Sarasota Real Estate: “Paradise Found” or “Fools Gold”?

This month we are filming from the southern tip of Lido Key, where behind me are the kayak and paddleboard trails in and around the mangrove tunnels.

So as more new buyers come to our community, and many more people try to make Sarasota home, there is a question out there- is Sarasota “Paradise Found” or is our market “Fools Gold”?

The first question is of course a personal one, how do you define Paradise? If your definition is snow-capped mountains, redwood forests, or volcanoes, or you prefer man made marvels such as the Eifel Tower, Statue of Liberty, Golden Gate Bridge, then of course Sarasota is not for you.

Yet when a client who really wants to be here asked me last week if he is crazy for paying 15% more than the asking price, my response was a resounding NO.

So why is this? Why did I say no? And why do we anchor on a listing price? A listing price is merely a starting point or opening bid- like at an auction. The value can go up or down depending on the interest in the item or property. In fact, this week on Siesta Key a property that had been listed for $5,975,000 closed for $6,600,000. We should focus our attention on the selling price. And then compare that to other selling prices.

Which brings me to Fools Gold. Was it this buyer on Siesta Key? Or was it fifteen years ago in another tremendous Seller market, when a couple purchased a waterfront property on Longboat Key and just four years later our clients purchased the same property for 53 cents on the dollar? (Note: Todays Sellers market is distinctly different because most people are paying with their own money not taking out loans)

Because of these experiences, I tend to be more conservative in valuing the market. However, I do not set the market. Yes, it is possible that something unforeseen could change market demand or pricing such as another pandemic or some other 100-year event. And yes, you could wait another 4 to 10 years to see if there will be a downward repricing of the market, but to what end?

Alternatively, one can just go on with life. 15 years ago we had a client who “overpaid” for a downtown Sarasota property compared to what it had been priced at 1-2 years earlier. But he really wanted the property and the lifestyle -so he bought it and thoroughly loved his time there. Sadly, he was diagnosed with a grave illness and passed away. Just before he did, we sold his property for more than he paid and he moved back to be with family in his last days.

The important thing to understand is…what is your paradise? Is it a community that celebrates the beaches, the water, the arts, its people? Does that bring you JOY? Or are you better off going somewhere else? Or Settling? Perhaps getting a better deal? Or waiting? Or could that be Fools Gold?

My point is that if Sarasota is your Paradise Found; if the beaches, arts, people and community bring you joy, then start living here… because buying somewhere else or settling for the status quo may be your version of Fools Gold.

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