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July
25

Cool Off With Shaved Ice Near Bradenton

Shaved Ice Bradenton

Fun in the sun also means knowing how to cool off – and our real estate agents have some ideas.

Crunching on ice is a classic way to stay cool and hydrated in the heat of a Florida summer, but it's not very fun. What if you could have all the important benefits and enjoy a refreshing dessert at the same time. The secret is shaved ice, one of the most beloved sweet treats anywhere in the Sunshine State.

Whether you're interested in Bradenton homes for sale or prefer Sarasota homes for sale, you'll find plenty of places for shaved ice in these twin cities. And you don't have to wait for the ice cream truck! Instead, there are lots of frozen dessert parlors, bakeries, and more all waiting to serve you.

Let's take a peek at some of the places to find shaved ice in and around these sister cities:

  • Coco Joe's Italian Ice – 5120 Manatee Avenue West, Bradenton, FL 34209
    Coco Joe's Italian Ice is one of the original names in Italian ice here in Manatee County. Around the area since 1995, it is built around a family recipe that founder Joe brought from Philadelphia. When you visit the shop, you'll be treated to a wonderland of Italian ice, gelato, custard, root beer floats, sundaes, and "The Big Nanner," a frozen and chocolate-dipped banana. Coco Joe's even offers catering.

  • Kona Ice of Manatee County – See Website for Location Details
    Kona Ice of Manatee County is a sweet treat shop on wheels you can distinguish by its iconic tropical music. With more than 50 flavors, there's something for everyone. You can even choose a sugar-free or 100% dye-free option. In a hurry? A visit to Kona Ice might take only a few seconds since the top ten most popular flavors are all set up for self-service. Kona Ice frequently holds special events, too.

  • Vampire Penguin Shaved Snow & Desserts – 4976 South Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34231
    Vampire Penguin Shaved Snow & Desserts specializes in light, fluffy, and creamy desserts you'll develop a craving for. Open every day to 8 p.m. or 9 p.m., you're welcome to pop in any time or issue your order through the website. Snazzy specials such as the strawberry cheesecake delight new and return visitors alike, and there are plenty of options for add-ons and mix-ins no matter what you decide to get.

  • Pelican's Snoballs – 806 6th Street West, Palmetto, FL 34221
    If you are searching for shaved ice near Palmetto homes for sale, you need to look no further than Pelican's Snoballs. Now open every day from 12 noon to 9 p.m., thanks to increased demand, the quintessential "snoball" experience can be invited to your own party or other events. Signature Snoballs include nine perennial favorites, with the pink cotton candy "Unicorn" being the #1 most requested pick.

  • Green Zebra Cafe – 1377 Main Street, Sarasota, FL 34236
    With two locations in Sarasota, including one on Main Street and another not far from the world-famous Ringling Museum, Green Zebra Cafe has a wide-ranging menu that's more than just shaved ice. Open for brunch and dinner, it has won "Best Breakfast" and "Best Lunch" awards from local Sarasota magazines. Its desserts are also acclaimed and are as tasty as they are beautifully plated.

  • Jeremiah's of Bradenton – 2525 Manatee Avenue West, Bradenton, FL 34205
    A popular chain offering fantastic shaved ice has found a new home in Bradenton. Recently opened, Jeremiah's of Bradenton is already a hit among locals. While the list of flavors is constantly being updated, you can head to this shop knowing you'll find a treat perfect for helping you cool off. Current flavors include blueberry, mango, cotton candy, and peach.

Contact us to find out more about Florida real estate.

January
24

Sarasota & Manatee Food Truck Guide

Sarasota Food Trucks

Whether you're a foodie hunting for the best-hidden gems around Sarasota and Manatee, or you're just looking for a great place to grab a quick bite at lunch, local food trucks are an excellent option for finding unique, handcrafted fare. Our real estate agents have the delicious details on some of the best food trucks in the area.

Sarasota County Food Trucks

  • Fire Tacos – 886 S. Packinghouse Rd., Sarasota, FL 34232
    Tacos are always a favorite for food truck connoisseurs, and Fire Tacos offers some of the best tacos that you'll find near Sarasota homes for sale. You'll often find this truck posted up on Packinghouse Road, serving up authentic Mexican fare with ingredients that are as fresh as it gets.

  • Polpo Pizza Co. – Sarasota Farmers Market & Phillipi Farmhouse Market
    When you're in the mood for a great slice, Polpo Pizza Co. has you covered with their award-winning wood-fired pizza. You'll find this food truck at the Sarasota Farmers Market every Saturday and the Phillipi Farmhouse Market every Wednesday.

  • Spice Boys Kitchen – Various Locations Around Sarasota County
    Sample the flavors of the Middle East, expertly prepared by chefs Steven Schmitt and Carl Kolber at Spice Boys Kitchen. They set up shop all around Sarasota County and beyond, so be sure to check their Facebook page for the latest schedule.

  • Peachey's Baking Company – 5500 S. Tamiami Trl., Sarasota, FL 34231
    After you sample some great pizza at Phillipi Farmhouse Market, why not enjoy something sweet for dessert? Peachey's Baking Company can be found at the market every Wednesday and at other farmers markets around Sarasota County during the rest of the week. The doughnuts here are crafted with old family recipes and are well worth the trip on their own.

Manatee County Food Trucks

  • River Road Stop – 131 Upper Manatee River Rd., Bradenton, FL 34212
    Have a craving for some proper barbecue near Bradenton homes for sale? The River Road Stop is sure to satisfy, with a menu full of sandwiches, sides, and barbecue goodness. Since this is a semi-permanent location, there are also picnic tables set up so that you can enjoy a delicious meal under the stars.

  • Dona Betty Tacos – 6285 14th St. W., Bradenton, FL 34207
    Consistently one of the top-rated food trucks in the area, Dona Betty Tacos has earned its reputation by serving delicious tacos for dinner and late-night snacks in Bradenton. You will often find this truck near the Wells Fargo on 14th Street, serving up fully loaded tacos that you won't want to miss.

  • Traveling Kitchen Grill & Catering – 4927 96th St. E., Palmetto, FL 34211
    Burgers, finger foods, and perfectly fried sides are always on the menu at the Traveling Kitchen Grill & Catering food truck, which you can frequently find near Palmetto homes for sale. Stop by during the big holidays for special menus, or check out the permanent Traveling Kitchen brick-and-mortar location for a sit-down meal.

  • Parrish Cuban Grill – 8304 US-301 N., Ellenton, FL 34221
    There are some great food trucks near Ellenton homes for sale as well, including the very popular Parrish Cuban Grill. As the name suggests, this food truck offers up authentic Cuban fare for lunch and dinner. They are often set up in the Parrish Advance Auto Parts parking lot.

Searching for a home that makes it easy to visit your favorite food trucks and so much more? Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout SWFL communities.

September
20

Why People are Moving to Sarasota and Manatee Counties

Sarasota Moving

People are flocking to the Sarasota area! Statistics recently released by the U.S. Census Bureau show that between 2010 and 2020, Sarasota's growth rate was nearly double that of the nation as a whole. While the growth rate of the U.S. population over the 10-year period was 7.4%, Sarasota grew at 14.4%, and nearby Manatee County grew at a shocking 23.8%.

Every day, our real estate agents work with buyers who are competing for the best Sarasota homes for sale. What is it about this area that's so attractive? From gorgeous weather to award-winning beaches, there's so much to love about living in the Sarasota area. Here's a closer look at some of the most important benefits. 

  • No State Income Tax
    The lack of a state income tax is one of the biggest benefits of living in Florida. Since so many visitors come to Florida each year, they pay the taxes for us! Tourists pay a 7% sales tax on the state level. On the county level, hotel stays and short-term property rentals are also subject to a 5% tourism tax. While this may seem annoying when you're visiting, once you become a resident, you'll love being able to hold onto your hard-earned dollars. 
  • Strong Job and Employment Market
    If you're still working, you'll be glad to know that the Sarasota area has a strong economy and a low unemployment rate. Some of the top industries in the area include healthcare, hospitality, education, professional services, retail, and trades. 
  • Culture and Performing Arts
    From the Ringling Museum and Marie Selby Botanical Gardens to the Sarasota Ballet and the Van Wezel Performing Art Center, there are many diverse cultural and performing arts attractions in the area. In fact, Sarasota has been named Florida's "Cultural City," thanks to its active theatrical and performing arts scene. 
  • Incredible Dining Options
    There are almost countless dining venues and drinking establishments in the Sarasota area. From incredible fine dining and casual cafes to upscale wine bars to local breweries, there's something here for everyone. Some of the most popular entertainment destinations in the area include Siesta Key, Downtown Sarasota, St. Armand's Circle, and Lakewood Ranch. 
  • Award-Winning Beaches
    Sarasota's beaches receive recognition nationwide. Siesta Key Beach has been named the number one beach in America multiple times thanks to its powdery, sugar-like sand. Other beaches throughout the county are also some of the most popular in the state of Florida.  
  • A Year-Round Playground
    Sarasota has an average of 251 sunny days each year and an average year-round temperature of 73 degrees. It's the perfect location for anyone who enjoys being out on the water boating, kayaking, or swimming. The city of Sarasota was also named the #1 Best Place to Retire nationwide by U.S. News & World Report. 
  • Affordable Real Estate
    Despite all of these incredible benefits, real estate in Sarasota and Bradenton is still relatively affordable. In fact, many residents find that owning a home here is often less expensive than renting. At the beginning of 2021, the average home price here was $319,793, and the median rent was $1,995 per month.

Finding your dream home in Florida can be a challenge, but it's much easier when you work with a great agent. The experts at Wagner Realty have access to all the best Sarasota and Bradenton homes for sale, and we want to help you! Contact us today to discuss your goals and get started. 

June
28

5 Places to Help You Stay Active in Sarasota and Bradenton

Stay Active in Bradenton

Our area is also a great place for retirees to get active and stay active!

If you haven't tried the SilverSneakers app, we highly recommend it. It's a perfect way to motivate yourself and also to find great fitness locations no matter where in the country you may be. Our real estate agents are particularly fond of these SilverSneakers locations in Sarasota and Bradenton:

  1. Sun N Fun RV Resort - 7125 Fruitville Rd, Sarasota, FL 34240
    Sarasota's Sun N Fun RV Resort is a beautiful place to park one's motor home and relax, but it's also much more than that. They're all about promoting a healthy, active lifestyle and offer amenities that include an extensive indoor fitness canter and an Olympic-size outdoor pool. Dozens of group activities and fitness classes are also available, ranging from yoga and Pilates to strength training and martial arts. Sun N Fun RV Resort also makes a great home base if you're in town looking at Sarasota homes for sale.

  2. G.T. Bray Recreation Center - 5502 33rd Ave Dr. W, Bradenton, FL 34209
    A state-of-the-art recreation complex in the heart of Bradenton, the G.T. Bray Recreation Center is a hub for all things fitness-related. Classes and programs are offered for every age and fitness level, with amenities that include tennis and racquetball courts, an Olympic-sized pool, an outdoor running/walking track, and a beautifully appointed indoor fitness center. The G.T. Bray Recreation center is also just minutes from these Bradenton homes for sale, making it a convenient option for staying active. 

  3. Lana's BarBelles - 7014 Cortez Rd W, Bradenton, FL 34210
    It's not easy to find a quality fitness center that's specifically tailored to women's needs. But Bradenton has a great resource in Lana's BarBelles, a woman-owned fitness center that focuses on group and personal training for women. They offer a free fitness assessment and specially-tailored programs to help all ages and fitness levels reach their health and wellness goals. Many folks visit Lana's BarBelles for the first time while they're in Bradenton on winter vacation and then keep coming back again and again. 

  4. GYM SRQ - 3530 Clark Rd, Sarasota, FL 34231
    One of Sarasota's most consistently highly-rated gyms, GYM SRQ goes the extra mile to create a better fitness experience. No matter where you're starting out or what your goals may be, they have classes tailored to your needs. Small group classes and one-on-one sessions with certified personal trainers are available to help you not only lose weight or gain strength but also learn the principles behind living a longer, healthier life. 

  5. Terra Ceia Bay Country Club - 2802 Terra Ceia Bay Blvd, Palmetto, FL 34221
    The Terra Ceia Bay Country Club is home to a truly spectacular golf course with splendid views and meticulously manicured greens and fairways. But the country club also offers a wide range of additional fitness activities and amenities, including racquet courts and a swimming pool. There's also a tiki bar and grill on-site, making it a great place to socialize and meet people in the local community. The Terra Ceia Bay Country Club is just a short drive across the Manatee River from Bradenton and minutes from many Palmetto homes for sale.

Contact us today to learn more about how to stay active and reach your fitness goals in Sarasota and Bradenton, and be sure to talk with our team about finding your retirement dream home!

June
21

Summer Lawn Care: How to Install a Sprinkler System

Summer Lawn Care

Your dream house has a beautiful yard with grass, trees, shrubs, even a flower garden. There are plenty of Sarasota homes for sale that fit the bill. Our real estate agents can help you find the one that meets your needs. Caring for your new lawn, though, is up to you.

One of the most important aspects of lawn care is water - giving the area just enough water, just often enough, without doing it too much or too frequently. To do that, you'll need a sprinkler system that's designed just for your lawn's needs. You can have it professionally installed, but as long as you're reasonably handy, you might prefer to go the DIY route instead and install it yourself. Here are some tips for installing your sprinkler system.

What You'll Need

Before you begin the installation, you need to make sure you have all your tools and materials ready. Here's a list of what you'll need:

  • PVC Pipes and Fittings. PVC pipe is sturdy and durable but easier to work with than metal, so you can cut it down to lengths of whatever size you need. The fittings let you put the pipe segments together in different formations, as needed: elbow fittings, for joining two lengths together around a curve, and T-fittings, for joining three.
  • Sprinkler Heads. The most important part of your sprinkler system. You can choose the direction of the spray, as well as how much and in what pattern. You'll also need risers to connect the heads to the PVC pipe.
  • Timer. Allows you to set when and how often your lawn gets watered. A smart timer can automatically adjust to weather conditions so it doesn't go off when it's raining.
  • Valves. The valves allow you to control how much water flows through your sprinklers. They're accessed through a valve box and connected to the system with wiring.
  • Drains. These remove the excess water from the pipes when the sprinklers aren't on. It can be done either manually or automatically.
  • Backflow Prevention. Sometimes, water from the soil can flow back into your water supply, contaminating it with dirt and bacteria. A backflow prevention valve keeps this from happening.

What to Do

The first step is to find the pipe that you'll be using as the water source for your sprinkler system. Water will flow from that pipe through all of your PVC pipes and be distributed to your lawn. Check the pressure of that pipe to make sure it's up to the job.

Next, dig trenches around your yard in the pattern in which you want to place your sprinklers. Also, dig one from the water main to where you want to place your valve box, and dig a hole for the valve box. Dig the trenches between four and twelve inches deep. You'll want to rent a trenching machine to help you get them the right width and depth. Then, lay the PVC pipes in the trenches.

This is just the basics. There's a lot more to know about sprinkler installation. Don't attempt to install your own sprinklers unless you know what you're doing or have an expert on hand to help you. If you're unsure, call a professional.

If you're looking for Bradenton homes for sale with great lawns that are perfect for DIY gardening projects like this, contact us! We'll help you find the home of your dreams!

June
7

Terms to Know When Looking at Gated Communities

Gated Community Terms

Gated communities offer various advantages that many residents find appealing, but the gated community lifestyle isn't necessarily a perfect fit for every buyer. If you've been shopping for homes and thinking about purchasing a home in a gated community, then it's important to understand exactly what to expect from your neighborhood. Our real estate agents are here to help you make an informed decision, with our guide to terms you need to know when considering a gated community.

  1. Homeowner's Association (HOA)
    When you live in a gated community, the homeowner's association (HOA) is the organization that makes rules, enforces them, and ensures that the community is properly maintained. Each HOA is typically made up of members of the community, including an elected board of governors who are responsible for enforcing HOA regulations. Often, in addition, there may be a Management Company to oversee properties. The rules created by an HOA can be restrictive in terms of the architecture of homes, home maintenance, and the ways in which you're allowed to modify your property. However, those rules also play an important role in keeping the neighborhood looking great, keeping home values high, and making sure that everything from streets to landscaping are well-maintained.

  2. HOA Fees
    When you purchase a home in a gated community, you will be required to join that community's HOA. Joining an HOA means paying HOA fees, which can be paid monthly, quarterly, or annually. While the details vary depending on the community, HOA fees typically cover a wide range of service related to security, as well as maintaining your property and the community as a whole. In addition to maintenance, HOA fees often cover community amenities like pools, recreation areas, parking, and landscaping that help keep the community beautiful. If you're considering a home in a gated community, make sure you research exactly how much HOA fees will cost and what those fees will cover, and when they are paid.

  3. CDD Fees
    An alternative to HOAs, some communities have Community Development District (CDD) fees. These fees go toward paying for infrastructure and amenities within the community. Unlike HOA fees, CDD fees are paid as part of your local property tax, and CDD payments are tax-deductible. The cost of community improvements are put into a bond, and part of CDD payments go toward paying that bond off over time. Communities with CDD fees may have HOA's and HOA fees.

  4. Condominium Fees
    If you choose to live in a condominium community, then you can expect to pay condo fees. Just like with the other types of fees we have mentioned, condo fees go toward maintaining the condominium complex and covering the cost of any amenities offered by the complex. These fees can vary significantly based on the community and the size of your condo, so be sure to research them carefully. Some condominiums also have HOA and/or CDD fees.

  5. Recreation Fees
    Recreation fees can cover a wide range of amenities, activities, and services, with the exact details depending on the rules of each community. All members of the community pay the recreation fee, whether they use a specific amenity or not. The good news is that if your community requires recreation fees, then you may in most cases be able to use all of those amenities without any additional charge beyond the fee.

Whether you're shopping for Bradenton homes for sale in a gated community or a more traditional neighborhood, our team is here to help. Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout Southwest Florida communities.

May
17

How to Pick the Perfect Houseplants

Houseplant Tips

One of the best parts of buying a new house is giving it those personal touches that help turn it into a home. Our estate agents can help you find Bradenton homes for sale, but only you can make that home your own. One simple and rewarding touch you can add to any home is houseplants. What kind should you have, though? Here are a few things to consider when selecting houseplants.

  1. Benefits
    Think about what benefits you want. For instance, if you want to reduce stress, go with a lavender plant. Its scent has a calming effect and can improve sleep. Maybe you're looking to make your air more breathable. In that case, peace lilies and English ivy absorb toxins to improve indoor air quality. Or you might want to add a splash of color to your decor. If so, coleus comes in various bright shades, including purple, orange, and red. Gardon croton has leaves of red, yellow, green, and copper. And bromeliads bloom in red, orange, yellow, and pink. There are many other houseplants with myriad other benefits. Do some research and find out which ones best suit your needs.

  2. Environment
    Consider where your houseplants will be kept and what their needs are. How much sunlight does it need? What temperature range does it thrive in? Does it need a dry environment or a humid one? If you're looking for a plant for your bathroom, for instance, you should try the humidity-loving monstera plant. If you have a room without windows, try a snake plant. If you've got a big window with lots of sunlight, consider a jade plant or a lemon tree.

  3. Care
    Perhaps the most important consideration is how much care your plant will need and how much care you'll be able to give it. How often does the plant need to be watered? Does it need any other care, such as pruning? If you travel a lot, then look for a plant that doesn't require as much care - or be prepared to get a plant-sitter. Air plants, for instance, don't even need soil. Keep them in indirect sunlight and water them every two weeks, and they'll thrive. What if you're afraid you'll forget to water your plant on a regular schedule? Or that you'll accidentally overcompensate, watering it too often? Set a reminder on your phone to alert you when your plant needs water or other care. It can be set to go off automatically once a week, every two weeks, or however, often your plant needs attention.

  4. Containers
    Once you've chosen your houseplant, it needs to go in the right container. Porous clay pots are good for your plants and the environment. They retain moisture while letting soil toxins escape. You might also consider a glass terrarium designed to keep in moisture and heat. Whatever container you use, make sure it's got holes on the bottom for water drainage. If you're buying a baby plant, know how much it will grow over time, and get a container that will accommodate it - or be prepared to transplant it later. A larger pot can also allow you to put multiple plants in the same space. 

If you've got houseplants inside, you're likely going to want a few outdoors as well. Fortunately, there are plenty of Sarasota homes for sale with big front and backyards, perfect for gardening. Contact us to help you find the space that's right for you!

March
9

Plant a Flower Day: What to Plant in Sarasota and Manatee Counties

Planting om Bradenton

If you're new to Florida, you might be surprised to learn that yes, we do get the occasional frost here in Sarasota and Manatee Counties in the late winter and early spring. This is just one of the things you need to know as you embark on gardening in your new home, acquired either from Bradenton homes for sale or Sarasota homes for sale. Fortunately, frost is rare and not much of an impediment to producing fabulous flowers, fruits, and vegetables in Florida.

While we suggest Floridians start planting long before National Plant a Flower Day, which is March 12, this national celebration, which promotes looking forward to spring by encouraging flower planting, is a great reason to jump right in.

And the good news is, after mid-February, the chances of a frost damaging seedlings or other plants are very low. So feel free to head to your local garden center and acquire some fabulous flowers to celebrate March 12 with a burst of color in your yard.

But before you start, a little planning is in order. What can you plant in our region of Florida? So many things, from tropicals to perennials, lush annuals, flowering shrubs, and glorious flowering trees. The key is making sure whatever you choose can tolerate our heat and humidity. 

What to Plant

The flowering plant palette for Florida is extensive. Among the most common flowering plants, you'll note are these.

  • Pentas. Also known as Egyptian Star Cluster, Pentas are evergreen perennials and come in pink, magenta, lilac, and white. They prefer full sun and are seasonal bloomers. An added bonus is they attract butterflies.
  • Coreopsis. You can't not plant Florida's state flower, the Coreopsis. It's a member of the aster family and has bright golden disk and ray flowers. It's a brilliant addition to any garden. 
  • Blue Salvia. Although native to the Southwest, Salvia farinacea does well in South Florida and can flourish in a hot, dry location. Low-maintenance Blue Salvia (also known as Mealycup sage) is an annual further north but blooms like a perennial in our climate. Pollinators love it.
  • Mexican Heather. A low-growing ground cover, Mexican Heather or Cuphea loves full sun, although partial will do. Plant it in a well-drained location. It produces lavender-pink to white flowers almost all year long.
  • Bougainvillea. One of our most spectacular bloomers, Bougainvillea's showy display isn't actually flowers at all, but rather colorful leaf bracts. It needs six hours of sun a day, and for that, you get an explosion of color most of the year.
  • Lantana. Another pollinator attractor (including hummingbirds), Lantana is available in pink and yellow or bright orange and yellow, and more. Deadhead flowers to keep the plant producing most of the year. Be sure to water Lantana when the weather is dry; mulch and fertilizer help promote abundant flowering.
  • Periwinkles. Also known as Creeping Vinca, Periwinkle is a creeping vine with pretty blue flowers, often used as a ground cover, and which can choke out weeds. Best blooming will occur if it's planted in partial shade.
  • Plumbago. This sprawling shrub is grown for its clusters of blue, phlox-like flowers. Plant Plumbago over a stone or wood retaining wall for a beautiful effect. It prefers full sun but will tolerate some shade.

Our real estate agents have more tips for how you can improve your property, indoors and out. Contact us today.

March
1

5 Ways to Make Your Home a Happier Space

Happy Home TipsEveryone spends a great deal of time at home, so why not make your space as happy as possible? It's easy to get used to the way your home looks, even it's less than ideal. Instead, look at it with fresh eyes and plan some ways to make your home calmer and more relaxing. That way, you'll enjoy your home even more.
  
Our real estate agents suggest the following 5 ways to make your home a happier space:  

  1. Get rid of clutter.   
    Clutter creates the opposite of a relaxing, happy space. Having piles of disorganized papers and other items is mentally distracting and causes you to spend time stressfully looking for misplaced objects. You'll feel much less tension at home if you go through your unused possessions and donate what can still be used. This needs to be done regularly to keep clutter at a minimum. Finally, invest in some attractive organizational tools like woven baskets to neatly store what you've decided to keep, and you'll have a happier, neater home.
      
  2. Use color to transform your mood.
    Color can transform your mood! Add a splash of color to your home by painting a wall or buying a colorful statement piece. You may want to use calm, relaxing colors like blues, greens, or greys in your bedroom but try more vibrant colors such as yellow in your family room. Accents like throw pillows and rugs can also easily add some more color – and happiness – to your home.
      
  3. Let the sunshine in.   
    Natural sunlight is a proven mood-lifter, so instead of creating a cave-like atmosphere by closing your blinds or draperies, keep them pulled up or off to the sides. Even if it's not a particularly sunny day, you'll still be getting a boost from the daylight. If you don't have many windows in your home – or for areas that don't face the sun – use large mirrors on the wall to reflect light from the outdoors. And when the sun goes down, rely on adequate artificial lighting in each of your rooms to help create a brighter atmosphere.
      
  4. Make every space count.
    Most homes have one or more areas that are drab or tend to be ignored. In your home, it might be a laundry room or a spare bedroom. Don't ignore these spaces when you're decluttering or refreshing your home since they can have a positive or negative impact on your mood.
      
  5. Go for greenery.   
    Plants and flowers add color and vibrancy to your home and bring about a sense of calm and happiness. Plants also eliminate toxins from indoor spaces, making the air you breathe in at home healthier. Buy a bouquet to brighten up your kitchen table every week and invest in some plants to place throughout your home. Even if you don't have a green thumb, varieties like the snake plant thrive with little maintenance.

Contact us to find out about Sarasota homes for sale and Bradenton homes for sale. Our agents would be happy to help you find the home of your dreams! 

February
8

Top Reasons Why You Should Use a REALTOR When Purchasing New Construction

New Construction

If you want the option to select the finishes in your home or if you prefer a brand-new space, our real estate agents know a new construction home is an excellent option. When purchasing a new construction home, you may be tempted to forgo using a REALTOR®. Here are a few reasons to use a REALTOR® when purchasing a new construction home. 

  1. A REALTOR®Has Your Interests in Mind
    When purchasing a new construction property, you'll encounter individuals who represent other parties (like a builder rep) who will offer to handle the details of the sale for you. While these individuals are capable, you should remember that they are already obligated to represent the best interests of someone else. A REALTOR® will focus only on your best interests. 
  1. Your REALTOR® Will Help You During the Negotiation Process
    Like any home purchase, you want to procure the best terms when you're purchasing new construction. Even though the builder might act like the terms are final, there are likely some details that are up for negotiation. Your REALTOR® will recognize these details and help you procure the best terms possible. Maybe the builder is firm on their price; your REALTOR® might suggest negotiating for upgraded finishes or adding extra items (such as appliances or blinds).
  1. A REALTOR® Knows What Builders are Reputable
    Most people only buy a few homes during their lifetimes. A REALTOR® handles thousands of real estate transactions. As you browse Bradenton homes for sale, your REALTOR® will advise you as to which home builders are known for doing quality work. 
  1. Your REALTOR® Can Provide Helpful Recommendations 
    Throughout the homebuying process, you'll find yourself searching for professionals to assist with your purchase. Before you start looking at Sarasota homes for sale, you'll want to get preapproved for a mortgage so that you know what you can afford to borrow. While your builder may suggest a mortgage, your REALTOR® can suggest lenders that they know are buyer-friendly. Once you're ready to commit to a new construction, you'll want to ensure that the finished product is sound. Your REALTOR® can recommend a home inspector to make sure your new home is ready for you to occupy. You'll appreciate having a knowledgeable resource throughout the process.
  1. A REALTOR® is Familiar with the Neighborhood
    When buying a home, it's important to find a property in a neighborhood that's right for your lifestyle. It's hard to get an accurate feel for a neighborhood during a short visit. A REALTOR® is a valuable source of information for the neighborhood's true environment. They know which neighborhoods are good for families and which areas are better for individuals who value their privacy. 

Ready to start exploring new construction? Contact us to get started!

January
18

Is it Time to Upgrade Your Kitchen Appliances?

Kitchen Upgrades Sarasota

If your kitchen is beginning to look a bit outdated or things just aren't working as well as they used to, you might be wondering if it's time to upgrade your appliances. Our real estate agents usually recommend replacing your appliances before they break, as replacing items one by one can result in mismatched appliances. The last thing you want is a set of appliances that differ by color, age, or style appliances especially if you're planning to sell your home. Mismatched appliances can really give your kitchen a cluttered look.

Figuring out the best time to replace your kitchen appliances is the key to maximizing the longevity of your products and also maintaining your home's aesthetic value. Below are some tips to help you determine the best time to upgrade your kitchen appliances.

  1. They're Simply Aging
    Every appliance has a lifespan, so knowing the age of each kitchen appliance can help you predict when they might be on their last legs. Refrigerators generally last 13 to 15 years, while dishwashers usually last about 8 or 9 years. Of course, the exact lifespan will depend on the product and brand. If your appliances are getting up there in age, then it's probably time to start thinking about replacements.
  2. Your Kitchen is Out of Style
    If your appliances are wood-paneled, bright green, or look like they're from the 1960s, then they might be a little outdated. While your outdated appliances may work well or have sentimental value, installing modern-looking appliances may be helpful when it comes time to sell your home. Some of these Sarasota homes for sale have classic stainless steel appliances, which really creates a timeless look.
  3. The Noise is Becoming an Issue
    If your dishwasher sounds like a semi-truck or your refrigerator is buzzing, it might be time to start thinking about new appliances. You may have even become used to the sound by now, but you'll notice such a big difference when you upgrade. In fact, some of these Bradenton homes for sale have the quietest kitchen appliances on the market today.
  4. Your Utility Bills Are Too High
    Some old appliances can actually be really expensive to keep around because they're not very energy efficient. Modern refrigerators, dishwashers, ovens, and washing machines consume a fraction of the energy compared to older models from ten or twenty years ago. Upgrading to new appliances may be expensive in the short term, but you may actually see some cost savings down the road.
  5. They Don't Work Like They Used To
    All appliances tend to lose performance over time, so if yours aren't working as well as they used to, then it's probably time to start saving-up for replacements. If it's taking longer for your oven to heat up or your dishes aren't coming out as clean as they used to, it might be time to start shopping.

There are no hard-and-fast rules for determining the best time to replace your appliances, but age, style, and condition are often the best indicators. For guidance on the best ways to upgrade your kitchen, contact us today!

April
1

Mark Your Calendar: 5 Spring Festivals in Manatee and Sarasota Counties

Spring Festivals Sarasota & Manatee Counties
When's the last time you spent the weekend enjoying the sun and exploring the fun found around Sarasota and Bradenton? Our REALTORS® encourage you to get out and get involved in the many fantastic weekend events that fill our coast with rich arts and culture. Celebrate our gorgeous weather and vibrant communities by attending one of these five great spring festivals happening in Manatee and Sarasota Counties.

Mark Your Calendars for These Great Spring Festivals

  1. Village of the Arts Artwalk Weekend – 1017 12 Ave W., Bradenton, FL 34205 | April 5-6
    The first Friday of every month kicks off the Village of the Arts Artwalk Weekend. Take a stroll through the Village's galleries and shops, stopping to admire the wonderful works of art that our talented area artists bring to life. Pick out a few pieces to take home or learn more about these creations from the artists themselves. Close to Bradenton homes for sale, the Village of the Arts Artwalk Weekend is a can't miss event every month!

  2. The Sarasota Chalk Festival – Burns Square, S. Orange Ave at S. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota, FL 34236 | April 5-7
    Who doesn't have fond memories creating murals along the sidewalk of their childhood homes? Head out to the Sarasota Chalk Festival and watch as skilled artists turn Pineapple Avenue into a canvas for dazzling creations. These breathtaking masterpieces, just a quick walk from Sarasota homes for sale, will fill your weekend with inspiration and awe. Be sure to visit at night as they light the street with votive candles and offer wine tastings to create a truly romantic experience.

  3. The Sarasota Film Festival – 322 Cocoanut Ave., Sarasota, FL 34236 | April 5-15
    World-class cinema can be found just across the bay from Longboat Key homes for sale. The Sarasota Film Festival returns for its 20th year to showcase ten days of fantastic independent films. As one of the top film festivals in North America, residents and visitors of Manatee and Sarasota Counties are given an excellent opportunity to laugh, cry and be entertained with amazing stories from around the world.

  4. Main Street Live – 420 12th St. W., Bradenton, FL 34205 | April 13-14
    Right across the Manatee River from spacious Palmetto homes for sale is Bradenton's biggest block party. Come on out to Main Street Live in Bradenton this April and bring in spring with music from Reverend Barry & The Funk. Old Main Street will be closed to traffic as vendors, food trucks and live music fills the street. Join us and rock the night away as we dance and dine under the stars.
     
  5. Sarasota Veg Fest – Sarasota Fairgrounds, 3000 Ringling Blvd, Sarasota, FL 34237 | May 4
    Trust us — even the pickiest eater in your family does not want to miss the Sarasota Veg Fest. Celebrate healthy lifestyles, delicious food, and eco-friendly living at this free spring festival in Sarasota. Not too far from the Siesta Key homes for sale you've been dreaming of sits the Sarasota Fairgrounds which will host this second annual event. Sample delicious foods from more than 150 veg-friendly and vegan vendors, learn how to make healthy diet choices and enjoy live music and entertainment. There is even a Veggie Kids Zone full of arts, crafts, and activities for children. Guest speakers, raffles, fitness classes, and food demonstrations are also ripe for the picking at this great green gathering.

Contact Wagner Realty today to learn more about other spectacular springtime festivals happening around Sarasota and Manatee Counties. 

April
20

Buying a Home in a Florida Tree City Near You

Celebrating Our Community's Tree Cities

Buying a Florida Tree City Home

National Arbor Day is Friday, April 28. It recognizes the role trees play in our daily lives and promotes tree planting and care. In addition to the benefits trees provide in our communities, planting trees on your own property is an excellent way to boost your home's curb appeal.  Homes for sale with mature trees on the property provide more than beauty.  They increase the value of your home.  The USDA Forest Service has said, healthy mature trees can add an average of 10 percent to a property's value.

Homes with well-landscaped yards with established trees and bushes that provide privacy fetch higher prices and tend to sell more quickly than houses with little or no landscaping.  A home with great curb appeal impresses home buyers before they even tour a home.

Did you know there are over 3,400 cities and towns across America that have made a commitment to joining Tree City USA?  Tree City USA has been "greening up" cities nationwide since 1976.  It is a program that provides the necessary framework for cities to care for and expand their public trees.

How Your Community Can Become a Tree City

Florida Tree City  Standards

To earn the Tree City USA designation, your city must meet four standards established by the Arbor Day Foundation and the National Association of State Foresters to ensure that every qualifying community—regardless of size--would have a viable tree management program.  The four standards include:

  1. A Tree Board or Department
  2. An ordinance for tree care
  3. A well-funded community forestry program
  4. An Arbor Day celebration.

Homes in Florida's Tree Cities

There are 173 Florida communities that have taken a proactive role managing trees and are recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation as official Tree City USA communities.  In our local area, seven local communities in Manatee and Sarasota Counties have been accepted by Tree City USA.

Tree Cities in Our Communities

Click on any Tree City name on our list to view homes and learn more.

  1. Anna Maria - Anna Maria, Florida the quintessential beach town that is the ideal balance of laid-back while still offering residents plenty in the way of things to do. Bicycle enthusiasts will find Anna Maria the perfect city—it caters to cyclists with paths, slower speed limits, and minimal car traffic. Although there is easy access to the outside world, many residents don't feel the need to venture far beyond city boundaries. Food, shops, entertainment, nature, and recreation all exist in abundance in the beautiful city of Anna Maria.

  2. Bradenton – Bradenton, Florida is an ideal area for those who want the benefits of living in a bigger city, but still prefer to have the beach nearby. As part of the Sarasota metro area, Bradenton has access to a variety of arts and culture, and a short drive can lead you to several smaller, quaint beachside towns that are perfect for day tripping. In addition to the white sandy shorelines, Bradenton has a riverwalk area and a thriving downtown.

  3. Bradenton Beach - Bradenton Beach, Florida is an island community on Anna Maria Island's southern end. With an estimated population of 1,200 people and average temperatures of a comfortable 79 degrees, Bradenton Beach seems like life in paradise to many. If you are considering homes in Bradenton Beach, Florida, you could be enjoying that taste of paradise all year long.

  4. Holmes Beach - Holmes Beach, Florida is year-round, resort style living at its best. Holmes Beach tends to be a friendly and welcoming community with an upbeat atmosphere that radiates throughout the city. If you've always dreamed of living in an area that is full of activity, but still relaxing, Holmes Beach is an excellent choice.

  5. Palmetto - Palmetto, Florida is a located between the Manatee River and Terra Ceia Bay. Palmetto is perfect for people looking for an active lifestyle that involves nature and community activities. The area is great for people of all ages, but families will like living in a city with some excellent educational picks and a closer-knit neighborhood feel.

  6. Sarasota – Sarasota, Florida boasts a rich arts scene. People from all over the area come to Sarasota to enjoy world-class theater, music and other performing arts. Sarasota is also a beach haven with spectacular scenery, abundant wildlife, and white sandy expanses and warm water. With its dynamic scene and incredible natural beauty, it is also a wonderful city to live.

  7. Venice - Venice, Florida is a large city located in Sarasota County that combines the quirkiness of its California counterpart and the waterways of its Italian namesake. Venice is a known as a second home for snowbirds during the winter.  Families enjoy a top-notch school system and art fans will appreciate the dynamic theater and art scene. 

Our REALTORS® at Wagner Realty make it their mission to continue to offer the best homes in Manatee and Sarasota Counties.  Contact us to learn more about homes for sale in Anna Maria, Bradenton, Sarasota and the surrounding communities.  Wagner Realty has been committed to serving your Florida real estate needs since 1939.

Disclaimer: All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. All properties are subject to prior sale, change or withdrawal. Neither listing broker(s) or information provider(s) shall be responsible for any typographical errors, misinformation, misprints and shall be held totally harmless. Listing(s) information is provided for consumers personal, non-commercial use and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing. Information on this site was last updated 08/19/2022. The listing information on this page last changed on 08/19/2022. The data relating to real estate for sale on this website comes in part from the Internet Data Exchange program of Stellar MLS (last updated Fri 08/19/2022 11:14:03 AM EST). Real estate listings held by brokerage firms other than Wagner Realty may be marked with the Internet Data Exchange logo and detailed information about those properties will include the name of the listing broker(s) when required by the MLS. All rights reserved. --

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