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April 15, 2019

Casa Maya: Where You Can Find an Authentic Taste of Mexico

 

On today’s episode of “House Match Hotspots,” we’re visiting Casa Maya, a Mexican restaurant in Bradenton that’s a personal favorite of the House Match Team.

Current owner and head chef worked in the restaurant business for many years before purchasing this one five years ago, and what truly makes them special is that they serve authentic Mexican cuisine. Additionally, they don’t advertise themselves online too much because they like to rely on good old-fashioned word-of-mouth to keep people coming back—just like in real estate.

Every week, Casa Maya tries to add new special dishes from Mexico, and in less than a month, they’ll have a brand-new menu available. They also added an hour to their daily happy hour, so it runs from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

At 1:46 in the video above, you can watch as we head back to the kitchen before we're made a molcajete—a Casa Maya specialty that’s similar to a fajita and comes with several customizable options. Then, at 3:26, you can watch Sarah Dany, our director of client success, sit down and enjoy it.

If you’re interested in trying out Casa Maya, they can be found at 8126 Lakewood Main Street, Bradenton, Florida. If you say the name “House Match,” you’ll get a 10% discount or a free dessert!

For any questions you have regarding real estate, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at the House Match Team. We’d love to speak with you.

Posted in Bradenton
April 1, 2019

What’s Going on in Our Area This April?




With the arrival of April, we have some exciting events that will be held in our area this year. Let’s take a look at what is slated for our area in April 2019.

The Sarasota Chalk Festival

This event will be held from April 5 to April 7 and will be at the intersection of Orange Avenue & Pineapple Avenue. Come join us as we mark the return of the “museum in motion” to its original location in Historic Burns Square after six years here in downtown Sarasota. Watch as renowned artists use the pavement as their canvas to create their own masterpieces in the span of three days!

Banquet on the Block

This event will be held on April 5 and is considered the Winefest’s most celebrated culinary event of the year. With an elegantly presented dining table that stretches across Lemon Avenue and seats 250 people, this is the perfect occasion for food and wine lovers. Your taste buds will dance as you relish the savory dishes prepared by the area’s top chefs and you sip and savor selections from participating wineries in the surrounding area.

The menu will be posted at VisitSarasota.com when it becomes available and will cost right around $250 per attendee.  

Colonial Park’s Classic Car Show

Held on April 13, this event is a must-attend for all you classic car lovers out there. Walk around and enjoy the beautiful weather and some magnificently restored and pristine classics. Take a peek under the hood and gather some insight into the fine-tuning of all these amazing cars. Come see for yourself at 4730 Bee Ridge Road in Sarasota.

UTC Eggstravaganza

From 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. on April 13, this fun-filled Easter extravaganza will be located outside the University Town Center East Grant entrance. All families are welcome to take part in this 40,000+ Easter egg hunt, live music, activities, and games for the kids! Activities for each age group are scheduled in the following way:

  • 12:15 p.m.—Ages 0-2
  • 12:45 p.m.—Ages 3-5
  • 1:15 p.m.—Ages 6-7
  • 1:45 p.m.—Ages 8-9
  • 2:45 p.m.—Ages 10-12

Lakewood Ranch Spring Fine Art Festival

This festival will be held from April 27 to April 28 at 8100 Lakewood Main Street in Bradenton.  From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., come see the awe-inspiring transformation of Lakewood Ranch Main Street into an outdoor art gallery. The works of both local and national artists will be on display. Paintings, sculptings, ceramics, jewelry, photography, glass, and everything in between will be featured and available for purchase. Bring your sense of discovery and appreciation for masterfully done artistry in all forms!

 

We hope there’s something on this list for you and your family this April. If you have any questions, feel free to call us at 941-260-0144 or send us an email at CCooper@HouseMatchFL.com.  

Posted in Real Estate
March 25, 2019

Visit Grove for the Food & Drink, Stay for the Atmosphere




Grove was a vision of Hugh Miller, owner of Pier 22, and Greg Campbell, executive chef and director of operations for Pier 22. Austin, manager of the restaurant, is here with me today to talk about what this one-of-a-kind establishment has to offer.

 

As a restaurant, Grove is very unique in its size, which was something Austin had been looking for over the past few years of searching for the perfect expansion opportunity for a growing company. Their other restaurant has 27,000 square feet, so one could imagine that having another property close to 30,000 square feet would be quite the undertaking.

 

They wanted Grove’s patrons to have a unique experience compared to a lot of restaurants. As a local business, they absorb feedback and adapt as necessary. As a neighborhood hotspot, they have a huge menu with an array of options that are sure to make everyone happy.

 

Grove serves regional American cuisine, with strong influences from the Northeast. You’ll find options ranging from their traditional New England clam chowder to more southern-style Louisiana dishes, like the Bayou Sauvage flatbread, which was named after the state’s famous park.

 

They also have many à la carte options, allowing you to pair your meals together. They do have several composed entrees, but they pride themselves on their big flatbread and appetizer sections of the menu. Grove is a great place to come for either a full meal or to grab a quick bite for an after-work happy hour.


As a neighborhood hotspot, Grove has a huge menu with an array of options that are sure to make everyone happy.


 

In terms of the restaurant’s design, they paid attention to detail in every aspect. They completely gutted the restaurant side, even the concrete floors, and added new plumbing. They had a custom-designed wine cabinet installed that can hold over 680 bottles. Their one-of-a-kind, craft-style bar was made by bartenders for bartenders.

 

Throughout Grove, you’ll see lots of natural, wood elements. When there was a tree downed on Holmes Beach during Hurricane Irma, they rescued it and used it to make art installations around the restaurant so that they’d never forget what happened.

 

Grove does happy hour every day of the week from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. While the food selection for happy hour is quite expansive, the drink offerings are incredible, from $5 shots of Tito’s and Bacardi, to $8 craft cocktails and other creative options.

 

Further still, happy hour at Grove is restaurant-wide; you don’t have to be at the bar to take advantage. On Fridays and Saturdays starting at 9 p.m., they do a reverse happy hour, which consists of the same drink menu and a few alterations to the food menus. On Sundays, they offer a bottomless brunch, featuring bottomless sangrias, mimosas, and Bloody Mary’s, or you can upgrade to bottomless Veuve.

Grove is a really great spot, and I highly recommend everyone to check it out. You can visit their website for more details.

 

If you have any questions about real estate or local business in the Sarasota and Manatee areas, don’t hesitate to reach out. We’d be glad to help.

Posted in Local Events
March 12, 2019

What Do the Latest Numbers Say About Our Sarasota & Manatee Market?



What do the latest year-to-date numbers say about our real estate market? Here are how the key figures stack up compared to last year’s numbers:

  • New listings are up 3.7%
  • Pending sales are down 8.1%
  • Closed sales are down 13.4%

When you take these figures into consideration, we’re seeing a slight market shift. Nothing drastic—we’re just moving from a hot seller’s market to more of a balanced market. This trend is further evidenced by our months’ supply of inventory, which rose 11.1% from 4.5 months to five months. In other words, if no new homes were to come on the market, it would take five months to sell off all of our remaining supply.

What does this mean for buyers and sellers?

If you’re a seller, it means you need to price your home realistically. We’ve seen a lot of price reductions lately because many sellers priced their homes according to comparable sold properties from six, seven, or eight months ago. You need to price your home according to the very latest comparable sold properties.

Also, remember that you’re not just entering a price war when you list your home—you’re also entering a beauty competition. You’re competing against new construction homes and other resale homes, so yours needs to be the best-looking and the best-priced if you want to sell quickly and for top dollar.

If you’re a buyer, you have more homes to choose from right now, including a ton of new construction inventory. Because of this and the recent string of price reductions, you can also be more resolute in sticking to your offer price.

If you have any more questions about our market or how you can position yourself to get the best deal possible, feel free to reach out to us anytime. We’d love to help you.

Posted in Real Estate
March 8, 2019

Why Lakewood National Is a Clear Choice for Homebuyers




For homebuyers in the Sarasota area, Lakewood National has a ton to offer, and in every style. For just $300 a month, all their amenities are included:

  • Pools and hot tubs
  • Spas, including salons as well as hair and nail technicians
  • A fitness center
  • A 36-hole golf course

For those interested in their building options, they have an extremely popular condo series. These condos come in three styles, starting at 1,200 square feet in the $180,000 price range, up to their coach homes, which have 2,100 square feet and are in the $370,000 price range.

 

Additionally, there are options for single-family homes that range from 1,800 square feet all the way up to 3,900 square feet. Prices for these homes range from $380,000 up to $850,000, depending on your location. There’s something for everyone here.

 

What’s more is that Lennar Homes recently partnered with Amazon, which brings even more benefits to homeowners in the community. Home automation technology like Amazon’s Alexa, home security systems, wireless routers, and more come standard with the purchase of a home here.

 

And none of this is to mention the other fantastic incentives buyers have to come here. On top of the great mortgage team Lennar Homes is affiliated with, there is a pre-construction condo building that will be finished this year—buyers can take advantage of the $5,000 credit off the purchase price and another $2,000 off their closing costs. This $7,000 discount is a huge deal.

 

Last year, Lakewood Ranch had around 250 total sales, making it one of the highest-selling communities around. If you’re interested in a home here, be sure to act quickly while there are still homes left.

 

If you have any questions about buying or selling properties, feel free to reach out to me. I’d be glad to help.

Posted in Real Estate
March 7, 2019

Answering Key Questions About Title Insurance



Today, Wanda Pistella from Leech Tishman Legal Services is here to answer questions that both current and would-be homebuyers may have concerning the title process.

 

1.  What is title insurance, and why is it so important?

In Wanda’s view, title insurance is one of the most important items that you can buy at the time of a home purchase. Title insurance covers the owner, ensuring that they have complete and conclusive title to the property. This form of insurance makes sure that taxes are paid up to date, and also that there aren’t any unpaid liens, assessments, or similar items of that nature.

 

Even more importantly, Title insurance clears the title so that once the buyer purchases the home and obtains the owner’s policy, they are guaranteed to be recognized as the true owner of the home. There are a few instances in which true ownership of the home might come into question:

 

  • For example, there could be a probate that was done incorrectly—this is an issue that needs to be corrected; you don’t want a long-lost heir to the property to come out of nowhere and claim a right to the property.
  • There might also be problems with a wild deed, which is when a deed is on the property but doesn’t fit with the property. In that situation, she’ll have to make a determination and clear the cloud on title.
  • A homeowner could also potentially run into issues with homemade deeds, where a person (innocently enough) prepares a quitclaim deed. This becomes a problem in the instance where they’re trying to add a family member onto the property, but they’ve accidentally conveyed the property over to that family member.

 

From the above examples, you can see how disruptive issues of title could be to a real estate transaction.

 

2. How much does title insurance cost?

 

On average, a title insurance policy comes at a promulgated rate that is dictated by the Florida Insurance Commissioner. That means it’s a fixed amount that is based on the purchase price of the home. Title insurance consists of a one-time payment, and the general rule of thumb is to expect to pay around or between $550 and $575 per each $100,000 of the purchase price. For example, if you’re buying a $200,000 home, the title insurance policy would amount to around $1,100 as a one-time payment.

 

3. What will buyers need to bring to the closing table? According to Wanda, the buyer needs to bring in two things:

 

  • First, you’ll need proof of identification such as a passport, driver’s license, or state ID; this will prove that you are, in fact, the buyer of the home.
  • Second, you’ll need cash to close prior to being able to officially close on the home. Wanda makes sure that the cash is in the form of a wire transfer, since it needs to be clear funds on the day of closing.
  • Your lender may require you to bring additional documents to the closing table, so be sure to speak with them directly about what you’ll need.

 

4. What does the wiring process look like?

 

This is extremely important to understand, given the prevalence and dangers of wire fraud. At Wanda’s office, they have a specific procedure for wire transfers. Her office is responsible for sending out the wire instructions—not the real estate agents or members of either party in the transaction. These wire instructions are sent via encrypted email, which will detail how to proceed with the transfer in a way that allows you to be confident that you’re sending your money to the appropriate place.

 

Wanda always verifies these transfers by phone, and encourages buyers to do the same. Don’t answer any inquiries the wiring instructions if they come from someone outside your title company, as that could very well be a scammer trying to trick you into sending your money to them instead of your title company.

 

5. What is the significance of mentioning “House Match” when you close with Wanda’s company?

 

If you mention “House Match” at the time of the contract, they’ll provide you with a discounted closing fee. The goal is to have proper procedures from contract to close, so from the start, they’re communicative with you and with House Match to ensure that the deal is smooth and successful in the end and that all parties are happy.

 

I’m grateful for Wanda coming out to answer these key questions about the nature and importance of title insurance. If you have any questions for us, feel free to reach out. We would be glad to help you.

Posted in Real Estate
Feb. 19, 2019

The Secret’s in the Sauce: What Sets Myakka City Grill Apart



Myakka City Grill has been open for about five years now, but Tim Horton took ownership a little more than a year ago, giving the Grill more consistent hours for its patrons to enjoy.

As you might expect, the Grill provides an array of bar-and-grill-style foods. That means people can visit for great burgers, fresh Cuban sandwiches, salads, grilled chicken, chicken wings, appetizers, and even options for vegetarians. Having eaten here myself, I can vouch for their amazing chicken avocado sandwich, and their sweet tea is to die for.

One menu item that Tim believes sets the Myakka City Grill apart from other restaurants is his favorite: the pork chop sandwich—it’s a pork chop served on a brioche bun with lettuce, tomato, onion, and mayonnaise, but what really tops it off is the special, in-house sauce they call “Myakka Gold Sauce.” It’s absolutely delicious.

The Grille is open during the following hours throughout the week:

  • Monday through Thursday: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Friday: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Saturday: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Sunday: Closed

Tim bought the restaurant to allow him to be a part of the community, and he encourages everyone to come out for good food, a good time, and personable service.

If you’re interested in trying out the Myakka City Grill’s awesome menu, they can be found at 36810 Manatee Ave, Myakka City, Florida. Follow them on Facebook for updates and information on their weekly specials!

For any questions you have regarding real estate, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at the House Match Team. We’d love to speak with you.

Posted in Real Estate
Feb. 1, 2019

The Past, Present, and Future of Our Market




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It’s hard to believe that January has already come and gone, but now that it has, it’s time for a quick market update.

First, the number of new listings has dropped 4.8% since January 2017. The number of homes going under contract also dropped, going down 10.6% year over year.

The median price, meanwhile, saw a 1% increase. This is good news for sellers and homeowners alike.

The next two statistics we should consider are the number of homes for sale and the time they’re spending on the market. Current inventory is up approximately .5% since January of last year, leaving us with about 4.6 months of supply. This means we’re pretty close to a balanced market.

Partially as a result of this increased inventory, the length of time homes are spending on the market has also risen, going up 5% year over year to an average of 46 days. For sellers, this figure offers a good litmus test for how well you’ve priced your home. If your property takes more than 50 days to receive an offer in our current market, there is likely something wrong with its price, condition, or marketing.

As we progress further into 2019, we’ll continue to keep a close eye on the median price, the amount of inventory, and the length of time homes are taking to sell. So far, though, it appears that our market will remain strong through the coming months.

If you have any other questions or would like more information, feel free to give us a call or send us an email. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Posted in Real Estate
Dec. 17, 2018

How Can Buyers and Sellers Take Advantage of Our 2019 Market?

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Are we in for a shifting market in 2019? To answer that question, there are three indicators we need to look at.

The first is our months of inventory. In other words, if no new homes came on the market, how long would it take for every home currently listed to sell? Currently, we’re at four months of inventory, which is considered a seller’s market. If we see this number go up, however, we’ll know we’re in a shifting market.

The next factor to consider is the number of new active listings. If we’re heading into a shifting market, we’ll see more new active listings. Last month, the number of new active listings rose 9.8%, which is a pretty significant jump.

Lastly, we look at the median sales price. If the median sales price is rising, that’s a good sign. It means homes are appreciating, homeowners are building equity, and there’s a healthy amount of buyer and seller activity. When the median price starts dropping, though, we know we’re in a shifting market. This means people are having affordability issues and homes are selling for less than what they were listed for.

How can buyers and sellers take advantage of a shifting market? Since we only have four months’ worth of inventory, it’s still a good time to sell. However, it’s also a good time to buy because, as more new listings hit the market and homes take longer to sell, buyers will have more options to choose from.

If you’re a seller, you need to be more aggressive in terms of how you price your home and which upgrades you make to it. Your home should look at least as good as a new construction home of comparable price—otherwise, what’s stopping the buyer from just buying that new construction home? Moving forward, your home will be entering both a price war and a beauty competition, and you want to win both. If you do that, you’ll still sell quickly and for a great price.

No matter which side of the transaction you fall on, it’s always a good time to be in the market as long as you have the right people in your corner to give you the best advice.

If you have any more questions about what to expect from our 2019 market, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’d love to speak to you.

 

Posted in Real Estate
Nov. 26, 2018

The 5 Best Places to See Christmas Lights

 

Here are the best places to see some great Christmas lights and decorations.

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Christmas is right around the corner, and what better way to get in the holiday spirit than by enjoying the spectacular Christmas lights in our area? Today I’ll be sharing with you the top five places to look at Christmas lights. We start number five with a tie between two great spots:

 

5. Hunsader Farms “Country Christmas” and the Selby Gardens “Lights in Bloom.” You do have to pay to visit these displays, but they’re definitely worth the price of admission.

4. The SRQ Trolley “Tour of Lights.” After paying for the trolley ride, you’re taken around to see all of the best displays our area has to offer.

3. Enander’s “Winter Wonderland.” This huge display begins as early as the beginning of December, so there’s plenty of time to go and check it out.

2. The Cedar Hollow Neighborhood. This community goes all out with arches in the streets and a bubble machine to make snow. Park your car and stroll through the beautifully decorated neighborhood.

1. The Colonial Gables Neighborhood. Just like Cedar Hollow, this neighborhood gives the holiday season everything they have. Everybody decorates their homes, creating a truly stunning winter wonderland.

 

Enjoy your visit to these highly-decorated displays, and let us know which ones were your favorite!

Posted in Real Estate