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Commercial & Residential Real Estate
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September
19

Plan Ahead for Fall Fun in Sarasota

sarasota fall

Fall is when temperatures start to cool off in the Sarasota area, but the end of summer doesn't mean the fun is over on the Florida Gulf Coast. In fact, it's quite the opposite. 

The arrival of fall brings a plethora of fun outdoor festivals, markets, and events in Sarasota and Bradenton. It's good timing because fall is the perfect season to spend time outside in Florida. These are some of the upcoming events that our real estate agents are most excited about.

  • Fruitville Grove Pumpkin Fest - 7410 Fruitville Rd, Sarasota, FL 34240
    Fruitville Grove Farm is one of the best fresh vegetable growers in the Sarasota area, and we always look forward to their pumpkin season! This year marks the 34th iteration of Fruitville Grove's annual Pumpkin Fest, which takes place every weekend throughout October. In addition to an amazing selection of pick-your-own pumpkins, the festival also includes rides, vendors, a petting zoo, and live entertainment just minutes from these Sarasota homes for sale.

  • Beer, Bands & BBQ - 7289 Palmer Blvd, Sarasota, FL 34240
    The annual Beer, Bands & BBQ festival has become a local favorite since it first began in 2015. The festival is returning yet again on October 1, and it promises to be a great time! As always, you can expect some killer blues and rock bands, as well as BBQ-inspired food trucks and a great selection of local, craft, and domestic beer on draft. 

  • Hunsader Farms Pumpkin Festival - 5500 Co Rd 675, Bradenton, FL 34211
    Open annually from September to June, Hunsader Farms grows a stunning array of crops that change with the seasons. Pumpkin season is a big deal here, and we're happy to report that Hunsader's Pumpkin Festival is returning in 2022 for its 31st year. Just a short drive from many Bradenton homes for sale, the festival includes arts and crafts, pony and hay wagon rides, live music, great food, and a wide range of pumpkin-themed festivities on October 15-16, 22-23, and 29-30.

  • 16th Annual Hungarian Festival - 3000 Ringling Blvd, Sarasota, FL 34237
    We're really looking forward to the 16th Annual Hungarian Festival on October 15-16, 2022! It's the largest Hungarian festival in Florida, highlighting unique Hungarian cuisine, art, music, and dance. The festival returns this year to the Sarasota Fairgrounds and offers two days packed with fun and family-friendly performances, demonstrations, crafts, games, and more. 

  • Fall Festival at University Town Center - 140 University Town Center Dr, Sarasota, FL 34243
    Sarasota's Fall Festival at University Town Center was a big hit in 2021, and now it's coming back for its second year! The festival takes place on October 22-23 on the Mall at UTC and will include a pumpkin patch, carnival rides, a Lil Mr & Miss Pumpkin Pageant, and a wide range of fall-themed activities and photo stops. Attendees can also explore more than 40 market vendors and get refreshments at the food and beer trucks.

  • Sarasota Rocktoberfest - 199 Bayfront Dr, Sarasota, FL 34236
    The annual Sarasota Rocktoberfest makes a strong case for how much fun you can have when you combine a traditional German Oktoberfest celebration with a modern American rock music festival. It's a lot of fun! The festival returns to Downtown Sarasota on October 14-16. Enjoy exciting live music while you sample German specialties like Schweinshaxe (roasted ham hock), Knodel (potato or flour dumplings), and Kasespatzel (cheese noodles).

Contact us today to learn more about life in coastal Florida. If you're on the search for your dream home, our real estate agents are dedicated to helping you find it in Sarasota, Bradenton, and the surrounding areas. 

September
12

Benefits of Utilizing a Rental Program

Rental Program

Renting out a home, condo, or other housing can be a great source of additional income, whether you're dealing in short-term vacation rentals or properties that are leased annually. But with the potential for profit also comes a great deal of work, from finding the right tenants to collecting rent and maintaining your property. The tasks associated with renting out your property are not only time-consuming, but it's also easy for something to go wrong.

That's why our company - through our real estate agents and a team of rental experts - offers a property management program to make things easier for you if you're renting out your property. In fact, our team currently manages more than 1,200 properties, including annuals, short/long term, and vacation rentals in Manatee and Sarasota Counties. The following are some of the benefits of utilizing a rental program.

  • Expertise
    Our company has over 8 decades of rental experience, and we offer full-service property management services. Even if you're an experienced landlord, our experience, expertise, and convenient services can help you get the most out of your rental property.

  • Competitive Pricing
    We'll use our market data and rental rate data, as well as our professional knowledge of the current real estate rental market, to help you set the optimal rental price. Correct pricing will help you maximize your profits while also making it more likely that your home is rented quickly.

  • Marketing
    You'll need effective marketing that reaches the best potential tenants for your property. We provide this in a variety of ways, starting with utilizing our property management software to syndicate your property's listing out to multiple websites, including online booking sites. If it's needed, we can also purchase additional advertising.

  • Tenant Screening
    Taking the proper steps to research a prospective tenant can go a long way toward avoiding problems. We'll require them to fill out a fee-based rental application and will then conduct a background check on criminal, credit, eviction, and sexual predator records. In addition, we'll require proof of income and will contact previous landlords and employers.

  • Pre-Rental and Post-Rental Inspections
    Before a tenant moves into your home, we'll take detailed date-stamped photos to provide evidence of your home's condition. We'll do the same when the tenant moves out, and if they've damaged your home, we'll let them know and will adjust their security deposit accordingly.

  • Coordination of Repairs
    At some point, your property will need a repair of some sort. We have relationships with qualified service people and will work with them to assure that you receive the best quality of work at a good price. And since some repair emergencies happen after hours, we're available for these types of calls 24/7.

  • Consistent Payment Processing and Disbursement
    We'll monitor and process all your rent money, and you'll have the security of knowing you'll receive your payments when expected.

  • Communication
    Our property managers will frequently communicate with you, so you're kept up-to-date on everything and will have the chance to express any concerns or ask any questions.

  • Help to Comply with Applicable Laws
    Depending on where it's located, you may need a permit in order to operate your property as a rental unit. In addition, we'll make sure you understand the legalities of consent forms, lease agreements, and Fair Housing laws.

Contact us to see Sarasota homes for sale or Bradenton homes for sale or learn more about how our rental program can help you maximize your profits and minimize your problems. 

September
6

Sarasota & Bradenton Community Theater Productions

community theater

Theater season is just around the corner, and our real estate agents are already excited about the upcoming performances. Community theater is so important in our area as it serves as both a fun escape and an artistic platform for our local performers. This year's calendar is full of musicals, dramas, comedies, and even family performances, so there is sure to be something for everyone. Here are a few of the highlights that we're looking forward to the most:

Players Centre 
Located just down the road from these Sarasota homes for sale is the Players Centre. This wonderful community theater hosts everything from musicals to smaller productions and provides local artists and performers with an outlet to express creativity. Here are some of the performances in the upcoming season:

  • Side By Side: September 8 - 18
    A Tony Award-winning musical is funny, heartbreaking, and full of emotion. Side By Side follows an influential artist's search for the meaning of life. 
  • Little Shop Of Horrors: October 6 - 16
    One of the most creative and popular theater performances ever created, Little Shop of Horrors, is the story of a man who sacrifices his morals in search of fame and in the process creates a man-eating plant.
  • Miracle on 34th Street: December 1 - 11
    A classic Christmas movie comes to life on stage as a girl's belief brings validity to a department store Santa. 
  • Proof - January 12 - 22
    A Tony Award-winning drama portrays the life of a young woman coming to terms with her own identity after growing up with a famous but unstable father. 
  • Always...Patsy Cline - February 2 - 12
    This show is dedicated to the famous singer Patsy Cline who was killed in a plane crash in 1963. The performance tells the story of Cline's friendship with a fan.

Venice Theater
One of the largest community theaters in the country, the Venice Theater is conveniently located near Venice homes for sale. It hosts dozens of performances throughout the year. Here are some of the highlights of this upcoming season:

  • The Revolutionists - September 16 - October 2
    This performance tells the story of four women beheaded during the French Revolution. 
  • Kinky Boots - October 21 - November 2
    Winner of 6 Tony Awards, Kinky Boots is a classic musical with an emphasis on friendship, fashion, and diversity as well as many big hits.
  • A Christmas Carol -  Dec 9 - 20
    A classic the whole family will enjoy during the holiday season.
  • The Cemetery Club: January 20 - February 12
    A popular Broadway production, this romantic comedy is about the lives of three women who meet for tea prior to visiting their husbands' graves.

Manatee Performing Arts Center
With a history spanning back to 1947, Manatee Performing Arts Center has delighted visitors and locals with stage productions near Bradenton homes for sale. There are many different ways to catch a show on their stage, but theater fans can keep their calendar full with shows when signing up for their 22-23 Manatee Players Musical Series. Musicals in that series include:

  • Gypsy - October
  • The Music Man - December
  • Next to Normal - January
  • Company - March
  • Sunset Boulevard - April/May

The best part about seeing a community theater performance? When you love the community that you live in!  Contact us today for more information on local listings.

August
15

National Thrift Shop Day: Score Secondhand Treasures at These Shops

Thrift Shops in Sarasota

August 17th is an important day: National Thrift Shop Day! Thrift shops are a great place to discover secondhand treasures. You can save money, donate to a good cause, and give new life to things that might otherwise have been discarded. The best part of this holiday, of course, is celebrating by visiting a thrift shop. Our real estate agents recommend checking out one of these stores in the Sarasota area.

  • World's Attic Thrift Shop: 700 N. Beneva Rd., Sarasota, FL 34232
    World's Attic Thrift Shop
    has a great selection of men's and women's clothing. They also have an area with accessories, such as purses and jewelry, along with a few aisles of home goods. This would be a great place to pick up a lamp, some wall hangings, or holiday decor.

    This thrift shop is open Monday - Saturday. If you have something to donate, stop by Tuesday - Friday between 10 am and 3 pm.

  • Sunshine Thrift Store: 3611 1st Street E #230, Bradenton, FL 34208
    If you happen to be looking at Bradenton homes for sale on National Thrift Shop Day, stop by Sunshine Thrift Store. This is a large thrift store with more than 30,000 items in stock at any given time. Their clothing selection is very well organized by gender, clothing type, and colors, so you should have an easy time finding what you need.

    Sunshine Thrift Shop also has a good selection of housewares, linens, and furniture. They're open 7 days a week.

  • Fabulous Finds Thrift Shop: 1038 North Orange Avenue, Sarasota, FL 34323
    Fabulous Finds Thrift Shop is a good place to look for secondhand designer clothing, unique furnishings, and boutique accessories. They get a lot of items from theater groups and hobbyists, setting them apart from the average thrift store.

    Fabulous Finds is open Monday - Saturday, and they're near plenty of Sarasota homes for sale. So, you may want to do a little house hunting while you're in the area.

  • Habitat for Humanity Sarasota ReStore: 2095 17th St., Sarasota, FL 34234
    Habitat for Humanity Sarasota ReStore is a thrift shop that sells donated items to the public. The proceeds go to support the work of Habitat for Humanity, an organization that builds homes for those in need.

    This is a huge thrift store with more than 17,500 square feet of retail space. In addition to the typical clothing and accessories, you'll find light fixtures, appliances, patio furniture, and tools. This is a great place to shop when trying to equip a new home or decorate your yard and garden.

  • SPARCC Treasure Chest: 1426 Fruitville Rd., Sarasota, FL 34236
    SPARCC Treasure Chest is a thrift store whose proceeds are used to fund SPARCC programs. SPARCC, or Safe Place and Rape Crisis Center, exists to provide victims of rape and other crimes with safety, resources, and assistance.

    At this thrift store, you'll find terrific deals on clothing. They have special 50% off deals every day. This is a great place to shop for jewelry as they have lots of trendy, stylish items at affordable prices. Sometimes, you'll even stumble upon a nice dresser, small appliance, lamp, or decorative dish set.

Whether you stop by one or several of these thrift stores on National Thrift Shop Day, we hope you find some awesome treasures. Maybe your visit will inspire you to make thrifting a more regular part of your routine. If you're new to the Sarasota area and looking for a place to call home, contact us. Our friendly agents can help you navigate the local housing market.

August
8

National Relaxation Day: Spas Near Sarasota

Sarasota County Spas

Bypass the typical Monday blues on August 15 by joining our real estate agents in celebrating National Relaxation Day. Give yourself some well-deserved pampering at these luxurious spas in Sarasota County. 

  • The Ritz-Carlton Spa - 1111 Ritz-Carlton Dr., Sarasota, FL 34236
    Just the name of the Ritz-Carlton Spa conjures up images of elegance. Experienced technicians use honey, seawater marine scrubs, and other locally sourced ingredients to enhance the effects of their massages, facials, and wraps. Add optional enhancements such as eye, lip, or hair conditioning treatments. Hours are 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. daily.

  • Spa at Longboat Key Club - 220 Sands Point Rd., Longboat Key, FL 34228
    With 10 treatment rooms and two relaxation rooms, the Spa at Longboat Key is prepared to offer the ultimate day of relaxation. The island ambiance near Longboat Key homes for sale helps to leave stress and pressure far behind. As an Opal Spa, Longboat Key Club uses Kerstin Florian products that incorporate natural ingredients for a holistic approach to health and well-being. The spa also promotes sustainability through recycling and other eco-friendly practices. Hours are 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday and 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

  • Mandala Med Spa & Yoga Shala - 1715 Stickney Point Rd., Sarasota, FL 34231
    Get your "om" on at Mandala Med Spa & Yoga Shala, right down the street from Sarasota homes for sale. Yoga's emphasis on the mind-body connection makes it a perfect element for a day of physical and mental renewal. In addition to a full menu of spa services, Mandala has open and private yoga sessions that accommodate all levels of experience. Have your chakras aligned or harness your life force energy with a reiki session. Mandala is open weekdays from 9 a.m. - 5:30 p.m., with extended hours until 5:30 p.m. Tuesday and on Saturday by appointment.

  • Sirius Day Spa - 8512 Cooper Creek Blvd., University Park, FL 34201
    Self-care shouldn't be reserved for one day a year. Sirius Day Spa, not far from University Park homes for sale, offers monthly memberships starting as low as $59. Earn the fee back immediately as a credit on any one of more than 40 available services. Free access to the Serenity Lounge, with complimentary teas and waters, massage chairs, and guided mediation tapes, is worth the price alone. Sirius also has a dry-bar salon, eyelash extensions, waxing, and teeth whitening so you can look as good as you feel. Hours are 9 a.m. - 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Sunday.

  • The Met - 35 S. Blvd. of the Presidents, Sarasota, FL 34236
    Whether you want a great pick-me-up or you're ready to reinvent your style, The Met is the place to go. You'll feel special from the minute you step into the elegant building, not far from Bradenton homes for sale, with its stunning white columns and beautiful fountain. Choose from a la carte services or opt for one of the combo packages that include lunch. Hours are 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. daily except Sunday when doors open at noon.

  • Aluna Wellness Center & Spa - 2219 Gulf Dr. N, Bradenton Beach, FL 34217
    Enjoy a variety of relaxing services when you stop by Aluna Wellness Center & Spa. Located near our Bradenton Beach homes for sale, services for your spa day consist of massage, acupuncture, and organic skincare options. Plus, be on the lookout for their monthly yoga classes that are designed to help you relax and unwind.

Enjoy the ultimate pampering with a Sarasota County home that fits your lifestyle. Contact us at Wagner Realty to learn more.

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.

July
18

6 Reasons You'll Need a Real Estate Agent in this Market

Real Estate Tips

Over the last couple of years, we've seen record low inventory, significant demand, and low-interest rates, which have created an unprecedented seller's market. While rising rates are expected to cool things off a bit, sellers are still very much in the driver's seat.

However, our real estate agents say buying a home in this market isn't impossible. Buyers just have to adjust their approach. It's also never been more important to have an experienced real estate agent in your corner. An agent is critical for navigating the complexities of today's market and avoiding costly pitfalls. Here's why:

  1. See Listings As Soon As They Hit The Market
    Properties aren't sitting on the market very long these days, which is why you'll want to get in to see them as soon as possible. Your agent can let you know the minute a property hits the market. The multiple listing service (MLS) website, which is only available to real estate agents, can be configured to send you an email the moment a listing matches your criteria. Speed is essential when it comes to booking home tours, and you can rely on your real estate agent to battle for an appointment time. Your agent may even be in the loop on new properties before they hit the market and can get you in ahead of the competition. For example, if you'd like to schedule a tour of one of these Bradenton homes for sale, a good agent can get you in to see one today.

  2. Help You Spot Potential Pitfalls
    It's hard to spot potential problems during a 15-minute home tour. As a buyer, you'll likely spend the time trying to envision yourself living in the space. Therefore, you can rely on your agent to be an experienced second set of eyes that can help you spot problems, costly pitfalls, or other elements of the home that you may overlook.

  3. Draft A Competitive Offer
    To win a bidding war these days, buyers often have to get creative. Your agent can help you draw up an offer that stands out from the competition. Whether it's waiving inspections, increasing earnest deposit, or determining the right offer price, an experienced agent likely has a good sense of what it'll take to "win" the home.

  4. Administrative Tasks
    There is a lot of documentation involved in the home closing process. It's important that you have an experienced real estate professional in your corner to help you wade through the paperwork. Your agent can take the time to walk you through the various documents, so you know exactly what you're signing.

  5. Coordinate Inspections
    Your real estate agent has a wide network of industry contacts, so they can refer you to reputable inspectors, contractors, and other service providers who can help support the transaction. They'll also work to schedule these appointments on your behalf.

  6. Negotiate On Your Behalf
    Most real estate transactions involve some negotiating. Whether it's contingencies, repairs, or the final sale price, negotiating terms takes time and energy. If you're in the market for one of these Sarasota homes for sale, you want someone in your corner who knows what they're doing.

Buying a home is challenging in today's market, but a good agent can help you find success. Contact us today to start exploring local listings.

June
27

REALTOR and Property Manager Joins Wagner Realty's First Street Sarasota Office

SARASOTA, FL June 27, 2022 - Property Manager and REALTOR Patrice Ivan has joined Wagner Realtyʼs First Street Sarasota Office.

Raised in a family of REALTORS in Norwalk Connecticut, Patrice always enjoyed watching her family build strong and lasting customer relationships. Their motivation of helping families find their dream home ignited her into a career path of real estate and eventually, property management.

She earned her undergraduate B.S. Degree from Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, specializing in Geography: Urban and Planning and Regional Development and then continued her education earning the Masters in Education Certification from Sacred Heart University (SHU) in Fairfield, Connecticut.

Patrice moved to Florida in 2000 where she became a Customer Liaison for new construction in Manatee and Sarasota County. 

In 2007 she was the Assistant Project Manager for the general contractor Thomason Stevens, who worked with Robert Hatfield Developers and City of Bradenton on the Riverwalk Project and completed the build of the Promenade at Riverwalk 115 condominiums in downtown Bradenton.

For the past fourteen years, she has specialized in property management specifically in short and long term leasing within the luxury market in Sarasota and surrounding areas. ­

"I chose Wagner Realty because of their outstanding reputation and decades of experience. In speaking with many people within the company, I knew that I would get the support that I need in the fast-paced world of property management" notes Patrice, adding "Wagner just had that community feel that I was looking for."

In her spare time, Patrice loves to garden and often enjoys the tranquility of strolling through Selby Gardens.  She also enjoys painting abstracts and uses the gorgeous west coast beaches as her backdrop of our many creations. 

When she is not helping people locate properties, she, along with her two-year old pug, Roscoe spend time together by taking long walks throughout our awesome communities.

She can be reached at the Wagner Realty Sarasota First Street Office located at 1440 First Street, Sarasota FL office or by phone at 941.993.0823, on the web at www.pivan.wagnerrealty.com  or by email at patriceivan@WagnerRealty.com.

July
11

Beaches Your Dog Will Enjoy in Sarasota

Sarasota Beaches

Our real estate agents find that Florida's incredible natural beauty is even more special when they share it with their best four-legged friend. Head out for a great day with your pet at one of these dog-friendly beaches near Sarasota.

  • Brohard Paw Park - 1850 Harbor Dr. S., Venice, FL 34285
    Brohard Paw Park, located just minutes from Venice homes for sale, is the Riviera Coast of dog-friendly beaches. After romping in the leash-free fenced-in park, Fido can head to the adjacent beach for a refreshing dip. There are drinking fountains, trash receptacles, and showers, along with an accessible boardwalk and plenty of benches and picnic tables where humans can have lunch or just relax as their pets have fun. Park hours are 7 a.m. - dusk daily.

  • De Soto National Memorial Beach - 8300 De Soto Memorial Hwy., Bradenton, FL 34209
    Bring your leashed pet along to explore De Soto National Memorial Beach, not far from Bradenton homes for sale. The stunning hiking path meanders around a number of different ecosystems, such as a mangrove forest, just like the ones the first visitors found. Afterward, the two of you can cool off wading in the waters of Tampa Bay. Park grounds are open from dawn to dusk, but note that the parking lot gates close at 5 p.m. Admission is free for all guests.

  • Palma Sola Causeway Park - 9000 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton, FL 34209
    Once you and your precious pooch visit delightful Palma Sola Causeway Park, you may never want to leave. Dogs and horses alike can be found, along with their humans, traversing the sandy stretches of this waterfront area. Visitors give the park high marks for the clean, well-maintained grounds and peaceful ambiance. Grills are available, so pack a picnic lunch with plenty of doggie treats. Palma Sola is open seven days a week from sunrise to sunset.

  • Indian Beach Park - 2703 Bay Shore Rd., Sarasota, FL 34234
    Tucked right in the center of the magnificent Sarasota Bayfront, Indian Beach Park packs a lot of activity into its single acre of land. The prime location makes it a popular spot for launching kayaks and canoes, while many others come to try their hand at fishing. Wind down after a long day by taking in some amazing sunset views with Fido at your side. Hours are 5 a.m. - 11 p.m. daily.

  • Bayfront Park - 5 Bayfront Dr., Sarasota, FL 34236
    Are you into multitasking? Culture, education, and entertainment meet head-on at Bayfront Park. One of the prominent features is the recently installed bioswale, designed to capture and treat stormwater runoff from surrounding surfaces. See if you can identify cabbage palm, mangrove spider lily, and other native plants inside the bioswale. Take a stroll with Fido to see the charming art installations, including Olympic Wannabees, Dolphin Fountain, and Ominous Ikon 69. Bayfront Park also offers opportunities for kayaking, canoeing, and fishing. Plans are underway to design and rebuild an upgrade to the kids' fountain on-site. Park hours are 5 a.m. - 11 p.m., seven days a week.

Contact us at Wagner Realty for cheerful and experienced assistance with all your real estate needs.

June
6

Beach Concession Snacks in Sarasota County

Beach Concessions

The beaches of Sarasota County await you this summer, and it wouldn't be a proper beach day without some great oceanfront snacks for the whole family. Fortunately, you won't have to travel far from the warm sand to enjoy a cool drink and a refreshing meal, with delicious beach concession snacks available a short walk from your favorite Sarasota County beaches. Our real estate agents have the delicious details on where to find beach concession snacks in Sarasota County this summer.

  • Siesta Beach Eats – 948 Beach Rd., Sarasota, FL 34242
    With both a Sand Pavilion where you can grab a quick bite and a Sun Deck where you can relax with views of the ocean, Siesta Beach Eats is your one-stop-shop for beach concessions near Sarasota homes for sale. The Sand Pavilion offers quick bites like burgers, fries, wraps, and salads, while the Sun Deck has a more extensive menu. There's also a retail shop where you can pick up equipment and supplies for the beach.

  • Lido Beach Concession Stand – 400 Benjamin Franklin Dr., Sarasota, FL 34236
    In the mood for beach fare that's a little more upscale than what you'd usually find at a concession stand? Lido Beach Concession Stand offers tasty treats like fish tacos, lobster rolls, and New York strip sandwiches, along with all of the delicious basics that you'd expect from a beach concession stand. Enjoy your meal with outdoor seating near the concession stand, or take the short walk back to your spot on the beach.

  • Coquina Beach Cafe – 2560 Gulf Dr., Bradenton Beach, FL 34217
    Located on Bradenton Beach, a short trip from Bradenton homes for sale, and featuring a deck that overlooks all of the action on the beach, Coquina Beach Cafe is the perfect place to recharge during your next beach day. In addition to plenty of food options, there's a full menu of frozen, tropical cocktails for the adults to enjoy and a delicious selection of ice cream for the kids.

  • Venice Beach Pavilion – 101 The Esplanade S., Venice, FL 34285
    Featuring a unique, winged roof structure that was built in 1963 and a convenient location near Venice homes for sale, the Venice Beach Pavilion offers excellent breakfast sandwiches along with a full lunch menu. Grab a breakfast sandwich to kick off your beach day, or stop by during lunch to try their signature BLT.

  • New Pass Grill & Bait Shop – 1505 Ken Thompson Pkwy., Sarasota, FL 34236
    Located on Sarasota Bay, close to your favorite beaches, New Pass Grill & Bait Shop is the perfect place to enjoy a waterfront meal after a day at the beach. Their award-winning New Pass Burger has delighted customers for nearly a century, and the full-service bait shop has everything you need for fishing at the beach.

  • Pier 22 – 1200 1st Ave. W., Bradenton, FL 34205
    For an upscale dining room experience that still offers casual vibes near the beach, try a trip to the Pier 22 restaurant for dinner after your next beach day in Bradenton. Pier 22 is more gourmet restaurant than a concession stand, but its location near the beach makes it a local favorite after spending a day with your toes in the sand. Try the lobster tail, steak dinners, or fresh catch of the day for dinner.

Searching for a home close to all of the amazing, beautiful beaches of Sarasota County? Our local real estate team is here to help. Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout the Sarasota County, FL area.

May
23

Where to Pick Your Own Produce Near Sarasota County

Sarasota Farms

One of the great things about living in Florida is that fresh fruit and vegetables are never really out of season. Local farms around Sarasota and Bradenton cultivate corps that change with the calendar.

Even so, spring is almost certainly the best season when it comes to u-pick produce. These are some of our real estate agents' favorite pick-your-own fruit and veggie farms in the Sarasota and Bradenton area!

  • Albritton Fruit Farms - 9600 State Rd 72, Sarasota, FL 34241
    A beautiful farm in the rolling countryside just outside Sarasota, Albritton Fruit Farms offers u-pick blueberries and sunflowers throughout the spring harvest season. This family-owned and operated farm is just minutes from these Sarasota homes for sale and includes 60,000 blueberry plants of four distinct varieties. The u-pick season usually runs from mid-March through late May, and specific dates are frequently updated on their website. 

  • Hunsader Farms - 5500 Co Rd 675, Bradenton, FL 34211
    Bradenton's Hunsader Farms is one of the best places around to get fresh produce. In addition to u-pick offerings that change with the seasons, they offer a fully stocked farm stand where you can shop an amazing variety of fruits and vegetables. U-pick offerings throughout April and May include eggplant, green beans, black-eyed peas, purple hull peas, and okra, and many more options are available pre-picked at the farm stand. There's also an on-site petting zoo and playground, and the farm is only a short drive from many Bradenton homes for sale.

  • Brown's Grove - 16015 Winburn Dr, Sarasota, FL 34240
    One of the leading citrus growers in the Sarasota area, Brown's Grove produces a wide range of fruit in their large, picturesque farm. Brown's Grove has been owned and operated by the Brown family since 1915, and their offerings include red and yellow naval oranges, Meyer lemons, red and white grapefruits, and Tango tangerines. The u-pick citrus season runs from December through February, but Brown's Grove also sets up a fruit stand at Phillippi Farmhouse Market in Sarasota.

  • Honeyside Farms - 24105 FL-62, Parrish, FL 34219
    An organic vegetable farm spanning 12 beautiful acres, Honeyside Farms is the pride and joy of Tiffany Bailey, a 4th-generation farmer who started growing her own produce just outside Bradenton in 2008. Today, the farm grows dozens of different crops a stone's throw from these Parrish homes for sale and offers weekly organic veggie box subscriptions. U-pick is offered on select days that are announced in advance via their social media pages. Honeyside Farms also sells produce at the Lakewood Ranch Farmers Market during the growing season from November to May.

  • Fruitville Grove - 7410 Fruitville Rd, Sarasota, FL 34240
    Fruitville Grove is a working farm as well as a farm market, and they offer a huge variety of local homemade goods year-round, as well as fresh produce in season. You'll always find fresh baked goods, jams and preserves, honey, and dairy products at the market. December through March is the peak season for most of their organic fruits and vegetables, but many crops are available well into spring. Fruitville Grove is perhaps best known for its annual Pumpkin Fest, which includes u-pick pumpkins and a wide range of food, games, and entertainment every October. 

Contact us today to learn more about life in Florida! Fresh local produce year-round is just one of many things that make this part of the world special, and our real estate agents can't wait to help you find your dream home in Sarasota, Bradenton, and the surrounding areas. 

May
9

Dolphin Tours in the Sarasota Area

Dolphin Tours

One of the best parts about living in Florida is getting a prime seat to view nature. This includes dolphins swimming, which you can see at several beaches, or better yet, on a dolphin tour. Spend a day on one of these delightful dolphin tours that are recommended by our real estate agents.

  • LeBarge Tropical Cruises - 2 Marina Plaza, Sarasota, FL 34236
    Live palm trees and refreshing cocktails help create the "floating island" vibe of LeBarge Tropical Cruises. One of their more popular trips is the Dolphin & Manatee Watch, a two-hour cruise that departs at 11 a.m. A trained marine biologist is on hand to offer fascinating insight about the life and behavior of dolphins and manatees. Tickets are $32 for adults and $28 for ages 4-12. Visit the website for schedule and availability.

  • Fun Boat Tours - 1265 Old Stickney Point Rd., Sarasota, FL 34242
    With a name like Fun Boat Tours, you know you're in for a good time. Both two-hour tours depart from Siesta Key Marina and cruise south along the Intercoastal Waterway. In addition to dolphins and manatees, you're likely to spot pelicans, herons, osprey, and other aquatic birds. Dolphins and Donuts heads out at 9:30 a.m., while Dolphins and Drinks has two sailings at 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Tickets are $45 for adults and $20 for ages 10 and under. Visit the website for schedule and availability.

  • Passage Key Dolphin Tours - 1343 Gulf Dr. S., Bradenton Beach, FL 34217
    Is it any wonder that dolphins love to play around beautiful Anna Maria Island? Passage Key Dolphin Tours knows all the favorite hangout spots, making their two-hour trips a spectacular show, especially when you choose the sunset cruise. Not content to sit on board? Get in on the action with a three- to four-hour dolphin and snorkeling tour. Start on one of the sandbars to look for sand dollars and fighting conch shells. Beginners are welcome, and no fins are required. Visit the website for schedule and pricing.

  • Paradise Boat Tours - 200 Bridge St., Building A, Bradenton Beach, FL 34217
    There are few guarantees in life, but one of the best comes from Paradise Boat Tours. They're so confident you'll see dolphins on their cruises that they'll accommodate you on another trip free of charge if you don't. On these 90-minute family-friendly tours, kids get to sit at the helm under the captain's supervision while wearing his hat for a memorable photo op. Guests are welcome to bring their own food and beverages, including beer and wine. Tickets are $35 for adults and $25 for ages 3-12. Visit the website for schedule and availability.

  • Sarasota Bay Explorers - 1600 Ken Thompson Pkwy., Sarasota, FL 34236
    Enjoy the comfy seating and unobstructed views on the 45-foot pontoon boats of Sarasota Bay Explorers. The company works in conjunction with Mote Marine Laboratory, whose marine biologists provide helpful commentary on the cruises. Two-hour trips include a walk on an uninhabited island to see the resident pelicans, egrets, herons, and ibis. Guests also get to observe and handle pufferfish, stone crabs, and other marine life that are gathered in a trawl net. Tickets are $35 for adults and $31 for ages 3-12. Visit the website for schedule and availability.

By land or by sea, life is always thrilling around Sarasota homes for sale and Bradenton homes for sale. If you're buying or selling a home, contact us at Wagner Realty for cheerful assistance with all your real estate needs. 

May
2

Surprise Mom With a Bouquet from These Local Florists

Sarasota Florists

Mother's Day is just around the corner, so now is the time to start thinking about how you'll show mom your appreciation this year. 

Our real estate agents turn to our local flower shops to find the perfect Mother's Day gifts. A bouquet of flowers is not only a great way to freshen up the house, but it's also a gift associated with love and beauty. Here are some local flower shops that make a great Mother's Day bouquet. 

  • Sarasota Florist - 2300 Bee Ridge Rd #303, Sarasota, FL 34239
    For some of the finest Mother's Day florals in the area, stop by Sarasota Florist. This store's professional team of floral designers is offering a special Designer's Choice Mother's Day arrangement for $75. Looking for something different? Whether it's classic, traditional, modern, trendy, or offbeat, they can also create the perfect floral arrangement for you.

  • Suncoast Floristry - 1227 S Beneva Rd, Sarasota, FL 34232
    Expect beautiful flowers, great service, and on-time deliveries at Suncoast Floristry -- a local flower shop where you're sure to find the perfect Mother's Day bouquet. This independent, family-owned floral shop has been serving the Sarasota area since 1980. They offer a wide selection and affordable prices. Best of all, the shop is conveniently located near some beautiful Sarasota homes for sale.

  • Flowers By Edie - 4607 Cortez Rd W, Bradenton, FL 34210
    This local florist has been providing hand-delivered flowers to the Bradenton area for over 35 years. This shop offers tons of beautifully designed bouquets perfect for any occasion. Flowers By Edie has tons of Mother's Day specials available on their website. The shop is also just around the corner from some fantastic Bradenton homes for sale.

  • Blooms By The Beach - 2501 Gulf Dr. N, Bradenton Beach, FL 34217
    This beachside store is the go-to destination for beautiful flowers in Anna Maria Island and Bradenton. Blooms By The Beach is a full-service florist with high-quality products that are sure to delight. The store offers loads of options for Mother's Day gifts. The staff also has a reputation for being friendly and helpful, so you're sure to find the perfect gift for mom. After shopping, be sure to schedule a tour of one of these beautiful nearby Bradenton Beach homes for sale.

  • Ellenton Florist - 6214 US-301, Ellenton, FL 34222
    Celebrate mom with some of the most beautifully-designed bouquets in South Florida. Ellenton Florist sources flowers from the highest quality origins and has a dedicated staff of floral experts and artists. Mother's Day flower delivery is available in Ellenton, Parrish, Palmetto, and several other surrounding towns. This amazing shop is also just a few miles away from these spectacular Ellenton homes for sale.

Give mom the gift she deserves this year by visiting one of our area's wonderful local flower shops. For more local recommendations around Sarasota, Bradenton, or Ellenton, contact us today.

April
25

Sarasota: One of the Best Places to Visit in Florida

Sarasota

Lauded by U.S. News & World Report as the #1 place in Florida to visit, Sarasota truly stands out. Whether you're looking for Sarasota homes for sale or at neighboring Bradenton homes for sale, you'll have the chance to enjoy all the amenities this sun-soaked community offers. Our real estate agents are excited to show you more.

Replete with natural wonders and fascinating Florida history, Sarasota excels in more ways than one. As you explore, you'll encounter striking architecture, some of the best restaurants on the East Coast, and more than a few examples of the things that make Florida unique.

With sister city Bradenton adjoining it – just 25 minutes away from downtown – residents of either one can boast they are right in the midst of two of Florida's most desirable cities. Miles of quality beach and Florida vacation getaways like Longboat Key and Holmes Beach await.

Let's take a closer look at some of the unusual attractions in Sarasota:

  • The John N. & Mable B. Ringling Museum of Art – 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota, FL 34243
    The John N. & Mable B. Ringling Museum of Art is located on the former estate of circus magnate John Ringling. Established in 1927 and including 21 galleries of art and antiquities from Europe, Asia, and the Americas, it spans 66 acres. In addition to the Museum of Art, you can visit the Circus Museum commemorating the history of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

  • Siesta Key – See Website for Location Details
    Siesta Key may just be the #1 place in Florida to enjoy the soft sand and glittering surf of the Gulf of Mexico. This barrier island is known for Siesta Key Public Beach, where the fine white sand is cool all year around. It also features a number of secluded spots where you might spot a dolphin.

  • Marie Selby Botanical Gardens – 1534 Mound Street, Sarasota, FL 34236
    Marie Selby Botanical Gardens features two campuses giving visitors the opportunity to see an array of air plants from all over the world. The facilities are deeply connected with the traditional land stewardship of Florida's native people and are open all year long except on Christmas Day.

  • Mote Marine Lab & Florida Research Aquarium – 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota, FL 34236
    Mote Marine Lab & Florida Research Aquarium is one of the crown jewels of Florida's tireless efforts to uncover secrets of the Atlantic. Researchers here nurse injured marine life back to health while gathering data that helps humans and the environment. You may have the chance to see manatees, dolphins, sea turtles, sharks, and many others. The rays are among the most popular at the aquarium.

  • Save Our Seabirds1708 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota, FL 34236
    While you're learning more about the unique Florida ecosystem at Mote Marine Laboratory, you can take a two-minute walk to Save Our Seabirds, an animal hospital that rescues, rehabilitates, and then releases ill and injured Florida wildlife, especially birds. You can visit with and learn about the birds, including the facility's permanent residents, with the help of experienced scientists and caregivers.

  • Saint Armands Circle – See Website for Location Details
    Located on the island of Saint Armands Key, just across from Sarasota, Saint Armands Circle is a lively shopping, dining, and entertainment district. Under the watchful eye of the famous John Ringling statue, you can discover more than 130 boutiques and specialty shops, including many you won't find anywhere else. Connected to the mainland by two bridges, it's a world away from the hustle and bustle.

Inspired to turn your visit to Sarasota into a move? Contact us to find out more or get started.

April
18

Why You Should Steam Clean Before a Showing

Steam Cleaning

First impressions are everything. This is as true in the world of real estate as in any other. When a potential buyer first walks into a home, the first things they see (and smell) play a huge role in determining their interest. If your home makes a great first impression, you'll have an easier time making a sale — and you'll probably get higher offers, too. After years of experience, our real estate agents know this to be true!

One of the ways you can improve your home's first impression is by steam cleaning the carpets prior to your first showing or open house. Why is steam cleaning so important? Take a look.

  • Steam Cleaning Removes Trapped Odors
    Your home doesn't smell, right? We'll let you in on a little secret: you wouldn't necessarily know if it did. Homeowners become nose-blind to odors over time, but newcomers definitely notice those smells. When buyers look at Sarasota homes for sale, they want them to smell nice.

    Carpets have a bad habit of holding onto smells, and simple vacuuming doesn't do much to remove them. Steam cleaning, on the other hand, will remove trapped odors, including any you've become nose-blind to. Potential buyers will then be greeted by a fresh scent.

  • Steam Cleaning Removes Evidence of Pets
    Even if potential buyers own pets themselves, they don't want to see evidence of pets in a home they're thinking of buying. Buyers looking at Bradenton homes for sale want those spaces to look fresh and new. Even a little pet hair or one tiny stain can turn a buyer off. Steam cleaning removes evidence of pets from your carpet, reassuring buyers that your place is clean and well cared for.

  • Steam Cleaning is More Affordable Than Replacing the Carpet
    If your carpet looks a little discolored and dull, you may be thinking of replacing it before you sell. Sometimes, this might be a good idea. However, since carpet replacement can be costly, it's often wise to try steam cleaning first. 

    Steam cleaning costs a small fraction of what you'd pay to replace the existing carpet. In many cases, it will make your carpet look as good as new.

  • Steam Cleaning Ensures a Good-Looking Backdrop
    When you're preparing to sell your home, you can cover up minor faults like a divot in the wall or some scratches on the baseboard. But the carpet is a big element. It serves as the backdrop of your room, in a way. If the carpet does not look clean, that's something that buyers will notice.

    Steam cleaning ensures this major element of your decor looks its best. When the carpet is clean, buyers generally assume the rest of the home is clean, too.

  • Steam Cleaning Removes Allergens
    The last thing you'd want is for a buyer to walk into your home and start sneezing. While vacuuming does pick up some allergens, it also tends to disperse those allergens into the air. Steam cleaning does a more thorough job of removing pollen, pet dander, dust mites, and other allergens from the carpet. A home with carpets that have recently been steam cleaned is less likely to cause symptoms for allergy sufferers.

Preparing your home for a showing can go a long way toward helping you find the perfect buyer. If you're thinking about selling and are looking for an agent to represent you, feel free to contact us. Our experienced real estate agents can guide you through both the buying and the selling processes and ensure everything goes smoothly.

April
4

National Garden Month: Florida Gardening Tips

Florida Garden

Spring is upon us, and if you're like our real estate agents, you're probably eager to start gardening. We always believe vegetables taste so much better when they're grown in your garden. Since Florida receives tons of sun, rain, and humidity all year long, gardening in the Sunshine State can be rewarding and challenging. 

April is National Garden Month, so we thought we'd take the time to go over a few essential tips for making your Florida garden a success.

  • Gardening in the Spring
    Certain plants thrive in Florida's spring weather, which starts around mid-February. If you're looking to add vegetables to your garden, consider lettuce, cucumber, sweet corn, cauliflower, peas, tomatoes, zucchini, and squash. 

    Some of our favorite Sarasota homes for sale have beautiful flower gardens that they plant in early spring. If you're focused on flowers this year, you'll find that Hydrangeas, Lilacs, Lilies of the Valley, and cherry blossoms are all great choices for the warm Florida spring.

  • Gardening in the Summer
    Hot weather sets in around late March, but things start to get steamy in May. However, you can still plant and garden in the summertime. Sweet potatoes, peas, and okra are all vegetables that do well in the summer.

    If you do want to take a break from gardening in the summer, you can use these months as an opportunity to solarize your garden. During this process, you can clear out your plants, water the soil, cover your garden in plastic, and allow it to sit under direct sun exposure for about four weeks. Solarization will lead to healthier soil while killing pests and weeds.
     
  • Gardening in the Fall
    One of the great things about Florida is gardening season doesn't end in the fall. In fact, it's a common time to plant vegetable gardens. There are many plants that thrive in mild Florida autumn weather. Brussel Sprouts, as well as root vegetables like radishes and carrots, are great choices for the fall. Fertilizer that has high Phosphorus value helps keep roots strong and healthy.

  • Gardening in the Winter
    Areas of Florida have a traditional winter, and temperatures drop below freezing, but you can garden well into the winter months in our corner of Florida. In most cases, you'll want to plant your vegetables around October or early November. Some vegetables that grow well in cooler winter months include beets, broccoli, and cauliflower. 

    Leafy green vegetables such as kale and arugula also grow well during Florida winters. If growing leafy greens, we recommend using a fertilizer that has a high nitrogen value. With good soil, sun exposure, and regular watering, there is no reason to think you couldn't keep your garden active through February.

Keeping Your Garden in Good Shape
It might go without saying, but proper care is essential for creating a good environment for your plants to flourish. Don't forget to fertilizer regularly, keep your plants watered, and keep pests and weeds out of the garden. For inspiration on how to take great care of your plants, check out some of the gardens at these Bradenton homes for sale.

For more tips on gardening, landscaping, or boosting your home's exterior, contact us today.

March
28

5 Things That Are Easy To Forget During a Move

Moving Tips

Moving can be chaotic, as you are trying to get your entire life packed up, relocated, and unpacked again in a new place with minimal disruption. You may feel like you're on top of everything, but have you checked these five frequently forgotten things? It's easy to get so lost in the details of the move that you forget these basics. Take the advice of our real estate agents and make sure your plans don't overlook these items.

  1. Toilet Paper
    You may think you have everything ready for your first night at the new house, but do you have toilet paper? It's not something you usually have to pack in your overnight bags, so often, it gets overlooked. Unfortunately, many sellers don't think about leaving any behind when they're leaving their Bradenton homes for sale, so you may move in only to find that you don't have any. Putting a few rolls in your overnight bag will ensure you won't find yourself without.

  2. Meal Plans
    Your first night in a new house and possibly a new town might make it harder than usual to get dinner on the table... assuming the table has arrived yet! Have a plan in place for meals and other necessities (such as coffee) the first few days after your move, when you're still unpacking and settling in. This might mean having the basics packed in a box for the kitchen that says "open me first," such as ramen and pots to make it in, or creating a list of nearby pizza delivery places and takeout restaurants.

  3. Overnight Bags for Everyone
    There's a lot that can go wrong in a move, so it's important that everyone has a box or an overnight bag full of essentials that you keep with you, enough to get you through at least a couple of days if needed. This includes changes of clothes, pajamas, important medications, toiletries, and something to do, such as a book or games for the kids. If you're moving long-distance, this is especially important, as the truck could get delayed, and you may spend a few days "roughing it" in your new home.

  4. Your Mail
    Mail is frequently forgotten and left behind when people leave Sarasota homes for sale. Remembering your mail means not only checking the mailbox one last time but also setting up mail forwarding through the post office in advance to make sure you don't have to worry about your mail going to your old address after you've left it. As soon as you can, start calling or checking in with your accounts online so you can change the address there yourself, as it'll eliminate any delay in your mail getting to you as it goes through the mail-forwarding system.

  5. Background Items
    In any house, there are a number of background items that tend to blend into your surroundings or feel like they're a part of the house even though they aren't. This might include shelves, or mirrors mounted on the backs of the doors. These items are yours and should go with you when you leave the house. The same goes for outdoor items, such as planters and even patio furniture, which can be overlooked in a move. Window treatments usually stay with the house unless you negotiated different terms in your contract.

When it comes time to move, ensuring you have capable help from experienced professionals will ensure everything goes smoothly. For support throughout the selling or buying process, contact us today, and we'll help you get your search started.

March
21

Spend the Day at the Bishop Museum of Science and Nature

The Bishop Museum

Science fiction movies are fun, but they can't beat the excitement and wonder of exploring real-life stories. Our real estate agents love learning about our world at the Bishop Museum of Science and Nature, just minutes from Bradenton homes for sale.

About the Bishop

Opened in 1947, the Bishop Museum of Science and Nature is the largest natural history museum on the Gold Coast. Baby Snoots, a West Indian manatee affectionately known as Snooty, arrived in 1949 and became the museum's signature attraction.

Thanks to the museum's popularity, it moved into its current larger home in 1966. In time, exhibits grew to include the Parker Manatee Rehabilitation Habitat along with a replica of Barcarrota's Plaza, a 16th-century Spanish town.

In 2001, an electrical fire destroyed the planetarium and seriously damaged the museum's educational wing and administrative areas. Happily, in September 2002, the museum reopened bigger and better than ever. Throughout the years, renovations and additions have continued, maintaining the museum's status as a must-see destination.

The Bishop Planetarium

After being leveled by the 2001 fire, the Bishop Planetarium reopened in June 2005 as the top astronomy facility on the Gold Coast, not far from Sarasota homes for sale. The state-of-the-art projection system includes cutting-edge software that's 1.5 times brighter than the previous system, with four times the contrast.

Shows like "Passport to the Universe," narrated by Tom Hanks, take viewers on a virtual trip through the cosmos. Get a fascinating look at what lies beyond our own solar system and watch phenomenons like black holes. In addition, the planetarium can recreate a dark sky natural environment, allowing for the display of live on-air events as they happen.

Mosaic Backyard Universe

As part of the goal to make science fun and accessible for all, the museum created its latest addition, the Mosaic Backyard Universe. A one-time parking lot has been transformed into a backyard where kids can learn in a familiar setting. Features include a Tree House Platform, Cardboard Rocket, fossil-filled Dig Pit, Science Shed, and freshwater pond that's home to a number of turtles.

Parker Manatee Rehabilitation Habitat

Sadly, Snooty passed away in 2017 at the age of 69. But his legacy lives on in the Parker Manatee Rehabilitation Habitat, a 60,000-gallon pool where sick and injured manatees can prepare for their return to the wild. The habitat is designed to resemble a cypress spring so they can once again become accustomed to the food and environment they'll encounter. Above- and below-water viewing areas give visitors a chance to watch the manatees regain their strength and abilities.

Other Exhibits of Interest

  • The first floor holds permanent exhibits showcasing artifacts representing the earliest animal and human inhabitants of the Gulf Coast. Displays include "Land of Change" and "Fabulous Florida Seas."

  • The second floor is separated into two areas. River Heritage Hall focuses on how maritime history impacts community economics and culture, while Environmental Hall takes a sweeping look at the past, present, and future of Florida's environment.

  • Gallery spaces are home to a changing selection of temporary exhibits, including traveling exhibitions and special-interest ones developed by the museum's curators.

Information and Hours

The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature is located at 201 10th St. W., Bradenton, FL 34205. Hours are 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon - 5 p.m. Sunday. Tickets start at $23.95 for adults, $17.95 for ages 12-17, $14.95 for ages 5-11, and $8.95 for ages 2-4.

Life in Bradenton and Sarasota goes beyond fun in the sun. If you're selling or buying a home, contact us at Wagner Realty for cheerful and experienced assistance.

March
14

DIY Projects for New Homeowners

DIY Projects

When you're first settling into a new place, you may not want a lot of projects on your plate, but a few carefully chosen DIY projects can help your new house feel like home. Here are a few quick and relatively easy projects our real estate agents recommend for helping you feel at home.

  • Paint the front door.
    Especially if your new home hasn't seen a coat of paint in some time, painting the front door can make a huge impact on how it looks and make it feel a little more like yours, even if you don't have the time, money, or bandwidth to paint the whole home just yet. Consider painting it a fun new color, such as red, green, or blue, as it will liven up the look of your house. Remember, Bradenton homes for sale and Sarasota homes for sale are often painted in neutral color schemes so as not to turn off potential buyers, so repainting that door can add a little of your personality to your new home.

  • Update your house number.
    While you're painting that front door, consider updating your house number as well. It's not unusual for homes to have small, outdated house numbers that are hard to see, so make sure whatever you choose is well lit and large enough to be easily seen from the street. Choosing more modern-looking numbers and changing how they're mounted will also give your home a more updated look, even if that (and painting the front door) is all you do.

  • Hang string lights.
    Want to make your outdoor living spaces in your new home both cozy and cool? Hang string lights from your patio or porch roof, or use them to brighten a gazebo or pergola. Even if you don't have a roof or fence to hang them from, you can make your own planter posts for hanging lights using wooden barrel planters.

  • Modernize your popcorn ceiling.
    Nothing dates a house faster than a popcorn ceiling. They're not only unsightly, but they're also a magnet for cobwebs and dust. Fortunately, they're easily removed with a drywall knife, a shop vac, and a fresh coat of paint afterward. Remember that some popcorn ceilings could contain lead or asbestos, though, and have your ceiling tested before tackling it as a DIY-er, especially if your home was built before 1979.

  • Replace kitchen hardware.
    An easy way to make your kitchen feel more like home is to update the kitchen hardware to something more in line with your tastes. Swapping out cabinet hardware is fairly easy and can be done in an hour or two unless you choose to repaint the cabinets while the hardware is off. The hardware store offers a variety of options, so there's sure to be something that suits your tastes, whether they are traditional or modern, classic or funky.

  • Paint the kitchen cabinets.
    While you have that cabinet hardware off, think about whether you'd like a whole new look in your kitchen. Painting the cabinets is usually a fairly fast job compared to repainting the rest of the house and uses considerably less paint. That being said, it's also a project that yields big results for its relatively small investment, as changing the color of your cabinets can make your kitchen look like an entirely different room.

Little DIY projects like these are a fun way to help you settle in and improve your new home, but it's important to find the right house to start with. Contact us today and let us help you find your dream home.

February
28

Fishing Charters on Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island

No matter whether you choose Bradenton homes for sale or Sarasota homes for sale, you're in luck – you can visit a little piece of paradise whenever you want. Our real estate agents know one of the best things about living in the area is the chance to savor all Anna Maria Island has to offer.

This seven-mile barrier island off the coast of Manatee County is lauded far and wide for its fishing and its vintage 1950s and 1960s-era residences. Fishing has attracted visitors from across the country since 1938, but locals have the chance to enjoy it any time they wish.

Anna Maria Island is the destination of a large number of local fishing charters. Many of them are small, family-owned operations that have been in business for years. They give you a great way to explore and learn more about the area – and you just might catch a tasty fish.

Let's look at some of the noteworthy fishing charters now:

  • A Rodbender Fishing Charter – 4122 Via Piedra Circle, Sarasota, FL 34233
    Departing daily from Hart's Landing in Sarasota, A Rodbender Fishing Charter is a charter for all ages and all experience levels. You can score the catch of a lifetime with full fishing equipment included! Just don't forget to bring your own sunglasses and sunscreen.

  • AMI Charters – See Website for Location Details
    AMI Charters is the work of four local captains (and one kayaking expert) leading you on saltwater adventures in and around Anna Maria Island. In addition to classic fishing trips and tours, you can also select a romantic sunset cruise or a five-hour fun run that will bring you to restaurants and sand bars only accessible by boat. AMI also has a robust list of fishing tours, especially for the little ones.

  • Island Discount Tackle – 5503 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach, FL 34217
    Island Discount Tackle offers a little bit of everything you might need to make the most of your island adventure. Since 1988, it has created an authentic experience staffed by expert fishermen. Once you're fully geared up from "the biggest little tackle shop in Florida," book your charter fishing trip, parasailing, dolphin, or snorkeling journey. It might just be the thing that convinces you to check out Holmes Beach homes for sale.

  • Fishy Business, LLC – See Website for Location Details
    Fishy Business, LLC is a fishing charter boat service led by USCG-certified Captain Rick since 1986. With inshore flats and nearshore Gulf trips out to nine miles, Captain Rick provides it all – license, bait, and tackle. The 2012 Fishy Business is fully equipped with Lowrance GPS and the latest fish finders.

  • Anna Maria Charters – See Website for Location Details
    Described by its customers as "truly top-notch," Anna Maria Charters prides itself on the number of options it offers its guests near Anna Maria Island homes for sale. With four boats ranging from flats to offshore, you can customize your experience with five distinct options: Inshore spinning and fly fishing, nearshore fishing trips, offshore fishing trips, tarpon-only fishing trips, and tarpon-only fly fishing.

  • Florida Fishing Fleet – 4628 119th Street West, Cortez, FL 34215
    Florida Fishing Fleet operates from the very heart of the historic Cortez fishing village. You can opt for a split charter or private fishing charter, including license, rods, bait, tackle, ice, and fish cleaning done for you. With an experienced and charismatic crew and excursions of up to 12 hours, it'll introduce you to one of the best things about Cortez homes for sale.

Contact us to discover more about real estate throughout Manatee County.

February
7

7 Places for Waterfront Dining

Waterfront Dining

One of the great things about living on the coast is that you don't have to go far to enjoy an amazing view of the water. You also don't have to go far for a good meal. Our real estate agents know you can do both at these fantastic waterfront restaurants. 

  • Jack Dusty - 1111 Ritz Carlton Dr, Sarasota, FL 34236
    Located on the Marina at Sarasota's Ritz-Carlton, Jack Dusty is always a great place to sip a craft cocktail while enjoying the Gulf Coast view. The atmosphere is laid back, and the menu includes specialties like freshly-caught Gulf Coast shrimp and Cioppino (a hearty seafood soup). Jack Dusty is also just minutes from many Sarasota homes for sale.

  • The Sandbar Restaurant - 100 Spring Ave, Anna Maria, FL 34216
    The Sandbar Restaurant is nestled on the shore of Anna Maria Island and offers beachfront dining at its finest. The food here is sustainably and locally sourced, from the grilled Gulf of Mexico octopus to the seasonal fish tacos. They also serve some great burgers, steaks, and salads and even have an on-site farmer's market where you can buy fresh local produce. 

  • Dry Dock Waterfront Grill - 412 Gulf of Mexico Dr, Longboat Key, FL 34228
    Outstanding food and a friendly, casual atmosphere are the hallmarks of Dry Dock Waterfront Grill, a beloved bayside eatery at the south end of Longboat Key. Dry Dock Waterfront Grill made Open Table's list of the 100 Best Most Scenic Restaurants in America, which is no surprise given the sweeping views from their open-air dining area. They serve incredibly fresh, locally-caught Florida grouper and red snapper and are located a stone's throw from these Longboat Key homes for sale

  • Tide Tables Restaurant and Marina - 12507 Cortez Rd W, Bradenton, FL 34210
    When you're looking for a casual eatery with a view of the water, look no farther than Tide Tables Restaurant and Marina. Overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway, not far from these Bradenton homes for sale, Tide Tables serves some of the best gumbo and fish tacos in town, and they have a great selection of craft beer from local Florida micro-brewers. 

  • The Waterfront Restaurant - 111 S Bay Blvd, Anna Maria, FL 34216
    With a well-rounded menu that highlights local ingredients, The Waterfront Restaurant is an elegant-yet-relaxed eatery with indoor and outdoor seating footsteps away from the beach. With a location walkable to many Anna Maria Island homes for sale, the Waterfront Restaurant's menu features global flavors with a local twist. The appetizers alone—fried green tomatoes, baked brie, Kung Pao calamari—are worth the trip.

  • Beach House Restaurant - 200 Gulf Dr. N, Bradenton Beach, FL 34217
    There's no better place in Bradenton Beach to watch the sunset over the Gulf than Beach House Restaurant. They have a spectacular outdoor dining deck, but even indoor diners gat an awesome view through the massive windows overlooking the bay. With a location near many Bradenton Beach homes for sale, they serve amazing fresh-caught seafood and salads with greens grown in their garden. 

  • The Old Salty Dog - 1601 B Ken Thompson Pkwy, Sarasota, FL 34236
    A Sarasota staple since 1985, The Old Salty Dog is a local hangout that serves tasty pub grub and ice-cold beer in a British pub-style environment overlooking the bay. They serve Caribbean jerk tacos and house-made crab dip alongside traditional English fish n' chips but are best known for their signature beer-battered hot dogs. 

Contact us today to learn more about life in SWFL. Our real estate agents are dedicated to helping you find your dream home in Sarasota, Bradenton, and the surrounding areas. 

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.

January
17

Plan Ahead for These Sarasota Events

Sarasota Events

If you live in Sarasota, FL, you're lucky to experience the area's amazing weather, abundant recreational opportunities, and countless family-friendly destinations. You'll also find numerous special events that cater to nearly every interest, whether you're a baseball fan or are searching for the perfect antique.

Our real estate agents suggest checking out the following events coming to Sarasota in 2022:

  • The Simon & Garfunkel Story - Feb. 12, 2022 - Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34236 
    The Simon & Garfunkel Story is an immersive, concert-style theater show that tells the story of the folk-rock duo using a full live band and state-of-the-art video projection and lighting. It takes you through their history, starting with their beginnings as Tom & Jerry and culminating with "The Concert in Central Park" in 1981 with over half a million fans. Along the way, you'll be treated to such hits as "Bridge Over Troubled Water," "Mrs. Robinson," "Homeward Bound," and more.

  • Sarasota Audubon Society Guided Walks: The Celery Fields, Second Mondays - Feb. 14, and Mar. 14, 2022 - Celery Fields, 6893 Palmer Blvd., Sarasota, FL 34240
    Join bird experts Peter Brown and Kelley Berkey on a Sarasota Audubon Society Guided Walk in The Celery Fields. The 400-plus acre site is owned by Sarasota County and is on the Great Florida Birding Trail, so you're likely to see many species along the way. Over 200 species of birds have been identified at The Celery Fields. Walkers and bird-watchers should meet at the Raymond Road Boardwalk and then proceed on the walk.

  • The Sarasota FL Antiques Show - Feb. 26-27, 2022 - Sarasota Municipal Auditorium, 801 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34236
    If you love antiques, you won't want to miss The Sarasota FL Antiques Show, where you'll be able to shop inside in an elegant, comfortable atmosphere. Over 50 national and regional exhibitors will have smaller wares displayed in showcases and larger pieces such as furniture attractively arranged so you can appreciate them up close. You'll be able to see and buy fine antiques as well as decorative and fine arts from ancient times to the 20th century.

  • 33rd Annual Venice Italian Feast & Carnival - Feb. 24-27, 2022 - Venice Airport Festival Grounds, 610 Airport Ave. E., Venice, FL 34285
    You know an event is going to be fun when it's been an annual event for over 30 years! Head over to the Venice Airport Festival Grounds for the 33rd Annual Venice Italian Feast & Carnival. The festival put on by the Italian American Club of Venice has live entertainment, carnival rides, and of course fantastic food! Be sure to stop by after looking at Venice homes for sale.
     
  • Baltimore Orioles MLB Spring Training - starting Feb. 26, 2022 - Ed Smith Stadium, 2700 12th St., Sarasota, FL 34237
    When Major League Baseball starts spring training in 2022, they'll have 15 teams playing in Florida's Grapefruit League and taking advantage of the area's great weather. Teams include the Baltimore Orioles, who play their home games at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota. Games offer a fun, relaxed way to see your favorite MLB players, as well as some promising minor leaguers who are trying to break into the major leagues. 

Contact us if you'd like to see Sarasota homes for sale or Bradenton homes for sale. Established in 1939, we've earned a reputation for providing professional, personal service. We live and work in the community and would love to help you with your real estate transactions. 

January
10

One-of-a-Kind Restaurants to Try Near Sarasota

Sarasota Dining

Our real estate agents want to introduce you to the taste of Sarasota!

Florida is known for its excellent seafood, but that is only the beginning. No matter if you are exploring Sarasota homes for sale, going with Bradenton homes for sale, or looking elsewhere in the area, you are sure to enjoy this region's food culture.

While all your favorite chains are represented, unique chef-led restaurants are a big part of what makes Sarasota special. These run the gamut from small, family-owned eateries – often in historic buildings – to acclaimed locales led by some of the most famous chefs in the world.

As a result, the flavors of Sarasota incorporate influences from all across the globe. With such a strong blend between local community restaurants and celebrity chefs who come to the city to show they've made it big, there's an endless array of options for you to savor.

Let's take a closer look at some prime Sarasota picks:

  • The Garden Room Cafe at Shoogie Boogies – 1919 Morrill Street, Sarasota, FL 34236
    The Garden Room Cafe at Shoogie Boogies has been described as a dining experience nothing short of being transported to Europe. With a dining room that exudes careful attention to detail in the spirit of continental European elegance, it is one of the top fine dining event venues in Sarasota. 

  • Michael's on East – 1212 East Avenue South, Sarasota, FL 34239
    Michael's on East is "top of the line" all the way, starting with one of the most auspicious domain names in dining ("bestfood.com") and following through with world-class food and guest experience. Whether you are looking for a full three-course dinner, desserts like the chocolate peppermint torte and layered pumpkin kiss, or a relaxing time in the lounge, Michael's on East will never disappoint.

  • Euphemia Haye – 5540 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key, FL 34228
    Euphemia Haye features both a lounge and a dedicated dessert room that has received high praise from the local culinary press. The lounge was converted into a relaxed "bachelor pad" atmosphere, as it was the former owner's apartment. The dessert lounge allows you to view the complete selection of daily fresh-baked pastries and other delights before you select the one that's right for you.

  • Indigenous Restaurant – 239 South Links Avenue, Sarasota, FL 34236
    Indigenous Restaurant is a seasonal American eatery focused on the freshest local ingredients with the lowest environmental impact. It emphasizes sustainable seafood with a carefully designed supply chain that empowers local fishermen, artisans, and farmers. As a result, the menu can change as frequently as twice a week, and there's always a delicious new delicacy for you to try.

  • The Old Salty Dog – 1601 B. Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota, FL 34236
    With three locations across Sarasota and Venice, The Old Salty Dog is a popular selection for authentic Floridian family dining and fun. The menu has a little bit of everything, from starters to soups and salads, sandwiches, dogs and burgers, and food baskets. The homemade crab dip, lobster roll, firecracker wrap, and Caribbean jerk tacos are just a few of the favorites.

The culinary scene is one of the many draws of living in the Sarasota area. Contact us today to learn more about what Sarasota has to offer.

January
3

Set Sail in 2022 Near Siesta Key

Siesta Key

Centrally located with easy access to the Gulf, Sarasota Bay, and a wide variety of local waterways, Siesta Key is a sailor's dream. Whether you're new to sailing with a desire to learn the ropes or you've been spending time on the water for decades, you'll feel right at home with the sailing community in Southwest Florida. Ready to set sail into a new year? Our real estate agents have the details on all that you can look forward to when sailing near Siesta Key in 2022.

If you love spending time around the water, then the beaches and waterways near Siesta Key homes for sale offer endless opportunities for your outdoor excursions. As a barrier island, Siesta Key offers easy access to the water, along with a collection of outstanding marinas where you can ensure that your sailboat is always ready for your next adventure.

  • Learning to Sail
    New to sailing and excited about living in a community where you can pursue a new passion for spending time on the water? Many of the marinas and sailing charter companies around Siesta Key offer excellent educational programs that can teach you everything you need to know to enjoy life on the water. Build your skills with classes for all experience levels, learn the specifics of navigating local waterways, and get certified to pilot a wide variety of watercraft.

  • Local Marinas
    Siesta Key is also a welcoming place for anyone who already owns a watercraft or is shopping for a new one. There are countless local marinas that help you keep your craft in top shape and provide a place to set sail whenever you please. And it's not just about maintenance or convenience. Many local marinas are home to vibrant communities that make it easy to connect with other sailing enthusiasts.

  • Easy Access to the Water on Bayou Louise
    Marinas are great, but what about when you want to set sail from a dock in your backyard? Bayou Louise, which runs through the northern edge of Siesta Key, is a protected waterway that provides easy access to Sarasota Bay and tons of other local waterways. If you're shopping for a home that makes it easy to spend time on the water, the area around Bayou Louise is the perfect place to start.

  • Tons of Nearby Waterways to Explore
    One of the great things about living in Siesta Key is that it's centrally located near so many other great coastal communities and waterways. You're likely to spend plenty of time on nearby Sarasota Bay as you pass by Sarasota homes for sale. Then there's the scenic Manatee River, which runs past Bradenton homes for sale and provides access to tons of smaller waterways along the coast. There are multiple smaller bays to explore before you reach Tampa Bay, and of course, the Gulf of Mexico is always waiting for you.

  • Beaches, Fresh Seafood, and So Much More
    There's plenty to enjoy when you're on solid ground around Siesta Key as well, with all of the attractions that you'd expect from a coastal Florida community and so much more. Needless to say, the beaches are pristine, the local, waterfront seafood restaurants are second to none, and the sunsets are so spectacular that you'll want to watch them every single evening.

Searching for a home that makes it easy to enjoy time on the water around Siesta Key? Our local real estate team is here to help. Contact us to buy and sell homes in the Siesta Key, FL area.

December
27

New Year's Resolution: Find Your Florida Dream Vacation Home

Florida Vacation Home

With its amazing weather and beautiful beaches, it's not hard to see why purchasing a vacation home in Florida is the ultimate dream for thousands of people all over the world. Not only is a Florida vacation home a great escape, but it's also a fantastic investment. Florida is a hot real estate market, and it's easy to generate rental income from a second home when you're not using it

If buying a Florida vacation home is one of your New Year's resolutions this year, here are some tips from our real estate agents on how to find the right dream home for you:

  • Choose Your Location
    With so many beautiful parts of Florida, choosing one location can be a challenge. Florida is home to 1,350 miles of coast, numerous state parks, and of course, Disney World. To choose the right location, think about your personal preferences and lifestyle. Do you prefer to be on the beach or inland? Do you prefer the Atlantic or Gulf coast? If you're having trouble deciding on an area, take a look at these beautiful Bradenton homes for sale or these amazing Sarasota homes for sale for inspiration.

  • Secure Financing
    If you're planning to finance your vacation home, you'll need to secure a second home mortgage. Keep in mind, second home mortgages often require higher down payments and may also have higher interest rates and fees than a traditional mortgage as lenders may consider second homes to be a bit riskier. Be sure to get pre-approved by a lender before you start shopping.
     
  • Determine The Rental Opportunity
    When buying a vacation home, you'll also want to consider if you'll be planning to rent out the property while it's not in use. If so, you'll want to choose a home in a popular vacation market to maximize your rental income. Do some online research, and check rental websites like Airbnb to get a sense of how much income you can generate from rentals.

  • Consider The Tax Benefits
    When financing a second home, you'll have the benefit of being able to increase the mortgage interest you deduct from your annual income which can result in big savings. However, to achieve this, you will have to use the home as a vacation home. In other words, the primary purpose of the property can't be to generate income alone, you have to treat it as a vacation home first.

  • Find A Good Real Estate Agent
    No one knows the local market like a real estate agent. An agent can not only help you find the right dream home but can also stand in your corner and negotiate a deal. An agent is also a great resource for learning about the local rental market and connecting with property management and vacation rental companies.

A Florida vacation home doesn't have to be a dream. If you're planning to make a purchase in 2022, now is a great time to start your research. For more info on the Florida real estate market, contact us today.

December
20

Florida in the Winter: 6 Things to do

Florida Winter

Florida is known as the Sunshine State, but our real estate agents can also offer some fun suggestions for when it's a little bit colder out!

"Cold" is relative, of course – when you're looking at Bradenton homes for sale or Sarasota homes for sale, you can expect daytime temperatures in the mid-70s, even in winter. In the middle of December, evening temperatures rarely go below 55. Most Floridians look forward to a few weeks of brisk breezes!

This means that, although you probably won't want to hit the beach, there are still plenty of things you can do around the area.

Let's take a closer look at some of your options:

  1. John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art – 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota, FL 34243
    John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art is a unique Florida institution. It's closely intertwined with the history of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, known as "The Greatest Show on Earth." But it's also so much more: 21 galleries of European paintings, a rose garden, a highly regarded research library, and even a preserved 1905-train car. The Museum offers free admission every Monday.

  2. Sarasota Classic Car Museum – 5500 North Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34243
    For a taste of vintage automobile culture, Sarasota Classic Car Museum delights. Featuring a collection of around 100 vintage vehicles in a 60,000 square foot space, it draws visitors from far and wide. Particularly loved is the Italian Car Collection, sporting classics from Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, and Rivolta. Recent exhibits have given visitors a deep dive into the artistry and history of Porsche and Ferrari.

  3. Marietta Museum of Art & Whimsy – 2121 North Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34234
    Want a truly unique art experience? Marietta Museum of Art & Whimsy brings joy to the forefront with its off-beat and eclectic contemporary collection. Paintings, sculptures, and more from local artists and those around the world will give you a new perspective. The Museum also maintains an outdoor garden area. This extraordinary art collection is ideal for families, including the young and young at heart.

  4. Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium – 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota, FL 34236
    Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium showcases the immense biodiversity of Florida and the Atlantic. Accessible 365 days a year, you'll get the chance to meet manatees, sharks, sea turtles, otters, and many more denizens of the deep. This independent, nonprofit marine research lab maintains one of Florida's top aquariums, including a shark habitat of 135,000 gallons.

  5. Robinson Nature Preserve – 1704 99th Street Northwest, Bradenton, FL 34209
    Robinson Nature Preserve is a fast-growing protected area of 682 acres encompassing a breath-taking biosphere of mangroves, tidal marsh, and coastal wetlands that developed from former agricultural tracts. With a rubberized pedestrian trail leading across the grounds, you'll have plenty of opportunities to see nature up close and personal. Kayaking is greatly enjoyed and encouraged.

  6. Bradenton Riverwalk – 452 3rd Avenue West, Bradenton, FL 34205
    See historic Bradenton come to life as you explore one of the top riverwalk areas in the United States. The Bradenton Riverwalk is a 1.5-mile public green space that has been open to the public since 2012. It has continued to expand ever since, with kid-friendly amenities such as a splash pad, skate park, and playground. The 400-seat amphitheater is used for live music and other community events.

At Wagner Realty, we know Florida is great in any season! Contact us to discover more about Sarasota and Manatee Counties.

December
13

Bake Cookies Day: Holiday Cookie Recipes

This is the perfect time of year to gather in your kitchen and bake some cookies. Not only are the winter holidays quickly approaching, but December 18th is Bake Cookies Day! So, pull out that mixer, stock up on flour, and check out some of these cookie recipes our real estate agents recommend.

  • Gingerbread Biscotti
    Gingerbread is a classic choice in the winter, and this Gingerbread Biscotti recipe is a tasty riff on the old standby. The recipe makes 24 biscotti — enough for sharing — and comes together in less than 90 minutes. The molasses gives these biscotti a rich flavor, and of course, plenty of ginger makes them irresistible alongside a mug of coffee or hot chocolate.

  • Penguin Slice-and-Bake Cookies
    If you have kids, these Penguin Slice-and-Bake Cookies are sure to be a favorite. The recipe tells you how to prepare the dough and assemble it into a long cylinder. Refrigerate and later slice to yield adorable penguins. The cookies themselves are tender and sweet with that classic sugar cookie flavor.

  • Mini Linzer Cookies
    Take a break from looking at Sarasota homes for sale, and whip up a batch of these Mini Linzer Cookies. They're a traditional cookie that will take you back to a simpler time. The recipe was created by none other than Ina Garten herself. It calls for raspberry preserves, but you could use apricot or blueberry preserves if you happen to have them on hand.

  • Chocolate-Dipped Hazelnut Shortbread
    Some people love shortbread, and others find it bland. But this kicked-up version, Chocolate-Dipped Hazelnut Shortbread, is sure to bring a smile to your face. Not only do these cookies taste delicious, but they also look attractive when presented in a bowl or mug with their chocolate-dipped ends pointing upward. The recipe makes one dozen biscotti, which is just enough if you don't want a sugar overload.

  • Monster Marshmallow Cookies
    If you're tired from spending the day looking at Bradenton homes for sale, then these Monster Marshmallow Cookies are the perfect ones to make. The recipe is easy to follow and only takes about 20 minutes to prep. The cookies themselves are extra large and loaded with crisped rice, pecans, chocolate chips, and mini marshmallows.

  • Soft and Chewy Ginger Cookies
    If you find gingersnaps to be a bit too hard and crunchy, you'll like these Soft and Chewy Ginger Cookies. The sugar coating gives them just a hint of crispiness. Just make sure you plan ahead since the dough does need to chill for at least two hours, and preferably overnight.

  • Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
    These Chocolate Crinkle Cookies have a fudgy center, and they're rolled in powdered sugar for a lovely, crackled look. The recipe is surprisingly simple. The decadent cocoa powder makes the cookies nice and rich. You need to chill the dough for 2 hours, but the results are worth the wait.

  • Snowball Cookies
    Even in Florida, where the holidays tend to be green, Snowball Cookies are a tried-and-true favorite. This recipe makes delicious ones loaded with walnuts, although you could substitute toasted pecans if desired. Dusting the cookies with powdered sugar twice, as advised in this recipe, results in a thicker and sturdier coating that won't fluff away.

Make sure you set aside time to celebrate Bake Cookies Day this year! It's the perfect reason to use your kitchen this holiday season. If you're new to the area and still looking for a place to do all your holiday baking, contact us to learn more about our real estate services.

December
6

Holidays in a New Home: 7 Ways to Make the Most of it

New Home for the Holidays

After looking at various Sarasota homes for sale, are you finally settled into your new house? As much as you love your new place, it may not quite feel like home yet. You may still be unpacking, decorating, and making the space your own. How, then, does celebrating the holidays fit into this equation? Better than you think! Here are seven ways to make the most of the holidays in a new home.

  1. Attend Local Events
    Your home may not quite be set up for celebrating yet, but surely there are lots of local events that can put you in the holiday spirit. Look for tree lighting ceremonies, local shopping events, and winter festivals to attend. You'll get to know the area and your neighbors better in the process.

  2. Make a Special Meal
    Enjoying a special meal at home is a nice way to spend time with family. Even if you can't make your traditional holiday meal because some of your cookware is still packed away, take the time to make something else. You can make a delicious holiday roast in a slow cooker or bake a lasagne in the oven. 

  3. Start a New Tradition
    New home, new traditions! If you take the opportunity to start a new holiday tradition, you will always reflect back on your first year in this home each time you stick to that tradition in the future. You could create a new traditional meal. Or you could play a certain game, wrap gifts together while holiday music plays, dance to some favorite tunes, bake cookies — the possibilities are endless. 

  4. Decorate With What You Have
    Sure, most of your decorations might still be packed away. Some of them may not work well in your new home since you selected them for your old home. But how much fun can you have decorating for the holidays with what you have on hand? You can really exercise your creativity here. Make snowflakes out of paper plates. Create paper chains from takeout menus. Use cookie cutters to trace holiday shapes onto paper, creating ornaments. Your decorations won't be traditional, but that's half the fun.

  5. Take Baked Goods to the Neighbors
    If you enjoy baking during the holiday season, consider sharing some baked goods with your neighbors. This is a great way to get to know others in your community. Becoming friendly with your neighbors will make your house start to feel more like a home during the holiday season and beyond. You might find that some neighbors give you holiday baked goods in return, which is always comforting, too.

  6. Order From a New Restaurant
    If your kitchen items are still packed, and cooking isn't an option, take this opportunity to order from a new, local restaurant. You'll be supporting a local business, which will help you start to feel like a part of the community. Plus, you'll get to enjoy delicious food, which always puts you in a holiday mood.

  7. Host a Move-in Holiday Party
    If you have friends and family members in the area, invite everyone over for a combination move-in party and holiday party. Nobody will be surprised that your home is still filled with boxes, and helping you unpack can be part of the fun. Put on some holiday music, and work together to make your house a home.

These ideas are sure to make your holidays brighter! If you're still looking for Bradenton homes for sale, please feel free to contact us. We'll put you in touch with our real estate agents, who can simplify the home buying process for you.

November
22

Small Business Saturday: 2021 Local Shopping Guide

Small Business Saturday

Shopping local is the perfect way to support small businesses during the holiday season. This year, our real estate agents suggest that you leave Black Friday to the crowd-followers. On November 27, be a trend-setter and support Small Business Saturday by patronizing these amazing shops around Bradenton and Sarasota.

  • The Dancing Crane Gallery - 1019 10th Ave. W., Bradenton, FL 34205
    Have you or a friend recently purchased one of the great Bradenton homes for sale? Add some individual flair with artwork from The Dancing Crane Gallery. Choose from paintings, glassware, hand-painted tiles, and sculptures from a variety of talented artists. Hours are 11 a.m. 4 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, with extended hours until 9 p.m. on the first Friday of each month. 

  • Mixon Fruit Farms - 2525 27th St. E., Bradenton, FL 34208
    Kids who hate shopping will love going to Mixon Fruit Farms, which is fun for the whole family. Take a fascinating tram tour through the grove, with a stop for an interactive educational show at the wildlife center. Then it's time for lunch at the Groveside Cafe and a visit to the Play Place before you pick up some fresh fruit, wine, fudge, and other treats to take home. Stock up on gifts like fudge, wine, and sauces. Mixon Fruit Farms is open 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Tram tours are held each day at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for kids ages 3-12.

  • Bookstore1Sarasota - 12 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota, FL 34236
    At Bookstore1Sarasota, their motto is, "Joie de Livres," which translates to, "Joy of Books." Owners and staff are passionate about the joy of books and equally passionate about sharing that joy with customers. Discover a new favorite from among their selection of current best-sellers and perennial classics. The shop's online author events and book clubs are a perfect way to connect with other book lovers. Hours are 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. daily except Sunday when doors close at 2 p.m. 

  • Lotus Boutique - 1464 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236
    Dress yourself from head to toe at Lotus Boutique, just minutes from Sarasota homes for sale. Lotus features the hottest designs from Diane von Furstenburg, Frank & Eileen, Norma Kamali, and other name brands. Complete your outfit with jewelry, shoes, and accessories in the latest styles. Afterward, cross the street to their newest addition and expand your wardrobe with their collection of activewear and casual favorites. Lotus Boutique is open 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon - 5 p.m. Sunday.

  • Pastry Art - 1512 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236
    Even power shoppers need a break. Rest and recharge with a snack or light lunch at Pastry Art. Choose from a tasty selection of salads, sandwiches, and wraps, or head right to the good stuff with a cupcake, cannoli, or molten lava cake. Coffee is locally roasted and freshly brewed for a full, rich flavor. Hours are 7 a.m. - 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. - 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Sunday.

Wagner Realty is proud to be part of the vibrant business community around Bradenton and Sarasota. Contact us for help with all your real estate needs.

November
8

Thanksgiving Recipes for Healthy Dining

Thanksgiving Dining

Thanksgiving is a time to gather with family and friends and enjoy a delicious meal together. If you're watching your weight, you'll be glad to know that you don't necessarily have to load up on unhealthy foods. 

Many of our real estate agents love to cook. When they weren't busy showing buyers all the great Sarasota homes for sale, they spent some time looking for delicious healthy recipes you can prepare this Thanksgiving. Take a look at some of the ideas below. By lightening up the menu, you can make sure that this year the only thing that will be stuffed on Thanksgiving Day is the turkey! 

  • Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
    This delicious butternut squash soup makes the perfect starter for Thanksgiving dinner. You can give it a healthy twist by swapping out the heavy cream for equally tasty coconut milk. Even better, if you use pre-cut butternut squash, you can make this recipe in just five minutes! That's a real lifesaver when you're already spending the bulk of the day in the kitchen. 
  • Shrimp Cocktail 
    Enjoying a healthy appetizer before dinner can help keep you from over-eating when you sit down for the main meal. Shrimp cocktail is an easy and festive dish that has a low-calorie count. Steam your shrimp in spices and make your own cocktail sauce instead of buying the pre-made version from the store - you'll be glad you did! 

  • Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Honey and Cinnamon
    Instead of making a traditional sweet potato casserole that's loaded with brown sugar and marshmallows, try these roasted sweet potatoes with honey and cinnamon. They still have plenty of sweetness but without all the added sugar. This super-simple recipe only takes a few minutes to prepare and is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. 
  • Healthy Mashed Potatoes
    Most people agree that Thanksgiving dinner wouldn't be the same without mashed potatoes. But, you can make a healthy version that doesn't involve two sticks of butter. This recipe substitutes regular milk for heavy cream and adds just enough butter to make the dish taste delicious without being overly fatty. Top your potatoes with some fresh chives for a little extra dash of color and flavor. 

  • Maple Bacon Brussels Sprouts
    When you try these maple bacon Brussels sprouts, you'll have a hard time believing they're actually good for you! This decadent-tasting dish gets its flavor from real maple syrup, bacon, and cayenne pepper. Also, if you think you don't like Brussels sprouts, you probably just haven't had them cooked the right way - so do yourself a favor and try them out. 
  • Healthy Cranberry Sauce
    It's a great idea to skip the sugar-laden canned cranberry sauce and make your own instead. This easy cranberry sauce recipe calls for only three ingredients - fresh cranberries, maple syrup, and orange juice. If you want to make it extra special, add a bit of cinnamon and vanilla extract as well. 

If you're looking for the perfect Florida home this Thanksgiving season, the agents at Wagner Realty are here to help. We have the inside scoop on all the best Sarasota and Bradenton homes for sale, so don't delay. Contact us today to discuss your goals and get started! 

November
1

Plan Ahead for the Englewood Beach Waterfest

Englewood Beach

Southwest Florida is known for its gorgeous waterfront, and what better way to enjoy that waterfront than at the Englewood Beach Waterfest? Whether you live in the area or are in town to look at Englewood homes for sale, this event is a must-see. Last year's event was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns, but the festival is back and better than ever for November 18th - 21st, 2021. Here are the other key details about each of the activities at the festival.

  • Powerup Pre-Race Party: 260 Maryland Ave., Englewood, FL 34224
    The Powerup Pre-Race Party kicks off Englewood Beach Waterfest on November 18th. It is scheduled for 5 - 10 pm at The Lighthouse Grill. There's a cash bar, and guests can choose dishes from a special pre-race menu. You can also listen to live music, meet some of the drivers who will compete over the weekend, and chat with other fans. 

  • Waterfest Block Party: 262 S. Indiana Ave., Englewood, FL 34223
    The Waterfest Block Party is another great way to get excited about the upcoming water sports competitions. It takes place on Friday, November 19th, between 5 and 9 pm at the Englewood Shopping Center. There will be food for sale, delicious drinks, and live music to enjoy. Throughout the evening, the race boats will parade through the shopping center, giving you the chance to see them up-close. 

  • OPA Racing World Championships: Beach Rd., Englewood, FL 34223
    This is the highlight of Englewood Beach Waterfest! The OPA Racing World Championships are scheduled for Saturday, November 20th, and Sunday, November 21st. The gates at Englewood Beach will open at 9 am both days, and the races begin at 10 am.

    The OPA Championships bring numerous powerboats to the water off the coast of Englewood. You can watch them power along at incredible speeds over 150 miles per hour. There are various purses they compete for throughout the day. For example, in previous years, the drivers have competed for a $10,000 Geico Triple Crown Purse. In 2019, there were 75 boats overall. A similar number is expected for 2021. Races should conclude around 4:00 pm each day.

    You can purchase Waterfest tickets online for $20 per person or pay $25 per person at the gate. Tickets are for both days and include parking and bus transportation to Englewood Beach. Children under 12 get free admission with the purchase of an adult ticket.

  • The Family Conservation Center: Englewood Beach
    The Family Conservation Center along Englewood Beach will also be open during Waterfest. Here, you can learn about sea creatures, including horseshoe crabs, sea turtles, coral reefs, alligators, and various birds. 

    The Family Conservation Center also hosts a number of fun kids' activities. Kids can have their faces painted, help build a boat, create sand art, or go on a sea-themed scavenger hunt. There's even a photo booth where you can snap a memorable photo with your favorite sea creature.

  • Cantina and Food Court: Englewood Beach
    There will be several tents on the beach throughout Waterfest. These tents will serve as a food court where local restaurants will prepare various seafood and regional dishes. There's also an on-site bar serving beer, wine, and the signature Raceday Cocktails. 

Life on the water is something to celebrate in the Englewood area. If you're looking at Bradenton homes for sale or Sarasota homes for sale, we recommend stopping by for this annual event. Our real estate agents would be happy to help you find the perfect home nearby. Contact us to learn more about our services.

October
25

7 Tips for Saving Up for a Down Payment

down payment

Saving up for a down payment can be one of the most challenging parts of buying a home, especially for first-time buyers. Here are seven tips our real estate agents recommend to help you save for a down payment on your dream home!

  1. Set a Goal
    First things first: It's important to know how much you need to save. Research Bradenton homes for sale, for instance, to see average home prices in the area. It might be a good idea to talk to a lender, not necessarily to get pre-approved right now but to get an idea of what kind of a loan you will likely qualify for and how much you'll need to put down. Once you know how much you'll need, you can set a goal and start saving!

  2. Reduce Your Spending Money
    There's one place you can always cut back, and that's your "fun money." It might not sound like fun to cut back on trips to the movies, coffees to go, and impulse buys, but putting that money into savings instead is an easy way to save. If that new TV seems too tempting to refuse, browse Sarasota homes for sale to keep yourself motivated!

  3. Lower Your Expenses
    You may be able to save money on your expenses, too. Make a list of your monthly expenses and look for two different things: expenses you can reduce, such as by changing the deductible on your car insurance or even eliminate entirely, such as a cable subscription or gym membership that you don't use often enough to justify the expense. The money you save each month can go straight into savings.

  4. Save Any Unexpected Money
    Any extra money you get, above and beyond your usual income, can also go straight into savings. This includes bonuses from work, gifts from family, and pay for side jobs. If you want to be really ambitious, you could deliberately take side gigs or even a second job on a temporary basis to generate some extra money for your savings.

  5. Start a Dedicated Savings Account
    When you're saving for something specific, such as a down payment on a house, it's a good idea to create a brand new savings account, separate from your regular savings account. Make sure your regular savings account has enough money in it to cover you in an emergency, but having a dedicated account for your down payment savings will help you to save better and see at a glance how you're doing.

  6. Transfer Money Automatically
    Out of sight, out of mind applies here! Add up how much money you're saving each month on reduced expenses and spending, and set up an automatic transfer to happen every month with that base amount. You can always add to it as you can, but this way, you'll have a minimum amount going straight into savings every month.

  7. Seek Help
    No matter how good you are at saving, you could benefit from looking into various programs that will get you into a home sooner rather than later. For instance, many employers offer the ability to borrow from your 401(k) to pay a down payment. There are also many grants and other programs available for homebuyers, especially first-time homebuyers.

Saving for a down payment may seem daunting, but having a solid plan in place can put your dream house within easier reach than you might think. Ready to start your search? Contact us today.

October
18

Interior Design Trends to Know About This Fall

Fall Interior DesignA new home is like a blank canvas. There are plenty of Sarasota homes for sale, but it's your job to make that house your own, with everything from the colors of the walls to the style and layout of the furniture, and much more. Now, with fall upon us, it's the perfect opportunity to turn your new house into a home with some fun interior design trends. Here are a few you should know about.

  • Vintage Pieces
    There's nothing wrong with a home full of basic, functional, and comfortable Ikea furniture. But most homeowners today are looking for something more. They want something with personality. Something that has a story behind it. That's why vintage furniture is becoming popular. It's high quality and built to last, so you can have it in your family for generations. It can also help give your home a cozier, more personal look. Plus, buying vintage furniture instead of new pieces is more sustainable, reducing manufacturing and lowering your carbon footprint.

  • Natural Design
    Not everything can or should be bought secondhand. However, that doesn't mean you need to sacrifice sustainability. Simple choices like lighter, natural wood furniture pieces, rather than ones that have been stained darker, are more environmentally friendly. And when it comes to curtains and upholstery, choose more sustainable textiles, such as recycled cotton and organic hemp. Plus, those natural textures help give your home an upscale but cozy feel. It also helps to incorporate more natural light into the room, rather than relying on bulbs. And you can even add a few potted plants around the house, to complete the look. Being environmentally conscious doesn't mean you have to sacrifice style or decor. A little creativity and your home can be both stylish and sustainable.

  • Layers
    By layering different pieces on top of one another, you can create a look of contrasting or complementary colors. Start with a simple throw on your couch, with a color that pops against the sofa fabric. You can also layer curtains with shades on your windows. You can even layer a small, patterned rug over a larger, solid color one to create a whole new style choice. This applies to bedding, too. Sheets, blankets, pillows, and comforter don't all necessarily have to be the same color and style. Try mixing and matching to build new looks. What's more, you can keep multiple pieces around and switch them out periodically, to keep things fresh.

  • Compartmentalization
    A few years ago, open floor plans were all the rage. The kitchen, living room, and dining room were all one big space, and you could look over almost the whole house from a single vantage point. However, times have changed. Now, most homeowners want separate spaces and a bit of privacy between one room and the next. This is easily accomplished with a few partitions and room dividers. They allow you to define the spaces in your home more clearly. You can also create new spaces, like a home office, a den, or a play area for the kids. The mobility of these partitions also provides flexibility. And the dividers can be decorated in different colors and patterns, to blend seamlessly with the rest of your decor.

If you're looking for Bradenton homes for sale, our real estate agents can help you find the perfect one to meet your needs. Contact us to help you find your dream home, and find the design elements that will really make it yours.

October
11

Celebrate the Arts at These Upcoming Festivals

Craft Shows in Sarasota

Fall in Florida brings many exciting activities. While people up north are hunkering down for the winter, here, we're enjoying slightly cooler weather and gearing up for the busy season. From now until the summer returns, there's no shortage of things to do. 

This time of year, when they're not busy helping clients find their dream homes, our real estate agents enjoy visiting local craft shows on the weekends. Whether you're an art enthusiast or just looking for something fun to do, we recommend paying a visit to these upcoming events. 

  • Sarasota Rocktoberfest: JD Hamel Park, 199 Bayfront Dr., Sarasota, FL 34236
    This is so much more than a craft festival! Sarasota Rocktoberfest will feature tons of live music, huge glasses of beer, and plenty of mouthwatering Oktoberfest-themed food, including smoked sausages, sauerkraut, pretzels, roasted meats, and more. The event runs from October 15th to 17th, and admission is free! You'll also have the chance to shop at the marketplace, which features a wide selection of art, crafts, and fine products. 
  • Downtown Venice Art Festival: 100 W. Venice Ave., Venice, FL 34285
    The town of Venice is vibrant, beautiful, and filled with historic charm. The Downtown Venice Art Festival will feature more than 100 notable artists from across the nation. Here you'll find everything from painting to jewelry, photography, sculpture, glass, ceramics, mixed media, and more. The festival will be held on November 6th and 7th from 10 am to 5 pm, and admission is free. While you're in the area, you'll want to take a drive around so you can get a look at some of the beautiful Venice homes for sale
  • 32nd Annual St. Armands Art Festival: 411 St. Armands Circle, Sarasota, FL 34236
    The St. Armand's Art Festival has been named one of the best art festivals in the country. It features over 175 artists and craftsmen displaying their original work. Here you'll find sculptures, ceramics, jewelry, oils, watercolors, pottery, and more. The festival is scheduled for November 13th and 14th from 10 am to 5 pm, and admission is free. Since St. Armands Circle is so close to some of the best Sarasota homes for sale, you'll also want to make sure you leave enough time to take the scenic route home. 
  • Siesta Key Crystal Classic: 948 Beach Rd., Sarasota, FL 34242
    A bit of a different way to view art, the Siesta Key Crystal Classic gives you an opportunity to get a close-up view of sand sculptures created by 24 professional artists from around the world. While you're there, you can also enjoy sand sculpting lessons and demonstrations, live bands, and a bar tent. You also won't want to miss the Vendor Village, which will have over 70 retail vendors and 6 food trucks. The event will take place from November 12th through November 15th. 
  • Acrylic Painters USA Curated Exhibition: ArtCenter Manatee 209 9th St. W., Bradenton, FL 34205
    If you've been exploring Bradenton homes for sale, you'll definitely want to familiarize yourself with ArtCenter Manatee. They host a variety of art shows throughout the year, including the upcoming Acrylic Painters USA curated exhibition. This event will be held from October 26th through November 19th, and admission is free. 

Now is the perfect time to find your dream home in Florida, and the agents at Wagner Realty are here to help! Contact us today to learn more and get started with your homebuying journey.  

September
27

German Restaurants for Your Oktoberfest Plans

German Restaurants Sarasota

The official Oktoberfest festivities in Munich might be canceled this year, but that doesn't mean you can't celebrate the occasion here in the Bradenton area! In fact, our real estate agents have a few ideas about where to go for an Oktoberfest feast. Check out these local restaurants for an authentic dining experience. 

  • Lucky Frog Restaurant - 4625 Cortez Rd W, Bradenton, FL 34210
    With its unassuming storefront, it would be easy to overlook the Lucky Frog Restaurant. But you'd also be missing out on some of the best authentic German food near these Bradenton homes for sale. The Lucky Frog serves a broad menu of classic German fare like breaded pork schnitzel, sauerbraten, and spaetzle, along with daily chef's specialties. Oktoberfest events are planned for Oct. 9th and 23rd, 2021, including a special menu and live German folk music. 

  • Restaurant Edelweiss - 611 Manatee Ave E, Bradenton, FL 34208
    The fresh cuisine at Restaurant Edelweiss is made from scratch every day and has been voted the best authentic German food in Bradenton. The restaurant serves up finely crafted specialties like the mouth-watering Rügenwalder Knacker Platter, which includes two smoked pork knackwurst with German potato salad and a handmade pretzel. Be sure to check out the music schedule at Restaurant Edelweiss as well; live bands play every week. They also have a relaxing biergarten where you'll be glad to sit and sip a pint, with classic German beers like Warsteiner Pilsner and Hofbräuhaus Lager on draft. 

  • Old Hamburg Schnitzelhaus - 3246 E Bay Dr, Holmes Beach, FL 34217
    You'll find plenty of tasty Bavarian and Austrian dishes on the menu at the Old Hamburg Schnitzelhaus. This classic German restaurant near Holmes Beach homes for sale uses old-country recipes handed down through generations and serves guests in an intimate, relaxing space. Start with the Tagessuppe (soup of the day) and handmade pretzels with German mustard, and go from there. They have a great beer and wine list too. 

  • Siegfried's Restaurant - 1869 Fruitville Rd, Sarasota, FL 34236
    It doesn't get much more authentic than Siegfried's Restaurant. Owners Kim and Rene moved to Sarasota from Erkelenz, Germany in 2018, and started Siegfried's Restaurant with the goal of crafting delicious German food based on family recipes. Located a stone's throw from these Sarasota homes for sale, they have one of the best outdoor biergartens in town. 

  • Geier's Sausage Kitchen - 7447 S Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34231
    A unique German meat market and deli, Geier's Sausage Kitchen is a great place to pick up authentic German take-out. They also offer some of the best authentic, handmade German sausages you'll ever taste, including frankfurters, bratwurst, and knockwurst. Pick some up to throw on the grill for your own Oktoberfest party! 

  • Curry Up King - 935 N Beneva Rd #613, Sarasota, FL 34232
    Serving authentic German street food with an Indian twist, Curry Up King is a hole-in-the-wall joint that is not to be missed. With a small, no-frills seating area, the kitchen at Curry Up King produces genuine masterpieces like their schnitzel sandwich, which includes pork loin fried golden brown to perfection, topped with zesty curry lemon mayonnaise. And save room for dessert; they make just about the best apple strudel you'll ever have. 

Contact us today to learn more about life in Sarasota and Bradenton, and be sure to ask our real estate agents about finding your dream home on the Florida coast.

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. 

September
7

Rainy Day Activities for the Whole Family

Rainy Day Activities

Florida may be known as the Sunshine State, but this time of year, we also get our fair share of rain. If dark skies are threatening your beach plans, don't worry! There are tons of fun, family-friendly things to do in the Sarasota area. In fact, our real estate agents often take their families to these spots on their days off. 

  • The Ringling: 5401 Bay Shore Rd, Sarasota, FL 34243
    The Ringling is home to an incredible art museum, a circus museum, and 66 acres of stunning bayfront property. It's also home to the Ca'd'Zan, the Venetial Gothic home of John and Mable Ringling, where you can take a step back in time with a personal tour. This is by far one of the most extraordinary museums in the world and is definitely a "must-see" area attraction. 
  • Mote Marine: 1600 Ken Thompson Pkwy, Sarasota, FL 34236
    Mote Aquarium is another incredible attraction located just minutes from downtown Sarasota. When you visit this aquarium, you'll be able to get up-close and personal with manatees, sharks, sea turtles, otters, and more. Some of the best attractions here include Contact Cove, Florida's Bay Habitats, and Oh Baby! Life Cycles of the Seas. 
  • The Met: 35 South Blvd. of the Presidents, Sarasota, Florida 34236
    When you're ready for some serious pampering, you'll want to pay a visit to The Met. This luxury independent fashion house, salon, and day spa is located on St. Armands Circle. When you visit, you can book an appointment for a massage or facial, shop for incredible clothing and accessories, and visit their in-house fine jewelry counter. St. Armands Circle is just a short drive away from some of the best Sarasota homes for sale, so while you're there, be sure to take a drive around and explore some of these stunning neighborhoods. 
  • Regal Hollywood: 1993 Main St, Sarasota, FL 34236
    Watching a movie in the theater is a great way to spend a rainy day in Sarasota. The Regal Hollywood theater shows both new releases and classics on the big screen. If you're a movie fan, you can also join the Regal Crown Club, where you'll earn credits for the money you spend on tickets and concessions, or even join the Unlimited Program, which lets you watch as many movies as you want, as often as you want! 
  • The Mall at UTC: 140 University Town Center Dr, Sarasota, FL 34243
    You can shop 'till you drop at The Mall at University Town Center! This upscale mall features many of the most popular stores, including Macy's, Dillard's, Saks Fifth Avenue, Lululemon, Michael Kors, and more. It's also a premier dining location, offering incredible restaurants like Season's 52, The Capital Grille, Brio Tuscan Grille, and The Cheesecake Factory. 
  • Artisans World Marketplace: 128 S. Pineapple Ave. Sarasota, FL 34236
    Another wonderful shopping adventure to enjoy on a rainy day, Artisan's World Marketplace is a fair trade gift shop that carries handmade goods by artisans from around the globe. Here you'll find unique art, jewelry, and other items from Africa, Asia, and Oceania. When you visit this store, you'll find a wide selection of unique and beautiful items and can also feel good knowing that every purchase you make supports their mission to help rebuild villages and improve people's lives. 

Contact us today to discuss your goals and get started. Your dream home is out there waiting for you, so don't delay! 

August
23

Tips for Picking A Real Estate Agent During a Hot Market

Real Estate Market

It's a hot market, and you're looking to buy or sell a home among Sarasota homes for sale or Bradenton homes for sale. While an agent can help you in any type of real estate market, their help is especially critical during a hot market. Here's why.

Why Hire an Agent?

Yes, your home might just fly off the market with a Craigslist ad or the like, but what if it doesn't? With an agent, your home will get considerably more exposure in MLS (multiple listing service) databases created and maintained by real estate professionals to help homeowners like you sell their property. It just makes sense that the more potential buyers see your property, the greater the chance that the selling price could go much higher than your expectations. You could have buyers competing with one another, and that could only benefit you.

Your agent will be there throughout the whole process and able to offer advice for any aspect of the sale, from determining a price to staging your home to determining the scope of repairs you want to do before you put the home on the market. 

But an even better reason to hire a real estate agent is that many potential buyers are not comfortable talking to the owner of a property and prefer to deal with an agent. Not only can you -- and should you -- make yourself scarce while the agent shows your home, but you'll boost the comfort level of potential buyers, who may feel they are visiting you, as the owner of the home, rather than seriously looking at a home they want to live in.

What to Look for in an Agent

As you begin to look for a real estate agent, you will likely focus on an individual's experience in selling houses like yours in your neighborhood. Ask neighbors for recommendations. Get at least three referrals. And remember, while experience is important, so is personality. Can you relate to this person? Does he or she seem real to you? Look for an agent you can build a rapport with, in addition to their sales and successes.

Pay attention to the agent's marketing tools, including website, business card, brochures, signage, social media efforts, and more. Does the agent's personal appearance give you confidence in them, or is something lacking? 

When you discuss the sale of your home with a real estate agent, you want someone who can guide you through what can be a precarious journey. Can your agent answer questions reliably and with real data about investment analysis, neighborhood-level market performance, and possibly even the impact of your decision to sell? You don't want an agent who honey coats their answers; you need real information about possible pitfalls, so listen carefully to how your agent replies to your questions and make sure the agent is really hearing you.

Our real estate agents can give you solid advice on how to hire the right professional to help you sell your home. Contact us today. 

August
16

Benefits of Shopping Local

Shop Local Sarasota

It's impossible to overstate the importance of shopping locally. It buoys the local economy and supports your friends' and neighbors' businesses. It also puts a wealth of unique goods at your fingertips that you might otherwise have missed... plus, it's fun!

Our real estate agents have always believed in the power of shopping locally here in the Bradenton and Sarasota areas, and we have some truly incredible local businesses at our doorstep. Here's how you can support them. 

What Happens When You Shop Local

On a smaller scale—a local scale—you really can make a difference. Here's how it benefits your community when you shop local:

  • Your money stays local. Studies show that for every $100 you spend at a local business, $68 stays within the community, nurturing the local economy.

  • You help the environment. Yes, shopping local is greener! It creates less waste by reducing the need for packaging and transportation of the goods you buy. 

  • You create local jobs. Local businesses are more likely to offer quality, high-paying jobs in your community. 

  • You embrace what makes your community unique. Chances are, your local businesses offer something special and different from what the big national chains do. Shopping local encourages and supports that unique community identity. 

Shopping Local in Bradenton & Sarasota

There are many fantastic locally owned businesses in our area. When planning your next local shopping trip, be sure to check out these businesses:

  • The Bazaar on Apricot & Lime - 821 Apricot Ave, Sarasota, FL 34237
    You never know what you'll find at The Bazaar on Apricot & Lime! This unique indoor indie market hosts some of the coolest local vendors offering handmade jewelry, clothing, arts, crafts, and more. Plus, it's just minutes from these Sarasota homes for sale

  • Calusa Brewing - 5701 Derek Ave, Sarasota, FL 34233
    We're blessed with a lot of awesome local breweries here in Sarasota, but Calusa Brewing is definitely one of our favorites. They create an incredible selection of craft beers and ales, ranging from traditional styles to creative experiments, and serve them up in their lively taproom space. 

  • Banyan Coffee Co. - 216 22nd St W, Bradenton, FL 34205
    A great local coffee roaster in Bradenton, Banyan Coffee Co. will ship coffee beans right to your door (delivery is free in Bradenton), or you can sample a cup from their mobile coffee cart. Their coffee is also served and sold at dozens of local establishments, including Cremesh Coffee & Bakery, a stone's throw from many Bradenton homes for sale

  • Bookstore 1 - 12 S Palm Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236
    There's no substitute for the unique selection and helpful staff at a great local bookstore like Sarasota's Bookstore 1. They're committed to bringing great books to the community, and the newest arrivals are always listed on their website. 

  • Artisan Cheese Co. - 550 Central Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236
    Looking for a local cheese shop in which artisan cheesemakers craft specialty cheeses using the milk from Florida cows, goats, and sheep? Look no farther than Artisan Cheese Co. 

  • Village of the Arts - 1227 12th St W, Bradenton, FL 34205
    There's no better place to find local art than Village of the Arts, an eclectic community of cottages that house art galleries, studios, and shops run by local artists. They host an art walk the first Friday night and Saturday afternoon of every month

Our team is dedicated to supporting our local businesses in the Bradenton and Sarasota areas, and we can't wait to help your find your Florida dream home! Contact us today.

August
9

How to Prepare for a Stress-Free Move

Stress Free Move

Moving can be stressful, but does it have to be? It's never too early to think about how you'll make moving easier, even as you're just starting to look at Sarasota homes for sale. By following these guidelines from our real estate agents, you can stay organized and hopefully avoid any big surprises on your moving day.

  1. Get the Move Scheduled in Advance
    With the number of Bradenton homes for sale and how the market is currently booming, movers and trucks get booked up more quickly than you might think. If you're using movers, schedule with them about a month in advance, possibly longer if you have more notice of your impending move. If you're renting a truck, schedule that too, so that you don't find yourself with a lot to move and no way to move it.

  2. Set up a Labeling System
    Make it easy for movers to get your boxes into the right rooms by color-coding boxes. This will help ensure boxes end up in the room they are supposed to be in. For even more convenience, make sure you label each box's contents on each side of the box.

  3. Start Packing Non-Essentials a Month Prior
    Don't make the age-old mistake of overestimating how much time you still have before your move! Start packing up non-essentials as early as possible. You'll be surprised by how much of your household doesn't get used on a daily basis. Starting early allows you to ensure the nonessentials are well organized and labeled, especially helpful after the move since these are the things that'll probably be unpacked last.

  4. Donate to the Thrift Store
    While you're packing, keep a few boxes labeled for the thrift store. It's easy enough to put things you don't want in the thrift store boxes and drop off a big load of donations when the house is nearly packed. No sense in paying to move things you don't want to keep!

  5. Take Pictures for Reference
    As you're packing, take pictures of anything you want to remember when you're unpacking. Even if you think you'll remember how Grandma's china was displayed or how the stereo is wired up, it may be a long time before those things are unpacked, and you'll have a lot of other stuff on your mind in the meantime. Pictures will make it faster and easier.

  6. Pack Overnight Bags for the New Place
    To prevent having to scramble to find essentials your first night in the new house, pack an overnight bag for each person. Make sure everyone has changes toiletries, a phone cord, a book to read, and anything else you might need if you were staying in a strange place for a couple of nights.

  7. Have a Backup Plan
    No matter how prepared you are, last-minute changes can still happen. Make sure you have several options just in case things go awry. For instance, have a list of local moving companies you can call if your movers fall through or friends with trucks and large vehicles who would help you in a pinch.

Moving is a big event, but it's also an exciting one! By being fully prepared for your move, you can turn your attention to the thrill of moving into your dream home. Contact us today to start the process of finding the perfect home for your family.

August
2

Events and Festivals Happening This August

Sarasota Events

In August, the calendar may be moving toward fall, but summer fun is still going strong around Sarasota and Bradenton. Join our real estate agents for some good times at these exciting local events and festivals taking place this month.

  • NBP Rec Days - Nathan Benderson Park, 5851 Nathan Benderson Circle, Sarasota, FL 34235
    Have you joined the kayaking craze? Maybe you want to pass your love of fishing on to your kids. NBP Rec Days are a great opportunity for the whole family to try various water-based activities, including stand-up paddleboarding, canoeing, and sailing, right by Sarasota homes for sale. Fishing licenses are required for those who choose to participate. Dates are Saturday, August 14, and Saturday, August 28, from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Fees are $10 per person, with a maximum of $35 for families of five or more. Kids aged 6 and under are free.

  • Majesty of Rock - CoolToday Park, 18800 W. Villages Pkwy., Venice, FL 34293
    It's a marriage made in rock 'n' roll heaven when Majesty of Rock performs at CoolToday Park, right down the street from Venice homes for sale. Frontman John D'Agostino leads the group of talented musicians through a selection of tunes from iconic classic rock bands Journey and Styx. Bring a lawn chair or blanket, but you'll probably spend most of the night dancing away. Music starts at 8 p.m. on Saturday, August 21. General admission tickets are $12.

  • World Series of Comedy - McCurdy's Comedy Theatre, 1923 Ringling Blvd., Bradenton, FL 34236
    Cap off a day of viewing Bradenton homes for sale with a night of laughs. The best of the best are competing in the World Series of Comedy, with 40 comedians appearing in four days. Your vote will help decide who moves on to the finals. Festivities run from Thursday, August 12, through Sunday, August 15. Visit the website for showtimes. Tickets are $25.

  • IQuest: Playing Around with Science - The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature, 201 - 10th St. W., Bradenton, FL 34205
    Prepare the kids to go back to school by sneaking some learning into their fun. At IQuest: Playing Around with Science, the award-winning game designer gives tips on creating games that incorporate scientific know-how. After playing science card games, participants will try their hand at designing their own games. IQuest takes place Saturday, August 14, from 4 p.m. - 8 p.m. The $8 admission includes a slice of pizza and a beverage.

  • Plantation Wine Festival - Plantation Golf & Country Club, 500 Rockley Blvd., Venice, FL 34293
    Enjoy a relaxing afternoon sampling a variety of wines in the lush surroundings of the Plantation Golf & Country Club, which opens its doors to the public for the Plantation Wine Festival. As if the wine wasn't enough, the club chefs are preparing a sensational assortment of food to dine on as well. The event will be held indoors in air-conditioned comfort, where you can look out over the beautiful greenery, colorful flowers, and serene waterways. The festival is scheduled for Sunday, August 29, from 1 p.m. - 4 p.m. Tickets are $25 for club members and $35 for non-members. 

Are you buying or selling a home around Bradenton or Sarasota? It doesn't have to get in the way of your summer entertainment. Contact us at Wagner Realty and let us handle the hard stuff.

July
26

Back to School Shopping in Sarasota and Bradenton

Sarasota Shopping

School will be back in session before you know it. Of course, here in the Sarasota and Bradenton areas, that doesn't mean summer fun is over. But it does mean it's time to hit the shops for some back-to-school shopping. 

Whether you're in need of books, art supplies, clothes, or all of the above, our real estate agents know just where to look! Check out these great local stores for all your back-to-school shopping needs in Sarasota and Bradenton, FL!

  • St. Armands Circle - 431 St Armands Cir, Sarasota, FL 34236
    Encircling a charming city park adorned with Italian statues, the shops at St. Armands Circle are an endlessly enjoyable place to shop. Easily explored on foot, the stores here provide for a wide range of back-to-school needs. It's an especially great area to get all your school clothes shopping done, with shops including Hatley, Modern Soul Boutique, Crazy Shirts, and Little Bo-Tique. The shops at St. Armands Circle offer some of the best shopping opportunities on the Gulf Coast, just a stone's throw from many Sarasota homes for sale.

  • The Mall at University Town Center - 140 University Town Center Dr, Sarasota, FL 34243
    One of the largest shopping centers in the Sarasota area, the Mall at University Town Center has a shop for just about anything you might need. Stock up on school supplies at Paper Source, make sure your kids have the latest technology at the Apple Store, and hit the Gap and Gap Kids for all their back-to-school clothes. The mall is packed with fun dining options too, and there are plenty of attractions here for the whole family. 

  • The Paper Inn - 5917 Manatee Ave W #609, Bradenton, FL 34209
    For the young artist in your family, Bradenton's The Paper Inn is one of the best places in the area to stock up on back-to-school supplies! This beloved local art supply and stationery store offers a wide range of essentials for budding artists, and they even host their own arts and crafts classes. The Paper Inn is located a short drive from many Bradenton homes for sale and is also one of the area's best destinations to find crafting and scrapbooking supplies. 

  • Bookstore1 - 12 S Palm Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236
    A good bookstore offers something for everyone, and Bookstore1 is a great bookstore. You'll find great reads here for every interest and every age group, from pre-K kids just learning their letters to college students looking to stock up for their Humanities classes. The folks at Bookstore1 have made it their mission to be Sarasota's best independent bookstore, and their friendly, knowledgeable staff will help you find anything you're looking for. 

  • Children's World - 4525 Bee Ridge Rd, Sarasota, FL 34233
    Children's World is the top destination in Sarasota for school uniforms. But it's also much more than that. They're also an amazing resource for all kinds of school accessories, books, supplies, toys, and games. You'll find a vast selection of everything your kids need to learn, grow and explore, both at school and at home. Children's World has been serving the Florida Gulf Coast since 1964, and they frequently host in-store play days for kids as well. 

Contact us today to learn more about life on the Gulf Coast of Florida and talk to our real estate agents about all the unique opportunities our area has to offer. We can't wait to help you find your dream home in the Sarasota and Bradenton areas!

July
19

Summer Fun in Lakewood Ranch

Lakewood Ranch Summer 2021

Lakewood Ranch is definitely the place to be this summer. There are so many enjoyable activities that are open to the public, from yoga classes to soccer games. If you're looking at Lakewood Ranch homes for sale, we recommend checking out some of these nearby summer activities. 

  • Yoga in the Park: 2710 White Eagle Blvd., Lakewood Ranch, FL 34211
    Yoga is great exercise for the body and the mind. Not only do the poses stretch and strengthen your muscles, but they also help you relax and focus. Yoga in the Park takes place at Bob Gardner Community Center. Classes last from 9:00 - 10:00 am, and upcoming dates include August 8th and August 29th.

    There's no charge to participate in Yoga in the Park. Participants are asked to bring their own mats, water bottles, and towels. You can pre-register here.

  • Midday Volleyball: 6402 Lakewood Ranch Blvd., Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202
    If you need a break from the hustle and bustle on Wednesdays, stop by Summerfield Community Park for a Midday Volleyball game, lasting from 11 am - 12 pm. You can pre-register here, and all are welcome.

    Teams of 2 - 6 people will compete on the sand volleyball courts. There's a light-hearted, casual atmosphere.

  • Barre in the Park: 2710 White Eagle Blvd., Lakewood Ranch, FL 34211
    Barre classes are so effective at teaching poise and balance. You're guaranteed to be sweating by the end of the session, too! Barre in the Park takes place at Bob Gardner Community Park between 9 am and 10 am. Upcoming dates include August 1st and August 22nd. 

    There's no charge for Barre in the Park, but participants are asked to register here. Bring a mat, water, and a towel to class, and be prepared for a fun workout! You'll find the class near the main playground. 

  • Lakewood Ranch Summer Camp: 14534 Arbor Green Trail, Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202
    If you're looking for a fun way to keep your kids entertained this summer, consider sending them to Lakewood Ranch Summer Camp at the Goddard School. This is a STEAM-themed camp that will teach kids all about science, technology, engineering, art, and math. Children will learn by participating in fun, hands-on activities.

    Lakewood Ranch Summer Camp takes place daily from 7 am - 6 pm. You can learn more and register your child on their website. The Goddard School has been dedicated to play-based learning since 1988, and their summer camp is a great way for your child to experience that.

  • USYS National Championships: 5895 Post Blvd., Lakewood Ranch, FL 34211
    The United States Youth Soccer National Championships are taking place July 18 - 25th at the Premier Sports campus. If your kids are interested in soccer, watching some of the games is bound to be exciting. Group Play is scheduled for July 20 - 22, and the Finals for July 25th.

    If you're looking at Sarasota homes for sale, this tournament is just minutes away. You can stop by to watch just one game, or spend a whole day watching and learning more about soccer.

Lakewood Ranch is such an active, welcoming community. You can fill your schedule with these activities and truly get involved. If you're looking for a home in the area, our real estate agents can help. Contact us to learn more about the real estate market or things to do in Lakewood Ranch.

July
12

Florida Boating Safety Tips

Florida Boating Safety

Living in Florida is truly living the dream! Living close to the water and being able to enjoy it almost year-round is one of the benefits of living here. As the summer weather heats up, be sure to test your boating safety know-how before you hit the water. Here are a few tips from our real estate agents to help keep you safe this summer.

  • Wear a Life Jacket
    Hands down, the most important safety precaution you can take on a boat is to make sure all passengers are wearing life jackets. Even if you are a good swimmer, you could be knocked unconscious or become disoriented if you're thrown from the boat. Also, make sure you get a life jacket that fits properly, especially for kids. It won't do you any good if it comes off when you hit the water.

  • Prepare a Boat Safety Kit
    Life jackets may be the most important, but they're only one of the things you need on board in case of an emergency. Also, be sure to have emergency items such as a first aid kit, fire extinguisher, a flashlight, duct tape, rope, a bucket, and a mirror, and a whistle for signaling if you need help.

  • Beware of Carbon Monoxide
    Carbon monoxide is as much of a concern on a boat as it is in your home. You'll have to be very aware of the risk of carbon monoxide created by your engine. Be wary of things like blocked exhaust outlets or idling your engine while sitting still, and have your engine checked regularly to ensure everything is in good working order.

  • Check the Weather
    Even in beautiful Florida, the weather can sometimes be a hazard. A beautiful day near Bradenton homes for sale won't always stay beautiful, and getting caught in a storm could turn that beautiful, relaxing boat ride into a fight for survival. Always check the weather forecast before venturing out onto the water.

  • Have Your Boat Checked Yearly
    Just like with your car or the HVAC system in your house, it's important to have your boat checked out regularly to make sure everything is in good operating condition. A safety check ensures that everything from emergency equipment, to ventilation, to your boat's battery are all present and functioning properly. It's a good idea to have regular checks and maintenance done on the mechanical components as well.

  • Take a Boating Safety Course
    Want to really make sure you are prepared to hit the water? Enroll in a boating safety course. You can find them both online and in person. The idea is to ensure you know common safety procedures, how to prevent common accidents, and are prepared in case of an emergency.

Florida may be like living in paradise, but it's still up to all of us to make sure our favorite activities stay safe and fun for everyone. Looking for your dream home among the Sarasota homes for sale? We can help with that, too! Contact us today for more information about buying and selling homes in Florida.

July
5

Sarasota County's Centennial Celebration

Sarasota County Centennial

Happy birthday, Sarasota County! We love calling this area home and are excited to celebrate this occasion. Sarasota County was formed on July 1, 1921, but the celebration is lasting all month long, and then some! Join our real estate agents in celebrating the centennial with these exciting events and activities taking place around Sarasota homes for sale.

  • Venice Museum & Archives - 351 Nassau St. S., Venice, FL 34285
    What was Sarasota like during its formative years? Take a visual tour with Celebrating a Centennial: The Origins of Sarasota, a current exhibit at Venice Museum & Archives. Photos tell the story of Sarasota's origin and development, along with the specific role played by Venice. While you're there, check out the other exhibits that give a fascinating glimpse of architecture, nature, and other features of the area. Celebrating a Centennial runs through January 12, 2022. Hours are 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and admission is free.

  • The Ringmaster's Wife - Senior Friendship Centers, 1888 Brother Geenen Way, Sarasota, FL 34236
    Sarasota served as the home of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. The Ringmaster's Wife turns the spotlight on Mable Ringling, wife of John Ringling. An authentically dressed presenter will share Mable's first-hand perspective behind the scenes of "The Greatest Show on Earth." Light refreshments will be served and former mayors of Sarasota will be on hand for a meet-and-greet. The presentation takes place on Thursday, October 21, from 9 a.m. - noon. Admission is free.

  • Master Gardener Volunteer Plant Sale - Twin Lakes Park, 6700 Clark Rd., Sarasota, FL 34241
    Sarasota's natural beauty is one of the biggest draws for residents and visitors. Beautify your own home with purchases at the Master Gardener Volunteer Plant Sale. The annual event is held by the IFAS Extension of the University of Florida to promote sustainable gardening. This year's event will have some added flair as part of the centennial celebration. Mark your calendar for Saturday, October 9, from 8 a.m. - 1 p.m. Admission is free.

  • Sarasota County Auto Tours 
    Learn the backstory behind Sarasota's top landmarks with Sarasota County Auto Tours. This new app, offered by the Sarasota County Centennial Committee, provides travel directions and audio narration that allow you to explore these points of interest at your own pace. Eight tours are available, each with its own specific focus. Areas covered include Bayfront, Downtown, and 5 Points, and Phillippi. Download the free app at Google Play for Android or the App Store for iPhone. 

  • Avenue of Art - Burns Square, 543 S. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota, FL 34236
    What does Sarasota mean to you? In conjunction with the centennial, founders of the iconic Chalk Festival are sponsoring the Avenue of Art. Participants of all ages are filling the sidewalks in Burns Square with paintings that depict their vision of Sarasota County. Stroll the area any time of day or night to view these personal works of art. A QR code that displays information about the artist and the painting is being added to each completed work. The project will remain on display until September 30, prior to the Chalk Festival's "Spirited Festivities" over Halloween weekend. Budding artists can apply on the website. Donations of $10 for adults and $5 for students are welcome.

Ready to be a part of Sarasota County's next 100 years? If you're buying or selling a home, contact us at Wagner Realty to 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
14

Upcoming 5Ks in the Sarasota & Bradenton Area

Sarasota 5k

The Sarasota and Bradenton area has an active running community, so you'll find plenty of local events that will help you meet others and get some exercise. Even if you're a beginner, you'll have time to train and get ready to hit local parks and other local running trails. Our real estate agents suggest checking out the following 5Ks and other races coming up this year near Sarasota and Bradenton homes for sale:

  • Lauren's Rainbow 5K – November 7, 2021 – Celery Fields, 6893 Palmer Blvd., Sarasota, FL 34240  
    The Annual Lauren's Rainbow 5K features several additional races, including a 5-mile run and a 1-mile trail run. In addition to running the race, you'll be able to gather with other members of the community as the races finish on a hilltop. Food and music will add to the fun, which takes place in Celery Park, a beautiful area located just around the corner from Sarasota homes for sale

  • North Port Firecracker 5K – July 3, 2021 – North Port High School, 6400 W. Price Blvd., North Port, FL 34291
    Dress up in your most patriotic costume and celebrate July 4th by running the North Port Firecracker 5K. Run near North Port homes for sale, the race gives awards to the top 3 male and female finishers in a variety of age groups. The awards ceremony is held immediately after the last runner finishes, and each finisher will be given an American flag. 

  • Venice Half Marathon & 5K – October 9, 2021 – Maxine Barritt Park, 1800 Harbor Dr. S., Venice, FL 34285  
    The Venice Half Marathon & 5K takes you on a beautiful course with nearly constant water views along the Intracoastal Waterway, near Venice homes for sale. It features 12 bridge crossings, and you'll also run a large section of the Legacy Trail, which extends from Sarasota to Venice. The trail is mostly shaded, which is a huge benefit in sunny Florida. So runners can stay cool, the race has an early 6:30 a.m. start, which lets you see the sunrise while you're on the course.

  • Florida Turkey Trot – November 25, 2021 – Nathan Benderson Park, 5851 Nathan Benderson Circle, Sarasota, FL 34235   
    Start your Thanksgiving and get a fun tradition started by burning off some pre-meal calories at the Florida Turkey Trot. It features some shorter dashes for kids 12 and under, so the event is great for the whole family. The 5K race is run at Nathan Benderson Park, a 600-acre park that has a 400-acre artificial lake. Proceeds benefit The Suncoast Aquatic Nature Center Associates, a non-profit that manages Nathan Benderson Park.

  • Subway Trick or Trot 5K Trail Run – October 16, 2021 – Ann Dever Park, 6961 San Casa Dr., Englewood, FL 34224  
    Costumes are encouraged at the Subway Trick or Trot 5K Trail Run, a scholarship fundraising race hosted by Zoomers Southwest Florida Running & Triathlon Club. Proceeds will also go to the Suncoast Humane Society and middle and high school athletics. The race is run on a 5K trail through Ann Dever Park, near Englewood homes for sale. Awards will be given for best costume as well as the top 3 male and female finishers in each age group.

Contact us to learn more about the many recreational opportunities in the Sarasota and Bradenton area. And if you're ready to buy or sell a home, our experienced real estate agents are ready to provide professional, personalized service. 

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
25

Dog-Friendly Restaurants in the Sarasota and Manatee Area

Dog Friendly Restaurants

Sarasota and Manatee Counties feature many fun places to dine, many of which offer fresh local seafood and fabulous water views. Some will also let you bring your dog with you as you enjoy their restaurant.

Our real estate agents suggest taking your pooch to the following dog-friendly restaurants in the Sarasota and Manatee area:

  1. Sun Garden Cafe - 210 Avenida Madera, Siesta Key, FL 34242
    Sun Garden Cafe, which serves lunch and dinner, offers locally caught fish, locally grown produce, farm-fresh eggs, and artisan foods from around the world. Feel free to wear your flip-flops and dine inside or outside. Well-behaved dogs are always welcome, so if you buy one of our Siesta Keys homes for sale, you can bring your pooch with you.

  2. Owens Fish Camp - 516 Burns Ct #7030, Sarasota, FL 34236
    Located near Sarasota homes for sale, Owens Fish Camp brings in local fish from the Bay every day. The atmosphere is casual old Florida, where you can try a craft beer with your seafood and eat at one of the front porch tables with your dog. A huge Banyan tree out front and a tire swing out back add to the laid-back, comfortable vibe.

  3. Turtle Beach Grill - 8865 Midnight Pass Road, Sarasota, FL 34242
    Located across from Turtle Beach near Sarasota homes for sale, the Turtle Beach Grill has dog-friendly dining on their outside patio deck. You'll be able to enjoy live entertainment on the deck Thursdays-Sundays from 5 p.m.-9 p.m. Visit the Turtle Beach Grill for lunch, dinner, or drinks, and you can even arrive by boat and dock at Bayfront Yachtworks.

  4. Gulf Drive Cafe - 900 Gulf Drive North, Bradenton Beach, FL 34217
    The Gulf Drive Cafe has been a popular fixture in Bradenton Beach since 1981, and it's easy to see why. The dog-friendly restaurant offers amazing views since it sits on 2 acres of waterfront on the Gulf of Mexico near Bradenton Beach homes for sale. Fresh seafood is a mainstay of the lunch and dinner menus, and while you're enjoying your meal, you can also have a cold cocktail and listen to live entertainment. And if you time it right, you can catch a multi-colored sunset from your restaurant view.

  5. The Waterfront Restaurant & Craft Bar - 111 South Bay Blvd., Anna Maria, FL 34216
    Whether you have a picky or an adventurous palate, you'll find something to love at The Waterfront Restaurant & Craft Bar, located near Anna Maria homes for sale. Utilizing fresh, natural flavors, the restaurant serves recognizable favorites as well as rare seasonal items. Try a selection from the micro-brew and wine bar and sit at the open-air patio that has views of Tampa Bay.

Even pets love calling the Sunshine State home! Contact us today to learn more about what homeowners enjoy about living in the Sarasota and Manatee area. 

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!

May
10

What to Consider When Choosing a Gated Community

Gated Community

Everyone wants safety and security for their homes, but before you assume a particular gated community is right for you, it's important that you understand all the rules and restrictions that accompany that security. Our real estate agents can help you make the right decision based on your lifestyle. There are several basic types of gated communities. Each has its own pros and cons.

  • Equity Country Clubs
    These are communities associated with a private country club. In addition to monthly homeowner's association fees, which take care of regular maintenance tasks, homeowners are assessed with a portion of the costs to renovate or add amenities, such as the golf course or tennis courts. These are known as equity fees. Avid golfers may find these added costs worth the benefits.
  • Non-Equity Country Clubs
    These country clubs do not require membership of all residents, who will therefore not have to pay equity fees. That probably also means you are unable to use the golf course or other facilities. Each community has its own rules, so you need to check what amenities are included for your use. 
  • Guard-Gated Properties
    A guard at the gate checks the ID of all visitors. After verifying that the visitor is authorized by a resident, the guard will direct the visitor to the appropriate destination. The guard will usually follow a strict protocol to ensure the safety of the entire community. These properties typically include amenities such as fitness centers, clubhouses, and tennis courts. Their maintenance is included in the monthly homeowner fees. 
  • Guard-Gated 55+ Communities
    Monitored by a guard at the gate, this community is focused on the interests of residents over the age of 55. You will often find social gatherings, crafts, and outings in addition to a clubhouse. To qualify, a household generally only needs one person of the appropriate age, but there may be limits on the number of people under that minimum age in the entire community. Normally, school buses are not allowed on the grounds, and you will rarely find playgrounds. Grandparents who find themselves bringing up their grandchildren may find this a hardship. 
  • Non-Guard Gated Communities
    The gate to these properties is accessed via passcode or telephone. Visitors may need to insert an ID while speaking to someone via camera. With a phone entry system, visitors input numbers on a keypad which causes the resident's phone to ring. The homeowner will then buzz them in. Homeowner fees are typically less expensive than in guard-gated communities.

In addition to the perks and restrictions specific to each of these, there are some policies that apply to all. Some benefits include lower crime rates, less traffic, no solicitors, and higher property values. Most exterior maintenance will be covered by the HOA fees. Some properties even include cable and house painting. Less work on the part of the homeowner means more spare time to enjoy the amenities offered. The downsides can be restrictions on the type of pets allowed, excessive HOA fees, restricted visitor access, and strict rules governing home exteriors. Deliveries may be problematic. Many communities require the owner to reside in the home for a defined time frame before renting to avoid turnover.

Once you understand the parameters of living in the various gated community types, it's easier to know what to look for in a new home. Contact us when you're ready to look at Bradenton homes for sale or Sarasota homes for sale in gated communities. 

May
3

Take Mom to These Brunch Spots Near Bradenton and Sarasota

Sarasota Brunch

Mother's Day is celebrated on May 9th this year, so what better time to treat mom to brunch or breakfast at a local restaurant? You'll be able to spend quality time together chatting as you enjoy a nice atmosphere combined with excellent food.
  
Our real estate agents suggest trying one of the following Mother's Day brunch options near Bradenton and Sarasota:  

  1. Pier 22 – 1200 1st Ave. W., Bradenton, FL 34205
    Mom is sure to love the amazing waterfront views from expansive windows at Pier 22, located near Bradenton homes for sale. The restaurant's atmosphere is casual, but the food is fine dining that's cooked from scratch. Choose a starter such as calamari, crab cake, or honey macadamia shrimp for brunch before moving onto an entrée like a beignet, smoked-salmon crepes, steak omelet, or shrimp and grits. Brunch is served from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
      
  2. Anna Maria Oyster Bar – 1525 51st Ave. E., Ellenton, FL 34222   
    Anna Maria Oyster Bar has four locations in the area, including one near Ellenton homes for sale as well as the intersection of I-75 and US-301. You and mom can dine inside, or, if the weather's sunny, sit by the waterfront outdoor dining area. Seafood dishes are popular favorites on the menu, including grouper cooked your way, fried oysters, and flounder Roma. Lighter bites of some entrees are also offered, as are salads, soups, burgers, and chicken and fish sandwiches. Lunch is served daily starting at 11 a.m.
      
  3. Station 400 – 400 N. Lemon Ave., Sarasota, FL 34236
    Located downtown near Sarasota homes for sale, Station 400 has character and charm since it's housed in a restored train depot that dates back to 1852. The restaurant has been voted the best breakfast and the best brunch in Sarasota, so it's a great spot to treat mom. Start her meal with a specialty mimosa such as blood orange hibiscus, blackberry bramble, or spicy mango. Share a plate of mini doughnut treats or crab cake fritters and choose a delectably decadent entrée like truffle eggs Benedict or apple-stuffed croissant French toast. Hours are 7:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. daily.
      
  4. Boca – 19 S. Lemon Ave., Sarasota, FL 34236
    Boca
    focuses on high-quality farm-to-table food made with local ingredients whenever possible. Start mom's brunch with a fresh mimosa and a plate of sharable fried green tomatoes or grilled gulf oysters. A wide variety of egg dishes are offered, including Boca corned beef hash and bbq pork Benedict, which consists of smoked pork, poached eggs, pretzel toast, cilantro bearnaise, and potato hash. A variety of flatbreads, muffins, and salads are also available. Brunch is served from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
      
  5. Paris Bistrot – 8131 Lakewood Main St., Suite 103, Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202 
    Paris Bistrot brings classic French dishes served in a cozy bistro atmosphere to Lakewood Ranch. Croissants and crepes dominate the breakfast menu, along with eggs Benedict and French toast. If mom prefers a sandwich, she'll have her choice of several options served on a French baguette. Breakfast and lunch are served during the week as well as from 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
      
  6. Mattison's - Multiple Locations
    All three Mattison's locations will be open and ready to serve mom's a memorable brunch this Mother's Day. Mom will love the delicious food and bottomless mimosas, whether you opt for dine-in or curbside pick-up. Plus, as a part of their Mother's Day special she'll be entered to win a spa gift card and Mattison's gift card.

Contact us if you're interested in buying or selling a home in the Bradenton or Sarasota area. Our agents are experts on local real estate and can help your transaction proceed smoothly.

April
26

6 Places to Play Pickleball around Sarasota & Manatee

Play Pickleball in Sarasota

Let's play pickleball! This paddleball sport that's sweeping the nation is a mix between tennis, badminton, and table tennis. Played either one-on-one or two-on-two, pickleball is great for players of all ages and skill levels. Our REALTORS® love playing pickleball, and we know you will too! Grab a few friends and learn to play this exciting sport at one of these courts.

  1. Colonial Oaks Park — 5300 Colonial Oaks Blvd., Sarasota, FL 34232
    Enjoy a day outdoors at the sprawling 23-acre Colonial Oaks Park. A perfect place to relax and enjoy Florida's warm weather, this park features a dedicated pickleball court for you to grow your game. Colonial Oaks Park is surrounded by Sarasota homes for sale, enabling you to spend time playing pickleball and picnicking throughout the year!

  2. Bayfront Park — 4052 Gulf Of Mexico Dr., Longboat Key, FL 34228
    When searching for Longboat Key homes for sale, let us direct you to one of the many community parks in town, such as Bayfront Park. This local park offers many opportunities to participate in recreational sports, including pickleball! Bring your pickleball paddle and stop by this local park. Hours of play are from 7 am - 10 pm. 

  3. Longwood Park — 6050 Longwood Run Blvd., Sarasota, FL 34243
    Another fantastic indoor and outdoor recreational facility near many of our Sarasota homes for sale, Longwood Park has everything adults, kids, and even dogs need to enjoy fun in the Florida sun. This dog-friendly park has a pickleball court, baseball field, tennis court, and playground, among other great amenities.  

  4. Lakewood Ranch Park — 5350 Lakewood Ranch Blvd., Bradenton, FL 34211
    One benefit we love about our Lakewood Ranch homes for sale is that these beautiful properties are within a short distance to amazing green spaces like the Lakewood Ranch Park. Open from sunrise until nearly midnight, Lakewood Ranch Park provides nearly the entire day for you to practice your pickleball skills on their courts. With eight hard-court tennis courts that feature lighting, there is plenty of room for you and your group of friends to have your own pickleball tournament.

  5. Palmetto Tennis Courts — 1500 W. 10th St., Palmetto, FL 34221
    If you're already an avid tennis player looking at Palmetto homes for sale, you've surely heard of the nearby Palmetto Tennis Courts. Open for play from sunrise to sunset. They're also the perfect place to challenge your friends and family to a game of pickleball. Reservations are not required, so feel free to pop in at any time for a game!

  6. John H. Marble Park — 3675 53rd Ave. E., Bradenton, FL 34203
    One of the coolest parks near our Bradenton homes for sale is John H. Marble Park. Whenever you visit for a game of pickleball on one of their two tennis-lighted hard courts, take a moment to explore their other amenities. Bocce ball, a pool, and even a remote control race track are available to use at your leisure. 

Would you like to live close to these wonderful pickleball courts so you can pay every day? Contact us and we'll show you the best homes available in the Sarasota and Manatee area.

April
19

How to Celebrate Earth Day in Manatee & Sarasota

Manatee Earth Day

Florida is home to so much natural beauty and wonderful outdoor activities! Celebrate Earth Day on April 22nd with our REALTORS® at these special activities in the great outdoors around Manatee and Sarasota Counties.

  1. Almost Heaven Kayak Adventures - 190 Taft Dr., Sarasota, FL 34236
    No time for a vacation? Kayaking is a wonderful way to relax and clear your mind. With Almost Heaven Kayak Adventures, all you need is a couple of hours just minutes from Longboat Key homes for sale. Enjoy leisurely tours of mangrove tunnels and marine preserves with possible sightings of birds, manatees, and bottlenose dolphins. Choose a stand-up paddleboard if you prefer a more vigorous workout. 

  2. Rye Preserve - 905 Rye Wilderness Trail, Parrish, FL 34219
    Step back into Manatee County's history with a visit to Rye Preserve. The 145-acre grounds, encompass four different ecosystems. Walk the trails leading through sand pine scrub, oak hammocks, and xeric oak scrub while the kids try to spot a rare gopher tortoise or other wildlife. Pet-friendly Rye Preserve is open seven days a week from sunrise to sunset. Consider stopping by after looking at Parrish homes for sale.

  3. Sarasota Farmers Market - 1 N. Lemon Ave., Sarasota, FL 34236
    The farm-to-table movement honors the rich variety of nutritious food that comes directly from Mother Nature. Healthy eating around Sarasota homes for sale is easy when you shop the fruits, vegetables, and artisan products at Sarasota Farmers Market. There's always great live music to enjoy while you shop. Leashed dogs are welcome at the market, which is open each Saturday from 7 a.m. - 1 p.m., year-round.

  4. Palma Sola Botanical Park - 9800 17th Ave. NW, Bradenton, FL 34209
    Nature's glorious colors are on full display at Palma Sola Botanical Park. Stroll along with the stunning gardens and around the three onsite lakes or sit in the gazebos, swing, or screened pavilion and take in the beauty around you. Yoga classes are held in the park multiple times a week, offering residents a relaxing way to connect with nature. Stop in after touring Bradenton homes for sale and pick up some flowers and plants at the Hidden Garden Nursery. 

  5. Oscar Scherer State Park - 1843 S. Tamiami Trail, Osprey, FL 34229
    When you visit Oscar Scherer State Park, you'll quickly forget how close you are to Osprey homes for sale. This pet-friendly secluded gem has 15 miles of nature trails and a three-acre freshwater lake with opportunities for paddling, swimming, camping, bird watching, and wildlife viewing. Admission is $5 per vehicle, and hours are 8 a.m. - sundown year-round.

It's only natural to put down roots around Manatee and Sarasota Counties. Contact us to get started finding your dream home in the area.

April
12

About the Circus Ring of Fame

Circus Ring of Fame

If you've been exploring Sarasota homes for sale, you'll quickly learn about the area's unique connection to the circus industry. The city of Sarasota was the winter home of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus and continues to carry on a rich circus tradition today.

Our real estate agents love sharing the details of the Sarasota area's history and helping new residents connect with the local culture. One of our favorite area attractions is the Circus Ring of Fame.

A Long-Standing Circus Tradition

In celebration of the area's long-standing circus heritage, the Circus Ring of Fame was constructed in St. Armand's Circle in 1987. Each year, the public nominates new potential Circus Ring of Fame inductees. They're voted on by former inductees and members of the global Circus Advisory Council. The winners are honored with a bronze wagon wheel plaque, which is added to the Circus Ring of Fame. 

2021 Inductions

The 2021 winners include "Galaxy Girl" Tina Winn, "King of the Highwire" Nik Wallenda, and circus performers George Carden, Willie Edelson, and the Richter/Casselley Families. 

These new inductees will join 150 other members that have been honored each year since the Circus Ring of Fame began. While the induction ceremony is typically scheduled for mid-January each year, the 2021 ceremony has been rescheduled for the first quarter of 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Visit the Circus Ring of Fame

The Circus Ring of Fame is located in the central park in St. Armands Circle. Visitors are free to explore the area, taking time to read the plaques and appreciate these many circus greats. Some of the plaques you'll find there include circus greats P.T. Barnum, John Ringling, and the astounding aerialists, the Flying Wallendas.

Other circus greats that were previously inducted include famous clowns Emmett Kelley and Lou Jacobs, renowned animal trainer Gunther Gebel-Williams, and aerialist Lillian Wetzel.

While you're in the area, you may want to expand the circus experience even further by visiting the Circus Museum, located on the grounds of Sarasota's Ringling Museum. The Ca' d'Zan, which is the stunning former home of circus titan John Ringling and his wife Mable, is also worth a visit. You won't want to miss these exciting and unique local destinations. 

About St. Armands Circle 

There's a lot to love about visiting St. Armand's Circle! Not only is it home to the Circus Ring of Fame, but it's also one of Sarasota's best places to enjoy an exceptional array of restaurants, retail shops, salons and spas, and more. The area is known for its upscale yet casual elegance. It's the ideal place to shop for jewelry, clothing, artwork, home decor, and more. 

While you're exploring St. Armands Circle, plan to pay a visit to The Columbia Restaurant. This popular hotspot has been a staple in Sarasota since 1959 and is now the city's oldest restaurant.

Other well-known dining establishments in St. Armands circle include Tommy Bahama Restaurant and Bar, Speaks Clam Bar, ChaCha Coconuts, and the Daiquiri Deck Raw Bar. Each offers a unique experience.

Find Your Dream Home Today! 

If you've been looking at Sarasota or Bradenton homes for sale, the experts at Wagner Realty are here to help. Contact us today to discuss your goals and get started! 

April
5

Where to Get Farm-Fresh Produce in Sarasota and Manatee Counties

Produce Stands in Bradenton

Spring is in the air, and that can only mean one thing... farm-fresh produce isn't far behind! It's something we look forward to every year. 

Of course, here in Sarasota and Manatee Counties, the growing season never really ends. But the arrival of spring still has our real estate agents excited to hit these local farmers markets in search of the freshest crops of spring. For fresh produce this season, be sure to stop by these local markets. 

  1. Oneco Farmers Market - 5108 15th St E Unit 501, Bradenton, FL 34203
    The Oneco Farmers Market is one of those places where you truly never know what you might find. Sure there are the staples, like fresh fruits and vegetables from some of Florida's finest growers. But this market also hosts vendors of all kinds, offering an astonishing variety of handmade crafts and unique foods. Located in a former big-box store just minutes from these Bradenton homes for sale, the Oneco Farmers Market is a true gem in Manatee County. 

  2. Sarasota Farmers Market - 1517 State St Suite 103, Sarasota, FL 34236
    Established in 1979, the Sarasota Farmers Market is one of the oldest markets in the area and one of the most reliable. They're open every Saturday, rain or shine, from 7 am to 1 pm. The market also features a dizzying array of vendors, offering everything from farm-fresh produce and house plants to artisan baked goods and organic skincare products. It's truly an incredible place to find just about anything, and it's mere footsteps from many Sarasota homes for sale.

  3. Detwiler's Farmer's Market - 2881 Clark Rd, Sarasota, FL 34231
    Fresh, healthy food is never hard to come by at Detwiler's Farmer's Market. Not only do they have prime fruits and vegetables of every kind imaginable, but also a full-service butcher shop and seafood shop, an Amish-style deli, natural groceries, a wellness department, and a farmhouse bakery. There's even an old-fashioned ice cream shop that serves amazing local ice cream. Or stop by their other locations, including one near Palmetto homes for sale. 

  4. Siesta Key Farmers Market - 5104 Ocean Blvd, Siesta Key, FL 34242
    Open in Siesta Village every Sunday from 8 am until 12 pm, the Siesta Key Farmers Market is always a fun place to browse in search of something special. You'll find homemade candles, local honey, specialty teas and coffees, paintings and crafts from local artists, handmade jewelry, and artisan soaps. And of course, you can always count on local farmers to bring in their latest crops. The offerings here often change with the seasons, so you'll want to visit Siesta Key Farmers Market again and again. 

  5. Bradenton Farmers Market - 400 12th St W, Bradenton, FL 34205
    The Downtown Bradenton Farmers Market is a favorite destination for Bradenton locals. Open every Saturday from 9 am to 2 pm on Old Main Street, it's more than just a place to buy fresh fruits and veggies. It's a social event, a central gathering place, and a crucial part of the community. The market offers live entertainment, games and activities, amazing food, and of course, an astonishing array of vendors selling everything under the sun. 

We just love springtime in Florida! Contact us to learn more about life in Sarasota and Manatee Counties, and be sure to ask our team about finding your Florida dream home today.

March
22

Sarasota & Bradenton Restaurants For International Waffle Day

Sarasota BreakfastIf you've been looking at homes in the Sarasota area, you already know there's a lot to love! As if the gorgeous weather and stunning beaches weren't enough, residents and visitors also enjoy a wide selection of amazing dining experiences.

On their days off, our real estate agents love taking a break to visit some of their favorite local breakfast restaurants. International Waffle Day is coming up on Thursday, March 25th, making now the perfect time to try out a few for yourself. 

  1. Anna Maria Island Beach Cafe: 4000 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach, FL 34217
    There's nothing quite like starting your day off with breakfast on the beach! The Anna Maria Island Beach Cafe opens every day at 8 am and serves fantastic Belgian waffles you'll ever have! Make sure you get the whole experience by adding strawberries or blueberries for just $1 extra. They also offer a full breakfast menu with items like Eggs Benedict, Country Fried Steak, and All You Can Eat Pancakes. After you're done with your meal, take a ride around so you can get a look at some of the beautiful Anna Maria Island Homes for sale. We're sure you're going to fall in love! 

  2. Blue Dolphin Cafe: 5370 Gulf of Mexico Dr., Suite 101, Longboat Key, FL 34228
    The Blue Dolphin Cafe offers a fun and intimate dining experience. They're open for both dine-in and takeout and offer a variety of waffle dishes as well as a full breakfast menu. Any time we're in the area showing Longboat Key homes for sale, we try to stop by and enjoy a meal. If you want to celebrate International Waffle Day, consider ordering waffles topped with fresh strawberries, blueberries, bananas, and whipped cream. 

  3. The Oasis Cafe: 3542 South Osprey Ave., Sarasota, FL 34239
    The owners of The Oasis Cafe have owned some of the most popular restaurants in Sarasota for over 30 years. It's no surprise that this is one of the best spots in the area to enjoy a delicious breakfast, lunch, or brunch. You'll love their Malted Belgian Waffles topped with fruit, nuts, and a side of real Vermont maple syrup.

  4. Sarasota Breakfast House: 1817 Fruitville Rd., Sarasota, FL 34236
    If you've been exploring Sarasota homes for sale, you'll want to get to know Sarasota Breakfast House. Not only are their fresh-made waffles incredible, but they also serve them up with a huge variety of gourmet toppings, including candied bacon pecans, peanut butter chips, Nutella, lemon ricotta filling, glazed walnuts, fresh whipped cream, and more! You definitely don't need a special day to enjoy this delicious treat! 

  5. Blue Jasper Restaurant: 5718 Cortez Rd. W., Bradenton, FL 34210
    Blue Jasper Restaurant, located in West Bradenton, is known for serving quality meals made with locally-sourced ingredients. You'll love celebrating International Waffle Day with one of their fresh-made waffles topped with decadent toppings like banana and berry compote or caramel banana and walnut. If you're ready to go all-in, order a waffle sundae topped with strawberry, banana, and chocolate syrup. After breakfast, take a drive around. You'll quickly see why so many people are interested in exploring Bradenton homes for sale

Our real estate agents are ready to help you find your dream home! Contact us today to discuss your goals and get started. 

March
15

6 Tips for Avoiding Vacation Rental Scams

Vacation RentalThe Internet has made planning vacations a breeze. But along with the ease of booking travel and accommodation on the web, we've also seen a rise in the incidence of vacation scams. 

It's all too easy to be fooled into thinking that a great bargain for a beautiful vacation property you're trying to rent is for real, when in fact, you've been had by scammers who have taken your money and run with it.

Here are 6 tips that can help you avoid vacation rental scams while you're booking your dream vacation.

Avoiding Vacation Rental Scams

  1. Too Good to be True?
    You know the old truism: if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Scammers try to reel you in with deeply discounted vacation rentals. All too often, these properties do not exist, or if they do, they belong to someone else. Be sure to check pricing on similar rental properties in the same location to see if the price is realistic.

  2. Does the Property Really Exist?
    As mentioned earlier, it's possible the property doesn't even exist. The scammer may have grabbed a picture from another website or is using an address from another property. You can try to verify that the property exists with a couple of Google searches.

  3. Research the Owner
    Research the owner's name, address of the property, and images. Check out the owner of the rental website, as well as the individual who pays property taxes. Beware if you are asked to pay rent in full by wire transfer.

  4. Pay Attention to the URL
    Scammers want you to move from the vacation rental website's communication system to a fake website. Check the URL. 

  5. Use a Credit Card
    Scammers commonly ask for payment by Western Union, cash, check, or wire transfer before arrival. This is a great way to lose your money, without the possibility of recovery. A wire transfer allows the scammer to move funds to another bank account, close the first one, and take your money and run.

  6. Rent a Property with a Traceable History
    Best bet: rent from someone you know, or go by recommendation from a trusted source. Renting from professional management companies that specialize in vacation apartments and/or cottages is another good bet. Looking for a short-term rental on Florida's Gulf Coast? That's our specialty! We believe planning a vacation should be a breeze, that's why our team is here to help you find a short-term or long-term rental perfect for your family! We've been a top choice for Gulf Coast house and condo rentals for years.

Our experienced team is here to help with your vacation planning! With 8 offices, our team has plenty of Florida properties to choose from for your vacation. Plus, our Anna Maria Island office has been open for over 80 years! 

Or if you're looking to move here permanently, our team can show you Bradenton and Sarasota homes for saleContact us today to book your trip in the Florida sunshine.

February
1

Bird Species You'll Spot in Sarasota & Manatee Counties

Sarasota Bird Species

Welcome to bird watching paradise! The coastal regions of Manatee and Sarasota Counties offer some of America's richest and most diverse bird habitats, and our real estate agents are always eager to cross a few rare species off our lists!

Bird Species to Look For

Our corner of the state is hosts a wealth of bird species year-round, and many more use it as a stop-over on their annual migrations. All told, more than 320 bird species have been recorded in Sarasota and Manatee Counties.

When you're exploring our local beaches, forests, prairies, and estuaries this spring, be sure to keep an eye out for these amazing birds. 

  • Purple Martin: This South American native flies north every year to breed in Florida. Many residents in the Sarasota area put out gourd houses for them. 

  • Roseate Spoonbill: This year-round resident really sticks out in a crowd thanks to its bright pink plumage and spoon-like bill. You'll see colonies of them around mangrove islands.

  • Loggerhead Shrike: Though this small gray bird may not look scary, it's earned the nickname "butcher bird" for its habit of hanging prey out to dry on thorns or barbed wire to be eaten later. 

  • Black Skimmer: This increasingly rare black-and-white beach bird can still be seen around Lido Beach in good numbers. It gets its name from the way it hunts, "skimming" the water's surface with its bill. 

  • Florida Scrub-Jay: This handsome blue-and-gray member of the jay family is found only in Florida, making it one of the state's most sought-after birds.

  • Snowy Egret: This small wading bird with brilliant white feathers is a member of the heron family and one of several egret species in Florida.

  • Downy Woodpecker: America's smallest woodpecker, this is one of at least six woodpecker species you can see in the region. 

  • Limpkin: This wading bird is known for its distinctive shriek-like call (earning it the nickname "crying bird") is often seen dining on snails in Florida's wetlands. 

  • Purple Gallinule: With its purplish-blue plumage and bright orange beak, this bird is instantly identifiable. It often haunts the margins of swamps, sometimes walking across the surface of aquatic vegetation. 

  • Swallowtail Kite: With spectacular plumage that always catches the eye in flight, this black-and-white bird of prey often nests in pine trees adjacent to wetlands.

  • Crested Caracara: This resident of Florida's pine flatlands—a scavenger in the falcon family—is among our largest and most striking birds.

Where to Go Birding

Not sure where to find these unique and fascinating birds? Try some of these local parks and preserves in Sarasota and Manatee Counties:

  • Myakka River State Park: The pine flatwoods of this park, located just minutes from these Sarasota homes for sale, are among the best places to see Crested Caracara. 

  • Pinecraft Park: Spanning 15 acres, this small park has a unique hammock forest habitat crisscrossed by streams, making it a prime spot to see a wide variety of bird species.

  • Oscar Scherer State Park: Just outside Sarasota, this park harbors one of the largest populations of Florida scrub-jays.

  • Felts Audubon Preserve: This conservation area offers beautiful birding trails, a short drive from many Bradenton homes for sale.

Contact us today to learn more about ways to explore the great outdoors in Bradenton, Sarasota, and the surrounding areas. And be sure to ask our team about how we can help you find your dream home in Florida today. 

January
25

Explore Beaches in Sarasota and Manatee Counties with This Guide

Sarasota Beaches

What's the best part about living in Florida? Every day is a beach day! Our real estate agents love living so close to the shore. From splashing in the waves in the summer to enjoying the warm sun on winter beach walks, we love calling the Gulf Coast home. If you're ready to get your toes in the sand, we suggest you check out these five beaches in Sarasota and Manatee Counties.

  1. The "Best" Beach: Siesta Beach — 948 Beach Rd., Sarasota, FL 34242
    You don't need to venture far from your front door to hit one of the best beaches in the United States. Ranked #1 and in the top-ten of many local, regional, national, and international lists, Siesta Key Beach will never disappoint. The powdered quartz sand isn't the only draw to this sun-kissed shore. Siesta Key Village has plenty to eat, explore, and entertain you all day long.


  2. The Lowkey Beach: Longboat Key Beach — 2825 Gulf of Mexico Dr., Longboat Key, FL 34228
    Longboat Key is an excellent beach that's beloved by locals and visitors alike. What makes it so lowkey? It's located near Longboat Key homes for sale. Those that live close have no trouble walking or biking to the shore. If you're arriving on four-wheels, however, you'll encounter limited parking. This helps keep the beach free of crowds, which is ideal if you're a local looking to leave the bustling tourist beaches behind.


  3. The Local Beach: Venice Beach — 101 The Esplanade N., Venice, FL 34285
    A family-friendly beach sits right along the shores of the Shark Tooth Capital of the World in Venice. Venice Beach is a local spot for those who want to enjoy the sun, sand, salt, and surf. It's not just people you'll see playing at this beach; dolphins frequently splash in the waters close to shore. If you're interested in diving, there's a coral reef only a quarter-mile offshore to explore or drive by these Venice homes for sale.


  4. The Busy Beach: Coquina Beach —1437 Gulf Dr. S., Bradenton Beach, FL 34217
    Located on stunning Anna Maria Island, Coquina Beach is open from sunrise to midnight. You can easily fill all of those hours with on-site activities like their paved multi-purpose trail, children's playground, sand volleyball court, games tables, and of course, a whole lot of tanning. The wide beachfront brings in droves of people, including those who just want to enjoy a seaside meal at the Coquina Café. There's even a biweekly market during the low-season months.


  5. The Nature Beach: Turtle Beach — 8918 Midnight Pass Rd., Sarasota, FL 34242
    While Siesta Beach gets all the attention, you'll find a quieter retreat a little farther south on Turtle Beach. This is a fantastic place for nature lovers as a nearly empty expanse of sand dunes where you can watch seabirds, sharks, fish, and even tortoises stroll by. There's also a boat launch, though you can rent kayaks or paddleboards if you don't have your own watercraft.

Looking for a home within walking distance to the beach? We've got Sarasota homes for sale that you've got to see. Perhaps you'd prefer something a little closer inland? Then check out our Bradenton homes for sale. Contact us today to schedule tours for our best homes in Sarasota and Manatee Counties.

January
11

Healthy Dining Options Throughout Sarasota and Manatee

Healthy Dining Sarasota

Standards of healthy eating have changed over the years. Fortunately, one thing experts agree on is that healthy food doesn't mean bland and tasteless. Our real estate agents maintain their high energy levels by visiting these favorite healthy dining restaurants throughout Sarasota and Bradenton.

  1. Green Zebra Cafe - 1377 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236
    It's brunch time all day long at Green Zebra Cafe, with a delectable assortment of breakfast wraps, scrambles, toasts and Benedicts served from open until close. Try the signature raw pancake, made with a dehydrated banana pancake, cashew whipped cream, strawberry chia coulis, and fresh fruit. There's also a juice and smoothie bar with selections such as Apple Pie, and I Dream of Ginger. Green Zebra is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.

  2. Paleo Connection - 3515 N. Lockwood Ridge Rd., Sarasota, FL 34234
    Whether you're new to the paleo diet or you've already jumped on board, there's one special restaurant around Sarasota homes for sale to check out. All of the dishes at Paleo Connection follow this healthy eating style that emphasizes lean meats, fruits and vegetables, nuts, and seeds. The menu changes with the seasons to accommodate the freshest available ingredients. Hours are 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Saturday.

  3. Chicken Salad Chick - 7350 Cortez Rd. W., Bradenton, FL 34210
    Chicken salad is a deceptively simple dish that lends itself to a wide range of preparations. At Chicken Salad Chick, just minutes from Bradenton homes for sale, each delicious variation is named after a woman who inspired founder, Stacy Brown. Flavors such as Lauryn's Lemon Basil, Barbie-Q, and Cranberry Kelli use fruits, nuts, and seasonings to accent the juicy chunks of chicken. Chicken Salad Chick is open 10:30 a.m. - 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

  4. Bowled Life - Food Truck Various Locations
    Add açaí berries, a superfood loaded with antioxidants, to your own diet with a visit to Bowled Life. Their luscious açaí bowls incorporate fruits and toppings such as honey, Nutella, almond, flax seeds, and almond milk. Other healthy menu options include avocado toast, smoothies, and salads. When you're out and about, follow Bowled Life on Facebook or Instagram for their food truck schedule. Eatery hours are 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. daily.

  5. Get Fit Fuel - 8327 Market St., Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202
    Get Fit Fuel bills itself as a "one-stop source for healthy meals on the run." The shop carries a variety of fresh-made, prepackaged breakfasts, entrées, and snacks that are perfect for grab-and-go when you're out viewing Lakewood Ranch homes for sale. Build your own açaí bowl or try one of the house specialties. Order on the handy app, available for iPhone and Android, for pickup or delivery. Hours are 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. weekends.

  6. The Sandbar - 100 Spring Ave., Anna Maria Island, FL 34216
    Ed Chiles, owner of The Sandbar, developed an interest in environmental issues through his father, former governor Lawton Chiles. The restaurant has long been a landmark near Anna Maria Island homes for sale. The Sandbar is open for outdoor dining and carryout 11:30 a.m. - 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. - 10 p.m. Sunday.

Enjoy healthy eating around the dining table of your new Sarasota or Bradenton home. Contact us at Wagner Realty to get started.

December
21

7 Tips for Finding the Right Home for Your Retirement Years

Sarasota Retirement Years

If you have been considering selling your current home before purchasing the home where you'll retire, this year presents an excellent opportunity to take the next step. Single-family homes are in high demand, making it easy to find a buyer, and interest rates are low if you're planning to finance your next home. Our real estate agents have more details on why this is a great time to shop and how to find the right home for your retirement years.

  1. Not Quite Ready to Retire? It's Still Smart to Be Prepared
    Even if you don't plan to retire for a few more years, it's wise to plan. If you need financing, it may be easier to secure a mortgage while you're still working. Shopping for your retirement home now also gives you more time to prepare, visit communities, and ensure that you choose a home that you'll love.

  2. Consider the Amenities and Necessities You'll Need Now and in the Future
    Choosing the perfect home to enjoy your retirement depends on your needs now, as well as what you'll need in the future. Ensure that any neighborhood and home you choose has the accessibility necessary for you to enjoy your retirement and that the services you may need in the future will be close to home.

  3. Visit Communities You Might Like to Call Home
    If you're planning to purchase a home in a community you've traveled to in the past, be sure to schedule a visit to help decide if you would like to live there long-term. Spending some time around the sun and sand near Sarasota homes for sale and Bradenton homes for sale makes for a fun vacation while also allowing you to learn more about a community you might choose to call home. Plus, our inventory of rentals are excellent options for you to learn what area you like best! Choose between annual options or 6-month rentals. 

  4. Make a List of Priorities to Help You Shop
    For many people, moving to live closer to family members and friends is a strong motivator when shopping for a home for retirement. Understanding what's most important to you will help you narrow your options. Make a list of your priorities, starting with the most important factors, and use it to aid your home search.

  5. Work Out Your Retirement Budget to Understand Your Purchasing Power
    Remember that your budget is likely to be different in retirement than it was while working, and plan for the future accordingly. If you haven't done so yet, lay out your budget for retirement so that you know exactly how much home you can afford while still leaving the funds you need to enjoy your retirement years.

  6. Take Advantage of an Appealing Real Estate Market
    If you've been waiting for an advantageous real estate market to sell your current home before buying your retirement home, now is an excellent time to strike while the iron is hot. The high demand for single-family homes means that you may be able to sell at a premium, which will leave you with more money to pursue your perfect home for your retirement years.

  7. Get a Knowledgeable Agent 
    Getting help from a knowledgeable real estate agent is always recommended and can truly give you peace of mind as you prepare for retirement.

Searching for a home near the sand and sun where you can enjoy retirement to the fullest? Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout Florida's Manatee and Sarasota Counties.

December
14

Make Your Own Holiday Wreath With These Tips

Holiday Wreath Sarasota

Nothing warms the heart like a home that's decorated for the holidays. Decorating your home doesn't have to mean spending a fortune on impersonal, store-bought decorations. Even the most quintessential holiday decoration, a wreath, can be made at home with a little time and creativity.

Our real estate agents have noticed that a little bit of tasteful holiday decoration goes a long way when it comes to making a good impression with potential homebuyers. Whether you're selling or looking for a way to personalize your own home, break out the crafting supplies, and add some holiday cheer with these tips.

Find the Right Form

At the core of most wreaths is a form to give it shape. What you use depends on what your wreath is made of. For instance, many wreaths have a metal form that's useful for wiring greenery to. You can also find styrofoam wreath forms that can be spray painted or have decorations, such as jewels, glued to them. Even a cardboard cutout can provide the foundation for a wreath, with the right three-dimensional ornaments affixed to it.

Use Nature's Own Supplies

You can't go wrong with a traditional evergreen wreath, and you'll find many Bradenton homes for sale with these types of decorations hung on their doors. Finding materials for such a wreath could be as simple (and as cheap) as taking a walk. Collect small, thin evergreen branches that can be easily affixed to your wreath, as well as other potential decor, such as pine cones. Do make sure you have permission before you go stripping branches off someone else's trees, though, and try not to take too many from one tree.

Repurpose Like a Pro

If a more traditional wreath doesn't appeal to you, you can make a free or inexpensive holiday wreath by repurposing everyday items. For instance, holiday fabric (perhaps from those holiday pajamas you never liked?) can be used to cover a styrofoam wreath form, or other holiday items such as ornaments or holiday cookie cutters can be grouped to form a wreath shape. Don't forget to finish it off with some pretty ribbon!

Tie It All Together

Once you have an idea for your wreath, the real trick is to put it into action. Choosing a sturdy way of putting everything together will ensure your wreath lasts the season, especially if it's expected to get knocked around a bit. Sarasota homes for sale get a lot of showings, so make your wreath strong if it'll hang on the door of your home while it's on the market! When well done, a wreath that is wired together can easily stand the test of time. While it's quick and easy, remember that hot glue is simply melted plastic and won't withstand a lot of rough handling. Other glues tend to weaken over time and may not be ideal for wreaths you want to reuse in future years.

The holidays are exciting, and nothing gets you in the mood to celebrate quite like decorating. Feeling overwhelmed at the thought of selling your home during the busy holiday season? Contact us today, and one of our agents can take some of that weight off your shoulders.

December
7

How to Give Back This Holiday Season Near Sarasota and Bradenton

Give Back in Sarasota

The holidays are a season of giving, and our real estate agents are always on the lookout for new ways to give back to our local community. This year, with so many families in the Sarasota and Bradenton areas suffering from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for help is greater than ever. 

Whether you're a long-time resident of the area or are looking at Sarasota homes for sale and Bradenton homes for sale, we're excited to share ways to help. Please consider some of these opportunities to give back this holiday season!

  1. Give to a Toy Drive
    As a child, one of the great joys of the holiday season is the thrill of unwrapping gifts on Christmas morning. That's why participating in a local toy drive is a great way to give back and share some joy with a child in need. No matter where you live, chances are, there's a toy drive in your area. Here in Sarasota, the 4th Annual Toy Drive, hosted by the Sarasota sheriff's office, or the local chapter of the Marine Toys for Tots program, helping children in need since 1947. 

  2. Give the Gift of Warmth
    Far too many people must face winter without the warm clothing they need. Donating unused winter coats to a winter coat drive is a great way to give someone the warmth and security they need this holiday season. Here in the Sarasota and Bradenton area, the annual Facing Homelessness coat drive collects much-needed winter coats for the homeless every December. 

  3. Donate Blood
    Blood and platelet donations are always in need, but many people forget about it during the holiday season because their attention is turned to other charities and causes. But the American Red Cross is always in need of donations, and the winter is actually one of the seasons of greatest need. Giving blood at a local blood drive this time of year is a life-saving gift that directly helps those who need it most.

  4. Donate to a Food Pantry
    No one should go without, especially during the holiday season. Donating canned goods and similar non-perishable food items to a food pantry or food bank is a great way to help. This is more true in 2020 than ever before. Check out this directory of food pantries and similar charities in the Sarasota area to learn more about where you can give. 

  5. Give to the Boys and Girls Club
    For more than 150 years, the Boys and Girls Clubs of America have helped create brighter futures for children in need. This nationwide charity network does so by providing quality voluntary after-school programs for kids who may not otherwise have access to them. Our local Boys and Girls Clubs of Sarasota County can always use your assistance, and there are many ways to give. Financial donations are always much appreciated, but you can also volunteer your time, just as essential. 

Contact us today to learn more about life in Sarasota and Manatee Counties. If you're looking for your dream home, our team is here to help every step of the way. We're also thrilled to offer some unique ways to give back to the community we love.

November
9

7 Places to Take Your Dog Around Sarasota and Bradenton

Dog park Bradenton

If you've been feeling stuck at home over the last few months, imagine how your dog feels. Treat your pup to an exciting afternoon by getting out and about around Sarasota and Bradenton. Our real estate agents encourage you to check out these seven dog-friendly parks to bring your four-legged friend.

  1. Arlington Paw Park – 2650 Waldemere St., Sarasota, FL 34239
    Now that the humidity is lifting and the weather is cooling down, you're sure to find yourself cruising around to check out the latest Sarasota homes for sale. While you're out, why not bring your pup to the Arlington Paw Park. This former baseball field is now a sprawling dog park separated into two areas for large and small dogs, respectively. Although it's uncovered, there is plenty of water available to help your pup keep cool as it plays. Next door is Arlington Park, and though it's a people-park, you're welcome to walk your dog on-leash as well.

  2. Robinson Preserve – 1704 99th St. NW, Bradenton, FL 34209
    Another great park near our Bradenton homes for sale is Robinson Preserve. Nearly 500-acres of coastal and wetland habitat are yours to explore with your pup. Walk the trails with your dog and keep an eye out for the many diverse species of wildlife along the way. You can also opt to enjoy this green space alone, as there are plenty of opportunities for kayaking, paddle boarding, biking, fishing, skateboarding, and playing in the children's playground.


  3. Brohard Park 1600 Harbor Dr. S, Venice, FL 34285
    Even your dog will love a trip to the beach when you live near Venice homes for sale. Brohard Park offers a little bit of everything for locals and their pets. Bring your dog along to enjoy a fun day at their dog park or if your dog loves the water, take him to the dog-friendly beach. Other amenities available at this park include a fishing pier, bait shop, volleyball nets, and picnic areas. 

  4. Blackstone Dog Park – 2112 14th Ave. W, Palmetto, FL 3422
    If you are looking at Palmetto homes for sale, be sure to check out Blackstone Dog Park to get your pup acquainted with the area. This Manatee County dog park is open from sunrise to sunset and offers different sections for small and large dogs. Be sure to check out their rules before planning your visit. Visitors can also utilize the covered shelters for picnicking in a peaceful shaded area. 

  5. Dog Leg Canine Park – 7550 69th St. E, Palmetto, FL 34221
    Your dogs will love living near Parrish homes for sale when you take them to Dog Leg Canine Park. This three-acre off-leash dog park is the perfect place to let your dog roam and burn off some energy. The park is open from sunrise to sunset and even has a doggie drinking fountain available to keep your pup hydrated during their visit. 

  6. Laurie Crawford Dog Park – 51st St. W, Bradenton, FL 34209
    Another great Manatee County park perfect for off-leash fun! Laurie Crawford Dog Park offers a fenced-in, three-acre park for your pet to explore. Take your pup for a trip between sunrise and sunset. Other amenities include a doggie drinking fountain, picnic tables, and free waste bags. 

  7. Paw Patch Dog Park – 7025 44th Ave. E, Bradenton, FL
    Enjoy an adventure with your dog near Lakewood Ranch homes for sale. This off-leash 2-acre park is perfect for active pets and even features agility equipment. Paw Patch Dog Park is perfect for dogs of all sizes with a special area for small dogs. Just another one of the many reasons your pet will love living in the area! 

Are you looking for a home close to the coast where you and your four-legged friend can play in the sun? We'll happily assist you with your search. Contact us today to see our latest listings of homes for sale in Sarasota and Manatee Counties.

November
6

Enjoy the Great Outdoors In Sarasota & Manatee

Sarasota Outdoors

Who doesn't love a little free fun in the sun? With year-round warm weather, there are unlimited opportunities for you to enjoy time out and about in Sarasota and Manatee Counties. If you're looking for fun yet free activities to do around Sarasota and Bradenton, our real estate agents encourage you to check out these five outdoor spaces.

  1. Palma Sola Botanical Park – 9800 17th Ave. NW, Bradenton, FL 34209
    Palma Sola Botanical Park is where Florida's beauty remains timeless. This 10-acre oasis is a hidden gem located in the Old Palma Sola section nearby many northwest Bradenton homes for sale. Interestingly, this space has a unique microclimate that allows the park to house rare flora and fauna. As the site of many public and private events, a visit to Palma Sola Botanical Park always offers a serene experience.


  2. Red Bug Slough Preserve – 5200 Beneva Rd., Sarasota, FL 34231
    Get lost in relaxation within the 72-acres of Red Bug Slough Preserve. Located surprisingly close to our Sarasota homes for sale listings, this preserve is a fantastic weekend destination. Several miles of trails offering endless hiking opportunities while other amenities provide options for picnicking and fishing. With a park for pets and a playground for children, Red Bug Slough Preserve will make you feel a million miles away from the city while remaining just a few blocks from your front door.


  3. Turtle Beach – 8918 Midnight Pass Rd., Sarasota, FL 34242
    If you're looking for the best Siesta Key homes for sale, we'll let you in on a little secret: locals make a bee-line to the less-crowded Turtle Beach when they desire plenty of room to have fun in the sun. Located on the south end of Siesta Key, Turtle Beach is an active nesting area for sea turtles. It's quite unspoiled, especially during the off-season when only a handful of locals lounge on the sandy shores. With a campground next door, Turtle Beach is a wonderful place for a weekend getaway.


  4. Rye Preserve – 905 Rye Wilderness Trail, Parrish, FL 34219
    Find a slice of Old Florida paradise at Rye Preserve. Not far from cozy Parrish homes for sale, Rye Preserve is a 145-acre natural space that features four distinct ecosystems. With an extensive trail system that offers an opportunity to spot diverse wildlife like gopher tortoise and scrub-jays, the Rye Preserve is a great place to hike, fish, bike, canoe, kayak, horseback ride, and walk your four-legged friend.


  5. Pinebrook Park – 1251 Pinebrook Rd., Venice, FL 34285
    If you're planning on scouting Venice homes for sale, you'll discover that Pinebrook Park is a perfect space for exercise and relaxation. Fifteen-acres feature various amenities, including basketball courts, tennis courts, pickleball courts, and outdoor fitness equipment. There's also an unpaved fitness trail that winds through the park, offering opportunities for wildlife viewing.

  6. Robinson Preserve 1704 99th St NW, Bradenton, FL 34209
    Just over the bridge from Anna Maria Island homes for sale is a salt marsh waiting for you to explore. There are so many activities you and your family can enjoy when visiting the over 600-acre preserve. Hiking, kayaking, picnicking, and canoeing are just some of the activities you can enjoy during your visit to Robinson Preserve. Be sure to check out their website for kayak and paddleboard reservation information.

Would you love to live close to the best free attractions in Sarasota and Manatee Counties? We can help! Contact us today to browse the best homes for sale in Sarasota and Bradenton.

September
25

World Tourism Day: Be a Tourist in Your Southwest Florida Hometown

Tourism in Bradenton

World Tourism Day is around the corner on September 27th, and you won't have to travel far from your Southwest Florida home to enjoy fun attractions for all ages this year. Whether you're interested in art, science, the outdoors, or family fun, Southwest Florida communities feature something for everyone. Our real estate agents have the inside scoop on 5 local attractions that allow you to enjoy World Tourism Day in Southwest Florida.

  1. De Soto National Park – 8300 De Soto Memorial Hwy., Bradenton, FL 34209

    Explore the grandeur of the great outdoors at De Soto National Park, which is located just a short drive from Bradenton homes for sale. This park offers a mix of outdoor fun and educational attractions, including "living history" demonstrations at the recreated historic native village at Camp Uzita. There are also kayak tours guided by park rangers, a visitor's center where you can learn more about the park's history, fishing clinics, and a "Junior Ranger" activity book to help younger visitors enjoy all that the park has to offer.

  2. Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium – 1600 Ken Thompson Pkwy., Sarasota, FL 34236

    Educational family fun is never far from Sarasota homes for sale, thanks to exciting local attractions like the Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium. Mote does extensive work in preserving local marine ecosystems and is a great destination for learning about the natural areas that make the region such a unique place to call home. Get up close and personal with marine animals while discovering exciting, educational exhibits at the aquarium. Plus, Florida residents who purchase their weekend tickets online can enjoy half-priced admission until the end of September

  3. Art Uptown Gallery – 1367 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236

    With 40 years of experience and a commitment to showcasing the spectacular work of regional artists, the Art Uptown Gallery is a must-see for art lovers located close to Sarasota homes for sale. The Art Uptown Gallery is regularly voted a local favorite by both visitors and collectors, with both 2D and 3D exhibits. This gallery is committed to showcasing the work of local artists, and recent months have seen a surge in creativity with plenty of new art on display.

  4. The Fish Hole Mini Golf – 8120-8140 Main St., Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202

    Get ready for some family fun near Lakewood Ranch homes for sale at The Fish Hole Miniature Golf, an 18-hole "adventure" mini-golf course ideal for golfers of all ages. The Fish Hole Features misters throughout the course to keep you cool and is home to a wide variety of local plant life. There are more than 50 types of regional plants around the course, along with tags to help you identify each plant. The large koi pond on-site is another popular attraction, especially for kids who love to feed the fish.

  5. Siesta Key Aqua Adventures – 5253 S Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34231

    Have fun on the water when you book a day with Siesta Key Aqua Adventures. Close to Siesta Key homes for sale, Siesta Key Adventures offers many different ways to get out on the water with friends or family. Choose between single kayaks, tandem kayaks, banana boats, or an aqua spinner. Or opt for one of their dolphin tours to relax on the Gulf and search for wildlife. 

Still searching for the perfect Southwest Florida community to call home? Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout Southwest Florida communities.

July
17

7 Ways to Beat the Florida Heat This Summer

Florida Summer

One of the many advantages of living in Florida is our abundance of sunny weather and warm temperatures. During the summer months though, the heat and humidity can leave you feeling a bit drained. Fortunately, there are ways you can beat the heat.

From practical tips to fun and cooling activities your kids will love, our real estate agents suggest the following 7 ways to cool off this summer.

  1. Avoid Using Your Oven 
    Using your oven makes your home hotter, so stock up on recipes for colder meals like salads. These meals will also be more appealing than heavy dishes when the weather is hot. You can also avoid using your oven by utilizing appliances like your microwave or crockpot or heading outside to grill out. Or skip cooking altogether and have dinner delivered from DoorDash. Not only will you not have to cook, but you can also support local businesses at the same time! 
  2. Get a Portable Fan
    Buy a small portable fan that sprays water mist while its blades spin and help cool you off. Best of all, you can use this at home, at Bradenton Beach, or outside when you're out jogging or running errands. They're great for kids as well as adults.
  3. Water Balloon Fun
    Who says you have to have a pool or head to the beach for a fun way to cool off? Turn your backyard into a water balloon playground. Fill water balloons and hang them up outside as singles or in groups. Let your kids take turns swinging at the water balloons like a pinata for guaranteed fun while cooling off. 
  4. Utilize Your Fridge
    Keep ice packs or towels in your fridge and ready for the hottest Florida days. Apply an ice pack or cold towel on your cooling points. These include your wrists, forehead, and the inside of your elbows. Take these on the go and put in a cooler for when you head to the beach. 
  5. DIY Backyard Sprinkler
    Another kid-approved way to turn your backyard into a makeshift water park. Follow these DIY directions to make a sprinkler from a PVC pipe. It gives kids a great opportunity to get soaked and can be made into different configurations.
  6. Easy Homemade Popsicles 
    Consider making the kids these homemade popsicles as an easy (and delicious) way to cool off. Trust us, the adults are going to want some as well! This recipe is super easy and is made with only two ingredients - honey and fruit - so they're refreshing as well as healthy.
  7. Stay Hydrated
    If you've lived in Florida for a while, you know how humid it can get! Florida heat and humidity can make you sweat, which increases the chance that you don't stay properly hydrated. Make sure to drink plenty of water while avoiding drinks with alcohol and caffeine, which are dehydrating. You can also increase the amount of water you take in by eating foods with a high water content, such as watermelon, strawberries, or oranges. Next time you're at a local farmers market, stock up on these types of fruits! 

Would finding a new place in Florida be the highlight of your summer? Contact us today to find out about Sarasota homes for sale and Bradenton homes for sale and tour ones that catch your eye. Whether you're looking for a starter home, a larger home, or are ready to downsize, we can help you find a house in southwest Florida that will soon become your dream home. 

May
15

Fun Things to Do at Home in Bradenton and Sarasota

At Home Activities

Do you think that staying home has to equal boredom? Think outside the box...literally. The four walls of your house don't have to limit your entertainment options. Our real estate agents have discovered some fascinating ways to stay busy while staying indoors near Sarasota homes for sale

  1. Visit a Museum
    Have you dreamed of visiting the Louvre? Now you don't even need a plane ticket. The famed museum in Paris has created a series of virtual tours exploring its various permanent collections. You can also "visit" the city's Musée d'Orsay as well as London's British Museum, the Guggenheim in NYC, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. A little closer to Sarasota homes for sale, the Ringling Museum is offering kids learning programs, virtual family tours, and digital performances. 
  2. Enjoy a Concert
    Popular artists such as Luke Bryan, Post Malone, and Billie Eilish have been turning YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram into concert venues with live streaming performances. Billboard maintains an updated list of scheduled shows on their website. Get your music fix and support local artists by "attending" Connect Bradenton's weekly series each Thursday at 4:30 p.m. Virtual tip jars are posted for each musician.
  3. Start a Journal
    With few avenues to express yourself, thoughts can begin circling in your mind, resulting in stress, anger, and sadness. The simple act of putting pen to paper releases negative emotions by clarifying thoughts and feelings. Journaling is also a great method for problem-solving and conflict resolution. You might discover creativity you didn't know you had! Go high-tech with a digital journal or stick with old-school pen and paper. The only rule is following your personal preference.
  4. Get Fit
    Can't go to the gym? Then bring the gym to your home. Raise your heart rate and decrease stress with a wealth of pre-recorded and streaming content online. Find a class to help perfect your Downward Dog or demonstrate the fine points of a bicep curl. Yoga Bradenton is streaming their classes online, with sessions available for all levels of experience. 
  5. Learn a New Language
    So you've always wanted to learn a new language, but just never had the time. That excuse is gone, and Duolingo is the perfect solution for attaining your goal. Duolingo turns learning into a game as you race against the clock to "level up" and earn virtual coins. Choose from dozens of languages, ranging from French and Spanish to Scottish Gaelic and Latin. Duolingo is a free app for both Android and iOS.
  6. Meet Up for Happy Hour
    Commiserate with friends over an adult beverage or two with a virtual happy hour. All you need is Skype, Zoom, FaceTime, or other video chat app. As a bonus, the bar never closes, and you don't have to choose a designated driver.
  7. Host a Movie Night
    Theaters might be dark, but the show goes on in your home with Netflix Party. The free software allows you to stream Netflix content in sync with your virtual guests. There's also a chatroom where you can all share screenshots, GIFs, and comments. Make sure you have Google Chrome installed before downloading Netflix Party.

Isolation or not, Wagner Realty is here for you. Contact us with all your real estate questions.

June
5

Hiking Trails in Manatee & Sarasota Your Kids will Enjoy

Hiking Trails in Sarasota

From Bradenton down to Sarasota, there are miles of gorgeous preserved hiking trails for you and your children to explore. Plus, with Florida's fantastic year-round weather, these trails can be enjoyed all year long! Our REALTORS® highlight some of the hiking trails your whole family can enjoy in our area.

  • Quick Point Nature Preserve — 100 Gulf of Mexico Dr., Longboat Key, FL 34228
    Take a drive west of Sarasota and stroll through Quick Point Nature Preserve while you're searching for Longboat Key homes for sale. This 34-acre park right on the water features short and easy trails that are excellent for those desiring an easy and breezy walk along the beach. Tidal pools and quiet trails offer fantastic opportunities for wildlife viewing. There are also plenty of benches to sit and relax on if your little ones need to rest their feet.

  • Red Bug Slough Preserve — 5200 Beneva Rd., Sarasota, FL 34231
    Bring the whole family on a nature walk — dogs included! Red Bug Slough Preserve offers 72-acres of spectacular greenspace, including several miles of hiking trails. Surrounded by lovely suburban Sarasota homes for sale, this preserve also features a picnic, playground, and fishing pier where you can spend hours enjoying the outdoors. 

  • The Celery Fields — 999 Center Rd., Sarasota, FL 34240
    Enjoy wildlife watching without venturing too far from Sarasota homes for sale, The Celery Fields contains more than 400-acres of marshlands, canals, wetlands, and deep ponds where dozens of diverse bird species call home. This natural area is perfect for hiking, as well as other outdoor activities like biking, wildlife viewing, fishing, and even kayaking. Once used for celery farming, The Celery Fields is a great example of modern preservation.

  • Robinson Preserve — 1714 99th St. Northwest, Bradenton, FL 34209
    Just northwest of some of our Bradenton homes for sale is Robinson Preserve. This nearly 700-acre preserve has a variety of hiking trails, wildlife viewing opportunities, and a kayak launch. One of the reasons we love this green space is the new construction of its 2.5-kilometer rubberized pedestrian-only trail. Easy on the legs of both kids and adults alike, this trail lets families of all ages enjoy a long walk.

  • Ola Mae Sims Park — 11800 Erie Rd., Parrish, FL 34219
    Ola Mae Sims Park offers a wonderful place for the whole family to exercise. The 2/10th of a mile paved multi-purpose trail provides a simple way to stretch your legs while volleyball courts, basketball hoops, an open playfield, horseshoe courts, and a playground offer fun for kids of all ages. If you're in the area scouting Parrish homes for sale, take a quick break at Ola Mae Sims Park.

  • Emerson Point Preserve — 5801 17th St. West, Palmetto, FL 34221
    Explore a number of diverse coastal habitats with a walk through Emerson Point Preserve. Just a few blocks from new Palmetto homes for sale, this preserve features a network of hiking trails that showcase ancient and historic remains from long before Manatee County was a settlement. An outdoor education center, dog-friendly trails, observation tower, and opportunities for kayaking and fishing make Emerson Point Preserve perfect for outdoor leisure and learning.

Are you ready to explore the beautiful homes throughout Sarasota and Manatee? Contact us today to begin your search!

March
13

Great Things To Do When It's Not A Beach Day

Things to do Sarasota

There's no doubt about it – Sarasota has some of the best beaches in Florida.

Our REALTORS® love the beach, but the weather doesn't always cooperate. What's a family to do when hitting the coast isn't in the cards?

Luckily, there are plenty of options for fun and family bonding. World-class museums, cultural institutions, and attractions for kids abound. Any of them makes for a full day of memories that last a lifetime. 

Here are some ideas for Sarasota fun when it's not a beach day:

  1. Crowley Museum & Nature Center – 16405 Myakka Road, Sarasota, FL 34240
    Crowley Museum & Nature Center is a unique interactive experience open each Thursday through Sunday. It includes a self-guided nature trail that winds through pine flatwoods, oak, swampland, and the famous Sawgrass Marsh. There's also a museum where youngsters get the chance to explore how life looked in Florida's rugged pioneer days.
  2. Marie Selby Botanical Gardens – 900 S Palm Avenue, Sarasota, FL 34236
    Did you know you can explore a botanical garden with over 6,000 orchids near Sarasota homes for sale? The stunning, lush grounds of the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens are a delight for all ages. Kids will love exploring the children's rainforest garden or picking up their own plant to take home at the plant shop. 
  3. Tree Umph! Adventure Course – 21805 East State Road 70, Bradenton, FL 34202
    Are you ready for adventure? Tree Umph! Adventure Course is waiting with all-ages action, including courses for kids and adults. Add excitement to Lakewood Ranch homes for sale as you thrill to the best in zip line entertainment. Alone or in groups, you'll explore 14 acres of daring, innovative games. There are events for guests as young as seven years.
  4. Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium – 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota, FL 34236
    Even though you aren't headed to the beach, you can still learn about the seas and the fish that live there! The Mote Aquarium  & Laboratory features over 100 species of marine animals in their massive aquarium. Just down the road from Bird Key homes for sale, the interactive exhibits and viewable working labs at Mote Aquarium & Laboratory offer hands-on learning for all ages. 
  5. Historic Spanish Point 337 N. Tamiami Trail, Osprey, FL 34229
    Step back into a different time when you venture over to Historic Spanish Point near Osprey homes for sale. Explore the outdoor archaeological and historic museum. Make the most of your time there by booking one of their tours and learn about the grounds from the knowledge tour guides or attend one of their many events on the grounds!   
  6. Manatee County Agricultural Museum – 1015 6th Street West, Palmetto, FL 34221
    An educational day awaits you a short drive from the best Palmetto homes for sale. The top-ranked Manatee County Agricultural Museum is a must-see. With multiple events every month, the program is bursting with memorable experiences. The Living Wax Museum, Heritage Days Walking Tours, and much more will expand the minds of visitors at any age.
  7. Florida Railroad Museum – 12210 83rd Street East, Parrish, FL 34219
    All aboard! If you have kids that love all things train-related, this museum is the perfect place to take the family when it's not a beach day. The Florida Railroad Museum features the railroad line that was the first to be built in Manatee County. After viewing Parrish homes for sale, stop by and ride this historic railroad line for yourself!
  8. Anna Maria Island Historical Society Museum – 402 Pine Avenue, Anna Maria, Florida 34216
    Florida has a rich history and the staff at the Anna Maria Island Historical Society Museum are dedicated to presenting and preserving that history. Down the road from Anna Maria homes for sale, this museum opened in 1992 and has been giving visitors a glimpse of historic Florida. While admission is free for this museum, donations are appreciated! 

"Fun" might not be the first word that comes to mind when you think about a home search, but Wagner Realty makes it a breeze. Our in-depth experience with Florida real estate smooths the path and gets you to closing fast. To get started, contact us today – rain or shine.

February
28

Doggy Daycares Your Pet Will Love in Sarasota and Manatee

Manatee Doggy Daycares

It's always hard to say goodbye to your favorite pets at the beginning of a busy day or trip out of town, but if you live around Manatee and Sarasota, then you can rest easy knowing that there are plenty of dog daycare facilities to choose from. Here are a few you might like to check out.

  1. The Lucky Puppy – 8003 US Hwy. 301, N Suite 105, Parrish, FL 34219
    Close to Parrish homes for sale, The Lucky Puppy, offers your puppy a free socialization program every Monday to make new friends. The team at the Lucky Puppy provides a mix of one-on-one interaction with your pet, and group pet activities to promote socialization.

  2. Doggy Resort SRQ – 3424 17th St., Sarasota, FL 34325
    With grooming, training, daycare, boarding, and even a bakery, Doggy Resort SRQ has everything you need to keep your pup happy near Bird Key homes for sale. The Doggy Resort features indoor/outdoor playgrounds, a shaded pool, indoor climate control, and optional extras that include expert dog training.

  3. Camp Bow Wow – 2101 17th St., Sarasota, FL 34234
    Camp Bow Wow allows pet owners to monitor their pups anytime with live webcams. Close to Sarasota homes for sale, Camp Bow Wow is a nationally known chain with a comprehensive program that includes extensive socialization with both pets and people, along with regular exercise.

  4. PetSuites – 5205 53rd Ave. E., Bradenton, FL 34203
    Near Anna Maria homes for sale, PetSuites offers a "first-day free" program at their full-service facility. They even feature a puppy pre-school. Customize your pet's experience with a wide variety of packages, including day play for energetic pups, day boarding for pets that prefer relaxation, and a day spa.

  5. Bayside Pet Resort at Lakewood Ranch – 15117 Garnet Trl., Lakewood Ranch, FL 34211
    If you're looking for a luxurious doggy daycare to pamper your pup close to Lakewood Ranch homes for sale, then the Bayside Pet Spa is the place to be. Dogs at Bayside Pet Spa get their own private space, along with the option to socialize with other pets. This facility also goes above and beyond with services that include professional grooming and dog training.

  6. Fox Creek Pet Ranch – 5557 Lorraine Rd., Bradenton, FL 34211
    If you have cats or other small pets in need of daycare then Fox Creek Pet Ranch, located near Parrish homes for sale, is a perfect option. Fox Creek Pet Ranch provides care for a wide variety of pets in a facility that is advertised as safe, clean, loving, and healthy.

If you're searching for a community where both you and your favorite pets feel right at home, then our team is here to help. Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout Manatee and Sarasota.

February
21

The 2020 Guide to Spring Training in Manatee & Sarasota

Manatee Spring Training

Grab the Cracker Jack, warm up your mitt and get ready to stand up and cheer — spring training is coming back to the Sunshine State! Each year, some of the best teams in Major League Baseball spend two months in Florida preparing for the upcoming season. We're lucky to have two World Series championship teams call Sarasota and Bradenton home for their spring training season: the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Baltimore Orioles. 

Our REALTORS® encourage you to take advantage of the warm weather and head out to a spring training game this year. Whether you're a Pirates fan, Orioles fan, or merely a lover of America's favorite pastime, our two spring training facilities are just a few miles from downtown Sarasota and Bradenton.

  • Ed Smith Stadium — 2700 12th St., Sarasota, FL 34237
    Known as Birdland South, Ed Smith Stadium has welcomed the Baltimore Orioles for the last ten years. Built-in 1989 and renovated soon after the Orioles' arrival in 2011, this ballpark once hosted the Cincinnati Reds and Chicago White Sox. As one of the best venues in the Grapefruit League, Ed Smith Stadium is within a few miles of many beautiful Sarasota homes for sale, making it the perfect place to relax after a long day walking some of the best properties in the city.

  • LECOM Park — 1611 9th St. W., Bradenton, FL 34205
    Part of the Grapefruit League, the Pittsburgh Pirates, have been coming to LECOM Park for spring training for over half of a century. This award-winning ballpark was recently renovated with enhanced fan areas, new seating, and a state-of-the-art clubhouse. If you're in town searching for Bradenton homes for sale, take the afternoon off and watch the Pirates play at LECOM Park. Be sure to head five miles east to Pirate City to view the Pirates' spring training workout and practice field as well.

2020 Spring Training Games in Sarasota & Bradenton

Are you ready for a preview of the 2020 MLB season? There's no better place to watch the best teams in the league play than at LECOM Park and Ed Smith Stadium. 

Pittsburgh Pirates Spring Training Games

Be sure to purchase discounted tickets in advance or gather your closest friends for a Group Ticket Package featuring preferred seating. Six-game Weekend Packages are also available, guaranteeing your same seat as the Pirates load the bases against the Yankees, Rays, Tigers, Blue Jays, and Twins! Catch the first part of spring training with these February games. 

  • Feb 22 – Bradenton | Minnesota Twins
  • Feb 23 – Bradenton | Detroit Tigers
  • Feb 25 – Bradenton | Philadelphia Phillies
  • Feb 26 – Bradenton | Boston Red Sox
  • Feb 27 – Sarasota | Pittsburgh Pirates
  • Feb 28 – Bradenton | Baltimore Oriole

Baltimore Orioles Spring Training Games

Get ready to see the Os in action against some of the best teams in the American and National Leagues, including the 2019 World Series Champions the Washington Nationals. Pick up single-game tickets or create a 5-Game Flex Plan featuring two prime games. For the ultimate experience, purchase a Birdland South Spring Training Membership which includes access to exclusive events, early admittance to watch batting practice and reduced ticket prices on spring training games in Sarasota and regular reason games in Baltimore! Games through February include: 

  • Feb 23 – Sarasota | Boston Red Sox 
  • Feb 25 – Sarasota | Tampa Bay Rays 
  • Feb 26 – Sarasota | Atlanta Braves
  • Feb 27 – Sarasota | Pittsburgh Pirates
  • Feb 28 – Bradenton | Pittsburgh Pirates
  • Feb 29 – Sarasota | Miami Marlin

Spring training is one of the many things you'll love about living in the Manatee and Sarasota area. For assistance in buying and selling homes in the area, contact us today!

February
14

Upcoming Races in the Sarasota & Manatee Area

Races in Sarasota

On your mark, get set, race! Get your running shoes ready and check out these races taking place around the Sarasota and Manatee area during February and March.

  1. Sarasota Military Academy 3rd Annual Raiders Rise & Run 5K | Sat, Feb 22, 2020 — Payne State Park 2110 Adams St, Sarasota, FL 34237
    The Sarasota Military Academy is once again hosting its annual Raiders Rise & Run 5K to benefit their middle and high school Raider's teams. These young cadets have won both state and national titles, but their programs rely on continuous support from the community. The SMA Raider's Rise & Run 5K benefits these programs. If you're in the area viewing Sarasota homes for sale, join the Raiders at Payne State Park.  

  2. Manasota Track Club 25K & 50K Ultra | Sat, Feb 22, 2020 — Oscar Scherer State Park 1843 South Tamiami Trail, Osprey, FL 34429
    If you've already raced 5Ks, 10Ks, or even 15Ks in the 2010s, take your running skills to the next level with the Manasota Track Club's 25K & 50K Ultra. You read it right — 25K and 50K distance races will take place at Oscar Scherer State Park. If you'd rather watch from the sidelines, pay a visit to Oscar Scherer State Park in between tours of Osprey homes for sale.

  3. 11th Annual Take Stock 5K/Fun Run/ Mentor Mile | Sun, Mar 01, 2020 — 8100 Lakewood Ranch Main St., Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202
    If you're browsing Lakewood Ranch homes for sale, you'll become very familiar with the bustling Main Street within the community. Hosting events throughout the year, March kicks off with the 11th Annual Take Stock 5K, Fun Run, and Mentor Mile on Main Street. Proceeds from all three races benefit the Take Stock in Children organization, which provides mentorship and college scholarships.

  4. Shark's Tooth 10K & Shark Fin 5K | Sat, Mar 07, 2020 – Sun Mar 08, 2020 — Venice Airport Festival Grounds 610 Airport Ave. E., Venice, FL 34285
    Runners in the Shark Tooth Capital of the World are invited to participate in the Megalodon Challenge — a two-day race combining the Shark's Tooth 10K and Shark Fin 5K. Door prizes, music, and a post-race party on both days make the Megalodon Challenge one of the best weekends of the year. If you're planning on scheduling visits to Venice homes for sale, be sure to sign up for the Megalodon Challenge at the Venice Airport Festival Grounds.

  5. The 2020 Sarasota-Bradenton ITU Triathlon World Cup | Sun, Mar 22, 2020 — Nathan Benderson Park 5851 Nathan Benderson Cir, Sarasota, FL 34235
    If one of your goals is to complete a triathlon, you're in luck! Nathan Benderson Park and the Sarasota-Bradenton area are hosting the 2020 Sarasota-Bradenton ITU Triathlon World Cup. Conveniently close to Interstate I-75 and Sarasota homes for sale, the challenging course will take participants on a 750m swim, 18.3k bike ride, completed by a 5k run. Push yourself at this Sarasota triathlon! 

  6. Robinson Preserve Twilight 5K & 10K Run | Fri, Mar 27, 2020 — Robinson Preserve 1704 99th St NW, Bradenton, FL 34209
    The 12th Annual Annual Robinson Preserve Twilight 5K & 10K celebrates the stunning sunset views of Robinson Preserve. The event starts at 5:30 pm with age bracketed Kids Dashes. After the kids are done with their races, runners and walkers hit the trails for a 5k or 10k. Be sure to stick around after the race for food and beverages under the stars! Don't forget to register in advance and check out Bradenton homes for sale before your race time. 

Do you want to race into a new home within Sarasota and Manatee County? Our REALTORS® are here to do more than cheer you on! Contact us today!

January
31

Crossfit Gyms in Manatee & Sarasota for Your Fitness Goals

Crossfit gyms in Sarasota

If you're looking forward to a healthier you in 2020, then you're in luck. CrossFit is an excellent workout option to help you accomplish any fitness goal. Whether that goal is to improve health or weight loss, Crossfit can help you get in better shape. The program works for everyone—people who are just starting out and people who have trained for years. These CrossFit gyms in Manatee and Sarasota counties offer an intense workout to help you along on your fitness journey!

  • Seaward CrossFit - 1127 Goodrich Ave., Sarasota, FL 34236
    Reaching and surpassing your goals is the name of the game at Seaward Crossfit. Their training methodology and programming is based on more than nine years of experience in CrossFit training and coaching for CrossFit Headquarters. The diverse staff of fitness experts at Seaward Crossfit also brings to the table experience in everything from gymnastics and martial arts to OPEX Fitness and Baptiste yoga. Just minutes from these Sarasota homes for sale, Seaward CrossFit is an incredible place to improve your health.

  • Real Fitness Sarasota - 4728 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34231
    What makes Real Fitness Sarasota stand out among all the CrossFit gyms in the Sarasota area is their culture of support and inclusiveness. Great coaches and community make it a perfect place to unleash your best self. Take a look at their full lineup of classes and programs near Siesta Key homes for sale

  • CrossFit Lena - 5261 Paylor Ln., Sarasota, FL 34240
    CrossFit Lena is committed to getting you in the best shape of your life. But more importantly, they have a staff of friendly, talented coaches. It's about getting in shape the right way. Plus, with some of the best Sarasota homes for sale, just a stone's throw away, you never have to drive too far to hit the gym. 

  • Rack Star Athletics - 4608 E. State Rd. 64, Bradenton, FL 34208
    The folks at Rack Star Athletics are deeply dedicated to health, fitness, and family. Not only that, but they make working out fun. With programs ranging from strength & conditioning to personal training and individualized nutrition coaching, it's a great place to introduce yourself to CrossFit. Located in the lovely community of Bradenton, Rack Star Athletics is within minutes of Parrish homes for sale. 

  • CrossFit Manatee - 5645 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton, FL 34209
    One of the coolest things about CrossFit Manatee is that they offer a free "Introduction to CrossFit" class. That way, if you're new to CrossFit, you get a perfect inside look at exactly how CrossFit works. That makes it easier to know upfront if it's right for you. With a beautiful location in Bradenton near the banks of the Manatee River, CrossFit Manatee is just a short drive from many great Anna Maria homes for sale.

  • CrossFit 941 - 10530 Portal Crossing #103, Bradenton, FL 34211
    A top-notch Olympic Weightlifting and strength & conditioning facility, CrossFit 941 is dedicated to building a strong community of members through hard work and commitment. Ever since they opened their doors in 2013, they've been creating a safe and effective environment for their community. CrossFit 941 is just 20 minutes from the heart of Sarasota, and right around the corner from these lovely Parrish homes for sale. 
  • CrossFit Havoc - 801 7th Ave. W., Bradenton, FL 34205
    Accomplish your fitness goals with CrossFit instructors with over 20 years of experience when you sign up for CrossFit HavocLocated right around the corner from Bradenton homes for sale, CrossFit Havoc classes, games, and an open gym to help support you on your fitness journey. 

Contact us today to learn more about life in the Manatee and Sarasota area. Our REALTORS® have helped countless families find their dream homes in Florida, and we can't wait to help you find yours!

January
17

Manatee & Sarasota Cheese Shops for National Cheese Lover's Day

Manatee Cheese Shops

It's almost time once again for the cheesiest holiday of the year, with January 20th marking this year's edition of National Cheese Lover's Day. Whether you're a true aficionado of all things cheese or you simply love an excuse to sample, you'll find no shortage of places to celebrate in Manatee and Sarasota Counties. Our REALTORS® have the details on 6 local spots where you can celebrate National Cheese Lover's Day.

  1. Artisan Cheese Company – 550 Central Ave., Sarasota, FL 34236
    With a convenient location close to Sarasota homes for sale and a diverse selection of cheese from around the world, Artisan Cheese Company is sure to have what you seek. Visit anytime to browse the best selection of artisan cheese in Sarasota. If you love a glass of good wine with your favorite cheese, wine, and cheese clubs at Artisan Cheese Company can satisfy both of your culinary passions.

  2. Chop Shop Grocer – 5906 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton, FL 34209
    Looking for a local, old-fashioned grocer close to Bradenton homes for sale? Then head for the Chop Shop Grocer, where you'll find great cheese and so much more. The award-winning deli at the Chop Shop stocks a wide variety of international cheeses, along with all of your favorite cold cuts. Grab a prepared meal, or find the freshest ingredients for your own home-cooked creations.

  3. Morton's Gourmet Market 1924 S. Osprey Ave., Sarasota, FL 34239
    Whether you're shopping for gourmet cheese, fine wines, or the freshest top-quality ingredients for your next meal, Morton's Gourmet Market in Sarasota will have what you need. Order a gourmet basket for the cheese-lover on your shopping list, or grab something delicious to take home. With more than 200 cheeses available every day and expert help from cheesemonger Karen LaBonte, Morton's is sure to stock what you seek.

  4. Papa's Meat Market – 324 Tamiami Trail S., Venice, FL 34285
    It's easy to find fresh food and fantastic cheese close to Venice homes for sale, thanks to well-known local shops like Papa's Meat Market. The cheese selection at Papa's Meat Market is diverse, with cheeses created on small farms throughout the country. At Papa's, you can sample everything from Amish cheese to the best imported Parmesan from Italy.

  5. Anna Maria Olive Oil Outpost – 401 Pine Ave, Anna Maria, FL 34217
    While you're out shopping for Anna Maria Island homes, you'll certainly end up with an appetite. Stop by the Anna Maria Olive Oil Outpost to sample some Truffle Pecorino and Formager Bleu creamy brie style cheese – or whatever the delicious cheese sample of the day may be. Aside from gourmet cheeses, the friendly staff is happy to indulge the taste buds of visitors with fabulous olive oils, freshly shaved parmesan, cured meats, handmade soaps, flavored balsamic vinegars and pickled goodies that make excellent gifts.
  6. The Ancient Olive of Sarasota – St. Armands Circle 26 N. Boulevard of the Presidents, Sarasota, FL 34236
    Just a short drive from Longboat Key homes for sale, you'll find The Ancient Olive. It's not a cheese shop, but when you have gourmet cheese, you need the amenities – like premium extra virgin olive oils and aged balsamic vinegars. The Ancient Olive provides an epicurean adventure that includes tastings of its various specialty foods among an array of unique culinary gifts, all found in the ambiance of a fine art gallery. The tasting room At The Ancient Olive features 55+ premium single varietal and flavored extra virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars and has been awarded for excellence in quality and education.

You'll never be hungry when you call our corner of Florida home. Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout the Manatee and Sarasota area.

December
27

Ring in the New Year at These Manatee & Sarasota Events

Sarasota New Year

There are a ton of fun New Year's events to enjoy in the Manatee and Sarasota areas this year. Whether you're looking for family fun, a formal event, live music, or just one big, local party with all of your friends, there's a New Year's Eve event with your name on it. Our REALTORS® are ready to welcome 2020! Learn about some of the local events with our guide to just some of the great New Year's Eve events in the Manatee and Sarasota area.

  1. 2020 EPIC New Year Party - Sarasota Municipal Auditorium, 801 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34236
    Ring in the new decade with 22N, an awesome high energy band that will have everyone on the dancing floor. When the band takes a break, DJ EMP will be spinning Top 40 hits to keep the party going. You'll love the huge dance floor! Party tickets for 2020 EPIC New Year Party include valet to the red carpet, paparazzi, bottomless bubbly all night, full open top-shelf bar, catered appetizers by Acropolis Greek Taverna and Star Thai & Sushi & Desserts, midnight celebration and much more. Plus, you can save $10 with the following case sensitive promo code: wagner. 

  2. Sarasota New Year's Eve Pineapple Drop – Main Street, Downtown Sarasota, FL 34236
    Participate in one of the most time-honored New Year's traditions, the Sarasota New Year's Eve Pineapple Drop, with a special Florida twist. Enjoy a carnival atmosphere perfect for families, along with local food, drink, a full bar, live music, and a spectacular fireworks display to close out the evening. Many Sarasota homes for sale are right around the corner from the festivities.

  3. New Year's Eve at Selby Gardens – 900 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota, FL 34236
    Enjoy an elegant, black-tie New Year's Eve experience with New Year's Eve at Selby Gardens, and ring in the new year in style. This event features a little bit of everything, with unique tropical light displays, a delicious four-course, sit-down dinner, and live entertainment throughout the evening. When the clock strikes midnight, you can cap off your evening with a fantastic view of the fireworks over Sarasota Bay.

  4. Salute to Vienna New Year's Concert – 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34236
    Head for the Salute to Vienna New Year's Concert for music, dance, and so much more. With a full symphony orchestra and tons of talented dancers, the Salute to Vienna has been a local New Year's Eve staple for more than 20 years. Make this Sarasota tradition a part of your celebrations! 

  5. New Year's Eve Docksider – 509 N. Tamiami Trail, Venice, FL 34285
    Searching for New Year's excitement and waterfront fun close to Venice homes for sale? Visit the New Year's Eve Docksider and celebrate your favorite holiday as only Florida knows how. Settle in for a relaxing, laid-back New Year's celebration on the docks, with fantastic food and live local music. 

  6. Decades Rewind – 1 Indian Ave., Venice, FL 34285
    Celebrate past decades as you ring in a new one at Decades Rewind, a music-filled New Year's Eve party that's sure to have you on the dance floor. The fun starts early in the afternoon, with music from the 50s, 60s, and 70s. As the evening progresses and midnight draws closer, you'll enjoy music from the 80s and 90s. If you're looking for an all-day party to celebrate New Year's, this is the place to be.

  7. The Waterfront at Caddy's - 801 Riverside Dr. E, Bradenton, FL 34208
    Ring in the New Year on the waterfront at Caddy's with Irish bagpipers at 7 pm, DJ Pezz at 8 pm and a complimentary champagne toast at midnight! Pull up your boat and enjoy a one of a kind waterfront dining experience and an incredible view near Bradenton homes for sale.

  8. Roaring 2020 New Year's Eve Party – Grove, Main Street, Lakewood Ranch
    Welcome the year in style and dress in your best 20's attire when you attend the Roaring 2020 New Year's Eve Party at GROVE! The perfect place to celebrate the New Year close to Lakewood Ranch homes for sale. Enjoy hors d'oeuvre's, carving station and a premium open bar all included with the price of your ticket. The cost per person is $119.95 plus applicable tax and gratuity. 

Is finding a new home at the top of your New Year's resolution list this year? We can help. Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout the Manatee and Sarasota areas.

August
12

Dog Parks in Manatee and Sarasota Counties

Manatee Sarasota Dog Parks

Take Your Pooch to These Parks Near You

Your precious pooch wants and needs regular exercise, but walks around the block can get old fast. Our real estate agents recommend some of our favorite dog parks in Sarasota and Manatee Counties to share quality time with your pet in the Florida sunshine.

  1. Brohard Paw Park - 1600 S. Harbor Dr., Venice, FL 34285
    You and Fido can both work on your tans at Brohard Paw Park, the only beach area in Sarasota County where dogs are permitted and within convenient distance of Venice homes for sale. There is an adjacent fenced-in dog play yard with picnic tables, benches, doggie waste bags, showers, and drinking fountains for pets and their humans. Just south of Paw Park is a beach for humans only, equipped with boardwalks, benches, and showers. Hours at Brohard Paw Park are 7 a.m. - dusk daily.

  2. Bayfront Park - 4052 Gulf of Mexico Dr., Longboat Key, FL 34228
    The off-leash area at Bayfront Park, only minutes from Longboat Key homes for sale, is like a playground for dogs. Your pet will have a blast romping on and around structures such as ramps, teeter-totters, and even a "fire hydrant." The fenced-in park has a separate area for small or shy dogs. Bayfront Park is open daily except for Monday when the park is closed from 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.

  3. Lakeview Paw Park - 7150 Lago St., Sarasota, FL 34241
    Lakeview Paw Park gets high marks from users because of the plentiful trees that provide cooling shade on the grounds. Separate areas give small and large dogs their own spaces, and benches and picnic tables are available for humans. Adjacent Lakeview Park, close to Sarasota homes for sale, has scenic paths where leashed dogs are welcome. Park hours are 6 a.m. - sunset.

  4. Laurie Crawford Dog Park - 2811 - 51st St., Bradenton, FL 34209
    Happy Tails Canine Park opened in 2000 as Manatee County's first dog park, not far from Bradenton homes for sale. In April 2019, the facility was renamed Laurie Crawford Dog Park in honor of the local animal advocate who helped create the park. Upgrades include the addition of 1.25 acres of tree-shaded areas along with pavilions and benches, picnic tables, water fountains, waste bag dispensers, and trash cans. Hours at Laurie Crawford Dog Park are sunrise to sunset seven days a week. The new park area is closed for maintenance Monday from 7 a.m. - 10 a.m. is closed during the same hours on Thursday. 

  5. Dog Leg Canine Park - 7550 - 69th St. E., Palmetto, FL 34221
    The cleverly named Dog Leg Canine Park is a three-acre fenced-in area located at Buffalo Creek Park, just down the street from Palmetto homes for sale. Older, sensitive and small dogs have their own section away from the more rambunctious dogs. An on-site covered shelter offers welcome shade, and dogs stay hydrated at the water fountain. Free waste bags are provided. Dog Leg is open sunrise to sunset daily but closed for maintenance 7 a.m. - 10 a.m. Thursday and 2 p.m. to close the last Friday of each month.

  6. Holmes Beach Dog Park - 62nd St. and Flotilla Dr., Holmes Beach, FL 34217
    Holmes Beach Dog Park 
    is a popular attraction around Holmes Beach homes for sale. Relax on a shaded bench as you watch your dog socialize and make friends in the fully enclosed area. The community is fundraising to make upgrades to the park including landscaping for more shade, more secure fencing and gates, and even a potential park expansion.  Hours are sunrise to sunset daily.

Searching for the perfect home for your family, including the four-legged members? Contact us at Wagner Realty, your top choice for professional real estate services.

July
22

Clean Eating Restaurants Near You

Sarasota Manatee Clean Eating Restaurants

Living in the Sunshine State gives you plenty of opportunities to spend time outdoors and enjoy a healthy lifestyle. For many Florida residents, staying active and eating well are important priorities. Lately, people across the state are embracing the idea of "clean eating."

While this might sound like just another fad diet, it's actually a way of life that's incredibly effective for maintaining your health. In its simplest form, clean eating involves avoiding processed foods, eating balanced meals prepared in healthy ways, and ramping up your intake of plant-based foods. 

Luckily, you don't have to slave away in the kitchen to enjoy eating clean. Our real estate agents have found some great clean eating restaurants throughout the Sarasota-Manatee areas! Check out this list of some of our local favorites. 

  1. Lemon Tree Kitchen - 1289 N Palm Ave., Sarasota, FL 34236
    With an array of healthy menu items designed to appeal to the everyday diner, Lemon Tree Kitchen is the perfect choice for a casual bite in a relaxed atmosphere. All of their dishes are made from scratch daily and feature clean, wholesome ingredients that are locally-sourced whenever possible.  After you're done with your meal, we recommend taking a drive around so you can see some of the great Sarasota homes for sale in the downtown area. 

  2. The Sage Biscuit Cafe in Downtown Bradenton - 1401 Manatee Ave W, Bradenton, FL 34205
    The Sage Biscuit Cafe brings homemade, quality dishes to their clientele that include vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. The Sage Biscuit Cafe is a family-owned business dedicated to serving their customers the freshest and tastiest food in Bradenton. After your meal, take a drive to view some of the best Bradenton homes for sale in the area.

  3. Veg - 2164 Gulf Gate Dr., Sarasota, FL 34232
    Veg offers high-quality vegetarian, vegan, and seafood dishes served in a cozy bistro setting. They're open for both lunch and dinner and can accommodate gluten-free and lactose-intolerant diners. They serve excellent homemade sangria, and the veggie burgers are out-of-this-world. 

  4. Fresh Kitchen - 8491 Cooper Creek Blvd #101, Bradenton, FL 34201
    Fresh Kitchen
    serves customers chef-inspired meals made from fresh high-quality ingredients to nourish and energize the body. At Fresh Kitchen, you can build your own bowls with hormone and antibiotic-free grilled meats and roasted vegetables. Your meal at Fresh Kitchen is 100% gluten-free.

  5. Ionie Retreat and Organic Raw Food Cafe - 1241 Fruitville Rd., Sarasota, FL 34236
    Part spa retreat and part vegan raw food restaurant, Ionie Retreat and Organic Raw Food Cafe is the ideal place to relax and unwind while giving your body the nourishment it craves. Grab a spot at one of the cute outdoor tables and enjoy a healthy smoothie, juice, elixir, or wheatgrass shot. Want something more substantial? They also serve pizzas, entrees, and desserts.

  6. Bowled Life Cafe  - 929 10th St E., Palmetto, FL 34221
    Bowled Life Cafe was opened in Manatee County in October 2018 and has been showing Bradenton locals the way to delicious, healthy eating ever since.  The restaurant specializes in acai bowls, smoothies, salad bowls, and avocado toast. David and Bettina Wheeler, Bowled Life Cafe owners, described their fare as vegan-friendly and "on the healthy side--no sugar is added and nothing is fried. Bowled Life Cafe, located just minutes from homes for sale in Palmetto.

  7. Green Zebra Cafe - 476 John Ringling Blvd., Sarasota, FL 34236
    Located in beautiful St. Armands Circle, family-owned Green Zebra Cafe is another local favorite. Their menu includes raw entrees and desserts, pressed juices and elixirs, smoothies, sandwiches, salads, and more. Best of all, everything is made from the best possible local and organic ingredients. 

  8. Lila - 1576 Main St, Sarasota, FL 34236
    For creative vegetarian and vegan dishes, you can't go wrong with lunch or dinner at Lila. This downtown hot spot prides itself on using organic and locally-sourced ingredients and preparing their dishes in a way that keeps all vegetarian and vegan dishes free of animal contaminants. Both vegans and meat-eaters love these fresh and delicious vegetable-centric meals!

There's so much to love about living in Sarasota and Manatee! From seemingly limitless dining and entertainment options to great weather and gorgeous houses, this city has it all. If you're ready to learn more about the area and start exploring some of our homes for sale throughout Sarasota and Manatee Counties, contact us today to get started.

June
24

5 Top Spots for Birdwatching in Sarasota-Manatee Counties

Sarasota-Manatee Birdwatching

There's no shortage of fun outdoor activities to do in Sarasota and Manatee Counties. If you want to get out of the house and connect with nature, grab your binoculars and your camera and head out to some of the area's best birdwatching spots.

Whether you're new to the birdwatching scene of you're already a member of the Sarasota Audubon Society, you might be surprised by the array of interesting species you'll find nearby. Our REALTORS® recommend taking a drive to the following locations where you're sure to find some new feathered friends. 

Sarasota-Manatee Birdwatching

  1. Myakka River State Park - 13208 State Road 72 Sarasota, FL 34241
    Featuring over 58 square miles of prairies, wetlands, hammocks, and pinelands, Myakka River State Park is home to an abundance of wildlife. Here you can expect to see wading birds, raptors, songbirds, migratory species, and more.   You can observe the birds from the lakeshore or the Birdwalk, or canoe along the river. There's also an elevated canopy walkway and a 74-foot high observation tower. 

  2. Celery Fields - 6893 Palmer Blvd, Sarasota, FL 34240
    One of the best birdwatching spots in Southwest Florida, Celery Fields offers visitors the opportunity to catch a glimpse of over 220 species including Bald Eagles, Tree Swallows, Roseate Spoonbills, Osprey, Herons, Egrets, and over 20 different species of ducks.  Since the location is not far from some of the best Sarasota homes for sale, you can easily spend your morning birdwatching and the rest of the day home shopping! 

    Sarasota-Manatee Birdwatching
  3. Robinson Nature Preserve - 1704 99th St NW, Bradenton, FL 34209
    Northwest Bradenton is home to some of the most gorgeous Bradenton homes for sale and is also where you'll find the extremely popular Robinson Nature Preserve. The area is well known for Bald Eagle sightings, and with its 682 acres of tidal marsh, preserved mangrove, and former agricultural land, there are plenty of opportunities to see a variety of other species.  You can expect to see Pelicans, Herons, Egrets, Osprey, and more. Since the area is so protected, it's often possible to get quite close to the birds and observe them in their natural habitat.   

  4. Felts Audubon Preserve - 4600 24th Ave. E., Palmetto, FL 34221
    Located between residences and farmlands, Felts Audubon Preserve is one of the only places in the area to see colorful Indigo and Painted Buntings. There are also plenty of opportunities to see more than 160 avian species and over 30 different butterfly species.

    Once you've had your fill of birding, we recommend taking a drive around the area to check out some of the Palmetto homes for sale. This city offers residents a small-town feel with easy access to nearby cities and the waterfront. 

    Sarasota-Manatee Birdwatching
  5. Venice Area Audubon Rookery: 4002 S Tamiami Trail via, Annex Rd, Venice, FL 34293
    Birders from across the state and around the globe flock to the Venice Area Audubon Rookery where you can get so close to the birds that you barely need binoculars. Here you can watch them build nests, court, and mate, hatch their eggs and raise their families.  Expect to see Egrets, Herons, Ibises, Anhingas, and more. You'll also get a glimpse of alligators, who patrol the lake and keep predatory mammals away from the birds. 

    ​​​​​​​We suggest taking the scenic route home so you can take a look at some of the Venice homes for sale. You just might find the home you've been dreaming of! 

From outdoor adventures to shopping and nightlife, Our REALTORS® are "in the know" about all things there are to love about living in Sarasota-Manatee County communities. If you would like to learn more about the area and take a look at some of the gorgeous homes for sale, we can help! Contact us at Wagner Realty to get started.  

June
3

Summer Camps for Local Kids in Sarasota-Manatee

Sarasota Manatee Summer Camps for Kids

When it comes to summer fun for the kiddos, our real estate agents have a tip for you: Sarasota-Manatee has some of the top summer camps found anywhere in Florida! The concept of summer camp has sure changed over the years. Now, the conventional "cabin in the woods" approach is just one of many kids can embark on during break. Everything from arts to surfing to engineering is available to the lucky little ones living in our area. With more than 100 active summer camps around Sarasota and Bradenton, picking just one can be a real puzzler. To get you (and the kids!) started, we'd like to recommend five standout camps in Sarasota-Manatee:

  1. Summer Fun at Nathan Benderson Park (NPB) - 5851 Nathan Benderson Circle, Sarasota
    Every parent wants their kids to have fun at camp – and learning something new as well is a bonus! At NBP's Water Adventure Camp youngsters learn water safety and water sports techniques including kayaking, rowing, dragon boat paddling, sailing, and canoeing. On land instruction and safety requirements accompany all activities before campers get out on the water, so they obtain the knowledge and safety skills needed. NBP will provide all campers with PFD's (Personal Flotation Devices) as well. If your kids are land lovers, there are camps for Robotics and Coding, Drone Racing and Fishing at Nathan Benderson Park.

    All of this fun is just a short hop from Lakewood Ranch homes for sale.

  2. Dream Oaks Camp - 16110 Dream Oaks Place, Bradenton
    For children and young adults with special needs, the Foundation for Dreams celebrates the abilities and develops the strengths of children with special needs and chronic illnesses ages 7-17. The staff collaborates with families to provide individualized result-based goals, family support, and recreation in a camp environment. Summer camp programs feature fun activities that are strategically adapted to target specific, individualized goals to produce a comprehensive skill set with productive behaviors. Each unique program is specialized to meet your child's needs and strengthen his or her abilities. Dream Oaks camp is conveniently located from Bradenton homes for sale.

  3. Gator Tens for Life Athletic Summer Camp - 519 South Tamiami Trail, Venice
    Founded in 2013, Gator Tens for Life offers summer camps for kids five and up. It also sponsors "Mom's Morning Out" and "Parents Night Out" events. Led by a certified teacher, Gator Tens is associated with a local gym holding classes in cheer, judo, and other sports for kids five years and up. It's a fine way to cap off a season of looking at Venice homes for sale.

  4. Music Compound - 1751 Cattlemen Road and 801 Apricot Ave, Sarasota
    Music Compound offers a fun and educational music camp for all ages. Not sure which session to select? The Music Compound team encourages you to enroll the first week of camp, Intro to Music.  Each day features a different instrument, instructor, and approach. Intro week allows your child to select the instrument of their choice for following sessions, which focus on a specific instrument. Each session offers two to three instructors and provides an opportunity to learn three to five songs and perform at the end of the week.  Performances are the last 30 minutes of the session on the last day. Music Compound's music camp is offered in June and July, just down the street from top Sarasota homes for sale.

  5. Sailor Circus - 2075 Bahia Vista Street, Sarasota
    What kid hasn't wished to join the circus? Sailor Circus Summer Camp is for children ages 5-15(child must have completed kindergarten by the start of camp), with camp running Monday-Friday 9am-3pm. Campers learn a variety of circus arts including triple and single trapeze, globes, silks, Rolla Bolla, hula hoop, low wire, clowning, flying trapeze, juggling, and much more! Campers enjoy a unique experience where they learn circus arts disciplines and then showcase their new skills with a costumed performance with friends and family invited to watch!

    A typical day begins with a warm-up and group stretch, 1-2 warm up circus activities (like circus relay, low wire, unicycle, trampoline, hula hooping, or juggling) snack, showcase act rehearsal, lunch, theater games, arts and circus crafts, showcase act rehearsal, snack, check-out and group games, dismissal. It's so much fun, you just might be tempted to drive from Holmes Beach homes for sale to make memories for your little one!

With our blend of local insight and outstanding customer service, Wagner Realty's real estate agents make it easy for you to find the property you've been dreaming of. Contact us today to find out more.

May
27

Outdoor Adventures Await in Sarasota and Manatee Counties

Outdoors Sarasota Manatee

Life in the Sunshine State is sweet! Our year-round warm weather and gorgeous natural spaces make Florida the perfect place for outdoor adventures. Sarasota and Manatee Counties offer residents the perfect mix of land and sea excursions that people of all ages can enjoy. Here are some of our REALTORS® favorite outdoor adventures from Bradenton to Englewood.

  1. Florida West Scuba & Charters – 509 N. Tamiami Tr., Venice, FL 34285
    After you've toured Venice homes for sale, discover what colorful fish and wildlife make their homes under the sea with excursions from Florida West Scuba & Charters. Known as the Shark Tooth Capital of the World, Venice is the perfect place to dive into adventure and go searching for your own shark teeth. The crew at Florida West Scuba & Charters has never come back from a trip empty-handed, so you're sure to see shark teeth and fossils on your journey. With basic, advanced and refresher open water dive classes available, there's a sea of adventure waiting for you just off the Venice coast.

    Outdoors Sarasota Manatee
  2. Around the Bend Nature Tours – P.O. Box 1136, Bradenton, FL 34206
    Around the Bend Nature Tours invites you to discover the area's natural and cultural history with guided tours throughout the county. They'll take you exploring in the estuaries around Palmetto, teach you about Florida pioneer history at Duette Preserve, and guide you through diverse habitats to view gorgeous birds. Featuring summer camps, field trips and coastal climate walks, Around the Bend Nature Tours — conveniently around the bend from Palmetto homes for sale — will take you on an exciting journey through the natural landscape that's right in our backyards.

    Outdoors Sarasota Manatee
  3. Full Moon Night Hikes – Myakka River State Park, 13208 S.R. 72, Sarasota, FL 34241
    Even after the sun sets, there are still plenty of outdoor adventures awaiting you around Sarasota. Stay up with Hike It Florida and walk through Myakka River State Park under the moonlight. You'll venture for five miles through the wilderness, listening to the creatures in the distance. This three-hour affordable hike will engage your senses. Just a quick drive from Sarasota homes for sale, Full Moon Night Hikes with Hike It Florida are perfect ways to explore nature at nighttime while still making home early enough for bedtime.

    Outdoors - Sarasota Manatee
  4. ((ecko)) ecotours – Sarasota & Manatee Counties
    How do you define the perfect outdoor adventure? Kayak tours along the bay? Paddleboard excursions through estuaries? Hiking and boating through Florida's natural splendor? However you envision your perfect outdoor adventure, the local experts at ((ecko)) ecotours are ready to make it happen. Live like a traveler, not a tourist, and join them on a variety of ecotours throughout Manatee and Sarasota Counties. Many of the ecotour facilitators they work with are certified by the Florida Society for Ethical Tourism, including two that are certified platinum for their educational and sustainability efforts. Within a short drive from Lakewood Ranch homes for sale, there are tons of opportunities for you to explore Florida on land and sea!

  5. The Legacy Trail – 303E. Venice Ave., Venice FL 34285 / 7301 McIntosh Rd., Sarasota, FL 34238
    Interested in creating your own outdoor adventure? Then strap on your helmet and head to The Legacy Trail. This new trail connects Culverhouse Park in Sarasota with the Venice Train Depot. Over 10 miles of paved trail is open for you to explore on your own terms. Ride through Oscar Scherer State Park and enjoy the serene sounds of nature. Peddle passed Osprey Junction Park where you may see snakes, alligators, and bald eagles. By the time you get to Sarasota, you're only a few miles away from Stickney Point Road which will lead you to Siesta Key homes for sale and miles of beach where you can end your outdoor adventure perfectly.

Contact us at Wagner Realty to buy and sell homes throughout Sarasota and Manatee Counties.

April
17

2019 Manatee and Sarasota County Earth Day Events

Earth Day Events Sarasota and Manatee County

  1. Sarasota Earth Day Celebration | Oscar Scherer State Park – 1843 S. Tamiami Trail, Osprey, FL 34229 | April 27
    This annual tradition allows visitors to enter Oscar Scherer State Park for free to celebrate their Earth Day events. Attendees can visit vendor booths, enjoy live music and sample delicious food. Volunteers can help place over 5,000 plants along the restored wetland area. Close to Venice and Siesta Key homes for sale, the Sarasota Earth Day Celebration is a great way to keep this beautiful state park clean and safe for the diverse wildlife that calls it home.

  2. NAWP Earth Day Garden Party | Longboat Key Club, 220 Sands Point Rd, Longboat Key, Florida 34228 | April 22
    The National Association of Wedding Professionals (NAWP) -  Gulf Coast Chapter will host its 2019 Earth Day Garden Party at The Resort at Longboat Key Club on April 22 from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm.  NAWP invites attendees to celebrate the plants and to hear chef/owner of Zildjian Catering, Alyson Zildjian, speak about eco-friendly events. Thinking of buying a home on Longboat Key? You'll want to check out these Longboat Key homes for sale.

  3. Earth Day Celebration at The Market at Lakewood Ranch | 8201 Polo Club Lane, Sarasota, FL 34240 | April 24
    Come enjoy live music at The Market! Activities include Sunset Yoga from 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm, and a family-friendly series of yard games, along with creating your own nature bug!  If you can't make it for the Earth Day Celebration,  The Market at Lakewood Ranch is open every Wednesday afternoon and evening from December through April, from 3:00 pm - 7:00 pm. Join your friends and the new neighbors who have just moved into beautiful Lakewood Ranch. Looking to buy here? Don't miss these Lakewood Ranch homes for sale.

  4. Englewood Earth Day Festival | Boca Grande, FL 33921 | April 28
    The Barrier Island Parks Society is planning yet another Earth Day Celebration in Englewood. This free festival of food and fun features opportunities to learn about the environmental work local non-profits are conducting. Be sure to visit the Barrier Island Parks Society website for updated information. Consider joining them on the Sunday after Earth Day. This area is so beautiful, consider it calling it "home" by browsing Englewood homes for sale.
  5. Earth Day Festival at Selby Five Points Park in downtown Sarasota | Monday, April 22, from 11:30 am - 1:30 pm
    The City of Sarasota and UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County will host an Earth Day Festival on Monday, April 22, from 11:30 am -1:30 pm at Selby Five Points Park in downtown Sarasota. The event will feature information booths throughout the park on a variety of environmental issues, including energy efficiency, stormwater pollution, composting, native plants, electric vehicles and more. Food will be available for purchase from the Spice Boys food truck. Visitors will have a chance to tour two tiny homes, pick up free bicycle gear, try an e-scooter, learn about plastic pollution and how to turn single-use plastics into reusable items, hear more about Sarasota in Motion, the city's transportation master plan, and learn why putting fats, oils and greases down the kitchen drain is so bad. In recognition of Arbor Day and the City of Sarasota's celebration of 33 years of being designated as a "Tree City USA" by the Arbor Day Foundation, some attendees will also be able to take home free native plants and trees available at the festival. For more information, contact the City's Sustainability office at 941-926-6686 or sustainability@sarasotafl.gov

Contact Wagner Realty to learn more about Florida homes in and around Sarasota and Manatee Counties. 

April
8

Manatee and Sarasota Counties: Where to Adopt a Four-Legged Friend

Manatee & Sarasota  Pet Adoption

Join our REALTORS® at Wagner Realty as we observe National Lost Dog Awareness Day on April 23rd. This annual event celebrates the happy reunions of lost pets and their owners while raising awareness for the hundreds of other missing or abandoned dogs that need a loving home. There are plenty of cute canines throughout the Sarasota and Manatee Counties that are available for immediate adoption. As you browse homes for sale along Florida's Gulf Coast, we invite you to stop by one of these compassionate animal shelters and find a four-legged friend to add to your family.

  1. Humane Society of Manatee County, 2515 14th St. W, Bradenton, FL 34205
    The mission of the Humane Society of Manatee County is to teach compassion and respect for animals through care, education, and working together.  When you adopt a pet from the Humane Society of Manatee County, not only do you save the life of an animal, but you bring our area one step closer to becoming a no-kill community.  Visit them Monday - Friday 8:00 am - 5:00 pm or Saturday 8:00 am to 4:30 pm and add a dog (or cat) to your family in your new Bradenton home.

  2. Nate's Honor Animal Rescue — 4951 Lorraine Rd., Bradenton, FL 34211
    Located near beautiful new Lakewood Ranch homes for sale, Nate's Honor Animal Rescue is changing the way the community views sheltered pets by educating area families about animal shelters. Help their no-kill shelter find forever homes for their rescued dogs by visiting one of their two adoption centers in Bradenton.

  3. Humane Society of Sarasota County, 2331 15th S., Sarasota, FL 34237
    Your family's new four-legged friend is patiently waiting for you at the Humane Society of Sarasota County. The organization is the area's premier no-kill shelter and works toward the common goal of living in a community where all animals are cared for and loved.  They provide compassionate care to shelter pets, find them permanent homes and promote responsible pet ownership throughout Sarasota County.  One of our area's Siesta Key homes for sale would be the perfect place for the newest member of your family.

  4. Satchel's Last Resort — 8101 Coash Rd., Sarasota, FL 34241
    The compassionate people at Satchel's Last Resort believe that no dog is unadoptable. They rescue, rehabilitate, and rehome canines of all shapes and sizes. Even if these animals have been turned away from other shelters, Satchel's takes them in and helps reintegrate them into loving homes. Some of their dogs are now living lives of love as they act as service dogs for those in need throughout the community. Give a great dog a second chance by adopting through Satchel's Last Resort, not far from Sarasota homes for sale.

  5. Moonracer Animal Rescue — PO Box 2103, Holmes Beach, FL 34218
    If you're dreaming of living in one of the beautiful Holmes Beach homes for sale, you're not alone. The wonderful dogs at Moonracer Animal Rescue also dream of finding a forever home close to the sun and sand. Moonracer is fighting to make Manatee County a no-kill shelter community. You can support them and help them achieve this goal by adopting one of their fantastic dogs.

  6. Bishop Animal Shelter SPCA — 5718 21st Ave. W., Bradenton, FL 34209
    Not far from Longboat Key homes for sale is the Bishop Animal Shelter SPCA. This privately funded no-kill shelter in Manatee County offers affordable dog adoptions that include spay/neutering, microchipping, collars and leashes, and a free appointment with their veterinarian. They even provide a Slumber Party program that lets you take a dog home for the night to see if they're a good fit for your home.

  7. Venice Doberman Rescue —611 Mobile Rd., Sarasota, FL 34293
    For decades, the folks at Venice Doberman Rescue have placed hundreds of Dobermans with loving families. They believe that every Doberman, young or old, deserves a caring home where they can live happily with compassionate owners. If you would like to find an adorable Doberman after purchasing Venice homes for sale, give Venice Doberman Rescue a call to meet their current furry friends.

Participating in National Lost Dog Awareness Day is a great way to show your support for the thousands of abandoned dogs that go to sleep every night without a permanent, loving home. To learn more about dog adoption centers in the area, or to shop Sarasota and Manatee County homes for sale, contact Wagner Realty 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. 

March
25

A Mom's Guide to Kids' Birthday Party Places in Manatee & Sarasota Counties

Sarasota Manatee Birthday Party Places for Kids
Birthdays come around just once a year, and our REALTORS® know it's an important time for your kids. It's the perfect day to spend with friends and family all around. Sarasota and Manatee Counties feature plenty of locations to have a party that kicks another year off right.

No matter what interests your young one has, our nearby communities are at the center of exciting party venues that are enjoyable and educational. From party staples like pizza to hands-on art projects, we have it all.

Some of the best places to throw a birthday party are at your backdoor:

  1. Kids Supergym Lakewood Ranch - 7337 International Pl, Sarasota, FL 34240
    Kids Supergym is located not far from some of our Lakewood Ranch homes for sale. Two trained instructors will supervise all of the activities in the gym from trampolines to zip lines to ensure partygoer's safety and fun.  The Supergym's viewing lounge area serves as the ideal spot for parents and adults to watch and prepare for food and more celebrating.

  2. Bowlero Bradenton - 4208 Cortez Rd W, Bradenton, FL 34210
    Give your child's birthday that extra helping of fun this year at Bowlero.  Bowling, arcade games, and kid-favorite foods are sure to be a hit, and Bowlero's party planners take care of the work for you. Located near Bradenton homes for sale, Bowlero and their staff turn a good time into a great party.

  3. Carla's Clay - 1733 Northgate Blvd, Sarasota FL 34234
    If you've been browsing for Sarasota homes for sale, you might have seen a terrific place for a hands-on birthday party. Carla's Clay is an art studio that offers classes for students of all ages. It builds on its Kids and Clay class with birthday party bookings of the entire studio. Fun activities are available for everyone, but there is a minimum of four guests for daytime parties and six for evenings. All supplies, instruction, and firing are included.

  4. Arts A Blaze Studio, 8111 Lakewood Main St, Unit 107 Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202
    Arts A Blaze Studio
    is an all-inclusive, pottery painting and glass fusing art studio perfect to host your "budding young artist's" next birthday celebration.  With party packages geared specifically towards children, your child and their guests will leave with a memento to commemorate the fun they've had.  One of the studio's staff artists will be on hand to greet guests, help with pottery and paint selections, instruction, and clean up.  Arts a Blaze Studio is located near Manatee County's Lakewood Ranch master-planned real estate community.

  5. Cookie Cottage - 335 Gillespie Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236
    What child doesn't love cookies? Cookies are a perennial favorite for kids, and Cookie Cottage will give them the whole experience. Located in the heart of historic downtown Sarasota, it provides custom cookie parties on any theme you choose. You'll get to decorate four to six cookies, a cupcake, and an apron. Indoor games, face painting, and crafts will be available, along with the option of a birthday cake.

  6. Evie's Family Golf - 4735 Bee Ridge Rd, Sarasota, FL 34233
    Up for a round of golf? Evie's Family Golf is the answer, with mini-golf, whiffle ball, and plenty of pizza. You'll get two hours of action for a discount price. Pizza, ice cream, and drinks are included, with the option to make your own pizza. Optional add-ons include bounce house access, face painting, cotton candy, and much more. It's a time to remember!

  7. Cat Depot, 2542 17th St Sarasota, FL 34234
    Cat Depot in Sarasota is the purrr-fect place to host your child's next birthday party. Included in the "Cat's Meow" birthday package is the 2-hour rental of a private party room for up to 20 guests. A party assistant will help with welcoming guests, arts and crafts, and introducing your child and their friends to some of the kittens and cats paying Cat Depot a visit until they meet their forever family.

When people think about buying a home, it usually doesn't inspire them to break out the party hats. An experienced real estate agent makes things easier with expert advice that will get you to closing.

Contact Wagner Realty to find out more. We look forward to helping you.

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 10/02/2022. The listing information on this page last changed on 10/02/2022. 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 Sun 10/02/2022 3:43:21 PM 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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