'Tis the season for spreading some cheer and here in Lakewood Ranch, this is as much a priority this year as it ever has been (in the safest ways possible!)
Main Street's halls have been decked, the tree looks beautiful, and the elves are hiding! (I’ll explain, below)
Today, we share some fun activities happening in and around Lakewood Ranch this holiday season so you can get a taste of what life on the Ranch is all about!
1. Spot the Elves on Main Street!
Nineteen mischievous elves are hiding throughout Main Street. Can you find them all? Find at least ten elves to enter the contest for a chance to win $500 in Main Street gift cards.
The contest ends on January 1, 2021. Winners will be announced on January 8, 2021.
2. Carriage Rides on Main Street
Take a relaxing carriage ride down Main Street and celebrate the Christmas season with us! Free to the public. Pickup and drop off is at the Christmas Tree.
Thursday, December 3rd – 6:30-8:30
Wednesday , December 9th -6:30-8:30
Thursday, December 17th – 6:30-8:30
Rides will be limited to two adults or one family at a time. Seats and carriage will be disinfected after each ride. Social distance will be in effect while waiting.
3. Virtual Lakewood Ranch Holiday Art Project
Create a fun craft with Kori! Saturday December 19th at 3PM (online)
4. Hunsader Farms Country Christmas
Visit the farm for Country Christmas this year! They will have over 300,000 lights, hayrides, train rides, pony rides, food, Christmas music, petting zoo, snow tubing, and more!
12/11/20, 12/12/20, 12/13/20, 12/18/20, 12/19/20, 12/20/20
5. UTC Holiday Festival of Lights
This year’s reimagined holiday experience – UTC Holiday Festival of Lights – is aimed at inspiring awe and wonder in the hearts of friends, families and communities through millions of lights over 44 nights. Take in the sights and sounds of the season with fresh-air festivities including:
Light shows choregraphed to music
Nightly | 6:30-9:30 PM, every 30 minutes | Viewing areas around Cattlemen Drive
Holiday movies under the stars
Fridays & Saturdays | 7 PM | West District, parking area across from DSW
Saturdays | 9 PM
Horse-drawn carriage rides* ($5 per passenger)
Thursdays-Saturdays, 6-10 PM | Sundays 6-8:30 PM | Pick up/drop off at Mall at UTC valet area
* Rides provided on first-come, first-served basis
Outdoor holiday market
Nov. 21-22 & Dec. 5-6 | 11 AM - 7 PM Saturday and 11 AM - 6 PM Sunday | Mall at UTC, parking area adjacent to Brio Tuscan Grille
Ugly Sweater Alley
West District, between BurgerFi and Ethan Allen
Giant holiday greeting card displays, decorated by local schools
Plus so much more magical, memorable experiences!
Help us spread cheer, not germs!
6. Rye Road Giraffes Christmas Celebration and Circus
The Christmas Carol Circus, featuring their caroling ringmaster that will be singing some of our favorite Christmas songs live, will be performing on scheduled Saturdays and Sundays throughout December.🎉🎄🎅
There will also be optional children's activities happening before the show, such as Pony rides, camels rides, face painting, bounce houses, and of course animal feedings that will be available for all ages.
The farm will be decorated for the holidays, so don't forget your camera 📸
Choose one of the following🎟️
Saturday Dec 5th at 11am or 3pm
Sunday Dec 6th at 11am or 3pm
Adult tickets - $15
Childrens tickets - $5 (ages 4 - 10)
(a non refundable deposit may apply)
7. St. Armand’s Circle Holiday Night of Lights
Friday December 4 at 6:00PM
Kick off the season on the circle as they light the largest tree on the Gulf coast!
8. Sarasota Christmas Glow Run 5K
Saturday December 19 at 6PM
This family friendly event at Nathan Benderson Park features Christmas lights and music to get you in the spirit (and make you run faster!)
9. Holiday Splendor Drive-Thru Experience: The Ringling will hold a drive-thru version of its Holiday Splendor event, with holiday decorations and a toy drive. Cars can drive through Central Campus Gate, complete the loop around the Museum of Art, and exit via the South Gate. Guests who donate unwrapped new toys will receive a coupon for $5 off their next museum visit, with free cocoa and cookies served by Metz Catering.
6-8 p.m. Dec. 3
10. Sarasota Trolley’s Holiday Tour of Lights
See homes decorated for the holidays from the comfort of the Sarasota Trolley with tours departing nightly at 6:15 and 8:15 p.m. Dec. 4-30.
Guests are welcome to bring along a beverage and a snack. The trolley departs from the parking lot at Burlington Coat Factory at the corner of Cattlemen and Bee Ridge roads. Tickets are $15 per person.
Reservations and masks are required and trolleys are sanitized between each tour.
11. A Taste of Chanukah:
The 10th annual event will feature a snow slide, BMX performers, kosher food by Michael’s on East, a helicopter Chanukah gelt drop, Latkes by Sam, Kona Ice and more.
4-6 p.m. Dec. 13; Phillippi Estate Park
....and more! 🎄☃️🎁☕️🎅🏼💫✨
We live in Lakewood Ranch and love sharing local events and news with you because we truly do love it here!
If you’re considering a move, let us help you find the perfect spot. Contact us today! Give yourself the gift of a new home and Florida lifestyle for the holidays! 😎🌴
Michael & Courtney Chenkus
Charles Rutenberg Realty | Lakewood Ranch
There are many do's and don'ts when it comes to real estate. Buying new construction may be something you have never experienced before, and there are a few ways to make the process easier. One of those things, is working with us! 😉 There are also a few things you want to avoid, not do, and not be fooled by throughout this process. Today, we share 5 of the things you want to not do when buying or building new. If you have any questions on this information, we are always here to help!
1- Don’t sign anything or fill anything out
When you visit model home sales centers, there is usually a form that the salespeople want you to fill out in order to register. This form captures your personal contact information and might ask some general questions about your home search. Don’t feel pressured to fill it out!
If you have a realtor with you and they explain the form so you feel comfortable completing it, then go ahead. If you are on your own and just beginning your search, say you’d prefer not to fill anything out just yet. Sometimes, if the forms are completed on your first visit and you didn’t bring a realtor with you, it makes it difficult to get them involved in the transaction later on. Also, the salespeople may send you emails and text messages about the community and the information can get overwhelming. Let your agent do the research and weed through all that info for you!
2 - don’t share any personal info or opinions
When looking at the models (or any home) don’t share your personal information or opinions in front of the salespeople. You want to put yourself in the best position to negotiate and revealing all the details about your financial situation, timing, and thoughts about the house could weaken that position. Definitely share that information with your realtor privately, but don’t have those candid conversations until you are alone. Let the salespeople wonder what you think about the house!
3 - don’t expect the traditional real estate contract
If you have bought or sold real estate in a traditional resale transaction, there was probably a common state-wide or commonly used contract that all realtors were familiar with for those residential transactions. However, when you go the new construction route, each builder has their own unique contract that they utilize. Your realtor should be able to review this with you and point out the important details and differences at this phase in the transaction. It may be much longer than a residential resale contract, so use them as a resource to make sure you understand it before signing!
4 - don’t be fooled by the “base price” & don’t expect your home to look like the model
We have mentioned it in previous videos but to recap, the price listed on builder websites and advertised on signs around the community is the “base price” of the home. If it were delivered empty with basic interior finishes and floating in the air, that would be the price.
If you want to actually build on planet earth, there are additional costs like the lot fee, interior options and upgrades, pools, etc. So that initial price is very misleading. Along those same lines, the detail and finishing in the model homes can be deceiving. Your home will be built with standard walls, basic ceilings, paint, floors, cabinets, and maybe appliances. Any fancy trim or detail, as well as nicer floors and finishes, are all upgrades that cost more money. Keep that in mind when considering a budget!
5 - Don’t discount the element of timing and how important it is
Real estate transactions follow a process and have many steps. From start to finish, timing is very important. That includes the timing of finding a community you love, building the house, selling your current house, making design choices, moving in, and everything in between. All of those steps are like dominoes and if one gets stuck or doesn’t fall in the right order, it de rails the entire process.
You want to start by talking to a lender and figuring out finances. Can you even buy a house? When can you sell your house within the process to make it work? Most builders won’t take a contingency on a sale, so that is a very important timing element.
Then, decide on the community and if you need to build or buy inventory. Building takes at least 6 months, sometimes up to a year with a custom builder. All of that timing needs to be considered!
All in all, the process of buying or building new can be confusing and overwhelming, so it helps to work with a great realtor who understands it, can help make it less stressful, and has your best interests at heart. This video shared some things to NOT do, but one of the most important things you CAN and should do is find a great agent to work with.
If you’re looking for a home in Lakewood Ranch, we would love to be that agent for you!
Shoreview at Lakewood Ranch Waterside – Pinnacle Model Tour
Waterside at Lakewood Ranch is one of the newest and most popular spots in Lakewood Ranch. It currently consists of two villages, Shoreview and Lakehouse Cove, with room for more!
Then there is Waterside Place, which will be the new hub of activity in Lakewood Ranch slated to open in the spring. We have talked about the models and amenities at Lakehouse Cove in previous videos, so today we wanted to show you some of Shoreview and give a tour of the Pinnacle model.
Shoreview at Lakewood Ranch Waterside is developed by Pulte. They offer 9 floorplans to choose from with a variety of structural options to customize the home for your needs. They also have some of the most impressive water views in all of Lakewood Ranch – but those home sites definitely come with a bigger price tag!
This Natural gas community with approximately 246 single family homes centered around 144 acres of existing lakes is 3 Miles from Interstate 75 and walking distance to Waterside Place.
These homes range in size from 2,000 square feet to over 4,000 square feet with one and two story plans.
Shoreview at Lakewood Ranch Waterside has its own beautiful amenity center including a beach area with hammocks and chaise lounges, fire pits, heated resort-style pool & spa, Kayak launch, outdoor bar & BBQ grills, Tennis & pickleball courts, Multi-purpose turf lawn, Clubhouse with community gathering room & kitchen, and a State-of-the-art fitness center.
For more information on their amenities, check out this video: https://youtu.be/Q7zq8Dk3-FU
Interested in building in Shoreview at Lakewood Ranch Waterside? Contact us for more details and to help you get started!
We would love to talk to you about Lakewood Ranch, Florida real estate!
Follow us on social media: @soldbychenkus
Lakewood Ranch Real Estate | New Construction Terms and Lingo You NEED To Know!
Have you read a description of a home in Florida and wondered what half of the words meant?
Have you Googled the phrases “lanai” and “lot premium” to try and better understand what it all means?
Search no more, we are here to help!
If you are moving to the area from out of state, there might be some Florida-based real estate/house lingo that sounds foreign.
Today, we explain what the most commonly used terms mean, how it relates to real estate, and provide examples of that specific to Lakewood Ranch, Florida.
Let’s get started!
Types of Homes
Villa (detached) - this is a single family, one story home, possibly with a side entry to the house. The layout tends to be longer and narrower than traditional Single-Family layouts.
Paired or Quad villas - these will be attached and share one (or two) walls. The end units usually have more windows versus an interior unit, and these will have
In many communities, Villas are treated as a single family home in the sense that you can add a pool or extended enclosure area. For example, the Ibis paired villas in Esplanade at Azario allow homeowners to extend their lanai and add a small pool/spool. However, they charge a bit higher of an HOA fee because they take reserves to cover roofing and exterior painting, kind of like a condo..
Condo - in Florida, a condo is usually a single story unit in a high-rise or multi level building. Sometimes there are detached or attached garages and storage space, sometimes just carports or cars in front.
Townhome - this is a multi-level, single family home. Usually the garage is the first floor and then the main living space is in the middle with the bedrooms upstairs. Mallory Park at Lakewood Ranch has unique townhomes with the garages in the back through an alley between homes, so the front of the home has a porch and standard entrance.
Apartment - a rental unit in a larger building with its own amenities and rules
Single family homes - I think this one is pretty self-explanatory..
Features in Florida Homes
Lanai- this is a Hawaiian term used for a veranda connected to the main house with roof on top and open sides.
It can be used as a living area and promotes natural air circulation. Lanais are best for tropical weather that allows people to sit outside, which is why they work so well in Florida.
This is generally the covered area connected to the roof in the back of the house, screened in. You can extend your lanai to include your pool and additional decking, then cover it with your screen..
Screen/Cage enclosure- this becomes an extension of your lanai because you can include the pool and additional decking, then close it in with the screen or cage.
Hurricane impact glass (windows and doors) – Seems self explanatory, but also means that you don’t need to worry about hurricane shutters, as this does the job for you.
If you have the option to upgrade to this when building, I highly recommend it. Most builders include hurricane impact glass on front windows and doors, but add the back, as well, if you can!
Elevation – Generally, this term refers to the height above sea level, however, in the context of new construction in Florida, this refers to the exterior look of the home or front façade.
Builders offer different elevations to make the homes look different from one another, and sometimes there are additional costs involved with choosing one elevation versus the other.
Maintenance Free - A funny term because it is definitely not free, but this is the term used in communities where the HOA fee covers all of your lawn and yard maintenance.
Maintenance included might be a better way to describe it! Homes that are not maintenance free require homeowners to do their own yard and lawn care, or hire a landscaping company.
How Pricing Works
AC square feet - On a floorplan, this is the number to pay attention to. It will include all of the living space under the roof within the A/C, excluding the lanai and garage spaces. The "total living area" includes all of those extra spaces.
Base price – If you were to build the house floating in space with basic finishes in it, this is the price. It does not include the land, pool, or any interior finishes and upgrades.
Lot premiums - Now, you have to put the home on land somewhere, so the lot premium is the cost of the land you choose. A water view lot is going to have a higher premium than a preserve lot, although both beautiful.
A corner lot or one that backs up to a wall, busy street, or another home will have a much lower premium. Add this to the base price of the home, as a starting point.
Design options – Now, you need to add the interior finishes to the home to make it what you want! These design options range in price for each builder.
Some builders, such as Lennar, offer a few options and upgrades that would keep your design options limited, but also super affordable.
For a more custom design, like with Homes by Towne, you can estimate that you will spend about 15-18% of the base price of your home on options (which on a $500,000 is at least $50,000).
Add your base price + lot premium + design options (estimate) to get a better idea of the full price. Then, add the pool if you plan to put one in! (Average pool would be about $50,000 for easy estimates)
I hope this was helpful to better understand the commonly used terms associated with new construction in Lakewood Ranch and home building in Florida.
Still have questions? Contact us today!
Lakewood Ranch Neighborhood Close Out! | Village Update
There are currently 28 villages in Lakewood Ranch right now
20 villages are actively selling new homes
Of those 20... 8 villages are more than 50% complete, which means there are limited opportunities to build or buy in the following villages:
Arbor Grande, Mallory Park, Indigo,
Esplanade, Palisades, Lakewood National,
Polo Run, Country Club East
Arbor Grande was built by Lennar (CalAtlantic formerly) and is 100% SOLD OUT of Single Family Homes. There are limited villas remaining and resale options in this village.
Mallory Park is built by DiVosta and they are 80% COMPLETE. Some Single Family lots remain and a few Townhomes are still available to be built.
Indigo by Neal Communities is about 70% COMPLETE. There are some remaining single family lots to build on and a big chunk of areas for twin villas.
Esplanade Golf & Country Club is 100% SOLD OUT of new Single Family homes. There are condos still being built and resale in this village. They are also working on the new Esplanade at Azario village with many new construction options.
Palisades is more than 50% COMPLETE and they have a lot of inventory homes being built on the remaining lots. Their new Solera community is now open and selling, as well.
Lakewood National is around 70% SOLD OUT already. This is a larger golf community that is selling quickly. Home sites and condos are still available, as of now.
Polo Run has only single family homes and is about 75% COMPLETE. They have some lots remaining, but premium water and preserve lots are selling quickly.
Country Club East is one of the largest villages with over 1,300 homes and it is almost COMPLETE!
Lennar has 11 lots left and only 6 are not pre-permitted.
Cardel has 6 lots remaining.
Neal Signature has a few spread throughout the community.
But all builders in CCE are running low on remaining lots.
If you want to build or buy a new home in one of these Lakewood Ranch neighborhoods, contact us today before they are sold out!
We would love to help you find your dream home and welcome you to Lakewood Ranch. As a husband and wife real estate team, we are passionate about the Lakewood Ranch area. We live here, love it here, and can’t wait to share our real estate knowledge of this area with you!
Email us! Contact@chenkus.com
Waterside Lakewood Ranch | Cutter Series Home Tours | Homes by Towne in Lakehouse Cove
We are back at Waterside Lakewood Ranch! This time, we wanted to focus on the Cutter series in the Homes by Towne section of Lakehouse Cove. These are smaller homes on narrower lots in a great price point!
In this video, we tour the Beacon Model which has 2 bedrooms, plus a den, 2 bathrooms, and a 2 car garage. The highlight of this home is the wall of sliders leading to the lanai - stunning! Base price: $369,900 The model shown with all of these gorgeous upgrades on this beautiful water lot probably lands in the low $500,000s.
We also tour the Skiff Model in this second video. This home is a little bigger at 2,153 square feet with 3 bedrooms plus a den, 2 bathrooms, and a 2 car garage. The base price is $399,900 and pools can be added on most lots in the Cutter series, as well.
They have inventory homes available and lots to build on, so if you love either floorplan, call us today and we can help you make your new Lakehouse Cove home a reality!
Learn more about Waterside Lakewood Ranch: https://youtu.be/Q7zq8Dk3-FU
Looking for a larger home? See our other Homes By Towne model tours –
The Outrigger: https://youtu.be/Xclhj9IjDX8
The Tideland: https://youtu.be/7vthSvbLZZU
Contact us today to learn about other Lakewood Ranch homes! We love working with buyers and sellers in the Sarasota/Manatee County area of Florida! Looking elsewhere? We can refer you to a great agent!
About 6 months ago we did a video on a Market Update for Lakewood Ranch, looking ahead for 2020 and the new villages being constructed.
If you missed it, you can watch that video here: https://youtu.be/HlHt7s8UoEA
Since then, we have done individual video updates for each of these new villages as they start construction and sales. We have visited Esplanade, Lorraine Lakes, Solera, and as of today – Windward.
You can find the other videos below, and continue reading to learn more about Windward!
Windward at Lakewood Ranch is a brand new Neal community, set to open this fall. Homes and lots are currently available for pre-sale as they finish the models and entrance to the village.
This new construction village is set to have a variety of single-family homes and villas, as well as a variety of amenities for residents. It is located conveniently close to downtown Sarasota, Waterside Place, and I-75 in the Sarasota County section of Lakewood Ranch.
This video gives you a visual of the layout and landscape of the village, as well as additional JUST-RELEASED info on pricing and fees.
Check out our Windward page for more information or contact us below if you are interested in becoming a resident of Windward at Lakewood Ranch!
Contact us to learn more about any of these new villages in Lakewood Ranch!
Solera at Lakewood Ranch is a brand new DR Horton village in the Northeast corner of Lakewood Ranch, right near Lorraine Lakes. This village will consist of 675 homesites featuring single-family, one- and two-story homes.
Homes will range in size from 1,498 sq. ft. to 4,033 sq. ft, including some multi-generational living plans. Homes will be constructed with all concrete block and will come equipped with Home is Connected, America’s Smart Home package, a stainless steel appliance package, and granite countertops in the kitchen.
Homeowners will be able to enjoy state of the art amenities, including the community resort-style pool, clubhouse, and tot lot for the kiddos.
There are 14 floor plans to choose from. The smaller homes from 1,400 square feet start in the high $200s, while the largest floorplan at 4,033 square feet starts around $465,000.
Construction has started and inventory homes are currently being built. Homesites are also selling and they are working on models for this village.
These homes are not maintenance free, so you are responsible for some yard care, but the HOA fee will probably be less than $100/month and the CDD fees are around $1,133 annually, per house.
Solera at Lakewood Ranch is zoned to Gullett Elementary, Mona Jain Middle, and Lakewood Ranch High Schools.
For more information, contact us today!
Lorraine Lakes is a brand new Lennar community located in the Northeast corner of Lakewood Ranch. True to its namesake, the community is designed around many sparkling lakes, offering sweeping water and preserve views on the home sites.
The village is planned to have over 1,300 homes with 16 floorplans to choose from. It will also be highly amenitized with a clubhouse that includes fitness and aerobics facilities, social rooms, coffee bar, indoor basketball, lockers, sauna and an arcade.
Outside, residents can relax beside a luxurious pool and spa and order a drink from the poolside café. Tennis courts, basketball and pickleball courts present opportunities for friendly games, while the event and sports lawn promise entertainment and a place to gather with neighbors.
Homes in Lorraine Lakes will be a part of the following collections and range in pricing, as well as size:
Price: $319,999 - $409,999 | Size: 1,849 - 3,231 sq. ft. | Approximate HOA Fees: $385
Price: $359,999 - $479,999 | Size: 2,244 - 3,867 sq. ft. | Approximate HOA Fees: $391
Price: $412,999 - $544,999 | Size: 2,361 - 3,945 sq. ft. | Approximate HOA Fees: $398
Price: $239,999 - $247,999 | Size: 1,417 - 1,564 sq. ft. | Approximate HOA Fees: $348
Construction has begun and home sites are currently selling. There will be 5 model homes, which are built but not yet decorated, and we give you a preview of the Sunset Model Floorplan in the video, above!
There will also be some move-in ready homes built by December 2020, so ask us about those options if you’d like more information!
Resort Style Amenities Planned for Lorraine Lakes:
For a Manor Home in Lorraine Lakes:
Stewardship (CDD) Fee - $1,952.37 / year
Lorraine Lakes Amenitiy Fee: $125 / month (includes clubhouse and pool, tennis, sports courts, fitness center, gates, etc)
Lorraine Lakes Master Association Fee: $65 / month (maintains monuments at entry ways, clubhouse and common areas)
Lawn Maintenance, Cable & Internet: $201 / month
Total : $391 / month
Also, there is a $500 minimum spend on food and beverage at the clubhouse in a full calendar year.
Lorraine Lakes is zoned to Gullett Elementary, Mona Jain Middle, and Lakewood Ranch High Schools.
To learn more about this new Lakewood Ranch Village and the opportunity to build a home here, contact us today!
Where Should I Live in Lakewood Ranch? | A Guide to Help You Decide & Free Download!
*Link Now Updated for 2023!
Download your free Guide here to start your search, today!
When you decide to move to an area like Lakewood Ranch there are a lot of choices as far as different neighborhoods, different types of homes; they have different amenities, there are different fees associated with them and all of that information can be overwhelming if you're not familiar with it.
So, we've developed a guide to help you through this process and that's what I'm going to go over today.
I'm going to share with you how to download this free guide and how you can use it to help narrow down your choices and find the best fit for you within Lakewood Ranch!
Anytime you decide to move to a new place you probably start by looking on the internet... looking up different cities, towns, neighborhoods, possibly even different states.
If you’ve done all of that exploring and research, maybe you have narrowed it down to Lakewood Ranch, Florida.
What you may not realize is, Lakewood Ranch is twice the size of Manhattan and bigger than Disney World, so just choosing that location still leaves you a LOT of space to figure out where you want to live.
One of the questions we get asked most often from buyers looking in this area is: How do I know which neighborhood to choose?
Well, there are a few factors that go into that and that's what we're going to help you work through with this guide to narrow down the focus and choose the right village in Lakewood Ranch.
1. Type of House?
The first question you want to consider depends on the type of house. Do you only want New Construction? Do you want to build from scratch? Or are you okay with a resale home in a neighborhood?
(Now remember, Lakewood Ranch is only 25 years old so the oldest home was built in the mid 90’s and isn’t too old, just needs some modernization)
In the first part of this village guide, we break down all of the villages in Lakewood Ranch based on whether they are currently building and still have home sites available.
Some 'coming soon' villages that haven't started yet, or have just started...
Newer resale which would be communities that are pretty much built but also do have homes available for resale that are only a couple years old...
And then the older resale villages which would be the original Lakewood Ranch Villages like Edgewater, Greenbrook, Riverwalk, Summerfield, and Country Club.
Depending on that list, you would choose the villages that make the most sense for you based on which type of home you're looking for.
The next important question to consider is: which amenities are most important to you?
Most villages offer some type of amenities, but some Villages offer much more than others.
Some include golf, some only have a pool, so knowing those differences will help you determine which ones might work best for what you're looking for..
If you want to golf everyday, then a golf community where the HOA covers your membership might be a great option for you. That would be our Esplanade villages and Lakewood National Golf Club.
If that is not on the top of your list, then focus on the villages without golf memberships to keep your fees down.
As a side note, the Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club is a members-only club that you can join from anywhere, so if you want golf or tennis, but it isn’t available in the village you love most, you can always join the club separately and have that option.
3. HOA Fees?
We also share an HOA comparison chart so you can better understand how costly your fees will be each month and take that into consideration as you narrow down your choices.
Some villages have fees under $200/month and some are well over $350/month, so that should factor in to your budget.
Which leads us to the next question....
4. What is your Budget?
Knowing the price range you can comfortably stay within is very important and may immediately rule out some of the villages.
We share a chart showing the different pricing brackets of the villages to help you understand which ones will make the most sense to focus in on.
*If you are worried about getting pre-approved too early because you don’t plan to move for a while, I still recommend talking to a lender in order to get a better idea of the price range you want to look in. This is an immensely important factor, so the sooner you understand your numbers, the easier it will be to find the right location for your future home*
After reviewing all of those comparisons, you should be able to narrow down the village choices to a Top 5 List (or Top 3). These are villages that will have the type of home you want, with the amenities you want, in the price range you are looking for.
Once you have that list, you are ready to contact a realtor, plan a visit, and start looking for your home in Lakewood Ranch!
We are happy to help you with this process and lead your search, so please contact us to share the villages you are most interested in within Lakewood Ranch!
Download your free Guide here in order to start your search, today!
Phone: (941) 348-2653
Should I rent before I buy and how do I find a rental in the place I'm looking to move?
If those are questions you've been asking yourself then this is the right spot!
We also share a great FREE resource at the bottom of this post, thanks to Consumer Advocate.
Today we share tips on moving to a new place and potentially having to rent for short-term, and finding a rental that works for you in order to make that process happen.
Making a move from one state to the next can be exhausting; emotionally, physically, and logistically.
If you have to sell your current home there might be some time where you don't have a home to live in if you're looking for a new place, or waiting to build, so the only solution in that situation may be to rent.
This is a great short-term option because it lets you immerse yourself in the community that you plan to live, potentially send your kids to the school to see if they like it, and become a part of your new home while waiting to actually be IN your new home.
So, how do you know where to look for a rental if you aren’t there in person or you're not familiar with the area?
A real estate agent can certainly lead you in the right direction, however, a lot of rentals are handled by property management companies or rental companies and sometimes it is easier to go with them directly.
Here is what we would recommend doing if you find yourself in this situation:
Step 1: Visit the area and explore the location. Register yourself at the information center with the realtor you plan on working with and just start exploring the neighborhoods so you have an idea of whether or not you would like this location and where you might potentially want to live.
If you decide to build, then you can get that set up and then find a rental while you wait for your home to be done. If you're still just not sure where you want to be, then you can find a rental in one of the communities that you're considering and that way you get to experience it firsthand before you find the right house for you.
Step 2: look online for some possible rentals and always double check that they are legit. One company that we recommend is Pathlight Property Management and they own properties in many different cities, which they rent out for short-term and long-term leases. They have a great website with all of this information here.
Step 3: continue searching for the right home while you're living in your rental
It's been a debate for decades as to whether or not renting versus buying is better and truthfully it all depends on your situation.
When purchasing a home you are Investing in something tangible and when you spend that money every month versus a rental where, yes you're paying to live there, but that money isn't going towards anything that could potentially reimburse you in the future.
It is also debated as to which option is more cost effective and again, that could depend on your financial situation.. However here are some fun facts to know: the percentage of your income needed to rent a median priced home is about 27.7% right now.
Rentals are pretty expensive especially in areas like Lakewood Ranch, especially, because it is desirable, so that's something to consider.
At the same time, the percentage of your income needed to
buy a median-priced home is only 17.5%
Interest rates are low so you can get a great rate and pay less, long-term, which makes this a smarter investment in most situations.
Lakewood Ranch offers some rental options as far as apartments and condos some of those include Creekside, Residences at the Green, and the Adley Lakewood Ranch. T
hey are also opening a new single-family rental community called Estia Lakewood Ranch. This will feature 102 one-bedroom, 725- square-foot units within 51 duplexes; and 128 stand-alone, 1,000-square-foot, two-bedroom homes. It will be located off Lakewood Ranch Boulevard adjacent to Bob Gardner Park. This might be a great solution if you do not need a lot of space in your rental.
You probably have other questions about mortgages and rates that might help make this decision easier, so we teamed up with Consumer Advocate who did a great job putting together an all-inclusive guide about the mortgage industry and how current rates are impacting buyer’s decisions, and how you can shop around for a home from home in this new era of covid-19 precautions.
Their strategic guide uncomplicates concepts of the mortgage market that are up to date with the economic state of the industry. By using simple terms and infographics, it is easy to understand your options and narrow down what will work best for you, as a buyer.
Download your free guide here.
For more questions and information on how to make the best decision for you, contact us!
We are happy to help!
Mallory Park at Lakewood Ranch is a gated village of single-family homes and town homes nestled around 36 acres of wetlands and lakes.
Located off Lakewood Ranch Boulevard north of State Road 70, Mallory Park is one of the newer villages in Lakewood Ranch inspired by a Coastal/Island feel. Homes are designed with a soothing pastel palette, which differs from the neutrals and beige seen in many communities.
Built by DiVosta, Mallory Park at Lakewood Ranch offers a wide variety of floorplans and options with over 400 home sites in the village.
Today, we take you on a village tour of this neighborhood and introduce you to the Creekview Model.
Amenities in Mallory Park:
Homes for sale in Mallory Park range in size from 1,800 square feet to over 4,000 square feet of living space.
Pricing starts in the low $300s and there are both single-story and two-story plans available.
Townhomes for sale in Mallory Park range from 2-4 bedroom plans with an optional third floor. The plans offer 1,600 to 2,000 square feet configurations with pricing starting in the high $200s. All homes are designed with open floor plan to optimize living space for families.
To view current homes for sale in Mallory Park, check this link:
To see other villages in Lakewood Ranch, watch our playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL9SUJR4DbeL4_hxMa1e4KeaRXA-7aWser
Hurricane Preparedness in Florida
June in Florida brings around thoughts of summer, as well as concerns over the beginning of Hurricane Season. Each year, the next five months conjure up some pretty nasty storms, typically peaking in August and September.
2020 is shaping up to be a busy year for storms, so we wanted to share these tips to help you and your families prepare.
How likely is it that a Hurricane will make landfall in Florida?
On average, only one to two hurricanes make landfall on the eastern coast of America every year, and of those, only 40 percent actually hit Florida. Generally, the Florida Keys are the most vulnerable and any coastal towns, depending on the track of the storm.
The Lakewood Ranch area is far enough inland that we do not need flood insurance, so the main concerns during hurricane season are high winds, losing power, and lightning.
The lightning is no joke, either. They don’t call us the Tampa Bay Lightning Bolts for nothing! Sometimes we just sit and watch the lightning outside – it’s like free entertainment!
Anyways, I digress. In our experience, the storms typically take the shape of very intense thunderstorms and sometimes have potentially damaging winds.
On the (semi) bright side, the benefit to hurricanes is that they are tracked for long periods of time prior to making impact, giving you plenty of time to prepare your home and yourselves, or evacuate if needed.
The majority of the homes in Lakewood Ranch are new and therefore meet the most recent standards of building.
Knowing when your home was built can help you to be more prepared for the potential storms.
Homes built on or after March 2012 can withstand winds of up to 150 mph, or a Category 4 hurricane.
Homes built between March 2012 and March 2002 can withstand winds of up to 130 mph, or a category 3 storm, in Manatee county,
Homes on the coast built before March 2002 can only handle winds of up to 110 mph, or a Category 2 storm.
If the home was built in Manatee County prior to March 2002, it may only be able to handle winds up to 90 mph, or so.
What supplies should you have on hand?
The Division of Emergency Management in Florida recommends having at least 7 days of supplies like food, water, medicine, batteries, etc in case of a true emergency.
Here is a checklist of items they recommend keeping in your Hurricane Kit, or just having on hand this time of year:
They also recommend having a plan in case you do need to evacuate, and there is a helpful resource they provide for residents based on their address: https://apps.floridadisaster.org/getaplan/
Hurricane shutters come with most new homes in the area, unless all of your doors and windows are impact-proof, in which case you do not need the shutters.
If a hurricane is predicted to make landfall and be dangerous, the county will issue warnings and you can decide if you want to put up your shutters or just secure any lose furniture or items.
There are hurricane shelters designated for each area, and you can find that information here:
Each year, Florida has a tax-free week for residents to buy the necessary supplies on their hurricane checklist, which is a wonderful way to remind everyone to stock up!
We cannot predict how bad the season will be, so it helps to be prepared and have a plan! For more information on Hurricane Prep in Florida, contact the Florida Division of Emergency Management or visit their website for all disaster preparation details: https://www.floridadisaster.org/
Contact us with any questions! We are always here to help!
#Floridalife is best enjoyed in the sun (sunshine state, right?) so most people moving to the area want to have a pool in their own backyard.
This raises a lot of questions about pool maintenance and cost, the benefits of adding a pool while building or buying a home with a pool, and much more!
Today, we hope to answer those questions for you.
1. Do I really need my own pool?
This totally depends on your personal preferences. Many communities have pools for everyone to use, but if you think it is something you will enjoy on a daily basis (or we go into another crisis and community pools are closed) then having your own might be ideal!
2. How much does it cost to add a pool while building versus adding separately?
Swimming pools are very much like homes in that they can be as custom as you want. Some builders have a standard pool they add on to new construction homes, with a spa and pavers and the cage, for about $60,000 OR you can design your own and build it for around the same price, if not less!
An average size custom pool runs about $30,000, then you add another $8,000 or so if you want the hot tub portion and heater, plus the cage enclosure which is $8000+. You make choices like tile, design, cage size, heater vs no heater, and other aspects that can impact the cost, but going directly with a pool company does eliminate some additional fees added on by the builder.
They want to make money off the pool, too, so you end up paying a premium to have it constructed with the home. Now, it is definitely more convenient to do it all at once, so you just have to weigh the options and see what works best!
We built our home and did not love the pool design required by the builder, so we decided to design and install our own pool after the home was built. Now, the builder would not allow the pool company to start construction until we owned the home (obviously), so we had to essentially wait until we had closed before we could add the pool. We designed every element, right down to where the pool lights would be placed, and opted for a panoramic cage because we love our water view. Our final cost ended up being very close to the builder cost, and we got so much more for our money! We had the inconvenience of waiting for it to be built, but for us it was totally worth it. We used the community pool while we waited!
What does it mean if a listing says “wired for pool” or “pool ready”? Does that save any money?
Sometimes builders construct the home and add the wiring for the pool, but they do not include the pool. This means the electrical is done and it’s very easy to add the pool, saving you about $1500 off the pool install.
3- Saltwater versus Chlorine? What's the difference?
Misconception: salt water pools do not have chlorine
This is not the case (and I was guilty of thinking this, too!) A salt water pool IS chlorinated by chlorine, but you use the salt to electronically convert it to chlorine.
The benefit of this is you do not need to buy chlorine tablets constantly, the salt in the water makes the pool feel soft and silky, and the constant flow of chlorine from the generator keeps the pool cleaner longer.
It is also more efficient and easier to maintain in the long run, but the upfront costs are higher to install a salt cell generator.
Traditional chlorine pools are the most common type, especially when going with a new construction home that includes a pool. They have a lower initial cost, but require more maintenance in the long run.
The pH level needs to be tested more frequently and chlorine tablets need to be refilled every couple of weeks. The use of the tablets makes the delivery system for the chlorine very simple, and this works on all types of pools.
Basically, it just depends on your personal preference. For us, the salt water pool seemed more cost effective and easier to maintain on our own.
4- Why do I need a cage? Are there different types of cages?
The cage enclosure is beneficial for many reasons. The cage filters the sun so the UV rays coming through are less damaging for you to enjoy the Sunshine State. Cleaning your pool is a million times easier when it is covered with a screen enclosure because nothing can really get it in.
It also provides security from unwanted critters (lovebugs, anyone!?) and larger unwanted visitors (GATORS, SNAKES, LIZARDS oh my!) And it is extra security for the neighborhood so no one wanders into your pool.
The screen enclosure also extends your living space and makes the pool area feel more like a part of your home to relax and enjoy the outdoors, without those pesky “no-see-ums”.
The cage enclosure is built to withstand strong winds, helps to reduce chemical evaporation from the pool water making it easier to maintain, slows algae growth in the water, and helps maintain water temperature which keeps your energy costs down.
There are some customizable choices to make with the cage beyond the size; you can choose different types of screens depending on how tight you want it and how much visibility you want, you can also choose varying finishes on the aluminum and different roof styles for the cage to best match your home. We opted for a panoramic screen so we had an unobstructed, bug-free view!
5- How much does it cost to maintain and care for the pool? Do I need to hire a company?
There are many pool companies that will come out and help care for your pool on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. They will test the chemicals and make adjustments, clean the pool for you, check the equipment and keep your pool working efficiently.
This hands-off approach is great if you do not want to be worried about the pool and should cost about $85 to $200 a month depending on the company you choose.
If you have a saltwater pool and feel confident in your pool-cleaning abilities, you can handle the maintenance yourself. Pool stores offer free water testing, so bring the water in once a week (at first) and test the chemicals to get them balanced correctly.
You may have to buy a few things to add to it, but you shouldn’t spend more than a couple hundred dollars a year on this.
We did a separate video on this process:
Be sure to take good care of your pool and equipment if you aren’t hiring the pros!
6- How much should I expect to pay for a home that has a pool? Does it add value?
Yes! In Florida a pool definitely adds value to a home. Which is another reason builders tend to not include pools on homes that are priced at $350,000 and under. They have to account for the cost of the pool, which then drives the price of the home up. You can expect to add about 60% of the cost of the pool onto the value of the home.
So, if the home price is $350,000 without a pool, and the pool costs about $50,000, then the home is worth more like $380,000. In this area of Lakewood Ranch and Sarasota, you should expect to pay at least $400,000 for a 3 bedroom new home with a pool. Anything less will be built without a pool, but you can easily add your own, just factor that into your budget.
7- How much does it cost to heat my pool? What are the types of heaters?
Choosing the right heater is another component of designing your own pool. If your home is built with a pool, you most likely have a gas heater. These are inexpensive to purchase and heat the pool water quickly, but they are expensive to operate and can cost you $300 per month, or more. They are not as energy efficient and only have a lifespan of about 5 years. (They also aren’t very environmentally friendly)
Electric heat pumps use electricity to transfer heat to the pool. These are much more inexpensive to operate, costing only about $50 a month. They are energy efficient and have a much longer lifespan, as well. The pool water will heat more slowly, but once it reaches the desired temperature it is easy to maintain it (in the warmer months, especially). These systems are pricier to purchase, but save you money in the long run. And they use renewable energy sources which makes them friendly for the environment.
Solar heaters are a third option, and in the Sunshine State this is definitely a viable option! The solar panels collect heat by sitting in the sun and transfer that heat to the water. These are very inexpensive to operate, very energy efficient, and very environmentally friendly. They can be expensive to purchase and it requires having a spot to place the solar panels near your pool, but it might be a good option if you get a lot of sun and don’t mind being dependent on the weather for heat. If you live in a community with an HOA, you may have to check with them before installing this kind of heater.
8- How do I keep the pool safe if I have kids?
In order for a pool to pass the inspection and be considered safe, there must be a pool alarm on the doors and windows leading to the pool, an alarm in the pool itself that alerts homeowners to a splash, and/or a child safety gate installed around the pool.
This is something you can take down when using the pool, but leave up when you aren’t in order to feel safe having your children near the pool.
9- How long does pool equipment and cage last?
Pool pumps are designed to last for 10-12 years, on average. The pool shell itself should have no issues for 40+ years. Pool filter cartridges should be replaced every 2-3 years.
The PebbleTec finish in most pools will last 20+ years if well-cared for, and the water line tile should last for up to 20 years.
A gas heater should last 10-12 years and salt cell generator 5-7 years, maybe longer if well-cared for.
The pool enclosure itself should last a long time (up to 20 years!) but the screens are more fragile and may need to be replaced sooner.
If they are well-cared for and not damaged, they should last almost as long as the cage structure. (Some of that life expectancy depends on the quality of the screen initially installed, as well)
10- Can I use my pool all year round?
Yes! Generally, temperatures stay warm enough to use your pool from March through October, and if you have a heater then you can warm up the water in November – February and keep swimming!
Please note - we are not pool pros! We wanted to share the information we learned through our own research, but be sure to contact a pool company for specific information and pricing. We will gladly give you a referral!
Also, if you would like a list of current pool homes in Lakewood Ranch within your budget, fill out this form:
If you’re moving to Florida, chances are you want to be near a beach, or at least within driving distance to one!
A common question we get is: how close is Lakewood Ranch, FL to the beach? Well, today we answer that question by taking you on a trip to Siesta Key Beach in Sarasota, Florida, which happens to be the number one beach in the USA! Now, bear with me because driving videos are tough to make smoothly, but we wanted to be as real as possible.
We head out of Lakewood Ranch at 1:36 PM and that is from the center of town, so a good central location to gauge the travel time. We have an easy ride and arrive in Siesta Key around 2:00PM, so less than 30 minutes! Siesta Key Beach has plenty of public parking, restrooms, and concessions for you enjoy your entire day.
This beach is voted #1 because it has pure white sand that doesn’t get hot, crystal clear blue water, and some of the most beautiful sunsets. They do a drum circle on Sundays around sunset and you can also visit Siesta Key Village for additional dining, shopping, and social options.
Siesta Key Beach is one of many beaches within 35 minutes or so from Lakewood Ranch. You can also try Lido Key Beach, Anna Maria Island, Cortez Beach, and Bradenton Beach. Plenty of options to enjoy those sunny days!
If you are looking for housing options in the area, give us a call or send us an email! We would love to help you out.
Thanks for watching! Make sure you subscribe to see new videos each week!
We would love to talk to you about Lakewood Ranch, Florida real estate!
Follow us on social media: @soldbychenkus
Welcome to Part 2!
This time, we are taking you on a tour of the Outrigger Model by Homes by Towne in LakeHouse Cove as Waterside Lakewood Ranch.
As a reminder - Waterside Village has two sections: Shoreview and LakeHouse Cove.
Shoreview is built by Pulte and has its own amentities, while LakeHouse Cove has a variety of builders including Homes by Towne, Arthur Rutenberg,and Lee Wetherington.
Homes By Towne builds two series of homes in Waterside at Lakewood Ranch: the Clipper series, which are smaller homesites, and the Catamaran series. The Clipper series offers floorplans ranging from 1,600 square feet to just over 2,500, while the Catamaran series starts at 2,300 and goes up to almost 3,500 square feet with those floorplans.
Clipper Series pricing starts in the high $300,000s for the base price of a home and can end up in the $500s, depending on lot choice, upgrades, pool, etc.
Catamaran Series pricing starts at close to $500,000 and can end up in the $900s depending on choices. The base price does not include the lot, pool, or additional interior upgrades. The HOA fees for all homes in LakeHouse Cove by Homes by Towne are under $300/month and include maintenance & irrigation, as well as access to the LakeHouse Cove amenities such as the resort style pool, fitness center, Boat House, and more!
This particular video is of the Outrigger Model in Lakehouse Cove at Waterside Lakewood Ranch, which is a great floorplan. This is 1 story plan with 3 bedrooms plus a den and over 2,700 square feet of living space. It has 2 full bathrooms and a 3-car garage, which is great for storage and those golf carts!
The Outrigger base price is $533,900 and that does not include the lot premium, pool, or upgrades shown in the model video. There are some Quick Move-in Outrigger homes available for a great price, so contact us for more information!
LakeHouse Cove residents will also be able to grab a Water Taxi from the boathouse over to Waterside Place for a fantastic evening of shopping, dining, and maybe even a show at the new Players Center Theater.
LakeHouse Cove at Waterside Lakewood Ranch is in Sarasota County and is therefore zoned to Sarasota schools such as the A-rated Tatum Ridge Elementary school.
For more information and updates on Waterside at Lakewood Ranch, check back soon!
We will be sharing more model tours and progress of Waterside Place! It is a very exciting time to become a resident of Lakewood Ranch!
Last time we talked about Waterside at Lakewood Ranch we gave you an update on the progress of Waterside Place, as well as an overview of Waterside, the village. In this video, we focus on one model in the LakeHouse Cove section of Waterside at Lakewood Ranch built by Homes by Towne.
Waterside Village has two sections: Shoreview and LakeHouse Cove. Shoreview is built by Pulte and has its own amentities, while LakeHouse Cove has a variety of builders including Homes by Towne, Arthur Rutenberg, Lee Wetherington, and John Cannon. We are going to take you on a tour of the Tideland Model by Homes By Towne and share more about this particular floorplan. This is one video in a series of videos on Waterside, so be sure to check back for information on other models and builders!
Homes By Towne builds two series of homes in Waterside at Lakewood Ranch: the Clipper series, which are smaller homesites, and the Catamaran series. The Clipper series offers floorplans ranging from 1,600 square feet to just over 2,500, while the Catamaran series starts at 2,300 and goes up to almost 3,500 square feet with those floorplans. Clipper Series pricing starts in the high $300,000s for the base price of a home and can end up in the $500s, depending on lot choice, upgrades, pool, etc. Catamaran Series pricing starts at close to $500,000 and can end up in the $900s depending on choices. The base price does not include the lot, pool, or additional interior upgrades. The HOA fees for all homes in LakeHouse Cove by Homes by Towne are under $300/month and include maintenance & irrigation, as well as access to the LakeHouse Cove amenities such as the resort style pool, fitness center, Boat House, and more!
This particular video is of the Tideland Model in Lakehouse Cove at Waterside Lakewood Ranch, which is our personal favorite. This is a 2 story model featuring 3 bedrooms, a den, and a bonus room on the second floor, which could really be a secondary guest space or living space. It has 3.5 bathrooms and a 3-car garage, which puts it at just over 3,400 square feet. The Tideland base price is $614,900 and that does not include the lot premium, pool, or upgrades shown in the model video.
LakeHouse Cove residents will also be able to grab a Water Taxi from the boathouse over to Waterside Place for a fantastic evening of shopping, dining, and maybe even a show at the new Players Center Theater. LakeHouse Cove at Waterside Lakewood Ranch is in Sarasota County and is therefore zoned to Sarasota schools such as the A-rated Tatum Ridge Elementary school.
For more information and updates on Waterside at Lakewood Ranch, check back soon! We will be sharing more model tours and progress of Waterside Place! It is a very exciting time to become a resident of Lakewood Ranch!
How do I find a “Safe” neighborhood to move to in Florida? Which Florida neighborhoods are the safest?
These are questions that buyers often ask when looking for a home in Florida and specifically the Lakewood Ranch/Bradenton/Sarasota area.
As a real estate agent, we technically cannot answer that question. First of all, everyone has their own definition of “safe”, so it is nearly impossible to do so.
Secondly, we have a Realtor Code of Ethics and a Fair Housing Act that requires us to meet professional competency standards and standing against discriminatory housing practices.
By telling a client that an area is “unsafe”, we violate that code.
So, the best we can do is recommend other resources that might help you determine if you would feel comfortable and “safe” in a particular spot.
1- The County Sheriff Websites The first, and probably the most reliable place to start would be gathering information straight from the source. Looking into crime data provided by the County Sheriff will give you a clear picture of each neighborhood. Here are the local offices in our area:
2- Crime Maps
Some of the County Sheriff offices link you to CrimeMapping.com, which is the second resource I would recommend. You can type in a County, Zip Code, or exact address and see records of crime in surrounding areas. Not all cities and towns submit their data here, but it is definitely a good place to check.
Another great resource is Realtor.com. Yes, it is a good place to look at houses, but they also include Crime Map data for each house. In the video above, I show you where to click to find this information.
4- Plan a Visit!
The best way to learn about an area and get a feel for living there is to visit! Talk to locals, frequent some restaurants and bars in town, shop in the boutiques and chat up the owners, etc. In my personal experience, people in Florida are friendly and LOVE talking about where they live and all the reasons they love it! So ask!
5- Local Business Social Media
Find local business pages or groups where they share information about neighborhoods and things to do, events happening in the area, and people to talk to and ask questions. This will really help you to feel like a part of the community and learn about it from the inside.
After utilizing all of these resources, you should have a clear picture of the area you plan to move to and whether or not it meets your criteria for being safe and a place you would be happy living.
Need help finding a great spot?
Contact us... we can help!
We've all seen the news lately (non-stop, every day) and we realize our entire world is faced with a lot of uncertainty over the Coronavirus pandemic.
With so much going on, real estate decisions may be pushed to the back burner for you, and that it totally understandable.
However, sometimes making a move is critical for a job, family, happiness, etc., and cannot be put on hold.
Some of you may be in the middle of a home search or trying to sell your house and probably wondering if it is safe to continue, for many reasons.
In short, yes, but there are definitely precautions to take.
The beauty of technology in today's world is that it allows us to conduct pretty much every part of a real estate transaction virtually. This means you can stay safe, and healthy, while continuing to move forward with your real estate (and life) plans.
From start to finish, this process can be done through the use of the internet and some pretty cool apps.
We can do a virtual listing appointment with you in order to explain the services we provide our customers and decide on a price for your home.
From there, we can do virtual showings, video walk-throughs, and other means of getting your house seen, without having strangers constantly walk through it.
If there is a need for someone to be there in person, we take every precaution to use hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, and hand washing to make sure every surface stays clean and germ-free.
If someone wants to submit an offer, that paperwork can be done and signed electronically. Attorneys and Title Companies have limited staff or employees working from home that can continue to help with your transaction, all from a safe distance.
Even the closing can be done virtually or through the mail if you would prefer to not be there in person.
An economic crisis does not always mean a housing crisis, and as of now, the mortgage rates are still low.
This might be a great time to make that move if you are able, or if you need to.
We understand if now is not the right time, too, but wanted to reassure you that there are ways to continue to make real estate transactions move forward, safely.
We are here to help every step of the way and we hope you and your families continue to stay safe and healthy.
This, too, shall pass.
You decide you want to buy or build a new construction home, which is a very common scenario in Southwest Florida.
The listed price on the home is a little higher than you’d like it to be, so you wonder if you can negotiate and get that price lowered.
The short answer? Everything is negotiable.
However, you may need someone to help you navigate this process in order to make it beneficial for you, the buyer.
How do we know this?
We helped clients buy a new construction house for $80,000 LESS THAN THE LISTED ASKING PRICE...
... No lie.
When it comes to New Construction pricing, there are three common scenarios: a house that is starting from scratch, a house being built or built with no buyer (inventory), and a new construction resale home.
At all three stages of this process, there are ways to negotiate the price. (And it definitely helps to have a good real estate agent who can help!)
1- From the Ground Up When you decide to build from scratch, there are tons of choices you have to make as the buyer: flooring, cabinets, counters, paint colors, elevation, pool construction, etc.
Depending on the builder, the number and scope of these choices varies.
Some are completely custom, while some give you limited choices. All of that determines how much wiggle room you have to negotiate the price.
Normally, builders and salespeople are willing to give some type of “incentive” in order to help keep the price where you want it.
This could be a Design credit to make certain upgraded choices, or it might mean they include an outdoor kitchen at no “additional cost”.
They might be willing to lower the lot premium for your homesite, or maybe give an incentive tied to using their lender/title agency/etc.
All of these credits and incentives help to keep your bottom line where you want it, and a good real estate agent can help you negotiate to get the most bang for your buck in these situations.
The builders have less motivation in this situation, so you have less negotiating power.
2- Inventory or Move In Ready
If a house is being built and all design choices have already been made, but there is no buyer for the home, this is a second scenario where you can try to negotiate a better price for the home.
The builder will determine a price based on the choices made for design and construction. However, that price is never set in stone because they want to sell the house and therefore might be willing to work out some incentives or discounts on that price to move the house, rather than let it be built and sit there for a long time.
If the home is built as an inventory home and just sitting there waiting for a buyer, that is a GREAT opportunity to negotiate.
This is the scenario we helped our clients get a home in Lakewood Ranch, FL for almost $80,000 less than what the home was listed as.
3- New Construction Resale
This is a less common scenario, but with so many houses being built recently, there may be a situation where a new construction home built in the last year or so is already being sold.
Maybe the owners got relocated or are moving for personal reasons – whatever the situation is, that home is practically untouched.
Therefore, you have a great opportunity to get something NEW and DONE!
You may not have much negotiating power on the price, but that all depends on how quickly those sellers need to sell.
We just had clients purchase a brand new home in Mallory Park at Lakewood Ranch, built last year, for far less than it would have cost to build the same home because the seller was relocated for work and needed to move, ASAP.
So it was a win-win for both parties!
Overall, your chances of negotiating the price on any new construction home are pretty good, and using a real estate agent that knows the process and the market well can help you even more.
If you need someone in the Lakewood Ranch or Sarasota area, feel free to contact us!
If you are looking elsewhere, we are happy to refer you to a great agent.
Florida Resident Disney Park Perks | Annual Passholder Information and Resident Benefits!
M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E! (Are you singing it in your head, yet?)
One of the many perks of living in Florida is access to Walt Disney World. Whether you go as a family, a single rider, or just with friends, Walt Disney World has something to offer everyone. And, as a Florida resident, you get additional perks! Here, we discuss some of the benefits of becoming a Florida Resident Disney Annual Passholder!
Florida residents are offered 7 options for Annual Passes, which is 5 more than non-Florida residents have. Disney also allows you to make monthly payments for your Annual Pass, which is another exclusive benefit for Florida residents. So, rather than pay $500 for the year up front, you can make monthly payments of $26. Sounds a lot better, right?!
Each Annual Pass offers a different level of benefits that are included with the price. The majority of them include:
There are also free goodies for Annual Passholders at certain festivals and events throughout the year, as an added bonus.
You can find a list of all participating retailers and additional Annual Passholder benefit informationhere.
What are the Annual Pass options?
These are the most recent Annual Pass options offered on Walt Disney World’s website for Florida residents, as shown in the video:
*Once you have an Annual Pass, there is no down payment each time you renew as long as you do so before it expires. So, the amount listed as the down payment is usually a one-time fee.
How do I Prove I am a Florida Resident?
When you buy an Annual Pass online, you are required to include your Florida address in the application. Once you enter the park to get your pass in person, or visit for the first time, you will need to show a Florida Driver’s License with that same address, or proof of mortgage, bills, registration, or mail within the last 2 months.
How do I know if it makes sense to get an Annual Pass?
That all depends on how often you plan to visit the parks. For us, it is a 90 minute drive, so we go pretty frequently.
Here’s a very basic comparison:
A 1 day Florida Resident Park Hopper Ticket (so you can visit multiple parks in one day) is $141.50 (plus parking)
A Disney Silver Annual Pass for Florida residents is $539.00 for the entire year and that is visiting as many times as you want, all 4 parks each time, includes parking, and can be paid monthly. So if you plan to take more than 4 one-day trips to the parks, your Annual Pass already paid for itself!
Obviously, those numbers change when it involves multiple family members and multiple passes, but you can do a comparison on their website or call a Cast Member for help understanding the pricing and if it makes sense for you.
If I don’t want an Annual Pass, what are my other options?
Walt Disney World offers perks to Florida residents for regular resort stays, multi-day tickets, and other special events, as well. If you won’t visit enough to make the Annual Pass worth it, but you still want to take a short drive to the parks and have some fun, be sure to check their website frequently for updated Resident offers. Right now, Disney is offering:
If you are moving to Florida and think you want to visit Disney World, we highly recommend looking into the Annual Passholder options. If you need help finding your dream home in Florida so you CAN visit Disney more often – we would love to help! Contact us today!
Moving to Florida | Florida Schools | How to Locate the Best Districts Near Your New Home
If you are considering moving to a new place, the school system might be an important factor in your decision. When we work with buyers, they often ask about the schools in Florida; how to know which ones are rated higher, how to know which houses are zoned to which schools, etc.
As realtors, we are not really qualified to comment on schools in regards to comparing them and giving our opinions on them.
So I rely heavily on the resources provided by the Florida Department of Education to share information with clients about the schools in the area.
Lakewood Ranch, FL is known for its A-rated school district, as is Sarasota county as a whole. On the Gulf coast, those are some of the highest rated schools. On the East coast, St. John’s County is also very highly rated on a consistent basis.
In the video above, I share some Florida public schools resources with you and walk you through the Florida Department of Education School Accountability Report to show how they grade the schools throughout the state.
This spreadsheet is a great tool to explore. It lists each county on the left, then each school within the county and the grades associated with them. There are number grades for each subject, as well as a letter grade for the overall school rating.The letter grade is given based on the following criteria: “The four achievement components are English Language Arts (ELA), Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies. These components include student performance on statewide standardized assessments, including the comprehensive assessments and end-of-course (EOC) assessments. The component measures the percentage of full-year enrolled students who achieved a passing score.”
The number of points earned for each component is added together and divided by the total number of available points to determine the percentage of points earned.
It then follows this School Grading Scale: A = 62% of points or greater, B = 54% to 61% of points, C = 41% to 53% of points, D = 32% to 40% of points, F = 31% of points or less
All Florida Public Schools must test 95% of their students.
You can learn more about this criteria on the Florida Department of Education website.
Utilizing that spreadsheet is a start, but how do you know which schools your future home is zoned to? The next step is to use a School Locator Tool to determine which elementary, middle, and high school is in the attendance zone of your future home.
We have a tool on our website under the “Lakewood Ranch Villages” tab with links to the Manatee and Sarasota County school locator websites. You simply enter the address of the home you are considering buying and it shows the schools that would be attended. You can find this for just about every school district in Florida.
This information is also sometimes included in the listing for the home, but you always want to double check that to make sure it is accurate.
Another website with school ratings to consider looking at is Niche. They share their top-ranked Florida school districts here.
For more information on the Lakewood Ranch area, or questions on other parts of Florida, please reach out! We are happy to share what we know and refer you to an agent in another part of the state if that would be the best move for you.
Send us an email: Contact@chenkus.com
Cresswind at Lakewood Ranch is a new, and only the second, 55+ Active Lifestyle Village in LWR.
This pet-friendly community built by Kolter Homes will feature a resident-exclusive clubhouse overseen by a full-time lifestyle director with a multi-purpose event and social space, fitness center, yoga studio, art studio with ceramics, card rooms, and various social clubs.
Located on 250+ acres, the outdoor amenities will be just as abundant including pickleball & tennis courts, walking trails, resort-style pool and spa, event lawn, bocce courts, and other areas for outdoor socializing. The lifestyle here focuses on three pillars: Fitness, Nutrition and Relationships.
Single Family Homes range from 2- to 5-Bedrooms with a wide variety of personalization and structural options, including second-floor Bonus Rooms and expanded outdoor living areas.
There are 10 decorated models to tour and base home prices start in the low $300,000s.
In the video above, we tour the Dania, Fiesta, Alys, and Lido models. Here are the specifics for each of those:
Lido – 2 bedroom (with option for 3), Den, 2 Bathrooms, 2 Car Garage
1,675 Square Feet
Dania – 3 Bedroom (with option for 4), Den, 3 Bathrooms, 2 Car Garage
2,162 Square Feet
Fiesta with Bonus– 3 Bedroom, Den, 3 Bathrooms, 2 car garage, with options for bonus plans
2,318 Square Feet
Alys with Bonus – 4 Bedroom, Den, 4 Bathroom, Second Floor Bonus, 3 Car Garage
3,280 Square Feet
Planned Amenities at Cresswind Lakewood Ranch are impressive and include:
The HOA fee is currently $250/month and will go up to $300/month once the clubhouse and amenities are completed, according to the current sales office.
This fee includes gated entry, all lawn maintenance and irrigation, pest control, Cable TV, and high-speed internet.
Contact us for updated pricing and availability.
We'd love to chat with you about Cresswind at Lakewood Ranch!
One of the most important steps when considering the purchase of a house is finding a good mortgage lender and understanding your mortgage rate, the down payment and monthly payment you can afford, and how the mortgage interest rates will impact your purchase.
In this video, Michael shares some tips about the current historically low mortgage interest rates, as well as free resources for you, the buyer, to take advantage of so you can better understand your purchasing power.
"Hi everyone, Michael here, and today we are going to talk about mortgages and specifically how the mortgage interest rate can affect your payments.
So I picked an arbitrary date in 1978 to use as an example and it was the day that “Grease” came out, which is one of our favorite movies, so in 1978 in June the interest rates were 9.719 percent and for those of you who were around then house shopping you probably remember that.
In 1982 they went up to something like 18% so the point I'm making here is our rates today are crazy low
So Danny and Sandy back in June 1978 probably had to sell Greased Lightning in order to afford a house. Here's an example of the numbers:
A $400,000 house at 9.71% interest rate meant a monthly mortgage payment of $3,422
Let that sink in
Now, when I pop in today's interest rates which are about 3.5%, here’s how it changes:
The same $400,000 house at 3.5% interest rate is only a $1,796 monthly payment
A couple of days ago an article was released by the National Association of Realtors that talks about this low interest rate economy that we have right now and mentions that these sub-four percent rates over the last few years WILL NOT last and it is NOT normal for the market.
But it IS something to be taken advantage of. Therefore, the time to buy is NOW! You’re not only buying the house, you are buying the low rate!
If you are in the market right now and considering purchasing,a few things that we suggest for you regardless of whether you are buying here in Southwest Florida or if you're in another state
You are going to want these tools at your disposal as you start searching and get really serious about buying. Knowing your numbers and having a sold preapproval puts you ahead of other buyers and helps you make an informed decision about your purchase. So, take advantage of these historically low rates and go find your dream house! If it happens to be in Lakewood Ranch, Florida, call us so we can help!
Looking for more information on purchasing a home in Lakewood Ranch, FL? Watch this video: https://youtu.be/PnOJHIyXHAQ
One thing on everyone’s mind when it comes to real estate lately is: are we going into another housing recession? Are things going to start changing in the real estate market in 2020?
Well, I don’t have a crystal ball, but I do have an update on everything happening in real estate in Lakewood Ranch, FL and that’s what I want to share with you today!
Trends in the real estate market are looking great for the Lakewood Ranch area. The market here in Florida has been healthy and fast-paced for the last several years. In this area, I do not see that slowing down any time soon. Here’s why:
There are 24 Residential Villages in Lakewood Ranch and 17 actively selling New Construction villages. Some of those are nearing completion, so Lakewood Ranchis making plans for the next phase of development.
New home construction is increasing nationwide because there is a demand for it, but was not consistently increasing within the price range where demand is highest.
Millennials are the majority of the buying market right now, and they struggle to meet those luxury housing prices. Lakewood Ranch Development is taking that into consideration with some of their new plans for development by building 5 new villages in 2020, some of which meet this specific New Construction housing demand.
We recently attended a seminar for Realtors in Lakewood Ranch and learned all about these upcoming plans, so today we are sharing them with you!
I am going to share this insider scoop with you about the new villages, but the information is somewhat limited at this point. If you want to stay in the know and learn more details about a specific village as it becomes available, sign up using our contact form below to join our VIP list!
Esplanade At Azario Lakewood Ranch
Park East at Azario
1.2 Park East – The secondary phase of Esplanade at Azario. This smaller village will open Fall of 2020 with only 350 homesites of Single Family Homes. Pricing will start in the high $300s and offer larger floorplans, up to 4,800 square feet. They will have pools and playgrounds for the community, but less amenities in order to keep fees lower.
2. Lorraine Lakes at Lakewood Ranch – Opening Spring of 2020 this new Lennar village will feature 1,500 homesites of single family homes and attached villas nestled among sparkling lakes. This will be an amenity-rich village with plans for a splash park, pools, café and bar, arcade, tennis and pickleball courts, volleyball, basketball and bocce courts, tot lot, and putting green. They will feature their best-selling floor plans with SF home prices starting in the $300s.
With all of these plans moving forward, AND a strong resale market, I predict no signs of slowing down for Lakewood Ranch in the near future! If you are considering a move, this is a great place to do so. We are happy to help you determine what your home is worth in the current market, or help you find your next dream home in Lakewood Ranch.
Contact us today!
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