to 2000's but mainly in the 80's and 90's. Several lakes (hence the name). I know several people that live there, all love the community.

If you are willing to consider the University Parkway area/ south Manatee county (zips 34243 and 34203), it will open up your options for newer, more contemporary homes. The trade off is that you are further from Siesta Key, although you are still only about 15 minutes from downtown Sarasota. In this area you'll find Mote Ranch with neighborhoods such as Mote Ranch, Copper Ridge, Chaparral. Neal actually has 3 new construction neighborhoods in that area that may have something in your price range. Some other neighborhoods to watch for listings in: Mandalay, Regal Oaks, Barrington Ridge, Creekwood, The Trails, Cottages at Blu Vista, Lionshead, Quail Run to name some of the better known communities.

This list of neighborhoods is really just the tip of the iceberg. You can search the public version of our local MLS at Florida Homes for Sale direct from MLS for active listings and to get a better idea of what neighborhoods fall within your budget.
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Old 08-06-2015, 01:00 PM
Location: sarasota
1,071 posts, read 1,391,718 times
Reputation: 1144
If I were in your position, I would gravitate to the areas near downtown, even if I had to rent for a couple of years and save up some more. Even though you may be farther away from Siessta, you are so much closer to Lido and St. armands circle. Certainly biking distance across the bridge.
If you're going to buy single family home, beware of the insurance problem. Homes older than the mid 2000's will increase the ins. costs, not to mention the problems associated with older homes.
You also might not want to get stuck with all the costs associated with sfh. Lawn care, and such.
In the meantime, look around and hook up with a broker that will help you focus on your needs.
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Old 08-06-2015, 01:01 PM
Location: Palm Island and North Port
7,486 posts, read 20,704,944 times
Reputation: 2830
Hi Andrew!

Looks like you're renting and you have a little while to figures things out, which is good. Obviously you'll need to find a place who will be ok with your pups. Many have restrictions on the kind of dog, how many or the size. If they allow pets yours should be OK. I always suggest getting a copy of the last three minutes to the meetings and a copy of the current budget.

Condo buyers need to find out as much as they can about complexes before they plunk down cash.

I suggested asking the following questions:
• How much money has the complex put into reserves to deal with future infrastructure needs?
• Are there any major repairs that need to be made?
• Have assessments and dues been increasing, and does the complex have plans to do so in the future?
• How many of the units are owned by investors?
• Do any investors control large blocks of units and are there any restrictions on renting?

These are the same questions that a bank will ask to determine whether to lend in a complex.

All right now, you're looking to be closer to the beaches.

In Venice there's a brand new condo complex called Villa Veneto. It is scheduled to be completed right before your lease expires. It is also biking distance to Venice beach and your two pups would be fine.

Stoneybrook at Palmer Ranch has a bank owned home here in there that come up that might be an option.

South Gate, Gulf Gate In Sarasota are popular neighborhoods that are fairly close to the beaches and in your price range.

Sorrento Shores, Sorrento East, Sorrento Bayside in Osprey.

I love, love, love the Cottages at Rivendell in Osprey. Once in a while one of them comes available.

Phillipi Gardens is going to have your typical ranch style homes. Many were built in the 1960's.

Pelican Cove is another cute little condo complex that's close to the beaches and would take the pups.

The Landings Carriage Houses is another option.

The Inlets in Nokomis is a neat little waterfront community.

Willowbrook in Southern Sarasota around Vamo Rd

WillowBend in Osprey.

Villas at Deer Creek in Sarasota.

Southbay Yacht Blub in Osprey (things don't come up too often in here in your range).

South Venice, with has a ferry that goes over to the beaches.

Miro Lago and Marbella in Palmer Ranch-South Sarasota.

You have quite a few options. What I suggest you do is to figure out who you want to work with and spend a few days looking at the various neighborhoods. Once you've narrowed it down to a handful of areas, then watch those areas and become familiar with the homes and trends in each neighborhood. You have plenty of time to see what homes close in the next several months, how long they stay on the market, what the average selling price is and the condition of the home. By the time you are ready to buy you, be a well informed buyer
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Old 08-06-2015, 02:53 PM
2,089 posts, read 2,676,971 times
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No special recommendations as far as neighborhood. I don't think you will run into much hate anywhere. Sunshine Rules's suggestion of the greater Gulf Gate area strikes me as a good one. Photoman's suggestion of downtown also has potential. There are areas like Paver Park that are gentrifying and becoming cool. Both of these would be an easy bike trip to the beach. IMHO it is better to be on the mainland than the keys because of the horrible traffic issue. If you want to be near the beach that pretty much means a retro house to remodel. The water close neighbors were build out long ago. If you go that route, be sure to look for concrete block house.

I do think your idea of buying before your lease is up is a really good idea. My husband and I have been in the market in the last year buying rental property. So we were looking at entry level housing. Last December there was a lot of choices on the market. December is an especially good time to buy houses that were over priced and didn't sell. By then the sellers are getting discouraged.

By May of this past year, there was nothing on the market. The inventory had been decimated by the snow birds. May and June were really bleak. Anything that came on the market was immediately snapped up. Then more properties started to hit the market again in mid July.

Also prices really shot up during season. I would suspect that if you buy a property before the first of the year, you will pay a lower price that will compensate for the rent you will still be paying for a few months.

Your price is not an entry level price so the depletion of inventory by the snow birds may not be so extreme. But do keep in mind that in Sarasota the big buying season is Jan - April. Very different than most locations.
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Old 08-06-2015, 03:07 PM
Location: Sarasota/ Bradenton - University Pkwy area
3,580 posts, read 5,139,354 times
Reputation: 3411
What's kind of nice about the Gulf Gate area is the sort of "shopping village" of businesses and restaurants on the west end of Gulf Gate by the mall/ US41. Lots of great, local places to shop, eat and drink.


dineSarasota.com Your Guide to Sarasota Food, Restaurants and Dining - Gulfgate

7 great places to eat in Gulf Gate | Ticket Sarasota
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Old 08-06-2015, 03:38 PM
Location: Sarasota, FL
3 posts, read 4,176 times
Reputation: 15
Thanks for all the great responses so far. We've done a lot of exploring in Gulf Gate and even found Gulf Gate Pines. The shopping village is great too. Love the BBQ place and Sal's Pizza. We do miss all the great BBQ we could find in Kentucky.

I need to look more into downtown. We haven't explored it, other than going to Lido Beach. I'm also fascinated in with the South Venice suggestion. Its a bit further away but I love the idea of being able to take the ferry to the beach and there seemed to be some very affordable property in the area.

Dumb question time... What's the best way to find a realtor? I'm not even sure one would want to work with us at this early date.

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Old 08-07-2015, 08:23 AM
Location: Palm Springs CA
468 posts, read 505,447 times
Reputation: 1041
I have no advice but welcome to town and best of luck in your search.
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Old 08-07-2015, 10:19 AM
Location: Sarasota, FL
3 posts, read 4,176 times
Reputation: 15
Thank you! So far, we love it here!!
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Old 08-07-2015, 10:58 AM
Location: Venice, FL
704 posts, read 627,307 times
Reputation: 319
There are some really great realtors on CD. If you would like specific recommendations please message me. My husband and I just moved to South Venice a few months ago and we are very happy with the area. The house we purchased is about 1/2 mile as the crow flies from Manasota Beach and we could walk to the beach if we were so inclined. Neighbors across the street have told us that you can hear the waves from the beach and I can feel and smell the gulf breezes in my backyard.
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